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To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the comments of Mr Thomas Hammarberg, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, on juvenile justice, pre-trial detention of elected representatives and others, demining of villages and resettlement of refugees in Turkey.[HL1758]
Lord Shutt of Greetland: The Government welcome Mr Hammarberg's recent comments on juvenile justice, pre-trial detention of elected representatives, demining of villages and resettlement of refugees. We consider Mr Hammarberg to be an authority on this subject.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The Government have supported the home access programme, which is close to providing the expected 270,000 grants to low-income households where children who are eligible qualify for a free computer and/or broadband internet access. It is expected that all the grants will be issued by this summer and there are no plans to extend the scheme. However, a component part of the scheme to provide equipment for those with special needs will continue until around September this year.
To ask Her Majesty's Government to which areas Cybermoor Ltd has provided broadband coverage; what has been the level of measured service provision in those areas; at what cost the coverage has been provided; how many customers it has; and whether an independent audit has been carried out on the cost and delivery of the service.[HL1940]
Lord Shutt of Greetland: Cybermoor Ltd provides broadband services in Alston Moor, Cumbria and in the South Tyne and Carrshield Valleys, Northumberland. It has approximately 350 customers. The Alston Cybermoor project has been evaluated several times. The details of where to find the evaluations can be found at: http://www.cybermoor.org/index.php?option= com_mtree&task=viewlink&link_id=825&Itemid=l0.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will hold a public inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the alleged murder of churchgoers at the Mountain Lodge Pentecostal Church in County Armagh by the IRA.[HL1796]
Lord Shutt of Greetland: The Government have no plans to hold a public inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the alleged murder of churchgoers at the Mountain Lodge Pentecostal Church in County Armagh by the IRA.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the Government of Iran about the statement by Mr Mohammad Javad Larijani, head of the High Council for Human Rights in Iraq, that the sentence of death by stoning on Mrs Sakineh Mohammad Ashtiani has not been rescinded as claimed by the Iranian Embassy in London.[HL1672]
Lord Shutt of Greetland: We are not aware of the statement referred to by Lord Corbett. However, we remain concerned about Ms Ashtiani's fate and have taken every opportunity to raise this case with the Iranian Government both bilaterally and through the EU, including on 19 July when the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Alistair Burt, met with the Iranian ambassador. We will continue to monitor the case and remind Iran of its obligations as a party to the various UN human rights conventions.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the report published on 9 June by Amnesty International stating that 5,000 protestors against the result of the Iranian presidential election in June 2009 have been arrested and held without charge; and whether they have discussed that matter with the Government of Iran. [HL1763]
Lord Shutt of Greetland: The UK is concerned by the ongoing detention of a number of individuals arrested following the protests in Tehran in June 2009 and welcomes Amnesty International's efforts to draw attention to this. We continue to highlight our concerns both bilaterally and through the EU. On 12 June 2010, in a Statement, my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary expressed his concern for the deterioration of human rights in Iran since the elections, and called on the Government of Iran to guarantee to their citizens the basic human rights and freedoms that they are entitled to, and that they are committed to as a member of the international community.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have made or will make representations to the Government of Israel about the members of the Palestinian Legislative Council who are facing deportation in east Jerusalem.[HL1716]
Lord Shutt of Greetland: We regard east Jerusalem as occupied territory. Its Palestinian population has rights under the Geneva Conventions. Forcibly transferring people out of the city for political reasons, as appears to be the intention in this case, is illegal. Such actions erode trust between the parties at a crucial time. The UK, through the EU, has raised the matter with the Israeli Government.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the Government of Israel about the transfer of Palestinians from east Jerusalem as a result of house demolitions in Silwan.[HL1717]
Lord Shutt of Greetland: The UK has a strong record of lobbying hard on issues relating to house demolitions and settlement building. East Jerusalem is regarded as occupied territory under international law-we do not recognise Israel's annexation of east Jerusalem. House demolitions or the eviction of Palestinians from their homes in east Jerusalem, such as the recent evictions which took place in the Old City, are deeply unhelpful. We view any attempts to change the facts on the ground as a serious provocation likely to raise tensions, as well as being harmful to the peace process and, of course, in contravention of international law. We strongly support the statement of 26 July 2010 by EU High Representative Catherine Ashton to this effect.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Statement repeated by Lord Howell of Guildford on 21 July (HL Deb, cols 979-82), why the Statement did not refer to the Kabul conference communiqué's decisions on the "centrality of women's rights, including political, economic and social equality to the future of Afghanistan".[HL1707]
Lord Shutt of Greetland: Promoting and protecting human rights forms an important part of our work in supporting the Afghan Government to "promote a more inclusive political process", as my honourable friend Alistair Burt said during the Statement. Progress made on human rights in Afghanistan since 2001 must not be lost, and the importance of involving women in decisions about the future of the country is fully
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To ask Her Majesty's Government what proposals they have to "assist all national ministries and sub- national bodies in implementing their responsibilities under the National Action Plan for the Women of Afghanistan" under the Kabul communiqué of 20 July.[HL1708]
Lord Shutt of Greetland: The UK is fully supportive of the Afghan Government in their work to protect and promote women's rights. We are supporting the establishment of a Human Rights Support Unit in the Ministry of Justice. This unit will strengthen the capacity of the Afghan Government to fulfil their human rights obligations. Its mandate is to co-ordinate human rights policy and legislation across the Afghan Government. The unit will be instrumental in assisting ministries and line ministries in implementing their human rights responsibilities, including under the National Action Plan for the Women of Afghanistan.
Lord Shutt of Greetland: A revised late payment directive, largely consistent with current UK legislation, was published in April 2009. Negotiations between member states have been ongoing since then.
The Minister of State for Business and Enterprise wrote in July 2010 to the chair of the House of Lords European Union Select Committee and the chair of the House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee, providing an update on negotiations and explaining the UK negotiating position.
The current text provides suppliers with the certainty of an upper limit on payment periods for contracts with public authorities while maintaining business-to-business contractual freedoms (which can be vital for new and growing businesses seeking new markets).
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Henley on 12 July (WA 107), how many employees of Natural England work as parliamentary advisers or are responsible for external affairs.[HL1834]
Lord Shutt of Greetland: Natural England has two members of staff who deal with inquiries from Parliament. The external affairs function overall employs 60 full-time equivalent staff in support of Natural England's statutory general purpose under the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006, including the promotion of the natural environment and the protection of biodiversity, and the promotion of access to the countryside and open spaces.
Lord Shutt of Greetland: All ministerial and official letters between the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) and the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC) since 11 May 2010 will be placed in the Library of the House.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): These are matters for Ofsted. HM Chief Inspector, Christine Gilbert, has written to the noble Lord and copies of her replies have been placed in the Library.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government is a founder member of the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC), alongside the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport and the Mayor of London. OPLC will take responsibility for management and development of the Olympic park and venues in legacy, when the park is handed over in 2013. OPLC's role will be to ensure that the use of the park venues post-Games is maximised for both elite and community use. This will leave a legacy of excellent sporting venues, including a Stadium and Aquatics Centre, in the heart of East London.
DCMS takes the lead on sports participation for government. Since taking office two months ago, the new coalition Government have already taken three steps that will increase participation by young people in sport:
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have discussed with the Grand Central Railway Company the reliability of its service and the cancellation of trains; and what is the earliest date on which its franchise in the north-east of England can be terminated.[HL1914]
Earl Attlee: The Grand Central Railway Company is an open access operator and not a franchise operator. The performance of this operator is a matter for Network Rail as the owner of the rail infrastructure, and the Office of Rail Regulation, which granted it the access rights. As it is an open access operator, my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Transport has no powers to terminate its operation.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The department does not provide advice on the effects of air pollutants on health on a location-specific basis. There is no reason to think that the effects of exposure to traffic-generated air pollutants on health in London would be qualitatively different from those in Birmingham. However, a wealth of advice is provided on the effects of air pollutants on health. The Department of Health takes advice on this subject from the Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants (COMEAP). This committee's website provides access to detailed reports on the effects of air pollutants on health. Emphasis has been placed on the effects of long-term exposure to particles (traffic is a key source) on the development of cardiovascular disease: a detailed report is available on the COMEAP website. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is the lead department on air quality and provides advice via the Defra banding system for air quality. This system relates levels of pollution (indicated by a series of bands from 1 to 10) to effects on health. Such information is available on the Defra website. This advice applies to people living in areas affected by traffic congestion and to those living in less busy areas.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what they estimate will be the number of additional fatalities and serious injuries resulting from a suspension of fixed speed cameras in England and Wales; what will be the savings from a suspension; and how much revenue will be lost to HM Treasury as a consequence of such a suspension.[HL1856]
Earl Attlee: No estimate has been made about the number of additional fatalities and serious injuries which would result from any suspension of fixed speed cameras in England and Wales. Neither have estimates been made of the changes of revenue to HM Treasury.
The Government have already announced that they will not be providing any further central funding for
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To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Wallace of Tankerness on 27 July (WA 347), whether the Crown Prosecution Service referred the case of Sarfraz Ibrahim to the Employment Policy and Practice Division and the Civil Service Pensions Division of the Cabinet Office; when it became aware that forfeiture of his pensions benefits was a possibility; and whether the Crown Prosecution Service decides to apply to the Minister for the Civil Service to take such action on his benefits, or whether the Minister decides independently. [HL1938]
The Advocate-General for Scotland (Lord Wallace of Tankerness): The Minister for the Civil Service decides whether a member has forfeited their benefits under the Civil Service pension arrangements. In practice, the Scheme Management Executive (formerly the Civil Service Pensions Division) at the Cabinet Office liaises between the Minister and Departments on individual cases.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the legal and other costs of transferring ownership of (a) an infant school, (b) a primary school, and (c) a secondary school from a local authority or church foundation to an academy trust.[HL1582]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): We recognise that schools which apply to convert to academy status will incur costs for services such as legal advice. The impact assessment completed for the Academies Bill provides a one-off cost of £78,000, which is an estimate of the average cost to the school. The department provides a flat-rate grant, normally £25,000, as a contribution to these costs for outstanding schools which are converting to academy status.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to transfer debts from an existing maintained school to the local authority or the Department for Education if the school becomes an academy trust. [HL1583]
Lord Hill of Oareford: Schools with a budget deficit that wish to convert to academy status may still do so, although if they have a significant deficit their application may be postponed until they have managed this down to a reasonable level. When a school with a deficit is approved to convert, the department will pay the local authority an amount equivalent to the deficit. The Young People's Learning Agency, the agency responsible for funding academies, will recoup the amount through a reduction in the recurrent funding paid to the academy. Detailed guidance will be provided on the procedure to be followed by the local authority.
Lord Hill of Oareford: Academy trusts, like maintained schools, are not required to make off-site provision for permanently excluded pupils. From the sixth school day of a permanent exclusion, the local authority is statutorily responsible for ensuring that suitable full-time education is provided to pupils of compulsory school age regardless of whether they are excluded from an academy or maintained school.
Academy trusts are responsible, however, for providing education during a fixed period exclusion. Where a pupil is given a fixed period exclusion of a duration of six school days or longer, the academy has a duty to arrange suitable full-time educational provision from and including the sixth school day of the exclusion. This does not apply to pupils of non-compulsory school age.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the information given to parents of children in academies about their awareness of the implications of taking level 2 BTEC science instead of GCSEs.[HL1890]
Lord Hill of Oareford: It is up to all schools, including academies, to provide parents and students with appropriate information regarding qualifications. We have not made any assessment of this information.
The Government want to see more pupils engage and excel in science, including increasing numbers studying science at GCSE. This will ensure more young people consider taking physics, chemistry and biology at A-level. We will be looking at accountability arrangements to make sure there is proper recognition of the key subjects which all pupils need to learn throughout their time at school, including science, and make sure there are no perverse incentives that limit engagement, attainment and progression.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The Government are committed to ensuring that children develop high-quality literacy and numeracy skills. We are looking at ways to strengthen the teaching of systematic synthetic phonics in primary schools, in order to provide every child with the best start possible in literacy. We are also currently considering ways to support improvement in mathematics. We have committed £89 million for 2010-11 to continue the Every Child suite of programmes, which provide early intervention for those children who are struggling most with both literacy and numeracy. We will set out our proposals for improving standards in literacy and numeracy in the forthcoming education White Paper.
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they will begin their review of the national curriculum; who will be invited to comment; how (a) Members of the House of Lords, (b) Members of Parliament, (c) concerned organisations, and (d) members of the public, will be able to submit comments and evidence to it; what the proposed timescale for submitting evidence will be; whether they will place in the Library of the House copies of all the evidence submitted; and when they expect to announce their general conclusions.[HL1829]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The Government have made clear their intention to restore the national curriculum to its original purpose: a core national entitlement organised around subject disciplines. We will be announcing further details of our plans in the autumn, including details of the timescales for the review itself, and how and when we will be inviting evidence. We plan to consult a wide range of teachers, academics and other interested parties including Members of this House and Members of Parliament. We will ensure that all the evidence submitted is placed in the Libraries of both Houses in due course.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what detailed quantitative analysis in the mechanism described by the Permanent Secretary at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in a letter to Pat McFadden and referred to on 22 July (HC Deb, col. 590) supported the decision to withdraw the proposed loan to Sheffield Forgemasters.[HL1930]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what calculation supported the decision to withdraw the proposed loan to Sheffield Forgemasters, as opposed to other loans being considered by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.[HL1931]
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Statement by Baroness Morgan of Drefelin on 24 March (WS 129-30), what are the reasons for the increase in non-fatal injuries to students between 2003-04 and 2007-08.[HL1833]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The increase is probably due, at least in part, to guidance issued by the Health and Safety Executive in 2005. Before then, there was some misunderstanding of the reporting requirements under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR). Some schools believed that accidents to pupils during organised sports lessons did not have to be reported under RIDDOR.
In 2005, the Health and Safety Executive published an education information sheet, Incident-reporting in Schools (Accidents, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences), which can be found at http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/edis1.pdf. This information sheet said that all accidents that occurred in curriculum sports activities and resulted in pupils being taken to hospital for treatment should be reported.
The policy on this issue has been reviewed more recently, and the Health and Safety Executive will issue revised guidance to explain that the only sporting accidents that need to be reported are those where there was a lack of supervision, or where equipment was faulty.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will seek to amend Schedule 4 to the Sunday Trading Act 1994 to extend the right of shop workers not to work on Sunday to distribution workers in the retail sector; and whether any potential increase of Sunday trading hours will be undertaken by primary legislation or an amendment to the Sunday Trading Act 1994 by a legislative reform order.[HL1743]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what research they have (a) assessed, and (b) commissioned, into the social implications of relaxing Sunday trading restrictions; and whether they will assess possible effects on (1) parental involvement in children's education, and (2) parent-child contact time, of easing or removing Sunday trading restrictions. [HL1827]
Lord Shutt of Greetland: Since the beginning of May 2010 the Government have received no representations from trade unions on Sunday trading; one from a retail organisation; none from other groups; and two from individuals via their Members of Parliament.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Howell of Guildford on 19 July (WA 182) about the proposed accession of Turkey to the European Union, whether they have made any assessment of Turkey's future population at any likely time of accession; and, if so, what was their conclusion.[HL1788]
Lord Shutt of Greetland: Towards the end of the Turkish EU accession negotiations the Commission will conduct an assessment of the potential for migration between Turkey and the EU, and make recommendations for necessary controls. It does not make sense for the Commission to conduct this assessment now, because the negotiations are unlikely to near completion for some years. Meanwhile, the Turkish economy is growing strongly and Turkey is going through rapid change.
Lord Shutt of Greetland: The Government see inward investment as a key driver of growth. We are committed to creating the conditions which will make the UK an even more attractive destination for foreign direct investment. For example we are reducing corporation tax, cutting red tape, improving support for research and development, and streamlining the business start-up process, with a sharper and more commercial focus across all government departments. We will ensure that our conduct of foreign policy upgrades support for business.
UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) is the government department under the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills tasked to attract a continuing high level of quality foreign direct investment to the UK, and to enhance the competitiveness of companies in the UK through overseas trade and investments. Subject to decisions by the Government, including in the comprehensive spending review, UKTI plans to deliver further increases in productivity and efficiency, and in its emphasis on assisting high-value investment projects into the UK.
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they will submit their next report to the United Nations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child; and what account they will take of the evidence of non-governmental organisations. [HL1658]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The UK Government are next due to report to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child in January 2014. The Department for Education is working with key
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To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the effect of the arrangements worldwide for applying for entry visas to the United Kingdom on attracting trade, investment and tourism to the United Kingdom; and how the visa arrangements relate to the priorities of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.[HL1782]
Lord Shutt of Greetland: The Government work closely with industry partners to understand and influence all factors which impact on the UK's ability to attract trade, investment and tourism to the United Kingdom, including visa arrangements. We also take into account external studies on this subject in designing visa policy and operations.
The UK Border Agency, which is responsible for the UK's visa service, is committed to operating an efficient visa service that facilitates legitimate travel and trade to the UK. The UK's points-based system for work and study offers a clear decision-making process for applicants and officials, with the flexibility to adapt to the changing economic needs of the UK.
The UK's visa regime is designed to support the drive to attract the brightest and the best to the UK, while ensuring that our borders are secured from illegal immigration and the potential threat of terrorism. We will continue to keep the effectiveness of our arrangements under review.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the effect of (a) restrictions on access to the United Kingdom, and (b) the ease of applying for entry visas to the United Kingdom on attracting trade, investment and tourism to the United Kingdom.[HL1783]
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Lord Taylor of Holbeach on 21 July (HL Deb, col. 970), which parties have agreed the compact between the Government and the voluntary and community sector; and whether they will place a copy of the compact in the Library of the House.[HL1776]
Lord Shutt of Greetland: The compact on relations between government and the voluntary and community sector in England was agreed between government and the voluntary and community sector represented by the Compact Working Group in 1998. It was refreshed and relaunched in December 2009 and a copy of the refreshed compact was placed in the Library.
Lord Shutt of Greetland: The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service is overseen by officials in the Office for Civil Society in the Cabinet Office on behalf of Buckingham Palace. The award's administration and media campaigns are managed under contract by ConsolidatedPR. The cost of this three-year contract is £300,000 per year.
The contract and work of ConsolidatedPR is regularly reviewed in monthly meetings with the Office for Civil Society, which is extremely satisfied with how the administration of the award is conducted. The media campaigns by ConsolidatedPR have also been evaluated by an independent company, Metrica, which stated that its work illustrated well implemented and proactive public relations campaigns which increased the awareness and profile of the award among the UK public.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Sassoon on 20 July (WA 185), whether Bank of England employees seconded to the Financial Services Authority and Financial Services Authority employees seconded to the Bank of England will be employed on the same terms as those with whom they work; and whether that will continue when the Financial Services Authority becomes part of the Bank.[HL1779]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government recognise the importance of close working between the Bank of England and the Financial Services Authority (FSA) throughout the transition to the new regime, including through secondments of key staff. The practical details will be for the Bank and the FSA to resolve. Their day-to-day operations are, and will remain, independent from government.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the effect on capital standards of the Bank of International Settlements including minority stakes in bank subsidiaries and investments in unconsolidated financial institutions in calculating the common equity component of tier one banking capital; and what the effect of a 3 per cent leverage ratio will be on the quantitative capital target and systemic risk. [HL1903]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): On 26 July 2010 the Group of Governors and Heads of Supervision reached a broad agreement to allow some recognition within group common equity of the minority interest supporting the risks of banking subsidiaries and to allow deductions to be made from common equity for unconsolidated investments in the common equity of financial institutions when the holdings exceed certain thresholds.
The effect of the deduction from capital of certain minority stakes in bank subsidiaries will be to strengthen the quality of banks' capital, as minority interests represent ownership of a proportion of a subsidiary by third parties and may not be capable of absorbing losses that arise at a parent bank. The effect of the deduction from capital of investments in unconsolidated financial institutions will be to reduce the further double counting of capital in the financial system.
The objective of the leverage ratio is to develop a simple, transparent, non-risk-based measure that is calibrated to act as a credible supplementary measure to the risk-based requirements. The proposed measures have been calibrated on the basis of an extensive quantitative impact study to ensure that the ratio fulfils its backstop function effectively.
Going forward, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision proposes to use a transition period to assess whether the proposed design and calibration is appropriate over a full credit cycle and for different types of business models.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Tougher regulatory standards are essential to strengthen financial stability. However, as agreed by G20 Leaders, the UK is committed to ensure that these new standards are phased in over a timeframe that is consistent with sustained recovery and limits
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To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the effect on equity recapitalisation and the solvency of pension and insurance schemes of banks paying dividends to shareholders. [HL1842]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): According to the Bank of England's latest Financial Stability Report, since December 2009, UK banks have made some progress towards raising capital through increased retention of income. The Bank of England estimates that excluding loss-making banks, the dividend payout ratio of UK banks was 39 per cent in 2009, compared with an average of 50 per cent between 2005 and 2008. This allowed profitable banks to retain an extra £2 billion of earnings.
The regulatory monitoring of the solvency of pension funds is undertaken by the Pensions Regulator (tPR). Under its normal procedures, tPR routinely makes assessments of the solvency of defined benefit pension schemes. This includes the effect of corporate actions of banks, or any other defined benefit scheme provider, when recovery plans are submitted in the event a scheme has a deficit.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The British Government are convinced of the importance of constitutional reform in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). This is now an international legal obligation following the verdict of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in the Sejdic-Finci case on 22 December 2009. We also believe that constitutional reform is necessary in order
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To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the effect on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's objective of attracting trade to the United Kingdom of commercial sections of British embassies charging United Kingdom private sector organisations for advice.[HL1784]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The activities of the commercial sections of British diplomatic missions are carried out by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), a government department jointly under the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills. UKTI works in close collaboration with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
UKTI publishes an annual performance and impact monitoring survey report, which includes an analysis of UKTI's charging regime. Users of charged-for services are asked about their willingness to pay more for those services. Analysis of those user data indicated that over half of the respondents would be willing to pay 50 per cent more for the service, with a further 18 per cent willing to pay 25 per cent more.
UKTI charges for these services because charging ensures that customers make informed choices about which services they value and how frequently they use them and Her Majesty's Treasury has instructed UKTI to recoup part of the running costs of its overseas network and to move towards full cost recovery.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the procedures for the procurement of contracts entered into by Manchester City Council for the management of broadband services and Next Generation Access by Manchester Digital Development Agency; and what grants and payments have been paid in each of the last six years from government departments and agencies to Community Broadband Network Ltd through the Manchester Digital Development Agency.[HL1897]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what investment they have made into delivery of broadband projects and Next Generation Access which have been completed by Manchester City Council; and what part was played in such projects by Community Broadband Network Ltd, Manchester City Council, Manchester Knowledge Capital, the North West Development Agency, the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts, the Manufacturing Institute, the Centre for Cities and Manchester New Economy.[HL1898]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): As already advised (HL Deb, 29 June 2010, col. 267W), Manchester Digital Development Agency (MDDA) has not received any funding from central government departments or agencies. The Government have not carried out any assessment of MDDA's procurement or project delivery record.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The previous Government attempted to tackle high costs associated with conditional fee agreement success fees in one area only, namely defamation. This government are determined to tackle disproportionate civil costs more generally, and will therefore not be implementing the Draft Conditional fee Agreements (Amendment) Order 2010. As I announced to the House on 26 July 2010 (Official Report, Col. WS 121), we will be consulting in the autumn on the reform of Conditional Fee Agreements in all cases in which they are used. This consultation will take forward the recommendations made by Lord Justice Jackson in his report, Review of Civil Litigation Costs.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their estimate of the percentage and value of each denomination of sterling coins and notes in circulation that are forgeries; which Government body is responsible for preventing forgeries; what is the annual cost of replacing forgeries with valid coins and notes; and which department covers such costs.[HL1900]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Bank of England's Annual Report for 2009 reported that counterfeits accounted for just 0.0046 per cent of the 12 billion banknotes sorted in
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For coins, the most recent survey conducted by the Royal Mint found that its sample contained a £1 coin counterfeit rate of 2.81 per cent. This would give an approximate total value of £41 million for counterfeit £1 coins in circulation. The Royal Mint does not currently undertake regular surveys for other denominations. It is widely believed (by the Royal Mint, the Serious Organised Crime Agency and industry partners) that there is not a significant counterfeit issue with any other denominations.
There are a number of elements to the prevention of counterfeit notes and coins. Issuing authorities are responsible for designing banknotes and coins with appropriate security features, educating the public and retailers about the security features, and working with the cash supply industry to ensure that there are robust systems for the removal of counterfeits from circulation. Local police authorities and the National Central Office for the Suppression of Counterfeit Currency within the Serious Organised Crime Agency are responsible for finding and stopping the criminals involved in the production, distribution and passing of counterfeit notes and coins.
Counterfeit banknotes and coins are worthless, with the face-value loss being borne by the individual or company deemed to be in possession of the counterfeit at the time of discovery. Issuing authorities do not replace counterfeit notes and coins with genuine notes and therefore do not suffer any face-value loss or replacement costs for their discovery.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The Government have set out their proposed approach in Policing in the 21st Century: Reconnecting police and the people. We will replace bureaucratic accountability with democratic accountability. Police officers should be crime fighters, not form writers, so we will take action to allow the police to concentrate on dealing with the public's priorities rather than those set by those in Whitehall. The introduction of police and crime commissioners will make the police accountable to the right people-local communities.
Finally, we will ask the service to examine its own processes and doctrine, which can lead to unnecessary bureaucracy. Police and crime commissioners will be ultimately responsible for getting the balance right between preserving the information needed to focus on the public's priorities and removing what is inefficient or unnecessary.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The UK is a strong supporter of Croatian accession. As well as working closely with fellow EU Member States to set clear accession criteria, the UK is providing practical assistance in Croatia. We are using British expertise to help reform its judicial system, and strengthen Croatian skills and capacity in the fields of agriculture, financial controls, competition and regulatory impact assessment.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether Mr Derrick Bird was visited by a firearms officer of the Cumbria Constabulary in 2007 in connection with applications to renew his firearms and shotgun certificates.[HL1879]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The chief constable has commissioned a report on the circumstances surrounding the grant and any subsequent renewal of Mr Bird's certificates by Cumbria Constabulary. This is being conducted by a national expert on firearms licensing appointed by the Association of Chief Police Officers. A report is expected by October.
To ask Her Majesty's Government when the new defence to offences under section 55 of the Data Protection Act 1998, introduced by section 78 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008, for purposes of journalism and other special purposes, will be brought into force.[HL1933]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): ): Any decision to commence the new defence in section 55 of the Data Protection Act 1998 needs to be considered in the broader context of the penalties available for section 55 offences. The government are currently considering that matter.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether automated and unsolicited telephone calls about debt relief orders which claim to reduce an individual's debts by 100 per cent within 12 months are funded or supported by the Government.[HL1794]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The Government do not fund or support automated or unsolicited telephone calls about debt relief orders.
|Number of languages taken at A2 level|
|One||Two or more|
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): As indicated in the Written Answer provided by my honourable friend the Minister for Political and Constitutional Reform (Mark Harper) on 14 July 2010, Official Report, col. 798W: Many of the cost elements of running the proposed referendum on the alternative vote system will be similar to those for a general election. The previous Government estimated the cost for conduct elements of the 2010 general election in Great Britain at £82.1 million (Official Report, 30 March 2010, column 1079W). Based on this, and our modelling for the 2009 European and 2010 general elections, it can be estimated that the cost of conduct elements for the proposed referendum will be similar. We have made initial assumptions about the conduct costs of a referendum were it not to be combined with any other polls and on that basis we currently estimate a saving of £17 million on the conduct costs of the referendum through combination.
Additionally, as indicated in the Written Answer by my honourable friend the Member for South West Devon (Mr Streeter) of 6 July, Official Report, col. 144W, the Electoral Commission has estimated that the cost of its own activities in relation to the referendum at £9.3 million.
Under the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000, designated lead campaign organisations are entitled to send a referendum address post free, similar to the entitlement in place for candidates at general elections. The cost of funding this entitlement does not form part of the costs of the conduct of the poll. The government are considering how this entitlement will apply at the referendum on the alternative vote.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the cost of each of the last three boundary commission reviews of all Westminster constituencies; when they reported; and at which general elections their proposals were brought into effect.[HL1825]
|5th General Review||4th General Review||3nd General Review|
|Cost of 5th General Review|
Information relating to the cost of boundary reviews before the fifth general review is either not held, or could only be obtained at disproportionate cost, with the exception of the fourth general review in England which cost £4.95 million. The official record also shows that in April 1983, the operating costs of the Boundary Commission for Northern Ireland during the period 1974 to 1983 (the period immediately preceding the publication of the third general review) totalled £1,295,783.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Alternative Vote system proposed in the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill can produce different results depending on how many preferences voters are allowed to express.[HL1771]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The Alternative Vote system set out in the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill allows voters to express as few or as many preferences (up to the number of candidates) as they wish.
Lord McNally: We have not carried out an exhaustive survey of voting systems used in other countries. A key feature of the Alternative Vote system set out in the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill is that voters may express a preference for as few or as many candidates (up to the number of candidates) as they wish. This is an 'optional preferential' form of the Alternative Vote system. It is understood that such a voting system is used, for example, in elections to the Legislative Assemblies in New South Wales and Queensland in Australia; and for the Irish Presidential election.
Lord McNally: There was no single source used for the definition and operation of the Alternative Vote system proposed in the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill. Cabinet Office officials used a range of sources to prepare the clauses on the system included in the Bill. This included drawing upon UK and international experiences of voting systems.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): This Government are dedicated to getting the scrutiny system right. Scrutiny is a top priority and we are looking at ways that control, scrutiny and accountability on EU issues Government can assist Parliament in strengthening. This includes discussion of the role that Parliamentary scrutiny plays in holding the Government to account on EU decision making.
Following the amendments introduced by the Lisbon Treaty, the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union now provides for the possibility of return of a European Union competence to the Member States. Article 2(2) TfEU provides that "the Member States shall exercise their competence again to the extent that the Union has decided to cease exercising its competence."
Declaration 18 in relation to the delimitation of competences annexed to the Final Act of the Intergovernmental Conference which adopted the Treaty of Lisbon underlines that the Member States may, in an Intergovernmental Conference and in accordance with the ordinary revision procedure provided for Article 48(2)-(5) of the Treaty of European Union, decide to amend the Treaties upon which the Union is founded, including either to increase or to reduce the competences conferred on the Union in the Treaties.
The examination of the EU's existing competences promised in the "Programme for Government" will consider whether the balance of competence between the EU and the UK in certain areas currently falls in the right price.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government continue to work with the European Commission, Eurostat and other EU member states on developing broader indicators of well-being and sustainability, building on the Commission's communication GDP and Beyond-Measuring Progress in a Changing World, from August 2009 (see EM 12739/09).
The UK has taken an active part in discussions with EU partners on the recent report by the Commission on the measurement of economic performance and social progress (by Stiglitz, Sen and Fitoussi, 2009). The Government are committed to developing broader indicators of well-being and sustainability at a national level, with the Office for National Statistics and the Cabinet Office leading work on taking forward the report's agenda across the UK.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) published on 30 July Measuring Progress: Sustainable Development Indicators 2010. This annual publication presents an overview of quality of life and sustainable development, and is available at www.defra.gov.uk/sustainable/government/progress. Defra has been extensively involved with Eurostat on sustainable development and well¬being indicators at the EU level.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have assessed the effect on London's standing as a centre for clearing derivatives of not having direct access to euro funding from the European Central Bank.[HL1778]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): UK-based clearing houses, operating to high prudential standards, currently clear euro-denominated derivatives trades. The Government believe that UK-based clearing houses should be able to continue to compete effectively in this market.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they regularly monitor published best-buy league tables of deposit interest rates as an indicator of potential financial risk to United Kingdom depositors, the Financial Services Compensation Scheme and public finances.[HL1904]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): HM Treasury regularly monitors "best buy" tables of interest rates on deposit accounts as one indicator of financial sector risk and as an indicator of competitive dynamics in the depositor market.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answers by Lord Myners on 21 July 2009 (WA 364-65) and the Written Statement by Lord Sassoon on 26 July 2010 (WS 113-14), whether overall financial supervision of the United Kingdom's financial services rests with the European Union or the Government and Parliament.[HL1936]
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many (a) firearms certificates, and (b) shotgun certificates, were reviewed by Cumbria Constabulary in 2008 and 2009 outside the normal renewal period because of concerns about holders of certificates.[HL1878]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): Information is not held centrally on the number of certificate holders reviewed by individual police forces prior to renewal. However, the Home Office holds data on the number of revocations. Certificates can be revoked if the chief police officer is satisfied that the holder can no longer be entrusted with firearms. In 2008-09, one firearm certificate and seven shotgun certificates were revoked in the Cumbria police force area.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): As my honourable friend the Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans said in the Adjournment debate of 8 July 2010, in the other place (Official Report, Commons, col. 636):
"We will be discussing with colleagues across Whitehall, particularly in Department of Culture, Media and Sport, how the centenary may be commemorated, and we will work with other interested parties, such as the Imperial War Museum, to develop a co-ordinated approach to ensure that the centenary is given the highest possible profile".
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): We welcome the Electoral Commission's report on the administration of the May 2010 UK
27 Sep 2010 : Column WA485
To ask Her Majesty's Government why the Prime Minister has not appointed any women ministers in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department for International Development or the Ministry of Defence.[HL1705]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, in making ministerial appointments of women, the Prime Minister has taken account of the examples set to private sector companies on the promotion of gender equality on company boards.[HL1706]
The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Strathclyde): Ministers are appointed on the basis of their experience and expertise. The Government are seeking to encourage greater representation of women in Parliament.
How many websites are operated by, or on behalf of, agencies of the Ministry of Defence; and what is (a) the cost of maintaining those websites, (b) the number of hits each website received, and (c) the number of websites closed by the department, in each of the last three years for which information is available. [HL1812]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The information requested on maintenance costs and number of page impressions for websites managed by agencies, non-departmental public bodies and trading funds of the Ministry of Defence has been placed in the Library of the House.
Since 2007, seven websites have been closed by MoD agencies, trading funds and non-departmental bodies as follows: two closed in 2007-08, two closed and one moved out of MOD's ownership in 2008-09, one closed in 2009-10, and one closed in 2010-11. A further five websites are due to be rationalised by 31 March 2011.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many websites are operated by, or on behalf of, agencies of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office; and what is (a) the cost of maintaining those websites, (b) the number of hits each website received, and
27 Sep 2010 : Column WA486
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is responsible for 256 websites, using over 40 different languages, which are managed from the central FCO web platform. They include the Department's corporate website and its Posts overseas, in order to provide information about Britain, its foreign policy and consular services for British nationals abroad. A full list of these websites and their addresses was provided in a written answer on 16 June 2010, Official Report, column 471W.
The cost of maintenance and hosting for the Department's corporate website in 2007-08 was c. £515,000. The running costs (hosting and maintenance) for the platform in 2008-09 were £1.45 million, and in 2009-10 the costs were £1.47 million.
In line with industry standards and Central Office of Information (COI) guidance TG 116, the number of page impressions for the FCO web platform has been reported as a measure of the volume of site usage. This is a more reliable measure than the number of "hits", which would also include requests for additional files associated with a web page that the user has not directly requested. The page impressions for the corporate website in 2008-09 were 204,351,716 and in 2009-10 the page impressions were 222,571,651. Page impressions for 2007-8 are not available; however the number of unique visitors was recorded as 9,583,348.
With the launch of a single platform and domain in 2008, the FCO closed all Post websites and domains. In line with COI standards TG101, TG105 and TG125, the FCO is engaged in an active programme of deleting, phasing-out, redirecting (to the National Archives) or converging (onto the FCO web platform) independent websites and domains.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many websites are operated by, or on behalf of, agencies of the Government Equalities Office; and what is (a) the cost of maintaining those websites, (b) the number of hits each website received, and (c) the number of websites closed by the department, in each of the last three years for which information is available.[HL1817]
In line with industry standards and COI guidance TG116, the number of page impressions has been reported as a measure of the volume of site usage. This is a more reliable measure than the number of "hits" which would also include requests for additional files associated with a web page that the user has not directly requested.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many websites are operated by, or on behalf of, agencies of the Northern Ireland Office; and what is (a) the cost of maintaining those websites, (b) the number of hits each website received, and (c) the number of websites closed by the department, in each of the last three years for which information is available. [HL1862]
Baroness Anelay of St Johns: On 12 April 2010 the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) transferred responsibility for policing and justice to the Northern Ireland Assembly. The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) as it is now configured does not have any agencies.
The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Strathclyde): This is a matter for the National School of Government. I have asked the chief executive for the National School of Government to respond directly to your PQ about ministerial training.
The National School of Government works with the Cabinet Office to provide the Ministerial programme, details of which are available on the National School's website at: www.nationalschool.gov.uk/policy/MinisterialProgramme
To ask Her Majesty's Government what training has been provided by the National School of Government on constitutional practices and conventions for (a) new ministers, and (b) officials in the Cabinet Office working for the Deputy Prime Minister.[HL1876]
Lord Strathclyde: The National School of Government (NSG) works with the Cabinet Office to provide training to new Ministers as necessary in order to carry out their duties effectively under the Ministerial Code. As part of its ministerial training programme, the National School of Government offers induction training to all new Ministers and provides follow-up training at their request. Constitutional practices and conventions are covered as necessary.
NSG has not provided training for officials working directly for the DPM. However, the Elections and Democracy Division and Parliament and Constitution Division in Ministry of Justice (MoJ) Constitution Directorate transferred to Cabinet Office to form the new Constitution Group. They provide direct support to the Deputy Prime Minister and his ministerial team in taking forward his responsibilities for constitutional and political reform. They bring considerable in-depth expertise on constitutional practices and conventions and receive additional training and support in new areas as appropriate.
The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Strathclyde): The Government intend to fund the Grassroots Grants programme in full for the duration of the current spending period until the end of March 2011. The local endowments that the programme has built will continue to provide revenue for use as grants into the future. Up to March 2010, the endowment has seen £26.9 million raised by communities and then matched by government to create a total fund of nearly £49 million.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Astor of Hever on 26 July (WA 278), whether, in addition to placing a copy of the reply to Professor Hooper in the Library of the House, they will publish the reply in the Official Report.[HL1826]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): No. Ministerial correspondence often contains information about a constituent and is often complex and/or sensitive. It is considered appropriate to place a copy of letters in the Library of the House if it is requested and correspondents have given their consent to do so.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will review the industry code of practice and the arrangements for oversight by the Financial Services Authority and Financial Ombudsman Service of health insurers who cease to cover certain cancer patients' treatment even though their doctor advises that they would still benefit from the same treatment.[HL1462]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Financial Services Authority (FSA) is responsible for regulation of insurance companies. The FSA reviewed the private medical insurance market, along with other non-investment insurance products, when revising its Insurance Conduct of Business Rules in 2008. The FSA undertakes ongoing monitoring to ensure compliance with its rules, and industry codes and guidance must have regard to FSA principles of treating customers fairly.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, when they publish plans for increasing access to new cancer drugs for NHS patients, they will examine the practices of private health insurance companies to ensure that patients are not being mis-sold policies.[HL1523]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government do not engage with the insurance industry, or examine the practices of private health insurance companies, during the process of publishing plans to increase access to new cancer drugs for NHS patients.
The Government remain committed to addressing instances of mis-selling in the insurance sector. The Government are consulting on the creation of the Consumer Protection and Markets Authority (CPMA), which will be responsible for making all financial services conduct of business rules, including those relating to private medical insurance. The CPMA will take a strong approach to enforcement of conduct of business rules to ensure credible deterrence in areas such as mis-selling.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): Westminster Council, together with its local partners, including the voluntary sector and the police, is responsible for tackling rough sleeping in the borough. CLG has provided £6.6 million homelessness grant in 2010-11 to Westminster Council to help it prevent homelessness with majority being spent on rough sleeping services.
The department does not keep information on either the number of rough sleepers or hostel bed availability within a mile of the Palace of Westminster. The 2010 rough sleeper count for Westminster showed 147 people sleeping rough on a single night. There is also extensive hostel provision for rough sleepers across the borough.
The Minister for Housing announced on 23 July a review of how rough sleepers are counted and for a more comprehensive method of assessing the scale of the problem. Charities and councils are being asked for their views on proposed improvements in a consultation taking place over the summer and final guidance will be published in September.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of (a) the proportion of United Kingdom institutional investors who publicly disclose their voting records, and (b) trends in that figure over the last ten years.[HL1802]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to set (a) criteria for judging the success of the Financial Reporting Council's Stewardship Code in encouraging institutional investors publicly to disclose their voting records, and (b) a date to assess the Code's performance against those criteria, with a view to deciding whether to exercise the reserve powers under section 1277 of the Companies Act 2006 to introduce mandatory voting disclosure for institutional investors.[HL1803]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The proportion of institutional investors who publicly disclose their voting records has increased since 2004. Considered voting at company meetings is one of the ways in which investors can act as effective owners of the companies in which they invest, and it is important that all institutional investors disclose their voting in order to improve transparency in this area.
The Financial Reporting Council's planned approach to assessment is given in its report Implementation of the Stewardship Code published in July 2010. The Investment Management Association will be reviewing disclosure of voting as part of its next engagement survey, which will take place later this year and will include independent oversight.
The Government will comment on this and other related corporate governance issues when they set out their views on the regulation of takeovers in the light of the Takeover Panel's recent consultation.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, following remarks by Kazakhstan's foreign minister Kanat Saudabayev to the Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, David Lidington, at the recent informal Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe ministerial meeting in Almaty saying that United Kingdom interests in Kazakhstan were behind those of France and Germany, as reported in the Sunday Telegraph on 25 July, they plan to draw up a memorandum of understanding with Kazakhstan similar to those it has with France and Germany; and whether they have discussed with the government of Kazakhstan the prospect of United Kingdom companies exploring the potential to engage in the projects and sectors covered in the memoranda of understanding with France and Germany.[HL1908]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We want to strengthen all aspects of our relationship with Kazakhstan, but focusing in particular on bilateral trade and investment. UK Trade & Investment, in partnership with the Kazakh-British Trade and Industry Council (established in 1995 and directed by ministers and by senior business leaders), has identified a number of priority sectors for co-operation. These include: natural resources; legal and financial services; vocational education and skills development; telecommunications; transport; construction; power generation; agriculture and food processing; environmental protection; healthcare; and tourism, culture and sport. The 14th meeting of the Council, which took place in London on 16 June 2010, concluded an updated Protocol on bilateral co-operation in these and other areas.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have discussed with the governments of Iraq, Syria and Turkey the possibility of establishing an autonomous region comprising areas with a high Kurdish population in those countries.[HL1870]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): Two closure notice powers are available: under Section 169A of the Licensing Act 2003 and Section 19 of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001.
Data on closure notices issued under Section 169A of the Licensing Act 2003 (as amended by the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006) is published in the Alcohol, Entertainment and Late Night Refreshment Licensing Bulletin and can be accessed on the DCMS website at the following link; data are available from April-March 2006-07, 2007-08 and 2008-09: http://www.culture.gov.uk/ what we do/research and statistics/4865.asp x
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether independent members of the Monetary Policy Committee are allowed to return to, or take up, employment in private financial services immediately upon retirement from the committee.[HL1841]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Bank of England Act 1998 requires the Court to determine the terms and conditions of service of the four members of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) appointed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
The guidelines under which the MPC operates provide that departing members observe a three-month purdah period during which they cannot take up any post that represents a conflict of interest with their role in setting interest rates. As stated in the Bank of England
27 Sep 2010 : Column WA493
Lord Sassoon: The Bank of England Act 1998 sets out the statutory framework for the Bank of England, including the role and composition of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), and provides that "A representative of the Treasury may attend, and speak at, any meeting of the Committee". The non-voting Treasury representative plays a key role in liaison between the Treasury and the Bank to ensure appropriate co-ordination of fiscal and monetary policy. For example, the Treasury representative will brief the MPC on major events such as the Budget and the Pre-Budget Report.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The independent Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Bank of England has operational responsibility for monetary policy including use of the asset purchase facility (APF).
The Bank of England publishes quarterly reports on the APF in addition to minutes of the MPC meetings and a quarterly Inflation Report that sets out detailed economic analysis and inflation projections on which the MPC bases its decisions. Section 1 of the May 2010 Inflation Report discusses recent developments in money and asset prices. It points out that money holdings in 2010 Q1 grew at the fastest pace since 2008 Q2, though the four-quarter growth rate was well below the recent average. More recent data on the Bank of England's preferred measure of broad money, which excludes holdings by intermediate other financial corporations, increased for four consecutive months from February to June 2010.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will review the impact on the money supply of any request from the Monetary Policy Committee for further quantitative easing; and whether they will examine measures to raise the velocity of circulation.[HL1840]
Lord Sassoon: The independent Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Bank of England has operational responsibility for monetary policy. The MPC decides on use of measures, including the asset purchase facility (APF), in order to target 2 per cent inflation, as measured by the 12-month change in the Consumer Prices Index (CPI).
The APF framework requires the Chancellor to authorise the overall limit on asset purchases. Open letters exchanged between the Chancellor and the governor agreeing the limit for APF purchases can be found on the Bank of England website.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the remarks by Lord Sassoon on 26 July (HL Deb, cols 1215-16), whether Sir Alan Budd will be free to renew his employment with the hedge fund manager Brevan Howard immediately following his return from the Office for Budget Responsibility.[HL1843]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The arrangements for Sir Alan Budd on his departure from the OBR are set out in an exchange of letters between Sir Alan Budd and Sir Nicholas Macpherson, available on the OBR's website at http://budgetresponsibility.independent.gov.uk/.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, following the decision to submit prospective appointments to the Office for Budget Responsibility to the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee for approval, whether they will consider proposing a similar process for appointments to the Court of the Bank of England and the Board of the Financial Services Authority.[HL1905]
Lord Sassoon: As the Chancellor made clear in his letter of 19 July 2010 to the chairman of the Treasury Select Committee (TSC), providing the TSC with a power of veto of over the appointment of the chair of the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) is an unprecedented step which reflects the unique position the OBR chair will hold. This procedure will not be replicated for other appointments.
The Chairman of the Financial Services Authority (FSA) is subject to a pre-commencement hearing before the TSC. The Governor and Deputy Governors of the Bank of England attend appointment hearings for the Monetary Policy Committee, not the Court, and they are called only once the appointment has been announced. Non-executive members of Court and other members of the FSA board, apart from the chairman, are not subject to pre or post-commencement appointment hearings by the TSC. There are no plans to change these arrangements.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Shutt of Greetland on 15 July (WA 150-1), whether any tickets for the 2012 Olympics will be reserved for London residents.[HL1859]
Lord Shutt of Greetland: Three quarters of the 10 million tickets available will be open to the public via a ballot process. Under EU competition law, LOCOG must ensure that all EU citizens, including everyone in the UK, are given fair and equitable opportunities to purchase London 2012 tickets. Of those people that have signed up with LOCOG for ticketing information, 96 per cent are from UK residents and 32 per cent are from Greater London.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The five largest Parliamentary constituencies by area are set out below. As the table shows, of the present constituencies only Ross, Skye and Lochaber has an area larger than 12,000 square kilometres.
|Constituency||Area (Sq Kilometres)||Total electors as of 1st December 2009|
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much paid police time is spent on administering police staff associations based on gender, race, skin colour or religious belief; whether any of those associations receive financial assistance; and, if so, which ones; and how much each receives.[HL1793]
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