15 Oct 2012 : Column WA437

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Written Answers

Monday 15 October 2012

Alcohol

Question

Asked by Lord Avebury

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will update their estimates of the cost of alcohol-related harm to the National Health Service.[HL2290]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): We have revised the earlier (2007) estimate of cost to the National Health Service of around £2.7 billion per year to an estimate of around £3.5 billion per year at 2009-10 costs. This was published as part of our written evidence to the Health Select Committee’s recent inquiry on the Government's alcohol strategy.

Aviation: Remotely Piloted Aircraft

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what United Kingdom aircraft legislation currently in place addresses the use and ownership of drones; and whether they have plans to create new powers or laws to control and regulate their use.[HL2414]

Earl Attlee: The safe operation of civil remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) in the UK is governed by the requirements of the Air Navigation Order 2009 (ANO). RPA with an operating mass of more than 20 kg are subject to regulation as though they are manned aircraft. Article 5 specifically deals with ownership of UK registered aircraft, including RPA. Those with an operating mass of 20kg or less (referred to as small unmanned aircraft) are exempt from the majority of the regulations that normally apply to manned aircraft. However, their use is specifically covered by two articles within the ANO, which legislate for the general flying aspects and the flight of those equipped for surveillance (articles 166 and 167). Article 138 concerning endangering the safety of any person or property also remains applicable.

Full details of the policy for the operation of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) within UK airspace is contained in Civil Aviation Publication 722 (CAP 722), which has recently been amended and is internationally regarded as being one of the leading documents on the subject. Guidance on the operation of model aircraft is contained within CAP 658.

The Department for Transport and the CAA are actively participating in the development of internationally harmonised UAS operating standards through a number of European and International bodies, up to and including the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). These developments may lead to new regulations being put in place in the future.

15 Oct 2012 : Column WA438

Banking: Fund Managers

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to Written Answer by Lord Sassoon (HL2230), whether there is any evidence that fund managers contributed to the financial crisis and any basis for concluding that there is a public policy interest in controlling their remuneration.[HL2311]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The European Commission’s impact assessment for the alternative investment fund managers directive (AIFMD) sets out an assessment of the role of fund managers in the financial crisis.

An objective of the AIFMD is to address any potentially detrimental effects of poorly designed remuneration structures on the sound management of risk, control of risk-taking and potential conflicts of interest. There is a public policy interest in applying appropriate remuneration principles through the implementation of AIFMD, where it is important that national regulators retain the discretion to apply remuneration provisions proportionately.

Banks: Northern Bank

Question

Asked by Lord Kilclooney

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what proposals there are for the issue of sterling currency notes by the Danske Bank in Northern Ireland following the sale of Northern Bank; and whether the Danske Bank has been authorised to do so.[HL2464]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Northern Bank Limited is one of the four commercial banks operating in Northern Ireland which have statutory authority to issue sterling currency banknotes in Northern Ireland, now governed by Part 6 of the Banking Act 2009. Northern Bank has been owned by Danske Bank Group since 2005.

The Government understand that, in November 2012, Northern Bank intends to adopt the trading name of Danske Bank and that this brand will be used on Northern Bank banknotes from mid 2013. Regardless of the branding, notes will continue to be issued by, and be a liability of, Northern Bank Ltd rather than any other entity in the Danske Bank Group.

Benefits

Question

Asked by The Countess of Mar

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether claimants will have an automatic right to a copy of their assessment for employment support allowance, disability living allowance and the forthcoming personal independence payment at the time of the assessment; and if not, why not.[HL2410]

15 Oct 2012 : Column WA439

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): Claimants can request a copy of any assessment reports provided to DWP following assessments in relation to employment and support allowance and disability living allowance. Requests can be made at any time and the responsibility for issuing reports lies with the department.

Assessments are, however, not provided at the time of the assessment itself. This is because decisions on benefit entitlement are not made by the health professional carrying out the assessment but by a departmental decision-maker. The assessment report only forms part of the evidence used by the decision-maker and providing it to the claimant in advance of the decision might be misleading.

We intend to follow an identical approach for personal independence payment, when it is introduced from 2013-14.

Business Ambassadors Network

Question

Asked by Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how much funding the Business Ambassadors Network has received each year since its establishment; and how much of this has been spent on travel and accommodation for each business ambassador in that period.[HL2252]

Baroness Northover: DfID's central finance records do not show any transactions between the department and the Business Ambassadors Network.

Civil Service: Letters of Direction

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many letters of direction have been issued by Ministers to accounting officers since December 2011; and by which departments.[HL2351]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): There have been no such directions since December 2011.

Economy: Growth

Question

Asked by Lord Dykes

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how they will encourage private companies to promote growth and consumer demand.[HL2447]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government have set out a comprehensive strategy to achieve strong, sustainable and balanced growth that is more evenly shared across the country and between industries in the Government's Plan for Growth1. This strategy is about supporting private

15 Oct 2012 : Column WA440

sector-led growth and will be delivered through sustained deficit reduction, monetary activism and supply-side reforms.

The Government's deficit reduction programme will provide the macroeconomic stability required to help support business confidence and boost consumer demand.

1 The Plan for Growth can be found by visiting the Treasury's website at: http://cdn.hm-treasury.gov.uk/2011budget_growth.pdf.

Education: GCSEs

Question

Asked by Lord Quirk

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of Ofqual’s report GCSE Awards 2012: A Regulatory Report, what is the relationship, if any, between statistical adjustment in pursuit of comparable outcomes and this year’s GCSE English results. [HL2280]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): This matter is for the statutory regulator of qualifications (the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation—Ofqual). Glenys Stacey, the Chief Regulator for England has written to the noble Lord and a copy of her reply has been placed in the House Libraries.

Letter from Glenys Stacey, Chief Regulator, Ofqual, to Lord Quirk, dated 9 October 2012.

As you will be aware, I have been asked by the Department for Education to respond to you directly about the question you asked regarding comparable outcomes and this year's GCSE English results following publication of our interim report.

In our report published on 31 August 2012, we concluded that the grade boundaries in GCSE English qualifications had been set properly. In recommending grade boundaries for these qualifications, senior examiners used the statistical evidence available to them alongside evidence of candidate work, as is required of them.

We are continuing to investigate this issue and we plan to publish our final report towards the end of this month. I will make sure that you are sent a copy.

If you would like more information, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Elections: Police and Crime Commissioners

Questions

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how they will ensure that electors in the Armed Forces have the personal details and policy proposals of all candidates in the elections for police and crime commissioners.[HL2248]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): Electors who are abroad in the Armed Forces will be able to access information about every candidate that the Home

15 Oct 2012 : Column WA441

Office will publish online, and will be able to order a free paper copy delivered to a British Forces Post Office (BFPO) by calling our phone line. Electors in the Armed Forces and resident in the UK will still be able to access information online about candidates and order a free paper copy of that information delivered to their door through our phone line, so everyone will be able to get the information they need.

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how they will ensure that all electors, and in particular those without internet access, have the personal details and policy proposals of all candidates in the elections for police and crime commissioners.[HL2249]

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: Candidates will be able to provide information which the Home Office will publish online.

Any member of the public will be able to order a free paper copy of that information delivered to their door by calling our phone line, so everyone will be able to get the information they need. Every household will receive information about the elections from the Electoral Commission, and details of our website and phone line will appear on every voter's poll card.

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what will be the cost of printing and mailing a poll card to every elector in the United Kingdom for the election of police and crime commissioners.[HL2250]

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: As with any other elections in the UK, poll cards for the police and crime commissioner (PCC) elections will be sent to relevant registered electors by their respective returning officers in the run up to the elections. PCC elections are not taking place in Scotland, Northern Ireland or London, and so poll cards will not be sent to electors in those areas. In the Police and Crime Commissioner Elections (Local Returning Officers' and Police Area Returning Officers' Charges) Order 2012, we have included £12.7 million for the cost of printing and mailing poll cards for electors in these PCC elections.

Employment: Jobseekers

Questions

Asked by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

To ask Her Majesty’s Government why the number of telephone lines available for use by jobseekers in the Kings Heath Job Centre has been reduced. [HL2332]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the change in the average length of time taken by jobseekers in the Kings Heath Job Centre to wait to use a telephone line, as a result of the number of available telephones being reduced. [HL2333]

15 Oct 2012 : Column WA442

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): As part of the department's Service Modernisation Agenda, a number of internet access devices (IADs) have been installed in job centres. These devices have been introduced so that claimants without access to the internet are not disadvantaged when we remove current job search systems in favour of universal jobmatch and move to universal credit next year.

Customers will soon be able to access their records digitally through “My Benefits on Line”, from their own PCs and the IADs in job centres. This will provide real-time updates on the status of their claim, remove the need to speak to a member of staff and provide a quicker, more efficient service.

Kings Heath JO completed a risk assessment which supported the removal of three customer access phones to allow two IADs to be installed. Three access phones remain for the use of customers.

As part of this process, we have monitored usage to ensure the remaining phones meet customer need and analysis has shown that demand for the remaining three customer access phones are not exceeding capacity.

We have increased the number of customer service managers to provide claimants with any additional support they require and reduce the need for referrals to the customer access phones.

To date, no complaints have been received from customers about the reduction in the number of customer access phones, nor have there been any incidents logged as a result of their removal.

The number of calls received by the telephony team has not increased during the period and statistics show no adverse affect upon our already low abandoned call rates. Additional analysis is being conducted to ascertain peak-use timings so that we can continue to judge how best to handle customer queries in the future.

From 2 November 2012 the district will be piloting a new approach where customers apply for jobseeker’s allowance online instead of over the telephone and this will again reduce the demand for the customer access phones.

If necessary, we can recommission customer access phones at short notice. However, we do not anticipate that this will be the case.

EU: Design for Growth and Prosperity

Question

Asked by Baroness Whitaker

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they will take in response to the recommendations of the European Design Leadership Board in its report on Design for Growth and Prosperity. [HL2389]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government are examining the recommendations of the European Design Leadership Board’s recent report on Design for Growth and

15 Oct 2012 : Column WA443

Prosperity. They will consider carefully what action should be taken to support growth for the best interests of the United Kingdom.

Female Genital Mutilation

Questions

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will make it mandatory for health, education and social service professionals to report knowledge or suspicion of female genital mutilation and cutting to the police.[HL2359]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether parents have a duty to report suspected female genital mutilation and cutting to Government officials. [HL2360]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): Guidance on reporting cases of female genital mutilation (FGM) is detailed in the multi-agency practice guidelines issued by the Government in February 2011. Under Section 11 of the Children Act 2004, there remains a duty for all professionals to act to safeguard girls at risk. In all cases, if anyone is worried about someone who is at risk of FGM or has had FGM, this information must be shared with social care or the police. It is the responsibility of the police and social services to investigate and to safeguard and protect any girls or women involved.

Government Procurement Service

Question

Asked by Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how much was spent by public sector organisations under the Government Procurement Service’s Legal Services Framework Agreement in 2011; and what proportion that amount represented of the total legal services expenditure in that year by those bodies eligible to benefit from the cost savings offered by the agreement.[HL2263]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The total spend in 2011 under the Government Procurement Service (GPS) Legal Services framework was £27,333,217. GPS do not hold complete data on the proportion of total legal services expenditure this represents.

Health: Prosthetics

Question

Asked by Lord McColl of Dulwich

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what progress has been made in implementing the recommendations contained in the report by Dr Andrew Murrison A Better Deal for Military Amputees in respect of military amputees; and what consideration has been given to extending similar arrangements to civilian amputees.[HL2288]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Good progress has been made with implementing the recommendations of A Better

  15 Oct 2012 : Column WA444 

Deal

f

or Military Amputees

. The Veterans' Prosthetics Panel has handled 22 funding requests over the past six months, totalling just under £300,000. The vast majority of these requests have been, or will be, approved.

The provision of nationally commissioned specialised prosthetics services for veterans is also moving forward. The department has recently agreed a service specification for these services with representatives of the NHS Commissioning Board (NHSCB). The process of commissioning these services will commence once this specification has been through the final approval process of the NHSCB later this month. The department and NHSCB officials will continue to consult on implementation of A Better Deal for Military Amputees with veterans, the relevant charities and clinicians during 2012. This will include consultation on how best to ensure that there is a wider dividend to civilian amputees.

Housing and Growth

Question

Asked by Lord Jenkin of Roding

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Statement by Baroness Hanham on 24 September (WS 89–95), when they will introduce legislation to allow developers of sites which are unviable due to the number of affordable homes required under a Section 106 agreement to appeal with immediate effect.[HL2344]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): The Government will introduce legislation shortly.

Housing: Private Rented Sector

Question

Asked by Lord Browne of Ladyton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will regulate landlords and letting agents, in the light of the increase in the number of young people unable to afford a deposit to buy a home; and, if so, how.[HL2247]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): Letting and managing agents are already subject to consumer protection legislation. Consumer protection legislation covers issues such as giving false or misleading information, not acting with the standard of care and skill that is in accordance with honest market practice and claiming falsely to be a member of a professional body or approved redress scheme. For tenants or landlords who are charged unfair or unreasonable fees by an agent, this means that they are able to report this to their local trading standards officer or to the Office of Fair Trading which has both civil and criminal enforcement powers. Further information on the consumer protection legislation is available at: www.oft.gov.uk/sharedoft/businessleaflets/cpregs/oft1008.pdf and on unfair terms at: www.oft.gov.uk/businessleaflets/unfair_contract_ terms/oftl43.pdf.

15 Oct 2012 : Column WA445

In addition, between a third and a half of all agents belong to voluntary schemes which set standards and offer redress if things go wrong. In the light of these existing schemes, we have no current plans to introduce further statutory regulation. Disproportionate regulation on the private rented sector would push up rents and reduce the choice and availability of accommodation on offer to tenants.

I also refer the noble Lord to the Written Ministerial Statement of 6 September 2012 (Official Report, col. 30WS) on the steps that the coalition Government are taking to provide more homes both to rent and buy.

Immigration

Questions

Asked by Lord Warner

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Henley on 11 June 2012 (WA 204), whether they regard as valid travel documents for entry to the United Kingdom passports held by Israelis who have illegally settled on land in the West Bank; and whether such people meet the requirements of the Immigration Rules.[HL2322]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): The Government recognise travel documents issued by the State of Israel. The issuance of Israeli passports is a matter for the Israeli authorities. Whether specific individuals meet the requirements of the Immigration Rules will depend on all the circumstances of a particular case.

Asked by Lord Warner

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether there is any differentiation in rules for entry to the United Kingdom between (1) Israelis who have illegally settled on land in the West Bank (irrespective of their acceptance by the Government of Israel), (2) Palestinians living on the West Bank, and (3) Palestinians living in Gaza.[HL2323]

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: Nationals of the Palestinian Authority must obtain a visa before travelling to the UK. An Israeli citizen who wishes to come to the UK as a general visitor for six months or less does not require a visa. The rules makes no specific references to individuals residing in the West Bank or Gaza. All visa applications are considered on their merits, in light of the applicant’s circumstances and in accordance with the Immigration Rules under the category in which they are seeking entry.

Immigration: Heathrow Airport

Question

Asked by Lord Birt

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the forecast trend in waiting times over the next 12 months for foreign nationals at Border Force checkpoints at London Heathrow Terminal 4. [HL2307]

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): Her Majesty’s Government anticipate that average waiting times at terminal 4 at Heathrow will not exceed the current, low level.

Isles of Scilly: Helicopter Services

Question

Asked by Lord Berkeley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government on which days during the period 1 October 2011 to 31 March 2012 one or more helicopter or fixed wing air services to the Isles of Scilly were cancelled or delayed by more than two hours; on which days no services operated; and what were the reasons for the cancellation, delay or non-operation in each case. [HL2260]

Earl Attlee: During the period 1 October 2011 to 31 March 2012, there were 16 days on which significant disruption to services was recorded by the operators of St Mary’s on the Isles of Scilly. Records do not indicate whether or not delays were in excess of two hours. In the same period there were a further six days on which all scheduled air services were cancelled. In addition, there were no scheduled flights on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

The days on which significant disruption occurred are as follows:

DateDescriptionReason

4 Oct 11

Disruption to Fixed Wing

Fog

12 Oct 11

Disruption to Fixed Wing

Fog

8 Dec 11

Disruption to Fixed Wing

Wind

12 Dec 11

Disruption to Fixed Wing

Wind

13 Dec 11

Disruption to Fixed Wing

Wind

19 Dec 11

No Helicopter flying all day

Technical problem

30 Dec 11

No Fixed Wing flying all day

Wind

31 Dec 11

No Fixed Wing and only 1 Helicopter flight all day

Wind

24 Jan 12

Disruption to Helicopter and Fixed Wing

Low cloud

25 Jan 12

Disruption to Fixed Wing

Wind

6 Feb 12

Disruption to Helicopter and Fixed Wing

Fog

10 Feb 12

Disruption to Fixed Wing

Low cloud

22 Feb 12

Disruption to Helicopter and Fixed Wing

Low cloud and wind

24 Feb 12

No Fixed Wing flying all day and disruption to Helicopter

Low cloud

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25 Feb 12

Disruption to Helicopter and Fixed Wing

Low cloud

15 Mar 12

Disruption to Helicopter

Fog

Days on which all scheduled services were cancelled are as follows:

DateReason

13 Oct 11

Fog

18 Jan 12

Fog

23 Feb 12

Fog

02 Mar 12

Fog

12 Mar 12

Fog

13 Mar 12

Low cloud

The weather-related conditions for disruption or cancellation were, in each case, experienced at one or more of the serviced airports (Penzance, St Mary’s, Lands End and Newquay).

Malaria

Questions

Asked by Lord Judd

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are taking to assist in the eradication of malaria; and what resources they have donated in each of the past five years towards the achievement of that objective.[HL2304]

Baroness Northover: Addressing malaria remains one of the main priorities of the UK Government. We are committed to helping halve malaria deaths in at least 10 of the worst affected countries by 2015. We will focus our efforts on programmes which can deliver results and demonstrate value for money and we will work to sustain these gains into the future.

Our approach is to support countries (directly and through partners) to scale-up known effective approaches to prevention, diagnosis and treatment, as well as building national monitoring capacity.

We only have information on malaria support from 2008-09 as prior to this the Department for International Development recorded malaria spend under the heading of infectious disease control. The following figures on the estimated UK spend on malaria prevention, control and treatment are calculated using a methodology for monitoring total UK spending on malaria provided in Annex A of the UK’s Framework for Results for malaria (Breaking the Cycle: Saving Lives and Protecting the Future):

£ million
2008-092009-102010-11

Total malaria spend

138

194

299

15 Oct 2012 : Column WA448

Asked by Lord Judd

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of global progress towards the eradication of malaria.[HL2305]

Baroness Northover: The UK Government’s assessment of progress is that over the decade 2000 to 2010 there was a significant scaling up of malaria interventions, both from national governments and from donors, and these have contributed to a 33% reduction in malaria mortality in Africa. However, in 2010, there were still at least 655,000 global deaths due to malaria.

Our assessment is that this progress remains uneven and fragile, and that we must increase our efforts to sustain and make further progress on these gains. This is why the UK Government are committed to increasing the resources we provide for global malaria control in the period 2010 to 2015.

Asked by Lord Judd

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the impact of malaria on education, productivity and economic performance in developing countries.[HL2306]

Baroness Northover: The UK Government’s assessment is that malaria is a significant burden on education outcomes and health systems and on the wider economy in developing countries. This is particularly so in Africa, where malaria represents a substantial economic burden on households which often have to pay for prevention and treatment.

In malaria endemic countries, economic growth was calculated to be between 0.55% and 1.3% less per person per year over the period 1965 to 1990 compared with findings in countries without malaria, but matched for many other socio-economic variables. Highly significant is the effect on total productivity with a 1% increase in the incidence of malaria reducing total factor productivity by between 0.58% and 0.75%.

Mexico

Question

Asked by Lord Patten

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the position of journalists and women’s rights activists in Mexico such as Lydia Cacho. [HL2328]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: We are concerned about the high incidence of violence against women and the risks faced by journalists in Mexico, of whom 67 have been killed since 2007. We are aware of the situation of Lydia Cacho, a journalist who focuses on violence against women. Ms Cacho has been subjected to death threats and physical assaults following her exposure of an alleged paedophile ring. Our embassy in Mexico City follows these issues very closely. It attended last week’s launch of a report on violence against women journalists, at which Lydia Cacho spoke.

Promoting better human rights is central to our bilateral relationship with Mexico. We raise concerns about violence against women, attacks on journalists and threats to freedom of expression whenever possible

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with the Mexican authorities. The Mexican Government in 2012 introduced a new protection mechanism for human rights defenders and journalists, and we are encouraging them to make progress towards its implementation.

National Parks

Question

Asked by Lord Reay

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when they will announce how they plan to take forward Natural England’s recommendation in September 2011 to extend the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales National Parks; whether they will propose a public inquiry; and what are the reasons for their delay in responding.[HL2271]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley): After concluding to proceed with the designation to extend the boundaries of the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District National Parks, Natural England submitted the orders to the Secretary of State.

While the proposed extensions were on public deposit they attracted over 3,000 responses of all kinds. These included objections from local authorities which, under the national parks legislation, means that there has to be a public inquiry. The delay has been in setting up that inquiry, which should be announced imminently. As soon as Ministers formally announce the inquiry, details will be made available on Defra's website and everyone who made an objection will be contacted to see whether they wish to appear.

Office for Budget Responsibility: Output Forecasts

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they use the output forecasts of the Office for Budget Responsibility as the basis for fiscal planning. [HL2352]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government use the Office for Budget Responsibility’s economic and fiscal forecast as the official forecast and the basis for Government policy decisions.

Overseas Aid

Questions

Asked by Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps the Department for International Development is taking to introduce criteria for the allocation of funding support on the basis of targets for progress being met, and for establishing a minimum threshold which if breached will lead to the end of all support. [HL2251]

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Baroness Northover: Where appropriate, DfID links funding to performance and results. For example, the majority of DfID’s budget support programmes now include a performance tranche in which a proportion of funds are linked to a set of performance indicators. DfID is also piloting payment by results mechanisms where funds are contingent on the achievement of results such as girls’ educational completion. These results are independently verified before funds are disbursed.

Before providing financial aid to Governments, DfID assesses the commitment of the partner Government to poverty reduction, respecting human rights and other international obligations, promoting accountability such that the Government can be held accountable to parliament and its citizens, and strengthening public financial management which reduces the risks of corruption and of funds being misused. These four areas are known as the partnership principles.

To make this assessment, DfID considers evidence of (i) the results achieved by the Government with the resources available (ie their track record), (ii) the quality and credibility of government plans, including how feasible they are to implement, (iii) the political interests of Governments and their incentives for pursuing the four principles, and (iv) the long-term trend in commitment with a particular emphasis on recent performance. If we are not satisfied that a Government shares our commitment in these areas, we may choose to support poverty reduction by working with partners other than that Government (such as the United Nations and non-governmental organisations) and in ways that seek to build a Government’s commitment.

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the Department for International Development project-specific and earmarked funding for the United Nations Population Fund in (1) 2008–09, (2) 2009–10, (3) 2010–11, and (4) 2011–12.[HL2317]

Baroness Northover: DfID made project-specific and earmarked funding to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in the period 2008 to 2012 as follows:

2008-09—£10,257,440;

2009-10—£22,641,471;

2010-11—£44,224,007; and

2011-12—£85,370,935.

Part of this funding is specifically earmarked to support the Global Programme to Enhance Reproductive Health Commodity Security (GPRHCS). A breakdown of funding for this is shown below:

2008-09—£5,000,000;

2009-10—£20,000,000;

2010-11—£25,000,000; and

2011-12—£65,000,000.

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the Department for International Development’s bilateral spending on reproductive health and family planning in (1) 2008–09, (2) 2009–10, (3) 2010–11, and (4) 2011–12.[HL2318]

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Baroness Northover: DfID’s bilateral spending on reproductive health and family planning in (1) 2008-09, (2) 2009-10 and (3) 2010-11 is detailed below.

2008-092009-102010-11

Reproductive Health Care (£k)

36,466

43,196

47,962

Family Planning (£k)

8,075

15,252

31,082

Information for 2011-12 is not yet available but will be published in the department’s statistics on international development for 2011-12.

Planning

Question

Asked by Lord Trefgarne

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what parliamentary approval is required for the implementation of their proposed relaxation of planning controls, particularly in so far as they affect domestic properties.[HL2314]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): Following a public consultation on the proposals to

15 Oct 2012 : Column WA452

extend permitted development rights for homeowners and businesses, they will be implemented by means of a statutory instrument subject to the negative procedure.

Railways: Funding

Question

Asked by Lord Berkeley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Attlee on 19 July (WA 83–4), whether the subsidy paid and premia received figures quoted include revenue support paid under cap and collar arrangements; and, if so, whether they will provide the shares for premium and subsidy, and revenue support and revenue, separately.[HL2258]

Earl Attlee: My Answer of 19 July of subsidy and premia received did include revenue support paid under cap and collar arrangements.

The table below details the split between subsidy paid, premia received and revenue support/(share) by the Department for Transport to rail passenger franchises for 2011-12 based on DfT resource accounts.

The revenue by each train operating company (TOC) is also included as requested.

Train Operating CompanyRevenue*Total SupportRevenue Support/(share)subsidy/(premia)
£m£m£m£m

Cross Country Trains Limited (XC)

398.0

6.7

18.5

(11.8)

Arriva Trains Wales (ATW)

153.5

(21.3)

0.0

(21.3)

c2c Rail Limited (c2c)

131.1

(12.1)

0.0

(12.1)

The Chiltern Railway Company Limited (Chiltern)

136.6

6.5

0.0

6.5

East Midlands Trains Limited (EMT)

341.4

(40.4)

25.7

(66.1)

First Capital Connect Limited (FCC)

514.4

(162.7)

32.1

(194.8)

First Greater Western Limited (FGW)

813.5

(110.1)

209.4

(319.5)

First/Keolis TransPennine Limited (TPE)

179.3

78.1

0.0

78.1

London & Birmingham Railway Limited (LOM)

259.2

65.3

0.0

65.3

East Coast Trains Limited (ECML)

665.9

(187.7)

0.0

(187.7)

Northern Rail Limited (NT)

257.9

96.7

(12.5)

109.2

Stagecoach South Western Trains Limited (SSWT)

854.4

(228.6)

85.4

(314.0)

London & South Eastern Railway Limited (LSER)

624.0

86.7

48.9

37.8

New Southern Railway Limited (Southern)

666.1

(16.7)

0.0

(16.7)

West Coast Trains Limited (Virgin)

869.5

(165.7)

44.0

(209.7)

Abellio Greater Anglia (AGA) - Commenced 5/02/2012

93.9

(16.9)

0.0

(16.9)

National Express East Anglia (NXEA)—ended 5.02.2012

476.2

(72.6)

38.1

(110.8)

Total active TOCs—2011-12

7,434.8

(694.8)

489.6

(1,184.4)

Revenue

*

(Farebox and other income)

Railways: Intercity Express Trains

Question

Asked by Lord Berkeley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the total real cash value of the Intercity Express Project contract over the 27.5 year period; and what will be the estimated annual payment, at 2012 prices, when both the Great Western and East Coast fleets are in service.[HL2259]

Earl Attlee: The Intercity Express Project contract has a net present value of approximately £4.9 billion at 2009 prices, and a nominal value of approximately £17.8 billion over 27.5 years. The estimated annual payment, at 2012 prices, when both Great Western and East Coast fleets are in service in 2019-20 is approximately £449 million.

15 Oct 2012 : Column WA453

Remploy

Question

Asked by Baroness Turner of Camden

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether, following the Paralympics, they will reconsider their decision to close certain Remploy factories.[HL2282]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): In 2010-11, a fifth of the entire budget for specialist disability employment was spent on supporting disabled people in Remploy factories at a cost of £25,000 per year per factory worker. In these economically difficult times it is more important than ever that the Government’s disability employment programmes represent value for money and work effectively for disabled people.

The £320 million budget for specialist employment support is being protected, but by spending it more effectively we can support thousands more disabled people into work. That is why we accepted the recommendation from disability expert Liz Sayce to focus support on individuals through services like Access to Work rather than institutions like Remploy, so more disabled people can work in mainstream employment rather than segregated factories.

Roads: M5

Question

Asked by Lord Rooker

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what research they have undertaken regarding the impact on congestion around Junction 12 of the M5 Motorway of the proposed construction of a 190,000-ton capacity mass burn incinerator close to the junction.[HL2387]

Earl Attlee: The Highways Agency has not undertaken any research regarding the impact on congestion around junction 12 of the M5 of the proposed energy from waste facility at Javelin Park. As part of the planning process, the Highways Agency works with the applicant who is required to demonstrate what impact the development would have through the production of a traffic assessment. Further information submitted on behalf of the developers is currently being considered by the agency.

Javelin Park has been the subject of a number of planning applications since 1992, with the present set of proposals having been submitted for approval in April this year. The Highways Agency has fully engaged with the planning process and carefully considered a transport assessment submitted in support of the application. Since April we have worked with the transport advisers acting on behalf of the developers to identify the traffic impacts on M5 junction 12.

The agency is satisfied that the development would have a similar, if not reduced impact, when compared to the existing planning consent at the Javelin Park site. We have however, raised concerns about traffic impact on the M5 junction 12 during the construction phase of the project and further information submitted on behalf of the developers is presently being considered in this respect.

15 Oct 2012 : Column WA454

Schools: Catholic Schools

Question

Asked by Lord Warner

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether residents of local authorities have a right to decline a place for their children at any existing or new primary or secondary school in the authority area that is regarded as a Catholic school within the purview of a Catholic diocese; and, if so, whether the local education authority is under a duty to offer a place at an alternative school within the area that is within reasonable travelling distance.[HL2320]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): Regulations give all parents the right, when applying for a school place, to express a preference for a minimum of three schools and, in some areas, local authorities extend this up to six schools. Local authorities are required to provide parents with information on the admissions arrangements of all state funded schools in their area. This should include whether any schools intend to apply a faith-based criterion in the event that more applications are received than there are places available. Parents may express a preference for any state funded school, regardless of whether it is in the local authority area in which they live.

Local authorities co-ordinate all school place offers to parents in their area, ensuring that every parent receives an offer that is the highest possible preferred school place available, taking account of all applications and published criteria. If the place that is offered is further than the statutory walking distances, and is the nearest suitable school, then the local authority must provide free transport. In all other cases, the local authority has the discretion to determine what, if any, support is offered to the child.

Parents can decline the place offered and have the right to appeal against the decision not to offer a place at one of their other preferred schools. Appeals must be heard by an independent panel and provide parents with an opportunity to present their case as to why their child should be offered a place at their preferred school.

In the event that a child continues to be out of school, every local authority must operate a fair access protocol (FAP), which is a set of locally agreed processes between the local authority and the schools in its area. These FAPs are intended to ensure that all hard to place children are found a school place as quickly as possible. The School Admissions Code sets out a list of groups of children that all FAPs must cover as a minimum. Other criteria such as reasonable travelling distance and other factors are left to local agreement. There is no requirement that FAPs take any account of parental preferences in placing a child in a school.

Schools: Value for Money

Question

Asked by Lord Warner

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what financial obligations a local education authority is under to ensure that any capital or revenue expenditure from public funds that it commits to the establishment

15 Oct 2012 : Column WA455

and operation of primary or secondary schools with a religious designation represents good value for money; and what arrangements are in place to ensure that such value for money is secured. [HL2321]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): All schools, including those of a religious designation, are required to complete the schools financial value standard (SFVS) each year. The SFVS consists of 23 questions, six of which relate directly to value for money, which governing bodies are required to discuss annually with the head teacher and senior staff. The completed SFVS is signed by the chair of governors and returned to the local authority. There will also be a local regulatory framework to which all schools must adhere.

Local authorities have a statutory responsibility to ensure that the authority secures value for money in the use of its resources. This includes the resources retained centrally for provision of services to schools and making sure that its schools are securing good value for money in their spending. The local authority uses schools’ SFVS returns to inform their programme of financial assessment and audit. The chief finance officer of the local authority is required to sign and send to the Department for Education a statement, each year, confirming the number of SFVS statements he or she has received and that the contents have been taken into account in planning the authority’s future programme of audit.

Sport: Legacies

Question

Asked by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what support they will give to the British Olympic Association 21st Century Legacy campaign, led by Dr David Hemery.[HL2334]

Viscount Younger of Leckie: The 21st Century Legacy campaign “Be the Best you can Be! Programme” is already operating in a number of primary and secondary schools across the UK, providing an educational legacy that goes beyond sport into other educational subjects. Its role within schools is a matter for the Department for Education.

Transport: Dangerous Goods Enforcement Notices

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many Dangerous Goods Enforcement Notices have been issued by the Health and Safety Executive or the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency.[HL2269]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The Carriage of Dangerous Goods and Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment Regulations 2009 (as amended) are enforced by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) acting as an

15 Oct 2012 : Column WA456

agency for the Department for Transport and police officers appointed by the chief officer of police of each area in relation to road. The table below sets out the number of enforcement notices issued by HSE and VOSA in relation to the carriage of dangerous goods between 2008 and 2012 (to date).

YearIssued by HSEIssued by VOSA

2012 (To date)

0

264

2011

7

470

2010

3

798

2009

1

948

2008

2

601

Zimbabwe

Questions

Asked by Lord Avebury

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will seek to ensure that the World Bank refrains from assisting Zimbabwe to restructure its debt unless that country complies with the mandatory ruling in the case of Bernardus Henricus Funnekotter & Others v Republic of Zimbabwe by the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes, concerning the expropriation of farming land and property in 2000–02.[HL2292]

Baroness Northover: Any future debt restructuring for Zimbabwe would take place in the context of a wider reform programme that may be prepared by the IMF, and subject to decisions of the boards of the World Bank and IMF on which the UK Government are represented. This and the treatment of creditors would be subject to the same requirements and obligations as any other country.

Asked by Lord Avebury

To ask Her Majesty’s Government by what date the referendum on the Zimbabwe constitution needs to be held under the specified criteria, in order that Zimbabwe should be treated as eligible for budgetary aid under the European Union budget for 2014. [HL2293]

Baroness Northover: The European Union (EU) announced on 23 July its decision to renew for 12 months the appropriate measures restricting EU development assistance but in parallel to suspend the application of those measures with immediate effect. In the same announcement the EU indicated that it would respond to a peaceful and credible constitutional referendum in Zimbabwe with a suspension of the majority of EU restrictive measures (travel bans and asset freezes) on all but a small core of individuals around President Mugabe.

The suspension of the appropriate measures was not linked to the constitutional referendum but will be separately reviewed six months after the decision, which will take place by 20 February 2013. There is therefore no link between the timing and occurrence of a constitutional referendum and eligibility for EU budgetary aid.