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26 Jan 2012 : Column WA255



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Written Answers

Thursday 26 January 2012

Agriculture: Eggs

Question

Asked by Lord Kilclooney

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): The Government want to protect all producers who have complied with the conventional cage ban, whether in other member states or UK, from any competitive disadvantage. UK enforcement is set out in the Written Ministerial Statement of 6 December 2011. Since then member states have submitted lists of producers who have complied with the ban on conventional cages to the Commission to aid enforcement and to ensure fair competition.

Agriculture: Schmallenberg Virus

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): To date we do not support making

26 Jan 2012 : Column WA256

Schmallenberg virus (SBV) notifiable in livestock. This is in line with the thinking of the Commission and the majority of other member states. At present, not enough is known about this new and emerging virus to support understanding the economic impact it may have, how it could be controlled, what an exit strategy for disease freedom would be, and therefore the cost benefit notification would have.

There is a need to act proportionately and avoid unnecessary disruptions to the market and trade. Member states' monitoring is vital and voluntary reporting systems are considered appropriate for the current situation.

The developing disease situation is being monitored closely both here and in other affected member states, and its possible impact modelled to support our considerations. Close collaboration with European colleagues is enabling us to develop a shared understanding of the virus and diagnostics tests, improving our evidence base and knowledge. This allows us to keep our consideration of making SBV notifiable under review.

Animals Welfare Act 2006

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): The total number of prosecutions brought under the Animals Welfare Act 2006 for each year since it came into force is set out in the attached table. The figures for 2011 are not available yet.

Number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates' courts for selected offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 England & Wales, 2007-2010 (1)(2)
2007200820092010

S.4 Causing, permitting or failing to prevent unnecessary suffering

24

832

1,175

1,077

S.5 Carrying out, permitting or causing to be carried out or failing to prevent prohibited procedure on a protected animal

0

3

4

4

S.6 Removing or causing or permitting or failing to prevent removal of dog's tail other than for medical treatment

3

34

19

11

S.7 Administration of poisons etc to a protected animal

0

0

1

0

S.8 Offences relating to animal fights

0

5

16

3

S.9 Failing to ensure needs of animal are met as required by good practice

8

130

159

266

S.13 Carrying on activity without authority of S.13 licence or carrying on unregistered S.13 activity

0

1

0

0

S.34 Breach of a disqualification imposed after conviction of specified offences

0

21

40

51

(1) The figures given in the table relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences it is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe.

(2) Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.

REF: JAS (071-12)

23/01/2012



26 Jan 2012 : Column WA257

Armed Forces: Aircraft

Questions

Asked by Lord West of Spithead

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): Our investigations into the conversion of the operational Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carrier are still under way. A Foreign Military Sales agreement was signed with the US in May 2011 for information exchange, technical support and design work for Aircraft Launch and Recovery Equipment (ALRE). We are not committed to procure any equipment from the US at this stage.

As we only plan to convert one ship, we only intend to procure one ship set of ALRE. We have therefore not made any assessment of the price differential of ordering two ship sets of equipment. Although the UK's aircraft launch and recovery equipment specification is still under development, we expect that a total of two catapults will be installed on the converted carrier.

No decisions have been made as to which ship will be converted and we expect final decisions to be taken following the conclusion of our investigations in December 2012, which will deliver a converted carrier from around 2020.

Asked by Lord West of Spithead

Lord Astor of Hever: As part of work to develop a support solution for the Queen Elizabeth class carriers, a number of locations are currently being assessed. We expect an initial decision to be taken around the middle of this decade.

The Ministry of Defence has not undertaken any work on how easy it would be to relocate the Valiant Jetty.

Armed Forces: Falklands Air Bridge

Questions

Asked by Lord Jones of Cheltenham



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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The Ministry of Defence operates a twice weekly military air service to the Falkland Islands via Ascension Island. The air service is also used by passengers accessing St Helena. Under a joint agreement with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, a number of seats are made available on each flight to the Falkland Islands and Ascension Island Governments. Those Governments are able to sell their seat allocations to local residents, and to commercial passengers wishing to visit these locations. These allocations are kept under review to ensure that they meet the needs and actual usage of those non-service personnel travelling to and from these locations. The following table sets out the current and previous seat allocations since 2010:

Seat AllocationFalkland Islands GovernmentAscension Island Government

October 2011 to present

21

10

May 2010 to October 2011

27

26

January 2010 to May 2010

29

26

Where there is spare capacity over the allocations to the Ascension and Falkland Islands Governments and military requirements, additional seats are made available to non-military passengers on a paying basis.

Banking: Bonuses

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government do not hold the details of the contracts of executives at the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Lloyds Banking Group (LBG). The Government's shareholdings in these banks are managed on an arm's-length basis by UK Financial Investments (UKFI). However, the Prime Minister has been clear about the Government's wish to see restraint from the banks with regards to the bonus pool.

The Government are committed to tackling unacceptable bank bonuses. At the start of 2011, RBS and Lloyds placed a limit of £2,000 on cash bonuses in respect of 2010 bonuses. The Government expect the

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same this year. The bonus pool in respect of 2010 bonuses was significantly lower than the previous year and we have introduced the most transparent reporting regime of any major financial centre. We have made it clear that the bonus pool this year in respect of 2011 bonuses must again be lower and more transparent.

UKFI, along with other shareholders, will have a non-binding vote on the remuneration reports of both banks at their respective annual general meetings.

Benefits: Disability

Questions

Asked by Lord Morris of Manchester

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): Our aim is to make personal independence payment fair, more straightforward to administer than DLA, and easier and clearer for individuals to understand.

Our formal DLA Reform public consultation ran from 6 December 2010 to 18 February 2011. We received more than 5,000 individual responses and over 500 responses from organisations. The majority of organisations welcomed the move to the new, broader definitions of the daily living and mobility components as being a better reflection of the real experience of disabled people's daily lives.

We have no plans to consult further on the rate bands. However our wider engagement on the reforms continues. We continue to meet with disabled people and their representative organisations and on 16 January we published details on the entitlement thresholds and revised assessment criteria and started a formal 15-week consultation.

Asked by Lord Morris of Manchester

Lord Freud: We do not think it right that we should judge people purely on the type of health condition or impairment they have and making blanket decisions about benefit entitlement.

Our formal DLA Reform public consultation ran from 6 December 2010 to 18 February 2011. We received more than 5,000 individual responses and over 500 responses from organisations. The majority of organisations welcomed the move to the new, broader definitions of the daily living and mobility components as being a better reflection of the real experience of disabled people's daily lives.



26 Jan 2012 : Column WA260

There was no consensus in the responses we received on whether people with certain impairments or health conditions should have an automatic entitlement to personal independence payment.

We have no plans to consult further on automatic qualification. People lead varied and often complex lives, with differing circumstances and needs-they do not fit neatly into boxes. We believe that personal independence payment should reflect this, providing support tailored to these personal circumstances.

On 16 January we published details on the entitlement thresholds and revised assessment criteria and started a formal 15-week consultation.

Burma

Question

Asked by Lord Kilclooney

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): There is a fully operational British Embassy in Burma, located in Rangoon. Our current ambassador, Andrew Heyn, leads the embassy's efforts to pursue our objectives in Burma, to present British policies to our key interlocutors in Burma and to provide analysis and advice to Ministers covering Burma. The ambassador is also responsible for press and cultural relations and for visa and consular services.

Developing Countries: Taxation

Question

Asked by The Lord Bishop of Derby

Baroness Northover: The UK is currently supporting tax authority capacity building projects or projects which have an element of tax authority capacity building in: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burundi, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Kenya, Mozambique, Occupied Palestinian Territories, selected UK Overseas Territories, Rwanda, South Sudan, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.

The UK also supports International Monetary Fund regional technical assistance centres (which support revenue administration in selected countries in Southern Africa, East Africa and the Caribbean); the African Tax Administrators Forum (which promotes and facilitates mutual co-operation among African Tax Administrations) and the Investment Climate Facility (which has numerous projects across Africa, several of which include capacity building of tax administrations).



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Embryology

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): As I advised the noble Lord in my Written Answer of 7 February 2011 (Official Report, cols. WA 13-14) the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) does not comment on the judgment of a licence committee or speculate on the facts relating to a licence committee decision, as to do so would undermine the purpose of the statutory provision for the delegation of this function.

The HFEA is a statutory regulatory body whose independence from Government is enshrined in the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 (1990 Act). For that reason, it would also not be appropriate for me to make any comment in relation to licence committee's decisions or speculate what information HFEA employees might make available to a select committee if requested to do so.

The HFEA publishes the minutes of its licence committees on its website so that anyone can see what issues were considered by the committee in reaching its decision. It will be for any successor body, taking on the licensing functions contained in the 1990 Act, to determine the best way of ensuring that its decisions are placed in the public domain.

Employment Law: Unfair Dismissal

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): We expect 2,000 fewer unfair dismissal claims per annum as a result of the decision to increase the qualifying period from one to two years.



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Employment: Vocational Training

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The Employer Ownership Pilot fund will be allocated to employers through a competitive bidding process. Bids will be appraised against a number of key criteria, with a focus on supporting proposals that offer good value for money, quality and show real employer commitment to finding innovative ways to develop the skills of the workforce. Robust audit and monitoring arrangements will be put in place for successful bids.

BIS will shortly be issuing an Employer Ownership Pilot prospectus which will set out how employers can bid for access to the public investment available in the pilot fund-up to £250 million over two years.

European Council

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The UK does not hold this information centrally.

However, under the Lisbon treaty, some information on formal votes in the Council of Ministers on co-decision dossiers is available on the following European Union website: http://www.consilium.europa.eu/documents/legislative-transparency//public-votes.

This information constitutes separate documents, available for download, on each formal co-decision vote since 2006, listing the issue and the voting positions of member states.

The Government recommend that the noble Lord treats this information with caution. In general, proposals only progress to a formal vote after member states have gone through a substantial period of negotiation. During that period, the UK and other member states seek to block, amend or remove proposals which do not meet their objectives. The UK would normally aim to prevent proposals to which we cannot agree ever reaching a formal vote. It is also possible that some negotiation might go to a formal vote more than once, with different outcomes. For both these reasons, a simple collation of voting numbers would be misleading.

Moreover, the information can only show whether or not the UK participated in a blocking minority; not

26 Jan 2012 : Column WA263

whether the UK was itself successful in achieving said blocking minority. All these points apply equally to blocking minorities.

Extradition

Question

Asked by Lord Maginnis of Drumglass

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): The United Kingdom has received extradition requests from the United States for Gary McKinnon and Richard O'Dwyer. These are both still outstanding. The maximum sentence for someone found guilty of an offence under Section 2 of the Misuse of Computers Act 1990 would be five years per offence. The maximum sentence for someone found guilty under Section 107(2A) of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 would be two years per offence.

With respect to Abu Qatada, it is long-standing government policy neither to confirm nor deny that an extradition request has been received for an individual unless or until that person has been arrested pursuant to the request.

Falkland Islands

Question

Asked by Lord Moonie

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford):The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right honourable friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague) and our diplomatic missions have discussed with Brazil, Chile and Uruguay the decision by Mercosur nations on 20 December to deny access to Falkland Islands flagged vessels. Our priority has been to ensure that the trade and commercial links between the Falklands and South America are not compromised by this political declaration. We are assured that neither Brazil, Chile nor Uruguay has any intention of participating in an economic blockade of the Falkland Islands. All Falklands-related commercial shipping flying the British Red Ensign will continue to enjoy access to their ports, in accordance with domestic and international law. No representations have been made to the World Trade Organisation.



26 Jan 2012 : Column WA264

Gaza

Questions

Asked by Lord Judd

Baroness Northover: According to the latest report from the United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, over 75 per cent of Gazans are dependent to some extent on aid for some of the basics of life, such as food, water, shelter or medical equipment.

Asked by Lord Judd

Baroness Northover: The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) plays a vital role in delivering essential services to the approximately 1.1 million registered Palestinian refugees in Gaza, comprising over 70 per cent of the entire Gazan population. Services delivered by UNRWA in Gaza include education and vocational training, healthcare, relief and social services, microcredit, job creation and emergency assistance.

The World Food Programme (WFP) provides crucial support to tackle the high level of food insecurity in Gaza, where over 50 per cent of the population is food insecure. In 2012, WFP will provide assistance to over 285,000 people in the Gaza Strip through its food distribution, school meal and food voucher schemes, enabling them to secure access to the basic food items they need to survive.

Asked by Lord Judd

Baroness Northover: In December 2011, the Israeli authorities approved the entry of materials for four water, sanitation and hygiene projects in Gaza, worth a total value of over $3.75 million. A further 13 projects, worth $74.5 million which would benefit over 1.4 million Palestinians, are still awaiting approval.

Asked by Lord Judd

Baroness Northover: According to the latest report from the United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the Occupied Palestinian

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Territory, less than 10 per cent of water from the Gaza Coastal Aquifer, the only source of fresh water in Gaza, is drinkable. This is a result of contamination of the aquifer from sewerage and overextraction making the water drawn from it unfit for human consumption.

Asked by Baroness Tonge

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We are aware of media reports of possible preparations for an Israeli military operation on Gaza. The UK remains concerned about the situation in Gaza and by recent incidents in and around Gaza.

We continue to urge restraint on all sides and to condemn any acts that might lead to an escalation of the fragile situation on the ground or cause civilian casualties.

Asked by Baroness Tonge

Lord Howell of Guildford: The UK remains concerned about the situation in Gaza and by recent incidents in and around Gaza.

We continue to urge restraint on all sides and to condemn any acts that might lead to an escalation of the fragile situation on the ground or cause civilian casualties.

Government Departments: Bonuses

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): There are different pay arrangements for staff in the Senior Civil Service (SCS) and those staff below the SCS.



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Senior Civil Service

Pay arrangements for the Senior Civil Service are based on a framework set centrally by the Cabinet Office

The Cabinet Office has advised departments of the arrangements for non-consolidated performance related payments for the Senior Civil Service for the 2012 pay award (ie payments effective from 1 Apr 12, relating to performance in the 2011-12 reporting year). Payments are restricted to the top 25 per cent of performers and the following cash ceilings will apply:

deputy directors (PB1/1A)-£10,000;

directors (PB2)-£12,500;

directors general (PB3)-£15,000; and

permanent secretaries-£17,500.

The figures illustrated are the maximum awards that departments are able to make and they are required to ensure that the average size of awards is lower than these amounts.

It is not possible at this stage, however, to estimate what the average award will be until the end of the reporting year.

Beyond 2012, it is not possible to provide any estimates, for the questions asked, as guidance on the use of non-consolidated performance related payments has not been issued.

Staff below the Senior Civil Service

For staff below the Senior Civil Service, departments and executive agencies have delegated authority to tailor reward packages to meet their own business needs. It is not yet clear what the central pay guidance on the use and payment of non-consolidated performance related awards will be for the 2012 pay award (ie payments effective from 1 July 2012, relating to performance in the 2011-12 reporting year). Similarly, it is not possible at this stage to provide estimates beyond 2012, in relation to the questions asked, as guidance on the use of non-consolidated performance related payments has yet to be determined.

Government Departments: Staff

Question

Asked by Viscount Waverley

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Recruitment of Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) staff is by open competition based on objective criteria. Jobs are filled by interview. Candidates are assessed against FCO competences and relevant experience of geographical areas and issues is highly valued, as are language skills. When jobs are advertised, the key competences and other skills and experience required are set out in the job specifications. Some jobs will specify certain levels of language or skills as being essential for the role and

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will be advertised with long lead times to allow for full time language training in advance where necessary. Under our diplomatic excellence programme we continue to work to ensure that acquiring geographical, language and other skills and expertise is incentivised through the appointments we make.

Health: Addiction to Prescribed Drugs

Questions

Asked by The Earl of Sandwich

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, (Anne Milton) met the noble Earl on 13 December 2011 to discuss future action on addiction to medicines. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State will be reconvening the roundtable meeting in March 2012, to review the progress against the points agreed at the round table meeting on 15 September 2011.



26 Jan 2012 : Column WA268

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State will be meeting patients to discuss addiction to medicines on 31 January and is planning to visit a dedicated tranquilliser withdrawal service in June 2012.

Higher Education: Overseas Students

Question

Asked by Lord Judd

Baroness Verma: The latest data available on applications to study in England and Wales from the rest of the European Union are published by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service and refer to applications as of 19 December.

Table 1 below shows the number of applications received by UCAS broken down by the domicile of the applicant and the country of institution.

It remains too early in the application cycle to make predictions about eventual demand for entry to higher education in 2012. The majority of courses and universities have a 15 January deadline-application patterns from the December data are historically unreliable indicators of the eventual year-on-year change.

In 2011 only a third of the final number of applicants from the rest of the EU had applied by this date.

UCAS will be publishing figures relating to the 15 January deadline on 30 January.



26 Jan 2012 : Column WA269



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Table 1: Applications by domicile and country of institution as at 19 December
Country of Institution
Domicile of ApplicantEnglandN. IrelandScotlandWales

England

2012

245,592

1,634

19,468

26,698

2011

267,719

1,370

20,145

30,032

% change

-8.30%

19.30%

-3.40%

-11.10%

N. Ireland

2012

5,955

9,232

3,593

621

2011

6,960

9,511

4,234

747

% change

-14.40%

-2.90%

-15.10%

-16.90%

Scotland

2012

2,384

112

14,324

94

2011

2,832

96

14,315

171

% change

-15.80%

16.70%

0.10%

-45.00%

Wales

2012

9,877

61

628

9,796

2011

9,597

49

600

10,371

% change

2.90%

24.50%

4.70%

-5.50%

Other EU

2012

13,067

593

6,298

1,129

2011

14,983

694

5,852

1,366

% change

-12.80%

-14.60%

7.60%

-17.30%

Non EU

2012

23,480

327

6,320

1,863

2011

20,699

209

5,106

1,621

% change

13.40%

56.50%

23.80%

14.90%

Total

2012

300,355

11,959

50,631

40,201

2011

322,790

11,929

50,252

44,308

% change

-7.00%

0.30%

0.80%

-9.30%

Table notes:

An applicant has a maximum count of 1 to each "country of institution". If an applicant's choices include multiple countries then the applicant is counted once within each "country of institution" present.

Israel

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Government maintain an interest in the special status of the Old City of Jerusalem. We support the work of organisations that seek to ensure that any archaeological and repair work being carried out reflect the sensitivities of the religions for which the Old City holds special significance.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) regularly discusses the state of the Old City including repairs to the Al-Aqsa Mosque. There have been resolutions concerning archaeological excavations at the Old City at each UNESCO Executive Board. Until the elections in November the UK was not a member of the board and we have not had specific consultations with UNESCO on the repairs.

Israel and Palestine

Questions

Asked by Lord Judd

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We raise our concerns over the treatment of prisoners regularly with the Israeli authorities. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my honourable friend the Member for North East Bedfordshire (Mr Burt), raised them most recently with Deputy Foreign Minister Ayalon on 18 January 2012. Our ambassador to Tel Aviv discussed penal policy with senior Israeli officials on 6 October 2011, and with the Israeli Prison Service on 26 October, raising issues of concern such as visitation rights (especially for minors), and the treatment of minors, particularly cuffing and shackling. Mr Burt also discussed the issue with Minister of Justice Neeman during his visit to the region in July 2011 and with the Israeli Ambassador on 26 October 2011.

Asked by Baroness Tonge

Lord Howell of Guildford: We do not believe there is a clear parallel between the situation in the Western Sahara and the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. We have no plans to raise this issue in discussions with Israel or the Palestinians.

Middle East and North Africa

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

Baroness Northover: The European Union does not provide public information on its spending plans or forthcoming commitments to specific countries. Disbursements can also be calculated only retrospectively.

In regard to conditions being applied, allocations to countries in the region will be dependent on countries' progress towards deep and sustainable democracy, fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law. All ongoing projects have been screened, and re-orientated towards key reform priorities, particularly in democratisation, human rights, and the rule of law. It is expected that 2012 programmes will also be orientated in this way.

EU support is now explicitly conditional on achieving benchmarks in the fields of political and economic reform. For those partners who fail to respect human rights, the EU will limit and if necessary withdraw support. For example, EU financial support for Syria has been frozen in light of the recent political developments in that country.



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Museums: Regimental Museums

Question

Asked by Lord Kilclooney

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): It is recognised that regimental museums play a key role in preserving the Army's heritage. They are pivotal in acting as a bridge between communities and the present-day Army and in improving awareness of the Army's role within society, both on a national and local basis.

The Royal Irish Fusiliers Museum in Armagh is one of four Royal Irish Regiment museums. It is understood that the Royal Irish Regiment has, for some time, been considering the possibility of consolidating their military museums (the Inniskillings Museum, the Royal Ulster Rifles Museum, the Royal Irish Fusiliers Museum and the Museum of the Royal Irish Regiment) into one museum or military gallery located on two sites. This proposal remains subject to further work by the regiment and no decisions have been taken on the future of any of these museums.

In addition to this regimental initiative, the Army has recently undertaken a study into the role, resources and future structure of regimental museums. As a result of this the Army has decided that, in the short-term, nine civilian posts can be disestablished from across the regimental museum network without damage to the existing museum structures; this includes one post at the Royal Irish Fusiliers Museum in Armagh. In the longer-term, the Army has also decided, in principle, a

26 Jan 2012 : Column WA272

plan which will see the number of MoD-funded museums reducing over time, in a staged approach from 2017 onwards, to achieve a ratio of one museum per regiment and corps by 2030. This plan is still very much a work in progress and more detailed work will be required in future years to identify precisely how, when and where any such changes will be made. The underpinning principle will be to provide the Army with a network of properly supported military museums to ensure the protection and preservation of the Army's heritage into the future.

NEET

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 of people not in education, employment or training (NEET) in Liverpool Local Authority, North West and London regions, and England, by age group in 2008, 2009 and 2010. NEET statistics for Wales are available from the Welsh Government.



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26 Jan 2012 : Column WA274

Table 1: People aged 19-64 not in education, employment or training (NEET) in Liverpool, North West, London and England, 2008-2010
Academic AgeNumber NEETPercentage NEETConfidence Interval
200820092010200820092010200820092010

Liverpool

19-29

13,000

20,000

17,000

16.8%

25.8%

19.5%

+/- 4.8 pp

+/- 5.5 pp

+/- 4.4 pp

(Local Authority)

30-39

12,000

16,000

14,000

19.7%

26.1%

25.0%

+/- 5.1 pp

+/- 5.4 pp

+/- 5.3 pp

40-49

18,000

14,000

15,000

28.1%

21.6%

25.3%

+/- 5.5 pp

+/- 5.0 pp

+/- 5.3 pp

50-64

34,000

35,000

32,000

48.8%

48.8%

41.5%

+/- 5.9 pp

+/- 5.4 pp

+/- 4.8 pp

Total 19-64

77,000

85,000

78,000

28.3%

30.9%

28.0%

+/- 2.8 pp

+/- 2.7 pp

+/- 2.5 pp

North West

19-29

177,000

212,000

209,000

18.0%

21.1%

20.3%

+/- 1.1 pp

+/- 1.1 pp

+/- 1.1 pp

(Region)

30-39

153,000

162,000

148,000

17.6%

19.2%

17.8%

+/- 1.0 pp

+/- 1.1 pp

+/- 1.1 pp

40-49

173,000

187,000

177,000

17.4%

18.5%

17.8%

+/- 0.9 pp

+/- 1.0 pp

+/- 1.0 pp

50-64

496,000

486,000

481,000

39.9%

39.0%

38.1%

+/- 1.1 pp

+/- 1.1 pp

+/- 1.1 pp

Total 19-64

999,000

1,046,000

1,015,000

24.4%

25.5%

24.7%

+/- 0.5 pp

+/- 0.6 pp

+/- 0.5 pp

London

19-29

206,000

213,000

225,000

15.2%

16.2%

16.7%

+/- 1.1 pp

+/- 1.2 pp

+/- 1.2 pp

(Region)

30-39

246,000

241,000

239,000

18.3%

18.2%

17.9%

+/- 1.1 pp

+/- 1.2 pp

+/- 1.2 pp

40-49

215,000

218,000

222,000

20.3%

20.1%

20.5%

+/- 1.2 pp

+/- 1.3 pp

+/- 1.3 pp

50-64

357,000

361,000

365,000

34.7%

34.7%

35.0%

+/- 1.4 pp

+/- 1.5 pp

+/- 1.5 pp

Total 19-64

1,025,000

1,033,000

1,051,000

21.4%

21.7%

21.8%

+/- 0.6 pp

+/- 0.7 pp

+/- 0.6 pp

England

19-29

1,156,000

1,345,000

1,405,000

15.7%

18.1%

18.5%

+/- 0.4 pp

+/- 0.5 pp

+/- 0.5 pp

30-39

1,144,000

1,178,000

1,188,000

16.5%

17.4%

17.7%

+/- 0.4 pp

+/- 0.4 pp

+/- 0.4 pp

40-49

1,147,000

1,199,000

1,189,000

15.5%

16.0%

15.9%

+/- 0.4 pp

+/- 0.4 pp

+/- 0.4 pp

50-64

3,139,000

3,209,000

3,214,000

34.9%

35.3%

35.1%

+/- 0.4 pp

+/- 0.4 pp

+/- 0.4 pp

Total 19-64

6,587,000

6,931,000

6,997,000

21.5%

22.5%

22.6%

+/- 0.2 pp

+/- 0.2 pp

+/- 0.2 pp

1. Age refers to academic age, which is defined as the age of the respondent at the preceding 31 August.

2. Estimates of the number NEET are rounded to the nearest thousand and may not sum to totals due to rounding.

3. All estimates are taken from the Annual Population Survey.

Estimates are from the Annual Population Survey (APS), which covers the period January to December of each year. The APS is the only available source of data with a sample large enough to provide local authority estimates of the number of young people who are NEET for different age groups.

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 +/-5 percentage points (pp) means that the true value is between 5pp above the estimate and 5pp below the estimate.

Overall investment in adult further education (FE) and skills will be £3.8 billion in the 2012-13 financial year.

There is no separate budget for adults who are not in employment, education or training (NEET). Instead we have given FE colleges and training providers increased freedoms and flexibilities to enable them to offer education and training which responds to local needs. Government investment in adult FE and skills will support an expansion in high-quality 19+ apprenticeship places and provide full government funding for: adults to gain basic English and maths qualifications; young adults to gain foundation learning, intermediate and advanced level qualifications; and pre-employment training courses for unemployed people who need to address skills deficits to get work. The Government have also protected the £210 million per year budget for adult community learning which supports personal development, stronger families, inclusive communities and a stronger civil society.

On 15 December 2011, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, together with the Departments for Education and Work and Pensions, published Building Engagement, Building Futures: Our Strategy to Maximise the Participation of 16-24 year Olds in Education, Training and Work. This sets out the Government's approach to improving opportunities for young people so they can succeed in education and training and gain the skills they need to secure an apprenticeship or employment. It has five strategic priorities:

priority 1: Raising attainment in school and beyond to ensure that young people have the skills they need to compete in a global economy;priority 2: Helping local partners to provide effective and co-ordinated services that support all young people, including the most vulnerable, putting us on track to achieve full participation for 16-17 year-olds by 2015;priority 3: Encouraging and incentivising employers to inspire and recruit young people by offering more high-quality apprenticeships and work experience places;priority 4: Ensuring that work pays and giving young people the personalised support they need to find it, through universal credit, the Work Programme and our Get Britain Working measures; andpriority 5: Putting in place a new Youth Contract worth almost £1 billion over the next three years to help get young people earning or learning before long-term damage is done.

The Youth Contract builds on the support already available through Jobcentre Plus and the Work Programme. The core of the Youth Contract is:

160,000 wage incentives, worth £2,275 each, for employers who recruit an 18-24 year-old from the Work Programme - this is more than enough to cover an employer's national insurance contributions for employing a young person for a year, and exceeds the recommendations by the CBI in its recent report on youth unemployment;an extra 250,000 work experience or sector-based work academy places over the next three years, taking the total to at least 100,000 a year, which enables us to offer a work experience place for every 18 to 24 year-old on JSA, before they enter the Work Programme;

26 Jan 2012 : Column WA275

an extra 20,000 incentive payments for small employers to take on apprentices aged 16-24 where these are new jobs and for new employers to the programme bringing the total available to 40,000; andextra support through Jobcentre Plus for all 18-24 year- olds, consisting of weekly, rather than fortnightly signing, extra adviser time to provide more back to work support and referral to a careers interview from the National Careers Service within three months of their claim.

We are committed to expanding the apprenticeships programme and we are investing over £1.4 billion. We have provided additional funding to support the growth of 16-24 apprenticeships, and the Access to Apprenticeships programme has been introduced to widen access for young people aged 16-24 who have been NEET for 13 weeks or more, or who experience other forms of disadvantage.

In the Plan for Growth, published last March, we set out how we will create the conditions for economic growth and recovery which should help to reduce cyclical unemployment. We aim to make it as easy as possible for employers to create jobs and take on new people. We have set out an ambitious programme of reforms as part of the Employment Law Review and sought views from employers and employees on priorities for reform as part of the Red Tape Challenge.

2 Those given are 95 per cent confidence intervals

NHS: Expenditure

Question

Asked by Lord Mawhinney

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The actual National Health Service spend on continuing healthcare in England is given in the following table.

YearExpenditure (£ million)

2009-10

2,031

2010-11

2,186

Source: FIMS data collection

Data on the projected spend for 2011-12 are not collected centrally.

Northern Ireland Office: Bonuses

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

Lord Shutt of Greetland: All members of staff in the Northern Ireland Office who satisfy the criteria for receiving performance or special bonuses, in line with the terms and conditions of their employment, will be considered at the relevant time. It is not possible to forecast the number of staff who may be eligible to receive performance or special bonuses, or the level of any such award, in future years.

Ports and Harbours

Question

Asked by Lord Berkeley

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): On 31 January 2010, the Great Yarmouth Port Company Ltd (trading as Eastport) applied to the Marine Management Organisation for a harbour revision order under Section 14 of the Harbours Act 1964. Eastport operates the port of Great Yarmouth on behalf of the current harbour authority, the Great Yarmouth Port Authority. The order seeks to transfer power and duties currently bestowed upon the Great Yarmouth Port Authority as harbour authority to Eastport. As at 24 January 2012, eight objections to the current application by Eastport for a harbour revision order remain outstanding. The application remains under consideration.

Schools: Free Schools

Question

Asked by Lord Ashcroft

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): No. Our reforms, through academies and the introduction of free schools, build on the guiding principle that high quality, free education should be available to all irrespective of parents' ability to pay.



26 Jan 2012 : Column WA277

Schools: King James Bible

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): To mark the 400th anniversary year of the publication of the King James Bible, the Department for Education is sending a facsimile copy to all primary and secondary schools in England, to enable all pupils to understand its place in our nation's identity and history.

The story of the King James Bible, and its impact on the English speaking world, can help pupils-of all faiths and none-better appreciate our language and literature, democracy and culture.

Printing will take place in the next few months. There will be no foreword from the Secretary of State.

Scotland: Referendum

Question

Asked by Lord Empey

The Advocate-General for Scotland (Lord Wallace of Tankerness): The Government are confident that if a fair, legal and decisive referendum on independence is held, the people of Scotland will choose to remain part of the United Kingdom.

Shipping: Type 26 Frigates

Question

Asked by Lord West of Spithead

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The Government are clear that Scotland benefits from being part of the UK and that the UK benefits from having Scotland

26 Jan 2012 : Column WA278

within it. The Government are not making plans for independence as we are confident that people in Scotland will continue to support the union in any referendum.

Decisions on future contracts for the Type 26 Global Combat Ship programme will not be made until after the completion of the assessment phase, which is proceeding as scheduled and is anticipated to conclude by 2014.

Taxation: Avoidance

Question

Asked by Lord Avebury

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): It is not possible to provide an estimate of the number of winter fuel payments paid or the tax avoided by non-UK domiciled taxpayers, as neither the Department for Work and Pensions nor HM Revenue and Customs hold information in the form requested. However, further information on the latest tax gap estimates can be found in the Answer of 26 October 2011 (Official Report, col. 236W, on tax avoidance).

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

Question

Asked by Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): We are confident that our legislation and policies are compatible with the UNCRC, including those which apply to the corporal punishment of children. We are making improvements to policy and practice in many areas which will improve the lives of children and allow us to make further progress towards the articles of the UNCRC.

On 6 December 2010, the Minister of State for Children and Families made a commitment to Parliament to give due consideration to the UNCRC when making new policy and legislation1. We have also said that we will introduce legislation at the earliest opportunity to give the Office of the Children's Commissioner explicit responsibility for promoting and protecting children's rights.

1 http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201212/ldhansrd/ text/101206-wms0001.htm#1012062000097


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