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The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Browning): Data showing how many people have been cautioned, prosecuted and convicted for selling alcohol to those who are under the legal age each year since 2000 is provided in the table which will be placed in the House Libraries. The data for the persistent sales offence came into effect in 2008.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): Negotiations on the anti-counterfeiting trade agreement were concluded in November last year. The Government will consider their position on signature and ratification of the agreement following the publication later this year of the European Commission's proposals. We expect that this process will include a period of national parliamentary scrutiny.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Wallace of Saltaire on 26 April (WA4-5), on what basis, and by whom, the eight police forces which are to trial a new approach to handling calls about anti-social behaviour were selected; and why South Wales Police was chosen. [HL8988]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Browning): The eight police forces were selected by a panel which included Home Office officials and representatives from the Association of Chief Police Officers, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and the Social Landlords Crime and Nuisance Group. The participants-including South Wales Police-were selected on the basis of a range of considerations, such as evidence of local partners' support for the work and commitment to providing a better service to repeat and vulnerable
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To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Wilcox on 5 April (WA343), whether they have initiated, or plan to initiate, preliminary discussions on routes to membership through apprenticeship with prominent professional bodies such as the Institution of Civil Engineers, Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Institution of Electrical Engineers and the Royal College of Nursing; and when those discussions will take place.[HL8699]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): We believe that apprentices should have something to aspire to and be awarded recognition for their work, to create a sense of pride in modern crafts and occupations. We are keen that professional bodies and guilds are involved in developing a professional apprenticeship route and discussions with sector skills councils and the UK Commission for Employment in Skills about how this can be achieved are ongoing. We have had some preliminary discussions with a small number of professional bodies, but because of the number and diversity of professional institutions and associations we cannot engage with all of these organisations individually.
In addition we support the Technicians Council, founded by Lord David Sainsbury, which continues to provide a strong advocacy for apprenticeships for the science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) community and enables a wide range of professional associations and learned societies to explore the opportunities offered by the apprenticeship programme.
This Government also recently launched the prospectus for a new growth and innovation fund (GIF), inviting proposals from employers, including professional bodies, to address skills issues in their sectors. As part of the GIF, we are encouraging proposals that position apprenticeships at the centre of enhanced professional or occupational standards.
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Department for Education publish online their commitments for the apprenticeships programme in their business plans. The National Apprenticeship Service is held to account through quarterly review meetings with senior officials and a separate quarterly
12 May 2011 : Column WA227
To ask Her Majesty's Government, in view of the high risk of lower limb injury as a result of improvised explosive devices in Afghanistan and the number of military personnel surviving these injuries, whether they will (a) provide sperm donation and storage facilities to be used by service personnel predeployment; and (b) issue groin protectors as standard kit in line with their United States counterparts.[HL8776]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has no plans to provide a funded, elective fertility preservation service for service personnel prior to operational deployment. Procedures to preserve sexual and reproductive function have been developed and are available for the relatively small number of injured service personnel who require them on return from operations. Specifically, when deemed appropriate, access to NHS-funded sperm harvesting and storage is offered and this process will continue to be funded by the MoD. However, it is important that service personnel also have access to sound impartial advice about the options open to them prior to an operational deployment, and guidance has recently been issued to commanding officers to this effect.
All deployed personnel are provided with the clothing and equipment needed to undertake operational tasking. In 2010, a new, multi-tiered pelvic protection system entered service, which helps to mitigate the effects of improvised explosive device blasts. This clothing and armour consists of three tiers, including special protective underwear and detachable armoured groin protection and trousers.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the Government of Ireland regarding holding a homecoming march past by the Royal Irish Rangers on their return from Afghanistan. [HL8703]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): There have been no discussions between Foreign and Commonwealth Office Ministers and the Government of the Republic of Ireland regarding a homecoming march by the Royal Irish Rangers on their return from Afghanistan. The issue of a homecoming march was discussed in the other place by my right honourable friend the Prime Minister on 27 April 2011 (Official Report, Commons, col. 174 to 175).
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the political and human rights situation in Saudi Arabia; and whether they have made representations regarding the use of Saudi Arabian security forces in Bahrain.[HL8656]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Saudi Arabia is an important partner for the UK in the Middle East and our relationship encompasses vital work on counterterrorism, regional security, including the situation in Yemen, energy security, trade, defence and education.
We have serious concerns about the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia and we have made our views well known, including through the universal periodic review process and in discussions with the Saudi Government. Our embassy regularly raises our concerns, including the death penalty. Our concerns are also set out clearly in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office human rights report each year. In 2010 we worked both bilaterally and with the EU in four priority areas: women's rights; the death penalty; rights of foreign workers; and judicial reform. The UK funded a number of projects in 2010 including training to female entrepreneurs.
My right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary and the Saudi Foreign Minister met in London on 22 March and had a constructive discussion on Bahrain. The Foreign Secretary and Prince Saud agreed that the Gulf Co-operation Council forces, who are in Bahrain at the legitimate invitation of the Bahraini Government, should work to create the right conditions for a successful dialogue. We have seen no evidence that GCC forces in Bahrain have done anything other than safeguard installations.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the superinjunction granted to Sir Fred Goodwin, and referred to by Mr John Hemming MP on 10 March (Official Report, Commons col. 1069), relates to events during his term as chief executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland; and, if so, whether they can be considered by the Financial Services Authority in its review covering corporate governance at the Royal Bank of Scotland which is due to be published shortly.[HL8767]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Her Majesty's Government are not aware of any details related to any superinjunction granted to Sir Fred Goodwin, including whether any such superinjunction relates to events during his term as chief executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what safeguards are in place to ensure that Irish banks selling products in the United Kingdom are subject to the same standard of regulation as United Kingdom banks. [HL8817]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Financial Services Authority (FSA) supervises and regulates Irish-owned banks incorporated in the UK in the same way as any other UK bank. These banks are required to comply with FSA rules including capital, liquidity, complaints and requirements to participate in the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
Under European law, banks incorporated in Ireland have the right to passport into the UK and provide financial services and products to UK customers. These banks are authorised by the Irish Financial Regulator. For the UK business of these branches, the FSA has responsibility for the supervision of conduct of business, money laundering, financial crime and branch liquidity.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): This Government recognise that too many people are on benefits as a result of drug and alcohol addiction, often for many years having been failed by the system. As a consequence, they are determined to take tough action to address this issue.
People in receipt of benefits as a result of a drug or alcohol dependency will be expected to work where they can, while those unable to work will be offered every support to overcome their dependency. The Government are currently in the process of reassessing all incapacity benefit claims in order to identify claimants who have the potential to return to work and offer them the necessary support to do so.
The department does not routinely record the information requested in this parliamentary Question on its systems. It did however commission a one-off research report in 2008 to look at precisely this issue in respect of opiate or crack cocaine dependency, and a similar research report in 2010 in respect of alcohol dependency. These reports are publicly available on
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It should be noted that drug dependency does not of itself confer entitlement to disability benefits. In the case of incapacity benefit and employment support allowance, this is determined by a person's capability or capacity for employment. For disability living allowance entitlement relies on the care and/or mobility needs arising from a particular condition. Where individuals with a substance dependency are in receipt of such benefits it will be because they have other diagnoses, for example mental illness.
The department does routinely record the numbers of people in receipt of disability benefits who record drug abuse or alcoholism as their main disabling condition. This information is presented in table 2. These figures represent a subset of all claimants with a drug or alcohol dependency, as not all such claimants will have declared this as their main condition.
|Table 1: Estimated number of working age claimants who are opiate (eg heroin) or crack cocaine users or dependent drinkers by benefit type in England|
|Benefit||Number of opiate or crack cocaine users in 2006||Number of dependent drinkers in 2008|
|Table 2. Incapacity Benefit/Severe Disablement Allowance (IB/SDA), Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Employment Support Allowance (ESA) recipients with Alcoholism and Drug Abuse recorded as the main condition-August 2010|
|Benefit||Total number with Alcoholism and Drug Abuse||Number with Alcoholism||Number with Drug Abuse|
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): The most recent estimate of the breeding population of kestrels in the UK is 36,800 pairs in 2000. This was derived from the results of the 1989-92 British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) atlas of breeding birds, updated using information on annual population trends as recorded by the BTO/RSPB/Joint Nature Conservation Committee breeding bird survey. The results of the 2007-11 breeding atlas, expected to be published in spring 2013, will provide a contemporary assessment of the status of the kestrel population in the UK.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the implications for elderly people of occupying care homes under licences which can require them to leave at four weeks' notice.[HL8632]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what protection there is under United Kingdom human rights legislation for an elderly person threatened with eviction from a care home on account of their beliefs.[HL8634]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): This Government recognise how upsetting it can be for people to have to move from a care home that they see as their true home. It is important for people who need care and support to be accommodated in appropriate settings, and it is clearly not desirable if someone is forced to move from a care home where they are happy and settled and their needs are being met.
No assessment of the implications of older people required to leave a care home has been carried out by government. This is because the responsibility for providing or arranging residential care rests with local authorities, not central government. Local authorities have a duty to protect the interests of the people they are responsible for in care homes. In addition, the regulator-the Care Quality Commission (CQC)-has a role in ensuring care is meeting the necessary standards and that quality is maintained. If a person were evicted from a care home-for any reason-we would expect the local authority, CQC and the person's family to collaborate to ensure that the person was placed in a suitable setting at minimal disruption.
It is unlawful for a public body to breach any person's human rights. The Human Rights Act 1998 incorporates the European Convention on Human Rights into UK law. Under Article 9 of the Convention, everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. Under the Health and Social Care Act 2008, "public body" includes any provider that supplies accommodation together with nursing or personal care on behalf of a local authority.
The Human Rights Act 1998 does not give residents a guarantee they can remain in a care home for life. The details of the contract, including the arrangements for ending the contract, are a matter for negotiation between the care home and the person or organisation commissioning the care.
Under the Equality Act 2010, it is unlawful for a service provider to discriminate against a person on the grounds of religion or belief in the provision of its services (including the termination of the provision of the service).
The Government recognise the importance of social care services and have taken steps to ensure that local authorities have sufficient funds to provide them. In recognition of the pressures on the social care system in a challenging fiscal climate, we have allocated an additional £2 billion by 2014-15 to support the delivery of social care. With an ambitious programme of efficiency, there will be enough funding available both to protect people's access to services and deliver new approaches to improve quality and outcomes.
A Vision for Adult Social Care: Capable Communities and Active Citizens, published on 16 November 2010 and a copy of which has already been placed in the
12 May 2011 : Column WA233
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to Written Answers by Lord Taylor of Holbeach on 6 April (WA384-5) and 23 March (WA174), why the Polish population in Scotland and England of 1.1 per cent and 0.9 per cent respectively was not considered sufficiently large to justify a separate tick-box category in England's census form; what is the estimated proportion of the Gypsy and Irish Traveller population in the United Kingdom; and what particular efforts were made to enumerate such nomadic peoples.[HL8922]
As Director General for the Office for National Statistics (ONS) I have been asked to reply to your recent Question asking: further to the Written Answers by Lord Taylor of Holbeach on 6 April (WA384-5) and 23 March (WA174), (i) why the Polish population in Scotland and England of 1.1 per cent and 0.9 per cent respectively was not considered sufficiently large to justify a separate tick-box category in England's census form, (ii) what is the estimated proportion of the Gypsy and Irish Traveller population in the United Kingdom; and (iii) what particular efforts were made to enumerate such nomadic peoples. (HL8922)
(i) The questions and response categories in the 2011 census take account of an extensive programme of user consultation, question research, testing and development. There were many more demands for additional tick-boxes than could possibly be accommodated on the space available on the census questionnaire. Although the ethnic group question for the 2011 census was allocated more space than that for the 2001 census, there was not enough to enable tick-boxes to be provided for all the groups present in significant numbers in the UK. With space for only two new tick boxes, a set of principles was developed by which requirements for new tick-box categories for ethnic groups could be assessed and prioritised. These covered:strength of need for information;lack of alternative sources of information;clarity and quality of the information collected and acceptability to respondents; andcomparability with the 2001 census data.
Polish scored well in the prioritisation exercise but not as well as the two new ethnic group categories that have been included. However people who want to
12 May 2011 : Column WA234
Information about the prioritisation method is published on the census website in an information paper Deciding which tick boxes to add to the ethnic group question in the 2011 England and Wales Census. To coincide with the laying of the census order before Parliament in October 2009, additional material covering the questions to be asked in the 2011 Census was placed on the census website: http://www.ons.gov.uk/census/2011-census/2011-census-questionnaire-content/question-and-content-recommendations-for-2011/index.html.
(ii) It is too early for the census to indicate yet what the estimated population of Gypsies and Irish Travellers is. I understand that the Department for Communities and Local Government do have some estimates.
(iii) Special arrangements were made to enumerate Gypsies, Travellers and people in travelling fairs. In developing the plans to do so ONS worked closely with local authority Gypsy and Traveller Liaison Officers, as well as with Gypsy and Traveller community groups. The enumeration of these groups seems to have gone well although we are not yet in a position to report on the numbers involved.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): We will be publishing a document on obesity before the summer that will set out how obesity will be tackled in the new public health and National Health Service systems, and the role of key partners.
We want people to know that they can change their own and their families' lifestyle and in doing so they can make a difference to their health. What the Government can do is give the public clear, consistent messages on why they should change their lifestyle, and how to do so; and put in place ways to make this easier. However, we cannot tackle obesity alone: it is an issue for society as a whole. We all have a role to play.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): For the period 2007-13, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has been allocated €458 million from the European Regional Development Fund and €196 million from the European Social Fund. Expenditure is eligible from 1 January 2007 and can take place up until 31 December 2015.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will address the skill gaps and shortages in the United Kingdom outlined recently by Professor Steve Smith, president of Universities UK, Professor Edward Acton, vice-chancellor, University of East Anglia; Professor Dave Wark, Imperial College London, and Simeon Underwood, academic registrar, London School of Economics at the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee hearing on overseas students; and how these shortages have been allowed to develop.[HL8921]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): Professor Smith's evidence highlighted the important contribution made by higher education students taking science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) courses, towards the development of a strong knowledge economy within the UK.
Her Majesty's Government recognise the value of a strong supply of STEM graduates and the Departments for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) and for Education work closely together to ensure that policies and measures supporting the development of a strong STEM pipeline are coherent. Indeed, in 2009-10, 43 per cent of UK-domiciled first degree students took science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) courses.
BIS supports a range of measures promoting STEM careers and occupations, including funding STEMNET and the STEM ambassadors programme. STEMNET is a UK-wide organisation, whose purpose is to ensure that all young people, regardless of background, are encouraged to understand the excitement and importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics in their lives and the career opportunities to which these subjects can lead.
BIS also contributes to the cost of the Big Bang Fair and supports the National Science and Engineering Competition in partnership with a number of organisations, and funds opportunities to engage in National Science and Engineering Week.
Government aim to ensure that STEM, and higher education courses in general, better equip students with the skills to help maximise their employment chances. All universities have now set out in employability statements the range of support they provide to students to help develop the skills employers value.
This Government will enable prospective students to make better informed decisions concerning career choices. The Higher Education Funding Council for
12 May 2011 : Column WA236
BIS continues to work closely with the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, giving employers a lead role in a skills system that is more responsive to their needs. The science cluster of sector skills councils undertake strategic planning and review of activity across sectors dependent upon STEM skills, and aim to provide a responsive fit between STEM skills provision and the needs of employers in their sectors.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Answer by Baroness Wilcox on 3 May (WA332), how exactly they are "looking at every possible way to stop interest rates from spiralling out of control".[HL8911]
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Answer by Baroness Wilcox on 3 May (Official Report, WA332), how the interests of savers and retired people are protected by the Government "looking at every possible way to stop interest rates rising".[HL8972]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The Government are having to take some very difficult decisions on public spending to tackle the fiscal deficit. Confronting the deficit prevents erosion in the confidence that the UK will continue to be able to service its debt obligations leading to higher interest rates on our public borrowing. Spiralling interest rates ultimately benefit no one due to the wider impacts on the economy.
We will continue to work with the quartet representative, the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority to reopen Gaza for business. We believe that a strong economy in the Occupied Territories is key to promoting peace, stability and prosperity.
To ask Her Majesty's Government to which regulations on discrimination and harassment they are referring in the Red Tape Challenge when asking whether they should be scrapped altogether or be merged with existing regulations; and what are the existing regulations referred to.[HL8641]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The Red Tape Challenge aims to take a comprehensive approach, looking widely at regulation that affects businesses, members of the public and voluntary organisations. It seeks views on where regulations are working well, as well as where they are imposing unnecessary burdens on businesses, members of the public or voluntary organisations or restricting personal freedoms. The presence of a particular regulation or law on this website should not be read as implying any intention on the part of the Government to remove that regulation or law from the statute book. The regulations available for comment can be found on www.redtapechallenge.cabinetoffice.gov.uk.
However, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence's draft scope for the proposed appraisal of Ranibizumab (Lucentis) for the treatment of diabetic macular oedema estimated that of the 2.4 million people diagnosed with diabetes in England and Wales in 2009, approximately 14 per cent (336,000) have diabetic macular oedema. The prevalence of diabetic macular oedema is estimated to increase to 29 per cent (696,000) for people with diabetes who have used insulin for more than 20 years.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, as part of the current review of the homeopathy content of the Department of Health website, they will make clear on the website that homeopathy has been available on the NHS since its inception; and how they will take account of the June 2010 paper Observations on the report Evidence Check 2: Homeopathy by the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee by Earl Baldwin of Bewdley. [HL8833]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The content on the NHS Choices website is currently under review in the context of the department's policy on complementary and alternative medicine therapies, which is that decisions on commissioning and funding such services are the responsibility of the National Health Service. Relevant information will be taken into account in the review.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many patients aged 60 and over have received kidney transplants in the past five years for which figures are available; and whether there is an upper age limit for accepting patients for kidney transplants. [HL8975]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The number of kidney transplants in the United Kingdom, 1 April 2006 to 31 March 2011, is given in the following table. There is no upper age limit for accepting patients for kidney transplants.
|Financial year||Donor type||Total|
|Donation after Brain Death||Donation after Circulatory Death||Living donor|
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Incidence and prevalence rates for the majority of mental illnesses have remained remarkably static. However, the numbers of people being treated are increasing and the reasons for this are complex. Doctors are becoming increasingly knowledgeable about the treatments available for mental illness, including psychological therapies, and confident in prescribing medication. Improvements in medication such as antidepressants, in terms of them having fewer side effects and withdrawal symptoms, make them more likely to be prescribed. People are also more aware of common mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety as being treatable conditions and are prepared to seek help.
Illicit drug use can be associated with an increase in the risk of developing a mental health problem, especially where an individual already has a pre-existing mental illness or a genetic predisposition to mental illness.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The review of children's heart surgery units (Safe and Sustainable review) is being conducted by the NHS Specialised Commissioning Team.
The National Health Service has undertaken robust engagement with the stakeholders, including NHS hospital trusts, throughout the review process to date. NHS hospital trusts helped develop the proposed service standards and model of care, as well as the options appraisal process.
As part of the assessment process against service standards carried out by an independent expert assessment panel chaired by Professor Sir Ian Kennedy, each children's heart surgery centre was invited to submit an application demonstrating how they would meet the service standards. They were also asked to supply the evidence that helped in the assessment process.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether there are inconsistencies in the decisions of immigration judges and in the procedures of immigration bail hearings; and, if so, what plans they have to improve the situation.[HL8830]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The decision whether to grant bail, and if so, on what terms and on what procedure to adopt, is a matter for the judgment of immigration judges of the First-tier Tribunal in the individual cases that come before them in accordance with tribunal rules and guidance issued by the chamber president. Immigration judges have to make difficult judgments, on limited information, often in respect of people whose identity cannot be verified and whose links to the community may be fragile. Nevertheless, they aim to refuse bail only in cases where there is both statutory authority and a demonstrated justification for doing so. I understand that the president of the Upper Tribunal and the president of the First-tier Tribunal are working together to provide further guidance to immigration judges to help ensure that this aim is acknowledged and applied throughout the jurisdiction.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the rights of Bedouin herding communities in the West Bank; and what discussions they have had with the Government of Israel to ensure freedom of movement for this group. [HL8680]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We remain concerned that Israel's minority Arab population, including Bedouin Arab minorities, are suffering institutional, legal and societal inequality and discrimination. We continue to support calls made by the EU and the UN for a genuine and satisfactory solution to these problems.
I raised this issue with Foreign Minister Lieberman when I met with him in Israel in January 2011. Officials have also raised the issue with the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the EU delegation office in Israel wrote to the Government of Israel in March 2011 about the demolition of Bedouin villages in the Negev.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): Review is due to be published in the autumn. Once the review has published its final report, the Government will set out their response to the review's findings and recommendations.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The Government's recent consultation on legal aid reform proposed that legal aid be retained for those seeking orders to protect themselves from domestic violence or forced marriage. This included retaining the power to waive the upper financial eligibility limits in these cases. The Government are currently considering the response to the consultation, and will publish their response in due course.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken to ensure the safety of any United Kingdom deployed personnel in the event of their being taken prisoner by the forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi.[HL8693]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have undertaken any planning, either unilaterally or with international partners, to increase military engagement on the ground in the event of a lack of progress towards peace in Libya.[HL8695]
Lord Howell of Guildford: We undertake planning, together with our international partners, for a range of contingencies as the situation in Libya develops. It is clear in UN Resolution 1973 that there should be no foreign occupation of any part of Libya. We will adhere strictly to that, as to all other parts of the resolution.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 17 March (WA 97-8), whether they consider that the number of United Kingdom medical graduates needed to fill current vacancies has been underestimated; what are the current skill shortages in this area identified by the Migration Advisory Committee; and whether they will review university medical school place numbers.[HL8991]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The non-consultant, non-training, medical staff posts recommended by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) and subsequently agreed by government for inclusion on the tier 2 shortage occupation list (SOL) effective from April 2011 were in the following specialties: anaesthetics, paediatrics and general medicine specialities delivering acute care services. In addition paediatrics at speciality training level 4 was also recommended.
The MAC has now begun a review of the United Kingdom labour market following a commission from the Government in order to recommend occupations and job titles to be added to and removed from the tier 2 UK and Scotland shortage occupation list.
To ask Her Majesty's Government which department is responsible for establishing the National Crime Agency; whether this has changed; and whether the Office of Fair Trading and the Financial Services Authority will continue to have responsibilities for leading criminal prosecutions or whether these will transfer to the National Crime Agency.[HL8910]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Browning): The Home Office has, and has always had, responsibility for establishing the National Crime Agency. Decisions have not yet been made on the future structures for economic crime. We did, however, decide last autumn that criminal powers in relation to market abuse should remain with the FSA's successor body, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), at this time, ensuring that the FCA's markets unit will have powers to both regulate and prosecute market abuse.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 4 May (HL8631), what is their assessment of the impact on patient safety of the use of unlicensed comparators
12 May 2011 : Column WA243
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The identification of an unlicensed comparator for a technology being appraised by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) does not constitute a recommendation by NICE for the use of the unlicensed product in question.
Clinical trials will often inevitably involve the administration of products that are, at the time of the trial, unlicensed. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency oversees a rigorous process for the authorisation of clinical trials, including whether or not the product is licensed for use in the clinical condition being investigated in the trial. The potential risks associated with participating in a clinical trial should be explained clearly to potential participants and is part of the process of obtaining their consent to participate in the clinical trial.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many applications for national insurance numbers have been made in total by nationals of each European Union country since 1997; and what is the total number for European Union and non-European Union nationals respectively.[HL8894]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The official statistics provided relate to national insurance number (NINo) registrations, which are the result of a successful NINo application. This information is only available from 2002. The information available has been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to collate information about the number of redundancies, vacancies, average caseload, referrals and waiting times for ancillary medical professions such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy and midwifery in the National Health Service in England. [HL8672]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): We are not aware of any intention to collate information about the number of redundancies, vacancies, average caseload, referrals and waiting times for ancillary medical professions such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy and midwifery in the National Health Service in England.
The Transforming Community Services: Allied Health Professional Referral to Treatment Guide, published in March 2010, sets out a framework of rules for clock starts and clock stops to measure waiting times for patients when accessing National Health Service AHP services. A copy of the guide has been placed in the Library. Nationally, AHP referral to treatment data collection and reporting was due to be mandated from April 2011. However, as part of the public health spending reviews the implementation date for collecting data is being reviewed. In the mean time, there is nothing to prevent local NHS organisations from continuing to collect these data locally to help them identify where service improvement is most needed.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what was (a) the revenue expenditure, and (b) the approved revenue resource limit, for each primary care trust in the East of England region of the National Health Service in each of the past five years for which figures are available.[HL8880]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what was (a) the revenue expenditure, and (b) the approved revenue resource limit, for each hospital trust (including foundation trusts) in the East of England region of the National Health Service in each of the past five years for which information is available.[HL8882]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The information is not available in the format requested. Such information as is available has been placed in the Library.
The department does not collect data from National Health Service foundation trusts. Where an NHS trust obtains foundation trust status part-way through any year, the data provided are only for the part of the year in which the organisation operated as an NHS trust.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the Scottish Government to ensure that, in anticipation of the end of the current franchise agreement with First ScotRail in 2014, planning is in hand to continue the Caledonian sleeper service with modern rolling stock and ancillary equipment.[HL8677]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what evidence was used to assess the race equality impact for black school pupils who are prevented from making appeals against their permanent school exclusions and are consequently disproportionately represented in pupil referral centres.[HL8689]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): We do not have data on the proportion of appeals lodged, or the proportion that are successful and lead to reinstatement, for any specific ethnic group. The information available to us, and of which we took account was:in 2008-09, there were 6,550 permanent exclusions (down from 8,130 in 2007-08, a fall of 19.4 per cent);in only 60 cases did an appeal result in the independent appeal panel ordering reinstatement; andpermanent exclusions of black pupils fell from 700 to 540, a reduction of 23 per cent.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the detail of the timetable for the Irish Government to provide full funding for the Commissioners of Irish Lights has been established; and whether an announcement will be made.[HL8665]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions have taken place since 1 January 2011 with (a) each of the general lighthouse authorities (GLA), and (b) the unions regarding the reform of the GLA pension arrangements.[HL8666]
Earl Attlee: : The timetable agreed with the Republic of Ireland for the Commissioners of Irish Lights to become self-financing was set out in the Written Statement of 18 January 2011 (Official Report, cols. WS 11-12).
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Howell of Guildford on 24 January (WA122), whether they have received any further news concerning Ms Hassan; and what is the estimated number of human rights campaigners who have disappeared in Syria.[HL8659]
No accurate figures exist for the number of political prisoners in Syria, but in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's 2010 human rights Command Paper we state that reports vary from 1,000 to 3,000 held in detention.
We condemn utterly the violence perpetrated by Syrian security forces against civilians who are expressing their views in peaceful protests. As my right honourable friend the Prime Minister said on 1 May 2011, the killing of civilians by the Syrian regime is disgraceful and unacceptable and must stop. We are clear that individuals responsible for the violence will be held accountable if the violence persists.
We are also extremely concerned by reports from human rights organisations that the Syrian authorities have detained more than 7,000 people since protests began in mid-March. The Syrian Government and the security forces must respect the civil rights of peaceful protestors, the right to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The number of persons proceeded against at the magistrates' court under the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 as amended by the Children and Young Persons (Protection from Tobacco) Act 1991, England and Wales, 2000 to 2009, can be viewed in the table.
|Number of persons proceeded against at the magistrates' court under the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 as amended by the Children and Young Persons (Protection from Tobacco) Act 1991(1), England and Wales, 2000-2009(2)(3)|
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