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To ask Her Majesty's Government what standards the Health and Safety Executive has established to ensure best value for money in relation to the Adventure Activity Licensing Authority contract. [HL14025]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): Tourism Quality Services Ltd (TQS) holds the contract to deliver licensing on a not-for-profit basis on behalf of the Adventure Activities Licensing Authority (AALA). As required under the terms and conditions of the contract, its performance against the contract specification is monitored via monthly statistical and financial reports. These detail year-to-date expenditure against the forecast expenditure, which is agreed by the Health and Safety Executive at the start of each year. Further monitoring of performance is provided through quarterly contract meetings, ad hoc meetings and dialogue and annual reports submitted to the HSE board. TQS is independently audited annually and has been subject to an HSE internal audit-both providing additional verification of performance standards.
Lord Freud: In light of the recommendation to abolish the Adventure Activities Licensing Authority in Common Sense, Common Safety, (a review of the operation of health and safety laws commissioned by the Prime Minister) the Health and Safety Executive sees no value in re-tendering the contract to provide the licensing service.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Henley on 28 June (WA 411), whether they will in future record in every year the prices charged for milk in one and two pint containers and the volumes produced in each category, as a guide to the profits being made by retailers over and above those currently monitored. [HL13945]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): The Government have no immediate plans to collect and record either wholesale or retail prices and production volumes for drinking milk.
12 Dec 2011 : Column WA206
To ask Her Majesty's Government by what amount, and within what period, they estimate that their current alcohol harm reduction strategy will reduce the cost to the National Health Service in England of alcohol misuse.[HL14024]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): We will bring together the Government's approach to alcohol in a new strategy. The strategy document should address the full range of harm from alcohol. We expect to publish the strategy in the first months of the new year.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions have taken place between Ministers in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and representatives of the Local Government Association to identify ways of dealing with the impact of spending cuts on locally-funded arts activities.[HL13800]
Baroness Rawlings: The Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries holds meetings every three months with Councillor Chris White of the Local Government Association to discuss a range of subjects including arts activities.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the announcement in the Autumn Statement that regionally varied pay may be introduced for the public service, whether they have considered or will consider paying benefits and allowances on a basis which also varies according to region.[HL13970]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): On 29 November, the Chancellor announced credit easing. Credit easing builds on the action the Government have already taken to support businesses through the Project Merlin commitments agreed with the major banks.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): As at November 2011, 19 per cent of our ambassadors are female and 22 percent of our high commissioners are female. These numbers are proportionate to the current representation of women at the senior levels of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (22 per cent). The number of female heads of mission is currently at an all time high of 37, compared with 18 only five years ago.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what proportion of total radio broadcast listening is through digital radio; by how much that proportion has increased since the first quarter of 2010; and whether they will consider not proceeding with the proposed digital radio switchover.[HL13812]
Baroness Garden of Frognal: The latest figures for the third quarter of 2011 show that over 28 per cent of all radio listening is to digital platforms. This is compared to 24 per cent in the first quarter of 2010 showing a rise of around 18 per cent.
This Government have always been clear that the consumer is at the heart of any decision in relation to a digital radio switchover. Whilst we are fully committed to a digital future for Britain, no switchover date will be set until the criteria of 50 per cent of all radio listening being on digital platforms is met.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they consider that the current road traffic rules governing cyclists are adequate and are being applied in full; and, if not, what proposals they have to change them.[HL14042]
Earl Attlee: We currently have no plans to amend the rules pertaining to cyclists in the Highway Code. With regards to cycling offences, the enforcement is an operational matter for the police, and we support any action taken by the police to deter and reduce the number of cycling offences.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the comments made by the British Ambassador to the Dominican Republic reported in Caribbean Insight that: (1) "Many Dominicans complain about corruption and investors complain about having difficulties", and (2) "A major British company left the country and another told me that an attempt had been made to bribe it".[HL14129]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Our ambassador highlighted the concerns of Dominicans and British companies about corruption. He was right to do so. The ambassador's comments were accurate, balanced and fair. The British Government fully support the Dominican Republic in their fight against corruption. The ambassador commended this work in his speech at a recent anti-corruption master class organised jointly by our embassy and the Dominican Republic Attorney-General.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answers by Earl Howe on 23 June 2010 (WA 182-3) and 28 November 2011 (HL13465), why the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) does not know how the use of human eggs under research licence R0122 related to information provided to patients participating in that research if such usage was nonetheless related to HFEA licensed research; how such usage of eggs was related to the stated aim of research licence R0122 at the time; and whether they will place in the Library of the House copies of the progress reports for research licence R0122 in which these numbers of human eggs were described.[HL13803]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has advised that the purpose of information provided to patients participating in research is to inform consent and is not related to the number of eggs used.
The HFEA has also advised that when research licence R0122 was issued in April 2003, none of the stated objectives referred to the use of eggs. A new objective, referring to the use of eggs, was added in the progress report for research licence R0122, received by the authority in April 2004. A copy has been placed in the Library.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answers by Earl Howe on 22 November (WA 222) and 30 November (WA 69), what steps were taken by persons responsible or nominal licensees for research licences R0075 and R0133 to provide the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) with any necessary identifying details such that authorised HFEA personnel could then search the donor registry to confirm that individuals had been appropriately contacted by the centre concerned after their gametes had been used in research without their consent.[HL14007]
Earl Howe: The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has advised that it is not possible to interrogate its register to confirm whether individuals were contacted by the relevant centre in a case where embryos were used in research without the gamete provider's consent. The HFEA has also advised that without further information to identify the gamete provider involved, the centre is unable to check its records to confirm whether such contact was made.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 5 December (WA 114-15), whether the proposed clinical trial at Moorfields Eye Hospital will also employ retinal pigmented epithelial (RPE) cells generated by direct reprogramming of other adult cell types, described by Sir Ian Wilmut as avoiding risks of tumorigenesis associated with a pluripotent stage; and whether the RPE cells to be used in the trial or the embryonic cells from which they were derived have been regularly tested to ensure that they do not also exhibit chromosomal alterations in culture.[HL14104]
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Wilcox on 29 November (WA 42), whether they will ask HM ambassadors to European Union countries, after the implementation date of 5 December, to compile a list of how each country has transposed the directive on temporary agency workers; whether they will publish that list; and whether their understanding is still that the majority will have done so on the basis of day one equal treatment rights.[HL13992]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The Government will be asking our embassies in EU member states, in early 2012, to provide detail on how the agency workers directive has been implemented in each member state.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of any European Union financial transaction tax on the City of London; what plans they have to deal with any such impact; and what action they are taking in the Council of Ministers with regard to the proposal. [HL13830]
The European Commission's own impact assessment of the proposal highlights significant detrimental impacts on the European Union (EU), including a reduction in EU GDP between 0.17 per cent and 3.43 per cent. It is difficult to disaggregate this figure to the UK only. However, it is clear that, given that the UK has the largest financial sector in the EU, the UK economy could expect to see a disproportionate impact compared with other EU member states.
Agreement to a directive on a financial transaction tax would require unanimity in the Council of Ministers, giving the UK Government a veto over any such proposal. Therefore, such an EU tax cannot be imposed on the UK without the UK's agreement.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what staff with expertise in making credit judgments are available to HM Treasury and the Department for Business Innovation and Skills to make credit judgments on commercial risks; and what value for money tests will have to be met by credit easing policy decisions. [HL13825]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Under the national loan guarantee scheme, banks will be responsible for assessing the creditworthiness of loan applicants. Under the Business Finance Partnership, private sector fund managers will decide which businesses to lend to.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): All Defra's new build and refurbishment projects include a specific requirement to consider a range of renewable technologies, including photovoltaic (PV) solar systems at design stage. Where cost carbon benefit is demonstrated, appropriate technologies are implemented.
A 120m2 solar PV system has been installed at Defra's office at Alnwick and this currently generates approximately 13,000kWh per annum. All other major properties on the Defra estate, including the department's Nobel House HQ building, were assessed in 2009, but there were factors in each location which outweighed the benefit (shadowing and aspect).
As solar PV technologies and return on investment have improved, all properties are being reviewed as part of the department's ongoing carbon reduction programme, where projects are assessed against stringent value for money and carbon savings criteria.
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 for Business, Innovation and Skills using the Government procurement card in (a) 2006-07, (b) 2007-08, (c) 2008-09, (d) 2009-10, and (e) 2010-11.[HL13949]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): During October, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills published information on departmental government procurement card transactions over £500 for 2011-12 on our website and www.data.gov.uk and we will continue to report on a monthly basis. The information can be found at: www.bis.gov.uk/transparency/financial. Information on transactions over £500 for 2010-11 will be published by the end of March 2012.
The cost work required to obtain, contextualise and report data for central government departments from the previous three years, or regarding those transactions under £500, would exceed the cost limits of a freedom of information request or a parliamentary question and therefore can only be provided at disproportionate cost.
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 Home Office using the Government procurement card in (a) 2006-07, (b) 2007-08, (c) 2008-09, (d) 2009-10, and (e) 2010-11.[HL14008]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): Details of Government procurement card transactions undertaken by the Home Department in (a) 2006-07, (b) 2007-08, (c) 2008-09, (d) 2009-10 and (e) 2010-11 can only be obtained at disproportionate cost due to the need manually to redact sensitive information. Information would be regarded as sensitive and redacted from publication in the interest of national security or if a release would breach data protection legislation.
A consistent method of reporting government procurement card purchase information for individual transactions over £500 in value dating from 1 April 2011 is available. This information was published on our departmental website, http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/ publications/about-us/transparency/transparency-gpc -spend/ at the end of October 2011.
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 Wales Office using the government procurement card in (a) 2006-07, (b) 2007-08, (c) 2008-09, (d) 2009-10, and (e) 2010-11. [HL14077]
The Advocate-General for Scotland (Lord Wallace of Tankerness): This Government are committed to transparency and we believe the information regarding government procurement cards for this financial year is the most relevant.
During October we began to publish information on transactions over £500 for 2011-12 for the Wales Office on our website and will continue to do so on a monthly basis: http://www.walesoffice.gov.uk/ transparency/government-spend/.
The cost work required to obtain, contextualise and report data for central government departments from the previous three years, or regarding those transactions under £500, would exceed the cost limits of a freedom of information request or a parliamentary question.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Expenditure by the department in 2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15 through the Health Innovation Challenge Fund will depend on applications received and contract negotiation for successful applications.
To ask Her Majesty's Government why the Lyme Unit of the Health Protection Agency does not advise patients and their doctors of the advice of the manufacturers of test kits that indicates that a negative result from the Lyme ELISA test, particularly in the early and late stages of infection, does not necessarily exclude Lyme disease and that a patient's clinical signs and symptoms as well as a case history must be included when a diagnosis is being considered. [HL13894]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Health Protection Agency's (HPA) Lyme Borreliosis Reference Laboratory does advise clinicians that antibody tests may be negative for several weeks after infection has occurred due to the low level of antigenic stimulation in the early stage of infection. It provides information on its test result sheets about the appropriate application and limitations of tests for antibodies to borrelia burgdorferi and indicates that the predictive value of any test result is greatly affected by the pre-test probability of infection. It advises clinicians that the clinical significance of results should be assessed in light of the patient's clinical findings. The advice on the HPA's test results sheet indicates that antibody tests are rarely negative in late Lyme borreliosis. It advises clinicians that alternative causes should be carefully excluded before a diagnosis of seronegative late Lyme borreliosis is accepted. It also advises that antibody positivity may be related to past rather than current infection.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The National Health Service is making significant progress toward a zero tolerance approach to all avoidable methicillin-resistant staphlylococcus aureus(MRSA) bloodstream infections. Over the past 12 months, reported MRSA bloodstream infections have fallen by 29 per cent.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have plans to amend the Department of Health's operational guidance to the NHS Extending Patient Choice of Provider to recognise the proposed Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care Scheme for Assured Voluntary Regulators as an accepted standard for commissioning services. [HL13834]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The department has provided details in November 2011 on its Supply2Health procurement website of how the qualification process will work. Further details of the qualification process, including guidance and the qualification questionnaire itself, will be published early next year. Whilst developing the qualification process we will look at the assured voluntary registration scheme to see how it can fit into our assurance mechanism.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have plans to promote the proposed Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care Scheme for Assured Voluntary Regulators to employers and consumers.[HL13835]
Earl Howe: Work is currently focused on the development and delivery of the legislative framework required to enable the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care and to quality assure voluntary registers.
However, we recognise the need to promote awareness of and use of assured voluntary registers by employers, providers, commissioners, and representative bodies for service users and staff employed in the delivery of health and social care. Subject to the proposals in the Health and Social Care Bill receiving royal assent, we will consider levers and incentives to promote assured voluntary registers.
Discussions are already ongoing between the department and the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence about how policy on any qualified provider will take account of, and link to, assured voluntary registers.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will seek to ensure that the proposed Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care Scheme for Assured Voluntary Regulators is accepted as an alternative and equivalent to statutory regulation; and, if so, how.[HL13836]
Earl Howe: The proposed system of assured voluntary registration will be designed to encourage high standards of practice, and to drive further improvement in standards. It will complement, rather than replace, existing systems of assurance.
Discussions are already ongoing between the department and the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence about how policy on any qualified provider will take account of, and link to, assured voluntary registers.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Our embassy to the Holy See cost £849,584 in 2010-11. There are around 400 citizens (and 800 residents) of the Vatican City. Spending per citizen of the Vatican City in 2010-11 was therefore around £2,124. It should, however, be noted that our embassy is to the Holy See, whose global network consists of about 5,000 bishops working with 500,000 priests and 800,000 religious across 220,000 parishes, rather than to the 400 citizens of the Vatican City.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord McNally on 25 November (WA 286) regarding the Family Justice Review, why they referred to the twitter feed @famjusticereview, which does not appear currently to exist.[HL13906]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): I must apologise for the typographical error in a previous Written Answer to Lord Roberts of Llandudno. The name of the feed is @FamJustReview and not @famjusticereview as was incorrectly stated. The twitter feed is still live.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether children affected by private law family cases were adequately consulted in person by the Family Justice Review; and to what extent the event held in Leicester on 3 and 4 June contributed to this consultation. [HL13907]
Lord McNally: I am satisfied that the Family Justice Review adequately consulted with children in person. Private law issues were considered at the event held in Leicester on 3 and 4 June. In addition, panel members met the Cafcass Young Person's Board to consider private law issues. Coram held a seminar about the voice of the child on behalf of the review. The review team also actively sought input from organisations that advocate for children's interests.
Children responded to the call for evidence stage and to the Children and Young Person's Guide to the interim report. Both the interim and final reports were accompanied by a Children and Young Person's Guide.
Lord McNally: The Government are reviewing all the recommendations in the Family Justice Review including those relating to improving the quality, scope and co-ordination of research, data and management information. The evidence gaps listed in Annexe E of the review are being considered as part of this.
In our response to the Justice Committee's report on the operation of the Family Courts, we acknowledged that there were limitations with the current data and evidence on family justice, set out a number of improvements that had already been made and our intention to develop a strategy for improving the evidence base going forward.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what information and evidence is available to demonstrate whether there is differential sentencing by the courts of white, black and Asian offenders for similar offences. [HL13820]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The Ministry of Justice Court proceedings database contains information on sentencing and ethnicity. Analysis of these data was reported in Statistics on Race and the Criminal Justice System 2010.
|Table 1: Persons sentenced at all courts for indictable offences by ethnic appearance, England and Wales 2010|
It shows that a higher percentage of those in the black, asian and minority ethnic (BME) groups were sentenced to immediate custody for indictable offences than in the white group in 2010 (white 23 per cent, black 27 per cent, asian 29 per cent and other 42 per cent).
Table 2 shows the average custodial sentence length (ACSL) in 2010 for the 81,536 who were given determinate sentences for indictable offences. It indicates that there are differences in ACSL by ethnic group within offence group.
|Table 2: Average immediate custodial sentence length at all courts by offence group and ethnic appearance, England and Wales 2010|
|Average immediate custodial sentence length (months)|
The identification of differences should not be equated with discrimination as there are many reasons why apparent disparities exist. Differences between ethnic groups may occur for a number of reasons including: the mix of crimes committed; the seriousness of the offence; the presence of mitigating or aggravating factors; whether a defendant pleads guilty; or whether the defendant was represented or not. Research by Thomas (2010) for the Ministry of Justice indicated that people from BME backgrounds were more likely to plead not guilty and be tried. A guilty plea can reduce a sentence by up to a third.
Lord McNally: As I announced on 21 November, we will be consulting on reforms to community sentences to ensure that they effectively punish and rehabilitate offenders. Part of this review will also look at the important issue of restorative justice. We intend to publish a consultation shortly.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what legislation, passed during the 2005-10 Parliament, is the responsibility of the Department for International Development and has yet to be brought into force, either in full or in part.[HL13773]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what legislation, passed during the 2005-10 Parliament, is the responsibility of the Department for Transport and has yet to be brought into force, either in full or in part.[HL13793]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what legislation, passed during the 2005-10 Parliament, is the responsibility of the Scotland Office and has yet to be brought into force, either in full or in part. [HL13794]
The Advocate-General for Scotland (Lord Wallace of Tankerness): The Scotland Office is not responsible for any legislation that was passed during the 2005-10 Parliament and is yet to be brought into effect.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what legislation, passed during the 2005-10 Parliament, is the responsibility of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and has yet to be brought into force, either in full or in part.[HL13796]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): During the 2005-10 Parliament, five Acts of Parliament were passed for which the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is responsible. Those Acts have been fully brought into force.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): To date, four out of the 38 local enterprise partnerships have yet to appoint a permanent chair. They are: Swindon and Wiltshire, Hertfordshire, Dorset and Liverpool City Region. In each case the recruitment process is well advanced.
Partnerships will be directly accountable to local authorities, businesses and other members for their activities. This may take different forms and it will be up to local partners to agree scrutiny arrangements that are sufficiently robust and transparent to ensure proper accountability.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): UN Security Council Resolution 541 (1983), states that the attempt to create a Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus was invalid, and would contribute to a worsening of the situation in Cyprus. The Security Council therefore called upon all states not to recognise any Cypriot state other than the Republic of Cyprus.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Garden of Frognal on 28 February (WA 263) concerning human rights, what are the "particular circumstances of Northern Ireland" that require rights supplementary to those in the rest of the United Kingdom.[HL13866]
Lord Shutt of Greetland: Whilst the Belfast agreement does not provide a definition of "particular circumstances of Northern Ireland" in the context of a Bill of Rights, the Government remain clear that reaching agreement within Northern Ireland is essential to further progress on rights issues.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission has complied with its statutory duty to submit an equality scheme to the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland; and, if not, what action will be taken by the Northern Ireland Office, as sponsoring department, regarding the enforcement of that duty.[HL13920]
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Verma on 29 November (WA 43-4), whether they will re-institute the arrangement in relation to the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission that remains in place for the Equality and Human Rights Commission under which the chief executive will write to members of the House with information on operational matters which they have requested in a Question for Written Answer, and what is the reason for the different approach by those bodies.[HL13991]
Lord Shutt of Greetland: There are currently no plans for the Northern Ireland Office to change its long-standing policy of referring noble Lords to arm's-length bodies when seeking information on operational matters. This reflects the fact that such bodies are both independent and best placed to answer such questions. It also makes sense that, when noble Lords seek information on a very regular basis relating to a particular arm's-length body, whose independence from government is of particular importance, that noble Lords engage with that body directly rather than to seek to do so through Ministers. This Government are always mindful of disproportionate expense.
Lord Shutt of Greetland: The Government have had no recent discussions with the Northern Ireland Executive regarding the future of the Parades Commission. The Parades Commission is legally responsible for issuing determinations on parades and will continue to do so unless, through a locally agreed solution, new legislation is enacted in Northern Ireland.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games regarding whether the chief interpreter for the 2012 Olympic Games has been appointed.[HL13879]
Baroness Garden of Frognal: The chief interpreter was appointed by the London 2012 Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) in January 2011. He has been advising LOCOG since then on plans for language services at Games time and will play a key role in their delivery.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Henley on 30 November (WA 78), why the embassy to the Holy See does not issue passports; and how many other British embassies do not issue passports.[HL14041]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): There are eight locations outside the UK where passports are issued. Since October 2010 the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has operated seven regional passport processing centres, plus a passport section in the British embassy in Dublin.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the announcement by Lord McNally on 21 November (Official Report, col. 823) regarding reform of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974, whether those reforms will be based on the buffer periods proposed in Breaking the Circle: A Report of the Review of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, published in 2002. [HL13963]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The Government proposed a review of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act as part of the consultation on the Green Paper, Breaking the Cycle: Effective Punishment, Rehabilitation and Sentencing of Offenders, which closed earlier this year. That review has now been completed and, as I said in Parliament on 21 November, the Government now intend to bring
12 Dec 2011 : Column WA223
Earl Attlee: In October 2010, the Department for Transport set out the outcomes of the Government's 2010 comprehensive spending review, publishing details of their investment decisions for major road projects on the strategic road network.
Plans to dual the Al between Newcastle-upon-Tyne and Berwick-upon-Tweed were not included amongst the schemes identified, and the Highways Agency has therefore not made a recent estimate of the cost of such a proposal.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will publish details of the number of deaths and serious injuries caused by drivers aged between 17 and 24 and by those aged over 70; and what was the accident rate in both cases.[HL14142]
Earl Attlee: Information that explicitly identifies the cause of accidents is not held by the Department for Transport. However information on factors which, in the opinion of the reporting police officer at the time of attendance, may have contributed to the accident is held by the department and is available from the following address: http://www.dft.gov.uk/statistics/releases/ road-accidents-and-safety-annual-report-2010.
The table below shows the number of reported killed or seriously injured casualties in road accidents involving a motor vehicle driver, and the estimated rate of involvement, for drivers aged 17 to 24 or 70 and above in Great Britain for 2010.
|Driver age (years)|
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Howell of Guildford on 23 November (WA 260) concerning United Kingdom recognition of the Vatican City, why the diplomatic links were raised to full ambassadorial status in 1982, and what was their status before that date.[HL13785]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): I refer to the response given by the then Lord Privy Seal, Mr Humphrey Atkins, in the House of Commons Debate on 25 January 1982 (Official Report, Commons, 25 January 1982, vol. 16, col. 245-46W) when asked why Her Majesty's Government have decided to upgrade the legation at the Vatican to an embassy. He said:
"The previous level of relations was an anomaly, based on historical considerations which have long lost their significance. The majority of states, including all but one of the United Kingdom's Community partners, have full diplomatic relations with the Holy See. The Pope has influence in several areas of the world where important British interests are at stake and by raising the status of their representative at the Holy See to ambassadorial level, Her Majesty's Government are underlining the importance attached to the views of the Vatican".
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will assist, formally or informally, those drafting a new constitution for Turkey, drawing on the United Kingdom's experience of devolution and protection for minorities.[HL13838]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): It is up to the recently formed Cross-Party Conciliation Commission in Turkey, in consultation with civil society, to reform the country's constitution. The Turkish Government have indicated that they are also looking at the constitutions of several European Union countries to inform their own reform. We continue to monitor the reform's progress and stand ready to assist if asked.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what proportion of currently unemployed young people (1) completed their compulsory school attendance to age 16, (2) failed or did not take (a) GCSEs or (b) A-levels, (3) come from a family where neither parent is in work, (4) have been in trouble with the police before the age of 16, (5) have a diagnosable mental illness, and (6) belong to each ethnic group.[HL13931]
As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking what proportion of currently unemployed young people (1) completed their compulsory school attendance to age 16, (2) failed or did not take (a) GCSEs or (b) A-levels, (3) come from a family where neither parent is in work, (4) have been in trouble with the police before the age of 16, (5) have a diagnosable mental illness, and (6) belong to each ethnic group. HL13931
Estimates of unemployment are derived from the Labour Force Survey (LFS). Information on completion of compulsory schooling and on criminal records is not collected in the survey. The employment status of young people and their parents is only collected if they are all living in the same household.
The attached table provides the requested proportions of unemployed people aged 16 to 24 where suitable data are available. As with any sample survey, estimates from the LFS are subject to a margin of uncertainty.
In accordance with the International Labour Organization (ILO) convention, people are classed as unemployed if they are: without a job, and have
12 Dec 2011 : Column WA226
|Status of unemployed people aged 16 to 24 years|
|Three months ending September 2011 (unless otherwise stated)|
|United Kingdom, not seasonally adjusted|
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