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On 18 April the UK agreed to fund the International Organisation of Migration to undertake the evacuation of 5,000 people from Misurata port. The UK has also provided support to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which is providing support for up to 100,000 people for basic necessities, and medical supplies and treatment to 3,000 people affected by the ongoing fighting in Libya including in Misurata, where the ICRC has been active.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Events in the region have shown that Governments need to respond to the legitimate aspirations of their peoples with reform, not repression, if they are to enhance their long-term stability and prosperity. There are many ways to meet these aspirations and there is no single formula for success. Reform must be home-grown; it cannot be imposed by outsiders. Leadership must come from within countries.
Through our Arab Partnership, we are working in partnership with the region and with UK and international partners to support those seeking more free, open and plural societies, including in Syria and Saudi Arabia. What we do in the Middle East is, and should be, no different from what we do elsewhere in the world:
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The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): In accordance with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961 (VCDR) foreign diplomats accredited in the UK are entitled to employ domestic workers (foreign or British). Under Article 41(1) of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations it is the duty of all diplomats "to respect the laws and regulations of the receiving state". This applies to the terms and conditions of employment for all domestic staff. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) reminded all foreign missions based in the UK of their obligations in February 2011.
The police investigate any allegation that the law has been broken by persons entitled to immunity and report the results to the FCO. Given the number of people entitled to immunity in the UK (around 25,000), the number of serious offences allegedly committed by diplomats has remained proportionately low in recent years; just two cases involved a domestic worker in 2010.
The FCO treats any allegation of mistreatment of domestic workers in diplomatic households very seriously. When an allegation is brought to our attention by the police, we liaise as necessary with the relevant diplomatic mission and the UK Border Agency to work for an appropriate response. If an allegation of mistreatment requires further investigation by the police, the FCO will request from the diplomatic mission concerned, on behalf of the police, a waiver of the diplomat's immunity. Failure to provide a waiver may result in a request to the mission for withdrawal of the diplomat.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Freud on 29 March (WA 250-51), how many national insurance number registrations to adult overseas nationals entering the United Kingdom from 2002 there have been in total; and how many of those, by each year of registration since 2002 and in total, paid contributions in the last financial year.[HL8485]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The information requested is in the table. Her Majesty's
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|NINo Registrations to Adult Overseas Nationals entering the UK (Thousands):|
|Time Series-2002 to 2010|
|Calendar year of registration date||Total|
2. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10 and displayed in thousands. Some additional disclosure control has been applied. Total may not sum due to rounding method used. Data are cumulative from 1 January 2002.
4. This information is available on the Department for Work and Pensions website at: http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): There is wide-ranging evidence from the United Kingdom and abroad that competition delivers better results for service users. Competition stimulates innovation and improvements, as providers drive up quality to ensure that they deliver the services that users want. Where there is choice, patients are exercising this. Over 200,000 patients a year choose independent hospitals for their National Health Service-funded elective care.
Research published by both the London School of Economics and Bristol University has found strong evidence that choice and competition in the NHS leads to benefits for patients. The studies found that
26 Apr 2011 : Column WA81
In the United States State of Maryland, competition has led to significant benefits for patients and taxpayers. An economic regulator has been crucial to transforming the state's secondary care sector from one of the most expensive in the US to being among those with the lowest costs.
In addition to these academic studies there is a growing number of new independent sector providers who are making a real difference to the lives of patients and carers through access to innovative, responsive services. These include:Whizz-Kidz-a London-based charity providing customised electronic wheelchairs for children and young people-same day services around half the costs of the NHS;Eastbourne wound-healing centre-long-term wound healing residential centre, which has both high outcomes and cost-effectiveness; andHorder Centre (charity)-providing orthopaedics and muscular-skeletal services, is popular with patients and has good outcomes.
1. Carol Propper , Martin Gaynor et al (Death by Market Power: Reform, Competition and Patient Outcomes in the National Health Service), July 2010; Zack Cooper et al, (Does Hospital Competition Save Lives? Evidence From The English NHS Patient Choice Reforms), July 2010.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Primary care trusts have a statutory duty in each financial year to contain revenue expenditure, measured on an accruals basis, within approved revenue resource limits. This annual duty is inconsistent with the concept of accumulated or historic debt.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, in the light of the murder of Constable Ronan Kerr in Omagh, they will draw up a declaration of intent with the parties in Northern Ireland and the Government of the Republic of Ireland in order to promote reconciliation between all democratic parties and institutions in the British Isles.[HL8512]
Baroness Garden of Frognal: The murder of Constable Ronan Kerr was a despicable attack on a young man serving his community by individuals intent on defying the wishes of the people of Northern Ireland for a peaceful future, free of fear and intimidation. The unified leadership that has been evident in the days following the murder of Constable Kerr at both a political and community level has sent a powerful message to those who would seek to drag Northern Ireland back to violence that they will not succeed. The UK Government will continue to stand firmly together with our partners in the Northern Ireland Executive, the PSNI and the Irish Government in building a peaceful, stable and prosperous Northern Ireland for everyone.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Office for Budget Responsibility was given sufficient time to model and consider the full consequences of the tax and expenditure changes announced in the Budget.[HL8129]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Office for Budget Responsibility was given sufficient time to model and consider the full consequences of the tax and expenditure changes announced in the Budget [HL8129]
Six weeks in advance of the Budget, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) agreed with HM Treasury a timetable for receiving information on Budget measures. The agreed deadline beyond which the Budget Responsibility Committee (BRC) would not guarantee the inclusion of any indirect effects of the Budget
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As mentioned in the March 2011 Economic and fiscal outlook, the OBR was notified of the 1p per litre reduction in fuel duty from April 2011 and of the changes in the rate of corporation tax on 16 and 17 March respectively-too late to include any potential second-round effects in the economy forecast.
Also, the OBR has not certified the costing of increasing the time limit in the short-life assets regime from four to eight years because of insufficient evidence presented, and after the deadline which would have allowed adequate scrutiny. The Budget Responsibility Committee has asked HM Treasury to carry further analysis on the costing of this measure. Once HM Treasury has produced new evidence, the revised costings will be scrutinised by the OBR.
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The objective of the London 2012 International Inspiration programme is to use the power of sport to enrich the lives of 12 million children and young people of all abilities in schools and communities in 20 countries across the world, particularly developing countries, by offering them the opportunity to access and participate in high-quality and inclusive sport, physical education and play.
The programme, which is not part of the Olympic Truce, has been delivered or is currently being delivered in 16 countries (set out in the attached table). Planning for two new countries, yet to be announced, to join the programme will start later this year.
Lord De Mauley: The UK will introduce an Olympic Truce Resolution in the UN General Assembly Session beginning in September 2011. No decision has yet been made about the exact date on which the resolution will be introduced.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions have taken place between the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and the Northern Ireland Office about initiatives for the London 2012 Olympic Truce.[HL8596]
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office have not had any discussions with the Northern Ireland Office on the substance of the Olympic Truce. DCMS has been involved in discussions with the Northern Ireland devolved Administration on specific initiatives that build on the values that underpin the Games, such as Get Set, the London 2012 education programme, and the Inspire Programme, in the period up to and including Games time, through the Nations and Regions Group, run in partnership with LOCOG.
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: Her Majesty's Government have had no discussions with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on the substance of the Olympic Truce. In due course, the text of a draft UN Resolution on the Olympic Truce, which is currently being prepared by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, shall be shared with the IOC by the London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG), who will act as a liaison between the Government and the IOC.
Baroness Northover: London 2012 has already brought significant new opportunities for UK businesses, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), through businesses winning Games-related work, increased tourism and cultural celebrations.
The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) is responsible for developing and building the venues and infrastructure for the London 2012 Games. As of March 2011, over 1,493 businesses, including those directly involved in the construction programme, have supplied the ODA from across the UK. Thousands of businesses up and down the UK are working on the Games through supplier contracts worth in excess of £5 billion.
This figure does not include the value of contracts further down the supply chain, in tiers 2, 3 and so on, which are awarded by the tier 1 contractors and not by the ODA. The ODA estimates that the total value of supply chain contracts to the regions runs into millions of pounds, but these are not public procurements and so the full value of contracts won across the UK is not captured by the figures provided. The ODA estimates that overall up to 50,000 contracts will be generated throughout its supply chains.
A post-Games initial evaluation will be published shortly after the Games, in summer 2013. In order to assess the benefits to the UK, the DCMS has commissioned a meta-evaluation of the impacts and legacy of the London 2012 Games.
A report by the Work Foundation working with Oxford Economics examined how the London economy can fully exploit the opportunities created by the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The report estimated that around 20,200 additional jobs would be created in London in 2012 as a result of the Olympic and Paralympic Games being held in London. The report also estimated that the Games will create an average of 4,500 extra jobs each year in London over the period 2005 to 2020. Full details of the report can be found at the following link: http://www.culture.gov.uk/images/publications/WF-impact of the Olympics.pdf.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The Home Office is aware that the planned acreage under poppy cultivation for the purposes of extracting morphine in 2011 is 2,200 hectares. The monetary value of the poppies grown for medicinal products is a commercial matter between the growers and their customers.
Given that cultivation of the poppy is not an activity that requires a licence, no licences have been issued or refused. However, a refined product of poppy cultivation-concentrate of poppy straw-is a controlled drug and a Home Office licence issued under the 1971 MDA will be required to possess or supply this product.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We support the full implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1860 which called for a ceasefire between the parties to the conflict, and continue to call for full, credible and independent investigations into allegations of breaches of international humanitarian law that have arisen.
To ask Her Majesty's Government where the personal passport application offices are located; how many applications were dealt with at each office during 2010; and how many of those were rejected.[HL8564]
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The IFS (Identity and Passport Service) currently operates seven offices where customers can attend to apply for and be provided with a passport. None of these was closed in the financial year 2010-11.
|Interviews conducted by office|
The total number of refusals following a face to face interview from April 1 2010 to March 31 2011 is six. Additionally, for the same period, 1,601 adults who applied for a UK passport for the first time withdrew prior to their face to face interviews, where otherwise the passport would have been issued.
IFS does not record refusals specifically by postal application or in person application channel. Therefore we cannot say how many applications were rejected at the public counter. However, the figure for detected fraud for 2010-11 for all passport applications (where no passport was issued) is 7,870.
These figures are subject to audit finalisation. This amount represents the direct costs associated with seeing passport applicants in person at passport
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The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Pensions and other EU benefits to former United Kingdom European Commissioners are paid directly from the EU Budget. There is no additional contribution from HM Treasury. Rules on calculating these payments are set out in Regulation 422/67 and the Staff Regulations (Regulation 259/68).
The Government do not hold information on the exact amounts payable to any individual, but are arguing for greater transparency on all EU spending to help member states press for greater value for money.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the effect on pensioner incomes (a) in absolute terms, and (b) as a percentage of earnings, of the second option for pensions reforms set out in the White Paper A state pension for the 21st century for (1) those retiring after the implementation of reforms and before 2020, (2) those retiring in each subsequent decade for which forecasts have been produced, and (3) any other cohort that has been analysed.[HL8608]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The Government's consultation paper A state pension for the 21st century published on 4 April 2011 set out two high-level options for state pension reform. Following the consultation process the Government will be considering all the responses to our options for delivering a simpler and fairer state pension. As policy development is still under way it is not possible to provide detailed information on impacts at this stage.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the total number of police officers in England in May 2010, and what they expect the total number of police officers in England to be by (a) 2013, and (b) 2015.[HL8263]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The Home Office does not hold data on police officer strength for May 2010. However, the total number of police officers in England on 31 March 2010 was 134,365 (full-time equivalent). This excludes those on career breaks or maternity/paternity leave, officers on central service secondments and those in the British Transport Police.
The Home Office does not set the number of police officers for future years in England in (a) 2013 and (b) 2015. It is the responsibility of police authorities and chief officers to manage the resources and staff available to them to ensure effective policing for the communities in their area.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many police officers with 30 years' experience they expect will be required to retire before May 2015 through the use of regulation A19 of the Police Pensions Regulations.[HL8260]
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many police officers with 30 years' experience have been required to retire since May 2010 through the use of regulation A19 of the Police Pensions Regulations. [HL8261]
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many police forces have indicated that they intend to use regulation A19 of the Police Pensions Regulations to require police officers with more than 30 years' service to retire.[HL8262]
Lord De Mauley: It is the responsibility of police authorities and chief officers to manage the resources and staff available to them to ensure effective policing for the communities in their area. They are best placed to consider operational decisions including the impact of using their powers under regulation A19.
Police authorities are not required to inform the Government that they intend to use regulation A19. Information about the number of officers who have been retired through the use of regulation A19 is not collected centrally.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the children of prisoners in England will qualify for the new 15 hours per week of free education for disadvantaged two year-olds; and whether prisoners' children of all ages will be a priority for health visitors.[HL8143]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The children of prisoners will qualify for 15 hours a week of free early education
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The new model for the health visiting service will benefit the children of prisoners as this is a universal service for all families. As key contacts in Sure Start children's centres, health visitors are in a pivotal position to support the health and development of all children aged 0-5, in particular the most vulnerable.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord McNally on 29 March (WA 255), what was the cost impact of the decision at Ford Open prison to intervene nine hours after disturbances commenced; how many prisoners were injured before and after the intervention; and whether they will review the current protocols including the timing of the decision to call for external assistance.[HL8484]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): Decisions to intervene during such an incident are not taken based on cost impact. Intervention took place when those in command of the incident judged it to be appropriate to do so for staff, emergency services and prisoners.
The decision to request external assistance in the management of an incident is taken on a case-by-case basis. The decision is based upon considerations made by both local managers at the scene of the incident and by the headquarters Gold Command structure that supports the resolution of such incidents. There are no definitive thresholds for calling external assistance and it is essential that each incident is managed in accordance to its specific circumstances.
The Cabinet Office hosts the Public Services Forum which meets at least four times a year and brings together the TUC, national trade unions and employer groups from the public, private and voluntary sectors to discuss crosscutting issues affecting the workforce. The next PSF meeting is in July 2011.
The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Strathclyde): Ministers' Answers to Questions for Written Answer are published in the Official Report unless the Answer is very long. The Companion gives the Editor of the Official Report discretion not to print very long answers (paragraph 6.40) which in practice equates to more than four columns of print. Answers of such length may instead be placed in the Library of the House. The Companion also provides (paragraph 6.18) that:
"Where government functions are delegated to an executive agency, accountability to Parliament remains through ministers. When a minister answers a parliamentary question, orally or in writing, by reference to a letter from the chief executive of an agency, the minister remains accountable for the answer, which attracts parliamentary privilege, and criticism of the answer in the House should be directed at the minister, not the chief executive".
Lord De Mauley: As proposed, Crossrail services will use a train maintenance depot and stabling at Old Oak Common in west London. There will also be stabling at Ilford, Shenfield, Gidea Park and Maidenhead.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Attlee on 31 March (WA 305-6), whether (a) the cabling and installations, and (b) the signalling gantries, being put in place on the section of railway line between Newport and the Severn Tunnel will require additional equipment or modification to permit the use of the line by electrified train services.[HL8609]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they have given to the representations made to them by Tony Baldry MP that the Re-Export Controls Bill should be placed before a House of Commons Second Reading Committee.[HL8605]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): In responding to my honourable friend the Member for Banbury, my honourable friend the Minister of State for Business and Enterprise indicated the Government's position on the noble Lord's Private Member's Bill by making reference to the reservations I made about the Bill during its Second Reading in the House of Lords on 3 December. I regret that the Government are unable to support the Bill during its Commons stage or a motion to refer the Bill to a Second Reading Committee.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, following the murder of Ronan Kerr, whether they will make representations to the Government of the Republic of Ireland about official celebrations of the murder of Royal Irish Constabulary members.[HL8586]
Baroness Garden of Frognal: The UK Government will continue to stand firmly together with our partners in the Northern Ireland Executive and the Irish Government in building a peaceful, stable and prosperous Northern Ireland for everyone. This includes working together to ensure that issues arising from the complex history of relations between the UK and Republic of Ireland are addressed in an appropriate manner.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Sassoon on 7 February (WA 35) concerning loans to the Republic of Ireland, what are the "stated macroeconomic goals of the package"; and what is the economic nature of problems the package aims to address.[HL8406]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The International Monetary Fund (IMF) paper on Ireland's request for an extended arrangement states that the "program aims to restore Ireland's banking system to health and put its public finances on a sound footing, thus renewing confidence and a return to strong, sustained growth".
The full paper is published on the IMF's website, and available at the following link: http://www.imforg/external/pubs/ft/scr/2010/cr10366.pdf.
Advances under the UK's loan agreement will be conditional on the International Monetary Fund and European Union being satisfied that Ireland is complying with the provisions of the restructuring plan and meeting the targets that it sets out. The loan agreement includes prudent legal protections, aligned with those of other lenders, as would be expected in any sovereign to sovereign loan.
Lord Sassoon: The terms of the UK bilateral loan to Ireland are set out in the loan agreement that was deposited in the Libraries of both Houses by the Financial Secretary to the Treasury on 10 January 2011.
The loan agreement is available at: http://www. parliament.uk/deposits/depositedpapers/2011/DEP2011-0015.pdf?bcsi_scan_ F8D0BFE83951C3DA=0&bcsi_ scan_filename=DEP2011-0015.pdf.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the cost of policing dual carriageways to achieve at least 95 per cent compliance with a maximum speed limit of (a) 80 miles per hour, and (b) 70 miles per hour.[HL7932]
Lord De Mauley: No estimate has yet been made by the present Administration of the likely costs and impacts of increasing the motorway or other dual carriageway speed limit to 80 mph. No estimate has been made by the present Administration of the likely
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To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will make provision for the training of qualified play therapists to work with "at risk" children and their parents to address the issue of safeguarding in the early years.[HL8467]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): Safeguarding children is a key priority for the Government and we recognise the importance of training for all staff working in the early years. The Working Together to Safeguard Children guide to local authorities provides advice on interagency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. The guidance suggests training content that should be targeted at those who work predominantly with children, young people and their parents or carers.
It is for local authorities to decide how they use the newly created Early Intervention Grant funding, which brings together funding for Sure Start, early years, youth and family support. They can also use formula grant to fund action to protect children, in line with local priorities.
Maintained schools must comply with the Admissions Code, which applies to Academies and Free Schools by virtue of their funding agreement with the Secretary of State. The Code and related legislation provide a national framework that requires state-funded schools to have admission arrangements that ensure all places are allocated openly and fairly. Independent schools do not have to comply with the Admissions Code, so the school may need to make consequential adjustments to its admission policy on becoming an Academy.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will include practical parenting in the national curriculum for young people from the age of 13 to enable them to learn the importance of early attachment between babies and parents.[HL8468]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): We are currently reviewing the national curriculum with a view to focusing it on the essential body of knowledge which all children need to learn in order to succeed in education and in life, and to give teachers greater freedom beyond that core to design and teach a curriculum that best meets the needs of their pupils.
Parenting skills are currently covered in the non-statutory personal social health and economic (PSHE) programmes of study. At key stages 3 and 4, young people learn about the roles and responsibilities of parents. We firmly believe that all children and young people should benefit from high-quality PSHE education. We have announced our intention to hold an internal review of PSHE education, which will include parenting skills, to determine how best to support schools to improve the quality of PSHE teaching. Further details will be announced shortly.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what requirements there are for special educational needs co-ordinators in state secondary schools to have a formal qualification or training for assessment or teaching of children with special educational needs.[HL8417]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what requirements there are for maths, English or science teachers in state secondary schools to have a formal qualification or training for teaching their respective subjects.[HL8418]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): Trainees aiming to become teachers in state secondary schools, whether to teach maths, English, science or any other subject, must all have at least a grade C in GCSE English and maths, or have reached the equivalent standard. The purpose of these requirements is to ensure that all
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In addition, teaching is a degree-level profession, so entrants to the profession must have a first degree. While it is desirable that in general a secondary school teacher holds a degree in the subject that he or she is teaching, there is no requirement imposed by the Department for Education for this. Instead it is for the appointing head teacher to decide if a candidate's qualifications and experience match the particular demands of a teaching post.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether access to mandatory school or college concessionary transport will be extended to (a) 17 year-olds in 2013, and (b) 17 year-olds in 2015, when the participation age is raised.[HL8490]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): There are no current plans to extend the pre-16 transport duty to cover young people of sixth-form age in further education or training when the participation age is raised.
Lord Hill of Oareford: There is no formal research being carried out at present into the cost of transport to colleges and schools for 16-19 year-old full-time students. Discussions held with schools, colleges, representative bodies and with young people in the course of developing proposals for the new 16-19 Bursary Fund have considered the issue of transport costs.
The 16-19 Bursary Fund will provide schools, colleges and training providers with sufficient resource to support less well off students post-16 to a similar level that they are currently supported before the age of 16, taking into account the significant differences in the courses they take and the institutions they attend. We intend that the fund can be used in ways that best fit the circumstances and needs of students, for example, to provide help with books, meals, transport or other course-related costs.
To ask Her Majesty's Government on how many occasions special leave was granted by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council to bring appeals to that body on devolution issues from the High Court of Justiciary in Scotland from 1 June 1999 to 1 October 2009.[HL8182]
To ask Her Majesty's Government on how many occasions special leave was granted by the Supreme Court to bring appeals to that body on devolution issues from the High Court of Justiciary in Scotland from 1 October 2009 until 28 February 2011.[HL8183]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): Cases from Scotland which have been given leave by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council between 1 June 1999 to 1 October 2009 are as follows:
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the personal statement by Lord McNally on 6 April, what was the cause of the error which led the Statement on social mobility by Lord McNally on 5 April (HL Deb, col. 1622) to be different from the Answer given by the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, on 5 April (Official Report, Commons, col. 895).[HL8518]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The fault was mine in that I relied on a draft which had been prepared for a written statement. My Written Statement of 6 April 2011 Official Report
26 Apr 2011 : Column WA100
Lord De Mauley: The Department for International Development (DfID) is carrying out a competitive tender for mine action in Sri Lanka. This process will identify the supplier able to deliver the maximum humanitarian and development benefits. Once the competition is completed I will write to the noble Lord to advise him of the specific results that will be delivered by the winning bidder, including the number of landmines that will be cleared.
Baroness Northover: Revised tender documents were issued on 28 January 2011 to the two companies who submitted bids in 2007. Workshops have been held subsequently with both companies to provide clarifications and respond to queries.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): Recent events in Libya demonstrate that the strategic defence and security review's emphasis on the uncertainty of the world we live in, the importance of the UK adopting an adaptable posture with flexible forces, and the benefit of working more closely with allies and partners were all well judged.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the proposal for further examination of the root causes of the conflict in Abyei in Sudan as set out in the Machakos Protocol.[HL8352]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Government recognise that sustainable peace in Sudan can only be delivered by addressing the root causes of conflict, including in Abyei. Our political engagement and development assistance has focused on implementation of the comprehensive peace agreement (CPA) whose power and wealth-sharing provisions are designed to address these root causes. We will continue to press for full implementation of the CPA ahead of its conclusion in July 2011 and for agreement on wider arrangements between North and South which are equitable and just.
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: In a statement issued on 8 April 2011 my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs said that he was deeply concerned by the continuing deaths and violence in Syria and condemned the killing of demonstrators by the Syrian security forces. He said that the Syrian Government must uphold their responsibility to protect demonstrators and respect the right of peaceful protest and free speech. The Syrian Government should address the legitimate demands of the Syrian people. Political reforms must be brought forward and implemented without delay.
We are also working actively with EU partners to underline these points to the Government of Syria. Our ambassador in Damascus joined ambassadors from France, Germany, Italy and Spain in presenting a demarche to the Syrian Government on 14 April 2011. This followed a previous demarche by the EU Head of Delegation and UK, French and German ambassadors to the Syrian Foreign Minister on 27 March 2011.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have had discussions with other Governments regarding steps which could be taken to prevent the Government of Syria killing civilians protesting against that Government.[HL8368]
The FAC Foreign Ministers issued conclusions expressing the council's extreme concern at the situation in Syria, deploring the many deaths resulting from ongoing violence, strongly condemning the use of force by the security forces against peaceful demonstrators and urging the authorities to exercise restraint. The FAC also called for the immediate release of those arrested in connection with the peaceful demonstrations, and for the Syrian authorities to investigate the deaths of protestors and to bring those responsible to account through a fair and transparent process.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government believe that integrating the operation of income tax and national insurance contributions can remove distortions, reduce burdens on business, and improve fairness for individuals. However, they recognise that any change will be complex and involve a wide range of policy and implementation issues.
An initial consultation document will be published later this year to consult on the options, stages and timing of reform. Responses to the consultation will inform future decisions on the timing of any reforms.
Lord Sassoon: The Government recognise the importance of engaging fully with interested parties in the development of tax policy. They do not wish to pre-empt the outcome of the consultation on integrating the operation of income tax and national insurance contributions, which will be guided by the Government's new tax consultation framework, published on 31 March 2011 and available at: http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/tax_updates.htm.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether it is their intention to shift the burden of personal taxation from high marginal rates on income to taxation of wealth, including residential property.[HL8298]
In his Budget 2011 Statement, the Chancellor outlined the Government's principles for taxation: that taxes should be efficient and support growth; be certain and predictable; be simple to understand and easy to comply with; be fair, reward work, support aspiration and ask the most from those who can most afford it.
The Budget confirmed that the Government regard the additional rate of income tax as a temporary measure. This is consistent with the intentions of the previous Government when the 50 per cent rate was introduced. The Chancellor has asked HMRC to assess the revenue raised by the 50 per cent rate using relevant self-assessment data.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the proposed review of the taxation of deferred income will include the treatment of carried interest earned by general partners in investment partnerships. [HL8300]
Lord Sassoon: As part of the Government's commitment to tackle tax avoidance, the Finance Bill 2011 includes legislation to target arrangements involving intermediary vehicles put in place by employers to disguise remuneration or to avoid restrictions on pensions tax relief. The Government have consulted widely and have given very careful consideration to ensuring that the legislation does not impact on responsible and sustainable remuneration structures where there is no tax avoidance motive.
Lord Sassoon: As set out in the 2011 Budget, the Government recognise the importance of continued investment in the North Sea, including in marginal gas
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To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to review the taxation of bank profits to allow a charge against pre-tax profits for the cost of servicing equity above a specific minimum level with a possible increase in the rate of the bank levy applied to non-qualifying domestic wholesale deposits. [HL8599]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the estimated total corporation tax per annum paid by companies in Northern Ireland; how many companies are estimated to pay this corporation tax; and what is the estimated number of company directors of companies in Northern Ireland which pay corporation tax.[HL8222]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Estimates of the amount of corporation tax paid by companies in Northern Ireland can be found at paragraphs 4.34 and 4.35 (page 26) of the consultation document Rebalancing the Northern Ireland Economy published by HM Treasury on 24 March 2011 . No estimates were published, or are readily available, on the number of companies to which the corporation tax relates. It follows that no estimate is readily available of the numbers of directors of such companies.
A link to the full document is given here: http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/rebalancing_the_ northern_ireland_economy_consultation.pdf.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the annual yield of corporation tax in the last four financial years; and what is their forecast of the corporation tax yield to HM Treasury in 2010-11. [HL8374]
Lord Sassoon: Historical figures for corporation tax receipts, up to and including 2009-10, are regularly updated and published in table 11.1, on the HMRC National Statistics website. The latest update is available here: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/corporate_tax/tablel1_1.pdf.
The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) published its forecast of corporation tax receipts for 2010-11 to 2015-16 as part of its Economic and Fiscal Outlook document on 23 March 2011 (table 4.7, page 103). A link to the full document is available here: http://cdn.budgetresponsibility.independent.gov.uk/economic_and_fiscal_outlook_23032011.pdf.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what projections they have made of the cost to tax revenue of increasing the taxation of non-domiciled residents and any consequential increase in the number of such people leaving the United Kingdom or choosing not to come here.[HL8299]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government estimate that the changes to non-domicile taxation announced at Budget 2011 will increase tax revenue by £110 million in 2013-14, £70 million in 2014-15 and £50 million in 2015-16. These costings take into account the behavioural impact of policy changes.
Further details of the Exchequer impact of these changes are published in the Budget 2011 policy costings document, available on the HM Treasury website at the following address: http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/2011budget_policycostings.pdf.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): About 1.4 million 2009-10 self-assessment tax returns were not filed by 31 January 2011. HM Revenue and Customs pursues outstanding returns using reminders and a penalty regime.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the target for the length of time taken to issue a VAT number upon application; and what estimate they have of the frequency with which that target will be met.[HL8305]
From April 2010 to February 2011, HM Revenue and Customs processed 66.5 per cent of applications within this time. However, performance from August onwards was ahead of target, with performance in the months of January and February being 79.9 per cent and 81.9 per cent respectively.
HMRC aims to issue VAT registration numbers as quickly as possible, while protecting the VAT system from fraudulent applications. It is necessary to balance the speed of registration against the need to assess risk and check applications to safeguard against fraud.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Budget Statement by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 23 March that the creation of a separate VAT rate for petrol "is illegal" (HC Deb, col 964), by which Act of Parliament such a rate is prohibited.[HL8479]
Lord Sassoon: The Value Added Tax Act 1994 provides for value added tax (VAT) at the standard rate to be charged on supplies of goods and services in the United Kingdom. Exceptions to that basic provision are set out in schedules to the Act.
United Kingdom VAT legislation derives from European Union VAT legislation, which lays down the permitted exceptions to the general rule that supplies of goods or services must attract VAT at the standard rate.
|Teachers gaining Qualified Teacher Status (QTS)1,2: Qualification by Phase|
|Academic Years: 2006-07-2008-09|
1. Includes universities and other higher education institutions, School Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT), Open University and employment-based routes, but excludes cases where OTS was granted on assessment without an ITT course.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to destroy the DNA and fingerprint information of innocent people currently retained
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The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The powers under Schedule 7 to the Terrorism Act 2000 allow officers to take biometric samples in order to identify if someone has been involved in the commission, preparation or instigation of an act of terrorism.
The provisions contained in the Protection of Freedoms Bill will require the Secretary of State to make an order providing for transitional arrangements for the destruction of material taken before the commencement of the new regime. Any material that has already been held for a longer period, except where there are grounds on which to make a national security determination extending retention, will fall to be deleted as soon as possible after the relevant provisions of the Bill come into force.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether it is necessary to continue to retain the DNA and fingerprint data of people examined or detained under Schedule 7 to the Terrorism Act 2000 when they are no longer suspected of engaging in acts of terrorism and no further action has been taken against them.[HL8219]
Baroness Neville-Jones: Schedule7 to the Terrorism Act 2000 is a national security border power which enables the police and the UK Border Agency to combat the threat to the UK and its interests by examining individuals travelling through the country's ports and borders to determine if they are involved in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.
The provisions contained in the Protection of Freedoms Bill will amend the current law, which permits the indefinite retention of biometric material, and replace it with a more proportionate regime. In respect of material taken under Schedule 7 to the Terrorism Act 2000, they will require that a chief officer of police must decide within six months whether it is necessary to extend retention on the grounds of national security. Where there are no grounds on which to make such a determination the material must be destroyed.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): The Thames Barrier has been raised
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|Calendar Year||Number of Times Raised|
As well as for flood defence purposes, we have also raised the barrier for routine monthly tests. This is done at low tide and is used to train staff, test equipment and to trial different procedures. Since 1 January 2000 there have been 123 of these tests.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 21 March (WA 124) concerning the display of tobacco products, why they have carried out no consultation with representatives of tobacco retailers or manufacturers; and whether they plan to do so.[HL8427]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Government are well aware of the views of retailers and the tobacco manufacturers about the legislation ending tobacco displays. These views have been made known in a variety of ways including through the two public consultations, meetings, correspondence, press articles and extensive lobbying.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the e-Borders target of tracking 60 per cent of all passenger and crew journeys into and out of the United Kingdom by the end of 2009 has been met; and, if so, when.[HL8208]
Baroness Northover: e-Borders is currently tracking around 55 per cent of inbound and 60 per cent of outbound passenger movements to and from the UK. This equates to approximately 126 million passengers a year on over 2,800 routes, and includes over 90 per cent of non-EU aviation passengers.
We are currently considering revised targets but these are dependent on reaching agreement with new suppliers to deliver additional e-Borders capability and final resolution of EU free movement issues.
The Government are totally committed to rolling out the e-Borders programme across all routes into and out of the UK. We are currently checking more than 90 per cent of flights from outside Europe. Collecting passenger data and checking them against our databases are vital for law enforcement, national security and our immigration system. By tracking those coming to the UK, our enforcement agencies can undermine terrorism, fight smuggling and continue to protect our border.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assistance they are providing to Tristan da Cunha to deal with the damage to wildlife, including sea birds, and the island fisheries industry, caused by the oil slick on Nightingale Island and the World Heritage site of Inaccessible Island following the running aground of MS Oliva.[HL8376]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The responsibility to clean up the damage caused to the environment of the Tristan da Cunha islands, and to compensate the Tristan community for any losses lies with the ship's owners and insurers. We are ensuring that they continue to meet this responsibility in full. We have also been in close touch with the Tristan da Cunha authorities throughout and are ensuring that they have all the advice and support they need from across government and elsewhere.
The Tristan authorities and community are working hard to help the wildlife affected by the oil, and to clean up the pollution from the wreck. Equipment and expert help has been supplied by the wrecked vessel's insurers and more is on its way. The fisheries at Nightingale and Inaccessible Islands will remain closed until testing has been completed. But the full impacts on the wildlife and fisheries will take time to assess.
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The Government, through our embassy in Ankara, has regular contact with the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), which is leading the protests. Our embassy will continue to maintain contact with BDP leaders, particularly in the run-up to the elections in June. We have no plans, however, to make contact with the individuals leading the protests in Diyarbakir and other towns in Turkey where protests are taking place.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Verma on 21 March (WA 126-7), what assessment they have made of the allocation of the budget support for Uganda from the United Kingdom, in particular in relation to the increase in spending by the Government of Uganda prior to the last general election in that country.[HL8343]
Baroness Northover: The UK Government have not taken a final decision on budget support for Uganda for financial year 2011-12. We are forecasting a phased reduction in the level of general budget support over the next four years.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what provisions there are, statutory, regulatory or otherwise, (a) preventing, and (b) disadvantaging, a United Kingdom university taking, in addition to quota, fee-paying students who are domiciled in the United Kingdom.[HL8318]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): I will write to my noble friend and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they are making to the Government of Uzbekistan about the alleged use of torture and inhumane treatment, the alleged state control of lawyers and the expulsion of human rights organisations. [HL8580]
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: We remain concerned about the overall level of respect for human rights in Uzbekistan, including relating to continued allegations
26 Apr 2011 : Column WA111
We regularly raise our concerns on these and other issues with the Uzbek authorities, both bilaterally and through international fora such as the EU, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the UN. The Minister for Europe, my right honourable friend the Member for Aylesbury (Mr Lidington), raised human rights with then Uzbek Foreign Minister Norov when they met at the OSCE summit in Astana in December, including with respect to Human Rights Watch. The UK and EU stand ready to assist Uzbekistan in making progress on these and other reform issues.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will ask the United Nations Human Rights Commission to visit Uzbekistan and to examine its record in ratifying international human rights conventions.[HL8581]
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: Uzbekistan has ratified several important international human rights conventions, but serious gaps remain between the corresponding domestic legislation and its implementation. We regularly raise our concerns about this with the Uzbek authorities. We fully support the work undertaken by organisations such as the EU, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the UN, to promote increased respect for human rights in Uzbekistan, and continue to support calls to allow visits from relevant UN bodies and special rapporteurs.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Neville-Jones on 21 March (WA 128-31), why 1,100 actors, entertainers, dancers, choreographers and musicians from Colombia, Cuba, Jamaica and Venezuela, in standard occupational classification categories 3413-5, were assigned certificates of sponsorship in 2010; and what are the skill shortages in the United Kingdom in those occupations allowing this.[HL8120]
Baroness Northover: Certificates of sponsorship (CoSs) are allocated to licensed sponsors by the UK Border Agency Sponsor Licensing Unit. This allocation is based on a justifiable figure provided by the sponsor as part of their licensing application. The CoSs must be assigned in accordance with published policy, the codes of practice and, where applicable, the Shortage Occupation List.
The Shortage Occupation List is produced by the Migration Advisory Committee. a non-departmental public body sponsored by the UK Border Agency. The list is produced following a review of the labour market,
26 Apr 2011 : Column WA112
|SOC Code and Employment Type||Occupations included in Shortage Occupation List|
Companies and individuals wishing to bring professional entertainers from outside the European Economic Area to the UK for performances must seek CoSs for the participating professionals. The CoSs are issued to cover only the period the professionals need to remain in the UK for the performances.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Neville-Jones on 29 March (WA 260), to which public funds a fit single adult, who is not a tier 2 immigrant, living outside London and earning (a) £19,500 per annum, or (b) £18,500 per annum, has access.[HL8279]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): It is not possible to answer the question without knowing the person's individual circumstances. As a very rough guideline, a fit single adult without children who is not a tier 2 immigrant, living outside London, is unlikely to get working tax credit if their income is £11,500 or more a year. Whether they would be entitled to help with their housing costs would depend on a number of factors such as their age, their income/capital, and the type of accommodation.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, in the light of the statement by Earl Attlee on 10 March (Official Report, col. 1853) that it is not clear how someone earning less than £20,000 per annum supports themselves, what support and benefits they intend to extend to working adults in that category. [HL8280]
Lord Freud: From 2013 we will be introducing the universal credit which is designed to ensure that work always pays and to encourage more people to see work as the best route out of poverty. It will introduce a
26 Apr 2011 : Column WA113
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