|Previous Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The UK has assisted with landmine clearance in North Africa in the past and continues to provide technical information to the mine affected countries.
The Government have overhauled their support for mine clearance programmes in order to focus on high-impact zones in a more responsive and flexible way. We have prioritised according to identified relative need and targeted those low-income countries that are worst affected by landmines, considering factors such as: the number of lives that are likely to be saved; the number of mines in the area; the benefit to a community socially and economically; and the targeting of funding towards countries unable to fund mine clearance programmes of their own or which do not receive significant support from elsewhere in the international community.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the case for seeking changes to World Trade Organisation policies to protect British farmers from competition from countries that have lower welfare standards for livestock.[HL6735]
Lord De Mauley: The Government view animal welfare as a matter of high priority. As well as promoting high animal welfare standards in this country, we are keen to encourage high animal welfare standards internationally in both other European Union countries and third countries. World Trade Organisation rules currently make no specific provision for justifying restrictive trade measures aimed at protecting animal welfare. However, we are working with other countries within the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) to develop and progress internationally recognised standards for animal welfare.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have for working with the relevant national and international organisations to improve the experience of air travellers from check-in to exit from the destination airport.[HL6288]
Earl Attlee: The South East Airports Taskforce, chaired by the Minister of State, is looking at ways of enhancing the passenger experience to, from and within the airport at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted with a view to sharing identified good practice more widely.
The Government continue to work within the International Civil Aviation Organisation and the European Civil Aviation Conference, and with industry groups such as the International Air Transport Association, to improve the passenger experience.
Earl Attlee: We recognise the vital contribution that regional airports make to local economies. It is our intention to develop an aviation policy framework that seeks to create the right conditions for regional airports to flourish. Plans for the expansion of Birmingham Airport are a matter for the airport operator.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): There is guidance to higher education institutions on Promoting Good Campus Relations, Fostering Shared Values and Preventing Violent Extremism in Universities and Higher Education Colleges, developed by the former Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills. This includes detailed guidance to help institutions address issues concerning violent extremism, applicable to whatever form this might take on campus. It also includes guidance on issues that might arise in terms of external speakers on campus. Institutions also take advice about external speakers from their local police forces when needed. The guidance is available online: www.dius.gov.u1c/publications/extremismhe.pdf.
The department is active in the wider government review of the Prevent strategy and we expect outcomes from this will provide a steer to higher education institutions on further approaches to tackling extremism and supporting integration.
The sector has also produced guidance which offers institutions practical strategies to deal with instances of hate crimes and intolerance on campus, including anti-Semitism (available at www.ecu.ac.uk/publications/promoting-good-campus-relations-update).
Later this year further guidance will also be developed from the Equality Challenge Unit's major religion and belief project, Universities UK's Academic Freedom Working Group and the National Union of Students (NUS) on freedom of speech in HE. The NUS guidance will be aimed particularly at supporting students' unions.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The 2009 National Audit Office report on service family accommodation (SFA), published in May 2009, covered the situation before this Government took office. Since May 2010 this Government have consistently sought to ensure that service personnel and their families are housed in good-quality modern accommodation.
The 2010-11 upgrade programme typically provides a new kitchen, bathroom, heating system and often a new roof and windows and will bring at least 800 SFA properties up to the highest standard for condition. In addition, around 4,000 properties will benefit from smaller-scale improvements such as new boilers, bathrooms, kitchens, loft insulation and double glazing, which may not amount to a full upgrade but will deliver real lifestyle benefits to occupants.
Some £60 million has been allocated in the financial year 2010-11 for the upgrade and improvement programmes in England and Wales. Allocations for future years have yet to be agreed, but the Government will endeavour to improve as many properties as possible from the agreed allocation, together with possible funding from efficiencies found elsewhere within the Ministry of Defence.
Lord Astor of Hever: The Armed Forces home ownership scheme pilot is designed for full-time, permanent members of the Armed Forces, with between four and six years' service, who intend to remain in the Armed Forces and buy a property in England.
Former service personnel are not eligible to apply to join the Armed Forces home ownership scheme pilot but retain their key worker status for the first 12 months after leaving the Armed Forces, allowing them priority access to other government affordable housing initiatives.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with BAE Systems about the capabilities of a navalised version of the Eurofighter Typhoon which it is offering to India; and whether such capabilities could meet the requirements for a United Kingdom carrier-borne aircraft.[HL7118]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): We have periodically reviewed with BAE Systems our present and future Typhoon capability requirements from a technological, industrial and commercial perspective and will continue to do so throughout the life of the aircraft.
A navalised Typhoon was considered as part of the assessment of Joint Combat Aircraft options in 2000-01, but was rejected on grounds of cost, capability and technical challenge. This decision has been reviewed regularly since, informed through discussions with BAE Systems.
Our future combat air requirement is therefore predicated on the complementary capability provided by a balanced Typhoon/Joint Strike Fighter force. The 2010 strategic defence and security review has confirmed that the capabilities offered by the Joint Strike Fighter is the most appropriate and cost-effective solution to meet the UK's carrier strike component of this capability.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much they have spent on recruiting for the Royal Marines in each of the last five years; how much they propose to spend on recruitment in each of the next five years; and what are the reasons for any change in future funding.[HL7102]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The costs of recruiting to the Royal Navy and Royal Marines are not held separately by the Department. Costs are held as a total recruiting activity for both elements of the Naval Service. The total Naval Service recruitment spend for the last four years is provided in the table below.
|Financial Year||(£ million)|
Future plans have not yet been finalised and will take account of the Government's decisions in the Strategic Defence and Security Review and our assessment of the requirement as result of the reductions in the size of the Naval Service, including the Royal Marines.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): As at 1 April 2010, there were some 3,500 trained and untrained personnel in the Armed Forces who were under the age of 18. The Defence Analytical Services and Advice organisation publishes these data annually in its Tri Service Report 8, Age Distribution of UK Regular Forces, which is available at the following address: www.dasa.mod.uk/applications/newWeb/www/index.php?page= 67andpubType=1andthiscontent=80anddate=2010-06-10. A copy is available in the Library of the House.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people serving in the regular Armed Forces who enlisted before they reached the age of 18 have been permitted to leave before reaching the end of the normal minimum period of service.[HL6817]
Lord Astor of Hever: During the financial year 2009-10, 720 service personnel under the age of 18 elected to leave the services before the minimum period of service. This does not include those who were discharged on medical or disciplinary grounds.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people serving in the regular armed forces who enlisted before they reached the age of 18 have been refused permission to leave before reaching the end of their normal minimum period of service. [HL6919]
Recruits who are under 18 years of age at the time of enlistment and who wish to end their service have a right to leave by giving at least 14 days' notice to their commanding officer. Such notice can take effect when the recruit has completed 28 days' service and is within six months of enlistment. Additionally, recruits who before their 18th birthday have made their unhappiness with military life known to the commanding officer can request permission to leave up to three months after they reach age 18. In such cases the policy is to treat them with great sympathy but this does not give a right to discharge.
This process is managed within a unit and the individual service manning authorities. Units are not required to collect statistical data of those under 18 years who have applied to leave and are refused.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will place in the Library of the House copies of all notifications to agencies providing services to refugees and asylum seekers of cuts in the grants they receive from the Home Office or the UK Border Agency. [HL6920]
Lord De Mauley: The UK Border Agency will arrange for copies of letters to agencies providing services to refugees and asylum seekers, notifying them of levels of asylum support grant funding for 2011-12, to be placed in the Library of the House.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) does not collect information on the contribution to air passenger duty (APD) revenues made from flights to specific countries or territories. For each destination band under APD, the numbers of chargeable passengers and the revenue declared are published on a monthly basis on HMRC's UK Trade Info website: www.uktradeinfo.com/index.cfm?task=bulletins.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The framework of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Bank of England promotes transparency and accountability in its decision-making process, including through publications such as the Bank's quarterly inflation reports and the MPC's monthly meeting minutes. The MPC also has to explain its actions regularly to the Treasury Select Committee. The Bank of England's May 2010 inflation report contains an assessment of the Bank's forecasting record.
Lord Sassoon: The Bank of England will publish accounts for the Asset Purchase Facility (APF) for the year ending February 2011 before the Summer Parliamentary Recess. The amount due to or from HM Treasury under its indemnity to the Bank will be identified. The Treasury will include the implications of the APF for Treasury resources, that is, the profit or loss of the APF based on valuations of APF assets at balance sheet date, in its annual accounts for the year ending 31 March 2011 to be published before the
28 Feb 2011 : Column WA210
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government are committed to maintaining London's position as a leading financial centre and as a location for global financial services companies and to supporting the competitiveness of the financial services firms based in the UK. They recognise that success in these areas is important for the banks' future contribution to the UK economy.
International policy development on mechanisms to increase the loss absorbency of systemically important financial institutions is ongoing. The UK Government are engaging actively in the international debate and will continue to closely consult the industry through this process. The G20 has commissioned the Financial Stability Board to develop proposals to address the risks caused by systemically important financial institutions before the end of 2011.
In January 2011, the Basel Committee released proposals to ensure that all tier 1 and tier 2 capital is subject to conversion or write-down at the point of non-viability. The UK supports the ongoing work of the Basel Committee.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they will assess the success of their proposals for reduced bank bonuses from levels that would otherwise have been paid in the absence of the latter figure. [HL5934]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): As a result of the Government's discussions, the largest UK banks have made a commitment that the total remuneration paid in respect of the 2010 financial year will be lower than it was for 2009, and lower than it would have been otherwise. The remuneration committee chair of each bank will write to the Financial Services Authority (FSA) to confirm that the bank's commitment has been met.
Alongside this, the Government have taken robust action to tackle unacceptable bonuses including through the revised Financial Services Authority remuneration code, the new FSA remuneration disclosure rules, the
28 Feb 2011 : Column WA211
Lord Sassoon: Treasury Ministers and officials have meetings with a wide variety of organisations in the public and private sectors as part of the process of policy development and delivery. It is not the Government's practice to provide details of all such meetings.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): I will write to the noble Lord and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Sassoon on 15 December 2010 (WA 182-3), what is the total amount unclaimed by depositors with balances above £50,000 in the three failed Icelandic banks; and whether they will investigate the source of the deposited money and confirm its legality before repaying depositors. [HL6591]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Compensation payments, including those for deposits over £50,000, are administered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). According to the FSCS, as at 4 January 2011 the total amount unclaimed by depositors with balances over £50,000 in Landsbanki, Heritable Bank plc and Kaupthing Singer and Friedlander was £0.42 billion.
The bank in default uses its own processes and procedures to identify any legality issues as to the source of the deposit funds. The FSCS has confirmed that in addition to this they will also carry out certain checks to verify the position.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): This Government have not carried out an assessment of whether to adopt the rescue procedure set out in Chapter 11 of the US Bankruptcy Code. We have however received views on the effectiveness of our rescue procedures in the context of a consultation issued by the previous Government on a possible moratorium for companies that are in difficulty. We will shortly be setting out our response to stakeholder comments.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): I will write to my noble friend and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): Well informed, empowered consumers are central to the Government's vision for how a credit market between customers and lenders should work. We want to encourage responsible lending and borrowing decisions and to strengthen protection where necessary, particularly for the most vulnerable. BIS and HM Treasury are currently reviewing the consumer credit and personal insolvency regime. This is a thorough review of consumer credit and personal insolvency, looking at all the measures that could be taken to support people in difficulty and help them resolve their debts, including the impact of any interest rate cap on payday lending. A call for evidence made 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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the effect of the Basel Committee's proposals for a net stable funding requirement and a liquidity coverage ratio on lending to small and medium-sized businesses in the United Kingdom. [HL7096]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government welcome the progress made in Basel towards a final package of new international regulatory standards, including the introduction, for the first time, of international minimum liquidity requirements. Analysis by the Basel Committee and the International Monetary Fund highlights the considerable benefits of these reforms for financial stability. This analysis also suggests that meeting the liquidity standards will be achievable for UK banks and that the impact on lending, both in the long run and during the transition, will be moderate.
The Basel standards are yet to be fully finalised and the committee has stated that it will continue to monitor the proposed liquidity coverage ratio and net stable funding ratio during the transition phase to ensure that there are no unintended consequences; this also provides further opportunity to assess the impact on the wider economy. If necessary, revisions will then be made to the standards before they are introduced in 2015 and 2018 respectively.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Answer by Lord Sassoon on 1 February (Official Report, col. 1303), whether the statement that they intend to ensure that banks "lend, materially and verifiably, more than they were planning to the businesses of Britain" is based on knowledge of how much banks were intending to lend.[HL6601]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether discussions under Project Merlin have focused on setting bank lending targets for all business customers or just those in the United Kingdom; and whether there are any European Union restrictions on requiring banks to agree to lending targets limited to United Kingdom businesses.[HL6603]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the extent to which United Kingdom banks are lending to creditworthy borrowers; and what action they are taking to address the level of lending.[HL6661]
Lord Sassoon: On 9 February, the Government welcomed the commitment by Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, RBS and Santander on lending expectations and capacity. The Chancellor announced to the House that:the banks will lend £190 billion of new credit to businesses in 2011, up from £179 billion in 2010. If demand exceeds this, the banks will lend more;£76 billion of this lending will be to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This is a 15 per cent increase on 2010 (£66 billion);as outlined in the Chancellor's Statement to the House, new lending will include overdrafts, asset finance and loan facilities that are made available to businesses during 2011. This includes refinancing of existing facilities;
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the populations of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales used to calculate amounts under the Barnett formula; how often the figures are updated; and what source is used for compiling the population numbers.[HL6667]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The figures used to calculate the population proportions which form part of the Barnett formula are derived from the mid-year estimates of population published by the Office for National Statistics. The latest population proportions are shown in paragraph 4.7 of the Treasury publication Funding the Scottish Parliament, National Assembly for Wales and Northern Ireland Assembly: Statement of Funding Policy(SFP). These population proportions were taken from the 2009 mid-year estimates of population which are:
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much they gave to the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council in each of the last three years; and what conditions they attached to the funding. [HL6983]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): My department's allocation to the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) in each of the past three years is set out in the following table:
The BBSRC utilises its funding in accordance with its delivery plan (see www.bbsrc.ac.uk/publications/planning/bbsrc-delivery-plan.aspx). BBSRC operates within this strategic framework but takes its own decisions on research priorities and projects in accordance with the Haldane principle.
To ask Her Majesty's Government who the chairman of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council is; what relevant specialist qualifications he or she holds; and what his or her career has been to date.[HL6984]
Baroness Wilcox: The chairman of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is Professor Sir Tom Blundell FRS, who took up his appointment on 1 July 2009. A full account of his qualifications and career details to date are published on the BBSRC website at www.bbsrc.ac.uk/ under the section: Professor Sir Tom Blundell FRS-Chair [Chair's biography-www.bbsrc.ac.uk/organisation/structures /council/chair.aspx].
To ask Her Majesty's Government when the chairman of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council was selected; by whom; what process was followed in his or her selection; where the post was advertised; how many persons applied for the position; how many were short-listed for interview; how many candidates were appraised; what criteria were adopted for the appointment; and whether candidates' views on (a) adoption, (b) reproductive rights and reproductive health, (c) embryo experimentation and (d) stem cell research were sought.[HL7012]
Baroness Wilcox: The position of chairman of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council was advertised in the Sunday Times on 2 November 2008 and the successful candidate took up the post from 1 July 2009. The process was conducted in accordance with the requirements of the Code of the Commissioner of Public Appointments and after consideration of a report of the Innovation, Universities, Science and Skills Select Committee, which held a pre-appointment hearing on 13 May 2009. Under the terms of the council's royal charter, the selection was made by the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills.
Ten applications were received with three candidates invited to interview. Candidates were appraised against the criteria in the role and person specification published at the time to assess their suitability for the role. Candidates' views on adoption, reproductive rights and reproductive health, embryo experimentation and stem cell research were not sought as part of the selection process.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether members of Her Majesty's Armed Forces and staff at the Ministry of Defence, Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Department for International Development are subject to the Bribery Act 2010; and, if so, whether they are covered by the offence of failing to prevent a bribe being paid on their behalf. [HL6752]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): Section 16 of the Bribery Act 2010 applies the Act to individuals in the public service of the Crown, which means that members of Her Majesty's Armed Forces and staff at the Ministry of Defence and other government departments will be liable to prosecution if their conduct in the discharge of their duties constitutes an offence under the Act.
Section 7 of the Act creates an offence of failing to prevent bribery. This offence can only be committed by a relevant commercial organisation. The Ministry of Defence, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development do not fall within the definition of "relevant commercial organisation" set out in Section 7.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The terms of reference of the Stern review are available online at: webarchive.nationalarchives. gov.uk/20100407010852/www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/sternreview_backgroundtoreview.htm.
The cost to the Government of the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change was £1,272,000 including staff costs, accommodation, travel, research and the publication of the final report. This figure does not include the costs of any analysis and research carried out by other government departments to support the review, nor does it include the cost of any follow-up work, as these figures are not centrally held.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord McNally on 27 January (WA 186), whether the remit and funding agreement for the Miscarriages of Justice Support Service allows it to provide assistance to people found not guilty at trial or whose convictions were quashed on first appeal.[HL6960]
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord McNally on 27 January (WA 186), how many people who were found not guilty at trial have been assisted by the Miscarriages of Justice Support Service or the Miscarriages of Justice project since inception of the schemes. [HL6961]
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord McNally on 27 January (WA 186), how many people whose convictions were quashed on their first appeal have been assisted by the Miscarriages of Justice Support Service or the Miscarriages of Justice project since inception of the schemes.[HL6962]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The remit and funding agreement for the Miscarriages of Justice Support Service does not cover the provision of assistance to those found not guilty at trial or at first appeal. The only exception is where a retrial is ordered following the quashing of a conviction by the Court of Appeal. In the lifetime of the project, the Miscarriages of Justice Support Service has supported nine cases that have had a re-trial following the quashing of a conviction.
The Miscarriages of Justice Support Service assists those whose convictions were quashed on first appeal only if this was following leave granted (by the Court of Appeal) to conduct an out-of-time appeal.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord McNally on 27 January (WA 186), whether the Lord Chancellor can issue a practice direction to judges to state a presumption of innocence in writing to anyone acquitted at trial and to people whose appeal has resulted in a conviction being quashed.[HL6963]
Lord McNally: Further to my reply dated 27 January 2011 (Official Report, col. WA 186), practice directions in the Criminal Courts are a matter for the Lord Chief Justice. The Lord Chancellor cannot issue practice directions.
To ask Her Majesty's Government which proposals for the conversion of schools to academies have been approved; in which local education authority each is located; in each case, what will be the government funding for capital schemes; how many pupils will be provided for; and in what age groups. [HL6202]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): All schools that have formally applied for academy status can be seen in the published list on our website: www.education.gov.uk/schools/leadership/typesofschools/academies/a0069811/schools-submitting-applications-and-academies-which-have-opened-in-201011. Those which are listed as having an academy order have had their proposal to become an academy approved in principle.
28 Feb 2011 : Column WA218
Centrally held information about government capital funding for individual maintained schools covers only the capital devolved to them (devolved formula capital) and capital spent within building schools for the future schemes. There is significant funding managed at local level for which school-level data are not held centrally. Up to the end of March 2011, that locally managed funding will continue to apply to schools approved for conversion. Capital funding for 2011-12 capital allocations to local authorities for their schools were announced on 13 December 2010, with an assurance that academies would be given equivalent allocations for devolved and maintenance funding. Specifically, devolved formula capital will go to them on exactly the same basis as to maintained schools. No decisions have been taken about any capital programmes from April 2012.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answers by Earl Howe on 24 January (WA 96-7) and 7 February (WA 13-14), whether the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority has advised them of whether no information was communicated to authority members prior to 16 March 2005 in which the autoimmune nature of type 1 diabetes was highlighted or queried in relation to licensing the use of cells from diabetics for human embryo cloning; why they answered the question by reference to licence committee practice; and how any substantive answer would affect the statutory delegation of the authority's functions. [HL6945]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) did not advise the department whether or not information was communicated to authority members prior to 16 March 2005 in which the autoimmune nature of type 1 diabetes was highlighted or queried in relation to licensing the use of cells from diabetics for human embryo cloning. The HFEA is an independent statutory body and the manner in which it discharges its statutory duties is a matter for the authority itself to determine.
The matters raised in this question were considered by a HFEA licence committee at a meeting held almost six years ago. The HFEA has advised that a record of this meeting is set out in the relevant minutes. The HFEA has also advised that it cannot comment on what information may have come to the attention of the members in any period of time prior to the date of the meeting, beyond the information referred to or contained in records held by the authority.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 7 February (WA 13-14), what was the procedure for reconsidering licence committee decisions prescribed in regulations prior to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology (Appeals) Regulations 2009 (SI 2009/1891); how many appeals have been made; by whom; and what were the outcomes of those appeals.[HL6946]
Earl Howe: Prior to the coming into force of the relevant provisions introduced by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 (2008 Act), the procedure for reconsidering Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) licence committee decisions was set out in Section 20 of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 (1990 Act) and in The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (Licence Committees and Appeals) Regulations 1991 (SI 1991/1889).
The HFEA has advised that in the last five years one appeal was made under Section 20(1) of the 1990 Act, as in force prior to amendments made by the 2008 Act, by the person responsible for centres 0157 and 0206. The HFEA has also advised that in the course of parallel legal proceedings it set aside the appealed decision and the appeal consequently fell away without being determined by the authority.
The HFEA has further advised that there have been a small number of other occasions on which individuals have given notice of their intention to appeal a licence committee decision but, in each of these cases, the appellant subsequently decided not to pursue the appeal and no hearing took place.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answers by Baroness Thornton on 15 March 2010 (WA 123) and Earl Howe on 7 February 2011 (WA 10), what impact consultation responses had on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority's policy following the public consultation on "Donating eggs for research: safeguarding donors", bearing in mind comments by Dr Stephen Minger in the media on 21 December 2006 and Dr Alexandra Plows and others in the document entitled Should scientific researchers be allowed to ask women to provide their eggs for disease research?-A statement of concerns in response to the current HFEA consultation.[HL6979]
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 7 February (WA 10), how the consultation on egg and sperm donation by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) will take into account the views expressed by the public; and how it will differ from the HFEA's previous consultations.[HL6980]
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 7 February (WA 10), whether they will ensure that decisions have not already been taken by Human Fertilisation
28 Feb 2011 : Column WA220
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 7 February (WA 10), what is the response of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority to the comments by Professor Eric Blyth, Dr Marilyn Crawshaw, Dr Lucy Frith, Dr Caroline Jones and Dr Nina Martin on the current consultation on egg and sperm donation in BioNews 593 on 31 January.[HL6982]
Earl Howe: The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has advised that the responses to the consultation Donating eggs for research: safeguarding donors were taken into account in formulating its policy and guidance on the matters discussed in the document. The HFEA's deliberations are recorded in minutes of the relevant meetings, which are published on its website at: www.hfea.gov.uk.
The HFEA has advised that the process and timing of its current review of sperm and egg donation have been discussed in successive authority meetings, minutes of which are available on its website. Decisions with regard to the policy and guidance relating to sperm and egg donation are expected to be taken by the authority at an open meeting in July. Papers and minutes relating to this meeting will be published on the HFEA website. The HFEA has also advised that, following well-established practice, all responses will be summarised and reported to the authority for consideration. Policy decisions rest with the authority as a whole rather than with individual members.
The HFEA has advised that it does not recognise a basis for the comments on its consultation in the BioNews article, which reflect the opinions of the authors. However, the HFEA has also advised that the way it has gone about framing the consultation has been thorough and transparent. The HFEA considers there is no basis to the claim that decisions have already been made and is confident that the consultation materials provide those wishing to respond with an even-handed and informative overview of the issues on which their views are sought.
The HFEA is an independent statutory body, and the manner in which it discharges its statutory duties and any consultations it undertakes to assist it in conducting its statutory functions are matters for the authority itself to determine.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Marland on 3 February (WA 282-3), how the definition of fuel poverty used in the United Kingdom Fuel Poverty Strategy was derived; what is the annual amount in a modelled fuel bill; and why the winter fuel payment is added to general income as opposed to being deducted from the modelled fuel bill when calculating the fuel poverty ration for households in fuel poverty. [HL6938]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): The definition of fuel poverty set out in the Fuel Poverty Strategy was the most widely accepted definition of a fuel-poor household. The definition was consulted upon prior to the strategy being published and was broadly the same as the definition that already existed in academia.
The modelled fuel bill is the sum of annual modelled bills for space heating, water heating, lights and appliance usage and cooking costs for each household. The requirement for each of these is modelled based on the dwelling, the efficiency and structure of the dwelling, the people who live there, their personal circumstances and requirements and the fuels used. Information on householders and dwellings used to calculate these modelled bills comes from the English Housing Survey. The fuel poverty methodology handbook can be found at www.decc.gov.uk/Media/viewfile.ashx?FilePath= Statistics/fueipoverty/614-fuel-poverty¬methodology -handbook.pdfandfiIetype=4andminwidth=true.
Consistent with other statistics, Winter Fuel Payments are classified as an addition to recipients' incomes. They make an important contribution to tackling fuel poverty and were responsible for taking around 100,000 households out of fuel poverty in England in 2008 (and up to 200,000 in the UK as a whole).
Whilst it remains appropriate to consider Winter Fuel Payments in this way for statistical purposes, to gain a full picture of the impact of Winter Fuel Payments on the situation of fuel-poor households it is also useful to consider what effect they would have if used to meet energy bills directly. Taking this approach, around 850,000 fewer households in England (and around 1.25 million fewer households in the UK as a whole) are shown to need to spend more than 10 per cent of their income in order to meet the remaining costs of heating their home adequately.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much was raised in the last three years from duty on road fuels; how much from VAT on fuel; what is the estimated extra annual revenue from the increase in VAT on road fuels; and how much extra road fuel duty and VAT revenue is raised every time road fuel prices go up by 5p a litre.[HL6783]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Fuel duty receipts are published in table 3 of the UK Trade Info Hydrocarbon Oils Bulletin: https://www.uktradeinfo.com/index.cfm?task=bulloilandhas FlashPlayer=true.
|Fuel Duty Receipts from Road Fuels (£ billion)|
Broad estimates of the revenue raised from VAT on fuel can be made using consumer expenditure data for fuels from the Office for National Statistics' Consumer Trends publication (series code CDDY in Table 07.CN): www.statistics.gov.uk/downloads/theme_economy/consumer-trends-q3-2010.pdf.
Paragraphs 8-10 of the Office for Budgetary Responsibility's Assessment of the Effect of Oil Price Fluctuations on the Public Finances report outline the impact that fuel price shocks have on fuel duty and VAT revenues: budgetresponsibility.independent.gov. uk/d/assessment_oilprice_publicfinances.pdf.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what proportion of total installed generating capacity is required to preserve security of supply, including during periods of maximum demand; and what proportion is made up by wind power.[HL6706]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): National Grid's winter outlook 2010-11 indicates that based on data submitted by generators, the notified operational generation capability was 77.7 gigawatts (GW) at the start of winter. The forecast average cold spell (ACS) peak demand for this winter was 57.7 GW. This provides a margin over peak demand of 20.7GW or 35 per cent (a historically high margin). There is 2.5GW of installed wind generation capacity connected directly to the transmission network (about 3 per cent of the total), though National Grid assumes that, on average, this capacity will be available only 10 per cent of the time.
Lord De Mauley: This Government will spend £4.9 billion on environment and green growth measures in 2010-11. The spending review protects environmental spending and, in recognition of its importance to ensuring sustainable growth in the long term, this will
28 Feb 2011 : Column WA223
The Government do not hold specific information on private sector investment in green projects. However, alongside the spending review, the Government published their National Infrastructure Plan, which said that over the next five years some £200 billion will be invested in UK economic infrastructure. The majority of investment will be in energy and transport, and will come from the private sector.
Lord De Mauley: The Government recognise the importance of providing certainty for investors in green industries in designing incentive frameworks. At the same time, the Government also need to be able to assure the affordability of support and that taxpayers' or energy consumers' money is being used cost-effectively. The Government are committed to balancing these objectives to deliver effective and sustainable funding frameworks for green industries. We also remain committed to our policy of maintaining support levels for existing investments benefiting from renewable financial incentives and not making retrospective changes.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the effect of government-backed projects, such as the carbon capture and storage plants, on creating an independent funding system for green growth projects.[HL6894]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): Demonstration programmes, such as the Government's commitment to continuing public sector investment in CCS technology for four fossil fuel power stations, are necessary to bring forward the commercial deployment of technologies that are needed to reduce the UK's carbon emissions. These programmes also provide UK industry with a first mover's advantage in what are set to become global markets. The value to the UK from global markets for new advanced coal and gas-fired generation plant, including that fitted or retrofitted with CCS, could be worth up to £6.5 billion a year by 2030.
These programmes are an essential part of the Government's focus on green growth but we also recognise the need to accelerate and scale up private investment in green infrastructure that is already commercially proven. We are creating a Green Investment Bank that will provide funding for investments in infrastructure projects in areas where private sector investment is currently constrained. These projects will facilitate the entrance of new types of investor into the UK's green infrastructure and provide new opportunities for jobs and economic growth throughout the UK.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): We are building support for radical reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) through discussions with the EU Fisheries Commissioner and other member state Ministers, along with representatives of the fishing industry-both large-scale and under-10-metre fleets-MEPs, retailers and non-governmental organisations. Our focus is to simplify and decentralise fisheries management, enabling those closest to fisheries to plan for the long term integrating fisheries management and marine conservation and giving fishermen greater incentive to fish sustainably, including the means to end discards.
The UK Government, however, are not simply waiting until reform of the CFP to take action on discards. We have already undertaken a number of initiatives that have delivered excellent results. Project 50%, a collaborative project between fishermen and the Government, saw discards in the South West sole fishery reduced by over 50 per cent. We are also pioneering an alternative "catch quota" management system that is based on managing and monitoring what is caught, not just what is landed. Cod discards by vessels participating in the 2010 trial were reduced significantly, and we are expanding the trial in 2011 to include more vessels and species.
Furthermore, we are taking action through the Fishing for the Market project by seeking to encourage consumption of alternative and sustainable underutilised species that are presently discarded. The aim of which is to provide new opportunities for fishermen, as well as reduce discards.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of European Union Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger's statement to the Guardian newspaper on 10 February that raising the European Union's emission cuts to 30 per cent by 2020 would lead to a faster process of de- industrialisation in Europe.[HL7006]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): The EU has demonstrated over the past 20 years that it is possible to reduce greenhouse gas emissions whilst simultaneously growing our economies. Whilst the macro and micro economic impacts of tighter emissions targets are difficult to model, it is clear that they will stimulate investment and job creation in growing low carbon
28 Feb 2011 : Column WA225
We do recognise that decarbonising the most energy intensive sectors will be challenging although the impacts will be limited to a small number of sectors for which appropriate measures will be employed. We should not exaggerate the risk. The Commission's May 2010 analysis of the impact of a move to a 30 per cent GHG target indicates that some of the most energy-intensive sectors (for example ferrous and non-ferrous metals, and some chemicals) would experience an additional production loss of only 0.1 per cent and 1 per cent compared with a 20 per cent EU target, even if other countries remained at the low end of their Copenhagen Accord pledges.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, following figures from the European Commission showing that the Galileo project will need an additional €1.9 billion to cover its costs, they will re-examine the project and review their continued financial support for it.[HL6222]
Earl Attlee: The Government are very disappointed that the European Commission has stated in its mid-term review of the European satellite navigation programme that it will be unable to complete the deployment phase of the Galileo system by the agreed target date of 2013 and within the agreed €3.4 billion budget covering that phase. It is extremely important, particularly in the current fiscal situation, that large projects are efficiently managed within the budgets agreed. The Government have put this case to the Commission and will continue to do so in the future.
The navigation programme is managed by the European Commission and funded from the EU budget. The member states do not contribute funds to the programme directly. Most decisions on the programme are taken by qualified majority voting.
However, the Government are urging the Commission to consider options for reducing the scope of the project so that it can be completed within the constraints of the budget that has been allocated to it.
A system of reduced scope, operating fewer satellites but working in conjunction with the American GPS, would still provide many benefits to a wide range of users, particularly in terms of signal availability and resilience.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The European Court of Justice is currently considering a case brought before it, challenging the right of insurers to use gender as a risk factor in pricing policies. In advance of the judgment, we are working with the industry and the Financial Services Authority to ensure that the industry is aware of the ongoing situation and has planned appropriately.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The Government see no circumstances in which the European Gendarmerie Force (EGF) might be deployed in the UK or in the British Overseas Territories or Crown Dependencies.
The EGF is a multinational initiative of six countries (France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands and Romania) aimed at improving crisis management capability in sensitive areas and supporting peacekeeping missions around the world. The UK is not part of this initiative.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many minefields remain in the Falkland Islands from the conflict with Argentina in 1982; how many mines are estimated to remain that were placed by British forces; and how many that were placed by Argentinian forces.[HL6631]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): Some 83 minefields and suspected hazardous areas remain in the Falkland Islands. Over 15,600 (12,300 anti-personnel and 3,300 anti-vehicle) Argentinian-laid mines are estimated to remain.
Over 18,000 (14,000 anti-personnel and 4,000 anti-vehicle) mines are estimated to have been laid by the Argentinian armed forces in some 113 minefields and four other suspected areas during the conflict. Over 1,000 Argentinian anti-personnel, 80 anti-vehicle mines and 1,000 booby traps were cleared in 30 minefields in the immediate aftermath.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many casualties have occurred in demining units from mine clearance operations in the Falkland Islands; and how many civilian or other casualties have resulted from accidental mine explosions since 1983 in the Falkland Islands.[HL6632]
Lord Astor of Hever: There were 10 mine or unexploded ordnance casualties in 1982 after the cessation of hostilities. Of these, one was killed clearing a booby-trapped missile. Of the remainder, three were listed with serious leg or hand injuries and six casualties were not listed.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the extent to which institutional investors have sufficient information to engage with and approve or reject the remuneration proposals of publicly listed companies.[HL6917]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the Financial Services Authority about adviser firms registered in other European countries and operating in the United Kingdom which can provide financial advice without having to comply with the requirements of the Retail Distribution Review.[HL7040]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Retail Distribution Review (RDR) is the responsibility of the Financial Services Authority (FSA), an independent body. The FSA's rules on adviser charging as part of the RDR will apply to all firms that give investment advice to retail clients, regardless of their business models.
Treasury Ministers and officials have discussions with the FSA on a wide number of issues, including the RDR. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government's practice to provide details of all such discussion.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the reduction in public expenditure on flood prevention took into account its effect on insurance premia; and whether they plan to discuss the matter with insurers.[HL7139]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to follow the recommendations by the Nuffield Council on Bioethics in its 2007 report Public Health: Ethical Issues that "Water fluoridation policy should be objectively reviewed by the UK health departments on a regular basis in light of the findings of ongoing monitoring and further research studies. Furthermore, the conclusions and their basis should routinely be published" [7.42]; and, if so, what mechanisms have been or are being set up to achieve those aims. [HL6998]
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 30 January 2001 (WA 55) and in respect of the guidance letter about water fluoridation from the Chief Dental Officer to Strategic Health Authorities and others (Gateway 9361) in February 2008, why (a) no reference was made under "Benefits of fluoridation" or in Appendix 1 to the York report's explicit criticisms of the quality of evidence relating to all aspects of fluoridation, and (b) there was no corresponding section "Harms of fluoridation" to address the incidence of dental fluorosis in children found by York.[HL6999]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): We will be reviewing policy in the light of the recent High Court judgment, which upheld the decision of the South Central Strategic Health Authority to fluoridate Southampton and parts of south-west Hampshire. In our review we will also consider any relevant research published since the letter that the Chief Dental Officer published in February 2008 and the comments that the noble Earl has made on the letter.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the statements on the website of the National Fluoride Information Centre that naturally and artificially fluoridated water have "exactly the same" effect upon the teeth and body, and in the February 2008 letter about water fluoridation from the Chief Dental Officer to Strategic Health Authorities and others (Gateway 9361) that "no evidence for any differences" in effect were found, take account of the article Bioavailability of Fluoride in Drinking Water: a Human Experimental Study by Maguire et al in the Journal of Dental Research (84 (11): 989-993, 2005), and the criticisms of that study by Professors Sheldon and Holgate in the same journal in January 2008 (87(1):8).[HL7000]
Earl Howe: This a complex area of research on which all well informed contributions are welcome, but we accept the conclusion reached by Dr Maguire and colleagues that "there was no statistically significant difference between artificially fluoridated and naturally fluoridated water".
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Henley on 7 February (WA 20-1), whether the temporary suspension of the programme of forestry sales announced in spending review 2010 includes land in the 2010-11 sales programme agreed by the previous administration. [HL6970]
Lord De Mauley: The review of the criteria for the Forestry Commission's 2011-12 asset sales programme has no impact on the land that the Forestry Commission has already placed on the market. The Forestry Commission is in the process of concluding the 2010-11 sales.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what Forestry Commission land has been sold in the past six years; and what land has been bought by or transferred into the Forestry Commission estate in that time. [HL6730]
|Disposals Since 1 January 2005||Hectares|
|Next Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|