|Previous Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|
|Acquisitions since 1 January 2005|
To ask Her Majesty's Government which forests have been sold by the Forestry Commission since 11 May 2010; what are their locations, sizes and prices of purchase; who purchased the forests; and whether there was access to them under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.[HL6805]
Lord De Mauley: The table below lists the land sold by the Forestry Commission since 11 May 2010 under the sales programme established by the previous Administration. The land sold includes freehold and leasehold land; and the table indicates which portions of land were dedicated under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.
|Wood Name||County||Area (hectares)||Price (£)||Purchaser|
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Lord Henley on 2 February (HL Deb, col. 1407) that "something of the order of 20 per cent of the forestry estate has no access because it is on leasehold land and access was never granted to it", whether he was referring to statutory rights of access; and whether the Forestry Commission allows non-statutory public access to a majority of the leasehold land that it manages.[HL6890]
Lord De Mauley: The Forestry Commission allows and encourages public access to the public forest estate wherever legally and practically possible. The proportion of the public forest estate managed by the Forestry Commission that is in leasehold ownership amounts to around 23 per cent (58,000 hectares). Lord Henley was referring to statutory rights of access: less than 1,000 hectares of this leasehold land has been dedicated for access on foot in perpetuity under the provisions in the Countryside and Rights of Way Act.
For the remaining leasehold land, the Forestry Commission allows non-statutory access where possible. Approximately 30 per cent of leasehold land permits this, while 66 per cent of leasehold land has some constraints on access, which are set out in the lease. A small area has access by agreement and in some places public access is tolerated by the freeholder.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many hectares of Forestry Commission land were sold (a) between 1979 and 1997, and (b) between 1997 and 2010; and what each amount represented as a percentage of the total Forestry Commission holding at the time.[HL7034]
Lord De Mauley: The public forest estate in England, Scotland and Wales managed by the Forestry Commission was treated as a single entity between 1979 and 1997. During that time the total area managed decreased by 183,300 hectares, or 14.6 per cent.
Forestry was devolved in 1999 and the area sold in Scotland and Wales from this time is a matter for the respective administrations. Land sales in England from January 1997 to December 2010 amounted to 12,120 hectares. The Forestry Commission estimates that this represents 4.5 per cent of the January 1997 land area.
To ask Her Majesty's Government which Forestry Commission-managed land they are currently offering or negotiating for sale; for which land they intend to seek purchasers within the next four years; and what are the expected receipts.[HL6605]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are their criteria for selecting Forestry Commission-managed land to be made available for sale in the next four years; and how much of that land is not currently forested.[HL6606]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the proposed community or civil society right to buy or lease set out in section 3.3 of The Future of the Public Forest Estate in England could be exercised by (a) a principal local authority, and (b) a parish council.[HL6888]
To ask Her Majesty's Government how the procedure for transferring Forestry Commission land to a local community or civil society group under Chapter 4 of Part 4 of the Localism Bill would differ from such a transfer under the proposals
28 Feb 2011 : Column WA240
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether clauses 17 to 19 of the Public Bodies Bill [HL] would allow the Secretary of State to make orders which could alter any provisions of the New Forest Acts, or abolish or alter any powers of the Forestry Commissioners which are set out in those Acts. [HL6965]
Lord De Mauley: The consultation on the future of the Public Forest Estate has been halted and all forestry clauses in the Public Bodies Bill will be removed. An independent panel of experts will now examine forestry policy in England and report back to Ministers in the autumn.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The Ministry of Justice publishes quarterly statistics on the operation of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) within central government. Although data is not available showing the operation of the FOIA from 11 May 2010 to the present time, statistics for the second and third quarters of 2010 (1 April - 30 September 2010) are available on the Ministry of Justice website, and from the Printed Paper Office in the House of Lords. Statistics for the fourth quarter of 2010 (1 October - 31 December) will be published on 28 April and for subsequent periods in due course. The table below provides details of the responses to FOIA requests by departments of state in the second and third quarters of 2010.
|Initial outcome of request|
|Total for departments of state||Total requests received (excluding on-hold and lapsed)||Requests where advice and assistance provided||Requests where information not held||Total resolvable requests||Granted in full||Partially withheld||Fully withheld||Response not yet provided*||Percentage of resolvable requests granted in full (%)||Percentage of resolvable requests withheld in full (%)|
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Under the Consolidated Budgeting Guidance, departments may choose to switch non-ringfenced resource Departmental Expenditure Limit to capital Departmental Expenditure Limit. Under the Consolidated Budgeting Guidance, departments may not switch capital Departmental Expenditure Limit to resource Departmental Expenditure Limit. Such switches would have a detrimental impact on the cyclically adjusted surplus on the Budget, which is the measure by which the Government's fiscal mandate is defined.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what will happen to the grant-in-aid underspend in 2010-11 that has been returned to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills following the closure of Enterprise UK.[HL7011]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): Enterprise UK is an independent charity that has received grant-in-aid funding up to and including this financial year 2010-11. They also generate investment income and have surpluses made on sponsorship and other non-BIS funding for activities and projects.
Some of the 2010-11 grant-in-aid not spent on agreed activities will be applied to redundancy and wind-down costs for Enterprise UK, thereby ensuring that Enterprise UK can secure continuation of key activities such as the "termer" campaign through legacy arrangements with new delivery bodies.
Lord De Mauley: The centralised category procurement programme, run by the Efficiency and Reform Group within the Cabinet Office, has incorporated Sir Philip's
28 Feb 2011 : Column WA242
Government are supportive of Sir Philip Green's efficiency review which brought to light price differentials regarding certain office supplies which were outlined in his final report. The Department of Energy and Climate Change paid the most and the Highways Agency the least for the box of paper quoted within Sir Philip's report.
A new strategy for office supplies is in the process of being finalised with a view to be in place by summer 2011. The price differentials identified in the Green review have been rectified across the specific departments and all departments are now buying paper towards the lower prices identified.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): All government departments have officials with accountancy qualifications acting as the most senior finance professional. In all cases but one, this official sits on the departmental management board.
The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint): The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills has not yet had the opportunity to visit the Middle East since he took office. However, this Government are committed to strengthening relations across the region, and the department pays close attention to the Middle East. In January this year, the Minister of State for Business and Enterprise visited Qatar, Kuwait and Jordan and, in February, I accompanied the Prime Minister on his visit to the region (Egypt, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman).
To ask Her Majesty's Government, with reference to the statement by Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint reported in the Daily Telegraph on 10 February that
28 Feb 2011 : Column WA243
The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint): Her Majesty's Government are developing their detailed plans for this work, and are currently identifying which Ministers will be assigned to lead their relationship with these companies. We are also considering what information we will make available, recognising the need to balance our commitment to transparency with the needs of commercial confidentiality. In assigning Ministers to companies, we will follow the usual procedures for handling any potential conflicts of interest.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Astor of Hever on 8 February (WA 47-8), why the Ministry of Defence spends some £9 million on research into Gulf War illnesses as they affect British veterans of the conflict compared with the $402,172,122 spent by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs on the illnesses of United States veterans of the conflict.[HL6849]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The UK Armed Forces deployed to the Gulf in 1990-91 represented about 10 per cent of the US complement and although the amount spent on research into Gulf War illnesses differs significantly, their findings are similar. The research concludes that there is no unique Gulf War Syndrome and that the use of organophosphate pesticides, anti-biological warfare vaccines and anti-nerve agent tablets is not the cause of the ill-health reported by some Gulf veterans.
The Ministry of Defence strategy on research topics and studies has been informed by independent scientific experts nominated by the Medical Research Council, and takes account of the published peer-reviewed international literature and knowledge of international studies planned or in progress.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The department is committed to raising awareness of diabetes. We are supportive of the work of Diabetes UK and recognise the importance of Diabetes Week. We are currently considering our plans for any support that we can give to Diabetes Week.
Earl Howe: The department is committed to raising the awareness of diabetes. We are supportive of the work of the International Diabetes Federation and recognise the importance of World Diabetes Day. We will be considering our plans for any support that we can give to World Diabetes Day later in the year.
The Medical Research Council (MRC) funds a broad portfolio of diabetes research amounting to £28.1 million in 2008-09, of which £6.5 million was directly relevant to type 1 diabetes. The MRC is supporting research at the University of Wales College of Medicine in Cardiff, led by Dr A Gallimore, which aims to determine the biological parameters that govern the activity of CD 25+ regulatory cells (a type of T-cell), thereby providing a better understanding of the development of autoimmune diseases such as diabetes and arthritis and the interaction of the immune system with cancer cells. Further information on this study and other MRC-funded research can be found at: www.mrc.ac.uk/ResearchPortfolio/index.htm.
In addition, the National Institute of Health Research Comprehensive Biomedical Research Centre at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust and King's College London is carrying out research on antigen-specific autoimmunity in type 1 diabetes.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Information before 2005 was not collected centrally. The following table shows the number of patients receiving diabetic retinopathy screening in the previous 12 months 2004-05 to 2010-11.
|12 months ending||No of patients receiving screening|
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they will publish their review of the problems of addiction to, and withdrawal from, prescribed tranquillisers and painkillers; and what action they will take. [HL6878]
To ask Her Majesty's Government how the National Health Service will respond in future to the needs of sufferers of combination drug addiction involving benzodiazepines; and whether methadone will play any part in that treatment.[HL6880]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The reports commissioned to gather evidence on addiction to medicines will be published over the next couple of months. Following publication, we will be engaging widely with interested parties to determine the future direction of policy and service planning.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, under their proposed medicines value-based pricing system, they intend to reduce the re-imbursement price of some branded medicines that are out of patent to nearer to the price of the therapeutically equivalent generic.[HL6909]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact on pharmaceutical research and development funding of the influence the United Kingdom pharmaceutical industry has on prices of drugs in other countries.[HL6911]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, in taking forward their proposals on medicines value-based pricing, they intend to introduce a co-payment system similar to value-based pricing systems in other countries.[HL6950]
Earl Howe: The consultation document A new value-based approach to the pricing of branded medicines sets outs our proposals for value-based pricing. The consultation runs until 17 March 2011 and responses to the consultation will inform work to develop the new system. The impact assessment sets out an evaluation of the effects of our proposals. Copies of the consultation document and the impact assessment have already been placed in the Library.
The impact assessment accompanying the consultation document states that pricing in as much as 25 per cent of the world pharmaceutical market includes the United Kingdom as a reference, among other countries. No assessment has been made of the influence that the UK pharmaceutical industry has on prices of drugs in other countries.
The design of the new system will be informed by responses to our consultation A new value-based approach to the pricing of branded medicines. Potential administration costs will be assessed as work to develop the new system progresses.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 3 February (WA286-7), how many United Kingdom nationals are listed as living in France; how many French nationals are listed as living in the United Kingdom for the purpose of calculating healthcare and other costs under regulations 883/2004 and 987/2009; and how the most recent annual payments by the United Kingdom to France of £203,619,890, and by France to the United Kingdom of £6,545,165, were calculated. [HL6934]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The following tables show, for the calendar years 2009 and 2010, the number of forms issued by the United Kingdom and registered in France, and the number of forms issued by France and registered in the UK, for the purposes of receiving sickness benefits in kind under Regulation 1408/71 up until 30 April 2010, and under Regulation 883/2004 from 1 May 2010. These forms relate to state
28 Feb 2011 : Column WA247
|Number of UK issued forms registered in France|
|Number of forms issued by France and registered in the UK|
Payments between France and the UK were for verified and accepted claims, and also advance payments in accordance with the bilateral agreement between France and the UK. The claims for state pensioners, living in the respective countries, were based on the number of months of healthcare multiplied by the respective monthly average cost for the year in question.
Other claims made by the UK against France are currently calculated on a formula basis in accordance with the bilateral agreement with France, based on average daily healthcare costs and tourist numbers or on a ratio basis.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): As at 31 December 2010, approximately 25.5 million UK-issued European Health Insurance Cards in circulation were valid for use.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): All prospective general practitioner (GP) consortia will receive a broad range of development support from their primary care trust and strategic health authority. This includes financial support as well as assigning key personnel to them who have
28 Feb 2011 : Column WA248
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 20 January (WA 66-7), what additional work the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has been commissioned to undertake on the feasibility and scope for a quality standard for fractures, excluding those which occur at the head and the hip.[HL6995]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has been asked to assess the feasibility and scope for a Quality Standard on fractures, excluding those which occur at the head and the hip. This will allow for exploration of the available evidence base and discussion with relevant parties. NICE will report on this work later in the year and a decision on whether to refer this topic to NICE for Quality Standard development will follow.
Once a topic is referred to NICE for Quality Standard development, it is for NICE to determine the detailed content of the standard. It does so after a public consultation and within a remit set by the Secretary of State. Details of the process that NICE uses can be found on its website at: www.nice.org.uk/aboutnice/qualitystandards.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress is being made by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence in producing guidelines in multi-discipline pain management services; what range of skills is incorporated in their definition of multi-discipline pain management services; and whether the latest research on newer pain mechanisms and treatment options is incorporated in their advice. [HL7091]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has published clinical guidelines on low back pain and the pharmacological management of neuropathic pain. The need for a clinical guideline on post-operative pain relief is currently being considered through NICE's topic selection process.
The scope and content of NICE's guidance is a matter for NICE as an independent body, and NICE has a well developed process for assessing the significance of new research and for updating its guidance as necessary.
Earl Howe: We do not have recent information centrally on standards of pain management services in England. Following a recommendation in the 2008 annual report of the previous Chief Medical Officer, the department is funding a National Pain Audit, which recently completed its testing phase and will be rolled out from March 2011. Its primary purpose is to stimulate local action to improve the quality and outcomes of care by presenting comparative data about the performance of National Health Service provider organisations. It will also provide a broad overview of the state of provision of chronic pain services across England and of the extent of variations in standards. Among other information, the audit will collect and analyse data on the number of health professionals in each discipline working in each chronic pain facility.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they will take to highlight centres of excellence for multi-discipline pain management services in the United Kingdom; and whether they will ensure that those standards are met throughout the United Kingdom.[HL7094]
Earl Howe: It is for local commissioners to determine how best to meet their population's needs for pain management services, in the light of their assessment of the standards of current services, professional and clinical guidance, and experience in other health communities. From April 2012, subject to parliamentary approval, it will be for the National Commissioning Board to determine what support commissioners will need to discharge their responsibilities. In the meanwhile, the long-term conditions workstream of the Quality, Improvement, Productivity and Prevention programme is producing examples of best practice in delivering community-based multidisciplinary services for managing long-term conditions such as chronic pain. The second phase of the programme, due later this year, will take forward the learning from these projects.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Government are committed to retaining the United Kingdom's position as a global leader in research and development. The Government are focused on creating a supportive UK business environment for pharmaceutical companies, and Ministers have continued dialogue with leaders in the pharmaceutical industry through the Ministerial Industry Strategy Group. We are working with the National Health Service and industry to improve recruitment and start-up time for clinical trials here, and we are committed to a Patent Box. In addition, life sciences, which include the pharmaceutical industry, have been identified as one of the key sectors in our growth review. UK Trade and Investment will continue to promote the benefits of undertaking pharmaceutical research and development investment to the UK.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consultation and assessment has been undertaken to minimise the effects of changes to the NHS budget on funding for the provision of sickle cell and thalassaemia sufferers.[HL6988]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): No consultation and assessment has been undertaken centrally. At the time of the spending review we delivered real-terms growth in funding for the next four years, and total funding will increase by over £10 billion in cash terms by 2014-15. The majority of that funding is currently allocated to primary care trusts and it will be for the NHS locally to determine how that funding is invested in meeting the needs of, and improving outcomes for, their patients.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): International students come to the United Kingdom because of the high quality of our education system and to obtain a British qualification. Their primary purpose is to study and not to take up employment. In higher education, useful information is available to students and prospective students, wherever in the world they originate, on the Unistats website at unistats.direct.gov.uk/. This includes information on the percentage of students employed in graduate level jobs by institution and course of study.
Lord De Mauley: The British Horseracing Authority (BHA), which is responsible for the governance and regulation of horseracing in this country, already publishes annual injury and fatality data on its website. The BHA records and monitors falls and injuries sustained on racecourses and analyses information relating to fatal injuries to determine if those accidents can be prevented. This allows the BHA to take action if necessary, including implementing long-term strategies and veterinary research programmes to help reduce the risk of injury and death.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will consider proposing an amendment to the European Convention on Human Rights to increase the margin of appreciation allowed to national governments. [HL6840]
28 Feb 2011 : Column WA252
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The margin of appreciation afforded to Governments in the national implementation of the convention rights is not itself defined in the convention; it is instead to be found in the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, and can vary from right to right, from case to case, and over time. Where appropriate in proceedings before the Court, the Government argue for the United Kingdom to be afforded a broad margin of appreciation.
The Government are committed to supporting and building on the process of court reform under way in Strasbourg. As part of the reform process, the Government would wish to see a strengthening of the principle of subsidiarity; that is, that the convention should principally be implemented at a national level. The Government will work with other member states of the Council of Europe and the Court to find ways to give further practical effect to this principle in the convention system.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what judgments finding a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights by the United Kingdom have been made by a chamber of the European Court of Human Rights in the last five years; what were the subjects involved; and which of those cases they asked to be referred under article 43 to the Grand Chamber of the Court because they raised a serious issue affecting the interpretation or application of the Convention or its protocols, or a serious issue of general importance.[HL6841]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The following table is drawn from the annual reports of the European Court of Human Rights. For each of the calendar years 2006 to 2010, it shows the total number of judgments delivered by the European Court of Human Rights, whether by a Chamber or the Grand Chamber, in cases against the United Kingdom in which it found one or more violations of the convention. It also shows the total number of violations found against the United Kingdom for each calendar year categorised by the elements of the convention. As one judgment may find multiple violations, these may add up to more than the number of judgments.
Between 2006 and 2010, the Government sought referral to the Grand Chamber of the Court under Section 43 in connection with five cases, which were Al Khawaja and Tahery, Pye, Al Saadoon and Mufhdi, Gillan and Quinton, and Clift.
Lord De Mauley: On 16 December 2010 the Government set out our proposals for ending the detention of children for immigration purposes. These were developed in consultation with a wide range of voluntary sector organisations, especially through two working groups chaired by the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund and Citizens UK respectively. The proposals entail a fresh approach to managing the return of families with children who have no right to be in the UK and we have made clear our commitment to working closely with voluntary sector organisations in putting them into practice, including through direct work with families where appropriate. We are currently preparing for the implementation of those proposals and are exploring how best this can be done.
Lord De Mauley: Information on children entering detention in January 2000 is not available, and figures for January 2011 will be published on 24 February 2011. There were 133 children who entered detention, solely under Immigration Act powers, in January 2009 and 93 in January 2010.
The Home Office publishes statistics on the number of children entering detention, solely under Immigration Act powers, on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis, which are available from the Library of the House and from the Home Office's Research, Development and Statistics website at: www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration-asylum-stats.html.
The Home Office publishes statistics on the number of children in detention, solely under Immigration Act powers, on a quarterly and annual basis, which are available from the Library of the House and from the Home Office's Research, Development and Statistics website at: www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration-asylum-stats.html.
Baroness Garden of Frognal: Breaking the cycle of poverty for the poorest women and girls in India's poorest states will be a major focus of the UK's future aid programme in India. We will focus mainly on three
28 Feb 2011 : Column WA255
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the extent to which current negative real rates of interest comply with the Bank of England's remit to target a two per cent consumer prices index inflation rate.[HL6956]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): As stated in a letter in May 1997 from the then Chancellor to the Governor, the Bank has operational responsibility for setting short-term nominal interest rates, or Bank Rate, to achieve the inflation target. The Governor of the Bank of England is required to write an open letter of explanation to the Chancellor every three months that inflation is above the 2 per cent target. Open letters between the Government and Chancellor were published on 15 February 2011.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to redefine the inflation target given to the Bank of England to exclude sources of inflation which cannot be controlled by monetary policy .[HL7098]
Lord Sassoon: The Chancellor confirmed in the June 2010 Budget that the independent Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England will continue to target 2 per cent inflation, as measured by the 12-month increase in the consumer prices index.
Lord Sassoon: The operational responsibilities of the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England to maintain price stability are detailed in the Bank of England Act 1998. In addition, as stated in a letter in May 1997 from the then Chancellor to the Governor, the Bank has operational responsibility for setting short-term nominal interest rates (the Bank Rate), to achieve the inflation target set by the Government.
The framework for the Asset Purchase Facility, which enables it to be used as a monetary policy tool, was set out in the exchange of letters on 17 February and 3 March 2009 between the Governor and the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The framework requires the Chancellor to authorise the overall limit on asset
28 Feb 2011 : Column WA256
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether to update section 233 of the Insolvency Act 1986 to include information technology services, computer software and accounting software to reflect the prominence of that technology in business operations.[HL6925]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): This Government have not carried out an assessment as to whether Section 233 of the Insolvency Act 1986 should be updated. Any move to include such supplies would of course have implications for the suppliers themselves and would need to be carefully considered in this context. The Government are aware of the recent campaign launched by the Association of Business Recovery Professionals on the subject of termination clauses and Section 233 of the Insolvency Act 1986, and government officials will be discussing this issue with the main stakeholder groups in the near future to explore the level of support and the implications of any change to the existing law.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Freud on 7 February (WA 27-8), whether they have considered using text-messaging to inform JobcentrePlus customers of vacancies.[HL6827]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): Jobcentre Plus introduced an SMS text service in January 2011. The use of the application to notify customers about job opportunities will be piloted in areas of Glasgow, the south-west and Yorkshire and Humber during March. The pilots will assess the success of this approach and this will inform decisions on national implementation.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): Jobcentre Plus had six national targets for the year 2010-11 which focus on quality interventions, customer service, employer engagement, job outcomes and the reduction of fraud and error. However, from October 2010 this was reduced to three, as Jobcentre Plus moved towards establishing the new performance management framework for 2011-12. The targets that were removed primarily measured process rather than focusing on outcomes.
Jobcentre Plus managers do have internal productivity benchmarks which do cover the number of customers interviewed in jobcentres, the number of claims processed or average length of telephone calls. These benchmarks are averages and are used alongside other management data on quality and resources.
To ask Her Majesty's Government in how many cases in which individuals have been found to have been victims of miscarriages of justice, including those who have won a first appeal or been found not guilty at trial, Her Majesty's Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate has investigated the grounds for, and the actions of, the Crown Prosecution Service proceeding with those prosecutions since the inception of the Miscarriages of Justice Support Service or the Miscarriages of Justice Project; and whether they will place copies of any relevant reports in the Library of the House.[HL6837]
Lord Wallace of Tankerness: The role of Her Majesty's Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI) is to enhance the quality of justice through independent inspection and assessment of prosecution services and, in doing so, improve their effectiveness and efficiency.
Although HMCPSI examines a range of cases as part of its normal inspection process, it does not investigate and report on individual cases unless, exceptionally, a case is referred to HMCPSI by the Attorney-General using statutory powers for matters intended for cases of general public concern. However, as a rule HMCPSI is not an investigative body.
A review of the investigation and criminal proceedings relating to the Jubilee Line case (Pursuant to a Reference by the Attorney General under Section 2(l)(b) of the Crown Prosecution Inspectorate Act 2000), published June 2006. The review is available on the HMCPSI website.
A review to ascertain the circumstances in which Anthony Leon Peart, also known as Anthony Leon Joseph came to be at liberty on 29 July 2005, published February 2008. The review is available on the HMCPSI website.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they complied with article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights with regard to the victims, children and dependent relatives who were the subject of miscarriages of justice, including those who have won a first appeal or been found not guilty at trial; and what such cases there have been since 2000. [HL6838]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): Article 14 (6) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which the UK has signed, sets out the circumstances in which compensation should be paid in cases of miscarriages of justice. The UK incorporated the article in domestic law through Section 133 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988.
Compensation is paid under Section 133 where a conviction is quashed at an out-of-time appeal, or following reference to the appeal court by the Criminal Cases Review Commission, on the basis that a new or newly discovered fact shows beyond reasonable doubt that there has been a miscarriage of justice. Ministers decide whether an applicant is entitled to compensation under Section 133. For those applicants who are to receive compensation, it is then for an independent assessor to decide how much should be paid, based on claims of loss from the applicant. It is open to an applicant to make a claim in relation to his or her own Article 8 rights-for example, loss of family life. Section 133 fully meets our international obligations to pay compensation in cases of miscarriages of justice.
The statistics requested are not available in the format sought. However, the Ministry of Justice publication Judicial and Court Statistics 2009 can be accessed via the department's website at: www.justice. gov.uk/publications/judicialandcourtstatistics.htm. Tables 4.7 and 4.8 give details of Crown Court disposals by verdict and table 7.7 gives details of the decisions of the Court of Appeal Criminal Division.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Sassoon on 31 January (WA 233), what steps they have taken to confirm that President al-Bashir or individuals or entities associated with him do not have US$ 9 billion in bank accounts held by or known to the Lloyds Banking Group.[HL7052]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Lloyds Banking Group (LBG) has assured HM Treasury that it has conducted its own internal investigation into the claim that President al-Bashir holds accounts with the group and is confident that the group does not hold any account for Mr al-Bashir or any individuals or entities associated with him. The
28 Feb 2011 : Column WA259
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Article 23 of directive 2009/132/EC, which provides relief from VAT for imports of negligible value, does not impose a binding legal requirement to prevent distortion of competition in the context of low value consignment relief. However, member states are primarily responsible for monitoring the operation of low value consignment relief.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The Government's allocation to the Medical Research Council (MRC) in each of the past three years is set out in the following table:
The MRC utilises its funding in accordance with its delivery plan (see www.mrc.ac.uk/Utilities/Documentrecord /index.htm?d=MRC007642). MRC operates within this strategic framework but takes its own decisions on research priorities and projects in accordance with the Haldane principle.
Baroness Wilcox: The chairman of the Medical Research Council (MRC) is Sir John Chisholm, FREng, CEng, FLEE, who took up his appointment on 1 October 2006. A full account of his qualifications and career details to date are published on the MRC website at www.mrc.ac.uk/About/Structure/Council/Chairman/index.htm.
To ask Her Majesty's Government when the chairman of the Medical 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 candidates were appraised; what criteria were adopted for the appointment; and whether candidates' views on (a) abortion, (b) reproductive rights and reproductive health, (c) embryo experimentation, and (d) stem cell research, were sought.[HL7015]
Baroness Wilcox: The position of chairman of the Medical Research Council was advertised in the Sunday Times on 11 September 2005 and the successful candidate took up the post from 1 October 2006. The process was conducted in accordance with the requirements of the Code of the Commissioner of Public Appointments. Under the terms of the council's royal charter, the selection was made by the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry.
Seventeen applications were received with four candidates invited to interview, although one subsequently withdrew. 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 abortion, reproductive rights and reproductive health, embryo experimentation and stem cell research were not sought as part of the selection process.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): In 2009-10, 4.2 per cent of the National Institute for Health Research revenue budget was spent on mental health research.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many national insurance numbers are in existence; how many were cancelled or withdrawn in the past three years; and whether they assessed the efficacy of checking applicants for such numbers against birth records and arranging for their cancellation or non-issue on death registration.[HL6937]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The latest available figures (Feb 2011) show a total of 83.36 million national insurance number (NINo) records on the department's customer information system (CIS). These consist of:63.73 million live NINo accounts; and19.63 million NINo accounts with a date of death applied.
The Department for Work and Pensions does not withdraw or cancel NINos once they have been allocated except in very limited circumstances. This is because a NINo, even if used only for a limited period, links an individual to their national insurance contributions record which may be relevant in any future claim to benefits or state pension. In the case of deceased individuals, a partner may make a claim for a contributory benefit, which is dependent on the contribution record of the deceased individual.
A NINo would be withdrawn if it were established that a customer had been inaccurately allocated with more than one number. In these circumstances the NINo allocated in error is retained but is marked to ensure it cannot be used by any other person.
|Volumes in relation to withdrawn or cancelled NINo accounts|
|Year||Number of cases|
The figures provided are from the Customer Information (Live) Database in February 2011 and are subject to rounding. The figures are Management Information (MI) collected for the purpose of managing DWP business, and therefore have not been subject to the rigorous quality assurance that is applied to DWP official statistics.
The majority of UK nationals receive a NINo automatically from HMRC shortly before their 16th birthday. This is as a consequence of a successful claim to child benefit. In validating claims to child benefit, HMRC confirms the identity of the child or children in question, including checking birth certificates, before making an award. This includes checks against databases of lost and stolen birth certificates.
The department undertakes rigorous checks on the identity of all adult national insurance number applicants. This involves document examination checks to ensure the authenticity of any documentary evidence provided such as passports or foreign national identity card, corroborative checks with third parties (including other government departments) and only when it is satisfied with the identity of an individual will a number be allocated.
Upon the death of an individual, DWP receives automatic updates from the General Register Offices (GAO) of England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland on a daily basis. DWP undertakes a rigorous matching process against the updates received from the GROs to ensure that DWP records are annotated with the date of death. Any subsequent claim to benefit using that NINo would be subject to close scrutiny and, if appropriate, be referred to DWP's Fraud Investigation Service.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): This information is not collected centrally. The noble Lord may wish to contact the London Strategic Health Authority directly for estimated figures.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Answer by Lord McNally on 24 January (Official Report, col. 677), whether there was a commitment in the Belfast agreement to establish by legislation a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland or to seek advice on the matter; and whether Northern Ireland will be excluded from the proposed British Bill of Rights and responsibilities and have a separate Bill of Rights.[HL6781]
Baroness Garden of Frognal: The Belfast agreement states that the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission will be invited to consult and to advise on the scope for defining, in Westminster legislation, rights supplementary to those in the European Convention on Human Rights to reflect the particular circumstances of Northern Ireland, and these additional rights, together with the ECHR, to constitute a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland. The joint declaration of 2003 also states that, after consultation with the parties, the
28 Feb 2011 : Column WA263
Separately, the Government are committed to the establishment of a commission to investigate the creation of a UK Bill of Rights that incorporates and builds on all our obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights, ensures that these rights continue to be enshrined in British law, and protects and extends British liberties. The Government will make a Statement to Parliament on the terms of reference of the commission in due course. The Government believe that a UK Bill of Rights could be an appropriate legislative vehicle for any additional rights specific to Northern Ireland.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have approved the creation of the post of Director of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and its salary range of £58,200 to £117,800; why the post of chief executive was abolished; what are the difference in duties and salary between it and the director; what was the redundancy payment made to the last chief executive; and what reduction in funding has been agreed with the commission by the Northern Ireland Office.[HL6933]
Lord Shutt of Greetland: On the matter of the post of director of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, I refer the noble Lord to the Answers given on 16 and 29 November (Official Report, cols. WA 198 and WA 415). The appointment of staff is an operational matter for the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, which operates independently of government. The noble Lord may wish to write to the commission directly on this matter.
On the matter of funding, I refer the noble Lord to the Answer given on 15 December 2010 (Official Report, col. WA 199). The Northern Ireland Office budget, including that part of the budget that supports arm's-length bodies, will reduce by 25 per cent in real terms across the four years of the spending review period. The Northern Ireland Office is currently working with all its sponsored bodies, including the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, to agree future budget allocations in light of the outcomes from the spending review.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what proportion of the Department for International Development's funding for projects in Afghanistan has been allocated to projects to support women's organisations and activities in the past 12 months; and what are the details of the projects so supported.[HL7162]
Baroness Verma: The UK Government are placing women at the heart of the whole of our agenda for international development. All the Department for International Development's (DfID's) programmes take account of their impact on women and girls in their design and implementation. DfID has supported a number of programmes that directly benefit women's organisations and activities in Afghanistan over the past year. For example, our support to the International Planned Parenthood Foundation and WOMANKIND Worldwide is supporting civil society organisations in Afghanistan to address the human rights and practical needs of women and girls.
DfID has also committed £12 million from 2010-11 to 2012-13 to the Afghanistan rural enterprise development programme, implemented by the Afghan Ministry for Rural Rehabilitation Development. The programme has a gender equality strategy, which has helped to ensure that men and women participate almost equally in project-supported activities.
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they will address the recommendation made in 2009 by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary that the Association of Chief Police Officers, the Home Office and the National Policing Improvement Agency should agree a set of principles on the use of force that cover all circumstances of policing, especially the policing of protests.[HL6850]
Lord De Mauley: The Home Office, the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) have agreed a set of principles on the use of force that covers the policing of protests. These are set out in the revised ACPO manual on public order policing published in December 2010. The Home Office will continue to work with ACPO and NPIA to ensure that this position complements the principles on the police use of force articulated in other areas of police guidance, training and learning where the use of force is pertinent.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, following the statement by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in its 2011 review that "protests escalated to include violence against officers on the ground and attacks on iconic buildings", what is their assessment of any trend in protests becoming more violent or disruptive.[HL6851]
|Next Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|