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7 Feb 2012 : Column WA31



7 Feb 2012 : Column WA31

Written Answers

Tuesday 7 February 2012

Abortion

Question

Asked by Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer

Baroness Northover: UK officials are engaged in regular working level discussions with US Government officials who work to improve access to reproductive health. This has included discussions of the conditions that govern the use of US family planning funds-including those imposed by the Helms amendment.

The July 2011 Department for International Development practice paper clearly outlines the UK policy position on safe and unsafe abortion in developing countries. We are open to discussing our position with others who wish to learn more from our stance.

Armed Forces: Medals

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

Earl Attlee: We recognise the invaluable contribution made by merchant seamen to our national life, in times of both war and peace.

Her Majesty's Government are currently considering the representations which have been made in relation to the wearing of the Merchant Navy Medal.

Bahrain

Question

Asked by Lord Patten



7 Feb 2012 : Column WA32

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Although we have not raised individual cases with the Bahraini authorities, we have consistently maintained that everyone, whether they took part in any political protests or not, should have access to the medical treatment they need when in custody. We have made it clear to the Government of Bahrain that the civil rights of opposition figures and the legitimate exercise of freedom of expression and peaceful assembly must be respected. We also expect the government to meet all their human rights obligations by ensuring their citizens can exercise the universal human rights and freedoms to which they are entitled and to which they have committed.

Banking

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): UK Financial Investments Ltd (UKFI) is responsible for managing the Government's investments in Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Lloyds Banking Group (LBG) on an arm's length and commercial basis.

Neither Her Majesty's Government nor UKFI is a signatory of the employment contracts of any directors of RBS and LBG.

Biological Weapons

Questions

Asked by Lord Harris of Haringey

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Since 1991, parties to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) have been required to submit information on defensive and offensive biological defence research and development programmes, both current and past.

Of the 165 parties to the BTWC, 69 returns were submitted in 2011, covering the year 2010. Many parties consider them to be only voluntary. Twenty-two states parties, including the UK, made them available publicly at: http://www.unog.ch/bwc/cbms.

The publicly available confidence building measures show that the following states parties to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention declared national biological defence research programmes in 2011: Australia; Austria; Belgium; Canada; Czech Republic; Denmark; Finland; Germany; Latvia; Norway; Portugal; Romania; Sweden; Switzerland; Turkey; UK; and the United States.



7 Feb 2012 : Column WA33

We continue to push for those countries which have not submitted returns to do so. We also actively encourage those countries which are not yet parties to adhere to the convention and to abide by these reporting requirements.

Asked by Lord Harris of Haringey

Lord Howell of Guildford: We are keen to see a robust verification mechanism for the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC). However, there remain no signs that the international climate has changed enough to permit universal agreement on verification, particularly given the need to operate by consensus. The European Union (EU) Council decision 2011/429/CFSP of 18 July 2011 relating to the position of the European Union for the seventh BTWC review conference stated that the EU is willing to work towards identifying options that could achieve similar goals.

The second BTWC review conference (1986) agreed to introduce confidence building measures (CBMs). The UK has submitted annually, and several states parties (including the UK and United States) now make their CBMs available publicly.

While CBMs do not replace a verification mechanism they do serve to prevent or reduce the occurrence of ambiguities, doubts and suspicions. We continue to encourage all parties to the convention to report annually. Currently only 42 per cent do so.

At the seventh BTWC review conference in December 2011 the UK supported amendments to the CBM forms in order to improve their quality and encourage increased participation. We also supported strengthening national implementation of the BTWC and giving greater impetus to promoting its universality-31 countries remain outside the convention.

Broadcasting: Press TV

Question

Asked by Lord Kilclooney

Baroness Garden of Frognal: The matter raised is an operational one for the independent regulator, the Office of Communications (Ofcom). Accordingly, my officials spoke to Ofcom, who advised:

During the course of an investigation into Press TV for its broadcasting an interview obtained under duress from the Newsweek and Channel 4 journalist Maziar Bahari, it became clear that the editorial control of the channel rested with Press TV International, which is based in Tehran.

The Communications Act requires that a licence is held by the person who is in general control of the TV service: that is, the person who chooses which programmes

7 Feb 2012 : Column WA34

are shown on the service and organises the programme schedule. In this case the wrong person held the licence (Press TV Ltd, who did not have full editorial control).

Children: Parenting

Questions

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

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

Letter from Stephen Penneck, Director General for ONS, to Lord Roberts of Llandudno, dated February 2012.

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking what estimate has been made of how many children do not normally reside in a household which includes

1. their father

2. their mother

The Office for National Statistics does not routinely publish estimates of the number of children who live in a household which does not normally include (1) their birth mother or (2) their birth father. However the article "Children with a non-resident parent" published by ONS in Population Trends 140 (see www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/population-trends-rd/population-trends/no--140--summer-2010/index.html) estimated from survey data that 3.8 million dependent children in Great Britain in 2009 had one birth parent not living in the household. Information about the gender of the non-resident parent is not readily available and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost. HL15360 and HL15361.

Croatia: EU Membership

Question

Asked by Lord Pearson of Rannoch

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The UK is a strong supporter of European Union (EU) membership for Croatia. The Government therefore welcomed the decision by the Croatian people who, on 22 January, voted to join the EU. The referendum campaign was not formally

7 Feb 2012 : Column WA35

monitored by independent international electoral monitors, but we have no reason to doubt the fairness of the campaign, which was conducted in a free and open environment. It is pertinent to note that the 4 December general elections, which were monitored by the OSCE (Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe) Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, were judged to be transparently and professionally run, in a pluralistic environment. We now look to Croatia to demonstrate continued progress on the reform agenda so that we can welcome Croatia as a full EU member in July 2013.

The UK supports the principle that nationals of all member states should hold posts within the EU institutions, and expects that the EU will actively support the recruitment of Croatian nationals after accession. We believe that this should be achieved without increasing the human resources available to the EU institutions or imposing additional costs on the EU budget.

Debt

Question

Asked by Lord Roberts of Conwy

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

Letter from Stephen Penneck, Director General for ONS, to Lord Roberts of Conwy, dated February 2012.

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics (ONS), I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking what is Her Majesty's Government's latest estimate of the totality of (1) private sector debt in the United Kingdom, and (2) public sector debt. (HL15112)

Latest Data

Using the latest data published by ONS on 22 December 2011, for the third quarter of 2011, please find below the information you have requested with further detail regarding how the sectors have been grouped and the specific data items we have used.

Public and Private Sector Debt

UK. 3 Quarter 2011
£ billions

Public sector total financial liabilities

1,650

Private sector total financial liabilities

28,063

Source: ONS, UKEA 3rd Quarter 2011

Further detail

The above figures are the aggregated total financial sector liabilities as published in the sector financial balance sheets of the United Kingdom Economic

7 Feb 2012 : Column WA36

Accounts (UKEA). These liabilities do not make any allowance for the financial and non-financial assets held by each sector.

For the purposes of this question, we have defined the sectors as follows

Private sector

private non-financial corporations;

financial corporations; and

household and non-profit institutions serving households.

Public sector

public corporations;

local government; and

central government.

The total financial liabilities supplied are valued at current market prices (ie not adjusted for price inflation) and are unconsolidated.

Alternative public sector net debt measure

For the public sector there is an alternative definition of debt, which is the standard measure of public debt used in the UK to monitor (and forecast) the Government's fiscal position. This measure is known as the public sector net debt and the latest estimates are published in the monthly Public Sector Finances statistical bulletin jointly published by ONS and HM Treasury (at http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/taxonomy/index. html?nscl=Public+Sector+Finance).

Public sector net debt is defined as the total financial liabilities of the public sector minus the liquid assets, and is valued at nominal prices rather than market prices. All data are consolidated across the public sector, ie all intra public sector asset/liability holdings are removed. On this basis, public sector net debt was:

£1,004 billion at the end of December 2011, excluding public sector banking groups and the temporary effects of Government financial interventions; and£2,330 billion at the end of December 2011, including public sector banking groups and the temporary effects of Government financial interventions.

The public sector banking groups referred to above are Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc, Lloyds Banking Group plc, Northern Rock Asset Management and Bradford and Bingley. Within the United Kingdom Economic Accounts figures, these banking groups are all recorded under financial corporations and so are within the private sector.

Education: Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Children

Question

Asked by Lord Avebury

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The Department for Education advocates the use of equality impact assessments when developing new policies or making significant changes to existing ones, but would not routinely use them when ending consultancy contracts. No formal equality impact assessments were drawn up with regard to ending the contracts of Arthur Ivatts OBE and Margaret Wood 21 days earlier than originally planned.

The department is very grateful to Arthur Ivatts and Margaret Wood for the support which they have provided on the education of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller pupils. The department continues to seek their advice on an informal basis, through its regular meetings with the Advisory Council on the Education of Romany and Other Travellers and through the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller education stakeholder group.

Egypt

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We are aware of reports that Coptic homes were looted and burned in the village of Kobry-el-Sharbat. Ministers have regularly raised our concerns with the Egyptian authorities about the dangers of extremism and sectarianism in Egypt. We continue to press the authorities to promote religious tolerance, revisit policies which discriminate against anyone on the basis of their religion, and enshrine respect for human rights in the Constitution, including guarantees for minority rights.

Embryology

Questions

Asked by Baroness Gould of Potternewton

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Government are supporting Infertility Network UK, the leading infertility support group, to undertake a primary care trusts liaison project. The purpose of this three-year project is to gauge the extent to which commissioners are following the recommendations of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence fertility guideline and sharing good practice in their treatment of people with fertility problems. A final report from the project is due later this year.



7 Feb 2012 : Column WA38

Asked by Baroness Gould of Potternewton

Earl Howe: The Government are considering the future commissioning arrangements for infertility services, including in vitro fertilisation treatment. No final decisions have been taken at this stage.

Energy: Energy Company Obligation

Questions

Asked by Baroness Smith of Basildon

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): The Government's recent consultation on the Green Deal and the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) set out proposals for the size and design of ECO, and was accompanied by a draft impact assessment. This estimated that, assuming continuation of ECO to the end of 2022, there would be a reduction in the number of households in fuel poverty of between 350,000 and 550,000, compared to the number of households who could have been in fuel poverty at the end of 2022 without ECO. Many more households could stand to benefit from an alleviation of the extent to which they are in fuel poverty through the Green Deal and ECO. We are currently considering the consultation responses, and will publish a formal response in due course, accompanied by a revised and updated impact assessment.

Asked by Baroness Smith of Basildon

Lord Marland: Many hard-to-treat homes have solid walls, and as part of our recent consultation we have proposed that the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) carbon target should have a particular focus on solid wall insulation. The impact assessment published alongside the consultation provided estimates of the number of properties that might be treated on this basis. The consultation also asked whether other expensive measures that are appropriate for hard-to-treat properties, such as insulation of hard-to-treat cavities, should be included under the ECO.

We are currently considering responses to the consultation, which closed on 18 January, and the Government will be publishing their formal response in due course. This will be accompanied by an updated impact assessment.



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Energy: Oil and Coal

Questions

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): As part of its annual emissions and energy projections DECC publishes different scenarios for energy consumption to 2030. The assumptions are described in detail in DECC's Updated Energy and Emissions Projections 2011 publication available at: http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/about/ec_social_res/analytic_projs/en_emis_projs/en_emis_projs.aspx. Table 1 contains the projected primary demand for oil and coal in 2025.

Table 1: Projections of primary energy demand1 by fuel in the UK, 2025 (TWh)

Coal

189

Oil

918

1 Includes all fuel used for transformation into other forms of energy (eg electricity, heat or transportation). This is energy before conversion losses.

Source:Updated Energy and Emissions Projections 2011, October 2011, Annex H

However these estimates do not include additional policies to meet the 4th carbon budget (2023-27) as set out in The Carbon Plan published on 1 December 2011.

The Carbon Plan published on 1 December 2011 sets out four plausible pathways towards 2050. Details of these pathways are set out in Annex A of the Carbon Plan: http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/emissions/carbon_budgets/carbon_budgets.aspx.

These were produced using the 2050 pathways calculator tool, which supports users in exploring these and other pathways in great detail. It is available at: http://2050-calculator-tool.decc.gov.uk/.

The range of primary energy demand from coal and oil under these four pathways is shown in Table 2 below.

Table 2: Primary energy1 demand by fuel in the UK, 2050 (TWh)

Coal

0 to 198

Oil

225 to 476

1 Includes all fuel used for transformation into other forms of energy (eg electricity, heat or transportation). This is energy before conversion losses.

Source: 2050 Calculator (December 2011)



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Export Control

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The Government publish information on export licences in the annual and quarterly reports on strategic export controls. These reports contain detailed information on export licences issued, refused or revoked, by destination, including overall value, type (eg military, other) and a summary note of the items covered by these licences. They are available to view on the Strategic Export Controls: Reports and Statistics website at https://www. exportcontroldb.bis.gov.uk.

As an export licence is required to export arms and other military equipment from the United Kingdom. Details about what items were licensed for export to all destinations will be contained within these reports. However, the fact that a licence has been issued does not mean that an export has necessarily taken place.

These reports do not contain names of applicants or details of whether specific conditions have been imposed. Disclosure of the names of companies would not be in the public interest because this information is provided in confidence to the Government along with other details (such as names of end-users and third parties) which are not published in the reports. The release of information would prejudice commercial interests and would reveal information that has been provided to the Government in confidence.

Lastly, all export licence applications are rigorously assessed on a case-by-case basis against the consolidated EU and national arms export licensing criteria taking account of all prevailing circumstances at the time of application. A licence will not be issued where to do so would be inconsistent with the criteria or other relevant announced commitments. In particular, criterion two concerns the "respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the country of destination", and states that the Government will not issue an export licence if there is a clear risk that the proposed export might be used for internal repression. If the situation in a country changes or new information comes to light that causes us to have concerns, we can and do revoke export licences where we consider that the proposed export would, in the light of the changing situation, contravene the criteria.

Government Departments: Accountancy

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): No Minister in the coalition Government has made a direction, under the provisions of paragraph 5.5 of the Ministerial Code, to the Accounting Officer for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Government Departments: Records

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): There are over 11 million entries on the National Archives' catalogue and there is a very wide variety of search terms which may identify records dealing with the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland pre-1960. Records dealing with the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland are not always readily identified as such in historical catalogue descriptions. Therefore it is not possible to provide a definitive list of file titles. Results for various search terms can be viewed by searching the publicly available catalogue at http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk.

A search on the catalogue for records containing "Ireland" in the title or catalogue description returns a result of 34,849 records; 429 of these are closed or partially closed and pre-1960. The titles of these records can be viewed by searching for "Ireland AND closed" at http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk and restricting the search by date. Closed files are clearly marked on the catalogue and anyone can request that a closed file be opened under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Government Departments: Restructuring

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): In response to the need to work sustainably within a reduced budget BIS has delivered a change programme.

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As part of this programme the department undertook a restructure which involved: reorganising groups and teams; reducing the layers of management from up to 10 to six; and undertaking a fair and transparent process to select staff to match the reduced total number of posts. There was regular and open communication with staff and the trade unions were fully consulted. The programme has resulted in staff departures: a voluntary exit scheme in 2010-11 under which 330 staff left on voluntary terms; and a redundancy scheme in 2011-12 under which 240 staff left on voluntary terms and up to 18 staff are expected to leave on compulsory terms. The total cost of the staff departures already completed or anticipated over the next 12 months is £43,071,280. The department is continuing to take further action to deliver greater efficiency, but associated implementation costs have yet to be finalised.

Government Departments: Running Costs

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): In each of the past three financial years the department has reported, via publication of its resource accounts, that the administration costs of the core department have been as follows:

Financial YearStaff CostsOther Administration CostsOperating IncomeNet Overall Cost

2010-11

£177,860k

£131,770k

£18,967k

£290,663k

2009-10

£192,091k

£179,302k

£31,353k

£340,040k

2008-09

£183,702k

£139,435k

£29,436k

£293,701k

Government Departments: Staff

Questions

Asked by Lord Laird

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): No civil servant employed by HM Treasury or any of its agencies has been prosecuted or convicted of a criminal offence. None was suspended or dismissed as a result of being either prosecuted or convicted of a criminal offence in the past five years.



7 Feb 2012 : Column WA43

Asked by Lord Laird

Lord Sassoon: The information requested has been deposited in the Library of the House.

Asked by Lord Laird

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The table below shows a grade breakdown of staff in the Department for Business Innovation and Skills in each of the years from 2009-12 and projections for 2013 and 2014.

Dec 2009May 2010Jan 20122013*2014*

AA

29

44

34

263

258

AO

329

317

248

EO

537

537

449

419

410

HEO

913

910

777

1120

1097

SEO

410

411

374

Grade 7

793

789

659

952

924

Grade 6

372

366

306

SCS

256

233

208

203

198

Unknown**

109

Total

3748

3607

3055

2957

2887

* Staffing projections merge some grade categories

** Unknown consists of staff out of the department (but paid by BIS), some UKTI staff, and a significant number of former DIUS staff who were out at the creation of BIS, and did not have a grade entered on the system.

The data required for BIS's predecessor departments in 2005 and 2008 are held in several different sources and to gather this information would on this occasion entail a disproportionate cost.

Government Departments: Stationery

Question

Asked by Lord Laird



7 Feb 2012 : Column WA44

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): From May 2010 to December 2011 (inclusive) the department has spent £458,833 on stationery.

The forecasts for each of the next 12 months are not available but future departmental expenditure on all administration costs is subject to business need and is closely monitored as part of the department's 2010 spending review target to deliver a 25 per cent real-terms reduction in our budgets by 2014-15.

Government Departments: Transparency

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: As part of the open public services and transparency commitment a large number of datasets have been published to date. A list of these has been placed in the Library of the House.

List of Transparency Publications since May 2010

Some of the original commitments have been amalgamated to produce one return.



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7 Feb 2012 : Column WA46



7 Feb 2012 : Column WA47

PublicationFrequency/commenced

Publish a detailed organigram for all central government departments (as classified by ONS) to include salary, name and post details for SCS 2 or equivalent and above.

6 monthly/October 2010

Total salary detail for all SCS earning over £150,000 per annum. Total salary includes base pay and additional allowances paid

Annually/June 2010

Publish detailed spend data for all transactions over £25,000 for all central government departments (as classified by ONS) and for core government departments to include plain English descriptions where necessary

Monthly in arrears/November 2010 - backdated to April 2010

Detailed spend data on all transactions over £500 for all local authorities

Monthly in arrears/ November 2010

Historic COINS data from HMT database on spend across government

Published quarterly/August 2010

All central government ICT contracts published online; all documentation for tenders over £10,000 to be published; and all contracts issued by central government departments to be published in full

All published via Contract Finder as they go live or are awarded/January 2011

Street level crime data maps and data

Updated monthly in arrears/January 2011

Full information on all DFID international development projects over £500 to be published online, including financial and project documentation

Updated monthly in arrears/January 2011

All local government tender and contract documents published in full

Full rollout not complete but some local authorities are publishing/January 2011

Detail of all GPC transactions over £500 for core government departments

Currently moving to monthly in arrears publication/October 2011

Create a new "right to data" so that government-held datasets can be requested and used by the public and then published on a regular basis

Can be requested though Departments and data.gov.uk

Data published by public bodies are published in an open and standardised format, so that they can be used easily and with minimal cost by third parties

All data being published in open format.

DoH to publish data on comparative clinical outcomes of GP practices in England to be published by Dec 2011 following the lead of the NHS in London which has agreed a set of 22 indicators with GPs

Dec 2011

DoH to publish complaints data by NHS hospital so that patients can see what issues have affected others and take better decisions about which hospital suits them.

Published in October 2011

DfE to publish data enabling parents to see how effective their school is teaching high, average and low attaining pupils across a range of subjects from Jan 2012

Jan 2012

DfE to bring together, for the first time, school spending data, school performance data, pupil cohort data and Ofsted judgments from Jan 2012 in a parent-friendly portal, searchable by postcode

Jan 2012

DfE to publish data on attainment of students eligible for pupil premium to be published from Jan 2012

Jan 2012

Open up Whitehall recruitment by publishing central Government job vacancies online

New CS recruitment database launched in October 2011

Publish an annual statement to Parliament setting out numbers, names and pay bands of special advisers, the appointing Minister and the overall pay bill - WMS to include salary of those earning over £58,200

Last published centrally by CO in July 2011

Statement covering Ministers' interests published twice yearly

Published by CO

Publish at least quarterly details of gifts received and given by Ministers valued at more than £140

Published by Depts quarterly in arrears

Publish at least quarterly details of hospitality received by Ministers in a ministerial capacity

Published by Depts quarterly in arrears

Publish at least quarterly details of Ministers' external meetings

Published by Depts quarterly in arrears

Publish at least quarterly details of all overseas travel by Ministers

Published by Depts quarterly in arrears

Cost of operating Dept (including procurement, employment cost and property) overtime and against projected cost

Published as part of Quarterly Departmental Statistics

Cost of corporate services (including human resources, finance, information and communications technology, communications, procurement) as a percentage cost of operating the department

Published as part of Quarterly Departmental Statistics

Property cost per square metre and per employee

Published as part of Quarterly Departmental Statistics

Cost of standard desktop computer per employee and number of electronic devices (laptops, desktops, mobile phones, etc.) per employee

Published as part of Quarterly Departmental Statistics

Value of major areas of spending (office products, travel, etc)

Published as part of Quarterly Departmental Statistics

News 28 Oct 2010 - publish details of hospitality and gifts received by special advisers and quarterly publish list of special advisers in post and salaries of those paid over £58,200

Published quarterly in arrears by Depts

MCO announcement - details of Operational Efficiency Programme (OEP) benchmarks to be published online

Published in December 2010

MCO announcement - details of Exceptions to moratoria on: consultancy; marketing; recruitment; IT contracts to be published on-line

Published in Dec 2010

GO'D letter to Tony Wright June 2009 - Publication of business expenses incurred by the most senior officials in depts - DG and above and non-exec members of departmental boards. Itemised breakdown of travel, hotel and other costs including hospitality given

Publication quarterly in arrears by Depts

Detail of all non-consolidated payments made to SCS in 2011

Published October 2011

ePimms data on Government estate data published

Published October 2011

Sentencing data by court will be published by November 2011, enabling the public to see exactly what sentences are being handed down in their local courts, and compare different courts on a wide range of measures. The data, anonymised, will include the age, gender and ethnicity of those sentenced, the sentence given, and the time taken at each stage from offence to completion of the case in court

November 2011

From May 2012, the national crime mapping website, police.uk, will provide the public with information on what happens next for crime occurring on their streets, i.e. police action and justice outcomes.

May 2012

Data on performance of probation services and prisons including reoffending rates by offender and institution, to be published from October 2011

October 2011

Data on current and future roadworks on the strategic road network will be published from October 2011, and subject to consultation extended during 2012 to local authority streetworks registers maintained under statute

Published October 2011

All remaining government-owned free datasets from Transport Direct, including cycle route data and the national car park database to be made available for free reuse from October 2011

Published during October 2011

Real time data on the Strategic Road Network including incidents, speeds and congestion to be published

Published Dec 2011

Rail timetable information to be published weekly by National Rail from December 2011.

Dec 2012

Guantanamo Bay

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Government remain committed to seeking the release of Shaker Aamer from Guantanamo Bay and regularly raise the issue at senior official and ministerial level with the United States (US) authorities. We will continue to do so, but ultimately the decision to release Shaker Aamer is one for the US authorities to take. The Government will not speculate when he might be released, and are not in a position to discuss possible compensation issues at this stage.

Health: HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

Question

Asked by Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead



7 Feb 2012 : Column WA48

Baroness Northover: There is no spending freeze on UK contributions to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and malaria. On the contrary, in November 2011, the Department for International Development was able to bring forward part of the UK's existing pledge to the fund (of up to £1 billion from 2008-15) in order to make sure that all round-10 grants could be signed.

For the fund's last replenishment period (2008-10) the UK accounted for 6.6 per cent of all donor contributions. In 2011 the UK accounted for 16.4 per cent of all contributions.

Health: Tropical Diseases

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

Baroness Northover: Neglected tropical diseases affect the poorest and hardest-to-reach people. People affected by these diseases are less economically active and often unable to look after their families, causing a cycle of poverty from which it is hard to escape.

The UK has supported the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine since 1998 and will continue to do so, through its global programme to eliminate elephantiasis, together with GlaxoSmithKline.

The elimination of elephantiasis is an ambitious goal that is only achievable if all those involved step up their efforts in tackling this disease. At the meeting held in London on 30 January 2012, "Uniting to Combat Neglected Tropical Diseases", the UK challenged the World Health Organisation, the partner countries and organisations to deliver on this ambition.

India

Question

Asked by Lord Avebury

Baroness Northover: We are pressing ahead with the design of a stipend scheme benefiting over 200,000 tribal and Dalit girls in Orissa, conditional on their enrolment and regular attendance at secondary school. In addition we will continue to support free schooling and residential hostels for some of the poorest Dalit, tribal and Muslim girls across India as part of our

7 Feb 2012 : Column WA49

contribution to the Indian Government's Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (basic education) and Mahila Samakhya (women's empowerment scheme) programmes.

Institutional Investors: Voting Records

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): I refer the noble Lord to the answer I gave on 21 November 2011 (Official Report, col. WA 195). We do not currently plan to bring this section into force. Section 1277 of the Companies Act 2006 provides a power to require the disclosure of information about the exercise of voting rights by, among others, institutional investors. The Financial Reporting Council's stewardship code requires institutional investors to disclose their voting records on a comply or explain basis.

Iran

Question

Asked by Lord Kilclooney

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): There continues to be regular interference with the broadcasting signals of the BBC's Persian service and other Persian language satellite broadcasters. Satellite operators have traced this interference to Iranian territory. In October 2011, the Foreign Secretary, my right honourable friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), and European Union Foreign Ministers called on the Iranian authorities to lift all restrictions on communications, whether broadcast or online, and to put an immediate end to the jamming of satellite broadcasting. We will continue to urge the Iranian authorities to stop all interference with satellite broadcasts emanating from their territory, and will push for the issue of illegal interference with satellite broadcasts to be addressed at the World Radiocommunications Conference, being held in Geneva this month.

Israel and Palestine

Questions

Asked by Lord Hylton



7 Feb 2012 : Column WA50

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We are aware of reports on the incidents mentioned by the noble Lord.

The UK, along with European Union (EU) partners, regularly raises our concerns with the Israeli Government about the application of due process, the treatment of Palestinian detainees and disproportionate force used by the Israeli security forces.

On the arrest of Palestinian legislators, we have instructed our embassy in Tel Aviv to raise the issue with the Israeli authorities. They have discussed it with the Israeli police. Mr Abdul Jabbar Fuqaha is the fifth Hamas lawmaker to be arrested during January 2012. Together with our EU partners, we are considering what further action might be taken.

We have not raised the specific issue of the Beit Arabiya Peace Centre with the Israeli authorities.

Officials at our embassy in Tel Aviv are monitoring the situation closely.

Asked by Lord Hylton

Lord Howell of Guildford: We are aware of sensitivities over access to Joseph's Tomb in Balata village, east of Nablus. The Israeli army provides regular escorted visits for Israeli settlers to the religious site, co-ordinated with Palestinian Authority security forces.

According to our officials at the British consulate-general in Jerusalem, there have been no reports of Israeli settlers breaking into Joseph's Tomb under protection of Israeli soldiers.

On 27 January, the Palestinian Authority security forces detained five settlers who tried to enter Joseph's Tomb without co-ordination.

We have not made any representations to the Israeli authorities on this issue.

Asked by Lord Hylton

Lord Howell of Guildford: The UK remains concerned about the treatment of child detainees in Israel. We regularly discuss these concerns with the Israeli authorities.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right honourable friend the Member for North East Bedfordshire (Mr Burt), most recently raised the issue of child detainees with Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Ayalon on 18 January as well as with the Israeli ambassador to London.

We welcomed the decision of 4 October 2011 by the Israeli Government to raise the age of legal majority for Palestinian children in the Israeli military justice system. When fully implemented, this will be an important step towards protecting children's rights in the West

7 Feb 2012 : Column WA51

Bank. We continue to lobby for further improvements, including a reduction in the number of arrests that occur at night and the introduction of audio-visual recording of interrogations.

The UK has also funded a number of projects aimed at improving the impact of the conflict on Palestinian children, including those in detention.

Officials at our embassy in Tel Aviv continue to discuss the treatment of child prisoners with the Israeli Government.

Local Healthwatch

Question

Asked by Lord Harris of Haringey

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Local authorities are not required to go out to competitive tender for the contract for local healthwatch organisations. Competitive tender is one of the options available to them. Any cost arising from whichever option is chosen will be the responsibility of each local authority to establish.

£3.2 million is being provided to local authorities in 2012-13 to help with the start-up costs for local healthwatch.

Mongolia

Question

Asked by Viscount Waverley

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The UK enjoys very good relations with Mongolia. Our officials speak regularly on global issues and our Armed Forces are both operating in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission in Afghanistan.

The UK also has significant commercial interests in Mongolia and we hope to expand these further in the coming years.

We receive each other officially at a high level. In May 2011, the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my honourable friend the Member for Taunton Deane (Mr Browne), visited Ulaanbaatar. Whilst there, he met the Deputy Prime Minister, the Education Minister and the State Secretary at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade.

In the opposite direction, the Mongolian President visited the UK in October where he met the Prime Minister, my right honourable friend the Member for Witney (Mr Cameron), in Downing Street.

The Government are aware that Prime Minister Batbold wishes to visit the UK this year. We have not

7 Feb 2012 : Column WA52

yet received final confirmation of this, but we are actively working with the Mongolian Government on developing the planned visit.

National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence

Question

Asked by Lord Harrison

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): We expect to publish details of the quality standard topics being referred to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) following the engagement exercise, shortly. A copy of the referral letter to NICE will be placed in the Library when it is sent.

National Minimum Wage

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): Yes. As stated in the coalition programme for government, we support the national minimum wage because of the protection it gives low paid workers and the incentives to work it provides.

NHS: Foreign Nationals

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Entitlement to free National Health Service hospital treatment is based on ordinary residence in the United Kingdom (lawful, properly settled residence), or exemption from charge under the NHS (Charges to Overseas Visitors) Regulations 2011. These regulations place a legal obligation on NHS hospitals to identify overseas visitors that are not exempt from charge and to make and recover charges from them. Guidance to the NHS makes clear that the full cost of non-urgent treatment should be recovered in advance from patients who are neither ordinarily

7 Feb 2012 : Column WA53

resident in the UK nor exempt. The guidance is also clear that immediately necessary and urgent treatment must be provided even if payment has not been received in advance.

Ports

Question

Asked by Lord Fearn

Earl Attlee: Official statistics on the tonnage of shipping passing through UK ports in 2011 are planned for release in September 2012 at http://www.dft.gov.uk/statistics. Equivalent statistics for 2010 are planned for release in March 2012, when improvements to the data collation process are completed. Previously this statistic was only compiled on request.

The latest official statistics on the weight of goods unloaded or loaded at the port of Liverpool show 12.7 million tonnes of inward and 4.0 million tonnes of outward freight handled in the six months up to 30 September 2011. These statistics were published on the Department for Transport website within tables port0504 and port0505 of the statistical release Port Freight Statistics Quarter 3 2011 (http://www.dft.gov.uk/statistics/releases/port-freight-statistics-quarter-3-2011/). Provisional statistics up to 31 December 2011 will be published on 8 March 2012 at: http://www.dft. gov.uk/statistics.

Prisoners: Voting

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): I will deposit in the Library of the House an updated version of the document which I deposited in response to the noble Lord's previous Question for Written Answer on 21 March 2011 (Official Report, col. WA 123).

Public Bodies

Questions

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark



7 Feb 2012 : Column WA54

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The Cabinet Office does not record centrally the number of public appointments made. Statistics on the number of appointments made by year and the number of these which are reappointments are recorded by the Commissioner for Public Appointments for those bodies within his remit. The commissioner's annual reports are published online and the latest information will be available in the report expected to be published in early autumn 2012. Neither the Commissioner for Public Appointments nor the Cabinet Office record the number of reappointments sought, only the number which are made.

Publishing: Licensing

Question

Asked by Lord Walton of Detchant

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): There are no proposals to abolish licensing arrangements for published works in the education sector in the Government's copyright consultation. The consultation was published on 14 December 2011 and copies are available in the Libraries of the Houses of Parliament.

Questions for Written Answer

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The Government's guidance on answering Parliamentary Questions, for both the House of Lords and the House of Commons is set out in Cabinet Office guidance which can be found at: www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/resource-library/guidance-drafting-answers-parliamentary-questions and the Guide to Parliamentary Work, which can be found at: www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/resource-library/guide-parliamentary-work.

Both make clear that departments should aim to answer Questions for Written Answer in the House of Lords within 10 working days.



7 Feb 2012 : Column WA55

Republic of Macedonia

Questions

Asked by Baroness Whitaker

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Our embassy in Skopje is a close partner of UNHCR (Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) and other United Nations agencies within Macedonia. Our embassy has not made any formal representations to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees on the Macedonian Government's commitment to provide social housing and financial assistance for temporary housing for Kosovo Roma refugees. Nor have we made any formal representations to the Macedonian Government regarding specific aspects of support for Kosovo Roma refugees.

The UNHCR in Macedonia is fully cognisant of the need to continue to work with the Macedonian Government towards achieving durable solutions for Kosovar refugees through voluntary return and local integration, in accordance with the Macedonian Government's strategy.

The European Union (EU) is also playing a role. As an EU candidate country, Macedonia is subject to annual monitoring by the European Commission to ensure that it meets the standards required for EU membership, including their compliance with EU acquis and international standards in the area of respect for and protection of minorities. The October 2011 European Commission progress report on Macedonia noted that in June 2011, there were 1,554 refugees and internally displaced persons in Macedonia, of whom the majority were Roma from Kosovo. From this, only 24 were recognised refugees and a long-term solution for the remainder was required. The EU progress report noted that the Macedonian Government had provided some financial assistance to Roma refugees from Kosovo.

Asked by Baroness Whitaker

Lord Howell of Guildford: Our embassy in Skopje is a close partner of UNHCR (Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) and other United Nations (UN) agencies within Macedonia. Our embassy has not made any formal representations to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees on the Macedonian Government's commitment to provide social housing and financial assistance for temporary housing for Kosovo Roma refugees. Nor have we made any formal representations to the Macedonian Government regarding specific aspects of support for Kosovo Roma refugees.



7 Feb 2012 : Column WA56

The UNHCR in Macedonia is fully cognisant of the need to continue to work with the Macedonian Government towards achieving durable solutions for Kosovar refugees through voluntary return and local integration, in accordance with the Macedonian Government's strategy.

The European Union (EU) is also playing a role. As an EU candidate country, Macedonia is subject to annual monitoring by the European Commission to ensure that it meets the standards required for EU membership, including their compliance with EU acquis and international standards in the area of respect for and protection of minorities. The October 2011 European Commission progress report noted that in June 2011, there were 1,554 refugees and internally displaced persons in Macedonia, of whom the majority were Roma from Kosovo. From this, only 24 were recognised refugees and a long-term solution for the remainder was required. The EU progress report noted that Macedonian Government had provided some financial assistance to Roma refugees from Kosovo.

Asked by Baroness Whitaker

Lord Howell of Guildford: Our embassy in Skopje is a close partner of UNHCR (Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) and other United Nations agencies within Macedonia. Our embassy in Skopje has not made any formal representations to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees on the Macedonian Government's commitment to provide social housing and financial assistance for temporary housing for Kosovo Roma refugees. Nor have we made any formal representations to the Macedonian Government regarding specific aspects of support for Kosovo Roma refugees.

The UNHCR in Macedonia is fully cognisant of the need to continue to work with the Macedonian Government towards achieving durable solutions for Kosovar refugees through voluntary return and local integration, in accordance with the Macedonian Government's strategy.

The European Union is also playing a role. As an EU candidate country, Macedonia is subject to annual monitoring by the European Commission to ensure that it meets the standards required for EU membership, including their compliance with EU acquis and international standards in the area of respect for and protection of minorities. The October 2011 European Commission progress report noted that in June 2011, there were 1,554 refugees and internally displaced persons in Macedonia, of whom the majority were Roma from Kosovo. From this, only 24 were recognised refugees and a long term solution for the remainder was required. The EU progress report noted that Macedonian Government had provided some financial assistance to Roma refugees from Kosovo.



7 Feb 2012 : Column WA57

Schools: Grammar Schools

Question

Asked by Lord Ashcroft

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): Section 39 EIA 2006 and s104 SSFA effectively mean there can be no new maintained schools with selective admission arrangements and we have not proposed any changes to that legislation. The Academies Act 2010 only provides for existing grammar schools to convert to academy status and does not allow any new selective academies to be established.

It is possible for an existing maintained grammar school or academy with selective arrangements to expand the number of places they offer, including by extending onto another site; split site schools are not a new concept. There are, however, limitations on expansion. It would have to be a continuation of the existing school.

Shipping: Ship-to-ship Transfers

Question

Asked by Lord Condon

Earl Attlee: The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) continues to review the adequacy of the present arrangements for ship-to-ship transfers off the coast of Southwold, Suffolk, and to monitor the safe conduct of operations in this area.

All STS operations, including those off the coast of Southwold, are supported by a tier 1 counter pollution response level, namely the provision of on-site local resources. All STS vessels are subject to an MCA vetting procedure; this is in addition to the very strict owner/operator/charterers vetting arrangements. If necessary, MCA surveyors will board a vessel involved in an STS operation to carry out a port state control inspection.

Sport: Membership Subscriptions

Question

Asked by Baroness Jones of Whitchurch



7 Feb 2012 : Column WA58

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): Existing law (the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999 and the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008) provides protections for consumers in this area. In 2011 the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) secured an order from the High Court against Ashbourne Management Services to stop it using unfair terms, including those that imposed a minimum membership term on consumers with insufficient cancellation rights, and those which imposed minimum terms of more than 12 months. On 31 January 2012 the OFT announced it was investigating all of the major gym companies for similar issues.

Taxation

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Agreement to introduce an EU-wide financial transaction tax would require unanimity in the Council of Ministers, giving the UK Government a veto over any such proposal. Therefore, such a tax cannot be imposed on the UK without the UK's agreement.

Member states, including the UK, can already introduce their own national taxes based on the residence principle, provided that these do not undermine the single market.

Transport: Public Address Announcements

Question

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

Earl Attlee: Following the introduction of rail vehicle accessibility regulations in 1998, the Government issued guidance on how the audio-visual information mandated by those regulations should be provided. This is available on the Department for Transport's website at: http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20100406155128/http://www.dft.gov.uk/transportforyou/access/rail/vehicles/pubs/rva/rvareg1998/.

A guide to good practice for bus passenger technology providers was developed by The Real Time Information Group with the support of the Department for Transport. The guide is published at: http://www.rtig.org.uk/web/Portals/0/RTIG-PR003-D002-1.5%20RTI%20and%20disabled%20travellers.pdf.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport, Norman Baker, has encouraged train companies to ensure messages are clear, but also not excessive.



7 Feb 2012 : Column WA59

Unemployment

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

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

Letter from Stephen Penneck, Director General for ONS, to Lord Laird, dated February 2012

As Director General of the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking further to the Written Answer by Lord Wallace of Saltaire on 25 January (WA 251-2), whether the Eurostat definition of unemployment for full-time students during term-time is the same as the 1982 International Labour Organisation definition, of being workless, currently available and seeking work, which they use in the United Kingdom Labour Force surveys; and, if not, whether they will seek to harmonise the two; and whether the United States follows the practice of defining such students as unemployed. [CO] HL15367

I can confirm that the definition of unemployment used by Eurostat when publishing statistics derived from the Labour Force Surveys of EU member states is consistent with that prescribed by the International Labor Organisation (ILO) in 1982. The definition applies to all categories of people surveyed, regardless of their main economic activity, and at all times of the year. There are, however. some small differences in survey coverage among member states. In particular, the UK statistics relate to people aged 16 and over

7 Feb 2012 : Column WA60

whereas those for most other EU member states also include those aged 15. The Eurostat unemployment statistics are therefore harmonised in all aspects apart from the age group covered.

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) publishes estimates of employment and unemployment every month derived from its Current Population Survey. These estimates are all consistent with the ILO definition and so students are defined as unemployed in the same way as in EU countries. The tables published by the BLS include estimates of unemployment for people aged 16 to 24 who are enrolled in school or college.

Weapons of Mass Destruction

Question

Asked by Lord Harris of Haringey

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The UK strongly supports UNSCR 1540 (United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540). We were active in negotiating the renewal of the mandate in April 2011 and have provided the UNSCR 1540 Committee with a number of status reports in line with, and beyond, the resolution's reporting obligations. UK reporting has been corroborated by the UNSCR 1540 Committee experts and is published on the 1540 website.

Activity to encourage UNSCR 1540 reporting and implementation undertaken through international initiatives on non-proliferation, the European Union, and the G8, is supported by the UK. The cross-government global threat reduction programme undertakes work in a number of countries to reduce the risk of proliferation by improving physical security measures. Legislative assistance and awareness raising activities funded through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's strategic programme fund contribute to the implementation of the resolution.


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