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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) received funding of £210,000 in 2009-10 and £220,000 in 2010-11 through the department's Section 64 General Scheme of Grants to Voluntary and Community Organisations. ASH received these grants specifically to carry out a defined project entitled Capitalising on Smokefree: the way forward.
ASH did not make a grant application to the department's Third Sector Investment Programme: Innovation, Excellence and Service Development Fund for 2011-12. The department currently has no other plans to provide ASH with funding in the next financial year.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what actions they will be taking to encourage and further debate nationally and internationally as a result of the report from the Government Chief Scientist on The Future of Food and Farming.[HL8441]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): Defra intends to show strong international leadership on food security, carefully considering and acting upon the report's findings. Actions will include:Championing a more integrated approach by Governments and international institutions to global food security that makes links with climate change, poverty, biodiversity, energy and other policies.Continuing to press for full integration of agricultural greenhouse gases into the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, take forward Nagoya work on international biodiversity, and promote the importance of sustainable intensification of agriculture more broadly.Continuing to press for reform of the common agricultural policy and the common fisheries policy so they are better focused on long-term environmental sustainability and avoid harmful subsidies, support the EU as it seeks to negotiate a genuinely pro-poor conclusion to the Doha Development Round, which includes a significant opening of agricultural markets, and plan an active role in talks in the G20, the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization and elsewhere aimed at finding ways of managing volatility.
Families will only stay in the accommodation for a maximum period of 72 hours between the service of their removal directions and their flight departing the UK. In exceptional circumstances such as when a flight is delayed or cancelled because of a technical issue, it will be possible to extend a stay to a maximum of seven days with ministerial approval.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Henley on 29 March (WA 235), what is their assessment of the adequacy of the protection afforded to rabbits kept as pets rather than as a farmed commodity.[HL8344]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): I refer the noble Lord to the Answer I gave him on 29 March (Official Report, col. WA 235). 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 pet rabbits.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): The Government welcome the work of anyone who is able to provide for the welfare needs of displaced or unwanted animals. Examples of where people have come together on a voluntary or charitable basis to provide such care demonstrate the positive impact of volunteering and social responsibility, both key attributes of big society action.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): The UK's Pet Travel Scheme allows pet dogs, cats and ferrets from certain countries to enter the UK without quarantine, provided those animals meet the scheme rules which are in place to keep the UK free from rabies and certain other diseases. The UK currently has a derogation from the EU's harmonised pet travel scheme.
Baroness Northover: The Government's aim is to ensure that, in future, where a community or victim is suffering anti-social behaviour-particularly the sort of targeted, persistent harassment apparent in a number of high-profile recent cases-the police and other local agencies take the problem seriously, take the necessary steps to stop it permanently, and protect the vulnerable.
As part of that effort the Home Office published More effective responses to anti-social behaviour on 7 February, setting out proposals to reform the powers available to the police and their local partners, making them easier to use, less bureaucratic and more effective.
We are still consulting professionals and members of the public on the detail of those proposals, and will undertake an assessment of the likely impacts and cost savings once that consultation is complete.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will place in the Library of the House copies of the contracts under which each of the eight pilot anti-social behaviour databases were established.[HL8536]
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: In January, the Home Office announced that eight police forces have volunteered, with local partners, to trial a new approach to handling calls from the public about anti-social behaviour, with the aim of improving the service to repeat and vulnerable victims.
There is no requirement that participants develop new databases as part of this work, and the Home Office has not provided any financial contribution to them to do so. The trials are based on a small number of core principles, including the use of risk assessment tools to identify vulnerable victims and using off-the-shelf IT systems to facilitate information sharing between agencies. The eight forces are free to decide how to adopt those principles locally.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will request the Information Commissioner's Office
26 Apr 2011 : Column WA5
To ask Her Majesty's Government how long they propose information will be kept on the eight pilot anti-social behaviour databases; what advice they have received from the Information Commissioner about those databases; and whether they will place in the Library of the House copies of any consultation conducted and advice received on the databases.[HL8583]
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: In January, the Home Office announced that eight police forces have volunteered, with local partners, to trial a new approach to handling calls from the public about anti-social behaviour, with the aim of improving the service to repeat and vulnerable victims. However, there is no requirement that participants develop new databases as part of this work. The trials are based on a small number of core principles, including the use of risk-assessment tools to identify vulnerable victims and the use of off-the-shelf IT systems to facilitate information sharing between agencies. The eight forces are free to decide how to adopt those principles locally.
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To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answers by Lord Astor of Hever on 22 March (WA 136), whether they fund visits by children to their parents who are service personnel based overseas.[HL8347]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): Children under the age of 19 years at a school, other than at the unit where service personnel are posted, will be eligible for three return schoolchildren visits per year at public expense. Alternatively, the service parent may choose to claim public expense travel for the eligible child(ren) for six single journeys.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what research they have commissioned on the potential after-effects from contact with depleted uranium (DU) weapons, or from proximity to areas where they have been used; and what stocks and types of DU weapons are held in the United Kingdom.[HL8110]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): Ever since the first proposals for the use of depleted uranium (DU) in anti-armour munitions, the Ministry of Defence has maintained a watching brief on related worldwide research activities. This includes research by the European Commission and independent agencies such as the
26 Apr 2011 : Column WA7
No DU was detected in the vast majority (more than 99.5 per cent) of the almost 1,000 UK veterans tested by the analysis of urine samples. Some DU was present in a very small number of veterans injured when their vehicles were struck by DU munitions, but the exposures were at levels at which no adverse health effects are expected. No widespread contamination sufficient to impact on the health of the general population or deployed personnel was found in Ministry of Defence environmental surveys in southern Iraq and the Balkans.
The UK position remains that DU is weakly radioactive and has similar levels of chemical toxicity to lead. Measures to prevent or reduce intakes may sometimes be justified after DU munitions are fired, but the scientific consensus is that this will occur only in a very small number of very extreme cases. This is consistent with the findings of the agencies mentioned above and with the recent World Health Organisation statement that, "For the general population, neither civilian nor military use of DU is likely to produce radiation doses significantly above normal background levels".
The 120 mm anti-tank round (Charm 3), fired by the Army's Challenger main battle tank, is the only in-service DU munition. I am withholding information relating to munition stock levels; its disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the Armed Forces.
The Government's policy remains that DU can be used within weapons; it is not prohibited under current or likely future international agreements. UK Armed Forces use DU munitions in accordance with international humanitarian law. It would be quite wrong to deny our serving personnel a legitimate and effective capability.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The Royal Centre for Defence Medicine mental health team is assessing the mental health of all operational casualties repatriated with a physical injury that requires admittance for 14 days or more. These assessments are repeated at intervals over a two-year period.
In addition, it is recognised that high threat explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) operatives, by the nature of their work and the tempo of operations in Afghanistan,
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In 2010, the Defence Medical Services undertook an Operational Mental Health Needs Evaluation (OMHNE) that looked specifically at EOD personnel, and which found a slight, but significant, increase in mental health symptoms among them. This survey, together with evidence from the chain of command, is being used to refine the current decompression package towards the specific needs of EOD teams. A further OMHNE in July 2011, surveying a range of UK personnel deployed in Afghanistan, will include further specific sampling of EOD operatives.
Nevertheless, the Government are undertaking a review of the rules governing the awarding of military medals in line with their commitment in the Programme for Government. The review is currently with the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister for final evaluation and I hope that an announcement of the conclusions of the review will be made shortly after Easter.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what preparations they are making for the meeting agreed by the P5 (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) to meet in Paris in June 2011 to discuss nuclear transparency and ways of verifying additional arms reductions; whether a date or agenda have been agreed for the meeting; and whether the agenda will be published.[HL8472]
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: France intends to host the P5 Conference in Paris on 30 June 2011. We are working with France and our other P5 partners towards a comprehensive agenda that builds on the first P5 conference hosted by the UK in 2009, and that takes forward implementation of the Action Plan agreed at the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference in May 2010. We expect a communiqué to be released after the conference.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): On 16 March the Foreign Secretary announced a review of the Government's policy and practice with regard to the export of equipment that might be used for internal repression, in particular crowd control goods. The conclusions will of course apply to our procedures for assessing arms exports to all countries. The Government will report to Parliament after Easter. As the Foreign Secretary told the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, any decisions arising from the review will be discussed in Parliament.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what financial assistance they are providing through Refugee Action for persons considering voluntary return who are (a) asylum seekers and refused asylum seekers, (b) families and children, and (c) irregular migrants; and how those payments compare with the amounts offered until 1 April under the equivalent programmes operated by the International Organization for Migration.[HL8515]
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: Following an open and competitive tender process Refugee Action has been administering the Assisted Voluntary Return programmes previously delivered by the International Organisation for Migration since 1 April 2011. The three available programmes remain the same.
Assisted Voluntary Return (AVR) programmes are available to assist those in the UK asylum system and those who are in the UK illegally who wish to return voluntarily and permanently to their country of origin (or, where permanently admissible, to a third country).
Voluntary Assisted Return and Reintegration Programme (VARRP) is for those who have sought asylum and those with certain forms of related temporary status in the UK. Returnees receive support in acquiring travel documentation, flight to country of origin and onward domestic transport, airport assistance at departure and arrival airports and up to £1,500 worth of reintegration assistance per person including a £500 relocation grant on departure for immediate resettlement needs and, once home, a range of reintegration options. The majority of returnees use their reintegration assistance in income generation activities.
Assisted Voluntary Return for Families and Children (AVRFC) is for families comprising a maximum of two adult parents or legal guardians and at least one child (under 18) and from unaccompanied children (under 18) who have either sought asylum or who are in the UK illegally and wish to return home. Returnees receive support in acquiring travel documentation, flight to country of origin and onward domestic transport, airport assistance at departure and arrival airports and up to £2,000 worth of reintegration assistance per person including a £500 relocation grant on departure for immediate resettlement needs and, once home, a range of reintegration options. The scheme offers flexibility of reintegration for the whole family and increased emphasis is placed on the use of reintegration assistance for educational needs as well as income generation.
Assisted Voluntary Return for Irregular Migrants (AVRIM) is for those migrants who have not sought asylum, but who are in the UK illegally and wish to return home. Returnees receive support in acquiring travel documentation, flight to country of origin and onward domestic transport, and airport assistance at departure and arrival airports. There is generally no reintegration assistance for AVRIM applicants however there is discretionary reintegration assistance of up to £1,000, considered on a case by case basis, available for vulnerable applicants.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox):Which? has submitted a super-complaint to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) on card payment surcharges. We will carefully consider the OFT's response before making an assessment.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government's plans to extend air passenger duty to passengers aboard business jet flights are included in the Budget consultation document. Details of the new tax will be determined in light of the consultation responses. It is not therefore possible accurately to estimate potential revenues at the current time.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): No. Sadly, conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan continues to this day. The Government support the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) led peace process and we regularly urge both sides to make progress. The wars and conflicts between Armenia and Azerbaijan have caused terrible suffering on both sides that should not be forgotten. Only after peace is achieved in the region can reconciliation begin to help the populations come to terms with the events of the past.
To ask Her Majesty's Government when the accounts of Bank of England Nominees Limited were last published; when they will next be published; and whether they intend to review whether the company should remain exempt from company law disclosure requirements.[HL8302]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The most recent accounts of Bank of England Nominees Limited are available via the Companies House website and were published on 14 June 2010. It can be seen from these accounts that the company is currently dormant. The company is due to publish its next set of accounts by 30 November this year. The company is no longer exempt from company law disclosure requirements and currently no other persons are exempt from these requirements.
To ask Her Majesty's Government when the accounts of Bank of England Asset Purchases Facility Fund Limited will be published; whether these accounts will take into account an indemnity from HM Treasury; and whether the accounts of the company are exempt from any company law disclosure requirements.[HL8303]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Bank of England will publish accounts for the asset purchase facility (APF) for the year ended February 2011 before the Summer Parliamentary Recess. The amount due to or from HM Treasury under its indemnity to the Bank will be identified. The accounts are not exempt from any company law disclosure requirements.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the accounts of the Bank of England, Bank of England Nominees Limited and the Bank of England Asset Purchase Facility Fund Limited are all audited by the same firm of public accountants.[HL8310]
Lord Sassoon: KPMG are the external auditors for the Bank of England and the Bank of England Asset Purchases Facility Fund Limited. As a dormant company, Bank of England Nominees Limited is not required under the Companies Act 2006 to appoint an external auditor.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Sassoon on 28 March (WA 208), why 153 depositors with failed Icelandic banks have not reclaimed £418,200,202; and whether they will cease refunding balances over £50,000 in those banks and instruct the Financial Services Compensation Scheme to cease any further payments. [HL8264]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The figure of £418,200,202 includes all cases, as of 4 January 2011, where it has not been possible to locate the investor; no response has been received to enquiries; the depositor has gone away without leaving a forwarding address; or claimants have realised mistakenly that they are not eligible to claim under Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) rules.
Payment for compensation for amounts up to £50,000 is a matter for the FSCS. Under the rules covering FSCS payouts, the FSCS will continue to pay compensation, provided that the relevant bank in question owes a legal liability to its customer.
There is currently no deadline for claims against HM Treasury for amounts above £50,000 except in the case of Landsbanki. In this case, depositors were notified by the FSCS in 2009 that claims for compensation for amounts above £50,000 must be submitted by 30 October 2009, the date by which under Icelandic law creditors of Lansdsbanki (including the FSCS and HM Treasury) were required to submit their claims.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Sassoon on 31 March (WA 293-4), whether they have objected to the publication of any part of the PricewaterhouseCoopers report into the failure of the Royal Bank of Scotland; and whether they will seek confirmation from the Bank of England and the Financial Services Authority that they have not raised any objections on the same matter.[HL8383]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Financial Services Authority (FSA) is seeking to produce a publishable report on the reasons for the failure of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS). The Government agree that publication of such a report would be desirable.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether UK Financial Investments Limited has had any discussions with the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) on whether RBS should object to the publication of any part of the PricewaterhouseCoopers report for the Financial Services Authority into the failure of RBS.[HL8384]
Lord Sassoon: UK Financial Investments has meetings and discussions regularly with the management of the Royal Bank of Scotland, as it does with other organisations. We do not comment on such meetings and discussions.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The Green Investment Bank's terms of reference are currently being considered and will be published at the end of May.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Sassoon on 1 April (WA 310-11), which banks with a presence in the United Kingdom but with headquarters elsewhere do not have their senior officials vetted by the Financial Services Authority.[HL8584]
To ask Her Majesty's Government (a) how many, and (b) what percentage of, applicants involved in the incapacity benefits transition trials in Burnley and Aberdeen (1) were assessed fit for work, (2) were assessed fit for work and have appealed against the decision, (3) were assessed as having limited capability for work, (4) were assessed as having limited capability
26 Apr 2011 : Column WA14
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The incapacity benefit reassessment trial in Aberdeen and Burnley was designed to provide early indications of customer and staff reactions to the reassessment process.
Further information on the trial results has been published here: http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd1/adhoc_analysis/2011/ib_reassessment.pdf.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Justine Greening, on 5 July 2010 (Official Report, Commons, col. 93-4W), what estimate they have made of the average real terms change per child in 2010 prices of freezing child benefit payments in (a) 2011-12, (b) 2012-13 and (c) 2013-14, taking account of the Office for Budget Responsibility's most recent forecast for consumer prices index inflation.[HL8243]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The table below shows the estimated average change per week per child as a result of freezing the rates of child benefit for the next three years rather than uprating by the change in the consumer prices index. These estimates are based on the latest projections of CPI.
To ensure support is better targeted at low-income families with children, some of the savings from the freeze in child benefit have been recycled into significant above-indexation increases to the child tax credit in 2011-12 and 2012-13.
Treasury analysis shows that modelled tax and benefit reforms announced since Budget 2010 may result in a small reduction in child poverty in 2011-12 and 2012-13; however, given the uncertainty around these types of estimates, this change may not be statistically significant.
|Non-means-tested benefit expenditure (£ millions)||2009-10|
2) Figures may differ from those currently published due to including more recent data and estimates. Updated figures are due to be published on 21 April 2011 at the following website: http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd4/index.php?page=expenditure.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that the language used in (a) official statements, and (b) press briefings, about the transition from incapacity benefits to the employment and support allowance effectively communicates their intentions.[HL8607]
My right honourable friend the Member for Epsom and Ewell made a Written Statement on 25 January 2011 which set out that the reassessment process had started on 11 October 2010 with a trial which was restricted to cases in the Aberdeen and Burnley areas. The Statement also advised that the introductory phase would begin in February 2011, with full rollout of national reassessment commencing in April.
The right honourable Member for Epsom and Ewell also wrote a piece for the Sunday Telegraph and the News of the World in advance of the commencement of national reassessment to set out clearly the rationale behind the process.
Departmental officials have also held briefing sessions for MPs and Peers, which included Ministers' personal events and a session in Portcullis House. The briefing packs for these events were available from the Vote Office.
Our press notices and official briefings are intended to provide clear and factual information about the incapacity benefits reassessment to prepare customers and other interested parties for this major change to the benefits system.
Reassessing all those on incapacity benefits is a significant task. All claimants will be moved onto employment and support allowance, other benefits more appropriate to their circumstances, or off benefit. We have been very clear that the department does not have a target for the number of people who must be found fit for work during the reassessment. We have also been clear that our objectives are to get people on to the right benefits at the right time, and to ensure that they get the support they need to help them return to work, while providing unconditional support to those with the most severe health conditions or disabilities.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the proposal tabled by Brazil, Ecuador and Paraguay in 2009 at the World Intellectual Property Organisation's Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights for a binding treaty to improve access to books for blind, partially sighted and other print-disabled people.[HL8571]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The proposal tabled by Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay and Mexico is one of four texts for a legal instrument to improve access to books by visually impaired people currently being discussed at the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO). Other proposals have been submitted by the United States of America, the African Group and the European Union. The UK worked closely with EU partners on the EU text.
The Government have considered all four texts carefully. Whilst we support the purpose behind the Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay and Mexico text, we believe that it contains elements that go beyond existing international agreements on copyright such as the Berne Convention. There is a need to strike the right balance between improving access and protecting the rights of authors and publishers. These concerns were raised at the last meeting of the relevant WIPO committee in November when member states discussed all four texts and agreed a work plan for further discussion.
Informal work is under way on a possible alternative, bringing together the elements of all four texts. The UK will continue to work constructively to find a solution on this important issue and looks forward to engaging in the detailed discussions at the next WIPO meeting in June 2011.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Ministers regularly meet with senior representatives of the British Medical Association to discuss the Government's National Health Service reform programme. We have had very frequent meetings since May 2010.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): This is not additional expenditure. "Single use military expenditure" is expenditure for items that can only be used in an operational setting, as opposed to dual use items such as vehicles, which are used in operational and non-operational environments. The £0.7 billion of single use military equipment in 2011-12 shown in Table 4.16 of the Office for Budget Responsibility's Economic and Fiscal Outlook reflects the fact that £0.7 billion of single use military equipment Capital Departmental Expenditure Limits was allocated from the Resource Departmental Expenditure Limits Special Reserve as part of the initial allocation of funding for the net additional costs of military operations in 2011-12. Single use military equipment scores as current expenditure in the National Accounts. As a result, this transfer has no impact on any of the National Accounts aggregates.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assumptions they have made in table 2.1 and 2.2 in the Budget 2011 data sources when calculating HM Treasury policy costings that are outside official statistics, together with estimated costs.[HL8337]
Lord Sassoon: The assumptions and methodologies underlying the costings for all the tax and annually managed expenditure (AME) policy decisions listed in table 2.1 of Budget 2011 are published alongside the Budget in the supplementary document Budget 2011 policy costings.
The assumptions and methodologies underlying the costings for tax and AME policy decisions announced at spending review 2010 or June Budget 2010 and listed in table 2.2 of Budget 2011 are published in the documents Spending Review 2010 policy costings and Budget 2010 policy costings.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will make information from the 2011 census available to any other Governments or, in the case of the United States, the Federal Bureau of Investigation. [HL8425]
As Director General for the Office for National Statistics (ONS) I have been asked to reply to your recent question asking Her Majesty's Government whether or not they will make information from the 2011 census available to any other Governments or, in the case of the United States, the Federal Bureau of Investigation. (HL8425)
ONS will not provide personal census information to any foreign Government or US agency. Published statistics will be freely available to anyone, but these will have been subjected to our statistical disclosure control methods first to ensure that no individuals can be identified from them.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have of the number of children being brought up by their grandparents due to family breakdown or unsuitability of the parents; and how much money is being saved per year through not placing those children into care.[HL8455]
Lord Hill of Oareford: Returns from local authorities indicate that their expenditure on looked-after children in 2009-10 was some £2,888 million. This supported around 80,000 children who were in care for some or all of that year. This would equate to an average expenditure of £36,000 per child. However, the cost will vary considerably between individual children. For example, the University of Kent, which was commissioned by the Department of Health and the
26 Apr 2011 : Column WA20
Lord Hill of Oareford: There is no standard definition of long-term care. The data suggest that at key stage 4, the longer the period of time for which a child is looked after, the better his or her educational outcomes will be. The latest published statistics set out in Outcomes for Children Looked After by Local Authorities as at 31 March 2010 show that of those children who had been looked after for between five and six years, 16 per cent achieved five or more GCSE grades A*-C including English and mathematics compared to 8 per cent of children who had been looked after for between 12 and 18 months. The percentage for all children was 53 per cent.
The department does not collect data on the long-term employment of looked-after children and care leavers. The information published in the department's Statistical First Release Children Looked After in England (including adoption and care leavers) year ending 31 March 2010 showed that the percentage of former care leavers whose local authorities were in touch with them and who were in education, employment or training around the time of their 19th birthday was 62.1 per cent.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to follow up the recommendations made in the unanimously adopted Resolution on Street Children by the United Nations Human Rights Council.[HL8438]
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The Department for International Development (DfID) is committed to reducing poverty among children. We know that poverty is the root cause for many children living or working on the streets. The coalition Government are working to address this among the families and communities of particularly vulnerable children, working in partnership with Governments and other organisations, such as non-governmental groups and the United Nations (UN) agencies. This support helps vulnerable children (including those working or living on the street) in poor countries through the provision of basic health care, education and protection from violence and abusive
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The coalition Government are also strongly committed to working toward children achieving their full potential, as expressed in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. We continue to support the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), which works in 190 countries around the world to improve the lives of vulnerable children.
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: Her Majesty's Government welcome the new International Day for Street Children: Louder Together, which this year (on 12 April) was the inaugural event. Street children are among the most marginalised and vulnerable in the world. A global event will help draw attention to the particular needs of street children, and contribute to the debate about how best to address these needs.
The Department for International Development (DfID) is committed to reducing poverty among children. We know that poverty is the root cause for many children living or working on the streets. Generating international attention that focuses on why children are forced to live and work on the streets is essential to addressing the problem. The coalition Government are committed to working with our partners in Governments and other organisations, such as non-governmental groups and the United Nations (UN) agencies, to meet the basic needs of children.
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs made clear in a public statement on 4 April 2011 our concerns about the detention of Ai Weiwei. He called on the Chinese Government to clarify Mr Ai's situation and wellbeing and hoped that he would be released immediately. On 11 April my right honourable friend the Deputy Prime Minister raised the case of Ai Weiwei and those of other dissidents detained in recent weeks when he met the Secretary of the Communist Party of China Shanghai Municipal Committee, Yu Zhengsheng. Senior officials in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office have also raised the case of Ai Weiwei with the Chinese Embassy in London. We will continue to monitor developments in Mr Ai's case closely and look for further appropriate opportunities to raise our concerns.
To ask Her Majesty's Government why the Department for Work and Pensions Medical Services 2010 version of Training and Development: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and Fibromyalgia Learning Set Continuing Medical Education states, "A learning set is dedicated to the sharing of team knowledge and must be conducted using internal sources only. External speakers are not acceptable at these events"; and what provision is made for trainees to be made aware of current biomedical scientific developments for both these conditions.[HL8526]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): Learning sets on relevant subjects are produced as part of the Continuing Medical Education programme for Atos Healthcare professionals. Learning sets are recognised as one of a range of personal development tools which can be used to learn new ways of working, share experiences and help with problem solving. They are based on the principle of self-directed learning and each learning set contains suggested sources of study. They also facilitate active participation, the sharing of knowledge, application of knowledge to practical problems and development of other skills such as facilitation skills. Although learning sets preclude the use of external speakers, other Atos learning events such as clinical conferences rely on the use of external speakers.
Trainees are updated on biomedical scientific developments for CFS and fibromyalgia that are relevant to disability assessment by accessing the sources provided in the learning set and by use of other training products relating to CFS and fibromyalgia, which are updated on a regular basis.
To ask Her Majesty's Government upon what scientific medical evidence the Department for Work and Pensions Medical Services 2010 version of Training and Development: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and Fibromyalgia (FM) tells participants to explore "Ways in which relevant functional problems can present in a claim"; and "The likely functional effects of CFS and FM" when neither illness is a functional disorder.[HL8527]
Lord Freud: The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) recognises Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and fibromyalgia as real and potentially significantly disabling conditions. Where a clinical diagnosis of CFS or fibromyalgia has been made, full account will be taken of their disabling effects.
The term "functional" in the training module refers to the effect of a condition on a person's ability to function on a day to day basis and has a different meaning to the term "functional" in the context of a "functional disorder".
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether training programmes for classified neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis or Parkinson's disease are identical to that for myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME)/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) which is also classified by the World Health Organisation ICD 10 as a neurological disease under G93.3.[HL8528]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The content and standard of medical training is the responsibility of the General Medical Council, which is the competent authority for medical training in the United Kingdom.
The General Medical Council's Undergraduate, Postgraduate and Continued Practice Boards have the general function of promoting high standards of medical education and co-ordinating all stages of medical education to ensure that students and newly qualified doctors are equipped with the knowledge, skills and attitudes essential for professional practice.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will encourage Department for Work and Pensions and Atos Healthcare assessors to review their approach to myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME)/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), in light of the findings by Jason et al in An Aetiological Model for ME/CFS, Neuroscience & Medicine 2011:2:14-27.[HL8529]
Lord Freud: Medical assessments done on behalf of the DWP look at the functional impact of a condition on an individual; entitlement to benefit is not based on medical condition/diagnosis. The DWP recognises that ME/CFS covers a spectrum and can be a significantly disabling condition.
The article, An Aetiological Model for ME/CFS, presents a theory (yet to be tested and proven) for understanding the cause of ME/CFS. The DWP's guidance to assessors appropriately focuses on the range of functional impairment related to particular conditions rather than on causation. This article does not address functional impairment; therefore there will be no change to the guidance as a consequence of it.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Verma on 9 March (WA 404), who were the "stakeholders" to whom they "listened"; how many there were; how they were chosen; and how they define "equal civil marriage and partnerships".[HL8477]
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: Ministers and officials met a range of denominations and groups as part of a listening exercise on the next steps for civil partnerships. Those who attended were representatives of the Church of England, the Roman Catholic Church, the Evangelical Alliance, the Quakers, the Unitarian and Free Christian Churches, Churches Together in Britain and Ireland, as well as representatives of the Jewish, Buddhist and Hindu faiths. Representatives also attended from Stonewall, the Lesbian and Gay Foundation, Lesbian and Gay Christians, Changing Attitudes and Outrage. Representatives from other groups were invited but did not attend.
These groups were selected as a result of their interest in this issue during the passage of Section 202 of the Equality Act 2010 through Parliament and on the advice of the Department for Communities and Local Government which holds overall responsibility for the Government's engagement with faith communities.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken to ensure that all government departments are aware of the provisions of Section 3(6) of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010; and what action they have taken to ensure they comply with those provisions.[HL8387]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what provision is being made for training civil servants in the Cabinet Office in pursuance of Section 3(6) of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010.[HL8388]
To ask Her Majesty's Government to what extent the review of the curriculum by Civil Service Learning takes into account the provisions of Section 3(6) of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010.[HL8389]
Baroness Garden of Frognal: The updated Civil Service Code, published in November 2010, contains a specific new reference which says, "Civil servants advising Ministers should be aware of the constitutional significance of Parliament, and of the conventions governing the relationship between Parliament and
26 Apr 2011 : Column WA25
Additional guidance for civil servants, including those in the Cabinet Office, is provided in a number of ways, including in the Cabinet Office publication Departmental Evidence and Response to Select Committees and the online Guide to Parliamentary Work. The National School of Government's Core Learning Programme also includes relevant training, for example in the Parliament, Government and the Civil Service programme. This training is being incorporated into the common curriculum developed by Civil Service Learning.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what links and exchanges of information there are between government agencies concerned with preventing organised crime and with countering corruption at home and overseas; and whether they will involve the business and voluntary sectors in such co-operative activity.[HL8288]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): Law enforcement agencies co-operate with each other and with public, private and voluntary sector organisations on an operational basis to exchange information lawfully, harness expertise and maximise effectiveness against organised crime. Strategic co-ordination is facilitated through multiagency programme boards, involving key agencies including the Serious Organised Crime Agency, the Government and private and voluntary sector organisations where appropriate.
The forthcoming Organised Crime Strategy will set out details of how the Government will improve co-ordination between all relevant partners to combat organised crime more effectively. The public, voluntary groups and the private sector will have an important contribution.
As international anti-corruption champion, the Secretary of State for Justice holds a key co-ordination role for government in international anti-corruption efforts. This includes consultations with colleagues in other departments, NGOs, and with other national and international stakeholders to ensure a coherent and joined-up approach to combat international corruption.
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) has contracted out work on handling data in relation to the processing of applications for CRB certificates to its private sector partner, Capita. This does not involve the sensitive matching of a person's details to criminal conviction information, which is performed by civil servants.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many (a) teachers, and (b) support staff in schools, have been checked (1) successfully, and (2) unsuccessfully, by the Criminal Records Bureau, in each of the last three years.[HL8501]
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The Government do not hold this information. In processing a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) certificate, the CRB will provide information from records held on the Police National Computer (PNC) and other data sources to an employer and the employer makes a decision about the applicant's suitability. The employers do not notify the CRB of the outcome of their decisions and it is not therefore possible to indicate whether a person has been checked successfully or unsuccessfully. Having said that, the overwhelming majority of CRB certificates do not contain any police conviction information, with 92 per cent of checks being issued clear in 2010-11.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the total of pre-accession grants paid to Croatia so far; whether further grants will be paid; whether they have made any assessment of any additional annual costs to the European Union budget following that country's accession to the Union; and, if so, what they are.[HL8429]
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The total payments made to Croatia under EU pre-accession instruments over the period 2005-10 amount to €230.59 million. The European Commission plans to commit €479 million over the period 2011-13.
A financial package is currently being negotiated between the European Commission and the Croatian Government, the details of which have not yet been finalised. Once it has been finalised, the Government will make an assessment of any potential additional annual cost to the European Union budget following Croatia's accession to the EU.
Baroness Northover: The Home Office published More Effective Responses to Anti-social Behaviour on 7 February, setting out proposals to ensure that the police and their partners have less bureaucratic, more flexible and more effective means to protect victims and communities from a range of local problems, including those caused by irresponsible dog owners.
This is a complex issue with no one solution, so we will be announcing a package of measures shortly. The Home Office is already consulting on a new streamlined legislative framework to tackle anti-social behaviour-including that involving dangerous dogs.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): It is the long-standing policy of the UK to oppose the death penalty in all circumstances as a matter of principle. We regularly make representations to Governments to abolish the death penalty. Countries we have lobbied since 12 May 2010 include our top five priority countries and regions, which are China, Iran, the US, Belarus and the English-speaking Caribbean region. We have also raised the death penalty in a number of our other priority countries, as outlined in our Strategy for Abolition of the Death Penalty published in October 2010.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government estimate the amount of unsecured debt per head of the United Kingdom population to be approximately £3,430. This estimate is based on the stock of unsecured debt of £212 billion
26 Apr 2011 : Column WA28
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the likely impact of moving the deficit reduction target from 2015 to (a) 2017, and (b) 2018, on (1) the rate of interest, and (2) the amount of interest to be paid each year on the national debt. [HL8253]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government's fiscal mandate is to balance the cyclically-adjusted current budget at the end of the rolling five-year forecast period. The end of the forecast period at Budget 2011 was 2015-16 and the independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecasts that the Government are on course to meet their target one year early in 2014-15. The OBR also forecasts that the Government will meet the supplementary target to ensure public sector net debt is falling, one year early, in 2014-15.
Setting this deficit reduction target was essential in order to help keep long-term interest rates down, helping families and businesses through the lower costs of loans and mortgages, and to keep debt and debt interest paid by the Government-and ultimately the taxpayer-lower than would otherwise have been the case.
Lord Sassoon: In line with previous practice, the Government have set separate resource and capital reserves in departmental expenditure limits (RDEL and CDEL), which provide a contingency to meet unforeseeable costs that arise over the 2010 spending review period, and an annually managed expenditure (AME) margin, which is a contingency against changes in the AME forecast. The latest figures were published in tables 2.3 and 2.4 of Budget 2011 and are summarised in the table below:
In addition to the reserves held for contingency, the Government also set aside a special reserve for the net additional cost of military operations in the 2010 spending review. This reflected an agreed forecast for expenditure over the spending review period, taking account of the Government's military commitment in Afghanistan. This is not a fixed budget and the Treasury remains committed to funding all the net additional costs of military operations in Afghanistan from the special reserve.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The cost of the Deputy Prime Minister's Office between May 2010 and February 2011 was £1,158,674. The Deputy Prime Minister's Office sits within the Cabinet Office and draws upon the support and resources of the wider department.
Lord McNally: Details of the Deputy Prime Minister's overseas travel expenditure are published quarterly and can be found on www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk. Within the UK, the Deputy Prime Minister travels making the most efficient and cost-effective arrangements, including by public transport. His travel arrangements are in accordance with the arrangements for official travel as set out in the Ministerial Code.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Annexe A of Health Lives, Healthy People: Our Strategy for Public Health in England sets out our vision for the role of the director of public health as the principal adviser on all
26 Apr 2011 : Column WA30
The Health and Social Care Bill 2011 proposes that following the abolition of primary care trusts, directors of public health, employed by local authorities but jointly appointed with the Secretary of State, will be responsible for the new public health functions transferred to local authorities.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, in view of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012, what steps they will take to consult other countries on the introduction of a recognised international standard for the use of mobility scooters on public transport.[HL8550]
Lord De Mauley: We have no plans to consult other countries on the introduction of a recognised international standard in time for the Olympics and Paralympics. However, we will be seeking to ensure that information on the use of mobility scooters on public transport is available for all visitors to the Olympics and Paralympics.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The report from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) made specific proposals for the appraisal of drugs for conditions with a prevalence of less than one in 50,000. We have no plans to ask NICE to establish a separate appraisal system for such drugs.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether there is a formal process for the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence to follow when a final decision on a drug appraisal process has been repeatedly delayed; and what information should be provided to the relevant manufacturer as part of the process.[HL8421]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what requirements there are that require the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence to issue
26 Apr 2011 : Column WA31
Earl Howe: These are matters for the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) as an independent body. Following the referral of a topic to NICE, technology appraisal guidance is developed in accordance with NICE's published process and methods guides.
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they expect that a separate appraisal mechanism for orphan and ultra-orphan drugs will be developed by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence or the Advisory Group for National Specialist Services.[HL8419]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will direct the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence to adopt different appraisal mechanisms when looking at treatments for children or very rare diseases.[HL8424]
Earl Howe: We have no plans to ask the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) or the Advisory Group for National Specialised Services (AGNSS) to develop separate appraisal mechanisms to appraise orphan and ultra-orphan drugs, treatments for very rare diseases or treatments for children.
The vast majority of new drugs and significant licence extensions are considered through the topic selection process for NICE's technology appraisal programme. If NICE considers that by undertaking an appraisal it would not be able to add value, then for high-cost, low-volume drugs for very rare conditions, NICE can send the technology to AGNSS for assessment for possible inclusion in the arrangements for national specialised commissioning.
Under Section 8 of the National Health Service Act 2006, the Secretary of State can direct NICE as he deems necessary. However, Ministers are clear that NICE is an independent body and must be free to develop its own technology appraisal processes and methods.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress has been made in implementing an all-age careers service; what is the current timetable for its establishment; and what funding will be provided annually by the Department for Education and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. [HL8026]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): The Department for Education and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills have consulted with stakeholders about the implementation of an all-age careers service, through a stakeholder advisory group comprising representatives from professional careers organisations and national bodies such as the Local Government Association. The careers service will be established by April 2012, with young people and adults able to access new arrangements for careers guidance from September 2011. Resourcing for the careers service is under consideration, and details of funding for the service will be communicated in due course.
Lord Hill of Oareford: The Education Bill proposes a statutory duty on schools to secure access to independent careers guidance for their pupils. The guidance must be presented in an impartial manner and include information on all post-16 options, including apprenticeships. Schools are otherwise free to determine how best to fulfil the duty. This approach recognises that schools are best placed to make decisions about the support that should be offered to their students, working alongside specialist careers advisers where appropriate.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have commissioned or published equality impact assessments on the proposed changes to funding for the provision of English for Speakers of Other Languages courses.[HL8573]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The equality impact assessment published
26 Apr 2011 : Column WA33
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they will hold discussions with London boroughs and other relevant bodies about shortages of places in both nursery and primary schools in London in the next 10 years.[HL8589]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): It is the responsibility of each local authority to manage the supply and demand for school places in their area and secure a place for every child of statutory school age who wants one. The department will continue to provide capital funding and monitor the situation with local authorities in regards to school places both in London and nationally.
Under Section 7 of the Childcare Act 2006, local authorities have a statutory duty to secure 15 hours per week of free early education for all three and four year-olds who want it. Ninety-five per cent of three and four year-olds take up some or all of their free early education entitlement. Local authorities should consider the preferences of parents in their area and ensure that there are sufficient places available across a range of nursery providers in the maintained, private, voluntary and independent sectors.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 28 March (WA 211), how many of the 30 experts known to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) (a) have been peer reviewers for HFEA research licence applications, (b) have been members of either the HFEA's Horizon Scanning Panel or of its Scientific and Clinical Advances Group, and (c) have never acted in any such capacity; and how many in each of these categories are currently based in the United Kingdom.[HL8215]
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 28 March (WA 211), which funding bodies and professional societies were notified of the call for evidence and invited to distribute it more widely.[HL8216]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has advised that the information requested by the noble Lord on the experts referred to in my Written Answer of 28 March (Official Report, col. WA 211) is shown in the following table:
|Mitochondrial Donation: Experts who have been Peer Reviewers for HFEA or Members of HFEA Committees|
|Based in the UK||Based outside the UK|
A total of 34 experts were sent the call for evidence, some of whom have been a peer reviewer for HFEA research licence applications and also a member of the HFEA's Horizon Scanning Panel or Scientific and Clinical Advances Advisory Committee and are, therefore, counted twice in the table.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 28 March (WA 211), whether each of the individual experts, funding bodies and professional societies were simultaneously notified by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) about its call for evidence on the safety and efficacy of techniques to avoid mitochondrial disease through assisted conception on Monday 28 February 2011; if not,
26 Apr 2011 : Column WA35
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 28 March (WA 211), what is the full timetable set by the Secretary of State; and what is the reasoning behind it. [HL8392]
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 28 March (WA 211), how many of the 30 experts known to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) are currently holders of HFEA research licences.[HL8393]
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 28 March (WA 211), how many of the submissions to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) Core Panel came from individuals who had not been directly contacted by the HFEA; and, of those, how many were informed by other funding bodies and professional societies, and how many responded to the announcement on the HFEA website.[HL8394]
Earl Howe: The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has advised that it sent out its call for evidence to the individual experts, funding bodies and professional societies referred to on 28 February 2011. The authority did not seek confirmation of receipt.
The HFEA has advised that it received submissions of evidence from three individuals who had not directly been sent the call for evidence and a joint submission from two individuals, one of whom had not directly been sent the call for evidence. The HFEA does not hold information on how many of these individuals were informed by other funding bodies and professional societies or responded to the announcement on the authority's website.
The HFEA has been asked to report to the Secretary of State by mid-April. This apart, no timetable has been set for consideration of whether regulations should be made to allow mitochondrial transfer.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the total number of people employed by elected local councils and statutory boards in Northern Ireland; and what percentage it represents of the total number in employment in Northern Ireland.[HL8499]
Baroness Garden of Frognal: The statistical information the noble Lord has requested is not held by Her Majesty's Government. Employment matters and the Northern Ireland Civil Service are devolved and the responsibility of the relevant Northern Ireland Executive Minister.
Chapter two of the HM Treasury paper Rebalancing the Northern Ireland economy, which was drawn up in consultation with Northern Ireland Ministers, provides an analysis by Treasury Ministers of the current state of the Northern Ireland economy. This can be viewed at:
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Sassoon on 1 April (WA 311) and in light of their intention to end the duty differential in favour of used cooking oil biofuel by the end of the present financial year, how they intend to stimulate investment in this industry. [HL8488]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): As indicated by my noble friend Lord Marland in his Written Answer of 28 March (WA212), the intention is that the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation shall provide double support of biofuels derived from wastes and residues, including used cooking oil. An open consultation is currently under way at www.dft. gov.uk/consultations/open/2011-05.
However, we are currently consulting on proposals to amend the renewable transport fuel obligation to implement the transport elements of the European Renewable Energy Directive (RED), which requires the UK to source 10 per cent of transport energy from renewable sources by 2020.
These proposals include providing additional support for biofuels made from waste by awarding two renewable transport fuels certificates to each litre of fuel supplied. Crop-based biofuels will continue to get one certificate per litre, as long as they meet the mandatory sustainability criteria.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their estimate of the additional annual cost of electricity and gas to (a) domestic consumers and (b) industrial and commercial consumers, for each year between 2011 and 2020 when the price of carbon rises from £16 to £30 per ton.[HL8431]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): An explanation of the impact of the carbon price floor on wholesale electricity prices and the likely average bill impact is provided in HMRC's Tax Information and Impact Note which was published alongside the Budget.
This is available online at: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/budget2011/tiin6111.pdf
To ask Her Majesty's Government what advice they have received from the Government Chief Scientist with regard to safety operating margins for civil nuclear power plants in the light of the events at Japan's Fukushima plant; and whether they will be conducting a review.[HL8473]
Lord De Mauley: The Government Chief Scientific Adviser has played a key role in the wake of the Fukushima incident to enable the Government to access sound scientific advice in real-time as the situation has developed. This role has focused predominantly on the more immediate events in Japan, including chairing the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (http://www.bis.gov.uk/go-science/science-in-government/global-issues/civil-continegncies) and helping to ensure that practical advice, and where appropriate reassurance, has been available to British citizens in the region.
My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change has asked the 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. He has asked for an interim report by mid-May 2011 and a final report within six months. The reports will be put in the public domain.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government believe that a trigger price of $75 per barrel is appropriate, but will set a final level and mechanism after seeking the views of oil and gas companies, and motoring groups.
Lord Sassoon: The 2011 Budget made a commitment that, "In future years, if the oil price falls below a set trigger price on a sustained basis, the Government will reduce the Supplementary Charge back towards 20 per cent on a staged and affordable basis while prices remain low."
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