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16 Nov 2011 : Column WA147

16 Nov 2011 : Column WA147

Written Answers

Wednesday 16 November 2011

African Union


Asked by Lord Boateng

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The United Kingdom and the European Union are both strongly engaged with the African Union (AU) in developing capabilities to prevent and resolve conflict in the East and Horn of Africa and more widely on the continent. The African Standby Force, which the UK has been key in developing in the East and Horn Region, has just deployed for the first time to Mogadishu. The AU makes a valuable contribution to addressing conflict in the region, and the UK is committed to support and further expand its role.

Airports: Heathrow


Asked by Viscount Waverley

Earl Attlee: The Department for Transport has not made any recent assessment of the merits of a new airport in the Thames Estuary. The Government have no plans to build a new airport in the estuary.

The Government are developing a new policy framework for aviation which supports economic growth while addressing the environmental impacts of flying. We will consider all responses to the scoping exercise which has recently closed on this issue.



Asked by Lord Ashcroft

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The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, my honourable friend the Member for Northwest Norfolk (Mr Bellingham), is responsible for the Overseas Territories (OT) and normally meets OT leaders on an annual basis at the Overseas Territories Consultative Council (OTCC) or during visits to the territories. He last met the Chief Minister of Anguilla on 16 and 19 November 2010 during the last OTCC and also had meetings with him on 21 and 22 September 2010 during a visit to Anguilla. They discussed a range of issues including public finances, tourist developments and the economy. Over the past year Mr Bellingham has also written to the Chief Minister on several occasions.

Mr Bellingham is scheduled to have a meeting with the Chief Minister during this year's OTCC.

Armed Forces: A400M


Asked by Lord Gilbert

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): A range of Typhoon issues were discussed with a German Defence Minister at a meeting on 28 October 2011, but no ministerial level discussions about a German reduction in either A400M or military helicopter orders have taken place.

Asked by Lord Gilbert

Lord Astor of Hever: Discussions about such matters have taken place in the appropriate international fora and we continue to monitor the situation with our international partners.

Armed Forces: Pensions


Asked by The Countess of Mar

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The information requested is not held centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

I can confirm that as at 31 March 2011, there were 4,930 veterans who had been deployed to the Gulf in 1990-91 in receipt of an ongoing war disablement

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pension. However, it is not possible to identify whether the condition(s) for which they are receiving their awards necessarily relate to their service at that time.

Banks: Lending


Asked by Lord Myners

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): On 9 February 2011, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a new commitment by the UK's biggest high street banks on lending expectations and capacity. As part of this commitment, the banks will make available appropriate capital and resources to support £190 billion of new credit to businesses in 2011, up from £179 billion in 2010. If demand exceeds this, the banks will lend more, including creating the balance sheet capacity necessary to do so. £76 billion of this lending capacity will be available to small and medium-sized enterprises. This is a 15 per cent increase on 2010 lending of £66 billion.

It is encouraging that the quarter three results show that UK banks have loaned over £157 billion so far this year, which is 11 per cent above target. And while banks have lent 10 per cent more to SMEs compared with this point last year, they must do more to ensure that they meet their Merlin commitments for the full year.

Court of the Bank of England


Asked by Lord Myners

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The last official meeting between the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the chairman of the Court of the Bank of England took place on 13 September 2011.

Asked by Lord Myners

Lord Sassoon: The Court of the Bank of England reports to Parliament, to which it submits an annual report.

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Credit Default Swaps


Asked by Lord Myners

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The industry's trade association, the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA), has established standard contracts for credit default swaps (CDS). Where two counterparties decide to use these contracts, they can also commit to use the procedures that determine if a credit event has occurred. These procedures cover, among other things, the composition of the credit event determinations committee.

The decisions of the committee are based on, among other things, the facts of the event and the terms of the standard contracts which include standardised definitions. The process has an in-built review procedure that allows the matter to go to an external review panel in certain cases.

It should be noted that the CDS market is a professional market, so the question is principally one of whether the CDSs perform as expected.

Driving: Disqualification


Asked by Lord Bradshaw

Earl Attlee: Automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) identifies uninsured vehicles but these are not necessarily driven by disqualified drivers. There has been a significant fall in uninsured driving due to a combination of ANPR, police activity, the seizure of uninsured vehicles and continuous insurance enforcement (CIE). The changes to the number of those convicted of driving while disqualified will be the result of changes in police enforcement activity and potentially a reduction in the number of disqualified drivers continuing to drive due to better enforcement.

Asked by Lord Bradshaw

Earl Attlee: I refer the noble Lord to my Answer of 1 November 2011 (Official Report, col. WA 229).

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Driving: Licences


Asked by Lord Bradshaw

Earl Attlee: The information requested is not available. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency has responsibility only for maintaining the driver records for Great Britain. Although its records show the total number of driver records held for financial years 2008, 2009 and 2010 it does not give a breakdown of how many of these were licensed or unlicensed (eg disqualified, licence expired, etc.) The relevant figures are:

2008-09-43.5 million;

2009-10-43.9 million; and

2010-11-44.2 million

The additional information requested is not available. The Ministry of Justice does not hold information centrally on the number of appeals received against disqualification from driving, the subsequent appeal outcomes and their reasons. The requested information could be obtained only through the manual identification and inspection of individual case files held by the courts at disproportionate cost.

Elections: Commonwealth Citizens


Asked by Lord Ashcroft

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): All British, resident Republic of Ireland and qualifying Commonwealth citizens are entitled to register to vote in UK parliamentary elections, local elections, and European elections assuming that all of the other registration criteria are also met. For the purposes of registering to vote, a qualifying Commonwealth citizen is an individual who either does not need leave to enter and remain in the United Kingdom, or who does need such leave and has it.

Resident citizens of other European Union member states are eligible to vote at European parliamentary elections and local elections. The franchise for referendums is, however, determined on a case by case basis.

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Whether an application for registration is made through the annual canvass or by rolling registration in the rest of the year, regulations provide that the application for registration must, among other things, state the applicant's nationality and include a declaration that the details given in the application are true. The electoral registration officer has the power to require any person to provide information required for the officer's duties. That would include information relating to the eligibility of an applicant, for instance their age, nationality, residence and whether or not they are disqualified. Where an electoral registration officer has doubts about a person's nationality, they may require the person to provide evidence including a statutory declaration that he or she is a qualifying Commonwealth citizen. Provision of false information to an electoral registration officer for any purpose connected with the registration of electors is an offence.

It is for the local electoral registration officer to determine whether a person is eligible to be registered. If it does not appear to the officer that a person in whose name an application is made is eligible, that person should not be added to the register. If the electoral registration officer determines that a person whose name appears on the register is not entitled to be registered, the officer must remove that elector from the register.

Electoral Registration


Asked by Lord Laird

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The Government's proposals for changes to electoral registration were set out in the individual electoral registration White Paper and draft Bill published on 30 June 2011. Under these proposals, all electors will be required, as now, to provide their nationality and immigration status where relevant in their application so that an electoral registration officer (ERO) can determine entitlement to be registered. As outlined in the White Paper, we are exploring whether EROs can be given a facility to check nationality and immigration status and what steps an ERO should take under any such arrangement. We will set out our plans in light of these considerations, and the consultation and pre-legislative scrutiny of the Government's proposals.

Energy: Carbon Emissions


Asked by Lord Barnett

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Under the Climate Change Act 2008, the Government are required to set carbon budgets, which cap the level of greenhouse gases emitted in the UK over five-yearly periods. The Government have, so far, set four carbon budgets covering 2008-2012, 2013-2017, 2018-2022 and 2023-2027.

The third carbon budget requires a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 35 per cent over the period 2018-22, relative to 1990 levels. This is in line with the reductions required by the UK in order to meet its share of the EU target to reduce EU greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent by 2020, compared with 1990 levels.

The Government have made it clear that the level of the fourth carbon budget will be reviewed in 2014 to ensure consistency with the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS). If, at that time, our domestic commitments place us on a different emissions trajectory from the EU ETS trajectory agreed by the EU, we will, as appropriate, revise up our budget to align it with the actual EU trajectory. Before amending the level of the fourth carbon budget, the Government will obtain, and take into account, the advice of the Committee on Climate Change and take into account any representations made by the other national authorities.

In setting future carbon budgets, the Government will take account of a range of issues, including economic and fiscal circumstances and the impact on UK competitiveness, as required by Section 10 of the 2008 Climate Change Act.

Energy: Feed-in Tariffs


Asked by Lord Hylton

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): The feed-in tariffs (FITs) scheme is intended to be the primary mechanism to drive the deployment of small scale low carbon electricity generation. The scheme is designed to encourage wider participation of those who would not have traditionally engaged with the electricity market to do so now; namely householders, small business and communities. A feature of the scheme is the assignment of rights of FITs payments to third parties. Although not intended to tackle fuel poverty, this feature allows for those in fuel poverty to benefit from free electricity, and therefore bill savings, that an installation would bring.

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The Government are looking at other measures such as the Green Deal as primary mechanisms to tackle fuel poverty.

We are currently consulting with the intention of making the limited funding available for renewable energy deployment to be spread more widely, allowing more people to benefit and focusing on technologies with the most potential.

It has always been our intention that only well-sited installations would receive sufficient returns from FITs to make them viable.

Energy: Oil


Asked by Lord Berkeley

Earl Attlee: The Department for Transport's appraisal guidance (WebTAG) includes fuel price projections, which are based on oil price projections from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC). This guidance was last updated in April 2011 using the then current DECC oil price projections, available at: june-2010.pdf.

The April 2011 guidance has been used in recent appraisal work. DECC issued updated oil price projections in October, which are available at: http://www.decc.

These new projections will be incorporated into DfT guidance, in line with the WebTAG orderly release process. Oil prices in 2011 have varied between $95 and $125 per barrel, falling to around $110 per barrel in October.

Energy: Wind Power


Asked by Lord Tombs

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): The renewables obligation (RO) is currently the Government's main mechanism for incentivising the deployment of large-scale renewable electricity. Between its introduction in April 2002 and March 2010 approximately £1.8 billion has been awarded to wind power, both onshore and onshore, under this mechanism. This figure uses the nominal value (equal to the buyout price + recycle value) of a renewable obligation certificate (ROC) in each year. The nominal value represents the maximum worth of a ROC to a generator but is not necessarily the amount paid by a supplier, which is dependent on bilateral negotiations between supplier and generator.

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The feed-in tariffs (FITs) scheme is the mechanism for incentivising the deployment of small-scale low-carbon electricity. The total net subsidy cost of wind power to be incentivised through FITs is estimated at around £1.5 billion, cumulative to 2030 (real 2008 prices, discounted). This estimate is based on the FITs model for the 2010 final impact assessment, updated for energy demand and fossil fuel prices in March 2011. Estimates are for FITs uptake and costs over and above that expected to occur under the RO. The analysis will be updated for the FITs comprehensive review.

Regarding future support, the Government do not set targets for individual technologies. The amount of support provided for wind power-through these mechanisms or the feed-in tariffs with contracts for difference being introduced through the Government's electricity market reform-will be dependent on the contribution wind power makes to the renewable and low carbon electricity mix.

European Centre for Modern Languages


Asked by Baroness Coussins

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The Government took this decision in an environment of severe fiscal restraint, because we did not judge that the benefits to pupils in schools were sufficient to justify such expenditure. We consulted the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the devolved Administrations before taking a final decision.

Fuel Prices


Asked by Lord Laird

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): Energy prices in the UK are set by the competitive market. Government and the regulator (Ofgem) work to tackle barriers to effective competition to ensure consumers are getting the best possible deal.

Critical to ensuring effective competition is opening the market to new entrants and we are therefore taking action to cut red tape for small energy suppliers. In addition, Ofgem is tackling other barriers to effective

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competition and consumer engagement (such as tariff complexity and low wholesale market liquidity) in its retail market review.

Ofgem and all the major energy suppliers have also signed up to the joint Check, Switch, Insulate to Save campaign, to help consumers save money on energy bills this winter.

Government Departments: Legal Fees


Asked by Lord Bradshaw

Earl Attlee: The Department for Transport (including its seven agencies) uses three categories of lawyers to deliver legal services across a wide range of functions. These are (a) public law (including the preparation of legislation), (b) EU law and (c) international law and commercial law.

The in-house team, comprising barristers and solicitors, advises in all these fields. Costs are managed by a variety of means-recruitment and retention of high-calibre lawyers, prioritisation of effort, flexibility of deployment, effective training and effective information management, including use of the Government Legal Service's Legal Information on-line web portal (LION).

The department also uses external legal firms, especially in the commercial field, typically where a major project requires the deployment of specialist expertise or where the weight of a project requires a scale of resource that it would not, in either case, be cost effective to handle in-house. The costs of external commercial lawyers are minimised by the use of Government Legal Service procurement frameworks (and a separate DfT mini-framework which further drives cost reduction), strong management of external services and renegotiation of rates with firms where necessary.

The department uses the Treasury Solicitor and barristers for its litigation work. DfT also complies with the Attorney-General's rule that only HMG panel barristers may be instructed by the department. This ensures that the department pays only HMG-agreed rates. Only exceptionally does the department go "off-panel", and only then with the Attorney-General's approval.

Health: Elderly People


Asked by Baroness Smith of Basildon

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The department is seeking to collect data around social participation through the 2011-12 Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework indicator, which focuses on enhancing the quality of life for people with care and support needs.

On 16 November 2010, the Government published A Vision for Adult Social Care: Capable Communities and Active Citizens, which sets the context for the future direction of adult social care in England. One of the principles of the vision is preventive strategies, which set out to reduce dependency by promoting stronger and more active communities that enable people to be less isolated and vulnerable.

In addition, the department's national evaluation of Partnerships for Older People Projects informed councils of the benefits of some services including befriending, which demonstrated health-related quality of life gains for older people.

Housing: Fire Safety


Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): Under the Housing Act 2004, local authorities already have strong powers to tackle hazards in residential property, include the risk of fire. Local authorities may compel private landlords to make necessary improvements through the issuing of improvement notices, and in the most severe cases, can issue prohibition orders the effect of which would be to close all or part of a property.

In addition, under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, landlords, as "responsible persons", have a duty to risk-assess fire safety in the common parts of buildings, take adequate precautions and manage any remaining risk. Fire and rescue authorities have a legal duty under the order to enforce its provisions in the common areas of residential accommodation such as blocks of flats and houses in multiple occupation.

To support landlords and others effectively to put in place and manage appropriate fire safety arrangements, the Department for Communities and Local Government provided funding to the Local Government Group to develop new fire safety guidance specifically for those with fire safety responsibilities in purpose built flats, including tower blocks.

This guidance, developed in partnership with the housing and fire sector, was published on 29 July and is available on the Local Government Group and Department for Communities and Local Government websites.

We recognise the immense value a properly maintained smoke alarm adds to life safety. The Fire Kills campaign is continuing to run during 2011-12, promoting the key message to householders of having a working smoke alarm in their home.

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Immigration: Detention Centres


Asked by The Lord Bishop of Ripon and Leeds

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): Cashless systems in the UK Border Agency's immigration removal centres provide detainees with an account into which their money is paid on arrival. Donations made to them and any earnings are credited to their accounts, and purchases are debited. Detainees may also make arrangements for money to be transferred to other people or organisations from their accounts. The account balance is paid to the individual in cash when they are discharged from detention.

If detainees wish to make donations as part of their religious obligations, they may make arrangements for money to be transferred from their accounts to the organisation of their choice.

Insurance: Fraud


Asked by Lord Bradshaw

Earl Attlee: The Government do not hold the information

Insurance: UNUM Provident


Asked by The Countess of Mar

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): An extensive search of recent records within the department was carried out following receipt of your question, and details of meetings between department officials and representatives of UNUM Provident, details of membership of advisory committees or working groups, and details of similar activity with other insurance companies, are listed below. However, it should be noted that there are approximately 100,000 officials within the department

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and it would not be possible, except at disproportionate cost, to ask each of them whether they have engaged in any such discussions.

(a) on 14 February 2011, UNUM Provident officials met with officials involved in the independent review of sickness absence in Great Britain to discuss a research paper. In February 2011, the Government commissioned the independent review to explore the current sickness absence system, and examine whether the costs associated with sickness absence are appropriately shared between the state, individuals and employers. The independent review is being jointly led by Dame Carol Black and David Frost CBE; andon 18 October 2010, a representative from UNUM Provident, who was part of a delegation from the UK Rehabilitation Council, met with the Minister for Welfare Reform and department officials.

A full list of ministerial meetings with external organisations is available at corporate-publications/ministers-meetings-overseas.shtml.

The Minister for Welfare Reform has also attended a round table on 5 October 2010 at the Conservative Party Conference which was jointly hosted by Demos and UNUM.

(b) two working groups were set up in 2006 to review the personal capability assessment for incapacity benefit. One of these groups reviewed the physical descriptors within the assessment, and of the seven meetings for which we have a record there were four meetings which the UNUM Provident representative definitely did not attend; the other looked at the descriptors which assessed mental function, and of the five meetings for which we have a record, the UNUM Provident representative was not recorded as being absent from any of them; and Jack McGarry, CEO of UNUM UK, was nominated to sit on the independent review of sickness absence in Great Britain expert panel by the insurance industry body.(c) As part of the evidence-gathering process for the independent review of sickness absence in Great Britain, department officials, as well as the independent reviewers, have met with or had contact with a number of insurers in the course of this work-the Association of British Insurers, Aviva, BUPA, Genworth Financial, Legal and General, SwissRe, and GRiD-Group Risk Development.

Ministers and officials meet with representatives of the insurance industry on a regular basis to discuss issues arising from compulsory employer liability insurance.

Iraq: Chilcot Inquiry


Asked by Lord Lester of Herne Hill

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The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Strathclyde): The Iraq inquiry is independent of government and has published its expenditure at the end of each financial year on its website. The total expenditure incurred by the Iraq inquiry, from its establishment on 15 June 2009 to 31 March 2011, is £4.7 million. The inquiry will publish its expenditure for the current financial year in due course.

Asked by Lord Lester of Herne Hill

Lord Strathclyde: The Iraq inquiry is independent of government, and the completion of its report is a matter for the inquiry committee.

As the inquiry chairman, Sir John Chilcot, has made clear publicly, the production of a reliable account of, and thus the lessons from, almost nine years of the UK's involvement in Iraq is a significant task.

I understand that the inquiry intends to publish an updated timetable for completion on its website shortly and has been asked to write to you with the details.

The Government are committed to doing everything in their power to enable the inquiry to complete its work as quickly as possible.

Mental Health: Broadmoor Hospital


Asked by Lord Avebury

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): As at 1 November 2011, 967.2 whole time equivalent (wte) staff were employed at Broadmoor Hospital by West London Mental Health NHS Trust. This comprised 16.0 wte staff in the group senior managers and managers and 951.2 wte in all other staff groups.

As a result of the reduction in commissioned beds at Broadmoor planned from April 2012, the trust plans to reduce the Broadmoor workforce by 137.0 wte. This comprises 1.0 wte senior manager/managers and 136 wte in all other staff groups. Over the past 12 months, the trust has made other reductions in the number of senior managers/managers through internal restructuring.

The trust is aiming to minimise compulsory redundancies through a range of measures including voluntary redundancy, redeployment to other trust sites, and job sharing and part-time working opportunities.

The provisions in the Health and Social Care Bill require the NHS Commissioning Board to commission high secure services. Because of the nature of high secure services, the Bill provides for the Secretary of

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State to retain direction-making powers over the NHS Commissioning Board in relation to its commissioning of high secure services.

Provisions in the Health and Social Care Bill amend Section 4 of the NHS Act, which concerns high security psychiatric services. The Bill removes from the Secretary of State the duty to provide high-security services and places a duty instead on the NHS Commissioning Board to arrange for the provision of these services. It also stipulates that providers of high-security services must be approved for that purpose by the Secretary of State.

The Bill also gives the Secretary of State a power to give directions to providers of high-security services about their provision of high-security services. This also enables the Secretary of State to give directions to the NHS Commissioning Board about the way it exercises its functions in relation to high-security services.

Middle East Peace Process


Asked by The Earl of Sandwich

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The UK works closely with the members of the quartet and its special representative, Tony Blair.

We welcome the 23 September quartet statement, which provides a clear timetable for a return to, and conclusion of, negotiations. This statement refers to parameters outlined in President Obama's speech of 19 May, which we support.

Getting the parties back to credible negotiations towards a two-state solution remains our primary objective. Both parties stated their willingness to talk in their speeches to the UN General Assembly in September. On 26 October the quartet envoys met separately with the chief negotiators from both sides to begin discussions on borders and security. We continue to urge both parties to respond positively to the quartet's efforts.

National Commissioning Board


Asked by Lord Warner

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Subject to the passage of the Health and Social Care Bill and related secondary legislation, the NHS Commissioning Board will assume responsibility for:

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Patient safety functions currently carried out by the National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA), a departmental arm's-length body;

leading quality improvement functions currently undertaken by the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement (NHS III), also a departmental arm's-length body;

a function to provide advice and guidance on information governance currently with the National Information Governance Board for Health and Social Care (NIGB), a departmental advisory non-departmental public body; and

commissioning primary care services, including general practitioner services, dental services, general ophthalmic services and pharmaceutical services.

With regard to these functions:in 2010-11, the cost of the NPSA patient safety division was £8,166,000;the NHSIII's annual accounts for 2010-11 showed total programme costs were £70,015,000, with a net operating cost of £60,239,000;work to assess the resources that the NHS Commissioning Board would require to perform the information governance function is still ongoing. Therefore, it is not possible to give a specific figure for this function; andin 2011-12 the cost to primary care trusts to purchase primary healthcare services was over £21.3 billion from the department's annual report and accounts:

NHS: Delayed Transfers


Asked by Baroness Smith of Basildon

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The department does not collect data on the cost to the National Health Service or local authorities of the total delayed days of transfers from acute care in England.

The level of delayed transfers from acute care fluctuates on a monthly basis and the latest figure of 65,030 delayed days, in September 2011, is lower than they were in March 2011, when there was a total of 66,097 delayed days.

Asked by Baroness Smith of Basildon

Earl Howe: The information is shown in the following table.

Delayed Transfers of Care (DTOC) by Reason, England
Total number of Delayed Days during the month by the reasons for the delay
April-September 2011
England Level DataTotal number of Delayed Days during the month
Reason for DelayAprilMayJuneJulyAugustSeptember
































































A-Awaiting completion of assessment

B-Awaiting public funding

C-Awaiting further non-acute (including PCT and mental health) NHS care (including intermediate care, rehabilitation services etc)

Dii-Awaiting nursing home placement or availability

Di-Awaiting residential home placement or availability

E-Awaiting care package in own home

F-Awaiting community equipment and adaptations

G-Patient or family choice


Source: Unify2 Data Collection-MSitDT

NHS: Ombudsman Scheme


Asked by Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Her Majesty's Government do not at present have any plans to extend the remit of the Health Service Commissioner for England to cover private patients treated in the private sector.

NHS: Self-referral


Asked by Baroness Masham of Ilton

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): I refer the noble Baroness to the Written Answer of 8 November 2011 (Official Report, cols. WA 37-38).

Both the self-referral pilots to musculoskeletal physiotherapy and the implications for improving access to other allied health professions (AHP) services and the AHP Service Improvement Project referred to in the previous reply provide examples of the benefits of patient self-referral to physiotherapy as part of the service redesign.

Older People


Asked by Baroness Smith of Basildon

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The department has not recently had any discussions on a separate impact assessment process for older people. However, age is a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010, which confers a duty on public authorities, including the Department of Health, to pay due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation, advance equality of opportunity and promote good community relations in everything they do.

As a result, departmental officials routinely assess the potential impact of their work on people with a range of protected characteristics, including age. Such work may not always take the form of a discrete impact assessment but understanding the potential impact of departmental policies on older people is inherent in the public sector equality duty in Section 149(1) of the aforementioned Act.

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Across government, we are committed coherently to addressing the issues that affect older people. The Department for Work and Pensions leads on strategy for our ageing society and helps to co-ordinate this agenda across government. The Minister of State for Pensions and the Minister of State for Care Services jointly co-chair the UK Advisory Forum on Ageing. The forum provides an opportunity to bring together the representative views of older people and provides advice to Ministers across government on the steps that it and its partners need to take to improve well- being and independence in later life.

The department is currently running an engagement exercise on the reform of social care, "Caring for Our Future" until 2 December. Through this process, we are inviting views from a wide range of interested people and groups, including people who use care and support services, carers, local councils, care providers and the voluntary sector.



Asked by The Countess of Mar

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): Our understanding of the chronic effects of organophosphate poisoning is informed by the published peer-reviewed literature on the topic, including the reports of independent scientific advisory bodies. If appropriate the Ministry of Defence will seek the advice of independent scientific advisory bodies.

Public Health Observatories


Asked by Lord Beecham

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The department continues actively to support public health observatories and has no plans for the closure of any public health observatory, including the North East Public Health Observatory.

From April 2013, public health observatories' functions will become part of Public Health England.

The department is in contact with the University of Durham, which hosts the North East Public Health Observatory. Discussions about the North East Public Health Observatory's role during 2012-13 are progressing positively.

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Railways: Brighton to London Line


Asked by Lord Berkeley

Earl Attlee: A safeguarding direction can be issued only by the Secretary of State. There is no such direction currently in place for the Lewes-Uckfield line.

However, the trackbed is protected from development by the planning policies of both Wealden and Lewes District Councils.

Whether the proposed new road in Uckfield is built with a bridge over the trackbed is a matter for the county council and the planning process.

Railways: High Speed 2


Asked by Lord Eden of Winton

Earl Attlee: The February 2011 consultation document High Speed Rail: Investing in Britain's Future stated that the Government would consider whether additional support arrangements for property owners may be appropriate, if a decision were to be taken to go ahead with a new high-speed line, in addition to those already provided under the statutory blight and compensation provisions.

The Secretary of State for Transport is therefore currently considering responses to the consultation, including on blight and compensation.

Railways: Procurement


Asked by Lord Bradshaw

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Earl Attlee: The provision of additional peak capacity generally leads to an increase in cost that is in excess of the revenue generated. Therefore when the Department for Transport has sought to add capacity to the network in line with the high-level output specification (HLOS) with incumbent train operating companies (TOCs), negotiations with those TOCs are required.

These negotiations are intended to agree the appropriate changes to costs and revenues, together with the commercial, financial and legal terms on which the capacity will be provided. They culminate in a signed deed of amendment to the franchise agreement. This, among other things, amends the subsidy/premium line and contractualises committed obligations that the TOC will deliver in return.

For London Midland these negotiations are taking place in parallel with those being held between London Midland and the preferred manufacturer and financier of the new trains. They are intended to conclude at broadly the same time.

Roads: Tolls and Bridges


Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

Earl Attlee: The Government are directly responsible for road user charges on the Dartford-Thurrock River Crossing. Charges on the bridge were introduced in 2003, replacing a previous tolling regime.

Year1996- 20032003- 20082008 to present





The Severn Crossing is operated on behalf of the Secretary of State by a private concessionaire. The tolls for the bridge are set according to a prearranged formula, laid out in statute.





















The M6 Toll is operated by a private concessionaire, although the Secretary of State remains the ultimate highway authority. Under the terms of the concession, the concessionaire may set tolls without the need to seek approval from government. This reflects the fact that there is a clear alternative available to the motorist, preventing the operator from acting as a monopolist.

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£4.70 W/end £4.50

£5.00 W/end £4.50

£5.30 W/end £4.80

All figures are cash payment for cars during the day unless otherwise stated. Different tolls and charges apply off peak and to different vehicles; and classifications of vehicle vary from concession to concession.

Sterling: Devaluation


Asked by Lord Myners

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government are committed to ensuring a stable macro-economic environment.

Transport: MoT Scheme


Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

Earl Attlee: The Government intend to review the MoT test scheme. We have no preconceptions about the outcome of a review; the aim will be to strike the right balance between vehicle safety and the burden imposed on motorists by MoT test requirements.

We will carry out a full consultation to allow interested groups to submit views and give evidence, which will be announced in due course.

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Asked by Lord Berkeley

Earl Attlee: In April 2011 the Department for Transport published the results of independent research commissioned to examine how vehicle defects affect accident rates, and to consider the potential road safety impact of changing the frequency of the MoT. The Effect of Vehicle Defects in Road Accidents report can be found at: safety/report_effect_of_vehicle_defects_in_road_ accidents.htm.

Transport: Trolleybuses


Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

Earl Attlee: The Government believe that local authorities are best placed to determine local transport needs, which may include considering whether introducing a trolleybus is preferable to other local transport interventions.

This Government are currently reviewing the pipeline of major local authority transport projects requesting central government funds with the aim of making decisions this December. This will include a decision on the proposed Leeds trolleybus scheme.



Asked by Lord Laird

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): There are three separate levels of sponsor status; highly trusted (HTS), A rated or B rated. As at 9 November 2011, there are 990 private sector providers with HTS; 494 are A rated and 88 are B rated.

A rated and B rated sponsors have assigned 33,676 confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) from their active allocation. We do not make forecasts on the numbers of CASs that private sector non-HTS providers will assign in future years.

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The figures provided are based on local management information. This information has not been quality assured under National Statistics protocols and should be treated as provisional.

Youth Justice Board


Asked by The Earl of Listowel

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): In his Written Ministerial Statement of 23 June 2011, the Justice Secretary set out his intention to carry out the core functions of the Youth Justice Board within a newly created Youth Justice Division in the Ministry of Justice. The Youth Justice Division will continue the Government's focus on meeting the needs of children and young people in the justice system and the role of the director of the Youth Justice Division will be important in helping us to achieve this focus.

The Government's proposals include a commitment to retaining the experience and expertise of Youth Justice Board staff. The Justice Secretary has announced that John Drew, the current chief executive of the Youth Justice Board, has agreed to lead the transition into the new Youth Justice Division structure. This post is dependent on the passage of the Public Bodies Bill.

The Ministry of Justice will ensure that any future selectee for the post of director of the Youth Justice Division has the requisite skills, knowledge and abilities to do the job and relevant criteria will be built into the advert and selection process.

Young Offenders


Asked by Baroness Walmsley

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The prison population information held centrally includes details of the sentence currently being served, however this may not be the sentence originally given. Many offenders sentenced to be detained at Her Majesty's Pleasure as children will have passed their 22nd birthday and will therefore now be being managed as adult life sentenced prisoners. Data are

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available and used for individual case management purposes for these prisoners. However, these data are not held centrally for statistical purposes. It is therefore not possible to identify how many of the current prison population were originally sentenced as children to be detained at Her Majesty's Pleasure under Section 53 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 or Sections 90 to 92 of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000.

These figures could be derived only by matching individual level sentencing records back to 1980 (or earlier) to the current prison population. This would incur disproportionate cost.

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