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Baroness Verma: The UK Government are committed to reducing malaria deaths by at least 50 per cent in at least 10 high burden countries by 2015. The Government have committed to spend up to £500 million per year by 2014 on malaria control, compared to £147 million in 2008-09.
Detailed plans setting out how we will achieve this will be available during the first quarter of 2011 following the outcomes of the bilateral and multilateral aid reviews. As nearly 90 per cent of global malaria deaths in 2008 occurred in Africa, it is likely that a significant proportion of our malaria work will focus on Africa.
Earl Attlee: Anti-social behaviour is unacceptable and the Government are clear that tackling ASB must be priority for all local agencies, including the police, which need to act against this problem wherever it occurs.
The Government's role is to ensure that professionals have the freedom and tools to focus on the priorities that matter most to communities, to highlight good ideas and to remove the bureaucracy that gets in the way of people getting involved.
On 28 July the Government announced changes in the way anti-social behaviour is tackled, including a review of the tools and powers that are available to police forces and other agencies to deal with anti-social behaviour, to provide them with a toolkit that is less bureaucratic and provides a real deterrent. We will bring forward detailed proposals in due course.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): Currently there are no additional orders for A400M aircraft from NATO members who are not also one of the A400M launch nations.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what funding for military diplomacy is provided by (a) the Ministry of Defence, and (b) the Foreign and Commonwealth Office; and how much was provided by each department in (1) 1979, (2) 1987, (3) 1997, and (4) 2005.[HL3048]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The following table shows Ministry of Defence (MoD) funding for the Defence Attaché and Adviser Network from 1997 to the present day; details of funding prior to this time are not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
|Financial Year||£ million|
The above figures do not include costs associated with the British Defence Section in Washington, nor do they include costs associated with operational expenditure in the defence sections in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Prior to 1 April 2008, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) did not charge the MoD for the direct and indirect costs the FCO incurred in accommodating our defence attachés and their support staff in offices in high commissions and embassies and in residential accommodation for defence attachés, their military and UK-based civil servants. As FCO costs associated with defence attachés were not separately identified, the FCO has been unable to provide a breakdown for the period prior to 1 April 2008, albeit the estimated total cost to the FCO for defence attachés in financial year 2007-08 was £15 million-this included both direct and indirect costs. From 1 April 2008, the FCO has charged the MoD for these costs. The MoD, together with other partners across government, signed a service level agreement with the FCO agreeing to pay full economic costs for the provision of office accommodation, residential housing and FCO management support costs. The MoD negotiated with the FCO a capped cost for a three-year transitional period to pay £10.5 million in financial year 2008-09 and £12 million for financial years 2009-10 and 2010-11. The MoD signed an interdepartmental agreement with FCO covering these transitional arrangements.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will review the transparency of the working practices of the artists' resale rights collecting societies and their use of funds retained for administrative costs. [HL3333]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The statutory framework for the collection of resale right is set out in artist's resale right directive 2001/84/EC directive, and implemented into UK legislation by the Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 (as amended in 2009). The working practices of the collecting societies are matters for the societies themselves in the first instance. The level of funds retained for administration will be a matter for the societies and their members. The Government have no current plans to review these arrangements.
Baroness Wilcox: Resale right is harmonised within Europe, the only significant variation being between those countries that do not currently collect the right on behalf of deceased artists (UK, Austria, Ireland, Netherlands and Malta) and the remaining member states where implementation has taken place in full.
The artist's resale right directive 2001/84/EC directive, sets the framework for implementation of the right and collection arrangements in all European member states. Local legislative requirements will lead to some minor differences of implementation, but the overall mechanism is set by the directive and will be the same in all territories.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The UK Border Agency is currently undertaking a national exercise to extend some of the current accommodation contracts for a further year. Proposals to extend contracts post 2011 have been received from the West Midlands Consortium and other private sector providers operating in the West Midlands. We are currently evaluating and reviewing these proposals.
UKBA is confident that alternative accommodation providers will be able to make suitable accommodation available for eligible asylum seekers in Birmingham and in other areas of the West Midlands when Birmingham City Council stops providing housing for asylum seekers under this contract.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Financial Services Authority (FSA) is running a pilot programme involving a number of UK banks drawing up draft recovery and resolution plans (RRPs) to inform policy development. Good progress is being made by these firms and the lessons learnt are being fed in to the domestic, EU and G20 policy-making processes. However, this is an iterative process involving complex global financial institutions and will continue into next year. The FSA is expected to begin consultation on the RRPs at the end of the year.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many United Kingdom banks are currently in receipt of taxpayer support through HM Treasury's deposit guarantee scheme and the Bank of England special liquidity scheme.[HL2763]
Lord Sassoon: In March 2010, following the closure of the drawdown window for new issuance under the credit guarantee scheme, the Treasury published a short report that includes a list of participating institutions. The full report can be found on the Debt Management Office's website at www.dmo.gov.uk. The number of institutions that had issued debt under the scheme at that time stood at 14, although some of these have subsequently merged.
The special liquidity scheme (SLS) is a Bank of England scheme. The Bank does not intend to provide regular commentary on the scheme but will make announcements where it is deemed appropriate. The Bank announced in the market notice of 3 February 2009 that the number of banks and building societies that accessed the SLS was 32. The relevant market notice can be found at http://www.bankofengland. co.uk/markets/marketnotice090203c.pdf.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that a highly concentrated retail banking sector does not pass the cost of the proposed banking levy to customers through lower deposit interest rates or higher charges for borrowing. [HL2847]
Lord Sassoon: The bank levy has been designed specifically to target risky short-term funding which led to serious liquidity problems that played a key role in the financial crisis. By design, the levy is not charged on insured customer deposits and only applies at half-rate to uninsured customer deposits (except for those from financial institutions) and funding (which has over one year remaining to maturity). The levy therefore ensures that banks make a contribution reflective of the risks they pose to the UK financial system and wider economy. The treatment of deposits also reflects the general desirability of encouraging banks to increase the proportion of their funding from deposits.
The Government are also clear that competition drives efficiency and helps to ensure that consumers are able to access the wide range of financial products that they need. As part of its remit, the Independent Commission on Banking will look at the state of competition in the industry and how customers and taxpayers can be sure of the best deal.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, in formulating the United Kingdom's bank levy, they propose to take into account retail deposits held by United Kingdom banks which are not covered by formal deposit insurance schemes.[HL2848]
"The deposits exemption will apply to deposits covered by a statutory or State-run guarantee or insurance scheme. In addition, any deposits not otherwise excluded (except for those from financial institutions) will be subject to the half rate in the same way as longer maturity liabilities" (page 5, Bank Levy: A Consultation Response).
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the maturity of puttable bank deposits and funding instruments will be determined for liquidity purposes by the final redemption date or the first date at which the put can be exercised.[HL2849]
Lord Sassoon: Questions of design of UK liquidity regulation are a matter for the Financial Services Authority (FSA). The FSA has confirmed that the maturity of puttable bank deposits and funding instruments is being determined for liquidity purposes by the first date at which the put can be exercised.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will require major banks to maintain significantly higher minimum capital requirements than those proposed under Basel III by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision.[HL2967]
At an international level, the Group of Central Bank Governors and Heads of Supervision, the oversight body of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, recently delivered a historic and crucial set of reforms that will substantially increase financial stability. The Basel package (Basle III) includes more and better quality bank capital and, for the first time, internationally agreed liquidity standards, in addition to a leverage ratio.
Basel III will be implemented in the UK through EU law, specifically the capital requirements directive (CRD). The Commission is expected to present proposals for implementing Basel III through a review of the existing CRD by March 2011.
This can be accessed via the HM Treasury website at http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/consult_bank_levy.htm.
The Government will continue to consult with banks and their advisers to establish the costs and compliance burdens associated with the levy and plan to publish an impact assessment with the final draft legislation towards the end of the year.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the comments by Sir Philip Hampton, Chairman of Royal Bank of Scotland Group, that the issue of bankers' bonuses "can only be decisively resolved through regulation".[HL2964]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government are committed to tackling unacceptable bank bonuses. It is critical that there is a globally consistent regulatory framework for addressing the situation and the Government have driven, and will continue to drive, international negotiations on reforming pay and establishing an aligned regulatory approach.
To ask Her Majesty's Government when negotiations with the government of Iceland regarding repayment of debt due to the United Kingdom in respect of failed Icelandic banks commenced and when they are expected to finish; and what is their policy with regard to sanctions if the government of Iceland is not willing to reach an agreement. [HL2903]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The negotiations to repay the loan made by the previous Government in respect of Iceland's obligations under the deposit guarantee scheme directive to UK depositors in Icesave commenced in October 2008 and are ongoing.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Freud on 28 July (WA 359), whether they will commission research on the effects of problem drug and alcohol users having access to high levels of disability-related benefits; and whether they will review whether such claimants should be assessed on criteria other than the effects of their condition and a medical assessment of their ability to carry out a number of everyday activities relevant to work.[HL2822]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): We do not have plans to undertake research on the effects of problem drug and alcohol users having access to high levels of disability-related benefits. However, the Government are determined to reform the welfare system to support employment and earnings and to tackle welfare dependency. A reformed system will make it easier to ensure that drug and alcohol users receive the help and support they need to overcome their dependency and get back to work.
The work capability assessment assesses individuals' eligibility for employment and support allowance by looking at their mental and physical functional capability for work. Individuals can also qualify by meeting one of a number of criteria that do not directly measure function. Currently, these include being a hospital in-patient. From March 2011 we will amend the ESA regulations so that this provision is extended to those receiving residential rehabilitation for the treatment of drug or alcohol misuse. In addition, Professor Harrington is currently undertaking the first of five annual independent reviews of the WCA, evaluating the fairness and accuracy of the assessment. We look forward to receiving his report later this year and will give careful consideration to his recommendations.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will review the financial case for the Luton to Dunstable Guided Busway in the light of the cost overruns and time delays which have occurred on the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway project. [HL2551]
Earl Attlee: The Luton to Dunstable Guided Busway was given final funding approval in March 2010. Following the formation of the new Government, the Chief Secretary ordered a review of all contracts approved by the previous Government since 1 January 2010. However, the contracts for the Luton to Dunstable
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To ask Her Majesty's Government what proportion of the budget of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills was spent on promoting enterprise and entrepreneurship in the United Kingdom in each of the past five years.[HL2879]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): We are not able to provide the information requested. Owing to previous structural changes arising from decisions about the machinery of government, we cannot accurately allocate spend to these specific areas. Promotion of enterprise and entrepreneurship covers a wide range of activities and financial information is split between a number of areas of spend and individual databases within the department.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to increase or decrease the proportion of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills annual expenditure allocated to promoting and developing enterprise and entrepreneurship. [HL2880]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to develop the Work for Yourself Programme, as set out in the Coalition Agreement; and how much funding the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills plans to allocate to develop the Work for Yourself Programme in each of the next five years. [HL2881]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): Your question has been passed to the Department for Work and Pensions as this department has responsibility for the new enterprise allowance formerly known as work for yourself. Following the spending review, funding for the NEA has been secured as part of the department's budget for the years 2011-12 and 2012-13. The design and delivery of the allowance is currently being finalised and therefore no decision has been taken on the allocation of funding.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) released, as part of its Budget forecasts on 22 June 2010, projections for whole economy employment to 2015-16.
Further information on its employment forecast, including projections for general government employment, was released on 30 June 2010 in its document OBR Forecast: Employment, which can be found at the following webpage: http://budgetresponsibility.independent.gov.uk/ publications.html.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they will take to ensure that police forces routinely keep records of the religion or beliefs of defendants and victims in cases of racially or religiously aggravated offences, and make them available to the Crown Prosecution Service.[HL2656]
Earl Attlee: The Government understand the importance of the recording of hate crime, which is why the programme for government includes a commitment to improve the collection of these data. We are currently liaising with the police on the implementation of this commitment and we anticipate the collection of this data to begin in April 2011. This will provide us with police recorded crime data for the Government's five hate crime strands (disability, gender identity, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation).
However, in order to balance the commitment on the better collection of hate crime data with our desire to end Whitehall interference in local policing, the data will not be disaggregated to reflect the religion or belief of offenders and victims. We are removing targets and reviewing the data burden placed on forces. We believe that the work that is being taken forward achieves this balance.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): No further new applications for education maintenance allowance will be processed from 1 January 2011 and the scheme will close at the end of the 2010-11 academic year. EMA will be replaced, from September 2011, with an enhanced discretionary learner support fund, enabling closer targeting of resource to individual students in need.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have assessed the threat posed to community cohesion and good race relations by the activities of the English Defence League; and whether they are taking measures to counter their influence.[HL2807]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): The Government will not tolerate those who spread hate and seek to divide society and deliberately raise community tensions. The Government, working with police and other agencies, routinely assess community tensions. This includes any perceived threat posed to effective community cohesion by the activities of extremist organisations such as the English Defence League. Where appropriate, suitable measures are taken at community level by the relevant authorities to counter their influence and minimise their impact.
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they plan to table commencement orders for sections 1-3, 64-80, 127-135, and 149-159 of the Equality Act 2010; how many orders they anticipate this will require; and how many orders related to the Equality Act 2010 have already been made.[HL3079]
Baroness Verma: Sections 64 to 77, 79 and 80, 127 to 135, 158 and 159(3) were commenced, along with the other core provisions of the Equality Act 2010, by the Equality Act 2010 (Commencement No. 4, Savings,
1 Nov 2010 : Column WA349
The Government are considering how to implement the remaining provisions, including Sections 1 to 3, 78, 149 to 157 and 159 (1), (2), (4),6), in the best way for business and for others with rights and responsibilities under the Act. Decisions will be announced in due course.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what actions they are taking to ensure that the European Union draft directive on alternative investment fund management does not disadvantage funds based in or managed from the United Kingdom, and those funds' ability to market themselves in the European Union.[HL2760]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): ECOFIN reached political agreement on the alternative fund managers directive on 19 October. The Government believe that this text is a good outcome for UK interests and represents significant gains from the European Commission's original proposal, the European Parliament's proposal and the ECOFIN general approach of 5 May. In particular, the Government believe that the text lays out a path for meeting the G20 commitments that implementation of such regulation should be internationally consistent and non-discriminatory. The text would provide for a European marketing passport for all managers of alternative investment funds that meet the requirements of the directive, regardless of where they are established. For non-EU managers, the passport will be introduced through a phased regime and will therefore become available two years after the end of the transposition period, subject to a positive review by the European Securities and Markets Authority. To ensure minimum market disruption and investor access, national private placement regimes will continue to operate until at least 2018. The Government believe that the agreement will, over time, ensure a level playing field in the European market for managers of alternative investment funds, including those established in the United Kingdom.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Provision already exists under Article 126(11) of the treaty on the functioning of the European Union for the use of sanctions, including financial penalties, against euro area member states which are considered to be in excessive deficit and fail to comply with the council's recommendations. The Government fully support use of these sanctions wherever applicable. However, they cannot be applied to the UK since we are not a member of the euro area. Moreover, our protocol to the treaty precludes any use of sanctions against the UK under this process.
The European Commission has recently published legislative proposals to create additional sanctions, including new financial sanctions. These proposals are aimed at encouraging compliance by member states with both the EU stability and growth pact and also the broad economic policy guidelines which address macroeconomic issues including competitiveness. The draft proposals for sanctions relate only to euro area member states and thus do not apply to the UK. The Government therefore consider that their introduction should be a matter for the euro area to decide.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The UK is a firm supporter of the free trade agreement (FTA) which is being negotiated between the EU and India. Trade is vital for our economy and future prosperity, and the long-term economic benefits of an ambitious EU-India FTA to the UK would be considerable.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have any plans to introduce rules limiting the ownership by any one party of a controlling equity interest in a central clearing party or swap execution facility for equities and/or derivatives.[HL2965]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): On 15 September the European Commission published a proposal for a European markets infrastructure regulation which covers issues relating to organisational and risk management standards for central clearing counterparties (CCPs). While this proposal is still subject to negotiations in the European institutions, it addresses the issue of ownership and lays out requirements for disclosing controlling stakes in a CCP and handling potential conflicts of interest. The proposed regulation does not limit the ownership of a controlling equity interest by any one party in a CCP.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The Government consultation on the future of financial regulation, which, among other things, included the consideration of whether the UKLA should be merged with the FRC or remain within the CPMA markets division closed on 18 October. The Government are currently considering responses to the consultation, and no decisions have yet been made.
This is quite separate from potential changes to the funding and governance structures of the FRC and its operating bodies to make the FRC even more efficient and flexible, on which the Government will be consulting in due course.
Baroness Verma: The UK Government recognise Israel's concern that some legitimate items imported into Gaza, such as chlorine in the form of hypochlorite for the purification of water, could also be used for the manufacture of weapons. However, we believe that with robust monitoring and end use verification, it is possible to address Israeli security concerns while importing these materials.
The United Nations (UN) and Office of the Quartet Representative (OQR) continue to press Israel for the full implementation of the measures to relax movement and access announced on 20 June, and for the entry of essential items on the dual-use list. We support them in their efforts.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions the quartet has had with Israel regarding the state of sewage treatment plants in Gaza and the discharge of raw sewage into the Mediterranean and what has been the result of such discussions.[HL2769]
Baroness Verma: The Office of the Quartet Representative (OQR) has regular discussions with the Government of Israel on the need to make progress on upgrading sewage treatment facilities in Gaza. The North Gaza Emergency Sewage Treatment Project, managed by the World Bank, completed its first phase,
1 Nov 2010 : Column WA352
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the estimated net saving in the pay bill of the Department for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport for each of the next four years if no bonuses are paid and all salaries and increments are frozen.[HL2684]
Baroness Rawlings: Following the spending review settlement for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, 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 final 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 Northern Ireland Office for each of the next four years if no bonuses are paid and all salaries and increments are frozen.[HL3215]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what would be the estimated net saving to the Department for Energy and Climate Change in each of the next four years if no bonuses were paid and all salaries and increments were frozen.[HL3329]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): Following the spending review settlement for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), 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 which works of art from the Government Art Collection are currently displayed in the offices of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Ministers and senior civil servants in HM Treasury.[HL2907]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): A list provided by the Government Art Collection (GAC) has been deposited in the Library of the House detailing all works of art on loan from GAC to the Treasury.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Hill of Oareford on 27 July (WA 323), how they intend to deal with bullying and drop out when they support Gypsy, Roma and Traveller pupils during the transition from primary to secondary education.[HL2613]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The coalition Government have made tackling bullying, particularly bullying motivated by prejudice, one of their top priorities. It is not acceptable for a child to be victimised because of their race or religion. The Government will empower schools so that they can take a zero-tolerance approach to tackling bad behaviour and bullying. We will issue shorter and clearer guidance to schools on how to prevent and tackle bullying and work with Ofsted to ensure that tackling bad behaviour and bullying is given more prominence in planned changes to school inspection. The department implemented the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Achievement Programme in order to offer targeted support to Gypsy Roma Traveller parents and pupils, and specifically to identify good working practice within schools during the transition from primary to secondary school when many Gypsy and Traveller parents may decide to home educate their children. The National Strategies Programme, in common with all other national strategies programmes, will end in spring 2011. However, the good practice that has been captured during the course of this programme has been documented within the National Strategies "Moving Forward Together: Raising Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Achievement" resources which have been disseminated to schools and local authorities and can be downloaded from the National Strategies website.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Hill of Oareford on 27 July (WA 323-4), who will be the members of the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Education Stakeholder Group, aimed at supporting work to improve levels of attendance, transition and attainment for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller pupils; and what will their plan of work be.[HL2616]
Their plan of work is to foster effective communication channels with "grassroots" members of the communities to bring about greater awareness of DfE policies and their objectives, encourage the support and help of parents/carers for their children's education; and work to strengthen confidence among their communities. They will be working with the department to encourage greater levels of transition from primary to secondary school, participation in higher education and promote participation in adult education opportunities among their communities.
To ask the Leader of the House whether the decision that the House of Lords will sit in September 2011 was taken for reasons of pressure of business or to conform with the sitting arrangements of the House of Commons.[HL3200]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council is the local planning authority responsible for allocating land for development in Sefton. Its unitary
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There is a provision within the unitary development plan (policy H2), however, for affordable housing to be sought by the council on developments of 25 dwellings or more or on suitable sites of 1 hectare or more, irrespective of the number of dwellings, where there is proven need and where it will be viable.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what powers are available to local authorities to deal with the problem of commercial developments of new housing which have been left unfinished as a result of developers going into liquidation and which are causing blight or nuisance or are affecting the amenity of local residents.[HL2838]
Baroness Hanham: Local authorities have powers under Section 215 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to make good the loss of public amenity in certain circumstances. Where a Section 215 notice is not complied with, local authorities can carry out the works themselves. In seeking to recover their costs, authorities have the option to register a charge on the property with the Land Registry and so become a secured creditor.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Sassoon on 21 July (WA 220), how many statutory notices under the Taxes Management Act 1970 HM Revenue and Customs has issued to local authorities requiring a return of housing benefit payments made to landlords in order to identify non-declarations of income in each of the last five years; and how many landlords have been involved.[HL2825]
|Year||Statutory Notices Issued to Local Authorities||Total number of landlords identified in Corresponding Returns|
To comply with the Data Protection Act, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) deletes this type of information after three years. HMRC staff are still processing the returns for 2009-10 so the number of landlords covered by those returns is not yet known.
In 2008-09 HMRC did not issue landlord notices. As resources were switched to other high priority compliance initiatives. HMRC still received returns from five councils and the landlord numbers are shown in the table.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): We are committed to protecting the security and rights of existing social tenants. Our affordable rent proposal will be a new option to offer households who need support for a fixed period, until they can get back on their feet, and will help to deliver more affordable homes.
Rightly, we have opened a wider debate about how we can create a social housing system that will provide stability where it is needed, provide more choice for tenants and prospective tenants, help people to move for work and protect vulnerable households. The Government are committed to improving current rates of mobility and giving social tenants more control over where they live. We have pledged to introduce a national social home swap programme to make it easier for social tenants to move to another home or another part of the country-for instance, for family or employment reasons-to improve their opportunity to exercise their existing rights.
Earl Attlee: Since the introduction of tier 5 on 27 November 2008, our records show that 4,023 visa applications have been refused in total. However, it is not possible to identify those who have been refused at the border for not holding the required tier 5 certificate without detailed examination of individual records at disproportionate cost.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The Home Secretary launched a consultation over the summer to ensure that the department took a wide range of views and evidence into account and was able to assess it before plans were announced for the first full annual limit. The consultation is now closed and the responses are being carefully assessed. The Government will announce their decisions in due course.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will ensure that changes in the immigration rules do not prejudice the integrity of the immediate families of refugees, whether before or after they are accepted for naturalisation.[HL3067]
Where a refugee becomes a British citizen, he or she may still be joined by family. However, as the grant of citizenship causes the refugee status to cease, the Government believe that the family member(s) should have to satisfy the same requirements as people coming to join other British citizens would have to meet. The changes to the Immigration Rules to which the noble Lord is referring (Cm 7944) clarify the rules to deliver this aim.
Earl Attlee: There are no plans to change our juxtaposed controls in northern Europe. The Home Secretary and Immigration Minister have both met their French counterparts to discuss migration issues, including the juxtaposed controls and wider bilateral co-operation, and it is expected that agreement will soon be reached on the next phase of UK-France collaboration at the border controls in northern Europe
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government are providing the commission with such resources as are necessary to perform its task. All commission costs are met by reprioritisation from within existing budgets and there will be no consequent increase in public spending.
Baroness Verma: Palestinian access to water and sanitation in the West Bank is severely constrained by Israeli movement and access restrictions, particularly in Area C, covering 62 per cent of the West Bank, and around Israeli settlement blocks. Israel has eased some restrictions on movement and access in the West Bank, but we call on them to go further.
Although the issue of water transcends the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, it is essential that direct negotiations on a two-state solution include discussions to ensure that there is a just solution on shared water resources as part of a final status agreement. The fair and effective distribution of shared water resources across the Middle East is of great concern to the UK Government; these resources are limited and require effective co-operation from all parties to ensure there is enough for all.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the allegation of poisoning of Palestinian olive trees by Israelis in the West Bank villages of Turmus Aya and Al-Maghayer, and of the further allegations by Rabbis for Human Rights of thefts of the whole olive crop in the village lands of Yanoun, Jit and Imatin.[HL2770]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): According to the non-governmental organisation B'Tselem, in an incident near Nablus settlers attacked farmers attempting to access their land near Azmut village. The UK is concerned by these reports and the recent destruction of Palestinian-owned olive crops. We condemn these acts. We have raised these incidents with the Co-ordinator of Government Activities in the Territories and the Israeli Defence Force.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the local authorities in West Northamptonshire have the strategic management expertise to take on the role of the West Northamptonshire Development Corporation.[HL3117]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): On 14 October the public bodies review announcement confirmed that the work of the West Northamptonshire Development Corporation (WNDC) will be devolved to a local authority led delivery vehicle. The process will be taken forward in a staged and managed way to ensure build-up of capacity in the local authorities. Handover will begin, subject to parliamentary agreement, with the return of the planning powers to the local authorities in April 2011 other than for the very large applications which will follow at a later date. Changes will be made to the board to bring the Urban Development Corporation
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To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Statement by Baroness Hanham on 13 October (WS 31), whether they will return the business rate to local authorities and consider allowing them to tap new sources of local finance, including a local sales tax.[HL2891]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): As set out in the local growth White Paper published on 28 October, the Government are due to undertake a local government resource review, beginning in January 2011. This will include examining options to allow local authorities to retain the business rates that they collect.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government do not apportion total tax revenues to the countries and regions of the United Kingdom. Full details of UK tax revenues can be found in table C11 of the Budget 2010 document published in June 2010 (HC 61).
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the costs to business and public services of the proposal by the European Parliament to increase the period of maternity leave at full pay to 20 weeks.[HL3198]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): Providing 20 weeks of fully paid maternity leave would cost the Government approximately £1.7 billion to £2.3 billion per annum in addition to our existing spend in this area. The Exchequer meets the lion's share of the costs of maternity pay. Employers make payments of statutory maternity pay to employees but are able to reclaim some or all of the payment. The Government estimate the additional costs to employers of paying statutory maternity pay at full pay for 20 weeks as £100 million to £150 million.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, following September's United Nations Summit on the Millennium Development Goals, what plans they have to support provision of primary and secondary education in conflict-affected countries to children and in particular girls.[HL2947]
Baroness Verma: As laid out in The Coalition: Our Programme for Government, the UK Government will prioritise increasing access to basic services, such as health and education, for the world's poorest people; including a particular focus on the rights of women and girls. Girls who progress to secondary education have better maternal health, fewer and healthier children and greater economic opportunities.
The Department for International Development (DfID) is currently reviewing its aid programmes to determine how we can achieve better value for money for the taxpayer, accelerate growth and achieve the millennium development goals. This includes a review of our emergency response programme, which will look at the provision of education in the immediate aftermath of conflict or natural disaster.
With over half of primary aged children not enrolled in school living in fragile and conflict-affected states-a total of 39 million children out of an estimated 69 million worldwide-we recognise the need to promote education in fragile and conflict-affected states. As such, the Government have recently announced that 30 per cent of overseas development assistance will go to fragile and conflict-affected states.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment has been made of the impact of their NHS reforms on (a) the specific health needs of women, (b) the health needs of men at risk of gender specific cancers, (c) geriatric health, (d) the specific health needs of black and Asian communities, (e) children and adolescents presenting with mental health problems, and (f) people with learning difficulties; and what provision will be made to support general practitioners in respect of the diagnosis and treatment of those in these groups.[HL2812]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Government have recently consulted on the White Paper, Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS, published on 12 July and are now considering the responses. We will assess the impact of the White Paper on the equality strands as part of the process. An equality impact assessment on the White Paper will be published alongside the Health Bill and the government response at the end of the year.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Specialised services are defined as activity that falls within specialised service national definition sets. Such activity receives top-up payments when provided by eligible providers, where these have been determined. The payments are applied as a percentage increase to the national tariff.
The current methodology is described in Estimating the Impact of Specialised Activity on Providers Costs for 2009-10, which has been placed in the Library and is available at http://collections.europarchive.org/tna/20100509080731/http://dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/PublicationsPolicyAndGuidance/DH_094182.
The Operating Framework for the NHS in 2010-11 announced a fundamental review of the current methodology. This review has now been completed by independent academics at the University of York, will inform the 2011-12 tariff and will be published alongside the tariff early next year.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Shutt of Greetland on 19 October (WA 160) concerning the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, whether all activities of the Commission have been within the legal objectives.[HL2913]
Lord Shutt of Greetland: I refer the noble Lord to the answer given on 19 October, Official Report, col. WA160. A copy of the commission's annual report is placed in the Library of the House each year. The report includes details of how the commission met its statutory duties and exercised its powers.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The compliance review found widespread problems within this industry. The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) subsequently took action to address these concerns by issuing formal warnings to 129 debt
1 Nov 2010 : Column WA362
In addition, on 15 October we launched a call for evidence "Managing Borrowing and Dealing with Debt", part of which looks at the debt management framework, including debt management plans, to ensure that empowered debtors are able to seek appropriate advice at the appropriate time and have access to a solution that both they and their creditors can have confidence in.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of research indicating reduction in bone formation at tissue and cellular level in younger male sheep farmers, Gulf War veterans, and airline pilots, all of whom have been exposed to organophosphates (OPs); and whether they will issue advice based on such findings to medical practitioners treating patients who have had exposures to OPs as part of their osteoporosis prevention programme.[HL2902]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Health Protection Agency advises that no specific evaluation of reduction in bone formation in younger male sheep farmers, Gulf War veterans and airline pilots has been made. The independent Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COT) undertook a review of the epidemiological literature pertaining to airline pilots. No evidence of effects on bone formation in this occupational group was retrieved. The COT is undertaking a review of organophosphates to update the review published in 1999.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): We are proposing to introduce new national insurance credits for grandparents and certain other adult family members who provide childcare for children under the age of 12, from the 2011-12 tax year. This is in recognition of the help with childcare that grandparents and family members provide.
The information about the consultation is available at http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/ni-credits-changes- consultation.pdf.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): Planning policy guidance note 18 gives advice to local planning authorities on the use of their discretion to take enforcement action, including considerations of proportionality. Further guidance is in the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions Circular 10/97 and its companion publication Enforcing Planning Control: Good Practice Guide for Local Planning Authorities.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): Information regarding the 10 countries with the highest number of sentenced foreign national prisoners, broken down by offence group, as at 30 September 2010 can be seen in the attached table.
|Sentenced Foreign Nation Prisoner Population-30 Sep 2010|
|Foreign National Prisoner Population|
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): Healthcare in prisons is provided by the NHS under the NHS in-reach programme. The NHS professionals providing that treatment in prison are responsible for the early identification of prisoners who may need transfer to hospital for treatment for mental disorder.
Where such need is identified, the head of healthcare in the prison liaises with NHS providers, which will be the local primary care trust in England or the local health board in Wales. NHS secure services commissioners and independent sector providers may also be consulted in the process of identifying a suitable provider.
The Secretary of State for Justice may direct the transfer to hospital of a prisoner if he concludes that it is expedient and in the public interest to do so. Before directing the transfer of an individual prisoner, the Secretary of State must have two medical reports
1 Nov 2010 : Column WA366
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, following the oral statement by Lord Taylor of Holbeach on 14 October regarding public bodies (Official Report, col. 622-24), the operations of the Commission for New Towns and the Urban Regeneration Agency have changed.[HL3118]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): The Commission for New Towns and the Urban Regeneration Agency were abolished by order in April 2009 by the previous Government. They were both predecessor bodies of the Homes and Communities Agency which was covered by the announcement of 14 October.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): The voluntary and social enterprise sectors have a major role to play in helping us to build a stronger society. Their ability to mobilise and support people and find better ways of doing things puts them in the vanguard of the big society. Their role and influence will grow as power is transferred to communities. There will be new opportunities for the sectors to increase their involvement in the design and delivery of public services and to facilitate social action to help local communities to solve their own problems. Specifically, the localism Bill will give voluntary and community groups the right to challenge local authorities where they believe that they could provide services differently or better.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they will ensure the protection of the interests of national passenger and freight operators in respect of timetabling, capacity allocation, control of the network operation, co-ordination of possessions, charging for access and licensing in any new railway structure involving vertical integration; and whether any new structure will comply with European and United Kingdom legislation.[HL3228]
Earl Attlee: Sir Roy McNulty is in the process of leading a study into the value for money of the rail industry, which is examining whether current industry incentive structures and processes need to be changed to drive efficiencies. This aligns with the Government's own work on ensuring that we have an accountable and sustainable railway.
I am happy to assure the noble Lord that we will ensure that any reforms which emerge from this process are compatible with European legislation requiring a fair and open system for allocating access to the network, including access for freight train operators.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Attlee on 21 October (WA 199), what derogations would be required in connection with cab crashworthiness before new Pendolino trains could operate on lines other than the West Coast Main Line.[HL3059]
Earl Attlee: Derogations in connection with cab crashworthiness were granted in September 2008 for the four new Pendolino trains currently being built for the UK. Those derogations facilitated the use of current British standards of cab crashworthiness, rather than those required by European technical specifications for interoperability. The derogations are not route specific and are not limited to the west coast main line.
Earl Attlee: Network Rail has started work on the partial redoubling of the railway line between Oxford and Worcester. When this project is complete, we expect the operational performance of train services between Hereford/Worcester and Oxford/London to improve. No material reductions in journey times are planned.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, with respect to schools in England and Wales, (a) what, in descending order, were the 12 most frequently attempted GCSE subjects in each of the years since 1995; and (b) how many pupils were entered for each of those subjects in each of those years. [HL2264]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The information requested for schools in England has been placed in the House Libraries. Information for schools in Wales can be obtained from the Welsh Assembly.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will consider changing their guidance on foreign language teaching for primary schools to ensure Latin is treated in the same way as other foreign languages.[HL2646]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The Government regard Latin as a valuable subject for pupils to study for a number of reasons. For example, it can help in the study of a range of modern languages; and the related study of Roman culture is valuable as it provides the basis for so much of our own culture and that of our close neighbours. We are considering ways in which to encourage more teaching of Latin, including in primary schools.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether Ofsted has found widespread over-identification of children in School Action Plus; and whether media reports stating that up to 700,000 children or up to half of children with special educational needs may be misdiagnosed accurately reflect Ofsted's Special Educational Needs and Disability Review.[HL2700]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): This is a matter for Ofsted. HM chief inspector, Christine Gilbert, has written to the noble Lord and a copy of her letter has been placed in the Libraries.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): HMS "Montrose" is currently deployed as part of NATO's mission Op Ocean Shield, patrolling the Gulf of Aden and Somali Basin as part of the international effort to counter piracy.
The most recent incident involving HMS "Montrose" occurred on the 14 October 2010, when she was engaged in disrupting a suspect pirate group. HMS "Montrose" acted in line with NATO and UK guidelines, successfully disrupting the group, and confiscated all pirate paraphernalia to ensure that the suspected pirates no longer posed a threat to merchant ships.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The department does not maintain an annual record of the cost to the National Health Service of treating people with smoking-related illnesses.
Academic research has indicated that the cost to the NHS of treating people with tobacco related-illnesses in England is £2.7 billion per annum (Callum C. (2008). The Cost of Smoking to the NHS Health Economics, Policy and Law), available online at http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayFulltext?type= l&pdftype=l&fid=7879505&jid=HEP&volumeId=-1&issueId=&aid=7879503.
Earlier this year, Policy Exchange estimated that the wider cost to society of tobacco use is almost £14 billion per annum. In its report Cough Up it looked at the cost of early death or retirement due to sickness, payment of benefits to support widows and families, the costs of sickness at work to employers, the human and financial costs of smoking-related fires, smoking breaks at work and cleaning up cigarette butts. A copy of this report has already been placed in the Library.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): We have considered the information available for this group in the family resources survey, which is the source we use when assessing the impact of welfare reforms. However, because of the small sample size, we are not able to produce a reliable assessment.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what effect, by income decile, reforms relating to the Department for Work and Pensions outlined in the emergency budget will have on household income in (a) cash terms, and (b) percentage terms.[HL2996]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what effect, by income decile, reforms relating to the Department for Work and Pensions outlined in the Spending Review 2010 will have on household income in (a) cash terms, and (b) percentage terms.[HL2997]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what will be the combined effect, by income decile, of reforms relating to the Department for Work and Pensions in the emergency budget and the Spending Review 2010 on household income in (a) cash terms, and (b) percentage terms.[HL2998]
Lord Freud: We are currently analysing the distributional effects of the welfare reforms announced in the emergency Budget and the spending review 2010, including the introduction of a universal credit. The analysis, which will include the impact on household incomes split by income decile, will be made available when we publish our welfare reform White Paper in the next few weeks.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the exception of working tax credit from the benefits cap announced in the Spending Review 2010 will apply to all households that receive working tax credit, or just to families with children.[HL2999]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The exemption of working tax credit from the benefits cap announced in spending review 2010 will apply to all family units (couples with and without children, lone parents and singles without children) receiving working tax credit.
However, officials from the Gambling Commission are working with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the London Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) and the Metropolitan Police to ensure that any sports betting integrity issues which arise during the 2012 Olympic Games within the licensed market in Great Britain are dealt with effectively.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) issues code of practice (COP) 9 where it wishes to commence
1 Nov 2010 : Column WA371
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Tax legislation provides for income tax relief on donations of property and quoted shares to charity, while the donor is alive. There is no similar provision in current legislation to allow income tax relief for donations of artwork. The Government keep all taxes under review.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): There has been no change in policy in relation to HM Revenue and Customs' (HMRC) statutory duty of confidentiality as it applies to the information it needs to carry out its functions, and there are no plans to make people's tax records publicly available.
Section 94 of the Finance Act 2009 allows HMRC to publish the name and other details of those who are penalised for serious tax evasion, as the law-abiding public have an interest in knowing how we deal with serious tax evaders. This is not a precursor to making people's tax records publicly available.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The previous Government announced in the March 2010 Budget that tobacco duty rates will increase by 2 per cent above inflation each year to 2014-15. This remained unchanged at the June Budget.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) deployed approximately 31,000 staff across all grades in 2009-10 on a variety of compliance activities including risk assessment, addressing inaccurate returns and verifying repayment claims, debt collection, anti-avoidance and criminal investigations. HMRC deploys this staff resource in response to identified risks.
The recent publication of the tax gap figures for 2008-09 provides a detailed breakdown of the monetary value of the UK tax gap and suggests that the tax gap is in the order of £42 billion. It also provides an estimate of how the tax gap is split by behaviour. This document can be found at http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/measuring-tax-gaps-2010.htm.pdf.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether foreign nationals suspected of involvement in terrorism who are given indefinite leave to remain in the United Kingdom are automatically entitled, after a period of years, to be granted (a) British citizenship, and (b) the right to vote in general, local and European elections.[HL2721]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): Foreign nationals who are given indefinite leave to remain in the United Kingdom are not automatically entitled after any number of years to be granted British citizenship. Any person applying for citizenship on the basis of their length of residency in the UK must satisfy a number of statutory requirements before being granted citizenship. An individual suspected of involvement in terrorism is unlikely to be able to meet the statutory requirement to be of good character and so would be likely to be refused British citizenship. Furthermore, where a foreign national represents a threat to our national security, the UK Border Agency will seek to deport him or her for that reason, irrespective of whether or not the person concerned has been convicted of any offence.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the capacity of local government to take on the role of Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation before it was decided to abolish the Corporation.[HL3116]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): My honourable friend the Minister for the Thames Gateway met Thurrock Borough Council's Leader (Councillor John Kent) and Leader of the Opposition (Councillor Garry Hague) to discuss the future of Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation (TTGDC) before making a decision. Both councillors expressed confidence in the council's ability to take on, in due course, the functions previously undertaken by TTGDC.
As announced on 8 September, my honourable friend concluded that it is right for the TTGDC to transfer to the council from 1 April 2012. Among the benefits are: enabling efficiency savings to be made through shared services; strengthening local control over regeneration and the operation of planning responsibilities; and strengthening the council's capacity to drive regeneration. On 15 September, the whole council received and welcomed a report on the proposed transfer.
Earl Attlee: The priority of the UK Border Agency remains to secure the border and control migration while it plays its part in reducing the public deficit. The UK Border Agency budget will reduce by up to
1 Nov 2010 : Column WA374
The agency expects to achieve in the region of £500 million savings by reducing support costs, boosting productivity and improving value for money from commercial suppliers. Within the overall settlement for the UK Border Agency, there will be higher reductions for head office and administration, and smaller for the front-line operations. This also includes cutting overhead costs by over a third over the spending review period.
The UK Border Agency will also complete investment in technology including e-Borders and our immigration caseworking system to support border controls and replace costly and outmoded paper work. The agency's greater use of technology will help improve productivity and efficiency and will mean that it can target its resources-people and money-on those people most likely to cause harm to the UK.
|UK Border Agency Overseas Workforce|
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