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Asked by Lord Ashcroft

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.

Parliamentary Constituencies


Asked by Lord Bassam of Brighton

13 Dec 2010 : Column WA141

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Stephen Penneck, Director General for ONS, to Lord Bassam of Brighton, dated December 2010.

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;Pos=&ColRank=1&Rank=272.

People Trafficking


Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

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.

The EU has run three projects during the period 2000-2010 on human trafficking in India, focusing on both interstate trafficking in India and regional trafficking in south Asia.

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Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

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.

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

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.

However, if this situation changes, our response will draw on lessons to be learnt from the Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

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

reservation to Article 32 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which explicitly prohibits child labour.

We will continue to raise child rights issues with the Indian Government through the EU-India human rights dialogue.

Railways: Closed Sections


Asked by Lord Bradshaw

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.

Asked by Lord Bradshaw

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.

Railways: Engineering Work


Asked by Lord Bradshaw

13 Dec 2010 : Column WA144

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.

Railways: Freight


Asked by Lord Liddle

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.

Railways: Overcrowding


Asked by Lord Bassam of Brighton

Earl Attlee: The most recent assessment of passenger numbers on the Brighton main line was undertaken by Network Rail in its Sussex Route Utilisation Strategy, published in January 2009.

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.

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Railways: Railcards


Asked by Lord Ashcroft

Earl Attlee: The Senior Railcard is a concession because it allows holders to obtain discounted fares. However, it also generates revenue for the rail industry.

Republic of Ireland: Financial Support


Asked by Lord Myners

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Details of the financial assistance package for the Republic of Ireland, which was announced on 28 November, have not yet been finalised.



Asked by Lord Myners

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.

South Wales Police


Asked by Lord Laird

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): There are no plans to undertake such an investigation.

A copy of the report published by the Audit Commission and the Wales Audit Office report in 2007 on police data quality in England and Wales have been placed in the Library of the House.

Spending Review 2010


Asked by Lord Taylor of Warwick

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:

Asked by Lord Taylor of Warwick

13 Dec 2010 : Column WA147

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.

Stamp Duty


Asked by Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay

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

Residential transactions


Non residential transactions




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 (%)2010-112011-122012-132013-142014-152015-16

Non-residential prices







Non-residential volumes







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Asked by Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead

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.

Asked by Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead

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.

Traffic Fines


Asked by Lord Lucas

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.

Asked by Lord Lucas

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.



Asked by Lord Maginnis of Drumglass

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.

Asked by Lord Maginnis of Drumglass

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.

UN First Committee on Disarmament


Asked by Lord Hylton

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

John Duncan, led a small team of officials at this year's United Nations First Committee on International Peace and Security, supported by policy officials in London. This follows previous practice. We played an active role throughout first committee negotiations. Details of UK statements and voting positions can be found at

Unacceptable Behaviour


Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

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.

Government Departments: Unpaid Advisers


Asked by Lord Bassam of Brighton

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.

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Asked by Lord Steel of Aikwood

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".

Complaints are categorised as:

Delays in processing an application (including following successful appeal)Quality of serviceCommunicationWrong informationLost documentsMinor misconductAccess to servicesRacial prejudiceSerious misconduct

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

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be responded to through the UK Border Agency's public correspondence channels either from the UK or one of its overseas visa sections dependent on where the writer is located. For this reason the UK Border Agency is only able to provide statistics for complaints relating to delays and not cost or complexity as requested.

Asked by Baroness Liddell of Coatdyke

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.

Asked by Lord Taylor of Warwick

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.

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