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To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Henley on 21 October (WA 187), whether the Scottish Agricultural College study will consider cows' behaviour; and, if not, why not.[HL3412]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): The Scottish Agricultural College research project "A Study to Investigate the Management and Welfare of Continuously Housed Dairy Cows" is considering cows' behaviour. Specifically, it is investigating how housed dairy cattle might best be allowed to perform a full range of natural behaviour. Details can be found on the Defra website at: http://randd.defra.gov.uk/Default.aspx?Menu=Menu&Module=More&Location= None&Completed=0&ProiectID=15761.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answers by Lord Henley on 25 October (WA 219) and 3 November 2010 (WA 406), whether any assessments have been made in the United Kingdom or the European Union of the precise formulations of Roundup herbicide rather than just the active ingredient glyphosate, as used on genetically modified crops, entering the food supply in the United Kingdom.[HL3703]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): The human and environmental safety of specific formulations is considered by the pesticides regulatory regime where each product is used. If a specific formulation is marketed in the EU, it will have been considered in accordance with the requirements of Directive 91/414 that established the European regulatory regime for plant protection products (to be replaced by Regulation 1107/2009 on 14 June 2011).
EU legislation sets maximum residue levels (MRLs) for pesticide active substances in food and feed based on the EU risk assessment of those uses. MRLs are also set to the same standards for residues of pesticides in imported food and feed. MRLs for glyphosate have been agreed for a range of products including dry pulses, oilseeds and cereals. This legislation also establishes an EU programme for monitoring compliance with these MRLs.
Under EU pesticides legislation, the European Food Safety Authority has assessed the consumer safety of glyphosate residues, in relation to their presence on imported genetically modified crop commodities, and concluded that existing MRLs should remain unchanged.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Attlee on 1 November (WA 339), what evidence they have that "the police and other agencies" treat anti-social behaviour "as something normal that should be tolerated". [HL3587]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): On 23 September, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) published a report Anti-social Behaviour: Stop the Rot on the way police forces in England and Wales deal with anti-social behaviour (ASB). The report was based on HMIC's assessment of each force, research by the University of Cardiff and an Ipsos MORI survey of victims of ASB.
One of the report's key findings was that, for some forces, a lack of understanding of the harm it causes to communities and vulnerable individuals had contributed to an increasing acceptance or defining down of ASB that we should not have grown used to. HMIC's analysis is being considered as part of the Home Office's review of the ASB toolkit.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Astor of Hever on 26 October (WA 246), whose commercial interests would be prejudiced if they were to disclose the acquisition costs of the A400M aircraft.[HL3342]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): As contractual negotiations between partner nations and Airbus Military on the A400M programme are at an advanced stage, it would not be in the commercial interests of any of the parties involved if this information were released.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are required to obtain the permission of any other members of the consortium building the A400M aircraft before they disclose its acquisition costs. [HL3344]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations, if any, they have received from other members of the manufacturing consortium about the disclosure of the acquisition costs of the A400M aircraft.[HL3345]
To ask Her Majesty's Government when the Committee on the Grant of Honours, Decorations and Medals who advised the Queen in 2005 that British ex-servicemen should accept but not wear the Pingat Jasa Malaysia Medal met to consider this advice; and whether they will publish the minutes in full.[HL3237]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Committee on the Grant of Honours, Decorations and Medals (HD Committee) met to consider the Pingat Jasa Malaysia Medal on 7 December 2005.
HD Committee minutes are not published but information on the decision can be found on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website at http://www.fco.gov.uk/resources/en/pdf/pdf21/fco_pingatjasamalaysiamedal.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): At the most recent meeting of the Peace Implementation Council Steering Board in Sarajevo in June 2010, the steering board agreed that the five objectives and two conditions necessary for closure of the office of the high representative had not yet been completed. In particular, there had
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There has been no significant step forward on this issue since June. The UK continues to underline the importance of completion of the five objectives and two conditions and to emphasise to Bosnian leaders the need to work constructively together towards achieving this.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The independent Office for Budget Responsibility assumes that after freezing the precept in England in 2011-12, police authorities would on average choose to increase precept in line with historical trend growth.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the revised version of the document Hate Crime: Delivering a Quality Service-Good Practice and Tactical Guidance (March 2005) will emphasise the importance of freedom of speech; and, in particular, whether it will make clear that police officers should not infer an intention to stir up hatred from mere words of criticism of sexual behaviour, in line with Section 29JA of the Public Order Act 1986, as inserted by the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008. [HL3369]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The revised Hate Crime manual is operational police guidance and is therefore a matter for the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO). ACPO has indicated that the revised manual where appropriate will take account of Section 29JA of the Public Order Act 1986, as inserted by the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord McNally on 22 October (WA 205), what the obstacle is to police forces identifying racially and religiously aggravated offences separately; and whether they will ensure that in future those data are of sufficient quality to be published in the annual statistics on Race and the Criminal Justice System.[HL3367]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): Police forces record crimes in accordance with the law and the provisions set out in the Home Office Counting Rules for Recorded Crime (HOCR). The relevant legislation (the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 as added to by the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001) created a single offence of racial or religious aggravation. Police recorded crime statistics currently include racially and religiously aggravated offences as set out in law. The Home Office plans to require forces to submit more detailed information on these and other notifiable offences from April 2011 which will provide additional data to show the split between the racial and religious elements.
Police data on racially or religiously aggravated offences have been published in the Race and the Criminal Justice System report since 2002 and tables showing the figures for individual police force areas have been published since 2003.
Once new proposals by the Home Office are in place, the Ministry of Justice's chief statistician will be responsible for any decision concerning the inclusion of these new data in subsequent reports dependent on their quality.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Howell of Guildford on 27 September (WA 525), when they expect that the remaining political prisoners detained in Cuba since 2003 will be released; and whether they intend to make further representations to Cuba on the matter.[HL3233]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): In July the Government of Cuba announced that they would release 52 political prisoners-originally detained in 2003-within three to four months. To date, 39 have been released and have travelled to Spain. The Cuban Catholic Church announced in October that eight other political prisoners (ie, not part of the original 52) would also be released-and our embassy in Havana has been told that others will follow.
The UK, with our EU partners, will continue to monitor the situation closely-and our embassy in Havana will continue to discuss future releases with the Cuban Government and the Cuban Catholic Church. We hope that the Cuban Government will fulfil their commitment to release the remaining 13 (ie, from the original 52) within their self-imposed deadline of early November. My honourable friend Jeremy Browne, Minister for Latin America, welcomed the announcement, and called on Cuba to allow all freed prisoners to remain in Cuba if they wish. We will continue to support this process and hope that it will lead to further human rights progress in Cuba including the release of all political prisoners in the country.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much money they allocated to support culture and the arts, in terms of both revenue and capital expenditure, during each of the financial years from 1997-98 to 2009-10; what proportion this represented in each year of government expenditure in those categories of expenditure and investment; and whether those figures include support through in lieu schemes, gift aid and other tax incentives to donors and sponsors.[HL3507]
Baroness Rawlings: The total cash paid by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (not arm's-length bodies' expenditure) on culture and the arts, via grant in aid or through central budgets from 1997-98 to 2009-10 is in the table.
|Financial Year||Museums & Galleries £000||Renaissance in the Regions £000||Arts Funding £000||Total £000|
|* The budget for Renaissance in the Regions in 2009-10 was £47,463 million. £26,180 million reflects the total cash paid by DCMS to the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council for this programme during this year with the remainder of the budget taken from accumulated underspends in previous years.|
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): This Government recognise the real and increasing risk to our national security from cyber attack. Therefore the National Security Council has assessed cybersecurity as a tier 1 threat in the National Security Strategy published on 18 October (Official Report, Commons, 18 October 2010, 48WS]. The sstrategic defence and
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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The Government are committed to fighting poverty; supporting those facing disadvantage; and helping people break the cycle of benefit dependency that has blighted some communities.
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 has been developed in close consultation with disability groups and disabled people. It is less prescriptive and more flexible than the one-size-fits-all approach that was available in the past. The support it provides is based on the needs of the individual.
The Work Choice programme is tailored to meet the needs of customers and has a greater focus on supporting customers to achieve their full potential. It is a modular format, designed to provide a flexible support service that is responsive to customers' employment needs.
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.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The question of who is entitled to vote in any particular referendum will be considered and determined in the light of the subject matter. The franchise for each referendum is commonly set out in the primary legislation which establishes that a referendum is to be held.
Under the provisions of the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill, anyone who is registered to vote in Westminster parliamentary elections will be entitled to vote in the referendum on the voting system for the House of Commons. This means that British, Republic of Ireland and Commonwealth citizens resident in the UK and meeting all the eligibility criteria who are aged over 18 can do so. Citizens of British overseas territories, including Gibraltar, are classed as "Commonwealth citizens" under the Representation of the People Act 1983. It would therefore be possible for Gibraltarians resident in the UK and meeting all other eligibility criteria to vote. One specific eligibility criterion for Commonwealth citizens is that they have obtained any leave to enter or remain that they require in order to be in the UK.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Howell of Guildford on 18 October (WA 110), indicating that "there should be no further transfer of sovereignty or powers from the United Kingdom to the European Union over the course of this Parliament", what sovereignty and what powers have been so transferred since 1972.[HL3225]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Since 1972, there have been a number of changes to the treaties which have expanded the scope of the European Union's competence. These include the following:the Single European Act;the Maastricht treaty;the Amsterdam treaty;the Nice treaty; andthe Lisbon treaty.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether collaborative agreements between the Environment Agency (EA) and non-commercial researchers on the use of flood plain data relating to flooding in Cumbria will be drawn up to exclude EA restrictions on the use of modelling methods and software. [HL3398]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Environment Agency will reconsider their policy restricting the use of flood mapping modelling methods and software in relation to non-commercial interests researching flood plain mapping.[HL3399]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): Under the National Infrastructure Plan, published by Her Majesty's Treasury last month, the Government will encourage greater investment in flood resilience by making information on levels of flood risk more available and accessible to all.
Non-commercial interests researching floodplain mapping are not restricted from using Environment Agency-owned modelling inputs or outputs. Modelling that the Environment Agency does not own, or does not have the appropriate third-party intellectual property rights to share, may be restricted. The Environment Agency does not own floodplain mapping software-it is licensed from software companies and these licences do not allow it to be passed to others.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions have taken place with the insurance industry to ensure that affordable insurance will be provided to homes and businesses in flood risk areas beyond 2013; and what progress has been made in providing such insurance.[HL3441]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): Defra had discussions with key representatives from the insurance industry, the National Flood Forum, the Environment Agency and local government at the recent Flood Insurance Summit. We agreed to continue working in partnership to ensure insurance remains widely available beyond 2013, when the current Statement of Principles agreement expires.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their current policy regarding Departmental advertising for recruitment; and how the recent Department for Culture, Media and Sport advertisement for a new Chair of the BBC trustees conforms to that policy. [HL3324]
Baroness Rawlings: The chairman of the BBC Trust is a ministerial appointment which is made under the terms of the Royal Charter, and in accordance with the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments (OCPA) Code of Practice. Given the public interest in this appointment, it was important that the position was advertised widely to ensure any interested persons were aware of the opportunity to apply.
Government policy on recruitment advertising states that if a department believes that they have strong reasons, as set out in the Cabinet Office guidance, for spending money on marketing or advertising, departmental communications directors can authorise expenditure up to a threshold of £25,000. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport adheres to this policy.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the estimated net saving in the pay bill of the Department for International Development for each of the next four years if no bonuses are paid and all salaries and increments are frozen.[HL3212]
Baroness Verma: No such estimate has been made. Following the announcement on the outcome of the 2010 spending review the Department for International Development (DfID) is working to determine the workforce reforms required in order to live within DfID's spending review resource DEL settlement. It is not possible at this time to accurately estimate the impact on DfID's net pay bill.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the estimated net saving in the pay bill of the Department for Transport for each of the next four years if no bonuses are paid and all salaries and increments are frozen.[HL3214]
Earl Attlee: Following the spending review settlement for the Department for Transport, 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, further to the Written Answer by Lord Strathclyde on 11 October (WA 54), whether they will list the precedents for the practice of Ministers giving personal views in conflict with those of the Government when speaking at the Despatch Box.[HL3226]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Holy See has no citizens of its own. We have not had any reason to raise with the Holy See the human rights situation of the citizens or residents of the Vatican City State.
The Holy See is a valuable partner in the work we do on a wide range of issues, including taking forward international development, tackling climate change, preventing and resolving conflict, and promoting dialogue between faiths. The recent visit by Pope Benedict to the UK provided an excellent opportunity to develop our close co-operation on these and other issues.
To ask the Chairman of Committees why the intranet has been changed from the former layout whereby the House of Lords business appeared on the opening page; whether the number of queries to the Information Office has increased; and whether he will review the change.[HL3671]
The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): Although the parliamentary intranet has recently been redesigned, the link to House of Lords Business remains on the front page of the Lords Online Members' Centre in the same way as before. In addition, on the new front page, there is a summary of the day's business in the House. This is a new feature, using an automated feed taken from the parliamentary calendar.
There has not been an increase in the number of inquiries about House of Lords Business since the changes to the Lords Online Members' Centre in May. The web and intranet service is actively seeking feedback on the intranet with a user satisfaction survey (http://survey.parliament.uk/intranetsurvey) and Members are encouraged to take part.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the proposed draft Bill for reform of the House of Lords will contain a provision similar to that in the House of Commons Disqualification Act preventing elected salaried members of the House of Lords taking an office of profit under the Crown.[HL3707]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The cross-party Committee chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister is discussing as part of its deliberations all issues pertinent to reform of the House of Lords including disqualification for membership of the reformed second Chamber.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by the Minister for Housing, Grant Shapps, on 21 October (Official Report, Commons, col. 113), whether the figure of 18,000 new social housing dwellings built between May 1997 and May 2010 excludes dwellings sold under the right to buy; and, if so, what would be the figure if they were included.[HL3305]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): There was a corrected figure of 40,000 net decrease in affordable housing from 1997-08 to 2009-10. This takes account of losses to the social stock through sales under right to buy, right to acquire and similar schemes. It does not factor in demolitions of stock. If demolitions are included, there was a net decrease of 200,000.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many residents in Brighton and Hove will be affected by the increase in non-dependant adult housing allowance deductions; and how much (a) in total, and (b) on average, affected individuals will lose for each year in the period covered by Spending Review 2010. [HL3649]
The non-dependant deduction rates that will apply over the period covered by the Spending Review 2010 have not yet been agreed. The increases in rates will be provided for by way of legislation in the annual benefit uprating order, and will be implemented as part of the department's and local authorities' annual uprating exercises.
From February 2007, DWP has been collecting more detailed housing benefit and council tax benefit data electronically from local authorities. Over time this will improve the accuracy, timeliness and level of detail available in the published statistics, as the information supplied is quality assured.
We shall publish an equality impact assessment on the proposed changes to non-dependant deductions announced at the June 2010 Budget to accompany the relevant legislation when introduced in Parliament. Subject to quality assurance, the equality impact assessment will provide information on the total number of people affected by this measure.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what will be the effect by (a) 2015, and (b) 2020, on net rents payable by housing benefit recipients as a result of the change in the method of uprating benefit to the consumer prices index.[HL3302]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): We will publish an impact assessment for the proposal to increase LHA rates by the consumer price index in the normal way, accompanying the relevant legislation when introduced in Parliament.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The department published a document on Impacts of Housing Benefit Proposals: Changes to the Local Housing Allowanceto be Introduced in 2011-12 on 23 July, which includes analysis at the local authority level. A copy of the document has been placed in the Library.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The Government carried out a full public consultation over the summer to ensure that we took a wide range of views and evidence on board and into account. The consultation asked what more the UK can do to attract the entrepreneurs and investors who will help to drive economic growth. The Government are assessing the responses and will announce their decisions in due course.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): We will announce the operation of the immigration limit and precise details of how individual routes will
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The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): All Iraqi asylum and human rights claims are carefully considered on their individual merits in accordance with our obligations under the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Protection is granted to those applicants who face a real risk of persecution or ill-treatment. Those applicants who are found not to need international protection have a right of appeal to the appellate authorities. In this way the UK Border Agency ensures that it provides protection to those asylum seekers who need it.
The UK Border Agency's Country of Origin Information (COI) Service closely monitors the situation in all the countries that generate asylum seekers to the UK, including Iraq. The COI Service provides accurate, objective, sourced and up-to-date country information, compiled from a wide range of sources, for use by UK Border Agency officials involved in the asylum determination process.
In a country guidance judgment in September 2010, the Immigration and Asylum Chamber of the Unified Tribunal Service (IAC) concluded that the degree of indiscriminate violence in Iraq does not reach such a high level that any civilian returned there would be at risk for that reason alone.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the Israeli organisation Peace Now's statement that "intensive building is proceeding in 36 settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem"; and whether they intend to make representations to the government of Israel.[HL3318]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): As my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary has made clear, we are very disappointed by the continuation of settlement building, following the recent expiry of the settlement moratorium. We continue to call on Israel to freeze settlement activity. Settlements are illegal under international law and an obstacle to peace. We have made our views clear to the Government of Israel and will continue to discuss these issues.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether Mr Hathem Qufishe, a Palestinian MP, has been released by Israel, following his arrest in Hebron on 18 October; and, if not, whether they will make representations on his behalf.[HL3317]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The detention of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli Prison Service facilities is a serious concern. We have called on the Israeli Government to take immediate action to ensure all cases are reviewed by a court in accordance with fair procedures, and that their rights, particularly the rights to a fair trial and family visits, are upheld.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): As of 3 November 2010 there have been 67 letters before action received by the Legal Services Commission (LSC) in relation to the proposed new legal aid contracts for civil (non-family) law. It should be noted that not all of these are formal pre-action letters, and that some of these may also be included in the total number of 27 judicial reviews as of 26 October, stated in my Answer to your earlier question HL2962.
The LSC is the non-departmental public body with responsibility for the administration of the legal aid fund and the tender process and award of legal aid contracts are operational matters for the LSC.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The Deputy Prime Minister publishes details of all official external meetings on a quarterly basis. (http://download.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/transparency/dpm-meetings.csv).
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The Government believe that Britain can benefit from migration but not uncontrolled migration. We have always been clear that we will continue to allow the brightest and the best to come to the UK, including the world class researchers who play such an important role in cancer research. Controlling migration is very much about attracting the best, and the two aims are not incompatible.
For the National Health Service, the White Paper Equity and Excellence set out plans to shift decision-making as close as possible to individual patients by devolving power and responsibility for commissioning services to local consortia of general practitioner (GP) practices, supported and held to account by the establishment of an independent NHS commissioning board.
Giving GP consortia more responsibility and control over commissioning budgets will align responsibility for management of care with the management of resources and should help GPs consider the financial consequences of their clinical decisions. With a real budget comes the responsibility to use public resources as efficiently and effectively as possible. This will lead to better management of resources, and support improvements in the quality and responsiveness of primary care services.
Consortia will have the freedom to make commissioning decisions and they may choose to act collectively, for instance by adopting a lead commissioner model to negotiate and monitor contacts with large hospital trusts or with urgent care providers.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they will take to ensure that their ambitions for plurality and diversity of service providers within the National Health Service are consistent with successor service providers inheriting ownership of the primary care estate they occupy.[HL2877]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The department is currently examining the implications for the management and ownership of the estate following the dissolution of primary care trusts in 2013.
An option appraisal of the various alternatives is being undertaken before making recommendations to Ministers. This approach will ensure they are consistent with the proposals set out in the White Paper Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS. It is anticipated that an announcement will be made in the late autumn.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have made any representations to the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission in relation to the Commission exceeding its remit; and, if so, when and in what way the commission exceeded its remit.[HL3390]
Lord Shutt of Greetland: As set out under Section 69 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998, and Sections 14-16 of the Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Act 2007, the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC) has a wide-ranging remit, which includes keeping under review the effectiveness and adequacy of law and practice relating to the protection of human rights, as well as promoting the understanding and awareness of human rights in Northern Ireland. The NIHRC is independent of Government and it is entitled to set its own programme of work, consistent with its statutory functions. Its strategic and business plans from 2003 onwards are available on the NIHRC website at www.nihrc.org.
Lord Shutt of Greetland: Knowledge and understanding of human rights is explored during the appointment of individuals to the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission. All appointments to the commission are on merit and have been run in accordance with the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments (OCPA) guidelines.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they ensure that overseas aid provided by the European Union and the United Nations is subject to strict financial oversight and reaches those for whom it is intended; and what measures are in place to ensure that the same is true of voluntary organisations. [HL3323]
Baroness Verma: The Department for International Development (DfID) has a number of systems and procedures in place to ensure effective financial oversight of its funding and ensure that aid delivers for its intended recipients.
The UK Government will take forward a strong focus on results in all our aid programmes. That is why we are currently reviewing all our programmes to ensure UK aid is effective, represents value for money and brings real benefit to the world's poor. This includes an assessment of contributions to the EU and UN organisations under the Multilateral Aid Review. DfID has seconded two staff members to the European Commission (EC), which manages all UK aid to the EU, to work on aid effectiveness and impact evaluation.
DfID has also revamped its programme partnership arrangements (PPAs), the main central channel of support to the voluntary sector, by strengthening performance frameworks and ensuring that they are focused on results, outcomes and value for money. From 2011, DfID also plans to carry out due diligence checks for all organisations selected for funding through its centrally managed funds for civil society before any funding is provided. This will include funding through PPAs, the Civil Society Challenge Fund (CSCF) and the Global Poverty Action Fund (GPAF). The due diligence checks will assess: the integrity of the organisations' status and objectives; financial status, viability and capacity (including analysis of audited accounts); the technical capacity to undertake the proposed activities; robustness of operational and commercial systems, process and procedures including compliance with policies, laws and regulations; procurement capability, efficiency and cost effectiveness; and procedures for managing environmental risks.
In addition the UK Government are introducing a new aid transparency guarantee, which commits us to making our aid fully transparent to citizens in both the UK and developing countries, increasing accessibility and feedback, and pushing our international partners to follow our lead.
We are also establishing a new Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) which will increase independent scrutiny of UK aid spending, helping to ensure that all UK aid is well spent. The ICAI is the first of its kind and will lead the world in aid accountability. It will retain the ability to review both UK bilateral and multilateral aid spending.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Government share the concerns raised by Amnesty International in its press release of 25 October 2010 about the torture, enforced disappearances and deaths of 40 people in
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On 24 November 2009, the Government of Pakistan announced a package of measures designed to address the cause of instability in Balochistan. We continue to press the Government of Pakistan to implement these measures.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The Government tabled a total of 286 amendments to the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill. 118 of these were made during the Bill's Committee stage and 168 were made at the Report stage.
Many of these amendments related to the rules governing the combination of the different polls taking place on 5 May 2011. Combination provisions were tabled at Committee stage, rather than being included in the Bill when it was introduced, because the Government felt it was important to allow additional time to work with the Electoral Commission, electoral administrators and others in government on the detail of the provisions. Amendments to these provisions were then required at Report stage following the laying on 25 October of new draft orders to update the rules for elections to the devolved legislatures and the rules for local elections in Northern Ireland.
The Government also tabled amendments in order to update the referendum question, following recommendations made by the Electoral Commission in relation to its intelligibility. Many of the other amendments simply made minor and technical changes to the Bill.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Taylor of Holbeach on 7 October (WA 9-10), whether they will provide the
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The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Since the European Parliament publishes its costs using different headings to the Houses of Parliament it is not possible to use exactly the same table.
(a) Member salaries, pensions, expenses (including staffing expenditure, administrative and office expenditure, personal additional accommodation expenditure, communications expenditure), travel, contribution to Members' staff pensions, temporary secretarial assistance, staff redundancy and winding-up allowance only. These figures are currently provisional pending the completion of the Members Resource Accounts. The payment of Members' salaries and expenses transferred to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority following the 2010 General Election.
(d) This figure is the net resource outturn less (b) and (c). The figure for 2009-10 includes a one-off technical accounting adjustment worth £40.5 million following the revaluation of the parliamentary estate.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The UK remains fully committed to working with international partners to combat trafficking, and views the Convention against Transnational Organised Crime and the protocols thereto and the Council of Europe convention as the main instruments with which to do this.
The UK has publicly urged all states to ratify and implement these instruments with immediate effect, as they remain the principal focus of international efforts to combat human trafficking and we will continue to do so.
To ask Her Majesty's Government where the offices of the National Referral Mechanism and the UK Human Trafficking Centre are located; and whether they will insist on close co-operation between the two organisations and the Serious Organised Crime Agency.[HL3449]
Baroness Neville-Jones: The competent authorities responsible for making decisions under the national referral mechanism (NRM) are based within the UK Border Agency (UKBA) and the UK Human Trafficking Centre (UKHTC), which is part of the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA). There has been close co-operation between all agencies since the inception of the NRM in April 2009 and we shall ensure this continues.
Within UKBA the functions of the competent authority are carried out by trained caseworkers who are based in various offices in the UK as part of the regional organisation of the Border Agency. The UKHTC has been part of SOCA since 1 April 2010. SOCA has premises throughout the UK, specific details of which are not made public.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their response of the report by the Anti Trafficking Monitoring Group Wrong kind of victim? and whether they will ensure that victims of trafficking have access to legal advice and redress.[HL3450]
Baroness Neville-Jones: The coalition Government do not agree with many of the findings in the Anti Trafficking Monitoring Group report Wrong Kind of Victim?, but we are considering its recommendations as part of our ongoing review of the national referral mechanism and will be acting where necessary.
Identified victims of trafficking are entitled to and receive advice and information regarding their legal rights and assistance to enable their rights and interests to be presented and considered at appropriate stages of criminal justice proceedings against traffickers. There are various means by which redress can be sought. This includes prosecutors requesting compensation orders upon a conviction and through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme. Victims can also seek redress from the offender through the civil courts.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will ensure that children trafficked into Britain for exploitation in cannabis growing are not prosecuted, and do not escape from local authority care placements.[HL3451]
Baroness Neville-Jones: When police find children in cannabis farms they should follow Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) guidance which advises that such children should be assessed on a case by case basis to ascertain whether they may have been trafficked. Where circumstances give rise to reasonable suspicion that they are being exploited or abused, a child welfare response should be taken. No decision to progress charges against these children should be made until all relevant assessments have been undertaken.
Published guidance by the Crown Prosecution Service requires prosecutors to consider not prosecuting trafficked victims in circumstances where they committed the offence under duress, or where they were coerced into committing the offence as a direct consequence of their trafficking situation. However, there must be consideration of the extent to which the victim was compelled to undertake the unlawful activity.
Where the information concerning coercion is less certain, further details should be sought from the police and youth offender teams, so that the public interest in continuing a prosecution can be considered carefully.
Essential safeguards should be observed in all settings in which looked-after children are placed. These include carers understanding the safeguarding needs of each child; being appropriately trained and supervised; be alert to children's vulnerabilities and risks of harm and knowing how to implement safeguarding procedures.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the main finding of the Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary's Police Governance in Austerity report, published on 26 October, that "Police Authorities have a crucial role to play over the next eighteen months but few are well
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The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The Government have noted the findings of HMIC's Police Governance in Austerity report, which reinforce our concerns about the performance of police authorities.
We are working closely with the Association of Police Authorities and the Association of Police Authority Chief Executives to ensure that proper arrangements are in place between now and 2012. To that end, HMIC will also be monitoring the work of police authorities during the transition to police and crime commissioners to help ensure that they provide the best possible service to the public. We are meeting the chairmen of police authorities shortly to discuss these issues.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): Core government funding to the police will be reduced by 8 per cent in real terms for 2012-13. The Government are committed to delivering a safe and secure Olympic and Paralympic Games and will ensure that sufficient funding is made available for this purpose. The funding for Olympic security is being prioritised within the Home Office budget.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what research they will take into account in relation to neighbourhood policing in the area covered by Lancashire Police Authority, and in particular the role of police community support officers and their role in reducing local crime and anti-social behaviour, in the allocation of grant to that authority.[HL3144]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have received from the Lancashire Police Authority, the Lancashire Constabulary and other bodies in relation to the future of neighbourhood policing and in particular the 426 police community support officer posts in the county.[HL3145]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Lancashire Police Authority and Lancashire Constabulary have asked for advice on the future of neighbourhood policing in the county and in particular the future of the network of police community support officers; and whether they have offered or given any such advice whether or not requested. [HL3146]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether local neighbourhood policing and in particular police community support officers will have a significant role to play in the Big Society; and, if so, what that role will be.[HL3147]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): PCSOs are crucial in providing a visible, uniformed presence on our streets. It is for forces to determine how they deploy their personnel. But we are clear that forces should be focusing on finding efficiencies in back-office and support functions to protect front-line policing, and focusing on the impact that PCSOs have rather than just numbers.
The spending review on 20 October set out the overall settlement for policing. Details on the size of specific grants will be provided in early December at the same time as the provisional policing settlement.
Both Lancashire Police Authority and constabulary submitted responses to the consultation document Policing in the 21st Century, which included some reference to the importance of neighbourhood policing, but neither mentioned PCSOs specifically.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): We believe that police forces will be able to make savings and work more efficiently so that front-line services and effective policing will be maintained.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): My right honourable friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer confirmed on 20 October 2010 during his spending review speech to the House that the coalition Government intend to go ahead with raising the age of participation to 18 by 2015.
Participation in this case does not necessarily mean school attendance, although this is one of the options that young people will be able to choose. As well as full-time education in a school or college, young people will be able to choose work-based learning, such as an apprenticeship; or part-time education or training, if they are employed, self-employed or volunteering for more than 20 hours a week.
Baroness Garden of Frognal: The Department for Education (DfE) is considering how best to fund physical education and school sport in the future. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is in close discussions with DfE about the support schools will require for them to be able to increase the amount of competitive sport for their pupils, both within schools and against other schools.
Young people's sport will continue to be a priority for DCMS. Sport England will retain a focus on young people's participation, and ensure that National Governing Bodies of Sport continues to help build links between local sports clubs and schools.
Over the next five years, Sport England is committing up to £35.5 million of lottery funding to a new national Olympic and Paralympic-style school sport competition. The Government are confident that this will deliver a genuine and lasting legacy from London 2012.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): As outlined in the Policing in the 21st Century consultation document, the police and crime commissioner will hold the chief constable to account for the full range of his or her current responsibilities.
Formal consultation on these proposals ended on 20 September. Responses submitted by a range of key policing stakeholders are now being considered ahead
10 Nov 2010 : Column WA98
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact on the provision of specialist police services of the reduction in police budgets over the period of Spending Review 2010. [HL3175]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): The Government have announced a radical reform programme which gives local authorities greater power, freedoms and flexibilities to innovate, collaborate and focus on the priorities which matter most to their communities, and deliver better services for less.
These reforms include ending the comprehensive area assessment, ending central control of local area agreement targets, and de-ring-fencing all revenue grants from next year with the exception of simplified schools grants and the new public health grant.
Further details on the Spending Review reforms can be found in the 20 October letter from the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to the leaders of local authorities in England: http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/localgovernment/doc/1745938.doc.
The Government are also working with the Local Government Group's Place Based Productivity Programme to identify further barriers and burdens which can be lifted to improve local productivity and services.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to minimise the damage to community sport following the cuts announced to the budgets of the Departments for Culture, Media and Sport and Communities and Local Government.[HL3566]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact that reductions in the budgets of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and UK Sport will have on grassroots participation in sport.[HL3567]
Baroness Garden of Frognal: The Government have asked Sport England, as the funding body for community sport, to reduce their administrative costs by 50 per cent over the course of the spending review period. This approach, coupled with increasing the lottery income for Sport England by returning the lottery to its original pillars, will allow the maximum amount of money to go to the front line of local community sport provision. On current lottery projections, Sport England will have more money to spend on community sport at the end of the spending review period than it does currently.
The business plan for the Department for Communities and Local Government, published on Monday 8 November, sets out its funding and programmes for the next four years. Details of the provisional local government finance settlement for local authorities will be published early in December.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government think that it is right for banks to make a contribution to the public purse. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has published its report, A Fair and Substantial Contribution by the Financial Sector, which was commissioned by the G20.
The report endorses a financial activities tax (FAT) levied on the sum of certain profits and remuneration in the financial sector. As announced in the June Budget, we are currently examining the costs and benefits of a FAT and will continue to work with international partners monitoring developments in this area. However, the report does not offer an endorsement of a financial transaction tax (FTT), and there are many issues that need to be further explored around whether the FTT model offers a stable and efficient mechanism to raise revenue.
The Government remain totally committed to the international development agenda. In the spending review the Government announced plans to meet the international commitment for official development assistance of 0.7 per cent of gross national income from 2013.
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