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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): Partner nations are in intensive negotiations with Airbus Military about an amended contract for the A400M military transport aircraft and, as with other contracts, break points will be an important element of the amended agreement. However, as these international discussions are ongoing-we expect them to be concluded later this year-I would not wish to prejudice the outcome by providing such information at this time.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether there is any clause in their contract for the A400M aircraft that restricts their freedom to sell A400M aircraft to other countries, either inside or outside the procurement consortium.[HL3021]
Lord Astor of Hever: The empty (unloaded) weight of the delivered aircraft remains to be determined during the continuing aircraft development but is not a contractual requirement. The contract identifies load carrying capacity, included within the contractually binding performance guarantees. As has been widely reported, the target design weight has increased since contract signature. The impact of this weight growth is constantly assessed against the performance guarantees to ensure that no degradation in operational performance occurs. A400M is forecast to meet these performance guarantees as specified in the original contract, despite the increase in design weight, including the maximum single load of 32 tonnes.
Lord Astor of Hever: The seller has no right under the contract to increase its prices. We have agreed, subject to satisfactory conclusion of negotiations, to increase the unit price per aircraft in recognition of the problems facing the programme, the consequences of not doing so and value for money. As announced in the recent strategic defence and security review, the UK intends A400M to form the backbone of its future tactical air transport fleet and we have therefore confirmed that, subject to successful final negotiations on re-baselining the contract, the UK has no desire to extract itself from the A400M programme.
With regard to the number of C130 aircraft, we estimate that approximately 560 are currently in service with other NATO nations, but, with regard to future plans, this information is not held centrally and it would be inappropriate to speculate on what may be private commercial deals between US companies and foreign Governments, to which the UK is not a party.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The contractual conditions which allow cancellation of the whole programme or individual aircraft are complex and depend on specific conditions of the seller's performance under the contract, primarily around contractual breach.
Under the contract, the UK does not have a unilateral right to exercise a termination condition; it has to be through consensus with all launch nations for the entire contract. As announced in the recent strategic defence and security review, the UK intends A400M to form the backbone of its future tactical air transport fleet and we have therefore confirmed that, subject to successful final negotiations on rebaselining the contract, the UK has no desire to extract itself from the A400M programme.
Lord Astor of Hever: There are no plans to replace the Tornado GR4 engine before the aircraft's current out of service date of 2025. Therefore the cost of providing new engines has not been investigated.
Under the capability upgrade strategy (pilot) programme approved in December 2007, 96 Tornado GR4 aircraft will receive capability upgrades between 2011 and 2014 at an estimated cost of £303 million. This number of aircraft is sufficient to maintain the operational capability of the Tornado GR4 forward available fleet until 2025. There are currently no plans for the aircraft to receive any further capability upgrades after 2014.
Lord Astor of Hever: Storm Shadow has not yet been used in Afghanistan. We carefully select the type of weapon in every engagement to ensure the most appropriate munition is used to deliver the required effect, while minimising the risk of civilian casualties.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the contribution that the arts as part of the creative economy make to the gross national product; and what assessment has been made of the potential impact to gross national product of spending reductions in this sector. [HL3360]
Baroness Rawlings: The creative industries are estimated to have accounted for 6.2 per cent of gross value added in 2007. These estimates cover arts sectors such as arts and antiques, designer fashion, video, film and photography and music and the visual and performing arts, as well as the other creative sectors: advertising, architecture, publishing, software, computer games and electronic publishing and radio and TV. The total excludes the crafts and design sectors due to a lack of consistent information.
While we have made no formal assessment of the potential impact to these GVA estimates of spending reductions, we are confident that in limiting the cuts to our cultural core to just 15 per cent, the creative industries will still benefit from public investment and continue to play their part in economic growth.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Neville-Jones on 21 October (WA 202), what are the annual figures for applicants granted asylum or turned down for asylum in each year since 2000 in each category mentioned; and how many non-principal applicants or dependencies were granted asylum in those years.[HL3252]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): Regarding the annual figures for applicants granted asylum or turned down for asylum in each year since 2000, I refer the noble Lord to the Answer given on 22 October 2010 in col. WA 205.
The numbers of dependants granted asylum in each year since 2000 are provided in the attached table and have been derived from Table 2.2 of the Control of Immigration Statistics: United Kingdom, 2009 referred to in the above Answer.
|Applications (1) received for asylum in the UK, initial decisions and percentages, dependants only, 2000 to 2009|
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the rules relating to the handling of client monies by fund managers and bank custodians; and whether they will require clear segregation. [HL2968]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Under the Financial Services Authority's (FSA) client money rules (set out in the Client Assets Sourcebook), where firms are holding client money they are required to keep it in segregated accounts with trust status. The Government note that the FSA has set up a new client asset sector unit, which is aimed at enhancing and strengthening the FSA's existing capabilities in the area of client money and assets. The sector consists of teams responsible for specialist supervision, policy, data analysis and risk management.
Lord Sassoon: The overall aim of quantitative easing (QE) was to avoid the substantial risk that inflation would undershoot the target of 2 per cent in the medium term. The Bank of England has published several assessments on the channels through which QE is expected to work (for example Quantitative Easing Explained) and on evidence of its impact (see the May 2010 Inflation Report).
Lord Sassoon: HM Revenue and Customs collected £3.45 billion of gross receipts from the bank payroll tax. It is estimated that the net yield was £2.3 billion. In line with the general methodology set out in the June 2010 Budget policy costings document, the net yield takes account of all direct behavioural effects of a measure on the tax base itself (in this case the tax base for the bank payroll tax) or closely associated receipts (in this case receipts from income tax and national insurance contributions).
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): As of 27 October 2010, over 12,400 businesses have been offered enterprise finance guarantee (EFG)
8 Nov 2010 : Column WA7
My department commissioned an early stage assessment of the impact of EFG on recipient firms published in December 2009. This research provides an assessment of the impact of EFG, associated with recipient businesses being able to access loans that otherwise would have not been available. The impact is assessed on a number of business outcomes, including jobs created and saved, impacts on sales and wider benefits such as on cash flow, survival prospects and the introduction of new products and processes. The study also seeks to understand the experiences and the benefits for businesses receiving EFG loans, including the process of borrowing through EFG and the level of satisfaction of recipients.
Approximately 60 per cent of firms reported the creation of jobs, either already or anticipated in the future, and 57 per cent of respondents reported that they had saved jobs, all attributed to EFG. In the 385 respondent businesses, some 1,870 jobs have been saved, 350 jobs have already been created and a further 550 new jobs are expected in the future, due to receiving EFG.
The full report of findings is published on the BIS website at http://www.berr.gov.uk/whatwedo/enterprise/au/research-evaluation/globally-competiti ve/page38372.html.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many employment and support allowance claims have been resolved by withdrawal of the claims, for the period from the introduction of the work capability assessment until the end of September 2010, broken down by month of resolution.[HL3284]
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many employment and support allowance claims have been resolved by an unappealed decision of "fit to work", for the period from the introduction of the work capability assessment until the end of September 2010, broken down by month of resolution. [HL3285]
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many employment and support allowance claims have been resolved by (a) an upheld appeal of a "fit to work" decision, and (b) an unsuccessful appeal of a "fit to work" decision, for the period from the introduction of the work capability assessment until the end of September 2010, in each case broken down by month of resolution.[HL3286]
To ask Her Majesty's Government in how many employment and support allowance claims there is an appeal ongoing following a "fit to work" decision, for the period from the introduction of the work capability assessment until the end of September 2010, broken down by month of resolution. [HL3287]
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many employment and support allowance claims have been resolved by (a) a decision to place the claimant in the work related activity group, and (b) a decision to place the claimant in the support group for the period from the introduction of the work capability assessment until the end of September 2010, broken down by month of resolution.[HL3288]
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many employment and support allowance claims are currently unresolved for the period from the introduction of the work capability assessment until the end of September 2010, broken down by month of resolution. [HL3289]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The table below shows the number of employment and support allowance claims closed before assessment was started or completed by the month of claim closure. Figures are rounded to the nearest hundred.
|Month ESA claim closed||Claim closed before completing assessment|
We do not hold information on whether an appeal regarding an employment and support allowance claim has been raised until the appeal has been heard by the Ministry of Justice. There are also a number of unresolved appeals which mean figures will refresh as more appeals are heard. Because the data are not available in the format requested, figures are presented on the number of fit for work decisions by the date of assessment, along with decisions which place people in the work related activity group (WRAG) and the support group, and separately, the number of appeals by month of hearing split between either decisions in favour of the appellant or where the DWP decision was upheld.
|Month of Assessment||Support Group||Work Related Activity Group||Fit for Work|
|Month of MOJ hearing||Appealed Fit for Work-Appellant Successful||Appealed Fit for Work-DWP Decision Upheld|
|Month of claim start||In Progress|
Note that data from Tribunals Service does not record the reason for the appeal and we must infer this from the original decision on the case made by Jobcentre Plus. This is typically a fit for work decision.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many defence attachés are deployed in (a) Africa, (b) the United States, (c) Europe, (d) Asia, and (e) Australasia; what are their ranks; in which locations are they based; and how many were deployed in each area in (1) 1979, (2) 1987, (3) 1997, and (4) 2005.[HL3050]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The following table shows how many defence attaches/advisers are deployed in Africa, the United States, Europe, Asia and Australia, together with their ranks and locations. It also shows how many were deployed in 1997 and 2005.
|Region||Country||Total 1997||Total 2005||Total 2010||Defence Att/Adv Rank 2010|
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, Jeremy Hunt, on 25 October (HC Deb, col 9), whether they will publish the full agreement they have reached with the BBC regarding the future funding of S4C. [HL3159]
Baroness Rawlings: My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Culture, the Olympics, Media and Sport's letter of 21 October 2010 to the Chairman of the BBC Trust about the next Television Licence Fee settlement set out the full agreement they have reached with the BBC regarding the future funding of S4C. The letter has been published on the Department for Culture, Media and Sport website and can be found using the link http://www.culture.gov.uk/images/publications/Lyons_BBC.pdf.
The Access to Work programme can help where the assistance needed is above and beyond what the employer could reasonably provide. Access to Work provides practical advice and support to disabled people and their employers to help them overcome work-related obstacles resulting from the employee's disability.
The Government introduced a new programme of employment support for disabled people on 25 October 2010. Work Choice will provide intensive and individual support for disabled people with more complex support needs.
The spending review confirmed the Government's continued funding to Remploy and the introduction of the Work programme. The Work programme will provide more personalised back-to-work support for long-term unemployed people, including disabled people.
The Department for Work and Pensions is also working with other departments across government to improve both employment aspirations and outcomes for disabled people. Examples of collaborative working include support for the Right to Control, the Department for Education's Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Green Paper, and with the Child Poverty Unit by encouraging a better appreciation that employment should be the expectation for more disabled people.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): An assessment of the impact of the universal credit on disabled people will be published when we present our welfare reform White Paper in the next few weeks. This will include the impact on disabled people.
Lord Freud: Greater transparency across government is at the heart of the coalition Government's commitment to enable the public to hold politicians and public bodies to account, to reduce the deficit and deliver better value for money in public spending.
Reducing the rate of disability poverty is one of the Department for Work and Pensions' key objectives and will enable the public to assess how the department is performing. Performance transparency will be used to help move from bureaucratic accountability to democratic accountability: replacing top-down targets and central micromanagement with information and choice.
Both children living in families with a disabled adult and children living in families with a disabled child are included among the groups disproportionately likely to be in poverty and affected by socioeconomic disadvantage. The coalition Government are committed to tackling poverty and have signed up to the Child Poverty Act which puts in legislation a commitment to eradicate child poverty by 2020.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the reasons for disabled people living below the poverty line; and what measures they will take to tackle those underlying causes. [HL3475]
Lord Freud: The links between disability and poverty are many and complex. Analysis suggests that it is not just the presence of disability which makes, for example, families with a disabled child more likely to experience poverty. It is related to other factors such as being in workless households or lone parent families. There is also some evidence1 to show that disability is associated with changes in employment and family formation over time.
The Government have made it clear that employment and personal responsibility are fundamentally important in tackling poverty. The aim of the new Work programme and increased conditions attached to payment of benefit
8 Nov 2010 : Column WA16
The Government have also announced their clear commitment to disabled people by introducing a new programme called Work Choice, from 25 October 2010. It will sit alongside the Work programme and will help into work disabled people who face the most complex barriers to finding and staying in employment.
Work Choice is designed to help customers whose disability may result in them facing serious and often complex barriers to finding and keeping a paid job or progressing while in work. The programme provides specialist support where mainstream provision may not be appropriate or does not meet the particular needs of the individual.
The Government believe that the benefit system is too complicated and can encourage dependency rather than helping people into work. The financial gains from entering work are, at present, not clear enough and the complexity of the system means that some people think that moving into work may risk the security of their household income.
Universal credit will improve incentives to work (especially for low earners such as disabled people) by a combination of earnings disregards and a single withdrawal rate to reduce the credit when earnings exceed the disregard. This will make the benefits of work clearer and simpler: encouraging people to move into work and see the financial benefits of increasing the number of hours they work.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the reply of Lord Sassoon on 20 October (Official Report, col. 858), whether they expect to (a) reduce the number of disabled people living below the poverty line, or (b) prevent the number from increasing, by exempting (1) people with care needs from the extension of the single-room rate for housing benefit, and (2) families where one person claims a disability living allowance from the cap on household welfare payments.[HL3476]
Lord Freud: The extension of the single-room rate for housing benefit and the cap on household welfare payments are expected to affect relatively few people and therefore have a small1 impact on the numbers of disabled people living below the poverty line.
Currently those in receipt of the severe disability premium within housing benefit are exempt from the shared room rate and single room rent, that is: customers who receive at least the middle rate care component of disability living allowance and where no one gets a carer's allowance for them. This exemption will continue to apply to those in receipt of middle and higher rate care components of DLA, as appropriate, once the age threshold is raised to 35 in April 2012.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much they paid Nationwide to cover the liabilities of the Dunfermline Building Society not covered by the assets that Nationwide otherwise acquired; and what claims for the transfer of costs they have made or will make against the Financial Services Compensation Scheme under Section 214B of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.[HL2664]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Details of the financial support provided by the Treasury to support the transfer of certain assets and liabilities of Dunfermline Building Society (DBS) to Nationwide Building Society (NBS) are set out in the Treasury's Resource Accounts for 2008-09 (HC 611) and for 2009-10 (HC 261).
The Treasury provided just under £1.6 billion to NBS. The Treasury has a claim in the DBS administration for this amount. To the extent that a proportion of this amount is not recovered in the administration, the Treasury may seek to recover that amount from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), which may be required by the Treasury to contribute to the costs of the resolution of DBS. The amount that the FSCS can be required to contribute towards the DBS resolution is currently being calculated by Ian Burns of Smith & Williamson, who was appointed as independent valuer for DBS in December 2009. Details will be published in future Treasury Resource Accounts.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): Providing children with special educational needs with the best possible outcomes is a key priority for the Government. We recognise that all too often families feel that they have had to battle to get their children's needs recognised and met. We will publish a Green Paper later this year to look at how we can make the system less adversarial,
8 Nov 2010 : Column WA18
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord McNally on 20 July (WA 192), what reasons they have for continuing to permit Commonwealth citizens given leave to enter the United Kingdom on a student visa to become immediately eligible to vote in parliamentary elections on taking up residence in a particular constituency; and how many such registrations are made annually. [HL3075]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): As explained in the Written Answer given by my noble friend, Lord Shutt of Greetland (WA 436) on 27 September, the Representation of the People Act 1918 provided that only British subjects could register as electors. The term "British subject" then included any person who owed allegiance to the Crown, regardless of the Crown territory in which he or she was born. In general terms this included citizens who became Commonwealth citizens under the British Nationality Act 1981. The then Government gave an undertaking to preserve certain existing rights of Commonwealth citizens resident in the UK, including the right to vote.
However, it was considered appropriate to restrict this right in electoral law to "qualifying" Commonwealth citizens. Under Section 4 of the Representation of the People Act 1983, a qualifying Commonwealth citizen is an individual who has leave to enter or remain in the UK or does not require such leave. A Commonwealth citizen given leave to enter on a student visa is a qualifying Commonwealth citizen for the purposes of electoral registration. Information in respect of the numbers of Commonwealth citizens registered to vote in UK elections is not collected centrally.
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