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5 Sep 2011 : Column WA1

Written Answers

Answers received between Thursday 11 August and Monday 22 August 2011

Armed Forces: Reconnaissance Vehicles

Questions

Asked by Baroness Harris of Richmond

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The future arrangements for a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear capability are under review, but this is not a capability we are losing. We will continue to have a robust and effective CBRN capability and any changes will not affect the Olympic Games or homeland CBRN protection. A decision on the future of the Fuchs vehicle has yet to be taken, but the vehicle is not used in this role.

Benefits

Questions

Asked by Lord Maginnis of Drumglass

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The average weekly amount of state pension paid to claimants as at February 2011 is £105.58. Source: DWP Information Directorate: Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study.

Caseloads are rounded to the nearest 10. From April 2010, the age at which women reach state pension age started to gradually increase from 60. This will introduce a small increase to the number of working age benefit recipients and a small reduction to the number of pension-age recipients. Figures from May 2010 onwards reflect this change. For more information see http://statistics.dwp.gov.uk/asd/espa.pdf. The figures are for GB, overseas and unknown cases.

Information is published on our tabulation tool http://83.244.183.180/100pc/tabtool.html. Benefits are not payable to illegal immigrants. Therefore, information on the average total in benefits paid to illegal immigrants is not available.

Asked by Lord Laird

Lord Freud: Income-related benefits, for example income support and income-based jobseeker's allowance, make provision for payments to be made for a second or subsequent spouse. A husband and his first wife are paid the ordinary couple rate (currently £105.95 a week). An additional £38.45 a week is payable in respect of second and subsequent wives, which is less than the £67.50 they would receive if they were treated as individuals in their own right. Contributory benefits make no provision for polygamous marriages.

The department's IT system does not hold a breakdown of the number of polygamous households claiming benefit. However, as no one can contract a polygamous marriage in the UK and because under the Immigration Act 1988 it is not possible for people polygamously married overseas to bring second wives to the UK, the overall numbers are relatively small and reducing year on year.

Broadcasting: Television Licences

Questions

Asked byLord Roberts of Llandudno

Baroness Garden of Frognal: The BBC is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the television licensing system. It is independent of the Government. The BBC has informed the department that it does not hold information on the number of licence payers broken down by nation or region. The information is held only at an individual address level. The total number of licences in force as of the end of March 2011 was 25,594,546, of which 4,156,240 were over-75 licences.

Crime: Stalking

Questions

Asked byLord Dear

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Browning): Stalking offences are recorded within the offences of "harassment" and "racially or religiously aggravated harassment". In 2009-10, police forces in England and Wales recorded 53,029 offences of harassment and 2,376 offences of racially or religiously

5 Sep 2011 : Column WA3

aggravated harassment. From the centrally collated Home Office data, it is not possible to identify victim gender.

Asked by Lord Dear

Baroness Browning: The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 covers stalking. The Act was always intended to tackle stalking, but was drafted so that it could also include any form of persistent conduct which causes alarm or distress. Where an offender pursues a course of conduct which amounts to harassment and the offender knows or ought to know their conduct amounts to harassment, the offence can be charged by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). 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. The Home Office will continue to work with the CPS, Ministry of Justice and the Association of Chief Police Officers to keep this under review.

Asked by Baroness Gibson of Market Rasen

Baroness Browning: The requested data on complaints of harassment or stalking which were not recorded as crimes by the police are not available centrally.

Defence: Reform Unit

Question

Asked by Lord Moonie

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): I refer the noble Lord to the Statement I made on 27 June 2011 (Official Report, cols. 1540-43).

Employment

Question

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): These were the number of jobs available through Jobcentre Plus on the first Friday in March for the years requested:

March 2007

343,000

March 2008

398,000

March 2009

232,000

March 2010

245,000



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Equality

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

Baroness Garden of Frognal: Neither Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010 nor the draft specific duties regulations require any public bodies to publish any particular information in relation to their workforce. It will be for each public body to decide exactly what information it publishes. Most large public bodies already have workforce monitoring processes in place. We therefore estimate that there will be no additional costs to public bodies from this requirement.

For central government departments, we estimate the one-off transitional cost to the new equality duty to be between £19,000 and £26,000, and that the new duty will result in an annual net benefit thereafter of between £750,000 and £800,000.

This is in comparison to the cost of complying with the previous race, disability and gender equality duties, estimated at around £1.6 million each year and requiring around 13.5 full-time equivalent staff per annum across central government departments. We do not intend to pilot a cost assessment, but we are committed to reviewing the Equality Act as a whole, and the equality duty will be an integral part of that review.

Financial Services Compensation Scheme

Question

Asked by Lord Teverson

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The operation and governance of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) falls within the remit of the Financial Services Authority (FSA). The FSA has commenced a review of the funding model of the FSCS and will proceed to a formal consultation as soon as is practicable, taking into account progress on European directives affecting compensation arrangements.



5 Sep 2011 : Column WA5

Government Departments: Research and Data

Question

Asked by Lord Lea of Crondall

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): We do not hold data on overseas performance of UK companies.

Olympic and Paralympic Games 2012

Question

Asked by Baroness Grey-Thompson

Baroness Garden of Frognal: The Government, the Greater London Authority and its agencies, LOCOG and the Olympic Delivery Authority are working together to ensure that, as far as possible, there is a fully inclusive experience for visitors to the Games in 2012.

The GLA launched the Inclusive London website in March 2011 at: www.inclusivelondon.com, which has already received over 2 million hits. The website informs users of accessible hotels, restaurants, pubs and other buildings in London and allows users to leave reviews of their experiences. The GLA is also providing e-learning for front-line hotel staff and a best-practice guide for maximizing the availability of accessible hotel rooms. Separately, Tourism For All is planning a conference for hospitality providers on accessibility in October 2011.

Sport

Questions

Asked by Lord Clement-Jones



5 Sep 2011 : Column WA6

Lord De Mauley: Sport England recognises that national governing bodies (NGBs) are the experts in their sports and that they must take responsibility for growing participation in their sport. Therefore, NGBs, like the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA), are free to invest Sport England funding in activities or organisations they believe can help them meet their outcomes, this includes investing in local authority sports activity.

If an NGB is not meeting its contracted outcomes, as set out in its whole sport plan funding agreement, and not making any attempt to redress performance in a way which is deemed satisfactory then investment will be decommitted. Sport England will also suspend or decommit funding if an NGB is judged to fall short of certain governance regulations or is not fit to receive public funding.

NGBs are formally reviewed on a six-monthly basis by Sport England against the terms and conditions of the contracts for which they receive investment. This only takes into account the activities they undertake to deliver on the outcomes set within the contracts. Sport England has not specifically consulted local authorities to outline their levels of satisfaction with the ASA or views on its operations and conduct.

The Minister for Sport and the Olympics has had no recent discussions about the conduct of the ASA.

Where there are issues relating to NGBs' performance or behaviour outside of governance or contracted outcomes, Sport England is not obliged to interfere.

In regard to using public funds to run anti-competitive activity, Community Swimming Limited (CSL) is the self-sustaining private company that has been set up with support from the ASA to deliver swimming in venues that would not normally be available for community use. The company is controlled by a board of independent trustees where the ASA has a limited minority right of representation. As CSL does not use funding from Sport England, Sport England has no jurisdiction over the way in which it operates and it is up to the discretion of leisure operators who they appoint to deliver classes.

In terms of the issues the Swimming Teachers Association has with the ASA regarding recognition of swimming teaching as a separate qualification from coaching swimming, a meeting is due to take place in September 2011. The purpose of which is for the ASA and the STA, together with SkillsActive and sports coach UK, to discuss the concerns of both parties and agree a way forward. The Minister for Sport and the Olympics will be kept informed of progress.



5 Sep 2011 : Column WA7

Sport: Disabled People

Question

Asked by Baroness Grey-Thompson

Baroness Garden of Frognal: Sheffield Hallam University is undertaking a focused study to ascertain the impact of the pilot stage of the School Games on behalf of Sport England and the Youth Sport Trust. The findings are expected in September 2011.

Fifteen national governing bodies of sport (NGBs) have been involved in the pilot phase. Sport England issued guidance on how the pilots could focus on staging competitions for disabled children and young people from a range of five disability sports including polybat, table cricket, boccia and new age kurling in addition to testing more inclusive opportunities in athletics, swimming and table tennis. Those NGBs involved in the pilots are due to report back at the same time as the Sheffield Hallam University pilot. Ultimately, over 30 different sports will be involved overall in the School Games and we want as many of those as possible to be accessible for disabled children.

Young People: Voting

Question

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

Lord De Mauley: The Government are committed to encouraging all eligible individuals, including young people aged between 18 and 24, to engage with the democratic process and to vote. While the Government do not hold the information which has been requested, a survey was undertaken on behalf of the Electoral Commission by Ipsos-Mori to research turnout among certain demographic groups at the 2010 UK parliamentary election. Their findings can be found at: http://www. electoralcommission.org. uk/_data/assets/pdf_file/0010/100702/Report-on-the-administration-of-the-2010-UK-general-election.pdf

Answers received between Monday 22 August and Tuesday 30 August 2011

Abdul Baset Al Megrahi

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) does not monitor the location or health of Abdul Baset Ali Al Megrahi. This is a matter for the Scottish Government through East Renfrewshire Council, as the supervising local authority. We understand that the council is maintaining regular contact with Al Megrahi as required by the conditions of his release licence. Any change in the situation in the light of fast-changing internal conditions in Libya will be carefully examined.

Armed Forces: Military Ports

Question

Asked by Lord Moonie

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The Ministry of Defence (MoD) remains committed to selling Marchwood Sea Mounting Centre as set out in the Strategic Defence and Security Review White Paper and Spending Review 2010 publications. In order to deliver this, the MoD is establishing its future requirement for sea mounting services consistent with Defence Strategic Direction. This will enable Ministers to decide how the defence requirement can in future be delivered with maximum value for money; either through contracting with the future owners of Marchwood and/or through using other facilities.

Care Homes

Question

Asked by Lord Morris of Manchester

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): Information on this is not collected centrally by the Department for Communities and Local Government.



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Charities: VAT

Question

Asked by Baroness Finlay of Llandaff

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): VAT exemption for certain healthcare services is available irrespective of whether the organisation is the National Health Service (NHS) or a charity. The main difference in treatment between the two is that the NHS is eligible for a refund of the VAT which it incurs on certain outsourced services, whereas charities are not. This point has been brought to our attention in the context of charitable hospices.

The Government fully understand the issues and has already pledged to undertake a review. However, this is a complex area where we are constrained by EU VAT legislation. Officials are working with representatives from the hospice sector to try to identify a solution that is both targeted and affordable.

Crime: Rioting

Question

Asked by Lord Campbell-Savours

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): We are currently publishing frequent updates on people being dealt with by the court system in relation to the disturbances on 6 to 9 August. These reports can be found on the Ministry of Justice website at http://www.justice.gov.uk/publications/statistics-and- data/ad-hoc/index.htm.

As the publication notes the Chief Statistician will review the quality of data and release further breakdowns as reliable data becomes available. In late August he will then announce what further publications will be released relating to these disturbances.



5 Sep 2011 : Column WA10

Defence: Suppliers

Question

Asked by Lord Moonie

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The new Defence Suppliers Forum contains two seats for representatives of the small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) community. Invitations are issued on a rolling basis dependent on the specific agenda of the meeting.

In addition to the main forum, a SME sub-group, chaired by the Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, has been established. This group was specifically established to ensure that the views of SMEs are better represented in future.

The members include the following associations:

Aerospace/Defence/Security

British Chambers of Commerce

EEF

Federation of Small Businesses

Intellect

Society of Maritime Industries

NDI

The group held its first meeting on 7 April 2011.

Justice: Sentencing

Questions

Asked by The Earl of Dundee

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): Under the spending review settlement, the Ministry of Justice needs to deliver over £2 billion of savings by 2014/15. Any savings from the custodial estate would contribute to this.

The department is also currently taking forward work to look at the future shape of probation services in England and Wales, aimed at improving justice outcomes whilst further increasing operational efficiency. We will be considering a range of possible options for service improvements and different models of delivering offender services within the community. We will set out our preferred approach later in the autumn.

Asked by The Earl of Dundee



5 Sep 2011 : Column WA11

Lord McNally: The Sentencing Council resource assessment estimated that the guideline on assault could have the following long-term impacts on the prison population for each constituent part of the guideline-

GBH with intent s.18: between 20 to 60 additional prison places;

GBH s.20 (incorporating racially or religiously aggravated GBH s.29): between 10 and 20 additional prison places;

ABH s.47 (incorporating racially or religiously aggravated ABH s.29): between 80 and 200 fewer prison places;

assault with intent to resist arrest s.38: between 0 and 10 fewer prison places;

assault on a police officer s.89: between 20 and 60 fewer prison places;

common assault s.39 (incorporating cases of religiously or racially aggravated common assault s.29): between 150 and 350 fewer prison places.

The full impact on the prison population may not be seen until 2021, by when everyone who was sentenced prior to the change in guidelines but may have been sentenced differently under the new regime would have left the prison system.

The resource assessment did not make any estimate as to by how much or by when the new guideline would reduce the incidence of reoffending in England and Wales. The full resource assessment can be found on the Sentencing Council website: http://sentencingcouncil.judiciary.gov.uk/facts/research-and-analysis-publications.htm

Northern Ireland Office: Staff

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The post of director-general of the Northern Ireland Office is not being abolished. The current director-general will be replaced when she leaves later this year under the Cabinet Office-agreed early departure scheme for civil servants.



5 Sep 2011 : Column WA12

Pensions

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government's proposed reforms to public service pensions will ensure that expenditure on pensions is affordable to the taxpayer and that public service pensions are sustainable and fair to both taxpayers and public servants. Schemes are currently discussing proposed reforms with trades unions and other representative bodies.

Chart Ex.2 of the interim report of the Independent Public Service Pensions Commission, chaired by Lord Hutton of Furness, shows forecast levels of expenditure on pensions as a proportion of GDP. As set out in Annex C of the interim report, these forecasts are sensitive to several assumptions, particularly around the rate of GDP and workforce growth.

This analysis in Lord Hutton of Furness's report shows that, after the switch to the consumer prices index for the uprating of pensions, and taking into account the cap-and-share arrangements agreed between the Government and the unions in 2009, the cost of pensions could be expected to fall to around 1.4 per cent of GDP by 2060.

Analysis produced by the NAO and published in their report, The Cost of Public Service Pensions, published in March 2010, shows that, without the switch to CPI indexation or the savings from cap-and-share arrangements, the cost of providing pensions would only fall to 1.8 per cent of GDP.

Current levels of expenditure on pensions reflect a large increase in spending on pensions. Over the last decade, spending has increased by a third, to £32 billion. This is reflected in Lord Hutton of Furness's analysis. Chart Ex.2 of the interim report shows that, over this period, costs as a share of GDP have risen from around 1.5 per cent of GDP in 1999/00 to around 1.9 per cent in 2009/10.

Religious Intolerance

Question

Asked by Lord Maginnis of Drumglass



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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): The issues of social housing and of cohesion and integration are the responsibility of the Department for Communities and Local Government. The Home Office oversees equality law.

The Government are committed to ensuring people of all faiths, including Christianity, do not suffer any unlawful discrimination. There has been no assessment of Wakefield District Housing's treatment of any religious groups. However, the Minister for Housing and Local Government publicly supported the right of Mr Atkinson to display his palm cross and subsequently welcomed the housing association's decision to change its stance.

As the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government remarked in a press notice on 19 July 2010: "Some see religion as a problem that needs to be solved. The new Government see it as part of the solution. I want to send an important signal that we value the role of religion and faith in public life".

Turks and Caicos Islands

Question

Asked by Lord Ashcroft

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my honourable friend the Member for North West Norfolk (Mr Bellingham) met a number of leading business people during his visit including the following at a dinner on Providenciales on 16 July: Mr Cecil Arnold, Manager - Scotia Bank; Mr John Phillips, Mac Motors; Mr Andrew Mann, Tropical Images; Mr Albray Butterfield Jr, Butterfield Gold; Mr Kevin Froemming, President, Unique Vacations- Beaches; Mr Clayton Thomas, La Vele; Mr Drexwell Seymour, General Manager - Lime; Ms Tanya Parnell, Chamber of Commerce; Mr Washington Misick, Prestigious Properties and Mr Lou Patane, Property Developer.

Unemployment

Question

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno



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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The information requested is shown in the table below.

Percentages of the working age population claiming jobseeker's allowance in each London local authority
Local AuthorityUnder 21Between 21 and 40Over 40

City of London

2.9

1.0

1.7

Barking & Dagenham

7.3

6.6

4.9

Barnet

3.2

3.3

2.7

Bexley

4.4

3.6

2.4

Brent

4.7

5.9

5.3

Bromley

4.0

3.1

2.4

Camden

2.6

2.6

4.0

Croydon

4.9

5.0

3.6

Ealing

4.3

4.1

3.8

Enfield

5.8

6.1

4.2

Greenwich

6.1

5.0

4.2

Hackney

6.2

6.7

7.5

Hammersmith & Fulham

4.8

3.8

5.0

Haringey

6.6

6.4

6.4

Harrow

2.5

2.9

2.5

Havering

4.8

4.1

2.6

Hillingdon

2.5

3.2

2.5

Hounslow

4.2

3.1

2.9

Islington

5.4

4.2

5.7

Kensington & Chelsea

3.0

3.1

3.0

Kingston upon Thames

1.5

1.6

1.8

Lambeth

6.4

4.6

6.7

Lewisham

5.9

5.2

5.0

Merton

3.5

2.3

2.4

Newham

6.9

6.9

6.3

Redbridge

4.3

4.1

3.3

Richmond upon Thames

1.7

1.6

1.6

Southwark

5.8

4.4

5.7

Sutton

3.4

3.0

2.2

Tower Hamlets

7.5

5.0

7.4

Waltham Forest

6.9

6.0

5.3

Wandsworth

4.8

2.4

3.9

City of Westminster

2.6

2.3

3.5

Notes:

1. All data is taken from the DWP Information Directorate Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study (WPLS) and ONS Population Estimates.

2. Population estimates are for mid-2010.

3. Under 21 years of age includes 16 to 20 year-olds, and over 40 years of age includes males aged 41-64 and females aged 41-59.

4. All percentages are rounded to one decimal place.

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno



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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud):

(a) Percentages of people aged under 21 claiming jobseeker's allowance in:
Local AuthorityPercentages (shown to one decimal place)

Leeds

4.3

Birmingham

7.3

Manchester

4.4

Glasgow

7.8

Edinburgh

4.3

Cardiff

4.5

(b) Percentages of people aged between 21 and 40 claiming jobseeker's allowance in:
Local AuthorityPercentages (shown to one decimal place)

Leeds

4.8

Birmingham

8.0

Manchester

5.0

Glasgow

6.7

Edinburgh

3.4

Cardiff

4.8

(c) Percentages of people aged over 40 registered claiming jobseeker's allowance in:
Local AuthorityPercentages (shown to one decimal place)

Leeds

3.7

Birmingham

6.0

Manchester

5.0

Glasgow

5.3

Edinburgh

2.8

Cardiff

3.6

Notes:

1. All data is taken from the DWP Information Directorate Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study (WPLS) and ONS Population Estimates Mid-2010.

2. Population estimates are for mid-2010.

3. Under 21 years of age includes 16 to 20 year-olds, and over 40 years of age includes males aged 41-64 and females aged 41-59.

4. All percentages are of the working age population.

Answers received between Tuesday 30 August and Monday 5 September 2011

Airports: Heathrow

Question

Asked by Lord Soley

Lord Shutt of Greetland: The coalition Government have made clear that they will not support a third runway at Heathrow Airport. Movements at Heathrow Airport are capped at 480,000 per year. Within this cap, the allocation of slots is governed by EC Regulation 95/93 (as amended by 793/2004) on the allocation of take-off and landing slots at congested community airports.



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Armed Forces: Aircraft

Question

Asked by Lord Moonie

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): No discussions have taken place with representatives of the United States Government about the possibility of a UK withdrawal from the F-35 aircraft programme. As my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Defence confirmed in the other place on 18 July 2011 (Official Report, Commons, col. 643¬645), we remain committed to the Joint Strike Fighter programme.

Armed Forces: Medals

Question

Asked by Lord Craig of Radley

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): It is a great testimony to our veterans that the Malaysian Government wished to honour them with the Pingat Jasa Malaysia (PJM) medal which was introduced in 2005 in recognition of the role they played in supporting Malaysia and beforehand Malaya, between August 1957 and August 1966.

As a foreign award, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has the Government lead on the PJM. I am delighted that an exception to our rules was recommended by the Committee on the Grant of Honours, Decorations and Medals to allow our veterans to accept the medal and that this recommendation was agreed by Her Majesty the Queen.

Permission was not however recommended for the PJM to be worn by veterans as the majority had previously been awarded the British General Service Medal (GSM), for their service in the region. There was a period of time, between 1960 and 1962 and, in the case of the Army, from mid-1965 onwards when the risk and rigour was not deemed sufficient to award a medal to British troops stationed in the area. It is therefore the case that some personnel did not receive a British medal for the time that they served there and they may consider that receiving the PJM would not contravene our long-standing "no double double-medalling" convention as they do not have a British medal for their service. However, the qualifying periods for the GSM were very carefully considered at the time, and it must be assumed that those in authority

5 Sep 2011 : Column WA17

had good reasons for the criteria prescribed. The lack of a General Service Medal, or a clasp to it, does not, in itself, mean automatic qualification to wear the PJM.

The Governments of the Commonwealth are autonomous and independent of each other. Each Government apply their own rules and judgment to their own citizens. This applies to medals as it applies to other aspects of public policy. These differences do not constitute unfair discrimination, but the reasonable exercise of independent judgment by each country's Government in line with its own constitutional principles.

Armed Forces: Staff

Questions

Asked by Lord Trefgarne

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The following table lists the regular trained strength of the Armed Forces as at 1 July 2011:

ServiceTrained Strength

Royal Navy

35,120

Royal Marines

8,030

Army

100,780

Royal Air Force

39,860

Note: All figures are rounded to the nearest 10

BSkyB

Question

Asked by Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Strathclyde): The decision was prompted by reported remarks by the Secretary of State for Business and was taken by the Prime Minister.

Cash for Honours

Question

Asked by Lord Pearson of Rannoch



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The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Browning): Decisions on whether to reopen a criminal investigation are operational matters for the police force concerned.

CCTV

Question

Asked by Lord Campbell-Savours

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Browning): In order to regulate surveillance camera systems, including CCTV, more effectively, the Government have already introduced provisions in the Protection of Freedoms Bill for a code of practice about the operation of such camera systems. The Bill also proposes the creation of a Surveillance Camera Commissioner to encourage compliance with, review the operation of, and provide advice about the code.

The Government undertook a public consultation on the content of the proposed code of practice and are currently reviewing the responses received.

Elections: National Assembly for Wales

Questions

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

The Advocate-General for Scotland (Lord Wallace of Tankerness): The decision to remove the names of regional party list candidates from ballot papers for the 2011 elections to the National Assembly for Wales followed concerns expressed by electoral administrators during the 2007 Assembly elections over the increasing size of ballot papers.

The Government took the decision following discussions with the four main political parties in Wales, the Electoral Commission, the Welsh Government and representatives of the Association of Electoral Administrators. The names of regional party list candidates must be displayed inside and outside polling stations.

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

Lord Wallace of Tankerness: The Government currently have no plans to introduce such legislation.



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Embryology

Questions

Asked by Baroness Finlay of Llandaff

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Government have provided funding since 2004 to After Adoption Yorkshire to run UK DonorLink, a voluntary contact register for donor-conceived people conceived before 1991 and their donors.

Taking into account the severe pressures on, and competing priorities for, public sector funding, the department provided a grant of £60,000 for 2011-12 on the understanding that After Adoption Yorkshire would move the register to a self-sustaining basis during the year.

After Adoption Yorkshire has informed us that it has not been successful in managing this transition and we are currently giving active consideration to the future options for this service.

Asked by Baroness Finlay of Llandaff

Earl Howe: This information has never been collected.

Energy: Carbon Emissions

Question

Asked by Lord Berkeley

Lord Shutt of Greetland: Under relatively steady speed driving conditions carbon dioxide emissions increase by around 14 per cent between 70 and 80 mph and decrease by around 10 per cent between 70 mph and 60 mph. However, the impact of changes in speed limits are more complex, due to factors such as driver behaviour and traffic, which means the impact on average speeds is typically smaller. Modelling done for the carbon reduction strategy suggested that the carbon dioxide savings from reduced speed limits were relatively small.

Preliminary work reviewing the motorway speed limit is in progress: carbon emissions will be part of the assessment.



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Faith Groups

Question

Asked by Lord Lester of Herne Hill

Baroness Warsi: Government have a requirement to ensure all providers comply with equality legislation. It is the responsibility of the commissioning organisation to pay due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, promote equality and foster good relations between different groups of people.

An initial equality impact assessment was completed for the open public services White Paper. Following an extensive listening period between July and September the Government will set out a programme of work to implement the open public services agenda. The departments and agencies responsible for delivering open public services will continue to work closely with the Government Equalities Office to develop policy and conduct full equality impact assessments on all new policies.

Female Genital Mutilation

Questions

Asked by Baroness Tonge

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a form of abuse and is wholly unacceptable. The Government believe that schools are best placed to assess which materials or strategies might be useful to help raise the awareness of their pupils about particular types of harm such as female genital mutilation. This would include raising awareness among pupils who may themselves be vulnerable to such abuse.

The inter-agency guidance, Working Together to Safeguard Children (2010) and guidance to schools and FE colleges, Safeguarding Children and Safer Recruitment in Education (2006), set out how schools and individuals should work together to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people. These documents include guidance on FGM.

The Department for Education works closely with the Home Office, Department of Health, Department for International Development and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) on issues related to FGM. Together we have produced multi-agency guidelines for a broad range of front-line practitioners, including

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teachers, to help them when working with young people. In addition, the FCO has funded a short film made by young people on FGM and its consequences. This is accompanied by a teachers' resource pack designed to support teachers to deliver a lesson on FGM. This resource will be available for use in secondary schools in September 2011.

Finance: Balance of Payments

Questions

Asked by Lord Pearson of Rannoch

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: I refer the noble Lord to my Written Ministerial Statement of Monday 5 September 2011.

Asked by Lord Pearson of Rannoch

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: I refer the noble Lord to my Written Ministerial Statement of Monday 5 September 2011.

Firearms: Licensing

Question

Asked by Viscount Astor

Lord Shutt of Greetland: I refer my noble friend to my answer of 20 July 2011 (Official Report, col. WA313).

Government: Ministerial Meetings

Questions

Asked by Lord Campbell-Savours



5 Sep 2011 : Column WA22

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Strathclyde): Details of the Prime Minister's meetings with proprietors, editors and senior media executives going back to the general election as well as details of meetings with external organisations can be found on the Cabinet Office website in the format set out there. The publication of this information is a part of the unprecedented level of transparency that this Government have introduced.

Gross Domestic Product

Question

Asked by Lord Hennessy of Nympsfield

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): It is too early to say what proportion of GDP will be spent on defence from 2015 onwards. Although the Ministry of Defence (MoD) now has clarity over a 10-year period on equipment spend, which accounts for around 40 per cent of the overall MoD budget, full departmental settlements will not be determined until the next spending review.

Railways: Train Design

Question

Asked by Lord Bradshaw

Lord Shutt of Greetland: This Government have secured funding for a major programme of capacity enhancement for both National Rail and the London Underground. Moreover the Government are reforming the franchise system which is likely to lead to more train operators procuring new rolling stock. These are major opportunities for the train manufacturing industry and its associated supply chain, which will see around 2,700 new carriages on the national rail network by 2019.

Agility Trains, a consortium of Hitachi and John Laing, are the preferred bidder for the IEP contract. I welcome the proposal by Hitachi to locate its new European manufacturing and assembly facility in Newton

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Aycliffe, County Durham, which will supply the new IEP trains and create over 500 new jobs, plus many more in the supply chain and the ongoing maintenance of the new trains.

Royal Parks

Question

Asked by Lord Elton

Lord Shutt of Greetland: I refer the noble Lord to the Ministerial Written Statement made by Baroness Garden of Frognal on Monday 18 July 2011 (Official Report, cols. WS 127-80. (www.publications.parliament. uk/pa/1d201011/1dhansrd/text/110718-wms0001.htm#11071816000377).

Visas

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

Lord Shutt of Greetland: The impact assessment was prepared based on the most recent evidence available.

The Migration Advisory Committee has been commissioned to research the labour market, social and public service impacts of migration, including the issue of displacement and replacement of resident labour (which accounts for most of the stated costs), and is due to report in November. This will help us in future to improve estimates of the costs, benefits and impacts of changes to the immigration system.

Youth Centres

Question

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): This information is not held centrally. Local authorities are accountable to their councillors and to local people, not national government, for how they prioritise and allocate their available resources.


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