|Previous Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the reply by Lord Howell of Guildford to Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead on 8 November, what action the Government propose to take, directly, through the European Union, or through other organisations, to develop the role of the African Union and its military and security capability in protecting stability in the East and Horn of Africa.[HL13244]
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.
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government when was the last time a Minister of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office spoke in person or by phone to the Chief Minister of Anguilla; and what were the subject matters discussed.[HL13238]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they last discussed with the German defence minister the Government of Germany's decision to reduce its orders for Eurofighters, military helicopters and the A400M.[HL13115]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have held or plan to hold any discussions with other members of the A400M consortium or with the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company about the consequences for the Government of Germany's decision to reduce its order for the A400M. [HL13119]
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many veterans from the armed forces are in receipt of war pensions as a result of their service in the Gulf from 1990-91; and how many of these claimants list the chronic effects of organophosphate poisoning as one of their health conditions.[HL13071]
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
16 Nov 2011 : Column WA149
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Sassoon on 20 October (WA 91), whether using "all of the tools available to them to ensure that the banks live up to their promises" equates to the Prime Minister's statement on 12 October (Official Report, Commons, col. 325) that they are "forcing the banks to lend". [HL13048]
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.
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.
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord McNally on 27 October (WA 175-6), in the light of more sophisticated means of detecting the use of vehicles which are not insured through the increased use of police vehicles equipped with automatic number plate recognition equipment, to what they attribute the fall in numbers of convictions.[HL12954]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord McNally on 27 October (WA 175), how many of those convicted of driving whilst disqualified in each of the past three years were involved in accidents.[HL13032]
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people held United Kingdom driving licences in 2008, 2009 and 2010; and of these in each year (a) how many had 12 points, (b) how many were disqualified during that year, (c) how many appeals were made against disqualification, (d) how many appeals were upheld and for what reasons, (e) how many had more than 12 points, (f) how many requests there were to reduce the period of disqualification, and (g) how many requests were granted.[HL12620]
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:
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps are taken by electoral registration officers to ensure that the requirements allowing qualifying Commonwealth citizens to vote are met when a Commonwealth citizen applies to be registered to vote in United Kingdom elections and referendums. [HL13196]
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.
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are investigating whether all people on the electoral register, or only non-United Kingdom nationals, could have their nationality and immigration status checked by electoral registration officers with the UK Border Agency; and to what other entities they are considering extending similar checks.[HL13342]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the statement by the Chancellor of the Exchequer at the Conservative Party Conference that the
16 Nov 2011 : Column WA153
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will ensure that the benefits from feed-in electricity tariffs will be directed as far as possible to relieving fuel poverty, and that new installations are concentrated in the areas where alternative forms of generation will function most efficiently.[HL13025]
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.
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what oil price they used in their latest work on transport appraisals; when this work was done; and how the price used compares to the current market price of oil. [HL13110]
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: http://www.decc.gov.uk/assets/decc/statistics/projections/67-updated-emissions-projections- 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. gov.uk/assets/decc/11/about-us/economics-social-research/2934-decc-oil-price-projections.pdf.
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.
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.
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government why Government support has been withdrawn from the European Centre for Modern Languages in Graz; and whether the views of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills were sought and taken into account before the decision was made.[HL12925]
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.
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
16 Nov 2011 : Column WA156
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Attlee on 2 November (WA 265), what steps they are taking to reduce expenditure on lawyers in the Department for Transport. [HL13131]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, following the healthier lives Green Paper and the Vision for Social Care, what assessment they have made of the progress made in providing preventative services that overcome social isolation amongst older people.[HL13045]
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.
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that residents are able to fulfil their religious obligations through making financial gifts in those immigration removal centres which are seeking to remove the use of cash from their premises.[HL13273]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government (a) on how many occasions they have met officials from UNUM Provident; (b) on how many occasions officials from UNUM Provident have been members of advisory committees or working groups of the Department for Work and Pensions or the Department of Health, and (c) which other insurance companies have been involved in similar activities.[HL13073]
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
16 Nov 2011 : Column WA159
A full list of ministerial meetings with external organisations is available at www.dwp.gov.uk/publications/ corporate-publications/ministers-meetings-overseas.shtml.
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.
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many (a) managers, and (b) other staff, were employed at Broadmoor Hospital on 1 November; and how many (1) managers, and (2) other staff, are being made redundant.[HL13160]
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
16 Nov 2011 : Column WA161
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.
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what functions not directly related to the functions of specialist commissioning and clinical commissioning groups they propose to transfer to the National Commissioning Board from bodies to be abolished under the Health and Social Care Bill; and what was the cost of providing those functions in the last financial year for which figures are available. [HL13083]
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:
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; andwww.dh.gov.uk/prod_consum_dh/groups/dh_digitalassets/documents/digitalasset/dh_130154.pdf.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the annual cost to (a) the National Health Service, and (b) local authorities, of the total delayed days of transfers from acute care in England; and what assessment they have made of the underlying causes of the increase in delays since March 2011. [HL13047]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the totals for each month since March 2011 for delayed transfers of care across England categorised as (a) awaiting completion of assessment, (b) awaiting public funding, (c) awaiting further non-acute (including
16 Nov 2011 : Column WA163
16 Nov 2011 : Column WA164
|Delayed Transfers of Care (DTOC) by Reason, England|
|Total number of Delayed Days during the month by the reasons for the delay|
|England Level Data||Total number of Delayed Days during the month|
|Reason for Delay||April||May||June||July||August||September|
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the benefits of patient self-referral to physiotherapy for (a) patients, and (b) the National Health Service; and how this model of care could be facilitated in the new commissioning arrangements under the Health and Social Care Bill.[HL13114]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with a view to introducing an impact test to examine the effects of policy proposals on those aged over 65 following the Westminster Hall debate in the House of Commons on 6 September. [HL13142]
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.
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government which medical consultants the Ministry of Defence consider have the requisite knowledge and expertise to advise them on the chronic effects of organophosphate poisoning.[HL13072]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have taken a decision on the proposed closure of the North East Public Health Observatory; if not, when they will do so; and what are the criteria which would lead to closure.[HL13217]
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.
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Earl Attlee on 6 October (Official Report, col. 1211), whether the route of the former Lewes-Uckfield line is safeguarded by Wealden and Lewes District Councils and by East Sussex County Council; and whether any new county road construction in Uckfield crossing the route of the line and proposed new station will use a bridge to enable the line to be reopened at a later stage. [HL13185]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they are giving to the implementation of a property bond scheme such as that proposed by HS2 Action Alliance in order to compensate for the devaluation of properties affected by the planned High Speed Rail 2 project.[HL13170]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Attlee on 26 October (WA 168), once commercial negotiations have been completed between the manufacturer and the financier of the new stock for London Midland, why further negotiations involving the Department for Transport are necessary.[HL12952]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government for how many toll roads and bridges they or government agencies are responsible; and what charges have been levied for each of them in each year since 1996 (or the year they were opened if later) until the last year for which records are available.[HL13361]
|Year||1996- 2003||2003- 2008||2008 to present|
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.
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the number of potential job losses as a consequence of their proposals to require biennial, rather than annual, MoT tests for motor vehicles more than three years old.[HL12878]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the likelihood of a rise in insurance premiums as a result of their proposals to require biennial, rather than annual, MoT tests for motor vehicles more than three years old.[HL12879]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimates they have made of the number of deaths and serious injuries that would occur if the current frequency of MoT tests was decreased so that the first test takes place after four years, and subsequent tests every two years.[HL13109]
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: http://www.trl.co.uk/online_store/reports_publications/trl_reports/cat_road_user_ safety/report_effect_of_vehicle_defects_in_road_ accidents.htm.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Attlee on 31 October (WA 220), whether they will encourage the re-introduction of trolleybuses as an alternative to trams.[HL13020]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many private sector providers are highly trusted sponsors (HTS) for general purposes, how many have A and B rating, how many confirmations of acceptance for studies for non-European Union nationals non-HTS providers are permitted to assign from 21 April 2011-25 April 2012 in total; and what that figure is expected to be for the following year.[HL13221]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, in the light of the commitments made by the Minister for Youth Justice, Crispin Blunt, on 25 October (Official Report, Commons, col. 233) that the Government will ensure the retention of the experience and operational expertise of the Youth Justice Board's senior staff, whether (a) the proposed post of director of the Youth Justice Division in the Ministry of Justice will be a permanent post, (b) the chief executive of the Youth Justice Board will be offered the post on a permanent civil service contract in line with the other posts transferring from the Youth Justice Board, and (c) if the post should become vacant in the future, it will be filled following open competition by a person with substantial operational experience of the youth justice system. [HL13100]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people who were sentenced as children to be detained during Her Majesty's pleasure under Section 53 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 and Sections 90 to 92 of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000, remain in prison today, having been sentenced (a) between 2000 and 2005,
16 Nov 2011 : Column WA171
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
16 Nov 2011 : Column WA172
|Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|