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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): There are no current plans to amend or replace the Code of Recommendations for the Welfare of Livestock: Pigs.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The en-suite rooms available for personnel at RAF Shawbury, RAF Cosford, RAF Waddington, RAF Coningsby, RAF Marham, RAF Brize Norton and RAF Odiham are detailed in the following table:
|Officers||Warrant Officers and Sergeants||Other Ranks|
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Astor of Hever on 11 May (WA 211), how many rooms at RAF Cranwell are not en suite for (a) officers, (b) officer cadets, (c) warrant officers and sergeants, and (d) other ranks.[HL9181]
|Non En-Suite Rooms at RAF Cranwell|
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint on 26 April (WA 69), what types of arms were exported to Indonesia; and in particular, which of those could be used for the purposes of internal repression in West Papua.[HL9372]
The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint): The Government do not hold records of actual exports. As previously advised, the Government hold information about export licences issued, refused or revoked and information about what these licences cover, including a summary of the items, overall value and type (eg military, other), are published in the annual and quarterly reports on strategic export controls. As an export licence is required to export arms and other military equipment from the United Kingdom, details about what items were licensed for export to Indonesia will be contained within these reports. However, the fact that a licence has been issued does not mean that an export has necessarily taken place.
All export licence applications are rigorously assessed on a case-by-case basis against the consolidated EU and national arms export licensing criteria taking account of all prevailing circumstances at the time of application. A licence will not be issued where to do so would be inconsistent with the criteria or other relevant announced commitments. In particular, criterion 2 concerns the "respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the country of final destination", and states that the Government will not issue an export licence if there is a clear risk that the proposed export might be used for internal repression. If the situation in the country changes or new information comes to light that causes us to have concerns, we can and do revoke export licences where we consider that the proposed export would, in light of the changing situation, contravene the criteria.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Department for Communities and Local Government provides or intends to provide local authorities with advice or guidance on the funding and provision of arts or cultural services within their areas; and, if so, what form that advice or guidance takes or will take.[HL9223]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): On 13 April the DCLG launched a consultation on new draft statutory guidance on best value. The draft guidance sets out some reasonable expectations of the way best-value authorities should
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To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the Government of Bahrain about the case of Mrs Zainab Al-Khawaja, whose husband, father and other relatives were arrested on 8 April and have not been seen since. [HL9023]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We have made it clear to the Bahraini Government that the civil rights of peaceful opposition figures, the legitimate exercise of freedom of expression and peaceful assembly must be respected.
The UK Government have made no specific representations about Mrs Al-Khawaja. She has not been detained by the Bahraini authorities. However, our ambassador in Bahrain raised the case of Mrs Al-Khawaja's father, Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja with the Bahraini Interior Minister on 14 April.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they propose to vote in favour of the remuneration report presented to shareholders of Lloyds Banking Group; and whether they have already indicated to the group their agreement with the proposals. [HL9168]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government's shareholding in Lloyds Banking Group (LBG) is managed on an arm's- length and commercial basis by UK Financial Investments (UKFI). UKFI votes all the Government's shares wherever they are eligible to do so.
UKFI informed LBG in advance of its intentions and rationale for how it would vote on the resolutions at the annual general meeting on 18 May, including
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The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): There will be a British Hajj delegation this year. The composition of the delegation will be taken in conjunction with other government departments which have an interest in the event.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): The department is currently carrying out a review of Part P of the Building Regulations (Electrical Safety in Dwellings) and collecting evidence of its impact since its introduction in 2005. We expect to publish a consultation document around the end of the year, which will include an assessment of Part P's effectiveness.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many prosecutions have been made of qualified electricians who have issued certificates under Part P regulations, when they have not seen or supervised the work in question.[HL9107]
Baroness Hanham: Any prosecution of a qualified electrician certifying electrical installation work under Part P of the Building Regulations which they had not seen or supervised would be a prosecution for fraud, not for a breach of the building regulations, and would need to be taken by a trading standards authority. The department does not collect information on this and is unaware of any such prosecutions.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether the Government of Burma have broken ceasefire agreements; and what assessment they have made of any resulting humanitarian implications.[HL9159]
Baroness Verma: From 1989 the Burmese military regime concluded 17 ceasefire agreements with major ethnic groups. However, tensions began to heighten from 2009 as the Burmese authorities sought to subsume armed groups into a national border guard force as part of their pre-election preparations. Major armed groups resisted the border guard force proposal in order to protect their local autonomy. The Government have received reports that the Burmese military subsequently responded by closing all communication channels to the armed groups and claiming that the ceasefire agreements no longer existed. Tensions in these areas have recently escalated leading to renewed conflict. We have also heard reports of increased military movements against the Wa and Mon-two of the largest groups. We are very concerned about the likely humanitarian consequences of any escalations in fighting.
The British ambassador raised concerns with the Burmese Government about the situation when he met Burmese Ministers on 10 May. At a UN Security Council debate the same day, we called for all armed groups to protect civilian populations and to bring to account those responsible for human rights abuses. We are monitoring the situation closely and will consider providing assistance where we can effectively meet urgent humanitarian needs.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Government are concerned that the reported breakdown of a ceasefire agreement with the Shan State Army North has led to renewed conflict in Shan State. We have received reports which allege that the Burmese army has attacked local communities whom they suspect of assisting the armed groups. The fighting is taking place in remote areas of Burma which are difficult to access and in this respect, the information is difficult to verify. In a Security Council debate on 10 May, we called upon all armed actors including the Burmese army and ethnic militia to protect the civilian population. The Government secured a strongly worded human rights resolution at the March UN Human Rights Council which called on the Burmese Government to end continuing grave violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, including the targeting of civilians in conflict areas, and to immediately end impunity for such actions.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the Government of Bangladesh regarding the halting of the United Nations resettlement programme for Rohingya refugees from Burma.[HL9161]
Lord Howell of Guildford: Our staff recently made representations to the Government of Bangladesh about their decision to suspend resettlement activities, pending a policy review on Rohingya issues, during a field visit to UN High Commissioner for Refugees
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Lord Howell of Guildford: Our High Commission in Dhaka has frequent close liaison with other diplomatic missions and with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Organisation for Migration, the UN International Children's Fund and other UN agencies to ensure that a range of concerns relating to the situation of Rohingya in Bangladesh are addressed effectively with the Government of Bangladesh. This includes the difficulties that lack of registration causes for undocumented Rohingyas in Bangladesh. Most recently, staff at our high commission in Dhaka participated in a visit to Cox's Bazar in April 2011 to see the situation on the ground.
Baroness Verma: Funding allocations have not yet been finalised. The UK Government will continue providing food, housing, other supplies and improved access to legal assistance for the 146,000 Burmese refugees living in camps in Thailand. The case for any additional funding will be considered in consultation with our partners and other donors, and on the basis of detailed assessments of effectiveness and value for money in achieving results.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have received regarding the case of Bertrand Teyou, currently serving a term of imprisonment in Cameroon for allegedly insulting the President's wife; and what representations they have made to the Government of Cameroon regarding his trial and the conditions under which he is held. [HL9104]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We are aware of the case of Bertrand (Bernard) Teyou. Furthermore, we welcome his release on 6 May 2011 with the reported lifting of his conviction for insult to character and organising an illegal demonstration. Our high
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To ask Her Majesty's Government how carbon monoxide alarms may be supplied as part of any Green Deal agreement; and what action will be taken to monitor uptake of these alarms and their replacement when time-expired.[HL9253]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): As I confirmed in my response to your earlier suggested amendment to the Energy Bill, the department is looking at the case for installation of carbon monoxide detectors under the Green Deal.
We are currently discussing options with experts and industry to explore the most appropriate way to address safety within the Green Deal framework. This framework will include the new installer standards we have tasked British Standards Institution to develop.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): No. Southern Cross has plans in place to restructure its business and ensure that services and quality are maintained and is keeping the Government updated on progress.
We will continue to keep in close touch with the situation and will work with local authorities, the Care Quality Commission and others to ensure there is an effective response, which delivers protection to everyone affected.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to support measures to prevent the closure of the unit that provides in-patient treatment for severely disabled patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis at Queens' Hospital, Romford; and whether such treatment is available at any other unit in the United Kingdom. [HL9265]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The department does not make local decisions over the provision of healthcare; it is the responsibility of local health bodies to determine the most appropriate way to commission services to meet the needs of their local population.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the level of donor support for the 2011 elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in particular whether they anticipate that the assistance will be comparable to that given in 2006.[HL9154]
Baroness Verma: The Electoral Commission has asked donors for $197 million for the upcoming elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Donor pledges to date total $176 million. In total the donor share of elections financing represent just under 50 per cent of the total, compared with 90 per cent in 2006.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): The UK is currently experiencing an intense dry spell which has led to low river levels and dry soils that are more normally seen in June. Low river levels are starting to put pressure on river environments and are beginning to impact on farmers who rely on water to irrigate their crops.
It is important that we are as prepared as possible for a potential drought and the further impacts it would have. The Secretary of State met representatives of sectors impacted by the dry weather and relevant regulators on Monday 16 May 2011 to ensure that
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The Environment Agency has been asked to report to the Secretary of State on the likelihood of a drought in the longer term, and how it might affect farmers, the food industry and consumers. Natural England will work with conservation groups to reduce the impact of dry weather on wildlife and will also report back to the Secretary of State on its plans.
Water companies are monitoring the situation and a minority anticipate they may need to impose restrictions if the dry weather continues. Overall the industry is resilient and confident of maintaining supplies. Together with the Environment Agency, water companies will provide an update on public water supplies and they are currently reviewing their drought plans.
We cannot control the weather, but it is important that we all work together to manage the impacts. The dry weather is a reminder that water is a limited resource-some parts of England have less water per person than many hotter and drier countries. By using our water wisely not only can we save money on energy and water bills, but also we can help to ensure we have sufficient supplies for essential domestic and industrial purposes, while minimising the impact on the natural environment.
To ask Her Majesty's Government which bodies are responsible for meeting the costs of the alternative vote referendum in those areas that did not have any other elections; and what estimate has been made of the total amount of those costs.[HL9068]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): In the areas where no elections took place alongside the referendum on the voting system the cost of the poll will be met from the consolidated fund. The cost of conducting the referendum in these areas has been estimated at approximately £16.9 million.
In areas where elections took place alongside the referendum we would expect that costs would be apportioned equally among all polls. This is in accordance with the provisions set out under Schedules 5-8 of the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act 2011.
Through the health, work and well-being cross-government programme, DWP is working to protect and improve the health and well-being of the working population. This programme promotes the positive links between health and work and aims to help more people with health conditions to stay in or return to work.
Through the Work Programme the Government are ensuring all out-of-work benefit customers will be able to access the programme at a time that is right for them. The bulk of payments available to Work Programme providers are for helping people stay in work in the long term. For example, providers can claim payments for customers moving from incapacity benefits to employment and support allowance for over two years after job entry. This is a strong incentive both to continue supporting customers with health conditions and their employers, and to find jobs that are appropriate for the individual in the first place.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what technological provision they intend to make in order to support home working for people with fluctuating medical conditions who are considered by the work capability assessment to be able to do some work. [HL9262]
Lord Freud: Support is available for people with fluctuating medical conditions or disabilities, including those working from home through the specialist disability employment programmes. In all cases, support is tailored to individual needs, which may include the nature of a disability related barrier to employment and the type of employment itself. Support can be provided through:
Work Choice-a programme that provides disabled people with complex support needs that could not be met through other employment support provision, have access to the right support to help them prepare for, enter and retain employment (including self-employment).
In addition, we will launch the Work Programme this summer. We believe that providers are best placed to understand what works to help individual customers back to work. To achieve this, providers should have freedom to deliver in the most efficient and innovative way possible. Therefore we will not prescribe what Work Programme providers should deliver to help people back into sustained employment and will use their experience and knowledge to deliver support most appropriate to the individual.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Department for Work and Pensions intends to monitor employers as to the numbers of their employees with long-term fluctuating medical conditions and the numbers of their employees who are retained after they develop one of these disabling conditions. [HL9263]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether discussions are taking place under the auspices of either the Intergovernmental Authority on Development or the Commonwealth concerning the drying-up of Lake Turkana and consequent local violence between the affected tribes.[HL9026]
Baroness Verma: As far as the Government are aware from recent contacts with both the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, no discussions are taking place under the auspices of either body concerning the drying up of Lake Turkana and consequent local violence between the affected tribes. There have been recent bilateral discussions between the Governments of Kenya and Ethiopia about cross-border violence in the Turkana area, including between President Kibaki and Prime Minister Meles. The British High Commission in Nairobi is monitoring the situation.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government are aware of the recent developments in the exchange traded funds industry and are working closely with the Financial Services Authority and Bank of England to analyse the risks associated with these products.
The Financial Stability Board has carried out analysis of the exchange traded funds market at the request of its members. The UK is a member of the Financial Stability Board and is supportive of further analysis in this area.
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they expect to publish details of the review they have commissioned into high frequency equity trading, the terms of reference of the review, and the budget allocated to the review project.[HL9169]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The Future of Computer Trading in Financial Markets' Foresight project was officially launched in November 2010.
It will also assess options for addressing the key challenges that the use of computer trading could create in global financial markets in the future. It will
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To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 26 April (WA 47-8), whether the hypothesis by the National Fluoride Information Centre about the effect of fluoridation in other countries takes account of the finding on fluorosis variables in section 7.1.2 of the York report, and the letter by senior authors of that report in the British Medical Journal of 16 June 2001 stating that "geographical location was not found to be significantly associated with fluorosis; neither were other geographically specific variables such as temperature".[HL9032]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): We understand that the National Fluoride Information Centre based the entry on its website on the findings of the Medical Research Council (MRC) report, Water Fluoridation and Health which was published in September 2002. We understand that members of the MRC working group were aware of the correspondence on fluoridation in the British Medical Journal of 16 June 2001.
"The York review identified 88 studies (mainly cross-sectional) investigating dental fluorosis, from 30 countries, which suggested a prevalence (all levels of severity) of 48 per cent in fluoridated areas and 15 per cent in non-fluoridated areas. Limiting consideration to aesthetically important levels of severity, the York review reported the prevalence of fluorosis to be 12.5 per cent in fluoridated areas and 6.3 per cent in non-fluoridated areas. For any given fluoride concentration in water the prevalence of aesthetically important dental fluorosis was higher in naturally fluoridated areas than in artificially fluoridated areas. A sensitivity analysis excluding data points above 1.5ppm fluoride found prevalences for all levels of severity of 46 per cent and 18 per cent".
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answers by Earl Howe on 28 February (WA 229) and 21 March (WA 110-11), whether their statement that they accept the conclusion reached by Dr. Maguire and colleagues that "there was no statistically significant difference between artificially fluoridated and naturally fluoridated water" takes account of the statements by Professors Stephen Holgate and Trevor Sheldon in the British Medical Journal on 27 October 2007, that that statement has no meaning since "the study was too small to
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Earl Howe: We understand that the researchers stand by their conclusion whilst recognising that the power of the study was constrained by the size of the sample. We will include consideration of a larger study in setting priorities for future fluoridation research projects.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answers by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 30 January 2001 (WA 55) and Earl Howe on 26 April 2011 (WA 48), whether they still accept the findings of the York systematic review of water fluoridation.[HL9035]
Earl Howe: Yes. The York report provides the most comprehensive review of primary research on water fluoridation that has yet been undertaken. It found that fluoridation protected teeth with no clear evidence of side effects other than dental fluorosis. We accept the report's recommendations for further research to strengthen the evidence base and are committed to a programme of continuing research on the effects of fluoridation.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Albert, the 20-foot long stuffed anaconda, has graced the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) library for over a century. He remains proudly in place, just as he did throughout the noble Lord's distinguished career in the FCO, and continues to be held in great affection by FCO staff. We have no plans for Albert other than to clean and stuff him from time to time.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many individuals who left the employment of the Ministry of Defence between 2007 and 2011 have been employed as consultants by the ministry in 2009-10 and 2010-11.[HL8969]
We do not employ consultants individually, but contract with consultancy companies to provide a service within a specific timescale. The assignment of individual consultants to a particular contract is therefore a matter for the company involved.
Public servants who take up employment on leaving the public service are obliged to seek clearance under the business appointment rules. The Advisory Committee on Business Appointments publishes information on former senior Crown servants who have taken up appointments since 1 April 2010 on its website at the following address: http://acoba.independent.gov.uk/former_crown_servants_appointments.aspx.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Taylor of Holbeach on 11 May (WA 217), how many of the eight members of staff in the insight behavioural team were recruited from (a) outside the Civil Service, and (b) within the Civil Service.[HL9182]
The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Strathclyde): The Cabinet Office document Handling Correspondence from Members of Parliament, Members of the House of Lords, MEPs and Members of Devolved Assemblies: Guidance for Departments sets out guidance on handling correspondence from Members of the House of Lords.
As a general rule correspondence from Members of the House of Lords should receive a ministerial reply. Where a Peer has written about the day-to-day operations of an executive agency or a non-departmental public body, Ministers may authorise the appropriate chief executive to reply.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the reason for the delay in answering Question for Written Answer HL8642, asking who will be involved in processing the results of the Red Tape Challenge on equality legislation, and what are the potential consequences for future Government policy on equality legislation.[HL9288]
The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Strathclyde): The Government are committed to publishing, on a quarterly basis, details of special advisers and their cost. The most recent information published on 10 March 2011 shows a total of 74 special advisers in post with an estimated pay bill for the period 12 May 2010 to 31 March 2011 of £4.9 million. This compares to 78 special advisers in posts as at the end of March 2010 at a cost of £6.8 million for the year 2009-10.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 31 March (WA 310-2), whether they will publish the bilateral agreement with the Republic of Ireland on healthcare costs; and whether they will provide details of the survey of pensioners used to establish liability for healthcare costs, including the estimated number of pensioners in (a) the United Kingdom, and (b) the Republic of Ireland.[HL9145]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The United Kingdom and Ireland Governments have recently agreed, in principle, to the introduction of a new pensioner registration scheme from January 2012. The scheme will provide the basis for healthcare payments for pensioners between both countries. A new bilateral working arrangement will be drawn up between the UK and Ireland to reflect this change. We will look to publish details of the new system once working arrangements are finalised ahead of January 2012.
The most recently estimated pensioner caseload for UK liability in Ireland is around 44,000; Ireland liability in the UK is around 3,000. A survey of 1,500 pensioners is used to establish liability under the triennial survey; this is applied to the total caseload.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will make available more widely facilities for transcranial doppler scanning in screening young children so as to prevent strokes in individuals with sickle cell disease.[HL9280]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The provision of facilities for transcranial doppler (TCD) scanning of young children with sickle cell disease is the responsibility of commissioners of specialised services and providers.
The department, working with key stakeholders has supported a range of initiatives to improve access to quality services for sickle cell and thalassaemia patients. This includes supporting the development of TCD scanning services to provide early identification of sickle cell children at risk of stroke, and the training of health professionals.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): The Government have introduced a new more accurate way of evaluating rough sleeping levels. Previously only local authorities where there was a known, or suspected, rough sleeping problem were required to provide a count. All areas across England now provide counts or robust estimates giving a clear national picture. Latest statistics show 1,768 rough sleepers in England on any one night and are published at the following link. These figures are not directly comparable to previously published statistics on rough sleeping.
This Government are committed to tackling rough sleeping. We have maintained the level of homelessness grant, with £400 million being made available to local authorities and the voluntary sector over the next four years to help them reduce rough sleeping and prevent homelessness. A cross-departmental ministerial working group on homelessness has also been set up to address the complex causes of homelessness and improve support for homeless people.
Information about English local housing authorities' statutory actions under the homelessness legislation (Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996) is collected quarterly at local authority level. Data collected include the number of households accepted by local housing authorities as being eligible for assistance, unintentionally homeless and in priority need, and therefore owed a main homelessness duty (to ensure that suitable accommodation is available). Data are published in the quarterly statistical release on statutory homelessness, available in the House of Commons Library or via the DCLG website:
Under the Homelessness Act 2002, local housing authorities must have a strategy for preventing homelessness in their district. The strategy must apply to everyone at risk of homelessness, not just people who may fall within a priority need group for the purposes of Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996. Figures showing local authorities' prevention activities can be found at the following link:
The discussions proceeded on the basis that the deliberations would not be made known as this might compromise the candid nature of the talks. In line with that decision, it is also inappropriate to make public meeting dates.
To ask the Leader of the House what will be the role of the Leader of the House of Lords when draft legislation on the reform of the House of Lords is presented to Parliament; and whether he will be responsible for taking the legislation through the House.[HL9188]
Lord Strathclyde: I repeated the Statement made by the Deputy Prime Minister on the day of publication of the draft House of Lords Reform Bill. I will be moving the Motion to set up a joint committee to scrutinise the draft Bill and leading the two-day debate to take note of the Government's proposals in the draft Bill. There is as yet no legislation before the House.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The introduction of the caps is estimated to affect 21,000 claimants, reducing their entitlement by an average of £74 per week. This includes both the introduction of caps on the weekly rates of local housing allowance and the restriction to the four-bedroom rate.
Customers who were receiving housing benefit according to local housing allowance rules before 1 April 2011 will receive up to nine months' transitional protection from the date their claim is reviewed by the local authority, allowing them more time to adjust to the reduction in entitlement.
Further details of the impact of local housing allowance reforms are presented in the document Impacts of Housing Benefit Proposals: Changes to the Local Housing Allowance to be Introduced in 2011-12. A copy has been placed in the Library and it can be found on the department's website at http://www.dwp.gov. uk/docs/impacts-of-hb-proposals.pdf.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): Government action in support of tiger conservation is focused on UK membership of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild
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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): International trade in ivory is a significant threat to elephants and as a party to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), the UK is supportive of its increasing focus on enforcement, its work with range and consumer countries as well as enforcement agencies such as Interpol.
In the second half of May, the UK will be participating in a CITES-organised rhino and elephant enforcement task force meeting which will exchange intelligence reports and methodologies and develop strategies to tackle the illegal trade in both animals (and their parts/derivatives) across their ranges.
The Government take seriously the threat to wildlife from smuggling and trafficking wildlife. Richard Benyon announced on 2 March that the illegal trade in elephant ivory and all other species listed under CITES is a UK wildlife crime priority, and it will continue to be tackled vigorously by the enforcement agencies.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord McNally on 21 March (WA 118), whether, in the light of the Supreme Court ruling in Yemshaw v London Borough of Hounslow (2011 UK SC 3), they will revise their definition of domestic abuse used in awarding legal aid so that it includes psychological abuse.[HL9283]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The Government's recent consultation on proposals to reform the legal aid scheme did not seek to create a new definition of domestic violence. It made suggestions on what would provide objective evidence of domestic violence for the purposes of qualifying for private family legal aid. Some of the proposed forms of evidence would be relevant in cases of non-physical abuse. The Government are currently considering the responses to the consultation, and will publish their response after the Whitsun Recess.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Italy and France have deployed military personnel to advise and assist the National Transitional Council's Military Council.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are assisting the work of the International Organisation for Migration in caring for migrants stranded on the Libya-Chad frontier, in particular their medical needs; and, if so, to what extent.[HL9236]
The UK has made a substantial contribution to the IOM's work responding to the Libya crisis, enabling it to fly home over 12,700 people from the borders. We continue to support the IOM to evacuate up to 5,000 migrants and injured Libyans from Misratah. We have also worked closely with international partners including the IOM, UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to provide emergency shelter and medical support to people at the borders and in Libya. We will continue to work closely with these organisations to assess emerging humanitarian needs.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): Community budgets belong to local areas; authorities in those areas are responsible for their design, including decisions on how to monitor their own progress.
The department, with other government departments and the Local Government Group, is working to help areas implement the community budgets approach. Key actions and milestones are set out in our structural reform plan, which forms part of our business plan. This is available online at: www.communities.gov.uk/publications/corporate/businessplan2011.
Our support for first-phase community budget areas includes the approach to evaluation and cost-benefit analysis. This will support local performance management and enable everyone to understand the progress in tackling families' problems and the benefits of the community budget approach.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much Government departments and agencies contributed to community budgeting programmes in the year 2010-11, and how much, by department and agency, they plan to contribute in 2011-12.[HL9320]
Baroness Hanham: Community budgets give local areas the freedom to bring together resources to tackle local issues and involve a range of central and local government funding. This is determined locally in each area and actual spend is not recorded at a national level.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Freud on 12 May (WA 243), why the number of applications for national insurance numbers made in total by nationals of each European Union country since 2002 and the total number for European Union and non-European Union nationals could not be published in the Official Report.[HL9315]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud):Hansard advises that it does not print tables in the Official Report which take up more than four pages in standard 10pt. The tables associated with PQ/11/8894 did exceed four pages in the format that is acceptable to Hansard. Therefore they were deposited in the Library.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We are aware that in March 2011 the Israeli District Court agreed that
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We recognise Israel's right to defend itself but the Israeli separation barrier, where it is constructed on the Palestinian side of the green line, is illegal under international law. This remains an issue of concern and we will continue to watch developments closely. The situation in al-Walaja has led to several other West Bank towns along the route of the barrier fearing the same fate.
We were also concerned about the recent demolition orders issued on 11 May for seven houses in the village of al-Walaja. The villagers' lawyer succeeded in securing a court decision to prevent the demolitions being carried out within 72 hours against all seven houses. The court deferred the orders for seven days pending a response from the Ministry of Interior to the points raised by the lawyer.
The court will decide to either uphold or overturn the appeal on 19 May. This remains an issue of concern and we will continue to watch developments closely. The situation in al-Walaja is similar to several other West Bank towns along the route of the barrier that believe they will face the same fate.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The UK state pension is payable worldwide but is only up-rated abroad where there is a legal requirement or reciprocal agreement to do so. A well known court case challenging the UK's position was heard by the European Court of Human Rights's Grand Chamber in September 2009 and the court's judgment of March 2010 was in the UK's favour. We continue to take our obligations under the terms of the European Convention on Human Rights seriously and are satisfied that we are complying.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Howell of Guildford on 10 May (WA 105), whether they will give similar advice about events of that period in connection with the forthcoming visit by Her Majesty the Queen to the Republic of Ireland.[HL9147]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Her Majesty's visit to Ireland represents the modern and forward-looking relationship that the UK now enjoys with Ireland, and the programme of events reflects this. The state visit is about the challenges of the present and the future. It is an opportunity to reflect on how far we have come, opening a new chapter in our relationship that is conscious of our past but not captured by it, that reflects the reality that Ireland and Britain are now both proud and mature nations, and neighbours, equals and friends.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): Her Majesty's Government have had no direct discussions with operators of places of entertainment regarding the provision of residual current devices (RCDs).
The principal means to protect persons from electrical shock at entertainment venues is to ensure that installations and equipment are properly selected, constructed and maintained. RCDs are relatively inexpensive and provide important additional protection from electrical shock by switching off the electricity automatically if there is a fault, although they do not offer protection in all circumstances.
The Health and Safety Executive has produced guidance on electrical safety for entertainers and at places of entertainment. This is available free from HSE's website. RCDs are recommended, particularly at outdoor events.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): Whenever major electrical installation work is carried out in new and existing dwellings in England and Wales, Part P of the building regulations (Electrical safety in dwellings) already calls for residual current devices to be fitted in accordance with the rules in British Standard BS 7671, "Requirements for electrical installations", or an equivalent standard. When electrical work is carried out in non-domestic buildings, a way of complying with the relevant parts of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 is also to follow the rules in BS 7671.
There are no current or planned regulations that call for residual current devices to be fitted to existing buildings retrospectively, except that under the Licensing Act 2003 local authorities can require them to be fitted in certain premises.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Salvation Army will be subcontracting the protection, accommodation and rehabilitation of trafficked women, under the contract recently awarded to it; and, if so, what standards of care will be observed; and whether the Salvation Army and any subcontractors have the same experience and qualifications as those previously available to victims of trafficking when in the care of the Poppy Project. [HL9136]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The Salvation Army will subcontract approximately 75 per cent of support service provision for adult victims of human trafficking in England and Wales to organisations experienced in supporting vulnerable victims. The care provided to all identified victims will meet the standards set out in the Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings. The Salvation Army is experienced in supporting victims of human trafficking, running a safe house for trafficked women in England and supporting victims in 124 countries. In its bid the Salvation Army made clear its intention to make use of the expertise already present within the sector.
Earl Attlee: HM Coastguard has not closed any maritime rescue co-ordination centres (MRCCs) within the past 12 months. Any future changes to the number and location of MRCCs is subject to the outcome of the consultation on the modernisation of HM Coastguard which closed on 5 May. A final decision has yet to be made on the proposals.
HM Coastguard also maintains bases for volunteer coastguard rescue teams (CRTs). These are kept under review and when necessary sector managers and volunteer CRTs are relocated to improve operational delivery and/or value for money. In the past 12 months HM Coastguard has only closed volunteer CRT bases where it has relocated that operational capability elsewhere.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many alleged pirates have been detained by the Royal Navy since the commencement of operations off the coast of Somalia; how many of those have been or are currently being prosecuted or are awaiting prosecution; in which jurisdictions; and what sentences have been imposed upon those found guilty. [HL8946]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): To date 14 pirates have been transferred to regional states by the Royal Navy for prosecution. In March 2010 eight suspected pirates transferred by the Royal Navy to Kenya in 2008 were found guilty of piracy and sentenced to 20 years' imprisonment. In April 2010, six further suspect pirates were transferred to Kenyan authorities and are currently on remand in Kenya, awaiting trial.
Prior to April 2010, information on the number of individuals encountered who were alleged pirates is not held in the format requested. In the past year 53 further suspected pirates have been encountered during boarding operations. However, following detailed analysis of all physical evidence and witness statements, these suspects were released as it was assessed that there was insufficient evidence for a successful prosecution to be undertaken. The subsequent destruction of any pirate equipment and weapons found serves as a disruption measure and prevents their future use.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what proportion of United Kingdom aid to South Sudan is currently humanitarian aid; and what proportion will be humanitarian aid following independence for that country.[HL9152]
Baroness Verma: UK humanitarian assistance to Southern Sudan-which includes basic services and livelihood support to conflict-affected and returnee populations, as well as life-saving assistance and protection-currently represents approximately £16 million or 25 per cent of total UK aid to that region. The volume of humanitarian assistance we provide is based
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However, as part of the UK's assistance plans for the next four years, and as circumstances allow, we intend to shift our programming from humanitarian spend to an investment in productive and sustainable livelihoods. This will include a large programme that we assess will take 1 million people off their dependence on food aid. If we achieve this, the level of our humanitarian assistance would decline gradually to around £6 million or 7 per cent of our total aid to southern Sudan by 2015, allowing more spend on basic services, safety, and justice.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how development assistance is currently allocated between the north and South Sudan; and whether the proportion of funds allocated to the north and South Sudan will remain the same after southern independence. [HL9153]
Baroness Verma: In 2010-11 our aid allocation was approximately 50 per cent between north and South Sudan. We remain committed to supporting development in both countries, and as announced in the bilateral aid review, we have allocated £140 million of humanitarian and development assistance to Sudan every year for the next four years.
South Sudan will start off being one of the poorest nations in the world, and as poverty indicators are generally worse there than in the north, we will focus approximately 65 per cent of our funding (around £90 million) there each year allocated on the basis of need. We have a number of targets for our assistance over the next few years, including: 240,000 more children completing primary school (20 per cent more than today); 1 million more people achieving food security; and over 750,000 people benefiting from treatment or prevention of malaria. We will be closely engaged in work to prevent corruption.
Approximately 35 per cent of our funding each year (around £50 million) will be focused on Sudan, with a particular focus on Darfur, the east and the three areas (Abyei, Blue Nile State, South Kordofan). Results we aim to deliver there include: clean drinking water or sanitation for 800,000 people, access to justice for 250,000 people, and life-saving health and nutrition support to up to 4 million people in areas of humanitarian need, notably in Darfur.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they are making to the Government of Syria concerning (a) Dorothy Parvaz, who has been reported missing since 29 April, and (b) the number of people detained following recent demonstrations.[HL9027]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Dorothy Parvaz, a journalist with Al-Jazeera, was detained by the Syrian authorities on arrival at Damascus Airport on 29 April 2011. Following her deportation to Iran (Dorothy Parvaz holds US, Canadian and Iranian nationality), she was released and allowed to return to Qatar on 18 May 2011. As she is not a British national we made no specific representations to the Syrian Government about her detention while in Syria.
We remain extremely concerned by ongoing violence and repression in Syria. Foreign and Commonwealth Office Ministers have regularly raised these concerns, and our ambassador in Damascus has regularly raised them with the Syrian authorities regarding their violent response to protests which have led to the detention and deaths of many innocent people.
The UK has been at the forefront of international action. In the EU we have successfully pressed for tough sanctions against those responsible for the violence witnessed in Syria. With these sanctions the EU is sending a clear message that we will act against those who brutalise peaceful protestors and seek to repress their legitimate aspirations for reform. If the violence does not stop and all political prisoners are not released, we will take further measures including sanctions targeted at the highest levels of the Syrian leadership. The UK actively supported the resolution in the special session of the Human Rights Council passed by a clear majority of Human Rights Council members condemning Syria's conduct and launching a fact-finding mission to investigate human rights abuses. And in New York we have begun discussions with our partners at the UN to seek UN condemnation of the situation in Syria.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans the Hydrographic Office of the Royal Navy has to utilise satellite data and tidal hydrodynamic computer models to provide detailed information about changing depths in coastal waters around the world over a period of years; and how these data will be disseminated.[HL9189]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) currently produces both paper and digital tidal products, admiralty tide tables and total tide respectively. These utilise manually observed and analysed data sources upon which tidal predictions are computed, as opposed to satellite and hydrodynamic data. These products are designed to meet the safe navigation requirements of shipping.
UKHO has previously commissioned research to establish the effectiveness and suitability of satellite-derived data in the process of calculating tidal predictions, and is undertaking further analysis to identify their potential for integration within our existing digital tidal prediction applications. UKHO is not directly involved in the long-term measurement and analysis
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The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Government have been at the forefront of the creation of UN Women and look forward to working closely with executive director, Michelle Bachelet, through our membership of the executive board. UN Women is developing its six-year strategic plan for adoption at the June executive board meeting and the UK encourages a strong strategic work plan that sets out clear priorities, with the strongest possible focus on results. We believe this should include a role in the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security. To help deliver that strategic plan and ensure the necessary high-level buy-in within the UN, the UK will encourage UN Women to work closely with UN special representatives and rapporteurs.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): Vineyards in the UK currently receive annual financial support amounting to €230,000 in 2011, rising to €280,000 by 2012 and beyond. Funding is part of the UK's national envelope, provided for within the EU's 2008 wine reform measures. It is being used to provide a range of training and development and benchmarking measures aimed at establishing a firm foundation for the future growth and capability of the sector.
In addition to the above development measures, the 2008 reform enabled vineyards to be bought within the scope of the single payment scheme (SPS). Through this, vineyards join the great many other farmers and growers who maintain their land and the environment well for future generations.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 12 May (WA 242), how many non-European Union visas are estimated to be needed in the year from April 2011 for medical graduates filling non-consultant, non-training, medical staff posts in anaesthetics, paediatrics, general medicine specialities delivering acute care services and in paediatrics at speciality training level 4; and whether they will fund more student places in United Kingdom university medical schools to fill those shortage occupations locally. [HL9252]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Decisions to recruit international medical graduates through the visa arrangements are
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The Migration Advisory Committee is conducting a review of the UK 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.
The department and the Higher Education Funding Council for England periodically review the total number and distribution of undergraduate medical students. The last joint review was in 2006. A further review is being considered.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what specific data were collected for the equality impact assessment relating to the Welfare Reform Bill for all protected groups of people in line with the Equality Act 2010. [HL9065]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The data used are set out in the individual equality impact assessments which were written for the Welfare Reform Bill 2011.
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