23 July 2012 : Column WA87

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Written Answers

Monday 23 July 2012

Abortion

Questions

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many abortions were performed with respect to pregnancies with gestations of 24 weeks or more in 2011. [HL1627]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many abortions conducted on the grounds of disabilities which are rectifiable were performed after 24 weeks’ gestation in 2011.[HL1628]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): There were 146 abortions performed in 2011 (the latest year for which data are available) with gestations of 24 weeks or more.

The department does not collect information on whether or not a disability is rectifiable when a termination of pregnancy is carried out under Section 1(1)(d) of the Abortion Act 1967 (as amended). The condition cited is identified in accordance with the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems codes (ICD10). This classification does not separate out those conditions that are potentially rectifiable from those that are not. Two medical practitioners must certify that they have reached an opinion formed in good faith "that there is a substantial risk that if the child were born it would suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped".

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many women travelled to Great Britain from Northern Ireland to have abortions in each year since 2001; and whether the abortions are free for those women.[HL1633]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many women travelled to European Union member states other than the United Kingdom from Northern Ireland for an abortion in each year since 2001; and what are the arrangements for payment for such abortions.[HL1634]

Earl Howe: Between 2001 and 2011 (the latest year for which figures are available) 13,772 women from Northern Ireland travelled to England or Wales for terminations of pregnancies. The National Health Service does not provide any form of assistance to women who travel from Northern Ireland to England seeking an abortion and women from Northern Ireland make their own arrangements and pay for their abortion privately. The department does not collect data for terminations carried out in Scotland; this is the responsibility of the Scottish Government.

The department is responsible for monitoring terminations of pregnancies performed in England and Wales only and does not collect data about terminations in other jurisdictions.

23 July 2012 : Column WA88

Abortion Act 1967

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what (1) statutory instruments, (2) departmental circulars, and (3) other documents they have published since May 2010 consequent on the provisions of the Abortion Act 1967.[HL1564]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The following documents have been published since May 2010 in relation to abortion and/or the Abortion Act 1967:

Annual statistics:

Abortion Statistics for England and Wales 2009 (May 2010); Abortion Statistics for England and Wales 2010 (May 2011); and Abortion Statistics for England and Wales 2011 (May 2012).

Abortion Guidance on the Department of Health website:

Introduction to completing abortion forms for abortions performed in England and Wales (May 2011);Background to abortion notifications in England and Wales (May 2012);Department of Health data quality and act monitoring checks made on HSA4 forms (May 2012);Guidance note for completing the HSA1 and HSA2 abortion forms (revised May 2012);Summary guidance note for completing HSA4 paper forms (revised May 2012); Summary guidance note for completing HSA4 electronic forms (revised May 2012); andDetailed guidance note for completing HSA4 electronic forms (revised May 2012).

In addition, in February 2012, the Chief Medical Officer for England wrote to all clinics and hospitals undertaking abortions to remind them of the provisions of the Abortion Act and that sex-selective abortions are illegal.

In addition to the above, the department will shortly be issuing a revised interim version of, Procedures for the approval of Independent Sector Places for the termination ofPregnancy (The Yellow Book).

Airports: Gatwick Airport

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether passengers from Northern Ireland who land at Gatwick Airport are ever required to go through passport control. [HL1635]

23 July 2012 : Column WA89

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): As Northern Ireland is a constituent part of the United Kingdom there is no requirement for passengers arriving from Northern Ireland to pass through passport control at Gatwick airport or any other location in the UK.

Armed Forces: Aircraft

Question

Asked by Lord Jopling

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Taylor of Bolton on 24 January 2008 (WA 58), on how many occasions in each of the last three years Royal Air Force aircraft have been launched to monitor Russian aircraft approaching UK airspace.[HL1663]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The number of days on which Royal Air Force Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) aircraft have launched to identify Russian military aviation that approached or entered the NATO air policing area for which the UK has responsibility in each of the past three years is contained in the table below. The Russian aircraft remained in international airspace at all times.

YearNumber of days QRA launched in response to Russian military aviation

2009

11

2010

11

2011

10

2012 to l July

6

Assisted Dying

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they oppose the introduction of assisted dying; and whether they will support a free vote on the issue in both Houses of Parliament.[HL1565]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The Government remain of the view that any change to the law in this emotive and contentious area is an issue of individual conscience and a matter for Parliament to decide rather than one for government policy. The question of whether to have a free vote would be considered at the time and depend on the content of the Motion.

Banking

Questions

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether, in the light of the complexity of regulating British banks, they will consider bringing retail banks into the public sector or their mutualisation.[HL1468]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government published their White Paper on Banking Reform on June 14 2012. These proposals include the structural separation of banking groups

23 July 2012 : Column WA90

through the ring-fencing of vital banking services. Once implemented, these measures will help reduce complexity in the banking sector by making banks easier to resolve should they get into difficulties.

The Government have committed to increasing choice and diversity in financial services, including by promoting mutuals. To support this, the Government published, on 6 July, The Future of Building Societies. This document sets out the Government’s vision of a flourishing building societies sector, as well as how they propose to approach the legislative framework for the sector to enable it to thrive and continue to offer consumers a mutually owned alternative.

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the United Kingdom's total liability through the European Central Bank, the European Investment Bank, and the European Financial Stability Mechanism; from what source funds would be obtained to meet any calls made on those commitments; and whether, due to its AAA rating the United Kingdom could become a lender of last resort for European Union for European Union debt.[HL1470]

Lord Sassoon: The UK’s liabilities to the institutions referred to are as follows:

the Bank of England participates in the European System of Central Banks (ESCB) and contributes to the European Central Bank’s (ECB’s) capital. However, as with the central banks of all other euro “outs”, the Bank of England's relatively small capital contribution (about €58 million) is directed towards the ECB’s operating costs. The Bank of England makes no other contribution. Net profits and losses of the ECB are allocated among the euro area national central banks. The non-euro area national central banks are not entitled to receive any share of the distributable profits of the ECB, nor are they liable to fund any losses of the ECB;the UK's capital subscription to the European Investment Bank (EIB) is €37.6 billion, of which €35.7 billion is callable capital representing a contingent liability for the UK. This can only be called in the event the EIB cannot meet its obligations. The EIB currently has a AAA credit rating from all the major credit rating agencies and significant paid in capital and reserves. It also has a rigorous due diligence procedure, cautious lending approach and good quality loan book. We expect the EIB’s financial soundness to be further improved as a result of the European Council endorsing a proposal to increase the EIB's paid in capital by €10 billion, of which the UK will contribute €1.6 billion. Given all of the above, we believe it is unlikely there will be a further call on the Bank's capital in the immediate future; andin May 2010, the Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) agreed that the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism (EFSM) could provide up to €60 billion to euro area member states in need of a package of financial assistance. The EFSM is financed by the European Commission raising money on capital markets, guaranteed by the EU budget.

23 July 2012 : Column WA91

There is no direct impact on the EU Budget from any such borrowing by the Commission. However, such lending creates a contingent liability for EU member states and, therefore, the UK. Only in the event that a beneficiary member state defaults on their loan repayments would the EU budget be called upon to meet the cost of that repayment. In this event, the member state would be liable for a share based on their contribution to the EU Budget at that time. As an indication, based on the UK's contribution (pre-abatement) to the 2012 EU Budget, its share would be approximately 14.5%.

All government expenditure continues to be financed by tax revenues and borrowing, the majority of which is financed through gilt issuance.

Article 125 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union clearly provides that the Union shall not be liable for or assume the commitments of any member state and that a member state shall not be liable for or assume commitments of another member state.

Butterflies and Moths

Question

Asked by Lord Jones of Cheltenham

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they are taking action to protect butterfly and moth populations, in the light of the impact of this year’s bad weather.[HL1549]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): Butterfly and moth populations fluctuate naturally in response to environmental conditions and provided that there is sufficient good quality habitat, numbers can recover remarkably quickly from the effect of bad weather.

The Government are supporting the work of Butterfly Conservation, which is working to restore habitat for our most threatened species and has launched its annual survey of butterflies. Last year's report of the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme concluded that while the numbers of most widespread butterfly species are comparatively stable, almost half of the more specialised butterflies (those species associated with more specialised habitats such as chalk grassland and flower-rich meadows) are declining. We also know that moth numbers have fallen by a third over the past 40 years. Despite this, agri-environment schemes and other habitat restoration works are having a positive effect and there are some notable signs of recovery for some of these more specialist butterfly species, such as the heath fritillary and the reintroduced large blue. The causes of moth decline are less well understood, but we have been supporting research to better understand how to manage woodland habitats for moths.

We will continue to build on these successful examples, working in partnership with Butterfly Conservation and others in the voluntary sector, to design or deliver targeted conservation action, informed by monitoring and research.

23 July 2012 : Column WA92

CBI

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the comments by the Director General of the CBI on 12 July regarding their growth plan.[HL1586]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Business groups such as the CBI have endorsed government action to reduce the fiscal deficit in order to restore the public finances to a sustainable path, and have supported the major reforms set out in the plan for growth.

Implementation of these remains a priority right across government. Despite the challenging economic backdrop, the Government have already made significant progress.

In relation to infrastructure investment, there has also been significant progress. For example, all 20 of the road schemes announced at Spending Review 2010 and Autumn Statement 2011 are currently scheduled to start on time; work is beginning this month on the £20 million package designed to reduce congestion on the Al4 in Cambridgeshire; there are 66 wind farms currently in construction across the country, which, once complete, will generate enough electricity to serve 2.25 million homes; enabling construction works have begun for Hinkley Point C; and recently the Government committed an additional £4.2 billion for rail schemes across the country.

Children: Data Sharing

Questions

Asked by Lord Rooker

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have received representations from local authority children’s services regarding access to full information about pre-school-aged children in their locality. [HL1305]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government why local authorities do not have information regarding all pre-school-aged children in their area.[HL1306]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether all regulatory authorities with responsibilities for young children have sufficient access to information held by each regulator.[HL1307]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they cross-reference information about young children attending children’s centres and children known to the health authorities, but not attending children’s centres.[HL1308]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The Department for Education and the Department of Health recognise that effective sharing of live birth and other information is essential to maintain a national record on children’s physical, clinical and emotional development. It is

23 July 2012 : Column WA93

also critical to safeguarding children and families and to promoting integrated working across local children’s services.

Currently local authorities and their children’s services have different arrangements for sharing information depending on local relationships with professionals such as health visitors and outreach support in children’s centres and those similar services affiliated with other early years’ settings. The Government have received a range of representations on this issue from local authority children’s services and others.

In the joint publication Supporting Families in the Foundation Years published in July 2011, the Department for Education and the Department of Health committed to working with interested parties to promote good practice and overcome lingering barriers to effective sharing of data and information among the early years workforce. As a response to concerns about sharing information, a working group of experts and local practitioners has been established to explore how effective information-sharing practices already in place in many local areas can be more widely promoted, to identify any barriers and to make recommendations about how these barriers might be overcome. The working group is expected to report to Ministers in the autumn.

The Government recognise the importance of cross-referencing data about young children who are attending children’s centres. The working group will look at how we might improve information sharing practice prior to transferring commissioning responsibilities to local authorities.

Cleaning and Support Services Association

Question

Asked by Lord Harrison

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the recommendations of the report by the Cleaning and Support Services Association, Employment Growth—The Case for Cleaning. [HL1792]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): I am grateful to the Cleaning and Support Services Association for its recent report Employment Growth: The Case for Cleaning. Officials would be happy to discuss the paper further with the association. It covers a number of areas of policy, such as reviewing burdensome regulation, where the Government are already taking specific actions to support business growth.

Climate Change

Question

Asked by Lord Donoughue

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Taylor of Holbeach on 28 June (WA 82–83), how much the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has spent on activities related to climate change since May 2010. [HL1471]

23 July 2012 : Column WA94

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): Defra leads on work related to identifying climate change risks and the development of a national climate change adaptation programme, as well as co- ordination on Defra climate change mitigation activity. This work cost £2,194,000 (administration) and £9,561,000 (programme and evidence, including £5,857,000 spent on the Met Office Hadley Centre) in 2010-11 and £1,871,000 (administration) and £12,149,000 (programme and evidence, including £8,200,000 on the Met Office Hadley Centre) in 2011-12.

These figures do not include embedded climate change expenditure in other Defra areas, such as flood protection and agriculture, as we do not hold information in this form.

Crime: Gun Grime

Question

Asked by Lord Storey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Henley on 9 July (WA 201), how many incidents, arrests and prosecutions involving the illegal use of firearms there have been in Merseyside during the last five years.[HL1567]

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): Information, published by the Home Office, on the number of offences involving the use of a firearm (excluding air weapons) recorded by the police in Merseyside from 2006-07 to 2010-11 is given in table A. Firearms are taken to be involved in a crime if they are fired, used as a blunt instrument against a person or used as a threat.

The requested data on arrests are not collected centrally. Available data on arrests held by the Home Office cover notifiable offences, broken down at offence group level only; covering categories such as violence against the person, robbery and criminal damage. From these centrally reported categories it is not possible to separately identify arrests involving the use of firearms.

Data on police recorded firearms offences which resulted in prosecutions are not available as it is not possible to track individual offences through to their outcome at court from records held centrally in the Home Office.

The data held centrally by the Ministry of Justice on the court proceedings database do not contain information about the circumstances behind each case beyond the description provided in the statute under which prosecutions are brought. For example, it is not possible to identify how many offences involved the use of a firearm. As a result the information requested on court proceedings is not available.

Table A—Firearms Offences (Excluding Air Weapons) Recorded by Merseyside Police, 2006-07 to 2010-11
Police force area2006-072007-082008-092009-102010-11

Merseyside

410

398

353

258

226

23 July 2012 : Column WA95

These data have been sourced from table 2.12 of the Home Office Statistical Bulletin “Homicides, Firearm Offences and Intimate Violence 2010/11”, published in January 2012.

Economy: Growth

Question

Asked by Lord Barnett

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the answer by Lord Sassoon on 4 July (Official Report, col. 678), what is their response to the statement from the International Monetary Fund that if growth failed to pick up then it would help to consider delaying cuts in expenditure and also “focus on temporary tax cuts and greater infrastructure spending”.[HL1496]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): In May the International Monetary Fund (IMF) recommended the use of monetary policy and credit easing measures in the UK to support and secure a sustainable recovery. In the event that “growth does not build momentum and is significantly below forecasts even after substantial additional monetary stimulus and further credit easing measures”, the IMF has suggested that planned fiscal adjustment may need to be reconsidered.

Monetary stimulus and credit easing measures are being undertaken with the Bank of England deciding to extend quantitative easing by £50 billion, to a total of £375 billion, and the announcement of the funding for lending scheme. IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde recently said that:

“the UK authorities’ policy approach has reinforced credibility at a time of intensified global uncertainty. The Government is implementing strong fiscal consolidation to reduce fiscal risks. [...] the Bank of England has been nimble in using monetary policy to support growth, and this policy mix helps rebalance the economy towards investment and external demand”.

Elderly People: Insurance

Question

Asked by Lord Taylor of Warwick

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they will take to encourage private insurers to offer insurance cover for care of the elderly.[HL1431]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Commission on Funding of Care and Support considered in detail the barriers that currently make it difficult for the financial services industry to offer products that help people with their care costs. Since then the Government have been engaging with representatives from the insurance and the wider financial sector.

The Progress Report on Funding Reform (Cm 8381), published on 11 July 2012 by the Department of Health, sets out that the Government will set up an expert working group involving the Government, financial services industry, local authorities and the care sector to support development of a new information offer for

23 July 2012 : Column WA96

care and support. Better national and local information will help people, including the elderly, to understand the options available to them and to plan and prepare for their care and support.

The working group will explore how the sector as a whole can contribute, and make links with pensions, benefits, wider services and specialist financial advice to ensure the information offer is comprehensive.

In addition, the Government will clarify the tax treatment of disability-linked annuities as the Commission on Funding of Care and Support and some in the financial services sector felt that it is currently unclear. Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs has worked with the Association of British Insurers to clarify the rules and will publish an update to its guidance by September.

Employment: Youth Contract

Questions

Asked by Lord German

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what information they supply to Jobcentre Plus advisers on the Youth Contract; and whether they will place copies of such information in the Library of the House. [HL1754]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): Through the Jobcentre Plus IT-based Knowledge Hub, Jobcentre Plus advisers have access to a range of products and guidance about the help and support available to young people through the Youth Contract. This includes printable fact sheets and marketing material for issue to employers and claimants.

I will arrange for copies of the information available to advisers to be placed in the Library of the House.

Asked by Lord German

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment processes are in place to ensure that work programme providers issue claims forms for Youth Contract wage incentives.[HL1755]

Lord Freud: The department has specified in Work Programme guidance that providers are responsible for notifying employers of the claims process. Once an expected start date has been confirmed providers should complete and send the wage incentive claim form to the employer.

It is in the interest of providers to ensure that this process is completed in order to claim a job outcome payments.

Equitable Life

Question

Asked by Lord Willoughby de Broke

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many payments had been made, at the end of June 2012, under the Equitable Life Payment Scheme; and what percentage this represents of the payments due to qualifying policy-holders.[HL1452]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): On 30 July 2012 the scheme reported that it had made 288,823 payments and that this represented

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nearly two-thirds of eligible individual (ie non-group) policyholders. Further detail on the scheme’s progress can be found on the scheme’s website (http:// equitablelifepaymentscheme.independent. gov.uk/pressfaq/news.htm).

Family Planning

Questions

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether, as a host of the family planning summit on 11 July, they will play a role in ensuring that (1) financial pledges, and (2) non-financial commitments made at the summit are fulfilled; and, if so, how.[HL1599]

Baroness Northover: We will work with others to ensure accountability for the financial and non-financial commitments made at the London summit on family planning. We are currently in discussion with the Gates Foundation, the United Nations Population Fund and other partners about the establishment of an independent, representative Accountability Reference Group.

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the funds pledged at the family planning summit on 11 July will be disbursed through existing funding mechanisms including the United Nations Population Fund, Marie Stopes International, and the International Planned Parenthood Federation. [HL1600]

Baroness Northover: It is expected that the majority of funds committed by the UK Government at the London summit on family planning will flow through existing bilateral and multilateral channels to support the delivery of countries' own transformational plans.

The United Nations Population Fund, International Planned Parenthood Federation and Marie Stopes International are key global partners and will continue to be major players in the months and years of implementation ahead.

We are working closely with a wide range of partners to ensure that funds raised will be channelled as efficiently and effectively as possible to support countries’ plans and achieve summit goals.

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether, further to the family planning summit on 11 July, they intend to use private companies’ logistical networks to disseminate family planning commodities in developing countries.[HL1601]

Baroness Northover: Summit partners are committed to ensuring that girls and women receive the information, services and supplies they need to decide freely, and for themselves, whether, when and how many children they have. Efforts will support country-led plans that may or may not include the use of private companies

23 July 2012 : Column WA98

and not-for-profit logistical networks to ensure family planning commodities reach the women who need them.

In practice, countries will continue to procure contraceptives using their existing systems. However, better co-ordination at all levels—local, national and global—will be required to develop more accurate and complete demand forecasts and to reduce delays in ensuring that a range of contraceptives are available at service delivery points to meet women’s needs. Britain will give priority to organisations which deliver results in a cost effective and efficient way.

Asked by Lord Crisp

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have, following up the family planning summit held on 11 July, to ensure that blind and other disabled women will benefit from the new investment and services.[HL1602]

Baroness Northover: Summit partners are committed to increasing the ability of the poorest and most marginalised girls and women to use contraception by increasing access and reducing financial barriers. The summit did not specifically refer to the needs of blind and other disabled women.

The summit is committed to supporting country-led efforts so that the poorest and most vulnerable girls and women (including blind and other disabled women) have ready access to affordable, high quality family planning information, services and supplies.

Asked by Lord Crisp

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to their role as a host of the family planning summit on 11 July, whether they have made any assessment of the number of blind and other disabled women who do not have access to family planning services; and what plans they have to deal with any barriers to their having equality of access with other women. [HL1603]

Baroness Northover: Summit partners are committed to supporting country-led efforts so that the poorest and most vulnerable girls and women have ready access to affordable, high quality family planning information, services and supplies. This will include supporting and advocating for policy changes and the removal of a range of barriers that limit access.

Fire and Rescue Services: Funding

Question

Asked by Lord Morris of Manchester

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have received from the Association of Metropolitan Fire Authorities about the effect of cuts in the funding of fire and rescue services in England; what is their response to those representations; and what action they will take as a result.[HL1721]

23 July 2012 : Column WA99

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): The Government will consider the Association of Metropolitan Fire and Rescue Authorities' submission on “the Potential Impact of the 2013-15 Finance Settlement”.

On 17 July 2012 the Government published the Technical Consultation on Business Rates Retention detailing proposals for local authority funding from 2013-14. All representations received during the consultation period will be considered before final decisions are made. Provisional fire and rescue authority funding baselines will be announced at the usual time—in late November or early December this year.

First World War: Commemoration

Question

Asked by Lord Luce

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they plan to hold services of national commemoration to mark the 100th anniversaries of the start and end of the First World War.[HL1501]

Viscount Younger of Leckie: The Prime Minister has asked my honourable friend the Member for South West Wiltshire (Dr Murrison) to act as his Special Representative and Co-ordinator for World War I Commemorations, with secretariat support from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Dr Murrison holds monthly meetings with a core liaison group incorporating cross-Whitehall departments, the Imperial War Museum, Heritage Lottery Fund, Commonwealth War Graves Commission and others to ensure that the UK plays a full and active role in commemorating the centenary of the First World War. A number of proposals are being discussed and the Government expect to announce more details later in the year.

Government Departments: Apprentices

Questions

Asked by Lord Adonis

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the total number of staff employed within the private offices of Ministers and the Permanent Secretary at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on 1 June; and how many of them were (1) under the age of 21, (2) apprentices under the age of 21, and (3) apprentices over the age of 21. [HL1320]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): Twenty-nine people are currently employed in the private offices of Ministers and the Permanent Secretary of the department. None of these is under the age of 21 and none is an apprentice.

Asked by Lord Adonis

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many apprentices (1) under the age of 21, and (2) over the age of 21, were employed within the Department

23 July 2012 : Column WA100

for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on 1 June, excluding agencies and non-departmental public bodies.[HL1321]

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: Core Defra currently employs three apprentices. These are all internal staff studying for internal apprenticeship schemes.

For privacy reasons we are unable to disclose ages for such a small group.

Government Departments: Buildings

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government on what date each property currently (1) owned, and (2) leased, by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and its predecessor departments was opened for occupation by the department; and what the estimated monetary value is of each such property.[HL1503]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): Details of the properties owned and leased by core Defra and their estimated value are detailed in the table below.

Property nameTenureStatusOpened for occupationAsset value (£)

Thirsk, Sowerby Buffer Depot

Freehold

Surplus (under offer)

Unknown

275,000

Rhydymwyn, Mold Buffer Depot

Freehold

Non- operational strategic holding

Unknown

-5,000,000

Polwhele, Wokshop

Freehold

Surplus

Unknown

270,000

Alnwick, Lion House

Freehold

Operational

April 2009

1,600,000

Alnwick, Willowtree Industrial Estate (storage/records facility)

Leasehold

Operational

December 2003

270,000

Taunton, Quantock House

Freehold

Surplus (disposal being developed)

Unknown

3,200,000

Reading Coley Park

Freehold

Surplus(disposal being developed)

Unknown

2,500,000

London, Nobel House

Leasehold

Operational

Unknown

0

London, Ergon House

Leasehold

Operational

Unknown

0

London, Eastbury House

Leasehold

Surplus (lease end June 2013)

Unknown

0

23 July 2012 : Column WA101

York, Kings Pool

Leasehold

Operational

September 1992

0

Crewe, Hornbeam House

Leasehold

Operational

July 1998

3,100,000

Reading, Caversham Road

Leasehold

Surplus (lease end September 2013)

Unknown

0

The properties included in the response are those where core Defra has the majority of the beneficial occupation, or are properties that are surplus and await disposal.

The value cited for owned properties is the last formal asset valuation prepared as at 1 April 2010.

A nil value is attributed to all leasehold properties with short commercial leases let at market rent because in the current prevailing market conditions there is no tangible value in these property interests.

Government Departments: Libraries

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has a (1) lending, and (2) reference, library.[HL1442]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): Core Defra has a library consisting of a reference collection that is restricted to the library premises, and books and periodicals that are available for loan to staff.

Government Departments: Media

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many press officers are currently employed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; how this compares with the number employed by that department, and its predecessors, in each of the past 10 years for which information is available; and at what grade each is employed.[HL1262]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): The numbers of press officers employed by core-Defra currently and over the past 11 years are set out in the table below. The figures reflect permanent members of staff only.

YearGradePress Officers employed

2012

Press Officer (IO)

7

Senior Press Officer (SEN 1O)

6

23 July 2012 : Column WA102

Chief Press Officer (G7)

3

Deputy Head of News and Digital Communications (G6)

1

Head of News and External Communications (SCS)

1

Previous yearsNumber of press officers

2011

17

2010

18

2009

18.5

2008

16.5

2007

20

2006

24

2005

24

2004

18

2003

22

2002

22

2001

22

The details of grades are not held for previous years.

Government Departments: Meetings

Question

Asked by Lord Rooker

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what arrangements are in place, in respect of each department, for the relevant Ministers from the four United Kingdom Administrations to meet regularly to discuss their respective subject areas. [HL1439]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: There are formal forums in which Ministers from the four Administrations of the United Kingdom meet to discuss issues of mutual interest—primarily the Joint Ministerial Committee and its various sub-committees. The British-Irish Council also provides a useful opportunity to meet and discuss matters of mutual interest and exchange best practice in 11 different policy areas—although this forum extends to other member Administrations such as Ireland, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man. However, Ministers in UK government departments also meet regularly with their counterparts in the devolved Administrations, both bilaterally and multilaterally, to discuss their respective subject areas. Some of these meetings are formalised—for example the regular quadrilateral meeting of Finance Ministers—while others take place on an ad-hoc basis.

Government Departments: Procurement

Questions

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many government procurement cards issued to staff employed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs were reported as stolen in each of the

23 July 2012 : Column WA103

past six financial years for which information is available; and how much was lost as a result of theft in each case.[HL1342]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): This information is not centrally held and could only be provided at disproportionate cost. The process of reporting a card as stolen and the subsequent administration is conducted between the individual cardholder and service provider, Barclaycard.

Barclaycard confirms that core Defra does not suffer a financial loss once a stolen card is reported to it.

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many staff employed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs were (1) suspended, and (2) dismissed, for misusing the government procurement card in (a) 2007–08, (b) 2008–09, (c) 2009–10, (d) 2010–11, and (e) 2011–12.[HL1440]

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: In the year 2007-08, two people were dismissed from Core Defra for misusing the government procurement card, one of whom had been suspended. For subsequent years, there were no suspensions or dismissals.

Government Departments: Records

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many and which files were sent to the National Archives by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, its predecessor departments, and each of its agencies in each of the past 10 years for which information is available.[HL1444]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): The number of files transferred to the National Archives (TNA) by core Defra and its executive agencies over the past 10 years is summarised in the table below. These data are extracted from TNA’s Keeper Annual Reports from business year (April to March) 2001-02 to 2011-12. Files were transferred from core Defra, the Rural Payments Agency (RPA, and its predecessor Intervention Board Executive Agency, IBEA) and the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas). No files were transferred from the Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera), Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) or Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratory Agency (AHVLA).

YearCore DefraIBEA/RPACefas

2001-02

619

-

-

2002-03

704

64

-

2003-04

-

-

14

2004-05

330

-

63

2005-06

605

-

-

23 July 2012 : Column WA104

2006-07

-

-

-

2007-08

882

-

-

2008-09

-

-

-

2009-10

99

-

-

2010-11

64

-

-

2011-12

458

-

-

Total

3761

64

77

I will place details on the files that were transferred, as requested, in the Library of the House.

Government Departments: Security

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how much the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has (1) budgeted, and (2) spent, on security in each year since 2000.[HL1507]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): Expenditure on security covers a wide array of issues, including guarding contracts, physical barriers, CCTV, specialist lighting, staff training, information security, personnel vetting and IT encryption, as well as the cost of security teams. Funding for security is not recorded separately. To extract security costs separately from other costs would incur a disproportionate cost.

Government Departments: Staff

Questions

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many temporary workers were employed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in each of the past five years; for what purpose; and at what cost in each case.[HL1441]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): Temporary staff are defined as those employed by core Defra under employment contracts of less than 12 months and paid via the core Defra payroll. This definition excludes staff employed on a fixed-term contract or through an employment agency.

The table below shows the number of temporary staff employed on each of the dates stated.

DateNumber of Temporary Staff

31 March 2008

45

31 March 2009

45

31 March 2010

69

31 March 2011

5

30 June 2012

2

Data regarding the cost and purpose of temporary staff could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

23 July 2012 : Column WA105

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how much was spent on (1) involuntary, and (2) voluntary, exit schemes by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for staff at each grade for each year since 2009–10; and how much they estimate will be spent on those schemes in 2012–13.[HL1506]

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: The amounts spent by core Defra on (a) compulsory redundancy payments and (b) voluntary redundancy payments and compensation paid to staff leaving core Defra on voluntary exit schemes, for each financial year since 2009-10, are shown in the tables below.

Table 1: Cost of compulsory and voluntary departures in 2009-10
GradeTotal Cost of Release (Compulsory)Total Cost of Release (Voluntary)

N/A*

39,578

2,914,259

*A detailed analysis by grade is not available for 2009-10

Table 2: Cost of compulsory and voluntary departures in 2010-11
GradeTotal Cost of Release (Compulsory)Total Cost of Release (Voluntary)

SCS

-

2,951,656

G6

-

1,642,350

G7

-

3,687,094

SEO

-

2,216,975

HEO

-

2,432,453

EO

-

1,847,627

AO

-

739,145

AA

136,989

96,563

Total

136,989

15,613,863

Table 3: Cost of compulsory and voluntary departures in 2011-12
GradeTotal Cost of Release (Compulsory)Total Cost of Release (Voluntary)

SCS

1,461,571

G7

55,429

SEO

113,437

AO

75,138

Total

1,705,575

* Financial Year

Table 4: Cost of compulsory and voluntary departures in 2012-13
GradeTotal Cost of Release (Compulsory)Total Cost of Release (Voluntary)

SCS

-

107,000

G7

-

415,760

AO

259,201**

AA

21,111**

Total

803,071

** The figures shown in the table for 2012-13 reflect departures which have been agreed. We are currently running a redundancy selection process for staff at the AA and AO grades. We therefore expect further costs associated with these grades and estimate they will be no more than £380,861 for AAs and £904,544 for AOs.

23 July 2012 : Column WA106

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many staff of each grade the Parliamentary Branch of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has employed in each of the past 10 years.[HL1508]

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: Staff who deal with parliamentary work in the Parliamentary and Cabinet Business Team of core Defra are as set out in the table below.

GradeFull Time Equivalent

Senior Executive Officer

1.0

Executive Officer

2.0

Administrative Officer

1.0

Parliamentary questions are dealt with elsewhere in the department.

Information for previous years could be provided only by incurring disproportionate cost.

Government Departments: Stationery

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how much was spent on stationery by (1) the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and its predecessor departments, and (2) each of its agencies, in each of the past 10 years for which information is available.[HL1263]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): Core Defra expenditure on stationery in each of the past 10 financial years was as follows:

Financial YearExpenditure

2002-2003

£1,458,353.11

2003-2004

£1,379,004.44

2004-2005

£1,011,173.12

2005-2006

£950,428.39

2006-2007

£1,129,655.72

2007-2008

£391,177.02

2008-2009

£411, 545.57

2009-2010

£ 319,500.15

2010-2011

£210,156.97

2011-2012

£172,872.15

The comparable information from the agencies is not readily accessible and would incur disproportionate costs to produce.

The analysis for earlier years is not comparable with the later years. Figures prior to 2007-08 and 2011-12 include stationery spend for operations which are now part of Natural England and Animal Health Veterinary Laboratories Agency respectively. Costs for earlier years also include expenditure on printer supplies (such as toner and printer cartridges) which is now classified as IT equipment.

23 July 2012 : Column WA107

Health and Social Care Act 2012

Question

Asked by Baroness Finlay of Llandaff

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, under the provisions of the Health and Social Care Act 2012, what recourse patients will have in circumstances where the local providers' contract is prematurely exhausted, and their only way to access an intervention or treatment is to pay the National Health Service. [HL1557]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Clinical commissioning groups and the NHS Commissioning Board will be under a statutory obligation to arrange for provision of care to meet the reasonable requirements of the people for whom they have responsibility. Services provided for as part of the health service in England must be free of charge, unless charges are specifically provided for in legislation, for example prescription charges.

Contracts for clinical services currently require the provider to accept all appropriate referrals of patients. Where activity is paid for on a payment by results basis, the provider will be paid for each unit of activity. Where the provider is paid an amount to provide care, regardless of the volume of activity, the same contractual requirement to accept all appropriate referrals applies.

Health: Multiple Sclerosis

Question

Asked by Baroness Harris of Richmond

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when they expect the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence to publish updated guidance on the management of multiple sclerosis in primary and secondary care.[HL1709]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) routinely reviews its published guidance and is currently updating its clinical guidelines on the management of multiple sclerosis in primary and secondary care. NICE currently expects to issue an updated guideline in 2014.

Until then, NICE's current guideline on multiple sclerosis remains extant.

Higher Education: Overseas Students

Questions

Asked by Lord King of West Bromwich

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many students came to the United Kingdom to study from (1) India, (2) Pakistan, and (3) Bangladesh, in (a) 2010, and (b) 2011.[HL1606]

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): The table below provides the number of entry clearance visas issued in 2010 and 2011.

23 July 2012 : Column WA108

Entry clearance visas issued to main applicants by category and country of nationality: Study
YearCounty of nationalityTotal StudyPBS - Tier 4Non PBS StudentsStudent Visitors

2010

Bangladesh

9,106

8,792

197

117

2010

India

45,849

42,216

298

3,335

2010

Pakistan

24,788

22,611

1,872

305

2011

Bangladesh

5,849

5,666

0

183

2011

India

33,631

29,961

11

3,659

2011

Pakistan

33,016

32,326

250

440

Notes to table:

1. Data are provisional figures.

2. Excludes dependants.

3. Data for entry clearance are sourced from the UK Border Agency Proviso-Central Referencing System (CRS) visa case working system. Proviso-CRS is an administrative database and as such a small number of cases may be subject to recording errors.

4. The student visitor category provides for persons who wish to come to the UK as a visitor and undertake a short period of study that will be completed within the period of their leave. It includes those who applied on the ‘Short-term student’ endorsement.

Entry clearance visas issued show intentions to visit rather than actual arrivals. Visas data have been shown for both years for consistency.

Statistics on persons admitted to the UK for study by nationality for 2011 are scheduled for release on 30 August 2012 within the publication Immigration Statistics April to June 2012. This will be available from the Home Office’s Science, Research and Statistics website at: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/science-research/research-statistics/migration/migration-statistics1/.

Asked by Lord King of West Bromwich

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many students from (1) India, (2) Pakistan, and (3) Bangladesh, who entered the United Kingdom to study actually took up their studies in (a) 2010, and (b) 2011. [HL1607]

Lord Henley: The information requested is not held in the format required and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Higher Education: Principal Regulators

Question

Asked by Lord Willis of Knaresborough

To ask Her Majesty’s Government which body is the charitable regulator for (1) further education colleges, and (2) sixth form colleges.[HL1796]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The Secretary of State for Education was appointed as the principal regulator for sixth form colleges with effect from 1 August 2011.

23 July 2012 : Column WA109

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is working closely with the Cabinet Office to identify and appoint a principal regulator for further education colleges.

Due to the large number of exempt charities, the Cabinet Office has been working to a planned and phased timetable of implementation. In line with this timetable sixth form colleges were identified in the second phase of implementation. Further education colleges are in the third phase and we are looking to formalise the appointment of the principal regulator for further education colleges by early 2013.

Isle of Sark

Questions

Asked by Lord Prescott

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what conclusions they have drawn from the visit of Lord McNally, Minister of State for Justice, to the Isle of Sark. [HL1613]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): My open letter of 3 July 2012 to the Chief Pleas of Sark explains the UK Government’s position in respect of the actions they are taking to reform their governance structures and develop a more sustainable future. My letter makes clear my view that Sark needs to adapt and change and that the UK stands ready to provide practical advice and assistance. I will arrange for a copy of this letter to be deposited in the House Library.

Asked by Lord Prescott

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what financial assistance they provided to the Isle of Sark in each year since 2008 and whether any of that assistance involved payment for litigation on the Isle.[HL1615]

Lord McNally: The constitutional relationship between the UK and the Crown Dependencies does not provide for direct financial assistance. However, the UK Government can incur costs in fulfilling their constitutional obligations on behalf of the Crown, for example, in defending applications in the UK courts for judicial review of recommendations that Island legislation should receive Royal Assent. Such costs have been incurred since 2008 in respect of Sark.

Israel

Questions

Asked by Lord Judd

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will seek to ensure that at the forthcoming July meeting between the European Union and Israel, any upgrading in relations between the European Union and Israel will be conditional on specific actions by Israel; and if so, what these will be. [HL1620]

23 July 2012 : Column WA110

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Progress towards a two-state solution is a key element of the relationship between the European Union (EU) and Israel. The EU has been very clear that no progress can be made on upgrading the wider EU-Israel relationship until there is substantial progress towards a two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. That upgrade must be based on the shared values of both parties, and particularly on democracy and respect for human rights, the rule of law and fundamental freedoms, good governance and international humanitarian law. This is a position the UK supports.

Asked by Lord Judd

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made bilaterally and multilaterally to the Government of Israel regarding the solitary confinement of children; and what was the outcome of any such representations.[HL1768]

Lord Howell of Guildford: We have concerns about the treatment of Palestinian children detained in Israeli prisons. We have an ongoing dialogue with the Israeli authorities on this question and continue to call for further improvements, including a reduction in the number of arrests that occur at night, an end to shackling and the introduction of audio-visual recording of interrogations. Our ambassador most recently discussed the issue with the Israeli Attorney General on 6 July.

In addition we have supported research into this issue by leading British lawyers. Their independent report entitled Children in Military Custody was issued on 26 June. We will be discussing its findings and recommendations with the Israeli authorities. The full report can be read online at: www.childreninmilitarycustody. org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/Children_in_ Military_Custody_Full_Report.pdf.

Israel and Palestine

Questions

Asked by Lord Judd

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their response to representations by Quakers in Britain, Christian Aid and others for a ban on the import of the products of Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories.[HL1617]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We are aware of concerns regarding the import of products from Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories. Our position on Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories is clear: they are illegal under international law, an obstacle to peace and make a two-state solution, with Jerusalem as a shared capital, harder to achieve. We constantly urge the Israeli authorities to cease all settlement activity.

The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr William Hague) has had regular discussions with our European Union (EU) counterparts on these issues.

23 July 2012 : Column WA111

EU Foreign Ministers considered these issues at the 14 May EU Foreign Affairs Council. The Foreign Affairs Council's conclusions on the Middle East Peace Process set out the EU's position on settlements, settlement produce, and the need to increase Palestinian Authority control of the West Bank. These can be found at: www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_Data/docs/pressdata/EN/foraff/130195.pdf.

On settlement produce EU Ministers agreed that:

“The EU and its member states reaffirm their commitment to fully and effectively implement existing EU legislation and the bilateral arrangements applicable to settlement products. The council underlines the importance of the work being carried out together with the Commission in this regard”.

This ongoing work includes measures to ensure that settlement produce does not enter the EU duty-free, under the EU-Israel Association Agreement, and that settlement products are not incorrectly labelled as Israeli produce, in violation of EU consumer protection regulations.

Asked by Lord Judd

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how much money from UK public funds has gone to illegal Israeli settlements and what is their assessment of the level of European Union research funds which have gone to the Ahava company.[HL1618]

Lord Howell of Guildford: We are strongly opposed to Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories: they are illegal under international law and an obstacle to peace. No UK public funds have gone in direct support of settlements. We understand that Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories received a European Union contribution totalling €1.13 million under the Fifth and Seventh Framework Programmes for Research, Development and Technological Development. We are following up with the European Commission to outline our concerns.

Israel and Palestine: West Bank

Question

Asked by Lord Judd

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to Israel bilaterally and via the European Union about the demolition of buildings within Area C; how many buildings constructed by the European Union or United Kingdom have been demolished by Israel in the past six months; and what steps they are taking together with the European Union to reclaim costs for the destruction of any such buildings.[HL1619]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The UK is focused on preventing demolitions of Palestinian property, whether funded by the international community or not. We are working with other European Union (EU) member states to make clear to Israel the need for significant streamlining of the procedure for Palestinians to gain planning permission in Israeli-controlled areas

23 July 2012 : Column WA112

of the West Bank (specifically Area C) and the need to halt all demolitions until a more effective process is in place.

The Under-Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, my honourable friend the Member for North East Bedfordshire (Mr Burt), discussed this issue with the Israeli Deputy Prime Minister on 19 March. In addition we continue to support Palestinians facing demolition or eviction through our funding of the Norwegian Refugee Council legal aid programme, which helps communities to challenge these decisions in the Israeli legal system.

The EU has formally demarched Israel to relate our shared concern at worrying developments in Area C of the West Bank. These developments were a major theme of the European Foreign Affairs Council on 14 May, where EU Foreign Ministers specifically called on the Israeli authorities to halt forced transfer of population and demolition of Palestinian housing and infrastructure.

No UK-funded buildings in the Occupied Palestinian Territories have been destroyed in the past six months. There are a number of UK funded projects that have had demolition orders placed on them, although no demolition has taken place. There have been no EU- funded buildings demolished in the last six months, although some projects funded by the EU and other European partners have been.

To date the EU has not sought compensation from Israel for demolition of EU projects in the West Bank. The decision whether or not to do so would be a matter for the European Commission.

Justice: Sentencing

Question

Asked by Baroness Afshar

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the alternative costs and benefits of offering rehabilitation programmes rather than prison sentences for mothers of young children, taking into account the welfare of their families. [HL1512]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The Government have not undertaken a specific assessment of the alternative costs and benefits of offering rehabilitation programmes rather than prison sentences for mothers of young children, taking into account the welfare of their families.

Supporting offenders’ relationships with their families is important for MoJ and NOMS. It is recognised that supporting and maintaining links between offenders and their families can help reduce reoffending. Doing so can contribute to tackling intergenerational offending by addressing the poor outcomes faced by children of offenders.

The Government are committed to reducing the number of women in custody. They are working to increase confidence in community sentences, demonstrating that they are meaningfully punitive and can provide decent non-penal options for offenders with caring responsibilities where being sent to prison

23 July 2012 : Column WA113

could cause chaos for children and families. The community sentences consultation, which closed on 22 June, sought views on how these sentences could help to meet the needs of female offenders.

However it should be noted that courts already have discretion to take into account an offender’s individual circumstances when determining an appropriate sentence, and sentencing guidelines make clear that if an offender is the sole or primary carer for dependent relatives then this should he considered a mitigating factor for avoiding a custodial sentence.

Malaysia

Question

Asked by Lord Patten

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have made recent representations to the Government of Malaysia concerning the burning of (1) books under the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 and (2) Ms Irshad Manji's book Allah, Liberty and Love.[HL1540]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We are not aware of any state-sanctioned burning of recent incidents of banned books in Malaysia, but are closely monitoring the cases of the publisher and book store manager charged in connection with the distribution of Irshad Manji's book Allah, Liberty and Love. During a visit in April 2012, the Prime Minister underlined his strong support for political reform in Malaysia, and the British High Commission in Kuala Lumpur will continue to encourage greater freedom of expression through its contacts with the Government and work with civil society.

Northern Ireland Parades Commission

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, following the determination by the Northern Ireland Parades Commission concerning 12 July, whether they have proposals to disband or change the commission. [HL1636]

Earl Attlee: The Government have no plans to disband or change the membership of the Northern Ireland Parades Commission.

Nuclear Weapons

Question

Asked by Lord Lamont of Lerwick

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether Sir John Sawers in his remarks on Iran in his recent speech to Civil Service Live meant that Iran was now two years away from completing the construction of a nuclear weapon, or two years away from acquiring all the technological and material capability to construct such a weapon.[HL1695]

23 July 2012 : Column WA114

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): It is the policy of successive UK Governments not to comment on matters of intelligence and national security. This policy has not changed.

Olympic Games 2012

Question

Asked by Lord Wigley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Garden of Frognal on 27 June (WA 74), whether they will place in the Library of the House a copy of FIFA's letter to the national football associations of the four home countries.[HL1498]

Baroness Garden of Frognal: The letter in question was not addressed to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and was provided on a confidential basis. DCMS owes a duty of confidence in relation to this letter to FIFA and national football associations.

Olympic Games 2012: Team GB

Question

Asked by Lord Dubs

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had with the British Olympics Authority about why the national team is named Team GB rather than Team UK.[HL1646]

Baroness Garden of Frognal: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has had no recent discussions with the British Olympic Association (BOA) about the name “Team GB”. The name for the Olympic team is the responsibility of the BOA, which is independent of government.

Olympic Games 2012: Training

Question

Asked by Lord Jopling

To ask Her Majesty’s Government which countries participating in the Olympic Games in London have made arrangements for training camps outside London to be used by their participants both before and during the Games; where those camps are situated; and what economic gains they expect to result in each region.[HL1662]

Baroness Garden of Frognal: More than 200 agreements have been signed for Pre-Games training camps (PGTCs) across the whole of the UK, where Olympic and Paralympic teams from more than 130 countries are preparing for the London 2012 Games. There are Pre-Games training camps in every nation and region, which have been arranged through formal agreements

23 July 2012 : Column WA115

between facilities in the UK and each National Olympic Committee or National Paralympic Committee and international teams.

PGTCs provide an opportunity to promote local areas creating economic benefits, including inward investment, through the international attention that will follow. In addition, local communities will benefit from establishing or strengthening cultural links with the countries whose athletes are training nearby, including through organising events during “Host a Nation Week” (16-22 July). LOCOG publishes a list of known agreements on its website and a copy of the current list will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Overseas Students

Question

Asked by Lord Turnberg

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will ask the Migration Advisory Committee to undertake an assessment of the social and economic impact of non-European Union student immigration. [HL1712]

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): No decision has been taken on whether the Government will ask the Migration Advisory Committee to undertake such an assessment of the social and economic impact of non-European Union student immigration.

Paralympic Games 2012

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many tickets have been requested by the Government for the 2012 Paralympic Games, and for which events. [HL1486]

Baroness Garden of Frognal: The information requested can be found in the following table. The Government have a total allocation of 1,152 Paralympic tickets, covering a range of different sports and ticket prices. 602 tickets will be used to support a number of Government Games time objectives, including inviting and accompanying international and domestic political and business leaders, as well as guests. In addition, 550 tickets have been allocated for use as prizes for young people who competed in the School Games. After the Games, the Government will publish a list of those dignitaries to whom they allocated tickets and the cost to Government of those tickets.

DateSessionNumber

School Games

30-Aug

Olympic Park Day Pass

55

31-Aug

Olympic Park Day Pass

55

01-Sep

Olympic Park Day Pass

55

02-Sep

Olympic Park Day Pass

55

03-Sep

Olympic Park Day Pass

55

04-Sep

Olympic Park Day Pass

55

23 July 2012 : Column WA116

05-Sep

Olympic Park Day Pass

55

06-Sep

Olympic Park Day Pass

55

07-Sep

Olympic Park Day Pass

55

08-Sep

Olympic Park Day Pass

55

Dignitary Programmes

29-Aug

Opening Ceremony

40

29-Aug

Opening Ceremony

10

09-Sep

Closing ceremony

20

09-Sep

Closing Ceremony

10

30-Aug

Olympic Park Day Pass

4

31-Aug

Olympic Park Day Pass

4

01-Sep

Olympic Park Day Pass

4

02-Sep

Olympic Park Day Pass

4

03-Sep

Olympic Park Day Pass

14

04-Sep

Olympic Park Day Pass

14

05-Sep

Olympic Park Day Pass

6

06-Sep

Olympic Park Day Pass

4

07-Sep

Olympic Park Day Pass

4

08-Sep

Olympic Park Day Pass

4

03-Sep

Archery

4

04-Sep

Archery

4

31-Aug

Athletics

4

Athletics

4

01-Sep

Athletics

4

Athletics

4

02-Sep

Athletics

4

Athletics

4

03-Sep

Athletics

4

Athletics

4

04-Sep

Athletics

40

Athletics

4

Athletics

4

05-Sep

Athletics

20

Athletics

4

Athletics

7

Athletics

4

06-Sep

Athletics

8

Athletics

4

Athletics

4

07-Sep

Athletics

6

Athletics

4

Athletics

4

Athletics

7

08-Sep

Athletics

11

Athletics

4

Athletics

6

Athletics

4

06-Sep

Basketball

7

07-Sep

Basketball

8

08-Sep

Basketball

8

08-Sep

Boccia

4

30-Aug

Cycling Track

4

31-Aug

Cycling Track

4

Cycling Track

4

01-Sep

Cycling Track

4

Cycling Track

4

Cycling Track

7

02-Sep

Cycling Track

4

01-Sep

Equestrian

4

23 July 2012 : Column WA117

Equestrian

4

02-Sep

Equestrian

11

Equestrian

4

03-Sep

Equestrian

4

Equestrian

4

04-Sep

Equestrian

24

Equestrian

4

06-Sep

5 a side Football

8

06-Sep

Goalball

8

02-Sep

Rowing

11

06-Sep

Rugby

8

09-Sep

Rugby

4

01-Sep

Shooting

4

30-Aug

Swimming

4

Swimming

7

31-Aug

Swimming

4

01-Sep

Swimming

4

02-Sep

Swimming

4

03-Sep

Swimming

4

04-Sep

Swimming

20

04-Sep

Swimming

4

05-Sep

Swimming

6

Swimming

4

06-Sep

Swimming

8

Swimming

4

07-Sep

Swimming

4

08-Sep

Swimming

11

Swimming

4

Swimming

7

05-Sep

Tennis

4

06-Sep

Tennis

4

07-Sep

Tennis

4

08-Sep

Tennis

4

Parliament Square