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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): The welfare of farmed rabbits is adequately protected by the general provisions in the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and the Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations 2007, which have a specific schedule relating to rabbit welfare. Additionally, Defra has a welfare code for rabbits which provides good husbandry advice and which producers are required by law to have access to and be familiar with.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): We have no current plans to specifically regulate animal sanctuaries. However, the Animal Welfare Act 2006 makes it an offence to cause unnecessary suffering to any animal and to treat an animal in a way that fails to meet its welfare needs. We consider the requirements of the Act to be sufficient to ensure the necessary protection of the welfare of animals in sanctuaries.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The setting of the London interbank offered rate (LIBOR) by the British Bankers' Association (BBA) and the contributions made by banks to that process are not regulated activities under the Financial
29 Mar 2011 : Column WA236
To ask Her Majesty's Government what information they have been given by banking regulators in the United Kingdom, the United States and Japan, as a result of their investigation into the involvement of some banks in setting the London interbank offered rate.[HL7828]
Lord Sassoon: The Financial Services Authority (FSA) is aware of the issues and maintains strong relationships with other regulators. The FSA discloses information where there are permitted gateways in accordance with Memoranda of Understanding.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the effect of the reported increase in bank lending margins indicated in a survey of manufacturers conducted by the Engineering Employers Federation on the cost of credit to business, and on the Project Merlin agreement.[HL7729]
The Bank of England will publish quarterly data on the banks' total new lending to businesses under the Project Merlin definition. The Government will consider the banks' performance against the commitment in due course.
In addition, the Business Finance Taskforce, led by the British Bankers' Association, has agreed to 17 new commitments in order to improve the banks' relationship with their business customers. The banks will provide a new lending code and a transparent appeals procedure for declined loan applications, among other actions. These commitments will be evaluated by a regular survey of small businesses and their experience of access to finance, which will be published by the British Bankers' Association.
Lord Sassoon: On 9 February the Chancellor announced a new lending commitment by the UK's biggest high-street banks. As part of these commitments the banks will make available £190 billion of new
29 Mar 2011 : Column WA237
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will transfer the role of setting the principal reference rate for calculating the cost of bank loans from the British Bankers' Association to an independent body.[HL7762]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): All primary dental care providers who have submitted a valid application to the Care Quality Commission (CQC) by Wednesday 23 March will appear in the register on the CQC's website on 1 April 2011. The CQC estimates this to be over 88 per cent of those providers who were invited to register.
The number of band 1, band 2 and band 3 senior civil servants in post in May 2010 and now are not held centrally but data are available at 31 March 2010 and at 30 September 2010. These data are presented in table 1.
At 1 May 2010, there were 40 Permanent Secretaries in post and as of 1 April 2011 there will be 41 Permanent Secretaries. The latter number includes a post previously held by a senior military official but now held by a senior civil servant.
|Table 1: SCS pay bands 1 to 3, as at 31 March 2010 and 30 September 2010|
|Pay band||31 March 2010||30 September 2010|
Earl Attlee: We want to see all learner car drivers facing a challenging and realistic test which examines whether they have the knowledge, skills and attitudes to be safe and responsible on our roads. Following our announcement that we shall cease to publish questions in the theory test, we shall keep the test under review after our recent improvements such as introducing case studies into the theory test, driving independently in the practical test and no longer publishing practical test routes.
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they plan to ratify the Agreement Concerning Co-operation in Suppressing Illicit Maritime and Air Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances in the Caribbean Area, which was signed in 2003.[HL7945]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The Government are in discussion with the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands and Montserrat, all of which are looking into what is needed to implement the Agreement Concerning Co-operation in Suppressing Illicit Maritime and Air Trafficking in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances in the Caribbean Area 2003, and fulfil the obligations required. We stand ready to lay the agreement before Parliament with a view to ratification once all the requirements are met.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the current statutory entitlement for careers education advice and guidance for (a) secondary pupils, (b) sixth- form college students, and (c) 16-19 year-old sixth-form students attending educational establishments in England.[HL7944]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The Education Act 1997, as modified by the Education (Extension of Careers Education) (England) Regulations 2003, requires secondary schools to provide all pupils in years 7 to 11 with a programme of careers education. The Education and Skills Act 2008 introduced a requirement that schools, in discharging their statutory duty to provide careers education, must provide impartial information and give advice which promotes the best interests of their pupils.
The 1997 Act also requires secondary schools and institutions in the further education sector to provide pupils and students with access to guidance materials and a wide range of up-to-date reference materials relating to careers education and opportunities. The Education Bill, which is currently passing through Parliament, seeks to amend these provisions.
To ask Her Majesty's Government to what extent careers advice for children at school or in further education will be funded by the institutions they attend; what discretion such institutions will have over the level of funding; and what monitoring of the service will take place.[HL8027]
Lord Hill of Oareford: Subject to the passage of the Education Bill through Parliament, from September 2012 schools will be responsible for securing access to independent, impartial, careers guidance for their pupils aged 13 to 16. They will be free to decide how to do so, including what resources may be required. We have signalled our intention to consult in due course on extending the duty in the Education Bill to cover all students up to the age of 18, whether they are in schools or in further education institutions.
We committed in the White Paper The Importance of Teaching to establishing a destinations measure for schools as part of our commitment to transparency. This will help parents to hold schools to account for the work they do in preparing young people for success post-16 and in helping them to make choices that are right for them.
Lord Hill of Oareford: The provision of careers advice and guidance services for young people under the age of 18 is currently the responsibility of local authorities, under Section 68 of the Education and Skills Act 2008. In addition, young people have access to web-based resources and a national helpline.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Hill of Oareford on 17 March (HL 7488), on what basis providers of nursery education may charge for additional hours and services outside the hours for which they receive funding from local authorities; how the level of those charges relate to the level of charges permitted under price controls on hours for which funding is received; and whether the Government will clarify in law the right to make such charges.[HL7866]
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Hill of Oareford on 17 March (HL 7488), why top-up fees are allowed for university education but not for nursery education.[HL7867]
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Hill of Oareford on 17 March (HL 7488), what are the other private sectors that are subject to similar price control policies.[HL7868]
There are no restrictions on what providers may charge parents for additional hours of early education outside the universal free 15 hours. This is a private matter between provider and parent. Where providers have, however, chosen to accept public funding for free places, parents' access to those free places should not be made conditional on the purchase of additional hours.
Funding for free entitlement places is just one part of a broader package of public support that providers can access. Many receive training and other assistance from their local authority to support improvements in quality and secure sufficient childcare provision. The Government hope that providers will continue to choose to be part of the free entitlement scheme, providing valuable early learning to children. However, the Government also accept that, for some, delivering the free early education may not fit with their business models.
As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking the average number of miners employed in the coal industry in each year from 1984 until 2010. HL7974
The available information is provided in the attached table and is derived from the Labour Force Survey (LFS). Estimates prior to 1992 are not available. It is not possible to provide reliable estimates from 2001 onwards because the sample sizes for this survey are not sufficiently large enough for the coal industry.
|Number of miners employed in the coal industry. Three months ending December, 1992 to 2010. United Kingdom, not seasonally adjusted|
|Key||Coefficient of Variation (CV) (%)||Statistical Robustness|
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they are utilising the United Kingdom's capability in fusion science and technology; and how they plan to collaborate with other countries using fusion energy research to make fission power cleaner and safer. [HL7778]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The prime focus of UK fusion research is helping to ensure the success of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project which is the vital next step towards practical fusion power stations.
The Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE) undertakes the vast majority of fusion research in the UK. CCFE operates the Joint European Torus (JET), the fusion research facility based at Culham, under the European Fusion Development Agreement (EFDA) for the benefit of European scientists, conducting experiments that are crucial to the early success of the ITER.
There is some interest in combining fusion and fission for energy production or waste disposal-so called fusion-fission hybrids-but there are still major difficulties in marrying fusion and fission technologies. Furthermore, the hybrid system requires an efficient fusion operating system, which is the focus of the current fusion research programme. The UK will, however, keep a watching brief on further technology developments.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): In addition to the £145,400 already agreed for 2010-11 the Home Office has agreed to provide Quilliam transitional funding of £40,490 over three months (March-May 2011). Quilliam is welcome to bid for project funding in the future.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The latest full year figure for the number of people who have started the Flexible New Deal (net of re-referrals) is 299,200 (this covers the period 5 January 2010 to 4 January 2011).
Some 605,000 customers expected to be supported by the Work Programme in its first year of operation (figures for 2011-12 are based on a full year of volumes assuming contracts begin in April 2011. A later contract start date will result in lower volumes).
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Henley on 9 March (WA 406-7), who are the United Kingdom representatives at the Office International de Epizooties (OIE); whether they will propose setting up an OIE working group to develop welfare standards on the farming of chickens and the production of chicken meat and eggs for an OIE terrestrial animal health code; and why they believe it is inappropriate for HM ambassador in Bangkok to assess chicken welfare standards in Thailand.[HL7845]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): The Chief Veterinary Officer is the UK delegate at the Office International de Epizooties (OIE). He is the current speaker for the Commission on the animal welfare chapters at the general sessions of the OIE.
A permanent OIE working group on animal welfare already exists. It is anticipated that an ad hoc group on animal welfare and broiler chicken production will be convened in 2011, as it was in 2010. A draft standard chapter for meat chicken welfare is under discussion at OIE.
The reason it is not considered appropriate for HM ambassador in Bangkok to assess chicken welfare standards in Thailand is because the assessment of animal welfare standards requires specialist knowledge.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to review the internal financial controls applied by the general lighthouse authorities against the requirements of regularity, propriety and good financial management.[HL7892]
Earl Attlee: The framework document for the general lighthouse authorities sets out the financial controls and financial authorities applicable to the general lighthouse authorities. The framework document dated July 2008 is scheduled to be updated in accordance with Cabinet Office guidance, and will be reissued in autumn 2011.
To ask Her Majesty's Government which Secretaries of State have met the Minister of State with responsibility for the co-ordination of policy to discuss the implementation of their respective departmental business plans; and when each meeting took place.[HL7876]
Lord Taylor of Holbeach: The Government are committed to publishing monthly updates on departments' progress against key actions and milestones of business plans. The latest updates were published on 4 March 2011. My right honourable friend the Minister for Government Policy (Oliver Letwin) meets with Secretaries of State on a quarterly basis to discuss the implementation of their business plans. I refer the noble Lord to his evidence to the Public Accounts Select Committee on 9 February 2011.
Lord Taylor of Holbeach: Every department publishes a monthly update that details progress against the business plan. This update shows the status for all the actions that were due to start or complete that month, and provides an explanation for any actions that are overdue. These updates are available on the Number 10 website, departmental websites and at the Vote Office.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The level of display energy certificate for the Department of Health building Richmond House for the past three years is as follows:
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The level of display energy certificate awarded to the Home Office building at 2 Marsham Street in each of the past three years, showing reduced energy use in each year, was:
No. 2 Marsham Street has many energy-saving features in its design. Energy consumption is constantly monitored and reviewed monthly. Savings have been achieved by adjusting office temperatures, reducing plant operating times, widening humidity levels and a number of other measures.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The medical services contract is delivered from over 140 assessment sites, the majority of which are co-located with DWP or other government buildings. There are 28 sites which are not located on the ground floor, where customers, particularly those with mobility issues, cannot be assessed as emergency building evacuation procedures prevent the use of lifts.
Appointment letters request that customers with restricted mobility, who are unable to use stairs, contact Atos Healthcare prior to the assessment when they are offered the option of a domiciliary visit by an Atos Healthcare healthcare professional or are redirected to a site with ground floor facilities.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 22 March (HL7657), what is their estimate of the number of people fatally affected by NHS blood and blood products infected by HIV.[HL7968]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): I refer the noble Lord to paragraph 2.2 of the review of the support available to individuals infected with hepatitis C and/or HIV by NHS-supplied blood transfusions or blood products and their dependants, copies of which have already been placed in the Library.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Health and Social Care Bill places a duty on general practitioner (GP) consortia and the NHS commissioning board to ensure that people who receive a service are involved in its planning and development, and to promote and extend public and patient involvement and choice. Our meetings with GP leaders show there is a commitment to patient and public involvement within emerging GP consortia and a desire to keep existing structures that have worked well, as well as a desire to forge strong links with local HealthWatch, which will replace the existing Local Involvement Networks.
Some consortia may choose to use GP practice patient participation groups to involve patients and the public; however, we do not plan to prescribe the precise mechanisms by which practices or consortia need to engage with the public. We want to ensure that the focus is on developing behaviours and cultures that will encourage and facilitate public involvement and patient voice.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): From autumn 2012 universities in England will be able to charge fees of up to £6,000. Those charging between £6,000 and £9,000 per year will be subject to meeting much tougher conditions on widening participation set by the Office for Fair Access. No eligible full-time student in England entering higher education for the first time in 2012, including those studying for medicine, will have to pay their fees up front. Subsidised loans will be made available to cover the full cost.
In addition there is a more generous package of living cost support of loans and non-repayable grants for those students from households with incomes of up to £42,600. In the later years of a medical course, responsibility for providing support to medical students is shared with the Department of Health.
Students from families with an income no greater than £25,000 per annum may also be eligible for support from the National Scholarship Programme. Universities will determine their own eligibility criteria for the programme.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The cross-party Committee on House of Lords reform, chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister, has been considering what options are necessary to bring about a more accountable wholly or mainly elected second Chamber. The Government will publish their proposals in a draft Bill shortly.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The Government are committed to bringing forward legislation to introduce a power to recall Members of Parliament where they have engaged in serious wrongdoing. We are currently considering what would be the fairest, most appropriate and robust procedure.
To ask Her Majesty's Government in how many families in receipt of housing benefit the claimant is (a) a man, and (b) a woman; and in how many families the claim is a joint claim, excluding same-sex couples in both cases.[HL7985]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The Commission has held exploratory meetings with experts drawn from across EU member states to help inform their thinking on the possible content of the Green Paper. These were attended by UK officials. We expect the Green Paper to be published in spring or summer this year, when we will respond to its recommendations, but would not expect to see a draft until then.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether to review the rules on media plurality to ensure that the definition of public interest is wider than the provision of news services.[HL7753]
Baroness Rawlings: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport will consider the scope of the public interest test as part of the wider review of the communications sector announced by the Secretary of State in January of this year.
The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint): UKTI recently reviewed how it should support UK businesses in Mongolia. Whilst the review concluded that there was insufficient business demand to justify a permanent UKTI presence, UKTI will now assess high-value opportunities for British companies in Mongolia and consider the scope for a short-term business attachment to the embassy to further explore commercial
29 Mar 2011 : Column WA249
More broadly, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and UKTI are considering, as part of the commitment to commercial diplomacy, what other support may be provided to business in countries such as Mongolia without a dedicated UKTI presence.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the expected impact on public expenditure of any move to Birmingham of the Acquisitions, Export and Loans Unit of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council.[HL7749]
Baroness Rawlings: With the exception of the export licensing team, the Acquisitions, Export and Loans Unit (AELU) of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) moved to Birmingham in April 2010. Until the future location of the export licensing team has been decided, following the transfer of functions from the MLA to the Arts Council later this year, it is not possible to assess the full impact on public expenditure of the move of the whole of the AELU.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the cost of the subsidy to the National Employment Savings Trust; by how much this would be reduced if the £4,200 limit on individual annual payments was removed; and what are the factors considered in calculating the subsidy.[HL8004]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The National Employment Savings Trust (NEST) is being designed to support automatic enrolment by meeting the needs of employers and individuals that existing pension providers find unprofitable to serve at low charge levels. NEST also has a public service obligation to accept any employer that wishes to use it to automatically enrol eligible jobholders into a workplace pension scheme. This means that NEST has to bear costs purely commercial pension providers do not face.
In recognition of this, the Government have decided that the loan to NEST to fund its initial establishment costs should attract a rate of interest equivalent to the Government's own cost of borrowing. This will enable the scheme to deliver low charges to its members and be delivered at no overall cost to the taxpayer in the long run, while not being unfairly advantaged compared with other schemes.
The exact amount of loan finance required to establish NEST will depend on its final costs and the nature and size of its membership. The annual contribution limit is a key policy lever designed to ensure that NEST remains focused on its target market. It is only one factor that will influence scheme volumes and its effect on the NEST loan cannot be measured in isolation.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Freud on 28 February (WA 260-2), how many of the 63.73 million people with live national insurance number (NINo) accounts were born outside the United Kingdom; what are the 20 most common countries of provenance and the total number of NINo holders for each; and whether data matching is undertaken to ascertain whether people have more than one NINo under differing names.[HL7904]
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Freud on 28 February (WA 261-2), how many of the 63.73 million people with live national insurance number (NINo) accounts were born outside the United Kingdom, excluding those born in the Republic of Ireland before partition; what are the top 20 countries and what is the total for each; and whether data matching is used to ascertain whether people have more than one NINo under different names.[HL8058]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): Nationality data have only routinely been collected since 2002 in respect of foreign nationals registering for a NINo. The table below shows the 20 most common countries of origin for NINo registrations to adult overseas nationals entering the UK since 2002.
Individuals who apply for a NINo under the adult NINo allocation process are subject to a comprehensive range of checks in order to verify the individual's identity. These include robust face-to-face interviews to establish the individual's circumstances, document examination checks to ensure the authenticity of documentary evidence provided, and corroborative checks with other government departments and third parties to verify information supplied during the NINo interview. Checks are also made against the DWP customer information (CIS) IT system to ensure that the individual, once identity has been established, does not already have a NINo.
|NINo Registrations to Adult Overseas Nationals entering the UK (Thousands): by country of origin-January 2002 to September 2010 (Thousands)|
|Country of Origin||Number of National Insurance registrations (thousands)|
To ask Her Majesty's Government what proportion of the workforce of the Office for National Statistics is based outside London; what are their principal locations; and what are the principal functions performed there.[HL8091]
As director-general for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking what proportion of the workforce of the Office for National Statistics is based outside London; what are their principal locations; and what are the principal functions performed there. (HL8091)
The proportion of the workforce of the Office for National Statistics based outside London is 93.74 per cent and their principal locations are Newport, South Wales; Titchfield, Hampshire; remote home workers geographically spread across the UK.
The Newport office is the corporate headquarters of ONS. The work here focuses on the collection and analysis of economic statistics, with a growing emphasis on social analysis. A range of corporate services, such as Human Resources, Information Management, Communications and Finance are based here.
The work of the Titchfield office focuses on population, demography, geography and regional and local statistics. This includes responsibility for the 10-yearly census of population. In addition, staff at Titchfield support remote workers responsible for data collection for a range of surveys.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): In response to a request by the New Zealand Government, we sent out a team of 63 search and rescue experts drawn from the British emergency fire and rescue services. In addition to this we provided a specially tailored 10-man disaster identification team to provide essential support and expertise in helping to identify any potential British victims and to bolster the New Zealand authorities in their wider identification process. We will be meeting the full costs of these two deployments.
The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Strathclyde): The expenses payable to Members of the House of Commons are determined by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority. Responsibility for setting their salaries currently rests with the House, but will soon be transferred to the IPSA on a statutory basis. The salary and expenses for Members of the European Parliament are determined by the Parliament, subject to the provisions of the Statute for Members of the European Parliament.
Differences in the remuneration and expenses arrangements for Members of the House of Commons and Members of the European Parliament reflect the facts that they have different roles and responsibilities and their remuneration and expenses are determined by different bodies.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, in view of the proposed flat rate state pension, what assessment they have made of whether existing female pensioners should be provided with the same level of pension as existing male pensioners.[HL7697]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): We recognise the inequalities that exist in the current state pension system. We will shortly be publishing a paper that outlines options for delivering a simpler and fairer state pension and one that provides a better foundation for saving. We will be consulting on the options set out in that paper.
Lord Freud: The coalition agreement set out the Government's commitment to help reinvigorate occupational savings by encouraging companies to offer high-quality pensions to all employees and through introducing automatic enrolment. My department estimates that around 7 million people are not saving enough to provide the income they are likely to want or expect in retirement.
The new employer duty requires employers to automatically enrol eligible workers into a qualifying workplace pension scheme. Workers will have information about automatic enrolment, the scheme their employer has chosen and the contributions they will need to make to remain in pension saving. Individuals will be able to opt out if they believe that pension saving is not for them and they will be provided with information about how to do this. Guidance to be issued by the Pensions Regulator will set out how employers must signpost their workers to an independent source of further information about planning and saving for retirement.
The Government recognise that for some people it may not be appropriate to redirect money into private pension saving. Those on very low incomes will get a high replacement rate from the state pension without additional saving. We have therefore included measures in the Pensions Bill 2011 to increase the earnings threshold for automatic enrolment. This will exclude those individuals most likely to achieve a high replacement rate without saving.
It may reassure you to know that most people will be better off for saving. DWP analysis has found that over 99 per cent of people can expect to be better off in retirement having saved than if they had not. For over 95 per cent that improvement is greater than the cost of contribution, even after allowing for inflation.
The Government will consult shortly on options to simplify the state pension system. The intention is to reinforce the role of the state pension as a foundation
29 Mar 2011 : Column WA254
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): There are currently 115,370 persons entitled to carer's allowance who have a birth date for whom the state pension age would change as a result of the Pensions Bill 2011.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what research on human trafficking they plan to conduct in the next 12 months, in line with their obligations under Article 5a of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings. [HL7916]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what information they plan to publish in the next 12 months, in line with their obligations under Article 5b of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings.[HL7917]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to raise public awareness about human trafficking in the next 12 months, in line with their obligations under Article 5c of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings.[HL7918]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what social and economic initiatives to prevent human trafficking they plan to implement in the next 12 months, in line with their obligations under Article 5d of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings.[HL7919]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to disseminate information on safe and legal migration in the next 12 months, in line with their obligations under Article 5e of the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings.[HL7920]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The forthcoming strategy on human trafficking due to be published in the spring will set out our future plans for tackling and preventing human trafficking.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord McNally on 9 March (WA 415), at what time the recent incident at Ford open prison started; when intervention commenced; why intervention was not started sooner; of what intervention consisted; and what buildings were destroyed at what cost.[HL7846]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): Although events that may have contributed to the disturbance began before midnight on 31 December 2010, concerted indiscipline commenced at approximately 12.20 am on 1 January 2011. The intervention to resolve the incident commenced at 9.20 am, which was the point at which those commanding the incident assessed that intervention was possible without serious risk of injury to staff or prisoners. Intervention consisted of the deployment of staff trained in advanced control and restraint techniques, both from Ford and other establishments, and other national resources. Assistance was also provided by the police and fire services.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what changes took place in the scope of the Intercity Express project between the original invitation to tender and the recent announcement by the Secretary of State for Transport.[HL7720]
Earl Attlee: The scope of the project is the design, manufacture, financing, servicing and maintenance of the Intercity Express solution over the life of the fleet. Commercially confidential negotiations are ongoing between the department and Agility Trains. Summary details of the eventual contracts will be published.
Earl Attlee: In October 2010, the Department for Transport set out its plans for investment on the strategic road network in the document Investment in Highways Transport Schemes. The A1 Dishforth to Leeming improvement, which sees a section of the A1 upgraded to motorway standard, is a continuing scheme.
Beyond the Dishforth to Leeming scheme, there are no current plans for additional upgrades to the A1. However, the Highways Agency is taking forward a number of small scale improvements along the length of the A1.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): Academies are classified as central government public sector organisations and each academy is therefore subject to government accounting, reporting and monitoring requirements, including the whole of government accounts, clear line of sight and the principle of transparency.
The Young People's Learning Agency (YPLA) is conducting a review to address how academies' current accounting, reporting, assurance and financial monitoring arrangements need to be changed as result of these new requirements. The aims of the review are to simplify the current arrangements and to support the development in the academy system of a high degree of financial competence. The YPLA will also use the review as a vehicle to address the recommendations flowing from the National Audit Office report published on 10 September and the issues flowing from the Public Account Committee report in January 2011 on the academies programme.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): In November 2010 we published the White Paper The Importance of Teaching, which announced our intention to review the school admissions and appeals codes with a view to deliver a simpler, more streamlined admissions process.
We want to deliver a process that removes unnecessary burdens on schools and other admission authorities, as well as helping parents better understand and navigate the admissions system. The current codes are 130 pages long, and contain more than 660 mandatory requirements.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the average cost of educating a primary or secondary school age pupil in England in (a) the public sector, and (b) the independent sector, for each of the years 2008-09, 2009-10, and 2010-11.[HL7941]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The department does not hold comparable information on independent school costs. The available information on the average cost of educating primary and secondary pupils in England is contained within the table below:
|Expenditure per pupil figures for local authority maintained primary and secondary schools in England from 2008-09 to 2009-10|
|Primary Education||Secondary Education||Primary Education||Secondary Education|
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): All schools can make a valuable contribution to helping improve social mobility, including independent schools. Many independent schools are doing this by opening up their facilities to local communities and sharing their facilities and expertise with schools in the state sector. We will continue to encourage independent schools in their collaborations with the state sector.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): Local authorities and maintained primary and secondary schools cannot charge for admission to any maintained school; education provided during school hours (including transport and the supply of any materials, books, instruments or other equipment); education provided outside of school hours if it is part of the national curriculum, or part of a syllabus for a prescribed public examination that the pupil is being prepared for at the school, or part of religious education (again this includes transport, supply of any materials, books, instruments or other equipment); and examination re-sit(s) if the pupil is being prepared for the re-sit(s) at the school.
Local authorities and schools can charge for any materials, books, instruments, or equipment, where the child's parent wishes him to own them; and optional extras, such as school visits outside of school time and music and vocal tuition, in limited circumstances. Schools can make a charge for board and lodging on residential trips, but the charge must not exceed the actual cost. When a school informs parents about a forthcoming trip, they should make it clear that parents of pupils eligible for free school meals will be exempt from paying the cost of board and lodging. No charges can be made unless the governing body of the school has drawn up a charging and remissions policy, giving details of the activities that they intend to charge for and the circumstances in which they will remit the cost.
The department's guidance on charging for school activities can be found at http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/adminandfinance/financialmanagement/goodpractice/b0011770/charging-school-activities/.
Baroness Rawlings: Under the acceptance-in-lieu scheme (AIL), there is no absolute limit to the amount of inheritance tax that can be settled in any one year. The AIL panel, which is serviced by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, may advise Ministers to approve the settlement up to £20 million in inheritance tax in any one financial year. However, where it is proposed to exceed that figure, Treasury approval is required.
On only two occasions in the past 10 years has it been necessary to obtain Treasury approval in this way. This was in 2001, when £16 million in tax was settled and the approval level stood at £10 million; and in 2002, the year in which the approval level was raised to £20 million and tax of £26.6 million was settled.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Inheritance tax receipts in 2009-10 were £2,396 million, and this is published in the National Statistics table "HM Revenue and Customs Receipts" available on the HMRC website at: http://www.hmrc.gov. uk/stats/taxreceipts/tax-receipts-and-taxpayers.pdf.
Evidence on tax arising from potentially exempt transfers is limited, but the tax impact of potentially exempt transfers that are made within seven years of death is broadly estimated to be in the region of 10 per cent of receipts.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much the New Approach To Appraisal (NATA) cost to develop and run in 2009 and 2010; which consultants were paid to do so; and how much each independent contractor was paid.[HL7645]
Earl Attlee: It is difficult to separately identify costs of NATA development because some of the work jointly feeds into the development of strategy, policy and general transport planning best practice.
It is estimated that in the 2009-10 and 2010-11 financial years approximately £1,038,000 and £266,000 respectively was spent on projects that made a direct or indirect contribution to the development and maintenance of NATA guidance and software.
These cost estimates exclude the costs of applying NATA by scheme promoters and their consultants. The cost of applying NATA across all transport proposals could be estimated only at disproportionate cost.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the comments by Earl Attlee on 10 March (Official Report, col. 1853) in the debate on the points-based visa system saying that a scientist or philosopher entering through tier 2 "must be paid at least £20,000 per annum, and if they are not earning £20,000 per annum it is not clear to me how they will support themselves" were a correct statement of government policy.[HL7830]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): From 6 April 2011, new entrants through the tier 2 (general) category of the points-based system must be paid at least £20,000 per annum or the appropriate UK rate for the job in question, whichever is higher, as stated in codes of practice published by the UK Border Agency. Tier 2 migrants must be able to support themselves as they do not have access to most public funds.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to support textile waste recycling; what steps they have taken to increase such recycling; and what evidence they have on whether it is increasing.[HL7972]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): Through our sustainable clothing roadmap, Defra is working with industry to take action to improve the environmental and ethical impacts of clothing across its entire lifecycle.
Defra commissioned research to look at the sustainability impacts of clothing and to identify where further actions could be effective. The Maximising Reuse and Recycling of UK Clothing and Textiles report, published December 2009, found that in 2007:
Following the report's findings, a joint government-industry task group was convened in September 2010 to discuss and agree further commitments to improve
29 Mar 2011 : Column WA262
For other textiles, such as carpets and carpet tiles, existing collection infrastructure facilitated by Carpet Recycling UK is being further developed through Material Action Plans, led by the Flooring Sustainability Partnership, in conjunction with the Waste and Resources Action Programme.
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