|Previous Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Taylor of Holbeach on 12 July (WA 151), and in the light of the recent High Court ruling that the use of foul language to police officers is not an offence, whether they will now consider issuing guidance on the use of foul language in schools, hospital accident and emergency wards and courtrooms; whether they will publish further guidance under the Equality Act 2010; and whether they will appeal the High Court ruling. [HL13791]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): There is no specific offence of swearing at a police officer or other public servant, nor is there a specific crime of swearing in public. However, Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986 makes it an offence to use threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour, within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress by that.
The High Court found in the recent case of Harvey v the DPP that there was no evidence that those who heard the swear words in that particular case were in fact harassed, alarmed or distressed. It does not follow that such words are incapable of causing harassment, alarm or distress.
The Equality Act 2010 covers only harassment where the unwanted conduct is related to a particular protected characteristic-for example, age, race or sex-whereas the sort of behaviour that the noble Lord refers to in this question concerns the issue of swearing at public servants. The Government do not therefore intend to publish any guidance on this issue under the Equality Act.
To ask Her Majesty's Government why United Kingdom forces may send aerograms to United Kingdom civilian addresses without charge but items of equivalent weight in envelopes attract postage charges.[HL13753]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): As part of the deployed welfare package which supports the welfare
6 Dec 2011 : Column WA140
Armed Forces personnel may decide to send letters through the forces' Post Office, rather than utilise the "bluey" service, but this is a matter of personal choice. In such cases, domestic internal UK mail postal rates, rather than standard international rates, apply.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are advised by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) on (1) the number of assisted suicide cases passed to the CPS by the police, (2) the number of assisted suicide cases the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) decides it is not in the public interest to prosecute, and (3) the number of assisted suicide cases the DPP decides it is in the public interest to prosecute; what are the numbers concerned; and whether they will make the information available to Parliament routinely in future.[HL13712]
The Advocate-General for Scotland (Lord Wallace of Tankerness): Cases of assisted suicide are recorded centrally by CPS headquarters and have been available since December 2008. These records show the following:from 1 April 2009 to November 2011, 50 cases received from the police have been recorded as "assisted suicide and euthanasia";of these 50 cases, 31 of them were not proceeded with by the CPS while five were withdrawn by the police. Our records do not break these cases down between those not proceeded with where there was insufficient evidence and those in which a prosecution was not needed in the public interest;although some of the cases referred by the police are initially recorded as "assisted suicide and euthanasia" cases, it may be that suspects in such cases are charged with offences other than encouraging or assisting suicide, for example murder or manslaughter; andour records show that there has been one assisted suicide case that reached a first hearing in the magistrates' court in 2009-10. This case resulted in a conviction after a guilty plea.
These figures are made public when requested in the interests of transparency. The Director of Public Prosecutions ensures that, where appropriate, detailed reasons explaining decisions whether or not to charge a case of assisted suicide are published on the CPS website at www.cps.gov.uk/news/press_releases/.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, in the light of the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Autumn Statement, why no road-building schemes in the north-east of England were included; and why, in
6 Dec 2011 : Column WA141
Earl Attlee: The Highways Agency major road schemes identified as part of the growth review on 29 November 2011 are all able to be accelerated to start construction and make significant progress in the next three years, and will therefore make the earliest possible contribution to stimulating economic growth.
In 2006 the interim Regional Transport Board for the North East recommended that the Al Adderstone to Belford and Al Morpeth to Felton schemes were not funding priorities for the period up to 2016. As such the Highways Agency ceased to work on the development of these schemes and they were therefore not in a position to be selected as part of the growth review.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the figures for bank lending to small and medium-sized enterprises, after eliminating the simple roll-over of existing credit facilities and netting-off loan repayments by qualifying companies; and what impact those figures demonstrate Project Merlin is having. [HL13617]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they propose to take in the light of the Bank of England's Trends in Lending report for October 2011, indicating a continuing decline in business loans, including to small and medium-sized enterprises. [HL13618]
To ask Her Majesty's Government why lending reported by banks under Project Merlin differs from that reported by the Bank of England in its Trends in Lending; and whether they will ask the Bank of England to produce a reconciliation. [HL13619]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Bank of England's Trends in Lending measures net lending, comprising gross drawn lending and repayments. Net lending is negative because repayments exceed drawn lending. It is entirely appropriate that Project Merlin targets gross committed lending. While banks cannot control the rate at which businesses choose to repay debt and draw down facilities, they can ensure that sufficient credit is available to businesses when businesses decide that they need it.
It is encouraging that the Project Merlin third quarter results show that the banks have loaned over £157 billion to UK businesses-11 per cent above their implied target. While the banks have also loaned 10 per cent more to small and medium-sized enterprises than they
6 Dec 2011 : Column WA142
There are strong global economic headwinds. In recognition of these, the Autumn Statement launched a package of credit easing measures of up to £21 billion, with scope to increase the scale of this package in future, if necessary. The package comprises a national loan guarantee scheme of up to £20 billion of guarantees for bank funding to lower the cost of lending to smaller businesses, subject to state aid approval and a new Business Finance Partnership, initially of £1 billion, to deliver additional finance to mid-sized businesses through non-bank lending channels. This fits in with the Government's objective of getting credit flowing to business.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): The Government will assess the success of the climate change summit in Durban after it has concluded on 9 December.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): All British, 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 or remain in the United Kingdom, or who does need such leave and has it.
Citizens of Commonwealth countries retain their voting rights even if their country has withdrawn or is suspended from the Commonwealth organisation. Therefore eligible citizens of Zimbabwe and Fiji, resident in the United Kingdom, would be entitled to vote in United Kingdom elections.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, following the recent reduction in feed-in tariffs (FITs) for photovoltaic solar panels, they will now consider proportionately reducing the subsidies and FITs paid to wind farm operators.[HL13662]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): The comprehensive review of the feed-in tariffs scheme will consider all aspects of the scheme including the level of support for each of the technologies supported. The first phase of the review, which was launched on 31 October, proposed changes to tariffs for solar photovoltaic (PV) installations.
The second phase of the review will consider the level of support for the non-PV technologies together with administration and wider issues within the scheme. We intend to publish a consultation on phase 2 of the review around the end of the year.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): Our approach to the green deal has been to establish a clear regulatory framework which will support the development of a private sector market in the provision and financing of energy efficiency measures. The interest rate for green deals will therefore be determined by the private sector market.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many wind turbines (1) were approved for construction in the United Kingdom before 5 May 2010, and (2) have been approved for construction since 5 May 2010. [HL13924]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): DECC collects data on the installed capacity of any wind farms consented, but not the numbers of wind turbines within these consented projects. The tables below show the numbers of consented wind farms in England and Wales, with their total installed capacity, from (1) January 2008 to May 2010 and (2) May 2010 to the present1.
|Wind farms consented from 1 January 2008 to 4 May 2010|
|Technology||Total number of sites||Total installed capacity (MW)|
|Wind farms consented from 5 May 2010 to the present|
|Technology||Total number of sites||Total installed capacity (MW)|
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Foreign and Commonwealth Office or HM Treasury have issued guidance to Ministers on commenting on the creditworthiness of other European Union member states, in the light of the Chancellor of the Exchequer's comments on 14 November that "the markets are even asking questions about France". [HL13614]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Government Ministers regularly receive advice and briefing from officials on matters relating to the international economic situation and outlook.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the (1) date of purchase, (2) amount, (3) supplier and (4) level 3 or enhanced transaction entry of each transaction undertaken by the Department of Energy and Climate Change using the Government procurement card in (a) 2006-07, (b) 2007-08, (c) 2008-09, (d) 2009-10, and (e) 2010-11.[HL13955]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): I refer the noble Lord to the answer given by my honourable friend the Minister of State for Climate Change to my honourable friend the Member for Dover on 20 October 2011 (Official Report, col. 1115W).
The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) was created in October 2008 as a merger of elements of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). For 2008-09, details of DECC's GPC information was held as a mixture of electronic and paper records by both BIS and Defra, depending on which department cardholders previously worked for.
Paper records have been archived and would need to be retrieved and scrutinised to identify transactions relating to DECC. Since December 2009, DECC has held all GPC information electronically. Before this data can be released, transaction details have to be checked to ensure that they do not contain any classified or personal details. This would mean reviewing over 12,000 lines of data which would incur disproportionate costs to locate and analyse records.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will ensure that preliminary figures for recruitment of overseas students to United Kingdom higher education institutions for the academic year 2011-12, compiled by the Higher Education Statistics Agency, are made publicly available before January 2013. [HL13816]
Baroness Verma: The student record contains information not just on enrolment but also on progress through the year such as drop out information and qualifications attained at the end of the year. As students can still be active until the academic year closes at the end of August, the deadline for submission of data is the end of October, two months after the close of the academic year. From this point, HESA completes extensive data processing and quality assurance in order to compile a UK-wide data set. HESA then works closely with BIS and the devolved Administrations to construct a Statistical First Release HE Enrolments and Qualifications Obtained at HE Institutions in the UK, which is published in early January. As a national statistic, the production and release must comply with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics, so this date would represent the earliest point at which HESA statistics on recruitment of overseas students could be made available under the current framework.
In August 2011, UCAS published some 2011-12 accepted applicant figures which included domicile information: this provided a preliminary picture of the full-time undergraduate entry population. The figures are available on the UCAS website as follows: http://www.ucas.ac.uklabout_us/rnedia_enquiries/media_releases/2011/app_statsll/appsta250811 (Table 2).
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: We remain concerned about increasing incidents of settler violence. According to the United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs, settler attacks have increased by 40 per cent in 2011 and by over 165 per cent compared to 2009. We welcome the stated commitment of the Israelis to bring perpetrators of settler violence to justice.
Our ambassador to Tel Aviv raised our concerns most recently with the Israeli Defence Force on 17 November 2011 and encouraged the Israelis to bring the perpetrators to justice. Staff at our embassy discussed settler violence with the Israeli police and the Ministry of Justice in October. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my honourable friend the Member for North East Bedfordshire (Mr Burt), regularly issues statements on issues relating to settlements, including price-tag attacks, most recently on 3 October 2011.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what legislation, passed during the 2005-10 Parliament, is the responsibility of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and has yet to be brought into force, either in full or in part.[HL13770]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): This information is not centrally held and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what legislation, passed during the 2005-10 Parliament, is the responsibility of the Home Office and has yet to be brought into force, either in full or in part.[HL13774]
|Home Office Uncommenced Legislation 2005-10|
|Act||Provisions not yet in force|
Earl Attlee: The London Overground rail network is specified and funded by the Mayor of London. The network will be completed by the opening of the extension from Surrey Quays to Clapham Junction which is due to take place in December 2012.
Earl Attlee: Any decision to extend the London Underground network would be for the mayor and Transport for London, who would also need to ensure funding was in place for such a scheme. We have no record of this matter being discussed recently.
Lord Shutt of Greetland: Since 1 January 2011, the Northern Ireland Office has employed consultants on one occasion. In October 2011, and following a competitive tendering process, KPMG was appointed to carry out an economic appraisal of Hillsborough Castle. This will support delivery of one of the department's key strategic priorities which is to see Hillsborough Castle fully utilised in meeting the needs of the Royal Household, the NIO and the wider community in Northern Ireland, in a way that maximises value for taxpayers' money. The cost of this contract is £22,163.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they expect that the ability to travel to places of work in London during the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games will remain unqualified for those who are employed; and what measures they will take to ensure that this is possible.[HL13892]
Earl Attlee: The Department for Transport is working with Transport for London (TfL) which is leading on a programme of travel demand management. Transport networks in affected areas will be much busier during Games time. However, London will still be open for business. To keep the capital moving, we will need to achieve significant reductions in travel which is not related to the Olympics. TfL is engaging with business in order to encourage them to reduce non-essential work-related travel and to consider re-timing journeys or switching transport modes to avoid congestion hotspots during the Games. A wider strategy aimed directly at the public will be starting shortly.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord McNally on 15 November (WA 140), whether the Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Nick Clegg, is eligible to receive a pension from the European Commission; if so, when that pension will become payable; what will be its annual amount; and whether the terms of that pension constrain his actions.[HL13632]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have assessed how their proposals in the Protection of Freedoms Bill on the retention of the DNA of persons arrested but not charged in criminal investigations relate to the European Court of Human Rights judgment in S and Marper v United Kingdom in 2008.[HL13922]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): The Government carefully studied the 2008 ruling of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of S & Marper, which found that the procedures permitting the indefinite retention in England, Wales and Northern Ireland of DNA from individuals who had never been convicted of an offence were unlawful.
Chapter 1 of Part 1 of the Protection of Freedoms Bill gives effect to the court's judgment by dramatically reducing the circumstances and periods for which innocent persons' DNA and fingerprints will be retained in England and Wales. A full assessment of the compatibility of those proposals with the European Convention on Human Rights was produced by the Home Office and published on the Home Office website at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/about-s/legislation/freedom-bill/human-rights-memorandum.
Decisions on the retention, use and destruction of biometric material taken in Northern Ireland for policing (non-counter-terrorism) purposes are within the transferred competence of the Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, in view of the decision by the Government of the Republic of Ireland to close its embassy in the Vatican City to save funding, whether they intend to reconsider their decision to maintain two embassies in Rome. [HL13637]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The decision by the Republic of Ireland to close its embassy is a matter for the Irish Government. The United Kingdom intends to retain its embassies to both the Republic of Italy and to the Holy See, given the valuable work that both embassies undertake in pursuit of the Government's foreign policy objectives.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): Since July 2010, new academies and free schools have not been required to comply with the nutritional standards for school food. They are required to provide lunches where there is demand and free school meals to all pupils who are eligible and wish to take up their entitlement. Academies that opened before July 2010 are required to comply with the nutritional standards.
We have no reason to believe that academies or free schools do not provide healthy, balanced meals that meet the current nutritional standards. In fact, the School Food Trust has advised that some of the best schools in terms of attitudes to food and meals are the academies. As part of the broader freedoms available to these schools, we trust the professionals to act in the best interests of their pupils.
The School Food Trust will be undertaking a qualitative study to look at the approach taken by academies to providing healthy school food for their pupils in 12 academies in January and February 2012.
|UK-Registered Merchant Fleet, 1990 to date|
|At end:||All Merchant Ships|
|million gross tons|
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Attlee on 25 November (WA 289), how many MoT tests which initially failed (1) exceeded permitted levels of emissions, and (2) failed on safety grounds such as tyre and brake condition.[HL13935]
Earl Attlee: The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency publishes MoT test failure rate items in its effectiveness report. Emissions rates are grouped within the fuel and exhaust category. The table is as follows:
|Class 3 & 4: Cars and light vans up to 3,000kg|
|No. of tests failed||No. of tests failed||No. of tests failed|
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Attlee on 25 November (WA 289), what are the estimated levels of carbon dioxide emissions and air pollutants that can be attributed to cars which subsequently fail MoT tests.[HL13936]
Earl Attlee: Data on the levels of emissions from vehicles that have failed MoT tests have not been identified. However, research conducted by AEA Technology in 2005 suggested that the diesel car and van MoT emissions test was responsible for the following air pollutant emissions savings.
Earl Attlee: Figures showing government support for the bus industry can be found on the Department for Transport's website, Table BUS0502a at: http://assets.dft.gov.uk/statistics/tables/bus0502.xls.
Figures for government support for the rail industry can be found in the annual National Rail trends publication, Table 6.2a, at: http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/upload/pdf/nrt-yearbook-2010-11.pdf.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Wallace of Saltaire on 29 November (WA 53-4), whether they will ask the UK Statistics Authority to develop for the annual survey of hours and earnings (ASHE) a calculation of median full-time weekly earnings which incorporate pension benefit provisions, and to publish the results in the ASHE bulletin.[HL13993]
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The UK Statistics Authority is independent of ministerial control. It is for the Office for National Statistics, overseen by the authority, to judge how to calculate and present the statistical information that is developed as a result of the surveys that it conducts.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many new students were enrolled at United Kingdom universities in September 2011 as (1) full-time undergraduate students, (2) part-time undergraduate students, (3) full-time postgraduate students, and (4) part-time postgraduate students.[HL13923]
Baroness Verma: The numbers of new students enrolled at United Kingdom (UK) universities in September 2011 are not available. The numbers of new (first year) students enrolled at UK higher education institutions are shown in the table by level of study and mode of study for the 2009-10 academic year as an alternative. Figures for the 2010-11 academic year will become available from January 2012. Further information on student numbers is available at this link to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) website: http://www.hesa.ac.uk/content/view/1897/239/.
|First year student enrolments (1) on higher education courses by level of study and mode of study|
|UK higher education institutions|
|Academic year 2009-10|
|Level of study|
|Mode of study||Undergraduate||Postgraduate|
|Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|