24 July 2012 : Column WA129

24 July 2012 : Column WA129

Written Answers

Tuesday 24 July 2012

Abortion

Questions

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what further action they intend to take following the formal censure of 14 NHS hospitals after regulators found they were conducting potentially illegal abortions. [HL1623]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action will be taken against NHS trusts found to be forging abortion certificates with doctors’ pre-signed consent forms.[HL1624]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is working with the 14 National Health Service hospitals named and has required that all trusts put in place compliance actions. These require providers to demonstrably improve their practices to ensure compliance with legal requirements; all 14 providers have now taken steps to ensure compliance. The CQC will carry out further checks to ensure improvements have been made.

Investigations by the police, General Medical Council, and Nursing and Midwifery Council are continuing and further referrals may result from the publication of the CQC reports.

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 12 July (WA 261), whether they will make available copies of the evidence cited; and whether they will specify and provide the evidence that supports the claim that a decision to terminate a pregnancy improves the mental health of a mother facing an unwanted pregnancy.[HL1757]

Earl Howe: The report Induced Abortion and Mental Health produced by the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health, although commissioned by the department, is an independent review. The evidence reviewed by the steering group was from published research and peer-reviewed articles, which are fully referenced in the report and were subject to multiple quality assessments prior to their inclusion. The department does not hold copies of every piece of research cited.

The report does not establish a link between a woman having a termination of pregnancy and a subsequent improvement in her mental health and makes no claim to do so.

24 July 2012 : Column WA130

Armed Forces: Stations

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

To ask Her Majesty’s Government in which countries and regions service men and women of HM Armed Forces are stationed; and in what numbers.[HL1585]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The following table details the number of Armed Forces personnel by gender and location as of 1 April 2012:

CountryRegionMaleFemaleGrand Total

UK Total

141,600

15,380

156,970

England


125,050

14,210

139,260


East Midlands

7,380

1,030

1,030


East of England

15,780

1,560

1,560


London

4,920

480

480


North East

1,250

150

150


North West

2,050

100

100


South East

37,520

5,810

5,810


South West

35,940

3,100

3,100


West Midlands

5,680

880

880


Yorkshire and The Humber

14,520

1,080

1,080

Scotland


10,500

690

11,190

Wales


2,580

200

2,780

Northern Ireland


3,460

280

3,740

Channel Islands


-

-

-

Overseas Locations


20,800

1,650

22,440

Algeria


-

-

-

Argentina


-

-

-

Australia


50

-

50

Austria


-

-

-

Bahrain


10

-

20

Bangladesh


-

-

-

Belgium


300

20

330

Belize


10

-

10

Bermuda


-

-

-

Bosnia and Herzegovina


-

-

-

Brazil


-

-

-

British Indian Ocean Territory


40

-

40

Brunei


130

10

140

Canada


260

10

270

Chile


-

-

-

China (inc. Hong Kong and Macao)


-

-

-

Colombia


-

-

-

Congo


-

-

-

Congo (Dem.Rep)


-

-

-

Cyprus


2,390

200

2,590

Czech Republic


20

-

20

Denmark


20

-

20

Djibouti


-

-

-

Egypt


-

-

-

Estonia


-

-

-

Ethiopia


-

-

-

Falkland Islands


40

-

50

France


30

-

30

Georgia


-

-

-

24 July 2012 : Column WA131

Germany


15,750

1,240

16,990

Ghana


-

-

-

Gibraltar


200

30

230

Greece


-

-

-

India


-

-

-

Indonesia


-

-

-

Israel


-

-

10

Italy


160

20

170

Jamaica


-

-

-

Japan


-

-

-

Jordan


20

-

20

Kazakhstan


-

-

-

Kenya


160

10

180

Kuwait


40

-

40

Lebanon


-

-

-

Liberia


-

-

-

Malaysia


10

-

10

Morocco


-

-

-

Nepal


20

-

20

Netherlands


150

20

170

New Zealand


10

-

10

Nigeria


-

-

-

Norway


40

-

40

Oman


80

-

80

Pakistan


10

-

10

Poland


-

-

-

Portugal


30

-

30

Qatar


10

-

10

Republic of Serbia


-

-

-

Russian Federation


10

-

10

Saint Helena


-

-

-

Saudi Arabia


130

-

130

Sierra Leone


20

-

20

Singapore


10

-

10

South Africa


10

-

10

South Korea


-

-

-

Spain


10

-

10

Sudan


-

-

-

Sweden


-

-

-

Syria


-

-

-

Turkey


10

-

10

Uganda


-

-

-

Ukraine


-

-

-

United Arab Emirates


10

-

10

United States


530

30

560

Uzbekistan


-

-

-

Yemen


-

-

-

Zimbabwe


-

-

-

No location recorded (This includes personnel on maternity leave)


40

350

390

Grand Total


162,430

17,370

179,800

Notes:

UK regular forces includes all trained and untrained personnel. Gurkhas, full-time reserve personnel, and mobilised reservists are excluded.

Figures are rounded to the nearest 10, numbers ending in five have been rounded to the nearest 20 to prevent systematic bias. “-” denotes zero or rounded to zero.

The UK regular forces figures represent the number of service personnel that are stationed at that location. This may differ from the actual number of people working at that location at that time, eg due to deployments.

24 July 2012 : Column WA132

Assisted Dying

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what recent assessment they have made of the effect of the legalisation of assisted dying on the treatment of vulnerable people.[HL1626]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The Government have not made such an assessment.

Aviation: Air Quality

Questions

Asked by The Countess of Mar

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the views of the peer reviewers of the Cranfield cabin air monitoring study, who described a series of serious flaws which included aspects deemed “highly unsatisfactory” and “very highly skewed”, were taken into account when the report was published; and whether they maintain that contaminants found were at satisfactory levels.[HL1744]

Earl Attlee: Cranfield University’s report of May 2011 was submitted in draft for scientific peer review as is normal practice. The peer reviewers’ comments were taken into account before a final report was issued. Cranfield stand firmly behind their report.

All the research projects commissioned into cabin air by the Department for Transport have now been completed and published. They have also been referred formally to the Committee on Toxicity—the independent adviser to government on matters concerning the toxicity of chemicals—for its consideration.

Asked by The Countess of Mar

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the Surface Residue Study undertaken for the Department for Transport by the Institute of Occupational Medicine, Edinburgh, which found concentrations of mono-orthocresylphosphate (MOCP) at around three times the level of tri-orthocresylphosphate (TOCP) in airborne measurements, accords with the statement from the manufacturers of the oils, ExxonMobil, that the level of MOCP is 600,000 times higher than TOCP.[HL1745]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether tri-cresylphosphate (TCP) was found in 23 per cent of flights tested during the Cranfield air monitoring study; at what levels it was found; and what are the occupational exposure limits for TCP in enclosed pressurised spaces.[HL1747]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they are aware that the UK’s leading aircraft engine manufacturer has claimed that “toxic cabin air” is its sixth biggest engine problem; and what measures are being taken to rectify the problem.[HL1748]

24 July 2012 : Column WA133

Earl Attlee: The information available was published in the Cranfield University report of May 2011 and the Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM) report of June 2012. The department has referred all the research it has commissioned on cabin air quality to the Committee on Toxicity (COT) which is the independent adviser to government on matters concerning the toxicity of chemicals. The next step is for the COT to consider this work.

Aviation: Birmingham/Amritsar Flights

Question

Asked by Lord King of West Bromwich

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of (1) the social impact, and (2) the impact on the economy of the number of flights between Birmingham airport and Amritsar airport in India.[HL1750]

Earl Attlee: The Government have made no such assessment. The UK/India Air services agreement allows the airlines of both sides to operate any number of services between Birmingham and Amritsar. Officials from the Department for Transport raised the possibility of a Birmingham-Amritsar service in their most recent discussions with the Indian Ministry of Civil Aviation. However, decisions on what services to operate are a commercial matter for the airlines concerned.

Banks: Iceland

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Sassoon on 25 June (WS 1), whether minutes of the 2 September 2008 meeting between the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Icelandic Minister of Business Affairs, and the chairman of the supervisory authority for the Icelandic financial sector were produced; and if so, whether the commitment to guarantee the deposits of Icelandic banks in full beyond the maximum amount of £35,000 was recorded.[HL1743]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Treasury Ministers and officials held frequent discussions with the Icelandic Government and supervisory authority for the Icelandic financial sector during 2008. As with previous administrations, it is not the Government’s practice to provide minutes of these meetings.

Banks: Lending

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

To ask Her Majesty’s Government who are the members of the joint Bank of England HM Treasury Oversight Board monitoring the Funding for Lending Scheme.[HL1791]

24 July 2012 : Column WA134

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The joint oversight board for the Funding for Lending Scheme will be co-chaired by the Bank of England’s Executive Director of Markets and the Chief Economic Adviser to HM Treasury. There will be an additional member each from the Bank and the Treasury: the Bank’s Head of Sterling Markets Division and the Treasury’s Director of Financial Services. Other Bank and Treasury officials will be invited as required.

Bats

Questions

Asked by Lord Marlesford

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what conclusions they draw from the recent Leeds University research into the effectiveness of four artificial bat bridges constructed over roads in the north of England. [HL1698]

Earl Attlee: The Highways Agency acknowledges the value of the work undertaken by Leeds University regarding bat bridges, published on an online peer-reviewed open access journal in June 2012. The Highways Agency only installs bat mitigation measures where absolutely essential. The agency will continue to keep its policy regarding bat bridges under review and is currently working with Natural England on proposals to look at the effectiveness of this and other appropriate mitigation measures.

Asked by Lord Marlesford

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the location and cost of each of the bat bridges completed in England and Wales in the past five years; and what studies have been made of the cost-effectiveness of each bridge.[HL1699]

Earl Attlee: The table below provides details regarding which roads the Highways Agency has provided bat mitigation on during the past five years, the number of mitigation measures applied, and the respective cost.

SchemeNoTotal CostStatus

A38 Dobwalls Bypass

2

£300,000

Constructed

A590 High and Low Newton Bypass

1

£84,000

Constructed

A69 Haydon Bypass

1

£60,000

Constructed

A595 Parton to Lillyhall Improvement

1

£34,000

Constructed

All elements of a scheme are subject to appraisal in line with published guidance and to specific value management requirements throughout the project lifecycle. A review is undertaken of the costs, benefits and other predicted impacts (including environmental) at key stages, to ensure benefits are optimised and costs challenged. Comparisons are also made with other projects so that decisions take account of the best available evidence. Consideration is also given to this at the end of projects so that lessons learnt can be applied in the future.

24 July 2012 : Column WA135

The Highways Agency has published a report titled A Review of Bat Mitigation in Relation to Highway Severance. The report is available on the Highways Agency website.

There is no central list of information relating to bat mitigation on local authority roads.

The Government do not hold information on the cost, location and cost-effectiveness of bat mitigation in Wales as this is a devolved matter and the responsibility of the Welsh Assembly Government.

Asked by Lord Marlesford

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many bat bridges are under construction or proposed in England and Wales; and what is the proposed location and estimated cost of each.[HL1700]

Earl Attlee: The Highways Agency currently has no bat mitigation measures under construction on its projects.

There are six proposed bat mitigation measures on the Highways Agency A11 Fiveways to Thetford improvement scheme. It is proposed that these will be sited on the All between Gibsons Lodge War Memorial and Elvedon Gap. The estimated total cost for the proposals is £240,000.

There is no central list of information relating to bat mitigation on local authority roads.

The coalition Government do not hold information on the construction, cost and location of bat mitigation in Wales as this is a devolved matter and the responsibility of the Welsh Assembly Government.

Asked by Lord Marlesford

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what obligations there are on the Government to construct bridges for bats over new roads where these have been recommended by Natural England; what consideration is given to the opportunity cost of each bridge in deciding whether the construction of a bridge is justified; and whether the Highways Agency is able to construct a new road without the installation of a recommended bat bridge.[HL1701]

Earl Attlee: The Highways Agency is responsible for ensuring it meets its legal obligations towards protected species.

The Highways Agency endeavours to avoid or reduce the impact on such species through effective scheme design. Where additional mitigation measures are required, the agency seeks to ensure these are directly proportionate to the importance and the scale of the potential impacts. Wire bat bridges have been constructed where a significant impact on bats is identified and other mitigation measures are not able to be implemented.

Care Homes: Deferred Payment Scheme

Questions

Asked by Lord German

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what proposals they have for the level of interest local authorities will be able to charge for the proposed national

24 July 2012 : Column WA136

deferred payment scheme for residential care, in the light of the progress report

Caring for our Future

.[HL1653]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how the risks of longevity would be managed under the proposed national deferred payment scheme for residential care.[HL1654]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they expect to offer a no negative-equity guarantee under the proposed national deferred payment scheme for residential care.[HL1655]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how they expect the proposed national deferred payment scheme for residential care will interact with equity release products.[HL1656]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The department will engage with the care sector including financial services on how the universal deferred payments scheme will work.

This will include what interest or charges are appropriate, as well has how financial risk will be managed.

We will take account of potential impacts on the equity release market.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

Question

Asked by The Countess of Mar

To ask Her Majesty’s Government why the Ministry of Defence categorises chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis as a psychiatric or mental health disorder on the British Army Health Questionnaire (RG Form 8), when the World Health Organisation ICD 10 categorises it as a neurological condition under G93.3 and the UK Department of Health has confirmed that there is no other ICD category for the condition.[HL1749]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The current version of the British Army Health Questionnaire, Recruiting Group Form 8 (RG 8), which has been in use by applicants to the regular Army since 2008, does not assign categories to any medical condition but instead lists conditions which are then verified by the applicant’s GP.

However, until recently, applicants to the Territorial Army (TA) completed an older, self-certified version of the RG 8 (dated 2004), which categorised chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis as a psychiatric or mental disorder. This was consistent with advice in place from the World Health Organisation International Classification of Diseases, which allowed clinicians to categorise patients who came under the broad category of chronic fatigue syndrome, under either psychiatry or neurology.

24 July 2012 : Column WA137

This older version of RG 8 has now been withdrawn and since April 2012 all TA applicants, like their regular counterparts, now complete the current RG 8 version dated 2008.

Courts: Sentencing

Question

Asked by Lord Ramsbotham

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what advice on assessing maturity is provided in guidelines for sentencers and court report writers.[HL1681]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): Courts must follow the sentencing guidelines published by the Sentencing Council which direct the court to take maturity into account when making sentencing decisions, where it affects the responsibility of the offender. When sentencing young offenders the court must follow the Sentencing Guidelines Council’s “Overarching Principles—Sentencing Youths” which contains guidance on considering maturity. No specific national advice has been given to court report writers in probation trusts or youth offending teams on assessing maturity. However, pre-sentence reports cover areas such as family and personal relationships, thinking and behaviour which can be drawn upon by courts when considering maturity.

Courts: Vulnerable Witnesses, Victims and Defendants

Question

Asked by Lord Bradley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what estimate they have made of the cost of extending the provision of special measures currently available to vulnerable witnesses and victims in court proceedings to vulnerable defendants.[HL1692]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): There are no plans to extend the provision of special measures currently available to victims and witnesses in court proceedings to vulnerable defendants. Courts already provide a range of measures to meet the needs of vulnerable defendants to ensure a fair trial.

Crime: Drugs

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many incidents of drug offences were recorded in Lincolnshire, according to class of drug, in each year from 1996 up to the last year for which records are available.[HL1868]

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): The available information relates to drug offences recorded by the police in Lincolnshire and is given in

24 July 2012 : Column WA138

the table. It is not possible to identify the class of drug involved from the police recorded crime statistics collected by the Home Office.

Drug offences recorded by the police in Lincolnshire
YearNumber of offences

19961

185

19971

235

2, 3

1998-99

1,229

1999-00

975

2000-01

906

2001-02

1,116

4

2002-03

1,060

2003-04

1,061

2004-05

951

2005-06

1,239

2006-07

1,421

2007-08

1,488

2008-09

1,735

2009-10

1,593

2010-11

1,574

2011-12

1,543

1. Trafficking in controlled drugs offences only.

2. The police recorded crime coverage was extended and the counting rules changed in 1998-99. Data before and after that date are not directly comparable.

3. Possession of controlled drug offences were introduced in 1998-99.

4. The National Crime Recording Standard was introduced nationally in 2002-03 and police recorded crime figures before and after that date are not directly comparable.

Crime: Knife Crime

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many incidents of knife crime were recorded in Lincolnshire in each year from 1996 up to the past year for which records are available.[HL1866]

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): Data for selected offences involving the use of a knife or sharp instrument are collected by the Home Office. Data for these selected offences were first collected in 2007-08 and are provided for Lincolnshire police in the table.

Data for 2007-08 are not comparable with those shown for latter years due to an expansion in the number of offences covered. In 2007-08, the offences covered are, attempted murder, grievous bodily harm (GBH) with intent, GBH without intent and robbery. In 2008/09, the coverage was expanded to include actual bodily harm (ABH), threats to kill, sexual assault and rape offences.

Homicide figures in the table are taken from the Homicide Index. Figures for 2011-12 for knife and sharp instrument homicides are due to be published in January 2013.

24 July 2012 : Column WA139

Knife and sharp instrument offences recorded by the police for selected offences in Lincolnshire1,2
Numbers
YearTotal selected offencesHomicide 3Total selected offences including homicide3

2007-08

71

3

74

2008-094

169

2

171

2009-10

176

2

178

2010-11

169

3

172

2011-12

141

-

-

1. Police recorded knife and sharp instrument offences data are submitted via an additional special collection. Proportions of offences involving the use of a knife or sharp instrument presented in this table are calculated based on figures submitted in this special collection. Other offences exist that are not shown in this table that may include the use of a knife or sharp instrument.

2. In this table offences involving a knife refers to the use of a knife or sharp instrument.

3. Homicide offences are those currently recorded by the police as at 18 October 2011 and are subject to revision as cases are dealt with by the police and by the courts, or as further information becomes available. 2011-12 figures will be available in January 2013.

4. The collection was expanded in 2008-09 to also include actual bodily harm (ABH), threats to kill, sexual assault and rape offences. Therefore figures are not comparable with those offences recorded in 2007-08.

“-” indicates that data are not available.

Cyclists: Deaths and Injuries

Question

Asked by Lord Berkeley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the number of cyclists killed or seriously injured on roads in Great Britain in 2011; and what action they are taking to reduce the number of such deaths and injuries.[HL1780]

Earl Attlee: The number of pedal cyclists killed as a result of a collision on the road fell by 4% in Great Britain, from 111 in 2010 to 107 in 2011. However, the number of pedal cyclists seriously injured in a road accident rose by 16% in Great Britain, from 2,660 in 2010 to 3,085 in 2011.

Since 2005, our statistics have highlighted that the number of pedal cyclists killed or seriously injured as a result of a collision on a road in Great Britain has been on a continuous upward trend, with the largest year-on-year increase occurring between 2010 and 2011 (15%). A variety of factors may contribute to changes in the number of killed or seriously injured accidents, including the 13% growth in pedal cyclists traffic observed between 2005 and 2011.

Last year the Government set up a Cycling Stakeholder Forum and safety sub-group which comprises representatives from cycling groups, motoring and freight organisations, the Association of Chief Police Officers and local authorities. Good progress is being made on coming up with actions to improve cycle safety.

24 July 2012 : Column WA140

Furthermore, last month the Government announced a £15 million fund to improve safety for cyclists outside London, by tackling dangerous junctions. This was in addition to the £15 million fund awarded to Transport for London in March for the same purpose.

Data Protection

Question

Asked by Lord Harris of Haringey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the standards of data security in local government.[HL1871]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): It is primarily for local authorities to ensure they have the standards in place to maintain data security. In January 2012 the Permanent Secretary, Sir Bob Kerslake, and the Information Commissioner, Christopher Graham, wrote to local authority chief executives emphasising the importance of good information governance.

Drones

Question

Asked by Lord Bates

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their policy on the use of unmanned armed drones outside Afghanistan against terrorist suspects.[HL1573]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): Her Majesty’s Government do not use armed remotely piloted air systems against terrorist suspects outside Afghanistan. However, UK personnel flew armed remotely piloted air systems missions against Gaddafi’s forces in Libya in 2011, in support of the NATO humanitarian mission authorised under UNSCR resolution 1973.

Energy: Prices

Question

Asked by Lord Judd

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will place in the Library of both Houses the results of their most recent research into the willingness to adopt RIIO–T1 (Revenue = Incentives + Innovation + Outputs) proposals for non-fast-track transmission companies alongside the proposals themselves. [HL1770]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): The RIIO-T1 price control is a matter for Ofgem, as the independent regulator, and the network companies. We have not undertaken any research into the willingness to adopt RIIO-T1 proposals. Ofgem will publish its RIIO-T1 initial proposals for National Grid (the only

24 July 2012 : Column WA141

non-fast-tracked transmission company) on 27 July. We will ensure copies are placed in the Library of both Houses when available.

EU: Taxation

Question

Asked by Lord Pearson of Rannoch

To ask Her Majesty’s Government why they did not reply to the letter from the Chairman of the House of Lords European Union Committee dated 20 June, requesting a response to the Committee’s conclusion that “If, as is likely, the directive creating a Euro area financial transaction tax equates the UK with third countries, there would still be very significant effects on the UK financial sector”, in time for the debate in the House on 11 July.[HL1570]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): I regret that the Government did not respond to the letter dated 20 June 2012 from the Chair of the House of Lords European Union Committee within the agreed timeframe of 10 working days. This was partly to ensure that the response reflected latest developments following the Economic and Financial Affairs Council on 22 June and the European Council on 29 June. The Financial Secretary sent his response to the Chair of the Committee’s letter on 16 July.

Fire and Rescue Services: Funding

Questions

Asked by Lord Morris of Manchester

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the Association of Metropolitan Fire and Rescue Authorities’ submission Potential Impact of the 2013–15 Finance Settlement; and whether they plan to take any action as a result. [HL1488]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the proposed reduction in funding for the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service; how this compares with the average nationwide cut in funding; and why a flat rate reduction, comparable to the police service, has not been made for fire and rescue services. [HL1519]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): The Association of Metropolitan Fire and Rescue Authorities submission has been noted.

On the 17 July 2012 the Government published the Technical Consultation on Business Rates Retention detailing proposals for local authority funding from 2013-14. Responses are welcomed from all fire and rescue authorities by the closing date of 24 September 2012. All representations 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.

24 July 2012 : Column WA142

Firearms: Licensing

Question

Asked by The Earl of Shrewsbury

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether guidance issued by HM Treasury on calculating fees charged for firearms and explosives licences is mandatory or advisory for the Northern Ireland Executive; and whether advice has recently been sought by, or provided to, the Northern Ireland Executive on that guidance.[HL1723]

Earl Attlee: The issuing of licences in respect of firearms and explosives are functions that are exercised by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and the Department of Justice (DoJ). The noble Earl may therefore wish to direct his question to the PSNI and DoJ.

Government: Ministerial Visits

Question

Asked by Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the Prime Minister met representatives of the Rohingya Muslim minority during his recent visit to Burma.[HL1670]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Prime Minister, my right honourable friend the Member for Witney (Mr Cameron) did indeed meet representatives of the Rohingya community, along with other representatives from ethnic minority groups, during his visit to Burma in April and listened to their concerns first hand.

Gypsies and Travellers

Question

Asked by Baroness Whitaker

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 12 July (WA 276–7), what data on the numbers of Gypsy and Irish Traveller patients are available from the sections on healthcare, including mental healthcare, in the Count Me In Census.[HL1622]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The ethnic categories referred to in the Count Me In Census are those used by the Office for National Statistics in its 2001 census of the general population of England and Wales. The final census was conducted in 2010. There was no category specifically for Gypsy and Irish Travellers.

24 July 2012 : Column WA143

Haemophilia Society

Question

Asked by Lord Roberts of Conwy

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they provide funding to the Haemophilia Society and pay any of its salaried staff.[HL1551]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The department has provided the following funding to the Haemophilia Society over the past two financial years.

2010-11—£140,709; and

2011-12—£100,000.

The funding was provided for specific projects, not for the salaries of staff, although the society may utilise the funding on salaries of the staff directly involved in the projects.

Health: Coeliac Disease

Questions

Asked by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when they expect the Oxfordshire Primary Care Trust Clinical Commissioning Group to make a decision on whether to de-list gluten-free foods for people with coeliac disease.[HL1801]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the meeting at which the Oxfordshire Primary Care Trust Clinical Commissioning Group makes a decision on whether to de-list gluten-free foods for people with coeliac disease will be held in public.[HL1802]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): We understand this issue will be considered by the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group shadow governing body at its August board meeting and that a decision will be made at that time. The decision will be made public following the board meeting. Meetings of the OCCG board are not currently held in public, as it is a shadow governing body.

Health: Multiple Sclerosis

Question

Asked by Baroness Harris of Richmond

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment has been made of the extent to which guideline CG8 from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence on the management of multiple sclerosis in primary and secondary care is being implemented.[HL1710]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Clinical guidelines published by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) provide recommendations on the

24 July 2012 : Column WA144

appropriate treatment and care of people with specific diseases and conditions within the National Health Service in England and Wales. Their implementation is not mandatory.

However, clinicians are expected to consider clinical guidelines when exercising their clinical judgment, as are NHS commissioners when commissioning services for their local populations.

Existing guidance published by NICE, in addition to other sources of accredited information, will inform the development of a NICE Quality Standard for multiple sclerosis. The Quality Standard will be used by commissioners to ensure that they are commissioning high quality services and by providers to reflect on current service provision, identify areas for improvement and demonstrate the quality of their services in quality accounts.

Health: Osteoporosis

Question

Asked by Lord Black of Brentwood

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will take action to increase the number of points allocated to the osteoporosis indicators in the Quality and Outcomes Framework for 2013–14.[HL1771]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): There are no plans to increase the value of rewards to general practitioners (GPs) for achieving the current osteoporosis indicators in the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF). Recommendations to the Government on the allocation of points between indicators in the QOF are based on the outcome of confidential discussions on the GP contract between NHS employers and the General Practitioners Committee of the British Medical Association.

Health: Podiatry

Questions

Asked by Lord Morris of Manchester

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether housebound people with an identified clinical need for podiatric care are entitled to receive care in their own homes where appropriate.[HL1719]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many home visits by podiatrists were commissioned by the National Health Service in each of the last five years; and whether such services are regarded as an essential element of NHS provision.[HL1720]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): I refer the noble Lord to my Written Answer on 23 May 2012 (Official Report, col. WA 69).

24 July 2012 : Column WA145

Internet: Broadband

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the building of a rural broadband network is being delayed by the European Union; and, if so, what are the reasons for their doing so.[HL1467]

Baroness Garden of Frognal: The Government have had extensive discussions with the European Commission about our request for approval of an umbrella state aid notification for broadband projects, including a meeting that the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport had recently with the Competition Commissioner on this subject. The Commission has been concerned in particular to ensure that the provisions for wholesale access to broadband networks meet its requirements. We have provided the Commission with all the information that it has asked for and I hope it will be able to give a positive decision shortly.

NHS: Clinical Commissioning Groups

Question

Asked by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how the Oxfordshire Primary Care Trust Clinical Commissioning Group discharges its accountability for rationing decisions to the local community. [HL1803]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Once established, clinical commissioning groups will be required to involve individuals to whom services are being or may be provided in the commissioning process. Specifically, individuals must be involved in planning commissioning arrangements, and in developing and considering proposals for changes in those arrangements, where those proposals would have an impact on how services are provided or the range of health services available, and in decisions that would likewise have a significant impact.

We understand the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group has involved Oxfordshire’s Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee in this decision, and, with its support, undertook an extensive public engagement exercise from January to March 2012.

NHS: Funding

Question

Asked by Baroness Quin

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what were the financial allocations made to the National Health Service regions in England in 2010–11; what information is available about health service performance outcomes in that period; and what is the most recent information about the health of regional populations.[HL1795]

24 July 2012 : Column WA146

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Information on the allocations made to primary care trusts (PCTs), summed to strategic health authorities (SHAs) in 2010-11 is provided in the following table.

Allocations to PCTs in each SHA, 2010-11
£000s

North East SHA

4,881,900

North West SHA

12,877,161

Yorkshire and the Humber SHA

8,937,888

East Midlands SHA

7,002,193

West Midlands SHA

9,274,168

East of England SHA

8,905,458

London SHA

14,421,853

South East Coast SHA

7,060,844

South Central SHA

6,080,055

South West SHA

8,364,858

England

87,806,378

Source:

Resource Allocation Team

Notes:

1.Allocations are made to PCTs. These have been summed to give the total for PCTs in each SHA.

2. Figures are recurrent allocations and non-recurrent allocations for primary dental services, pharmaceutical services and general ophthalmic services.

3. SHAs are those as at December 2009 when 2010-11 allocations were issued.

National Health Service performance is reported regularly through the publication of The Quarter, which sets out NHS performance against the requirements of the annual Operating Framework. The most recent quarterly data were published in the NHS chief executive’s annual report, The Year, which is available on the website at www.dh.gov.uk/health/2012/06/the-year-2011_12/.

In addition, since December 2011 the department has published data against 34 indicators in the NHS Outcomes Framework, and of those indicators 23 currently include data for all or part of 2010-11. The department will be updating the remaining indicators for 2010-11 as and when the data become available in readiness for the framework coming into force from April 2013. Data for NHS Outcomes Framework indicators can be accessed via the NHS Information Centre’s indicator portal: indicators.ic.nhs.uk/webview/

In future years, the Secretary of State will be required to publish an annual report on the performance of the health service in England. This was introduced by the Health and Social Care Act 2012, and the first annual report was published on 4 July 2012. The NHS Outcomes Framework and the Public Health Outcomes Framework will give more information about the overall performance of the health service.

The annual report is available at: www.dh.gov.uk/health/2012/07/annual-report/.

Local health profiles are produced annually by the Public Health Observatories in England working in partnership, with funding from the department. They provide a snapshot of the overall health of the population of each local authority in England, and highlight potential problems through comparison with other areas and with the national average.

24 July 2012 : Column WA147

The profiles draw together information to present a picture of health in each local area in a user-friendly format. They include indicators across five domains: our communities; children’s and young people’s health; adults’ health and lifestyle; diseases and poor health; life expectancy and causes of death. They are a valuable tool for local government and health services in helping them to understand their community’s needs, so that they can work to improve people’s health and reduce health inequalities.

The latest set of health profiles were published on 26 June and are available at the following link: www.healthprofiles.info/.

Olympic Games 2012

Question

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, following the recent announcement by the Minister for Sport about access to the London 2012 Olympic Games for visitors from overseas, whether representatives of Israel will be welcome.[HL1523]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Representatives of Israel will, of course, be welcome to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

All international visitors applying to enter the United Kingdom are subject to the UK immigration controls. Anyone who is currently subject to a European Union or United Nations travel ban will not be able to come to the Games. In addition, entry will be refused where an individual’s presence at the Games or in the UK would not be conducive to the public good. Where there is independent, reliable and credible evidence that an individual has committed human right abuses, the individual will not normally be permitted to enter the UK. Further to this we do not comment on individual cases.

Overseas Aid

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how much is the United Kingdom’s contribution to the £10 billion development aid funds pledged to Afghanistan, and whether that sum will be met from the overseas aid budget.[HL1677]

Baroness Northover: The Secretary of State for International Development announced that the UK would maintain its current funding levels of £178 million a year for the next five years up to 2017 and will continue to support Afghanistan’s development needs through its transformation decade to 2025 as long as the Afghan Government continue to deliver crucial reforms and results for their people. This assistance will be met from the overseas aid budget.

24 July 2012 : Column WA148

Railways: East Coast

Question

Asked by Lord Palmer

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to re-franchise the main east coast rail line; and, if so, when.[HL1694]

Earl Attlee: A consultation on the new InterCity East Coast Franchise commenced on Tuesday 26 June and closes on 18 September 2012. The Department for Transport will produce a summary of the consultation responses alongside an invitation to tender which we expect to be published in January 2013. Our plan is that the winning bidder will be announced in August 2013 with the new franchise due to start in December 2013.

Railways: Gatwick Express

Questions

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had with the operators of the Gatwick Express concerning (1) last-minute cancellations of services due to drivers not reporting for work, and (2) replacing ticket machines at the barriers so that they accept all types of automatic tickets.[HL1738]

Earl Attlee: There have been no specific discussions with Southern Railways concerning last minute cancellations of services due to drivers not reporting for work, which is an operational matter for the company. Discussions concerning ticket gates and machines at Gatwick Airport station have been limited to Southern’s implementation of its franchise agreement contractual obligations, which it proposed as part of its franchise proposition bid to the Department for Transport.

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Attlee on 20 June concerning the Gatwick Express (WA 304), when reliability, cleanliness and customer service on the Gatwick Express was most recently monitored by the Department for Transport, and what was the result; and whether they consider that the service is prepared for traffic generated by the 2012 Olympic Games.[HL1739]

Earl Attlee: Officials at the Department for Transport monitor Southern’s performance against its contract on a four weekly basis. This review includes operational performance, service quality and the delivery of committed obligations. Southern is currently meeting its contractual performance obligations.

The department has recently agreed a number of initiatives for Southern to pursue with a view to improving its National Passenger Survey results, requiring expenditure of over £500,000 on different schemes including Gatwick Express services. In addition, the Department for Transport has agreed an Olympic

24 July 2012 : Column WA149

Services Delivery Plan with Southern which provides for additional trains and customer service arrangements to be put in place during the Games.

Roads: Shared Space Schemes

Question

Asked by Lord Flight

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have monitored and analysed the potential negative effects of shared space road schemes being installed in town centres in England, including the extent to which they increase the risks of crossing the road for those who are disabled, blind or partially sighted, the elderly and parents with children.[HL1729]

Earl Attlee: In October 2011, the Department for Transport published guidance on the design and provision of shared space schemes. It focuses heavily on designing for disabled people in general with a particular emphasis on the needs of blind or partially sighted people. This guidance is available at www.dft.gov.uk/publications/Itn-01-11.

The research underpinning the guidance found no evidence that shared space schemes, including those with a level surface, as implemented in the UK, have more casualties than conventional layouts, or indeed that particular groups, including disabled people, are injured more frequently following their introduction.

It is for local authorities to monitor and analyse the performance of their own shared space schemes.

Schools: Attendance and Attainment

Question

Asked by Baroness Whitaker

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the report by Partnerships for Schools on the Building Schools for the Future programme, whether they will assess the contribution of design under the programme to improvements in school attendance in 73% of the schools sampled and to improvements in GCSE results at a rate above the national average in 62% of the schools sampled.[HL1621]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): School attendance and pupil attainment are influenced by a number of factors, particularly the quality of teaching, and it would be very difficult to assess what contribution design alone has made to improvements in either.

The department will continue to collect and publish termly attendance data and annual GCSE results for all maintained schools and academies in England. The Education Funding Agency is also committed to monitoring the performance of school buildings constructed in the new Priority Schools Building Programme, including the effects they have on users.

24 July 2012 : Column WA150

Schools: Creationism

Question

Asked by Lord Krebs

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have approved the establishment of a free school, Exemplar Academy, by a creationist group.[HL1725]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The Government have approved the application by Exemplar—Newark Business Academy to progress to the implementation stage of the free schools process. It is not a creationist group. It is composed of local parents and community members, including Christians, non-Christians and secularists.

All free school applications are subject to a rigorous assessment and a thorough interview process. We are clear that the teaching of creationism as a valid scientific theory, in science or any other subject, should not occur in any state funded school and free schools are specifically prohibited from doing so by virtue of their funding agreements.

Scotland Act 2012

Question

Asked by Lord McCluskey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when they intend to make an order or orders under Section 44 of the Scotland Act 2012 to bring into force Sections 14, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38 of that Act.[HL1718]

The Advocate-General for Scotland (Lord Wallace of Tankerness): Section 14 of the Scotland Act 2012 came into force on 3 July 2012 by virtue of article 2 of the Scotland Act 2012 (Commencement No.1) Order 2012 (S.I. 2012/1710). The Government are working with the Scottish Government, the Crown Office and the courts to enable Sections 34, 35, 36, 37 and 38 of the Scotland Act 2012 to be brought into force as soon as is practical.

Taxation: Avoidance

Question

Asked by Baroness Quin

To ask Her Majesty’s Government on what evidence the Prime Minister’s spokesperson based his statement, reported in the Guardian on Tuesday 10 April, that some wealthy individuals were avoiding paying tax by donating money to charities that did not “in all cases do a great amount of charitable work”. [HL1574]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The vast majority of charities are bona fide and make an important contribution to society. However, the generous nature of tax reliefs available to charities

24 July 2012 : Column WA151

and their donors means that, unfortunately, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) sees cases of fraud and abuse.

The Government have been active in their response to tax avoidance schemes and can and do act as soon as they become aware of them. Their commitment to reducing abusive avoidance schemes has been further enhanced by their recent investment of over £900 million in HMRC for increased compliance activity.

UK Honours

Questions

Asked by Lord Jopling

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Wallace of Saltaire on 30 January (WA 298–300), whether they will provide the same statistics for the 2012 Birthday Honours list showing whether there was any reduction in the proportion of honours awarded to professors compared to the previous honours list.[HL1660]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The information requested concerning the number of honours recipients at knighthood and CBE levels described as holding the title of professor is in the public domain, and can be found in the London Gazette at www.london-gazette.co.uk.

Asked by Lord Jopling

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Wallace of Saltaire on 13 February (WA 140–1), whether they consider that the distribution of top honours is fair, in the light of 31.6% of knighthoods being awarded to professors since the 2007 Birthday Honours List. [HL1661]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: Each of the specialist honours committees is allocated an annual quota of available awards at each level. As stated in the Written Answer given by Lord Wallace of Saltaire on 13 February 2012, the criteria for awards at knight and dame level are that nominees should be pre-eminent in their field, recognised by their peers and making an impact at national level. Of the nine independent honours committees, three (education, health, and science and technology) account for 34% of the available awards at knight and dame level in each of the Prime Minister’s lists, and by the nature of their specialist subject areas consider a large number of people with academic qualifications. Given that the title of professor is accorded to only the most senior of academics and practitioners, it is perhaps unsurprising that the number of top level of awards includes this percentage of people who declare themselves to carry that title.

UN: Rio+20

Question

Asked by Lord Judd

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to ensure that the agreed follow-up work to the Rio+20 conference on sustainable development, and the work in the UN committee

24 July 2012 : Column WA152

on the post millennium development goals process to be chaired by the Prime Minister, will be aligned.[HL1765]

Baroness Northover: The Government are taking a proactive approach to ensuring that Rio+20 follow up and the Prime Minister’s work on the United Nations (UN) Secretary General’s High Level Panel on post-2015 development goals are coherent and co-ordinated. Michael Anderson, the Prime Minister’s appointed envoy on post-2015 development goals, has responsibility for co-ordinating this work across Whitehall.

The Government are also working actively through the United Kingdom (UK) Mission in New York and with other European Governments and the European Commission to ensure that the European Union (EU)’s engagement with these two processes is coherent and streamlined.

Young Offenders

Questions

Asked by Lord Ramsbotham

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have calculated how much money would be saved by extending Youth Offending Service Custody Pathfinders to the young offenders institutions estate.[HL1684]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): Pathfinder is a two-year project that began in October 2011. Four Pathfinder areas have been provided with financial incentives to deliver reductions in their use of custody. Pathfinder monitors an area’s use of under 18 custody including in under 18 young offenders institutions. Given the relatively early stage of the initiative, it is premature to draw conclusions about potential savings. An independent process evaluation has been commissioned to report on the implementation and delivery of Pathfinder. This will report in 2014.

Asked by Lord Ramsbotham

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether there are any plans to increase the number and use of young offender attendance centres across England and Wales.[HL1685]

Lord McNally: We are reviewing our commissioning strategy for attendance centres, with the aim of ensuring that centres are fully adapted to local requirements. In response to local assessments of need, we are planning to open new senior attendance centres in Cheshire and West Mercia and a junior centre in Burnley.

Asked by Lord Ramsbotham

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have undertaken, or are aware of, any research to identify the cost-effectiveness of young offender attendance centres.[HL1686]

Lord McNally: Research into the cost-effectiveness of one particular aspect of a sentence—such as an attendance centre requirement in a community order or suspended sentence order—would not be easy to undertake, as it would be difficult to isolate the effect

24 July 2012 : Column WA153

of one requirement of an order that may also include one or more other requirements. Obtaining a statistically significant body of data is therefore not straightforward. While no research has been conducted into the link between attendance centre funding and re-offending, work has been undertaken to establish the cost per offender of completing an attendance centre requirement. This has enabled us to implement a performance management framework to deliver efficiencies.

Young Offenders: Interventions

Questions

Asked by Lord Ramsbotham

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what actions have been taken by the Ministry of Justice and the National Offender Management Service to identify what works in terms of interventions with young adults aged 18 to 24.[HL1682]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The Ministry of Justice and the National Offender Management Service are committed to evaluating offender management programmes and other approaches to working with offenders in order to improve understanding of what works to reduce re-offending.

24 July 2012 : Column WA154

Work to date has considered the effectiveness of interventions for all adult offenders rather than targeting the effectiveness for those aged 18-24. NOMS is developing a specific commissioning strategy for young adult offenders and is currently examining both the impact of cognitive skills training with young adults and how to prevent recreational drug use developing into drug dependency. The findings from this work will be shared with commissioners and providers of offender services in due course. NOMS will also continue to work with providers to assist them in robustly evaluating existing and innovative interventions in order to further develop the evidence base for this group of offenders.

Asked by Lord Ramsbotham

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps have been taken to introduce interventions that have been proved to work into all places in England and Wales where young adults are held.[HL1683]

Lord McNally: The Government’s strategy for ensuring that the right interventions are provided in the right prisons, including those holding young adults, is set out in the NOMS Commissioning Intentions discussion document published on 4 July and I will arrange for a copy to be placed in the House Library. We will take proper account of the particular needs of young adults.