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12 Jan 2011 : Column WA441

Written Answers

Wednesday 12 January 2011

Broadcasting: Northern Ireland

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

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.

Broadcasting: Offensive Material

Question

Asked by Lord Morris of Manchester

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.



12 Jan 2011 : Column WA442

Children: Poverty

Questions

Asked by Lord Taylor of Warwick

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 householdNumber of children (millions) and percentage (BHC)

All adults in work

0.6 (8%)

At least one adult in work, but not all

1.1 (31%)

Workless households

1.1 (59%)

Asked by Baroness Sherlock

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.

Disabled People: Children's Mobility Needs

Question

Asked by Baroness Thomas of Winchester



12 Jan 2011 : Column WA443

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.

Extradition

Question

Asked by Lord Warner

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.

Great War 1914: Commemoration

Question

Asked by Lord Boswell of Aynho

Baroness Rawlings: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has started some early discussions with other departments on the arrangements for the centenary.

House of Lords: Allowances

Question

Asked by Lord Jopling



12 Jan 2011 : Column WA444

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.

Housing

Question

Asked by Lord Beecham

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.

No tenants will miss out on home improvements, but potentially over 30,000 homes will have to wait longer than four years.

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.

We are, however, prepared to consider submissions from councils for funding support to contribute towards making the last 10 per cent of their non-decent homes due to exceptional circumstances.

On 13 December the HCA invited all councils with housing stock to bid for decent homes backlog funding. The deadline for bids is 11 January.

Immigration: Detention Centres

Question

Asked by Lord Taylor of Warwick



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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.

Museums: Victoria and Albert Museum

Question

Asked by The Earl of Clancarty

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.

Royal Wedding: Licences

Question

Asked by Lord Willis of Knaresborough

Baroness Rawlings: There are no plans to introduce any concessionary television licences for the royal wedding.

Schools: Pupil Premium

Question

Asked by Lord Willis of Knaresborough

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.



12 Jan 2011 : Column WA446

Visas

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

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.

Employers are not required to differentiate between tax free and non-tax free allowances when they issue a CoS; the UK Border Agency is therefore unable to provide the requested breakdown.

Used CoS includes visas that are refused.

The Government recently announced new rules for ICTs. From April 2011, those paid between £24,000 and £40,000 will be able to enter for 12 months only.

These figures are based on information the sponsor provides and are not subject to the detailed checks that apply for National Statistics. They are provisional and may be subject to change.

Salary band (£)ICT CoS 13-19 December 2010

Below the minimum wage

0

Less than 24,000 (exc allowances)

0

Less than 40,000 (exc allowances)

49%

Less than 24,000 (inc allowances)

0

Less than 40,000 (inc allowances)

0

Youth Work

Question

Asked by The Earl of Listowel

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

intention to appoint a strategic partner in the voluntary and community youth sector and a key function will be to support front-line professionals to develop the

12 Jan 2011 : Column WA448

knowledge, skills and confidence that they need. We intend to publish a policy document in early 2011 which will set out our plans for youth services.


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