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To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the statement made by the Chief Minister of Anguilla that Anguilla's "biggest dilemma is Britain which is not our friend ... They are no asset to us. They are our liability".[HL13091]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We are not aware that the Chief Minister has made such a statement. The UK Government have provided a range of advice to assist the Government of Anguilla to generate economic growth and balance their budget by the start of 2013. This has included specialist advice on public sector reform and continuing support on criminal justice and disaster management issues. We now look to the Government of Anguilla to take the necessary action.
Lord Howell of Guildford: The UK Government understand the economic and financial challenges facing the Government of Anguilla and are keen to work closely together in line with our strategy for the Overseas Territories, focusing in particular on: increasing engagement between the UK and Anguilla; strengthening good governance, financial management and economic planning; and identifying external support, including from the European Union and the Commonwealth of Nations. I look forward to productive discussions with the Chief Minister on these issues at the forthcoming Overseas Territories Consultative Council later this month.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): As the A400M design and production phase contract is a fixed price contract, the cost of A400M to the UK should be unaffected.
Lord Astor of Hever: The contractual price of the Malaysian A400M is a matter for the parties to that contract. As the UK is not a party to that agreement, it is not privy to any of the pricing details
Lord Astor of Hever: When the Government of Germany signed the amended design and production phase contract in April 2011, they committed to ordering an agreed number of A400M aircraft, and we do not expect this number to change. As a result, no such assurances are considered necessary.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they expect that any other members of the A400M consortium will reduce their orders in the light of the decision of the Government of Germany to do so.[HL13120]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are seeking clemency for four men sentenced to death by a military court in Bahrain following recent protests and demonstrations; and whether they will call for a hearing to be held by a criminal court, with defence counsel and observers.[HL13241]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): It is the long-standing policy of the UK to oppose the death penalty in all circumstances as a matter of principle. We consider that its use undermines human dignity, that there is no evidence that it has any value as a deterrent and that any miscarriage of justice leading to its imposition is irreversible and irreparable.
British officials in Manama have raised the death penalty with the Bahraini authorities on a number of occasions. We welcome the commutation of the death sentences issued to two of the four men convicted following the recent demonstrations, but continue to call on the Government of Bahrain to commute the other two death sentences.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Bank of England publishes quarterly data on exposures of British banks to a wide range of countries. This includes information on derivatives and guarantees issued by UK banks regarding these countries. This information is available on the Bank of England website at: http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/statistics/Bankstats/2011/Sep/TabC4.2.xls.
Lord Sassoon: The Treasury, together with the Bank of England and the Financial Services Authority, undertakes contingency planning for a wide range of scenarios as part of the normal policy development process. It would not be appropriate to release the detail of such planning.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether HM Treasury or the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills have received a draft of the report by Sir David Walker and Mr Bill Knight into the failure of the Royal Bank of Scotland.[HL13041]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Financial Services Authority (FSA) was aiming to deliver a publishable report into the failures of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) in spring 2011. This has now been delayed following an announcement on 5 May 2011, by the Treasury Select Committee (TSC) chairman Andrew Tyrie. He confirmed that, in agreement with the FSA, the TSC has asked Sir David Walker and Bill Knight to conduct an independent review of the report.
The report will include analysis of the causes of RBS's failure, a summary of the findings of the FSA investigation into matters relating to RBS's decisions, risk controls and governance processes and an assessment of the FSA's regulation and supervision of RBS, identifying any deficiencies and actions taken by the FSA subsequently.
To ask Her Majesty's Government in what circumstances the granting of United Kingdom residency or citizenship is required to have the recommendation of more than one official of the UK Border Agency.[HL13209]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with representatives of the creative industries regarding the Digital Copyright Exchange; what steps they intend to take in appointing someone to lead the exchange; and whether they will seek nominations for that post from those engaged in the creative industries sector.[HL13274]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The Government are in the process of appointing someone with the right combination of skills to lead the Digital Copyright Exchange. As part of this, Government have taken soundings from stakeholders within the creative industries.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The Government have made no estimates of the number of green jobs created since the 2010 general election.
Policies introduced to help facilitate the transition to a green economy have prompted the growth of particular sectors of the economy. This has resulted in expansion of jobs in, for example, the manufacture and installation of renewable energy technologies, retrofitting buildings to be more energy efficient and in constructing new infrastructure for waste management. Not all these jobs will be additional-in some cases existing employees will adapt their work while in others
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Independent research commissioned by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills estimated the number of jobs and forecast growth of sectors in the Low Carbon Environmental Goods and Services sector including jobs in the supply chain. The most recent data report on the 2009-10 financial year. The tables below provide a breakdown of 2009-10 employment estimates and growth forecasts by subsector and UK region.
|Subsector Growth Estimates*|
|Sub-National Growth estimates*|
Baroness Stowell of Beeston: We recognise that the reference date of 12 December 2011 proposed in the Government's consultation on feed-in tariffs (FITs) for solar photovoltaics (PV) is before the consultation closes, coming six weeks after publication of the consultation.
However, the proposed changes will not take effect from 12 December 2011. The new tariffs will come into force from 1 April 2012 but the Government's proposal is that they should apply from that date to all new PV installations which become eligible for FITs on or after 12 December 2011.
The principal reason for the proposed approach is the urgency of the concerns about the impact on the scheme's budget of continuing high levels of uptake at the current tariffs. The proposals are designed to strike a balance between the need for quick action and the desire to allow people an opportunity to finish work that is well underway. The proposed six-week period will allow many prospective generators who have made a financial commitment to installing PV (for example, paying a deposit) to do this.
To ask Her Majesty's Government (a) what they estimate would be the amount lost by United Kingdom banks if they wrote off 50 per cent of Greek debt; (b) whether they will be obliged to write off such debt by the European Union; and (c) what is their view on such compulsory write-offs now and in the future.[HL13104]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Provisions made to and impairments to Greek debt are given in UK banks' 2011 interim reports. In addition, the Bank of England publishes data on exposures of British banks to Greek sovereign debt on its website: http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/statistics/Bankstats/2011/Sep/TabC4.2.xls.
The Government believe that the agreement reached on 26 October 2011 represents good progress towards a resolution of the situation in Greece. The agreement is based on private sector participation on a voluntary basis. More work is now needed to put the agreement into practice, including detailed negotiations with the private sector. Ultimately, the onus is on the euro area to deliver a solution for Greece that reflects a rigorous and realistic assessment of Greece's debt dynamics.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will ask the Financial Services Authority to review the treatment of sovereign debt issued by European Union states as risk-free for capital purposes. [HL13144]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Risk weights are applied to assets by banks for capital adequacy purposes and are set according to the capital requirements directive (CRD), which came into force on 1 January 2007.
The revisions to the CRD that are currently being negotiated are known as CRD 4 and capital requirements regulation (CRR) and will implement Basel III, an internationally agreed framework for bank capital requirements, leverage and liquidity.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what proportion of cases lodged at the European Court of Human Rights in the past three years were against the United Kingdom Government; and what proportion of judgments given by the court were on cases involving the United Kingdom Government. [HL13138]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Statistical information on cases which have been brought before the European Court of Human Rights can be found at the court's website: www.echr.coe.int.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they, or the Financial Services Authority, intend to establish controls on the setting of minimum initial collateral requirements for derivative trades cleared through central clearing parties.[HL13181]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): In the UK, the current financial resources requirements for central counterparties (CCPs) are set by the Financial Services Authority through the recognition requirements in the "Recognised Investment Exchanges and Recognised Clearing Houses" handbook. With regards to collateral requirements for derivatives trades, the recognition requirements provide that a recognised clearing house (RCH) must have sufficient financial resources in relation to counterparty and market risks.
RCHs which fall within the definition of a CCP will, in due course, be subject to organisational, prudential and conduct requirements under a proposed European regulation on OTC derivatives, central counterparties and trade repositories (EMIR) which will replace the recognition requirements.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We welcome all efforts, including those by Egypt, to restore and maintain
15 Nov 2011 : Column WA131
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Amateur sports clubs that register as charities are entitled to claim Gift Aid under the same rules as other charities. The Gift Aid rules for sports clubs registered as community amateur sports clubs (CASCs) are slightly different from those that apply to charities. It is up to each sports club to decide whether it wishes to register as a charity or CASC, taking into account the advantages and disadvantages of each regime.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Debt Management Office's consultation on the case for issuing gilts linked to the consumer prices index closed on 22 September 2011. The Government are reviewing the responses to the consultation and will publish their own response in due course.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had, or plan to have, with the Metropolitan Police Commissioner on why rough sleeping is not permitted outside the entrance to New Scotland Yard, but occurs immediately opposite on Victoria Street.[HL13151]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): The department has not had discussions with the Metropolitan Police Commissioner. Westminster council is responsible for tackling rough sleeping in the area. We look to local authorities to work with voluntary organisations and those who are trying to help the homeless to find the best local solutions to tackle rough sleeping. We will continue to work with Westminster council and
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The Government are committed to tackling rough sleeping and preventing homelessness. We have maintained the level of Homelessness Grant, with £400 million for local authorities and the voluntary sector over the next four years. A cross-departmental Ministerial Working Group has been set up to address the complex causes of homelessness and improve support for homeless people. We also recently announced £42.5 million for the Homelessness Change Programme which will provide in excess of 1,500 new and improved bed spaces to improve hostels for rough sleepers and ensure that those coming off the streets get the support they need.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they will take to deal with landlords who at the end of tenancy agreements retain initial deposits without providing sufficient reason or valid invoices. [HL13122]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): Under the tenancy deposit protection legislation introduced by the Housing Act 2004, landlords are required to protect the deposits for all assured shorthold tenancies that have been created since 6 April 2007 in one of three government-approved schemes. These arrangements are designed to safeguard the interests of both landlords and tenants, ensuring good practice in deposit handling, so that when a tenant pays a deposit and is entitled to get it back, he or she can be assured that this will happen. Each of the three schemes offer a free alternative dispute resolution service to landlords and tenants in order to deal quickly and fairly with disputes related to the return of the tenancy deposit. There are penalties under the tenancy deposit protection legislation if the landlord fails to protect the deposit.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Estimates of the numbers arrested for protesting following the June 2009 disputed presidential elections range from 4,000 to 5,000. 4,000 is the Iranian authorities' own figure. This is alarmingly high. The protests were conducted in a largely peaceful manner in line with the right of freedom of assembly. We continue to call on Iran to respect human rights.
To ask Her Majesty's Government why there is no export embargo on United Kingdom manufactured software and equipment which has been used to track down protestors and democracy activists in Iran.[HL13198]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): There is no such embargo in place because the software and equipment is not generally subject to export controls in view of the legitimate commercial applications for which it can be used.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the alleged use of intercepts by mobile telephone monitoring devices manufactured in the United Kingdom in the interrogation and torture of Iranian democracy activists.[HL13199]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Following the June 2009 protests, international non-governmental organisations alleged that a number of protesters' movements were tracked by the Iranian authorities using mobile communications technology. Such technology is widely available from many sources. The Government actively discourage all trade with Iran. We take any reports of exports being misused overseas seriously. The equipment in question is not currently covered by the UK's export control regime, and its export would not therefore constitute a criminal offence. However the UK's export controls are kept under review to ensure that they are adequate and in line with international standards and sanctions regimes.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to permit Creativity Software to continue providing British-made intercept software and equipment to Irancell; what has been sold under licence to Irancell to date; what has been the value of such sales to date; who authorised the sales; and what further sales are pending.[HL13200]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether British-made telephone intercept equipment is being used for unlawful purposes in Iran, and what action they are taking to ensure that British-made equipment is not so used.[HL13201]
Lord Howell of Guildford: Following the June 2009 protests, international non-governmental organisations alleged that a number of protesters' movements were tracked by the Iranian authorities using mobile communications technology. Such technology is widely available from many sources. The Government actively discourage all trade with Iran. We take any reports of exports being misused overseas seriously. The equipment in question is not currently covered by the UK's export control regime, and its export would not therefore constitute a criminal offence. However the UK's export controls are kept under review to ensure that they are adequate and in line with international standards and sanctions regimes.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether following the Belfast agreement of 1998 and the St Andrews agreement the Irish language and the Ulster Scots language are expected to be treated with equality in the United Kingdom.[HL12985]
Lord Shutt of Greetland: The Government recognise the importance of respect, understanding and tolerance in relation to linguistic diversity, including in relation to Irish and Ulster-Scots in Northern Ireland.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The precise information requested is not available. However, the largest part of the earth's land mass not recognised by the Government as being part of a state or country is in Antarctica- ie that part of West Antarctica from 90°W to 150°W. The whole of Antarctica is however governed by the Antarctic Treaty, which the UK has ratified. Article IV of the treaty deals with the issue of territorial claims:
"No acts or activities taking place while the present treaty is in force shall constitute a basis for asserting, supporting or denying a claim to territorial sovereignty in Antarctica. No new claim, or enlargement of an existing claim, to territorial sovereignty shall be asserted while the present Treaty is in force".
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the UK Border Agency consider that discussions with the Government of Malaysia about the situation of
15 Nov 2011 : Column WA135
The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): The UK Border Agency (UKBA) officials have made good progress throughout their discussions with the Malaysian authorities. UKBA officials have secured co-operation from the Malaysian authorities to ensure that applications for the renunciation of Malaysian citizenship are not progressed on the assumption that this will enable settlement or citizenship in the UK to be acquired. Officials have also sought written confirmation from the Malaysian Ministry of Foreign Affairs that former Malaysian citizens will be allowed to return to Malaysia and begin steps towards resuming their citizenship. Officials have requested a meeting with the Malaysian High Commission in London to discuss the practicalities of this.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Freud on 26 April (WA 79-80), how many registered national insurance numbers were live in the last financial year, as indicated by recorded national insurance contributions, and how many of those were assigned to foreign-born nationals.[HL13218]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): National Savings and Investments conducted a full review of the impact on its customers in relation
15 Nov 2011 : Column WA136
Lord Sassoon: National Savings and Investments reviews its product portfolio regularly. It looks at each product on an individual basis as well as the overall net financing target it needs to deliver and ensures that they balance the interest of the saver, the tax payer and the stability of the wider financial services market.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what have been, since May 2010, the 10 most expensive external consultancies procured by the Department of Health; what was the remit of each consultancy; what were the total fees of each consultancy; and how those consultancies, remits and fees have changed since April 2010.[HL12999]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The following table sets out information from the department's central procurement system about the 10 highest value purchase orders (PO) the department has awarded for consultancy since May 2010. The second column sets out the PO's maximum expected expenditure. The third column shows when the PO was awarded. The fourth column sets out the spend to date against each purchase order. The fifth column shows the supplier, the sixth column shows the category of consultancy (type of consultancy) and the seventh column shows a summary description (item description).
We would need to contact each business area and directorate in the department requiring them to check their records to obtain information about the full remit and any changes to the remit and fees since April 2010. This undertaking would amount to a substantial effort across the department and could only be achieved at disproportionate cost. The department does hold information on changes to the PO for the DH Estates Transition Programme which is provided after the table.
|Purchase Order Value||PO Raised Date||Invoices Paid to Date Against PO||Supplier||Type of Consultancy||Item Description|
PO required for Ernst & Young, for services provided to the National Decontamination Programme in relation to the review of services at the Pathfinder and Pan Birmingham schemes (costs were shared between DH and those Trust consortia) for the period ending March 2010.
PO required for Ernst & Young, for services provided to the National Decontamination Programme in relation to the review of services at the Pathfinder and Pan Birmingham schemes (costs were shared between DH and those Trust consortia) for the period from April - June 2010.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Wallace of Saltaire on 3 October (WA 131-2), how the key points of the
15 Nov 2011 : Column WA139
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much they expect to give in recognition payments to (a) former part-time Royal Irish Regiment Soldiers, and (b) former full-time officers in the Royal Ulster Constabulary; and how much in total they will deduct from those payments in income tax and national insurance contributions.[HL13128]
Lord Shutt of Greetland: Former members of the Royal Irish Regiment were given one-off ex gratia payments in 2006. I should advise the noble Lord that payments to former full-time RUC officers are a matter for the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Department of Justice.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Northover on 27 October (WA 186) concerning the provision of international aid, whether the answer to the question is yes or no.[HL13093]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what legal steps have to be completed before the removal of tents and other prohibited items from Parliament
15 Nov 2011 : Column WA140
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they expect the provisions of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 for the clearance of tents and other items being used by protesters in Parliament Square to be implemented; and when they expect the removal of the camping sites from the Square to be completed.[HL13076]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they consider that they have the full legal powers needed to clear up Parliament Square; and what action to this end has been taken since the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 received Royal Assent on 15 September.[HL13077]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): The Government must make a commencement order before the relevant provisions of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility (PRSR) Act 2011 are brought into force. In addition, the Act will allow Westminster City Council, the Greater London Authority, and the Royal Parks to attach the power of seizure to their by-laws to deal with any displacement activity that results from clearing Parliament Square.
We are working closely with Westminster City Council, the Greater London Authority and the Metropolitan Police Service to ensure that there are plans in place to implement the new legislation as soon as possible.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Nick Clegg, receives a pension from the European Commission; and, if so, what is the annual amount of that pension, and whether the terms of that pension constrain his actions.[HL12975]
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Hill of Oareford on 31 October (WA 222), what are public sector contribution rates for Universities Superannuation Scheme members; and where this funding comes from.[HL13136]
Baroness Verma: The Universities Superannuation Scheme is a private pension scheme. Details about the contribution rates set by the scheme can be accessed on its website http://www.uss.co.uk/Pages/default.aspx.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): We have received over 14,000 responses to the consultation on the draft National Planning Policy Framework.
Baroness Hanham: As has been the case under the previous Administrations the Secretary of State is able to issue policy and guidance on planning matters. Section 38(6) of the 2004 Act requires planning determinations to be made in accordance with the development plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise. Statements of national planning policy are capable of being material considerations in the determination of planning applications.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): All debts associated with the Second World War owing by or owed to the United Kingdom have been repaid or settlements have been agreed with the countries concerned.
These details are provided in the Finance Accounts of the United Kingdom and their successor the Supplementary Statements to the Consolidated Fund and National Loans Fund Accounts for the financial years 1945-46 to 1987-88 and the following Command Papers:China Cmd 198;Czechoslovakia Cmd 7798 and Cmds 55, 56 and 2280; France Cmd 6988;
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Successful pirate attacks are overwhelmingly against vessels that are not compliant with industry-agreed self-protection measures, Best Management Practice. The shipping industry has recently published the fourth edition of this advice. Self-protection remains the first line of defence and the Government urges all British and international shipping to ensure they are fully compliant, including through registration with the European Union's Maritime Security Centre-Horn of Africa, reporting to the UK Maritime Trade Operation in Dubai and, most importantly, maintaining a good lookout at all times.
The Royal Navy has been deployed on counter-piracy operations since 2008 and, working with the EU, North Atlantic Treaty Organization and Combined Maritime Forces, continues to offer support and protection to shipping transiting the critical Gulf of Aden trade artery and wider Indian Ocean.
In addition to Best Management Practice, a number of vessels embark private armed security teams as a further means of protection. To date, there have been no successful attacks against a vessel carrying a private armed security team. As the Prime Minister my right honourable friend the Member for Witney (Mr Cameron) announced on 30 October, the Government are therefore taking steps to allow the carriage of firearms onboard UK-flagged shipping. The Government are clear that this must be a temporary measure and is an addition to, not a replacement for, compliance with Best Management Practice.
To ask Her Majesty's Government (a) how many British subjects are at present held captive by Somali pirate groups, and (b) what degree of co-operation the United Kingdom Government has sought from governments of states neighbouring Somalia in their efforts to gain the release of British subjects held captive in the area.[HL13060]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to extend the community amateur sports club scheme to apply to recreational activities which are not included on Sport England's list of recognised sports.[HL13066]
Baroness Garden of Frognal: I refer the noble Lord to the Answer I gave him on 9 November 2011 (Official Report, col. WA 65). There are no current plans to extend the community amateur sports club scheme to apply to recreational activities which are not included in Sport England's list of recognised sports.
Baroness Northover: The Department for International Development (DfID) is working in partnership with the St Helena Government (SHG) so that the island can take full advantage of the economic opportunities that the airport will bring. In the last year, significant progress has been made across a series of reforms to tax, investment, land, and immigration policies in order to encourage private sector activities and attract new investors.
A new post, the chief executive of economic development, has also been created. The chief executive is co-ordinating investment promotion efforts, including tourism, to make sure that St Helena is a good place to work and do business in. His mandate has been designed so that he oversees all domestic and international investment proposals: he is also chair of the St Helena Development Agency (SHDA), which provides assistance to help start-up and support local businesses on the island. SHDA is fully funded by DfID. The tourism sector is an early priority for attracting new investment in St Helena.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what proportion of the staff of the UK Border Agency, and at what level, are subject to positive vetting; and whether such vetting includes a full check on any criminal records.[HL13206]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): UK Border Agency staff are normally cleared under national security vetting procedures to the level appropriate to their post in line with the guidance published on the Cabinet Office website. This will include a relatively small number of positions at the developed vetting level (which replaced positive vetting). National security vetting includes a full check of criminal records.
To ask Her Majesty's Government why they abstained from the vote on full membership of the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) for Palestine; and what representations they are making to the United States about (a) the withholding of their assessed contributions to UNESCO, and (b) the impact of that withholding on education for poor children. [HL13026]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The principal basis for the UK's decision to abstain on a vote on the Palestinian application to join the UN Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) was that we believe that the UN Security Council should conclude its careful consideration of the Palestinian application to the UN, before other UN specialised agencies or other international organisations consider separate applications. We do not want to prejudge the ongoing discussions in New York.
We continue to believe that the best way to achieve a lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is through negotiations. Our focus is on doing all we can to achieve this. The quartet statement of 23 September offers a clear timeline for talks.
The UK has urged the US to pay its assessed contribution to UNESCO until at least the date of Palestinian accession to UNESCO. It is not yet clear which programmes might be affected by the US decision to withhold its assessed contribution to UNESCO.
|Month||Number of CAS assigned|
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action is being pursued to reduce or eliminate the adverse effects for involvement in crime of truancy, school exclusion, low educational attainment and socially deprived neighbourhoods.[HL12972]
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The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): The Ending Gang and Youth Violence report sets in motion an ambitious cross-government approach to address the entrenched educational and social failures that can drive problems like gang and youth violence.
The Department for Education (DfE) has taken a number of steps to improve school attendance, including: reducing the threshold at which a pupil is defined as persistently absent, so schools take action earlier; reviewing parental responsibility measures; and making schools more accountable by publishing school-level absence data.
The DfE has also introduced legislation making it a legal requirement on local authorities to ensure that all pupils they place in alternative provision receive a full-time education. By March 2012, one in 10 secondary schools will also be part of a trial which gives responsibility for purchasing alternative provision to head teachers to ensure schools continue to monitor the attainment of the children they permanently exclude.
A new Troubled Families Team in the Department for Communities and Local Government will drive forward the Prime Minister's commitment to turn around the lives of 120,000 troubled families with reduced criminality and violence being key outcomes for this work.
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