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To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 16 November (WA 177), when they will place in the Library of the House the requested information on the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State's meeting with independent sector providers of abortions.[HL4969]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The latest survey carried out by ADS, the lead trade association for the UK aerospace industry, shows that the UK aerospace industry directly employs just oven 100,000 people; and ADS estimates that the sector supports a total of around 250,000 UK jobs.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The Plant and Agricultural National Intelligence Unit (PANIU) advises that goods such as plant and machinery are stolen from farms for a range of destinations, including for export to eastern Europe. There have been specific incidents where such items have been either recovered in, or intercepted en route to, Poland, as well as Turkey, the Middle East and destinations in Africa.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): Apprenticeship data are not available by industry. Within an industry, a learner may undertake an apprenticeship framework in a wide range of areas. The number of apprenticeship starts and achievements is available by sector subject area, and at framework level.
There were 36,900 apprenticeship starts in the engineering and manufacturing technologies sector subject area in England in 2009-10, based on information for the year to date. Apprenticeships are a devolved matter, therefore only figures for England are available.
Information on the number of apprenticeship starts in England is published in a quarterly statistical first release (SFR). The latest SFR was published on 16 November 2010: http: www.thedataservice.org.uk/statistics/statisticalfirstrelease/sfr_current.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Code of Practice on Taxation complements HM Revenue and Customs' (HMRC) approach to the largest businesses in which transparency and resolution of issues in real time help to increase voluntary compliance. HMRC has not made an assessment of the additional tax revenues that will accrue from the code in isolation from this broader approach.
To ask Her Majesty's Government at what rate of interest the Bank of England lends to banks under the special liquidity scheme, and how that rate compares to the average rate charged by banks to small businesses.[HL5108]
Lord Sassoon: The special liquidity scheme (SLS) is a Bank of England scheme. The fee paid by participants is the spread between the three-month London Interbank interest rate (Libor) and the three-month interest rate for borrowing against the security of government bonds (GC Repo rate), subject to a floor of 20 basis points. The fee may vary at the Bank's discretion. More information is available at: www.bankofengland.co.uk/markets/sls/index.htm.
The Bank of England's October 2010 Trends in Lending report published data reporting the interest rates on lending to small businesses. This is available at: http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/publications/other /monetary/trendsinlending.htm.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England is free to (a) increase interest rates and, (b) increase quantitative easing, without seeking the approval of HM Treasury.[HL5172]
Lord Sassoon: As explained in previous Answers, the Monetary Policy Committee has operational responsibility for monetary policy. The framework for the asset purchase facility requires the Chancellor to authorise the overall limit on asset purchases.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The acquisition of Halifax Bank of Scotland plc (HBOS) in early 2009 by Lloyds TSB Group plc created Lloyds Banking Group (LBG). Director appointments are a matter for the board of LBG, with appropriate consultation with shareholders.
The Government's shareholdings in banks are managed on a commercial and arm's-length basis by UK Financial Investments Ltd (UKFI). UKFI's objective is to protect and create value for the taxpayer as shareholder, with due regard to the maintenance of financial stability, and to act in a way that promotes competition. As an engaged shareholder, UKFI takes a close interest in the calibre and performance of the banks' boards and management teams, as well as in their financial incentives, which need to be fully aligned with the taxpayers' interests as shareholders.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government have been clear that banks need to act responsibly and recognise the broader context of their actions. There is consensus that inappropriate remuneration structures contributed to the causes of the financial crisis.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Sassoon on 7 December (WA 25), what is the amount outstanding in the loan made by the Government to Iceland; and what is the split between principal and accrued interest.[HL5107]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The principal amount outstanding on the loan made by the UK to Iceland, in respect of Iceland's obligations under the deposit guarantee directive to UK depositors in Icesave, is set out in Table 14.1 of the HM Treasury Resource Accounts (HC 261).
Subject to ratification by the Icelandic Parliament of a new loan agreement, accrued interest will be calculated on the basis of the ratified agreement and included in future HM Treasury resource accounts.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether agreements with other jurisdictions to avoid double taxation will mean that the proposed banking levy will fall more heavily on United Kingdom banks if HM Treasury is to raise the amount targeted from the levy.[HL4962]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The purpose of double tax arrangements on bank levies is to avoid double imposition in respect of the same business, so ensuring a level playing field for banks operating in the UK and fair treatment for UK banks operating in other countries.
The levy will be set at a full rate of 0.075 per cent in 2012 with an initial full rate of 0.05 per cent in 2011. The return from the levy is estimated to be £1.3 billion in 2011-12, £2.3 billion in 2012-13 and £2.6 billion in 2013-14 and 2014-15. The effects of double tax arrangements have been included in the estimated return to the Exchequer.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will place in the Library of the House the review of the conduct of senior individuals and corporate governance at the Royal Bank of Scotland, carried out by the Financial Services Authority and PricewaterhouseCoopers, redacted if legally necessary, together with a full explanation.[HL4911]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): In May 2009 the Financial Services Authority (FSA) launched an investigation into the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) to consider whether regulatory rules had been broken and what, if any, action was appropriate. The review looked specifically at the conduct of senior individuals at the bank, the acquisition of ABN AMRO in 2007, and the 2008 capital raisings. The FSA conducted the review with assistance from PricewaterhouseCoopers.
On 18 May 2010 the FSA closed the enforcement investigation into Johnny Cameron, former executive director of RBS and former chairman of Global Markets. Following the completion of this investigation, Mr Cameron agreed not to hold any senior management positions or undertake full-time employment in the financial services industry.
On 2 December 2010 the FSA announced that a supervisory investigation had confirmed that RBS made a series of bad decisions in the years immediately before the financial crisis, most significantly the acquisition of ABN AMRO and the decision to aggressively expand its investment banking business. Had the investigation led to enforcement action then it would have been usual for the FSA to make these outcomes public. However, the issues investigated by the FSA did not warrant any enforcement action, either against RBS or against individuals.
The FSA cannot publish the contents of the review, because information gathered for the review remains confidential under FSMA. The Treasury does not have a copy of the review. The FSA has, though, proposed producing a publishable report on lessons to be learnt both from the decisions made by the RBS board and executives, and from any failings of the supervisory approach in place at that time. In order to publish such a report, the FSA considers that it would need permission from RBS and other individuals to use confidential information provided by them in the course of the supervisory investigations now concluded, as well as those to whom the information relates.
Lord Sassoon: In May 2009, the Financial Services Authority (FSA) launched an investigation into the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) to consider whether regulatory rules had been broken and what, if any, action was appropriate. The review looked specifically at the conduct of senior individuals at the bank, the acquisition of ABN AMRO in 2007 and the 2009 capital raisings.
The FSA conducted the review with assistance from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). The appointment of external advisers is a matter for the FSA, as independent regulator. The Treasury does not have any information about the cost of PwC's assistance.
Lord Sassoon: In May 2009 the Financial Services Authority (FSA) launched an investigation into the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) to consider whether regulatory rules had been broken and what, if any, action was appropriate. The review looked specifically at the conduct of senior individuals at the bank, the acquisition of ABN AMRO in 2007 and the 2008 capital raisings. The FSA conducted the review with assistance from PricewaterhouseCoopers.
On 2 December 2010 the FSA announced that a supervisory investigation had confirmed that RBS made a series of bad decisions in the years immediately before the financial crisis, most significantly the acquisition of ABN AMRO, and the decision to aggressively expand its investment banking business. However, the review concluded that these bad decisions were not the result of a lack of integrity by any individual. The FSA did not identify any instances of fraud or dishonest activity by RBS senior individuals, or a failure of governance on the part of the board.
Baroness Rawlings: Ministerial appointments to the BBC Trust are made on merit under a fair, open and transparent process which is regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments. Applications are assessed against the specific selection criteria advertised in relation to a position as and when it falls vacant.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): Child development is a priority for this Government because of the difference it can make in the long term to both social justice and
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The Government are committed to giving local authorities the flexibility and autonomy to work for their communities and to be accountable to local people for their services, including the quality of childcare. We will achieve this through a new Early Intervention Grant, worth around £2 billion, which brings together funding in a new area-based grant while giving local authorities the freedom to invest in the manner most appropriate to local circumstances. We have removed the top-down performance framework and will replace this with local transparency so that people can hold local authorities to account for delivering high-quality provision.
The Early Years Foundation Stage sets out what all childcare settings must do to support the welfare and learning and development of children from birth to five years old. Dame Clare Tickell is currently reviewing the Early Years Foundation Stage to look at how young children can be best supported through their early years to help give them the best start in life. The review is seeking ways to reduce bureaucracy while ensuring that any new framework both protects and improves the future chances of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable. The review will report in spring 2011.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): I refer the noble Lord to the Statement I made to the House on Monday 13 December (Official Report, col. 437).
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): My right honourable friend the Home Secretary will announce the outcome of the review to Parliament when the review is completed. This is most likely to be early in the new year.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The Office of Cyber Security and Information Assurance, in the Cabinet Office, has responsibility for overseeing the national cybersecurity programme announced on 19 October 2010 as part of the Strategic Defence and Security Review. The OCSIA provides leadership and a central co-ordination of cross-government policy and strategies for countering cyberattacks and cybercrime.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that the European Union Deposit Guarantee Scheme to protect depositors' savings up to €100,000 becomes operative on 1 January 2011.[HL5059]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Financial Services Authority (FSA) makes the rules that govern the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) and implements the Deposit Guarantee Scheme's Directive. From 31 December 2010 the FSCS deposit compensation limit will rise to the equivalent of €100,000, in line with the directive. The limit will be converted into sterling and rounded to a clear and memorable figure. The FSA has now confirmed that the compensation limit will be £85,000.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 9 December 2010 (WA 76), whether the absence of the grounds for the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) Licence Committee's decision at the website indicated in the Answer, www.hfea.gov.uk, is due to the HFEA's established practice of retaining only the last three licence committee minutes for each Licensed Centre; and whether they will therefore place in the Library of the House a copy of the minutes for the meeting in March 2005 at which it was demonstrated how the cloning of embryos using nuclei from a patient with type 1 diabetes could be applied in developing treatments for this disease.[HL5177]
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answers by Lord Darzi of Denham on 20 May 2009 (WA 318) and 3 June 2009 (WA88-89), by Baroness Thornton on 6 April 2010 (WA393), and by Earl Howe on 19 July 2010 (WA 162) and 23 November 2010 (WA 297), why cloned human embryos created using the nuclei from a patient with type 1 diabetes are still considered by the authority's licence committee to be necessary or desirable to improve treatment of this disease. [HL5178]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has advised that the grounds for the authority's licensing decisions are set out in the minutes of licence committee meetings. The grounds for approving licence R0152 are set out in the minutes of the meeting at which the initial application was approved, and of subsequent meetings at which a renewal of the licence was approved. The most recent of these meetings took place on 18 June 2008 and the minutes of this meeting are available on the HFEA's website at: http://guide.hfea.gov.uk/guide/InspectionReport.aspx?code =17&s=1&&nav=2
The HFEA has also advised that it has retained the minutes of the licence committee meeting of 16 March 2005, referred to in the noble Lord's question, in accordance with its agreed retention schedule. A copy of the minutes has been placed in the Library.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to propose greater International Monetary Fund proportional support for European Union member states undergoing financial stability adjustment packages designed to reduce government bond interest burdens.[HL5019]
The UK has endorsed several IMF programmes in the last couple of years for European Union member states. These have involved differing levels of support from the IMF as a proportion of the overall package.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government's attention is drawn to a large number of proposals from various sources; these are considered as part of the normal policy development process.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 4 November (WA 436), (a) why the 2007-08 statistics for dental decay among Birmingham five year-olds did not quote the 1.67 figure for the local primary care trust area, on the same basis as previous surveys, instead of 1.35 which is a new statistic based on the local authority area; and (b) whether the selection of two comparator cities, at one point in time, is a valid scientific method of addressing questions of causality with regard to fluoridation and dental health.[HL5217]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): In providing information about the area of England with the first substantial water fluoridation scheme (Birmingham) and a comparable non-fluoridated area (Manchester), we considered that use of the data on the whole of both local authority areas, rather than only part of the areas evidenced by the primary care trust data, gave the most comparable data. Surveys of dental health, which consistently show that fluoridation has a mitigating effect on the association between dental disease and social and economic deprivation, add to the evidence base on the effects of fluoridation.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 4 November (WA 436), what conclusions they draw from the
20 Dec 2010 : Column WA249
Earl Howe: Dental disease is strongly associated with social and economic deprivation which, as the comparison we made between Manchester and Birmingham shows, can be mitigated by the fluoridation of water. Since 1990 National Health Service organisational boundaries have changed and, as a result, it is not possible to make meaningful comparisons from the data quoted in the Question.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 3 December (WA 494), on what date the criticisms by NHS Evidence-oral health of the 2007 Griffin review were first published.[HL5219]
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 Defence; 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.[HL3735]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The following table shows details of appointments of all staff on temporary, casual or fixed-term contracts of two years or less made by the whole of the Ministry of Defence, not just the Secretary of State, between 12 May and 30 November 2010, broken down by grade and numbers appointed, and the national salary range for each grade.
|Grade||Number appointed||National Salary Range|
Details of special adviser appointments, including names and salaries, are published on the Cabinet Office website at: www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/resource-library/special-adviser-data-releases. The more detailed information about the employment details of individuals is not normally disclosed.
Recruitment to the Civil Service is regulated by the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010. The Act established the Civil Service Commission with the role of regulating recruitment to the Civil Service, principally through its recruitment principles. All those employed since 12 May 2010 have been recruited to the department in accordance with these recruitment principles. The recruitment principles are available at www.civilservicecommission.org.uk.
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 Education; 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.[HL3779]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): From 12 May until the end of Oct 2010, the department has appointed 11 staff on temporary contracts. All of these staff were appointed at executive officer grade and based in London. The London pay range for the department is £25,287 to £27,402. The more detailed information asked for about the employment details of individuals is not normally disclosed for data protection reasons.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much they have spent on research into Gulf War illnesses compared with the Government of the United States; and when the last Government-funded research programme was completed.[HL4626]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The UK has spent some £9 million on research into Gulf veterans' illnesses. Details on United States funding are set out at Appendix A (page 32) of the Final 2010 Report of Department of Veterans Affairs Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses Task Force to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs published in September 2010. A website link to the report is at: http://www.va.gov/Final20GWVI-TFReport.pdf. A copy has been placed in the Library of the House.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): We are extending both the National Health Service Bowel Cancer Screening Programme (NHSBCSP) and NHS Breast Screening Programme to ensure the earlier diagnosis of cancer. The former is being extended to men and women aged 70 to 75, the latter to women aged 47 to 73. Those above the upper age limit will continue to be able to self-refer for screening.
We are also introducing a new screening technology to the NHSBCSP programme: flexible sigmoidoscopy. This can detect abnormalities before they become cancer, as well as helping to detect cancer early. Experts estimate this technology will save around 3,000 lives a year. £60 million has been provided for a four-year rollout and, subject to the approval of the UK National Screening Committee, pilots will begin next year.
Action to raise public awareness of the signs and symptoms of cancer is also being taken to achieve earlier diagnosis of cancer. In September, we announced that £9 million would be provided through the national awareness and early diagnosis initiative to support 59 local campaigns that will work to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of bowel, lung and breast cancers and to encourage early presentation at a general practitioner (GP) surgery. A further £1.75 million is being provided to pilot activity in two regions to test the viability of a possible national signs and symptoms campaign on bowel cancer.
The current review of the cancer reform strategy includes consideration of what more needs to be done to achieve earlier diagnosis. In addition to looking at further action on public awareness, the review is also examining how best to support GPs to diagnose cancer earlier and at improving primary care access to diagnostic tests for cancer.
Information on the number of prescription items written in England and dispensed in the community in the United Kingdom for EllaOne in the 13-month period between its launch in October 2009 and October 2010, broken down by strategic health authority (SHA), is shown in the following table.
|Prescription items for EllaOne prescribed in England and dispensed in the community in the UK, October 2009 to October 2010, by SHA.|
|SHA||Number of items|
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Information about endometriosis for those that have access to the internet is available for the public and healthcare professionals on National Health Service websites including NHS Direct, NHS Choices and NHS Library for Health. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) has developed a guideline on the investigation and management of endometriosis for healthcare professionals and an associated patient information leaflet, both of which are available on the RCOG website.
The evidence relating to diagnosis and use of scans in endometriosis is discussed in the RCOG Green-top Guideline. Visual inspection of the pelvis at laparoscopy is the gold standard investigation to diagnose endometriosis. Compared with laparoscopy, transvaginal ultrasound has limited value in diagnosis except for confirming or excluding endometriotic ovarian cysts. There is insufficient evidence to indicate that magnetic resonance imaging is a useful test to diagnose or exclude endometriosis compared with laparoscopy.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): This survey published by the Care Quality Commission on 2 December 2010 found that 92 per cent of women rated their overall maternity care as good or better. Three-quarters (73 per cent) said that they "always had confidence and trust in the staff caring for them during labour and birth" and most women (78 per cent) said they were not left alone at a time when it worried them. Nevertheless, there is more to do and the survey results which are available at trust level will help trusts, midwives and doctors identify where improvements can be made.
The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Strathclyde): A debate on the Government's mental health strategy could be arranged through the normal processes and vehicles, such as a Question for Short Debate, a Thursday general debate or a balloted debate, should Members wish to secure one.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their reaction to the finding of the Royal College of Nursing in its report Guidance on Safe Nurse Staffing Levels in the UK that two in five nurses report that care is compromised at least once a week due to short staffing .[HL5071]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Government welcome the Royal College of Nursing report, Guidance on Safe Nurse Staffing Levels in the UK, which rightly illustrates the complexities of staffing and its relationship with the quality of care. We are concerned about the report's statement that two in five nurses state care is compromised at least once a week due to short staffing. The Care Quality Commission requires registered providers to demonstrate that there are sufficient numbers of suitably qualified, skilled and experienced persons employed for the purposes of carrying out regulated activity. We expect trust boards to have systems and structures in place to monitor staffing levels and respond appropriately to changes in requirements.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The public health White Paper Healthy Lives, Healthy People: Our Strategy for Public Health in England sets out the Government's approach across the range of public health issues, including obesity.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will guarantee funding for the national hip fracture database and the national programme of falls and bone health audits, carried out by the Royal College of Physicians, beyond 2011.[HL5050]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): National clinical audit funding is managed by the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership. We understand that the contract with the British Geriatric Society for the national hip fracture database ends on 31 March 2012. The contract with the Royal College of Physicians for
20 Dec 2010 : Column WA255
Earl Howe: We have no plans to introduce a best practice tariff for non-hip fragility fractures. There is a lack of clear comparative data to show current variation in practice (which a best practice tariff might address) due to non-hip fragility fractures being treated in a variety of settings.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what recent reports they have received on the use of stem cells to repair injury in the central nervous system, and whether they will place in the Library of the House copies of any such reports received.[HL5294]
Lord Taylor of Holbeach: The Cabinet Office guidance, Handling Correspondence from Members of Parliament, Members of the House of Lords, MEPs and Members of Devolved Assemblies: Guidance for Departments advises departments that they should respond to letters promptly. The guidance suggests a target of 20 working days for replying to letters but a number of departments set a tighter deadline. A copy of the guidance is available in the Library of the House.
The Cabinet Office also publishes an annual report on the handling of correspondence from MPs and Peers which shows performance against departmental targets. Information for 2009 was published on 16 March 2010, Official Report, col. WS58. Information for 2010 is currently being collated and will be published shortly.
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) is conducting a wholesale review of mortgage regulation in the UK, the mortgage market review. The Government believe that it is right for the FSA to ensure that the UK mortgage market has responsible lending practices. We will continue to work with the FSA, mortgage lenders and intermediaries, and consumer groups to ensure a mortgage market that is sustainable for all participants.
The FSA published the Mortgage Market Review; Responsible Lending in July. This paper forms one part of an ongoing consultation process. The FSA has stated that it will fully assess the potential impact on the market before implementing any rule changes.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, in the light of the current terrorism threat, they will update the consultation carried out prior to the decision in 1998 not to require persons leaving the United Kingdom routinely to pass through immigration control on embarkation.[HL4668]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): Our programme for government sets out our clear commitment to reintroduce exit checks, which we will do by 2015, and our clear commitment to e-Borders.
E-Borders already supports our ability to undertake effective checks on passengers leaving the UK. It is already checking in excess of 55 per cent of passenger movements into and out of the UK, with coverage planned to increase in the future. We have announced our intention to review by April 2011 the extent to which the system will provide the complete solution to our commitment to reintroduce exit checks.
E-Borders is a key element of our border security strategy. The system enables us to screen travel document data provided in advance of travel, allowing us to target the most harmful individuals and help protect the UK against terrorist attack, serious crime and abuses of the immigration system.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the entertainment licensing implications of the Susan Philipsz Turner Prize-winning installation, Lowlands Away, at Tate Britain, where the galleries are not licensed under the Licensing Act 2003 to play recorded music.[HL5087]
Baroness Rawlings: It would be inappropriate for Ministers to comment on any individual case regarding the enforcement of the provisions of the Licensing Act 2003. The 2003 Act devolved the administration and enforcement of the licensing regime to licensing authorities. It is for the premises operator in the first instance to determine whether or not activities at their premises require licensing, and in the light of that decision, for the local licensing authority to decide if any action should be taken by them.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Government plan to introduce relevant legislation in the new year. The Bill will propose a definition of the post of director of public health and any associated statutory powers.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answers by Earl Howe on 23 November (WA 309) and on 29 November (WA 411), whether they will consult on or review the provision of medical undergraduate places in English universities.[HL5148]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The department, working in collaboration with the Higher Education Funding Council for England, will look at the need to review medical undergraduate numbers in light of the Centre for Workforce Intelligence (CfWI) findings on future demand for trained doctors.
The CfWI has already published its report on specialist training numbers by specialty, (August 2010), and the report is available at: www.cfwi.org.uk/.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the amount of (a) revenue, and (b) capital underspend, on the NHS budget for 2009-10; and how much of those underspends was rolled forward to 2010-11 as part of end-year flexibility.[HL5032]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The 2009-10 National Health Service revenue and capital underspends, as published in the department's 2009-10 resource account (HC208) were:
The primary care trust (PCT) and strategic health authority (SHA) elements of the £1.9 billion revenue underspend were £323 million and £1,013 million respectively. This was published in the NHS (England) Summarised Accounts 2009-10 (HC 410). These underspends were allocated to PCTs and SHAs in 2010-11 as carry-forward (or end-year flexibility).
The department provides capital funding for agreed NHS capital expenditure plans on an annual basis. The NHS does not receive carry-forward (or end-year flexibility) for capital underspends, as slippage on capital schemes is considered part of capital plans in the following year.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether any (a) revenue, or (b) capital underspends on the NHS budget for 2010-11 can be rolled forward to 2011-12 as part of end-year flexibility; and what forecasts they have made of the amounts of revenue and capital that are likely to be rolled forward.[HL5033]
Earl Howe: Strategic health authorities (SHAs) and primary care trusts (PCTs) will continue to be allowed to spend their revenue surpluses as part of their agreed financial plans, in line with the requirements outlined in the operating framework. In 2011-12, the expected drawdown of revenue surplus will be up to £150 million. As in previous years, unspent capital allocations are not carried forward. Capital allocations to trusts in 2011-12 will be based on capital expenditure plans agreed by SHAs, subject to national affordability. There will be no automatic capital funding for PCTs, with any capital funding for PCTs being granted on a case-by-case basis.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what arrangements they will put in place for end-year flexibility in the NHS budgets in the years 2011-12 to 2013-14 so that surpluses or deficits can be rolled forward.[HL5034]
Earl Howe: Strategic health authorities and primary care trusts will continue to be allowed to spend their revenue surpluses as part of their agreed financial plans. The operating framework for 2011-12 sets the expected level of surplus drawdown in 2011-12, and rules on capital expenditure. Decisions on expected levels of surplus drawdown for future years have not yet been taken.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The department will publish a full impact assessment covering the proposals for general practitioner (GP) commissioning when the Health and Social Care Bill is introduced in Parliament in January 2011.
Clinical priority must be the main determinant for when a patient is treated, and no one should experience undue delay at any stage of their treatment. Our proposals will ensure that commissioning decisions are underpinned by clinical insight and knowledge of local healthcare needs. GPs are best placed to co-ordinate commissioning for patients and to work with secondary care and other professionals who are part of the pathway, to minimise waits for hospital care.
Lord Taylor of Holbeach: The Government take the view that a regulatory impact assessment is not required for the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill on the grounds that its impact will fall on citizens rather than business or the public sector front line.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government are committed to a fair and sustainable pensions system which encourages pension saving and allows individuals appropriate flexibility to plan for their retirement.
The Government are therefore removing the outdated requirement to purchase an annuity by age 75, with effect from April 2011. A consultation on implementing this measure was held over the summer, and the Government published their response on 9 December, alongside draft legislation.
The Government have also stated that they want to explore the scope for allowing individuals to access part of their pension fund early, and published a call for evidence on this issue on 13 December.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): On 20 October the Chancellor announced the settlement for policing for the next four years. The cumulative profile of estimated funding will be as in the table attached.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): We are working with police to facilitate access to devices to test whether a suspected drug driver has in his body a drug that might be causing impairment.
The legislation authorises the police to require someone to take such a test, but only when using a drug screening device of a type approved by the Secretary of State. Type approval is granted on the basis of compliance with a specification which sets out the detailed requirements a device has to meet and the testing regime through which it has to pass. We expect to issue such a specification shortly for use in a police station, and are continuing work toward the specification for a roadside device. Once the specification is issued, it will be for manufacturers to present devices for approval. It will be for police forces to decide whether or not the purchase of any particular equipment would represent the best use of their resources.
Baroness Neville-Jones: The Government announced on 13 December, as part of the police funding settlement, that the Neighbourhood Policing Fund will be maintained over the next two years, before being devolved to police and crime commissioners. In London, the Metropolitan Police Authority will have full autonomy over this funding from 2011-12 in recognition of the role the Mayor of London and the Deputy Mayor already play.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Economic and fiscal outlook, which is the latest forecast by the independent Office for Budget Responsibility and was published on 29 November 2010, shows that the structural current deficit will be eliminated by 2014-15, a year earlier than required by the Government's fiscal mandate. In addition, public sector net debt is set to peak at 69.7 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2013-14, one year earlier than projected in the March Budget, then decline to 67.2 per cent of GDP in 2015-16.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Sassoon on 8 December (WA 67), what was the actual public sector net borrowing in May 2010 as a percentage of gross domestic product compared to the previous forecast for 2009-10.[HL5106]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Budget 2009 forecast for public sector net borrowing (PSNB) in 2009-10 was 12.4 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP). This was the last forecast for 2009-10 PSNB. Outturn for PSNB in 2009-10 was 11.1 per cent of GDP.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether the Republic of Ireland's National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) is treating United Kingdom banks with activities or assets in Ireland or assets subject to the direction of NAMA in a fair and equitable manner; and whether the terms of the Republic of Ireland's funding proposal from the International Monetary Fund and European Union could have an adverse impact on United Kingdom banks as a result of new requirements placed on NAMA.[HL4998]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): UK banks operating in Ireland do not participate in the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA), therefore their assets are not subject to NAMA direction. NAMA has consulted UK banks in establishing a code of practice for non-participating institutions, which commits it to have due regard to the commercial interests of the non-participating institutions, act reasonably in the exercise of its powers and adopt a consultation approach where appropriate.
The multilateral support programme for Ireland does not contain detailed new requirements for NAMA, beyond extending the scheme to remove remaining eligible land and development loans from Bank of Ireland and Allied Irish Banks by end-Q1 2011.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will initiate discussions with leading United Kingdom supermarket groups to ascertain what measures they plan to introduce to support lower-income customers.[HL5016]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): Product pricing is a commercial decision for the individual retail companies. The grocery sector is extremely competitive, and the Government do not intervene in such market decisions.
The major supermarkets are aware of the needs of vulnerable consumers, as seen by the large increase in recent years of basics/value ranges, particularly in areas such as fruit and vegetables but also across the board in other food and household products.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they will manage congestion on the principal road and motorway network; what role road charging will play in this strategy; and what is their assessment of advances in road charging technology.[HL5112]
Earl Attlee: In the recently published Department for Transport Business Plan 2011-15, the Government have recognised the impact of congestion on the long-term productivity of the UK economy; and set out a number of plans to deal with congestion on the principal road and motorway network.
The Government have ruled out national road pricing for cars for at least the duration of this Parliament. We are committed to bringing in an HGV road-user charge to ensure a fairer arrangement for UK hauliers and end the anomaly whereby foreign hauliers use UK roads without contributing to the cost of maintaining them.
To ask Her Majesty's Government by what percentage traffic has increased in the past 10 years on the principal road and motorway network; what is the forecast for the next 10 years; by what amount, in miles of single carriageway, the capacity has increased on this network; and what will be the increase in the next 10 years.[HL5111]
|Major Road motor vehicle traffic in England:|
|billion vehicle miles||Percentage change|
The latest published traffic forecasts by road type from the Department for Transport's National Transport Model, covering the years 2015, 2025 and 2035, are available at: http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/economics/ntm/forecasts2009/.
A more recent forecast has been made for 2025, which includes capacity assumptions in line with the spending review decisions and other updated inputs. This suggests that between 2009 and 2025, traffic on all major roads is expected to increase by 23 per cent.
Figures for the growth in capacity of the major road network from 1999, measured in miles of single carriageway, are not available. However, the table below shows the length in miles of motorways, trunk A-roads, and principal A-roads. This shows how the length of the major road network has grown, but does not include the capacity impacts of road widening.
|Road length of major roads, England:|
|Road Type/Year||1999||2009||1999-2009 (percentage)|
The capacity of this network, measured in miles of single carriageway, in the most recent forecast to 2025 (using assumptions in line with the spending review decisions) is expected to increase by 526 lane miles. This comprises 276 lane miles that have been completed this year or are currently under construction, plus an estimated 250 lane miles stemming from the recently announced programme of 14 schemes scheduled to start during the current spending review period.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): We are unable to provide detailed information on the security arrangements for protected individuals, including advice about the cars used on public occasions. To do so would compromise the integrity of the security arrangements of the individuals concerned.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Wilcox on 8 December (WA 60), whether they will seek to enhance the requirement in Clause 7.9 of BS EN 60335-1:2002 and related safety standards so that switches on electric ovens and hobs that may give rise to a hazard also indicate by electric light that they are in operation.[HL5251]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): In addition to the requirement in Clause 7.9 of BS EN 60335-1:2002 for switches which may give rise to a hazard when operated to be marked or placed so as to indicate clearly which part of the appliance they control, Clause 7.10 of this standard requires that different positions of switches on stationary appliances and different positions of controls on all appliances shall be indicated by figures, letters or other visual means.
Moreover, under a recent EU mandate M/392 to CENELEC, a working group has been established to enhance the safety aspects of switches with regard to vulnerable groups such as the elderly, and other persons with disabilities such as the blind. To this end the European standard BS EN 60335-2-6:2003 for electric ovens and hobs has recently been ratified (April 2010) to include the following new wording in its Clause 7.10:
"Devices used to stop operational functions of the appliance, if any, shall be distinguished from other manual devices by means of shape, or size, or surface texture, or position, etc. A tactile or an audible and visual feedback shall give an indication that the device has been operated".
It will be published by the British Standards Institution within the next couple of months. Given the above requirements in BS EN 60335-1:2002 and the recent enhancement of BS EN 60335-2-6:2003 specifically for vulnerable groups, we will not be seeking to enhance the requirement in Clause 7.9 of BS EN 60335-1:2002 as indicated.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the efficiency review by Sir Phillip Green, (a) what progress has been made in implementing the recommendations of the report, (b) whether the cases of poor value for money identified in the report have been remedied, and (c) whether a progress report will be published on the first anniversary of the publication of the efficiency review.[HL4997]
Lord Taylor of Holbeach: The Government are taking forward Sir Philip Green's recommendations, including the cases of poor value for money and poor data quality, as part of their efficiency and reform agenda. This is an ongoing programme of work and there are no plans to publish a progress report on the first anniversary of the publication of the efficiency review.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Earl Howe on 30 November (Official Report, col. 1381) that "smoking still claims 80,000 lives a year", what clinical evidence or death certification records they have to support this statement; and whether they will place a copy of that evidence in the Library of the House.[HL4982]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The number 80,000 comes from available data collated in Statistics on Smoking: England, 2010, which is publicly available. This gives details of the methodology employed by the department in providing data on hospital admissions and deaths due to smoking. A copy of this publication has already been placed in the Library.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Office for Budget Responsibility has given an assessment of the amount of taxation likely to be paid as a result of the Government's recently announced crackdown on tax evasion and avoidance; and the form of tax likely to experience the greatest increase as a result of this initiative.[HL5000]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has set out its treatment of the Government's £900 million investment in measures to tackle tax evasion and avoidance on page 99 of its Economic and Fiscal Outlook published on 29 November 2010. This can be found at: http://budgetresponsibility.independent.gov. uk/econ-fiscal-outlook.html.
On 6 December 2010, the Exchequer Secretary announced a package of measures to tackle tax avoidance. These announcements are forecast to protect revenues estimated at up to £5 billion over the next four years, and are expected to raise over £2 billion in additional revenue during the course of this Parliament. The OBR will review this package as part of its March 2011 forecast.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will include in their package of corporate anti-tax-avoidance measures restrictions on United Kingdom companies transferring their head offices to tax havens.[HL5020]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government recognise the need for a sustainable corporate tax system and one element of this is proportionate and effective anti-avoidance rules to ensure that UK tax revenues are adequately protected. The Government are fully committed to tackling tax avoidance and will take necessary steps to protect the Exchequer and maintain fairness in the tax system. That is why the Government announced a number of changes on 6 December to tackle specific tax avoidance risks.
The Government's priority is returning the UK to balanced, sustainable growth. They recently published Corporate Tax Reform: Delivering a More Competitive
20 Dec 2010 : Column WA267
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will examine options for an intermediate VAT rate, between the future full 20 per cent rate and zero rating, to mitigate the effects of the VAT rise on poorer households.[HL5018]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The increase in the standard rate of VAT is a necessary measure which will raise £13 billion annually in extra revenue-money which does not have to be found from extra spending cuts or other tax rises.
The Government are committed to keeping everyday essentials such as food and children's clothing, as well as other zero-rated items like newspapers and printed books, free from VAT over the course of this Parliament. There are no plans to introduce a new intermediate rate of VAT.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what proportion of the public benefits relating to the 14 authorised schemes referred to in paragraph 37 of the Investment in Highways Transport Schemes (October 2010) are made up, over the duration of the schemes in question, of (a) time savings of less than one minute, (b) time savings of between one and two minutes, (c) savings in carbon, and (d) accident savings.[HL5091]
Earl Attlee: Ministers have committed to publishing the business case information used to inform the prioritisation of transport investment in the spending review. Information on the 14 schemes will be released later this month.
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