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16 Feb 2011 : Column WA157



16 Feb 2011 : Column WA157

Written Answers

Wednesday 16 February 2011

Air and Rail Travel: Security

Question

Asked by Viscount Waverley

Earl Attlee: The purpose of searching bags at airports and Eurostar terminals is the same-to detect prohibited items. Protective security measures are tailored to each mode to reflect current threat and risks and are proportionate, sustainable and practicable. As the inherent vulnerabilities and operation of aircraft and trains are different, the screening regimes are established accordingly.

Animals: Trophy Hunting

Question

Asked by Lord Moonie

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): Relevant UK legislation covers the theft of animals, their welfare and the safe and lawful use of appropriate firearms but there are no regulations in the UK which expressly prohibit canned trophy hunting of wild mammals.

Additionally, there are no international rules regulating the canned hunting of animals. Such restrictions are a matter for national legislation in the countries concerned.

Anti-Semitism

Question

Asked by Lord Ouseley

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): The coalition Government published the three-year on response to the all party parliamentary inquiry into anti-Semitism in December, which highlighted the steps we have taken to tackle and reduce anti-Semitism. This can be viewed on the department's website at: www. communities.gov.uk/publications/communities/antisemitismresponse.

In addition, the cross-government working group to tackle anti-Semitism has been tasked with taking forward future work on this issue.



16 Feb 2011 : Column WA158

Armed Forces: Accommodation

Question

Asked by Lord Ashcroft

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): DCLG circular 4/2009 recommends to local authorities that members of the Armed Forces who have been seriously injured in service should receive additional preference (that is to say, high priority) for suitable social housing.

Under the homelessness legislation, local authorities have a duty to secure suitable accommodation for households who are eligible for assistance, homeless through no fault of their own and fall within a priority need group. The priority need groups include, among others, people who are vulnerable as a result of having spent time in the Armed Forces.

Armed Forces: Seriously Injured Personnel

Question

Asked by Lord Empey

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): Yes. All service personnel who suffer injuries in Afghanistan or in any other conflict areas receive the same level of care in all parts of the UK. The location for elective treatment will result from a number of considerations, including whether the patient requires a particular clinical specialty and the severity of the injury. The exception to this is the treatment of seriously injured operational casualties, where the primary reception hospital for casualties aeromedically evacuated back to the UK is the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.

The Armed Forces have a widespread rehabilitation network that has some 180 primary care rehabilitation facilities and 15 regional rehabilitation units (RRUs) as well as the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre (DMRC) Headley Court. Military patients requiring rehabilitation are sent to the facility and location that is most appropriate for their particular condition.

Arms Trade Treaty

Question

Asked by Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale



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The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Officials from HM Revenue and Customs are working with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on the Arms Trade Treaty. These officials are advising on enforcement issues relating to the international movement of weapons. HM Revenue and Customs officials will continue to provide advice to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office during the treaty negotiations in 2011 and 2012 as required.

Aviation: Unaccompanied Children

Question

Asked by Baroness Doocey

Earl Attlee: None. This is a matter for individual airlines to decide. We recommend that consumers check airlines' terms and conditions of carriage prior to booking to ensure that they are aware of their policy on issues such as this.

Banking

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The estimate of corporation tax receipts takes account of losses brought forward from previous years, as well as other deductions that can be used against corporation tax profits.

Barnett Formula

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The amount being paid does not vary according to what the students are charged or account for variations of charges. The devolved Administrations receive a

16 Feb 2011 : Column WA160

block budget at each spending review and they are free to demine how they allocate that funding between policy priorities.

BBC: World Service

Questions

Asked by Lord Laird

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): In the 2010 spending review settlement, and as part of a balanced package, my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary agreed to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) World Service's request to provide £13 million per annum of new money to fund the BBC World Service contributions to the BBC's £2 billion pensions deficit. These additional funds helped to reduce the cuts that would have affected the BBC World Service and helped to protect language services.

It is for the BBC to answer how its pension deficit occurred and how it was calculated. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office was not involved in that process.

My right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary agreed that the BBC World Service should have flexibility to use any surplus or phasing benefits as it deems most efficient.

Asked by Lord Laird

Lord Howell of Guildford: Under the terms of the broadcasting agreement between the BBC World Service and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the BBC World Service has managerial independence and integrity.

We do not have the details requested, and these questions should therefore be put to the BBC World Service.

Benefits

Question

Asked by Lord German



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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The department does not publish advice regarding face-to-face contact on any external websites. We provide such guidance only to our own Jobcentre Plus staff but that is only available on our internal intranet and is therefore not available to the general public via external websites. We do not have any plans to publish our internal guidance in the Library of the House.

Nor do we provide any guidance for advice or representative organisations about how they should deal with our customers.

We provide a wide range of information about our benefits and services to help such organisations to advise our customers. This information is published via our departmental website (http://dwp.gov.uk/adviser/) and via DirectGov (www.direct.gov.uk/en/Employment/ Jobseekers/index.htm).

Benefits: Disability

Questions

Asked by Lord Morris of Manchester

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The Government are committed to supporting disabled people, to improving the quality of life of those facing disadvantage and to tackling poverty by addressing the causes driving it.

We are in the process of consulting on the new objective assessment, and initial work on its design is under way. As part of the design process we are consulting with disabled people and disabled people's organisations. We will be assessing the impact of the new assessment as our development work continues and will publish an impact assessment with our proposed legislation.

Asked by Baroness Thomas of Winchester



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Lord Freud: Parents of disabled children in term-time residential schools, who retain an underlying entitlement to disability living allowance, are already able to apply for payment of the care component for periods including weekends when their child is at home. Since the process for managing applications in respect of the care component is already established, only a relatively minor change would be required to reinstate payment of the mobility component at the same time. Payment of benefit is a priority for the department, and its delivery agencies are committed to providing the right payment at the right time.

Asked by Baroness Thomas of Winchester

Lord Freud: We have made it clear that disabled people and disability organisation could put forward their views on this measure as part of the consultation on wider DLA reform, which was published on 6 December 2010. This consultation ends on 18 February and will make clearer how the measure will impact particular groups in our formal response to the consultation, due to be published in the spring. The department is working closely with Motability in considering how best to manage the impact of the measure on scheme customers.

Bolivia: Drugs

Questions

Asked by Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The Government have the responsibility of balancing cultural rights with the threat of harm to the UK from illegal activities under international law. If coca leaf production was effectively legalised under international law, on existing evidence it would result in further deviation of coca towards the illegal drugs trade. This view is widely shared by many of our

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international partners including the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Japan and Mexico.

Asked by Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We gave careful consideration to the arguments advanced by Bolivia but remain of the view that paragraphs 1(c) and 2(e) of article 49 of the 1961 United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs should be retained. This view is overwhelmingly shared in the international community.

Coca chewing is a commonly accepted practice within Bolivia and will remain so without the proposed amendment to the convention. Our objection to the amendment of the 1961 single convention will in no way alter current practice within Bolivia and as such does not interfere with Bolivian cultural rights.

Asked by Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer

Baroness Neville-Jones: The Government believe that there is a strong link between the cultivation of coca for traditional purposes and the cultivation of coca for the cocaine trade. For example, according to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime Coca Survey 2009, only 39 per cent (12,000 hectares) of total Bolivian coca production is permitted by Bolivian authorities, and this is against the background of the permitting of any coca production being at variance with its obligations under the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs 1961.

The 12,000 hectares are said to be for the production of coca for traditional uses, including chewing, medicines and tea. It was stated by the Bolivian Government in January 2011 that at least 20 per cent of coca produced from within this 12,000 hectares had been diverted from officially controlled coca markets to the drugs trade. Much of the remaining 61 per cent of the total production also services the cocaine trade.

Asked by Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer



16 Feb 2011 : Column WA164

Baroness Neville-Jones: The Government are committed to continuing to work with Bolivia to tackle the drugs trade through the work of the Serious Organised Crime Agency in the region, through the sharing of expertise and its work on training, including on tackling assets laundering, on freight container control and on forensics. This co-operation is set out in the recent memorandum of understanding that the Government signed with the Bolivian Government on 20 January. A copy of the memorandum will be placed in the Library of the House.

Charity Research Support Fund

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The Higher Education Funding Council for England confirmed on 2 February that it will maintain the charity support element of quality-related research funding in cash terms at £ 197.5 million for 2011-12.

Climate Change

Questions

Asked by Lord Eden of Winton

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): The Government are committed to working towards an ambitious global legally binding climate deal that will limit emissions and keep global average temperature rises to below 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels. We will be working with our international partners, both in the European Union and bilaterally, to make progress in implementing the agreements reached at Cancun and to secure further practical progress by the time of the next Conference of Parties in Durban in November this year.

Asked by Lord Stevens of Ludgate



16 Feb 2011 : Column WA165

Lord Marland: DECC does not hold final information on the total cost of sending the UK delegation to Cancun for the climate change conference. DECC will make public the total cost of providing travel, accommodation and subsistence for the delegation once this has been finalised, through publication on the department's website.

Consumer Credit Acts

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The Government are currently reviewing the consumer credit and personal insolvency regime including the protections provided by the Consumer Credit Acts 1974 and 2006. A call for evidence in connection with the review has recently closed and we are currently considering the substantial number of responses received. The Government will make an announcement on next steps in the spring.

Democratic Republic of Congo

Questions

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has seen significant progress in the consolidation of formal democratic institutions since the 2006 presidential elections. However, the legacy of conflict and past governance continues to hold back progress. The UK, through the Department for International Development, has been the most active donor in supporting improved governance and strengthening democratic institutions in DRC, including Parliament. Elections due in 2011-2012 will be a key test of progress.

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

Lord Howell of Guildford: Our embassy in Kinshasa is aware of the arrest and subsequent release of Eugène Diomi Ndongala. Our ambassador raised the detention

16 Feb 2011 : Column WA166

of opposition figures, including Mr Diomi, with the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, including the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister. Our ambassador met the Secretary General of Mr Diomi's party, and other opposition figures, on Tuesday 8 February 2011.

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

Lord Howell of Guildford: We discuss relations with Rwanda regularly with Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) government officials, who are in close contact with their Rwandan counterparts on questions relating to the DRC-Rwanda border. The increasingly constructive DRC-Rwanda relationship on this issue has resulted in a decrease in security tensions over the past year.

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

Lord Howell of Guildford: The UK is providing £69 million to the UN Peacekeeping and Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), for 2010-11. This contribution goes to the entire mission and will not be used exclusively for the elections.

The UK has provided £22 million so far to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) elections. The UK contribution is specifically focused on voter registration, supporting the development of an independent electoral commission and voter education. Our work with voters aims to encourage as wide a participation as possible in the electoral process.

We regularly stress to the Government of DRC the importance of the elections being free and fair. In recent weeks our ambassador to Kinshasa has raised this with the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister. We are closely monitoring revisions to the electoral law due to be voted in the next parliamentary session.

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool



16 Feb 2011 : Column WA167

Lord Howell of Guildford: This issue was covered at length by the UN Security Council in November 2010 when discussing the 2010 group of experts report and the recent renewal of the UN sanctions regime (UN Security Council Resolution 1952). The issue is raised regularly in UN Security Council sessions. We do not have any plans to request a special session to mark the 10th anniversary of the group of experts reports.

Devolved Administrations: Block Grant Settlements

Question

Asked by Lord Empey

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The devolved Administrations' capital and resource budgets can be found in table 2.22 of the spending review White Paper published in October 2010 (Cm 7942). The Treasury restricts all UK government departments and the devolved Administrations from switching between capital budgets and resource budgets, as it would impact on the surplus on the current budget.

Dublin Regulation

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): From 1 March 2003 to 10 February 2011, 987 women were removed from the United Kingdom under the Dublin Regulation. The European Court of Human Rights' judgment in the case of MSS v Belgium and Greece concerned specifically return to Greece. The UK suspended returns to Greece in September 2010 pending the resolution of domestic litigation, so no immediate procedural changes are needed to comply with the judgment. The UK continues to seek to remove to all other signatories of the Dublin Regulation in the usual way.

Egypt

Questions

Asked by Baroness Tonge



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The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): As my right honourable friends the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary said on 11 February 2011 following the resignation of President Mubarak after 18 days of largely peaceful protests calling for change in Egypt, this is a precious moment of opportunity to have a Government that meets the legitimate aspirations and commands the respect of all the Egyptian people.

Those who now run Egypt have a duty to reflect the wishes of the Egyptian people. We encourage the Supreme Military Council to make good on its stated commitments, particularly to safeguard the legitimate demands of the people, and welcome talks between the military leadership and those who played a key role in organising the recent protests. The Foreign Secretary was pleased to hear from Prime Minister Shafik on 13 February 2011 that members of the opposition would be included in a reshuffled Cabinet during the next week. We continue to call for an immediate transition in Egypt towards an inclusive and broad-based Government through free and fair parliamentary and presidential elections.

Asked by Lord Dykes

Lord Howell of Guildford: Our primary concern throughout the political unrest in Egypt has been the safety of the approximately 30,000 British nationals visiting or resident in Egypt. More than 50 additional staff were sent to Egypt to reinforce our embassy's ability to provide assistance to British nationals in need. This included a presence at Cairo airport to help more than 2,000 British nationals to leave Egypt, in line with our travel advice. Two hundred and thirty-seven passengers were flown to the UK on two government-funded charter flights, on 3 and 5 February 2011, to supplement the commercial flight capacity available from British airlines. We have also helped more than 4,000 callers who rang the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's dedicated 24-hour Egypt hotline, which we set up for British nationals requiring advice or assistance.

We are keeping our travel advice under constant review. At present, we continue to advise British nationals against non-essential travel to Cairo, Alexandria, Suez and Luxor. Those without a pressing need to stay in these cities (with the exception of Luxor) are advised to leave by commercial means, where it is safe to do so.

We have also been monitoring closely the situation in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, where the majority of the estimated 18,000 British tourists are on holiday. Our honorary consul there continues to report that the situation remains calm and peaceful, as it has been throughout the recent, and unpredictable, days.

Embryology

Questions

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has advised that it ensures that licensed research using human embryos meets the statutory tests contained in the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990, as amended (1990 Act). The HFEA has also advised that it does not collect information about the number of embryos that are not used in the course of licensed activities.

The HFEA has further advised that peer reviews of applications to conduct licensable research are taken into account by HFEA licence committees in reaching licensing decisions and form part of the process of determining whether the statutory criteria are met. The criteria that licensable research must meet, set out in the 1990 Act, are made known to peer reviewers.

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

Earl Howe: The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has advised that it is not aware of any information that meets this description. The HFEA has also advised that the planning of any transition will include securing the future of information that the authority holds on its register so that the requirements of the legislation continue to be met.

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

Earl Howe: The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has advised that the information requested is shown in the following table.

Centre CodeRate-all cycles/cycles where more than 20 eggs were collectedMaximum number of eggs collectedMean number of eggs collectedMost common (modal) number of eggs collectedCycles cancelled due to OHSS

Between 01.01.1999 and 31.12.2002

0017

7.5%

55

10.3

6

2

0076

4.6%

34

9.9

7

12

Between 01.01.2003 and 31.08.2007

0017

6.2%

51

9.2

0

4

0076

6.5%

35

10.4

9

8

Between 01.09.2007 and 31.03.2010

0017

5.9%

51

8.9

0

2

0076

9.6%

58

11.1

9

30

Energy: Carbon Reduction

Question

Asked by Baroness Kramer

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): The main instrument used by DECC to support innovation in low-carbon technologies has been capital grants. DECC has not made use of loans. BIS operates a range of support schemes for innovation, including both loan guarantees and grants, but these are not specific to carbon reduction.

DECC has secured over £200 million from the spending review to support innovation in low-carbon technologies. This includes funding for offshore wind

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technology and manufacturing infrastructure at port sites. DECC is now in the process of preparing its four-year innovation delivery plan.

BIS will continue to use the Technology Strategy Board as its prime channel for supporting business-led technology innovation, including low-carbon innovation focused on boosting UK growth and productivity. The Technology Strategy Board's business support mechanisms including collaborative R&D and knowledge transfer networks will be expanded to include over £200 million of funding to establish an elite network of technology and innovation centres and further funding for grant for research and development (grant for R&D).

The Government do not anticipate that any of these developments will be affected by the reform of public and private finance for green growth.

Energy: Wind Generation

Question

Asked by Lord Tebbit

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): The modelling for a scenario to achieve 29 per cent renewable electricity in 2020, which DECC used for the 2009 renewable energy strategy, assumed that onshore wind generating capacity was a mixture of low (21 per cent load factor), medium (27 per cent) and high (29 per cent) onshore wind, and offshore wind generating capacity a mixture of low (35 per cent load factor) and high (41 per cent load factor). These are representative of a broader range of load factors achieved by different wind farms.

The volatility of wind output was taken into account by simulating output through a Weibull distribution, as per Gross et al (2006).

EU: Air Passenger Details

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The European Commission published its proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the council on the use of passenger names record data for the prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of terrorist offences and serious crime on 2 February 2011.



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Following parliamentary scrutiny of this proposal and consultation with the devolved Administrations and Gibraltar, Her Majesty's Government will consider whether they wish to opt in to this measure.

EU: Budget

Question

Asked by Lord Tebbit

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The European Court of Auditors' annual report on implementation of the EU budget is the start of the discharge process. Discharge is the procedure whereby the European Parliament, acting on a recommendation from the council, discharges the European Commission from its responsibility for managing the EU budget for the financial year in question.

Both the council's recommendation and any resolutions that the European Parliament agrees as part of its vote on discharge are binding on the Commission. Neither the treaty nor the financial regulation (the document setting out the fundamental principles and basic rules governing the implementation of the EU's budget) contains any provision for the European Parliament refusing to grant discharge.

The Government abstained from the vote on the discharge recommendation at the ECOFIN meeting on 15 February, with strong support from Sweden and the Netherlands. The UK, Sweden and the Netherlands submitted a joint declaration calling for concrete improvements in terms of enhancing member state responsibility, improving transparency of financial management data and encouraging the European Court of Auditors to move towards a more risk-based approach to auditing.

EU: Taxation

Questions

Asked by Lord Myners

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): As with any EU proposal, the Government would consider one brought forward for a common consolidated corporate tax base on its merits. We would want to ensure that we are constructively engaged in discussions to help to shape a common consolidated corporate tax base given the implications for UK companies operating across the EU. However, we will not agree to a proposal that might threaten or limit our ability to shape our own tax policy.



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Asked by Lord Kilclooney

Lord Sassoon: The conclusions of the European Council (4 February 2011) contained a statement by the Heads of State or Government of the euro area and the EU institutions, affirming that they will take further steps to achieve a new quality of economic policy co-ordination in the euro area to improve competitiveness, thereby leading to a higher degree of convergence, without undermining the single market. This statement also invited non-euro members to participate in the co-ordination.

As with any EU proposal, the Government would consider one brought forward for a common consolidated corporate tax base on its merits. We would want to ensure that we are constructively engaged in discussions to help to shape a common consolidated corporate tax base given the implications for UK companies operating across the EU. However, we will not agree to a proposal that might threaten or limit our ability to shape our own tax base.

EU: UK National Sovereignty

Question

Asked by Lord Pearson of Rannoch

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): As detailed in my previous response of 21 December 2010 (Official Report, cols. WA 285-7), the current categories and areas of Union competence are set out in Articles 2 to 6 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. Competences not conferred on the Union in the treaties remain with the member states.

Falkland Islands

Question

Asked by Lord Berkeley



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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The mobile stone crusher and screening plant were shipped to the Falkland Islands to produce small volumes of low-quality aggregate from a quarry adjacent to RAF Mount Pleasant as and when required for the ongoing maintenance of the local stone tracks and for general fill purposes.

The mobile stone crusher was purchased some three years before planning commenced on resurfacing of the runway, which in any case requires large quantities of specific aggregate that could not be supplied by the Mount Pleasant quarry.

Falkland Islands: Minefields

Questions

Asked by Lord Chidgey

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): Up to 107 UK cluster bombs containing 15,729 submunitions were dropped during the major engagements of the Falkland Islands campaign. A small but unknown percentage failed to detonate. Over 1,500 unexploded submunitions were cleared in 1982 and 1983. A further 16 submunitions have been cleared in the last 10 years. Two submunitions were destroyed during the battle area clearances associated with the 2009-10 demining pilot project.

Asked by Lord Chidgey

Lord Astor of Hever: The UK is obliged under international treaty to clear the Falkland Islands of anti-personnel landmines only by 2019.

A pilot project in 2009-10 cleared 1,246 mines from four minefields. A further pilot project will start in late 2011 using land release techniques on Stanley Common.

Film Industry: Funding

Question

Asked by Lord Shipley

Baroness Rawlings: The British Film Institute (BFI) will become the lead strategic body on film and the distributor of lottery funds to UK film makers from April 2011. Funding arrangements are being made for 2011-12 in order to ensure that there is no gap in the

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service. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is in the process of finalising a funding agreement with the BFI. In addition, the BFI is co-ordinating separate agreements with Creative England and Film London respectively. All should be in place from the start of the financial year. Lottery awards will continue to be made without interruption. From April 2011 it will be for the BFI to distribute lottery moneys for film-all existing commitments will be honoured.

Finance: Retail Distribution Review

Questions

Asked by Lord Dykes

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Retail Distribution Review (RDR) is an initiative of the Financial Services Authority (FSA), which is an independent body and, as such, is responsible for considering the impacts and timing of the RDR. The FSA has published final rules on all elements of the RDR, following extensive consultation with the industry, which are due to come into force at the start of 2013.

The European Union's passporting criteria, which govern the ability of firms to offer services outside their home member states, are not affected by the RDR. Where a firm passports into the UK, it will be subject to the regulations of its home state. However, a firm will not be permitted to operate on a cross-border services basis in the UK if it is doing so for the purpose of evading standards.

The costs and benefits of the RDR, including impact on the advice sector and consumer outcomes, have been considered in several cost-benefit analyses by the FSA. This includes an assessment of the likely number

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of financial advisers who may leave the industry. These analyses were informed by independent research and are available via the FSA's website.

Treasury Ministers and officials have discussions with a wide variety of organisations in the public and private sectors as part of the process of policy development and delivery. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government's practice to provide details of all such discussion.

Food: Aspartame

Question

Asked by Lord Clement-Jones

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): A copy of the protocol has been placed in the Library.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Destruction of Documents

Question

Asked by Lord Avebury

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) does not have a record of the specific date on which its guidelines on the destruction of documents in force on 26 November 2008 were issued. In the past, the FCO did not generally keep superseded versions of its information management policy. This has recently changed and any significant revisions to information management policy are now systematically recorded.

Forestry Commission

Question

Asked by Lord Greaves

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): I have arranged for a list of land by the name held on the Forestry Commission's deeds management system

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to be placed in the Library. This includes the OS grid reference for each piece of land and the area. A location map on a sufficiently large scale to be able to easily identify each of these 1,604 areas could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Fur Products: Labelling

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations (CPRs) already require traders to disclose whether clothing is made from real fur where this is important information that the average consumer needs to make an informed purchasing decision.

A national requirement for fur products to be labelled would be at significant risk of breaching full harmonisation in the EU unfair commercial practices directive 2005 (UCPD), which the CPRs implement. This is because it would impose more prescriptive requirements than those in the directive, which requires a case-by-case assessment of whether this is important information that the average consumer needs, according to the context, to make an informed choice.

Where it is important information, it would need to be given to consumers in good time before they make their purchasing decision.

Gaza

Question

Asked by Baroness Tonge

Baroness Verma: Further to my Answer of 15 February 2011 (Official Report col. WA136), the UN reports that the transfer of goods, including fuel, via tunnels between Egypt and Gaza resumed on 6 February.

The official crossing point between Gaza and Egypt at Rafah was closed on 30 January by the Egyptian authorities and, as of 15 February, remains closed. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports that authorities in Gaza estimate a few thousand authorised travellers are waiting either to exit or enter Gaza through Rafah. Around 1,000 people have permission to leave Gaza, including 150 people with chronic conditions who need medical treatment. We are unaware of any reports that the situation in Egypt has affected the volume or range of goods entering Gaza from Israel.



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Gaza: Airport

Question

Asked by Lord Cope of Berkeley

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We are not aware of plans by the Palestinian Authority to reopen Gaza's airport at this time. Should we receive requests for assistance, we will consider them in the normal way.

Government Departments: Consultants

Question

Asked by Lord Dykes

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: The Government welcome the findings of the NAO's 2010 report on central government's use of consultants and interims. The Government will be writing to the Public Accounts Committee shortly to set out the further steps that they intend to take to improve the value that they obtain from using consultants, in addition to those already taken. These include greater transparency, scrutiny and approval within departments and, where appropriate, to the Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chief Secretary to the Treasury.

In May 2010, this Government introduced a set of new controls to reduce departmental spend on consultancy. Through these controls we have seen a 55 per cent reduction in spend compared to the same period last year for central government departments and their arm's-length bodies.

Graphene

Question

Asked by Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills provides funding to the research councils and the Royal Society.

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has provided long-term support for research at the University of Manchester into the study of graphene and its future potential.



16 Feb 2011 : Column WA179

The two Nobel Prize-winning University of Manchester academics working on the development of graphene received additional support through the Royal Society's research professor and university research fellowship schemes.

Health: Charcot Foot

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The information requested is not centrally available. It is not possible using the International Classification of Diseases coding to limit the search for codes to the anatomic site of "foot".

Health: Diabetes

Questions

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The department has not undertaken an assessment of the benefits of vitamin B1 for people with diabetes.

Recently published research data suggest that there may be some benefit from vitamin B1 in reducing some of the complications of diabetes. However, it is too early to draw any firm conclusions and further research is required.

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

Earl Howe: Through the National Institute of Health Research diabetes research network, the department is providing research infrastructure support to a three-year study funded by Diabetes UK into the effects of active vitamin D treatment in patients with type 2 diabetes and stage 3 chronic kidney disease.

United Kingdom government policy on vitamin D and other nutrition issues is currently informed by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN), a committee of independent experts. SACN is currently reviewing dietary recommendations for vitamin D, taking into account evidence in relation to chronic disease. The department will fully consider any recommendations coming out of SACN's review.



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Health: Psychological Therapies

Question

Asked by Lord Beecham

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The department received a financial settlement in the spending review 2010, which rises in cash terms. Part of that overall financial settlement is around £400 million for improving access to psychological therapies (IAPT).

The National Health Service operating framework mandates an annual expansion of IAPT services in line with this commitment.

Primary care trusts are currently drawing up their plans for next year to implement the operating framework. The plans that we have seen so far are consistent with the Government's commitments to expand talking therapies. We will hold strategic health authorities to account for managing their delivery.

Hereditary Peers' By-election

Question

Asked by Lord Corbett of Castle Vale

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): The total cost of the by-election is expected to be £4,689. This estimate includes the following identifiable components:

Ballot administration by Electoral Reform services (including printing and distribution of ballot papers, conduct of the count and advisory work)

£3,200

Printing of two Lords' notices

£629

Postage and other printing costs (estimated figure)

£860

Total

£4,689

It is not possible to provide a separate figure for staff costs, as supporting by-elections is part of the core work of staff of the House.

Higher Education: Overseas Students

Question

Asked by Lord Adonis



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The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The UK Border Agency published the Migrant Journey research in September 2010 http://rds.homeoffice. gov.uk/rds/pdfs10/horr43c.pdf. It reported that in 2004, when the analysis began, approximately 185,600 migrants were granted student visas to the UK. After five years, 21 per cent (38,590) still had valid leave to remain in the UK. Of those still in the UK after five years approximately 11,760 had valid student visas. We are unable to disaggregate them according to level of education or education sector.

The remaining 26,830 migrants who still had valid leave to remain in other categories comprised those with valid leave in the family route (2,190), permanent work route (13,730) and the temporary work category (5,360). Approximately 5,660 had reached settlement and 250 had valid leave in smaller categories.

Higher Education: Overseas Students and Staff

Questions

Asked by Lord Adonis

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The representations made by universities on the impact of limits on the employment of academic staff formed part of the consultation on limits on non-EU economic migration: 28 June to 17 September 2010. A full list of respondents was published as part of the results of this consultation.

A consultation on the proposed changes to the student immigration system closed on 31 January 2011. The results of the consultation and a list of respondents will be published in due course.

Asked by Lord Adonis

Baroness Neville-Jones: There are no plans to place in the Library of the House responses from universities to the consultation on the student immigration system. The consultation is seeking the views of all respondents on the effect of the proposals. The findings of the consultation and an impact assessment will be published in due course.

House of Lords: Hansard

Questions

Asked by Lord Corbett of Castle Vale



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The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): A total of 63 Members of the House of Lords in the London area receive Hansard by courier each morning. Most of these Members also receive House of Lords Business, while a few receive only the latter. The current annual cost of the courier element of this service is approximately £97,000.

Asked by Lord Corbett of Castle Vale

The Chairman of Committees: The decision to terminate this service was taken by the Administration and Works Committee with the support of the House Committee. All affected Members were written to individually to inform them.

House of Lords: Overnight Sittings

Question

Asked by Lord Morris of Manchester

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): No. The night allowance is paid on the understanding that on some days the House finishes early and on other days it sits late. The level of the allowance is calculated on the basis of a formula which takes into account the recent sitting patterns of the House.

Human Rights

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The list below gives the names of each case where the subject of an extradition request to the United Kingdom from the United States has a current application to the European Court of Human Rights; and the date on which the court imposed a stay on extradition while it considers the case.

Babar Ahmad-12 June 2007;

Haroon Aswat-12 June 2007;

Abu Hamza-4 August 2008;

Syed Ahsan-23 May 2008;



16 Feb 2011 : Column WA183

Phillip Harkins-2 April 2007;

Khalid Al Fawwaz-23 December 2009;

Adel Abdel Bary-23 December 2009;and

Joshua Edwards-2 August 2007.

Of the names listed, the first five are British citizens.

The cases are all currently being considered by the court, except for that of Phillip Harkins; in January 2010 the court adjourned its consideration of Harkins' application pending consideration of fresh representations in the case by the Secretary of State for the Home Department.

Israel and Palestine

Questions

Asked by Baroness Tonge

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Although we no longer assess that there is a humanitarian crisis in Gaza we have long been clear that the status quo is a tragedy, unsustainable and counterproductive.

There has been an increase in the quantity and variety of goods entering Gaza. But we continue to call on Israel to ensure the unconditional opening of crossing for the flow of humanitarian aid, commercial goods and persons. We also look to Israel to speed up the approvals process for dual-use items and accelerate key imports for UN-led reconstruction.

My right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary raised the situation in Gaza with Prime Minister Netanyahu when he visited Israel in November 2010. My honourable friend Alistair Burt discussed Gaza at length with the Israeli Co-ordinator for Government Activity in the Territories (COGAT), General Dangot, when he visited the region on 16 to 19 January 2011. Officials at our Embassy in Tel Aviv raise Gaza access with the Government of Israel on a regular basis.

We welcome any progress, such as Israel's approval of the 20 projects in Gaza including the seven United Nations Relief and Works Agency schools they announced on 4 February 2011 and we encourage more.

Asked by Baroness Tonge

Lord Howell of Guildford: We are aware of reports that Mahmoud Duwaik was deported from the West Bank to Gaza. Forcible transfer of protected populations out of the city is illegal under international humanitarian law except where the security of the population or imperative military reasons so demand and are subject

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to the restrictions laid down in the Fourth Geneva Convention. We do not have accurate figures for the number of people living in the West Bank who have been forcibly transferred to Gaza.

We have two recent areas of concern in this regard. The first is the use of outdated emergency laws forcibly to deport Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem from the city. The second is the promulgation of military orders that could provide the Israeli authorities with the ability to forcibly transfer large numbers of West Bank residents to Gaza. We are closely monitoring the former. We raised, through the EU, our concerns with military orders and have received assurances that they will not be used in this way.

Asked by Lord Hylton

Lord Howell of Guildford: US funding policy is a matter for the US Government. However, the most critical factor limiting essential services in Gaza is the restrictions on access for key imports. We continue to press the Government of Israel to accelerate the import of key items needed for reconstruction and essential services.

The UK also provides significant humanitarian and development assistance in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, working in close conjunction with other key donors.

Israel and Palestine: West Bank

Question

Asked by Lord Cope of Berkeley

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We have a detailed and ongoing dialogue with the Palestinian Authority about a number of issues related to the Gazan and West Bank economies. We also raise with the Israeli Government our concerns regarding in particular the stagnation of the economy in Gaza.

We have made clear, most recently when my right honourable friend Alistair Burt, the Minister for the Middle East, visited Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories in January, that, whilst we welcomed Israel's move from a list of permitted goods to a list of banned goods and its December announcement that it would allow some exports, more needs to be done to bring real changes on the ground. This includes reaching pre-2007 levels of exports by the middle of this year,

16 Feb 2011 : Column WA185

allowing the import of dual-use raw materials for manufacture, and ensuring Gaza has access to its traditional markets of Israel and the West Bank. Reviving Gaza's economy is in Israel's interests; it will create jobs, counter radicalisation, provide an alternative to the Hamas-controlled tunnel smuggling economy and bolster Gaza's pragmatic business community.

Ivory Coast

Questions

Asked by Lord Sheikh

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Government remain deeply concerned about the ongoing political crisis in Côte d'Ivoire. We support the strong statements that have been made by the Economic Community of West African States and the African Union (AU). Both have made it clear that Mr Laurent Gbabgo should immediately and peacefully hand over power to President Alassane Ouattara in accordance with the wishes of the Ivorian people.

We note that the AU reaffirmed its position at the recent AU summit and set up a presidential panel of five African heads of state to resolve the crisis. We hope that the panel will find a solution that allows the democratic will of the Ivorian people to prevail.

Asked by Lord Sheikh

Lord Howell of Guildford: Internally displaced people (IDP) remain concentrated in the western part of the country. It is estimated that there are 19,500 IDP of which more than 9,300 are children.

There are 14 confirmed cholera cases and six deaths according to anecdotal reports from the Red Cross-we are awaiting further details on this. World Health Organisation (WHO) reports a yellow fever outbreak in the north of the country, with 64 suspected cases and 25 deaths. On 22 January 2011 the authorities initiated a vaccination campaign which aims to target 840,000 people over nine months.

Agencies are worried that food security will become a major issue if the current impasse continues. The price of staples, cooking gas and charcoal continues to rise. The cost of food has increased dramatically in refugee hosting communities in Liberia and other neighbouring countries.

There are now more than 33,000 Ivorian refugees in Liberia according to latest reports. The United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) reports that 600 refugees enter Liberia each day. Refugees are being hosted in communities in approximately 25 communities in Nimba County. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees is working to construct three refugee camps in Liberia.

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Delivery of assistance to refugees in Liberia is being hampered by recent heavy rains and the poor state of roads.

A joint UNMIL/Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) rapid assessment of Ivorian refugees in Liberia is under way and will report back soon.

Asked by Lord Sheikh

Lord Howell of Guildford: The latest amendments to the EU targeted measures on Ivory Coast were made in Council Decision 2011/71/CFSP which was adopted on 31 January 2011. This targeted further individuals and entities obstructing the process of peace and national reconciliation, those in particular who are jeopardising the proper outcome of the electoral process. EU targeted measures are under constant review and EU member states continue to consider, where evidence is forthcoming, whether either individuals or entities meet the listing criteria as stated above and put in place the necessary measures as applicable.

Asked by Lord Alderdice

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has policy responsibility for enforcing export sanctions. HMRC works in conjunction with the UK Border Agency (UKBA) to detect and investigate attempted or actual breaches of sanctions. HMRC and the UKBA are enforcing the export sanctions on Cote d'Ivoire as with all other sanctions and embargoes covering the export of goods. Both HMRC and UKBA treat export sanctions as a high priority for enforcement.

Jordan

Question

Asked by Baroness Tonge

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): My right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary visited Jordan on 8 February 2011 as part of a tour across the region at a moment of great opportunity for the Middle East. He met with His Majesty King Abdullah II and discussed recent developments in the region, including events in Egypt and Tunisia, and the need to respond to people's aspirations for greater economic development and more open political systems. He underlined the importance of ongoing reform in Jordan and stressed that the UK

16 Feb 2011 : Column WA187

would continue to support leaders and civil society in these areas. My right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary also discussed the urgent need for progress on the Middle East Peace Process.

Libel

Question

Asked by Lord Black of Brentwood

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): We will publish the draft Defamation Bill for consultation and pre-legislative scrutiny in the spring.

Local Authorities: Formula Grant

Question

Asked by Lord Shipley

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): Formula grant is distributed amongst authorities using a formulaic system. It takes account of:

the relative costs to them of providing services;their relative ability to raise council tax;a central allocation made essentially on a per head basis; anda guaranteed minimum percentage grant increase/maximum percentage grant reduction on a like-for-like basis from one year to the next ("the floor").

The 2011-12 local government finance settlement focuses resources on the most vulnerable communities with significant social challenges. These are often the areas that are most reliant on central government grant. Applying equal grant reductions would leave the poorest places worst off. We have insulated them by giving more weight to the levels of need in different areas and less weight to per capita distributions. We have also grouped councils into four bands, reflecting their dependence on central government. More dependent places will therefore see proportionally lower falls than more self-sufficient places.

Low Value Consignment Relief

Question

Asked by Lord Lucas

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The direct cost to the Exchequer of low value consignment relief in 2009-10 is estimated as £140 million.



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The benefits and costs of reducing the relief are being considered as part of the ongoing review of the operation of this relief that was announced by the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury on 13 July 2010 (Official Report, Commons, col. 661W).

Manufacturing

Question

Asked by Lord Empey

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The Government published the Growth Review Framework for Advanced Manufacturing on 10 December 2010, which invited evidence to help identify the challenges and barriers to manufacturing growth. Contributions will feed into the advanced manufacturing strand of the Government's growth review, which will announce policy proposals at Budget 2011.

Multiculturalism

Questions

Asked by Lord King of West Bromwich

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): The Prime Minister told the Munich security conference that, "Under the doctrine of state multiculturalism, we have encouraged different cultures to live separate lives ... We've failed to provide a vision of society to which they feel they want to belong". Views on the challenges of multiculturalism and the need for a common vision have been expressed by a range of commentators over a long period. As far back as 2004, commentators were questioning whether multiculturalism was useful and, under the last Government, the Commission on Integration and Cohesion reported in 2007 frequent concerns about multiculturalism placing the focus on difference instead of on common ground.

Asked by Lord King of West Bromwich

Baroness Hanham: The Government published an equality strategy in December 2010, which sets out our vision for a strong, modern and fair Britain where no one is held back because of who they are, or where they come from. The Department for Communities and Local Government is consulting with the Home Office and the Cabinet Office to develop a cross-government approach on integration.



16 Feb 2011 : Column WA189

Muslim Chaplains

Question

Asked by Lord German

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): The Government recognise the value of chaplains, of all faiths. They have a critical role to play in universities and prisons, including offering spiritual guidance to students and offenders, as well as providing wider, more generic pastoral support. Universities and prisons will want to continue finding the most appropriate ways to support people on matters of faith and citizenship.

The Government's Prevent strategy, which aims to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism, has identified universities and prisons as playing an important part in helping vulnerable individuals resist the influence of terrorist radicalisers. The Prevent strategy is currently under review.

Nanotechnology

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): In 2006 an overarching review of UK legislation, which included whether existing regulatory frameworks impacted on, or were impacted by, nanomaterials, was conducted by the Economic and Social Research Council's Centre for Business Relationships, Accountability, Sustainability and Society (BRASS) on behalf of the then Department of Trade and Industry.

The BRASS review found that existing regulatory frameworks could be adapted and extended to cover nanomaterials, and this remains the position. The Government have no plans for a further review of the regulation of nanotechnology. However, the UK is fully engaged in activities that are currently under way in Brussels to consider whether the relevant EU regulatory frameworks are adequate in their application to nanotechnologies. The European Commission has stated that its regulatory review of nanomaterials will be completed by the end of 2011.

Northern Ireland: Water Supply

Question

Asked by Lord Empey



16 Feb 2011 : Column WA190

Lord Shutt of Greetland: During the water crisis, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland made it very clear that the UK Government were ready to help local politicians alleviate the crisis.

He held a number of telephone conversations with the Secretary of State at Defra on 29 December. A meeting was held with the Deputy First Minister and the Minister for Regional Development on the afternoon of 29 December 2010; he confirmed the UK Government's readiness to help.

On 30 December, my right honourable friend met the First and Deputy First Ministers in the morning and again in the evening. The Regional Development Minister was also present at the evening meeting.

In between these meetings he discussed the matter with the Secretary of State at Defra and with Water UK. They helped identify additional call centre capacity to deal with the heavy volume of calls from customers in Northern Ireland who had suffered disruption. This offer was subsequently taken up on 31 December.

Palestine

Question

Asked by Baroness Tonge

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): My honourable friend the Minister for the Middle East, Alistair Burt visited Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories on 18-19 January 2011 making clear UK views on the urgent need for progress to secure a two-state solution, based on 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as the future capital of both states and with a fair settlement for refugees. This is essential for Israelis, for Palestinians and for the international community, including the UK.

We welcome and support the World Bank's assessment that, "if the Palestinian Authority maintains its current performance in institution building and delivery of public services, it is well positioned for the establishment of a State at any point in the near future".

We are strong supporters of this work including through UK funding of £113.45 million from 2008 to 2010. Mr Burt announced a further £17 million funding during his recent visit.

Police

Question

Asked by Lord Condon



16 Feb 2011 : Column WA191

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The Government believe that police forces can make savings while protecting the front line. We do not accept that reducing costs will cause an increase in crime. What matters is how resources are used and how officers are deployed.

Police: Databases

Questions

Asked by Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The Home Office neither has access to nor holds the information on police databases which are maintained to tackle domestic extremism.

Databases containing data on domestic extremism must comply with statutory regulations requiring that

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police can only collect and retain information for legitimate policing purposes which are described as protecting life and property, preserving order, preventing the commission of offences, bringing offenders to justice or any duty or responsibility of the police arising from common or statute law. The application of these regulations applies to peaceful protestors or a person alleged to be a domestic extremist who had not committed any criminal act. Any proposed reform of what data may be held on individuals would apply equally to those on the domestic extremism database as to any other database.

The Government currently have no plans to provide a legal definition of domestic extremism, but will of course take note of any recommendations that emerge from HM Inspectorate of Constabulary's wider review of intelligence handling by National Domestic Extremism Units.

Police: Funding

Questions

Asked by Lord Laird

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The Home Office pays an annual grant to the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) to meet the costs of the ACPO president and central administration; this was £823,688 in 2010-11. In addition to this the Home Office has paid ACPO to undertake a number of specific projects, several of which support crime prevention programmes. Police authorities have also allocated £829,510 each year to ACPO to support its core functions. The Home Office does not monitor allocated funding by police authorities to ACPO for any other specific projects.

A breakdown of crime prevention funding for ACPO is set out in the following tables. These figures do not include money allocated from the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism or the United Kingdom Border Agency.

The Home Office places copies of departmental reports and annual accounts in the House of Commons Library.



16 Feb 2011 : Column WA193



16 Feb 2011 : Column WA194

Table 1: Home Office funding allocations to ACPO by financial year (crime prevention)
Project2006-072007-082008-092009-102010-11Details

Grant in aid funding

£836,232

£836,232

£836,232

£836,232

£823,688

To meet the costs of the ACPO president and central administration

Crime business area funding

£100,000

To fund the administration costs for the ACPO crime business area

Secure car parks project

£208,750

£188,750

£176,250

ACPO safer car park scheme

National domestic extremism project

£2,000,000

£1,000,000

£2,000,000

£2,000,000

ACPO domestic extremism team

Domestic abuse campaign posters

£4,690

Domestic violence awareness project

Total

£1,044,982

£3,024,982

£2,017,172

£2,836,232

£2,923,688

Table 2: Police authority funding allocations to ACPO by financial year
Project2006-072007-082008-092009-102010-11Details

Grant in aid funding

£829,510

£829,510

£829,510

£829,510

£829,510

To meet the costs of the ACPO president and central administration

Total

£829,510

£829,510

£829,510

£829,510

£829,510

Asked by Lord King of West Bromwich

Baroness Neville-Jones: Funding allocations have been approved for all police forces, including West Midlands, for 2011-12 while indicative allocations for 2012 to 2015 are yet to be finalised.

The attached table gives funding allocations for the West Midlands police force. It is not possible to break this figure down further.

West Midlands Police Funding 2011-12

Revenue funding stream£ million

Home Office main grant

272.9

CLG core funding (NNDR and RSG*)

224.9

Neighbourhood Policing Fund

16

Total

513.8

Police: Pursuits

Question

Asked by Lord Condon

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): Ministers are currently discussing this matter with the Association of Chief Police Officers and the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Post Office: Credit Unions

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): We are firmly supportive of Post Office Ltd as it works to strengthen its links with credit unions and are actively looking into ways in which the two can work more closely together.

In addition, the Post Office already works with credit unions in a number of ways. For example, the Post Office and some credit unions have existing arrangements where credit union current account holders can access their accounts at post office branches, and Post Office Ltd has launched a new service whereby people can collect their credit union loans at post office branches.

Presbyterian Mutual Society

Questions

Asked by Lord Empey

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): As part of the 2010 Spending Review announcement, the Government met in full a bid by the Northern Ireland Executive aimed at providing assistance to the members of the Presbyterian Mutual Society. Matters relating to taking this forward, including

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with regard to compliance with state aid rules, are the responsibility of the devolved Administration in Northern Ireland.

Railways: Compensation

Question

Asked by Lord Bradshaw

Earl Attlee: For franchised operators, compensation entitlements for poor performance are set out in a passengers' charter. The detailed arrangements for the operation of compensation schemes are a matter for individual train operators. We do not issue guidance on how compensation may be used in ticket offices or online.

Railways: Franchises

Question

Asked by Lord Bradshaw

Earl Attlee: On recent franchise competitions, Passenger Focus has shared views on the key passenger priorities that its research has identified. This has been published as part of the consultation currently taking place on the new InterCity West Coast franchise. Passenger Focus also undertakes specific route-based research to assist bidders to shape their proposals for the new franchise. Bidder proposals for the new franchise are evaluated as part of the selection process.

Regional Growth Fund

Questions

Asked by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): There was no change to the rules-objectives, criteria, the minimum bidding threshold or bidding timing-during the first round of bidding for the regional growth fund.

There were some minor amendments to improve the application form during the first bidding round, in response to feedback received. The new form was released on 17 December 2010 and the main changes

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were reordering and expansion of some questions and the addition of one question giving bidders the opportunity to set out how the project fits with the economic priorities and prospects for the locality as a whole. There was also a change to the table on cash flows.

The changes were introduced to make it easier for applicants to describe how their projects align with the objectives of the fund.

Asked by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

Baroness Wilcox: There was no change to the rules for the first round of bidding for the regional growth fund.

There were some minor improvements to the application form, which were introduced on 17 December 2010 to make it easier for applicants to describe how their projects align with the objectives of the fund.

Just under 3.5 per cent of applications received were on the old form. All these bidders were given the opportunity to resubmit using the new form. Where these bidders have chosen not to resubmit their bid on the new form, their original application is none the less being appraised.


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