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To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their response to proposals to establish large-scale intensive dairies in the United Kingdom; and what is their assessment of the implications for animal welfare of such dairies.[HL2558]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): All dairy cattle, in whatever system they are kept, are protected by comprehensive animal welfare legislation. In England, the welfare of cattle is protected by the Animal Welfare Act 2006, which makes it an offence to cause unnecessary suffering to any animal. The Act also contains a duty of care to animals. This means that anyone responsible for an animal must take reasonable steps to make sure the animal's needs are met. These general requirements are supplemented by more detailed ones in the Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations 2007 for calves and cattle, covering areas such as accommodation, tethering, inspection, feed and water.
It is important to recognise that poor welfare may occur in both intensive and extensive systems. The most significant influence on the welfare of livestock is the stock-keeper, not the system in which it is reared.
Defra is currently funding a three-year project by the Scottish Agricultural College which is investigating the management and welfare of continuously housed cows. It will compare the health of cows in continuously housed systems with those in summer grazing systems, by using culling and fertility data. Work on this research is at an early stage, and is due to be completed at the end of June 2011.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): HM Government welcome the progress made in Basel towards a final package of new international regulatory standards, including the introduction, for the first time, of international minimum liquidity requirements. An appropriately calibrated regulatory regime will benefit the entire international community. The UK continues to support ongoing international negotiations.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Chancellor made it clear in his Statement to the House of Commons that no further changes to child benefit are planned, and that child benefit will continue to be paid in the normal way to the great majority of the population, from birth until a child leaves full-time education at the age of 18 or even 19.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will introduce a legal requirement that the remuneration of the highest paid executives in quoted companies should be reported to shareholders as a multiple of average earnings within the company, as now specified by the Dodd Frank Act in the United States.[HL2696]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): On 22 September 2010 my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills announced his intention to conduct a comprehensive review into corporate governance and economic short-termism.
To ask Her Majesty's Government in how many constituencies at the last general election 100 per cent of postal votes were verified for the accuracy of the personal identifiers of signature and date of birth.[HL2419]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): Legislation requires (acting) returning officers to undertake a minimum of 20 per cent verification of personal identifiers of postal votes returned. Funding was made available at the last General Election for the verification of 100 per cent of personal identifiers.
Information collected from (acting) returning officers by the Electoral Commission shows that 476 out of the 632 constituencies in Great Britain conducted verification of the personal identifiers on 100 per cent of postal votes returned.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre has been established by the Government. It is led by industry members and owned by the University of Sheffield working in partnership with the University of Manchester. The interim facilities have been operational since June 2010 on the Advanced Manufacturing Park located just outside of Sheffield. The permanent facilities are being constructed on the same site with an additional laboratory presence in Manchester. The permanent facilities at both Sheffield and Manchester should be fully open by the start of 2012. The Government are providing a total of £30 million funding to establish the centre at Sheffield and Manchester and the Universities are seeking European regional development funding against a proportion of this funding. More information is at www.namrc.co.uk.
Baroness Verma: The Government do not intend to issue a formal response to this report. Departments will be taking the review's findings into account, as appropriate, in their forward work programmes.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): Over the next decade the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the United Nation's Food and Agricultural Organisation (OECD-FAO) project modest growth of agricultural output in OECD countries of 8 per cent and less than 4 per cent in Europe. In contrast, it projects much stronger production increases in non-OECD countries, particularly for meat and dairy. For instance, Brazil's agricultural output is projected to grow by over 40 per cent to 2019, whilst Russia, the Ukraine, China and India are expected to grow by 20-30 per cent. This growth will be important to meet the increased demand projected in these countries.
While higher incomes and increased demand in emerging economies present opportunities to EU producers, the greatest contribution Europe can make to global food security is through good policy and technology transfer, encouraging sustainable agriculture, productivity and resource efficiency, and a more stable and equitable global trade system. Europe can do this through pressing for a more ambitious and balanced Doha deal and through genuine reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) to remove unhelpful subsidies and demonstrate leadership in delivering sustainable production systems. These reforms will also improve the underlying competitiveness of our farmers and fishermen, enabling them to better compete in world markets and take advantage of increased global demand for high quality produce. Continued investment in the development and application of science and technology and policies that encourage healthy, sustainable diets and reduce waste along the food chain will also be important in meeting future demand sustainably.
As the world's largest donor of development aid, Europe also has an important role to play in assisting developing countries to address food security challenges, including availability, access and nutritional uptake. In March 2010, the EU published a comprehensive policy framework to this end which acknowledges the importance of smallholder farmers, their vulnerability to the effects of climate change, the significant contribution sustainable agricultural productivity increases can make to meeting local and regional demand and increasing smallholder incomes. Implementation of this framework is now starting. It is supporting those countries that prioritise agriculture and food security in their own development efforts.
In January 2011, Sir John Beddington, Government Chief Scientific adviser, will publish a major two-year study from the Foresight Programme: Global Food and Farming Futures. The study, co-sponsored by Defra and DfID, has brought together an impressive range
21 Oct 2010 : Column WA191
To ask Her Majesty's Government what websites operated by government departments and their associated public bodies have been closed since the general election; and what websites they have plans to close in the future.[HL2362]
To ask Her Majesty's Government how the public will obtain information that was available on websites generated by government departments and their associated public bodies that have been or will be closed, including closures resulting from the abolition of public bodies.[HL2363]
The Government have led the world in setting up the UK Government Website Archive, run by the National Archives, so that information on central government websites is not lost and where the URLs referenced in reports continue to work and deliver what is required. This work is in constant development as the importance to the nation of the digital public record increases.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions have taken place with Sir Michael Scholar, chair of the UK Statistics Authority, about the implications for public availability of data from the Office for National Statistics as a result of the closure of websites generated by government departments and their associated public bodies, including closures resulting from the abolition of public bodies.[HL2364]
Lord Taylor of Holbeach: The UK Statistics Authority was not one of the 481 public bodies that Government intend to reform through the Public Bodies Bill, as
21 Oct 2010 : Column WA192
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the estimated net saving in the pay bill of the Department for Work and Pensions for each of the next four years if all salaries and increments are frozen.[HL2435]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The Department for Work and Pensions has not yet finalised detailed headcount plans for the spending review 2010 period and therefore the information could only be provided at disproportionate cost.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the estimated net saving in the pay bill of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for each of the next four years if all salaries and increments are frozen.[HL2439]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Following the spending review settlement, detailed workforce plans and pay bill allocations, on which such estimates would be based, are being developed and finalised. We are therefore currently unable to provide estimates of savings for the years in question.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): Following the spending review settlement for the Ministry of Justice, detailed workforce plans and pay bill allocations, on which such estimates would be based, are being developed and finalised. We are therefore currently unable to provide estimates of savings for the years in question.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the estimated net saving in the pay bill of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills for each of the next four years if all salaries and increments are frozen.[HL2450]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): Following the spending review settlement for BIS, detailed workforce plans and pay bill allocations, on which such estimates would be based, are being
21 Oct 2010 : Column WA193
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the estimated net saving in the pay bill of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for each of the next four years if all salaries and increments are frozen.[HL2452]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): Following the spending review settlement for Defra, detailed workforce plans and pay bill allocations, on which such estimates would be based, are being developed and finalised. We are therefore currently unable to provide estimates of savings for the years in question.
Baroness Verma: The amount of any saving would depend on the exact assumptions made about the Government Equalities Office's pay settlements over the next four years. This information is not available.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what were the names and employing departments of special advisers receiving payments for termination of employment following the general election; what were the amounts; and under what rules and powers such payments are made.[HL2428]
Lord Taylor of Holbeach: The total cost of severance payments made to the previous Administration's special advisers at the general election will be published shortly as part of a wider statement on special advisers. It would not be appropriate to detail individual amounts in order to protect the privacy of individuals.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The Government are considering a range of options to increase transparency, including how and when to commence the reduction in the point at which records are made available at the National Archives from 30 to 20 years, provided for by the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether an obligation will be placed on general practitioners to provide access to continence advisers as part of the switch to GP commissioning proposed in the NHS White Paper, Equity and Excellence.[HL2392]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe):Liberating the NHS: Commissioning for patients provided further information on the intended arrangements for general practitioner (GP) commissioning and the role of the NHS Commissioning Board. GP consortia will be responsible for commissioning the majority of National Health Service services. We expect consortia to involve relevant health and social care professionals from all sectors in helping design care pathways or care packages that achieve higher quality and more efficient use of NHS resources.
The NHS Commissioning Board will provide a framework to support GP consortia in commissioning services, including setting commissioning guidelines on the basis of clinically approved quality standards developed with advice from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. The board will also be responsible for holding consortia to account for the outcomes they achieve as commissioners.
Primary care trust responsibilities for local health improvement will transfer to local authorities. Local authorities will also be given the new function of joining up the commissioning of local NHS services, social care and health improvement. They will also be responsible for funding local HealthWatch organisations, as local consumer champions, building on the current role of local involvement networks.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The information requested is not available centrally. The only information available relates to the number of episodes of polymyalgia rheumatica treated as hospital inpatient cases: in the financial year 2008-09 there were 1,082 inpatient episodes (finished admission episodes) in England in which the primary diagnosis was polymyalgia rheumatica, and an additional 103 episodes with a primary diagnosis of giant cell arteritis with polymyalgia rheumatica. These figures do not include patients treated in hospital outpatient clinics or managed wholly in primary care, and individual patients may have had more than one inpatient admission during the year.
A clinical review published in the British Medical Journal in April 2008, citing earlier research from the United Kingdom and from the United States of America, reported that the incidence of polymyalgia rheumatica in people over 50 years of age was about 100 per 100,000.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): In the latest year for which data are available (2008-09), 91 per cent of foundation degree entrants studying full-time and 34 per cent of those studying part-time expected to complete their course within two years. The current maximum variable tuition fee for foundation degrees studied full-time is £3,290 per year. For foundation degrees studied part-time the fee level is unregulated, and data are not held centrally on the fees actually charged by institutions.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether under the proposals from Lord Browne of Madingley two-year foundation degrees are included in the student finance proposals for loans to cover tuition and maintenance.[HL2636]
Baroness Wilcox: Lord Browne's review proposes that students receive public support for learning and living through the student finance plan. The proposals assume that this support continues to be available to students on all currently eligible higher education courses, including foundation degrees. The Government will consider the detail of this in its response to the review.
|Price group||Description||Cost weight|
Each broad subject area is allocated to a price group. However some subjects such as media studies can fall into different price groups depending upon the mode of delivery. The current price group allocations are as follows:
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the total outstanding debt on student loans owing by persons resident abroad; what proportion this is of the total debt; and how their repayment behaviour compares with that of United Kingdom residents. [HL2514]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): As at 30 April 2010, 32,000 income-contingent loan borrowers were known to be resident abroad, owing £341 million which is around 1 per cent of the total debt. This includes borrowers who received loans as English domiciled students who studied in the UK and EU students who studied in England. 28,600 of these borrowers are former English domiciled students currently living overseas.
Borrowers residing outside the UK make payments by direct debit to the Student Loans Company (SLC), whilst those residing in the UK have the appropriate deduction taken from their salary, which is paid through HMRC to the SLC. However, because borrowers move in and out of the UK, meaningful comparison of repayment behaviour is not available.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): ECGD already provides credit insurance to exporters through its exporter insurance policy (EXIP). This policy is generally, but not exclusively, used to cover exports of capital and semi-capital goods and services sold on cash or short terms of payment.
The credit insurance needs of exporters who sell such items as consumer durables, raw materials or light manufactures on cash or short terms of credit have been the subject of private sector provision since the privatisation of ECGD's trade credit insurance operations in 1991. The Government have no plans for ECGD to re-enter that market by competing directly with private credit insurers.
ECGD has made risk-bearing capacity available through the introduction of its letter of credit guarantee scheme for all types of exports to developing countries in the light of concerns about the ability of banks to confirm letters of credit used as a method to provide payment security for exporters in these and other categorises of trade.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their response to the recommendation to the European Court of Justice that insurance companies should not be allowed to use gender as a means of assessing risk in granting insurance policies.[HL2521]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Advocate General has given an opinion regarding the use of gender as a means of assessing risk in granting insurance policies. However, this is not a judgment and the European Court is not required to follow it.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the content of the presidency briefing on the international thermonuclear experimental reactor at the European Union formal Competitiveness Council held in Luxembourg on 11 and 12 October; and what was the response of United Kingdom Ministers to that briefing.[HL2620]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): There was no presidency briefing on the international thermonuclear experimental reactor at the meeting of the Competitiveness Council held on 11 and 12 October.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): There will be no increase to basic consultant pay for 2011-12 and 2012-13, in line with the pay freeze announced in the June 2010 Budget. The White Paper, Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS, indicates the Government's intention in the longer term to work with National Health Service employers and the trade unions to explore appropriate arrangements for setting pay for NHS staff.
The Government have commissioned the Review Body on Doctors' and Dentists' Remuneration to undertake a United Kingdom wide review of compensation levels and incentives for NHS consultants. The review body is expected to report in July 2011. The review body has been invited to make observations, rather than recommendations, on the basic pay scales.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Shutt of Greetland on 27 September (WA 462), whether they consider that the restrictions placed on public access to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration are in the public interest.[HL2441]
The noble Lord will know that the Law Commission has recently published a consultation paper on Public Services Ombudsmen which includes consideration of the issue of access to the Parliamentary Ombudsman.
Earl Attlee: Existing Pendolino trains would not require derogations to operate on lines other than the West Coast Main Line. The process for deploying trains in service on new routes is set out in the operators safety management systems and in Railway Group Standards.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the conclusion of Research Councils UK that a reduction of £1 billion in funding for research will lead to a fall of £10 billion in gross domestic product.[HL2747]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): There is a substantial body of economic analysis that explores returns, both private and social, to R&D expenditure. This literature, which looks at different sectors, countries and time periods, invariably suggests strong returns to science funding, with social returns usually outstripping private. Recent work by Professor Jonathan Haskell (Imperial College) and Dr Graeme Wallis (HMT) reports strong growth returns to Research Council investment in the UK. Specific estimates of this type must be treated with considerable caution because of the complex methodological issues involved, but it is likely that the economic returns to UK science are strong. The BIS reporting system for the Research Councils explores the economic and research outcomes achieved by each of the councils, producing evidence supporting the link between science and growth. For that reason, the Government will continue to focus expenditure efforts on the UK's world-leading institutions that underpin interactions between science and business in the UK.
Earl Attlee: Under the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991, street authorities are under a duty to use best endeavours to co-ordinate the execution of works in the streets for which they are responsible. The Code of Practice for the Co-ordination of Street Works and Works for Road Purposes and Related Matters (3rd edition, August 2009) contains advice to help street authorities carry out that duty. In addition, Permit Schemes-decision-making and development (January 2010) explains how permit schemes under the Traffic Management Act 2004 can be used to enhance the co-ordination of works. Both are available on the Department for Transport website at www.dft.gov.uk.
The UK Roads Board, of which the Department for Transport is a member, has also published relevant advice in Section 12 of Well-Maintained Highways: Code of Practice for Highway Maintenance Management (July 2005), which covers the programming and prioritising of highway maintenance activity. It is available at www.ukroadsliaisongroup.org.
Earl Attlee: The UK already has some of the safest roads in the world, but the coalition is considering how to make them even safer and whether this will include a strategy and targets going forward. We aim to make an announcement by the end of the calendar year.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Wilcox on 13 October concerning the cost of the Senior Salaries Review Body (WA 81), how much each member was paid in fees and expenses in each of the last five years. [HL2717]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The information is not immediately available in the form requested. I shall write to the noble Lord with as much information as I am able to obtain as soon as possible, and will place a copy of the letter in the Library of the House.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): In 2008-09, 40,050 non-UK nationals were employed as academic staff (full-time and part-time) in higher education institutions in the UK which equates to 22 per cent of all academic staff. (Higher Education Statistics Agency, 2010).
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many of those making claims for asylum in the past two years had already entered the United Kingdom on a visa; what types of visa were involved; and what were the means of entry to the United Kingdom in the non-visa cases.[HL2426]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The number of applications for asylum in 2008-09 was 33,945 and for 2009-10 was 25,505. These data are from published statistics and include main applicants and their dependants. Further details on the number of asylum applications can be found on the Home Office's Research, Development and Statistics website at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration-asylum-stats.html.
The number of asylum applicants who have already entered the United Kingdom on a visa in this period is as follows; 2,878 in 2008-09 and 2,915 in 2009-10. This is internal management information and is subject to change. This information has not been quality assured under National Statistics protocols.
The UK Border Agency does not hold information about the means of entry to the UK on non-visa cases. To answer this Question would require a manual search of individual case papers which would incur disproportionate cost.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have undertaken or are considering research into the means of eradicating or otherwise addressing issues around the horsetail or mare's tail plant of the family equisetaceae; and what assessment they have made of its increasing spread.[HL2665]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): Defra has not been alerted to any serious problems caused by the horsetail or mare's tail plant of the family equisetaceae. We have therefore undertaken no recent research, and are not considering any research, into the means of eradicating or otherwise addressing issues around this plant, and have made no specific assessment of its spread.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the estimated saving for each of the next four years from (a) raising the age of eligibility for winter fuel payments to 70, and (b) making winter fuel payments taxable as personal income; and what is the estimated number of higher rate taxpayers eligible for winter fuel payments.[HL2447]
|Year||(a) Savings if age of eligibility raised to 70 (10-11 prices)||(b) Savings if winter fuel payments taxable as personal income (10-11 prices)|
To ask Her Majesty's Government, based on the latest estimated increases in longevity, what is the estimated cost of making winter fuel payments (a) on the current basis, and (b) on the basis that the age of eligibility is over 80, for each of the financial years 2010-11 to 2014-15.[HL2448]
|Year||(a) Cost of WFP on current basis (£M, 10-11 price terms)||(b) Cost of WFP if limited to all those aged 80 and over (£M, 10-11 prices)|
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their response to the report published by the Howard League, Access to Justice Denied, showing that eight out of 10 young prisoners from black and minority ethnic backgrounds have inadequate access to legal advice to facilitate their release.[HL2485]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): As of 15 October 2010, of the 56 establishments that hold young offenders and/or juveniles, 40 have a legal services officer (or officers), as defined by the terms of Prison Service Order 2605 "The Role of the Legal Services (Previously Legal Aid) Officer" and 16 do not. However, of the 16 who do not, six establishments have other staff members who are able to assist with legal issues when required and in two others appointments are pending.
The mandatory policy requirement for young offender institutions to have a legal services officer is set out in Prison Service Order 2605, a copy of which is available in the Libraries of both Houses. The National Offender Management Service (NOMS) is committed to ensuring that all prisoners, including young offenders, who require legal services understand what is available and how services are accessed. Regional custodial managers will work with governors to ensure that every young offender institution has appropriate staff available to provide assistance in obtaining these services.
It is not the Government's responsibility to provide prisoners with legal advice, but prisons do aim to help them to access such advice. Legal services officers are not the only source of advice available to prisoners. In particular, they may not always be the best people to advise prisoners on the parole issues mentioned in the Howard League report. NOMS is currently developing a specification for advice services for prisoners in general, and the Howard League's report will be taken into account as part of that process.
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