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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): There is no separate Armed Forces budget. The costs of the Armed Forces are met from the defence budget. The spending review set out the core defence budget for the next four years:
|£ Million Nominal||Baseline 2010-11||2011-12||2012-13||2013-14||2014-15|
By 2014-15 the budget will be around 7.5 per cent lower in real terms than today. In cash terms it will be slightly higher. There are no plans to make further adjustments to the defence budget for this period. That said, the defence structure we have agreed for 2020 will require year on year real terms growth in the defence budget beyond 2015.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will discuss with their legal and aviation advisers the possibility of preventing low-cost airlines from obliging passengers, under a penalty, to create their own boarding passes.[HL5915]
Earl Attlee: I assume the question refers to the recent ruling in the Spanish courts about the legality of a non-UK based low-cost carrier obliging its passengers to print their own boarding passes or pay a fee for the carrier to do so at the airport. We understand that the carrier concerned intends to appeal this ruling through the Spanish legal system and we do not propose to comment on it. Pending determination of any such appeal, the carrier can continue with its policy of charging passengers for printing boarding passes.
Passengers should always ensure, prior to booking, that they are aware of airline check in policies, along with any fees or charges that may apply. They can then decide whether to proceed with a booking or choose an alternative carrier.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their response to the eight formal recommendations in the National Audit Office's report, Reducing losses in the benefits system caused by customers' mistakes. [HL6323]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The Committee of Public Accounts held a formal hearing on this report on 1 February 2011. The Government will issue a formal response to any recommendations made by the committee in the form of a Treasury minute following the hearing.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will produce an impact assessment on the effect of underpayment or overpayment owing to customer error or fraud when making changes to the welfare system or to routine benefits processing.[HL6324]
Lord Freud: We carry out impact assessments across the department, both on major projects and when smaller changes are introduced, to ensure that any risk of increasing, or opportunities to reduce fraud and error are identified and addressed. This includes considering underpayments as well as overpayments.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what measures they have in place or will put in place to monitor the levels of deregistration of local urban and rural bus services that will take place by the first week of February, prior to the start of the new financial year when new arrangements for reimbursing concessionary fares and council subsidies for bus routes will come into force.[HL5996]
Earl Attlee: It is not possible to monitor the impact of changes in bus subsidy, concessionary travel reimbursement or local authority funding in isolation. Any changes to the level of services, the cost of bus fares, or the number of deregistrations will reflect wider influences, including commercial decisions by operators and, where appropriate, local authority priorities.
The Department for Transport already publishes national statistics on annual bus service mileage, passenger journey numbers and a local bus fares index. We plan to continue to publish these statistics in future years. The number of applications for new registrations and variations processed and accepted, and the number of registrations cancelled is published annually in the
2 Feb 2011 : Column WA265
We have regular discussions with the Confederation of Passenger Transport, which represents the bus industry, as well as the Local Government Association and the Passenger Transport Executive Group. They all provide a strategic overview of the impacts of any change.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord McNally on 24 January (WA 92-3), whether individuals who believe their details may be held in the National Archives file BN 1/141 are entitled to know whether that can be confirmed; and whether they or their relatives will be informed when the records are released in 2072. [HL6375]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): Under the Data Protection Act, individuals are entitled to a right of access to information held about themselves. If an individual wants to exercise this subject access right, they should write to The National Archives, as the Data Controller for file BN 1/141. The National Archives is able to claim an exemption from the duty to provide the information when the request relates to records that are not available to the public but I can confirm that the exemption will not be claimed in this case.
The National Archives is unable to inform individuals, or their relatives, as to when information held about them is released to the public. The information will be released in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000. In the case of BN 1/141, that is when the exemption at Section 40 of that Act no longer applies. Section 40 is used when disclosure of personal information about living individuals would be a breach of their data protection rights.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): A commons registration authority may refuse an application under Section 15(8) of the Commons Act 2006, for voluntary registration of land as a town or village green by the owner of the land, where the
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The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): I refer the noble Lord to the Home Secretary's Statement of 26 January 2011(Official Report, Commons, col. 306) which I repeated in this House (Official Report, col. 964). As we made clear we have concluded that control orders should be replaced with a new system of terrorism prevention and investigation measures.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Howell of Guildford on 16 December 2010 (WA 209) about the recognition of the Vatican City, what are the normal criteria for recognition; which conditions were met by the Vatican City; and which were not.[HL6228]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The normal criteria for recognition of a state are set out in the Written Answer by the then Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Official Report, Commons, 16/11/1989; col. 494) noted below for ease of reference:
"The normal criteria that we apply for recognition as a state are that it should have, and seem likely to continue to have, a clearly defined territory with a population, a Government who are able of themselves to exercise effective control of that territory, and independence in their external relations. Other factors, including some United Nations resolutions, may also be relevant".
To ask Her Majesty's Government what proportion of electronic passport scanners at entry points into the United Kingdom are linked to the e-borders system; and what function is performed by those which are not so linked.[HL6266]
Multi-functional scanners are deployed at the UK border control, which are able to perform a range of functions with travel documents in order to check the genuineness of the document presented and establish the identity of the passenger and their eligibility to enter the UK.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): The load factors for operationally metered wind farms were lower in December than annual average load factors recorded since 2006, probably due to unusually low wind speeds in December relative to the previous decade. However, this is not outside our expectations. Whilst UK onshore and offshore wind averaged load factors of 27.6 per cent and 31.1 per cent respectively from 2006 to 2009, wind is an inherently variable resource of energy, with variations in output, both up and down, experienced from month to month as well as over shorter periods. DECC's analysis of supply capacity and projections of the growth of wind energy take into account the need for, and cost of, back-up capacity.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): Since January 2003 to date, 14 offshore wind farms have become fully operational with a total installed capacity of 1337.2MW from 434 turbines.
|Site Name||Installed Capacity||Turbine Capacity MW||No Wind Turbines||Date generation commenced|
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Marland on 19 January (WA 32), at what rate it would be necessary to install wind turbines to deliver the 4,000 offshore wind turbines by 2020 in the scenario modelled by Redpoint.[HL6380]
Lord Marland: The scenario modelled by Redpoint consultants in 2009 to deliver around 29 per cent large-scale renewable electricity suggested that around 70 per cent of renewable generation in 2020 might come from wind. The modelling did not consider individual turbines, but rather megawatts of new installed wind capacity. The offshore wind capacity build rate in the modelling rose to 1GW per annum by 2015, and 1.7GW per annum in 2020.
We are currently reviewing the level of support for all renewables technologies, and will consult on any changes to RO bands this summer. As part of that process, we have asked our consultants Arup and Ernst and Young to provide updated assumptions on potential deployment and costs for each renewable electricity technology.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what recent conversations they have held with other European Union member states about using the European Union's Association Agreement with Lebanon to encourage it to recognise Israel.[HL6053]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): I have not had any recent conversations with EU partners on this specific issue. But the EU position is set out clearly in the Foreign Affairs Council conclusions of December 2010. They noted that:
To ask Her Majesty's Government what recent assessment they have made of (a) Algeria's, and (b) Lebanon's, progress in promoting trade and co-operation with other countries in the region, including Israel, as called for by their association agreements with the European Union.[HL6076]
Lord Howell of Guildford: Regional integration and co-operation is an important part of European Union association agreements and the wider neighbourhood policy. The External Action Service and European Commission undertake assessments of progress against association agreements. This includes information on regional co-operation. The latest assessments for Algeria and Lebanon can be found at: http://eeas.europa.eu/algeria/index_en.htm and http://eeas.europa.eu/lebanon/index_en.htm.
"The EU recalls that peace in the Middle East should be comprehensive and reiterates the importance of negotiations on the Israel-Syria and Israel-Lebanon tracks. Peace should lead to the full integration of Israel in its regional environment, along the lines set out in the Arab Peace initiative".
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had in the European Union on the possible impact of the European Union-India free trade agreement on India's ability to manufacture key generic medicines.[HL6302]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to intervene to prevent the European Union negotiating strict intellectual property rules that would undermine access to medicines in the negotiations on a European Union-India free trade agreement.[HL6303]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have taken a position on including strict intellectual property rules, particularly on data exclusivity, in the current European Union-India free trade agreement being negotiated.[HL6304]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have taken a position on including strict intellectual property enforcement measures, such as border controls, in the European Union-India free trade agreement being negotiated.[HL6305]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The EU has competence in negotiating free trade agreements, including the intellectual property
2 Feb 2011 : Column WA270
The United Kingdom has argued and continues to argue within the EU that a flexible approach should be shown towards intellectual property provisions in the EU-India free trade agreement, and that provisions should not impact negatively on public health in developing countries, including India.
We would consider any proposals made regarding data exclusivity in the EU-India agreement in the light of the available evidence. The UK has taken the position that any provisions included in the Intellectual Property Chapter on border measures should not go beyond existing EU law.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Howell of Guildford on 19 January (WA 34), what are the "significant economic benefits" which European Union membership brings to the United Kingdom which could not be enjoyed through free trade and friendly collaboration.[HL6225]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The benefits of EU membership go beyond the purely economic. Among the significant economic benefits which EU membership brings are:access to 500 million consumers across the EU single market without customs or tariff barriers;50 per cent of the stock of Foreign Direct Investment in the UK; anda say over the rules that govern the single market, instead of being subject to decisions outwith our control, unlike members of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) who have little if any say.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Taylor of Holbeach on 29 November 2010 (WA 404-5), whether they have estimated the number of staff employed by the Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrats who have passes giving access to Downing Street. [HL6284]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Government are committed to the continued investment in, and progressive roll out of, the NHS Health Check programme, a national risk assessment and management programme that assesses people between 40 and 74 for their risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and kidney disease. We will continue to make funding available to primary care trusts to support them implementing the programme on a phased basis.
Everyone having a NHS Health Check will be supported to manage their risk of these diseases through individually tailored lifestyle advice and support, and appropriate follow up to help them stay well for longer. Those diagnosed with a previously undetected disease will receive earlier management, improving their health outcomes for the future.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what payments for healthcare costs were paid to and by Ireland under European Social Security Regulations 1408/71 and 574/72 in 2009-10; what is contained in the agreement for the 2010-11 payments; and whether the agreement documentation will be made public. [HL6090]
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many United Kingdom pensioners resident in Ireland have their healthcare costs paid by the United Kingdom; how many Irish pensioners resident in the United Kingdom have their healthcare costs paid by Ireland; and how those numbers are calculated.[HL6152]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): In 2009-10, the total value of United Kingdom payments to Ireland under European Social Security Regulations 1408/71 and 574/72 was €352,888,752. This takes account of an offset amount equivalent to €16,309,144 for the value of UK claims under the current UK/Ireland bilateral arrangement.
The UK and Irish Governments are exploring the possibility of introducing an alternative method for the basis of payments as part of a wider review of that bilateral arrangement. As such, the basis for payment of subsequent years is still under negotiation.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): We have no plans to ring fence the £400 million new funding we are making available to the National Health Service over the next four years. It is this Government's policy to enhance freedom for local government and primary care trusts (PCTs) as far as possible by reducing the ring-fencing of monies, freeing up resources to concentrate on local priorities and the delivery of essential frontline services. The operating framework for the NHS in England 2011-12 states that,
To ask Her Majesty's Government why the mileage allowance in Section 230 of the Income Tax (Earnings and Pensions) Act 2003, which has determined the level of the parliamentary motoring allowance since November 2004 when the cost of unleaded 95 octane petrol was 85.2 pence per litre, has not been adjusted to take into account the current price in the range of 125-130 pence per litre; and what plans they have to amend the current rate.[HL6099]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The tax-free mileage allowance is part of the Approved Mileage Allowance Payments (AMAPs) scheme, which is a statutory scheme introduced with effect from April 2002 at a rate of 40 pence per mile for the first 10,000 miles and 25 pence per mile thereafter.
AMAPs cater for a wide range of car drivers and the rates are designed to take into account all relevant factors. The levels strike a balance between allowing for the running costs of all cars, large and small, and delivering the Government's environmental policy, but are not linked to any particular inflation measure. The Government keep rates under regular review.
The UK's monetary policy framework gives operational responsibility for maintaining price stability to the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England. However, the Government recognise the pressures that those on fixed incomes, including pensioners, face when prices increase.
To help pensioners, the Government have restored the earnings link and given a triple guarantee that the basic state pension will increase by the growth in average earnings, prices, or 2.5 per cent, whichever is highest. The Government are also preserving key benefits and pensions for older people.
"The EU recalls that peace in the Middle East should be comprehensive and reiterates the importance of negotiations on the Israel-Syria and Israel-Lebanon tracks. Peace should lead to the full integration of Israel in its regional environment, along the lines set out in the Arab Peace Initiative".
To ask Her Majesty's Government what recent assessment they have made of (a) Egypt's, (b) Jordan's and (c) Saudi Arabia's progress in implementing "confidence measures" towards Israel, as called for by the European Union General Affairs and External Relations Council on 15 June 2009.[HL6050]
Lord Howell of Guildford: Regional integration and co-operation is an important part of European Union Association Agreements and the wider Neighbourhood policy. The External Action Service and European Commission undertake assessments of progress against association agreements. This includes information on regional co-operation. The latest assessments for Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia (as a member of the Gulf Co-operation Council) can be found at:
"The EU recalls that peace in the Middle East should be comprehensive and reiterates the importance of negotiations on the Israel-Syria and Israel-Lebanon tracks. Peace should lead to the full integration of Israel in its regional environment, along the lines set out in the Arab Peace Initiative".
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the Government of Israel about the fatal shooting from an Israeli gun tower of Shaban Qarmout on his farmland 500 metres from the barrier wall between northern Gaza and Israel.[HL6064]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assurances they have asked for from the Government of Israel to ensure the safety of Gazan farmers tending their land near the buffer zone of the barrier wall between Israel and Gaza.[HL6065]
Lord Howell of Guildford: Although we have not raised the case of Gazan farmers specifically, we raise human rights issues with the Israeli Government on a regular basis, including the need for ordinary Palestinians to go about their daily lives without fear.
To ask Her Majesty's Government which civil society and non-governmental organisations in Kenya have received United Kingdom or European Union funding in each year since 2000; and what were the amounts of financial assistance.[HL6168]
Baroness Verma: The requested information cannot be provided without incurring disproportionate cost. The Department for International Development (DfID) funds non-governmental organisations (NGOs) through a range of channels, including some in Kenya from the bilateral aid budget, some from centrally managed funds and some from multilateral aid, in particular through the EU. Furthermore, a criterion for the centrally managed Civil Society Challenge Fund is that DfID can only fund UK-based organisations, which can then spend money through an implementing partner in-country-there is thus no direct funding to Kenyan NGOs through this channel, but some indirect funding. We do not hold disaggregated data on how much each NGO in receipt of UK funds spends in Kenya.
DfID is now starting to publish its projects database (www.dfid.gov.uk) which will have increasing levels of detail of all our expenditure, including through NGOs. This is in line with the commitment made by the Secretary of State under the new transparency guarantee.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to amend the Ministerial Code to reduce the level of contact between Ministers and overseas-based media owners who do not usually pay direct taxes in the United Kingdom.[HL6309]
Lord Taylor of Holbeach: The Ministerial Code is normally revised and reissued after a general election. Ministers' meetings with outside interest groups take place in accordance with the requirements of the Ministerial Code. Details of such meetings are published on a quarterly basis.
To ask Her Majesty's Government who is responsible for two refugee camps in the Konik suburb of Podgorica, Montenegro; and what action they will take to ensure that proper protection is afforded to the Roma of Montenegro, including those from Kosovo.[HL6185]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has a partnership agreement with the Montenegrin Red Cross in which UNHCR provides the funding and the Montenegrin Red Cross manages the camps. The UK contributes funding to the UNHCR and is providing political support to Montenegro's efforts to provide more care for refugees in line with standards specified in the European Commission (EC) Analytical Report of 9 November 2010. We believe that it is an important part of the country's EU accession process to ensure full legal status and security for remaining refugees in the Konik camps and elsewhere in Montenegro, including those from Kosovo
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): My right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary spoke to President Abbas on 12 January 2011 and underlined our views on the need for a return to negotiations. My honourable
2 Feb 2011 : Column WA276
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Freud on 24 January (WA 117-8), how many state pension claimants reside in (a) Bangladesh, (b) the Republic of Ireland, (c) Spain, (d) Pakistan, (e) the United States, and (f) India; how many in total reside outside the United Kingdom; and why the median age of female pensioners in Pakistan and Bangladesh is between four and six years greater than in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland.[HL6273]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The information requested is not available in the format requested. Such information as is available is in the table.
|Total State Pension Claimants by Country Code-Pakistan, Bangladesh, Republic of Ireland, Spain and the USA as at May 2010.|
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether a Home Office Minister will meet the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Human Trafficking to discuss the Government's proposals on human trafficking before their publication.[HL6287]
Baroness Neville-Jones: My honourable friend the Minister for Immigration will shortly be writing to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Human Trafficking to arrange a meeting to discuss the strategy.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the statement by the Secretary of State for Transport, Philip Hammond, on 20 December 2010 (Official Report, Commons, col. 1201-33), why "the developing European jurisprudence in the area of property rights and the need for Governments to compensate" led the Secretary of State to point in his statement towards "more generous compensations becoming the norm" for HS2 and other future projects.[HL5879]
Earl Attlee: The Government are aware that the announcements on 11 March 2010 and 20 December 2010, confirming the preferred route for consultation on a new high-speed rail line, have had an effect on the value of properties in close proximity to the proposed line of route. This effect is the result of the market's perception of the potential impacts of the railway should it be taken forward as proposed. The Government are actively seeking to mitigate the potential impacts on people's homes and communities.
The Secretary of State for Transport is committed to providing fair compensation for people who suffer a significant diminution in the value of their property as a result of the proximity of any line. It is right and proper that individuals who suffer serious financial loss in the national interest should be compensated, and the Government believe it to be appropriate that, for an infrastructure scheme of the potential scale and longevity of HS2, compensation beyond the requirements of statute should be considered. This is in line with the approach taken on other recent infrastructure projects such as High Speed 1 and Crossrail.
In determining the scope of any compensation package, the Government will need to consider how best to strike a fair balance between the public interest and the rights of the individual, consistent with its legal obligations and developing case law. The Government will provide more information about its proposed compensation package as part of the public consultation on high-speed rail which is due to begin in February 2011.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will consider including the GCSE in classical civilisation as a humanity, and the WJEC certificates in Latin as a language, in the English Baccalaureate.[HL6058]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Minister of State for Schools will meet members of the Cambridge School Classics Project to discuss the inclusion of the GCSE in classical civilisation and the WJEC certificates in Latin in the English Baccalaureate.[HL6100]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): One of the intentions of the English Baccalaureate is to encourage wider take up of geography and history. Classical civilisation was not included in the humanities element of the English Baccalaureate for the 2010 performance tables because the historical element of the course was not judged sufficient. Ancient history focuses on history and so counts towards the history element of the English Baccalaureate. We will however be taking on board comments about the English Baccalaureate measure and reviewing the precise definition of the English Baccalaureate for the 2011 performance tables.
For the 2010 performance tables only GCSEs or accredited iGCSEs counted towards the English Baccalaureate measure. The WJEC certificates in Latin are not currently accredited as either a GCSE or an iGCSE and so were not included in the 2010 performance tables English Baccalaureate measure. In the longer term we will draw up criteria that qualifications will have to meet to be included in the EBacc, which may allow qualifications other than GCSEs or iGCSEs to count towards the EBacc.
Baroness Verma: The Department for International Development (DfID) has spent the following amounts in Sudan over the past three financial years. Approximately half of this funding is spent in Southern Sudan.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the statement of acceptance of the possible outcome of the south Sudanese referendum by spokesmen of the ruling National Congress Party in Khartoum.[HL6279]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We commend the political leadership in Khartoum and Juba for the work done in preparing for the south Sudanese referendum and we welcome the constructive statements made by National Congress Party regarding the progress in the referendum. We now urge both parties to resolve the remaining comprehensive peace agreement issues including citizenship rights, borders and Abyei.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, following reports of local authorities stopping weekly refuse collections and the decision of Wokingham Borough Council to introduce a collection limit of 80 bags of ordinary refuse per annum, they will re-examine the operation of the European Union directive on the landfill of waste (1999/31/EC) and seek to amend it.[HL6327]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): The objective of the landfill directive is to prevent or reduce the negative effects on the environment and human health of the landfilling of waste. It does not prescribe the methods by which waste is collected in member states. The Government have no plans to seek amendment of the landfill directive.
The Government are carrying out a review of waste policies, which will consider the most effective ways of reducing and recycling waste and improving waste services to local communities, households and businesses. The Government's view is that it is for local authorities to determine the best collection service for their area, consulting residents to ensure that they provide a service that meets local needs and priorities.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): Winter fuel payments are paid to former UK residents living in the European Economic Area and Switzerland only if they qualified for a payment before leaving the UK.
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