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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): UK military flights within US airspace require diplomatic clearance from the Office of International Security Operations, Bureau of Political-Military Affairs in the US Department of State. This is co-ordinated through the RAF Movements Unit in Washington and is requested to be submitted no later than three full working days prior to the aircraft entering US airspace.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The configuration of Vanguard Class submarines is such that there are no additional modification costs to enable women to serve onboard. The cost for the modification of the Astute Class is estimated at £2.1 million over the 10-year equipment programme. The development and implementation of a separate air supply for a female who discovers she is pregnant while deployed is estimated at an additional £1 million, which includes both the Vanguard and Astute Class.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Firms in the UK with annual turnover of up to £50 million will be eligible for loans under the national loan guarantee scheme. The Business Finance Partnership will co-invest in loan funds that will lend to small and medium-sized enterprises that have annual turnover of up to £500 million.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Office for Budget Responsibility forecast of 29 November 2011 for air passenger duty receipts is based on detailed modelling of air passenger demand. The forecast is available at: http://cdn.hm-treasury.gov. uk/as2011_annex_c.pdf
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with Harrow Council regarding their policy of increasing the fee they receive from bailiffs, and in particular regarding the consequences for their poorest residents.[HL13875]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): The Government have had no discussions with Harrow council regarding its policy on the use of bailiffs.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the rate of tax applied under the bank levy will be adjusted regularly to achieve a monetary tax yield; and whether they plan to use this approach for any other taxes.[HL14097]
Following the Chancellor's announcement in his June 2010 Budget, we introduced a bank levy from 1 January 2011. This is a permanent levy on banks' balance sheets, expected to raise at least £2.5 billion each year. In his Autumn Statement, the Chancellor announced an increase in the levy rate from 1 January 2012, with resulting revenues for the life of this Parliament expected to exceed £10 billion.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The behavioural changes expected as a consequence of the introduction of the bank levy are described on pages 18 and 19 of the Budget 2010 Policy Costings document, published by HM Treasury in June 2010.
A link to the full document is given here: http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/junebudget_costings.pdf
It was announced alongside the Autumn Statement that the full rate of the bank levy would be increased to 0.088 per cent from 1 January 2012 onwards. The further behavioural changes expected from that are included on page 15 of the 'Autumn Statement 2011 policy costings' document.
A link to the full document is given here: http://cdn.hm-treasury.gov.uk/as20l 1 policy_costings.pdf
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Sassoon on 5 December (WA 108) concerning the nationalisation of Northern Rock plc, whether they will now answer the question originally asked which referred to nationalisation rather than state aid.[HL14138]
However, European Commission state aid approval was required for the subsequent, and related, injection of state resources, including the Government loan and, later, the capital injection into Northern Rock plc.
Baroness Northover: On 8 November earlier this year the UK's contribution to the World Bank's International Development Association (IDA), the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI) and a general and a selective capital increase for the International Bank of Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) of the World Bank Group were discussed by the Second Delegated Legislation
19 Dec 2011 : Column WA296
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Rawlings on 5 December (WA 109-10) concerning the BBC Trust's code of practice, what is the practical effect of an action being defined as "inappropriate" under the code of practice.[HL14192]
Baroness Garden of Frognal: This is a matter for the BBC Trust and I have asked the trust to write direct to the noble Lord. A copy of the trust's response will be deposited in the Libraries of both Houses.
To ask Her Majesty's Government when the comprehensive business case review to be conducted by KPMG of the Cruise Port Project in the Cayman Islands which they have requested will be completed; and whether it will be published.[HL14128]
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Taylor of Holbeach on 4 May (WA 155-6), how donation is distinguished from trade according to the Charities Act 2006 and the Charities Act 1993; and under what circumstances receipt of a flat sum upon provision of material goods is classified as either a donation or as trade for the purposes of charities regulation.[HL14199]
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The Charities Acts 1993 and 2006 do not contain any distinction between charitable donations and trade. A donation of money or material goods is deemed to be charitable and becomes subject to charity legislation if it is made to advance charitable purposes. A charitable donation may only be used for the purposes for which it was given.
Charities can trade to fund their activities where such trading activities contribute directly to the furtherance of their charitable objects or are ancillary to those objects. If a trading activity is not for either of these purposes it may need to be carried out through a subsidiary trading company.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): The Liverpool city region cabinet is the only example of an existing city regional cabinet. As it is a local collaboration of local authority leaders, we would expect it to have the same transparency arrangements in its decisions as local authorities.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much they estimated the inquiry by the Committee on Standards in Public Life into party political finance would cost; what the final cost of the inquiry was; and how they would assess what represents value for money in the case of such inquiries.[HL14054]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The total cost of the inquiry, including staff and Committee time during the period July 2010 to November 2011 and the publication of the report, was £445,000.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, in the light of their Fifth report to the United Nations Committee against Torture, whether corporal punishment of children (a) in the home and family, (b) in all schools including private schools, (c) as a sentence for crime in the penal system for children and
19 Dec 2011 : Column WA298
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Governors' Offices in the Overseas Territories (OTs) in question have provided the following information about corporal punishment legislation and practices in their territories:
Corporal punishment may be administered in Anguilla's schools by the school's principal or their designate in a controlled environment. Corporal punishment cannot be used as a part of the court's sentencing or as a disciplinary measure in penal institutions.
Corporal punishment in schools is allowed under defined conditions. However, in practice, schools are moving towards using positive reinforcement for good behaviour. Corporal punishment may not be carried out on any child in care, whether in a children's home or foster care.
Corporal punishment can be carried out in schools, by the principal, deputy principal or by one senior teacher appointed in writing. Corporal punishment of children is not allowed in other institutions or forms of care.
Corporal punishment is not prohibited in homes by legislation. In schools and institutional care current legislation allows corporal punishment "as a last resort" where no other punishment is considered suitable or effective by the principal, and may be administered by the principal or any teacher appointed in writing by the principal for that purpose. This is not used in practice and the Ministry of Education is revising the Education Law in which corporal punishment will be banned in schools (including private schools).
Corporal punishment as a sentence for crime in the penal system for children and young people has not been specifically prohibited. However, the Criminal Justice Ordinance, which makes provision in relation to the powers of courts to deal with offenders, does not make any provision permitting corporal punishment. The Prisons Ordinance, which applies to the detention of persons in a young offender institution, does not prohibit corporal punishment. However, arguably it is indirectly prohibited through restrictions on the use of force included in the Prisons Regulations (where force
19 Dec 2011 : Column WA299
There is no legislation in place to regulate the provision of alternative care (including institutional care and foster care), but work is already under way to address this. Administratively, the Falkland Islands Government forbid corporal punishment of children in the forms of care they operate.
The Gibraltar Care Agency's policy instructions with regard to residential services for children who are in public care expressly prohibit corporal punishment. The agency's foster care manual also expressly prohibits the use of corporal punishment.
Corporal punishment can be administered in schools but subject to strict guidelines and where no other punishment is considered suitable or effective. It should only be administered by the principal or a teacher designated by the principal for that purpose. Corporal punishment is not permitted for young offenders and is not administered in prison.
Assault on a child is illegal under the Pitcairn Children's Ordinance. In 2009 an amendment was passed which reads at Para 7(2) "The common law rules permitting the use of force for punishment of a child are abolished". This amendment was introduced to remove any reasonable force defence for corporal punishment.
There is no practice of administering corporal punishment in any government institutions and any application for permission to use such punishment would be refused on the grounds that it would be in breach of the provisions of the constitution.
Corporal punishment is banned in categories (b) - (e). The position in the Crown Dependencies in terms of the use of corporal punishment at home is the same as the UK: some sort of reasonable chastisement would be allowed but restrictions placed upon it.
The Department for Transport also allocates integrated transport block and highways maintenance funding to local transport authorities for general capital investment in transport. This funding is not ring-fenced and local authorities have discretion to spend their allocations in line with their priorities.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether regular scrutiny is applied to educational curricula that are produced with assistance from United Kingdom development aid contributions in the Middle East; and, if so, what is the form of that scrutiny. [HL14086]
Baroness Northover: The UK does not directly fund the development of education curricula in the Middle East. However, it does support the provision of education in Yemen, the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs), and to Palestinian refugees in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon.
The UK supports basic education in Yemen through financial assistance to a Joint World Bank Trust Fund for Basic Education. The World Bank provides technical assistance and scrutiny over all activities funded under the Basic Education Trust Fund.
In the OPTs, the UK provides financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority (PA) to provide essential services, including education. All UK financial assistance
19 Dec 2011 : Column WA301
Education provided by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) generally follows the curriculum of the host authorities in which it works, in order to enable students to take local education authority examinations. UNRWA is currently working to improve its education services, including developing curriculum enrichment and staff training, as part of its education reform strategy. In the OPTs, this has included teaching a dedicated human rights programme to all its students. Details of UNRWA curriculum enrichment activities are available online at www.unrwa.org.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the countries whose citizens can vote in United Kingdom elections on the basis of their citizenship; and whether those citizens can make donations to United Kingdom political parties.[HL14184]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): British, Republic of Ireland and qualifying Commonwealth citizens are entitled to register to vote in the UK in parliamentary elections, local elections and European elections assuming that all of the other registration criteria are also met. To be eligible to register a person must:be resident in the constituency (subject to certain exceptions)be over 18, or become 18 within the lifetime of the electoral registernot be subject to any legal incapacity to vote.
For the purposes of registering to vote, a "qualifying Commonwealth citizen" is a Commonwealth citizen who either does not need leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom, or who does need such leave and has it. Countries whose citizens are Commonwealth citizens are listed in Schedule 3 to the British Nationality Act 1981 and can be found at the following link:
Resident citizens of other European Union member states are entitled to register to vote at European parliamentary elections and local elections. A list of EU member states can also be found at the above link.
Section 54 of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 provides that political parties may only accept donations from permissible donors. Section 54(2)(a) provides that an individual registered in an electoral register is a permissible donor. As such, all those entitled to vote in the UK are also entitled to make donations to UK political parties.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): All Commonwealth citizens who reside in the UK are entitled to register to vote in UK elections. The following information on voting in Commonwealth countries has been provided by the relevant authorities in those countries.
The following Commonwealth countries permit their citizens to vote in their elections, subject to certain residence conditions, while that citizen is also entitled to vote in the UK: Antigua and Barbuda; Australia; Bangladesh; Barbados; Belize; Botswana; Cameroon; Canada; Cyprus; Dominica; Ghana; India; Jamaica; Kiribati; Lesotho; Malawi; Malaysia; Maldives; Malta; Mozambique; Namibia; New Zealand; Nigeria; Pakistan; Papua New Guinea; Rwanda; St Lucia; St Kitts and Nevis; Samoa; Seychelles; Sierra Leone; Singapore; Solomon Islands; South Africa; Sri Lanka; St Vincent and Grenadines; Swaziland; Tanzania; Trinidad and Tobago; Tuvalu; Uganda; Zambia.
Kenya's new constitution provides for the progressive registration of citizens residing outside Kenya and the progressive realisation of their right to vote. How this will be implemented, and what account will be taken of existing rights to vote in other countries such as the UK, is not yet clear.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether qualifying Commonwealth citizens resident in the United Kingdom are entitled (1) to vote in all United Kingdom referendums, and (2) to stand as candidates in United Kingdom parliamentary elections, local elections and European elections.[HL14207]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The question of who is entitled to vote in any particular referendum is considered and determined in the light of the subject matter. The franchise for each referendum is set out in the legislation which establishes that the referendum is to be held.
For the referendum on the voting system on 5 May this year, the Government legislated in the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act to allow anyone registered to vote in Westminster parliamentary elections (plus Peers) to vote in the referendum. This meant that British, Republic of Ireland and Commonwealth citizens resident in the UK who met all the eligibility criteria who were aged over 18 were able to vote.
Qualifying Commonwealth citizens resident in the UK who are at least 18 years old and not otherwise disqualified are entitled to stand as candidates in
19 Dec 2011 : Column WA303
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord McNally on 6 December (WA 142), whether there is a time limit following a country withdrawing from the Commonwealth after which its citizens resident in the United Kingdom can no longer vote in United Kingdom elections. [HL14209]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): There is no such time limit. The countries whose citizens are treated as Commonwealth citizens are the countries currently referred to in Schedule 3 to the British Nationality Act 1981, which are not necessarily the same as the countries which are members of the Commonwealth at any particular time.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answers by Lord Drayson on 5 May 2009 (WA 93-4) and by Baroness Wilcox on 16 December 2010 (WA 210), why the partnership between the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Californian Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) has focused on human somatic cell nuclear transfer rather than reprogramming techniques that do not require creation of embryos; to what extent Sir Ian Wilmut's reported predictions at a recent stem cell conference in La Jolla that direct reprogramming of adult cells from one type to the other will likely overtake research into the use of human embryonic stem cells reflects informed opinion at the MRC; and what are the current funding priorities for the MRC (both generally and in collaboration with CIRM) in ensuring that stem cell research leads to foreseeable therapies with minimal risk.[HL14036]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): In order to establish which areas of stem cell research may deliver the most effective treatments for particular conditions, the MRC's strategy is to support research on all types of stem cells to determine which routes should be pursued in the development of cell-based therapies. The MRC's partnership with the Californian Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) aims to support advances in stem cell research through international collaboration and to guide developments across the field. Further partner activities across the breadth of the regenerative medicine spectrum are currently being explored.
The MRC considers direct reprogramming an exciting development offering great promise to the field and supports two centres where this is being actively pursued. One of these is in Edinburgh, where Sir Ian Wilmut was previously the director, and another in Cambridge.
19 Dec 2011 : Column WA304
The research priorities of the Medical Research Council (MRC) are outlined in its strategic plan for 2009-2014 under two themes: (i) Resilience, repair and replacement, and (ii) Living a long and healthy life. The MRC's strategic approach in stem cell research is to give high priority to fundamental stem cell research across all types, promote translation towards clinical applications, build further capacity in stem cell research and develop joint strategies with other stakeholders.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 30 November (WA 69), if it cannot now be stated definitively that all gamete providers were promptly notified that resulting embryos were used in research without their consent, what action they would expect to be taken by a centre licensed by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) to rectify this; and how such expectations relate to the HFEA Compliance and Enforcement Policy (2011) which states, "the onus is on centres to demonstrate compliance, not on inspectors to find fault". [HL14223]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority advises that, in the absence of data which would identify a gamete provider whose gametes had been used in a past research project, it would be unreasonable to expect a centre to review its full set of clinical records on all donors in a particular year.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the comments by Earl Attlee on 5 December (HL Deb, col GC164), what is the intensity of greenhouse gas emissions from the production of fuel from (1) oil sands, (2) Nigerian and Angolan crude, (3) Brent crude, and (4) Saudi Arabian crude.[HL14224]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): While the Government do not hold such information, the European Commission has commissioned various studies which estimate values associated with particular grades of crude oil so as to inform the implementation of the fuel quality directive.
Emissions can vary according to a range of factors, including the relative "heaviness" of crude oil sources (countries often produce more than one grade of crude), the technology employed in processing and refining the crude, and the amount of associated gas flaring.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions have been held with other European Union member states about using the European Union association agreement with Lebanon to encourage it to recognise Israel.[HL14048]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We have not had any recent conversations with European Union (EU) partners on this specific issue. The EU Lebanon Association Agreement provides a platform for discussions between the EU and Lebanon. The EU and Lebanon have reiterated their intention to support efforts to achieve an equitable, comprehensive and lasting peace settlement in the Middle East. The EU's position regarding Lebanon's role in the peace process was set out clearly in the Foreign Affairs Council Conclusions of December 2010 which read: "... peace in the Middle East should be comprehensive and reiterates the importance of negotiations on the Israel-Syria and Israel-Lebanon tracks. Peace should lead to the full integration of Israel in its regional environment, along the lines set out in the Arab Peace Initiative".
The next meeting of the EU-Lebanon Association Committee under the association agreement is due to take place in Beirut on 13 December where the Middle East peace process and broader regional issues involving Lebanon will be discussed.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to make representations to the Government of the United States about the intervention of the United States Ambassador in parliamentary scrutiny of the UK/US Extradition Treaty and the Gary McKinnon case.[HL14079]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We have no plans to make representations to the Government of the United States on this matter. Ambassador Susman, like any representative of a foreign Government, is entitled to voice the views of his Government on matters which are of concern to them.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Independent Commission on Banking (ICB) report recommended the implementation of bail-in. The Government support bail-in and are working to secure international agreement on its use. The Government response to the ICB report, published today, provides further information on how bail-in may be implemented.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will consider requiring investment managers and brokers to hold customer cash through independent custodians to eliminate co-mingling of client and customer funds.[HL14099]
Firms that undertake investment business, including brokerage firms, which hold their client's monies ("client money") are required to put in place adequate arrangements to stop co-mingling of client and firm money. In accordance with the Financial Services Authority's (FSA's) rules (specifically the Client Assets Sourcebook), firms are required to make adequate arrangements to safeguard the client's rights and prevent the use of client money for the firm's own account. These rules establish specific record-keeping and reconciliation requirements that require the firm to maintain client bank accounts that only hold client money, which should not be co-mingled with firm monies.
The FSA rules also require the firm to undertake due-diligence checks (i.e. credit checks, diversification etc.) in relation to selection of the institutions where client money is placed. Furthermore, recently introduced changes require firms to limit the amount of client money that can be placed at a group bank (to no more than 20 per cent of total client money held).
The protection of client money and custody assets ("client assets") is a regulatory priority. The FSA's response to the financial crisis and to the issues it uncovered was to increase the level of resource devoted to the protection of client assets. The FSA established the Client Asset Unit to drive its specialist and intensive supervision of client assets and to improve compliance with the aim of ensuring that firms have robust systems in place to ensure the return of client assets and money in the event of firm insolvency.
In addition, the forthcoming EU regulation on over-the-counter derivative transactions, central counterparties and trade repositories (more commonly known as "EMIR"), will include provisions dealing with forms of segregation for assets and positions held on behalf of a client with a central counterparty.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will review the use by money managers of client securities in internal repurchase and stock lending operations as a source of liquidity, in the light of experience at MF Global and its United Kingdom subsidiary.[HL14035]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Financial Services Authority's client asset regime for investment firms does not permit broker-dealers to invest monies in securities or to exchange the clients' assets for other securities. Investment firms that hold client money are required to place the client money at a bank, qualifying money market funds, or intermediaries. These rules reflect the requirements in the markets in financial instruments directive.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Northover on 5 December (WA 117), when they expect the quota of trucks entering Gaza for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees to be increased, so as to allow the completion of approved new schools.[HL14106]
Baroness Northover: Israel has said that the crossing capacity for imports into Gaza will increase from 300 truckloads per day to 450 truckloads per day by the end of the year, of which 160 will be construction materials. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) currently requests up to 100 truckloads of construction materials per day. However, approval procedures by Israel means that, on average, UNRWA only receives approval to import 50 truckloads per day.
We would expect that with an increase in crossing capacity, there will also be an increase in the number of truckloads of construction materials that UNRWA can import into Gaza. The UK will continue to press the Israeli authorities to further ease movement and access restrictions into Gaza to enable UNRWA and other agencies to complete reconstruction projects.
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The Cabinet Office does not hold records of how many officials are qualified lawyers, but we can confirm that the Office of Parliamentary Counsel has 50 qualified lawyers which includes the First Parliamentary Counsel.
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 International Development using the Government Procurement Card in (a) 2006-07, (b) 2007-08, (c) 2008-09, (d) 2009-10, and (e) 2010-11.[HL14009]
Baroness Northover: During October the Department for International Development (DFID) began to publish information on transactions over £500 for 2011-12 DFID on our website and will continue to do so on a monthly basis at: http://www.dfid.gov.uk/About-us/How- we-measure-progress/DFID-Government-Procurement-Card-transactions-over-500/
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 Northern Ireland Office using the Government Procurement Card in (a) 2006-07, (b) 2007-08, (c) 2008-09, (d) 2009-10, and (e) 2010-11.[HL14011]
Lord Shutt of Greetland: The Northern Ireland Office is committed to transparency and we believe the information regarding government procurement cards for this financial year is the most relevant. Information on transactions over £500 for 2010/11 will be published by the end of March 2012.
The cost of the work required to obtain, contextualise and report data 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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many officials in the Cabinet Office have received training from the National School of Government in pursuance of section 3(6) of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010.[HL14328]
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: 144 Cabinet Office officials have received training from the National School of Government since April 2010 on issues connected to the constitutional significance of Parliament and the relationship between Parliament and Her Majesty's Government.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much was spent on each major Government-funded public information and advice campaign in the last five years; and what assessments they have made of their effectiveness.[HL13579]
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: This information is not collected centrally. Each government department, agency and NDPB is responsible for setting its own communications priorities, outputs and assessment of effectiveness.
Each government department is now responsible for publishing details of all departmental expenditure over £25,000 on its own departmental website, in accordance with HMT guidance issued on February 11 2011. This can be found at: http://hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/government_spend280211.pdf.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The content and standard of medical training is the responsibility of the General Medical Council (GMC) which is the competent authority for postgraduate medical training in the United Kingdom.
While it is not practicable or desirable for the Government to prescribe the exact training that any individual doctor will receive we are, of course, aware of the need to ensure perceived areas of weakness in training curricula are addressed. For that reason, we are liaising with the GMC and the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges about how best to ensure curricula do meet requirements. The department has also provided a supporting role in the development of the standards contained in Quality Standards for Dermatology - Providing the Right Care for People with Skin Conditions recently initiated by the British Association of Dermatologists.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what (1) proportion, and (2) amount, of the NHS drug budget in the last five years was spent on (a) generic drugs, and (b) non- generic drugs; and what announcements were made in that period regarding the savings that would be made due to switching to generic drugs.[HL14233]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The information requested for drugs and appliances dispensed in the community in England is shown in the following table. A prescription item is classed as generic if it has been prescribed by generic name and is available generically.
|Year||Net ingredient cost (NIC) of generic prescription items £m||NIC of non- generic prescription items1 £m||Total NIC £m2||Generic proportion of NIC %||Non generic proportion of NIC %|
In 2007, the National Audit Office (NAO) reported that primary care trusts (PCTs) could save more than £200 million a year without compromising patient care if general practitioners prescribed a higher proportion of lower cost, generic medicines.
The NAO has subsequently reported that in 2008, PCTs realised savings of £394 million (relative to the period August 2005 to July 2006) through a more consistent use of lower cost, generic medicines for some common conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and gastric problems.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) issued guidance to the National Health Service on 30 November 2011 which does not recommend the use of Lucentis (ranibizumab) for the treatment of diabetic macular oedema.
Primary care trusts should consider carefully whether there are particular local or individual circumstances that would make it appropriate to fund drugs NICE has been unable to recommend for routine use.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what amount (in 2011-12 prices) the National Health Service has to save through improvements in productivity and efficiency in (1) 2011-12, (2) 2012-13, (3) 2013-14, (4) 2014-15, and (5) 2015-16, to deliver the Chancellor of the Exchequer's savings target of £20 billion by 2016.[HL14120]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): As part of the spending review settlement, the department committed to deliver efficiency improvements of up to £20 billion by 2014-15. The National Health Service has been planning since 2009 its response to the challenge of delivering these significant improvements in efficiency while also improving the quality of services and outcomes for patients.
These plans developed by the NHS, coupled with central savings planned by the department, have together identified around £18.9 billion of savings by 2014-15. This includes approximately £17.4 billion from NHS plans and £1.5 billion from central savings. This is broadly in line with the efficiency requirement identified at the time of the spending review. Savings identified by the NHS in each year are as follows, in cash prices:£5.9 billion by 2011-12 £9.9 billion by 2012-13£13.7 billion by 2013-14 £17.4 billion by 2014-15.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what amount (in 2011-12 prices) each strategic health authority (SHA) has to save through improvements in productivity and efficiency in (1) 2011-12, and (2) 2012-13, before their abolition in April 2013; and what will be the equivalent savings targets
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Earl Howe: The efficiency savings identified by strategic health authority (SHA) clusters in 2011-12 and by 2012-13 (both in cash prices) are set out in the following table. The mandate to the National Health Service Commissioning Board will specify the financial allocation to the board for 2013-14 incorporating delivery of efficiencies.
|SHA||2011-12 (£ million)||2012-13 (£ million)|
To ask Her Majesty's Government what amount of savings each strategic health authority (SHA) had made by 30 September towards its target for 2011-12; whether any failures to meet 2011-12 savings targets will be rolled forward to the savings target for 2012-13 for each SHA; and whether one-off in-year savings, such as sales of property, are counted towards savings targets.[HL14122]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): As part of the spending review settlement, the department committed to deliver the Quality, Innovation, Productivity and Prevention (QIPP) savings of up to £20 billion by 2014-15. The National Health Service has been planning since 2009 its response to the challenge of delivering up to £20 billion of savings, while also improving the quality of services and outcomes for patients.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): The Government published Laying the Foundations-A Housing Strategy for England on 21 November which sets out our plans for making better use of the 700,000 empty homes in England.
Through the affordable homes programme we have committed £100 million to bring empty homes back into use as affordable housing across England, including in high and low demand areas. We are making sure that community and self-help groups have an opportunity to access this funding and take on this work alongside conventional housing providers. Detailed bidding guidance is available on the Homes and Communities Agency's website: www.homesandcommunities.co.uk/ourwork/empty-homes
We have also announced £50 million of additional funding to tackle some of the worst concentrations of empty homes in areas of low demand. This will require an intensive approach, refurbishing and reconfiguring homes, as well as improving the public realm and tackling wider issues in the local area. Further details about this funding will be made in due course.
I also refer the noble Lord to my Written Statement of 24 November 2011, Official Report, column WS82, on our plans to tackle the "ghost streets" left by the last Administration's housing market renewal "Pathfinder programme".
Through the new homes bonus, extra funding is provided to local areas that have built more homes and brought empty homes back into use. Council tax raised from new homes is matched by the Government for the first six years, and affordable homes attract a higher payment. In year one of the new homes bonus (October 2009 to October 2010) there was a decrease in the number of long-term empty homes of just over 15,700 with £19 million of new homes bonus paid for the reoccupation of empty homes . In year two (October 2010 to September 2011) the decrease was just over 21,500 and £33 million of new homes bonus was paid to local authorities.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the findings of the research undertaken for MENCAP by Cordis Bright Consulting into the effects of welfare cuts and a shortage of suitable housing for people with learning disabilities; and what action they plan to take.[HL14072]
Local authorities have the strategic role in identifying local needs and planning how best to meet those needs including plans for new mainstream and specialist housing suitable for disabled, older and vulnerable people and the commissioning of associated services.
The Homes and Communities Agency's affordable homes programme is expected to deliver 80,000 new affordable homes by April 2015, of which around 9 per cent will be supported housing for older people and vulnerable people including disabled people.
Although assessing the impacts of welfare reform is a matter for the Department for Work and Pensions we work closely with them on matters where we have a common interest. The Department for Work and Pensions assessment of the impacts of these reforms can be found on its website: http://www.dwp.gov.uk/publications/ impact%2Dassessments/
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials regularly meet representatives from the Baha'i community in the UK to discuss the continuing repression of the Baha'i minority in Iran. This includes the harassment and intimidation of Baha'i educators and of Baha'is attending religious festivals and the ongoing incarceration of the seven spiritual leaders of the Baha'is in Iran. The increasing intimidation of Baha'is is a disturbing trend which must be reversed. We have regularly raised our concerns with the Iranian authorities, for example when Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my honourable friend the Member for North East Bedfordshire (Mr Burt), met the Iranian Chargé d'Affaires in August this year. Following the storming of our embassy in Tehran on 29 November, the UK has downgraded diplomatic relations with Iran. However, we will continue to press publicly for the Iranian Government to accord all Iranian citizens the right to freedom of religion. With our European Union partners, the UK has taken co-ordinated action to address Iran's human rights record, imposing travel bans and asset freezes on over 60 Iranians responsible for human rights violations, including government Ministers and members of the judiciary.
Lord Howell of Guildford: Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials regularly meet representatives from the Baha'i community in the UK to discuss the continuing
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Lord Howell of Guildford: Following the attack on our embassy in Tehran, we have evacuated our UK staff, closed the Iranian embassy in London and expelled all Iran's diplomats and their dependants. We have reduced bilateral relations to the lowest level without severing them completely. Looking ahead, our fundamental concerns about Iran remain about potential military dimensions to its nuclear programme and its dire human rights record. With our European Union (EU) partners, we have added to the EU's existing sanctions a further 180 entities and individuals linked to Iran's nuclear programme. We have also decided to look at potential new restrictive measures in the energy and finance sectors. We shall continue to speak out about Iran's appalling human rights record. We are open to dialogue, above all on the nuclear issue, if Iran agrees to negotiate seriously over the international community's concerns.
Lord Howell of Guildford: We, along with the rest of the international community, are gravely concerned about the Iranian nuclear programme. The most recent report from the International Atomic Energy Agency director-general is clear: Iran continues to flout six United Nations Security Council resolutions requiring it to suspend uranium enrichment, and conduct "undisclosed nuclear related activities involving military related organizations, including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile".
This is why we and our international partners have agreed robust sanctions aimed at preventing Iran from obtaining the material and finance it needs for its nuclear programme and pressuring the Iranian Government to return to talks.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what support they have given to Jean de Ruyt, the United Nations Ambassador appointed to oversee the situation in Camp Ashraf in Iraq; whether he has been given access to the camp by the government of Iraq; and, if not, whether they will support a United Nations ultimatum on the safeguarding of unarmed civilians in Camp Ashraf.[HL14023]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Ambassador de Ruyt was appointed by the European Union (EU) High Representative, Baroness Ashton, to advise her on Camp Ashraf. He has no United Nations (UN) role. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my honourable friend the Member for North East Bedfordshire (Mr Burt) met Ambassador de Ruyt on 27 October to discuss Camp Ashraf. Ambassador de Ruyt recently briefed EU member states in Brussels on his activities but we are not aware of any plan to visit Camp Ashraf. The UN remains engaged in efforts to encourage a solution to the situation at Camp Ashraf. We continue to support efforts by the UN and international partners to encourage the Government of Iraq and the leadership of Camp Ashraf to engage in a meaningful and peaceful negotiation to resolve the future of the residents of Camp Ashraf. We continue to urge the Government of Iraq to show flexibility over their deadline to close the camp by the end of the year and to respect the human rights of the camp's residents.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the 6 December briefing to the United Nations Security Council by Martin Kobler, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq, on the extension of the deadline for closing down Camp Ashraf.[HL14201]
Lord Howell of Guildford: The UK is fully supportive of Mr Kobler's efforts to encourage a peaceful solution to the situation at Camp Ashraf. We note Mr Kobler has called for the Government of Iraq to extend the 31 December deadline to close Camp Ashraf. In our own discussions, we too continue to urge them to show flexibility over their end of year deadline and to respect the human rights of the residents of Camp Ashraf. We support efforts by the United Nations and international partners to encourage the Government of Iraq and the leadership of Camp Ashraf to engage in a meaningful and peaceful negotiation to resolve the future of the residents of Ashraf.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they share the view expressed to the United Nations Security Council by Martin Kobler, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq, that "lives are at stake and must be protected" at Camp Ashraf; and what part they intend to play in securing the protection and resettlement of the residents.[HL14202]
Lord Howell of Guildford: We remain deeply concerned at the humanitarian situation at Camp Ashraf. We continue to urge the Government of Iraq to respect the human rights of the residents of Camp Ashraf. We support efforts by the United Nations and international partners to encourage the Government of Iraq and the leadership of Camp Ashraf to engage in a meaningful and peaceful negotiation to resolve the future of the residents of Ashraf. However we are clear that this is for the sovereign Government of Iraq and leadership of Camp Ashraf to resolve. A number of residents of Camp Ashraf with valid UK travel documents have recently left Camp Ashraf to return to the UK; however, we do not agree that wholesale resettlement in the European Union and elsewhere of the residents of Camp Ashraf is a valid option.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the First Report of the Secretary-General of the United Nations pursuant to paragraph 6 of Council resolution 2001(2011) in relation to Camp Ashraf, published on 28 November, that "it is essential that third countries indicate a willingness to receive camp residents for resettlement"; and what assistance they are giving to the Secretary-General to achieve this objective.[HL14203]
Lord Howell of Guildford: We fully support efforts by the United Nations to encourage the Government of Iraq and the leadership of Camp Ashraf to engage in meaningful and peaceful negotiation to resolve the future of the residents of Ashraf. The noble Lord will note that the First Report of the Secretary-General of the United Nations pursuant to paragraph 6 of Council resolution 2001 (2011) requests a "willingness of third countries to receive camp residents deemed eligible for resettlement." A number of residents of Camp Ashraf with valid UK travel documents have recently left Camp Ashraf to return to the UK; however, we do not agree that wholesale resettlement in third countries of the residents of Camp Ashraf is a valid option.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Shutt of Greetland on 1 December concerning the treatment of Ulster Scots (WA 95), whether they see a difference between treating language and culture "equally" and "with respect"; and, if so, what they consider the difference to be.[HL14038]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We are aware of reports that radio station Kol Hashalom stopped broadcasting on 19 November after a request from the Israeli Police and Communications Ministry. We understand the radio station is appealing the decision in Israeli courts. Our officials in Israel have not made representations on this specific case, which is subject to a judicial process. However, they will continue to monitor the situation.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Howell of Guildford on 30 November (WA 75), whether they will propose to the United Nations that they seek details from Israel of any stocks and types of nuclear weapons and their ability to produce such weapons.[HL14139]
Lord Howell of Guildford: We have no plans to propose to the United Nations that they seek details from Israel of any stocks and types of weapons and their ability to produce such weapons, but are committed to a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction. We are taking steps to achieve this through our co-sponsorship of the Middle East Weapons of Mass Destruction-Free Zone Conference resolution, and have encouraged all parties, including Israel, to engage constructively.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has not funded any joint business initiatives between Israeli and Palestinian groups during 2011.
The FCO's Middle East and North Africa Conflict Pool has funded a number of Israeli Arab business initiatives, including £55,000 to support Israeli Arab involvement in the Israeli high-tech sector. The aim is to support Israeli Arab high-tech entrepreneurs by helping them build commercial relationships and establish
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Lord Howell of Guildford: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office do not hold the information that the noble Lord requests. We recommend the question might be directed to the European External Action Service. My officials will be in contact with his Lordship's office to provide the relevant contact details.
Lord Howell of Guildford: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office do not hold the information that the noble Lord requests. We recommend the question might be directed to the European External Action Service. My officials will be in contact with his Lordship's office to provide the relevant contact details.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will make representations to the Palestinian Authority about their decision to stop the transfer of sick children to hospitals in Israel, as reported by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights.[HL14102]
Lord Howell of Guildford: We are aware of the reports that two Gazan children have recently died because the Palestinian Ministry of Health did not authorise their treatment in an Israeli hospital. These were tragic deaths. Our officials in Israel have not so far raised this issue with the Palestinian Authority.
We understand this to be a financial decision based on the high cost of sending Palestinian children to another country for hospital treatment-in this case Israel. The Palestinian Authority remains in the midst of a serious financial crisis. The balancing of budgets against treatment costs is a problem faced by all Governments and it is for individual Governments to decide where that balance lies.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We assess that since the end of the 2006 Lebanon conflict Hezbollah has replenished its holdings of short-range and long-range rockets and missiles. Hezbollah themselves claim to possess significant military capabilities. Public reports suggest that Hezbollah have made preparations for conflict and have military capability in built up areas south of the Litani.
United National Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1701 calls for a full ceasefire, including no weapons south of the Litani River. We remain concerned by reports of weapons transfers to Hezbollah and Hezbollah's own claims of military capabilities.
The Prime Minister, my right honourable friend the Member for Witney (Mr Cameron) raised the importance of full implementation of UNSCR 1701 with Lebanese Prime Minister Miqati on 7 November. We continue to raise this issue at senior level with the Lebanese, Syrian and Israeli Governments.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what legislation, passed during the 2005-10 Parliament, is the responsibility of the Department for Communities and Local Government and has yet to be brought into force, either in full or in part.[HL13792]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): The following information concerns sections of, and schedules to, Acts of Parliament passed during the 2005-10 Parliament for which the Department for Communities and Local Government is responsible and which have yet to be brought into force, either in full or in part. The information relates to provisions which apply to England, or England and Wales, but does not include provisions where the responsibility for commencement lies with Welsh Ministers.
Sections 76 (partially) (appointed councillors), 183 (partially) (conduct that may be covered by code of conduct), 216(1) (consequential amendments), Schedule 6 (byelaws - further amendments), Schedule 14 (consequential amendments relating to entities controlled by local authorities) and Schedule 18 (partially) (repeals).
Sections 279-293 (sustainability certificates to be required for the selling of new homes) 300-302 (amendments to legislation on leasehold and shared ownership leases) (commenced in relation to England only), 303 (amendments to information and account-keeping requirements in relation to service charges) (partially commenced in relation to England only), 315 (amendments to section 199 of the Housing Act in relation to treatment of armed services personnel under the local connection test (homelessness cases)) (partially commenced), 318 (tenure amendment in relation to Gypsy and Traveller sites)(commenced in relation to England only), 321
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Sections 14 (power to amend list of projects categorised as nationally significant infrastructure projects) (partially), 27-28 (circumstances when dams, reservoirs or the transfer of water resources are categorised as nationally significant infrastructure projects), 192 (tree preservation regulations (partially), 193 (transitional provisions for existing tree preservation orders), 196 (power to determine procedure of local inquiry, hearing or written representations for certain planning proceedings) (partially), 224 (discharge of functions in relation to the community infrastructure levy) (partially), 238 (provisions relating to repeals) (partially)
Schedules 8 (tree preservation order amendments), 9 (power to override easements and other rights) (partially), 10 (amendments to procedure for certain planning proceedings) (partially), 13 (miscellaneous repeals) (partially).
to ask the Leader of the House , in the light of recent alterations made to House of Lords sitting times and the increased use of the Grand Committee to consider important bills and debates, what steps he will take to reduce the volume of Government legislation introduced in the next and subsequent sessions of Parliament.[HL14244]
The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Strathclyde): Recent changes to the sitting times of the House have been for the convenience of participants in the Health and Social Care Bill. The Government have no plan generally to invite the House to sit in the morning.
The recent use of the Moses Room for a debate on the economy and eurozone enabled the debate to be held two days after the Autumn Statement. It has long been the case that, in the later stages of any Session, time on the Floor of the House is increasingly allocated to the scrutiny of legislation, as Bills reach the last stages of their passage through Parliament. This Session has not seen a greater use of Grand Committee for the Committee stage of Bills: the percentage of Bills considered in Grand Committee this session is comparable with Session 2008-09 but is otherwise the lowest (other than for Sessions ended by a general election) since Session 2001-02.
The Government's legislative plans for the next Session will be announced by The Queen in her speech from the Throne at the start of the next session, but
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To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will give details of civilians killed and injured in the recent NATO military actions in Libya, including air attacks; and what is the value of property that was destroyed by such attacks.[HL14141]
All UK missions were meticulously planned to minimise the risk of civilian casualties, including using precision guided munitions and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance to strike legitimate military targets.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment has been made of the value of the Confidential Human Factors Incident Reporting Programme for the maritime industry in enhancing safety at sea. [HL14131]
Earl Attlee: The Department for Transport agreed to fund the Confidential Human Factors Incident Reporting Programme (CHIRP) for Maritime (Confidential Hazardous Incident Reporting Programme) for a trial period. In assessing its effectiveness, the department concluded that the programme had not seen any significant uptake in the commercial shipping and fishing sector, but had gained wide coverage in the recreational and sail training sector, helping yachtsmen to learn from near-miss incidents.
Earl Attlee: The Department for Transport ceased its financial support for CHIRP for Maritime (Confidential Hazardous Incident Reporting Programme) because it had not seen any significant uptake in the commercial sector where the quality of confidentiality is most vital.
Earl Attlee: The UK will only ratify the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 when domestic implementing legislation is in place. The Maritime and Coastguard Agency and the Department for Transport are currently preparing appropriate draft legislation with a view to public consultation early in 2012.
Baroness Rawlings: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) enables the national museums and galleries to maintain free admission by providing grant in aid (GIA) funding. The provision of free access to the permanent collections is a condition of GIA funding. DCMS has no plans to change that condition.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the timetable for setting up local field offices of the NHS National Commissioning Board; and what will be their function (1) before the abolition of Primary Care Trusts, and (2) after their abolition. [HL14015]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether local field offices of the NHS National Commissioning Board will be set up in each area covered by a Primary Care Trust cluster; whether they will be co-located at the headquarters of each cluster; whether they will share staff and office and other facilities with the relevant cluster; and whether any staff employed by primary care trusts will be transferred to the Board in order to carry out the functions of local field offices.[HL14016]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the activities and decisions of local field offices of the NHS National Commissioning Board will be subject to public or democratic scrutiny at a local level; and, if so, in what way.[HL14017]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the proposed local field offices of the NHS National Commissioning Board will carry out local commissioning; and, if so, of what type of projects and services.[HL14018]
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many staff they propose to locate in the local field offices of the NHS National Commissioning Board (1) during the next year, and (2) in subsequent years; and what proportion this will be of the total number of National Commissioning Board staff.[HL14019]
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many NHS staff are now engaged in work connected with the proposed NHS National Commissioning Board; how many such persons have been engaged from outside the NHS or on a consultancy basis; and how many of them are based in the proposed local field offices.[HL14020]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): On 8 July 2011, the document Developing the NHS Commissioning Board was launched by Sir David Nicholson, chief executive designate of the NHS Commissioning Board, which contains initial thinking on the design of the new NHS Commissioning Board. This document has already been placed in the Library.
The document states that, as the Government's response to the NHS Future Forum made clear, current primary care trust cluster arrangements will be reflected in the initial local arrangements for the board, subject to the passage of the Health and Social Care Bill. It is anticipated that the different local teams would need to come together under clear leadership at sub-national level. It is envisaged this would be done by dividing the country into four "commissioning sectors", within which the local teams would be organised. The initial geographical footprints for these sectors would reflect the four strategic health authority clusters which are being developed.It is proposed that functions and features of these commissioning sectors could include:leadership of a number of more local teams overseeing the Board's relationships with clinical commissioning groups, its direct commissioning functions, and its relationships with other partners such as local government;hosting a specialised commissioning team, overseeing arrangements across the sector; andleads for key functions which the board will need to carry out at a more local level, including finance and professional leadership.
This document also explains that there have been around 8,000 staff performing functions that will be the responsibility of the board and this is likely to reduce to around 3,500. Of these, approximately two-thirds will be deployed locally within the "field force" managing
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Local commissioning by the NHS Commissioning Board will be subject to local democratic scrutiny. The current health scrutiny powers of local authorities are being retained and extended to cover all providers of National Health Service funded services. Local authorities will retain the power to refer proposals for substantial service change to the Secretary of State.
Where their discussions touch on the exercise or proposed exercise of local commissioning functions of the board (for example when discussing primary care commissioning), the board will also be required to send a representative to the health and wellbeing board, when asked to do so. Joint Strategic Needs Assessments (JSNA) and joint health and well-being strategies (JHWS) will be developed by local authorities and clinical commissioning groups through the local health and well-being board. The board will have a duty to participate in the preparation of, and to have regard to JSNAs and JHWS, when discharging its commissioning functions. In practice, this means that, if their local commissioning plans depart very significantly from the JSNA and JHWS, they will need to either change them or state the reasons for the departure. Local authorities and clinical commissioning groups must involve the local HealthWatch organisation when they develop JSNAs and JHWS through health and well-being boards.
The NHS Commissioning Board Authority has been set up to prepare for establishment and operation of the NHS Commissioning Board-this includes organisational design. Work is still ongoing; therefore, a timetable for setting up sub-national arrangement is yet to be finalised.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many directors of the Peterborough Primary Care Trust have received letters from Directors of the East of England Strategic Health Authority which warn that failing to volunteer to resign from their posts could lead to barring from public service for a period of up to two years.[HL14212]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The strategic health authority cluster NHS Midlands and East, which brings together NHS East of England, NHS East Midlands and NHS West Midlands, has confirmed that NHS East of England has not sent any such letters to directors of Peterborough primary care trust.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Non-Proliferation Treaty recognises five nuclear-weapon states: the US, Russia, UK, France, and China. In addition India and Pakistan have publicly declared that they have nuclear weapons and we consider that North Korea's nuclear test demonstrates a nuclear weapons capability. We share the International Atomic Energy Agency's concerns about the possible military dimensions to the Iranian nuclear programme, and are aware of the widespread assumption that Israel has nuclear weapons.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether there was any request to the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games from any department of the Northern Ireland Assembly for the Olympic Torch to travel to Dublin in June 2012; and, if so, who is meeting the costs of that stage. [HL14210]
Baroness Garden of Frognal: The London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) is in regular contact with the Northern Ireland Executive's Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure on all matters related to the staging of the Games, including the Olympic torch relay. The decision to take the Olympic flame to Dublin was made by LOCOG following consultation with the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure in Northern Ireland, Her Majesty's Government, the Government of the Republic of Ireland, the Olympic Council of Ireland and Dublin City Council. This decision was subject to approval from the International Olympic Committee.
We believe that there is a need to make urgent progress on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict before the window for such a solution closes. We believe that Israel's security and the realisation of
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For more detail on the Government's position on this issue, I refer the noble Lord to the Statement made by the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right honourable friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague) to the other place on 28 November 2011, Official Report, columns 689-690.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress is being made with the roadworks in and around Parliament Square, in the light of the need to ensure access to the Palace of Westminster for members of both Houses of Parliament.[HL14237]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Internet access on Pitcairn is enabled via a satellite telecommunications link provided by a New Zealand company. It is paid for by the Government of Pitcairn Island. In addition to government offices, the service is also made available to the homes of private residents on the island on a cost recovery basis.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, if economic growth in 2012-13 falls below the rate forecast by the Office for Budget Responsibility in November's Economic and fiscal outlook. they will make further cuts in public expenditure to order to achieve their medium-term fiscal mandate to balance the cyclically-adjusted budget by the end of 2016-17, and to secure a fall in public sector net debt in 2015-16.[HL14032]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Office for Budget Responsibility's November 2011 Economic and Fiscal Outlook concludes that, with the policy measures set out in the Autumn Statement 2011, the Government remain on course to meet the fiscal mandate and the supplementary debt target.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We do not have any current concerns over the treatment of British citizens in the Republic of Ireland and therefore have no plans to ask the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly for a report. Any British citizen who faces difficulties in Ireland is able to draw on the full consular services provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they propose to make representations to the government of the Republic of Ireland to encourage it not to celebrate officially in January 2012 the anniversary of the murder at Glenwood in County Clare of six Royal Irish Constabulary policemen.[HL13810]
Lord Shutt of Greetland: The issue to which you refer to is a matter for the Irish Government. For our part the Government are working to ensure that over the next decade of commemorations, each event is handled in such a way as to be respectful, inclusive and educational.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what costs are charged to public funds (1) on official trade promotion or other business-related missions to
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(1) Official overseas visits by members of the Royal Family. Costs covered include: communications (except the hire of mobile phones for the visiting party), local transport for the visiting party (except flights), office services (typing and photocopying), interpreting costs, accommodation (where this is not possible in official accommodation) and subsistence costs (not private expenditure) incurred by the visiting party and FCO/UKTI staff during the visit (and reconnaissance (recce) visits if these take place).
Air travel to and from countries and in-country by the visiting party is paid for by The Royal Travel Office. Further information can be obtained from The Grant in Aid for Royal Travel by Air and Rail annual report that forms part of the Royal Public Finances annual report. Details can be found on the British Monarchy website: www.royal.gov.uk/pdf/annual%20report% 201011/66252_Section4.pdf
The prior approval process for official overseas visits by members of the Royal Family is through the Royal Visits Committee, chaired by the Permanent Under-Secretary at the FCO with representatives from the FCO, UKTI, Number 10 Downing Street and the Royal Households to ensure that approved royal travel is undertaken directly in support of specific government (usually FCO/UKTI) objectives.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what has been the cost to public funds of overseas visits by the Duke of York over the most recent twelve months for which figures are available, broken down by country visited.[HL14074]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): An account of overseas visit costs paid by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) for the most recent twelve months available (1 April 2010-31 March 2011) is attached:
|Date of visit||Country||Cost to FCO|
|Date of visit||Country||Cost to UKTI|
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the £180 million catalyst fund announced in the Strategy for Life Sciences will be taken from existing budgets of the Medical Research Council and the Technology Strategy Board.[HL14088]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) will each contribute £90 million to the £180 million Biomedical Catalyst Fund announced in the strategy for life sciences. The MRC has aligned £90 million of its existing translational research funding budget to the fund. The £90 million from the TSB is new money, not taken from an existing budget.
This fund will support the development and commercialisation of innovative technologies to the point at which they can attract additional private investment, accelerating the speed with which technologies from the academic or commercial sectors are available to meet clinical needs.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether any seafarers have been (1) killed, and (2) injured, as a consequence of the failure of the lifeboat release and retrieval systems on United Kingdom-flagged vessels in the past ten years.[HL14134]
Earl Attlee: Between 8 December 2001 and 8 December 2011, the Marine Accident Investigation Branch received reports of 10 injuries on board UK-flagged vessels as a result of the failure of some part of these systems. They have not received any reports of fatalities.
Earl Attlee: Her Majesty's Government supported the adoption of the "guidelines for evaluation and replacement of lifeboat release and retrieval systems" at the International Maritime Organisation's (IMO) Maritime Safety Committee, at its 89th session (11 to 20 May 2011).
The guidelines were adopted after more than two years of drafting at the IMO, during which time the MCA conducted considerable consultation with stakeholders ranging from the manufacturers of the equipment to non-governmental organisations representing the shipping industry. The MCA also worked with EU member states as lifeboat release and retrieval systems are covered by the EU marine equipment directive.
These guidelines represent a way forward for the evaluation and replacement of lifeboat release and retrieval systems on older lifeboats, where the equipment may no longer be considered safe when evaluated against the latest standards. This move will see all older lifeboat release and retrieval systems, that are not able to demonstrate their ability to meet the latest safety standards, safely replaced or modified by 2019. These guidelines will offer seafarers an increased level of safety and confidence in this equipment.
Ofcom's broadcasting code sets out the rules on the portrayal of smoking on television. The code specifically requires that the portrayal of smoking should be avoided in children's programmes, and included only when there is a strong editorial case for such inclusion. In other programmes likely to be widely seen by young people, smoking should generally be avoided and in any case must not be condoned, encouraged or glamorised in other programmes broadcast before the watershed, unless there is editorial justification where the context or dramatic veracity requires it. In such programmes smoking should not be prominently featured as a normal and attractive activity.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Humanitarian access to these areas remain extremely limited, and reliable information on the situations is difficult to obtain. We are therefore unable to estimate the number of casualties in the conflict areas of South Kordofan, Abyei or Blue Nile.
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