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Question

Asked by Lord Corbett of Castle Vale

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): Along with other policies on education, the Government are considering the school admissions framework in the longer term, including the admissions code. We will of course announce any proposals in due course.

The Government are keen to ensure that the admissions system is responsive to the needs of parents and children, and helps to ensure that children are able to attend good quality schools within their communities.

Electoral Reform

Questions

Asked by Lord Foulkes of Cumnock

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): On 2 June 2010 the Prime Minister made a Written Ministerial Statement (Official Report, col. 22WS) outlining machinery of government changes consequent to formation of the coalition Government. The Statement outlines that the Deputy Prime Minister is responsible for political and constitutional reform. The Lord President of the Council Order 2010 (SI 1837) which came into force on 18 August duly transfers a number of functions, including responsibility for electoral policy, to the Deputy Prime Minister.

Enquiries relating to arrangements for a referendum on the Alternative Vote, as provided for by the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill and relating to reform of the House of Lords, should be directed to the Deputy Prime Minister and Mark Harper (Minister for Political and Constitutional Reform) in the Cabinet Office. Lord McNally, Minister of State, Ministry of Justice provides support on political and constitutional reform in this House.

Asked by Lord Foulkes of Cumnock



27 Sep 2010 : Column WA532

Lord McNally: The franchise for the referendum on the alternative vote system is set out in the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill, which the Government published on Thursday 22 July and had its Second Reading on 6 September.

Anyone who on the date of the referendum is entitled to vote in Westminster parliamentary elections will be entitled to vote in the referendum. This means that British, Republic of Ireland and qualifying Commonwealth citizens who are aged over 18, not subject to any legal incapacity to vote and who are registered to vote in parliamentary elections can vote in the referendum. It also includes those entitled to vote in parliamentary elections as overseas electors. In addition, those Members of the House of Lords who are eligible to vote in local or European parliamentary elections will be eligible to vote in this referendum.

The franchise for an election to the Scottish Parliament is the same as that for local government elections and so does not apply to this referendum. A person is entitled to vote in a local government election if they are a British, qualifying Commonwealth, Republic of Ireland or European Union citizen, resident and registered to vote as a local government elector in that electoral area. In addition, they must be 18 years or over on polling day and not subject to any legal incapacity to vote.

Asked by Lord Foulkes of Cumnock

Lord McNally: I refer the noble Lord to the Answer provided to the honourable Members for Caerphilly and Wyre and Preston North in the House of Commons on 9 September 2010 (Official Report, col. 647W).

Electoral Register

Questions

Asked by Lord Rennard

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The Government have no current plans to amend legislation governing the availability of the marked electoral register. While individuals may inspect and make handwritten notes from the register, it may be supplied to political parties for a fee. The level of fees charged by local authorities for this service was set in the Representation of the People (Amendment) Regulations 2008 following consultation with key stakeholders, including the Electoral Commission, elected representatives and officials from political parties.



27 Sep 2010 : Column WA533

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Stephen Penneck, Director General for Office for National Statistics, to Lord Kennedy, dated September 2010

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your question asking how many people who are eligible to vote are not currently on the electoral register [HL2047].

ONS does not have the data required to answer your question. Data are collected on the number of people who are registered to vote in the UK, but no data are collected on the number of people who are eligible to vote but who choose not to register.

The ONS population estimates are of the resident population and will include some people who are not eligible to vote.

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

Lord McNally: It is the responsibility of local authorities to allocate resources from the revenue support grant provided by central Government to electoral registration. Figures for projected expenditure on electoral registration by local authorities in 2010 are not available centrally.

Under the Government's participation fund, a total of £67,354.96 is planned to be spent in 2010-11. This sum relates to the cost of activities which were undertaken by local authority electoral officers to encourage participation at the elections which were held on 6 May, in line with their duties under Section 69 of the Electoral Administration Act 2006. The participation fund was concluded as part of the emergency Budget of 22 June 2010. Support for the work of electoral registration officers will be considered as part of the move to individual electoral registration.

In addition, the Electoral Commission runs campaigns to encourage voter registration and provides information on elections as part of its duty under Section 13(1)(a) of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000.

FCO: Human Rights Monitoring

Question

Asked by Lord Chidgey

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) officials engage with their counterparts at the US State Department and European Commission about their annual reporting on human rights. But we have not carried out any direct comparison as the three reports, while complementary, serve different audiences and purposes. The US report covers the human rights situation in all countries. The EU report focuses on EU activity to promote human rights internationally. The FCO report focuses on situations of particular interest or concern to the UK and on issues where we believe we can take action and make a difference. The FCO regularly receives positive feedback from non-governmental organisations, academics and our missions overseas on the effectiveness of our human rights reporting which confirms that this is the most valuable information for our readers.

My right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary is keen to improve the way in which the FCO reports on human rights worldwide. In addition to an annual report to Parliament, the FCO will also make reporting on its human rights activity more accessible to the public online through the FCO website, allowing access to more real-time information on our human rights work.

First Trust Bank

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Any sale of First Trust Bank would be a commercial transaction by its owners, Allied Irish Banks plc.

Provisions in the Pensions Act 2004 and the Transfer of Employment (Pension Protection) Regulations 2005 require new employers to make pension provision where Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) (TUPE) transfer has taken place and the employee had access to an occupational pension prior to the transfer.

Fluoridation

Questions

Asked by Earl Baldwin of Bewdley

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The justification for the argument that water fluoridation offers the best prospect of reducing inequalities in oral health is that, in contrast to alternatives for applying fluoride to the teeth such as regular tooth brushing with fluoridated toothpaste, its effects do not depend on individual compliance. In the absence of controlled studies, which are very difficult to design for population-wide interventions, I find the evidence quoted by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Public Health (Anne Milton) in her reply to the honourable Member for Pendle persuasive.

Asked by Earl Baldwin of Bewdley

Earl Howe: The Bassin study and the letter issued by Douglass and Joshipura can be accessed on the internet from the references in South Central Strategic Health Authority's consultation document at the following addresses:

www.altcancerweb.com/fluoride/fluoride_osteosarcoma.pdfwww.springerlink.com/content/d821w11lu1100544/fulltext.pdf

27 Sep 2010 : Column WA536

No subscription fees are required for access to either item. Professors Douglass and Joshipura confirmed that the larger study had not been published in the conclusion to their letter by stating, "readers are cautioned not to generalize and over-interpret the results of the Bassin et al. paper and to await the publications from the full study, before making conclusions, and especially before influencing any related policy decisions".

Asked by Earl Baldwin of Bewdley

Earl Howe: The heading on the document reads Cancer Causes Control 17: 481-482. It can be traced from inserting either reference into a search engine.

Government Departments: Websites

Question

Asked by Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay

The Advocate-General for Scotland (Lord Wallace of Tankerness): The information requested is outlined below.

The Treasury Solicitor's Department is responsible for the following websites: www.tsol.gov.uk, www. bonavacantia.gov.uk and www.gls.gov.uk.

The cost of the above sites and the number of page impressions since 2007-08 are shown in the tables below.

TSo1: www.tsol.gov.uk
2007-082008-092009-10

Maintenance / hosting & infrastructure costs

£9,000

£9,000

£9,000

Internal maintenance costs

£1,166

£1,166

£2,310

Design & build

nil

nil

£1,425

Content provision (internal)

nil

nil

nil

Testing & evaluation

nil

nil

nil

Strategy & planning

nil

nil

nil

Page views

279,488

349,024

514,848



27 Sep 2010 : Column WA537

Bona Vacantia: www.bonavacantia.gov.uk
2007-082008-0912009-10

Maintenance / hosting & infrastructure costs

£4,513

£14,123

£6,347

Internal maintenance costs

nil

nil

nil

Design & build

£243

£6,887

nil

Content provision (internal)

n/a

£246

nil

Testing & evaluation

nil

£19,975

nil

Strategy & planning

nil

£6,345

nil

Page views

7,109,448

4,736,3582

2,777,149

Government Legal Service: www.gls.gov.uk
2007-082008-092009-10

Maintenance / hosting & infrastructure costs external

£9,000

£9,000

£9,000

Internal maintenance costs

£600

£600

£600

Content provision (internal)

nil

nil

nil

Other costs

nil

nil

nil

Page views

285,329

345,032

726,697

The National Fraud Authority operates one website as part of the Action Fraud service. The Action Fraud website was launched in February 2010, with no maintenance costs charged before the end of the financial year. The NFA does not collect data on the staff costs for maintaining the Action Fraud website, which is provided as part of the NFA's operational cost. The website received 72,496 hits between its launch and year end in March 2010.

Her Majesty's Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI) operates only its main website, www.hmcpsi.gov.uk. Cost associated with maintaining the website is on the webhosting/domain name registration (see table below). All other work related to maintaining the website is done in-house and is part of the work stream anticipated for the communication team; it would be disproportionate to cost to identify individual tasks relating to those particular tasks. The number of page views of HMCPSI's website for which information is available are shown in the table below.

HMCPSI: www.hmcpsi.gov.uk
2007-082008-092009-10

Webhosting/domain name registration

£365.43 (inc VAT)

£233.83 (inc VAT)

£228.85 (inc VAT)

Page views

No data available

No data available

31,000*



27 Sep 2010 : Column WA538

The Serious Fraud Office has only ever hosted one website: www.sfo.gov.uk. The number of visits the website received in the last three years and the maintenance costs are as follows.

Serious Fraud Office: www.sfo.gov.uk
Calendar YearNumber of website visits

01/01/2008 to 31/12/2008

180,093

01/01/2009 to 31/12/2009

242,267

01/01/2010 to 30/07/2010 (7 months)

117,354

Financial YearCosts of Website Maintenance

01/04/2008 to 31/03/2009

£3,913

01/04/2009 to 31/03/2010

£3,913

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) runs one website: www.cps.gov.uk. The Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office (RCPO) ran one website until December 31 2009: www.rcpo.gov.uk

Central records held by both CPS and the former RCPO do not differentiate between different categories of website expenditure. The CPS figures below therefore include expenditure on all staff costs, hosting, design, maintenance, development, content (including Welsh translation), training and publishing, as well as some costs for work on the staff intranet. Staff and hosting costs are estimated.

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.

Crown Prosecution Service
YearTotal CostPage impressions

2007-08

£152,947.15

6,993,804

2008-09

£280,556.28

9,723,915

2009-10

£264,632.67

12,133,693

RCPO spent £62,165 in 2008-09 which includes not only maintenance but the costs of the design, strategy and planning, build, hosting, infrastructure, content provision, testing, evaluation and staff costs. RCPO was set up in 2005. Records for website spend are not available before 2008-09 and could be determined only at disproportionate cost. RCPO website costs for 2009-10 relate only to staffing and are estimated at £3,490. RCPO does not hold records for its website usage.

The RCPO website is the only one maintained by the Law Officers' departments which has been closed during the last three years. This occurred on 31 December 2009 and relevant content was moved to the CPS website, in line with the merger of the two departments on 1 January 2010.



27 Sep 2010 : Column WA539

Government Spending: Green Review

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

Lord De Mauley: Sir Philip Green has been appointed by the Prime Minister to lead an external efficiency review into government spending. The role is unpaid. Sir Philip is supported in this work by a small team from existing Arcadia Group staff who are also providing their services free of charge. Sir Philip is also being supported by a team of five officials from the Cabinet Office and HM Treasury, the costs of which are being met from within existing resources. There are no plans for the review to employ external consultants or accountants. Sir Philip will report before the end of the spending review to the Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, and Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander.

Health Protection Agency

Question

Asked by Baroness Thornton

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Health Protection Agency's (HPA) functions will transfer to the Secretary of State, as part of the creation of the new public health service that will protect and help improve the nation's health and well-being, including responding to emergencies and will bring together, for the first time, key professionals involved in public health, from national to local level. Officials will continue to work closely with the HPA as the transformation into the public health service is planned. The changes to the HPA will, of course, be subject to the approval of Parliament.

Health: Contaminated Blood

Question

Asked by Lord Morris of Manchester

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): We are currently looking at the needs and wishes of those who have been infected with HIV and/or hepatitis C by National Health Service-supplied contaminated blood and blood products. We intend to report the outcome of this work by the end of this year. In the interim, there will be no changes to the current system of ex-gratia payments.

Health: Diabetes

Question

Asked by Lord Harrison

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Avandia (rosiglitazone) is a treatment for type 2 (adult onset) diabetes authorised by the European Commission. Rosiglitazone can potentially cause a number of adverse reactions. Potential side effects listed in the product information include weight gain, cardiac ischaemia and cardiac failure.

The safety of rosiglitazone has been kept under continuous close review by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in conjunction with its independent scientific advisory body, the Commission on Human Medicines (CHM).

On the basis of CHM advice, the MHRA has contributed to Europe-wide reviews of rosiglitazone conducted by the European Medicines Agency's (EMA's) Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP), particularly regarding the cardiovascular safety of rosiglitazone. Emerging data have been evaluated, and updated advice, including new restrictions on use and warnings, has been issued to prescribers, via the Drug Safety Update bulletin.

The MHRA is contributing to the current European assessment of the balance of risks and benefits of rosiglitazone which is anticipated to conclude this month.

Full prescribing guidance, including information on possible side effects, can be found in the rosiglitazone Summary of Product Characteristics (SPC) for health professionals and the rosiglitazone Patient Information Leaflet (PIL) at http://www.medicines.org.uk/EMC/searchresults.aspx?term=avandia&;searchtype=QuickSearch.



27 Sep 2010 : Column WA541

High Court: Records

Question

Asked by Lord Lester of Herne Hill

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The High Court does not keep a full digital record of proceedings and the Government have no plans to make the records that exist directly available to the public. Members of the public can apply to the court for a transcript of proceedings in a named case and, if allowed, would usually have to bear the cost of obtaining this.

Homelessness: City of Westminster

Question

Asked by Lord Patten

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): Local authorities, outreach teams and supported housing providers work together to bring people into hostels from the streets as quickly as possible. The department does not hold information on the number of vacant hostel beds in Westminster on the night of its last rough sleeper count on 28 April 2010.

There are also helpful data compiled over the year on rough sleeping in London, including specific information on Westminster, available on the CHAIN (Combined Homelessness and Information Network) database on http://www.homelesspages.org.uk/node/24170.

House of Commons: September Sitting

Question

Asked by Lord Grocott

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Strathclyde): Expenditure associated with the September sitting of the House of Commons is primarily a matter for the House of Commons Commission, which will have incurred such expenditure on behalf of the House.



27 Sep 2010 : Column WA542

Human Rights

Question

Asked by Lord Chidgey

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): As my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary said in his recent speech at Lincoln's Inn, we see human rights as essential to and indivisible from our foreign policy objectives. We cannot achieve long-term security and prosperity unless we uphold our values. We have a strategic interest in promoting our values which form the essential framework for the pursuit of our security and prosperity.

Institutional Investors: Voting Records

Questions

Asked by Lord Harrison

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The department's assessment of the proportion of institutional investors who publicly disclosed their voting records is based on the Investment Management Association's surveys of fund managers' engagement with companies.

This gives the following data for 2004 to 2008.



27 Sep 2010 : Column WA543

YearNumber of firms surveyedNumber of firms disclosing voting (website disclosure)Percentage of surveyed firms disclosing voting (%)

2008

32

24

75

2006

33

15

45

2005

35

10

29

2004

34

7

21

The department keeps in regular contact with the Financial Reporting Council about the stewardship code and a wide range of corporate governance matters.

Jobcentre Plus

Question

Asked by Lord Beecham

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) does not currently have any plans to use local geographic telephone numbers and does not use premium rate numbers for its services. The DWP strives to achieve the right balance between meeting customer needs and using taxpayers' money effectively.

The DWP policy is that all calls should be free to our 0800 numbers to claim for benefits and emergency payments. The department's 0845 numbers are not part of this policy because they are for inquiries that typically take less time to resolve. These calls are charged at the standard rate for landlines and mobile phones, although costs can vary between different operators and contracts.

Where a customer raises a concern over the cost of the call or asks, we will offer to call them back. Alternatively, we also provide customer access phones in a large number of our Jobcentre Plus offices. This enables customers to make benefit or job search enquiries without incurring telephone costs. Customers who have access to a computer can also use online facilities as an alternative to calling our 0800 and 0845 services.

It is free to call DWP 0800 numbers from BT landlines and agreements are in place to ensure that it is free to call via nine of the UK's largest mobile phone operators, representing 95 per cent of the mobile market. We are continuing to work with the remaining mobile phone providers to negotiate free calls to DWP 0800 numbers.

The department does not receive any revenue from telephone service providers.



27 Sep 2010 : Column WA544

Kosovo

Question

Asked by The Earl of Sandwich

Lord De Mauley: UK bilateral assistance to Kosovo is expected to be almost £8 million in 2010-11. This includes over £3.5 million from the Department for International Development (DfID) and approximately £4 million which is provided through the Conflict Prevention Pool, a tri-departmental fund managed by DfID, the FCO and the Ministry of Defence. This includes funding for secondments in the EU Common Security and Defence Policy Mission (EULEX) and the International Civilian Office (ICO). Bilateral programmes of assistance focus on governance, rule of law, jobs, growth and post-conflict stability, and mainly take the form of technical assistance and project support.

The EU supports democratic and economic development in Kosovo in line with the evolution of Kosovo's relationship with the EU. EU financial assistance to Kosovo through the Instrument for Pre-Accession (IPA) is set to total €67.3 million in 2010 and €68.7 million in 2011. On 8 September 2010, the EU provided an additional €30 million in macro-financial assistance and over the period November 2009 to October 2010 the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy budget will provide €145 million to EULEX. EULEX costs after October 2010 are still under negotiation. Approximately 15 per cent of this expenditure can be attributed to UK funds.

Local Enterprise Partnerships

Questions

Asked by Lord Liddle

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): No decisions have been taken regarding the criteria for evaluating Local Enterprise Partnerships beyond those set out in the joint letter from the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, dated 29 June, which requested outline proposals.

Asked by Lord Liddle



27 Sep 2010 : Column WA545

Baroness Wilcox: No decisions have been taken regarding the criteria for evaluating Local Enterprise Partnerships beyond those set out in the joint letter from the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, dated 29 June, which requested outline proposals.

Over the coming weeks Ministers will consider the proposals in detail, looking at how they will support economic growth, before providing feedback to partnerships ahead of the publication of the White Paper on sub-national economic growth and the introduction of the localism Bill.

Asked by Lord Liddle

Baroness Wilcox: Decisions regarding the funding of Local Enterprise Partnerships will not be taken until after the spending review.

Migration Advisory Committee

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The membership of the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC), their qualifications and their experience are available on the committee's website at http://www. ukba. homeoffice.gov. uk/aboutus/ workingwithus/indbodies/ma c/aboutthemac/ memberbiographies/.

The MAC is comprised of some of the UK's top labour market economists.

The committee chair, David Metcalf, was appointed on 6 August 2007 and his contract was extended for a further three years on 5 August 2010. The other committee members were appointed on 7 December 2007 for a period of three years. Those contracts may be extended or replacements may be sought following a formal appraisal process if the MAC chair and Minister consider it to be in the MAC's best interests.

National Insurance

Question

Asked by Lord Laird



27 Sep 2010 : Column WA546

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The National Insurance Number (NINo) statistics produced by DWP show the number of adult overseas nationals entering the UK and registering for a NINo in order to work (including the self-employed or students working part time) or to claim benefits and tax credits. These data are shown in the table below.

Information on whether applicants are employed or self-employed forms part of the NINo application process, but is not held centrally on the IT systems. Therefore data on self-employed overseas nationals are not available.

This information is available on the Department for Work and Pensions website at http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/

NINo Registrations to Adult Overseas Nationals entering the UK (000s): Time Series - 2002-10
Calendar YearTotal of Registration Date

Total

4,585.63

2002

311.34

2003

362.21

2004

412.78

2005

618.56

2006

633.05

2007

796.88

2008

669.56

2009

613.21

NHS Direct

Question

Asked by Lord Bradshaw

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): It is important to clarify that when NHS 111 is rolled out nationally, it will only replace the NHS Direct 0845 4647 telephone number.

The fundamental purpose of NHS 111 is to provide a clear and understandable service. Call handlers are trained to adopt a communication style which is jargon-

27 Sep 2010 : Column WA547

free, empathic and modified to suit people's individual needs. Where a caller's first language is not English, a language translation service will be available.

NHS: Parking

Question

Asked by Baroness Thornton

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): National Health Service organisations have the autonomy to make decisions that best suit their local circumstances. However, should car park charges discourage patients from accessing their services or friends and families from visiting patients, or prevent staff doing their jobs properly, those NHS organisations have a responsibility to look at those factors.

NHS: Reorganisation

Questions

Asked by Lord Corbett of Castle Vale

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The department announced the launch of a nationally consistent, voluntary resignation scheme on 2 September 2010. The scheme is called mutually agreed resignation (MAR). A MAR scheme is not a redundancy or a voluntary redundancy scheme. It is an additional option, designed to let people who are not at risk of redundancy apply to leave in return for a severance payment. This will help provide strategic health authorities and primary care trusts with an additional way of maintaining a stable and flexible workforce, given the requirement for them to significantly reduce management costs. It is ultimately for organisations to decide locally whether to implement the scheme.

The payment rate is set at half a month's pay for each year of reckonable service up to a maximum of 12 months' pay. The maximum amount payable under the scheme is half that of National Health Service redundancy terms. The scheme contains a minimum payment of three months' pay for staff with one to six years' service. Entitlement is, therefore, dependent on length of service and salary and can be offered to all groups of staff in participating NHS organisations depending on the local criteria employed for selection.



27 Sep 2010 : Column WA548

Asked by Lord Corbett of Castle Vale

Earl Howe: Redundancy payments to National Health Service staff on Agenda for Change (AfC) terms and conditions are made in line with the arrangements set out in section 16 of the AfC terms and conditions of service handbook. These redundancy terms are also applicable to employed doctors. Chief executives, executive directors and executive level staff employed by strategic health authorities and primary care trusts fall within the Very Senior Managers (VSM) pay framework. Redundancy terms of managers on the VSM pay framework will depend on their contract of employment. Although there are no standard national redundancy terms for managers on the VSM pay framework, typically employers tend to use the AfC terms.

Under these arrangements, the standard redundancy terms are one month's pay per year of reckonable service up to a maximum of 24 months' pay. Entitlement is, therefore, dependent on length of service and salary.

Members of the pension scheme aged over the minimum pension age may choose to use their redundancy payment to pay for their retirement pension to be paid on redundancy without reduction. The previous redundancy arrangements involving enhancements of service of up to 10 years are being phased out and will cease to apply completely from October 2011.

Section 16 makes it clear that before making staff redundant, employers should seek suitable alternative employment either in their own organisation or with another NHS employer.

Asked by Lord Corbett of Castle Vale

Earl Howe: It is the responsibility of National Health Service organisations to ensure that all costs of any voluntary severance scheme or redundancy scheme are affordable within their overall resources.

Northern Ireland: Father James Chesney

Question

Asked by Lord Laird



27 Sep 2010 : Column WA549

Baroness Verma: I refer the noble Lord to my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland's Statement of 24 August. The Secretary of State made a full apology on behalf of the Government. That apology was reiterated on 8 September by my right honourable friend the Deputy Prime Minister (Official Report, Commons, 8/9/10; col. 318).

I have placed a copy of the Secretary of State's Statement in the Library of the House.

Office for Budget Responsibility

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): In producing the overall fiscal forecast and certifying policy costings, the Budget Responsibility Committee of the Office for Budget Responsibility will have access to market-sensitive information, including on possible Budget measures.

Pakistan: Blasphemy Laws

Question

Asked by Lord Patten

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The tragic deaths of Rashid Emmanuel and Sajid Emmanuel are the latest example of violence against members of a religious minority. The UK condemns this strongly, and officials from our high commission in Islamabad have raised this case with the Pakistani Ministry of Minorities.

Alongside our EU partners, we regularly raise the importance of the blasphemy laws being reformed and properly implemented by the Government of Pakistan. It is vital that the Government of Pakistan uphold the fundamental rights of all of their citizens.

Palestine

Questions

Asked by Baroness Tonge

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): It is in the interests of peace that the Palestinians unite behind a single

27 Sep 2010 : Column WA550

political programme committed to the peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The UK supports President Abbas's efforts towards national reconciliation on those terms and his associated call for free and fair presidential and parliamentary elections. At the same time the UK supports a wide range of programmes and projects in the occupied Palestinian territories which are designed to increase accountability, good governance and the rule of law.

Asked by Baroness Tonge

Lord Howell of Guildford: The UK continues to follow Israeli detention operations closely and monitor the situation of Palestinian prisoners. We continue to urge the Government of Israel to take immediate action to ensure all cases are reviewed by a court in accordance with fair procedures and that their rights, particularly the rights to a fair trial and family visit, should be upheld.

Parliamentary Boundary Reviews

Questions

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The number of constituencies resulting from the fifth general review in each part of the UK where revised recommendations were published (in light of all the evidence received, including local inquiry reports) is as follows:

England

166

Northern Ireland

8

Wales

3

Scotland

28

The Boundary Commissions for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland were established as permanent bodies in 1944 and since then have each conducted an initial review and five periodic reviews. The provisions allowing local inquiries date from legislation of 1949, and therefore were in place for each of the five periodic reviews in each part of the UK.



27 Sep 2010 : Column WA551

Parliaments: Cost

Question

Asked by Lord Pearson of Rannoch

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: The House of Commons and House of Lords have provided data relating to costs on a resource basis, consistent with their resource accounts.

House of CommonsNote2009/10 (£000)

Members' salaries, pensions, allowances and travel

a

154,989

Salaries and pensions for House staff

b

80,488

Accommodation, including rent, operating costs and security

c

86,607

Other administration costs

d

11,832

Total

433,916

Planning: Double Glazing

Question

Asked by Lord Steel of Aikwood

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): There is no statutory bar to the use of this type of double glazing on a listed building, or to any other particular kind of alteration. Planning Policy Statement 5 (Planning for the Historic Environment) advises local planning authorities to identify opportunities to enhance the energy efficiency of heritage assets, including listed buildings. However, it is for individual authorities to determine the extent to which any proposed alteration to a listed building might affect its heritage interest, and whether it can be permitted.

Playing Fields

Questions

Asked by Lord Ouseley



27 Sep 2010 : Column WA552

Baroness Rawlings: The Government do not hold figures on the number of playing fields lost. Sport England, in its capacity as statutory consultee, publishes annual data on planning applications affecting playing fields. The available data can be found at www. sportengland.org/facilities_planning/putting_policy_ into_practice/playing_fields.aspx.

In the case of school playing fields, schools in England need permission from the Secretary of State for Education before they can sell any school playing fields or any part of a school playing field. Where permission is given any proceeds from the sale must be reinvested to provide new sports or educational facilities for the school, or improve existing ones.

We are currently considering how we can strengthen the existing provisions for the protection of playing fields.

Regional Development Agencies

Questions

Asked by Lord Liddle

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The RDAs were issued with a revised financial control framework on 29 July. This sets out the circumstances in which RDAs can enter new financial commitments. RDAs may make new commitments in 2010-11 within the terms of their delegations where all of the following conditions are met:

a) BIS is satisfied that the RDA has demonstrated how its share of the in-year cut will be delivered without increasing commitments in later years;b) The RDA confirms that, having regard to all of commitments and obligations, it will remain within its 2010/11 budget allocation; andc) The new commitment has no financial consequences for 2011-12 or later years.

BIS and HMT are prepared to consider exceptional cases for new commitments in line with the Government's core objectives where they give rise to expenditure in 2011-12 or later years (either directly or indirectly). These will need to be considered in light of the current financial constraints.



27 Sep 2010 : Column WA553

Asked by Lord Liddle

Baroness Wilcox: No such assessment has been made.

Severe Disablement Allowance

Questions

Asked by Baroness Browning

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The number of people in Great Britain in receipt of severe disablement allowance is 242,300 (February 2010). The number of people receiving severe disablement allowance in Northern Ireland is 10,748 (November 2009).

Sources:

DWP Information Directorate: Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study 5 per cent sample.

Department for Social Development, Northern Ireland: Incapacity Benefit and Severe Disablement Allowance (published statistics, November 2009).

1. Severe disablement allowance was closed to new claimants from April 2001.

2. GB figures are rounded to the nearest hundred.

3. GB figures have been derived by applying 5 per cent proportions to 100 per cent WPLS totals

4. GB figures available at www.nomisweb.co.uk

5. Northern Ireland figures available at www.dsdni.gov.uk

Asked by Baroness Browning

Lord Freud: Awards of severe disablement allowance have not been available to new claimants since 6 April 2001. Awards of severe disablement allowance for existing recipients continued under the normal rules of entitlement. Claimants who were receiving severe disablement allowance and aged under 20 on 6 April 2001 transferred to incapacity benefit on 6 April 2002.



27 Sep 2010 : Column WA554

Southern Sudan

Question

Asked by The Earl of Sandwich

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We are concerned about significant corruption in Southern Sudan and the impact this has on the lives of many poor South Sudanese. We have repeatedly made clear to the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) the importance of tackling corruption and promoting good governance, and the importance of implementing the 2009 Juba compact between donors and GoSS, which contains key provisions to protect against corruption.

GoSS launched its five-year anti-corruption strategy in December 2009. The Southern Sudan Anti-Corruption Commission is tasked to implement this strategy. The Joint Donor Office in Juba, of which the UK is a member, has supported capacity building events for the Anti-Corruption Commission. The UN Development Programme, which the UK also supports, is currently developing a proposal to support the Commission.

Some initiatives have been undertaken by the commission. The introduction of asset, income and liabilities declaration forms for all constitutional post holders earlier this year is a step forward. Another key issue will be to ensure that prosecutions can be pursued without political interference. The commission does not currently have a mandate to prosecute cases and can only investigate allegations and pass them to a prosecutor. There are still significant steps to take in this regard.

We will continue to urge further progress and that activity undertaken by the commission is made public for scrutiny purposes.

Statistics: Net Wealth

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Stephen Penneck, Director General for Office for National Statistics, to Lord Myners, dated September 2010

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your question asking what percentage of the United Kingdom adult population falls into each decade age-band; and what percentage of net wealth is owned by those in each decade age-band [HL 1966].



27 Sep 2010 : Column WA555

The table shows the percentage of the United Kingdom adult population in each decade age-band. Adult population has been interpreted as those aged 18 and over.

Percentage of total adult population by age group, mid-2009
AgePercentage of total UK adult population

18 to 19

3.4

20 to 29

17.3

30 to 39

16.8

40 to 49

18.8

50 to 59

15.4

60 to 69

13.5

70 to 79

9.1

80 to 89

4.9

90+

0.9

ONS does not have estimates of net wealth for individuals.

Sudan

Question

Asked by The Earl of Sandwich

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The objectives of the Assessment and Evaluation Commission (AEC) are to monitor and support implementation of the comprehensive peace agreement (CPA) working with the Sudanese parties and the international community. The AEC is chaired by Sir Derek Plumbly. Its latest evaluation report was released in July 2010. Further details can be found online at www.aec-sudan.org/about.html. We expect the AEC to continue its role until the end of the CPA in July 2011.

Sudan: Referendum

Question

Asked by The Earl of Sandwich

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The Government of Southern Sudan have said that they would like to assist displaced people to return voluntarily to Southern Sudan in advance of the referendum. This is a matter that is currently being discussed between the parties to the comprehensive peace agreement. The UK Government

27 Sep 2010 : Column WA556

support the right of those southerners who wish to return, but will not be actively assisting them to do so. Where individuals have returned of their own free will, there are international organisations on the ground which can assist with reintegration. The UK is supporting these organisations through assessed and other contributions. The UK Government support the right of all eligible individuals to vote in the referendum regardless of their location.

Syria

Question

Asked by Lord Patten

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Our embassy raised the case of Ms Hassan with the Syrian Government on 8 September, requesting information on the reasons for her arrest and whether charges have been brought.

Turkey: Religious Freedom

Question

Asked by Lord Patten

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Our embassy in Ankara regularly raises religious freedoms with its Turkish counterparts in the context of wider discussions on human rights. This was done most recently at the beginning of August.

The religious freedom of minority groups in Turkey is covered in the European Commission's annual progress reports on Turkey's accession process, and is raised regularly as part of the EU dialogue with Turkey.

Uganda

Questions

Asked by Lord Chidgey

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): At the Government of Uganda's request, my right honourable friends the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary offered UK assistance in the immediate aftermath of the Kampala bombings. A team from Scotland Yard provided the Uganda police with strategic advice and input in the early stages of the investigation. We understand the United States of America has offered substantial assistance to the Ugandans. We remain in close contact with the Ugandan police and will continue to consider their requests for further targeted, capacity-building assistance.

Asked by Lord Chidgey

Lord Howell of Guildford: The Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) and National Army for Liberation of Uganda (NALU) have been less active than other armed groups in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in recent years but remain a potential threat to security and the civilian population in the region. We have no information to suggest that the ADF or NALU were involved in the recent bombings in Kampala or security incidents in Beni territory in the DRC.

The Forces Armées de la République Démocratique du Congo (FARDC) (Congolese military) began military operations against the ADF and NALU on 25 June. We understand that these operations have displaced the ADF from their bases. According to the UN, there has also been an impact on the local civilian population with up to 100,000 people displaced along the main axis from Beni north to Eringeti.

Asked by Lord Chidgey



27 Sep 2010 : Column WA558

Lord Howell of Guildford: I condemn in the strongest possible terms the recent atrocities carried out by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and also in the Central African Republic and South Sudan. These attacks demonstrate that the LRA remains an unprincipled and violent threat to civilians and regional security.

We have not made representations to the Secretary-General on his plans to have a separate report on the LRA. We receive regular reports from the Secretariat General on the Great Lakes region which include updates on LRA activity, and the security and humanitarian situation in the DRC is discussed in the Security Council.

Welfare

Questions

Asked by Lord Beecham

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): Her Majesty's Government do not forecast the annual shortfall in take-up of the requested items, so the information requested is not available.

Forecasts of benefit, tax credit and rate relief are based on historical trends in actual expenditure or revenue forgone, rather than as a proportion of the amounts that could potentially be claimed by individuals or businesses.

Estimates of past take-up for income-related benefits, including housing benefit and council tax benefit, are in the report IncomeRelated Benefits: Estimates of Take-Up in 2008-09, which is published at statistics.dwp.gov.uk/asd/index.php?page=irb_2.

Estimates for take-up of disability living allowance are not available.

HM Revenue & Customs publishes detailed information about tax credit take-up on its website at www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/personal-tax-credits/cwtc-take-up.htm.

Communities and Local Government (CLG) have published some estimates on take-up since the small business rate relief scheme was introduced in 2005. These are based on models and assumptions that are subject to some uncertainty. Information on these estimates can be found on the CLG website at the following links:

www.communities.gov.uk/localgovernment/localregional/localgovernmentfinance/statistics/nondomesticrates/

www.communities.gov.uk/documents/localgovernment/pdf/14068801.pdf



27 Sep 2010 : Column WA559

Asked by Lord Beecham

Lord Freud: Information on benefits is, and will continue to be, available from the government departments and local authorities which administer them, from Citizens Advice Bureaux and other advice agencies, in other public places like libraries and doctors' surgeries, and online via Directgov.

DWP works increasingly with local authority social services, welfare rights organisations and other partners to improve awareness of disability living allowance.

Local authorities administer and promote the take-up of housing benefit and council tax benefit. DWP has supported this work recently to try to reduce worklessness. DWP and local authorities often work together to provide a single point of contact for claims to the benefits they administer, which improves take-up.

Local authorities are also responsible for small business rate relief. The coalition agreement contained a commitment to find a practical way to make small business rate relief automatic.

Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs has no plans to run a promotional campaign relating to the take-up of working tax credit.

West Bank and Gaza

Questions

Asked by Lord Hylton

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We welcome the launch of direct talks and urge the parties to engage seriously and deal directly and urgently with final status issues. We will continue to do all we can to buttress these talks, working with the US and our other EU and international partners.

We have consistently made clear our view that settlements are illegal under international law and an obstacle to peace. The UK along with the international community will continue to urge Israel to freeze all settlement activity.

We have also been clear that the situation in Gaza is unsustainable and counterproductive. We therefore welcome Israel's decision to move from a list of permitted goods to a list of specific prohibited items. This step shows that it is possible to lift the pressure on ordinary Gazans whilst protecting Israel's security. All parties must now work together urgently to deliver real change on the ground.



27 Sep 2010 : Column WA560

Asked by Lord Hylton

Lord De Mauley: We expect bilateral UK aid to the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTS) to total £76.5 million in 2010-11. This includes approximately £74 million from the Department for International Development (DfID) and £2.5 million from the Conflict Pool, a tri-departmental fund managed by DfID, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Ministry of Defence. All DfID bilateral and multilateral aid programmes are under review and we cannot provide figures for 2011-12.

Figures for total EU assistance to the OPTS, and the UK's share of this, for 2011 and 2012 are not yet available. The EU's financial commitment to the Palestinian people, in 2009 and 2010 (calendar years), is shown in the table below.

Estimated breakdown by programme/sector2009 €2010 €

Direct and Indirect Financial Support

219.10

158.50

Institutional Building (1)

12.00

31.00

Infrastructure Development

19.50

21.00

Direct Support to the Private Sector

22.00

11.00

UNRWA

169.59

67.00

Humanitarian Aid, Food Aid, Food Security, Food Facility (excluding UNRWA)

59.15

60.20

East Jerusalem initiatives

4.50

6.00

Support to civil society (i.e. Partnership for Peace, Human Rights and Democracy, NSA, etc.)

3.30

12.40

CFSP actions, Rapid Reaction Mechanism, Instrument for Stability (excluding UNRWA)

9.27

0.00

OVERALL TOTAL

518.41

367.10

In the current calendar year the EU has committed €367.10 million to Palestinians across the Middle East region. The UK's officially attributed share of this is €51.8 million. In 2009, the EU committed €518.41 million to Palestinians and the UK's share of this spend was €72.52 million.

Your Freedom Initiative

Questions

Asked by Lord Grocott



27 Sep 2010 : Column WA561

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: As of 12 August 2010 "Your Freedom" has received 13,661 ideas. 82,896 comments and 215,228 votes have been submitted on these ideas.

The ideas have been submitted under three themes as follows:

2,400 ideas have related to cutting red tape;5,200 ideas relate to removing unnecessary laws; and6,000 ideas relate to protecting civil liberties.

Answers received between Tuesday 21 September and Monday 27 September 2010

Department for Transport: Consultancy

Question

Asked by Lord Bradshaw

Earl Attlee: From 2005 to July 2010, the Department for Transport spent a total of £27.6 million on rail industry advice, the independent Foster Review, meeting room hire and the legal, financial, business case, technical, project management, and procurement advice associated with the £7.5 billion Intercity Express Programme.

Energy: Nuclear Industry

Question

Asked by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

Lord De Mauley: Her Majesty's Government are committed to helping to create a globally competitive UK nuclear supply chain and are undertaking a programme of activity to enable this.

This includes working with the Nuclear Industry Association on a supply chain development programme called sc@nuclear, which aims to give information to the prospective supply chain about new nuclear opportunities. The revamped sc@nuclear website was launched in July 2010. HM Government continue to support work to develop the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, and in addition are supporting the National Skills Academy for Nuclear in its work to co-ordinate skills and training provision across the sector.

HMG are also working closely with prospective new nuclear developers to assist them in their supply chain development activity. On 13 September 2010 the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Minister of State for Energy spoke at a nuclear suppliers event held by EDF Energy which was attended by around 600 delegates, many of whom were representing UK companies.



27 Sep 2010 : Column WA562

HMG have supported the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) since it was established in July 2008. HMG have encouraged the NNL to build its operations, resulting in access to the NNL's facilities for six universities being expanded, and its staff increasing by 52 including 19 graduates in science, engineering and maths. Currently HMG are supporting the NNL in its planned additional £42 million investment to bring phase 2 of its central laboratory into active use and to improve the operation of its unique shielded facilities in B13 at Sellafield. The NNL, working with universities and UK industry, will provide the technology foundation for the UK to meet, safely and economically, its domestic needs and to compete internationally.

Forced Marriages

Question

Asked by Lord Lester of Herne Hill

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The minimum age at which someone can sponsor a spouse to come to the UK or be sponsored as a spouse was raised from 18 to 21 via a change to the Immigration Rules on 27 November 2008.

There is no full or reliable data available on the numbers of British citizens kept overseas against their will following a forced marriage.

Therefore we cannot assess whether the increase in the marriage visa age has had any impact on the length of time British citizens are kept overseas against their will following a forced marriage.

A strategic decision was taken to raise the marriage visa age to 21 to provide an opportunity for individuals to develop maturity and life skills which may allow them to resist the pressure of being forced into a marriage and provides an opportunity to complete education. It aims to delay sponsorship and allow the victim an opportunity to seek help and advice.

People Trafficking

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): Within law enforcement agencies, awareness of human trafficking is being raised through mainstream

27 Sep 2010 : Column WA563

police training courses and by the introduction of mandatory e-learning for all UK Border Agency staff below grade seven level.

In addition, it has been decided that 18 October will be the UK Anti-Slavery Day which will provide a focus for non-government organisations to undertake awareness-raising campaigns and encourage people to become actively involved in the campaign against this crime.

The Government keep legislation under constant review to ensure that it is fit for purpose. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) will be holding a consultation with victims of trafficking to discuss experiences of the criminal justice system and to identify possible measures to improve levels of engagement with the criminal justice system. This will lead to the publication of a public policy statement to explain how cases of human trafficking are prosecuted and encourage victims to support criminal proceedings.

Asked by Baroness Thornton

Baroness Neville-Jones: The Government decided not to opt in to the directive at the outset, but to review the position once the directive has been agreed. We still have the option of applying to opt in later.

While the directive will help to improve anti-trafficking efforts across the EU, it will make little practical difference to the way the UK fights trafficking. The UK is already bound by the Council of Europe Convention on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings, which contains similar provisions on non-prosecution of victims.

The UK has a strong record in the fight against trafficking and already complies in both legislation and practice with most of what is required by the draft directive.

Prisons: Mental Health

Question

Asked by Lord Ouseley

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): We recognise that more needs to be done to understand the higher rates of detention under the Mental Health Act of people from black and minority ethnic (BME) communities. We have recently announced that, in the months ahead, we will reshape our mental health strategy. Reducing inequality is part of that strategy.

With regard to the numbers of BME people in prison, it is the responsibility of the courts to determine which suspects/offenders receive custodial remands/sentences. There is currently work under way within the Ministry of Justice to better understand sentencing decisions in terms of ethnicity.



27 Sep 2010 : Column WA564

Schools: Academies

Question

Asked by Lord Willis of Knaresborough

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The vast majority of children with low incidence special educational needs will have a statement. Local authorities retain responsibility for pupils with statements in academies on the same basis as for statemented pupils in maintained schools. Where a statement states that building adaptations or specialist equipment is required, the local authority has responsibility for funding this.

Asked by Lord Corbett of Castle Vale

Lord Hill of Oareford: We believe that schools, including academies and free schools, are best placed to assess what additional provision should be made for the pupils within their responsibility so it will be for them to decide how to spend the pupil premium.

We will help inform all schools' decisions about how best to use the money to raise the attainment of disadvantaged pupils by publishing information and evidence about what works, including about the impact of new and innovative practice.

Shipping: Lighthouses

Questions

Asked by Lord Berkeley

Earl Attlee: Fourteen officials of Trinity House, the Northern Lighthouse Board and the Commissioners of Irish Lights attended the International Association of Marine Aids to the Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities Conference in Cape Town in March 2010.



27 Sep 2010 : Column WA565

The breakdown of the numbers of officials and the costs incurred is:

Trinity HouseNorthern Lighthouse BoardCommissioners of Irish Lights

Number attending

6

5

3

Costs:

(a) Flights

£8,034

£1,932

€3,525

(b) Accommodation

£9,325

£2,656

€4,244

(c)Subsistence

£220

£1,328

€442

Two of the Trinity House officials represented all the authorities as members of the joint Research and Radionavigation Directorate and a third attended in his capacity as treasurer of the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation. This expenditure was within the 2009-10 budgets of the authorities which were sanctioned by the Department for Transport.

Asked by Lord Berkeley

Earl Attlee: No.

Asked by Lord Berkeley

Earl Attlee: Yes.

Asked by Lord Berkeley

Earl Attlee: The General Lighthouse Authorities' corporate governance arrangements and board structures were independently examined by Atkins consultants earlier this year as part of the Assessment of the Provision of Marine Aids to Navigation around the United Kingdom and Ireland. In looking at alternative

27 Sep 2010 : Column WA566

structures their conclusion was that the post of Executive Chairman of the Trinity House Lighthouse Board should be retained. Her Majesty's Government have accepted this recommendation.

Asked by Lord Berkeley

Earl Attlee: Seven of the recommendations have been fully implemented. In a Written Ministerial Statement on 26 July [Official Report, Cols WS134-5]it was announced that the Minister for Shipping did not intend to implement those recommendations relating to changing the basis on which light dues are currently charged, but that he would seek an equitable means of paying for marine aids to navigation. We anticipate that most of the remaining recommendations will have been implemented by April 2011 and that a negotiated solution to the imbalance of funding for aids to navigation in the Republic of Ireland will be taken forward as quickly as is reasonably possible.

Asked by Lord Berkeley

Earl Attlee: In a Written Ministerial Statement on 26 July [Official Report, Cols WS134-5]my honourable friend the Minister for Shipping confirmed that he had asked Chris Bourne, a non-executive director of Trinity House, to act as chair of the General Lighthouse Authority Joint Strategic Board. In this role as chair of the board he will take an independent and impartial view of the issues and will report on the board's achievements.

My honourable friend expects all non-executive directors of the General Lighthouse Authorities to support the Department for Transport and Ministers in seeking to ensure the development of robust corporate plans and associated business cases, rigorous financial controls and the propriety and regularity of all expenditure in accordance with Treasury rules. The performance of the non-executive directors is subject to continuous review by the General Lighthouse Authorities.


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