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Written Answers

Monday 12 November 2012

Armed Forces: Dyslexia and Gender Dysphoria

Question

Asked by Lord Empey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Astor of Hever on 18 July (WA 69), what are the disciplinary and discharge procedures for Members of the Royal Naval Reserve who suffer from dyslexia and gender dysphoria; and whether an appeal process is available. [HL2910]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): Dyslexia and gender dysphoria are not grounds under which a member of the Naval Service, whether regular or reserve would be disciplined.

The future employability of Naval Service personnel who are diagnosed as suffering from dyslexia or who wish to undergo gender reassignment would be considered. This assessment could result in a referral to the Royal Navy Medical Board of Survey and the Medical Employability Board to determine employability standards and establish whether a revised medical category was appropriate to allow the appropriate time for treatment and recovery. Should this employability assessment determine that an individual should be discharged on medical grounds, the appropriate procedures and appeals processes would be available to both regular and reserve personnel.

Aviation: Air Quality

Question

Asked by The Countess of Mar

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when they expect the Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food and the Environment to report on the studies of cabin air quality conducted by Cranfield University and the Institute of Occupational Medicine on behalf of the Department for Transport.[HL3150]

Earl Attlee: The research into cabin air quality undertaken on behalf of the Department for Transport has been completed and the studies have been referred to the Committee on Toxicity (the COT) for its consideration.

I understand from the Health Protection Agency that at present it is not possible to specify when a draft discussion paper will be completed by the COT on the reports conducted by Cranfield University and the Institute of Occupational Medicine. When ready, the draft discussion paper will be made publicly available on the COT website and placed on a COT agenda for discussion.

The COT is the Government's independent adviser on matters concerning toxicity and determines its own timetable for the consideration of matters referred

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to it. A link to the COT website is given below where details of forthcoming COT meetings are given: http://cot.food.gov.uk/cotmtgs/.

Bees

Question

Asked by Lord Jones of Cheltenham

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many bee experts are employed in (1) Natural England, (2) the Environment Agency, (3) the Forestry Commission, and (4) the National Bee Unit of the Food and Environment Research Agency; and how many are directly working to end the decline of wild bees.[HL3103]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley): Natural England employs one bee expert who is directly working to end the decline of wild bees (among work on other insect groups).

As at September 2012, the Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera) employed a total of 70 staff in the National Bee Unit, all of whom possess varying degrees of expertise in bees. Fera’s remit covers honeybees rather than wild bees.

Neither the Environment Agency nor the Forestry Commission has any members of staff who are employed to be bee experts in a professional capacity or to work directly on the decline of wild bees, although both organisations are involved in habitat conservation and restoration work that will help insect pollinators, including bees.

Bovine Tuberculosis

Question

Asked by Lord Willis of Knaresborough

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how they will ensure differing scientific views regarding the use of badger culling to control bovine tuberculosis are considered by the public; and whether they will place copies of all relevant papers in the Library of the House.[HL3072]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley): Scientific views on the policy of badger control are already widely available in the public domain, in the national and local press, and in publicly available scientific publications. In addition, the following reports are freely available on the Defra website and will also be deposited in the Libraries of both Houses:

reports of the Independent Scientific Group on Cattle TB, and other research relating to the randomised badger culling trial;the King Report, produced by Professor Sir David King who carried out an assessment of the scientific evidence on TB in badgers and cattle during 2007; anddiscussions around the conclusions of the randomised badger culling trial by a group of independent scientific experts chaired by Professor Sir Robert Watson.

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Broadcasting: Independent Companies

Question

Asked by Lord Kilclooney

To ask Her Majesty’s Government which independent television broadcasting companies also own commercial radio stations broadcasting in the same licence area.[HL2908]

Viscount Younger of Leckie: The Government have made no specific assessment of independent television broadcasting companies who also own commercial radio stations broadcasting in the same licence area.

However, the department is aware that UTV owns radio stations in Northern Ireland and operates a national radio station, as well as being the Channel 3 licensee in that region. Global Radio operates a national radio station and many local stations, as well as operating a music television channel. Bauer Media operates many local stations, as well as operating music television channels.

Building Regulations

Question

Asked by Baroness Whitaker

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the review of building regulations reported in the Guardian on 27 October, what were the results of the 2012 Building Regulations consultation which closed in April.[HL3031]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): The department is considering the replies to the consultation and will publish a summary of responses in due course.

I would add that the housing standards review has a broader remit than building regulations. The review is examining the current array of different codes, standards, rules, regulations and guidance applied in different parts the country. The overlapping standards are complex and counterproductive: confusing local residents, councillors and developers.

Ministers have made it clear that essential safety and accessibility protections will remain untouched and that homes will always need to be built to high sustainability and quality standards.

A copy of the recent press notice on the review has been placed in the Library, and can be found online at: http://www.communities.gov.uk/news/newsroom/22249851.

Care Services: Abuse

Question

Asked by Lord Condon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the monitoring arrangements to prevent the abuse of children and adults with special learning difficulties placed voluntarily or by order in homes and hospitals.[HL2899]

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The department’s review into abuse at Winterbourne View Hospital has looked closely at the state of care and support services for people with learning disabilities or autism and behaviours described as challenging. From this work, it has become clear that there are too many people in hospitals like Winterbourne, and people are staying there for too long. Our priority must first be to ensure the development of local community-based services to provide good-quality care and prevent children and adults being sent unnecessarily away from home, and secondly to ensure good-quality and safe care for those children and adults who are placed in residential care or in hospitals.

Senior departmental officials wrote on 2 February and 26 June this year to local authority and National Health Service chief executives reminding health and care bodies of the action we expect them to take to drive up standards at a local level—including:

ensuring that there are effective communication links between commissioners, care co-ordinators and safeguarding teams when reviewing placements; andensuring a clear multi-agency approach to safeguarding is in place so that all commissioners and providers across health and social care within a locality understand how to respond to any safeguarding concerns that have been identified.

We have already declared our intention to strengthen safeguarding arrangements to prevent and reduce the risk of abuse and neglect of adults in vulnerable situations. This is a key priority for this Government.

Organisations providing care need to remember that one of their core purposes must be to look after the people in their care effectively. Local authorities should ensure that everyone involved in local safeguarding is clear about their roles and responsibilities.

Civil Service: Secondments

Question

Asked by Lord Adonis

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many senior civil servants at the Department for International Development are on secondment to companies or organisations in the United Kingdom; how many were seconded to such companies or organisations in 2011; and to which companies and organisations they are or were seconded.[HL3037]

Baroness Northover: During 2011, DfID had two senior civil servants seconded to companies or organisations in the UK. They are both still seconded. The company and organisations they are seconded to are Nike Foundation and the Overseas Development Institute.

Crime: Cable Theft

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the cost to the United Kingdom economy of the theft of telecommunications cable. [HL2961]

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Lord Gardiner of Kimble: The Government have not assessed the cost to the economy of the theft of telecommunications cable specifically but the 2011 study by Deloitte (on behalf of the Cross Industry Metal Theft Lobbying Group and British Transport Police) estimated the cost to the British economy of metal theft at £220 million to £260 million per year.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) continues to work closely with the telecoms industry to understand better the impact of cable theft. The Government are delivering a coherent package of measures to tackle telecommunications cable theft, and all other forms of metal theft that includes banning cash payments for scrap metal, enhancing law enforcement through the National Metal Theft Taskforce and improving the traceability of stolen metal. We are also working with Richard Ottaway MP to support his Private Member’s Bill to reform the scrap metal industry.

Debt: Scotland

Question

Asked by Lord Willis of Knaresborough

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what estimate they have made of the proportion of the national debt that would pass to Scotland if Scotland left the United Kingdom.[HL3074]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): In the event that Scotland left the United Kingdom, the division of the UK’s national debt would be a matter for negotiation between the relevant authorities at the time.

If the Office for Budget Responsibility’s March forecast for UK public sector net debt were divided on a per capita basis, Scotland's share of the national debt in 2015-16 would be around £119 billion.

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The UK Government are committed to maintaining Scotland as part of the UK and believe the people of Scotland will vote to remain part of the UK.

Employment: Under-25s

Question

Asked by Baroness Brinton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government (1) for the last quarter, and (2) for the past year, how many (a) 18–21 year-olds, and (b) 22–24 year-olds, in England entered employment; and for each age group how many of those entering employment (i) were, and (ii) were not, in full-time education. [HL2916]

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

Letter from Glen Watson, Director General for ONS, to Baroness Brinton, dated November 2012.

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking (1) for the last quarter, and (2) for the past year, how many (a) 18-21 year-olds, and (b) 22-24 year-olds, in England entered employment; and for each age group how many of those entering employment (i) were, and (ii) were not, in full-time education. (HL2916)

The requested information is not available. As an alternative, estimates of the latest quarterly and annual changes in the total number of people in the requested categories as estimated using the Labour Force Survey (LFS) are given in the attached table.

As with any sample survey, estimates from the LFS are subject to a margin of uncertainty, as indicated on the table.

Number of people in employment by age and education status England, not seasonally adjusted
Thousands
18-2122-24
Total1Full-time educationNot in full-time educationTotal1Full-time educationNot in full-time education

April to June 2011

1,312

393

918

1,482

119

1,361

January to March 2012

1,249

395

850

1,460

107

1,348

April to June 2012

1,315*

414*

899*

1,460*

109**

1,347*

Change on quarter to:

April to June 2012

66

18

49

0

1

-1

Change over the year to:

April to June 2012

3

21

-19

-22

-10

-14

Source:

Labour Force Survey

The Coefficient of Variation (CV) indicates the quality of an estimate, the smaller the CV value the higher the quality. The true value is likely to lie within +/- twice the CV - for example, for an estimate of 200 with a CV of 5% we would expect the population total to be within the range 180-220.

KeyCoefficient of Variation (CV) (%)Statistical Robustness

*

0 ≤ CV < 5

Estimates are considered precise.

**

5 ≤ CV < 10

Estimates are considered reasonably precise.

***

10 ≤ CV < 20

Estimates are considered acceptable.

****

CV ≤ 20

Estimates are considered too unreliable for practical purposes

It should be noted that the above estimates exclude people in most types of communal establishment (e.g. hotels, boarding houses, hostels mobile home sites etc.)

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EU: Budget

Question

Asked by Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the answer by Lord Sassoon on 24 October (Official Report, col. 204), which of the wealthiest regions of the European Union receive structural funds from the budget of the European Union; and, in each case, what was the per capita income of the inhabitants of those regions.[HL2901]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): All regions of the European Union are eligible for receipts of structural funds from the budget of the European Union. The European Commission publishes information on the eligibility of European Union regions for receipts of structural funds. This is based on latest Eurostat data on regional, per capita, gross domestic product.

According to latest Eurostat data, 202 regions had over 75% of the European Union average, per capita, gross domestic product. Of these, 17 were above 150% of the European Union average.

Both sources can be found online:

Eligibility maps: http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/atlas2007/index_en.htmEurostatdata: http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/cache/ITY_PUBLIC/1-13032012- AP/EN/1-13032012-AP-EN.PDF.

Government: Ministerial Correspondence

Question

Asked by Lord Hughes of Woodside

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether letters that Ministers have written to Members following a commitment made during oral questions are always placed in the Library of the House, irrespective of whether they have committed to placing a copy there; and, if not, whether they will issue guidance to that effect.[HL2900]

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Strathclyde): No they are not, as letters must be accompanied by a ministerial commitment to deposit in order for the Library to accept them as deposited papers. Such commitments can be made retrospectively, rather than on the Floor of the House, but I do not intend to issue guidance to encourage Ministers to give such commitments on every occasion. Deposited documents are held in perpetuity and covered by parliamentary privilege, and therefore not every letter will be suitable for deposit.

Government Departments: Expenditure

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how much was spent by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on (1) fire, and (2) theft, prevention in each of the past five years.[HL3001]

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley): Expenditure on facilities management and security covers a wide array of issues. To extract fire and theft prevention costs separately from other costs would incur a disproportionate cost.

Hazardous Substances Advisory Committee

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the difference between the Advisory Committee on Hazardous Substances that was abolished on 22 July and the Hazardous Substances Advisory Committee set up in its place on the same day. [HL3176]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley): The difference between these two bodies was covered in the Explanatory Document to the Advisory Committee on Hazardous Substances (Abolition) Order 2012 (Statutory Instrument No 2012/1923). The transition from one body to the other reflects changes in the arrangements for science advice in Defra and in the regulation of chemicals. The Hazardous Substances Advisory Committee (HSAC) has new terms of reference which are broader, more strategic and more flexible than those for the Advisory Committee on Hazardous Substances (ACHS). ACHS members, including the chairman, have carried their remaining terms of office forward to the HSAC. We are in the process of recruiting new members for HSAC to fill current and anticipated vacancies.

Further information about the HSAC, including its new terms of reference and code of practice, can be found on the Defra website.

Health: Contraception

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of whether the provision of contraception by schools and other organisations to children under the age of 16 constitutes a criminal offence under the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 2000.[HL3113]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Sexual Offences Act 2003 provides that the age of consent is 16, and that sexual activity involving children under 16 is unlawful. This Act also provides that a professional giving advice and treatment to protect a young person from pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections is not committing any offence.

Health professionals can lawfully provide confidential medical advice, treatment and examination, including contraception, to young people aged under 16, so long as they are satisfied of the young person’s competence

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to understand the information they are given and the benefits and risks of the treatment. They must also encourage the young person to talk to their parents or another trusted adult.

Health: Costs

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether European Union nationals resident in the United Kingdom who are in receipt of a pension and whose healthcare costs could be paid for by their home country under Regulation (EC)883/2004 are required to show a European health insurance card (EHIC) card and have that detail recorded for central use when registering with a general practitioner. [HL2950]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): European Union nationals, resident in the United Kingdom, are not required to show a valid European health insurance card in order to register with a general practitioner (GP) practice. The card is issued to prove entitlement to clinically necessary medical treatment which is required during a temporary visit to another European Economic Area (EEA) country.

However, when a state pensioner of another EEA country comes to the UK to live they should provide a form S1, issued by the authorities in the country which pays their pension, to the Department for Work and Pensions in order that the form can be registered. This will enable the UK to claim back the cost of any National Health Service hospital treatment, provided to the pensioner, from the country which pays the pension. This procedure does not form a mandatory part of the process to register with a general practitioner.

Homelessness: Ex-service Personnel

Question

Asked by Lord Rogan

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the answer by Baroness Hanham on 30 October (Official Report, col. 502), what estimate they have made of the proportion of ex-service personnel who are homeless, and how that compares with the proportion of the general population who are homeless.[HL2985]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): My department collects only limited information on numbers of households containing ex-service personnel that have been accepted as being owed the main homelessness duty. In particular, quarterly PlE returns submitted by local authorities show that:

30 households accepted during 2011-12 were identified as being within the priority need category of having served in HM Forces; and

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there were 180 households accepted during 2011-12 for which leaving HM forces was identified as the main reason for the loss of last settled home.

These are likely to represent only some of the households accepted as homeless that include ex-service personnel. Other such households are likely to have been included—without being separately counted—elsewhere on P1E returns, within some of the other existing priority need categories (eg old age, mental illness); and under some of the other main reasons for the loss of the last settled home (e.g. where the ex-service personnel were not in HM Forces immediately before being accepted as homeless).

It is not therefore possible to produce a robust and comprehensive figure for the number of homeless households that include ex-service personnel which could be expressed as a proportion of the total number of ex-service personnel that could be compared with the overall rate of homelessness for the overall population.

The latest figures (2011-12) from Combined Homeless and Information Network, which covers London and contains detailed information on London’s rough sleepers over the year, highlights that only 4% of rough sleepers from the UK have experience of serving in the Armed Forces.

We secured an additional £70 million last year to help local agencies prevent and tackle homelessness. This includes the £20 million Homelessness Transition Fund to support the national rollout of No Second Night Out, tackle rough sleeping and protect vital front-line services and the £20 million Single Homelessness Prevention Fund to help ensure single homeless people get access to good housing advice.

This is on top of the £400 million we are investing for homelessness prevention over four years (2011-12-2014-15) which includes £10.8 million to help single people access private rented sector accommodation.

The Ministerial Working Group on Homelessness published its second report Making Every Contact Count in August which focuses on preventing homelessness and includes people leaving the Armed Forces. A copy of the report can be obtained at: www.communities.gov.uk/publications/housing/makingeverycontactcount.

We are determined to ensure that current and former members of the Armed Forces gain the housing they deserve, recognising the sacrifices they have made for the country. We have, therefore, introduced measures to place members of the Armed Forces at the top of the priority list for home ownership schemes, including FirstBuy.

We published the final new statutory social allocations guidance on 29 June following consultation, setting out how councils’ allocation schemes can give priority to all service personnel, including through the use of local preference criteria and local lettings policies.

We are also changing the law by regulation so that former personnel with urgent housing needs are always given additional preference (high priority) for social housing; and councils are prevented from applying local connection requirements to disqualify members of the Armed Forces and those within five years of leaving the services. Following consultation, we are also extending these regulations to bereaved spouses

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and seriously injured reservists. The qualification regulations came into force on 24 August; the additional preference regulations were laid before Parliament on 18 October.

Housing

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many new housing units were built between 2005 and 2010; and how many new housing units will need to be provided each year between 2013 and 2033 to meet the estimated demand for housing accommodation. [HL3008]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): Data on house building can be found on the Department for Communities and Local Government website. Live table 244 at the following link shows new house building in England for each calendar year since 1946: http://www.communities.gov.uk/housing/housingresearch/housingstatistics/housingstatisticsby/housebuilding/livetables/

The Department for Communities and Local Government does not make assessments of future housing requirements.

Housing: Council Houses

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether provisions exist to enable local authorities to sell their properties at less than market value.[HL3007]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): Different rules apply depending on whether the property is council housing or not.

Local authorities are free to dispose of vacant council housing at less than market value if it is subsequently to be used for owner occupation. Limited disposals of vacant housing at less than market value are also permitted if the purchaser is a registered provider of social housing or a provider of special needs accommodation.

All other disposals of council housing at less than market value require the consent of the Secretary of State, except any disposals made under the Right to Buy.

I now turn to other property. Local authorities have the power to dispose of assets at an undervalue (under the Local Government Act 1972: General Disposal Consent (England) 2003), to further local economic, social and environmental well-being, at less than best consideration, without seeking consent from DCLG, if the undervalue is less than £2 million. In doing so, they would be expected to ensure that the public benefit from the disposal, including any savings that would be made, outweighs any loss of capital receipt.

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Iraq: Chilcot Inquiry

Question

Asked by Lord Morris of Aberavon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the answer by Lord Strathclyde on 29 October (Official Report, col. 407), what information they have regarding the reasons for the delay until the middle of 2013 in starting the process of consultation in accordance with Salmon and Maxwell principles in respect of the Chilcot report.[HL2972]

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Strathclyde): Sir John Chilcot has regularly written to the Prime Minister or Cabinet Secretary to provide updates on the inquiry’s progress. Copies of these letters are published on the Iraq inquiry website at: www.iraqinquiry.org.uk.

As Sir John Chilcot noted in his letter to the Prime Minister of 13 July, the inquiry has made extensive progress in the drafting of its report, but its task is not yet complete. The issues being considered by the inquiry are complex and difficult. The Maxwellisation process can only begin when all the relevant sections of the draft report have been prepared, and establishing the fullest picture it can before reaching conclusions is a time- consuming and challenging task.

OpCapita

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to review the role of OpCapita leading up to the collapse of the electronics retailer Comet, and the manner in which OpCapita and its associates became preferred creditors.[HL3128]

Lord Gardiner of Kimble: It will be for the appointed administrators to investigate the events leading up to the collapse of Comet including a review of the validity of any security obtained and the status of a particular creditor.

The administrators also have a statutory obligation to report to the Secretary of State on the conduct of the directors in an administration. If misconduct is alleged the Secretary of State then has a discretionary power to seek the disqualification of the directors where it is believed to be in the public interest.

The Government’s Insolvency Service has discretionary powers under the Companies Acts to conduct inquiries on behalf of the Secretary of State into the affairs of live companies where there is good reason to do so. Good reason would include concerns that a company is trading in an objectionable manner or there is a suspicion of serious misconduct by that company. I would add that for the investigation process to be effective it is essential to maintain confidentiality at all stages. Consequently, and also to acknowledge the commercial interest of companies against whom complaints are made, it is the Insolvency Service’s policy not to confirm nor deny whether an investigation of a particular company is taking place.

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Overseas Aid

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what proportion of British overseas aid, provided both bilaterally and multi-laterally, is used to ensure that people in poor and developing countries are able to assert full legal title to their properties.[HL2906]

Baroness Northover: The Department for International Development (DfID) does not track spend on ensuring that poor people assert their full legal titles to property. This is not one of the standardised categories which all members of the Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development use to describe how they allocate their resources.

UK aid is and will be providing direct support for improving land and property rights in at least eight countries in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, only where appropriate through formal legal titles. Improving property rights is often a component of larger programmes. Examples of ongoing projects include:

supporting land tenure in Rwanda which will provide 4 million poor men and women with title to the land they farm; andsupporting poor rural communities in Mozambique to demarcate and register their communal land, which will benefit 300,000 people.

DfID also invests in key multilateral organisations supporting people to improve their property rights, for example:

the International Fund for Agricultural Development works on land rights and access across 45 countries; andthe International Finance Corporation works to provide small firms with more opportunities to use their assets to access credit.

More details of property rights projects funded by the Department for International Development and completed after August 2009 can be accessed via the department’s website at: http://projects.dfid.gov.uk/.

Piracy

Questions

Asked by Lord Marlesford

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the answer by Lord Henley on 26 March (Official Report, col. 1120), whether they have taken a decision on the sharing of suspicious activity reports with the Regional Anti-Piracy Prosecutions and Intelligence Co-ordination Centre in the Seychelles; if so, when; and, if not, when they expect to do so.[HL2981]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): The intelligence and information-sharing arrangements between the Serious Organised Crime Agency and the Regional Anti-Piracy Prosecutions and Intelligence Co-ordination Centre,

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including in relation to material derived from suspicious activity reports, will be finalised before the centre becomes operational in early 2013.

Asked by Lord Marlesford

To ask Her Majesty’s Government under what statutory authority they have exempted the reporting of demands for ransom money for the release of persons captured by pirates from the requirement to be reported under the suspicious activity reports requirement of the money laundering regulations. [HL2982]

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: The Government have not made any such statutory exemptions. Under UK law it is not illegal to pay ransoms in piracy cases, although the Government counsel strongly against doing so; making concessions only encourages such activity.

Under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, if an individual knows or suspects they are dealing with criminal property and if they wish to obtain a statutory defence for carrying out that activity, they should submit a suspicious activity report to the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) and obtain consent. To obtain the consent of SOCA, they need to provide SOCA with sufficient information for a properly informed consent decision to be taken.

Asked by Lord Marlesford

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the answer by Lord Henley on 26 March (Official Report, col. 1120), whether the work requested by the Prime Minister on the payment of ransoms has taken place; and, if so, what was the result.[HL2983]

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: The International Piracy Ransoms Task Force has concluded its work and will report on progress in due course.

Planning

Question

Asked by Lord Dykes

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had with local authorities regarding planning consent for out-of-town shopping precincts in relation to the profitability of high street shops.[HL2947]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): The Government continually engage with local authorities on all aspects of planning, including in relation to out- of-town development and high streets. The Government have not, however, had recent discussions with local authorities specifically on the impact of out-of-town shopping precinct consent on the profitability of high street shops.

The Government’s town centre first planning policy sets out that local authorities should recognise town centres as the heart of their communities, pursue policies to support their viability and vitality, and seek

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to locate main town centre uses in town centres out of preference. Local planning authorities should ensure that their local plans are supported by robust evidence which takes full account of relevant market and economic signals.

More broadly the Government are supporting town centres through a range of programmes as outlined in the Government's response to the Portas review.

Police: College of Policing

Question

Asked by Baroness Smith of Basildon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the transitional and branding costs associated with the establishment of the new College of Policing.[HL2872]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): All costs associated with the establishment of the College of Policing including branding will be met within the National Policing Improvement Agency’s budget.

Political Parties: Funding

Question

Asked by Lord Dykes

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will re-open all party discussions on the financing of political parties.[HL2946]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: Discussions between the main political parties at Westminster on the reform of party political funding began in April and are ongoing. The Government hope that conclusions will be reached swiftly.

Post-2015 Development Agenda

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions the Secretary of State for International Development has had with the Prime Minister, as co-chair of the UN High-Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, about the future work of the Panel; and what is their current assessment of the achievability of the millennium development goals before their expiry in 2015.[HL2887]

Baroness Northover: The post-2015 development framework is a priority for the UK Government. The Secretary of State for International Development, Justine Greening, is the lead Cabinet Minister supporting the Prime Minister’s chairmanship on the post-Millennium Development Goals High Level Panel. In addition, a special envoy has been appointed who reports directly to the Prime Minister and Secretary of State, and a joint DfID/Cabinet Office team has been set up to support their work.

While there has been strong progress against many of the millennium development goals, achieving all of the goals by 2015 will be challenging. Both the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for International

12 Nov 2012 : Column WA258

Development, Justine Greening, agree that any new post-2015 development agenda must seek to fulfil the current millennium development goals.

Racism

Question

Asked by Lord Ouseley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Taylor of Holbeach on 26 October (WA 89), which organisations are funded to work with victims of racist attacks; how much funding is provided annually to Show Racism the Red Card; who runs the educational workshops for young people; and how much they cost.[HL2932]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): The Government fund a number of organisations that tackle a wide range of hate crime that includes encouraging reporting and tackling race hate crime, and supporting the victims. The table below shows these organisations and the amount of funding.

OrganisationAreaFunding

Ipswich & Suffolk Council for Racial Equality

Race Hate Crime and victims

£386,400 (2011/12 2013/14)

Support Against Racist Incidents

Race Hate Crime and victims

£89,025 (2011/12-2013/14)

Kingston Race & Equalities Council

Race Hate Crime and victims

£66,136 (2011/12-2013/14)

Greenwich Action Committee Against Racist Attacks

Race Hate Crime

£66,136 (2011/12-2013/14)

Cross Govt. True Vision

Hate Crime including Race

£100,000 (2012/13 & 2013/14)

The Anne Frank Trust UK+

Hate Crime including Race

£211,180 (2011/12-2013/14)

European Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism +

Hate Crime including Race

£50,000 (2012/13)

The Jewish Museum +

Hate Crime including Race

£10,000 (2012/13)

Holocaust Memorial Day Trust +

Hate Crime including Race

750,000 (2012/13)

Show Racism the Red Card

Race Hate Crime

£204,965 (2012/13 & 2013/14)

JUST Lincolnshire *

Race Hate Crime

£77,100 (2011/12 & 2012/13)

Voluntary Action North East Lincolnshire *

Hate Crime including Race

£14,525 (2011/12 & 2012/13)

Redbridge Equalities & Community Council*

Hate Crime including Race

£51,696 (2011/12 & 2012/13)

Southdown Housing Association*

Hate Crime including Race

£51,175 (2011/12 & 2012/13)

Notes

* These projects focus on community led solutions to tackle crime and include working with young people in schools.

+ These projects are included because Jews (and Sikhs) are considered as ethnic groups under case law within the Race Relations Act.

In addition, Show Racism the Red Card provides educational material and harnesses the high profile of professional footballers to combat racism and provide role models for young people.

12 Nov 2012 : Column WA259

Railways: East Coast Main Line

Question

Asked by Lord Palmer

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the failure to allocate the West Coast Mainline Franchise will alter the timetable to denationalise the East Coast Mainline.[HL3120]

Earl Attlee: Decisions on the timings of the future franchising programme will be taken following receipt of the findings of the two inquiries that are currently ongoing.

Schools: Free Schools

Question

Asked by Lord Dykes

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what mechanisms are in place to ensure responsible spending of public money on free schools.[HL2771]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): Free schools are funded on the basis of equivalence with the funding of maintained schools in the same local authority area. Academies including free schools have a contract with the Secretary of State called the funding agreement. This together with the academies financial handbook provides the accountability regime for all academies which includes the requirement to produce annual audited accounts. The funding agreement also gives

12 Nov 2012 : Column WA260

the Secretary of State a range of intervention powers. Before free schools open the department provides a development grant which must be spent in accordance with the conditions of grant and accounted for in annual accounts. Capital funding is determined on a school-by-school basis.

Taxation: Corporation Tax

Question

Asked by Baroness Miller of Hendon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have assessed the impact of introducing a turnover tax, offsetable against actual assessed corporation tax, for trans-national companies and groups of companies operating in the United Kingdom and engaging in internal transfer pricing arrangements to limit their corporation tax liabilities.[HL2909]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Along with most major economies in the world, the UK charges corporation tax on profits derived from economic activity carried out in the UK, not on sales or turnover.

The UK system is based on internationally agreed principles that determine how much profit each country should tax. The Government are alert to the risk that some companies may try to structure their affairs so that profits from UK-based economic activity are not taxed here. The UK has specific tax rules to combat tax avoidance by international companies; and supports the G20 endorsed international action on base erosion and profit-shifting.