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20 Dec 2011 : Column WA341



20 Dec 2011 : Column WA341

Written Answers

Tuesday 20 December 2011

Aerospace

Question

Asked by Lord Empey

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The Government have committed over £47 million for Aerospace research and technology projects in 2011-12, In addition, there are already further commitments of £33 million in 2012-13 and £3.4 million in 2013-14. The Government are working with the sector through the joint Government/Industry Aerospace Growth Partnership to identify future research priorities.

In addition, the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) has identified between £3 million and £5 million in each of the three financial years to support aerospace Research and Development (R&D). The TSB will work closely with the industry and the Aerospace and Defence Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) to determine how those funds can be most effectively used to accelerate technology development and commercialisation.

The sector can also benefit from other support provided by the TSB such as through the KTN and the recently launched High Value Manufacturing Catapult centre, as well as competitions in cross-cutting technology areas suitable for wide industrial application.

The Government also provide repayable loans in the form of launch investment to help fund the development of new aircraft programmes. The most recent of these have been to Airbus and GKN (for the development of the Airbus A350 XWB) and to Bombardier (for the CSeries). The total value of loans for these programmes is approximately £514 million.

Agriculture: Dairy Farms

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): All Defra evidence contracts are closely monitored by Defra specialists working with policy colleagues. Contract variations are required if there

20 Dec 2011 : Column WA342

are significant changes to any of the details in the original agreement (e.g. costs, required outputs, timetable, research team, etc).

This study was commissioned by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate as an initial investigation into the role of antimicrobial usage as a factor influencing the prevalence of E.coli carrying extended-spectrum beta-lactamases (ESBLs) on dairy farms. At the outset the study was set up for 1 year to explore the feasibility of the approach. Data collected confirmed the feasibility of the proposed methods and so the variation was put in place to strengthen the output. The variation extended the project by one year so that a further 20 ESBL positive and 20 ESBL negative farms could be identified then visited to take samples and carry out the subsequent analyses. As a result of the extra work, the cost of the project increased from £170,525 to £274,483.

Agriculture: Pig and Poultry Products

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): Defra has not raised any concerns to the World Trade Organisation on imports of pig and poultry products into the UK.

The rules for imports from non-European Union (EU) countries to the United Kingdom of animals and animal products, including pig and poultry products, are set at the EU level. All imported meat must come from a country authorised for imports into the EU; from an approved establishment; each consignment must be accompanied by the appropriate animal and public health certification; and must be officially checked on entry to the EU at designated border inspection posts.

If an outbreak of disease occurs in the exporting country, or there are any major deficiencies found that may pose a risk to animal or public health, appropriate safeguard actions on imports will be discussed and voted on by veterinary experts from all 27 EU member states on the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health.

These import controls to protect animal and public health are in line with the guidelines established by the Office International des Epizooties (01E), the world organisation of animal health, and the sanitary and phytosanitary agreement of the World Trade Organisation.

Apprenticeships

Questions

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark



20 Dec 2011 : Column WA343

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): A UK wide survey of apprenticeship pay is currently under way. The results are due to be published by early 2012.

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

Baroness Wilcox: The 2011 Skills for Life survey examines the literacy, numeracy and information and communication technology (ICT) skills of adults, aged between 16 and 65 years old, in England. This is a follow-up to the original survey conducted in 2003.The headline findings report for the 2011 survey1 was published on 1 December. The full survey report is due to be published in spring 2012.

The key headline findings from the survey are that:

There has been a substantial up-shift from Level 1 to Level 2 literacy: 56.6 per cent of 16-65 year-olds with literacy at Level 2 or above in 2011,2 compared to 44.2 per cent in 2003.Among 16-18 year-olds there has been a 13 percentage point rise in the proportion achieving Level 2 or above literacy and a 12 percentage point rise for 19-65 year-olds.There has been no statistically significant change in the proportion of 16-65 year-olds achieving Level 1 or above literacy: 85.1 per cent in 2011, compared to 83.8 per cent in 2003.There are more adults at the lowest levels of literacy; those with Entry Level 1 and Entry Level 2 literacy have increased from 5.4 per cent (1.7 million) in 2003 to 7.1 per cent (2.4 million) in 2011.There has been a small decrease (2.3 percentage points) since 2003 in the proportion of 16-65 year-olds possessing numeracy skills at Entry Level 3 or above: 76.3 per cent in 2011. compared to 78.6 per cent in 2003.On the three practical ICT assessments, respondents tended to perform best in e-mailing (52 per cent at Level 2 or above). People were least likely to achieve Level 2 or above on spreadsheet use (17 per cent), but word processing had the highest proportion of people at Entry Level 2 or below (43 per cent).Seven in 10 adults aged 16-65 years old achieved Level 1 or above in literacy and Entry Level 3 or above in numeracy. One in 10 (10 per cent) were belowboth of these levels.

The Government highlighted in New Challenges, New Chances,3 published on 1 December 2011, that though there has been a large improvement since 2003 in Level 2 and above literacy, it is unacceptable that 24 per cent of adults lack functional numeracy skills and 15 per cent lack functional literacy skills. Following their review of adult literacy and numeracy provision, the Government have set out in New Challenges, New Chances the actions they are taking to improve the economic and personal returns of its investment in literacy and numeracy provision.



20 Dec 2011 : Column WA344

1 TNS-BMRB and AlphaPlus Consultancy Ltd. (1/12/11) 2011 Skills for Life survey: headline findings, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, BIS research paper 57. Available online at: http: www.bis.gov.uk/assets/biscore/further-education-skills/docs/0-9/11-1367-2011-skills-for-life-survey-findings.pdf, accessed on 13/12/11.

2 The Skills for Life surveys were conducted in 2002-03 and 2010-11. For ease of reference, they are referred to in the text as the 2003 and 2011 surveys.

3 BIS (1/12/11) New Challenges, New Chances: Further Education and Skills System Reform Plan: building a World Class Skills System, available online at: http://www.bis.gov.uk/assets/biscore/further-education-skills/docs/f/11-1340-further-education-skills-system-reform-plan.pdf, accessed on 13/12/11.

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

Baroness Wilcox: The most recently published survey covers learners completing priority further education courses in the 2007-08 academic year and progressing to a positive destination in 2008-09. This can be found at: http://readingroom.lsc.gov.uk/SFA/FtE_Summary _Statistics_2010.pdf

We will publish the outcome of a more recent survey covering positive destinations in 2009-10 from the academic year 2008-09 in March 2012.

Armed Forces: Bahrain

Question

Asked by Lord Hoyle

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): No.

Autumn Statement

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): As set out in the Autumn Statement, this Government will continue to work with the devolved Administrations to improve the links between our nations.

As part of this, the Government announced that Belfast will become one of 10 "super-connected cities" across the UK, with a new urban broadband fund providing £100 million of investment across the UK.



20 Dec 2011 : Column WA345

Banking: Royal Bank of Scotland

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The Financial Services Authority's (FSA) report into the failure of RBS refers to the fact that previous material on RBS compiled by PwC was disclosed to officials earlier this year. This information was provided so a view could be taken on whether there was sufficient evidence to suggest that the Secretary of State should take action against any director by way of disqualification. Counsel advised then that it would not be appropriate to bring proceedings on the information contained in that material. Now that the FSA's report has been published, the Secretary of State has instructed Counsel to provide further advice on what course of action is open.

BBC: World Service Trust

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

Baroness Northover: The grant to the BBC World Service Trust is building on development results already achieved through governance, health, and humanitarian programmes already funded by the Department for International Development. For example, in Bangladesh, 60 per cent of people thought the "Question Time" programme had made politicians and officials more accountable. In Cambodia, the health programme increased the number of people using condoms, the number of women going to antenatal checks, and the number of people washing their hands. "Lifeline" programmes are reaching people in emergencies with information that is critical to their survival. A young woman's comment on a Darfur programme was that "when you listen to this programme you feel that it is the only link between you and the outside world".

The existing programmes being rolled into the new grant are:

a) "A National Conversation" focusing on governance in Tanzania, Angola and Sierra Leone;

20 Dec 2011 : Column WA346

b) "Climate Asia" in seven countries across Asia; andc) a health programme in India.

The Government estimate that bringing these together will result in an efficiency saving of just under £360,000. In order to avoid the risk of dependency on funding, the grant will not exceed 40 per cent of the BBC World Service Trust's overall annual funding.

British Embassies

Question

Asked by Lord Janner of Braunstone

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The hi-tech Hub in Israel was opened by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, my right honourable friend the Member for Tatton (Mr Osborne) on 3 November 2011. This initiative has been designed by our ambassador to Tel Aviv. At present, there are no plans to open similar hi-tech hubs in our other embassies around the world. However the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is monitoring the progress of the hub in Tel Aviv to determine whether it might act as a model or provide lessons relevant to our engagement in other countries in the future, in line with the expansion of our efforts to promote the UK's prosperity.

Businesses: Renovation Allowance

Question

Asked by Lord Storey

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The information requested is not available. Businesses only have to report values of business premises renovation allowance claims on their tax returns. They do not have to state how many different projects these claims relate to. For accounting periods ending in 2009-10, the latest year for which this data is available, around 2,000 businesses made claims for business premises renovation allowance.

Climate Change

Question

Asked by Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead



20 Dec 2011 : Column WA347

Baroness Northover: The UK Government's four-yearly spending review set a budget of £2.9 billion for climate finance for the period 2011-12 to 2014-15, known as the international climate fund. UK international climate finance is official development assistance (ODA) and is being met from within the rising aid budget. The share of UK ODA devoted to climate finance will continue to account for less than 10 per cent in every year of this spending period.

Consumer Credit Act 2006

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): Paragraph 17 of Schedule 3 of the Consumer Credit Act 2006 is not in force. It has not been necessary to commence this paragraph because its effect has been achieved by the transitional provisions in articles 4 and 5 of the Consumer Credit Act 2006 (Commencement No 2 and Transitional Provisions and Savings) Order 2007.

Corporate Governance

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The Government are clear that engagement between institutional investors and companies is vital to help improve long-term returns to shareholders and the efficient exercise of governance responsibilities. The stewardship code, introduced last year, sets out aspirational standards for institutional investors in their engagement with companies. It now has over 230 signatories and a report published this month has found that the quality of engagement between investors and company boards is already improving.

The Kay review is currently looking at the relationships between shareholders and companies, including how effectively they engage with each other. The review will produce a set of recommendations next summer which may propose how to further strengthen such engagement.



20 Dec 2011 : Column WA348

Crime: Rioting

Questions

Asked by Lord Ouseley

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): The Government are clear that responsibility for any damage or harm to businesses or the public lies squarely with the perpetrators.

Asked by Lord Ouseley

Lord Henley: Under the Riot (Damages) Act 1886, applications for compensation are made directly to police authorities. There is no requirement for them to provide this information to the Home Office. Therefore, the precise figures of payments that have been made to claimants is held locally by each police authority.

Criminal Records

Question

Asked by Lord Patel of Blackburn

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): All foreign criminals are checked against the police national computer to see whether they have previous offences in the United Kingdom. The police service is able, using the provisions in EU council decision 2005/876/JHA on the exchange of information extracted from the criminal record, to make a request for the previous convictions of the arrested individual from the country of nationality if the individual is an EU national. Such requests are routed through the UK Central Authority for the Exchange of Criminal Records.

Although many member states do provide information on request it is not mandatory to do so under the council decision. It will become mandatory when framework decision 2009/315/JHA on the organisation and content of the exchange of information extracted from the criminal record between member states comes into force at the end of April 2012. The police service, conscious that the self-declaration of nationality and identity information by the arrested individual can result in difficulties in identifying individuals and finding out their correct criminal record, has been working with EU partners to exchange fingerprints as well as alpha-numeric information.

20 Dec 2011 : Column WA349

The police service can also, irrespective of the individual's nationality, check Interpol records concerning an arrested individual. It can also, either directly or through Interpol channels request information from the country of nationality. The decision on whether to do so is an operational matter for the police.

Debt: Pawnbrokers

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): In 2009 the Office of Fair Trading estimated that there were 1,200 pawnbroking shops across the UK, with the annual loan book worth between £500 million and £600 million.

Elderly People: Benefits

Question

Asked by Lord Ouseley

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The Government are preserving key benefits for older people, including winter fuel payments, free sight tests, prescriptions, TV licences and concessionary bus travel.

There are no plans to means test the contributory state pension. A consultation paper, A State Pension for the 21st Century, (Command 8053) published in April this year outlined proposals to simplify the state pension system to make if a more effective foundation for retirement saving.

The age at which people become entitled to free prescriptions will be changed to reflect changes to state pension age qualification. The Department of Health is considering how best to implement this change of criteria for free prescriptions and in the mean time the age of entitlement will remain at 60.

There are no current plans for any further changes.

Elections: Voting System

Question

Asked by Lord Ashcroft



20 Dec 2011 : Column WA350

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): Following Zimbabwe's withdrawal from the Commonwealth, the UK Government decided to maintain Commonwealth rights for Zimbabwean citizens in the UK, drawing on a precedent set with Fiji. As such, Zimbabwean citizens are still allowed to benefit under any relevant nationality provisions including voting rights. The UK Government look forward to a time when the conditions are right for Zimbabwe to return to the Commonwealth.

Employment Tribunals

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The survey of employment tribunal applications (SETA) is a benchmark survey that allows us to monitor developments in the employment tribunal system. It is an important part of the research that we do, particularly given the policy changes in this area. The most recent SETA was published in 2008.

We are considering whether and when to carry out another survey of employment tribunal applications, taking into account policy developments, resources and budget. As part of these considerations we have carried out a feasibility study to assess the evidence needs for a new SETA, examine the methodology used in previous years, and consider and assess the design options which might deliver the requirements at the same and reduced costs as SETA 2008.

Energy: Carbon Emissions

Question

Asked by Lord Berkeley

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): The results would vary according to a range of factors, including the efficiency of the technology used to extract the oil and the heaviness of the oil itself.

Energy: Fuel Rebates

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon



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The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The EU energy tax directive normally requires member states to apply a single nationwide rate of duty on each fuel product. In order to apply different rates in different regions, member states require a specific exemption, or derogation. Securing this requires the support of the European Commission and the unanimous agreement of all the EU member states.

The Government secured EU clearance for the introduction of a 5p per litre rural fuel rebate pilot scheme in the Inner and Outer Hebrides, Northern Isles, islands in the Clyde and the Isles of Scilly. The scheme will come into force on 1 March 2012.

Energy: Green Deal

Questions

Asked by Lord Boswell of Aynho

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): Sanctions under the Green Deal are clearly set out in the Energy Act 2011 and further detail will be confirmed in the framework regulations to be made by the Secretary of State under the Act next year, including stop notices, enforcement orders, and powers to withdraw authorisation for assessors, installers, certification bodies and providers.

Asked by Lord Boswell of Aynho

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): The Green Deal draft legislative framework does not prohibit contractors from charging Green Deal providers a reference fee. We believe many different business models will emerge and this will be a matter for commercial contracts between various parties.

Energy: Meters

Questions

Asked by Baroness Smith of Basildon

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): Ofgem monitors and publishes information about the use of prepayment meters in its Social Obligations Annual Reports (ww (www.ofgem.gov.uk/sustainability).



20 Dec 2011 : Column WA352

The tables below show the number of prepayment meter customers with each of the big six suppliers from 2006-2010.

Prepayment electricity customers
Supplier20062007200820092010

British Gas

36,672

53,936

52,706

67,011

70,368

E.ON

81,795

163,547

45,452

52,009

28,332

Edf Energy

26,321

25,789

29,362

46,366

33,577

Npower

52,096

37,479

40,478

49,523

38,637

SSE

32,621

39,024

41,862

50,662

64,799

Scottish Power

33,118

42,310

38,605

30,007

20,307

Total

262,623

362,085

248,465

295,578

256,020

Prepayment gas customers
Supplier20062007200820092010

British Gas

131,576

158,687

142,153

112,217

99,251

E.ON

28,548

8,671

16,063

21,007

20,121

Edf Energy

9,714

11,850

11,985

23,608

19,807

Npower

36,733

35,849

31,760

46,669

35,447

SSE

18,186

21,508

24,380

31,442

38,290

Scottish Power

14,912

15,550

15,611

20,114

14,892

Total

239,669

252,115

241,952

255,057

227,808

The tables below show the number of prepayment meter customers in England, Scotland and Wales at the end of each year from 2006-2010.

Prepayment electricity customers
Region20062007200820092010

England

2,869,169

2,900,085

2,946,850

3,076,814

3,196,445

13%

13%

13%

14%

14%

Scotland

469,076

471,335

467,536

497,197

529,341

18%

17%

17%

18%

18%

Wales

225,840

220,701

215,805

225,149

232,584

17%

16%

16%

17%

18%

Prepayment gas customers
Region20062007200820092010

England

1,951,483

2,007,886

2,946,850

3,076,814

3,196,445

11%

11%

13%

14%

14%

Scotland

179,646

200,530

467,536

497,197

529,341

10%

10%

17%

18%

18%

Wales

141,638

141,277

215,805

225,149

232,584

13%

13%

16%

17%

18%

Asked by Baroness Smith of Basildon



20 Dec 2011 : Column WA353

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): Ofgem monitors and publishes information about the use of prepayment meters in its Social Obligations Annual Reports (www.ofgem.gov.uk/sustainability). The data do not give the total amount of arrears prepayment meter customers have accumulated with their energy supplier or by region.

The tables below show the number of customers who had a prepayment meter installed by the big six suppliers to recover a debt from 2006-10.

Prepayment electricity customers
Supplier20062007200820092010

British Gas

28,400

43,760

36,530

63,626

67,395

E.ON

43,200

45,220

27,553

34,987

23,120

Edf Energy

14,646

12,383

12,297

32,993

24,371

Npower

52,096

28,381

35,129

43,351

33,588

SSE

26,293

32,893

34,678

45,229

57,049

Scottish Power

28,437

38,144

33,053

28,101

19,635

Total

193,072

200,781

179,240

248,287

225,158

Prepayment gas customers
Supplier20062007200820092010

British Gas

94,921

112,389

103,253

90,504

88,183

E.ON

14,153

6,311

7,260

13,949

12,305

Edf Energy

4,102

3,250

4,218

19,352

15,691

Npower

24,131

23,262

27,635

40,889

31,393

SSE

17,512

20,774

23,050

30,135

36,056

Scottish Power

13,680

14,143

12,887

19,178

14,624

Total

168,499

180,129

178,303

214,007

198,252

The tables below show the number of prepayment meter customers in debt in England, Scotland and Wales at the end of each year from 2006-2010.

Prepayment electricity customers
Region20062007200820092010

England

361,058

548,014

517,707

459,491

317,329

Scotland

81,643

82,487

65,927

58,547

41,434

Wales

22,179

23,334

19,428

18,330

13,753

Prepayment gas customers
Region20062007200820092010

England

256,730

318,564

312,143

302,204

270,683

Scotland

26,293

32,703

33,409

29,959

30,959

Wales

24,508

25,006

18,227

18,946

20,256

Asked by Baroness Smith of Basildon

Lord Marland: Ofgem monitors and publishes information about the use of prepayment meters in its Social Obligations Annual Reports (www.ofgem.gov.uk/

20 Dec 2011 : Column WA354

sustainability). The data do not give the number of prepayment meter customers who have been disconnected by their energy supplier due to non-payment.

The tables below show the total number of disconnections due to debt for electricity and gas supplies by each of the big six suppliers.

Disconnection of electricity supplies
Supplier20062007200820092010

British Gas

1

0

3

17

2

E.ON

233

476

337

1

1

Edf Energy

313

494

1138

1588

1341

Npower

380

861

295

163

253

SSE

97

178

175

156

82

Scottish Power

234

648

885

418

230

Total

1258

2657

2833

2343

1909

Disconnection of gas supplies
Supplier20062007200820092010

British Gas

2

0

8

37

0

E.ON

644

928

445

0

0

Edf Energy

526

878

975

474

234

Npower

1637

1343

360

61

81

SSE

593

728

335

98

66

Scottish Power

454

848

799

1013

407

Total

3856

4725

2922

1683

788

Energy: Oil Sands

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

Earl Attlee: Ministers and officials have meetings with a wide variety of organisations in the public and private sectors as part of the process of policy development and delivery. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government's normal practice to provide details of all such meetings.

However, given the high public interest in this particular subject I am happy to provide the following information. Ministers and officials from across government have discussed the issues of extraction of from oil sands and the fuel quality directive with:

BP, Shell, Valero, Essar, ExxonMobil, Ineos Refining, Total, SilverBirch Energy, Connacher Oil and Gas, Statoil, ConocoPhillips, Murco, AMEC, Suncor, CNRL, Talisman and Nexen.

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UK Petroleum Industry Association, Europia, Renewable Energy Association, Downstream Fuel Association, International Association of Oil & Gas Producers, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, National Petrochemical and Refiners Association, Canada-Europe Roundtable for Business, Calgary Chamber of Commerce, Calgary Economic Development, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and the Oil Sands Leadership Initiative.Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, ActionAid, Co-operative Group, LUSH cosmetics, Transport and Environment, WWF, People and Planet, the UK Tar Sands Network, the Council of Canadians, Canada West think tank, various representatives of First Nations groups, Pembina NGO and the Calgary University Institute for Sustainable Energy and Environment and Economy.

The extraction of oil from oil sands and the fuel quality directive have often been raised by a wide range of stakeholders in workshops, meetings, and conferences that take place both in the UK and abroad. It has not been possible to confidently provide details of every organisation that could have been at these events in the past.

Environment: Air Quality

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): All Defra evidence contracts are closely monitored by departmental specialists working with policy colleagues. Contract variations are required if there are significant changes to any of the details in the original agreement (e.g. costs, required outputs, timetable, research team, etc.).

In October 2010 the Defra contract "Air Quality Modelling Review" was amended to include £9,750 of additional work. Further work was required to allow the analysis of additional modelling data submitted to the department's modelling intercomparison exercise: http://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/research/air-quality-modelling?view=intercomparison

This work included the collection, processing and statistical analysis of modelling data using specialised software, the production of three reports presenting the analysis results, and preparation for and attendance at three meetings held in January 2011. The work provided a large proportion of the evidence presented to the steering group which conducted Defra's air quality modelling review.

Environment: Soil

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark



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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): The (zero cost) variation to the "Climate change impacts on soil biota-development of experimental methodology" project was to extend its end date to 31 March 2011.

Gaza

Questions

Asked by Lord Hylton

Baroness Northover: The UK does not fund the Palestinian Trauma Centre in Gaza. However, through our funding to the Palestinian Authority and the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the UK helps provide public healthcare to Palestinians in Gaza, including trauma counselling. 25,000 refugee children are receiving counselling through UNRWA's psychosocial support services.

Asked by Lord Hylton

Baroness Northover: The UK has not made a specific assessment of the extent of post-traumatic stress (PTS) in children and mothers of young children living in Gaza. The latest report by the non-governmental organisation Gaza Community Mental Health Programme in 2010 found that 57 per cent of children are still reporting moderate reactions to trauma with another 11 per cent reporting severe reactions. It also showed that PTS among families remains high at 45 per cent and that in addition to children, older people and people with disabilities were particularly vulnerable to psychiatric problems. A full copy of the report is available at www.gcmhp.net. The UK supports both the Palestinian Authority and the UN Relief and Works Agency to provide healthcare in Gaza, including psychosocial services.

Government Departments: Procurement

Question

Asked by Lord Prescott

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): This Government are committed to transparency about their spending through government procurement cards.



20 Dec 2011 : Column WA357

In October we began to publish detailed information on transactions over £500 for 2011-12 for the core department on our website and will continue to do so on a monthly basis. The information can be found at: http://data.gov.uk/dataset/defra-qpc-spend-over-500-pounds

Information on transactions over £500 in core Defra for 2010/11 will be published by the end of March 2012.

The work required to obtain, contextualise and report data from the previous three years, or for transactions under £500, could only be done at disproportionate cost.

Government Departments: Staff

Question

Asked by Baroness Byford

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): Teaching assistants are eligible for membership of the local government pension scheme. Their salary levels are determined by each individual employer. On 1 October 1997 the employee pension contribution rate was a fixed 6 per cent. However, tiered contribution rates are now applied to employees in accordance with the salary bands in the table below:

BandRange (Full time equivalent)Employee Contribution Rate

1

Up to £12,900

15.5%

2

£12,901 to £15,100

5.8%

3

£15,101 to £19,400

5.9%

4

£19,401 to £32,400

6.5%

5

£32,401 to £43,300

6.8%

6

£43,301 to £81,100

17.2%

7

More than £81,100

17.5%

The rate of each employer's contribution is assessed every three years as part of the triennial valuation of the appropriate local authority pension fund to which they belong.

Health: Cancer

Questions

Asked by Lord Aberdare



20 Dec 2011 : Column WA358

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): We know that England's cancer survival rates are currently poorer than many comparable countries. It is already widely accepted that the main reasons for this are late presentation and patients having more advanced stage at diagnosis. This is why we have prioritised achieving earlier diagnosis in Improving Outcomes: A Strategy for Cancer, published on 12 January 2011. The strategy sets out an ambition to save an additional 5,000 lives every year by 2014-15 through earlier diagnosis of cancer and improved access to screening and radiotherapy.

To support the National Health Service to tackle regional variations in cancer survival rates we are providing data to providers and commissioners that allow them to benchmark their services and outcomes against one another and to identify where improvements need to be made. Through the national cancer intelligence network, we have already made available data collections on survival rates and surgical resection rates across a range of cancers. In August, we published the Radiotherapy Dataset First Annual Report to help tackle unwarranted variation in radiotherapy services and from April 2012 we are mandating the collection of chemotherapy data to achieve the same.

In the 2010 Cancer Patient Experience Survey 90 per cent of patients with an upper gastrointestinal cancer, which includes cancer of the pancreas, reported having a clinical nurse specialist (CNS). The survey also showed that cancer patients who have support from a CNS have an overall better experience of care. We expect the NHS to consider this in developing their policies to improve patient experience.

To support the NHS to develop the CNS workforce, the strategy sets out our intention to build the evidence base for the benefits and costs savings that CNSs can offer. This follows an independent report we published in December 2010 that showed that, in many scenarios, the costs of additional support roles are likely to be outweighed by the savings that can be achieved.

The 2010 survey recorded the views of over 67,000 cancer patients, treated in 158 trusts across England. To incentivise quality improvements in patient treatment, care and experience, all participating trusts were sent a bespoke report showing their own results. Each report displayed the results for each question in the survey benchmarked against other trusts. These findings are helping the NHS to identify areas in cancer care that need improvement locally and develop services that are more responsive to patients' needs.

We are carrying out a survey for 2011 that will show where improvements have been made and where further action is needed.

The Minister of State for Care Services (Paul Burstow) met representatives from Pancreatic Cancer UK on Monday 19 December 2011.



20 Dec 2011 : Column WA359

Health: Dangerous Pathogens

Question

Asked by Lord Jopling

Earl Attlee: The Department for Transport does not have any knowledge of an international convention on the safe transportation of pathogens nor of any discussions related to it. However, the safe transport of pathogens classified as infectious substances is addressed in the UN model regulations for the transport of dangerous goods that are transposed into mode specific legal transport agreements and thence to UK domestic regulations.

Health: Dermatology

Questions

Asked by Lord Colwyn

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The use of the psoriasis area and severity index in the management of psoriasis is already referenced in the National Institute for Health

20 Dec 2011 : Column WA360

and Clinical Excellence (NICE) technology appraisal guidance for the treatment of psoriatic arthritis (August 2010).

The department has requested that NICE develop a guideline on the management of psoriasis, which is due to be completed in 2013. NICE has set out the scope for the guideline, identifying the key clinical issues that will be covered, which includes the management of the psychological impact of psoriasis. The scope also identifies a number of tools and approaches to be considered in relation to measuring patient outcomes, including the psoriasis area and severity index and the dermatology life quality index.

Higher Education: Funding

Question

Asked by Lord Fearn

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): This question has been answered in relation to grant funding the department (and its predecessor) has provided to the sixth-form colleges in question either directly or through the Young People's Learning Agency (and its predecessor).

The following table highlights the 16-19 funding allocations to the three sixth-form colleges in Greater Merseyside for the last four academic years (2007/8-2010/11). This reflects the grant funding allocated for the colleges to provide education and training for their 16-19 year old students, including funding for 16-19 additional earning support (ALS). The local authorities (LA) in which the colleges are located are highlighted in the table.

Sixth Form CollegeLA2007/0812008/092009/102010/11

KING GEORGE V COLLEGE

Sefton

£7,659,191

£7,147,528

£7,251,489

£7,410,164

CARMEL COLLEGE

St Helens

£7,440,687

£7,682,587

£8,024,264

£8,550,376

BIRKENHEAD SIXTH FORM COLLEGE

Wirral

£5,591,959

£5,553,617

£5,939,310

£6,017,526

The figures (except where noted) do not include any grant funding from other government departments the colleges may have received for either any adult (19+) education and training they may have provided or any other purpose.

1 These figures also include ALS funding provided for 19+ learners (ALS allocations were not split between 16-18 and 19+ in 2007/08 and therefore the figures stated are for all ages for this year). 19+ ALS is funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Housing

Questions

Asked by Baroness Hollis of Heigham



20 Dec 2011 : Column WA361

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): The Homes and Communities Agency has not yet completed framework delivery agreements with all registered providers for delivery through the affordable homes programme so total allocations may increase once all agreements are completed. Details about homes to be delivered and funded through the affordable homes programme by local authority area are not yet available. The table below lists all providers who have agreed final contractual offers with the Homes and Communities Agency for delivery of affordable homes in the Norfolk area which includes Breckland, Broadland, Great Yarmouth, Kings Lynn and West Norfolk, North Norfolk, Norwich and South Norfolk.

The department does not collect information on future Section 106 agreements. The Homes and Communities Agency does collect information on

20 Dec 2011 : Column WA362

affordable homes being delivered within the affordable homes programme through Section 106 agreements. The table shows the number of Section 106 units currently agreed for each provider. The funding per unit information shown is the total funding for the provider in Norfolk divided by the total number of units, which includes those delivered on Section 106 sites. Funding allocations are made on an area basis, including both firm and indicative proposals. This means that, at this stage, the Homes and Communities Agency is unable to separately identify funding allocated to Section 106 schemes from funding allocated to other sites and are therefore unable to fully exclude any impact of Section 106 agreements from a funding per unit calculation. The final column of the table shows funding per unit once Section 106 schemes without grant assistance have been removed from the calculation.

Lead ProviderHCA funding (£m)Total homesOf which, total homes delivered through s106Funding per unit (£k)Funding per unit excluding nil grant s.106

Circle Anglia Limited

4.5

280

30

16.2

18.1

Hastoe Housing Association Ltd

0.9

46

11

20.9

27.4

Kier Partnership Homes Ltd*

0

37

37

£0

0

Orbit Group Limited

4.0

217

98

18.4

33.5

Orwell Housing Association Ltd

4.7

312

57

£14.9

18.3

Persimmon Homes Limited *

0.4

50

15

£8.2

11.6

The Places for People Group Ltd

0

26

0

£0

0

Grand Total

14.5

968

248

£15.0

20.3

Source: Homes and Communities Agency Investment Management System

*not registered providers

Asked by Lord Fearn

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): Data are not collected for individual towns but information is available for local authority districts by financial years. The number of new homes built for social rent in the borough of Sefton in 2008-9, 2009-10 and 2010-11 are shown in the table below.

Number of newly built homes for social rent in Sefton

2008-09

69

2009-10

87

2010-11

166

Source: DCLG additional affordable housing supply statistics

Not all social rented housing is delivered through new build completions; additional affordable supply can also come from the acquisition and refurbishment of private sector homes. In 2010-11 for example a total of 176 additional social rented homes were delivered in Sefton.

These figures are derived from data held by the department on delivery of additional affordable homes, as published in the Affordable Housing Supply Statistical Release at http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/ corporate/statistics/affordablehousing201011

Inquiries: Northern Ireland

Question

Asked by Lord Empey

Lord Shutt of Greetland: The Billy Wright inquiry was established under the Prison (Northern Ireland) Act 1953 and converted to an inquiry under the Inquiries Act 2005 in November 2005. It published its report in September 2010 and cost a total of £30.5 million. The Rosemary Nelson inquiry was held under the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 1998. It published its report in May 2011 and cost £46.5 million. The Robert Hamill

20 Dec 2011 : Column WA363

inquiry was established under the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 1998 and converted to an inquiry under the Inquiries Act 2005 in March 2006. It closed in February 2011 and cost £33.0 million. Its report has not yet been published due to related ongoing legal proceedings in connection with the murder of Robert Hamill. Detailed costs relating to the Bloody Sunday, Billy Wright and Rosemary Nelson inquiries, broken down by year, are available on the Northern Ireland Office website: www.nio.gov.uk.

International Development

Question

Asked by Lord Judd

Baroness Northover: The three main UK priorities of results, transparency and fragility are now enshrined in the Busan outcome document which can be found here: http://www.aideffectiveness.org/busanhlf4/en/component/content/article/698.html Further to this, the UK played a central role in developing an inclusive outcome document that could be supported by emerging economies including China and Brazil.

I have outlined in more detail the outcomes of Busan in my Written Ministerial Statement, 7 December 2011, Official Report, column 30WS.

Iran: Camp Ashraf

Question

Asked by Lord Maginnis of Drumglass

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The UK is committed to promoting international scrutiny of Iran's human rights record, including through the United Nations (UN) and other international fora. We particularly welcome the recent decision of the UN General Assembly to pass a resolution expressing deep concern at Iran's human rights record and calling for the Iranian authorities to take urgent action. The resolution passed with a high level of support, demonstrating deepening international concern at Iran's human rights record. Following the storming of our embassy in Tehran on

20 Dec 2011 : Column WA364

29 November, the UK has downgraded diplomatic relations with Iran. However, we will maintain our firm stance on human rights, holding the Iranian authorities to account for any abuses, including the persecution of religious minorities such as the Baha'is. With our international partners and the UN, we also continue to monitor closely the situation at Camp Ashraf. We urge all sides to reach a peaceful, negotiated solution to the future of the residents of the camp. We urge the leadership of the camp to engage with the UN and the Government of Iraq, and for the Government of Iraq to respect the human rights of the residents, and to show flexibility over its deadline to close Camp Ashraf by the end of the year.

Metal

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): All evidence contracts are closely monitored by Defra specialists working with policy colleagues. Contract variations are required if there are significant changes to any of the details in the original agreement (e.g. costs, required outputs, timetable, research team, etc). In August 2011 the Defra contract "Heavy Metal Deposition Mapping" was amended to include £159,698 of additional work and to extend the contract in time to March 2012.

Migration

Question

Asked by Viscount Waverley

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): The latest comparative international net migration statistics are published by Eurostat and relate to 2010. The following table shows that in 2010 net migration was 2.6 per thousand inhabitants for the UK, the 8th highest net migration figure among EU 27 nations relative to the size of the population.

Crude rates of population change, 2008-2010 (per 100 inhabitants) Source: Eurostat (Population Change and Population Change Statistics, available from the EU's website: http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/statistics_ explained/index.php/Population_and_population_ change_statisticsdemo_gind)



20 Dec 2011 : Column WA365



20 Dec 2011 : Column WA366

Crude rates of population change, 2008-2010 (per 1 000 inhabitants)
Total changeNatural changeNet migration and statistical adjustment
200820092010200820092010200820092010

European Union (27)

4.0

2.8

2.8

1.2

1.0

1.0

2.9

1.8

1.8

Belgium

8.0

8.0

10.3

2.2

2.1

2.1

5.9

5.9

8.2

Bulgaria

-4.4

-5.6

-7.8

-4.3

-3.6

-4.6

-0.1

-2.1

-3.2

Czech Republic

8.3

3.7

2.5

1.4

1.0

1.0

6.9

2.7

1.5

Denmark

6.5

4.2

4.7

1.9

1.4

1.6

4.6

2.8

3.0

Germany

-2.6

-2.4

-0.6

-2.0

-2.3

-2.2

-0.7

-0.1

1.6

Estonia

-0.4

-0.2

0.0

-0.5

-0.2

0.0

0.1

0.0

0.0

Ireland

11.0

4.0

2.9

10.3

10.2

10.4

0.7

-6.2

-7.5

Greece

4.1

4.0

1.8

0.9

0.9

0.3

3.2

3.1

1.5

Spain

12.0

3.5

3.6

2.9

2.4

2.3

9.0

1.1

1.3

France

5.6

5.4

5.5

4.5

4.3

4.4

1.2

1.1

1.2

Italy

7.1

4.9

4.7

0.0

-0.4

-0.4

7.1

5.3

5.2

Cyprus

9.6

7.8

1.6

5.1

5.5

5.7

4.5

2.3

-4.1

Latvia

-4.2

-5.7

-8.4

-3.1

-3.6

-4.8

-1.1

-2.1

-3.5

Lithuania

-4.9

-6.2

-25.7

-2.6

-1.6

-2.0

-2.3

-4.6

-23.7

Luxembourg

19.9

17.2

19.3

4.1

4.0

4.2

15.8

13.2

15.1

Hungary

-1.4

-1.7

-2.9

-3.1

-3.4

-4.0

1.6

1.7

1.2

Malta

8.1

1.8

7.8

2.1

2.2

2.4

5.9

-0.4

5.4

Netherlands

4.9

5.4

4.9

3.0

3.1

2.9

1.9

2.3

2.0

Austria

4.4

2.4

3.5

0.3

-0.1

0.2

4.1

2.5

3.3

Poland

0.5

0.8

0.9

0.9

0.9

0.9

-0.4

0.0

-0.1

Portugal

0.9

1.0

-0.1

0.0

-0.5

-0.4

0.9

1.4

0.4

Romania

-1.4

-1.7

-2.3

-1.5

-1.6

-2.2

0.1

-0.1

0.0

Slovenia

10.9 (b)

7.2

1.6

1.7 (b)

1.5

1.8

9.2 (b)

5.6

-0.3

Slovakia

2.1

2.3

1.9

0.8

1.5

1.3

1.3

0.8

0.6

Finland

4.9

4.7

4.4

2.0

2.0

1.9

2.9

2.7

2.6

Sweden

8.0

9.1

8.0

1.9

2.3

2.7

6.0

6.7

5.3

United Kingdom

6.6

7.0

6.6

3.5

3.7

3.9

3.1

3.3

2.6

(b) break in series

Source: Eurostat (Population Change and Population Change Statistics, available from the EU's website

NHS: Foundation Trusts


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