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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.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): To date we do not support making
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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.
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)|
(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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many electro-magnetic catapults are being procured from the United States; whether they are all intended for one aircraft carrier; for which carrier or carriers they are intended; at what date they are expected to be fitted onto a carrier; and what is the differential in price if sets for two carriers are ordered at this point in comparison to ordering one set at this point and another set at a later date.[HL14711]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether there are plans to ensure future refitting and maintenance work on the new aircraft carriers can be conducted in English, Welsh and Northern Irish yards, and to ensure that the Valiant Jetty can easily be moved to Devonport or a similar deep water port such as Milford Haven.[HL14713]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they make available Falklands Air Bridge service seats unused by service personnel to civilian island family members and tourists; and if they do not, whether they have considered the impact of such a move on Government revenue.[HL14875]
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 Allocation||Falkland Islands Government||Ascension Island Government|
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether there are bonus arrangements in the contracts of executives at Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group that cannot be changed by the remuneration committees of those companies; and whether UK Financial Investments Ltd supports existing bonus policies at those companies or will use its shareholding votes to secure change.[HL14744]
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
26 Jan 2012 : Column WA259
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have received in support of their proposals to reduce the rate bands for disability living allowance from three to two; and what plans they have to consult further on those changes. [HL14887]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have received in support of their proposals to stop automatic qualification for the disability living allowance; and what plans they have to consult further on those changes.[HL14888]
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 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.
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.
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).
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answers by Earl Howe on 7 February 2011 (WA 13-4), 11 August 2011 (WA 362) and 10 January 2012 (WA 22), how the provisions of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 might be undermined by requesting that the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) should account for its licensing decisions in terms of concurrently available evidence at the HFEA's disposal; to what extent the same concerns apply to evidence given by HFEA employees to select committees of either House regarding licensing decisions; and in what way delegation of functions to the HFEA's successor would be expected to be similarly affected by expectations regarding public accountability. [HL14934]
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.
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.
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government on how many occasions the United Kingdom has been successful in achieving blocking majorities in the European Council or Council of Ministers; and what are the details of those occasions.[HL14812]
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.
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
To ask Her Majesty's Government in relation to what charges, and from which countries, they have received applications for the extradition of (1) Gary McKinnon, (2) Richard O'Dwyer, and (3) Abu Qatada; how many of those applications are still outstanding; and what would be the maximum sentence for someone found guilty of the equivalent charges in the United Kingdom.[HL14902]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the World Trade Organisation about the criteria being applied by Mercosur nations to international trade as a result of recent disputes regarding the Falkland Islands. [HL14944]
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.
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the significance of the role currently being played by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees and the World Food Programme in Gaza.[HL14883]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their estimate of the number of water and sanitation projects for essential repair, maintenance and improvement of the infrastructure in Gaza currently awaiting approval by the Government of Israel. [HL14884]
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.
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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To ask Her Majesty's Government what evaluation they have made of the recent statement by the head of the Israeli army's Southern Brigade that Israeli forces are preparing for a new military operation in Gaza.[HL14967]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the Government of Israel concerning the artillery shells which the Israeli Defence Force allegedly fired into a civilian area in the northern Gaza Strip on 6 January. [HL14968]
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 Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; how many people they estimate will receive each type of bonus; what they estimate will be the average payment for each type of bonus; and what they estimate will be the maximum payment for each type of bonus.[HL14860]
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.
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:
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what weight the Foreign and Commonwealth Office give to relevant experience, appropriate proven temperament attributes and the necessary language skills, for selection for overseas postings.[HL15003]
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
26 Jan 2012 : Column WA267
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they have taken regarding addiction to prescribed medication following the points agreed at the Round Table meeting on 15 September; and when that group will be reconvened.[HL15005]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have plans for the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Public Health, Anne Milton, to visit specialised prescribed medication clinics and centres of excellence in the United Kingdom, in addition to the centre in Oldham.[HL15007]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their estimate of the impact to date of the new fees regime on the number of students coming from the rest of the European Union to England and Wales for higher education courses.[HL14757]
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.
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.
|Table 1: Applications by domicile and country of institution as at 19 December|
|Country of Institution|
|Domicile of Applicant||England||N. Ireland||Scotland||Wales|
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government when the British delegates to UNESCO last raised issues concerning the special status of the Old City in Jerusalem, particularly the case for repairs to the Al-Aqsa Mosque; and with what results.[HL14942]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what recent consultations they have had with Palestinian leaders and the Government of Israel on human rights in penal policy, and its application in the treatment of prisoners.[HL14928]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how in their discussions with Israel and Palestine regarding the use of Palestinian natural resources they intend to take account of the recent decision by the European Parliament that exploitation of the natural resources of Western Sahara could be considered legal only if the Saharawi people were consulted and benefited. [HL14963]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what will be the total of European Union aid to the Middle East and North Africa in the financial year 2012-13; what is the breakdown of that figure for each recipient state; and whether human rights conditions will be attached.[HL14916]
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.
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
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many persons living in (1) Liverpool, (2) north-west England, (3) London, and (4) England and Wales, broken down by age group, were not in employment, education or training (NEET) in each of the past three years; what plans they have to decrease this number; how much funding has been allocated to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to reduce the number of NEETs; and how much of this funding will be made available to (a) Liverpool, and (b) north-west England.[HL14865]
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.
|Table 1: People aged 19-64 not in education, employment or training (NEET) in Liverpool, North West, London and England, 2008-2010|
|Academic Age||Number NEET||Percentage NEET||Confidence Interval|
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.
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.
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 10 January (WA 61), what, in cash terms, was the actual spending on continuing health care in 2009-10 and 2010-11; and what is the projected spend, in cash terms, for 2011-12.[HL14899]
|Year||Expenditure (£ million)|
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
26 Jan 2012 : Column WA276
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.
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, in the light of the introduction of the free school programme, they considered the option of schools which would be partly dependent on parent payments, with the balance being funded by the state. [HL14959]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether copies of the King James Bible have been printed in connection with the Secretary of State for Education's intention to circulate a copy to every state school in England; and whether they will reproduce the text of the foreword to the Bible written by the Secretary of State.[HL14983]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, in the event of independence from the United Kingdom being granted to Scotland, the name of the country would have to be officially altered to take account of the change to the nature of Great Britain. [HL14804]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, in the light of current uncertainties regarding Scottish devolution, they are putting in place plans to ensure the building and sub-contracting for the Type 26 frigate programme can be conducted by companies based in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. [HL14712]
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
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.
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).
To ask Her Majesty's Government which United Kingdom obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child have yet to be implemented; and whether they include action prohibiting the corporal punishment of children. [HL14986]
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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