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To ask Her Majesty's Government how many successful prosecutions have been made for thefts of (a) livestock, (b) vehicles, and (c) other items, from farms during each of the past three years in (1) England, (2) Scotland, and (3) Wales.[HL5116]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): It is not possible from information collated centrally by the Ministry of Justice or the Scottish Government, other than where specified in a statute, to identify the location of a theft or description of the items that were stolen. This level of detail will only be held on individual court records.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many UK Border Agency desks there are at (a) Heathrow, (b) Gatwick and (c) Stansted for checking passengers arriving from and departing to overseas destinations. [HL4828]
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many of the departure desks at (a) Heathrow, (b) Gatwick and (c) Stansted, are fitted with electronic terminals for the checking of travel documents; and what would be the cost of installing such terminals at those desks where they are not fitted.[HL4830]
Baroness Neville-Jones: The UK Border Agency has a mobile capability to undertake departure checks at the airports listed. The electronic checking of travel documents is carried out using portable devices as set out below.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made, in light of the Strategic Defence and Security Review, of the future of the British Army Training Unit Suffield in Alberta, Canada. [HL5068]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): As stated in the Strategic Defence and Security Review, we will maintain our training areas in Canada to prepare our forces for operations. Our presence at the British Army Training Unit Suffield also reflects the UK's close and valued defence relationship with Canada.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much was spent on replacing the ceremonial uniforms of (a) the Grenadier Guards, (b) the Coldstream Guards, (c) the Scots Guards, (d) the Irish Guards, and (e) the Welsh Guards, in each of the last five years. [HL5164]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The expenditure over the past five complete financial years for replacing ceremonial uniforms, including hats, boots, belts, jackets, trousers and gloves, is provided in the following table.
|Guard Regiment Financial Year|
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): Failed asylum seekers whose asylum applications have been fully determined and whose appeal rights are exhausted are required to leave the UK as soon as possible. It is accepted that there will be some failed asylum seekers who are destitute and who are unable to leave the UK immediately due to circumstances beyond their control. These individuals can request the provision of support under section four of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 pending the resolution of the temporary barrier to their return.
There are additional safeguards for families with dependent children under 18 when their appeal rights are exhausted who continue receiving support until they leave the UK. Therefore, no asylum seeker or failed asylum seeker need be destitute while they have a valid reason to be here
Earl Attlee: The Cranfield University research on cabin air has been completed and the report has been sent out to independent scientific peer review. We expect publication of the report to take place in the new year.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the swab tests mentioned in Note 4.2 of the meeting of the Aviation Health Working Group on 18 February 2010 have been conducted; if not, why not; and, if they have, when the results will be published. [HL5052]
To ask Her Majesty's Government why there is no longer representation from the Department of Health on the Aviation Health Working Group;
21 Dec 2010 : Column WA272
Earl Attlee: Sufficiently close links exist between the Department of Health and the Department for Transport at the policy level to enable any concerns about aviation health matters to be raised with the Department of Health if necessary.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the European Union Justice and Home Affairs Council Statement by Lord McNally on 9 December (Official Report, col. WS 46), what are the implications for air travellers of the proposal that passengers' name records data are collected on flights within the European Union as well as between member states and Australia, Canada and the United States of America.[HL5200]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): Passenger name record (PNR) data are only collected by the UK's e-Borders system to the extent that it is known to the carrier. The Immigration and Police (Passenger, Crew and Service Information) Order 2008 specifies that only passenger information that is routinely held by the carrier on their reservation system or departure control system, or information that is obtained during the ordinary course of the carrier's business, may be required. PNR collection on flights between member states and Australia, Canada and the United States of America under EU agreements with those countries follows the same principle, as will PNR collection on flights between member states and third countries, and potentially between member states, when an EU PNR Directive is introduced.
Therefore, there are no implications for ordinary air travellers, as they are not required to provide any more data than they would normally provide in the course of booking their flight. Collection and analysis of PNR data will assist in preventing those travellers who wish to cause harm from doing so.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Office of Fair Trading is currently investigating the way that the equity underwriting
21 Dec 2010 : Column WA273
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the announcement in March by the Office of Fair Trading that it was looking into aspects of investment banking, when they expect a report to be published. [HL5258]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The OFT launched a market study of equity underwriting services for the different types of share issue used by FTSE 350 companies to raise equity capital in the UK (including rights issues, placings and other types of follow-on offer) on 6 August 2010. OFT intends to publish its report in late January 2011.
For further details please see the OFT page: http://www.oft.gov.uk/OFTwork/markets-work/current/equity-underwriting.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have any evidence of collusion between major United Kingdom banks in respect of the sharing of credit information, purchasing of resources, setting tariffs, or agreement on remuneration.[HL5110]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The Government have no such evidence. Anyone with information as to whether enterprises may be acting in breach of competition law should submit that information to the Office of Fair Trading, which has the relevant powers to take appropriate action.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): There are strict controls on temporary migrants' access to benefits. Upon acquiring settled status, migrants are able to access benefits in the same way as British citizens. There is no comprehensive assessment of the possibility that immigrants send money to their families.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Adonis on 1 March (WA 319), when they expect the quinquennial review of the British Transport Police, due to take place in 2010, to be completed; and what issues are being taken into account in this review.[HL5113]
Earl Attlee: The Cabinet Office-led review of public bodies, which preceded the introduction of the Public Bodies Bill, considered whether the British Transport Police Authority (BTPA) should be retained and, if so, in what form. The conclusion was that the BTPA should be retained on the grounds that it performs a technical function that should remain independent of government. The Public Bodies Bill is currently before Parliament. BTPA is listed in Schedule 7 to the Bill, reflecting the agreement that the body be retained in its current form at this stage. The Cabinet Office is developing proposals for future review of those non-departmental public bodies that are to be retained. Decisions on when next to review BTPA will be taken in due course.
Baroness Rawlings: The administration and enforcement of the television licensing system are the responsibility of the BBC, which operates independently of government. The day-to-day administration and enforcement of licence fees are undertaken by TV Licensing which acts as agent for the Corporation.
The trust is responsible for approving budgets, at the level of service licences or other significant activities likely to have implications for the delivery of the BBC's public purposes, put forward by the executive. Within this framework, day-to-day decisions about expenditure are the responsibility of the BBC executive.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what monitoring they undertake of items broadcast to ensure that they do not ridicule, and are not otherwise offensive
21 Dec 2010 : Column WA275
As Director General for the Office for National Statistics (ONS) I have been asked to reply to your recent question asking whether or not a category of "British Arabs" will be included in the 2011 Census, as distinct from the category "Other". HL5400
The content of the census questions to be asked in the 2011 Census was set out in the Census Order (England and Wales) 2009 which has been debated and approved by Parliament and is now law. The questionnaires for the England and Wales census have been printed.
The 2011 Census questionnaire will provide the opportunity for people to record themselves as being both British and Arab, by ticking "British" in the national identity question and then "Arab" in the ethnic group question. The results from these two questions can then be grouped together to provide statistics on "British Arabs".
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government have taken action in the June Budget and this Spending Review to help low-income families. These steps have ensured that measures that can be robustly assessed from this Spending Review and June Budget will not lead to a measurable increase in child poverty over the next two years.
The Government believe that poverty is best tackled by addressing the causes of poverty, rather than the consequences. At the June Budget and Spending Review 2010, they set out a programme of welfare reform designed to simplify the welfare system and make work pay.
The Prime Minister has asked Frank Field MP to conduct an independent review on poverty and life chances in the UK; this has now been published and the Government welcomes his report. The Prime Minister also asked Graham Allen MP to conduct an independent review into early intervention. While awaiting the conclusions of these reviews, the Government chose to use some of the savings from withdrawing child benefit from families with a higher-rate taxpayer to fund significant above-indexation increases in the child tax credit, worth £180 in 2011-12 and £110 in 2012-13.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): In July the Government published Working for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Equality, a programme of work including a commitment to update the list of overseas same-sex partnerships automatically recognised by the UK as equivalent to UK civil partnerships and to work bilaterally with other European countries to overcome the legislative or policy barriers which prevent UK civil partnerships being recognised abroad. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is currently working with the Government Equalities Office to take forward this work.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office provides UK civil partnership registrations in 20 posts worldwide where prior approval has been obtained from the respective host Governments of these countries. 256 civil partnerships were registered in 2009.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many civil servants presently earn more than 20 times the minimum wage; and what is their response to the factor proposed in the Hutton Review of fair pay in the public sector: interim report.[HL5029]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Under the Government's transparency commitment, the Cabinet Office has published departmental structure charts showing the name, job title and salary of all senior civil servants across central government. This can be found at:
The Hutton Review of Fair Pay calculated 20 times the minimum wage as £228,186, assuming a 37 hour working week. The Government have welcomed the publication of this report and will give careful consideration to the findings so far. The Government look forward to the outcome of the final report and recommendations in March and will respond in more detail once they are in receipt of this.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): All UK cluster munitions were withdrawn from service in May 2008. To date 48 per cent of the UK's stocks have been destroyed.
As the UK has no specialist cluster munition destruction facilities of its own, destruction has had to be contracted overseas. As a result, UK cluster munitions continue to be removed from the UK as they are called forward as part of the ongoing destruction process. It is our intention to have completed the destruction of all UK cluster munitions by the end of 2013.
As was announced to Parliament during the passage of the Cluster Munitions (Prohibitions) Act 2010, the US agreed to remove all of its stockpiles from UK territory by 2013. Since then the UK was able to announce to the First Meeting of States Parties to the Cluster Munitions Convention in November 2010 that, in fact, the US has now withdrawn all stockpiles from UK territory ahead of schedule.
Lord Astor of Hever: All UK cluster munitions are in a destruction programme and have been removed from service. As part of this destruction programme UK cluster bombs are only removed from the UK for destruction. As part of the destruction process, UK cluster munitions are securely stored at specialist facilities in Germany, while awaiting collection by the disposal contractor. Under current plans, it is our intention to have destroyed all UK cluster munitions by the end of 2013.
Lord Astor of Hever: Approximately 48 per cent of UK cluster munitions have now been destroyed. The remainder are stored safely either in the UK or in Germany, pending disposal. The majority of the remaining stocks are stored by Joint Support Chain Services (JSCS) (formerly the Defence Storage and Distribution Agency) at their explosives storage facilities at Kineton (Warwickshire), Longtown (Cumbria), Eastriggs (Dumfries and Galloway) and Wulfen (Germany). Some stocks of UK M26 rockets are also stored at the US ammunition base at Miseau (Germany), due to JSCS's temporary storage capacity limitations and by one of our disposal contractors, NAMMO Buck, in Germany. All stocks are maintained for the purpose of ensuring their safe storage and, where appropriate, transportation. It is our intention to have completed the destruction of all UK cluster munitions by the end of 2013.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what arrangements have been made with United States officials for the stockpiling and maintenance of cluster bombs; when those arrangements were agreed; and when they were last reviewed.[HL5123]
Lord Astor of Hever: Section 8 of the Cluster Munitions (Prohibitions) Act 2010 sets out that the Secretary of State is able to grant authorisation for visiting forces of states not party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions to possess cluster munitions on, or transfer them through, UK territory.
The US were made aware of this provision within the Bill, not least as it was required to enable the removal of their cluster munitions stockpiles. Authorisation was subsequently granted to the US to allow them to remove their cluster munitions in accordance with the legislation. This removal has now been completed and there are no foreign stockpiles of cluster munitions on UK territory.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether there have been any recent cases of wrongful arrest arising in respect of tagging conducted by Serco on behalf of the Serious Fraud Office; and what ongoing role the Serious Fraud Office has in the implementation of tagging by Serco on its behalf.[HL5058]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): I believe the noble Lord may be referring to the arrest of Mr Asil Nadir on 4 December 2010. The Ministry of Justice and the Serious Fraud Office are investigating this matter.
Where an electronic monitoring condition is imposed by the court the responsibility for fitting the tagging device and monitoring its operation is undertaken by Serco, a private company. In the case of Mr Nadir the condition of his electronic monitoring was agreed between the Serious Fraud Office and Mr Nadir before his return to the UK in September 2010 from northern Cyprus, where he had been resident for the past 17 years.
The Serious Fraud Office had no contact with any Serco employees concerning reporting of breach of bail conditions until Monday 6 December 2010 when the Serious Fraud Office along with others began investigations to determine what had happened over the preceding week.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice responsible for prisons (Crispin Blunt) wrote to Theresa K Moore MBE, chief executive of the Citizens Trust on 6 September 2010 following her letter to the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice dated July 2010 about its Pathways from Re-Offending project.
In his reply, the Minister confirmed an interest in the initiative and suggested that the most appropriate way forward was for the Citizens Trust to contribute their ideas and experiences in response to the Call for Evidence-Review of Offender Learning which closed on 24 September and/or the Green Paper Breaking the Cycle: Effective Punishment, Rehabilitation and Sentencing for Offenders which opened for consultation on 7 December and ends on 4 March 2011.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have plans to introduce legislation to allow victims of violent crime to learn where the offenders are living after they have been released from prison. [HL5072]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 allows victims of certain serious violent and sexual offences, where the offender receives a custodial sentence of 12 months or more, to receive information about key developments in the offender's sentence. Such key developments will include where offenders are being considered for or granted a move to open conditions, a work placement in the community and release from prison.
Eligible victims are also able to make representations about conditions which may be attached to the offender's licence on release. They can, for example, request that the offender is excluded from a particular area, such as where they (the victims) live. In all cases, licence conditions must be proportionate, reasonable and necessary and, in the case of indeterminate sentenced prisoners, must be approved by the independent Parole Board.
The interests of the victim to be provided with the personal information of the offender, such as their release location, must be balanced against the offender's interests and privacy and the need to rehabilitate the offender. There are sound public protection reasons for doing this, as it is necessary to ensure the successful supervision and reintegration of offenders into the community and prevent reoffending. Releasing the whereabouts of a particular offender's location could undermine this process and reduce the likelihood of a successful, law-abiding resettlement.
Furthermore, all information disclosed to victims must be compliant with the Data Protection Act 1998, which regulates the processing of any personal data about individuals including offenders, and with human rights legislation.
Disclosing very specific information such as an offender's location could be potentially unlawful. There may, however, be circumstances in which it may be proportionate, lawful and in the public interest to provide victims with more specific information about an offender's location. One example might be where the victim is at risk of serious harm from the offender.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Statement on European Union Justice and Home Affairs Council by Lord McNally on 9 December (WS 48), whether they will maintain their position that the United Kingdom, and not the European Union, should negotiate with the Government of the United States on the protection of personal data transferred for law enforcement purposes. [HL5203]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The Government support the proposed agreement and share the European Commission's goal of continuing to ensure a high level of protection for
21 Dec 2010 : Column WA281
Baroness Verma: The food security situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo is very poor, with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) ranking DRC as one of the countries most affected by chronic hunger and undernutrition. An estimated one in every four children under the age of five are underweight. A survey in 2008 established that 15 million people are severely and moderately food insecure and recent surveys suggest the situation is not improving. Through our humanitarian programme, the Department for International Development (DfID) is helping many thousands of children every year receive therapeutic food and treatment. Last year, we helped more than 55,000 children and expect to double our assistance to malnourished children in the year ahead. The UK is also tackling food insecurity by building roads, stimulating food production by making it easier for farmers to get goods to market.
Baroness Verma: The UK aid programme in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) does not specifically focus on agriculture. Belgium, the United States and the World Bank lead on this sector, which is consistent with donor efforts for burden sharing and division of labour. The UK aid programme in the DRC does invest heavily in the rehabilitation of the national priority roads network which stimulates agriculture by opening local and regional markets to food produced by Congolese farmers.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to assist the Democratic Republic of Congo to meet its existing Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme commitments to achieve 10 per cent budgetary investment in agricultural development and a 6 per cent annual growth in the same sector.[HL5206]
Baroness Verma: The UK Government strongly support implementation of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), as well as related initiatives such as the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and African Union work to establish long-term investment plans and increase the proportion of national budgets for agriculture. The Department for International Development (DfID) is providing a £10 million grant to a multi-donor trust fund, with the World Bank, which will facilitate the implementation of the CAADP. DfID does not provide separate bilateral funding to the DRC to support CAADP implementation.
Baroness Verma: The UK aid programme in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) does not specifically focus on climate change and has not directly funded any assessment of the effect of climate change on agriculture and food security.
In December 2010, the Secretary of State for International Development announced extra support to the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), which will include £7.2 million for a programme to help adapt farming systems in the developing world to climate change. The UK Government also support the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa-of which DRC is a member-to support research into agricultural issues, including climate change adaptation.
Baroness Verma: The UK aid programme in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) does not specifically focus on agriculture. Belgium, the United States and the World Bank lead on this sector which is consistent with donor efforts for burden sharing and division of labour.
The UK aid programme in the DRC does invest heavily in the rehabilitation of the national priority road network which stimulates agriculture by opening local and regional markets to food produced by Congolese farmers.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We followed the elections with close interest. We are deeply concerned by reports of widespread fraud, media restrictions and denials of access to polling stations for independent national observers and candidate representatives. We are also concerned by reports of harassment and arrest of opposition candidates and their supporters in the run-up to and on the days of the elections, and cases of irregularities, which in some cases amount to serious allegations of interference in and disruption of the electoral process and call into question its credibility.
We remain convinced that a democratic Government is the best environment for ensuring the full enjoyment and protection of human rights in Egypt. We will continue to work to support free, fair and transparent presidential elections in 2011 and to call on the Egyptian Government to permit international observers to visit Egypt during election periods.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): It is the Government's role to create an environment conducive to private sector growth and job creation. The Path to Strong, Sustainable and Balanced Growth sets out our approach to achieving this, including the launch of the growth review. This process will challenge all government departments on how they can better enable long-term private sector growth.
Baroness Verma: This Government are committed to tackling the barriers that women face in the workplace and are taking a range of measures, including making pay secrecy clauses unenforceable, extending positive action and the right to request flexible working, consulting on a new system of parental leave, and promoting gender equality on company boards, including asking Lord Davies to fully investigate the issue.
To ask Her Majesty's Government who will be responsible for the expenditure of £8.3 billion in the European Union's Accession Fund; whether a named person will be accountable for expenditure in each accession state; and whether aid to Turkey will be made conditional on constitutional reform.[HL5281]
Baroness Verma: The EU's pre-accession assistance for all enlargement countries is provided through the instrument for pre-accession (IPA). The candidate countries of Turkey, Croatia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia work under a decentralised management system. For these countries, the national authorising officer (NAO) is responsible for the expenditure of IPA funds. The NAO is typically a high-level public servant of the Treasury or Ministry of Finance in the country concerned. For all other enlargement countries, the Commission remains responsible for the expenditure of funds. Member states have full oversight of all proposals for the use of IPA funds.
Pre-accession assistance for Turkey is not directly conditional on Turkey making progress with constitutional reforms, but rather aims to support these reforms. For example, in the area of judicial reform, the setting up of an ombudsman or data protection authority depends on adequate legal frameworks being in place.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, in relation to the European Union presidency's report that it had made good progress on the draft directive on the European Investigation Order (EIO), they have the option to withdraw support for the EIO if the final draft is not in the United Kingdom's best interests.[HL5201]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): I refer the noble Lord to my answer of 22 October 2010 (Official Report, WA 207). In this I explained
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To ask Her Majesty's Government what items for discussion they will put on the agenda for their first meeting with the Hungarian European Union presidency representatives after 1 January 2011. [HL5017]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Hungarian Government will not publish their final presidency programme until late December. Based on the Government's ongoing contacts with the Hungarian Government, we expect the presidency programme to focus on consolidating economic recovery, enlargement, the Eastern Partnership and the EU budget. The Government will discuss these issues in detail with the Hungarian Government in early 2011.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they reconcile the Written Answer by Lord Howell of Guildford on 30 November (WA 432) stating that "no areas of competence have been transferred from the United Kingdom to the European Union" with his Written Answer on 18 October (WA 110) stating that "there should be no further transfer of sovereignty or powers from the United Kingdom to the European Union over the course of this Parliament".[HL5097]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Government have no difficulty reconciling the two Answers given to the Questions referred to above. The first Answer responded to a Question as to what transfers of competence had occurred since 1972 on the basis of either qualified majority voting or unanimity and made it clear that transfer of competence could only take place by way of a treaty amendment. The answer to the second Question set out the Government's clear intention not to agree to any treaty which transfers competence or power from the UK to the EU during the course of this Parliament.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Howell of Guildford on 30 November (WA 432), what areas of United Kingdom national sovereignty or powers have been transferred to the European Union since 1972 under (a) majority voting, and (b) unanimity, in the Council of Ministers, until they are reclaimed by Parliament; and what areas remain under the unfettered control of Parliament in the meantime.[HL5098]
Lord Howell of Guildford: Article 5 of the Treaty on the European Union makes clear that the Union shall act only within the limits of the competences conferred upon it by the member states in the treaties. The treaties and subsequent amendments thereto have been agreed by the member states by consensus and not by either majority voting or unanimity in the Council of Ministers.
When the treaties confer on the Union exclusive competence in a specific area, only the Union may legislate and adopt legally binding acts, the member states being able to do so themselves only if so empowered by the Union or for the implementation of Union acts.
When the treaties confer on the Union a competence shared with the member states in a specific area, the Union and the member states may legislate and adopt legally binding acts in that area. The member states shall exercise their competence to the extent that the Union has not exercised its competence. The member states shall again exercise their competence to the extent that the Union has decided to cease exercising its competence.
The Union shall have competence, in accordance with the provisions of the Treaty on European Union, to define and implement a common foreign and security policy, including the progressive framing of a common defence policy.
In certain areas and under the conditions laid down in the treaties, the Union shall have competence to carry out actions to support, coordinate or supplement the actions of the member states, without thereby superseding their competence in these areas. Legally binding acts of the Union adopted on the basis of the provisions of the treaties relating to these areas shall not entail harmonisation of member states' laws or regulations.
The Union shall also have exclusive competence for the conclusion of an international agreement when its conclusion is provided for in a legislative act of the
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In the areas of research, technological development and space, the Union shall have competence to carry out activities, in particular to define and implement programmes; however, the exercise of that competence shall not result in member states being prevented from exercising theirs.
In the areas of development co-operation and humanitarian aid, the Union shall have competence to carry out activities and conduct a common policy; however, the exercise of that competence shall not result in member states being prevented from exercising theirs.
The member states shall co-ordinate their economic policies within the Union. To this end, the council shall adopt measures, in particular broad guidelines for these policies. Specific provisions shall apply to those member states whose currency is the euro.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 26 October (WA 256), whether the absence of citation of any free websites at references 12 and 13 of the South Central Strategic Health Authority's consultation document on water fluoridation, which would facilitate the assessment of the evidence by an average member of the public, conforms with the intentions for public consultation under the Water Act 2003. [HL5216]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The requirements for consultations under the Water Industry Act 1991 are detailed in the Water Fluoridation (Consultation) (England) Regulations 2005. The regulations require that a "strategic health authority shall:
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 7 December (WA 34-5), whether the recommendations in Sections 12.4, 12.7.2 and 12.9.1 to 3 of the York report will form part of the programme of further research into water fluoridation to which they are committed. [HL5220]
Earl Howe: The department has publicised the fact that it wishes to strengthen the evidence base on fluoridation and will consider, within available resources, soundly based proposals for research projects, including ones which reflect the recommendations of both the York report and the review by the Medical Research Council, Water Fluoridation and Health, published in 2002. A research project is under way on the extent and aesthetic effects of dental fluorosis and I understand the chief dental officer indicated, at a meeting with the noble Earl, that the evaluation of a new fluoride scheme would offer an opportunity to assess the effects on dental decay while adjusting for confounding factors. Any such evaluation could also be used to assess the cost-effectiveness of fluoridation.
Baroness Verma: According to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) $43 million worth of Gaza reconstruction projects have now been approved by Israel, out of $190 million submitted. It is for UNRWA to set its priorities, and to liaise with Israel for project approval and entry of the necessary reconstruction materials.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Verma on 25 November (WA 383) and given that water supplies and sewage are essential to public health, whether they will seek assurances from the Government of Israel on those matters in so far as they affect Gaza and the West Bank.[HL5026]
Baroness Verma: The UK Government recognise the importance of water supplies and sewage to public health, but have no plans to seek such assurances, as the lead on these issues lies with the Emergency Water, Sanitation and Hygiene group (EWASH). EWASH co-ordinates project management among almost 30 donors, agencies and organisations working on water and sanitation projects in both the West Bank and Gaza, and also ensures that the donor community's messages to the appropriate Israeli authorities on these issues are coherent and consistent.
Baroness Verma: The Government are extremely concerned about the situation in Gaza, and agree with the report that, despite some progress following Israel's June announcement on easing of movement and access restrictions, changes on the ground have so far been limited and insufficient. The UK reiterates the need for immediate, sustained and unconditional opening of the crossings for the flow of humanitarian aid, commercial goods and people to and from Gaza.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answers by Baroness Verma on 13 December (Official Report, cols. 395-7), what assessment they have made of (a) whether, and (b) when, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency will receive the building materials necessary for its minimum building programme.[HL5333]
Baroness Verma: The UK Government have not made such an assessment. The UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) is in regular contact with the Israeli authorities on these matters and will be able to provide information on whether and when it expects to receive the construction materials needed for its projects. The UK and EU continue to call on the Government of Israel to allow fully implement measures they announced in June to ease movement and access restrictions on Gaza.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Attlee on 9 November (WA 55-6), whether they will list all government car allocations across the Government as at 30 April and, on the same basis, how many cars are allocated as at 18 November.[HL4666]
Earl Attlee: The number of government car allocations supplied to Ministers by the Government Car and Despatch Agency as at 30 April 2010 was 77. As at 18 November 2010, the number of ministerial allocations stood at 13. A list of the departments and ministerial positions supplied with an allocation for each date specified has been placed in the Libraries of the House.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The Director of the Government Communication Headquarters (GCHQ) recently estimated that over 20,000 malicious e-mails are detected on government networks each month, 1,000 of which are deliberately targeting them. It would not be in the interests of the UK's national security to provide further details of cyberattacks against government ICT systems. Such disclosure could undermine the integrity and security of departmental systems and thereby expose them to potential threats.
Government departments are required through the security policy framework to have technical controls in place to protect their ICT systems and web sites from a range of threats including cyberthreats. GCHQ, through CESG and GovCertUK, provides government departments with guidance on how to protect them against, detect and mitigate various types of cyberattack, as well as providing a single point for reporting government network security incidents.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): We are committed to improving access to National Health Service dentistry. The operating framework for the NHS in England 2011-12 which sets out the key priorities for the NHS
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Earl Howe: The department does not collect data on the cost of treating type 1 diabetes and its complications. Diabetes is a complex condition that affects all parts of the body, making it difficult to calculate an exact cost.
The research report, Growing Up With Diabetes: Children and Young People with Diabetes in England states that in January 2009, 22,783 children and young people aged 0-17 years in England were recorded as having diabetes. Of these, 21,136 were classified by type and the vast majority (20,488) had type 1 diabetes.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have (a) taken, and (b) plan to take, to restrict access to Ellaone; whether they will limit online distribution; and what discussions they have had with the manufacturers about those issues.[HL5175]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what guidance they have (a) issued, and (b) plan to issue, to (1) doctors, and (2) individual patients, about (i) the abortifacient nature, and (ii) side-effects, of Ellaone. [HL5176]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Ellaone contains ulipristal acetate, a selective progesterone receptor modulator. Ellaone was licensed for use as a single 30 mg dose for emergency contraception by the European Committee for Medicinal Products for Human use (CHMP) in May 2009. It is used to prevent pregnancy for up to five days after unprotected intercourse or contraceptive failure, mainly by preventing or delaying ovulation. Ellaone is contraindicated for use during an existing or suspected pregnancy.
In the United Kingdom, Ellaone is licensed as a prescription-only medicine. Under medicines legislation, prescription-only medicines may generally only be sold or supplied by, or under the supervision of, a pharmacist on registered pharmacy premises against a prescription written by an independent prescriber. These legal restrictions apply equally to sale, supply and advertising of medicines via the internet.
Full information relating to the safe and appropriate use of a medicine is provided to healthcare professionals in the summary of product characteristics (SmPC) and to women in the patient information leaflet (PIL). The SmPC and PIL for Ellaone clearly inform women and healthcare professionals that it should not be taken by a woman who knows she is pregnant and that a pregnancy test should be undertaken if she suspects she is pregnant. The SmPC and PIL also provide information on the known side-effects for Ellaone, most common of which are headache, nausea, menstrual disorders, and abdominal pain.
There is no published experience of pregnancy termination with Ellaone and in clinical studies a 30 mg dose of ulipristal acetate did not interrupt existing pregnancies. Nevertheless, CHMP considered that such an effect could not be excluded and that Ellaone could potentially be used off-label in an attempt to terminate pregnancy. On this basis, no information on the potential use of ulipristal as an abortifacient has been included in the information provided for doctors and women. However, the publicly available risk management plan for Ellaone includes a number of measures taken to minimise the potential risk of off-label use, including a post marketing study to monitor how Ellaone is being used in real life.
When used in accordance with the product information, Ellaone is a safe and effective option for emergency contraception. As with all marketed medicines used in the UK, the safety of Ellaone is continuously monitored by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), with independent expert advice from the Commission on Human Medicines. In the event of any important new safety information emerging, the MHRA will take action to ensure that this is accurately reflected in the product information and communicated to health professionals and women.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether drugs dealt with through the cancer drug fund because they have been found by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence to have a low value in comparison to other NHS treatments will be rejected by the National Health Service unless their price is reduced to match their value.[HL5358]
Earl Howe: The department will await the outcome of the current public consultation, A new value-based approach to the pricing of branded medicines, to inform further development on how value-based pricing will be implemented. The consultation commenced on 16 December 2010 and will close on 17 March 2011. A copy of the consultation document has been placed in the Library.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): We are currently in the process of reforming the way student support is delivered in England. The Student Loans Company (SLC) is in the last phase of a three-year service transformation programme, which began in 2009 to deliver a centralised, predominantly online student finance service for students known as Student Finance England (SFE). SFE has been taking on board one new academic cohort at a time from local authorities and progressively implementing improvements to the way students apply for support and graduates throughout the UK repay their loans.
The weak performance of the Student Loans Company in 2009 under the previous Administration was completely unacceptable. The new Government acted quickly, replacing the company's senior team and making clear our expectation for substantial improvements for students taking out a loan last summer. The Student Loans Company has significantly improved its service this year, though there is no room for complacency. There is still more to do to ensure that the service continues to improve and that students and their families receive the level of service that they have a right to expect. My department continues to work with the SLC to that end.
To date, the SLC has already made some major technological improvements, including data links with UCAS and with the Immigration and Passport Service. My department is currently working in partnership
21 Dec 2010 : Column WA294
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): As I informed the noble Lord in my letter dated 13 September 2010, I expect to be in a position to update the noble Lord on the future of HMS "Caroline" early next year.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): Since 1998, rough sleeping has been measured by single night street counts in areas where there was a known, or suspected, rough sleeping problem. The table below shows street counts for the City of London and Westminster in the latest 10-year period.
|Year||City of London||Westminster|
Since 1998, only councils in areas with a known, or suspected, rough sleeping problem were required to conduct an official rough sleeper count, which meant that only 70 councils submitted information to central government. Figures published in July 2010 showed that, under this previous method, on any given night there were 440 rough sleepers in England. However, the coalition Government wanted a more accurate measure of rough sleeping and when the remaining 256 councils provided estimates of the scale of the
21 Dec 2010 : Column WA295
Under new guidance, all councils across England will now provide information on rough sleeping. This move follows consultation with homelessness charities and councils and is aimed at getting a clearer picture of the scale of the problem in each area so that more targeted support can be provided to some of the most vulnerable in society.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will place in the Library of the House a copy of their reply to the letter containing allegations from the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing.[HL5160]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing wrote to Her Majesty's Government on 12 April 2010 asking a number of questions about a traveller site in Essex. The Government replied to her letter on 31 August 2010. Communications between the special rapporteur and Governments are confidential at an initial stage until the summary of the letters and the answer of the Government are included in an addendum to the annual report submitted by the special rapporteur to the United Nations Human Rights Council. I will place a copy in the Library once the United Nations has made the correspondence public.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): It is government policy that foreign national prisoners should serve their sentences in their home countries, where this is possible. The United Kingdom is a party to prisoner transfer arrangements with 106 countries and territories. In addition, a prisoner transfer agreement with Rwanda came into force on 23 November 2010 and arrangements are being made for the implementation of the EU prisoner transfer agreement in December 2011.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): Given the personal nature of this enquiry and public nature of the response, I am unable to divulge any details of the individual case. If he would like to write to me on this matter, I would be willing to respond in confidence in a more substantive manner.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Neville-Jones on 7 December (WA 42), what is their assessment of the constitutional implications of indefinite detention of refugees in the United Kingdom without the approval of a court.[HL5212]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): Individuals who have been recognised as refugees would not normally be detained. Immigration Act powers of detention are not time-limited, nor do they require judicial involvement. This is a long-standing position that has been accepted by the courts and is fully in accord with Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Individuals who are detained under Immigration Act powers are able to apply to an immigration judge for release on bail and can challenge the lawfulness of their detention by way of judicial review. The question of possible constitutional implications does not, therefore, arise.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have received assurances that the Government of India's Education for All scheme, which is supported by United Kingdom financial aid, operates without discrimination against Dalit school pupils.[HL5045]
Baroness Verma: The goal of the Government of India's Education for All scheme, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), is to give all children eight years of good quality basic education. The number of Dalit children now enrolled in school is in proportion with their share of the overall population. However, there are significant economic and social challenges in ensuring that Dalit and other disadvantaged children remain in school. The Indian Government, state governments and the Department for International Development (DfID) are working together to support disadvantaged children to complete their education, including by improving classroom practices and involving the community. We are looking at specific help for Dalit children and hope to make a further announcement on this shortly.
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they last discussed the numbers of Dalit girls allegedly caught in the Devadasi system with (a) the Government
21 Dec 2010 : Column WA297
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We have not raised the specific issue of the Devadasi system with the Government of India or British non-governmental organisations, and are therefore unable to give their estimates of the numbers involved.
However, through the EU-India human rights dialogue, we regularly raise the issues of women's rights and trafficking of children. We welcome the steps taken by the Indian Government and state governments to address the issue. We have also discussed Dalit and trafficking issues with British non-governmental organisations.
Through the EU we funded a project on the Education, Empowerment, Participation and Rehabilitation of Children vulnerable to or survivors of trafficking and sexual exploitation, in West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh from June 2006 to June 2010.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): As previously explained, the Bank of England assesses public expectations for the rate of inflation by monitoring independent surveys. The latest Bank assessments of a range of surveys can be found on page 37 of the November 2010 Inflation Report, which can be found at:
HM Treasury publishes a monthly compilation of independent forecasts of inflation. The December edition of Forecasts for the UK economy: a comparison of independent forecasts can be found on the Treasury website: Forecasts for the UK economy-HM Treasury.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Sassoon on 13 December (WA 128) on inflation, whether they will calculate and publish the two figures requested based on published data.[HL5262]
To ask Her Majesty's Government on how many occasions in the last six months Ministers and senior officials from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills have met with the Institutional Investor Council.[HL5259]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): There have been no occasions when Ministers or the Permanent Secretary have met the Institutional Investor Council. Information on meetings with other senior officials is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their response to the cable from the United States Ambassador which reported that the Government of the Republic of Ireland had evidence that Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness were members of the IRA military command and that they knew about the Northern Bank robbery in advance. [HL5232]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): It is the Government's long-standing view that settlements are illegal under international law and an obstacle to peace. We have made our views clear to the Government of Israel. We support the EU Foreign Affairs Council conclusions of 13 December 2010 which underline these points.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the Government of the United States concerning their decision not to press the Government of Israel to suspend settlement building in the occupied territories.[HL5065]
"I am disappointed that Israel has not renewed the freeze on settlement construction and that peace talks are currently on hold. It is Britain's long-standing view that settlements are illegal under international law and an obstacle to peace.
"There is an urgent need for progress to secure a two-state solution, based on 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as the future capital of two states and with a fair settlement for refugees. This is important for Israelis, for Palestinians and for the international community, including the UK.
We will continue to work with the United States, the parties to the conflict and with our EU and UN partners to achieve a two state solution. In addition, we will continue to press for an end to all settlement activity".
Lord Howell of Guildford: We agree with the main elements of Mr Rabin's proposal: that there is an urgent need to secure a two-state solution, based on 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as the future capital of two states and with a fair settlement for refugees. My right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary made this clear in his public statement on 9 December 2010, underlining his disappointment at Israel's failure to renew the settlements moratorium.
The EU's Foreign Affairs Council (FAC) also underlined these points on 13 December, making clear that "the EU will not recognise any changes to 1967 borders, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties". The EU's FAC made clear that this could include agreed territorial swaps.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are making representations to the Government of Israel about (a) the arrest on or about 2 December of Mr Nayif al-Rujut, an elected member of the Palestinian National Assembly, and (b) the treatment during interrogations of Palestinian youths suspected of stone throwing.[HL5025]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Our embassy in Tel Aviv discusses concerns regarding the treatment of all Palestinian prisoners with the Government of Israel on a regular basis, underlining our view on the need for immediate action to ensure all cases are reviewed by a court in accordance with fair procedures, and that
21 Dec 2010 : Column WA300
In this context, we also raise concerns with the Israeli Government about the application of due process and the treatment of Palestinian detainees, where Palestinian children are involved. I would refer my noble Friend to the Hansard record of the Westminster Hall Adjournment Debate, Official Report 7 Dec 2010, column 23-44WH, for further detail.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of allegations that Israel is denying water to Palestinian growers and farmers in the Jordan Valley, and attempting to sever the Jordan Valley from the West Bank by means including demolition of houses.[HL5134]
Lord Howell of Guildford: Israel's occupation of the West Bank has a considerable negative effect on the daily lives of Palestinians. One of the ways in which this most clearly manifests itself is through the construction of settlements. As the EU's Foreign Affairs Council made clear on 13 December 2010, settlements are illegal under international law and an obstacle to peace.
The Government of Israel's policy of connecting settlements to already scarce water supplies and restricting Palestinian movement and access in occupied territory, including establishing a secondary road system, makes matters worse. It will be important to ensure a just solution on shared water resources as part of a final status agreement.
The UK Government continue to lobby hard on house demolitions and evictions in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. We have made clear to the Israeli Government that, subject to limited exceptions, house demolitions are in breach of Article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have received from members of the public concerning the Government of the United States' statement that they are unable to stop Israeli settlement building in Palestinian territory.[HL5159]
As my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary made clear in his public statement on 9 December 2010, we are disappointed that Israel has not renewed the freeze on settlement construction and that peace talks are currently on hold. It is Britain's long-standing view that settlements are illegal under international law and an obstacle to peace. The Foreign Secretary
21 Dec 2010 : Column WA301
We believe that there is an urgent need for progress to secure a two-state solution, based on 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as the future capital of two states and with a fair settlement for refugees. This is important for Israelis, for Palestinians and for the international community including the UK.
We will continue to work with the United States, the parties to the conflict and with our EU and UN partners to achieve a two state solution. In addition, we will continue to press for an end to all settlement activity.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, in view of the decision of the European Parliament not to reallocate €1.4 billion from unspent funds towards financing further progress on the ITER Fusion Project, what is the outlook for continuing finance for this project; and why the cost of the European Union share of construction costs has more than doubled in the last two years.[HL5382]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government are disappointed that the European Parliament was not able to agree on financing the funding shortfall required for the ITER Fusion Project for 2012 and 2013. We will continue to work actively towards a funding solution, based on the types of elements already proposed and agreed in council, and are determined that this issue will be resolved before the additional commitment appropriations agreed on are required. Funding for ITER for 2014 onwards will depend on the outcome of EURATOM Framework Programme 8 negotiations.
The European Commission, managing the EURATOM funding for ITER, has said that the main reasons for the construction cost increase include insufficiently rigorous cost estimates in 2001; the need for additional, more complex technical components; material and construction costs rising at faster than average inflation rates; higher resources than foreseen for complying with quality assurance requirements; and greater complexity than envisaged in project integration with seven parties involved and in the process of calls for tender from industry.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The UK Government recognise states rather than Governments. However, in line with the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative for Côte D'Ivoire and others in the international community, we are of the view that Mr Alassane Ouattara won the presidential election run-off on 28 November 2010. It is he, rather than Mr Laurent Gbagbo, who has the democratic legitimacy to form a Government.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the total United Kingdom contribution to the cost of United Nations and European Union institutions working in Kosovo; whether any bilateral aid has been given to Kosovo this year; whether any is planned for 2011-12; and if so, how much.[HL5077]
The bilateral aid allocation to Kosovo for 2011-12, which to date has included Department for International Development (DfID), Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and Conflict Prevention Pool funding, is still being finalised following the spending review.
The EU's Common Security and Defence Policy budget for the period October 2010 to October 2011 will provide €165 million to the Common Security and Defence Policy Mission (EULEX) in Kosovo. Approximately 15 per cent of this expenditure can be attributed to UK funds.
There are currently 17 United Nations (UN) development and humanitarian agencies operating in Kosovo. DfID support takes the form of core funding to the headquarters of a number of these agencies. The level of funding varies from agency to agency and is not earmarked for use in Kosovo. However, we estimate that the UK contribution to the Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) budget will be approximately £0.46m in 2010-11. We are not yet in a position to estimate 2011-12 costs.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): As of 27 November 2010, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO)'s Peacekeeping Force in Kosovo (KFOR) had 8,430 military personnel. As NATO does not break down the total cost of operations to the level of individual operations such as KFOR, it is not possible to give an overall headline cost figure for the mission.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the effectiveness of the international and supranational agencies working in Kosovo; and what plans exist for reducing their number and transferring their functions to the Government of Kosovo.[HL5079]
Lord Howell of Guildford: We continue to welcome the international community's engagement in Kosovo and its assistance in helping Kosovo make further progress towards a stable, secure and prosperous European future.
There is a significant international presence in Kosovo. Each agency has a specific role to play. Some, such as the International Civilian Office, have a supervisory role. Others, such as the EU Rule of Law Mission (EULEX), have, primarily, a mentoring, monitoring and advisory role.
The Government believe that these organisations should remain in Kosovo until the conditions for their departure, or for the transfer of their powers to the Government of Kosovo, have been met. For example, the UN Interim Administration in Kosovo (UNMIK) has significantly reduced its operation, with the Government of Kosovo, supported by EULEX, taking on responsibility in the field of rule of law. The Kosovo Force (KFOR), the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation peacekeeping force, has drawn down to a deterrent presence of 8,430 military personnel, with plans for a further drawdown to 5,000 in February 2011, and to 2,500 when conditions allow. The International Civilian Office, which will remain present until the International Steering Group determines that Kosovo has implemented the terms of the Comprehensive Settlement Proposal, has already downsized aspects of its operation in line with progress made.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they assess the progress of EULEX in asserting the rule of law, controlling frontiers, training Kosovan police and officials, tracing missing persons, and reducing organised crime.[HL5080]
Lord Howell of Guildford: The European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) has made a significant and positive contribution to building up Kosovo's rule of law institutions. The mission plays a vital role in supporting greater Euro-Atlantic integration for Kosovo. The Government would also like to see EULEX further increase its presence and visibility in the north and strengthen its response to organised crime and corruption.
For more detailed examples and an exposition of government policy, I refer the noble Lord to comments made during a 15 November 2010 European Committee debate in the other place by my honourable friend the Minister for Europe (David Lidington), [General Committee Debates, Official Report, cols. 3-18].
Lord Howell of Guildford: The Government have not carried out an assessment of this report. The UK is committed to stability in Kosovo and the western Balkans. Working with other international actors, we will continue to support Kosovo's progress towards a stable and prosperous European future.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, in light of the forthcoming abolition of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA), what future arrangements will be put in place for the continuation of the MLA/V&A purchase grant fund to assist museums, galleries, and arts organisations across the country with acquisitions.[HL5285]
Baroness Rawlings: On 9 December Arts Council England announced that it was to take over a number of the functions relating to museums and libraries, including the V&A purchase grant, following the abolition of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council. Arts Council England will be consulting the museums sector in the new year on this and other aspects of the museums functions which it is inheriting before reaching a conclusion about the level of funding that will be made available to these grants for the next spending period.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the report by the Royal College of Physicians on the effects of sectoral cutbacks and extra admissions pressures on the National Health Service.[HL5155]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Government agree that patients deserve better care at night and weekends and senior doctors should be available to provide medical care as needed. We are committed to the National Health Service-to sustain and to improve services in the face of a tough economic climate. NHS trusts are responsible for deciding the number of consultant posts required to meet local needs, and we have made it clear that efficiency savings must not impact adversely on patient care and that every penny saved must be reinvested in support of front-line services and improving quality.
Medical Education England has been asked to consider with the profession, the service and medical Royal Colleges, how best to secure better patient outcomes and the right level of supervision for trainees through greater consultant involvement in direct clinical care at night and at weekends.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of current representations requesting a delay for further thought on the proposed NHS reforms; and what plans they have to respond. [HL5342]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Government have received responses to the NHS White Paper consultation both that argue that the timetable is too challenging and should give more time to pilot the changes and that ask us to act more quickly and press ahead with our reforms.
Rapid progress on reform, within a carefully designed and managed transition process, is essential to deliver vital short-term productivity improvements. Liberating the NHS: Legislative Framework and Next Steps, published on 15 December 2010, explains our approach to the transition and shows how we have refined the timetable in response to the views raised during the consultation.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Shutt of Greetland (WA 134) about the Political Liaison and Protocol Division of the Northern Ireland Office, on what basis it collects information on the political climate; who provides this information; and how and when the information is provided.[HL5328]
Lord Shutt of Greetland: Officials from the Political Liaison and Protocol Division hold meetings and have discussions, as appropriate, with a range of contacts on matters relevant to the policy responsibilities of the Northern Ireland Office.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will describe the methodology used by the Office for Budget Responsibility to audit annual managed expenditure during the current Comprehensive Spending Review period and the limitations, if any, of this audit.[HL5001]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will describe the methodology used by the Office for Budget Responsibility to audit annual managed expenditure during the current Comprehensive Spending Review period and the limitations, if any, of this audit.
The OBR's terms of reference state that: "As part of the Spending Review, and consistent with the approach taken in the June Budget, the OBR provided independent scrutiny of the Government's estimated costing of annually managed expenditure (AME) policies".
The methodology used by the Office for Budget Responsibility for this scrutiny, and a discussion of the uncertainties involved in costing policies, is set out in Chapter 3 of "Spending Review 2010 policy costings" document, which was published alongside the Spending Review. You can find this at: http://cdn.hm-treasury. gov.uk/sr2010_policycostings.pdf.
The OBR then published a full updated forecast of total AME spending to 2014-15 in Chapter 4 of the November Economic and Fiscal Outlook. The foreword in this publication explains the methodology used to compile these forecasts. We will publish further detail on forecast methodology next year.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many officials currently report to or work for Mr Dave Ramsden, Chief Economic Adviser at HM Treasury; how this number has changed since the establishment of the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR); and how many staff members at the OBR formerly reported to Mr Ramsden.[HL5168]
Lord Sassoon: Dave Ramsden is managing director of the Macroeconomic and Fiscal Policy Directorate in HM Treasury. There are currently 114 full-time equivalent (FTE) staff in this directorate. In April 2010, prior to the interim Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) being established, there were 129 FTE staff in this directorate reporting to Dave Ramsden.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many programme partnership agreements with British and indigenous non-governmental organisations in developing countries are currently operating; how many are being reviewed; how many will terminate next year; and according to what criteria.[HL5040]
Baroness Verma: The Department for International Development (DfID) currently has programme partnership arrangements (PPAs) with 31 civil society organisations. All but two of these (Fairtrade Labelling Organisation and International Planned Parenthood Federation) are due to end on 31 March 2011. Following a review of DfID support to civil society organisations, it was decided to run a new competitive round of PPAs, which would include all PPAs due to end in March 2011. We are in the final stages of the PPA appraisal and decision-making process and will inform all applicants of the outcome shortly.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to renew the Latin American programme partnership agreement next year, given that 12 British non-governmental organisations are making "significant and sustainable improvements in the lives of the poorest Peruvians", according to the Department for International Development's press release of 18 November.[HL5041]
Baroness Verma: The Latin America partnership programme arrangement (LAPPA) was developed in 2008 as part of the Department for International Development's (DfID's) graduation strategy from the previous Latin America programme. It was seen as a cost-effective, administratively light way for DfID to support development in, as well as lesson learning from, an important region of the world. The existing programme of support ends in March 2011.
Consistent with DfID's graduation policy, DfID will not be extending this support beyond the current PPA period. DfID has advised all successful PPA applicants to ensure that their work in Latin America is covered as part of their organisations' general PPA arrangement for 2011-14. This includes the 12 British non-governmental organisations currently receiving additional PPA funding to support their work in Latin America.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Verma on 22 November (WA 282), how much overseas aid paid (a) directly, and (b) through the European Union, reaches its intended destination; how much in both cash and percentage terms is spent on purposes for which it was not intended; and what degree of uncertainty is attached to those figures and for what reasons.[HL5138]
Baroness Verma: Our central records do not hold information at this level of detail. The Department for International Development's (DfID's) Counter-Fraud Unit takes a robust approach to investigating and pursuing allegations of unintended use. The Counter-Fraud Unit's records of completed fraud investigations show losses of £260,477 for the 2009-10 financial year. This relates to direct payments only. All attempts are made to recover funds, where possible, to ensure losses
21 Dec 2010 : Column WA308
The central losses register, maintained by the department, shows losses advised to the department for the 2009-10 financial year of £313,612. This includes the figure of £260,477 identified by the Counter-Fraud Unit. The main difference between this figure and those recorded by the Counter-Fraud Unit is accounted for by an inability to trace detailed records in a recipient organisation. Total losses on the register equates to 0.004 per cent of total UK ODA and 0.006 per cent of the aid paid directly by the UK.
Lord Taylor of Holbeach: I regret the delay in responding to the Question for Written Answer tabled by Lord Stoddart of Swindon. The Cabinet Office aims to answer Questions within the 10 working day period.
Earl Attlee: For franchised operators, compensation entitlements for poor performance are set out in a passengers' charter. The detailed arrangements for the operation of compensation schemes are a matter for individual train operators. We have no current plans to mandate the way compensation is paid to customers.
Earl Attlee: The National Passenger Survey (NPS) produced by Passenger Focus provides a network-wide picture of customers' satisfaction with rail travel. Passengers' opinions are collected twice a year from a representative sample of passenger journeys. Passengers' overall satisfaction and satisfaction with 30 specific aspects of service can be compared over time.
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