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To ask Her Majesty's Government what have been the costs to date in broadcasting of Radio Telefis Eireann (RTE) programmes in Northern Ireland; what is the estimated cost of building a new, low-power TV multiplex in Northern Ireland for the transmission of TG4; how much the Government of the United Kingdom and the Irish Republic will pay toward it respectively; and what are the estimated costs of broadcasting RTE 1 and RTE 2 in Northern Ireland through the multiplex. [HL5555]
Baroness Rawlings: Radio Telefis Eireann (RTE) broadcasts are currently available to some homes in Northern Ireland by virtue of overspill signals from transmitters located in the Republic of Ireland. Consequently, there have been no costs to the UK Government.
As set out in my Written Statement to the House on 20 December, the UK and Irish Government have agreed that the most effective way to provide for the continuing provision of TG4 in Northern Ireland following the digital switchover is to build a new, low-power TV multiplex in Northern Ireland. This multiplex will also carry RTE 1 and RTE 2.
Work on the cost elements of the new multiplex is continuing. The costs of broadcasting RTE 1 and RTE 2 will be met by the relevant Irish authority on a pro rata basis, according to the proportion of the new multiplex used. The other costs will be met by the UK.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Rawlings on 21 December (HL5191), what monitoring they undertake of items published to ensure that they do not ridicule, and are not otherwise offensive to, the parents and families of disabled children; and what action they can take in cases where offence is caused.[HL5506]
Baroness Rawlings: The Government support self-regulation of the press and have no formal monitoring role in how the press regulates itself. However, there are a number of clauses in the Editor's Code of Practice, which is overseen by the Press Complaints Commission (PCC), which might be relevant in these circumstances-in particular, those which cover privacy, children and discrimination. Any complaints should be made, in the first instance, to the PCC.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): Estimates of the number and proportion of children living in poverty are published in the Households Below Average Income (HBAI) series. HBAI uses household income adjusted (or equivalised) for household size and composition, to provide a proxy for standard of living. The number of children in poverty by economic status of the household is set out in table 1.
|Table 1: Number and percentage of children living in workless households with less than 60 per cent of contemporary median household income, Before Housing Costs (BHC) 2008/09|
|Economic status of household||Number of children (millions) and percentage (BHC)|
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that child poverty is eradicated by 2020; and whether their plans take account of the move to uprating benefits in line with the consumer prices index.[HL5003]
Lord Hill of Oareford: This Government set out their commitment to maintaining the goal of ending child poverty in the UK by 2020 in The Coalition: Our Programme for Government,published in May this year. As required by the Child Poverty Act 2010 we will publish our strategy for doing so by spring 2011. Our strategy will take account of our programme of welfare reform, of which the move to uprate benefits by the consumer rather than the retail prices index is just one element. Taken as a whole our reforms will ensure that work always pays while the vulnerable are protected. These changes are essential to tackle a range of social issues, including the eradication of child poverty.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Lord Freud on 13 December (Official Report, col. 394), what requirement there is for children's homes and educational establishments to meet children's mobility needs during the school holidays.[HL5324]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): Residential special schools and children's homes must both comply with the requirements in the relevant national minimum standards. These specify that the environment and services provided by a home must be in keeping with its purpose and function. This means that where an establishment accommodates disabled children it must be able to meet the full range of these children's needs, including their mobility needs. This includes periods when the children are accommodated by the home or school in question during the school holidays.
To ask Her Majesty's Government for whom the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) acts in extradition cases involving an application by another state; and whether the CPS regards an application from such a state to restrict the liberty of any individual involved as one that should be dealt with by a similar standard of proof as would apply to a United Kingdom citizen in a criminal case.[HL5453]
The Advocate-General for Scotland (Lord Wallace of Tankerness): The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) acts in furtherance of the Government's international obligations arising under the various extradition arrangements to which it is a party.
If a person is arrested pursuant to proceedings governed by the Extradition Act 2003, the CPS and the court will have regard to the provisions of the Bail Act in the same way as it would in the course of ordinary criminal proceedings involving a citizen of the United Kingdom.
To ask the Chairman of Committees what was the price of standard grade petrol when the current parliamentary motoring allowance was fixed at 40 pence; and what the allowance would have been on 1 January 2011 if the fuel element of the allowance had been updated to reflect current prices.[HL5684]
The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): The maximum allowance for Members of the House for journeys by car or motorcycle was set by resolution of the House on 10 November 2004. According to the AA, the average UK price for a litre of unleaded 95 octane petrol in that month was 85.2 pence. Under the terms of the resolution of the House, the allowance is payable at the rate which is applicable to the vehicle under subsection (2) of Section 230 of the Income Tax (Earnings and Pensions) Act 2003. The allowance is accordingly linked to a statutory scheme administered by HM Revenue and Customs, and any questions about the level of the allowance should be addressed to them.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many homes will not receive funding from the Homes and Communities Agency to be brought up to the decent homes standard, as a result of the decision to withdraw funding from local councils which had completed 95 per cent of their original programme. [HL5421]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): The Government are providing over £2 billion for the decent homes programmes over the next four years-enough to more than halve the backlog. In the council housing sector the backlog has been estimated at £3.2 billion and we will be investing £1.6 billion to make around 150,000 homes decent.
On 11 November the Homes and Communities Agency published consultation proposals for allocating decent homes backlog funding. The proposal explained we would not expect to allocate funding to a council landlord which has less than 10 per cent of their stock non-decent. They would be expected to cover the last 10 per cent non-decent homes themselves. The freedoms and additional resources introduced by HRA reform should be sufficient to enable the authority to plan and resource the necessary works to bring those homes up to the decent homes standard.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): Yes. The Government are committed to ending the detention of children for immigration purposes and instigated a review to consider how this could be done in a way which protects the welfare of the children and ensures the departure of families with no right to be in the UK. The conclusions of the review were announced on 16 December and a copy is available in the House Library.
Baroness Rawlings: The value of the Museums, Libraries Archives Council/Victoria and Albert Museum purchase grant fund in 2010-11 is £900,000. Arts Council England has taken over funding for the scheme and is consulting the sector organisations before reaching a conclusion about the level of funding that will be made available to the purchase grant fund over the next spending period.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to exempt churches and church halls from the requirement to have a television licence in order to show the live broadcast of the royal wedding to their congregations.[HL5430]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): We announced on 13 December 2010 details of the school funding settlement for 2011-12, including the level of the pupil premium which will be set at £430 per eligible pupil. We agree that improving the home learning environment in poorer families, such as through providing internet access, can be important in helping to close the gaps in attainment between deprived and non-deprived children. It will however be for schools to decide how best to use the funding for the benefit of their deprived pupils.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, in relation to a recent week, what percentage of used Certificates of Sponsorship for intra-company transfer visas had (a) an annual salary (excluding tax-free allowances) below the current annual national minimum wage, (b) an annual salary less than £24,000 (excluding tax-free allowances), (c) an annual salary less than £40,000 (excluding tax-free allowances) (d) an annual salary and tax-free allowances less than £24,000, and (e) an annual salary and tax-free allowances less than £40,000.[HL5492]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The percentage of Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) used for Tier 2 Intra Company Transfer (ICT) visas, quoting various salary scales, during the week commencing 13 December 2010 is shown in the attached table.
|Salary band (£)||ICT CoS 13-19 December 2010|
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): This Government want all young people to aspire and achieve, and to develop as citizens in their communities and wider society. In particular, we want a stronger focus on closing the gap in achievement between the richest and poorest by supporting the most vulnerable young people.
The young people's workforce needs a distinct set of skills and knowledge to engage young people, facilitate their personal and social development and to deliver effective interventions. We have recently published our
12 Jan 2011 : Column WA447
12 Jan 2011 : Column WA448
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