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12 Oct 2011 : Column WA237



12 Oct 2011 : Column WA237

Written Answers

Wednesday 12 October 2011

Armed Forces: Medals

Question

Asked by Lord Ashcroft

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The Government believe that the numbers given already are correct.

Bats

Questions

Asked by Lord Marlesford

Earl Attlee: The A38 Dobwalls Bypass bat bridges were specifically surveyed in June 2008 and June, July and September 2009. Bat movements were recorded directly over Havett Farm and Lantoom Quarry bat bridges and confirmed use by a range of bat species.

Further information on these structures is contained in a review of bat mitigation in relation to highway severance, which the Highways Agency recently published.

The Knowledge Programme-A Review of Bat Mitigation in Relation to Highway Severance report has been published and can be accessed via the Highways Agency website at: http://www.highways.gov.uk/knowledge_ compendium/E5C2CC34A7654CC1B4B1 FEE880FEA3CC.aspx.

While monitoring has been undertaken to confirm that the objectives of these bridges have been met, it is not a requirement to evaluate their cost-effectiveness.

Asked by Lord Marlesford

Earl Attlee: All elements of a scheme are subject to appraisal in line with published guidance and to specific value management requirements throughout the project lifecycle. A review is undertaken of the costs, benefits

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and other predicted impacts (including environmental) at key stages, to ensure benefits are optimised and costs challenged. Comparisons are also made with other projects so that decisions take account of the best available evidence. Consideration is also given to this at the end of projects so that lessons learnt can be applied in the future.

The Highways Agency has recently published a review of bat mitigation in relation to highway severance on its website. A meeting will be arranged in the near future with Natural England to consider how the review should inform future actions.

The review indicates that the mitigation has generally met its objectives.

Asked by Lord Marlesford

Earl Attlee: The design of the bat bridges on the A11 Fiveways to Thetford improvement scheme is programmed for completion by the end of January 2012.

The approval to proceed with the scheme, which included the bat bridges, was given by the Secretaries of State in their decision letter dated 21 March 2011 following the public inquiry.

Benefits

Question

Asked by Lord Empey

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): There have been no recent changes in the way the DWP determines benefit entitlement for nationals of other EU member states.

Equality Act 2010

Question

Asked by Lord Ouseley



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Baroness Verma: On 22 March the Government published a consultation document setting out their proposals to focus the Equality and Human Rights Commission on the areas where it alone can add value-promoting equality, enforcing our discrimination laws and as a UN-accredited national human rights institution. In doing so, it must be able to demonstrate value for taxpayers' money and be accountable. The consultation closed on 15 June, and we are currently considering the responses received. We will set out how we intend to proceed in due course.

We are confident that a smaller, better focused commission will be able to fulfil its statutory duties in relation to the Equality Act 2010 more effectively.

The commission published its first report on progress towards a fairer society, How Fair is Britain, in October 2010. It is required under the Equality Act 2006 to publish its next report by October 2013.

Finance: Credit Easing

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The non-voting Treasury representative's role at the monthly Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meetings is to ensure appropriate co-ordination of fiscal and monetary policy.

The minutes of the MPC's meetings held on 5 and 6 October 2011 will be published on the Bank of England's website on 19 October 2011.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer will provide more details on credit easing at the autumn statement on 29 November 2011.

Finance: Eurozone

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): It is not Her Majesty's Government's policy to comment on other member states' decisions regarding their membership of the single currency. There is no provision in the treaties for withdrawal from economic and monetary union once a member state has adopted the euro as its currency.



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Finance: Foreign Exchange

Question

Asked by Lord Dykes

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The Government currently have no plans to intervene to prevent currency exchange bureaux advertising zero commissions. We have noted the super-complaint lodged by Consumer Focus with the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), which among other things covers zero commission. In due course we will consider the OFT's response, which is due later this year.

The Price Indications (Bureaux de Change) (No 2) Regulations 1992 set rules for exchange rate indications by bureaux de change. Indications should be clear, accurate, unambiguous and easily identifiable as applying to the currency in question. Our advice to consumers is that this is a competitive market and they should shop around to find the best deal for them, whether a business charges a commission or chooses to offer a higher rate of exchange instead. Bureaux de change, like other businesses dealing with consumers, are subject to the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, which make it a criminal offence to mislead consumers as to the price of services or goods.

Government Departments: Telephone Calls

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

Earl Attlee: Ministers and civil servants make many telephone calls which are not routinely logged. Any records of calls which may be held by the department would not normally be made public.

Gypsies and Travellers

Question

Asked by Lord Avebury



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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): Specialist consultancy services for the education of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children are provided by local authorities. They would be responsible for analysing the equality impact of any decisions to extend or reduce these services.

Prior to 2011-12 funding for specialist consultancy services on the education of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children was in the main provided through the Ethnic Minority Achievement Grant. This grant was mainstreamed, at its 2010-11 level, into the Dedicated Schools Grant for 2011-12. An equality impact assessment was carried out on the implications of mainstreaming this grant along with the other specific grants mainstreamed into the DSG for 2011-12. This has been placed in the House Libraries.

Health: Diabetes

Question

Asked by Lord Harrison

Earl Attlee: No new proposals are being considered in the European Union for drivers with diabetes. Changes to the minimum health standards were published in a European directive in August 2009 and had to be implemented in member states by September 2010. The new minimum standard for those with insulin-treated diabetes who drive cars and motorcycles has been in place in GB since then. Drivers with insulin-treated diabetes who meet the minimum standard are still considered on an individual basis.

Infrastructure Planning

Question

Asked by Lord Judd

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government recognise the critical importance of investment in infrastructure to economic growth. To support this, the Government are currently identifying nationally significant economic infrastructure projects, including across communications, transport and energy, that will be given priority status. Details of the projects and the support that will be given to these infrastructure priorities will be announced before the end of 2011.



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International Labour Organisation: Domestic Work

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The Government take the protection of all vulnerable workers as a matter of the utmost importance. The UK provides comprehensive employment and social protections to domestic workers, and as a rule does not differentiate between domestic workers' rights and those of other workers.

While we fully support the principles in the new International Labour Organisation convention concerning decent work for domestic workers, the Government have no plans to ratify it. This is because the final text would not provide sufficient flexibility to meet the UK's needs in a few areas, including health and safety law, where the UK differentiates for good reason between domestic workers and other workers. For example, the Government do not consider it proportionate or practical to extend criminal health and safety law, including inspections, to private households employing domestic workers. This would place a huge regulatory and administrative burden on individuals, and could have detrimental social consequences: for example, if increased burdens were to prevent elderly or disabled individuals from employing nurses or carers in their own homes.

Judiciary: Retirement Age

Question

Asked by Lord Trefgarne

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The mandatory retirement age for all of these judicial officeholders is generally 70. With the exception of magistrates, the age is slightly higher for a diminishing number who were appointed prior to the commencement of the Judicial Pensions and Retirement Act-31 March 1995. For these judicial officeholders the mandatory retirement age is broadly speaking the completed year of service in which they reach the age of 72 or at age 75, depending on the office held.

Following discussions with the judiciary and others during the course of the past year, the Government remain convinced that the current mandatory retirement regime for judicial officeholders supports the legitimate aim of a justice system which is independent, fair and efficient.



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Migrant Workers: Bulgarians and Romanians

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Stephen Penneck, Director General for ONS, to Lord Laird, dated October 2011.

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking how many Bulgarian and Romanians, including students, the self-employed and dependents, they estimate have come to reside in the United Kingdom since those countries' accession to the European Union in 2007 (HL12196).

The Office for National Statistics produces estimates of long-term international migration, primarily based on the International Passenger Survey (IPS). Standard error percentages (SE%) indicate the robustness of each estimate. A migration figure with a standard error of >25% is not considered to be reliable for practical purposes.

The latest figures are available for the period from 1 January 2007 to 31 December 2009. During this time, an estimated 20,000 (SE 18%) Romanian citizens and 14,000 (SE 29%) Bulgarian citizens arrived to live in the UK for 12 months or more. These figures include students, dependants and the self-employed in addition to other reasons for migrating to the UK. Figures are not available separately for these categories. Final estimates for 2010 are due for publication on 24 November 2011.

Northern Ireland: Human Rights Commission

Questions

Asked by Lord Laird

Lord Shutt of Greetland: As previously stated in the answer of 3 October (Official Report, col. WA 132), appointment to the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission is regulated by the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments (OCPA). All stages of the public appointments process were undertaken in accordance with its guidance by a selection panel that included a senior official from the NIO, a senior official from OFMdFM, an independent public appointments assessor and a technical expert.



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Appointment is on merit and via open competition, regulated by OCPA. In March 2011, the selection panel sifted the 96 applications received by the closing date of the competition. Only those applicants who clearly demonstrated in their application forms that they met the selection criteria were then invited to interview. The process was validated by the independent public appointments assessor.

Asked by Lord Laird

Lord Shutt of Greetland: As previously stated in the answer of 3 October (Official Report, col. WA 132), appointment to the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission is regulated by the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments (OCPA). All stages of the public appointments process were undertaken in accordance with its guidance by a selection panel that included a senior official from the NIO, a senior official from OFMdFM, an independent public appointments assessor and a technical expert.

Appointment is on merit and via open competition, regulated by OCPA. In March 2011, the selection panel sifted the nine applications received by the closing date of the competition. Only those applicants who clearly demonstrated in their application forms that they met the selection criteria were then invited to interview. The process was validated by the independent public appointments assessor.

Asked by Lord Laird

Lord Shutt of Greetland: It is not possible to provide costs for each of the appointments processes as the post of chief commissioner and the commissioners were jointly advertised and the processes were run in parallel, with the independent public appointments assessor and technical expert sitting on both selection panels. However, I can inform the noble Lord that no consultants were used in either of the processes and the total cost was approximately £25,000.

Asked by Lord Laird



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Lord Shutt of Greetland: The chief commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission is appointed on terms and conditions approved by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, subject to the provisions contained in Schedule 7 to the Northern Ireland Act 1998. The chief commissioner does not have conditioned hours of work; however, he will be required to work such hours as are reasonably necessary to fulfil the duties outlined in his terms and conditions of appointment, his statutory functions as defined in the Northern Ireland Act 1998 and his duties as a commissioner as set out in the commission's code of governance.

Asked by Lord Laird

Lord Shutt of Greetland: The independent expert, Sarah Spencer CBE, was selected by the chair of the panel and her panel membership was approved by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. Sarah Spencer is deputy director of Oxford University's Centre on Migration, Policy and Society, chair of the Equality and Diversity Forum and a visiting professor at the Human Rights Centre, University of Essex. She was deputy chair of the Commission for Racial Equality, a former general-secretary of Liberty, and formerly a member of the Cabinet Office reference group on the equality review, the Home Office Taskforce on the Human Rights Act and the DTI Taskforce on the Commission on Equality and Human Rights. She currently sits on advisory committees for a number of non-governmental bodies, including the British Institute of Human Rights. In 2007, she was awarded a CBE for services to equal opportunities and human rights.

Olympic Games 2012: Air Quality

Question

Asked by Lord Hunt of Chesterton

Earl Attlee: The Mayor of London is responsible for transport in London, and the Government are working closely with him to ensure we deliver a safe and successful Olympic Games.

The Government and mayor take air pollution very seriously, and are undertaking robust, proportionate action to protect public health. Measures are already under way to improve air quality in London, meaning that it is highly unlikely to be an issue for the smooth running of the Games. These measures include tighter standards for the London low emission zone, cleaner buses, record levels of investment in cycling and better traffic management, as detailed in the mayor's air quality strategy.



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Our ambition is for a public transport Games, with 100 per cent of spectators travelling to London venues by public transport, cycling or on foot (with a very limited exception for disabled spectators).

To help achieve this, ticketed spectators for London events will receive a Games travelcard for London's public transport system on that day. There will be no private car parking for spectators at any venue, except for limited blue badge parking.

Transport for London (TfL) is already working hard with businesses to help them plan ahead for the Games, including advice on avoiding crowded hotspots where the transport system will be under the greatest pressure from spectator travel.

The TfL programme provides information on alternative ways of working and travelling, including home and flexible working, travelling at different times and using walking and cycling for more journeys. These and other measures should help reduce traffic levels and vehicle emissions, helping to address air-quality risks.

Pensions

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The percentage of those who responded to the sample of United Kingdom pension payees resident in the Republic of Ireland with entitlement to a qualifying Irish pension was 59.84 per cent.

No information was collected on the percentage who had worked in Northern Ireland.

After issuing reminders 96.5 per cent of the sample responded. This was deemed sufficient to make the sample viable for the purposes intended. Therefore no further action was taken to obtain a response from the remaining 4.4 per cent.

Prisons: HMP Spring Hill

Question

Asked by Lord Avebury



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The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice (Crispin Blunt) wrote to the chair of the IMB at Spring Hill responding to the annual report on 13 July 2011. His detailed response covered all the areas highlighted by the board. I have placed a copy of this response in the Library of the House.

Probation Case Management System

Questions

Asked by Lord Ramsbotham

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The deployment plan has been rescheduled. It is anticipated that the six-month deployment will now start in summer 2012. At this stage it is estimated that the cost of building and deploying the Probation Case Management System will be £47.733 million.

Asked by Lord Ramsbotham

Lord McNally: The existing case management systems will continue to be used until the new system is available. A demonstration version of the system has been shown to representatives from all 35 trusts. To date, the feedback received has been positive.

Protection from Harassment Act 1997

Questions

Asked by Baroness Howe of Idlicote

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The number of persons sentenced to a custodial sentence length of more than 12 months in England and Wales under Section 4 (putting people in fear of violence) and for a breach of a restraining

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order imposed under Section 5 of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, for the years 2006 to 2010 (latest available), can be viewed in the table below.

Court proceedings data for 2011 are planned for publication in the spring of 2012.

The number of persons sentenced to immediate custody, and custodial sentence length, under Sections 4, and 5, of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997(1) for the offences of putting people in fear of violence, breach of a restraining order, in England and Wales 2006 to 2010(2)(3)
Statute/Offence description200620072008(4)20092010

Section 4 of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997

Putting people in fear of violence

Immediate custody

160

140

170

170

149

Immediate custodial sentence length

under 3 months and up to 12 months

130

112

135

148

128

over 12 months

30

28

35

22

21

Section 5 of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997

Breach of a restraining order

Immediate custody

308

269

260

457

904

Immediate custodial sentence length(5)

under 3 months and up to 12 months

286

249

252

430

863

over 12 months

22

20

8

27

41



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Public Procurement

Questions

Asked by Lord Chidgey

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: When assessing value for money, public sector procurers are required to use criteria linked to the subject matter of the specific contract.

Wider concerns, including actions to maintain the competitiveness of markets and stimulating new sources of supply, should be addressed outside the procurement process.

Asked by Lord Chidgey

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: When assessing value for money, public sector procurers are required to use criteria linked to the subject matter of the specific contract.

The matters referenced in the Question cannot be taken into account at tender evaluation stage as they do not relate to the subject matter of the contract.

However, there is currently a review of public procurement under way, which is examining UK application of EU procurement rules. The review will consider any actions the Government need to take to help ensure that UK businesses can compete for government work on an equal footing with their competitors.

Quality of Life

Question

Asked by Lord Dykes



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Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Stephen Penneck, Director General for ONS, to Lord Dykes, dated October 2011.

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your question asking what plans Her Majesty's Government has to improve the outcomes of quality of life assessments of people living and working in the United Kingdom. (HL12108)

The ONS measuring national well-being programme aims to develop an accepted and trusted set of National Statistics to help people understand and monitor national well-being, including economic performance, quality of life, the environment and sustainability. This programme is in response to a range of requirements, including the Government's intention to assess our well-being as a country "not just by our standard of living but by our quality of life".

To begin matters, ONS held a national public debate on "what matters to you". This is helping us frame the aspects of the quality of life that we should be measuring. The National Statistician's report on the debate was published on the ONS website in July. http://www.ons. gov.uk/ons/guide-method/user-guidance/well-being/index.html.

The next stage will be to consult on a first set of draft measures. Details will be published on the ONS website, at the following address, on 31 October. http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/guide-method/user-guidance/well-being/wellbeing-knowledge-bank/understanding-wellbeing/understanding- well-being.html.

Transport: Sleep Apnoea

Question

Asked by Lord Clement-Jones

Earl Attlee: The number of injury road accidents in Great Britain for which a police officer attended the scene and recorded the contributory factor "fatigue" was 111 for light goods vehicles (LGV) and 110 for heavy goods vehicle (HGV) in 2008, 98 (LGV) and 95 (HGV) in 2009 and 101 (LGV) and 104 (HGV) in 2010. This accounts for around 2 per cent of all LGVs involved in an injury accident where a "contributory factor" was recorded, and around 3 per cent of such HGVs.



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The contributory factor "fatigue" is recorded in accidents in which the police officer's opinion at the time of reporting was that the driver/rider was unable to drive effectively or perceive hazards due to being too tired.

However, information on the number of injuries resulting from reported road accidents caused by drivers with specific medical conditions is not collected as the data are supplied by the police officers attending the scene, who are rarely medically qualified. There are no plans to expand existing statistical collections on this issue.

Those who drive goods vehicles and passenger-carrying vehicles are already subject to a medical examination when they apply for a driving licence at the age of 45 and every five years until 65, when an examination is required every year. The reporting doctor must record whether there is a history of or evidence of sleep apnoea.



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UK Statistics Authority

Question

Asked by Lord Lipsey

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: To find the first chair of the Statistics Board (UK Statistics Authority) advertisements were placed in the Sunday Times, the Economist, Western Mail and Wales on Sunday, the Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday, Belfast Telegraph and on the Public Appointments website. It attracted a salary of £150,000 for three days per week.


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