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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): The Government recognise the benefits that allotments can bring to the community. Allotments are valuable green spaces and community assets that provide opportunities for people to grow their own produce as part of the long-term promotion of environmental sustainability, health and well-being, community cohesion and social inclusion.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to change the duty of local authorities to provide allotments; and, if so, whether they have assessed the impact on the number of allotments available to rent.[HL8760]
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To ask Her Majesty's Government, for each of the past four years, what regiments with complements of over a thousand have returned from Afghanistan and have not had a homecoming event held in their honour.[HL8704]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The Ministry of Defence deploys Brigades formed of light role battle groups which comprise some 600 personnel. In the past four years some 60 battle groups have deployed and recovered from Afghanistan all of which have participated in some form of homecoming event.
A service of thanksgiving in St Anne's Cathedral, Belfast, is planned for 22 May to remember, to give thanks and to mark the return of the 1st Battalion, the Royal Irish Regiment, along with various other events in Northern Ireland throughout May and June. Ministry of Defence officials are discussing with Belfast City Council and other parties how best to mark the commitment of both the Royal Irish Regiment and the Irish Guards in a way that gives appropriate recognition for their tremendous bravery and achievement in Southern Afghanistan.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they will take in response to the decision by the United Kingdom banking industry to withdraw cheque guarantee cards from the end of June 2011, and to end the facility of obtaining cash at post offices on presentation of such cards.[HL8955]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The withdrawal of cheque guarantee facilities is a matter for the banks which are members of the guarantee scheme. The Payment Council has stated that the decision has been driven by a decline in the use of the scheme and that leaving the scheme to wither on the vine is likely to lead to confusion, potentially exposing more customers to the risk of fraud.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The Government received a great deal of feedback on the proposal, announced in the spending review, to withdraw the mobility component of disability living allowance (DLA) from people in residential care homes after 28 days.
In response to the concerns raised by individuals and organisations, we announced that we would not remove the DLA mobility component from people in residential care from October 2012. We will be considering the needs of care home residents alongside all other DLA recipients.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have any plans to refine the methodology for the Consumer Prices Index to ensure that it is a suitable measure of inflation for the uprating of thresholds, benefits and pension rights.[HL8812]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Both HM Treasury and the Bank of England are members of the Consumer Prices Advisory Committee (CPAC) that advises the United Kingdom Statistical Authority on improvements to the Consumer Price Index (CPI), recommended by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The Chancellor has supported refining the methodology for the CPI so that it includes housing costs. The Office for National Statistics, along with the national statistical offices of other European member states, is working with the Statistical Office of the European Communities (Eurostat) to assess the most appropriate approach for including an index of owner-occupier housing costs in the CPI in the future.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): Cornwall is subject to UK legislation. While the body of stannary customary law has not been systematically repealed, it is likely that such customary law has been superseded by modern legislation.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Wallace of Saltaire on 26 April (WA 25), what are the criteria by which Capita is referred to as the private sector partner of the Criminal Records Bureau rather than a contractor.[HL8947]
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Wallace of Saltaire on 26 April (WA 25), whether all work carried out for the Criminal Records Bureau by Capita is conducted within the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom.[HL8948]
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The Criminal Records Bureau's (CRB) was specifically let as a Public Private Partnership (PPP). This is defined by the European Commission as "a partnership between the public sector and the private sector for the purpose of delivering a project or a service traditionally provided by the public sector" (EC Guidelines for successful Public-Private Partnerships, 2003) and also as "forms of co-operation between public authorities and the world of business which aims to ensure the funding, construction, renovation, management or maintenance of an infrastructure or the provision of a service" (Green Paper on Public-Private Partnerships and Community Law on Public Contracts and Concessions (COM 2004)327), 2004).
Not all work that Capita carries out for the ORB is conducted within the United Kingdom; some work is undertaken in India. Applicant's personal data are scanned and the images from the application form are encrypted and sent by secure electronic link to Capita India. Staff key in the data from each image, check for accuracy and send the data to the ORB before deleting it from their systems.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The Duchy of Cornwall is a private estate that funds the public, charitable and private activities of the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): The generation of electricity by wind turbines in the UK is supported through the renewables obligation (RO) according to how much they generate. This support has been classified as tax and spend by the Office for National Statistics. Wind generation does
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According to table B1 in Appendix 3 of Ofgem's Renewables Obligation: Annual Report 2009-10, 7,237,999 renewable obligation certificates (ROCs) were issued to onshore wind farms in 2009-10, and 2,716,787 to offshore wind farms. The value of a ROC in 2009-10 according to this report was £52.36. This implies a total cost of RO support to wind farms in 2009-10 of around £520 million.
The generation of electricity from wind farms varies according to the speed of the wind. Average wind speed varies by location and from day to day, and from year to year. The proportion of maximum output that UK wind farms have generated on average over past years, known as the load factor, is presented below (taken from the Digest of United Kingdom Energy Statistics 2010).
|Extract from DUKES Table 7.4 Load factors on an unchanged configuration basis (per cent) (1)|
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act 2007 implemented in November 2008 provides greater protection for those at risk, preventing forced marriage and enabling courts to make orders to protect victims. While the Act cannot end a forced marriage that has already taken place, there is existing legislation to end a forced marriage under Section 11 (Void), and Section 12 (Voidable), of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973.
A void marriage is one where, although the parties have been through a ceremony of marriage, they have never acquired the status of husband or wife owing to the presence of some impediment (ie the marriage could not legally have taken place). A marriage can be void for several reasons including where either party is under the age of 16, as may apply in a forced marriage case.
A voidable marriage is a marriage which is legally valid when entered into but which may be subject to subsequent annulment by a court if a party to the marriage challenges its validity. In the absence of such a challenge a voidable marriage remains valid. A marriage can be voidable for several reasons including in cases where either party did not validly consent to the marriage, whether in consequence of duress, mistake, unsoundness of mind or otherwise. In a voidable annulment based on lack of consent due to duress, the party applying would have to prove to the court that there was sufficient fear or pressure to override their true intent. This is regularly used by victims of forced marriages.
In partnership with other government agencies, such as the Forced Marriage Unit, we are continuing to raise awareness of forced marriage among communities and practitioners through community engagement and outreach programmes and to provide support to victims of forced through the ongoing provision of the Forced Marriage Unit's national helpline. The Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) cannot provide legal advice, but signposts victims to suitable advice and support. This includes the organisation resolution, who have established a specialist accreditation scheme for legal professionals which includes forced marriage and honour-based violence.
Lord Taylor of Holbeach: The majority of units in the Cabinet Office have been created or restructured since 12 May 2010 to reflect the priorities of the Government. Details of all Cabinet Office units and teams are published in the Cabinet Office organogram which is available on the Cabinet Office website (http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/resource-library/structure-charts-cabinet-office). A copy of the organogram will also be placed in the Libraries of the House. An updated version is due to be published shortly.
Key changes include the creation of the Office of Civil Society, the establishment of a Deputy Prime Minister's Office, the formation of the Efficiency and Reform Group, the creation of the Political and Constitutional Reform Group and the creation of the National Security Secretariat.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): The Ministerial Working Group on preventing and tackling inequalities experienced by Gypsies and Travellers is looking at ways to address issues which have an adverse impact on these communities includingbetter engagement between Gypsies and Travellers and service providers;a community-led promotion of small privately owned site development;identifying ways to improve health outcomes;a community-led proposal to raise Gypsy and Traveller educational aspirations and encourage greater parental engagement and support for children to remain in the education system;better access and engagement with employment and benefits services; andimproving access to financial products and services.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of their proposals to reform civil litigation costs on the damages received by seriously injured victims of road traffic accidents. [HL8782]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally):Reforming Civil Litigation Funding and Costs in England and Wales-Implementation of Lord Justice Jackson's Recommendations: The Government Response was published on 29 March 2011, setting out the way forward on the proposals following full consultation. An updated impact assessment was published alongside this response.
Lord McNally:Reforming Civil Litigation Funding and Costs in England and Wales-Implementation of Lord Justice Jackson's Recommendations: The Government Response was published on 29 March 2011, setting out the way forward on the proposals following full consultation.
As indicated in the response, changes to the conditional fee agreement regime requiring primary legislation will follow as soon as parliamentary time allows. Other changes will require amendments to the Civil Procedure Rules or other secondary legislation. Further consultation will follow in due course, as appropriate. It is envisaged that the reforms will be implemented together, once the legislation is enacted, aside from the reversal of Carver v BAA and increases to recoverable fees for litigants in person, which can be taken forward independently more swiftly.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what impact assessment has been carried out to evaluate the effect on accident victims of the proposed change whereby a claimant will have to deduct their lawyers' success fee from their compensation award.[HL8877]
Lord McNally:Reforming Civil Litigation Funding and Costs in England and Wales-Implementation of Lord Justice Jackson's Recommendations: The Government Response was published on 29 March 2011, setting out the way forward on the proposals following full consultation. An updated impact assessment was published alongside this response.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Neville-Jones on 22 March (WA 155), whether any application has been received or is expected from the South Yorkshire Police to contribute towards the policing costs of the Liberal Democrat spring conference 2011 in Sheffield.[HL8522]
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: An application for special grant has been received from South Yorkshire Police with regards to the Liberal Democrat spring conference 2011 in Sheffield. It is currently being considered under special grant criteria.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress has been made since 11 May 2010 on reducing plastic bag usage (a) in supermarkets, and (b) as a whole; what policy changes have taken place; and what action they are proposing to take in the coming year.[HL8807]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): No estimation has been made since May 2011 as annual figures estimating the amount of carrier bags used are produced on a May-to-May basis. Retailers will submit their annual data to the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) after May 2011. The aggregated data will be published later in the year.
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: HMIC's report Demanding Times published on 30 March provides a definition of frontline, middle office and back office police functions. A copy of the report is available at: http://www.hmic. gov.uk/SiteCollectionDocuments/Thematics/THM_20110330.pdf.
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: There were 4,023 special constables (headcount) in the City of London and Metropolitan police force areas on 30 September 2010. Estimates for the number of special constables for 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16 are not available centrally.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they are progressing with statutory regulation of political lobbyists to include a registry of declaration of relevant interests, in order to ensure greater transparency.[HL8951]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The Government plan to carry out a wide-ranging consultation later this year and then to bring forward legislation in the second Session of this Parliament.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Ministers and officials have discussions with a wide variety of international partners as part of the process of policy development and delivery. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government's practice to provide details of all such discussions.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether there are any plans to encourage the establishment of one or more regional stock exchanges as part of their policies to stimulate the economies of the nations and regions of the United Kingdom.[HL8887]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government have no plans to encourage the establishment of regional stock exchanges. Respondents to the 2010 Green Paper Financing a Private Sector Recovery did not favour their introduction, citing concerns over the liquidity of such exchanges.
The local growth White Paper sets out the Government's approach to encouraging growth at a local level. Furthermore, the British Bankers' Association Business Finance Taskforce has announced a £2.5 billion business growth fund for established companies with strong growth potential. This fund will operate through a network of regional offices, providing between £2 million and £10 million of equity finance per transaction. The fund is on track for its official launch in May 2011 .
Lord Taylor of Holbeach: Part 1 of the Charities Act 2006 (the Act) provides the definition of a charity in England and Wales. In order to be a charity, an organisation must be subject to the jurisdiction of the High Court, be established for charitable purposes only, and its purposes must be for the public benefit. The Act provides a non-exhaustive list of descriptions of charitable purposes, but does not provide a statutory definition of public benefit, instead relying on the existing common law meaning of public benefit. Furthermore, the Act removed the presumption that charities established for the advancement of education were for the public benefit.
The Charity Commission has published guidance on the requirements of charitable status, including on charitable purposes and public benefit. The legal basis of the Charity Commission's guidance on public benefit is currently subject to a reference made by the Attorney-General to the Upper Tribunal (Tax and Chancery), inviting it to clarify the law that underpins the guidance. The Upper Tribunal hearing is due later this month.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): As a matter of government policy, free schools are established as charitable trusts and cannot operate for profit. Therefore no discussions have been entered into.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The Government considered a wide range of evidence in developing the policies reflected in the Education Bill and in considering their impact on race equality. The equality impact assessment, published at the time of the introduction of the Education Bill, summarises these factors. It draws on data from the national pupil database and from the Longitudinal Study of Young People in
11 May 2011 : Column WA222
Lord Hill of Oareford: The department published an equalities impact assessment for the academies programme in 2010. It included an assessment of the intake to academies by ethnic group and an assessment of the Key Stage 4 results of pupils by ethnic group. The equalities impact assessment is available at: http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/pupilsupport/inclusionandlearnersupport/inclusion/equalityand diversity/x0063621/equality-impact-assessments-carried-out-since-may-2010.
Lord Hill of Oareford: The department published an equalities impact assessment for the academies programme in 2010. Please see the link to the current assessment below: http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/ pupilsupport/inclusionandlearnersupport/inclusion/equalityanddiversity/a0063621/equality-impact-assessments-carried-out-since-may-2010.
In December 2010, the department published a Statistical First Release titled GCSE and Equivalent Attainment by Pupil Characteristics in England, 2009-10. The publication can be downloaded from the department's website at: http://www.education.gov.uk/rsgateway/DB/ SFR/s000977/index.shtml.
A detailed breakdown of the national results for each cohort between 2006 and 2010 by ethnic group and by other pupil characteristics is available in the Excel version of table 1 in this publication, and is available from the same departmental webpage: http://www.education.gov.uk/rsgateway/DB/SFR/s000977/SFR37_2010.xls.
Lord Hill of Oareford: The department published an equalities impact assessment for the academies programme in 2010. It included a comparison of the exclusion rates in academies and other schools by ethnic group.
Below is the link to the equalities impact assessment on the department for Education website: http://www. education.gov.uk/schools/pupilsupport/inclusion
11 May 2011 : Column WA223
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: No estimates have been made in relation to the additional costs to South Wales Police of policing major events in Cardiff. Such a request has not been received by South Wales Police Authority. As part of their budget processes, police forces are expected to make reasonable provision for normal expenditure and to set aside provision or reserves for exceptional circumstances.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have received any requests from the Welsh Assembly Government for an increase in funding for South Wales Police in recognition of their role in policing Cardiff.[HL8889]
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The Department for Communities and Local Government led on an overarching consultation in the summer of 2010 on technical improvements to the means by which funding is allocated to all local authorities. This included the Police Allocation Formula or PAF, which is used to calculate funding to police authorities.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): The Forestry Commission and Motorsports Association have a Great Britain-wide agreement for the holding of motor sports events on the Forestry Commission estate. This has recently been extended by mutual consent for a further 12 months.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what resources UK Trade and Investment are currently putting towards the promotion of Wales throughout the world; and what resources have been devoted to this in each of the past 10 years.[HL8885]
The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint): The devolved Administrations, of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and the UK Government have concurrent responsibility to promote international trade and inward investment.
UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) has the lead UK responsibility for the provision of support and assistance to new and existing exporters and outward investors both at home and overseas and for promoting the whole of the UK and all its constituent parts to foreign investors.
The devolved Administrations are funded individually and are responsible for devising and implementing additional programmes to meet the particular needs of their companies and for promoting Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales to foreign investors.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether UK Trade and Investment has had any contact with Cardiff Council or with Cardiff Business Partnership since the findings of the research by Cardiff Business School in conjunction with Cardiff Business Partnership were published on workers' assessments of the attractiveness of Cardiff as a place to work. [HL8886]
Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint: According to records kept by UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) on its electronic records storage and management system, Matrix, and on its customer relationship management (CRM) system, there has been no contact between UKTI and Cardiff Council or Cardiff Business Partnership.
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