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To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Verma on 24 January (WA 82), which countries where abortion is permitted receive support from the Department for International Development (DfID); what support is given; at what cost; and whether DfID has placed restrictions on the use of such funds.[HL6457]
Baroness Verma: The Guttmacher Institute report Abortion Worldwide: A Decade of Uneven Progress Annex Table 1 (page 50) provides a list of all countries and territories, by region, in which abortion is legally permitted as at 2008. I will arrange for this report to be placed in the Library of the House.
UK development spending is reported annually in Statistics on International Development which is available in the Library of the House and on the Department for International Development's (DfID's) website. Tables 14.1-14.4 show total DfID expenditure and UK gross public expenditure (GPEX) on aid by recipient country.
The Government's bilateral aid programme provides funding to improve healthcare through a number of channels, such as budgetary support, project and programme support, sector support and via grants to at least 150 civil society organisations, both internationally
15 Feb 2011 : Column WA128
Restrictions on the use of development funds are contained within the International Development Act 2002. DfID's policy is set out in Choices for women: planned pregnancies. safe births and healthy newborns: The UK's Framework for Results for improving reproductive, maternal and newborn health in the developing world, which is available on DfID's website and in the Library of the House.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Verma on 24 January (WA 82), what activities are undertaken by the Department for International Development in countries where abortion is not permitted.[HL6458]
Baroness Verma: The Department for International Development's (DfID's) policy is set out in Choices for women: planned pregnancies, safe births and healthy newborns: The UK's Framework for Results for improving reproductive, maternal and newborn health in the developing world and Safe and Unsafe Abortion, which are available in the Library of the House and on the DfID website.
To ask Her Majesty's Government why the Secretary of State for International Development, Mr Andrew Mitchell, said at the consultation meeting to inform his Department's business plan on reproductive, maternal and newborn health that the Government do not "enter the ring" on the rights and wrongs of abortion.[HL6459]
Baroness Verma: The Coalition Government's position is that safe abortion reduces recourse to unsafe abortion and thus saves lives, and that women and adolescent girls must have the right to make their own decisions about their sexual and reproductive health and well-being.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Verma on 25 January (WA 129), whether the Department for International Development collects figures on the causes of death of those who died following unsafe abortion in each country.[HL6682]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what research they have commissioned to assess the efficacy of vaccinating livestock against foot and mouth disease; and when they expect to take a decision on that matter.[HL6525]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): Defra currently supports a significant programme of research on foot and mouth disease (FMD) including, to develop strategies for the most efficacious use of currently available vaccines. This is supplemented by further research to develop improved/novel vaccine candidates. A vaccination protocol has also been published on the Defra website: www.defra.gov.uk/foodfarm/farmanimail/diseases/atoz/fmd/documents/vacprotocol.pdf.
In the event of an outbreak, the National Emergency Epidemiology Group (NEEG) leads on the surveillance and epidemiological investigations, working closely with animal health to co-ordinate activity in the field, using modelling capabilities when appropriate. The VLA have a model for FMD (Exodis-FMDT ) which has been designed to assess a range of disease control strategies, one of which is vaccination of cattle, taking into account all the factors that are required under the FMD directive. Defra also has call off contracts in place with Genus PLC, to establish operational vaccination centres within five days. We also work closely with industry representatives through the FMD Core Group to assist in the decision making process.
A decision to vaccinate can be made by the Secretary of State only once an outbreak has been confirmed using all the evidence available to her. The Secretary of State is obliged under Regulations 9 and 10 of the Foot-and-Mouth Disease (Control of Vaccination) (England) Regulations 2006 (2006/183) to consider the case for vaccination for FMD from the outset of a confirmed outbreak, and to publish the decision once it has been made.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): I am satisfied that the Pet Animals Act 1951 (as amended in 1983) together with the Animal Welfare Act 2006 provide adequate protection for the welfare of animals sold as pets.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Howell of Guildford on 13 December 2010 (WA 106), whether, under the exceptions to the five-year rule made by the Committee on the Grant of Honours, Decorations and Medals, veterans may wear, or only accept, the Russian 40th Anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War Medal and the General Service Medal granted to veterans who served in the Suez Canal zone between 1951 and 1954.[HL6500]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Committee on the Grant of Honours, Decorations and Medals decided that the Russian 40th Anniversary of Victory medal and the General Service Medal for Service in the Suez Canal Zone between 16 October 1951 and 19 October 1954 could be accepted and worn.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have received from the Government of Malaysia about the decision of the Committee on the Grant of Honours, Decorations and Medals that veterans of the Malaysian campaign may accept but not wear the Pingat Jasa Memorial Medal. [HL6503]
Lord Howell of Guildford: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has not received any formal representations from the Government of Malaysia about the decision of the Committee on the Grant of Honours, Decorations and Medals (HD Committee) that veterans of the Malaysian campaign may accept but not wear the Pingat Jasa Malaysia medal. The decision of the HD Committee, and the reasons for this decision, were communicated to the relevant Malaysian authorities by our high commission in Kuala Lumpur.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Air passenger duty (APD) was introduced in 1994 and has been revised several times since. The Government's assessment is that APD is compatible with World Trade Organisation rules.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether United Kingdom Financial Investments will be consulted by the remuneration committees of Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland before those committees make decisions on bonuses in respect of 2010.[HL6712]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The commitment agreed by Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, the Royal Bank of Scotland and Santander on 9 February 2011 does not include any specific funding for the Green Investment Bank.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the remarks by Lord Howell of Guildford on 13 January (Official Report, col. 1573), which countries are governed under a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation similar to that which they espouse for Cyprus; and what assessment they have made of the success of that political system in each case.[HL6506]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Government have not made any such assessments. The two Cypriot communities are working towards a bi-communal, bi-zonal federation but the full details are yet to be fleshed out.
We want to see a settlement agreed and peacefully implemented by Cypriots for Cypriots to deliver a stable, prosperous and united Cyprus, operating as a valued partner within the EU. We will support whichever form of governance the Cypriots themselves agree.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The board of the Consumer Protection and Markets Authority (CPMA) will be appointed in time for the CPMA's establishment, currently planned for the end of 2012.
The chief executive designate of the CPMA has been named as Martin Wheatley. He will start work as a managing director of the Financial Services Authority in September 2011, and will become chief executive of the new body once it is formally established.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they track the fate of opposition activists and opposition leaders imprisoned in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; and, if so, how they undertake such monitoring.[HL6460]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The UK closely monitors reports of intimidation and harassment of opposition figures. We work with our EU partners to follow up cases of concern, and liaise regularly with the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo Joint Human Rights Office and local non-governmental organisations to assess the situation. We continue to press the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo at the highest levels to ensure that the upcoming elections are free and fair.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what aid they have given Democratic Republic of Congo in the past 12 months; and how much of it was channelled through (a) the United Nations, (b) non-governmental organisations, and (c) Congolese civil society. [HL6563]
Baroness Verma: The UK will spend some £130 million in aid to the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2010-11. Of this, some £65.9 million was channelled through the United Nations and £34.8 million through international non-governmental organisations (NGO). The UK does not currently channel aid through Congolese civil society but is providing £10 million over five years to a new civil society support programme that will soon begin to provide grants to Congolese groups focusing on good governance.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will discuss with the chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission his comments on BBC One on 6 February about the alleged mockery of a member's disability during parliamentary proceedings; and, if so, what was the outcome.[HL6810]
Baroness Verma: My right honourable friend the Minister for Women and Equalities and the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Equalities have regular discussions with the chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission on a range of issues. However, the commission is an independent public body and it would not be appropriate for Ministers to comment on the views of the commission's chair.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): A proposal for all dogs to be compulsorily microchipped was included in Defra's consultation on dangerous dog legislation. Defra received 1,875 responses on this issue, of which 84 per cent were in favour and 16 per cent opposed. We are currently working with groups such as the RSPCA to look at a range of issues raised in the consultation, including microchipping.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the statement by Lord Howell of Guildford on 1 February (Official Report, col. 71), whether they will give notice to the European Union that they intend to administer all official development assistance directly and provide none through European Union channels.[HL6577]
Baroness Verma: At present there are two EU channels for delivering aid to which the UK contributes. The EU Budget finances aid to Asia, Latin America, the EU Neighbourhood and pre-accession countries. It also provides funds for cross-cutting assistance, such as humanitarian support or support for non-government organisations (NGOs). Our contributions to the EU Budget are non-discretionary and imposed by the EU treaties. Section 2 of the European Communities Act 1972 gives effect to EU law within the UK. The UK also contributes to the European Development Fund (EDF), a member states' voluntary fund that provides support to 79 African, Caribbean and Pacific states.
All UK aid channelled through the EU is currently being assessed under the Multilateral Aid Review to ensure it is as effective as possible and brings real benefits to the world's poor. The UK considers the EDF to be the most effective, flexible and poverty-focused of the EU's external instruments which shares many of the UK's strategic development priorities, and enables UK aid to reach countries and regions with no UK presence. My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for International Development has, however, made clear that the European Commission needs to step up its efforts to demonstrate results and the impact of its aid. He has urged the Commission to adopt a Europe-wide aid transparency guarantee, similar to the recent commitment made by Britain.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the process of consultation with other departments, particularly the Department for International Development, before the Foreign and Commonwealth Office issues a warning advising against travel to less developed countries such as Kenya which are heavily dependent on tourism.[HL6480]
Lord Howell of Guildford: There is no formal process for consultation with other government departments when drafting amendments to Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice. Consultation is sought if considered necessary, depending on the type of amendment to our travel advice. We know that our travel advice can have an impact on travel, trade and political considerations, but we do not let this influence the advice we give. All advice is based on objective assessments of the risks to British nationals-their safety is our main concern.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what warnings against travel to Kenya have been issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the past 10 years; for how much of the past 10 years such warnings have been in place; and what assessment has been made of how those warnings have affected Kenya's tourist receipts from the United Kingdom.[HL6481]
Lord Howell of Guildford: The first warning against travel since 2001 was on 31 December 2007, when the Foreign and Commonwealth Office began to advise against all but essential travel to specific areas of Kenya. This continued until 2 January 2008, during Kenya's post-election violence, when we advised against all but essential travel to the whole country. On 19 January 2008, this advice was downgraded to advice against all but essential travel to specific areas of Kenya and,
15 Feb 2011 : Column WA136
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): Defra and the Forestry Commission are currently conducting a public consultation about future ownership and management of the public forest estate in England. As a part of this process, views are being sought from a wide range of potential private and civil society partners on a number of new ownership and management options.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the Government of Israel about the lack of electricity in Gaza due to the amount of fuel being delivered from Israel, and its effect on essential services including regular water supply, sewage treatment and removal, and the functioning of health services.[HL6539]
Baroness Verma: Electricity shortages in Gaza have been more common and prolonged in recent weeks, harming the delivery of essential services. Until recently the Gaza Electricity Distribution Company (GEDCO), which runs the Gaza power plant, had an arrangement with the Palestinian Authority (PA) whereby the PA purchased fuel from Israel that was imported into Gaza, and GEDCO reimbursed the PA through utility revenues. At the beginning of 2011, GEDCO stopped this arrangement and began importing cheaper diesel fuel through the tunnels with Egypt at Rafah. However, tunnel supplies have been severely disrupted due to the recent instability in Egypt, and GEDCO has re-approached the PA to resume fuel transfers from Israel. We call on both parties to come to a swift agreement that allows full resumption of fuel supplies to Gaza.
We have therefore not made any specific representations to Israel on this matter as we do not see restrictions on imports of Israeli fuel into Gaza as being the cause of the latest electricity shortages. However, we continue to work closely with the office of the quartet representative, UN agencies and other partners to support broader improvements in access to Gaza. We welcome Israel's recent announcement to revive discussions with the Palestinian Authority on exploiting the Gaza Marine gas field, and the approval in principle to both the supply of Palestinian offshore gas to Gaza power
15 Feb 2011 : Column WA137
Baroness Verma: Gaza International Airport was primarily funded by contributions from a number of individual EU member states which did not include the UK, rather than through EU funds. The EU had agreed to provide €25 million (approximately £21.5 million) for the construction of a cargo terminal of which €1.374 million (approximately £1.18 million) was disbursed before the Israeli attack in 2001 which put the airport out of use. The UK share of this EU funding was approximately 16 per cent.
To ask Her Majesty's Government under what legal powers they propose to instruct local authorities to publish details of staff earning more than £58,000 per annum; and whether they will publish details of civil servants, special advisers and employees of quangos and agencies earning more than £58,000. [HL6806]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): The Government are currently consulting on a new statutory code of recommended practice for local authorities on the publication of data. The draft code makes clear the Government's preference for a threshold of £58,200 to apply to disclosure of senior salaries in local authorities. The code will be issued in exercise of the Secretary of State's powers under Section 2 of the Local Government, Land and Planning Act 1980. This section permits the Secretary of State to issue a code of recommended practice as to the publication of information by local authorities about the discharge of their functions and other related matters.
Prior to the publication of this draft code, my department had already taken a number of steps to increase transparency. Individual salary information for senior civil servants in pay bands 2-4 is published on departments' websites. In addition, departments have also published online the total numbers and grades of non-Senior Civil Service staff reporting to each Senior Civil Service pay band 1 and 1A post, a description of the role of the team and the total salary cost of that team. The same guidance applies to staff of non-departmental public bodies and arm's-length
15 Feb 2011 : Column WA138
The names of the special advisers in post, including each special adviser's pay band, actual salary where this is £58,200 or higher, together with details of the special advisers' pay ranges for 2010-11, were most recently published in the Prime Minister's Statement to Parliament on 28 October 2010. (Official Report, col. 18WS).
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Any costs associated with establishing pathfinders will come from primary care trust (PCT) budgets. PCT clusters will provide a development fund of £2 per head, in addition to, and alongside existing practice-based commissioning funding, to support the development of general practitioner consortia. The department is not monitoring spend on the pathfinder programme.
Earl Howe: General practitioner consortia will have the freedom to decide which commissioning activities they will undertake themselves, and for which activities they may choose to buy in support from external organisations, including local authorities, private and voluntary sector bodies. They will receive a maximum management allowance to reflect the costs associated with commissioning. It is not known how many consortia will choose to buy in support from commercial companies.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 19 January (WA 47), whether they will make public the research into the effects on patients (National Health Service, private or both) of labelling prescription medicines with prices.[HL6903]
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Freud on 31 January (WA 229), how much of the discretionary housing payments budget has been allocated for the additional tasks of assisting customers in managing their budgets and supporting customers who need assistance with moving.[HL6507]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): We are providing an additional £50 million over the next four years to support customers affected by the changes to local housing allowance rates. We are still considering how this can be targeted and used most effectively.
This £50 million is in addition to the Government's contribution towards local authorities' discretionary housing payment budgets which we are increasing by £130 million over the same period. We announced the 2011-12 discretionary housing payment allocations on 2 February 2011 (www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/s2-2011.pdf). It is for each local authority to decide how it can best use its allocation to support its customers. We are issuing further good practice guidance to local authorities to assist them in making these decisions.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the scale of human trafficking from Iran to the west via the occupied territories of Nagorno Karabakh and the seven surrounding regions.[HL6504]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Government have not made a detailed assessment of the scale of human trafficking from Iran to the West via Nagorno Karabakh and the seven surrounding regions. We do not have information by which to identify this as a route of concern and are informed that neither the UN High Commissioner for Refugees nor the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe has reported this as a known route for trafficking in human beings.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they will take following the Cabinet Secretary's evidence to the Iraq Inquiry about compliance with the Ministerial Code in 2003 in respect of the invasion of Iraq.[HL6548]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their response to the statement by the Prime Minister of Israel that his Government will cut off the Gaza Strip from Israel's water and electricity infrastructure. [HL6489]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We are concerned by reports that Israel is considering cutting off the Gaza Strip from Israel's water and electricity infrastructure. Officials at our embassy in Tel Aviv raised this issue with Israeli officials who denied reports that Israel intended to cut off water and electricity supplies to Gaza. They added that it was Israel's intention to see Gaza's water and electricity infrastructure improve, which had been raised on many occasions with those members of the international community who have existing infrastructure projects in Gaza. We consider Israel to have primary responsibility as an occupying power for Gaza's humanitarian needs, including fuel and water.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We are aware of reports of mistreatment of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons and continue to monitor the human rights situation in the West Bank, including the issue of Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons.
Where we have concerns, the UK, along with EU partners, raises them. As previously mentioned to the noble Lord, we regularly raise our concerns with the Israeli Government about the application of due process and the treatment of Palestinian detainees.
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they last raised with the Government of Israel the number of Israeli checkpoints in the occupied West Bank; what was the number of such checkpoints given to them; and how that compared with 12 months before.[HL6497]
According to the comprehensive closure survey completed by the UN at the end of March 2010, Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) field teams documented and mapped 505 obstacles throughout the West Bank.
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The noble Lord may be aware of reports that Israel plans to transfer overall responsibility for the operation of checkpoints to the Crossing Points Administration (CPA). It is too early to judge what effect this will have on the daily lives of Palestinians needing to pass through checkpoints, but early indications are not positive. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and raise with Israel the importance of easing restrictions on movement and access for ordinary Palestinians.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much the Middle East quartet spent in each of the past three years for which figures are available on (a) accommodation in Israel and Palestine, and (b) security, for Mr Tony Blair.[HL6494]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (a) any black markets in weapons in north and south Kosovo, and (b) the measures taken by the Government of Kosovo and the international agencies there to restrict and prevent any such trading.[HL6486]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Government have made no such assessment. However, as noted by the European Commission's 2010 Progress Report on Kosovo, "sustained efforts, supported by clear political will, are needed in the fight against organised crime which remains a matter of very serious concern and affects the rule of law".
Tackling organised crime and corruption is essential for Kosovo's long-term stability and that of the Western Balkans as a whole. It is also essential for Kosovo to make progress along its path to EU membership.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): No such assessment has been made. However, the Government are actively reviewing the operation of the low value consignment relief on imports from outside the EU.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Verma on 25 January (WA 129), what support they provided to each country on (a) antenatal care, (b) safe birth, (c) emergency obstetric care, (d) postnatal care, and (e) newborn care; and what support they plan to give during the next two years.[HL6680]
Baroness Verma: It is not possible to disaggregate how much was spent on antenatal care, safe birth, emergency obstetric care, postnatal and newborn care in each country without incurring disproportionate cost.
The Department for International Development (DfID) has been reviewing all major spending areas to determine how we can achieve better value for money for the taxpayer and accelerate progress towards the millennium development goals. The reviews will consider how UK aid can help expand access to basic health services, including healthcare. Allocations of future funding will be determined as part of these reviews.
In respect of 1996-97, the staff expenditure values used in the calculation relate to NHS trusts only. In 2009-10, NHS secondary care is split between NHS trusts and NHS foundation trusts. The department does not collect data from NHS foundation trusts. Consequently, the staff expenditure values used to calculate the relevant percentage for 2009-10 relate to the amount spent by NHS trusts only. As a result, the figures for the two years are not directly comparable.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): From 2013-14, the NHS Commissioning Board will take over responsibility for commissioning guidelines and the allocation of resources from the department. It will be for the board to decide how best to allocate resources to general practitioner (GP) consortia in a way that supports the principle of securing equivalent access to National Health Service services relative to the prospective burden of disease and disability.
During the transition to the board, my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Health has asked the Advisory Committee on Resource Allocation (ACRA), an independent committee comprising of GPs, academics and NHS managers, to continue to oversee the formulae for the distribution of NHS resources. ACRA's work programme will include the allocation of funds to GP consortia. This work programme does not pre-empt any decisions to be made by the NHS Board.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many qualified nursing staff were employed by the National Health Service in each year from 1996 to 2010; and by what percentage that changed over that period.[HL6645]
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many qualified scientific, therapeutic and technical staff were employed by the National Health Service in each year from 1996 to 2010; and by what percentage that changed over that period.[HL6646]
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many qualified ambulance staff were employed by the National Health Service in each year from 1996 to 2010; and by what percentage that changed over that period.[HL6647]
|England||Headcount and percentages|
|England||headcount and percentages|
|2004||2005||2006||2007||2008||2009||Change 1996-2009||Percentage change 1996-2009|
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Statement by the Minister of State at the Northern Ireland Office, Hugo Swire, on 16 December 2010 (Official Report, Commons, col. 131W), what further analysis is planned of the responses to the consultation A Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland: Next Steps; how many and what percentage of responses supported the Minister's statement that there was "considerable support" for a wide-ranging bill of rights; and what support there was for a "more limited set of rights".[HL6772]
Lord Shutt of Greetland: A wide range of views were expressed in the consultation and any categorisation of responses into support of either a wide-ranging Bill of Rights, or a more limited set of rights, or other statistical analysis, would be difficult to achieve. As indicated in the Minister of State's statement of
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The consultation did demonstrate that there was support for a wide-ranging Bill of Rights among human rights and community groups, but also that there was opposition to this and support instead for a more limited set of rights. This was referred to in the Minister of State's statement.
Baroness Verma: Details of the amount of UK official development assistance spent in each recipient country in each year to 2009 are available to download from the online database of the Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development at http://stats.oecd.org/gwids/. Provisional figures for 2010 will be published in April.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (a) any violence by the Pakistan army and security services against Baluchi people, including solitary confinement, torture and extra-judicial killings, (b) the number of casualties the Pakistani forces have had in Baluchistan in the last year, and (c) any motives for such action.[HL6487]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): A number of organisations have highlighted allegations of violence against Baloch people, including the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan in October 2009 and Amnesty International in October 2010. We share the concerns of these organisations and closely monitor the human rights situation in Balochistan.
The Government of Pakistan face a difficult law and order situation in Balochistan in tackling militant and criminal activity. The conflict is complex and multi-layered. Figures released by the Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies in 2010 estimated that 483 civilians and 117 security forces personnel were killed in 737 separate military, insurgent and sectarian-related terrorist attacks in Balochistan.
Our high commission in Islamabad and our deputy high commission in Karachi engage regularly with the Government of Pakistan and the provincial government in Balochistan on matters of security, rule of law and human rights. Officials also meet representatives of the Baloch community and political parties. We urge that action to counter militant or insurgent activity is conducted in line with Pakistan's obligations under national and international law. It is our long-standing practice not to condone extra-judicial killing or torture.
Lord Howell of Guildford: We continue to monitor the situation in Sistan Baluchistan province of Iran, including activities by the Iranian authorities to counter terrorist activity. We strongly condemn all terrorist attacks in Sistan Baluchistan, including the horrific bombings in Chahabar and Zahedan. However, we are concerned that measures adopted by the Iranian authorities to counter terrorism are not always proportionate or in line with Iran's domestic and international obligations. We are also alarmed by the rapid pace of executions in Iran in the past two months, including in Zahedan, and have called on the Iranian authorities to cease immediately all executions.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether under the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill a parliamentary by-election could be held on 5 May 2011 separate from any other combined election and poll on that date.[HL6614]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): A UK parliamentary by-election could still take place on 5 May but would not be combined with the referendum on the voting system and the other planned polls taking place on this date. In effect, this would mean that separate polling stations would be used for the poll and that other aspects of the poll, for example the issuing and receipt of postal ballot packs, would not be combined.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether prisoners on remand are permitted to apply to vote by post if on a constituency electoral register; and whether any legal barrier exists to those serving sentences of one year or less remaining on the electoral register
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The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): Prisoners held on remand are able to vote by post or by proxy, if they are registered. Under Section 4(1)(b) and 4(3)(b) of the Representation of the People Act 1983 one of the requirements for registration is that the person is not subject to any legal incapacity to vote. Hence, a prisoner who is incapable of voting by virtue of Section 3 of the 1983 Act is also a person who is not entitled to be registered. There is no duty on a person who is on the register to notify a registration officer that he is no longer entitled to be registered.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The Home Office, the Crown Prosecution Service and the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) have been leading work to understand how the response to stalking and harassment, including enforcement of the existing offences in the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, can be improved. If, as part of this work, potential gaps in the law are identified, we will give them careful consideration.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have made representations to the Government of the Republic of Ireland about that government officially celebrating with the use of costumes and re-enactment the murders of Royal Irish Constabulary members, such as the recent celebration of the murders at Glenwood in County Clare in 1921. [HL6452]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have sanctioned any general lighthouse authority expenditure on public affairs, communications or public relations agencies and lawyers since 13 May 2010; and, if so, what was the company, amount, date of authorisation and purpose of the contract concerned.[HL6868]
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Adonis on 3 November 2009 (WA 52), on how many occasions personnel from the Research and Radionavigation Directorate of the General Lighthouse Authorities of the United Kingdom and Ireland travelled overseas in (a) 2009, (b) 2010, and (c) 2011; and what were the costs and purposes of the visits.[HL6869]
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Adonis on 26 October 2009 (WA 102), how many staff in the Department for Transport's Lights, Navigation and Ports Safety Branch were partly or wholly funded by the General Lighthouse Fund in (a) 2009-10, and (b) 2010-11; and whether the number of staff is to be reduced in 2011-12.[HL6870]
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Attlee on 27 September 2010 (WA 566), how many of the 52 recommendations made by the Atkins report, Assessment of the Provision of Marine Aids to Navigation around the United Kingdom and Ireland (March 2010), have been delivered in full to date; and which recommendations will remain outstanding on 1 April 2011.[HL6866]
Earl Attlee: The Joint Strategic Board of the General Lighthouse Authorities, and the Department for Transport have actioned 35 Atkins recommendations so far, including the consideration of seven which related to a new charging mechanism; and will continue to implement the remainder as appropriate, over the coming months.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will consider imposing a levy on transfer fees received by professional football clubs and using the proceeds to support sports facilities for young people. [HL6684]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have proposals for promoting female participation in traditionally male sports, following recent high-profile reports about the behaviour of certain former sports presenters.[HL6769]
Baroness Garden of Frognal: In working with the sport national governing bodies (NGBs) on their whole sport plans, Sport England emphasises the need to encourage women and girls to participate in all sports.
While Sport England has not set specific targets for NGBs on increasing participation among particular groups of people, current funding levels for sports were in part assessed on the strength of their strategic plans to deliver on increased participation among women, black and minority ethnic groups, and disabled people. For the NGBs, developing sports opportunities for girls and women is not an optional extra but a vital part of what they are required to do.
Sport England also provides funding to the Women's Sport and Fitness Foundation (WSFF), which works with the NGBs on participation among girls and women. The WSFF is funded to work with all sports, including those that are perceived as being traditionally male, to help them tailor their sport and shape it in the most attractive way for women and girls.
The WSFF is bringing together the major team sports at Twickenham this week to discuss the unique set of issues team sports face in their attempts to raise participation among women and girls. Part of the discussions will be discussing the steps they can take to ensure a positive media profile.
In addition to core NGB and National Partner funding, Sport England is investing £10 million in an active women initiative. This funding is aimed at helping women in disadvantaged communities and women caring for children under 16.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the current estimated annual cost to the Exchequer in a full tax year of raising the income tax threshold to £10,000 (a) without, and (b) with, any behavioural changes.[HL6477]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their current estimate of the increase in the income tax threshold which would cost the Exchequer £1 billion in a full tax year (a) without, and (b) with, any behavioural changes.[HL6478]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Increasing the personal allowance for those aged under 65 from £7,475 to £10,000 in 2011-12 is estimated to cost £13 billion. Increasing the allowance by £185 is estimated to cost around £1 billion.
Estimated Exchequer costs are on an accruals basis. The estimates assume that the basic rate limit (the band of taxable income facing the basic rate) is fixed. This means that the higher rate threshold (the point of income above which individuals pay higher rate tax) would increase by the same amount as the personal allowance. This occurs because the higher rate threshold is not set in its own right, but is the sum of the personal allowance and basic rate limit.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are making representations to the government of Turkey following the arrest of 105 Kurds between 24 and 28 January, in particular to enquire how many of them have since been released or charged .[HL6485]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Government have not made representations to the Government of Turkey about these arrests. We expect the Turkish Government to follow the highest standards of human rights and justice at all stages of police and judicial processes. Our embassy in Ankara will be monitoring the situation closely.
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