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Stagecoach South West Trains Limited has to deliver a specified level of train services under terms set out in its franchise agreement. Every four weeks, Department for Transport officials review train operator performance against the obligations contained in the franchise including cancellations, delays and the level of capacity provided. The most recent assessment covered the period 17 October to 13 November 2010.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Attlee on 3 December (WA 504), what are the latest available figures for queuing times at Basingstoke, Guildford and Winchester train station booking offices; when those figures were collected; and on what date they were supplied to the Government.[HL5114]
Earl Attlee: Queue times are monitored by Stagecoach South Western Trains Ltd (SSWT). The most recent summary information on this was received by the Department for Transport on 10 December 2010 and covered Railway Period 11-08 (17 October 2010 - 13 November 2010) and is set out in the table below:
|Number of monitoring sessions undertaken||Number of sessions not meeting the standards|
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Ireland will contribute €17.5 billion towards the financial assistance package, which will be used to support its banking sector, including immediate bank recapitalisation.
The arrangements required of the Irish Government fall broadly within three areas: the banking system, fiscal adjustment and growth-enhancing reforms. The specific policies that the Irish Government have undertaken to implement are outlined in the Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies agreed with the International Monetary Fund, which is available on its website, and available at the following link: http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/scr/2010/cr10366.pdf.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether their cost-benefit analyses of road construction schemes explain what proportion of the benefits arise out of small time savings of two minutes or less aggregated together; and whether they will publish such analyses. [HL5264]
Earl Attlee: In January 2010, the Department for Transport issued "in draft" scheme appraisal guidance requiring scheme promoters to report how benefits from travel time changes break down into time bands, one of which is zero to two minutes per trip. The guidance is available at:
The Department for Transport's Business Plan for 2011-2015 states it will reform the way transport projects are assessed, and funding prioritisation decisions are made, so that the benefits of low-carbon proposals are fully recognised. This includes reviewing and revising its guidance on appraising transport projects, as well as its processes for assessing schemes and supporting ministerial decisions. We aim to announce the scope and timetable of this review shortly.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Sassoon on 13 December (WA 145), whether offering retail savers a product through National Savings and Investments is consistent with NS&I operating within and to their publicly agreed targets.[HL5312]
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Attlee on 27 September (WA 565), (a) whether the figures for cost of flights included taxes; and (b) what was the breakdown of the cost of the flights and taxes for each of the three general lighthouse authorities.[HL5327]
|Trinity House||Northern Lighthouse Board||Commissioners of Irish Lights|
To ask Her Majesty's Government what measures are taken to audit payments made under HealthLink 3 in relation to provision of health facilities and services on St Helena; and whether the scheme provides the taxpayer with value for money. [HL5363]
Baroness Verma: The Department for International Development (DfID) provides funding for the HealthLink 3 project to the St Helena Government upon receipt of their audited and certified expenditure statements.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Verma on 6 December (WA 19), what is the estimated timetable for the completion of the proposed airport for St Helena. [HL5076]
Baroness Verma: The Department for International Development (DfID) is currently considering options to conclude a contract for the St Helena airport that will deliver best value for money for the UK taxpayer. Subsequent timetables will be available in due course.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will make representations to United Kingdom citizens resident in tax havens to encourage them to cease their current tax status and resume paying United Kingdom personal taxes to contribute to the deficit reduction programme.[HL5197]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Individuals' liability to UK tax is based on their residence and domicile status, which is determined by the relevant facts of their circumstances, as outlined in legislation and common law. All individuals, including UK citizens, are free to choose where they live and work, and their tax status will derive from that choice.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, in light of rising inflation, they will make representations to banks operating within the United Kingdom to increase interest rates offered on savings accounts. [HL5239]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The responsibility for decisions on bank rate lies with the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Bank of England. The MPC's independence is critical for maintaining credibility in the UK's monetary policy framework. The interest rates offered on savings accounts are a commercial decision for providers and, as such, vary.
The Consumer Financial Education Body publishes impartial comparative tables of savings accounts and the interest rates offered as part of its Moneymadeclear initiative. These tables can be found at http://www. moneymadeclear.org.uk/ or by calling the Moneymade clear helpline on 0300 500 5000.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they are making to the government of Turkey about the postponement until 13 January 2011 of the trial of 151 Kurdish members of parliament, mayors and party members; and whether they will ask for the release from custody of the defendants, on grounds of their long pre-trial detention and of the political nature of their charges. [HL5023]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We do not intervene in other countries' judicial proceedings so would not demand the release of suspects. The 2010 EU Progress Report, published on November 9, highlighted the high proportion of prisoners in pre-trial detention as an area of continuing concern. We understand that the 2005 amendments to Article 102 of the Code of Criminal Procedures, reducing the maximum period of time suspects can be held in pre-trial detention, will come into effect on 31 December 2010. Our embassy in Ankara is monitoring the case closely and we expect the highest international standards to be observed when the trial resumes.
Baroness Verma: The UK Government strongly support the establishment of the new United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, known as UN Women. This represents an important opportunity to raise the profile of gender in the UN system, close gaps in delivery at country level and make a real difference to the lives of poor people in developing countries.
The Department for International Development is reviewing funding to all multilateral agencies as part of the ongoing multilateral aid review. A decision on funding for UN Women will be made when the review concludes early next year.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): I will write to the noble Lord and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Neville-Jones on 3 December (WA 506), how many intra-company transfer visa applicants sponsored for employment of 12 months or less in 2009 had a salary of (a) between £24,000 and £40,000, and (b) over £40,000; what were the types of job descriptions for key staff earning less than £24,000 who were granted visas in 2009; and why only staff earning more than £40,000 are eligible for intra-company visa access to the United Kingdom for periods of more than 12 months. [HL5250]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The number of visas issued to intra-company transferees in 2009 with a validity of 12 months or less was 5,054. Details of the salaries and job descriptions of these applicants is not held centrally and the information requested could only be produced by checking individual records at disproportionate cost.
Intra-company transferees account for a significant proportion of tier 2 numbers and there are concerns that they have been used by some companies to fill jobs that could be done by resident workers. Our new salary threshold of £40,000 for any transfers of longer than 12 months will ensure that those coming are the senior managers and key specialists that the route was intended for.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many foreign students last year were detected working full-time contrary to their visa requirements; what sanctions are available; and whether those sanctions were applied to them.[HL5253]
Baroness Neville-Jones: For the period April 2009 to March 2010, 128 individuals, identified on our systems as students, were arrested during enforcement visits for working in breach of their conditions of leave, of which 88 have subsequently been removed and two have been prosecuted. The figures provided are sourced from management information tools; they are not quality assured under National Statistics protocols and are subject to change.
Where a foreign student is found to be working full-time in breach of his or her conditions of leave to enter or remain, there are a range of sanctions that the UK Border Agency can use including prosecution, curtailment of leave, refusal of future applications for leave and removal. Employers who fail to check that employees have the right to work in the UK can be fined up to £10,000 per illegal worker encountered.
21 Dec 2010 : Column WA315
The UK Border Agency does not keep central records of the number of individuals whose leave was curtailed or application refused for working in breach
21 Dec 2010 : Column WA316
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