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Baroness Northover: The UK is committed to helping civil society engage more effectively with the Government of Afghanistan. During the Secretary of State's visit to Afghanistan in October he launched a major new civil society programme that will provide grants to Afghan organisations to help them hold their Government to account on a range of issues, including human rights, access to justice and peace building. The programme will also have a strong focus on women's rights and it is hoped that many women's organisations will directly benefit. The first call for proposals has resulted in over 200 applications, which are now being assessed.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answers by Lord Astor of Hever on 18 July 2011 (WA 226), 11 August 2011 (WA 456), and 10 January (WA 2), when is the next conversion course after March 2012; and how many Royal Navy aircrew will be on that course.[HL14677]
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answers by Lord Astor of Hever on 18 July 2011 (WA 226), 11 August 2011 (WA 456), and 10 January (WA 2), what is the planned date for completing conversion training; and when will the Merlin Mk3 become fully part of the Commando helicopter force.[HL14678]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): In accordance with the Joint Helicopter Command (JHC) Lift Transition Plan, the current intention is that the second Merlin Mk 3 conversion course will commence in September 2012. Similar to the initial course, there will be 12 Royal Navy personnel on this course, comprising three aircrews. The majority of conversion training is forecast to be completed in late 2016.
Under current planning, Merlin Mk 3 will transfer to the Commando Helicopter Force (CHF) when the Commanding Officer CHF assumes the responsibility as Support Helicopter Merlin Delivery Duty Holder, anticipated to be in financial year 2014-15.
Baroness Rawlings: The Diamond Jubilee medal will be issued using broadly the same criteria as the Golden Jubilee medal in 2002. Medals will therefore be awarded to those in key front line services (Armed Forces, the police, the prison service, ambulance service and fire and rescue services) who have completed five years of service on, and inclusive of, the anniversary of the Queen's accession on 6 February 2012.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will take any action to regulate the shadow banking sector further, in the light of the growth of that sector relative to the regulated banking sector. [HL14569]
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Sassoon on 10 January (WA 6-7), whether they propose to strengthen regulation of the unregulated shadow credit sector to mirror the enhanced regulation of banks. [HL14975]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The Government encourage all UK-registered multinationals fully to respect agreed standards and voluntary instruments for responsible business conduct, such as the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, the UN global compact and the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights, and to comply with their obligations under the laws of the countries in which they operate.
The UK listing regime requires UK and overseas companies to comply with the EU company reporting directive, which includes providing a corporate governance statement, in order to obtain a standard listing, and to
23 Jan 2012 : Column WA171
In managing sickness absence and the health and well-being of their staff, departments may however determine that there are certain exceptional circumstances where the provision of private healthcare is reasonable. This is a matter for departments to determine on a case-by-case basis.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the costs and losses for the creative industries of the proposals in the consultation on copyright to (1) introduce an exception for private copying; (2) introduce an exception for official celebrations; and (3) make exceptions override contractual provisions.[HL14842]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The Government are currently seeking detailed evidence on the costs and benefits to all parties who could be affected by the proposals to modernise copyright, through public consultation. The Government have published initial impact assessments based on evidence currently available. These are published on the website of the Intellectual Property Office.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what were the circumstances surrounding the recent demonstration and rioting at the Akrotiri Sovereign Base Area in the Republic of Cyprus; who was involved; and what, if any, injuries or damage ensued.[HL14577]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): On 2 January 2012, a demonstration took place outside the gates of Akrotiri station protesting against the continuing British presence in Cyprus. While there have been previous demonstrations at this time of year, on this occasion the protest
23 Jan 2012 : Column WA172
To ask Her Majesty's Government, in the light of the recommendation by the International Monetary Fund, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the United Nations and the World Bank to undertake an assessment of the impact of domestic tax reform on developing countries, what assessment have they made of the impact of reform of the controlled foreign companies regulations on developing countries.[HL14585]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government have not produced estimates of costs to developing countries as the controlled foreign companies rules are designed to prevent artificial diversion of UK profits. The Government work through a variety of channels to deliver high-quality capacity building in developing country tax administrations to ensure that these countries are in a position to collect the tax they are owed.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The Government recognise the importance of good quality music education for all students. The Importance of Music-a National Plan for Music Education was published in November; the plan sets out how children of all ages, abilities and backgrounds can receive the best possible music education in the future.
The English Baccalaureate has been designed to give pupils the opportunity to study a core group of academic subjects-English, mathematics, the sciences, history or geography and a language. We also encourage all pupils to study non-English Baccalaureate subjects
23 Jan 2012 : Column WA173
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their approach to providing and funding English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes in 2012; and what schemes and projects are being promoted.[HL14789]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): Learners in receipt of jobseeker's allowance or employment support allowance (in the work-related activity group) are eligible for full fee remission where English language skills have been identified as a barrier to entering employment. Further education colleges and training organisations also have local discretion to provide fully subsidised courses for people on a wider range of benefits where the training is to help them enter employment. The Government continue to contribute 50 per cent towards English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) course fees for people who are settled here and not eligible for full Government funding. We will no longer fund ESOL courses delivered in the workplace.
Further education (FE) colleges and training providers are responsible for meeting the needs of their local community, and the increased freedoms and flexibilities that we have introduced will help them respond and determine within their funding where this is prioritised.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Wilcox on 20 December (WA 343), what is their assessment of the 13-point rise in the proportion of 16 to 18 year-olds achieving level 2 literacy or higher. [HL14612]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The Government welcome the rising trends in the number of young people aged 16 to 18 who achieve level 2 and above in literacy, but we know there is more work to do.
The Government recognise the importance of young people starting adult life with the literacy and numeracy skills that will allow them to progress into employment, training and further or higher education. That is why we accepted the recommendations from the Wolf review of vocational education in May 2011 to introduce coherent study programmes for 16 to 19 year-olds, including provision for young people to continue to study post-16 English and mathematics, ideally to GCSE A* to C, until they achieve good attainment in those subjects. We recently consulted on the proposed study programmes for 16 to 19 year-olds and we will set out the Government response to consultation later in spring 2012.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, in the light of ongoing studies on whether low-frequency noise produced by wind turbines causes significant nuisance in their vicinity, whether they will halt the construction and testing of wind turbines close to existing housing, and change the regulations permitting wind turbines close to existing housing.[HL14869]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): The Government believe that noise impacts of wind farm proposals, including low frequency noise, should be assessed within the planning process on a case-by-case basis. There is government guidance to help make these assessments.
DECC published an independent report in July 2011 on the consideration of noise impacts when determining wind farm planning applications in England. A copy of the report is available on the DECC website at: http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/meeting_ energy/windionshore/comms_planning/noise/noise.aspx.
This found that current guidance is appropriate for assessing the noise impacts from wind farms, and recommended that good practice advice should be produced to confirm, and where necessary, clarify the way the guidance should be implemented in practice. The Institute of Acoustics is taking forward work to develop such advice.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of attacks on opposition politicians and the media in Ethiopia; and whether they have any plans to raise those attacks with the Government of Ethiopia.[HL14692]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We are aware of the recent arrests of a large number of opposition leaders and independent journalists under Ethiopia's anti-terrorism proclamation. While we respect the sovereign right of Ethiopia to defend its citizens from terrorism, it is important that in doing so, freedom of expression and other democratic rights are protected. Our embassy
23 Jan 2012 : Column WA175
On 31 October, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right honourable friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague) wrote to Prime Minister Meles, to raise our concerns. The Secretary of State for International Development, my right honourable friend the Member for Sutton Coldfield (Mr Mitchell) raised similar points with Prime Minister Meles when he saw him in Busan on 30 November.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether there were any measures contained in the Statements on 15 December concerning (1) the European Union Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council, (2) the European Union General Affairs Council, and (3) the European Union Transport Council, which would transfer any new powers or administrative control to European Union institutions; and whether parliamentary approval is required for all or any of those measures.[HL14415]
Baroness Garden of Frognal: No powers or administrative control were transferred to EU institutions, as a result of any measures contained in the Statements concerning the EU Education, Youth, Culture and Sport Council, General Affairs Council or Transport Council. While measures at these councils are subject to parliamentary scrutiny by the EU Committee, there is no requirement for parliamentary approval under the European Union Act 2011 or any other Act.
To ask Her Majesty's Government who are the current members of the Management Team of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills; when each was appointed; on how many occasions the Management Team has discussed (a) the issue of export controls, and (b) the Re-export Controls Bill [HL], at each meeting held since June 2001; with what results; and whether they will place in the Library of the House a copy of the note of each meeting held in which these issues were discussed. [HL14766]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The Management Team of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) consists of the Permanent Secretary and Director Generals. The current members and their appointment dates can be found on the department website in their biographies:
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The minutes of this discussion, which formed the basis of a submission to a Minister, will not be provided as to do so would be likely to prejudice the free and frank nature of the advice that Ministers receive from officials. It is in the public interest that officials are able to provide balanced and, where necessary, extensive briefing to ensure that Ministers are able to fully respond to questions and discharge properly their duties to account for government policy to Parliament. If the content of briefings to Ministers and discussion of current policy issues were released, officials would be more circumspect in drafting such briefing and Ministers' ability to respond to questions would be compromised as a result.
To ask Her Majesty's Government under what legislation export control is regulated; what amendments have been made to the legislation since it was enacted; what changes are planned in each of the next two years; and what secondary legislation has been introduced under relevant primary legislation.[HL14598]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The Export Control Act is the UK's primary legislation on export controls. The Export of Goods Control Order 2008 is the current principal secondary legislation made under the powers of the Export Control Act. Council Regulation (EC) No 428/2009 setting up a Community regime for the control of exports, transfer, brokering and transit of dual-use items, as amended by Regulation (EU) No 1232/2011, is an EU regulation that is directly applicable in UK law. There are also several EU regulations imposing sanctions, including measures applying to exports, and UK secondary legislation providing for enforcement of the same. A number of amendments to secondary legislation have been made under the Act and these are published on the Government's Business Link website at: http://www.businesslink.gov.uk/exportcontrol under the "Current UK strategic export control legislation" and the "Export Control Act 2002" headings. Details are also given in the Government's annual reports on Strategic Export Controls found at http://www.bis.gov.uk/policies/export-control-organisation under the Strategic Export Controls-reports heading. Updates to secondary legislation and to the regulation on dual-use items are, and continue to be, necessary on an ongoing basis.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions each Minister in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has had regarding the
23 Jan 2012 : Column WA177
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The Minister for Employment Relations, Consumer and Postal Affairs, Edward Davey, who has responsibility for this policy area, has had a number of meetings with stakeholders where the regulation of payday loans has been discussed. These have included meetings with consumer organisations, ministerial colleagues, business representatives and MPs. The Minister has recently written to representatives of the payday loan industry to stress the importance of the ongoing work to strengthen consumer protections in existing and future codes of practice and to highlight those areas of concern that the Government believe need to be addressed.
The department for business has received numerous representations regarding payday lending including from MPs, members of the public, business and business representatives, consumer organisations and charities.
The Government acknowledge that there are real concerns about this type of lending and some of the practices that appear to blight this market. Payday lending is a key area of regulatory focus for the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and it monitors the market for evidence of consumer detriment. The OFT has taken enforcement action against a number of companies in the payday loan market but as the market has increased in size it has seen an increase in reported consumer harm. In light of these concerns, the Government welcome the recent announcement by the OFT that they will be launching a comprehensive compliance review of its Irresponsible Lending Guidance that will specifically target the payday lending market. The review will focus on identifying those practices that are the cause of most harm to consumers and the findings will be used to take further enforcement action and drive up standards in this market. The OFT will also be increasing its scrutiny of applications for consumer credit licences by those wishing to engage in this form of lending.
BIS has recently commissioned Bristol University's Personal Finance Research Centre to carry out research to assess the impact of introducing a cap on the total cost of credit that can be charged in the short-to medium-term high-cost credit market. This research will include the payday lending market and is due to report in summer 2012.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will review the operation in the United Kingdom of the securities repurchase market and its role in regulatory arbitrage and systemic risk posed by unsettled transactions.[HL14570]
The securities repurchase market is international and any review would need to take this into account. In its paper titled Shadow Banking: Strengthening Oversight and Regulation-Recommendations of the Financial Stability Board, dated 27 October 2011, the Financial Stability Board suggested setting up a workstream under its task force that would focus on, among other things, securities repurchase.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many Financial Services Authority employees have been employed by the Banking Regulatory Division of the Bank of England and other similar government departments; and what the figures are as a percentage of total employees.[HL14617]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): This is a matter for the Financial Services Authority (FSA), whose day-to-day operations are independent from government control and influence. This question has been passed on to the FSA, which will reply to you directly by letter. A copy of the response will be placed in the Library of the House.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Hanham on 1 December 2011 (WA 93), which relevant research projects are currently being considered by the Department for Communities and Local Government. [HL14820]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): My department is considering research on the incidence and impact of fire in the future, in particular in relation to an increasingly ageing population, and the relationship between mental health and deliberate and accidental fires.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Hanham on 29 November 2011 (WA 49), what research was carried out by the Department for Communities and Local Government to calculate the life-saving impact of cigarettes that comply with the new safety standards; and whether they will place a copy of the research findings in the Library of the House.[HL14821]
Baroness Hanham: In 2004, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister commissioned research on the comparison of the propensity of fire-safer cigarettes and conventional cigarettes to ignite textile materials used in a domestic environment. The report produced was published in 2006, and is available on the DCLG website at: http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/fire/pdf/160414.pdf.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, for each of the past five years for which figures are available and according to Civil Service band, how many people were eligible for performance and special bonuses in (1) the Department of Energy and Climate Change, and (2) each of its (a) agencies, and (b) non-departmental public bodies; how many people received each type of bonus; what the average payment was for each type of bonus; and what the maximum payment was for each type of bonus.[HL14851]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): The Department of Energy and Climate Change currently awards both non-consolidated end-of-year performance awards and in-year special awards.
Non-consolidated in-year special awards are used to recognise performance or behaviours which might not be fully reflected in an end-of-year performance appraisal. These may be used to reward staff for exceptional pieces of work or taking on additional responsibilities.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, for each of the next three years for which figures are available and according to Civil Service band, how many people are eligible to receive performance and special bonuses in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills; how many people they estimate will receive each type of bonus; what they estimate the average payment will be for each type of bonus; and what they estimate will be the maximum payment for each type of bonus.[HL14857]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has a non-consolidated pot available for performance-related pay and special bonus schemes. This is set at a maximum of 1.3 per cent of paybill. How this is distributed and awarded in the next three years will be subject to management decisions and trade union negotiations. Therefore the information is not available.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many press officers employed by the Government are members of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations; and what percentage of the total number employed they represent.[HL14652]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): The prospectus was published on 22 December and the closing date for expressions of interest forms is 30 January.
23 Jan 2012 : Column WA181
The document is available to download from the Homes and Communities Agency website at: www. homesandcommunities.co.uk/get-britain-building. Since 22 December 2011 there have been over 4,200 unique visitors to the relevant pages.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have carried out an impact assessment on proposed changes to the pre-packaged insolvency sales regime; and, if so, whether they will publish that assessment.[HL14738]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): An impact assessment has been prepared and published for the Government's proposed new controls on pre-packaged insolvency sales. The impact assessment, Improving Confidence in Pre-packaged Administration BIS0296, shows positive yet unquantified benefits to business, and is available at: http://www.ialibrary. bis.gov.uk/ImpactAssessment/?IAID= 88a1fd7588274e728dcdd6bcac719642
To ask Her Majesty's Government what arrangements they are making to discuss with United Kingdom development, humanitarian and human rights non-governmental organisations issues relating to trade with Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.[HL14760]
Baroness Northover: The UK Government regularly hold discussions with development, humanitarian and human rights non-governmental organisations on a range of issues relating to the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs) at official level. There are currently no plans to hold any specific discussions on issues
23 Jan 2012 : Column WA182
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to publish the completed impact assessment which the Food Standards Agency has submitted to the Regulatory Policy Committee on charges for official controls at meat plants, in order that the industry can comment on the assessment prior to the committee giving its opinion.[HL14724]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Food Standards Agency will publish the impact assessment on charges for official controls at meat plants, together with the Regulatory Policy Committee's opinion, when this is available.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to follow the Government of the United States in condemning the murder of the Iranian nuclear scientist Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan in north Tehran on 11 January.[HL14722]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The UK has repeatedly, clearly and publicly condemned the unlawful killing of civilians wherever it takes place, including in Iran, and stressed the desire to find a peaceful, negotiated solution to the nuclear issue. This point was made by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my honourable friend the Member for North East Bedfordshire (Mr Burt), during a Westminster Hall debate on 11 January. On the same day he expressed publicly his concern about the killing of Mr Roshan in a BBC Persian interview that was widely picked up by Iranian state media.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): I visited the London Schools Symphony Orchestra on 28 September 2010 and also attended the Music for Youth School Prom on 10 November 2010. My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Education attended the Music for Youth School Prom on 7 November 2011. The Minister of State for Children and Families attended the Music for Youth School Prom on 8 November 2011. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Children and Families attended the Music for Youth School Prom on 8 November 2010 and on 9 November 2011.
The department's Ministers often visit schools, children's centres and other venues, and some of these visits include the opportunity to see and hear young people playing in orchestras, bands and choirs.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what percentage of the charge-out rate for a contracted official veterinarian comprises the cost paid by the Food Standards Agency to the contractor; what are the overheads covered by the rest of the charge-out rate; and what percentages they represent.[HL14723]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The 2011-12 hourly charge-out rate before discount for a Food Standards Agency (FSA) official veterinarian (OV) is £37.60. Of this amount 16 per cent relates to overheads for front-line support and other essential support costs, such as finance and human resources. Eighty-four per cent consists of the costs to the FSA for all OVs of which 80 per cent relates to the cost of contracted OVs not directly employed by the FSA and 4 per cent relates to the cost of OVs employed by the FSA.
These and further details on FSA charges are available at: www.food.gov.uk/news/newsarchive/2011/feb/costs.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what strategic direction the National Security Council and Building Stability Overseas Board will give to the Stabilisation Unit with respect to post-conflict and transitional states.[HL14593]
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The National Security Council sets the Government's objectives for national security and considers how best to deliver them. In this respect, it sets the overall strategic context for the Government's work on post-conflict and transitional states. The Building Stability Overseas Board is responsible for the strategic direction of the Stabilisation Unit. The Government will, through these mechanisms, continue to direct the activities of the Stabilisation Unit towards conflict resolution and capacity building in priority
23 Jan 2012 : Column WA184
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they will take to facilitate the integrated approach advocated in the strategic defence and security review and the Building Stability Overseas Strategy. [HL14595]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The integrated approach has already been facilitated by new Whitehall processes and structures. The National Security Council meets regularly in order to ensure that decisions are made based on cross-Whitehall considerations. Beneath this, the governance of HMG activities on instability and conflict overseas has been rationalised, as announced in the strategic defence and security review. Instead of three separate structures dealing with conflict, peacekeeping and stabilisation, there is now a single, cross-government board to deal with conflict overseas: the Building Stability Overseas Board. The tri-departmental Stabilisation Unit reports to this board and remains key to delivering expertise on the ground.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Richard Benyon, on 22 November (Official Report, Commons, col. 306W), what were the employer pension contribution percentages for each salary band in November 1997 and 2001; and what are they now.[HL14375]
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The employer pension contribution percentages for 1997, 2001 and 2011 are broken down and set out below. The mechanism for calculating the contribution percentages changed on 1 April 1998 and moved from a grade-based approach to a salary-banded approach.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Statements by Lord Wallace of Saltaire on 20 December 2011 (WS 195-201), which public sector pension schemes will have active members' benefits revalued in line with the consumer price index plus 1.5 per cent per annum; whether this will be a permanent arrangement for all current members and for new ones; and why they have agreed to revaluation of public sector pensions at a rate higher than inflation.[HL14647]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): On 2 November 2011, the Government set out their preferred public service pension scheme design in the command paper, Public service pensions: good pensions that last, Cm 8214. The Government's preferred scheme design was based on recommendations made by Lord Hutton's Independent Public Service Pensions Commission. This includes a recommendation that active members' benefits should be revalued in line with average earnings, rather than inflation. Trades unions were then invited to put forward their preferred pension scheme designs, within the cost limits set out on 2 November 2011.
On 20 December 2011, the Government set out the headline agreements reached with the majority of trades unions on public service pension reform in the NHS, teachers, Civil Service and local government pension schemes. For the NHS Pension Scheme, the heads of agreement reached mean active members' benefits will be revalued in line with the consumer prices index plus 1.5 per cent per annum. This reduced revaluation rate has been offset by a higher accrual rate compared to the Government's preferred design, with no overall increase in cost to the taxpayer.
The heads of agreement reached are consistent with the offer that the Chief Secretary to the Treasury set out in Parliament on 2 November 2011. This means that no changes to scheme design, benefits or contribution rates should be necessary for 25 years outside of the processes agreed for the cost cap.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Sassoon on 5 December (WA 128-130), what will happen to the One North East pension scheme on that body's closure; and whether they have a policy of amalgamating the pension schemes of defunct public sector bodies. [HL14650]
Lord Sassoon: One North East is still undergoing the transition and closure of its business and specific details should be available directly from the agency or its sponsoring department, the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, as they are finalised.
There is no overriding policy of amalgamation of pension schemes of defunct public sector bodies, as the specific arrangements when bodies are closed vary, as do the pension arrangements when they are operational.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The pilot has yet to be evaluated so at this stage the benefits have not been clearly established. High-quality social workers, independent reviewing officers and skilled carers are key to ensuring that all looked-after children in England, including those who have been trafficked, are well supported and achieve the best possible outcomes. Looked-after children are entitled to the services of advocates as well as independent visitors. It is vital that local authorities commission advocacy and independent visitor services that meet the needs of those in care.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will require every form or other piece of paperwork produced by a public body that is intended to be completed by a private person, including a corporation, to contain an estimate of the time needed to complete that process.[HL14567]
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The Government are committed to reducing the burden of unnecessary red tape on businesses, individuals, and the voluntary and community sectors. Through the Red Tape Challenge we are thoroughly reviewing the stock of regulation, including implementation and associated paperwork.
The Government have also committed to examining the performance of every regulator. As part of this process, we will use a web-based tool to enable businesses and individuals to provide feedback on their experience of interaction with regulators.
We have also launched the Tell Us How initiative, where front-line workers across the public sector can highlight burdens and bureaucracy which make their jobs difficult. The best ideas for removing bureaucracy will be taken forward.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether Cabinet Office Ministers' attention has been drawn to Lord Barnett's Question for Written Answer which was due for answer on 8 November and remained unanswered on 16 January.[HL14835]
|Description||% of total investment||Total spend (£m)|
Earl Attlee: The Highways Agency is working up detailed timescales for schemes announced in the Chancellor's Autumn Statement to identify the most efficient start of work dates. All of the schemes named in the Autumn Statement are expected to start construction and make significant progress in the next three years.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Hill of Oareford on 14 September 2011 (WA 76), whether they will research the links between the economic and employment prospects of pupils studying music or other creative subjects in schools.[HL14769]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The Government have shown a clear commitment to music and broader cultural education by commissioning reviews by Darren Henley, Managing Director of Classic FM, of both music and cultural education. Following the publication of Mr Henley's music education review, we published a National Plan for Music Education and committed to invest £202 million from 2012, covering the remainder of the spending review period, to improve provision.
We asked Darren Henley to undertake this work because these subjects are important in developing an appreciation and understanding of the arts in all their forms, and because we believe this will ultimately benefit the economy and young people's employment prospects in the creative industries.
Research provided by the sector skills councils shows that the skills most pertinent to future growth in the creative and cultural industries will be business, managerial and technical skills associated with the digital sectors of the creative economy.
The Government are therefore spending £938,800, as part of a wider package for higher apprenticeships, to enable Skillset, the Sector Skills Council for the creative industries, to develop a level 4 apprenticeship to meet skills needs in advertising, creative and digital media and fashion and textiles.
We have also established a Creative Industries Council, with leading figures from across the creative and digital sectors, so that we can work to ensure that the UK continues to be a world leader in this area.
We have no plans to research the links between the economic and employment prospects of pupils studying music or other creative subjects in schools. Our priority is to implement the National Plan for Music Education and to respond to Darren Henley's forthcoming review of cultural education.
Baroness Garden of Frognal: Primary schools are part of the School Games. The Youth and Community Sport Strategy announcement made on the 10 January includes £150 million funding for the School Games (including funding from Sport England, Department for Education and Department of Health) with additional sponsorship from Sainsbury's. The School Games is a four-level (intra-school, inter school, county festivals and national finals) competition for school children in England. It is hoped the national finals will be a UK event. The Games are designed to build on the magic of 2012 to enable every school and child to participate in competitive sport including meaningful opportunities for disabled youngsters. By December 2011, over 7,000 primary schools had registered to take part in the event. Primary schools are benefiting from support from the network of School Games Organisers and also from the PE Teachers released for one day each week from secondary schools to work with primary schools through funding from the Department for Education. In terms of the community youth activity, this will reach down to 14 year-olds.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many teaching staff in England were investigated by the General Teaching Council during its operation from foundation up to and including 2011 in respect of (1) professional misconduct, and (2) unsatisfactory teaching performance.[HL14674]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): From its foundation up to and including 2011, the General Teaching Council for England (GTCE) investigated 2267 teachers in respect of professional misconduct, and 229 for unsatisfactory teaching performance.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many of the teaching staff in England investigated by the General Teaching Council from foundation up to and including 2011 were found to be (1) guilty of professional misconduct, and (2) unsatisfactory in their teaching performance; and what action ensued in respect of persons in groups (1) and (2).[HL14675]
Lord Hill of Oareford: The following table shows the number of teachers in England who were investigated by the GTCE from foundation up to and including 2011 who were found to be (1) guilty of professional misconduct, and (2) unsatisfactory in their teaching performance. The action taken is in the left hand column.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what will be the process from now on by which a teacher's (1) professional misconduct, and (2) unsatisfactory teaching performance, will be (a) reported, (b) investigated, and (c) assessed; and which persons and bodies will be responsible for the necessary actions and decisions.[HL14676]
Lord Hill of Oareford: From 1 April, the new Teaching Agency, an executive agency of the department, will operate as the national regulator for all teachers in England. Teacher performance will be managed locally by employers. Employers will have a duty to consider whether to refer cases of serious misconduct to the Teaching Agency and, where appropriate, an independent professional conduct panel will make a recommendation to the Secretary of State regarding whether or not to bar the individual from teaching. A teacher may appeal against a prohibition order to the High Court within 28 days and, in certain circumstances, a prohibition order may be reviewed after a minimum period of time has elapsed. Teachers who are subject to a prohibition order will be placed on a new prohibited list which will be available online to employers. The Teaching Agency will uphold all GTCE sanctions.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much each local authority spent on sports and recreation facilities for each of the years 2007 to 2011; and what is their projection of the level of local authority spend in sports and recreation facilities in 2012. [HL14639]
Baroness Garden of Frognal: We do not hold figures for local authority spend. However, Sport England provide significant investment in local sports facilities through exchequer and lottery funding. A breakdown of this funding, for the period requested, can be found in the following table:
|Year||Exchequer Funding (£000's)||Lottery Funding (£000's)|
To ask Her Majesty's Government, following the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport's comments on 10 January that sport legacy "does not mean taking funding and programmes that were happening anyway and re-badging them", whether their announcement of a planned additional £1 billion investment in youth and grassroots sport over the next five years is new money; and, if so, from which source.[HL14640]
Baroness Garden of Frognal: The £1 billion investment for Sport England's new Youth and Community Sport Strategy will come from the National Lottery plus £200 million Exchequer funding from the current Comprehensive Spending Review settlement.
The new strategy benefits from the Government's decision to return the share of Lottery proceeds to the original four "good causes". The increase in funding due to this change is projected to be £181 million over the five years (this figure is dependent on Lottery sales and is based on current projections).
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many partnerships exist between schools and local clubs for participation and competition in sport and recreation, in both Olympic and non-Olympic sports; and what is the breakdown by activity.[HL14746]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what percentage of the funding of sports governing bodies has been spent on activities that promote their sport amongst young people between the ages of 14 and 25, broken down on a sport-by-sport basis, over the past five years.[HL14747]
Baroness Garden of Frognal: This information is not held by the department or Sport England. However, as part of 2009-13 Whole Sport Plan awards, 34 sports receive targeted funding to deliver on children and young people interventions. The funding develops school-club links and volunteering opportunities to increase the number of junior club participants and volunteers aged between five and 19. The latest data show that there are 1.975 million junior club participants and 88,381 young volunteers aged between five and 19 across the 34 funded sports. The breakdown for each sport can be found in the following tables.
|Sport||Annual funding||2011-12 Baseline||2011-12 Target||2011-12 6 Month Progress||% of Year target achieved at 6 month stage|
|Sport||2011-12 Baseline||2011-12 Target||2011-12 6 Month Progress||% of Year target achieved at 6 month stage|
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The department works closely and holds regular discussions with the steel industry on a range of issues related to maintaining an internationally competitive steel sector in the UK. This includes seeking to minimise unnecessary regulatory burdens by involving the sector in discussions on better regulation and taking steps to reduce the impact of government policy on energy costs. As part of the Autumn Statement the Government announced measures worth around £250 million to help our energy intensive industries, including the steel industry, to reduce their energy bills.
In addition, UK Trade & Investment has a programme of support for the UK manufacturing sector, including materials, in partnership with numerous stakeholders. This includes organising UK groups at overseas trade shows, leading targeted trade missions and bringing potential buyers, investors and decision-makers to the UK to see our manufacturing capability first-hand.
Any government support for the steel industry needs to be compatible with the EC state aid rules. Regional investment or operating aid may not be granted to the steel sector, however other forms of aid including aid for research, development and innovation, training and environmental investments is permitted.
Baroness Wilcox: BIS Ministers have had no specific discussions with Tata Steel about Corby, but as a result of my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills' most recent discussion in December with Karl Kohler, chief executive of Tata Steel Europe, we are fully aware of the tough trading conditions that the company is operating in and that they continue to take steps to maintain the competitiveness of all their plants.
Baroness Northover: Debt relief will be an important element of Sudan's economic development, which in turn will be critical if Sudan is to become a stable and peaceful nation. As such, we have led international efforts to establish a technical working group on the issue, who are overseeing the necessary technical preparations for debt relief, meeting most recently in September 2011. However, as we have consistently made clear to the Sudanese Government, debt relief remains conditional on the need to see genuine progress toward inclusive peace and justice throughout the country, and resolving the outstanding issues from the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.
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