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To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answers by Lord Freud on 7 June (WA 81-5), what bearing the health and safety record of the agriculture industry will have on the plans to implement the proposals contained in the report Common Sense, Common Safety, by Lord Young of Graffham.[HL10158]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The proposals contained in Lord Young's report Common Sense, Common Safety focus on reducing unnecessary bureaucratic burdens on business and have no immediate bearing on the health and safety record of the agricultural industry. The Government intend to implement Lord Young's recommendations in full, as confirmed at the 2011 Budget.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Astor of Hever on 6 June (WA 6-7), whether they will place in the Library of the House details of the en suite and non en-suite accommodation available in the United Kingdom for servicemen and women in the Army and the Royal Navy.[HL10093]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): I confirm that I will place in the Library of the House details of the en-suite and non-en-suite accommodation available in the United Kingdom for service men and women in the Army and Royal Navy. The information will be drawn from the annual audit of service accommodation.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The Harrier fleet is currently in storage and is receiving minimum maintenance including anti-deterioration measures to keep the aircraft in an airworthy condition for future sale. A number of disposal options are currently being considered for the Harrier airframes but no decisions have yet been made.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Department for Work and Pensions will extend their investigation into osteoarthritis of the knee from the construction industries to horticulture and agriculture.[HL10339]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The Industrial Injuries Advisory Council is the scientific body with the statutory role of advising Ministers on the list of prescribed diseases under the industrial injuries disablement benefit scheme, and in particular which diseases and occupations should be prescribed for industrial injuries scheme purposes.
The council has completed its review of osteoarthritis of the knee in construction workers which ended with publication of the Command Paper Osteoarthritis of the Knee in Carpet Fitters and Carpet and Floor Layers (Cm 7964) in November 2010 a copy of which was placed in the Library of the House of Lords. The council concluded that there was evidence strong enough to recommend including work as a carpet fitter or as a carpet layer or floor layer to the list of prescribed occupations for which IIDB could be paid for osteoarthritis of the knee (prescribed disease A14). There was insufficient evidence to support including any other occupations from the construction industry in the prescription for osteoarthritis of the knee.
IIAC, through its research working group and scientific adviser, regularly reviews the current scientific literature to see if the necessary evidence may have become available with regard to diseases and occupations not currently included, such as agricultural and horticultural workers, or if further consideration is required in respect of those already listed.
IIAC will revisit any subject if new, sound and consistent scientific evidence becomes available, and will be happy to receive any such evidence, including any in relation to horticulture and agriculture. The Government will give careful consideration to any advice the council may provide, and consider legislative proposals in the light of that advice.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many representations from whistleblowers received by the Care Quality Commission led to investigations in each three month period since the commencement of operations by the Care Quality Commission. [HL9994]
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) regulation is increasingly based on a wide spectrum of information, including: the views of people who use services and members of staff; complaints and whistleblowing concerns; inspection visits; data sets (eg mortality and infection rates); and information from other regulators. This information is contained in a quality and risk profile (QRP) for each provider. QRPs are constantly updated and are used to identify problems and act as a prompt for further action.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the financial viability of care homes is the subject of monitoring by the Care Quality Commission for the purpose of assessing quality of service provision. [HL9996]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that vulnerable parents who provide care will be fully supported in making the decision as to whether or not to use the statutory scheme of the Child Support Agency.[HL10208]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): Support for separating families already exists. The difficulty is that there are many issues to be addressed during separation and it can be difficult for parents-particularly at a time of distress-to access the information and support needed. Accessing support early is especially important for vulnerable parents.
The Green Paper, Strengthening Families, Promoting Parental Responsibility: The Future of Child Maintenance outlined our commitment that we will fast-track victims of domestic violence through the gateway to the statutory service and that they will also be exempt from the application charge. This is designed to minimise the impact that this process may invoke on these vulnerable people.
Exactly which support is joined up and how best to join up the support will be determined in discussion with the voluntary and community sector organisations who work with families and understand their needs. Alongside this, we also plan to test different support programmes to build the evidence base on what support works, and we plan to ask an external expert to help us with this work.
Our role, as a Government, is to facilitate the joining up of existing support so it is easier for people to access all of this support and that they are able to make a decision as to whether or not to use the statutory scheme. We plan to do this through web-based, phone-based and community-based face-to-face support.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Hill of Oareford on 26 April (WA 19), how figures for the number of children brought up by their grandparents are recorded and held.[HL10095]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The department collects statistics on looked after children living in family and friends' care through the SSDA903 statistical return, and on those who are not looked after but are in receipt of other children's services through the Children in Need (CIN) census.
There are no official figures on the number of grandparents caring for grandchildren. However, a study by the University of Bristol of the 2001 census, published on 16 June 2011, identified some 143,000 children living with family and friends' carers in England, of whom 44 per cent were living with a grandparent.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): There is a robust framework of duties that place clear requirements on local authorities and schools in regard to co-ordinating provision for children with special educational needs (SEN). Alongside this, new inspection requirements, set out in the Education Bill, are quite explicit with regard to disability and SEN.
We are removing the overarching and high level Children Act "duty to co-operate" from schools and colleges but not from bodies such as health and the police which have the capacity and need to co-operate at a strategic level.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Browning): Between 1963 and 2009-10 a total of 140 persons in England and Wales are known to have been killed by persons who had previously been convicted of homicide.
This figure excludes persons killed by those who may have previously been convicted outside England and Wales (for whom there is incomplete information) and persons killed by those not previously convicted of homicide by reason of their mental state.
Lord Freud: The Access to Work programme can fund the costs of an interpreter or advocate assisting a disabled person to communicate at an interview. There are no plans at present to extend the support available from the programme to cover the costs of travelling to an interview.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): This is a matter for the Young People's Learning Agency (YPLA) which operates the education maintenance allowance for the Department for Education. Peter Lauener, the YPLA's chief executive, will write to the noble Baroness with the information requested and a copy of his reply will be placed in the House Libraries.
Baroness Verma: The G8 Deauville summit did not specify a total figure for assistance to Egypt and Tunisia, although the summit declaration on the Arab spring states that multilateral development banks could provide over $20 billion for Egypt and Tunisia in the period 2011-13. The UK is an important shareholder in most of these banks.
The UK has committed £110 million over four years to support Arab countries, beginning with Egypt and Tunisia, in their transition to free and democratic societies, in line with the Deauville partnership, which will support reforming governments to ensure that sustainable and inclusive economic growth and an accountable and transparent political process underpin transition. The Department for International Development will contribute £90 million of this money, with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office contributing £20 million.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The Government have introduced welfare to work reforms which aim to fight poverty, support the most vulnerable and help people, including deaf people, to break any cycle of benefit dependency and to find employment.
Jobcentre Plus advisers will be given more responsibility to assess individuals' needs within local labour markets and to offer them the support they think is most appropriate, including a number of Get Britain Working measures, designed to provide help for those seeking work or to move into self-employment. The exact nature and range of help on offer, delivered in conjunction with local and national partner organisations, will vary from area to area as local managers have the discretion to deliver the services that they believe will help people in their area to secure work the most.
In addition, Jobcentre Plus is committed to helping disabled people find a suitable, sustainable job in their local area through the support it delivers through its network of disability employment advisers. Disability employment advisers can identify suitable job opportunities and act as an advocate on a customer's behalf with employers, if appropriate. They will also aim to identify work solutions that will overcome or minimise difficulties relating to a customer's disability and can signpost customers and their employers to the Access to Work Service. Jobcentre Plus also has specialist programmes that help disabled people move into paid work, such as residential training, or for those with the most complex support needs, Work Choice. Disability employment advisers also use the professional expertise of work psychologists specialising in working with disabled people, or refer people for occupational health assessment, if required.
Underpinning Get Britain Working is the introduction of the Work Programme which was launched on 1 June. The Work Programme will provide a single, personalised, welfare to work programme for all customer groups. It will be delivered through a combination of contracted employment provision via private, public and voluntary sectors as well as Jobcentre Plus-led service delivery. The Work Programme is a new approach to delivering employment-related support services. It will simplify the complex array of existing employment programmes and deliver coherent, integrated support more capable of dealing with complex and overlapping barriers to work, providing personalised help for people who find themselves out of work regardless of the benefit they claim.
On 9 June the Government published the independent report to Government by Liz Sayce, chief executive of RADAR, reviewing specialist disability employment programmes: Getting in, Staying in and Getting on.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the reply by Lord Marland on 14 June (Official Report, col. 654), whether the Minister was referring to the public sector or private sector in respect of investment in energy infrastructure over the past 25 years; and whether he was referring to the United Kingdom as a whole.[HL10130]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): A liberalised energy market has served the UK well with cheap and secure energy since the 1990s. However, new challenges call for careful but fundamental reform.
A quarter of our existing generation capacity will need replacing by 2020, as many nuclear and coal plants reach the end of their lives. In order to tackle climate change, the power sector needs to lead the decarbonisation of our economy. We must largely decarbonise this sector during the 2030s to keep us on track for meeting our climate change goals.
The aim of electricity market reform is to ensure that the right long-term signals are in place to enable cost-effective private sector investment in all forms of low-carbon generation while maintaining security of supply. It also aims to ensure the UK has a balanced portfolio of electricity generating assets-nuclear, renewables and CCS coal and gas-so we never become too reliant on one source of electricity. Over the long term the UK stands to benefit from cleaner, cheaper and more reliable sources of low-carbon energy. An estimated £110 billion of investment is needed in electricity generation and transmission to 2020 in Great Britain, of which around £70-75 billion is in generation.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): The UK has a long history of onshore gas exploration. The technology-including hydraulic fracturing-is established practice and there is a strong regulatory safety and environmental regime in place to ensure that potential risks to safety or the environment are properly managed.
27 Jun 2011 : Column WA363
However, following the recent seismic tremors, my department had discussions with the operator, Cuadrilla, and agreed that a pause in operations is appropriate so that a better understanding can be gained of the cause of the seismic events experienced in Poulton-le-Fylde. A geomechanical study is being undertaken, along with further work by the British Geological Survey and Keele University. The implications of this information will be reviewed before any decision on the resumption of hydraulic fracture operations is made.
Lord Marland: A geomechanical study is being conducted, funded by the operator, Cuadrilla, along with further work by the British Geological Survey and Keele University. These will result in a better understanding of the cause of the seismic events experienced in Poulton-le-Fylde. This work recently commenced and is expected to take between 30-60 days. Upon completion, the operator's study will be published and the implications of this information will be reviewed before any decision on the resumption of hydraulic fracture operations is made.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what work they are undertaking to assist Ethiopia in modernising its agricultural sector and market its produce; how this work is structured; what are the costs; and over what timespan it is being delivered.[HL9939]
Baroness Verma: This year the Department for International Development (DfID) will provide around £25 million to assist Ethiopia in modernising its agriculture sector and market its produce. Our assistance includes: programmes that support the Government's agricultural extension system that provide skills and knowledge to farmers; programmes to increase access to microfinance; support to local government for rural roads that connect farmers to markets; and funding for the International Food Policy Research Institute to provide agriculture policy analysis. Each of the programmes will run until 2015.
As part of DfID's operational plan for Ethiopia, DfID will design new programmes in the areas of private sector development, climate change and support for the peripheral regions of Ethiopia that will further help to modernise the agriculture sector.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the request by the government of India that they should have mode 4 access to European Union markets as a condition of a European Union-India free trade agreement; and what assessment they have made of any adverse affect mode 4 would have on wage levels in the United Kingdom. [HL10060]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The EU-India free trade agreement is still under negotiation. As part of the ongoing negotiation, we are assessing the requests India has made in mode 4. We expect the agreement to be consistent with the increased minimum salary requirements for intra-company transfers recently introduced by the Government.
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The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The Deputy Prime Minister's Office is located within the Cabinet Office. I refer the noble Lord to the answer given by Lord Taylor of Holbeach on 23 June 2011.
To ask Her Majesty's Government who is the Departmental Chief Scientific Adviser for the Attorney-General's Office; and (a) when they were appointed and for how long, (b) what is their academic or experience background, (c) what is their civil service rank, (d) whether their post is full-time or part-time, and what other work commitments they
27 Jun 2011 : Column WA366
To ask Her Majesty's Government who is the Departmental Chief Scientific Adviser for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills; and (a) when they were appointed and for how long, (b) what is their academic or experience background, (c) what is their civil service rank, (d) whether their post is full-time or part-time, and what other work commitments they have, and (e) on how many occasions during the past year they have had meetings with the Secretary of State or the Minister to whom they have direct responsibility.[HL9967]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The post of departmental Chief Scientific Adviser for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is currently vacant.
Until 31 May 2011, Professor Brian Collins was the BIS Chief Scientific Adviser. He was appointed in May 2008 for three years, working part time (0.4 full-time equivalent). He was a senior civil servant, pay band 2. Professor Collins met regularly with the Minister of State for Universities and Science and also provided advice to other Ministers depending on the issue.
Professor Collins was also the Chief Scientific Adviser at the Department for Transport from May 2008 to 2011 and maintained an academic position at the University of Cranfield. He has extensive experience at a senior level in government, academia and commerce, including roles as International Director of Information Technology at Clifford Chance, Head of Information Systems at the Wellcome Trust and Director of Science and Technology at GCHQ.
To ask Her Majesty's Government who is the Departmental Chief Scientific Adviser for the Ministry of Defence; and (a) when they were appointed and for how long, (b) what is their academic or experience background, (c) what is their civil service rank, (d) whether their post is full-time or part-time, and what other work commitments they have, and (e) on how many occasions during the past year they have had meetings with the Secretary of State or the Minister to whom they have direct responsibility.[HL9970]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): Following an open recruitment campaign Professor Sir Mark Welland was appointed on 7 April 2008 at Permanent Under-Secretary level for a period of three years. This period was subsequently extended and now ends on 31 August
27 Jun 2011 : Column WA367
After a position as world trade visiting scientist at IBM research division in the USA from 1985 to 1986, Sir Mark was appointed to a lectureship in electrical engineering at the University of Cambridge where he is currently Professor of Nanotechnology researching into a broad range of both fundamental and applied problems. These include protein misfolding problems related to human disease, nanostructured materials for solar cells, biologically inspired functional nanomaterials, nanoelectronics and developing tools for fabrication and characterisation of nanostructures.
Sir Mark established the Nanoscience Centre at the University of Cambridge in 2003 and was made Director of the Interdisciplinary Research Collaboration (IRC) in Nanotechnology funded through the Government's research councils in 2002. Sir Mark has been involved in a number of national and international reports on nanotechnology including the highly cited Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering report: Nanoscience and Nanotechnologies: Opportunities and Uncertainties, published in 1994. He has substantive international connections in the USA, Japan, Europe, India and the Middle East; he has established and now co-directs the Science and Technology Research Centre at the American University in Cairo, Egypt and is international principal investigator of the recently established £100 million World Premier Research Institute in nanomaterials based in Tsukuba, Japan. He has given a number of prestigious lectures that include the Turing lecture, the Institute of Electrical Engineers and the British Computing Society, 2002; the Sterling Lecturer, annual appointment made by the Sterling group of Universities, 2003; the annual Materials Research Society of India lecture, Mumbai, India, 2006 and the Max Planck Society Lecture 2007, Max Planck Institute, Stuttgart, Germany, 2007.
Sir Mark was elected a fellow of the Royal Society, a fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, and a fellow of the Institute of Physics in 2002. He is also a member of council of the Royal United Services Institute. In 2008 Sir Mark was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, India, as a foreign fellow in recognition of his contributions to science and engineering both generally and specifically in relation to his work in India.
During the past year Sir Mark has met regularly with my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Defence (Dr Fox) and my honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence (Mr Peter Luff).
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many meetings have been held of the Ministerial Working Group on Preventing and Tackling Inequalities Experienced by Gypsies and Travellers; whether they will publish the agenda for each of the meetings, and the working papers considered; and what recommendations have been made to them by the Working Group.[HL10228]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): The ministerial working group on preventing and tackling inequalities experienced by Gypsies and Travellers has met on two occasions to date-9 December 2010 and 21 March 2011, with a third meeting scheduled for 6 July. The group is looking at ways to address issues which have an adverse impact on these communities and agendas and working papers cover:better engagement between Gypsies and Travellers and service providers;community-led promotion of small privately owned site development;identifying ways to improve health outcomes;community-led proposals to raise Gypsy and Traveller educational aspirations and encourage greater parental engagement and support for children to remain in the education system;better access and engagement with employment and benefits services; improving access to financial products and services; andtackling unlawful denial of access to commercial premises.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Professor Martin Lombard, National Clinical Director for Liver Disease, is currently leading work with National Health Service and public health stakeholders to ensure that the response to the rising demand for liver disease services is adequate and supports improvement against the NHS outcomes framework and the public health outcomes framework (which is expected for publication in the autumn). No publication date for the liver disease strategy has yet been identified.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to reduce the incidence of malnutrition in (a) communities, (b) acute settings, and (c) sheltered accommodation and residential care homes; and whether the Department of Health will establish a malnutrition commission.[HL10132]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Good nutrition is essential for health and well-being. Improved nutrition in the community, acute, residential and sheltered care settings requires working in partnership at a national, regional and local level.
The Government will retain responsibility for running national nutrition programmes, whilst local authorities would take on responsibility for locally led initiatives. The Government will publish a response to the Healthy Lives, Healthy People: Consultation on the Funding and Commissioning Routes for Public Health, later this year.
There are a number of initiatives in place to improve and sustain high-quality care of patients in hospital, including the essence of care benchmarking system, the productive ward series, the confidence in caring programme and the red tray scheme, which identifies patients at risk of poor nutrition for special attention.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the reply by Earl Howe on 8 June (Official Report, cols. 270-2), how many hospital assessment and treatment units or other hospital facilities are registered for people with learning disabilities who have mental illness or challenging behaviour; and how many of these are run by (a) the National Health Service, and (b) private companies.[HL10143]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Care Quality Commission has 290 locations registered with the service type "Hospital services for people with mental health needs, learning disabilities and problems with substance misuse" and the service user band (among others) of "Learning disabilities or autistic spectrum disorder".
One hundred and eighty two are National Health Service organisations and 108 are run by the remaining sectors which includes private, voluntary and local authority provision but this information is not further disaggregated.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether it is within the competence of the National Health Service Blood and Transplant Authority to seek to pursue the strategic objective in its Strategic Plan 2011-14 to "maximise the number of organ donors" by campaigning in favour of an opt-out system of organ donation.[HL10046]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the National Health Service Blood and Transplant Authority has the power or capacity to oppose Welsh Government policy on organ donation, or any proposed Welsh legislation on organ donation. [HL10047]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Human Tissue Authority, as the Competent Authority for the EU Organ Donation Directive, is authorised to oppose Welsh Government policy on organ donation or any proposed Welsh legislation on organ donation.[HL10048]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Welsh Government have now announced that they will press ahead unilaterally with an Assembly Bill to attempt to change the existing system on organ donation and introduce an opt-out system of consent in Wales. The Government will examine thoroughly the detail of the Bill when it is introduced to the National Assembly.
NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) is an arm's-length body with responsibility to implement government policy on blood and organ donation. However, the Government will consult NHSBT to seek its views, alongside those of the Human Tissue Authority and any other body that is relevant, on the Assembly Bill's implications when it is introduced.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Freud on 14 June (WA 178), when the Minister for Welfare Reform is planning to visit the home of someone on housing benefit.[HL10091]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): I have spoken with a number of people who have direct experience of housing benefit and will continue to do so as part of my ongoing ministerial engagement. I am committed to engaging with a number of organisations including local authorities, private landlord associations, housing associations, and homelessness organisations which work in this area.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Browning): The detained fast-track process is a fundamental part of our immigration system as it allows fast, fair and sustainable decisions and saves the taxpayer money. There are no plans to end the detained fast-track process. The UK Border Agency is making improvements to the asylum system to ensure that cases are concluded faster, making better quality decisions and reducing costs.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will desist from using the word "detainees" to describe persons who whilst debarred from entering the United Kingdom are free to go to other jurisdictions when they wish.[HL10150]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Browning): The UK Border Agency uses the word "detainee" to describe anyone who is detained in this country at one of its immigration removal centres or at a prison under immigration powers. To the UK Border Agency's knowledge it is not used to refer to anyone who is prohibited from entering the country.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with Bail for Immigration Detainees about their recent report Last Resort or First Resort?; and what action they are taking in response to the concerns expressed in that report.[HL10182]
Baroness Browning: We have noted the concerns published in the report and officials worked closely with Bail for Immigration Detainees among others during the child detention review and took their views and evidence into account in designing the new family returns process. We are not responding formally to the report.
The UK Border Agency's annual resource accounts will be published in July 2011 and will disclose by way of a note the total value of compensation payments made by the agency in the 2010-11 financial year.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will establish an independent inquiry into immigration detention with the aim of ending unlawful detentions and of preventing the detention of vulnerable persons, in particular survivors of torture.[HL10187]
Decisions to detain persons under Immigration Act powers are taken after careful consideration by the UK Border Agency, taking full account of the individual circumstances of the persons concerned. The UK Border Agency's published guidance to staff involved in authorising detention makes it clear that individuals considered vulnerable should only be detained in exceptional circumstances. This includes individuals for whom there is independent evidence that they have been tortured.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to instruct the UK Border Agency on the transfer of immigration detainees to a different detention centre when they have a pending hospital appointment.[HL10194]
Baroness Browning: The UK Border Agency takes health and well-being of those in its care very seriously. Where it is known that a detainee has a referral for a hospital appointment or treatment, he or she will not be transferred to another immigration removal centre in advance of that appointment unless in exceptional circumstances or in their best interests.
Baroness Browning: The UK Border Agency does not publish information relating to the nationalities of those it detains following a sentence of imprisonment. However, according to our quarterly publication of Control of Immigration Statistics figures of 31 March 2011, there were a total of 2,655 persons detained in immigration removal centres solely under Immigration Act powers, of which 50 were of Somali nationality.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Browning): The UK Border Agency has introduced a number of arrangements as a result of implementing Section 55 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009 that will improve current provision for children within the immigration and asylum process. There are now around 60 safeguarding co-ordinators throughout the UK Border Agency with the role of raising awareness of and embedding best practice on children's issues throughout the agency. More than 13,000 staff members have now taken part in an online programme of training on safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children. Improved arrangements have been introduced in the way that we work with children and families, such as our approach in asylum screening, closer engagement with local authorities, improvements in our culture of care, and facilities such as child-friendly areas. Last year we announced the ending of detention of children for immigration purposes. This is now being put into effect by the introduction of a new process which focuses on engagement with families. There is now the opportunity for these stages of the immigration and asylum process to be adapted to the circumstances of individual families in an appropriate way.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Stabilisation Unit is aware of any planned European Union stabilisation or security sector reform missions in Libya; and, if so, whether they were consulted as to the demarcation of effort and if they would contribute or lend their support to any such mission. [HL9935]
Baroness Verma: The Government are co-ordinating closely with the European External Action Service and European Commission, as well as with other actors including the United Nations, as the situation in Libya develops. The Department for International Development and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office have been in discussion with the European Union about possible support for the Libyan people, including on security sector reform. They will continue to co-ordinate with the EU, both at headquarters and on the ground, to ensure a joined-up approach to stabilisation in Libya, and will draw on Stabilisation Unit resources as appropriate.
Baroness Rawlings: The Government expect to publish their final proposals for local television in a statement in July 2011. This will set out the framework for viable local services, the expected timescales and processes involved.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they consider that the codes of practice promoted by the Council for Mortgage Lenders are sufficiently strong to ensure that there is no conflict of interest or abuse of the position of receivers appointed by lenders under the Law of Property Act 1925. [HL10049]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The Council of Mortgage Lenders issued guidance for its members on the role of Law of Property Act (LPA) receivers on 21 February 2011. The guidance is available on the CML website at http://www.cml.org. uk/cml/policy/guidance. The guidance has no regulatory status.
The obligations of LPA receivers to borrowers are enforceable through the courts under the general civil law. The Government have no plans to change the law relating to these obligations but are keeping the situation under review.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Our expectation is that in the future, each National Health Service trust will become a foundation trust (FT), part of an existing FT or will be subject to another organisational form. Each NHS trust is currently working on a tripartite formal agreement with their strategic health authority and the department. Once the agreements have been signed by all parties, they will be published locally. We will then have a clearer picture of when each NHS trust will submit their FT application and expects to achieve FT status.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): A high-level organogram reflecting the Government's proposals for modernising the National Health Service was published on page 39 of the White Paper Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS. The document has already been placed in the Library and is also available at: www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/PublicationsPolicyAndGuidance/D H_117353.
Since the White Paper was published in July 2010, the lines of responsibility between the department and the proposed and existing NHS and regulatory bodies have not changed. However, we announced in our response to the NHS Future Forum that general practitioner commissioning consortia would in future be called clinical commissioning groups, and that there would be clinical senates and clinical networks to advise commissioners. These would be hosted by the NHS Commissioning Board rather than being organisations in their own right.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what arrangements will be necessary in the event of private sector companies winning a contract for the provision of unpaid work by women in England and Wales.[HL10107]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): All providers of community payback including private sector companies (unpaid work) are required to deliver services in line with the specification and operating manual. The manual provides guidance on the way in which the diverse needs of offenders should be matched to suitable work placements. It requires that sufficient group and individual placements are made available for female offenders. It is also a requirement that offenders who are pregnant or new mothers are carefully considered and subject to risk assessment.
Baroness Garden of Frognal: Members of the Libyan Government, including their head of state, are subject to international travel bans and would not be able to travel to the EU, including the UK, to attend the Olympics.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what percentage of the budget for the Department for International Development's new Nepal programme has been allocated to realising the United Nations millennium development goal to improve maternal health. [HL9906]
Baroness Verma: The UK's total operational plan commitment for Nepal is £331 million from 2011 to 2015. Of this, the Department for International Development (DfID) will provide up to £66 million of support to health and HIV/AIDS .
This will include up to £46 million in financial and technical support to the five-year national health plan, which runs from 2010 to 2015. Nepal aims to meet millennium development goal 5 on maternal health, with 60 per cent of all births attended by health workers with the right skills, 49 per cent of emergency obstetric care need met by the health system, and 90 per cent of all pregnant women receiving iron supplementation by 2015.
We will also provide up to £16 million of support to improve access by women to family planning. Worldwide, effective family planning has been shown to contribute significantly to declines in maternal mortality, as women have fewer unplanned pregnancies and are less likely to seek unsafe abortions.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, in the light of the recommendations of the review by Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon calling for more effective emergency responses by the Department for International Development and the need to ensure value for money, whether they will make use of the private sector to provide transportation, logistics or expert assistance to future stabilisation missions; and, if so, what safeguards will be employed and how contributing companies will be selected, given the need for rapid deployment.[HL9934]
Baroness Verma: We agree with the humanitarian emergency response review led by Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon that the private sector represents a huge source of capacity and expertise to reduce suffering and help communities in the aftermath of a disaster. In Haiti, for example, Digicel, the main telecoms provider, gave free credit worth £10 million to its 2 million subscribers allowing them to keep in touch with family and friends. It also prepaid its taxes to local government to give them extra resource.
DfID already has important relationships with private sector actors providing transportation, logistics and expert assistance in disaster relief. We will become more active and focus on those areas where private sector actors have specific comparative advantages, for instance when responding to disasters in an urban area. By building up relationships pre-disaster as part of our resilience and preparedness work we will ensure rapid deployment is possible once a disaster has struck.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to bring forward proposals to increase the amount of money available to pensioners in receipt of pensions under the Financial Assistance Scheme. [HL10050]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): There are no plans to increase the level of payments from the Financial Assistance Scheme, which already pays assistance at 90 per cent of a scheme member's expected pension, subject to an annual cap, which is broadly equivalent to the level of PPF compensation.
The Government are currently consulting on draft regulations which would extend the Financial Assistance Scheme qualifying conditions. This change would extend Financial Assistance Scheme eligibility to certain closed defined benefit schemes which were being supported by an employer that did not meet the statutory definition of employer on 10 June 2011, and had not begun to wind up by 22 December 2008. Schemes in this position would not currently be eligible for the Pension Protection Fund or qualify for help from the Financial Assistance Scheme.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Browning): The management, command and deployment of armed officers is a matter for individual chief officers. The Government have no plans to create a central armed police unit for England.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Browning): The Government are committed to ensuring that police and crime commissioners are supported by clear and co-ordinated national arrangements. The
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This will be underpinned by the Home Secretary's strategic policing requirement, provided for within the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill. This will ensure that both police and crime commissioners and chief officers balance national policing responsibilities alongside local priorities.
Collaboration between forces will be an important part of this, and the Bill removes obstacles to effective collaboration and places strong duties on chief constables and police and crime commissioners to collaborate with those of other forces.
Baroness Rawlings: It is a matter for library authorities to decide how to arrange their public library service in order to meet local needs, and they are not obliged to consult or inform the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport about their plans. While we continue to monitor proposals about changes to library services across England through information gathered by correspondence, media coverage and relevant bodies such as the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, it would not be possible to provide a definitive picture of libraries whose opening hours are either being reduced or facing closure because implementation of proposals is still to be finalised.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans are in place to provide continuity of education to pupils in the event that a free school or academy becomes financially unviable and is forced to close. [HL9976]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): All academy and free school proposals are assessed to determine their viability before the Secretary of State decides whether to enter into a funding agreement. That agreement sets out the respective roles and responsibilities for all parties, including the Secretary of State. It allows for the agreement to be terminated in the event of insolvency and for the orderly transfer of business to a new provider. Should such circumstances arise, the primary concern of the Secretary of State would be to protect the interests of pupils and ensure continuity of education.
In practice the YPLA, on behalf of the Secretary of State, would work with any academy which was at risk of financial failure to ensure it had a remedial action plan in place well in advance of its financial situation becoming critical.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): To date, eight proposals have been approved to business case stage and beyond for free schools that intend to open in September 2012. A further application round for groups seeking to establish a free school in 2012 ended at the beginning of June. We will be assessing these applications during the summer, with a view to announcing further 2012 projects that have been approved to move to the next stage of development this September.
The arrests collection held by the Home Office covers arrests for recorded crime (notifiable offences) only, broken down at a main offence group level, covering categories such as violence against the person and robbery. Holding a mobile phone while driving (without using it) is not a criminal offence; the only relevant offence is the offence of using a mobile phone while driving, which is not a notifiable offence.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will make representations to the Football Stadia Improvement Fund regarding its decision to withdraw £1.2 million of funding from Supporters Direct. [HL10058]
Baroness Garden of Frognal: The recent events have been disappointing and the sentiments expressed cannot be condoned. However, it is important that decisions do not distract from the central task of helping supporters to become more involved in the running of their clubs.
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To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Verma on 25 May (WA 446), whether, if none of the £80 million aid resource for Zimbabwe is channelled through its government, it is also directed towards projects totally divorced from any Zimbabwean Government influence or control; and, if so, how this is being achieved. [HL9915]
Baroness Verma: The UK has regular discussions on its development assistance to Zimbabwe with a large range of partners, including parts of the Government of Zimbabwe. This helps to maximise the impact of our support through aligning it closely with the support of others and where we judge it appropriate the Government's own policy priorities. To that extent the Government of Zimbabwe can have an influence over the direction of development assistance and vice versa. But the Zimbabwean Government do not hold any control over development assistance provided by the UK.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Verma on 25 May (WA 446), whether they will define more specifically "trusted partners" in relation to the dispersal of £80 million aid to Zimbabwe and identify what major health and education programmes are being supported.[HL9916]
Baroness Verma: Trusted partners include international organisations such as UNICEF and the African Development Bank, non-governmental organisations
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In 2011-12, about £36 million of Department for International Development (DfID) funds will be directed towards improving access to health and education
27 Jun 2011 : Column WA382
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