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The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The British Council leads on cultural engagement with Afghanistan on behalf of the Government. Both the British Council and our embassy in Kabul have provided support for the British Museum's exhibition Afghanistan: The Crossroads of the Ancient World.
Current British Council projects provide development opportunities for Afghans and also broaden the UK view of Afghanistan. Specific projects include: the professional development of young Afghan arts practitioners; the Cultural Leadership International project, which will bring leading Afghan cultural entrepreneurs into an international network of cultural leaders mentored by specialists; and initiatives which help Afghans reclaim their cultural legacy and re-explore their cultural identity, such as providing support for an Afghan Shakespeare production to be presented at the Globe Theatre in London in 2012.
Baroness Verma: Provincial reconstruction teams (PRTs) will continue to evolve as Afghans take ownership of security for their own country. Over time the PRTs will increasingly shift from direct implementation to support for Afghan delivery of government priorities across the provinces. This process of transition has already started.
The UK-led Helmand PRT supports the Government of Afghanistan by helping to build governance capacity at the provincial and district level, and supporting Afghan-led efforts to deliver basic services, rebuild basic infrastructure, and stimulate economic regeneration.
Earl Attlee: We have made clear that we do not support the construction of additional runways at Heathrow, Gatwick or Stansted. Proposals for expansion at other airports will be judged on their merits.
Earl Attlee: The Government have had no specific meetings with the airline industry to discuss the price of fuel since May 2010. However, in our frequent meetings with the airline industry, there are often discussions about the full range of costs associated with operating an airline.
Earl Attlee: Under the Air Navigation Order any occurrence which endangers an aircraft, its occupants or any other person has to be reported to the Civil Aviation Authority. In 2010 the CAA received 114 reports related to occurrences involving US registered aircraft with a maximum take of weight of less than 2,730kg. In 2009 it received 123 such reports.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consultation they have undertaken with owners of American-registered light aircraft in the United Kingdom; and what steps they are taking to protect the interests of those owners.[HL8047]
Earl Attlee: In accordance with EU Regulation 216/2008, US registered aircraft based in the UK will be subject to the same safety requirements as UK registered aircraft. The European Aviation Safety Agency is responsible for developing the applicable safety requirements. I would encourage the owners, operators and pilots of US registered aircraft based in the UK to respond to EASA consultations on the development of those requirements.
The European Commission has indicated that it intends to negotiate an aviation safety agreement with the US Federal Aviation Administration. If such an agreement is reached it should help minimise the requirements for US licence holders to obtain an EU licence.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the likely impact on United Kingdom-United States trade relations of the proposals by the European Aviation Safety Agency to prohibit American-registered light aircraft owned in the United Kingdom from flying in the European Union; and what steps they are taking to mitigate any negative impact.[HL8048]
Earl Attlee: The EU has no proposals to prohibit US registered aircraft based in the UK from flying in the EU. However, under EU Regulation 216/2008 the pilots of such aircraft are required to be licensed to the same standards as pilots of aircraft registered in the EU. The US Government understand the reason for this requirement and have given no indication that it will affect UK/US trade relations.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the likely loss of revenue from training for the British Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC) rating under proposals by the European Aviation Safety Agency for a standardised safety requirement across the European Union; and what impact this is likely to have on the light aircraft industry and the United Kingdom economy as a whole.[HL8050]
Earl Attlee: No assessment has been made of any potential loss of revenue from training for the UK instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) rating. The European Aviation Safety Agency has been given the responsibility for establishing a rating which is broadly equivalent to the IMC rating.
If such a rating is established there will be opportunities for existing providers of IMC rating courses to become approved to provide training for the new rating and to develop that business both in the UK and in other member states.
Earl Attlee: The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has consulted on draft implementing rules establishing flight time limitations for EU airlines. These have been reviewed by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and it has submitted a large number of detailed comments to EASA. The CAA has also published its comments on the CAA website.
The CAA believes that overall the EASA proposals are a significant improvement on the current EU rules. However, it believes that the draft rules need to be strengthened in three areas: (i) the maximum flight
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To ask Her Majesty's Government what volume of traffic is expected for the period 13 July to 12 September 2012 within the restricted airspace referred to in the Home Office announcement of 7 March 2011.[HL8165]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the total loss of earnings for the period 13 July to 12 September 2012 for general aviation aerodromes and flying clubs located within the restricted airspace announced by the Home Office on 7 March 2011; what plans they have for a compensation package for businesses affected; and from which budgets such compensation will come. [HL8167]
Earl Attlee: The Department for Transport commissioned an air traffic review and airport capacity assessment study in late 2009. This estimated that between 17 July and 16 August 2012, the Games could be expected to generate approximately 240,000 additional commercial passengers over and above baseline traffic levels at the five core London airports. This would equate to approximately 200 additional commercial aircraft movements on peak days, an increase of approximately 6 per cent above baseline levels.
In addition, the study forecast over 10,000 business and corporate aircraft movements and approximately 240 heads of state flights during the Games period. On top of this, an as yet unquantified number of general aviation leisure flights might seek to operate in the airspace over the south-east of England during this period.
The study concluded that the forecast commercial, business and heads of state traffic could broadly be accommodated, but only by making efficient use of all existing airport infrastructure across the wider south-east. In order to maximise available capacity, of both airports and controlled airspace, the department is currently consulting on proposals temporarily to extend full airport slot co-ordination, currently only applicable at Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and London City airports, to some 40 airports across the region expected to attract Games related traffic.
Separately, NATS, the air navigation service provider, is consulting on proposals temporarily to extend controlled airspace in certain parts of the region to provide increased airspace capacity for commercial air traffic in order to help manage the anticipated additional demand during the peak Games period.
As part of the commitment to deliver a safe and secure Games, the Government also announced, on 7 March, plans to impose certain temporary restrictions on the use of airspace over London and the south-east of England during the Games period. Most aircraft seeking to operate in the planned restricted and prohibited zones will be required to file a flight plan, establish and maintain two-way radio communication with the relevant control authority, transmit a discrete transponder code and follow air traffic control instructions. The aim of these security-driven measures is to enable all air traffic in this area to be monitored during this period. NATS and others are currently working to establish a flight plan reception process to deal with the anticipated additional demand. Significant enhancements to existing lower airspace radar service capacity are also planned to facilitate flying within the restricted zone in accordance with the announced requirements for operation in this area.
Initial work to assess the effect of the planned airspace restrictions on the aviation community as a whole has been undertaken and, through the CAA and others, we are now engaging with them further to ensure the impacts are fully understood. We are encouraging members of the aviation community to help us in this, and we will consider whether certain adaptations to the planned restrictions might be feasible, consistent with the overarching security considerations, before the measures are finalised in a statutory instrument to be made later this year.
There are no plans to provide compensation to those affected by the temporary airspace restrictions. However, as already mentioned, the Government, together with the Civil Aviation Authority and NATS, will work with the aviation community to see if local arrangements might be possible, in some cases, to limit the impact of the restrictions.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress has been made on proposals by the European Aviation Safety Agency to standardise safety requirements across the European Union; and what position they have taken in the negotiations with regard to the admissibility of American licences.[HL8045]
Earl Attlee: Under EU Regulation 216/2008 the European Aviation Safety Agency has responsibility for establishing harmonised safety standards for most areas of civil aviation. Details of the rulemaking programme can be found on EASA's website: www.easa.europa.eu.
Regulation 216/2008 requires that where third country aircraft are operated by persons resident or established in the EU the pilots must hold licences issued or validated in accordance with the relevant EU implementing rules.
The European Commission has indicated that it intends to negotiate an aviation safety agreement with the US Federal Aviation Administration. If such an agreement is reached it should minimise the requirements for US licence holders to obtain an EU licence.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The development of alternatives to the cheque, and the preparation of a cost benefit analysis, is a matter for the Payments Council, which is independent of government.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consultations have taken place with statutory and voluntary organisations and the Payments Council on the phasing out of cheques; and whether they will publish their findings.[HL8316]
Treasury Ministers and officials have discussions with a wide variety of organisations in the public and private sectors as part of the process of policy development and delivery. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government's practice to provide details of all such discussions.
To ask Her Majesty's Government (a) how many, and (b) what percentage of, people who are eligible for the incapacity benefits transition trials in Burnley and Aberdeen have not been contacted to inform them of their transition to employment and support allowance.[HL8226]
These findings were broadly in line with the department's estimates. However, at that time not all 1,700 trial customers had been through the reassessment process. There will be a formal research publication available in due course.
Lord Taylor of Holbeach: The total amount spent on the British-Irish Council over the past five years is widely spread across a number of government departments and the information is therefore not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Lord Taylor of Holbeach: The costs of the British-Irish Council are covered by all eight members of the council through the work of the different work-streams and members' attendance at meetings of officials and Ministers. In addition, the UK Government and the Government of the Republic of Ireland are currently providing the Secretariat for the British-Irish Council. The council is in the process of establishing a Standing Secretariat which will be based in Edinburgh. Member administrations will each contribute annually to the costs of the Secretariat. The UK Government have no specific plans to reduce spending on the British-Irish Council, to which they continue to attach importance.
Lord Taylor of Holbeach: The British-Irish Council was established as part of the Good Friday agreement 1998, as a mechanism "to promote the harmonious and mutually beneficial development of the totality of relationships among the people of the islands". Members are: the UK Government, the Irish Government, the three devolved Administrations, and the Governments of Guernsey, Jersey, and the Isle of Man.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Rawlings on 23 March (WA 173) concerning smoking in television broadcasts, what guidance they have issued to Ofcom on the issue of warnings about smoking at the start of the programmes.[HL8309]
Baroness Garden of Frognal: The Government have not issued guidance to Ofcom concerning warnings about smoking. The Written Answer from Baroness Rawlings of 23 March (WA 173) to the noble Lord explained Ofcom's statutory responsibility for such matters.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether there will be a Government representative on the board of the Business Growth Fund; and, if so, whether there have been any discussions with banks about such an appointment.[HL8128]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The Business Growth Fund is a commercial fund with no financial input from the Government. It is therefore not appropriate for BIS to take a seat on the board. We will maintain strong links with the fund's senior managers to ensure that it fulfils our expectations of becoming a major source of growth capital funding for smaller businesses.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): We will support business-led technology innovation through the Technology Strategy Board which is moving forward to establish a network of elite Technology and Innovation Centres to commercialise new and emerging technologies and TSB will also deliver a national grant for R&D scheme, which is focused on supporting R&D projects in SMEs.
To complement this, the Skills Strategy, Skills for Sustainable Growth, sets out the Government's strategy for improving skills at the intermediate and technical level. It is why we have put apprenticeships at the heart of the FE and skills system and why we are expanding the number of places available.
Recognising that they are a key component in delivering our ambitions for a dynamic and competitive economy, we are increasing skills investment in SMEs by developing the leadership and management skills of managers in SMEs with high growth potential. We are also continuing to provide the SME leadership and management development programme with support focused on SMEs and social enterprises from April 2011.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): On 16 November 2011, we announced additional funding of £400 million to the National Health Service over the next four years to support carers to take breaks from their caring responsibilities in the way a carer chooses.
"The Spending review has made available additional funding in primary care trust (PCT) baselines to support the provision of breaks for carers. PCTs should pool budgets with local authorities to provide carers' breaks, as far as possible, via direct payments or personal health budgets. For 2011-12, PCTs should agree policies, plans and budgets to support carers with local authorities and local carers' organisations, and make them available to local people".
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Taylor of Holbeach on 23 March (WA 173-4), what are the "sensitivities" in Scotland relating to the wording of the category "Gypsy/Irish Traveller"; why those sensitivities do not occur or apply in England; and what are the numbers and percentages of Polish nationals in each part of the United Kingdom.[HL8121]
As Director General for the Office for National Statistics (ONS) I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking: (i) further to the Written Answer by Lord Taylor of Holbeach on 23 March (WA 173-4), what are the "sensitivities" in Scotland relating to the wording of the category "Gypsy/Irish Traveller"; why those sensitivities do not occur or apply in England; and, (ii) what are the numbers and percentages of Polish nationals in each part of the United Kingdom. (HL8121)
(i) In England and Wales there was strong evidence of need for information on Gypsies and Irish Travellers to be collected in the 2011 Census. "Irish Travellers" are recognised as a distinct group by that name under Race Relations Act case law and the term is now widely recognised and more commonly used by members of those communities themselves. However, the term "Irish Traveller" which is intended to specifically exclude "New Age travellers" in England and Wales is not generally used in Scotland. The census in Scotland is a devolved matter, and the responsibility for the wording of the questions there rests with the Scottish Government. The Registrar General for Scotland has advised that the term "Gypsy/Traveller" is used in the census in Scotland instead because that is the specific term that was used by the Scottish Parliament when it was agreed that such people should be treated as a separate ethnic group for race relations purposes.
(ii) The Office for National Statistics collects data on nationality from the Annual Population Survey (APS) which is a household survey of residents of the UK. The latest available estimates of Polish nationals relate to the 12-month period of July 2009 to June 2010 and are provided for each constituent country of the UK in the table below. Percentages have been created using the total estimated resident population for each constituent country of the UK, derived from the APS as a denominator. It should be noted that the survey does not include people living in most types of communal establishment.
|Table 1: Polish Nationality by Countries of the UK|
|Average 12 months-June 2010||Thousands|
|estimate||Confidence Interval +/-||Percentage|
Confidence interval as shown here is a range within which the true value of a population count is likely to lie, and in this case, at the 95 per cent level, is defined as 1.96 x standard error. The standard error is a measure of the uncertainty associated with making inferences from a sample.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Sassoon on 22 March (WA 141), what steps they will take to ensure that the European Commission report on sovereign credit default swaps is officially publicised.[HL8025]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The report is already publicly available, including at; http://media.ft.com/cms/100e2d86-4994-11e0-b051- 00144feab49a.pdf.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they regard trading in credit default swaps to be a banking activity; and whether they propose to require such trading to be cleared through central clearing parties. [HL8301]
In line with the G20 commitment which calls for all standardised over-the-counter (OTC) derivative contracts to be cleared through central counterparties by end-2012 at the latest, the Government are now engaged in negotiating European legislation which will require standardised OTC derivatives, including credit default swaps, to be cleared through central counterparties. Details of the entities and instruments covered by this legislation are still in negotiation.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the impact of changes made and proposed to student finance on the level of government debt (a) this year, and (b) in each of the next five years.[HL8044]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to consult groups including the Association of Colleges, College principals, the Refugee Council, the University and College Union, and the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education on their proposed new approach to English for speakers of other languages.[HL8224]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The equality impact assessment published alongside Skills for Sustainable Growth (November 2010) found that, at the aggregate level, there are unlikely to be disproportionate impacts on protected groups. A separate assessment of how the changes to skills funding may affect English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) learners is currently being carried out by my department, and I expect to be able to publish the assessment in due course.
Since the publication of Skills for Sustainable Growth, a large number of organisations and individuals have made representations to my department about the impact of our proposals for ESOL. They have included correspondence from learners and their representatives and principals of further education colleges. I also hold regular meetings with the Association of Colleges, the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education and trades unions representing the further education sector, including University and College Union. The topics that we have discussed include ESOL. I have also recently met the Refugee Council.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Marland on 28 March (WA 211), what assessment they have made of whether the proposed amendment to the renewable transport fuel obligation will compensate for the 20 pence per litre tax increase for used cooking oil biodiesel due to come into force in April 2012. [HL8204]
Earl Attlee: We are currently consulting on proposals to amend the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO). These proposals include amending the RTFO so that biofuels from waste may be awarded two renewable transport fuel certificates (RTFCs) per litre, as opposed to one RTFC now.
Our expectation is that double certification for waste-derived biofuel under the RTFO will provide a level of support broadly equivalent to the duty differential currently in place. The most recent publicly quoted renewable transport fuel certificate price is 24 pence. At this price level, issuing an additional certificate for used cooking oil biodiesel is slightly more generous than the 20 pence duty differential. However, the value of RTFCs is determined by the market and may fluctuate over time.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has in-house expertise such as offshore gas safety inspectors, gas and pipelines specialists, process safety inspectors and domestic gas specialists, who are all supported by regulatory and legal advisers to ensure the effective regulation of the gas industry in Great Britain.
HSE also has access to expertise within the Health and Safety Laboratory, which includes analytical and research scientists, Gas Safe registered engineers and chemical, process and risk assessment experts. HSE also works with Gas Safe Register inspectors and technical experts in the inspection and investigation of domestic gas work, as well as Gas Safe Register communications team to raise consumer awareness of gas safety issues.
Lord Freud: The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) employs a wide range of staff to cover its broad range of regulatory and advisory activities. HSE staff include offshore gas safety inspectors, gas and pipelines specialists, process safety inspectors and downstream gas specialists, who are all supported by regulatory and legal advisers to ensure the effective regulation of the gas industry in Great Britain.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what lessons they have learned from (a) the Chernobyl nuclear disaster and subsequent measures introduced in the United Kingdom to protect the human population and the environment, and (b) the Fukishima nuclear disaster, for the future British nuclear power programme.[HL8290]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): The 1988 report of the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA), The Chernobyl Accident and its Consequences, set out the cause of the accident and three main lessons for the United Kingdom, which are listed below with an explanation of the position today in each case:
The UK's nuclear regulatory system and its delivery are regularly examined by the IAEA's International Regulatory Review Service which has noted, in particular, the maturity and transparency of the regulatory system and advanced review process, and that it is backed up by highly trained, expert and experienced nuclear inspectors. The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) took over the role of nuclear regulator from the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate of the Health and Safety Executive from 1 April and is intended further to enhance the regulator's independence, flexibility and accountability so that it maintains a world leading reputation as a strong regulator in the face of the current and future challenges of the nuclear sector.
The Chernobyl reactor design was reviewed by the UKAEA against the then current safety assessment principles issued by the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (NII) and found to have a number of major shortcomings that would have precluded its licensing in the UK. NII (now part of the ONR) has revised these principles twice in the intervening period to ensure that they continue to reflect modern practice, and international standards and guidance. The ONR has been established
6 Apr 2011 : Column WA389
For many years, the UK nuclear regulator has worked with the nuclear operators at the most senior levels to ensure that excellence in leadership and management for safety is given the appropriate high priority. The creation of the ONR provides a platform to give renewed impetus to this.
My right honourable friend the Secretary of State has asked UK Chief Nuclear Inspector Dr Mike Weightman to provide a report to the Government on the implications of the unprecedented events in Japan and the lessons to be learned for the UK nuclear industry.
The Chief Nuclear Inspector made a statement on 29 March outlining the broad areas that would be included in the scope of his report: http://www.hse.gov.uk/nuclear/fukushima/statement-290311..htm.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they are complying with European Union legislation on asbestos safety, and in particular on (a) the impact of the material itself, and (b) exposure of the workforce to it.[HL8289]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The EU's direct acting regulation on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation, and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), prohibits the import, supply and use, including second hand, of asbestos and articles containing asbestos. The regulations are enforced by the co-ordinated action of regulators including the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the Environment Agency, local authority trading standards, HMRC Customs officials and UK Border Agency. These all work to detect and prevent the use or importation of new asbestos materials and the exchange or re-sale of articles containing asbestos which may remain in position if installed in service before 1999 when the UK banned all asbestos use. When taken out of service such materials must be disposed of to approved sites under European Hazardous Waste requirements regulated by the Environment Agency and the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency.
The EU directive on asbestos worker protection was transposed by the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 in Great Britain (Northern Ireland has equivalent regulations). These regulations are enforced by the HSE and local authorities and require contractors to
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The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan are all members of the EU's Eastern Partnership. They began negotiations on association agreements in July 2010. As part of this process the EU delegations in each of the three countries have undertaken projects to strengthen democracy, good governance, security and judicial institutions, including the training of the judiciary. Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan are also all members of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) which runs projects to support criminal justice and judicial reforms. Further details of these projects can be found on the respective countries' EU and OSCE web pages. I am not aware of any EU funds being used to fund the salaries of the judiciary in any of those countries.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Currently accession negotiations are underway with the candidate countries Croatia, Turkey and Iceland. Croatia has opened 34 (out of 35) and has closed 28 chapters of its accession negotiations. Turkey has opened 13 chapters of its negotiations and closed one. Iceland is in the early stages of its accession process and is undergoing the
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To ask Her Majesty's Government what proportion of the workforce of the Office for Budget Responsibility is based outside London; what are their principal locations; and what are the principal functions performed there.[HL8089]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what proportion of the workforce of the Office for Budget Responsibility is based outside London; what are their principal locations; and what are the principal functions performed there. HL8089
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Current travel advice for Egypt and Tunisia can be found on our website www.fco.gov.uk Our travel advice aims to help British
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To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Taylor of Holbeach on 31 March (WA 296), how many civil servants in the Department for Transport are entitled to first-class rail travel when on official business.[HL8382]
Earl Attlee: An historical entitlement to first class UK rail travel is retained by higher grades in the central department and five of its seven agencies. However, the current policy of this department and its agencies is to require all travel to be booked at standard class, irrespective of grade, unless there are compelling reasons to travel first class or where a first class discount or advance ticket is cheaper.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what role the National Health Service Commissioning Board will have in holding general practitioner Commissioning Consortia accountable for their commissioning decisions; and what powers they will have to do so. [HL8196]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The NHS Commissioning Board will be responsible for assessment of the performance of general practitioner (GP) consortia. This must include an assessment of how well the consortium has discharged its duties relating to quality improvements and management of its finances. The Health and Social Care Bill will introduce clear powers to enable the NHS Commissioning Board to intervene where a GP consortium is failing to discharge its functions or where there is a risk of it failing to do so.
The NHS Commissioning Board will draw on the national outcome goals in the NHS Outcomes Framework to develop a new Commissioning Outcomes Framework. Measures from the Commissioning Outcomes Framework will be used by the board to hold GP consortia to account for the quality of services they commission and the health outcomes they achieve for patients. The NHS Commissioning Board will also hold consortia to account for their financial performance.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that general practitioners have no direct financial interest in decisions relating to hospital referrals or contracted health services under the proposed reforms of the National Health Service. [HL8234]
Earl Howe: As now, general practitioners (GPs) following our reforms may hold financial interests in organisations to which they refer patients or contract services. However, the Health and Social Care Bill proposes clear statutory duties on commissioners in relation to procurement and in relation to anti-competitive behaviours. A clear set of underpinning rules and guidance will be developed to apply to GP consortia, so that they have the necessary support to make decisions that are fair and transparent and avoid any perceived conflicts of interest.
Our proposed approach is that GP consortia should be able to proceed on the basis of assumed responsibility rather than earned autonomy. This will mean that consortia are free, within the legislative framework, to make the decisions that they judge are right for patients and value for money. However, there will be a clear duty on the NHS Commissioning Board, or if necessary, the economic regulator, to intervene if there are concerns that a consortium has not met its duties in relation to fairness and choice or has engaged in anti-competitive behaviour.
In addition, GPs have to follow ethical guidance published by the General Medical Council, Good Medical Practice. This sets out that any commercial interests GPs have in organisations related to healthcare must not affect the way they prescribe, treat or refer patients. GPs must also inform the patient if they are referring them to an organisation in which they have a commercial interest.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to measure the amount of time general practitioners spend on administrative tasks under the proposed reforms of the National Health Service; and whether they plan to recommend a limit. [HL8235]
Earl Howe: It will be for general practitioner (GP) consortia to decide within the legislative framework how they carry out their functions. In light of our
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We have proposed that it would be a requirement for every GP practice to be part of a consortium and to contribute to its goals. However, our proposed model will mean that not all GPs have to be actively involved in every aspect of commissioning. Their predominant focus will continue to be on providing high quality primary care to their patients. It is likely to be a smaller group of GPs who would lead the consortium and play an active role in the clinical design of local services.
Consortia will also receive a management allowance. They will be able to use this to secure support for discharging their responsibilities from a range of sources; this could include support to assist with administrative and commissioning duties.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what guidance they plan to issue to general practitioners on how to contract services from the private sector; and what tendering processes they will be required to comply with.[HL8236]
Earl Howe: The Health and Social Care Bill makes provision for regulations to be issued to ensure that general practitioner commissioning consortia, in commissioning health care services for the National Health Service, adhere to good practice in relation to procurement including in the use of tendering. It is expected that the NHS Commissioning Board, when established, will issue clear guidance on procurement to consortia which reflect the regulations. As is the case now, commissioners will need to comply with United Kingdom and European Union procurement law.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The provision of microbiological advice will be reviewed as part of the establishment of Public Health England and a decision on how to cover the Inspector of Microbiology and Infection Control's functions will be made later this year.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The department has reviewed the lessons learnt from last winter's seasonal flu immunisation programme and is taking steps to achieve higher vaccination coverage rates in 2011-12. On 14 March, the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) wrote to the National Health Service setting out next winter's planning assumptions, and seeking assurances that preparations are in hand at local level to run a successful immunisation programme. In particular, the CMO has asked for assurances that sufficient vaccine has been ordered and that robust arrangements are in place for general practitioners to contact those who are most at risk from the effects of flu. The CMO stated that the NHS should plan locally to:reach or exceed 75 per cent uptake for people aged 65 years and over as recommended by the World Health Organisation; andreach or exceed 75 per cent uptake for people under age 65 with clinical conditions which put them more at risk from the effects of flu, and pregnant women, as recommended by the European Union. A reasonable trajectory for increases in uptake in clinical risk groups and pregnant women might be 60 per cent in 2011-12, and 70 per cent in 2012-13, so that an uptake of 75 per cent can be reached or exceeded in 2013-14.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Organ Donation Taskforce Programme Delivery Board was established in July 2008 to oversee the implementation of the Organ Donation Taskforce recommendations published in January 2008. The board noted at its final meeting in January 2011 that organ donor rates had increased by some 25 per cent since the implementation process began and agreed that the taskforce recommendations had been largely implemented. The board therefore agreed that its work was complete. The board also agreed that the focus in the future should be on ensuring that the new infrastructure and support mechanisms, developed under the board's leadership, become embedded as a usual part of healthcare.
This is being achieved by a variety of means, including through the clinical leads for organ donation, donation committees and donation chairs in acute trusts driving improvement locally, and ongoing work to raise the profile and benefits of organ donation and transplantation with the National Health Service, professional groups and the public.
Leadership will continue to be provided through the department's National Clinical Director for Transplantation, the Organ Donor Organisation within NHS Blood and Transplant and the relevant professional bodies.
To ask the Chairman of Committees, further to his Written Statement on 1 April (WS 124) on mileage allowances, what is the justification for increasing the allowance for car travel under 10,000 miles a year by 12.5 per cent.[HL8453]
The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): The maximum allowance for members of the House for journeys by car, motorcycle or bicycle was set by resolution of the House on 10 November 2004. Under that resolution, the allowance is payable at the rate which is applicable to the vehicle under subsection (2) of Section 230 of the Income Tax (Earnings and Pensions) Act 2003. The allowance is accordingly directly linked to a statutory scheme administered by HM Revenue and Customs. The Chancellor of the Exchequer's Budget Statement announced that, from 6 April 2011, the maximum car mileage allowance would be increased to 45 pence per mile for the first 10,000 miles. The increase in the allowance is therefore a matter for the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Lord Shutt of Greetland: The British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference (BIIGC) last met on 26 February 2007. Joint Communiqués issued after each BIIGC are available on the Northern Ireland Office website.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We are aware that in Indian administered Kashmir, the Public Safety Act (PSA) and the Armed Forces Special Powers Act
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We welcome and are closely following the initiative of the Indian Government to appoint three interlocutors to take forward a dialogue between Delhi and Srinagar to help resolve the situation in Indian administered Kashmir. Prime Minister Singh issued a statement last summer that violations of human rights abuses by security forces in Kashmir would not be tolerated. The UK continues to call for an improvement in the human rights situation on both sides of the line of control and for an end to external support for violence in Kashmir. UK funding supports human rights, conflict prevention and peace building efforts on both sides of the line of control.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Howell of Guildford on 9 March (WA 411), why the United Kingdom is reliant on United States and United Nations support to provide transport, security and access to Camp Ashraf.[HL8163]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The security situation around Camp Ashraf remains volatile. The safest way for embassy officials to visit is by helicopter. We no longer have such assets in Baghdad and we therefore rely on the US to provide transport to the camp.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Howell of Guildford on 9 March (WA 411), what obstacles there are to United Kingdom parliamentarians wishing to visit Camp Ashraf in an observer capacity; and whether they are entitled to normal consular support while in Iraq.[HL8164]
Lord Howell of Guildford: Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice advises against all travel to Baghdad and certain provinces, including Diyala in which Camp Ashraf is located. The UK does not have the resources or capability to support parliamentarians wishing to visit Camp Ashraf in an observer capacity. In addition, the UK is reliant on US assets to provide transport to Camp Ashraf for consular visits.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact on lower-income families of their proposal that legal aid will no longer be available in divorce cases except where there has been domestic violence.[HL8199]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have carried out an equalities impact assessment in relation to their plans to withdraw legal aid in divorce cases; and, if so, what was the result. [HL8200]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The impact assessments and equality impact assessments published alongside the consultation paper contain estimates of the potential impacts of the proposals.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what impact they expect their plans to withdraw legal aid in divorce cases to have on the share of a couple's estate which is recovered by the wife; and whether they expect this share to decrease.[HL8319]
Lord McNally: We are still considering the responses to the consultation and have not made any final decisions on policy. However, we did not anticipate our consultation proposals having an impact in terms of reducing the share of a couple's estate recovered by the wife. Indeed, we sought to protect the materially disadvantaged party in divorce proceedings through our proposal to empower the court to make an interim lump sum award to cover the legal costs where one party cannot afford to do so.
Lord McNally: The consultation on the Government's proposals for the reform of legal aid closed on February 14. We have received around 5,000 responses to that consultation from members of the public, lawyers and their representative bodies, advice providers, charities, and many others.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Our dialogue with the Interim National Council (INC) and other elements
6 Apr 2011 : Column WA399
We have made clear the importance of the Libyan opposition ensuring that they are not infiltrated by al-Qaeda or other extremist elements. They are very conscious of this. It is clear from our engagement with the INC that it is sincere in its wish for an inclusive, democratic Libya which rejects extremism, as shown by its manifesto and public statements rejecting extremist ideas and committing to combating them in all circumstances and to implementing UN Security Council Resolutions on counter-terrorism.
The conference on Libya held in London on 29 March 2011 agreed the need for a political process, led by the Libyan people, that helps to create the conditions in which the people of Libya can choose their own future, supported by the international community. The announcement of a political programme by the INC was an important first step in that process. The participants in the conference were agreed that the Gaddafi regime had lost all legitimacy, and that the Libyan people have clearly indicated their desire for change.
Baroness Verma: The UN is co-ordinating humanitarian aid and leading the planning for building longer-term stability in Libya. Britain recognises that early preparation for the future is vital, and will continue to play its part. The situation is still unfolding. We stand ready to work with the UN and others to make an assessment of longer term stabilisation support needs in Libya, as conditions allow.
Currently the Department for International Development (DfID) has a rolling team of approximately 15 people working on the response to the Libyan crisis, including on humanitarian, international engagement and stabilisation issues. In addition DfID has six humanitarian advisers deployed to the field (two at the Tunisian border, two at the Egyptian border, one in Cairo and one in Ankara).
The tri-departmental Stabilisation Unit (consisting of staff from DfID, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Ministry of Defence) has a rolling team
6 Apr 2011 : Column WA400
|DfID Bilateral Contributions in Response to Libya Unrest|
|DFID Indirect Contributions|
In addition, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has contributed £500,000 to the United Nations Department for Political Affairs for activity to encourage a positive political and stabilisation process in Libya.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to provide aid and support to Libya in the event that Muammar Gaddafi is removed from power; and whether they have plans regarding what support other countries in the region would receive if they too were to remove dictators from office. [HL8369]
Baroness Verma: The UN is co-ordinating humanitarian aid and leading the planning for building longer-term stability in Libya. Britain recognises that early preparation for the future is vital and will continue to play its part. The situation is still unfolding. We stand ready to work with the UN and others to make an assessment of longer-term stabilisation support needs in Libya, as conditions allow.
To date, the UK has provided over £10 million for humanitarian purposes, supporting a range of activities including flights for the repatriation of poor economic migrants fleeing Libya; tents and blankets for people in need, and ICRC medical teams and medical supplies to assist war wounded.
Across the region, the UK's immediate priorities remain the welfare of British nationals, as well as the need to support dialogue and political reform. We continue to press governments bilaterally and through the EU and UN to respond to the legitimate aspirations of their people for greater political and economic freedom.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Attlee on 31 March (HL7728), what discussions they have had with the Mayor of London since 12 May on proposals to extend the tube network to Battersea Power Station and beyond to the proposed new site for the American Embassy.[HL8346]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether foreign diplomats living in the United Kingdom are required to ensure that conditions of employment for migrant domestic workers brought into the United Kingdom by them meet the legal requirements of employment of the United Kingdom.[HL8192]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): In accordance with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961
6 Apr 2011 : Column WA402
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have received from groups representing medical professionals (a) in support of, and (b) opposed to, their plans to increase competition within the National Health Service. [HL8198]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The department received over 6,000 responses to the White Paper consultation Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS. Responses contained a broad mix of support, suggestions for improvement, and critical challenge; which were drawn on to develop our proposals and translate them into legislative provisions in the Health and Social Care Bill. In relation to our modernisation programme, many respondents support our direction of travel and the changes we are making.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Secretary of State for Health will meet the Director of the British Medical Authority Council to discuss the council's concerns about the proposed NHS reforms.[HL8159]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Secretary of State regularly meets the chairman of the British Medical Association Council (BMA) and other senior representatives of the BMA.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Ministers meet regularly with representatives of National Health Service
6 Apr 2011 : Column WA403
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Shutt of Greetland on 21 March (WA 121) concerning the use of taxis by the Northern Ireland Office staff in the week starting 21 February 2011, why taxis were used from Belfast residential addresses to Belfast City Airport; who used them; and who authorised their use.[HL8307]
Lord Shutt of Greetland: Decisions on use of taxis by staff in the Northern Ireland Office are made by line managers following departmental guidance, which seeks to ensure value for money. The taxi journeys identified in my previous Answer of 21 March, Official Report, col. WAl21, from Belfast residential addresses to Belfast City Airport were all for work-related purposes.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Opium poppy eradication policy is owned and conducted by the Afghan Government, as set out in its National Drug Control Strategy. This strategy makes clear that it is for the governors of the individual poppy-growing provinces to carry out eradication.
UK and coalition forces do not directly eradicate opium poppy themselves, but assist the Afghan Government by providing logistical support (ensuring the eradication teams can carry out their tasks) and targeting support (ensuring that eradication is only aimed at those farmers who have access to genuine alternatives to poppy).
To ask Her Majesty's Government what the report of the Independent Public Service Pensions Commission recommended on the level of employee contributions in the civil service superannuation scheme; and whether they have accepted the recommendation.[HL8265]
Lord Taylor of Holbeach: The report of Independent Public Service Pensions Commission makes no specific recommendations on the level of employee contributions in the Civil Service superannuation scheme.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will fix the rate of employer contribution to the civil service superannuation scheme and end the policy of topping up deficits with Accruing Superannuation Liability Contributions (ASLC); and what were the totals for employee contributions and ASLCs for 2009-10.[HL8266]
Lord Taylor of Holbeach: The employer contribution to the Civil Service pension scheme was determined following completion of the valuation of the scheme as at 31 March 2007. This will be revised as necessary at future valuations and following the announcement by the Government of their proposals for implementing the recommendations of the Independent Public Service Pensions Commission.
To ask Her Majesty's Government which projects run by non-governmental organisations in Peru are supported directly or indirectly by the United Kingdom; and what is the cost of providing that support. [HL8190]
Baroness Verma: The Department for International Development (DfID) directly supports 12 projects in Peru run by non-government organisations (NGOs) through the Governance and Transparency Fund and the Civil Society Challenge Fund. Support through these NGOs totals nearly £30 million over five years (2008-13). Several DfID Programme Partnership Arrangements with civil society organisations also support activities in Latin America, including Peru.
Details on all of these activities can be found at: http://www.dfid.gov.uk/About-DfID/Finance-and-performance/Project-information/.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether those responsible for managing and operating privatised services at HM Prison Birmingham will be treated as public authorities for the purposes of the Human Rights Act 1998.[HL8360]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): When HMP Birmingham is run privately, it will perform functions of a public nature within the meaning of Section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998. In the YL case, the House of Lords confirmed that privately run prisons perform functions that fall within that provision.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the additional value of independently auditing train operator systems at the same time as conducting the independent National Passenger Survey; and how much is spent on independently auditing train operator systems.[HL7863]
Earl Attlee: Service quality management systems that are set out in franchise agreements may be audited independently at the Secretary of State's request, at the franchisee's cost. Typically this right of audit would be used if there were concerns about the delivery of contracted outputs. Some older franchise agreements require passenger charter data published by train operators to be independently audited in order to ensure accuracy, at the franchisee's cost. The department does not keep a record of how much is spent by franchisees on such audits.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what compensation arrangements are in place regarding the power surge from Western Power Distribution into Cardiff signal box, which resulted in huge delays for train users in South Wales on 22 March. [HL7962]
|Financial Year||Total number of devolution issues received (civil and criminal)|
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by the Minister for Transport, the right honourable Mrs Villiers, on 28 March (Official Report, Commons, col. 94W), how much has been spent on the e-Loran project to date. [HL8230]
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by the Minister for Transport, the right honourable Mrs Villiers, on 28 March (Official Report, Commons, col. 94W), whether (a) the Ministry of Defence, and (b) the Department for Transport see e-Loran as a viable alternative to the Global Positioning System, Galileo and the Global Navigation Satellite System; and, if so, whether they will place a copy of the business case on which this decision was based in the Library of the House.[HL8231]
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Attlee on 5 October 2010 (WA 5), whether a decision has been made to cease General Lighthouse Fund and Department of Transport funding for the e-Loran project. [HL8232]
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Attlee on 27 September 2010 (WA 564), whether any general lighthouse authority staff have attended any events held by the (a) International Loran Association, or (b) International Association of Lighthouse Authorities since September 2010; if so, how much each general lighthouse authority spent on (1) flights, (2) accommodation, and (3) subsistence; and whether any expenditure was agreed by the Department for Transport.[HL8233]
Earl Attlee: e-LORAN is envisaged as a terrestrial based navigational system that complements satellite based equivalents. The General Lighthouse Authorities intend to publish the e-LORAN business case on the Research and Radionavigation Directorate section of their website in the near future.
The e-LORAN budget is reviewed annually as part of the General Lighthouse Authorities' corporate planning round and the total expenditure for the project to date stands at £1.9 million. The precise allocation and use of this budget is an operational matter for the Research and Radionavigation Directorate of the General Lighthouse Authorities.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): Since May 2010, the Ministry of Defence has had discussions with members of the shipbuilding industry about the price of steel in regards to the Type-26 global combat ship programme, and as part of the ongoing competition to procure tankers under the military afloat reach and sustainability programme.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The choices that British nationals make about where they live and work are personal and subject to the immigration laws of the country in which they are seeking to locate.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): We have at present no plans to introduce further legislation to prohibit smoking in particular places or in cars not already covered by the 2006 smokefree legislation in England. However, we fully recognise the need to take action to prompt smokers to change their behaviour so that they do not smoke near children. The evidence of the danger to the health of children from second-hand tobacco smoke is irrefutable and we have, therefore, set out in The Tobacco Control Plan for England, published on 9 March 2011, a number of key actions, which the Government will take to reduce exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke. In particular, we will work with national media to raise awareness of the risks in exposing children to second-hand tobacco smoke and support local areas to encourage smokers to change their behaviour so that they do not smoke in their homes or in family cars. The department's new marketing strategy for tobacco control will set out further details of how we will support efforts by local areas to encourage smokefree homes and family cars.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Department for Culture, Media and Sport will work with the Department for Communities and Local Government to promote the Community Amateur Sports Club scheme.[HL8158]
Baroness Garden of Frognal: The Government will continue to work with the Sport and Recreation Alliance and Sport England to encourage eligible sports clubs to sign up to the Community Amateur Sports Clubs scheme.
Baroness Garden of Frognal: In November 2010 the Minister for Sport and the Olympics launched the Places People Play programme-the Government's sports legacy from London 2012. The Inspired Facilities and Protecting Playing Fields strands of the legacy programme will assist community and voluntary sector clubs access lottery funding.
To maximise the impact of the lottery funding and to make applying for a grant as easy as possible for clubs, Sport England are preparing a catalogue of many of the standard facility improvements clubs would like to make if they had funds available. Sport England will also enter into framework arrangements with suppliers to ensure that they can benefit from economies of scale. In removing the need from clubs to procure suppliers, Sport England believe that this will lower the barriers to entry for clubs and lessen the burden on those who are running clubs.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what reports they have received about the case of Mr Mazen Darwish, head of the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression; and, if they have received no report, whether they will make representations to the Government of Syria regarding his case. [HL8210]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): I can confirm that Mazen Darwish (Director of the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression) was arrested on 23 March and released on 24 March 2011 without charge.
Syria's human rights record continues to deteriorate. We remain deeply concerned about arbitrary arrests, detention, intimidation, torture, travel bans, lack of freedom of expression, and lack of respect for the rights of the Kurdish minority. We raise human rights regularly with the Syrian Government, as my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary did with President Assad during his visit on 27 January 2011.
To ask Her Majesty's Government why they have changed the values for reliability impacts and wider economic benefits in the New Approach to Appraisal for transport; and what consultation took place with non-governmental organisations and others affected.[HL7717]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what adjustments were made to the formulation of net present value estimates used to appraise the relative value of transport schemes for spending review 2010; why those changes were made; and what consultation took place on the proposed changes.[HL7721]
Earl Attlee: Work was undertaken during spending review 2010 to update the value for money information held on major capital schemes. It is not correct to say that there has been a reduced carbon adjustment in appraisals under the New Approach to Appraisal of major road schemes between 2002 and 2010. The adjustments made are undertaken for three main reasons.
First, when assessing value for money during transport appraisal, it is standard practice to consider a broader range of factors than are captured within the central New Approach to Appraisal net present value (NPV). DfT appraisal guidance on wider impacts, reliability and landscape is still evolving, but these factors are considered when assessing value for money. They were therefore incorporated into information provided to the Treasury during the spending review to ensure it reflected recent developments in appraisal methods and provided the fullest possible representation of the value for money of transport schemes.
Secondly, there was a need to ensure consistency across schemes. This was particularly important given that data for schemes in the spending review were produced over a period of many years. It would have been disproportionately costly to reassess all spending review schemes using the detailed calculations and models held by scheme promoters, so high-level adjustments were made to individual business cases. These adjustments were evidence based and typically informed by tests on a sample of schemes. While these adjustments do not necessarily replicate the results that would be obtained from applying the relevant appraisal guidance in full, they provide an indication of the scale of additional impacts and the effect their inclusion may have on the relative value for money of different schemes.
Thirdly, the Treasury requested information to inform an analysis of value for money across government departments. To facilitate the comparison of DfT information with that of other government departments, NPVs were uprated to a 2010 price and discount base year. In addition, carbon impacts were uplifted to reflect values published by DECC in 2009.
Full details of the adjustments made are set out below. These adjustments were made purely for the purposes of the 2010 spending review and should not be considered changes to the department's Transport Appraisal Guidance (WebTAG). Stakeholders have had, and continue to have, the opportunity to comment on WebTAG units before they become definitive.
Because the adjusted NPV methodology was used only in the 2010 spending review, no comparable adjusted NPV figures are available from 2002. It is not therefore possible to assess the number of road schemes for which the adjusted NPV has reduced between 2002 and 2010.
Unless directly estimated by the promoter, wider impacts were proxied as 10 per cent of consumer and business benefits for those schemes falling predominantly within a functional urban region (as defined in WebTAG
6 Apr 2011 : Column WA411
Where available, reliability estimates provided by scheme promoters were used to adjust net present value information for local authority major schemes. For other local authority schemes, reliability impacts were monetised based on the qualitative assessment of schemes at programme entry. Additional benefits of 5/10/20 per cent of time savings were added to those schemes with slight/moderate/significant beneficial impacts respectively. These uplifts are based on the judgment of DfT analysts and the top of the range is broadly consistent with the findings of the Eddington review which identified that reliability benefits could be worth 20 to 30 per cent of time savings.
For Highways Agency (HA) schemes, reliability impacts were included where they had been modelled as part of an original scheme appraisal. For other HA schemes, uplifts were applied to business and consumer user benefits as follows:no uplift for junction improvement schemes;20 per cent uplift for regional road schemes; and50 per cent uplift for motorway schemes.
These uplift factors were based on analysis undertaken during development of the specialist software (incident cost-benefit assessment, or INCA) used to estimate reliability impacts in road scheme appraisal.
The value of landscape impacts was added to benefits if they were estimated by DfT at the time of programme entry award (local authority schemes) or as part of the scheme appraisal process (Highways Agency schemes). The appraisal methodology for landscape impacts takes values from the ODPM report Valuing the External Benefits of Undeveloped Land and has been adapted to take account of factors such as existing man made features or mitigating improvements.
We have not reduced the valuation of road vehicle carbon emissions in the New Approach To Appraisal between 2002 and 2010. Adjustments were made in the spending review analysis to ensure consistency with the latest DECC carbon values. These new values for road transport emissions are not only significantly larger than those used before, but also represent a year on year increase for each and every year of the appraisal period.
The definitive WebTAG guidance (and the unadjusted NPVs that informed the spending review) includes the Shadow Price of Carbon published by Defra in 2007. For the spending review, the carbon impact component of the NPV was uplifted to ensure consistency with newer values released by DECC in 2009. Where modelled estimates of carbon impacts based on both old and updated values were available, the difference between these two values was used as the carbon uplift adjustment.
Where modelled values were not available, pre-existing estimates of the value of carbon impacts were increased by 150 per cent to proxy the impact of the new values. This was informed by an analysis of the carbon impacts
6 Apr 2011 : Column WA412
DfT's WebTAG appraisal guidance requires values to be expressed in 2002 prices and discounted to a 2002 base year. To facilitate comparison across government departments during the spending review, DfT values were uplifted to a 2010 price and discount base year by multiplying the adjusted NPV by 1.61.
To ask Her Majesty's Government which transport schemes were appraised under the revised net present value estimates which informed spending review 2010; how each scheme's net present value estimate changed; and what the original and revised value was for each attribute, including the value of carbon emissions, landscape, wider benefits and reliability. [HL7722]
The NPVs for local authority schemes are available on the internet at the following address: http://www.dft.gov.uk/adobepdf/165237/706167/transportschemesupdate.pdf and associated landscape impacts are available at: http://www.dft.gov.uk/foi-responses/698001/711145/E0007380.zip. This information can also be made available in the House Library. Final funding approval has been granted to two of these schemes: Mansfield Interchange and East of Exeter. A table containing further details of the spending review NPV calculations for these two schemes has been placed in the House Library. Details of the spending review NPV calculations for other local authority major schemes will be published once final decisions on the projects have been made.
Earl Attlee: The legislation already allows licensed taxi drivers to carry passengers at separate fares in certain circumstances; for example, where the licensing authority has set up a taxi sharing scheme or where the taxi owner has registered a local bus service.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to encourage dialogue between the Government of Turkey and Kurdish leaders aimed at resolving the conflict in south-eastern Turkey; and what is the likely impact of the discovery of mass graves in Turkey on the resolution of that conflict.[HL8116]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Our embassy in Ankara regularly raises the Kurdish issue with the Government of Turkey in wider discussions on human rights. The EU General Affairs Council conclusions of 14 December 2010 called on Turkey to follow up on the democratic opening. This is aimed at facilitating progress on minority rights, including the Kurdish issue.
The Government have not made an assessment of the impact of the discovery of mass graves in Turkey on the resolution of the Kurdish issue. We do, however, support thorough investigations into this matter. We encourage the Turkish authorities and Kurdish community to work together for justice and to use this development to prompt further work on improving Kurdish rights in Turkey.
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