|Previous Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Honours nominations in respect of the Overseas Territories are processed through the Honours Secretariat in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the same way as other nominations for the Diplomatic Service and Overseas (DS&O) List. Successful nominations are included in the twice yearly DS&O List.
As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your question asking how many people aged over 18 live in each parliamentary constituency; and how many people are on the electoral register in each constituency (HL4715).
A copy of the table, which shows the mid-year estimate of the population aged 18 and over by parliamentary constituency in England and Wales for 2007, will be placed in the Libraries of the House. These are the latest figures that are available and reflect the parliamentary constituency boundaries that were in place prior to the 2010 general election.
The latest estimates of the number of people registered to vote in parliamentary elections are as at 1 December 2009 and reflect the parliamentary constituency boundaries that came into force at the 2010 general election. These are not on the same time period or boundaries as the data supplied in table 1. Therefore, for comparability, table 2 shows the number of people registered to vote in parliamentary elections for each parliamentary constituency in England and Wales as at 1 December 2007 for the parliamentary constituency boundaries in place prior to the 2010 general election.
The latest estimates for 1 December 2009 on current parliamentary constituency boundaries are available on the National Statistics website at http://www.statistics.gov.uk/StatBase/Productasp?vlnk=319&Pos=&ColRank=1&Rank=272.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, in the light of media reports that human trafficking of women and girls, particularly from the north-eastern states of India into Delhi, increased in the lead-up to the 2010 Commonwealth Games, they have made representations to the Government of India about those reports; if so, with what result; and what help the United Kingdom has offered to the Government of India to help prevent such trafficking.[HL4749]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We have not made specific representations about these reports. However, the UK Government are committed to working with international partners to address the problem of human trafficking. Through the EU we continue to encourage India to ratify and implement the UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime and its Protocol on People Trafficking. We will continue to raise the most pressing human rights issues through the EU-India human rights dialogue.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, in the light of media reports that human trafficking of women and girls, particularly from the north-eastern states of India into Delhi, increased in the lead-up to the 2010 Commonwealth Games, athletes, officials and spectators from the United Kingdom were warned that women and girls in the sex trade in India have been trafficked.[HL4750]
Lord Howell of Guildford: Athletes, officials and spectators were not warned specifically about reported trafficking of women and girls in the sex trade in India ahead of the Commonwealth Games. We provided travel advice to British nationals attending the Games focused on their personal security, health and safety.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, in the light of media reports that human trafficking of women and girls, particularly from the north-eastern states of India into Delhi, increased in the lead-up to the 2010 Commonwealth Games, any lessons have been learnt from Delhi's experience in advance of the 2012 London Olympics.[HL4822]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The Government are aware that in the run-up to the London 2012 Olympics criminals may seek to profit from the Games by increasing their activities, including in relation to human trafficking.
Intelligence on organised crime, including human trafficking, is regularly reviewed as part of the Olympics organised crime threat assessment. Current intelligence and available research evidence do not indicate an increased threat of human trafficking in relation to the London 2012 Olympics.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, in the light of media reports that human trafficking of women and girls, particularly from the north-eastern states of India into Delhi, increased in the lead-up to the 2010 Commonwealth Games, they have made representations to the Government of India about the reported cases of child labour in the construction of the Commonwealth Games facilities as a result of debt bondage.[HL4823]
Lord Howell of Guildford: We have not made specific representations about the reported cases of child labour in the construction of the Commonwealth Games facilities. However, child rights remain a high priority in our work to promote equality and tackle discrimination in India and the UK Government engage on this issue with relevant authorities. Through the EU, we continue to encourage India to ratify and implement as a priority International Labour Organisation Conventions 138 and 182 relating to child labour and to withdraw its
13 Dec 2010 : Column WA143
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have had from passenger interest groups looking to reopen closed sections of strategic railway lines; and what assessments they have made of those representations.[HL4813]
Earl Attlee: Representations have been made from a number of bodies, including passenger interest groups, for the reopening of closed railway lines. Where national funding is sought, the Department for Transport considers whether there is a current or latent strategic demand for the route. In doing so, the department takes into account the demand forecasts provided by the promoters and the views of the wider rail industry, notably those produced through the Network Rail route planning process.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the process for deciding whether to reopen closed sections of strategic railway lines; and whether they have any plans to review this process in the future. [HL4814]
Earl Attlee: The process stems from the identification of strategic gaps by the rail industry route utilisation strategy and, to a lesser degree, from promotion of routes for reopening by third parties. To date, there have been no self-funded schemes and in all cases direct government investment has been sought. An assessment is made of the costs, benefits and affordability of reopening and a decision is taken by Ministers on whether to fund. There are no current plans to review this process. The Government in Scotland are responsible for the process within Scotland.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Attlee on 23 November (WA 317), what was the breakdown of costs for the doubling of the Swindon-Kemble railway line that were included in the total estimated cost of £52.4 million and were not included in engineering work (£39.6 million) or train operator compensation (£2.5 million); and who was to incur each of these costs.[HL4785]
Earl Attlee: The other costs estimated by Network Rail were £3.7 million for project management and land compensation and £6.6 million for contingency funding. The apportionment of the total of £52.4 million of costs had not been established, as funding had not been agreed.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the September 2010 Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning a European Rail Network for competitive freight; and why the United Kingdom is not participating in the initial freight corridors listed. [HL4975]
Earl Attlee: The UK Government support the Commission's objective of encouraging the development of a sustainable, efficient, well integrated rail freight system as set out in the September 2010 Regulation of the European Parliament and the Council concerning a European rail network for competitive freight.
The UK is not participating in the initial corridors because it does not have any pre-existing freight routes that would be suitable for adaptation as international rail corridors for competitive freight within the period allowed for the establishment of the initial routes. However, we will participate in the establishment of further freight corridors in conjunction with France and intend to join the French in sending a letter of intent in respect of the proposals to the European Commission by November 2012.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the continued rise in passenger numbers on the central south coast rail route between London and Brighton; and what plans they have to tackle growth in passenger numbers.[HL4942]
The Southern train operating company will be introducing additional vehicles to the route during 2011. In due course, the Thameslink Programme, for which funding was recently confirmed by the Government, will be providing new-build high-density 12-car trains for the route.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Attlee on 16 November (WA 199), whether they regard the Association of Train Operating Companies senior railcard as a marketing strategy rather than a concession. [HL4853]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the interest rate to be paid by Ireland to the United Kingdom under its bilateral loan is higher or lower than the rate paid by Iceland to the United Kingdom. [HL4762]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Sales volumes in the first part of this year far exceeded those either anticipated or required by National Savings & Investments (NS&I) under its net financing target. NS&I follows a policy of acting transparently and balancing the interests of savers, the taxpayer and the stability of the wider financial services market. The position will be kept under regular review and sales of these products will be resumed when NS&I can be confident that conditions will enable NS&I to operate within and to their publicly agreed targets.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Neville-Jones on 6 October (WA 22), whether they will ask the Audit Commission and the Wales Audit Office to revisit
13 Dec 2010 : Column WA146
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The United Kingdom faces the largest peacetime deficit in our history. The public sector pay bill accounts for around half of departmental resource spending, so deficit reduction will inevitably impact on the public sector workforce. However, not tackling the deficit would be the worst thing for jobs in the medium term, across the public and private sector.
The Government will support employers to do everything they can to mitigate the impact of public sector job losses; by protecting jobs through pay and pensions reform; by ensuring that staff in different public sector workforces and each region will have visibility of suitable vacancies; by encouraging local employers to explore voluntary deals with staff on pay restraint or reduced hours in order to save jobs; and by actively monitoring potential workforce reductions, enabling decisions to be taken in time to mitigate localised impacts.
The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), in its Economic and Fiscal Outlook of 29 November, estimated a reduction in general government headcount of around 160,000 less than expected in the June Budget forecast. The bulk of this revision reflects the Government's reforms to welfare and savings made on debt interest. The full set of forecasts can be found on the OBR website: http://budgetresponsibility.independent.gov.uk/d/econ_fiscal_outlook_291110.pdf
Lord Sassoon: On 29 November 2010, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) released the official forecast for total employment and general government employment, updated for the spending review announcements.
As the OBR sets out in paragraph 3.98, page 62, of its November 2010 Economic and Fiscal Outlook (Cm 7979), it expects total employment to rise by 1.1 million over the next five years, from 29 million in 2010 to 30.1 million in 2015. General government employment is projected to fall by just over 400,000 between 2010-11 and 2015-16, more than offset by a rise in market sector employment of around 1.5 million.
In paragraph 3.99, page 62, the OBR presents evidence that this scale of private sector job creation over a period of fiscal consolidation is not unprecedented. The latest labour market statistics suggest that total employment increased by 1.3 million between 1992 and 1998, while general government employment contracted by around 0.5 million.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, in Table 4.6 of the Economic and Fiscal Outlook, published by the Office for Budget Responsibility in November 2010, what is the breakdown between (a) residential, and (b) commercial, property receipts from stamp duty land tax for each year in the table; and, for commercial property, what are the assumptions for (1) the increase in average prices, and (2) the change in the number of transactions for each year in the table.[HL4796]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Estimates of the breakdown of stamp duty land tax receipts into receipts from residential transactions and receipts from non residential transactions are given in the table below for 2009-10:
|Stamp Duty Land Tax from:||£m|
Forecasts of stamp duty land tax are made at aggregate level and a breakdown is not available for future years. The assumptions made for the annual increases in non-residential prices and non-residential transaction volumes for the years in table 4.6 in the Office for Budget Responsibility Economic and Fiscal Outlook are given in the table below:
|Annual change (%)||2010-11||2011-12||2012-13||2013-14||2014-15||2015-16|
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Out-of-country voting in London started on time on 15 November 2010 and will end on 8 December 2010. Two visits have been made by the joint Department for International Development/Foreign and Commonwealth Office Sudan Unit to the registration centre. On both occasions, registration was proceeding smoothly, monitored by international observers.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the preparations made by the United Kingdom, European Union and the United Nations for the referendum due to take place in Sudan in January 2011.[HL4720]
Lord Howell of Guildford: The British Government, with the European Union and United Nations, is providing significant support to technical and logistical preparations for the referendum. UK assistance is provided through a £10 million contribution to the United Nations Development Programme Basket Fund. We are also providing support to the political talks between the Sudanese parties on border demarcation and security arrangements.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord McNally on 23 November (WA 322), what procedures are in place at the Traffic Enforcement Centre to ensure that the procedure described in that Answer is followed and to ensure that addresses used when registering a Penalty Charge Notice are the same as those used for the service of Notices to Owners.[HL4716]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The Traffic Enforcement Centre has taken steps to remind local authorities of the legal provisions for the registration of penalty charge notices, and failure to comply with these provisions will lead to registered notices being revoked. Any cases brought to the attention of the Traffic Enforcement Centre will be reviewed and notices which fail to provide the full information will be revoked.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord McNally on 23 November (WA 322), whether, where an incomplete or inadequate address is corrected after service of the Notice to
13 Dec 2010 : Column WA149
Lord McNally: The local authority must certify that 14 days have elapsed since the service of the notice at the correct address. In the event new information has come to light and address details amended, the notice should be served at the new address before registration, details of which must be certified by the local authority in its request.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, having regard to Turkey's economic and political circumstances and regional role, they still consider it is in Turkey's interest to continue to strive for membership of the European Union; and if so, why.[HL4724]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): It is for the Turkish Government to assess whether full membership of the European Union is in Turkey's best interest. The UK Government strongly support Turkey's application to join the European Union, conditional on the rigorous application of the accession criteria.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, having regard to Turkey's economic and political circumstances and regional role, they are engaging in discussions to develop and strengthen a United Kingdom-Turkey relationship outside the European Union.[HL4725]
Lord Howell of Guildford: The new UK-Turkey Strategic Partnership, signed by my right honourable friend the Prime Minister during his visit to Turkey in July, set out the breadth of our shared bilateral interests. These include trade and investment, regional peace and stability, defence, illegal migration, energy security, and education and culture. The UK's support for Turkey's EU accession process is a key part of this bilateral relationship.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The ambassador for multilateral arms control and disarmament,
13 Dec 2010 : Column WA150
To ask Her Majesty's Government, in the light of the emphasis placed on personal responsibility in The Coalition: Our Programme for Government, what is their assessment of proposals that people having perceived unacceptable behaviours might be paid to abandon such behaviours.[HL2293]
Lord Taylor of Holbeach: Though there are many examples of using prices to affect behaviour change-such as lower taxes on unleaded fuel to encourage people to switch away from leaded fuels, or the reduction in smoking due to higher duties-the use of incentives to encourage people to abandon unacceptable behaviours is much more problematic.
The recently published public health White Paper promotes the wider use of behavioural approaches to healthy living, giving local areas more control over budgets to try out different approaches. The use of incentives in health improvement interventions is a newly emerging area with a limited evidence base and its value is not yet conclusive. In selecting the health improvement initiatives they will implement, local areas will need to consider the range of cost-effective, evidence-based interventions available to them and tailor these to the needs of their local populations.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): On 28 June 2010, Lord Wasserman was appointed on an unpaid basis by the Home Secretary to provide advice on strategic policing issues. On 29 June 2010, the Home Secretary asked Brooke Kinsella to undertake a fact-finding mission to examine schemes working in local communities to stop young people from carrying and using weapons.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): During the period September 2009-September 2010, 1,012 complaints were received directly by the UK Border Agency relating to delays in the processing of overseas visa applications. 2,763,300 overseas visa applications were received during this period. This figure does not include complaints which were sent directly to one of the UK Border Agency's commercial partners or via a Member of Parliament.
The UK Border Agency defines a complaint as "any expression of dissatisfaction about the services provided by or for the UK Border Agency and/or about the professional conduct of UK Border Agency staff, including contractors".
If correspondence falls outside of one of the complaint categories, as is the case for correspondence relating to the cost of a visa or the complexity of the rules, it will
13 Dec 2010 : Column WA152
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Home Secretary has indicated that the Government intend to review all immigration routes including those for work, family and study. We will make further announcements in due course. There are no current plans to change the rules on ancestry visas.
Baroness Neville-Jones: The purpose of the student visa system is to allow foreign students to study in the UK, not to add to the UK's workforce. The Government want to ensure that those who enter on a student visa genuinely come here to study, not to work or with a view to settling here.
On 7 December the Government launched a public consultation on proposed changes to the student visa arrangements. Some of the proposals will impact on the ability of students and their dependants to work during their course of study, and to enter the UK labour market after their graduation.
|Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|