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To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to reduce the number of abortions in 2011; why they believe that making abortions more easily available will reduce the number of abortions performed; and whether they will place the evidential basis for this in the Library of the House.[HL4968]
The department has been working to ensure that abortion providers are better integrated into the broader sexual health "family" of services, so that there are better pathways of referral to and from abortion services, which can help to ensure that women receive the other sexual health services that they need, particularly contraception.
Contraception plays a vital role in preventing unintended pregnancy and repeat abortions. Since 1 April 2009, any woman having an abortion on the National Health Service must be given advice about, and supplies of, contraception before they leave the clinic. In addition, a specification for abortion services has been issued to support implementation of this requirement.
Abortion should be seen not in isolation but in the context of wider public health issues, as the public health White Paper Healthy Lives, Healthy People: Our Strategy for Public Health in England highlights and the forthcoming sexual health strategy to be published in spring 2011 will make clear.
Abortions must be performed within the requirements of the Abortion Act. Our focus has been on ensuring early access to abortion services as evidence shows that the risk of complications increases the later the gestation. The evidence referred to is contained within the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists' evidence-based clinical guidance The Care of Women Requesting Induced Abortion, a copy of which has already been placed in the Library.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, in the light of the announcement that NATO forces have set a timetable for withdrawal from Afghanistan, what representations they have made to neighbouring countries to ensure a smooth withdrawal of those troops.[HL4877]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): At the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) summit in Lisbon in November, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Heads of State/Government set out a clear plan for transition of security responsibilities to the Afghan Government, not a timetable for withdrawal.
No specific discussions have taken place between the UK and individual nations on the withdrawal of troops. However, NATO/ISAF already have a number of agreements in place with neighbouring countries to allow the movement of equipment and supplies to and from Afghanistan.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, in reaching their decision to discontinue the Nimrod MRA4 programme, they took into consideration the social costs and loss of employment opportunities at Kinloss.[HL4776]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The decision not to bring the Nimrod MRA4 into service was difficult, owing to the nature of the military tasks to which it was designed to contribute, the amount of public money that had been spent on it and the impact of such a decision on the people who have dedicated their careers to delivering this capability or who depend on it for their livelihoods. All these factors were taken into account by Ministers in coming to the decision.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Astor of Hever on 1 December (WA 449), whether they will sponsor research into the identification of the military personnel who were killed or who disappeared in Ireland from 1916 to 1923, for the purpose of their commemoration. [HL4901]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): There are no current plans to do so. All those who died or went missing believed killed between 1916 and 1921 are already formally commemorated by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. For the years between 1 September 1921 and 2 September 1939, responsibility for service burials reverted to the pre-1914 arrangements whereby ships, regiments and units, or the individual's family, buried their own dead and no central records are held.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what reports they have of the operation of re-export control provisions in those countries that have enacted legislation; and whether they will place in the Library of the House copies of all such legislation.[HL4748]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): We requested details of other EU member states' no re-export provisions earlier this year following recommendations made by the Committees on Arms Export Controls (CAEC). The CAEC asked us to compare and contrast our national policy on no export provisions with the policies of other EU member states. We requested this information through the Council Working Group on Conventional Arms and the findings indicate that most other EU member states include no re-export provisions as part of end-user documentation (except for exports to some NATO countries), although Bulgaria, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland and Portugal have some form of mandatory no re-export provision as part of their export control legislation.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they have given to the report by the Caribbean Tourism Organisation entitled The Impact of Air Passenger Duty and Possible Alternatives for the Caribbean.[HL4855]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government are committed to exploring changes to the aviation tax system, including switching from a per-passenger duty to a per-plane duty. The Government have received representations on this matter from a range of organisations, including the Caribbean Tourist Organisation. Major changes in this area will be subject to consultation.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): We welcome the endorsement by the G20 of the Basel reforms to strengthen international capital and liquidity standards, which address a number of
14 Dec 2010 : Column WA156
The UK has consistently argued for a high standard of regulation, while recognising that the short-term impact on economic recovery should be mitigated through appropriate transitional arrangements and careful calibration.
The Basel Committee has agreed an extended transition period, with most elements of the package phased in gradually from 2013 to 20191. This strikes the right balance. Extending the transition further would unnecessarily delay the move to greater financial stability.
Work completed by the UK authorities and Basel Committee indicates that strong net benefits will accrue from the package in the long run2. Overall, we believe that the agreed Basel package will deliver significantly greater future financial stability while supporting strong and sustainable economic growth.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of Sir David Walker's statement in his review on the disclosure of bank pay that "an exemplary leadership stance by the United Kingdom in this respect is the most effective way of achieving progress".[HL4761]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government are committed to a robust remuneration disclosure regime and the principles set out in Sir David Walker's report. The UK can exercise leadership in a number of ways, including promoting the globally aligned approach that Sir David calls for in his review.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what amount has been transferred to Northern Ireland in each of the past five years to pay for social security, child support, pensions and housing benefit; and what amount is expended annually per head in England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland on (a) overall social security, (b) housing benefit, and (c) both. [HL4779]
|England, Expenditure Per Capita, £||2005-06||2006-07||2007-08||2008-09||2009-10|
|Wales, Expenditure Per Capita, £||2005-06||2006-07||2007-08||2008-09||2009-10|
|Scotland, Expenditure Per Capita, £ Nominal Terms||2005-06||2006-07||2007-08||2008-09||2009-10|
Tables containing benefit expenditure by benefit, local authority and parliamentary constituency can be found at the following URL: http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd4/index.php?page=expenditure.
|Northern Ireland, Expenditure Per Capita, £||2005-06||2006-07||2007-08||2008-09||2009-10|
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether there are any significant differences between Northern Ireland social security and housing benefit payments and those in the rest of the United Kingdom; and whether they will adjust the annual transfer payment if new housing benefit payment policies are not introduced on a parity basis in Northern Ireland. [HL4780]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Social security is devolved in Northern Ireland, although in practice the system there is very similar to that in Great Britain. A devolved, but broadly parallel, housing benefit system operates in Northern Ireland, administered by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive. It is for the Northern Ireland Executive (NIE) to make decisions on housing benefit policies in Northern Ireland. Where costs arise due to divergence between the Northern Ireland system and policy in Great Britain, the NIE must meet those costs.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Howell of Guildford on 2 December (WA 487), what role the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees played in assisting Burmese refugees escaping across the Thai border; and whether they will detail (a) the number of personnel they deployed, and (b) the material support they gave.[HL4967]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is leading the international community's work to ensure that refugees who crossed the Thai-Burma border last month are offered appropriate protection and assistance. UNHCR is liaising with the Thai authorities and working closely with non-governmental organisations and other donors. UNHCR deployed personnel from
14 Dec 2010 : Column WA159
To ask Her Majesty's Government what (a) voluntary, and (b) statutory, guidance exists for providers of residential care to ensure the practical mobility of residents; and what procedures exist to monitor that guidance.[HL4869]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The department has not issued such guidance to providers of residential care. However, providers are expected to demonstrate, as part of the process of registration with the Care Quality Commission, that, where practicable, they provide opportunity and support to residents in promoting their autonomy, independence, community involvement and participation in society.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Howell of Guildford on 23 November (WA 179), what progress has been made in the privatisation of the water company in the Cayman Islands.[HL4854]
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many children have been in care for more than five years; how many are waiting to be adopted; how many and which voluntary adoption agencies have closed in the last two years; and what consideration they are giving to the policy of concurrent planning to enable suitable adoptions.[HL4344]
On Thursday 25 November, we published data on the number of children for whom the decision has been made that they should be placed for adoption. This is available on the department's website via the link below:
Information on the number of children who have been placed for adoption at 31 March 2010 is available from Table A3 in the Statistical First Release Children Looked After in England (Including Adoption and Care Leavers) Year Ending 31 March 2010. Table A3 can be found at the Excel link titled "England Summary Tables", which is available on the department's website via the above link.
The Government recognise that concurrent planning can provide a way in which young children can achieve permanence with the minimum of placement moves and they expect local authorities to consider how they can make this available for those children who would benefit from this approach. This may require more collaborative working and stronger partnerships between local authorities and VAAs.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Sassoon on 23 November (WA 306), when they expect to receive a response from the Governor of the Bank of England regarding his view on incorporation of housing costs into the consumer prices index.[HL4788]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Chancellor has frequent discussions with the Governor of the Bank of England on a wide range of issues, but it is not government policy to comment on any confidential advice that he receives.
The Consumer Prices Advisory Committee (CPAC), on which the Treasury is represented, has been established to advise the UK Statistics Authority (UKSA) on improvements to the UK consumer prices index (CPI) recommended by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). On 6 December, the UKSA endorsed the conclusions and recommendations of the CPAC annual report. A key recommendation is that ONS should develop owner occupiers' housing costs indices, using the net acquisitions and rental equivalence approaches, for potential inclusion in an expanded CPI within two years.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): We made a commitment at the UK-France summit on 2 November 2010 to intensify defence and security co-operation with France. We signed two treaties: a defence and security co-operation treaty and a treaty pertaining to joint hydrodynamics facilities. We also agreed to pursue joint initiatives in the following areas: operations and training; equipment and capabilities; unmanned air systems; defence industry; and research and technology.
Details of what was agreed at the bilateral summit and those initiatives to be pursued jointly with France can be found in the Summit Declaration on Defence and Security. I have placed a copy of the summit declaration in the Library of the House.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what forecast they have made of the number of students in each of the districts of Greater Manchester currently in receipt of education maintenance allowance who will be eligible for financial assistance through the discretionary learner support fund.[HL4800]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): Decisions regarding the new discretionary fund will be made locally, enabling schools, colleges and training providers to target support at those young people in greatest need. It is not, therefore, possible to estimate the numbers of young people in receipt of EMA in Greater Manchester who
14 Dec 2010 : Column WA162
To ask Her Majesty's Government, in the light of the White Paper The Importance of Teaching, whether they will clarify their plans for teacher training, in terms of the consequences for universities that specialise in initial teacher training and the likely impact on student numbers on such courses in future years.[HL4805]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The Government have stated their intention in the White Paper to reform the way in which initial teacher training (ITT) is performed and funded to improve the quality of teachers and teaching. The document sets out a number of steps that will be taken to achieve this, including reforming ITT so that more training is on the job. There will continue to be an important role for universities in ITT, particularly in the provision of academic content. Higher education institution/school partnerships will remain a valuable and integral part of teacher training.
The department expects to inform the Training and Development Agency for Schools of the ITT place targets for 2011-12 shortly. The agency will then write to ITT providers to provide details of ITT arrangements for that period. For 2012-13, we will publish for consultation our detailed proposals for the funding of ITT early next year.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): Our plans for the future role and status of the Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA) are set out broadly in the recently published White Paper The Importance of Teaching. The constitution of the organisation will remain unchanged into the next funding year and the TDA will continue to have an important role in securing a sufficient supply of good teachers for our schools. We are still working through the detail of its remit for 2011-12. We plan to set this out before the end of the year. We will also publish in the new year our plans for the future funding of initial teacher training in 2012-13 onwards in the light of government proposals to reform the funding of higher education. As part of that
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To ask Her Majesty's Government how many incidents of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) which resulted in the patient being hospitalised have been reported to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) since 1999 by centres 101 and 017; and how many incidents of OHSS have been reported to the HFEA since 1999 whenever either licensed clinic became aware of OHSS that was less severe.[HL4965]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority has advised that, under its adverse incident reporting requirements, centre 0017 has reported no cases of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). Under the same requirements, centre 0101 has reported two cases of OHSS. Both of these cases involved admission to hospital with one graded as severe and the other as moderate.
Baroness Verma: In June 2010, the Prime Minister reinforced the Government's commitment to gay rights by launching an ambitious new work programme Working for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Equality. The Government are already making good progress towards implementing the commitments that it contains. For example, we have announced that the rights and freedoms Bill, which will be introduced in early 2011, will include the legislative changes needed to implement our commitment that historical convictions for consensual gay sex with over-16s will not show up on criminal records.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The following table shows the breakdown between member states of the structural funds that they receive in the 2007-13 programmes, both by overall quantum and by allocation per person.
|Structural and Cohesion Fund Allocations 2007-13|
|Current prices||ERDF||ESF||Cohesion Fund||Total SCEs||Allocations per-head €|
|€ million||€ million||€ million||€ million||€|
Baroness Wilcox: A specific answer to this Question is not readily available. Details of all direct beneficiaries of European cohesion policy programmes in all member states are available for viewing via the following: http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/country/commu/beneficiaries/index_en.htm.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they are supporting the policies of the European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy during the formation of the European External Action Service.[HL4834]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): My right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary, other Ministers and officials have regular contact with High Representative Baroness Ashton and her staff. These contacts include discussions on foreign policy priorities such as Iran, Sudan and the western Balkans where we support an effective coherent EU role. They also include discussions on medium-term policy priorities for the European External Action Service (EEAS)-for example, relations with strategic partners such as China and Russia and the EU contribution to conflict prevention, human rights and development. My right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary and the Minister for Europe regularly express our firm view that the work of the EEAS must respect national competence and the principle of budget neutrality. We also want to see UK candidates succeed in a merit-based appointments system.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The Government support initiatives to achieve more efficient and effective co-ordination between national research programmes. A notable example is joint programming, in which member states' funding bodies combine on a voluntary basis aspects of their national research programmes to address global challenges. The UK is actively involved in several of the joint programming initiatives launched under this initiative, in particular co-leading the one on agriculture, food security and climate change formally launched in October 2010.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they intend to take following the decision of the European Court of Justice to overrule the decisions by member states to halve the 3.7 per cent increase in European Union employees' salaries in 2009-10.[HL4733]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government have taken wide-ranging measures to reduce the deficit, including a tough pay policy. European institutions cannot be immune from budget austerity. The Government will therefore continue to vote against the proposal for the 2009 salary increment, which remains in place following the ruling by the European Court of Justice.
The European Union (EU) remuneration package must be brought into line with member states' public sectors. We are pushing actively for reform and will engage fully in a review of the system for salary adjustments, starting next year. We are also taking other steps to reduce the administration budget-for example, through the annual EU budget negotiation-and we have worked with other member states in council to secure a process for European pensions reform, on which we will continue to engage.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the estimated net saving in the pay bill of the Ministry of Defence for each of the next four years if no bonuses are paid and all salaries and increments are frozen.[HL3131]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The non-consolidated performance payments made to Ministry of Defence civilians in August of each year are funded from the existing pay bill. That element of the pay bill has been accumulated over time at the expense of consolidated pay awards. They have proven to be a cost-effective way of rewarding staff because they reflect individual performance in year and the payments are non-pensionable and do not add to future pay bill growth. The total pay settlement has been frozen by the Treasury for two years from 2011-12 as part of the Chancellor's emergency Budget. The pay freeze applies to any proposed increases in pay that grow the size of the pay bill, so we cannot, for example, increase the size of salaries, uprate allowances or indeed increase the size of the non-consolidated pot from which performance awards are paid. If end-of-year non-consolidated performance payments were withheld, the estimated net saving in the pay bill for the MoD in the appropriate financial years would amount to:
|Estimated savings (£ million)||2011-12||2012-13|
I refer the noble Lord to the Answer that I gave on 25 October 2010 (Official Report, col. WA 232) for the estimated net saving in the pay bill in the next two years if all salaries and increments were frozen.
The Ministry of Defence does not have a standard definition for the term "unpaid adviser" but the following individuals could be described as acting in this capacity as members of the Defence Reform Unit Steering Group:
To ask Her Majesty's Government on what grounds the Ministry of Defence has described the work of the United States Congressionally Appointed Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Illnesses, and in particular its report of November 2008, as other than independent.[HL4625]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): I assume that the noble Lord is referring to the statement in my letter to him of 29 July 2010 (reference: MSU 04/04/02/09), which set out the Ministry of Defence's position in full on the Research Advisory Committee and its 2008 report. A copy is available in the Library of the House.
The committee is composed of lay members, political appointees and scientific members, some of whom hold strong views on the issues that it considers. It was set up to provide accommodations to the Department of Veterans Affairs and does not operate as an independent scientific body.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): As set out in Healthy Lives, Healthy People, published on 30 November 2010, Public Health England will allocate ring-fenced budgets, weighted for inequalities, to upper-tier and unitary local authorities in local government for improving the health and well-being of local populations.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The department's National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) welcomes applications for support into any aspect of human health, including multiple sclerosis. These applications are subject to peer review and judged in open competition, with awards being made on the basis of the scientific quality of the proposals made. In all disease areas, the amount of NIHR funding depends on the volume and quality of scientific activity.
Estimated spend by the department on multiple sclerosis research in 2009-10 is £2.1 million. In addition, the NIHR clinical research network provided National Health Service research infrastructure support to a range of studies in multiple sclerosis.
No England-domiciled, full-time undergraduate student-or their family-will need to pay their tuition costs up front. Most new students will have more support for living costs than they do under current support arrangements.
Students will be expected to contribute only when they have left their course and are earning over £21,000; repayment will be 9 per cent of income above £21,000. Any outstanding loan balance will be written off after 30 years. About a quarter of graduates, those on the lowest incomes, will pay less than those on the current system do at present.
The Government will take steps to ensure that prospective students are made aware of the new student finance arrangements for 2012-13. This will include a range of written and on-line materials, to be made available in advance of the 2012-13 academic year.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): A full impact assessment on Housing Benefit: Changes to Local Housing Allowance Arrangement has been published by the Department for Work and Pensions and copies have been made available in the House Library.
To help local authorities to provide support where it is needed to ensure a smooth transition, £190 million funding has been made available. In addition, existing customers will be given more time to adjust to any reduction in entitlement, by giving them up to nine months' transitional protection from the anniversary date of the claim.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend, prior to the reform of the House of Lords, to complete the commitment in the coalition agreement to create sufficient life peerages to reflect the percentage of votes obtained by each party in the general election; and if so, what final numerical composition of the House that implies.[HL4943]
The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): It cost £1,000 to design the calendar and £2,884 to print 3,000 copies. Staff of the House are always happy to discuss domestic matters such as this directly with Members.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what guidance will be issued to local authorities in the use of direct payments to landlords where the local authority considers this may help a tenant secure, or keep, a tenancy.[HL4918]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): Early next year, we will be providing local authorities with guidance on the amendment that we are making to the housing benefit payment provisions.
Lord Freud: From April 2011, in cases assessed under the local housing allowance arrangements, local authorities will be able to pay housing benefit direct to the landlord where they consider that it would help the customer to secure a new tenancy or remain in their current home. It follows that the rent must be at a level that they can afford. We will work closely with local authorities to ensure that this provision is used in very specific circumstances where landlords are reducing rents to a level that is affordable for customers.
A number of other circumstances in which benefit is paid direct to landlord remain unchanged-for example, if the tenant is in arrears of eight weeks or more or the local authority considers that the tenant is unable or unlikely to pay their rent.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the number of local housing allowance (LHA) claimants who will now be offered nine months' transitional protection following the decision to reduce LHA to the 30th percentile earlier than expected in April 2011.[HL4920]
Lord Freud: We estimate that the transitional protection will be beneficial to around 68 per cent of housing benefit customers (over 600,000 at March 2010) who see a reduction in their eligible rent when their local housing allowance rate is reviewed on the anniversary of their claim falling on or after 1 April 2011. Some customers will not get transitional protection if they move or a change in their household means that they become entitled to the local housing allowance rate for a smaller property.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The positive engagement of Afghanistan's neighbours is vital in ensuring a coherent political settlement and a smooth transition to an Afghan security lead. Iran is an important player and we are encouraging its co-operation and positive involvement in conflict resolution, though we remain concerned about Iranian links to militant groups in Afghanistan.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Answer by Baroness Rawlings on 30 November, whether they are reconsidering their proposal to terminate central funding of the Design, Horniman and Geffrye museums by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.[HL4764]
Baroness Rawlings: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is not ending funding to its non-national museums such as the Design, Geffrye and Horniman museums. These museums have been allocated funding in the next spending period to 2014-15.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the level of historic debt held by all NHS bodies that was held at the beginning of 2010-11 and is likely to be transferred to new NHS bodies at the beginning of 2012-13.[HL5035]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): National Health Service trusts have a statutory duty to ensure that
14 Dec 2010 : Column WA172
Both strategic health authorities and primary care trusts have a statutory duty in each financial year to contain revenue expenditure, measured on an accruals basis, within approved revenue resource limits. For these bodies, therefore, unlike NHS trusts, there is no corresponding concept of cumulative or historic debt.
Proposals set out in the NHS White Paper Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS are subject to the passage of the forthcoming Bill through Parliament. Detailed arrangements will be considered as part of that process.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The number of physical assaults against staff reported by National Health Service bodies in England is collated annually by the NHS Security Management Service. Information is not available centrally on categories of perpetrators of reported assaults. Published figures therefore include all assaults and not only those committed by patients.
It is completely unacceptable for NHS staff to be assaulted or to have to work in fear of assault. We will take all possible steps to encourage co-operation between trusts, the police and the Crown Prosecution Service to ensure that appropriate action is taken against people who assault staff.
The NHS Security Management Service will continue to support and assist NHS organisations in taking action to prevent violence and abuse from occurring and in seeking criminal sanctions against those who assault NHS staff.
To ask Her Majesty's Government why the memorial lecture for Lord Steinberg given by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on 16 November was not posted on the Northern Ireland Office media centre website; and whether they will in future ensure that the Secretary of State's speeches dealing with Northern Ireland issues are available on the website.[HL4777]
Lord Shutt of Greetland: The memorial lecture for Lord Steinberg on 16 November was not posted on the Northern Ireland Office media centre website because it contained a large amount of Conservative Party-related material. It was, therefore, deemed more appropriate to treat this as a party speech and as a result it was issued through the press office at Conservative Campaign Headquarters.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken to ensure that any work undertaken by a future Northern Ireland Commission for Human Rights is within the remit of the legislation setting up the body and that any proposals have the support of the local community and are in keeping with the demands of any local requirements.[HL4931]
Lord Shutt of Greetland: I refer the noble Lord to the Answer given on 10 November 2010 (Official Report, col. WA 89). The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission is independent of government and as such is entitled to set its own programme of work, consistent with its statutory functions. I understand that the NIHRC is currently consulting on its strategic and business plans for 2011-13. These are shared with government and reviewed to ensure that the work plans are within its statutory remit.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much funding the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission has received since its creation; and what assessment they have made of the value for money of the commission.[HL4933]
Lord Shutt of Greetland: Details of funding received by the commission in each financial year since its creation can be found in the commission's annual report and accounts, copies of which are available in the Library of the House or on the NIHRC website, www.nihrc.org. The accounting officer of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission holds delegated responsibility for considering value for money in the commission's operations. The Northern Ireland Office, as sponsor department, conducts a detailed review of all funding as part of the government spending review cycle with HM Treasury. During the course of each financial year, it reviews use of allocated funding through in-year monitoring rounds, regular review meetings, consideration of business cases and departmental efficiency exercises.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Shutt of Greetland on 29 November (WA 415), how release of information on the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission's (NIHRC) draft corporate code of governance would
14 Dec 2010 : Column WA174
Lord Shutt of Greetland: I refer the noble Lord to the Answers given on 29 November (Official Report, cols. WA 414-15). Under paragraph 8 of Schedule 7 to the Northern Ireland Act 1998, the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission may determine its own procedure, including its code of governance, which describes in some detail the various responsibilities placed upon commissioners when exercising their functions. The code is still in the policy formulation stage and disclosure of the full draft in its current state would prejudice the Northern Ireland Office's ability to have free and frank exchanges of views or to give free and frank advice to the NIHRC. The code of governance is intended for future publication and a copy of the final version will be placed in the Library of the House.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Shutt of Greetland on 29 November (WA 415), whether the abolition of the post of chief executive has any effect on the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission's proposed draft of a new corporate code of governance.[HL5028]
Lord Shutt of Greetland: I refer the noble Lord to the Answers given on 29 November (Official Report, col. WA 415). The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission is responsible for determining its own procedures and for the appointment of the chief executive. The noble Lord may wish to write to the commission directly on this matter.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the figures for privatisation receipts for each tax year from 2010-11 to 2015-16, as assumed by the financial transactions line in table 4.22 of the Office for Budget Responsibility's report Economic and Fiscal Outlook, published on 29 November 2010.[HL4754]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the figures for privatisation receipts for each tax year from 2010-11 to 2015-16, as assumed by the financial transactions line in table 4.22 of the Office for Budget Responsibility's report Economic and Fiscal Outlook, published on 29 November 2010. [HL4754]
The information that you have requested has not previously been published by the OBR. In line with our release policy, the OBR aims to meet ongoing requests for supplementary forecast information where this will improve the quality of public debate on the public finances. We would therefore plan to release further information on our next scheduled release date that would provide information relevant to your request.
Our release policy is available on our website at: http://budgetresponsibility.independent.gov.uk/d/release_policy.pdf
Where the OBR publishes supplementary material, releases will be made in an orderly manner that promotes public confidence and gives equal access to information. The next scheduled release date for the publication of supplementary forecast information is 21 December 2010.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Contingent liabilities are defined as liabilities that may give rise to future financial commitments. For overseas territory Governments, these can include, but are not limited to, healthcare schemes, pension arrangements and national insurance schemes.
Overseas territory debts are actual liabilities of overseas territory Governments. The UK has agreed with certain overseas territory Governments that their debt obligations will be limited, in the interest of sustainable public financial management and good governance.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many Questions for Written Answer tabled between 5 October and 11 November were allocated to the Cabinet Office; what percentage of that figure is represented by the nine questions still awaiting a reply after 10 working days; and what are the reasons for the delay.[HL4803]
Lord Taylor of Holbeach: A total of 111 Questions for Written Answer tabled between 5 October and 11 November were allocated to the Cabinet Office. The nine questions awaiting a reply after 10 working days on 1 December 2010 represent 8 per cent of the Questions received by the department in that period. As of 14 December, five have been answered, three remain unanswered and one has been withdrawn.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress has been made on negotiations between BRB (Residuary) Ltd and Lancashire County Council for the sale of the section of the former Colne-Skipton railway line between Colne and the former county boundary.[HL4824]
Earl Attlee: So far as the Department for Transport is aware, the most recent discussions between BRB (Residuary) Ltd and Lancashire County Council on transferring a section of the former Colne-Skipton railway with a view to its use as a cycle path took place on 20 July 2010. At that meeting, BRB (Residuary) Ltd explained the legal obligations and maintenance responsibilities that would need to be transferred to the county council as part of any sale.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Statement by Earl Attlee on 25 November regarding investment in railways, whether the further investigation into a new fleet of intercity trains will include a retendering process under EU procurement rules for the new options proposed; and which manufacturers are at present in discussions with the Department for Transport over this potential order.[HL4653]
Earl Attlee: The Statement from the Secretary of State for Transport on 25 November confirmed that the Department for Transport is looking at two options for the replacement of the HST fleet of trains: a revised bid from Agility Trains (which remains the preferred bidder for the Intercity Express Programme option) and an alternative option for an electric fleet of trains that can couple to diesel locomotives. If the latter option is chosen, it would require a new procurement exercise to be initiated.
Any new procurement exercise would be conducted in accordance with UK and European Commission requirements, allowing all organisations (or consortiums) with the appropriate technical, financial and manufacturing capability to express an interest.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether independent schools registered as charities can convert to academies; and whether they would be allowed to raise additional income through fees if they did so.[HL4062]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): Independent schools registered as charities can convert to academy status. The Academies Act 2010 prevents academies from charging fees for admission or education subject to limited exceptions. Such exceptions might include after-hours clubs or tuition.
Where independent schools convert to academies, they may have non-European economic area pupils who are eligible to remain in the UK only on condition that they do not access state (non-fee-paying) education. In such cases, the academy is required under its funding agreement to charge fees to meet the full costs of providing education for such pupils.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The department expects the first Teaching Schools to be designated by the start of the next school year, in September 2011. They will be outstanding schools with outstanding head teachers, who will work collaboratively with other schools in an area to improve results for pupils, taking a leading responsibility for providing and quality-assuring teacher and leadership training and offering professional development for teachers.
Baroness Garden of Frognal: The governing bodies of 46 sports in England were provided with an opportunity to input into the UK coaching certificate review (UKCC) on behalf of the coaches and coaching systems that they represent.
In addition, there was a range of opportunities for the governing bodies of sport in the other home countries to input into the review to ensure that the future of the UKCC aligns to their coaches' needs.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, in light of the announcement by GlaxoSmithKline of a £500 million investment programme in the United
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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The Department for Work and Pensions does not operate any family support helplines, as these are mostly funded through the Department for Education. However the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission, a Crown non-departmental public body of the department, does operate the child maintenance options service.
The child maintenance options service provides free information on the range of child maintenance arrangements available and supports parents to make informed decisions about the child maintenance arrangement most suited to their circumstances, whether this is a family-based arrangement, a statutory arrangement or one made through the courts.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The British Government have not carried out such an assessment. The treatment of minority religious groups in Turkey, including Christians, is addressed in the European Commission's annual progress reports on Turkey's accession process. The 2010 report states that freedom of worship in Turkey continues to be generally respected. However, the report notes a number of areas for continued focus. These include full implementation of the law on
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To ask Her Majesty's Government which twenty undergraduate universities have the highest drop-out rates; and how many students at all undergraduate universities have failed to complete a degree in the last three years.[HL4781]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): The latest available information on higher education non-completion rates and numbers is provided in tables 1 and 2. Non-completion refers to the number or proportion of UK-domiciled full-time first degree starters who are projected to neither gain an award nor transfer to another UK higher education institution. Table 1 includes the benchmarks for each institution listed. The benchmarks take into account a number of student characteristics: entry qualifications; subject of study; and age to calculate the sort of values that might be expected for an institution's non-completion indicator. Figures for the 2008-09 academic year will become available from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) in April 2011. More information on non-completion in higher education is available from HESA at the following link: http://www.hesa.ac.uk/index.php/content/category/2/32/141/.
|The 20 UK higher education institutions with the highest non-completion rates(1) Academic Year 2007-08|
|Institution||Per cent projected to neither gain an award nor transfer (%)||Benchmark (%)|
|Non-completion of full-time first degree starters(2) at UK higher education institutions Academic Years 2005-06 to 2007-08|
|Academic Year||Total full-time first degree starters||Number projected to neither gain an award nor transfer||Percent projected to neither gain an award nor transfer (%)|
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