Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

Question

Asked by Lord Warner

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Up to the end of November 2011, the last 10 National Health Service foundation trust applications referred to the Monitor assessment stage by the department, have taken an average of three and a half months, the shortest time taking two months and the longest six months. On average, Monitor's assessment stage takes five and a half months to complete, the shortest time taking three months and the longest 10 months.

Northern Ireland Office: Consultants

Questions

Asked by Lord Laird

Lord Shutt of Greetland: Five applications were received for this contract from the following companies:

BDO Kappa ConsultingDeloitte MCS LtdFGS McClure WattersFPM Chartered AccountantsKPMG

The tendering process adhered to government procurement guidelines and was facilitated by the Central Procurement Directorate (CPD), a division of the Department of Finance and Personnel Northern Ireland. An evaluation panel, established by the Northern Ireland Office and supported by a representative of CPD, made the selection.



20 Dec 2011 : Column WA367

Asked by Lord Laird

Lord Shutt of Greetland: I am unable to place a copy of the consultant's tender document in the Library as this is a commercially sensitive document.

Northern Ireland Office: Staff

Questions

Asked by Lord Laird

Lord Shutt of Greetland: 2010-11 was the first year that the Northern Ireland Office was in operation in its current form. It is not, therefore, possible to provide comparative costs for previous years. However, during 2010-11, the department did secure savings in a number of keys areas including travel costs, IT costs and other administrative costs. The department keeps staffing levels under regular review and vacancies are only filled when there is judged to remain a business need to do so.

Asked by Lord Laird

Lord Shutt of Greetland: Northern Ireland Office staff are paid in line with Ministry of Justice terms and conditions-this includes the recognition and reward scheme. We are not aware of any plans to review this scheme.

Northern Ireland Office: Taxis and Cars

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

Lord Shutt of Greetland: Northern Ireland Office staff may only claim the costs of taxis and/or cars in respect of journeys made for the purposes of official

20 Dec 2011 : Column WA368

business. Any such payments must be authorised by the appropriate line manager. There are no plans to change this policy.

Northern Ireland: Human Rights Commission

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

Lord Shutt of Greetland: The Government are clear that, if the work of the Commission on a UK Bill of Rights results in legislation, then this would provide a vehicle in which to implement rights specific to Northern Ireland. However, as the answer of 12 December makes clear, there needs to be agreement within Northern Ireland on such rights.

Northern Ireland: Security Restrictions

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

Lord Shutt of Greetland: The decision to close Lower Chichester Street was made in April 2010 by the then Minister of State in the Northern Ireland Office.

The decision was reviewed by the current Minister of State in September 2011.

Overseas Aid

Questions

Asked by Lord Boswell of Aynho

Baroness Northover: The Department for International Development's (DFID) education investments will reach all children including those with a disability through our support to multilateral, international and non-governmental organisations. For example, in Malawi, DFID has contributed to approximately 700,000 children with disabilities entering education. Through DFID

20 Dec 2011 : Column WA369

support 4,200 classrooms have been constructed and 70 per cent of these have ramp access. In addition DfID supports over 85 disabled peoples' organisations and civil society organisations to address the issues facing people with disabilities in poor countries.

The UK has publicly committed to support at least 9 million children in primary school and 2 million children in secondary school by 2015. In addition, through the recently launched new girls' education challenge programme, we will work with charities and businesses to find new and effective ways to educate up to 1 million of the world's most marginalised girls which will include those with disabilities. Further details can be found on DfID's website at www.dfid.gov.uk

Asked by Lord Boswell of Aynho

Baroness Northover: The UK Government's pledge to train 190,000 teachers by 2014 will be delivered through multilateral organisations. The Department for International Development (DfID) also provides support to international non-governmental organisations, for example, the United Nations (UN), Save the Children, Plan International and World Vision, for programmes that have a child-rights' focus and work with vulnerable children in developing countries to deliver programmes to help children with disabilities to access education; to reduce exclusion and inequality; and, ultimately, poverty among vulnerable groups. DfID expects multilateral organisations to adhere to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in their operations.

In addition, DfID is supporting teacher training through our bilateral education programme, as published in the operational plans of DfID country offices. In 2010, the department issued a guidance note entitled Education for Children with Disabilities-Improving Access and Quality, which emphasises the importance of complying with the UN convention, and utilising inclusive methodologies in teaching to ensure quality and inclusiveness in education.

Asked by Lord Boswell of Aynho

Baroness Northover: The coalition Government are committed to the inclusion of disabled people in development. The extent to which UK aid can help to improve the welfare and lives of disadvantaged groups, such as people with disabilities, forms an important part of programme design and country assistance plans.

The Department for International Development (DfID) supports disabled people in a variety of means including through: DfID country programmes; multilateral

20 Dec 2011 : Column WA370

support provided through United Nations, European Commission and other organisations; and support to civil society provided through the global poverty action fund, strategic programme partnership agreements with organisations such as Action for Disability and Development, Sightsavers, and Comic Relief. In addition DfID provides support to the Disability Rights Fund which supports disabled people's organisations in the global south to take the lead in advocating for the human rights of people with disabilities in line with the UN Convention for the Rights of People with Disabilities. Examples of DfID programmes supporting people with disabilities include in India, where the Government of India's Education for All programme has increased the number of children with disabilities who attend school. A total of 3.04 million children have been identified with special needs, of whom over 90 per cent are now in school. Home-based schooling is being provided for children with severe disabilities.

Asked by Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead

Baroness Northover: At this stage, our planning assumption is that we should still be able to deliver the set of results agreed in the bilateral aid review, multilateral aid review, humanitarian emergency response review and related processes. We had held back some resources at the centre to achieve additional results which provides us with some flexibility to handle the reduction announced in the autumn statement. We shall look further at this as part of the normal planning process in the first quarter of 2012.

Asked by Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead

Baroness Northover: While this adjustment will obviously mean that we will not be able to do everything we had hoped, Britain will still be doing more than ever before to tackle poverty and save lives around the world. The Department for International Development will work even harder to ensure that measures announced in the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Autumn Statement does not significantly threaten results on the ground in developing countries, redoubling our efforts on value for money.

Parking: Evenings and Weekends

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark



20 Dec 2011 : Column WA371

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): I refer the noble Lord to the answer given by my honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (Bob Neill) to a similar question about Westminster parking charges posed by the honourable Member for Westminster North on 7 December 2011, Official Report, Column 342W.

The Government expect to respond to the Portas review in the spring.

Patrick Finucane

Questions

Asked by Lord Empey

Lord Shutt of Greetland: The previous Administration proposed to establish an inquiry into the death of Patrick Finucane under the Inquiries Act 2005.

Asked by Lord Laird

Lord Shutt of Greetland: No payments have been made to Madden and Finucane Solicitors in relation to the death of Patrick Finucane over the past five years.

Pensions

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Transport for London Pension Fund is not one of the entities reporting to HM Treasury for the consolidated whole of government accounts. Its pension liability is included in the accounts of Transport for London which is consolidated in the whole of government accounts.

Police and Crime Commissioners

Question

Asked by Lord Condon



20 Dec 2011 : Column WA372

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): The Government have been clear that we welcome independent candidates in police and crime commissioner elections. The Government will ensure that members of the public have the information they need to be able to decide whether to put themselves forward for election. On 21 November my right honourable friend the Minister for policing and criminal justice issued a clarion call for candidates of all types and all backgrounds. He also launched the Government's engagement programme including a website containing all the key information and a booklet setting out why people should stand to be a police and crime commissioner. The Government will continue to talk to experts from policing, local government and academia about the best way to ensure that this information reaches those who need it. In addition, officials will hold a series of engagement events across England and Wales in January, February and March to reinforce these messages.

Police: Pursuits

Question

Asked by Lord Condon

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): The Home Office does not collect this information.

Prisoners: Voting

Questions

Asked by Lord Laird

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): We received information from the Governments of France, Germany and Spain for the purposes of compiling an information note on European disfranchisement regimes, which is available in the libraries of both Houses and can be downloaded from the following address:

www.parliament.uk/deposits/depositedpapers/2011/DEP2011-0663.doc

Officials met with representatives of the German embassy in the UK on 16 March 2011 to discuss the issue of prisoner voting rights in the context of a broader discussion on human rights and reform of the European Court of Human Rights.



20 Dec 2011 : Column WA373

Asked by Lord Laird

Lord McNally: There are costs associated with the maintenance and implementation of policy in relation to prisoner voting rights. At this stage, it is not possible to separate these costs from the Government's work responding to specific court judgments and general policy maintenance on wider franchise issues. The Government are awaiting final judgment in the Scoppola case on this issue from the European Court of Human Rights and will announce their next steps in due course.

Railways: Stations

Question

Asked by Lord Wigley

Earl Attlee: The following table sets out expenditure (in millions) on specific programmes for the upgrading of railway stations in each of the past three financial years:

2008/092009/102010/11

National Stations Improvement Programme *

£33.2

£37.0

Access for All **

£53.2

£90.0

£102.0

King's Cross

£115.1

£98.5

£106.4

Birmingham New Street

£100.0

£33.2

£44.9

Reading

£11.0

£31.0

£59.0

* covers England and Wales and includes third party funding

** covers England, Scotland and Wales

In addition to the above expenditure, Network Rail and the train operators will have invested in station upgrades as part of ongoing renewals work and as part of franchise agreements.

Schools: Milk

Question

Asked by Lord Storey

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): Schools and local authorities (LAs) decide whether or not to provide milk to their pupils. The Government do not collect information about the number of LAs which choose to do so, nor the type of milk provided.

Where LAs and schools decide to provide milk, they can also choose to participate in the EU school milk subsidy scheme. This scheme reduces the cost of

20 Dec 2011 : Column WA374

milk to parents and is operated by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) on behalf of Defra.

According to the RPA, 92 English LAs provide milk to their pupils under the subsidy scheme. Other LAs may provide milk but choose not to participate in the scheme. Ten of the 92 LAs are known to provide milk fortified with fluoride (dental milk).

Second World War: Debts

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Details of debts associated with the Second World War owing by or owed to the United Kingdom are provided in the Finance Accounts of the United Kingdom and, their successor, the Supplementary Statements to the Consolidated Fund and National Loans Fund Accounts for the financial years 1945-46 to 1987-88, and the following Command Papers:

China CM 198;Czechoslovakia Cmd 7798 and Cmnds 55, 56 and 2280; France Cmnd 6988;Netherlands Cmd 7358;Poland Cmd 6864 and 7148 and Cmnd 1057;Turkey Cmds 6165 and 9120; andUSSR Cmd 7297.

The further information requested could only be obtained at a disproportionate cost.

Somalia

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

Baroness Northover: The decision by al-Shabaab to ban 16 United Nations (UN) agencies and non-governmental organisations operating in south Somalia will further compromise the delivery of humanitarian assistance. The UN is urgently assessing the impact of this decision and working up options for maintaining the delivery of life-saving assistance.

Overall, the situation remains confused. A number of the affected agencies are continuing to provide services through Somali partner organisations. But preliminary analysis suggests that an absolute enforcement of the ban will mean 600,000 fewer people receive

20 Dec 2011 : Column WA375

food assistance in December as compared to October. Significant reductions in beneficiary caseloads for nutrition, health and water and sanitation are also anticipated. We are considering the implications of the UN's assessment for UK programming.

Stateless People

Questions

Asked by Lord Lester of Herne Hill

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the Authority to reply.

Letter from Stephen Penneck, Director General for Office for National Statistics, to Lord Lester, dated December 2011

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to you Parliamentary Questions asking;

How stateless persons residing in the United Kingdom are identified (14228)How many stateless persons are currently residing in the United Kingdom (14227)

The Office for National Statistics does not have the information necessary to identify or make an estimate of the number of stateless people in the UK.

A joint research report on Mapping Statelessness in the United Kingdom has been produced by the Asylum Aid and UN High Commission for Refugees. UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Mapping Statelessness in The United Kingdom, 22 November 2011, available at: http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/4ecb6a192.html

Taxation

Questions

Asked by Lord Baker of Dorking



20 Dec 2011 : Column WA376

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Income tax receipts in 2010-11 were £153.5 billion.

Estimated changes in income tax liabilities, compared with those arising under the actual 2010-11 income tax system, are set out in the table below, assuming: (a) those earning under £15,000 paid no income tax; (b) those earning £15,000 to £30,000 paid 10 per cent; (c) those earning £30,000 to £60,000 paid 15 per cent; (d) those earning £60,000 to £120,000 paid 20 per cent; and (e) those earning £120,000 and over paid 30 per cent.

The estimated changes assume that the specified tax rates of the hypothetical 2010-11 tax system applied to the total of income assessable for tax for all individuals within each band, i.e. represent average rates of tax; and that no allowances, deductions or income tax reliefs applied.

Taxpayer gross income bandEstimated change in income tax liabilities £ billion

Under £15,000

-7.1

£15,000 to £29,999

-6.9

£30,000 to £59,999

-1 .5

£60,000 to £119,999

-4.2

£120,000 and over

-8.7

Total

-28.4

These estimates take no account of behavioural responses to changes in tax rates and thresholds and withdrawal of allowances and reliefs. Behavioural effects would be substantial for changes of this nature and magnitude. However, estimates of the behavioural responses are not available.

These estimates are based on the 2007-08 survey of personal incomes projected to 2010-11 in line with the Office for Budget Responsibility's November 2011 Economic and Fiscal Outlook.

In addition, it is estimated that tax liabilities under the specified 2010-11 income tax system would fall by a further f4.5 billion if allowances were introduced in the form of a one percentage point reduction in tax rates per child for taxpayers with children. This estimate is informed by Family Resources Survey data projected to 2010-11.

It is not possible to provide an estimate of the tax yield which would arise if the total worldwide income of all taxpayers were liable to tax in the UK as Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs does not hold data on the amount of foreign income held by those taxpayers

20 Dec 2011 : Column WA377

who are not liable to UK tax on it. However, all UK resident and domiciled taxpayers are liable to UK tax on their worldwide income and so the tax paid on their foreign income is already included in the existing income tax yield after various tax treaty arrangements for tax paid overseas.

It is not possible to quantify the change in UK receipts if there were no allowances for foreign tax and no tax treaties.

Telephone Hacking: Investigators

Question

Asked by Lord Mackenzie of Framwellgate:

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): There is no current licensing regime for private investigators. The Private Security Industry Act 2001 contains provisions for the regulation by the Security Industry Authority (SIA) of individuals conducting private investigations. We are currently considering whether these provisions should be brought into force.

The Government announced in October 2010 that there will be a phased transition from the SIA to a new independent regulatory regime for the private security industry, which will place a greater focus on licensing businesses. Any regulation of private investigators which is brought into force before then will be included in the transition to the new regime.

Transport: Heavy Goods Vehicles

Question

Asked by Lord Berkeley

Earl Attlee:The Logistics Growth Review-Connecting People with Goods published in November announced our intention to consult on the speed limit for HGVs over 7.5 tonnes on single carriageway roads next year. The consultation will include an impact assessment covering environmental as well as other issues.



20 Dec 2011 : Column WA378

Unemployment

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): Table 1 below provides estimates of the number and proportion of people aged1 16 to 24 not in education, employment or training (NEET) in each region of England in Quarter 3 2011. These estimates are from the Labour Force Survey and are published in supplementary tables to the Department for Education's NEET Quarterly Brief which can be found at: http://www.education.gov.uk/rsgateway/DB/STR/d001040/index.shtml

Due to differences in the way separate UK countries define and measure the number of people not in education, employment and training we are unable to produce an estimate for the UK as a whole. Estimates for other countries in the UK are a devolved issue.

Table 1: People aged 16-24 not in education, employment or training (NEET) in Q3 2011
NumberPercentageConfidence Interval

England

1,163,000

19.2%

+/- 0.9 pp

North East

70,000

21.2%

+/- 3.9 pp

North West

204,000

23.9%

+/- 2.4 pp

Yorks & Humber

157,000

22.7%

+/- 2.7 pp

East Midlands

81,000

14.9%

+/- 2.6 pp

West Midlands

136,000

21.2%

+/- 2.7 pp

East of England

115,000

18.9%

+/- 2.6 pp

London

159,000

17.9%

+/- 2.4 pp

South-East

159,000

17.1%

+/- 2.1 pp

South-West

82,000

14.0%

+/- 2.6 pp

1 Age used is academic age, which is defined as the respondents age as at the preceding 31 August

Please note that these estimates are subject to large sampling variability and should therefore be treated with caution and viewed in conjunction with their Confidence Intervals2 (CIs), which indicate how accurate an estimate is. For example, a CI of +/-3.9 percentage points (pp) means that the true value is between 3.9pp above the estimate and 3.9pp below the estimate.


Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page