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14 July 2011 : Column WA197



14 July 2011 : Column WA197

Written Answers

Thursday 14 July 2011

Abattoirs

Questions

Asked by Baroness Byford

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The amount budgeted to be paid to contractors in 2011-12 is £4.6 million. This is the payment to the contracting companies for the provision of suitably qualified and experienced inspectors according to the terms of the contract. It forms part of the total direct cost of inspectors, £26.7 million, which also includes the cost of staff directly employed by the Food Standards Agency.

Asked by Baroness Byford

Earl Howe: The amount budgeted to be paid to contractors in 2011-12 is £13.1 million. This is the payment to the contracting companies for the provision of suitably qualified and experienced veterinarians according to the terms of the contract. It forms part of the total direct cost of official veterinarians, £13.4 million, which also includes the cost of staff directly employed by the Food Standards Agency.

Asked by Baroness Byford

Earl Howe: The estimated charges for 2011-12 are £26.9 million after discounts are applied to the full cost of providing meat official controls. The full cost is budgeted at £50.3 million for 2011-12. The difference between the costs and charges of £23.4 million-ie, the discount-may also be termed an undercharge as discounts are given against the full cost. The discount is 47 per cent of the full cost and 87 per cent of the charges. Costs and charges are not the same at present, they will not be during the transitional period from 2012-13 to 2013-14 and nor will they be in 2014-15.



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The estimated charges for 2014-15 will not be an 87 per cent increase as support will continue to be given to low-throughput premises following the Food Standards Agency's (FSA) board decision in May 2011, and the FSA has committed to achieving further significant reductions in the cost of delivering meat official controls in Great Britain.

Asked by Baroness Byford

Earl Howe: A detailed plan is being prepared to deliver savings of £5.5 million by the end of 2014-15, which will ensure that the cost of meat official controls will be below the current calculation of £50.3 million, subject to no unforeseen costs.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is fully committed to realising all efficiencies possible, within the current legislative requirements, without any negative impact on consumer protection. The FSA is working at many levels to achieve further efficiencies, through operational management initiatives, policy development programmes exploring flexibilities within the current regulations, a strategy for future meat controls, and by influencing European Union policy development in this area.

Detailed information on costs was published in February this year, and the FSA is planning an annual report on the delivery of official controls by the FSA's operations group. The operations annual report will be subjected to independent scrutiny, and will provide both the FSA board and external stakeholders reassurance regarding the performance of the FSA's operations group.

Abortion

Questions

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Government are committed to ensuring that a value-for-money approach is adopted covering all aspects of healthcare provision. In order to carry out abortions under National Health Service contract, independent sector providers are subject to local NHS tendering processes and must demonstrate that they are able to provide a quality and cost-effective service, which meets local needs. The department has developed and issued an abortion specification for use by the NHS in support of this process.



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NHS commissioners are expected to use national tariffs when commissioning services from the independent sector. Commissioners can, however, exercise flexibilities including the negotiation of a lower price, where the service is different from that provided in the NHS.

The 2011-12 tariff prices for abortions are shown in the following table.

Healthcare resource groupCombined day case and elective tariff (E)Non-elective tariff (£)

MA15A-Vacuum aspiration with rigid cannula for 9 weeks gestation or more

477

919

MA15B-Vacuum aspiration with rigid cannula for less than 9 weeks gestation

477

864

MA16Z-Vacuum aspiration with flexible cannula

587

1,048

MA17A-Dilation and evacuation 20 weeks or more

659

1,270

MA17B-Dilation and evacuation less than 20 weeks

659

1,178

MA18Z-Medical termination of pregnancy

431

679

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

Baroness Verma: Fighting discrimination against women and girls is at the heart of the Department for International Development's (DfID) development strategy in India. DfID strongly opposes sex-selective abortion or any form of coerced abortion or sterilisation which blight the lives of Indian women. We aim through our reproductive health programmes to strengthen partner Governments' efforts to prevent these practices.

The Government of India are also committed to strengthening their policy and programme frameworks to reduce these practices.

DfID and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) have agreed with the Government of India that the August 2011 donor review of the Reproductive and Child Health (RCH) programme will include a specific element to monitor the implementation of the guidelines set out in the Indian Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, and Reproductive and Child Health Programme (RCH II), and, if necessary, to recommend further safeguards and monitoring of health services.

The UK's policy and the United Nations Population Fund's work are stipulated by the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) and its programme of work. This programme specifically prohibits coercive population policies and gender-based abortion.



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Adoption

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The number of looked-after children in England under the age of one who were adopted during the year ending 31 March 2010 was 70. The number of looked-after children in England under the age of one taken into care during the year ending 31 March 2010 was 2,500.

"Children taken into care" are children who started to be looked after under the following legal statuses: interim or full care orders, police protection, emergency protection order or child assessment orders. They exclude children for whom a placement order was granted, children under voluntary accommodation and children under youth justice legal statuses.

The information given above has also been published in tables E1 (looked-after children adopted during the years ending 31 March) and C4 (children who were taken into care during the years ending 31 March) in the Statistical First Release-Children Looked After by Local Authorities in England (Including Adoption and Care Leavers)Year Ending 31 March 2010, which is available on the department's website via the link http://www.education.gov.uk/rsgateway/DB/SFR/s000960/index.shtml.

Information on children who are looked after in Wales is not held by the Department for Education but is published by the Welsh Assembly Government. Further details can be found at http://wales.gov.uk/topics/statistics/headlines/health2010/100916/?lang=en.

Airports: Security

Question

Asked by Lord Eames

Earl Attlee: The Department for Transport has no plans to review the current security arrangements.

Armed Forces: Compensation

Question

Asked by Baroness Brinton

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): To date the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has spent £288,110 defending the appeals.

This figure excludes VAT and does not include the cost of any associated MoD staff effort or obtaining security clearances for individuals involved in the cases.

Arms Decommissioning

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

Lord Shutt of Greetland: The Independent International Commission on Decommissioning's record of decommissioned arms will be securely retained by the United States Department of State until the British and Irish Governments make a joint request for its release.

The IICD advised that the time was not right to release the inventory into the public domain. The Government accept that advice; therefore there are no plans at present to request the information.

The records are in the care of the United States Department of State and are therefore not subject to the freedom of information legislation of the United Kingdom.

Commonwealth

Question

Asked by Lord Tebbit

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Commonwealth is founded on the shared values of democracy, good governance and rule of law. Upholding these core values benefits nationals of all Commonwealth member states. They also have access to an increasingly intensive network of intra-Commonwealth trade and investment flows, and they can participate in over 100 professional, educational and scientific associations and bodies which enable the sharing of skills and expertise. This includes the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, which strengthens Parliaments and democratic processes across the Commonwealth. Through these networks, Commonwealth citizens have a say, and a role, in all Commonwealth resolutions and commitments. The Commonwealth also provides access to a rich network of cultural and social networks, and links between member states are further strengthened by the network of high commissioners which provide a Commonwealth representation in every Commonwealth country.



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Crime: Harassment

Question

Asked by Lord Ramsbotham

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Browning): The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 covers all forms of harassment. As long as the elements of the offence are met, the offence can be charged by the Crown Prosecution Service. The definition in the Act was chosen because it is capable of capturing a wide range of behaviours removing the need to update the law to keep apace with technological developments.

EU: Infraction Proceedings

Question

Asked by Lord Berkeley

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Commission's records show that there are currently a total of 72 active formal infringement cases open against the UK. It is not possible, without incurring disproportionate cost, to provide a precise breakdown of this information in terms of the stage of each case and responsible Whitehall department. However, I can confirm that there are currently no infraction proceedings from the Commission assigned to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Fluoridation

Questions

Asked by Earl Baldwin of Bewdley

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): In a Systematic Review of Water Fluoridation the University of York suggested that one of the confounding factors in research, which showed that levels of tooth decay were lower in areas where the water was fluoridated, was "use of fluoride". However, given the benefits of fluoride toothpaste to oral health, which can be additional to those from fluoridated water, it would not be ethical to control its use in a research study.



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Asked by Earl Baldwin of Bewdley

Earl Howe: The public health observatories review and monitor data on mortality, hospital admission, cancer registration, consultations in general medical practice and undertake disease-specific surveys relevant to their local areas.

Food: Local Food Partnerships

Question

Asked by Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): Defra has responsibility for policy on local food. We recognise the benefits that the marketing of regional and local food can bring to both producers and consumers alike. Shoppers increasingly want to know how the food they buy has been produced and its origin.

Across the country there are a range of local food groups of different sizes and membership. Food hubs of this nature support local growth and it is for local communities and local economic partnerships to decide where and how they develop.

We welcome the development of these groups and the many benefits they can bring to producers and the local community.

Food: Production

Questions

Asked by Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): In August 2010, the Fruit and Vegetable Taskforce published its report on increasing fruit and vegetable production and consumption and in October followed this with an action plan for industry, growers, retailers, wholesalers, non-governmental organisations and government to take forward, working together to reduce barriers and find innovative solutions. We are continuing to take a close and positive interest in progress on the action plan. In May 2011, the Taskforce on Farming

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Regulation reported on reducing the regulatory barriers facing farmers, including fruit and vegetable growers. The Government will respond later this year.

The Government continue to fund horticultural research through their R&D programmes on sustainable farming systems, agriculture and climate change, sustainable water management, and a resource-efficient and resilient food chain.

The Technology Strategy Board-led Sustainable Agriculture and Food Innovation Platform, co-funded by Defra and BBSRC with up to £90 million over five years, is providing match funding to industry for research and development to encourage innovation. The first call covered crop protection.

We are also encouraging increased consumption of fruit and vegetables with the 5 a Day campaign, the school fruit and vegetable scheme and supporting projects to reconnect children and schools with farms and food production.

Asked by Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer

Lord Henley: We have not made a specific assessment of the advantages of enabling the United Kingdom meat and dairy industry to reduce its reliance on grain feedstuffs but we are commissioning research in partnership with industry into ways the livestock industry can reduce its reliance on grain.

The mix of feedstuffs for livestock is a commercial decision made by farmers based on nutritional requirements, the production system used, available forage and relative costs of different elements of the feed.

Data from the farm business survey in England show that feed costs vary widely both between and within livestock sectors and much of this variation is due to differences in the efficiency of feed use. For example in 2009-10, on dairy farms ranked by gross margin performance, the bottom 25 per cent of farms incurred concentrate feed costs of around 8 pence per litre compared to nearer 6 pence per litre for the high performers. Beef, sheep and milk producers can reduce their reliance on feed grains by boosting the forage component in the diet, but weather can be an important factor impacting on forage availability as will the economic return from competing enterprises for land. Pig and poultry producers are more limited in their ability to vary the grain content of feedstuffs, but high performers will have better feed conversion rates and the average across the sectors as a whole are continuing to improve over time.

The environmental impacts of different livestock production systems are complex. For example, more intensive grain-fed beef production systems see cattle slaughtered at a younger age than more extensive grass-based systems, with potentially less methane emissions over the lifetime of the animal. But for any given system, more efficient feed use will improve both economic and environmental performance.



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In partnership with industry, Defra is funding research (Project LK687) on genetic improvement of perennial ryegrass to develop varieties with enhancement of sugar levels 8 per cent beyond that seen in material currently available to farmers. Increases in readily available forage carbohydrates should offset grain inputs to beef and dairy systems on an equivalent feed energy basis.

Defra is also funding work, in partnership with industry (Project LK694), to develop reliable prediction equations of the energy content and degradability characteristics of maize silage for use by the UK dairy and beef industries. Better knowledge of the nutritional value of maize silage will help to improve the efficiency of nutrient use in balanced rations, including resource-efficient grain inputs.

Government Departments: Research and Data

Questions

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The contract for the evaluation of the free school meals pilots was amended in April 2010 in response to the 2010 Pre-Budget Report, where it had been announced that free school meal eligibility would be extended for reception to year 2 children in primary schools from September 2010. As a consequence of the announcement it was necessary to bring forward certain parent surveys by one year so that they would take place in June and July 2010 instead of in 2011.

However, in July 2010 Ministers decided not to extend FSM eligibility as planned by the previous Administration, because implementation costs had been significantly underestimated. This meant that it was no longer necessary to carry out the parent surveys early. The timing of these surveys therefore reverted to 2011; the surveys are currently in the field. Consequently, there have been no changes to the evaluation's original objectives or methodology.

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

Lord Hill of Oareford: The contract for the "Evaluation of effectiveness of support measures alongside anti-social behaviour enforcement action for young people" was amended in November 2010. The value of the contract was reduced by £35,900 (about 7 per cent of the total). The department decided to focus the final stage of the evaluation more closely on the impact of the programme

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on young people and to cut back on the delivery elements (such as the second wave of practitioner interviews and second online survey). This was in part due to the wealth of delivery information and lessons already gained through the evaluation, and to reduce overall costs as part of the department's drive to achieve savings in public expenditure.

The report from the project is titled Evaluation of the Challenge and Support Programme and is available on the department's publications website: https://www.education.gov.uk/publications/RSG/publicationDetail/Page1/DFE-RR138.

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

Lord Hill of Oareford: The "Sure Start national evaluation" interview timetable was amended to take account of delays to the original timetable caused by the temporary suspension of fieldwork during the general election period of purdah in April and May 2010, in accordance with the Cabinet Office Guidance on Conduct during election periods. This has not adversely affected the evaluation, the results of which will inform the forward work programme around Sure Start children's centres.

Government: Ministerial Meetings

Question

Asked by Lord Harris of Haringey

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Browning): Since May 2010 Home Office Ministers have met with the Mayor of London or the chair of the Metropolitan Police Authority, and the Commissioner or Deputy Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, regularly throughout 2010 and 2011.

Health: Drugs

Questions

Asked by Lord Crisp



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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The two reports commissioned by the department on addiction to medicine which were published on 11 May 2011 highlighted that there is no national database that can identify the number of people addicted to medicine. Nor is there national information about the numbers of people being helped by general practitioners to withdraw. The national drug treatment monitoring system records the numbers of people receiving specialist help to withdraw. In 2009-10, 3,735 people addicted to medicine and not to illicit drugs were helped by specialist services commissioned by local drug partnerships. Plans for future action will be informed by a round-table meeting of experts, which we shall be convening.

Health: Sport and Exercise Medicine

Question

Asked by Lord Moynihan

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): A great deal is already being done to encourage health-enhancing sport and physical activity as a legacy of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. We are working across government to explore new opportunities for sport and health to come together to benefit health and well-being.

Healthcare: Costs

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): European Union Regulations 1408/71 and 574/72, and their successors Regulations 883/2004 and 987/2009, which entered into force on 1 May 2010, co-ordinate social security across the European economic area (EEA) and Switzerland. This includes co-ordinating the provision and liability for sickness benefits in kind for those travelling, working and moving around Europe.

As part of this, state pensioners and their families who choose to live in another member state to that which pays their pension can access state-funded healthcare in the member state of residence. Usually, the pensioners and their family will register the form

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E121, or now the S1, when they arrive in their new member state of residence. The member state of residence then charges the member state that pays the pension the costs for that healthcare.

Entitlement to free National Health Service hospital treatment is based on ordinary residence in the United Kingdom, not nationality or the payment of UK taxes and national insurance contributions. Those not ordinarily resident in the UK are deemed overseas visitors and are subject to charges for NHS hospital treatment under the NHS (Charges to Overseas Visitors) Regulations 1989, as amended, unless an exemption from charge category listed in the regulations applies to them.

The basic principle, which applies to EU nationals who move to another member state to work, is that they are subject to the healthcare legislation of the place where they work.

Homelessness

Question

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): Information about local authorities' discharge of their duties under homelessness legislation is collected on quarterly PIE returns. Summary information about English local housing authorities' actions under the homelessness legislation (Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996) is collected at local authority level, and published by the department in the quarterly statistical release on statutory homelessness, available both in the Library of the House and via the DCLG website: http://www.communities.gov.uk/housing/housingresearch/housingstatistics/housingstatisticsby/homelessnessstatistics/publicationshomelessness/.

Data are not collected on whether households accepted as owed a main homelessness duty are in receipt of state-funded care.

Data are collected on the number of households accepted as owed a main homelessness duty with reason for loss of last settled home being parents/other relatives or friends no longer able or willing to provide accommodation. The figures can be found in table 5 of the publication at the following link: http://www. communities.gov.uk/documents/statistics/xls/1918669.xls.

Information on other groups of homeless people who may be receiving state-funded care, eg rough sleepers, is not available broken down by reason for loss of last settled home.

This Government are committed to tackling homelessness. 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

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ministerial working group on homelessness has also been set up to address the complex causes of homelessness and improve support for homeless people.

Immigration

Questions

Asked by The Earl of Clancarty

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Browning): We do not routinely comment on individual cases.

The UK Border Agency is clear that passengers seeking entry for more than three months under the tier 5 concessions of the points-based system must obtain an entry clearance prior to travelling to the UK. Non-visa nationals who seek entry in this category for a period of less than three months are required to obtain a certificate of sponsorship before travelling to the UK.

Asked by The Earl of Clancarty

Baroness Browning: We do not routinely comment on individual cases.

The UK Border Agency is clear that passengers seeking entry for more than three months under the tier 5 concessions of the points-based system must obtain an entry clearance prior to travelling to the UK. Non-visa nationals who seek entry in this category for a period of less than three months are required to obtain a certificate of sponsorship before travelling to the UK.

Asked by The Earl of Clancarty

Baroness Browning: We do not routinely comment on individual cases.

The UK Border Agency is clear that passengers seeking entry for more than three months under the tier 5 concessions of the points-based system must obtain an entry clearance prior to travelling to the UK. Non-visa nationals who seek entry in this category for a period of less than three months are required to obtain a certificate of sponsorship before travelling to the UK.

Kenya

Question

Asked by The Earl of Sandwich



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Baroness Verma: The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) will release a revised appeal this week detailing funding requirements to respond to the needs of new Somali refugee arrivals in Kenya. We have already informed UNHCR that we will be considering the appeal carefully. The Department for International Development (DfID) gave UNHCR £2 million last year to meet some of the basic relief needs of 20,000 refugees in 2010 and 2011. We also continue to press the Government of Kenya on the need to allocate more space for refugee camps. We also have a major programme of humanitarian assistance in the areas of Somalia the refugees are fleeing from.

Local Authorities: Expenditure

Question

Asked by Lord Cope of Berkeley

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): Procurement in local government is a matter for local discretion but Government are committed to encouraging a more open and level playing field for small and medium enterprises and the voluntary and community sector to bid for contracts. In February, the Prime Minister launched a new, free-to-use, online contracts finder portal and simplified pre-qualification questionnaire to make it easier and cheaper for small and medium enterprises to bid for public sector opportunities.

The DCLG has also recently consulted on new statutory guidance on best value (the consultation closed on 14 June). It makes clear that councils should seek to avoid making disproportionate cuts to small and medium enterprises and the voluntary and community sector.

The proposed local government transparency code will also facilitate greater openness and scrutiny of spending, tenders and contracts over £500.

Migrant Workers: Bulgarians and Romanians

Questions

Asked by Lord Laird



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The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Browning): The requested information is provided in the table below.

Accession Work Cards Issued between 1.1.07 and 30.06.11
Nationality20072008200920102011Total

Bulgaria

1,450

1,510

1,030

740

365

5,090

Romania

2,090

1,280

1,215

1,585

895

7,070

Total

3,540

2,790

2,245

2,320

1,260

12,160

Work Permit (Sectors Based Scheme) Applications Approved Between 1.1.07 and 30.06.11
Nationality20072008200920102011Total

Bulgaria

1,180

1,380

705

450

275

3,990

Romania

245

190

70

150

70

720

Total

1,425

1,570

775

600

345

4,715

Registration Cards (Yellow including Exempt) Issued between 1.1.07 and 30.06.11
Nationality20072008200920102011Total

Bulgaria

8,320

6,300

7,100

6,400

4480

32,600

Romania

18,615

13,625

15,005

14,820

9,895

71,955

Total

26,935

19,930

22,105

21,220

14,370

104,555

Seasonal and Agricultural Workers (SAWS) Work Cards Issued between 1.1.07 and 30.06.11
Nationality20072008200920102011Total

Bulgaria

5,685

10,850

12,220

11,965

10,020

50,740

Romania

2,290

5,675

7,650

7,980

7,300

30,900

Total

7,975

16,525

19,870

19,950

17,320

81,640

The transitional restrictions currently applied to Bulgarian and Romanian nationals may be extended to the end of 2013; to do otherwise would result in serious labour market disturbance. The Government have asked the Migration Advisory Committee to review the labour market case for maintaining the restrictions.

Asked by Lord Laird

Baroness Browning: The requested information is provided in the table below.

Exempt Registration Cards Issued between 1.1.07 and 30.06.11
Nationality20072008200920102011Total

Bulgaria

3,215

2,565

3,160

3,060

1725

13,725

Romania

4,695

5,740

7,710

8,030

4,910

31,085

Total

7,910

8,300

10,870

11,090

6,635

44,810



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Students issued Cards between 1.1.07 and 30.06.11
Nationality20072008200920102011Total

Bulgaria

1,085

1,585

1,945

1,380

1775

7,770

Romania

1,850

2,560

3,030

2,720

2,875

13,025

Total

2,930

4,140

4,975

4,100

4,645

20,795

HSMP Issued Cards between 1.1.07 and 30.06.11
Nationality20072008200920102011Total

Bulgaria

45

60

110

135

75

425

Romania

55

100

145

235

170

710

Total

100

160

260

370

245

1,135

Self Employed Issued Cards between 1.1.07 and 30.06.11
Nationality20072008200920102011Total

Bulgaria

3,555

2,135

1,980

1,955

980

10,600

Romania

10,360

5,285

4,235

4,055

2,100

26,035

Total

13,915

7,420

6,215

6,005

3,075

36,635

The work authorisation requirements applied to Bulgarian and Romanian workers are applied in accordance with the relevant terms of the treaty on accession, which do not provide for such transitional restrictions to continue to be applied to a Bulgarian or Romanian national admitted to the labour market for an uninterrupted period of 12 months or longer.

Northern Ireland Office: Cars

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

Lord Shutt of Greetland: In the last financial year the Northern Ireland Office spent £69,517 on car transport.

Overseas Aid

Questions

Asked by Lord Corbett of Castle Vale

Baroness Verma: The Department for International Development's (DfID's) Asia regional programme addresses regional issues which affect the countries in Asia in which DfID is focusing its bilateral aid. Asia regional funds are not available for other countries.



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A summary of DfID's plans for regional work in Asia from 2011 to 2015 is available on the DfID website at http://www.dfid.gov.uk/Documents/publications1/op/asia-reg-2011-summary.pdf.

Asked by Baroness Tonge

Baroness Verma: The Department for International Development (DfID) provides programme-based funding in health to the Government of Nepal (GoN), which is through (a) sector budget support, and (b) an aligned technical assistance programme, to support the five-year Nepal Health Sector Programme (NHSP2), without any earmarking. So, all the funding in health is reflected under the heading "Other Health", without further disaggregation of spend into maternal and neonatal health or otherwise. However, the results of DfID's contribution will be measured in terms of improvement in, among others, maternal and neonatal health.

Party Conferences: Costs

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Browning): South Yorkshire Police's application for a special grant to cover the costs of policing the 2011 Liberal Democrat spring conference in Sheffield has been declined.

Philip Machemedze

Question

Asked by Lord Maginnis of Drumglass



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The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Browning): I understand that the Metropolitan Police Service is carrying out inquiries into an allegation of torture. Officers have liaised with the United Kingdom Border Agency and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as necessary, but it would be inappropriate to comment further on the case while the police inquiries continue.

Prisoners: Ex-servicemen

Question

Asked by Baroness Gibson of Market Rasen

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): We welcome the report and findings of the Howard League's Independent Inquiry into Former Armed Service Personnel in Prison. In particular, we have been encouraged by the report confirming that the number of veterans in prison is not as high as commonly reported but is nearer to 3.5 per cent as estimated by the Ministry of Defence's defence analytical services and advice. We further welcome the fact that the inquiry found no evidence to support claims that criminality was linked to having served in the Armed Forces. Indeed, for the vast majority, service had been a positive and beneficial experience. We nevertheless plan to review in full the recommendations of the report, in conjunction with the Ministry of Justice and the Ex-Service Offenders Working Group, with which we work closely on this issue.

Raed Salah

Questions

Asked by Baroness Tonge

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Browning): The Government do not routinely comment on individual exclusion cases but in this instance the Secretary of State has considered it important to do so. Mr Salah has himself put details of his case into the public domain.

Raed Salah was excluded from the UK on 23 June as a result of numerous statements he had made, details of which were obtained from a variety of sources across Government.

Asked by Lord Hylton



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Baroness Browning: Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) is undertaking a review of the case of Salah, specifically looking into the circumstances of his admission to the UK.

Roads: Speed Limits

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

Earl Attlee: All road users must comply with speed limits. The setting of speed limits on local roads is the responsibility of local highway authorities and the enforcement of these is for local police forces. In line with the localism agenda, all local authorities have the autonomy to decide whether to introduce traffic-calming measures such as speed humps or shared space to reduce all vehicle speeds, including motor cyclists. The Government THINK! Campaign on motor cycle safety includes messages to motor cyclists encouraging further training and responsible riding: http://think. direct.gov.uk/motorcycles.html.

Schools: Budgets

Question

Asked by Lord Willis of Knaresborough

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The harnessing technology grant (HTG) to schools was time-limited (2008-2011) funding which was always scheduled to end in 2011. The grant was reduced in its final year as part of the wider package of savings which the Government had to make due to the current fiscal climate and a need to reduce the budget deficit.

Evidence points to technology now being well embedded in schools and so the case for a separate funding stream is diminished. Following significant ICT investment in schools over the years, the Government believe that schools should now be in a position to be able to move to a more sustainable model.

This is in line with their commitment to devolve power to schools by giving them more freedom to take decisions that best suit their particular circumstances and moving away from any top-down intervention unless necessary.

Schools: e-learning

Questions

Asked by Lord Willis of Knaresborough



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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The Government are committed to devolving power to schools and moving away from top-down intervention, so do not prescribe what steps schools should take to ensure all children can access e-learning resources at home. The Government believe that the effective use of technology can help raise educational standards, but schools are best placed to make decisions about how to use the resources available to them-including technology. The majority of schools have implemented learning platforms: systems that can help provide secure access to digital educational resources from home.

The focus for supporting children from disadvantaged backgrounds is now on the pupil premium. This will give schools the flexibility they require to help those pupils who need it most, including providing information and communication technology, if appropriate.

Asked by Lord Willis of Knaresborough

Lord Hill of Oareford: The Department for Education is currently developing its thinking on technology in schools and is consulting a wide variety of groups including head teachers, professional bodies, educational charities, industry, unions, government organisations, academics and other experts. No decision has yet been taken on publishing conclusions from this process.

Asked by Lord Willis of Knaresborough

Lord Hill of Oareford: The Department for Education reviews existing educational research and commissions its own studies. Overall there is a strong body of evidence linking the effective use of technology to improvements in education.

Schools that take a systematic and planned approach to using technology to support education achieve better outcomes with technology than other schools. Strong patterns of impact are also found from pupils' use of technology to support study at home.

Schools: IT

Question

Asked by Lord Willis of Knaresborough

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The focus for supporting children from disadvantaged backgrounds is now on the pupil premium, as the Government believe that schools are in the best position to understand and

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respond to the specific needs of their pupils. The premium will give schools the flexibility they require to help those pupils who need it most, including providing information and communication technology, if appropriate.

Many schools offer pupils before and after school access to ICT and some are working with the charitable and commercial sectors to help provide access at home.

Terrorism

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Browning): The aim of the revised Prevent strategy launched on 7 June is to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. One of the strategy's three chief objectives is to prevent individuals from being drawn into terrorism. This will build on the multi-agency Channel programme to identify and provide appropriate support to individuals at risk of radicalisation.

Vanuatu

Question

Asked by Lord Rea

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): There are conflicting reports about the status of Vanuatu's recognition of Abkhazia. Prime Minister Kilman personally recognised Abkhazia in June but was then removed from office following a vote of no confidence. He has subsequently been reinstated as Prime Minister by Vanuatu's Parliament and it is unclear whether his personal recognition of Abkhazia still stands. In order for Vanuatu's recognition to be made official, it would need to be approved by the Council of Ministers, which has not yet happened.

The UK recognises and respects Georgia's territorial integrity as defined by its internationally recognised borders, and we have set out the UK's position on

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Abkhazia to the Government of Vanuatu on several occasions. Most recently, on 3 July, my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary wrote to Prime Minister Kilman asking him not to recognise Abkhazia.

Visas

Question

Asked by The Earl of Clancarty

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Browning): The Immigration Rules do not permit general visitors-whether visa or non-visa nationals-to work, either in a paid or unpaid capacity. There is a separate visa for visiting entertainers which, among other things, enables entry to take part in events, such as music competitions, on an unpaid basis.

Waste Management: Food

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): Local authorities are legally obliged to collect household waste. There is no legislative obligation for them to seek the consent of their residents through a referendum prior to introducing changes in waste collection services, such as the introduction of a separate food waste collection.

Nevertheless, the Government strongly encourage local authorities to engage fully with residents when designing and delivering waste collection services. Councils will soon be able to sign up to a new recycling and waste services commitment to demonstrate how they will take residents' views into account. Similarly, we would encourage local residents to take advantage of the opportunities provided by their councils to get involved and make their views known, and to hold councils to account for the waste collection services they provide.


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