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To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the remarks by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health, Anne Milton, on 2 November (Official Report, col. 899-901), which are the two independent sector providers of abortions who will be meeting the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State; and whether they will place in the Library of the House a copy of (a) the agenda, (b) any material produced for the meeting, and (c) a note of the meeting.[HL3761]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Anne Milton) will be meeting the British Pregnancy Advisory Service and Marie Stopes International on 29 November 2010. Following this meeting, we will place the requested information in the Library.
Earl Attlee: I refer the noble Lord to the Oral Statement made by the Home Secretary in the House of Commons on 1 November 2010 (Official Report, Commons, cols. 632-633). The Government have committed to reviewing all aspects of air freight security. The Secretary of State for Transport and his officials have been meeting with senior representatives in the air cargo industry to determine future strategy.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The Government take the issue of under-age drinking extremely seriously which is why we have committed to raising the fine for persistent sales to children to £20,000.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The Tornado aircraft fleet consists of the GR4 ground attack and F3 air defence variants. The Tornado GR4 aircraft currently has a planned out of service date of 2025. Anticipating the planned retirement from RAF service of the Tornado F3 in March 2011, the estimated logistic support cost of the Tornado GR4 is £4.8 billion starting from April 2011. This includes the estimated cost of eventual aircraft disposal. However, the final effect of the decisions taken as part of the strategic defence and security review has not yet been fully costed.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): There are currently no plans to conduct a bespoke study into the impact on families of repeated operational deployment of the Armed Forces. The single services run annual families'
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To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the differential impact on the mental health of Royal Marines and Army personnel resulting from different harmony guidelines in the two services.[HL3656]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): There is no evidence to suggest that the frequency of operations, or different harmony guidelines, has a differential impact on mental health of Royal Marines and Army personnel.
The noble Lord may wish to consult "What are the consequences of deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan on the mental health of the UK Armed Forces?", a cohort study published in the Lancet 2010: Volume 375: Number 9728 pages 1783-1797.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much Help for Heroes has contributed to capital equipment and facilities at Headley Court and elsewhere; how much matched funding the Government have contributed; what are the annual running costs of the assets provided; and who pays them.[HL3638]
At the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre at Headley Court, Help for Heroes has contributed £7.9 million of funding for a new swimming pool and gym complex. The MoD made a capital contribution of £3.4 million and bears the responsibility for full running costs estimated at £250,000 per year.
As a partner in the Army Recovery Capability, Help for Heroes has committed £33 million of capital investment to fund the initial building of personnel recovery centres (PRCs) at Colchester, Catterick, Tidworth and Edinburgh, and a further £1.2 million in support of the running costs for the Tidworth PRC. The MoD has committed £35 million over the next four years to the Army recovery capability. The Royal British Legion has also committed £13 million, over 10 years, to support the running costs of the PRCs.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): In 2010-11, there are estimated to be around 1.2 million households with at least one higher-rate taxpayer that are in receipt of child benefit.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of plans to stop child benefit payments to families with at least one higher-rate taxpayer on families with only one income compared with families with two incomes, only one of which attracts the higher rate of tax.[HL2651]
Lord Sassoon: The Government have considered the impact of the withdrawal of child benefit from January 2013 from families containing at least one higher rate taxpayer. Affected families are within the top 20 per cent of the income distribution of all families (including those without children).
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The average time between a child entering the care system and being adopted has remained fairly stable over the past three years. But there has been some decline in the timeliness of placements for adoption once the adoption decision has been made, and there is considerable variation at a local level. This is disappointing given that there are many prospective adopters ready and able to adopt a child.
The Government expect the adoption system to work effectively for all looked after children who would benefit from this option, and want to see all local authorities performing at the level of the best. That is why we have set up a ministerial advisory group on adoption to provide expert advice on a range of practical proposals to remove barriers to adoption and reduce delays. Proposals include making better use of the adoption register and extending its matching role.
We are also disseminating key messages from the adoption research initiative to front-line practitioners. This research provides a robust evidence base for adoption practice, including permanence planning and family finding. It can be found at: www.adoptionresearchinitiative.org.uk.
In addition, the family justice review, which is currently underway, will consider what changes are needed to the system including how best to ensure that delays in determining the outcomes of court applications are kept to a minimum.
Lord Hill of Oareford: Adoption law and statutory guidance require that due consideration is given to a child's ethnic background. But it also stresses that it is unacceptable for a child to be denied adoptive parents solely on the grounds that the child and prospective adopters do not share the same racial or cultural background. This is a very important message. Ministers have recently made clear their position that ethnicity should not be a barrier to adoption if there are loving, stable and secure families ready to adopt children.
The Government want to see more children adopted when it is in their best interests, fewer delays in reaching decisions and improved matching in particular for black and minority ethnic children. That is why we have established a ministerial advisory group on adoption to provide expert advice on how to remove barriers to adoption and to reduce delay in placements. In January we shall issue revised statutory guidance on adoption. This will underline the requirements in respect of the matching of children and prospective adopters from different backgrounds.
Work commissioned under the adoption research initiative provides a robust evidence base for adoption practice, including family finding and matching. The research can be found at www.adoptionresearchinitiative.org.uk.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with local councils or their representative organisations about the Local Government Group's document Local Government Offer on Climate Change.[HL3721]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): We welcome the Local Government Group's Offer on Climate Change and we are discussing with them at all levels how to take this forward.
Lord Marland: In answering this question, "model" is taken to mean a computer model. An "empirical" model is taken to mean a computer model based on
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In general, the Government do not use empirical models for future climate change projections. Rather, the Government use physically based models (such as the Met Office's new family of Earth System models) for climate change projections on scales from a season, through a decade to a century or more ahead. However, empirical models are used by the Met Office to support short-term climate prediction (up to a season ahead) over Europe and some components of physical models are empirically based.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to ensure the security, basic health and economic, social and psychological rehabilitation of women who have been subjected to violence and rape in the Democratic Republic of Congo.[HL3626]
Baroness Verma: The safety and security of women is a top priority for our aid programme and for wider HMG work in DRC. Through our humanitarian programme we have provided medical and psychosocial care over the past year to more than 5,000 victims of gender-based violence, and are working with the International Committee of the Red Cross to support a network of 30 listening centres that provide psychosocial support and referral services to victims. In addition, we are seeking to strengthen accountability and the rule of law through our support to police and judicial reform, and enhance civilian protection through wider UK Government support to the UN peacekeeping mission in DRC.
We are currently reviewing our aid programme to determine how we can achieve better value for money for the taxpayer and accelerate progress towards the millennium development goals. Women and girls, including their safety and security, will remain at the heart of what we do.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The Lamb inquiry made 51 recommendations. Many have already been implemented, including legislative changes to provide parents a right to appeal where the local authority decides not to amend a statement following an annual or interim review, and to route SEN complaints to the Local Government Ombudsman. A new statutory
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The Government are considering any outstanding recommendations as they develop their detailed policies in this area and have announced that they will be publishing a Green Paper on special educational needs and disabilities. The overall finding of the Lamb inquiry was that by addressing support needs early, ensuring parents were listened to and that there was a real focus on improving outcomes, parental confidence increased. The Green Paper will be informed by the inquiry's findings and explore how we can improve support for all children with special educational needs and disabilities and their families. It will cover a range of services and settings including schools and the early years, where we know from recent research that pre-school education acts as a protective factor, so that the risk of SEN decreases from one child in three on entry to pre-school, to one in five by the time children start primary school. In doing so it will draw on recommendations such as those covering the school workforce and child well-being; the outcomes of the Council for Disabled Children's review of SEN information; and findings from the local authority projects to develop innovative practices in involving parents at a local level.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 13 October 2010 (WA 72) regarding incidents at centre 0102, how many other instances there have been in which confidential documents have been circulated to unintended recipients by members of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA); and how this relates to assurances on the HFEA website (http://www.hfea.gov.uk/5605.html) relating to the release of personal information.[HL3634]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has advised that the incident referred to in my Written Answer of 13 October
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The HFEA's log of potential and actual internal incidents records one incident of a confidential document being sent to an unintended recipient by a member of its executive staff. This was reported to the authority's corporate management group in accordance with the HFEA's established procedure.
The HFEA has also advised that it takes the protection of confidential information extremely seriously and has an established process for recording and investigating internal incidents that would include any breaches of confidence.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact on the public sector in general, and local government in particular, of the decision to retain the estimated £1 billion per annum revenue raised from the sale of carbon reduction commitment (CRC) allowances under the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme; and what discussions have taken place with councils or the Local Government Group on how this revenue will be allocated.[HL3722]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): The Government decided not to proceed with the recycling of CRC revenues proposed by the previous Administration in order to support the public finances. It also gives a clearer price signal in the scheme which participants have asked for. The impact on the public sector and local government will depend on the extent to which participants reduce their energy consumption before they are required to purchase and surrender allowances. We have delayed the first sale of allowance from 2011 to 2012 in order to give participants more time to improve their energy efficiency.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what will be the role of local government in the proposed green deal; and what discussions they have had with councils or their representative organisations on the subject.[HL3720]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): The green deal will provide the opportunity for all householders to take action to improve the energy efficiency of their homes and communities. We envisage that local authorities may want to play different roles in terms of the green deal, whether as green deal providers in their own right, or in forming partnerships with companies active
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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): On 18 October, Her Majesty's Government announced the consultation on the revised draft energy national policy statements including the nuclear NPS, which lists eight sites as being potentially suitable for the deployment of new nuclear power stations before the end of 2025. The consultation will run until 24 January 2011 and we expect the NPSs to be put before Parliament for ratification next spring.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the spent fuel from the next generation of nuclear reactors would be capable of being reprocessed, should the need arise, notwithstanding the presumption in the revised draft National Policy Statement for Nuclear Generation (EN-6) that there will be a "once through" fuel cycle.[HL3864]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): We have not received any proposals to consider processing spent fuel from the next generation of nuclear reactors but should proposals come forward in the future, they would need to be considered on their merits at the time. In theory there is no reason why spent fuel from the next generation of nuclear reactors would not be capable of being reprocessed. In practice, however, the ongoing availability of reprocessing facilities and supporting plant would be a key consideration as would the overall economics of reprocessing such fuel.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): The Severn tidal power feasibility study concluded that
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The Government are committed to increasing the amount of energy generated from a portfolio of renewables technologies across the sectors of electricity, heat and transport. We will do this by providing long-term, comprehensive and targeted financial support for the deployment of renewables in each of these sectors. This will support large-scale commercial deployment and deployment by businesses, communities and households. We are also taking steps to catalyse further private sector investment through the establishment of a green investment bank and tackle the non-financial barriers to deployment through the production of the renewables delivery plan in the spring.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): Information on load factors for both on and offshore wind farms are published in table 7.4 of the Digest of UK Energy Statistics. The 2010 edition, published in July 2010 gives the load factors for the calendar years 2005 to 2009. A copy of this publication is available in the Libraries of the House and on the Department of Energy and Climate Change website at http://www.decc. gov.uk/en/content/cms/statistics/publications/dukes/dukes.aspx.
Load factors are normally calculated by examining the installed capacity at the beginning and the end of each year, and comparing the average of these two figures with the amount of electricity generated by them. For 2009 this gives an offshore load factor of 26.0 per cent. These figures can be influenced by when new capacity come on stream, particularly if this is early or late in the year. The load factor for the offshore turbines that were in operation throughout the calendar year 2009 has been calculated as 33.7 per cent.
Recent analysis undertaken by the Public Research Centre, and published in the Offshore Valuation Report, highlights that the offshore wind resource in UK waters is "widely reported to be the best in Europe".
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will seek to secure clearer and more detailed scrutiny of potential conflicts of interest for the jobs and activities taken by former European Union Commissioners.[HL3506]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We support President Barroso's intention to review the Commissioners' code of conduct as stated in the political guidelines for the current Commission.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Financial Services Authority has had to investigate any incidents in which there was prima facie evidence to suggest that a high-frequency trader or other market participant intentionally sought to crash the markets equity trading system.[HL3579]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Regulation of equity markets is a matter for the Financial Services Authority (FSA). The FSA has advised that it has not had to investigate any incidents where there was prima facie evidence to suggest that a high-frequency trader or other market participant intentionally sought to crash the markets' equity trading system.
To ask Her Majesty's Government when the Food Standards Agency study into consumer concerns regarding aspartame will be completed; whether the number of people requested for the study have been recruited yet; and what assessment they have made of the impact of delays on industry and consumer confidence.[HL3705]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Volunteers are coming forward to participate in the Food Standards Agency (FSA)- funded study on aspartame more slowly than anticipated. As such the FSA is currently negotiating to extend the end date for this work by six months with the contractors at no additional cost. It is anticipated that the study will now complete in summer 2011.
We do not anticipate that delaying the conclusion will undermine industry and consumer confidence, whereas terminating the study with insufficient numbers of participants would undermine confidence as no conclusions could then be drawn from this work.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): Foreign heads of state are not required to inform Her Majesty's Government if they buy private property in the United Kingdom. However, the same rules apply to these transactions as apply to others, including any requirements relating to registration of title.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The group of 20 summit (G20) took place on 11 and 12 November. My right honourable friend the Prime Minister attended, accompanied by the Chancellor. This summit was an important step in the G20's evolution from a crisis management grouping to an effective long-term global forum.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what contribution they are making to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency in Gaza; and whether this amount is likely to increase in light of the agency's budget shortfall.[HL3602]
Baroness Verma: The UK is providing core funding to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) through a five-year (2007-11) commitment worth up to £110 million. In June this year we provided £19 million under this commitment. In October we provided an additional £8 million to ensure UNRWA can continue to deliver essential services, such as healthcare and education. This brings our total assistance to UNRWA for 2010 to £27 million which, among other things, will help provide maternal healthcare to 263,000 women
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The Minister of State for International Development, my right honourable friend Alan Duncan MP, recently met UNRWA's Commissioner-General, Filippo Grandi, to discuss the funding shortfall. The UK fully supports UNRWA's fundraising efforts and, in addition to the extra funding we have provided, we are calling on other donors to honour their funding commitments.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to Spending Review 2010, what is the spread differential between the yield on 10-year gilts and 10-year US Dollar Treasuries on 11 May and 1 November 2010. [HL3580]
|Date||10-year gilt yield (per cent)||10-year US Treasury yield (per cent)||Spread (basis points)|
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many staff have been employed on temporary or short-term contracts since 12 May to support the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change; what are the names of those employed; at what grade and what level of remuneration they were employed; and what selection criteria were used to determine their suitability for the post.[HL3780]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): The department has not employed any staff since 12 May on temporary or short-term contracts to support the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many extra health visitors will be recruited by each primary care trust in Greater Manchester; and how much additional money will be made available to each trust for this purpose.[HL3522]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The coalition agreement pledges to increase the number of health visitors. We announced on 21 October 2010 a national recruitment drive to create 4,200 new health visitor posts and build a rejuvenated profession across the country, including the Greater Manchester area.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the expenditure of primary care trusts in England and Wales on paediatric continence services in the financial years 2009-10 and 2010-11 to date; and whether they forecast expenditure to decrease in the next financial year.[HL3717]
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many staff in each primary care trust in England and Wales were employed to deliver paediatric continence services in the financial years 2009-10 and 2010-11 to date; and whether they forecast those numbers to increase in the next financial year.[HL3718]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Information on expenditure by primary care trusts (PCTs) in support of paediatric continence services, and numbers of staff employed to deliver these services, is not available centrally. It is for PCTs to decide how to use the resources allocated to them in order to ensure the health of the people they serve.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Secretary of State for Health has appointed individuals to promote better standards of healthcare in specific areas; and, if so, how many; and with what specific terms of reference.[HL3615]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the proportion of former Armed Forces personnel who became rough sleepers within five years of leaving the Armed Forces; and how many former Armed Forces personnel are reported as becoming rough sleepers within five years of leaving the Armed Forces.[HL3652]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of what proportion of rough sleepers in London are former Armed Forces personnel; and what steps they are taking to reduce the number.[HL3653]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): Information on the proportion of former Armed Forces personnel who became rough sleepers within five years of leaving the Armed Forces is not available. However, a recent CHAIN (Combined Homeless and Information Network) survey (funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government) estimated that 3 per cent of those found rough sleeping in London, from 1 April 2009 to 31 March 2010, had served in HM Armed Forces. This compared with 4 per cent seen rough sleeping the previous year and 6 per cent estimated in a York University study in 2006. The CHAIN survey does not record the number who became rough sleepers within five years of leaving the Armed Forces.
The Ministry of Defence continues to work closely with the Department for Communities and Local Government, devolved authorities, other government departments, ex-Service organisations and other service providers to ensure a co-ordinated and structured approach to the issue of homelessness among former members of HM Armed Forces. Our aim is to prevent new service leavers becoming homeless and to provide an effective safety net for those ex-service personnel who find themselves in that position.
Measures have been introduced making it easier for former service personnel to access social housing, become home owners and occupy empty MoD properties as an interim measure. We work with the local authorities to ensure that the use of surplus MoD property in this way does not inadvertently disadvantage the service leaver's position on social housing waiting lists. The MoD has also gifted land and provided financial support for supported housing projects at Aldershot and Catterick.
To ask the Leader of the House, further to his Written Answer on 1 November (WA 354) on September sittings of the House in 2011, whether he will re-examine the decision with a view to revising the recess dates to Wednesday 27 July to Monday 3 October.[HL3775]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): Information on the average income of social households is not available at district level.
To ask Her Majesty's Government why Ms Theresa Diedericks, a pregnant woman held at Yarl's Wood immigration removal centre, was allowed to visit a hospital only after two court orders had been obtained; whether an apology was made to her; and what is her current status.[HL3697]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): Ms Diedericks received the same level of maternity care at Yarl's Wood immigration removal centre as she would have received in the community.
She was seen by nurses, a GP and midwife on several occasions during her first week at the centre and a routine scan was booked with the local hospital as part of the continuity of care. However, despite this, her legal representative chose to seek a court order requiring her to be taken to the hospital for an earlier appointment.
Yarl's Wood complied with the court order and took her to the hospital, but following examination she was returned to the centre. She was taken back to the hospital the following day for the scan as planned.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the Government of India with regard to the circumstances which permit the banning of Dalits from the use of certain public parks and places of worship.[HL3562]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We recognise caste discrimination as a problem and are concerned by reports of discrimination against Dalits and other minority communities in India. We welcome the measures that the Indian Government have taken to address discrimination. Our High Commission in New Delhi has discussed these issues with the Indian National Commission for Minorities and with various state level authorities, drawing their attention to British parliamentary and public concern, though we have not covered the specific issue of access to parks and places of worship. We will continue to raise human rights issues with the Indian Government both bilaterally and through the EU-India Human Rights Dialogue.
Lord Howell of Guildford: Through the EU-India Human Rights dialogue, we have regularly raised the issues of women's rights and trafficking of children with the Indian Government, though these discussions have not covered the specific issue of the Devadasi system. We welcome the steps taken by the Indian Government and State Governments to address the issue. Through the EU we also funded a project on the education, empowerment, participation and rehabilitation of children vulnerable to or survivors of trafficking and sexual exploitation, in West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh from June 2006 to June 2010.
Baroness Verma: My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for International Development has launched a bilateral aid review of the Department for International Development's (DfID's) country programmes, including India, to ensure that we are giving aid where it is most needed to help the world's poorest people. Any decision on the future of the UK's bilateral programme in India will be made in close consultation with the Government of India.
Currently, the UK does not have a specific aid allocation for Dalits but all UK development programmes are designed to benefit particularly the poorest and most excluded, including Dalits. For example, the Indian Government's Education for All scheme, which is supported by the UK, has helped bring the proportion of Dalit children in school into line with their proportion in the general population. The UK has also supported the Government of India to reduce maternal and infant deaths among Dalits and tribal people by training community health workers to provide health services in remote rural areas. Through our civil society programmes, the UK is also supporting excluded groups, including Dalits, in India's 120 poorest districts to access benefits and services.
However, since the emergency budget in June we have taken steps to help small and medium-sized enterprises get better access to both debt and equity finance and to reduce red tape. There is also a range of support to businesses seeking access to finance to ensure that small businesses get the right advice.
In addition, Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs remains committed to helping businesses through genuine short-term difficulties by allowing time to pay agreements. Its business payment support service continues to provide a fast-track gateway into the decision-making process for businesses seeking time to pay agreements.
The Secretary of State has initiated a review of all DfID's aid programmes, including health and education, to ensure we achieve value for money and accelerate progress towards the millennium development goals.
As laid out in The coalition: our programme for government, DfID will prioritise increasing access to basic services, such as health and education, for the world's poorest people and will continue to do this via methods that are proven to work.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The Government are supporting manufacturing industries by creating a stable business environment that will give businesses the confidence they need to plan and invest for the future. We are doing this by creating a more supportive tax environment, freeing up credit through the banking system, reducing regulation, maximising the flexibility of the labour market and focusing on training and apprenticeships. The Government announced in the spending review that they will invest up to £200 million to support manufacturing and business development focusing on high growth business and innovation particularly among small and medium-sized businesses.
Later in the year we will be launching a new approach to manufacturing that will highlight key ambitions, identify growth opportunities and set out a new framework of actions for both government and industry.
To ask Her Majesty's Government when the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Bank of England was first tasked with achieving an annual inflation target; by how much prices have risen in aggregate by that measure since that time; and by how much prices would have risen in aggregate if the MPC had achieved its annual inflation target for each month of the period since it was given this goal.[HL3578]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The first explicit inflation targeting regime for monetary policy was introduced in 1992. The Bank of England Act 1998 transferred operational responsibility for monetary policy to an independent committee of the Bank, the Monetary Policy Committee, with a clear remit to deliver price stability by meeting the Government's inflation target of 2 per cent measured by the retail prices index.
Specific data on how much prices have risen over time can be found on the Office for National Statistics website at the following link: http://vvww. statistics.gov.uk/ hub/economy/prices-output-and-productivity/price-indices-and-inflation/index.html
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Government have not made representations to the Government of Morocco on this issue. However, officials from our embassy in Rabat attended a briefing given by the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs to EU ambassadors on 28 October. The Moroccan Chef de Cabinet, Nasser Bourita, specifically said that the Moroccan authorities were helping with supplies and health. The desk officer for Morocco also received a briefing from officials regarding the protest camps at the Moroccan embassy to London on 2 November.
The UK is concerned by reports of violence at the camps outside Gdiem Izik and in the town of Layounne. We are following the situation closely and are in contact with the Moroccan authorities. The loss of life is profoundly regrettable.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many non-European Economic Area employees sent to work in the United Kingdom temporarily by an overseas employer have been admitted to the United Kingdom in the last three years; why they do not pay national insurance contributions for the first 12 months; and how much is lost from (a) employee, and (b) employer, national insurance contributions per annum.[HL3485]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Statistics of the numbers of non-European Economic Area (EEA) nationals sent to work in the United Kingdom by an overseas employer are not available. Workers from countries outside the EEA, with which the UK has no bilateral agreements, may benefit from a 52 week exclusion from national insurance contributions by virtue of Regulation 145(2) or (3) of the Social Security (Contributions) Regulations 2001 provided they meet the statutory conditions. This exclusion is designed to keep temporary visiting workers, students and apprentices out of the UK social security scheme.
Lord Shutt of Greetland: The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) keeps its staffing levels under review and when vacancies occur regularly considers the continuing business need for the post. Determining optimal workforce levels in order to live within the department's Spending Review resource DEL settlement will be an ongoing process.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the £100,000 discovered by police in a house in Lurgan in May, as reported in the latest report of the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) and which the IMC believed was meant for dissident use, was seized; whether it will be returned; and whether the money was stolen and, if so, from whom.[HL3767]
Lord Shutt of Greetland: This is an operational matter for the chief constable. I have asked him to reply directly to the noble Lord and a copy of his letter will be placed in the Library of the House.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what applications have they received in the last five years from the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission for permission to receive funding from outside sources; for what purposes; from whom; and for how much funding.[HL3631]
|Year||Purpose||External Source||Funding (£)|
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the chief executive of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission has been made redundant or has resigned; and, if made redundant, what compensation and costs were involved; and whether they will publish the recent independent report on the Commission's internal management structures. [HL3688]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will publish any correspondence they have had with Thomas Hammarberg, the Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights, and Rosslyn Noonan, chair of the International Co-ordinating Committee of National Institutions for the Protection of Human Rights, on the matter of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission.[HL3690]
Lord Shutt of Greetland: The Government have not entered into any correspondence with either Thomas Hammarberg, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, or Rosslyn Noonan, chair of the International Co-ordinating Committee of National Institutions for the Protection of Human Rights, on matters relating to the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission.
Lord Shutt of Greetland: The way in which the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission organises itself to deliver its statutory responsibilities is a matter for the commission, which operates independently of government. The noble Lord may wish to write to the commission directly.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The Home Office has supported the provision of trained stewards for the London 2012 Games through "Bridging the Gap": an initiative to train young people in stewarding, event management and security guarding
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LOCOG's planned Games-time workforce includes up to 100,000 short-term opportunities from third-party contractors, including in the field of security. LOCOG will ensure that contractors' staff are appropriately trained and have the necessary skills.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): Expert competent authorities located in the UK Human Trafficking Centre and UK Border Agency make decisions on trafficking cases. The training for all competent authority staff is identical and they work to the same guidance and rules. A multi-agency quality assurance exercise in February 2010 found the quality from both competent authorities to be generally high.
The functioning of the national referral mechanism (NRM) is overseen by an official-led Strategic Monitoring Group, which includes representatives from government departments, local authorities, the UK Human Trafficking Centre and NGO service providers. In the second half of this year this group oversaw a review of the NRM, including the decision-making process. It concluded that the NRM was working reasonably well but as part of the government's commitment to improve its response to trafficking the Strategic Monitoring Group is developing a number of options to reform the process, including increasing the speed of decision-making.
Earl Attlee: The senior railcard generates revenue for the rail industry, when the revenue generated by the sale of the card itself is taken into consideration, together with the additional rail trips it generates. There is no direct government subsidy to National Rail senior railcards.
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Currently, the terms of the senior railcard do not include a citizenship requirement. Anyone aged over 60 is eligible to buy a senior railcard, if they can provide a valid United Kingdom driving licence or a birth certificate or passport number (from any nation).
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the statement by Lord Sassoon on 20 October (Official Report, col. 831), whether the proposed £20 billion a year savings to be achieved by 2014 by "demanding better value for money" have been included in the total cuts in the deficit given in Spending Review 2010.[HL3282]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government have set out their plans to increase total health spending by 0.1 per cent above inflation in each year of the spending review. But the NHS will still need to drive reform and make savings by reducing waste and inefficiency. The Government aim to find up to £20 billion a year of efficiency savings by 2014-15, which will be reinvested in the NHS to help fund services.
These savings do not therefore contribute directly to the £81 billion of spending reductions set out in the spending review. But within an overall health budget that increases in real terms in each year of the spending review, these savings will enable the NHS to focus more resources on front-line services.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): We will announce our proposals for the distribution of formula grant in the usual manner in due course.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many units of new social housing were completed in each of the years covered by Spending Review 2007; and how many they intend will be completed in each of the years covered by Spending Review 2010. [HL3677]
Baroness Hanham: The most recent information on the number of additional new-build affordable homes in England for the period requested can be found from the following link at http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/housing/xls/1406088.xls.
The department does not forecast levels of future house building and delivery will be determined by local housing plans. In the spending review we announced almost £4.5 billion investment in new affordable housing to deliver up to 150,000 affordable homes. We are giving housing associations much more flexibility on rents and use of assets, so our aspiration is to deliver as many as homes as possible through our investment and reforms. We will publish details of how these proposals will work shortly.
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 on the following webpage at http://budgetresponsibility.independent. gov.uk/publications.html.
The Chief Secretary to the Treasury has noted that, taken together, the OBR forecasts for whole economy employment and general government employment imply 1.6 million additional private sector jobs over the next four years (Official Report; col. 512).
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have received from (a) technology companies, and (b) small and medium-sized enterprises, about the usability and utility of the SPIRE system for online export licensing; and what representations the Home Office has made concerning this issue. [HL3788]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): We receive regular feedback from individuals and companies who use the SPIRE system through
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The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The coalition Government take the threat of online extremist or hate videos very seriously. Where such unlawful videos are hosted in the United Kingdom, the police seek their removal and also have the ability to sanction this under the Terrorism Act 2006. In cases where unlawful videos are hosted overseas, we work closely with our international partners and the internet industry to effect their removal.
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