Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

25 Nov 2011 : Column WA281

25 Nov 2011 : Column WA281

Written Answers

Friday 25 November 2011

Banking: Royal Bank of Scotland


Asked by Lord Myners

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government's shareholding in Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is managed on a commercial and arm's-length basis by UK Financial Investments Ltd (UKFI), a company which is wholly owned by the Government.

As the majority shareholder in RBS the Government have made clear that they expect the bank to be a back-marker and not a market leader on bonuses.

The Government are clear that RBS should be paying no more in bonuses than is necessary to protect the value of the taxpayer's investment.

Bonus figures have not yet been agreed for this year, but for the 2010 performance year, UKFI agreed the following:

for all staff at RBS, the maximum upfront cash bonuses was limited to a maximum of £2,000;all executive directors, including the chief executives, received their bonuses entirely in the form of shares; andthese shares were deferred and subject to clawback, with the chief executives not able to release the full value of their bonuses until 2014.

Together with Barclays and HSBC, RBS has also committed to be more transparent about remuneration. In 2010, the banks disclosed the pay of the board and five highest paid senior executives not on the board and ensured that the pay of the 10 highest paid employees was signed off by the remuneration committee.

Charities: Overseas Aid


Asked by Lord Ashcroft

Baroness Northover: Full details of funding to civil society organisations are published annually in Table 19 of Statistics on International Development (SID). These are available on the DfID website at www.dfid.

The 10 UK charities through which the UK Government have channelled the greatest amount of aid funding for development projects and programmes over the past five years are:

25 Nov 2011 : Column WA282

OrganisationValue £000's

British Red Cross


Voluntary Services Overseas




Save the Children




International Rescue Committee


Christian Aid


International Planned Parenthood Federation




Population Services International


Crime: Metal Theft


Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

Earl Attlee: During the year which ended on 31 March 2011, Network Rail recorded 995 incidents of cable theft which caused delay to the rail network, resulting in delays to trains totalling over 6,000 hours.

Criminal Justice Act 2003


Asked by Lord Empey

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): An announcement will be made very shortly.



Asked by Lord Hylton

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The construction sector makes up around 7.5 per cent of GDP and made a 0.6 percentage point contribution to GDP growth in 2010.

The purpose of quantitative easing (QE) is to provide the independent Monetary Policy Committee with an additional tool to low interest rates, which can be used to support nominal demand in the economy in order to meet the inflation target in the medium term. In its Quarterly Bulletin published in September 2011, the Bank of England estimated that QE carried out between March 2009 and January 2010 raised UK inflation by around 3/4 to 1 1/2 percentage points and increased real GDP by around 1 1/2 to 2 per cent.

25 Nov 2011 : Column WA283

Asked by Lord Myners

Lord Sassoon: The Government have set a forward-looking target to achieve a cyclically adjusted current balance by the end of the rolling, five-year forecast period. This measure included current spending but does not include capital spending.

The Government are assessed against this target by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) using the statistical definitions produced by the independent Office for National Statistics (ONS), and in accordance with the framework set out by the European System of Integrated Economic Accounts 1995 (ESA95).

The OBR also publishes cyclically adjusted net borrowing figures, which include capital spending, using ONS statistical definitions.

Electoral Registration


Asked by Lord Wills

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): We have made no assessment on the impact of bringing in individual electoral registration on the number of people available for jury service. The Government are committed to ensuring that as many people as possible are registered to vote and are taking steps to stop people dropping off the register, as well as looking at ways they can increase registration levels as part of the transition to individual electoral registration. This will also help ensure that the pool of potential jurors is as wide as possible.

Asked by Lord Wills

Lord McNally: The Government are funding research to understand the current state of the electoral register which will help us to better understand the way in which the move to individual electoral registration (IER) will have an impact.

The Government are committed to maintaining registration rates during the transition to IER. We have learnt from the experience in Northern Ireland and are phasing in IER over two years from 2014, putting in a place a safeguard for the 2015 general election so that existing electors who fail to register

25 Nov 2011 : Column WA284

under the new system in 2014 are not disfranchised. We are trialling data matching this year to see if it will help to get more people on to the electoral register. We are looking at how we can modernise the system of electoral registration by opening up new channels for registration which will also make it easier and more convenient for individuals to register to vote.

We are also working with the Electoral Commission to plan publicity around the transition which ensures that people are well informed about the change, and we are also working closely with a range of groups representing those at risk of falling off the register during the transition, to ensure the system is designed in the best possible way to meet their needs.

Finance: EMIR


Asked by Lord Myners

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The European Union Regulation on Over the Counter Derivatives, Central Counterparties and Trade Repositories (EMIR) does not provide a framework for the provision of financial support to central counterparties or trade repositories in the event of their failure.



Asked by Lord Ouseley

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): This Government have not made an assessment of whether the Metropolitan Police have adequate intelligence on gangs. This is an operational matter for the mayor's office and the Metropolitan Police Service itself.

Government: Ministerial Duties


Asked by Lord Myners

25 Nov 2011 : Column WA285

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Lord Green has extensive experience of the financial sector on which the Treasury can usefully draw. Responsibilities of Treasury Ministers are unchanged.



Asked by Lord Hylton

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) is responsible for forecasting economic data. In its most recent Economic and Fiscal Outlook, the OBR forecast that residential property transactions will fall by 1.9 per cent in 2011-12, then rise by 20.2 per cent in 2012-13. Updated forecasts will be released on 29 November 201 1 .



Asked by Lord Myners

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Bank of England assesses the forecasting record of the independent Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) in its inflation report each August.

Other independent forecasts of inflation are publicly available, including those of the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) in its Economic and Fiscal Outlook. HM Treasury also publishes a compilation of independent forecasts each month. These include forecasts made by the OBR, international institutions and City firms, and are available on the Treasury website.

Justice: Family Justice Review


Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): There were 628 responses to the consultation on the family justice review's interim report: 418 responses concerned public law and 452 concerned private law.

25 Nov 2011 : Column WA286

A total of 34 children responded to the young people's version of the consultation, which break down into the following age groups:

less than 11 years-5;

l1-16 years-12;

over 16 years-14; and


Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

Lord McNally: The following public events were held as part of the consultation on the family justice review's interim report:

London-18 May 2011, 97 attendees;Cardiff-31 May 2011, 72 attendees;Manchester-1 June 2011, 44 attendees; andBirmingham-7 June 2011, 51 attendees.

In addition, 45 children attended a children's event in Leicester on 3 and 4 June 2011.

These events were promoted through: publication of the event's date, venue and attendance details on the Ministry of Justice's website, tweeting the details @FamJusticeReview and sending invitations directly to organisations and individuals who had previously shown an interest in the Family Justice Review.

Overseas Aid


Asked by Baroness Tonge

Baroness Northover: The Department for International Development (DfID) is committed to ensure that its support for reproductive, maternal and newborn health programmes reaches the bottom 40 per cent of the population in the countries in which it operates.

Corporate guidance is provided to departments throughout DfID on business cases, value for money and results to support the moves to bring DfID programme planning and appraisal in line with Treasury requirements for all government departments. There is also sector-specific support to country offices on value for money (VfM) and to the development of business cases. For health, this includes internal websites that provide information and guidance on VfM methodologies,

25 Nov 2011 : Column WA287

indicators, and evidence of what works across all health interventions. In addition to this, DfID is also sharing and receiving information, lesson-learning on results and VfM with/from international partners, donors and non-government organisations.

Prisoners: Employment


Asked by Baroness Quin

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): All prisoners had left HMP Latchmere House by 30 September 2011 when the establishment officially ceased operating.

Before Latchmere House closed, every prisoner was offered a personal interview to identify the most suitable and appropriate allocation.

To obtain full information for each prisoner displaced and who remains in prison could only be obtained at disproportionate cost as it would involve contacting each onward allocation to request them to consult individual records to identify if prisoners benefited from employment programmes similar or equivalent to those at Latchmere House

For the majority of prisoners allocation preferences were met. For some prisoners, employment programmes were the main consideration however, closeness to home was also an important factor when agreeing an onward allocation.

Railways: Fares


Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

Earl Attlee: The Government have made no assessment of this proposal.

Railways: Procurement


Asked by Lord Berkeley

Earl Attlee: European Directive 2011/88/EU, which introduces additional transitional flexibility for manufacturers in the non-road sector in general as well as being of particular interest to the rail sector, was published on 23 November 2011. Member states are obliged to transpose this into national law by

25 Nov 2011 : Column WA288

24 November 2012. In view of the additional flexibility for industry which the directive permits, the Government will examine the possibility of transposing in advance of this date.

Salman Butt


Asked by Lord Naseby

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): A criminal legal aid representation order granted to a defendant for trial proceedings at the magistrates' or Crown Court extends to allow the legal representatives of a convicted defendant to advise their client on the merits of an appeal against conviction and/or sentence. This includes, where appropriate, assisting the client in making an application for leave to appeal.

Where this application is submitted to the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) and leave to appeal is subsequently granted or the application is referred to the full court, a fresh legal aid representation order will be required. The decision on whether to grant a representation order for proceedings before the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) will be taken by a High Court judge or the Registrar of Criminal Appeals.

In reaching this decision, no consideration is given to the financial means of the appellant. However, if the appeal is subsequently unsuccessful, a recovery of defence costs order may be made by the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) against the appellant for some or all of the legal aid costs incurred at the appeal hearing.



Asked by Lord Birt

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Successive governments have taxed income, including income generated by savings. This ensures that individuals who gain their income from work are not put at a disadvantage compared to those who gain income from investments.

No tax is paid on the interest from savings held in individual savings accounts (ISAs), allowing all savers to save up to £10,680 in a tax-advantaged way. This Government have also ensured that the amount that people can save tax-free is not eroded by inflation by indexing the amount that can be paid into ISAs each year. This means that from April 2012, people will be able to save an extra £600 a year into their ISA including an extra £300 into their cash ISA.

25 Nov 2011 : Column WA289

Transport: MoT Scheme


Asked by Lord Bradshaw

Earl Attlee: The number of MoT tests and failures are listed below.

YearCars testedFailures










Listed below are MoT results for vehicles which (a) were three years old, undergoing their first MoT, (b) were four years old, undergoing their second MoT, and (c) passed their MoT after initially failing an MoT.

(a) 3 Year Old Vehicles
TestedTotal TestsInitial FailureRate(c) Passed after initial fail
















25 Nov 2011 : Column WA290

(b) 4 Year Old Vehicles
TestedTotal TestsInitial FailureRate(c) Passed after initial fail
















MoT test figures are published on the following website:

West Lothian Question


Asked by Baroness Randerson

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): I refer the noble Baroness to my Written Ministerial Statement of 8 September 2011 (Official Report, col. WS 34). A follow-up announcement with further details on the Commission will be made soon.

Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page