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To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Browning on 16 June (WA 206), why they have suspended the removal of asylum seekers to Greece under the Dublin regulations since September 2010; how many people have not been returned to Greece as a consequence; how they will assess whether Greece has improved its systems sufficiently to recommence returns; whether all other European Union countries have suspended such removals to Greece; and whether this decision has had any effect on the deportation of Greek nationals after criminal conviction in the United Kingdom.[HL12594]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): Written Answer WA 88 by Baroness Browning on 7 June explains the reason for the decision to suspend the removal of asylum seekers from the UK to Greece under the Dublin regulation from 20 September 2010. The decision was taken pending the outcome of the case of NS referred to the Court of Justice of the European Union by the Court of Appeal.
The hearing before the Grand Chamber of the Court of Justice took place on 28 June and the Advocate General gave her opinion on 22 September. The case remains before the Court of Justice and we await its ruling, which will then need to be considered in turn by the Court of Appeal.
In September 2010 there were over 1,000 persons awaiting transfer from the UK to Greece under the Dublin regulation whose applications fell to be considered by the UK Border Agency as a result of the decision to suspend transfers. Since September 2010 the UK Border Agency is aware of around 330 cases where the EURODAC fingerprinting system has notified matches between fingerprints sent by the UK and those already transmitted by Greece. This figure indicates the number of persons whose asylum claims could have fallen to Greece to consider under the Dublin regulation.
Written Answer WA 88 also referred to the impact of the ruling by the European Court of Human Rights on 21 January 2011 in the case of MSS v Belgium and Greece. That ruling prevents all European countries participating in the Dublin regulation (member states of the European Union, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland) from making such returns to Greece until the situation there has improved.
Written Answer WA 206 detailed the assistance being provided by the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) to facilitate implementation of the Greek Government's National Action Plan for Managed Migration and Asylum Reform (Greek Action Plan). Successful delivery of the Greek Action Plan will ensure that Greece meets its international obligations
25 Oct 2011 : Column WA122
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will examine the operation and impact of the Australian Sports Foundation, with a view to assessing whether the model might be applied in the United Kingdom. [HL12558]
Baroness Garden of Frognal: The Minister for Sport and the Olympics visited the Australian Sports Commission and the Institute of Sport in 2006 whilst in opposition, but the Government have no current plans to examine the operation and impact of the Australian Sports Foundation.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the Government of Bahrain about the imprisonment without civilian trial and alleged torture of their medical and nursing professionals.[HL12462]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The reports of imprisonment without trial and alleged torture of medical and nursing professionals in Bahrain are very concerning.
On hearing of the sentences imposed on the medical and nursing professionals by a Bahraini special tribunal on 29 September, my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary led the international criticism by issuing a statement of the UK's deep concern at the disproportionate sentences. He called on the Bahraini judicial authorities to follow due process carefully and transparently. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Alistair Burt, also called the Bahraini ambassador in London the next day to reiterate our concern.
We welcomed the announcement on 6 October by the Bahraini Attorney-General that the cases of the medical personnel will be retried in a civil court and that he will also consider whether other judgments passed by the National Safety Court comply with the rule of law. In another positive development, the National Safety Court was also closed on 7 October.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The value of the Government's equity holdings in the Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds Banking Group and Northern Rock plc, as at the end of March 2010, was £61.1 billion. The value of these holdings, as at the end of March 2011, was £56.5 billion. These estimates are set out in HM Treasury's resource accounts for 2009-10 and 2010-11.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The eurozone crisis poses a serious threat to the health of the UK economy. That is why the Government must work closely with its European counterparts to find a lasting solution to the current economic turmoil.
Increasing the resilience of European banks is an essential stepping stone in this direction. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has been active in calling for a co-ordinated European solution to restore market confidence and he is continuing to work with European partners at ECOFIN and in other international fora to produce a co-ordinated, lasting solution. This will include discussing the recapitalisation of EU banks.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have held with the accountancy firms auditing every company in the FTSE 100 regarding the adequacy of reserves in respect of banks that have sovereign and bank debts with Eurozone countries. [HL12437]
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Baroness Wilcox on 11 October (Official Report, col. 1526), what are the details of the "more than 150 million pounds in tax breaks for new businesses over the next four years".[HL12473]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): Tax breaks will be provided to businesses locating in enterprise zones in the form of discounted business rates for five years from the date that they locate in the zone. These discounts will be provided up to levels permitted by state aid requirements. Current estimates are that the total of these business rate discounts will be between £150 million and £200 million across all the enterprise zones.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much they have paid to each of the 10 biggest British charities in each year since 1997, whether in direct payments, consultancy fees, in relation to an advisory capacity or through any other payments.[HL12407]
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The information requested is not held centrally by the Government. The National Council for Voluntary Organisations' Civil Society Almanac provides figures for all general charities and latest figures available show that general charities received a total of £12.8 billion from Government in 2007-08.
|Year||Statutory contracts (£bn)||Statutory grants (£bn)||Total (£bn)|
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will review their recruitment policy to the civil service to ensure that all positions are filled by the best qualified people irrespective of race, colour, gender or religion.[HL12523]
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: Recruitment to the Civil Service is governed by the Civil Service recruitment principles, which are part of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010. These principles ensure that appointments to the Civil Service are on merit on the basis of fair and open competition. Departments and agencies are required to comply with these principles. As a result recruitment policy as it currently stands ensures that the best qualified person is appointed to the Civil Service irrespective of race, colour, gender or religion.
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: Under an overarching theme of protection of human rights, the UK's chairmanship priorities will include reform of the European Court of Human Rights, and reform of the Council of Europe and its work on local and regional democracy. The UK's chairmanship will run from 7 November 2011 to 14 May 2012. My right honourable friend the Minister for Europe will issue a statement on the full set of UK priorities shortly.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): We aim to publish a White Paper on technology, equipment, and support for UK defence and security by the end of the year.
Baroness Rawlings: "Culture" can mean simply the particular beliefs, behaviours and ways of life of a group of people. It can also mean objects, traditions and works of art that express what is unique and best about a people's way of life. It is culture in this second sense that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport encourages: through support for architecture and the historic environment, the Royal Parks and Royal Palaces, the performing and visual arts, museums, galleries and libraries, creative industries and tourism.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) and every credible forecaster expect the economy to grow in 2011 and in every year of the forecast. The OBR will publish a fully updated forecast on 29 November 2011.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many jobs have been created in the area formerly covered by the North East Regional Development Agency as a result of the employers' national insurance holiday for newly recruited staff.[HL12477]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): A breakdown of the number of jobs that have been supported by the national insurance contributions (NICs) holiday, by region and constituency, will be published in the NICs Holiday Factsheet and placed in the Libraries of the House in the autumn.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what the total cost to the consumer has been to date of energy and environment policies that are funded by levies on energy companies; and what each of those levy-funded policies has cost.[HL12383]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): Levy-funded policies, such as the renewables obligation (RO), feed-in tariffs (FiTs), energy efficiency commitment (EEC), carbon emissions reduction target (CERT) and Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP), place the obligation of financing the policies on energy companies which is then passed onto the consumer through their energy bills. To help ensure that policies achieve their objectives cost effectively and affordably the Government introduced a framework to control levy funded spending by DECC at Budget 2011. This framework, covering FiTs and the renewables obligation, forms part of the Government's public spending framework which Treasury has responsibility for.
The total cost of each policy to date and the average cost to households to date are shown in the following table. EEC I and EEC II costs are based on evaluations of the policies, CERT costs are based on impact assessments conducted before the policies were enacted and RO and FiTs costs are based on reports published by Ofgem.
|Policy||Time period considered||Estimated cost to date (£bn, Real 2010-11 Prices)||Estimated average cost to date to household (£, Real 2010-11 Prices)|
To meet our environmental targets and ensure secure energy supplies there is an investment challenge in the energy sector that must be tackled. The Government's task is to overcome this at least cost to the consumer. Improving energy efficiency will be crucial in meeting our targets and helping consumers save money on their bills. The above figures do not account for the direct benefits to households from these policies-e.g. energy efficiency savings and improvements in comfort as a result of EEC, CERT and CESP and electricity cost savings and tariff payments from taking part in the FiT scheme.
DECC published an assessment of the impact of climate change and energy polices on energy prices and bills for households and non-domestic consumers alongside the July 2010 Annual Energy Statement. This analysis estimated that energy and climate change policies added around 4 per cent to the average household energy bill in 2011 (compared to what their bills would have been in 2011 in the absence of policies)v. An updated assessment of the impact of energy and climate change policies on energy prices and bills for households and businesses and bills will be published shortly.
Baroness Verma: In 2010, the gender pay gap for full-time employees was 10.2 per cent and 19.8 per cent when comparing the pay of all men and women. The Government are committed to promoting equal pay and are taking a range of measures to reduce the gender pay gap. On 14 September, Government launched a new voluntary framework for gender equality reporting with BT, Tesco, Eversheds and the CBI. The "Think, Act, Report" initiative is aimed at private and voluntary sector employers to help tackle the pay gap through greater transparency on pay and other workforce issues.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 15 September (WA 87), (a) whether they are referring to the Newcastle fluoride bioavailability study first published in 2004, based on data on 20 subjects; and (b) whether they will provide figures for individual variations in the intake of mains drinking water, whether fluoridated or not, in the population as a whole.[HL12349]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): No, this is a research project that has not yet been completed. We are not aware of any existing source of information from which intakes from ready-made food and drinks (manufacturer added water) and that from home-made food and drink (consumer added water) can be compared.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what amendments they intend to make to the Immigration Rules in the light of the Supreme Court judgment in R (on the application of Quila and another) v Secretary of State for the Home Department; R (on the application of Bibi and another) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  UKSC 45; what instructions are being given to immigration officers and presenting officers on how to deal with new applications
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The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): The Government are giving careful consideration to the Supreme Court's judgment and are preparing revised instructions for UK Border Agency staff. Further information on the implications of the judgment will be made available to applicants affected by the ruling via the UK Border Agency website very shortly.
There is no place in British society for the practice of forced marriage. It is a breach of human rights and a form of violence against the victims. The Prime Minister has announced that, in England and Wales, the breach of forced marriage protection orders will be criminalised and there will be a consultation on making forcing someone to marry an offence in its own right.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the total number of women executive directors of FTSE 100 companies in each of the past 10 years for which figures are available; what percentage of the total number of executive directors of FTSE 100 companies that represented in each year; and how many FTSE 100 companies had no female executive directors in each of those years.[HL12486]
|Year||No of women executive directors||Percentage of total executive directors||No of companies with no female executive|
To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the total number of women executive directors of FTSE 250 companies in each of the past 10 years
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|Year||No of women executive directors||Percentage of total executive directors||No of companies with no female executive|
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Estimates of the revenue lost through the illegal consumption of diesel and petrol in Northern Ireland are not available because it is not possible to split revenue losses between those resulting from the illicit market and those from legitimate cross-border shopping. Furthermore, the illicit market includes misuse of red diesel, laundering and mixing as well as fuel smuggling.
To ask Her Majesty's Government on what dates and in what locations they have run roadshows for recruitment to ministerial private offices; and how many staff have been recruited to the civil service for a career in private offices.[HL12359]
To ask Her Majesty's Government since when the Government have offered a career in ministerial private office; and how this fits in with posting in private office being part of career development for civil servants.[HL12360]
The recruitment of civil servants to ministerial offices is delegated to individual departments. Appointments are based on merit through open and fair competition in accordance with the Civil Service Commissioners Recruitment Principles. Individual departments are also responsible for the career development of their staff.
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: Information on the proportion of staff working in the ministerial private offices of each Cabinet Minister who are from black, Asian and other minority ethnic groups is not collected or held centrally. To obtain the information requested could not be done without exceeding the disproportionate cost threshold.
Civil Service Statistics, published by ONS, shows the overall level of black, Asian and minority ethnic staff (BAME) representation in the Civil Service and in each department and agency, as at 31 March each year. The latest statistics for 2011 were published on 12 October and show overall BAME representation in the Civil Service stands at 9.2 per cent. Further details and the full set of statistics are available on the ONS website at http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/publications/re-reference-tables. html?edition=tcm%3A77-229310.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Garden of Frognal on 4 October (WA 201), whether their policy to develop a representative work force in the civil service extends to the use of any or all of the following categories: (a) ethnic origins, (b) religions or philosophical beliefs, (c) educational attainment, (d) criminality, (e) sexual preferences, (f) physical attributes, (g) disability, or (h) age.[HL12382]
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The Promoting Equality, Valuing Diversity-a strategy for the Civil Service (2008-2013) cites an overarching aim for a Civil Service that is making good progress towards reflecting society by 2020, at all levels The strategy provides a framework for departments and agencies to develop policies, set targets and measure progress towards this aim.
The strategy sets representation targets for the Senior Civil Service (SCS) covering ethnic origin, disability and gender. Individual departments are responsible for developing and implementing the policies and plans necessary to meet these targets and for reporting progress to the Civil Service Capability Board. Departments are also responsible for any policies on increasing ethnic origin, disability or gender representation for staff below the SCS.
The strategy gives departments the freedom to develop and introduce their own policies on representation covering religion/belief, sexual orientation, age, gender identity and educational/social background.
To ask Her Majesty's Government when, in March 2007, they calculated service credits for each rank of Gurkha service before 1997, what years before 1997 they used for comparison in that calculation. [HL12460]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): No year before 1997 was used in comparison when calculating service credits for each rank of Gurkha service. I refer the noble Lord to the Answer I gave on 3 October 2011 (Official Report, col. WA 171). The latest year for which data were available at the time these calculations were made, and thus the only year used in comparison, was financial year 2007-08.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much is spent on caring for individuals with cerebral palsy and related congenital neurological disorders by (a) the National Health Service, and (b) the United Kingdom generally.[HL12518]
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Browning on 14 September (WA 79-80), whether they have plans to end the permission given to non-European Union nationals studying towards a first degree or a lower qualification in the United Kingdom to take jobs in
25 Oct 2011 : Column WA133
The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): New rules for international students' permission to work in the UK came into effect on 4 July 2011, as set out in the statement of changes to the Immigration Rules HC1148, laid in Parliament on 13 June. This change removed permission to work from all students other than those at higher education institutions and publicly funded colleges. We will monitor the impact of these changes and, if necessary, take further action to ensure that the student route is operating as intended. At present, there are no plans for further changes to the rules on students' permission to work.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, in the draft National Planning Policy Framework published by the Department for Communities and Local Government in July, what total population is assumed in assessing the housing requirements in years (a) 6-10, (b) 11-15, and (c) 2050; and whether those assumptions reflect the latest estimate from the Office for National Statistics.[HL12501]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): When assessing their housing requirements in future years as part of a strategic housing market assessment, authorities should use the most recently released sub-national population projections (published by the Office for National Statistics) and household projections (published by the Department for Communities and Local Government).
The latest releases are the 2008-based population projections (available at http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/snpp/sub-national-population-projections/2008--based-projections/index.html) and the 2008-based household projections (available at http://www. communities.gov.uk/housing/housingresearch/housingstatistics/housingstatisticsby/householdestimates/livetables-households/).
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether Brazilian citizens are coming to the United Kingdom through Portugal in a way that circumvents United Kingdom immigration laws; and whether they are taking any action on this issue.[HL12555]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): The UK Border Agency has over 100 UK officers posted abroad to 50 locations as part of the global
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I am aware of the wider risk of non-EEA nationals seeking to take advantage of EEA free movement rights to gain access to the UK when they have no entitlement to do so. The Government attache significant importance to tackling abuse of free movement and have raised their concerns at recent European Union ministerial meetings, calling for co-operation to tackle such abuse.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Independent Commission on Banking (ICB) was created on 16 June 2010 and was chaired by Sir John Vickers. Sir John was paid £60,000 per annum over the duration of the commission's deliberations to work an average of two days per week. Other commission members were not paid and worked an average of one day a week on commission business.
For the year ended 31 March 2011, including Sir John's remuneration and expenses, the commission spent approximately £375,000. This figure includes the initial set-up costs of providing office space to the commission.
The commissioners were supported by a full-time secretariat of 14 officials drawn from HM Treasury, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the Financial Services Authority, the Bank of England and the Office of Fair Trading. The pay costs of staff seconded to the secretariat were met by their parent organisations.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the Insolvency Practices Council in ensuring that users and the public interest are represented in the United Kingdom's insolvency regime.[HL12509]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): In a report on the market for corporate insolvency practitioners issued in June 2010, the Office of Fair Trading indicated that although the Insolvency Practices Council is broadly well respected, it has been slow at securing changes in areas it has been advocating.
The Government issued a consultation on insolvency practitioner reforms in February 2011. In this we placed on record our recognition that the Insolvency Practices Council has played a valuable role which had gone wider than its original remit. We also invited views on whether there should be a continuing role for the Insolvency Practices Council in the context of the current regime and the wider changes being considered. The Insolvency Practices Council is funded by the Recognised Professional Bodies. The Government expect to announce the result of the consultation shortly.
Baroness Wilcox: The Joint Insolvency Committee (which is the standard-setting body for the profession) now consults with a wide range of interested parties on any standards to be issued, as do my officials on policy developments. From November the Joint Insolvency Committee will also include three members representing creditor users. A representative from the debt advice sector will also join a working group revising the standard governing individual voluntary arrangements.
The Government issued a consultation this February on reforms to the regulation of the insolvency profession. We will set out the way forward in the light of the response to that consultation shortly.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the Intellectual Property Office's policy with respect to the reintroduction of commercial orphan works and extended collective licensing provisions, such as were proposed by Clause 43 of the Digital Economy Bill in the 2009-10 Session, prior to the Hargreaves review.[HL12571]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): Prior to the commissioning and launch of the Hargreaves review of Intellectual Property and Growth in November 2010, the coalition Government had made no policy statements about commercial orphan works or extended collective licensing.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many meetings the Intellectual Property Office had with representatives from Google, Bing, Facebook, Twitter or other web-based search engines and other aggregators of intellectual property and user-generated
25 Oct 2011 : Column WA136
Baroness Wilcox: A search within the IPO has identified 10 meetings involving representatives of such organisations from the period following the 2010 general election to the launch of the Hargreaves review in November 2010. These meetings were consultative in nature and were part of the IPO's usual stakeholder engagement.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The EU has already designated nearly 300 entities and individuals because of their links to Iran's illegal nuclear and ballistic missile programmes. The UK intends to propose further additions to strengthen the list, including in the next few months. The EU has also passed sanctions against Iran in the areas of: financial services; oil and gas equipment; dual-use goods; trade; shipping; and military equipment.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the Government of Israel regarding the ability of independent doctors to visit prisoners in Israeli prisons to ensure that international law is being upheld.[HL12481]
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: Our embassy officials have raised the issue of access to doctors with the Israeli Prison Service. The Government of Israel have committed to treat prisoners in line with international human rights standards. The UK will continue to monitor the situation with regard to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons and encourage the Government of Israel to meet their stated commitments.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the Government of Israel regarding permission for the new settlement at Givat Hamatos in Jerusalem which would cut off the West Bank from East Jerusalem.[HL12482]
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: Following the announcement by the Israeli Government of the creation of a new settlement at Givat Hamatos, my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary issued the following statement:
"I am dismayed by the Israeli announcement on 14 October of a new settlement at Givat Hamatos. This provocative step, which further encloses East Jerusalem, is particularly disappointing
25 Oct 2011 : Column WA137
We raise the issue of settlements, which we view as illegal under international law, with Israel on a regular basis. Most recently our ambassador to Tel Aviv raised the issue of Givat Hamatos with Communications Minister Kahlon on 18 October. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my honourable friend the Member for North East Bedfordshire (Mr Burt), raised this issue with the Israeli ambassador to London on 3 October. My right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary also raised the issue of settlements with the Israeli Foreign Minister when he met him at the UN General Assembly on 23 September.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): In cash terms, spending on legal aid in 2010-11 was £2,132 million against a funding provision of £2,198 million, some £66 million (3 per cent) below provision. However, in Resource Del terms1, legal aid expenditure was £2,160 million against a provision of £2,112 million, representing an overspend of £48 million (2 per cent).
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Wallace of Saltaire on 12 October (WA 241), whether they will investigate the reliance of the Office for National Statistics on the International Passenger Survey for estimates of long-term international migration, given the
25 Oct 2011 : Column WA138
As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking whether they will investigate the reliance of the Office for National Statistics on the International Passenger Survey for estimates of long-term international migration, given the discrepancy between that survey's suggestion of a figure of 34,000 Romanian and Bulgarian citizens arriving to live in the United Kingdom from 1 January 2007 to 31 December 2009, and the issuing of 135,740 National Insurance numbers to such adult nationals entering the United Kingdom since 1 January 2007(HL12532).
ONS has reviewed its Long Term International Migration (LTIM) estimates as part of the cross-government Migration Statistics Improvement Programme. As a result of this the sample has been improved including covering additional ports.
The main component of LTIM estimates is the International Passenger Survey (IPS), which is a continuous voluntary sample survey of passengers arriving into or departing the UK at airports, seaports and the channel tunnel. As the IPS is a sample survey designed to measure migrant flows into and out of the UK. there will always be some uncertainty around the estimates produced for subcategories of migrants.
There are also definitional differences between LTIM estimates and other data sources that also provide information on migration. The key differences between estimates of LTIM and the numbers of National Insurance numbers allocated to overseas nationals are
1. Long term international migration estimates are based upon the UN definition of a migrant. This definition means that to be counted as an immigrant, the person has to state their intention of being in the UK for 12 months or more National Insurance Numbers are allocated to persons irrespective of how long the person stays in the UK.
Baroness Rawlings: Post-war architecture has been identified as a designation priority by English Heritage in the National Heritage Protection Plan. English Heritage will undertake thematic projects to assess aspects of our modern heritage, as well as respond to listing cases which require decision in advance of development proposals. They forecast their spending on these areas at £0.5 million over the next four years (May 2011-15). Decisions to designate are published on the National Heritage List for England. Specific research projects are planned for publication from early 2013 onwards, starting with a survey of school buildings dating from 1962-88; progress can be monitored through the National Heritage Protection Plan web-site: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/professional/protection/national-heritage-protection-plan/.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): Any theft of shipping containers carrying NATO munitions from the port of Karachi or elsewhere in Pakistan would be a matter for NATO. The Ministry of Defence does not hold the information requested.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Shutt of Greetland on 19 July (WA 212), what are the costs to the Northern Ireland Office of car transport; who used the cars in the last financial year; and why.[HL12311]
Lord Shutt of Greetland: In the last financial year the Northern Ireland Office spent £69,517 on car transport for Ministers and Northern Ireland Office officials. These cars were used for the purpose of official business.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Shutt of Greetland on 17 October (WA 27) concerning the appointment of Professor Michael O'Flaherty as chairman of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, whether
25 Oct 2011 : Column WA140
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the annual cost of the Office for Budget Responsibility; how many economists it employs; and how many of those economists are on secondment or on similar arrangements from HM Treasury or other government departments.[HL12365]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the annual cost of the Office for Budget Responsibility; how many economists it employs; and how many of those economists are on secondment or on similar arrangements from HM Treasury or other government departments. HL12365
The OBR has a four-year funding settlement of £1.75 million per annum across the period 2011-12 to 2014-15. The letter from HM Treasury which outlines our funding allocation over the period is available on our website at: http://budgetresponsibility. independent.gov.uk/transparency/letters/
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The UK's position on recognition of a Palestinian state is clear: a Palestinian state is a legitimate goal, and the best way of achieving this is through a comprehensive agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. The UK has deliberately reserved its position on the question of recognition of
25 Oct 2011 : Column WA141
President Abbas submitted the Palestinian application for full membership of the UN on 23 September. No vote is imminent in the Security Council, while the membership committee considers its recommendation. So far we have not been presented with a detailed proposal on which to take a position. Whether the committee returns the issue to the Security Council, or whether President Abbas decides to turn to the General Assembly, the UK will use its vote in a way which increases the likelihood of a return to meaningful negotiations.
Earl Attlee: The setting of charges for parking in local authority car parks and in on-street parking bays is entirely a matter for the local authority in accordance with powers available to it in the Road Traffic Regulation Act (RTRA) 1984. It is for each local authority to decide what to charge for parking and the decision should reflect the objectives of their local transport plan. The revenue local authorities raise from on-street parking charges must be used in accordance with Section 55 (as amended) of the RTRA 1984, which limits the use of surplus funds to transport-related objectives or for environmental purposes. The surplus revenue received from off-street parking charges is wholly a matter for the local authority.
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: We remain deeply concerned for Pastor Nadarkhani's fate. My right honourable friend Lord Howell paid tribute to his bravery during the debate in the House on 10 October (Official Report, col. 1324). The UK has made regular representations about Pastor Nadarkhani since becoming aware of his case last year. More recently on 28 September 2011, my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary released a statement calling on Iran to overturn Pastor Nadarkhani's sentence. Since then, senior Foreign Office Officials have raised the case with the Iranian Chargé
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To ask Her Majesty's Government within what period Sir Neil McKay, chief executive of the East of England Strategic Health Authority, is required to answer parliamentary Questions referred to him by Earl Howe.[HL12659]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The department has not referred any parliamentary Questions to the chief executive of the East of England Strategic Health Authority. All National Health Service organisations have a procedure for handling complaints within a reasonable period of time, and I would expect inquiries from honourable Members and noble Lords to be accorded at least the same priority.
Earl Attlee: Information on British Railways Board (Residuary) sites that are available for public sale can be found at: www.brbrlandsales.co.uk.
Earl Attlee: The Government place a high value on the knowledge and experience that stakeholders can contribute to the development of franchise specifications. Accordingly we intend to fully consult interested parties as part of the Great Western refranchising process, before the franchise competition is issued to bidders. It is currently expected that a consultation document will be issued by January 2012.
Earl Attlee: The Department for Transport collects information from train operating companies on the average number of passengers arriving at or departing from the critical point (the point where crowding is highest) on services to or from London termini on a typical weekday during the spring and autumn periods. For reasons of commercial confidentiality, this information can only be released with the consent of the relevant train operating company.
Earl Attlee: (a) The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) publishes statistics on franchised passenger journeys in Great Britain, which provisionally show that, in round terms, there were 1.3 billion franchised passenger journeys in 2010, an increase of 33 per cent from 1.0 billion in 2003. Statistics for Northern Ireland are available from the Northern Ireland Department for Regional Development.
(b) ORR publishes statistics for rail passenger journeys within and between regions in Great Britain which include figures for Cornwall. The latest figures available are for 2009-10, when there were 4.4 million journeys that started or finished in Cornwall, an increase of 41 per cent from 3.2 million in 2003-04. Please note that there have been methodological changes in the calculation of regional rail passenger journeys during this period which may account for some of this increase. Please see chapter 7 of the ORR National Rail Trends Yearbook for details of these changes.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, when illegal immigrants are repatriated or sent to a third country, they escort them by rail, sea or air as far as the external United Kingdom border; and, if not, how such people can be prevented from escaping whilst they are still in the United Kingdom. [HL12607]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): Individuals being removed from the UK are risk assessed regarding their compliance and propensity to escape or abscond. High risk individuals who are detained are escorted to the flight, ship or train that will convey
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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): Deployed service personnel are providing training to Somaliland police forces on practical skills to increase their effectiveness in upholding the rule of law and combating international security threats. Details of the total number of personnel deployed in Somalia and their location are being withheld as their disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security, of the Armed Forces.
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: As my honourable friend Henry Bellingham made clear in his speech on piracy at the UK Chamber of Shipping on 12 October, a copy of which he is placing in the Library of the House, the Government are determined to protect British citizens from the threat of piracy. The UK is therefore at the forefront of the international effort to counter the threat of piracy emanating from Somalia. Since 2008 the Royal Navy has consistently provided assets to counter piracy, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessel Fort Victoria is currently operating in the Indian Ocean in support of NATO's Operation Ocean Shield. The UK has also provided the Operation Headquarters and Commander to the EU Naval Force Somalia (Operation Atlanta). The Government welcome the stronger mandate to act, which has been given to our navy alongside others, including against mother ships and hijacked ships at sea.
Given almost all successful pirate attacks occur against ships that do not comply with the industry-agreed guidance on self-protection, the Government work closely with the UK and international shipping industries to promote maximum compliance.
The long-term solutions to piracy lie on land in Somalia and the Government are working with the Somali Government, and our international partners, to build long-term solutions that address the long-standing issues of governance and the rule of law. The statement
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Baroness Garden of Frognal: The Government are committed to leaving a strong and lasting legacy for disabled people all over the UK. We will strive to harness the inspirational power of the Games in order to accelerate progress towards achieving disability equality.
As part of Places People Play, the Government's £136 million lottery-funded legacy programme for the London Olympics and Paralympics, there is £8 million for a programme specifically targeted at inspiring more disabled people to take part in sport and providing more opportunities for participation.
There is a whole new approach through the School Games to significantly increase opportunities for disabled pupils to compete on a local, regional and national level. For the first time, through the Taking Part Survey, we will specifically measure participation rates of disabled children in competitive sport.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Sassoon on 3 October (WA 193-4) regarding estimated tax receipts by year, whether they have more up-to-date estimates, including in provisional form.[HL12404]
Earl Attlee: These semi-trailers must comply with the road vehicle lighting regulations which require trailers manufactured after 10 July 2011 and with a maximum gross weight exceeding 3,500 kg (ie all trailers
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To ask Her Majesty's Government how the Olympic funding allocated to Visit England for the promotion of tourism linked to the Olympic Games will be spent; and how that spending will benefit other countries in the United Kingdom which will also be hosting some of the Olympic events.[HL12537]
Baroness Garden of Frognal: Responsibility for tourism in Wales lies with the Welsh Government, with Visit Wales and VisitBritain working together to maximise the opportunities provided by London 2012. Through VisitBritain, the department has established a £100 million overseas tourism marketing campaign, based on public and private sector support, which is aiming to deliver an additional 4 million visitors to the UK and £2 billion extra expenditure over the next four years. We are currently examining options for a complementary tourism marketing effort, supporting the Prime Minister's "GREAT" initiative, to promote Britain abroad-allocations for this have not been finalised yet.
It was decided in September 2011 that the department would make available up to £4 million from the Public Sector Funding Package for the Olympic and Paralympic Games to support a domestic tourism campaign to maximise the economic benefits from the Torch Relay and the Cultural Olympiad across the UK. This is an investment in a key objective of the Olympic programme: to ensure that the benefits from the Games are felt throughout the UK. The devolved nations have been invited to participate in this campaign, which has been discussed with ministerial colleagues. VisitEngland is working with the tourist boards of the devolved nations to take this forward.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they maintain a list of those persons for whom there is sufficient evidence to prosecute in the United Kingdom for war crimes or under the Geneva Conventions
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The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): Her Majesty's Government do not hold such a list. The decision on whether or not there is sufficient evidence to prosecute an individual for war crimes rests initially with the police and, ultimately. with the Attorney-General, normally following a recommendation from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
Baroness Northover: The UK Government have provided significant financial support to the Education Transition Fund (ETF) and the Basic Education
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However, inaccurate data on unregistered schools, some of which may actively avoid detection, present challenges to providing effective support and there are children evicted during Operation Murambatsvina who will not have benefited from these programmes. The UK Government are taking two main measures to address this. First, we will continue to work with local and international partners to maximise coverage during the textbook distribution to secondary schools which is due to start in November 2011. Second, we intend to provide financial support to the second phase of the ETF in 2012 which will specifically provide education and skills support to children and young people who have dropped out of formal education.
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