3 Dec 2012 : Column WA97

3 Dec 2012 : Column WA97

Written Answers

Monday 3 December 2012

Bees

Questions

Asked by Lord Hoyle

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the decline in bee numbers, what assessment they have made of the future costs to farmers of the loss of pollination by bees.[HL3636]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley): HM Government recognise the importance of all pollinators, including bees, and their value to both food security and sustaining the natural environment. We are currently considering a range of evidence on the state of bees and other pollinators in order to determine what action is required.

Many of our agricultural crops and wild flowers rely on visits by insect pollinators (bumble bees, honey bees, solitary bees, butterflies, moths, flies, beetles, hoverflies) to produce seeds and fruits. Given their important role as pollinators, the health, population size and diversity of these insect species are essential. for UK agriculture and for our natural ecosystems.

It is estimated that insect pollinators contribute £500 million per year to UK agriculture. The relative contributions of the various species to this total value is not known, although the UK's National Ecosystem Assessment (2011) suggested (based on numerical rather than field-based observations) that wild pollinators contribute a significant proportion of this total.

Asked by Lord Moynihan

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will introduce measures to support bee keeping, in the light of the experience of damage to the bee population and its effects in 2012.[HL3643]

Lord De Mauley: Defra recognises that this has been a difficult year for beekeeping due to the poor summer weather. However, a number of measures are already in place to support beekeeping. Since the Healthy Bees Plan was launched in April 2009, the Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera), on behalf of Defra and the Welsh Government, has been working in partnership with beekeeping stakeholders on a number of initiatives to deliver the plan's objectives to improve honey bee health.

Beekeepers also benefit from Defra's bee health programme under which Fera's National Bee Unit (NBU) delivers a free inspection and comprehensive education programme on a wide range of beekeeping issues. The aim of the programme is to control the spread of statutory pests and diseases and improve beekeepers' disease recognition and husbandry skills.

Details of the implementation of the Healthy Bees Plan and the Bee Health Programme are available on the NBU's BeeBase website.

3 Dec 2012 : Column WA98

In addition, advice for beekeepers is published on BeeBase in response to topical issues, such as information on the importance of maintaining colony food levels to avoid starvation, which was published twice during the poor summer.

Asked by Lord Moynihan

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the role played in the die-off of honey bees in 2012 of pesticides, parasites, disease and poor nutrition; and whether they will increase the research budget directed at combating disease and rejuvenating bee hives.[HL3644]

Lord De Mauley: The Food and Environment Research Agency's National Bee Unit monitors colony losses as part of its Bee Health Programme. The main factor affecting honey bee health this year has been the exceptionally poor weather conditions. However, in season colony losses were 5% of colonies inspected, which is similar to last year.

Defra is currently providing £2.5 million over five years (from 2010-11) towards the £10 million Insect Pollinators Initiative which is being jointly funded with the Scottish Government, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Wellcome Trust. The initiative's projects are looking at different aspects of the decline of insect pollinators. Of the nine projects being funded, two specifically focus on honey bees and six will benefit both honey bees and bumblebees.

Asked by Lord Moynihan

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will take steps to address the findings of the British Beekeepers Association 2012 Honey Survey which highlighted a 72% drop in average yields.[HL3645]

Lord De Mauley: The British Beekeepers Association's (BBKA's) 2012 Honey Survey acknowledges that rain and cold weather this summer were the major factors affecting honey supplies. The BBKA also recognised that training and education of beekeepers is important to enable them to deal effectively with adverse weather conditions such as have been experienced this year. A key objective of the Healthy Bees Plan, which was launched in April 2009 by Defra and the Welsh Government, is the improvement of beekeepers' husbandry skills to enable them to become more self reliant. The Food and Environment Research Agency has been working in partnership with beekeeping stakeholders on a number of initiatives to deliver this objective.

Asked by Lord Moynihan

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the National Bee Unit will publish an assessment of the 2012 honey production levels, the extent of notifiable diseases in United Kingdom honey bees during the year, and new measures to address the management of disease and varroa mite in bee colonies.[HL3646]

3 Dec 2012 : Column WA99

Lord De Mauley: The Food and Environment Research Agency's (Fera) National Bee Unit (NBU) has not made an assessment of the 2012 honey production levels but recognises that that this has been a difficult year for beekeeping due to the poor summer weather.

Details of the incidence of the notifiable diseases (European Foul Brood (EFB) and American Foul Brood (AFB)) in England, Wales and Scotland are available on the NBU's BeeBase website.

Fera is currently reviewing the policies in place to address key pests and disease risks of honey bees and the associated surveillance and implementation programme. This includes the management of the notifiable pests and diseases and also endemic pests, such as the Varroa mite.

Benefits

Questions

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in cases where they take responsibility for paying child benefit to parents from Poland and the Republic of Ireland working in the United Kingdom having left children in their home country, whether the full amount of child benefit or the difference between the United Kingdom and home country rates is paid; and whether the benefit is linked to continuing payment of employee national insurance contributions.[HL3504]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have conducted random checks on the existence of children in the Republic of Ireland on behalf of whom child benefit is paid in the United Kingdom; if so, what percentage of claims were found to be false; and whether they share details of fraudulent claimants with their Irish counterparts.[HL3505]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): UK child benefit, in respect of children resident in Poland and the Republic of Ireland by virtue of EC Regulation 883/2004, will be paid at the relevant rate, whether at the UK rate or as a supplement and in accordance with the priority rules set out in that regulation. Where such a claim is made by a person who is employed in the UK, EC Regulation 883/2004 requires that the claimant is subject to UK national insurance contributions.

All child benefit claimants are required to provide documentary evidence of the child or children mentioned in their claim, such as an original birth or adoption certificate. In addition, in all UK child benefit claims made by virtue of EC Regulation 883/2004, HM Revenue and Customs will check the composition of the family with the social security authorities in the EEA member state in which the family resides, including the Republic of Ireland. UK child benefit is not paid until the authorities in the other member state have confirmed the composition of that family. Member states have well established procedures in place to ensure that family benefits only go to those entitled.

Information about the percentage of claims in respect of children resident in the Republic of Ireland which are rejected as fraudulent is not available. However, when necessary, details of such claims would be passed

3 Dec 2012 : Column WA100

to the authorities in the Republic of Ireland for further investigation in line with the exchange of information provisions in the EC regulations.

Burma

Questions

Asked by Baroness Goudie

To ask Her Majesty’s Government which organisations and individuals have been approached by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office with regard to meeting President Thein Sein of Burma when he visits the United Kingdom.[HL3575]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): The Prime Minister, my right honourable friend the Member for Witney (Mr Cameron), issued an invitation to the Burmese President, Thein Sein in June and this invitation remains outstanding. Therefore there have been no approaches as yet to organisations or individuals with regards to any meetings. We believe such a visit would be a valuable opportunity to continue the Prime Minister's dialogue with the president and to stress the need to resolve the many issues outstanding as Burma continues on its path to democracy.

Asked by Baroness Goudie

To ask Her Majesty’s Government which Burmese Government officials have visited the United Kingdom in the past six months; and what were the reasons for their visits.[HL3576]

Baroness Warsi: U Soe Thane, Minister to the Burmese President's Office, visited the UK from 7-9 November to attend a Wilton Park conference hosted by the Institute of Business and Human Rights and focused on encouraging responsible investment in Burma.

Climate Change

Question

Asked by Lord Donoughue

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Verma on 8 November (WA 224) stating that Arctic temperatures have increased by almost twice the global average rate, how much have Antarctic temperatures changed since (1) 1880, and (2) 1998.[HL3706]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Baroness Verma): There is limited observational coverage of the Antarctic continent and surrounding ocean. There are no observations available from before 1903, with reliable records only from 1957, the International Geophysical Year. Thus, it is not possible to answer (1).

Based on analysis of the HadCRUT4 land only temperature dataset which contains observations mostly around the edges of the continent, from a minimum of 12 sites in 1957 to a maximum of 20 sites in the 1970s, the regional temperature trends are as follows:

1957 to 2011: 0.18 ± 0.06°C / decade; and1998 to 2011: 0.29 ± 0.21°C/ decade.

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Linear trends above are based on year-to-year variability around trends described as auto regressive (AR1) processes.

You will note that over a short time period of 14 years, the year-to-year variability of climate dominates the trend and leads to a comparatively large mean error.

Columbia

Question

Asked by Lord Ashcroft

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the statement of 15 November from the International Young Democrat Union (IYDU) welcoming a new effort for peace in Columbia.[HL3541]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): We agree with the statement by the International Young Democrat Union and strongly welcome President Santos’s announcement of peace negotiations with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. The launch of peace talks is a courageous step to bring the hope of peace for all Colombians after decades of conflict. The UK stands ready to draw on its experience in support of the Colombian peace process as it progresses.

Employment

Question

Asked by Lord Bates

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the net number of jobs created since 2010 in (1) North East England, (2) Yorkshire and the Humber, and (3) North West England.[HL3729]

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 Lord Bates, dated November 2012.

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics (ONS), I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question concerning the net number of jobs created since 2010 in (1) North East England, (2) Yorkshire and the Humber, and (3) North West England (HL3729).

The ONS does not directly provide estimates for the number of jobs created, only the net change in total jobs. These figures are produced from the ONS’ Workforce jobs series.

The table below contains seasonally adjusted estimates for the number of workforce jobs for the requested regions at 2010Q2 (June 2010) and 2012Q2 (June 2012) and the net change between these two periods. Quarter 2 is used as it is regarded as the best annual indicator for workforce jobs. This measure includes employee jobs, self-employed jobs, HM Forces and government-supported trainees.

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Workforce jobs (000’s) – seasonally adjusted
2010 Q22012 Q2Net Change

North East

1,170

1,146

-24

Yorkshire and The Humber

2,525

2,516

-9

North West

3,388

3,378

-10

EU: Turkey

Question

Asked by Lord Dykes

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will seek an acceleration of possible European Union membership for Turkey; and, if so, how.[HL3490]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): Accession to the EU is a condition-based not a time-based process. Turkey has made clear its firm strategic commitment to accession, and successive EU councils have made clear that Turkey is a candidate for full membership of the EU.

The UK remains Turkey's strongest supporter in Europe. It is our ambition that progress will be made on the accession process in coming months. We are working with partners to secure, for example, deeper foreign policy co-operation, expansion of the Commission's positive agenda, and, ideally, opening of chapters. We are also encouraging Turkey to accelerate planned human rights reforms.

Gaza

Questions

Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they are having with the Governments of Israel, Egypt, Turkey and Jordan about the prevention of further violence in the Gaza Strip.[HL3501]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): Prior to the ceasefire announcement on 21 November, the UK was in contact with those involved in brokering an end to the violence, alongside the EU, US and other partners. The Prime Minister, my right honourable friend the Member for Witney (Mr Cameron), spoke to the Israeli Prime Minister and Egyptian President and the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right honourable friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), has spoken to the Israeli, Egyptian, Turkish and Jordanian Foreign Ministers. We urged all parties to use their influence to help avoid any further escalation.

We welcome the agreement reached on 21 November to end hostilities. We have urged all sides to uphold their commitments, and paid tribute to President Mursi and the Egyptian Government for their intensive efforts and the leadership they have shown, as well as to US Secretary of State Clinton and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for the role they have played. The Foreign Secretary spoke to Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr on 22 November to express appreciation for Egypt's efforts.

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Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will seek to work jointly with the Government of the United States to ensure a reduction of casualties in the current conflict in Gaza.[HL3502]

Baroness Warsi: The British Government are gravely concerned by the recent violence in Gaza and southern Israel and deeply regret the loss of civilian life. We consistently called on those involved to avoid any action which risked civilian casualties and to abide by international humanitarian law. We conveyed these messages in public, and directly to those involved in brokering an end to the violence, alongside our EU, United States of America (US), and other international partners.

We welcome the agreement reached on 21 November to end hostilities. We have urged all sides to uphold their commitments, and paid tribute to President Mursi and the Egyptian Government for their intensive efforts and the leadership they have shown, as well as to US Secretary of State Clinton and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for the roles they have played.

This ceasefire is an important step towards a lasting peace. The priority now must be to build on the ceasefire and to address the underlying causes of the conflict, including more open access to and from Gaza for trade as well as humanitarian assistance, and an end to the smuggling of weapons. Above all, the loss of life over the past week has shown the urgent need for a return to negotiations on a two-state solution to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The UK will work urgently with the USA, the EU, our other international partners and with Israel and the Palestinian Authority, calling for a new initiative to restart the peace process before the window for a two state solution closes.

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the current state of the provision of food supplies to Gaza.[HL3594]

Baroness Northover: As the Foreign Secretary said on 21 November, we welcome the agreement reached to end the hostilities in Gaza and southern Israel and urge all sides to uphold their commitments. Our current assessment is that the provision of food supplies to Gaza is not at crisis point but remains fragile.

Pre-positioning of stocks has meant that there is currently sufficient food, shelter items and medical supplies. The World Food Programme and UN Relief and Works Agency, which are the two main organisations conducting food distributions, each have approximately 30 days of food pre-positioned in Gaza and distributions are continuing normally. The UK is following the humanitarian situation closely and stands ready to respond should the situation deteriorate.

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they intend to take to help ensure that medical supplies are available in Gaza’s hospitals.[HL3595]

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Baroness Northover: As the Foreign Secretary said on 21 November, we welcome the agreement reached to end the hostilities in Gaza and southern Israel and urge all sides to uphold their commitments. The UK is following the humanitarian situation closely and monitoring the situation in terms of access of essential humanitarian supplies to the civilian population in Gaza.

A shortage in medical supplies predates the current crisis and remains a source of concern. However, even with the increased caseload of war wounded, our current assessment is that the health services in Gaza are providing a reasonable quality of care. The UK supports the United Nation's Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs' Access Co-ordination Unit, which works proactively with all partners to help facilitate the access of humanitarian staff and supplies into Gaza. The UK stands ready to respond should the situation deteriorate.

Gibraltar

Question

Asked by Lord Pendry

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what measures they are pursuing with the Government of Spain following the incursions by a Spanish warship into Gibraltar's territorial waters on 13 November 2012. [HL3474]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): There were two serious incursions into British Gibraltar territorial waters (BGTW) on 13 November 2012.

In the first incursion a Spanish naval ship conducted a prominent patrol through British Gibraltar territorial waters lasting over two hours. Later on the same day, a Spanish customs vessel sought to apprehend a Gibraltarian civilian boat in BGTW, forcing the Royal Gibraltar Police to intervene in order to safeguard the welfare of the four occupants.

On 15 November the Permanent Under-Secretary of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office summoned the Spanish ambassador to the UK, in order to underline the Government's concerns regarding these and other recent incursions into BGTW. As the Minister for Europe, my right honourable friend the Member for Aylesbury (Mr Lidington), has stated publicly, we condemn these provocative incursions and urge the Spanish Government to ensure that they are not repeated. We believe that it is in the interests of Spain, as well as Gibraltar and the UK, to avoid any incident that may damage the prospects of developing a harmonious and collaborative relationship between Gibraltar and Spain. It is also in all parties interests to avoid incidents which could put at risk the safety of those operating in BGTW.

We remain confident of UK sovereignty over BGTW and fully committed to protecting the interests of the people of Gibraltar and their wish to remain under British sovereignty.

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Government Departments: Records and Security

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Taylor of Holbeach on 23 July (WA 104), what estimate they have made of the cost of answering the question in full.[HL3506]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley): There are two Written Answers in the Official Report to which the Question might be referring. In both cases, initial estimates of the cost of collecting historic information that had not been collected at the time showed that it would exceed the disproportionate cost threshold.

Regarding security costs, such records are not held centrally. To bring the information together for core Defra and its predecessor bodies for the period concerned would be a major exercise and would exceed the disproportionate cost threshold. Tracking the various organisational changes since 2000 and identifying the necessary records would take considerable time and effort. The process would be further complicated because security costs are often incorporated as elements within other administrative costs such as facilities management.

Regarding the cost and purpose of temporary staff, data are held over various account codes including salary, pensions and expenses and multiple cost centres. These data would require substantial analysis to provide the answer to this element of the Question. Therefore the cost of conducting this analysis would exceed the disproportionate cost limit.

Housing

Question

Asked by Lord Greaves

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Hanham on 23 June 2010 (WA 190), what conclusions they have reached on the effectiveness of current enforcement powers available to local authorities in relation to empty housing, including empty dwelling management orders (EDMOs) and other measures, and on the civil liberties implications of EDMOs; and what advice they have given to local authorities on the use of EDMOs.[HL3516]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): Local authorities have a range of powers to protect local amenity and tackle danger or nuisance from empty properties.

Notwithstanding, it is the view of Ministers that the last Administration's empty dwelling management orders were a disproportionate infringement of civil liberties. The coalition agreement makes a clear statement that the British state had “become too authoritarian”

3 Dec 2012 : Column WA106

and pledged “to restore the rights of individuals in the face of encroaching state power, in keeping with Britain's tradition of freedom and fairness”. The right to property is a fundamental British liberty.

Under the coalition Government, such orders will be limited to empty properties that have become magnets for vandalism and other forms of anti-social behaviour and generally fallen into a state of disrepair. A property will have to stand empty for at least two years before an empty dwelling management order can be obtained; property owners will have to be given at least three months’ notice before the order can be issued, and there should be community support for the proposed order. This more liberal approach is a far more sensible balance between civil liberties, private property rights and state intervention.

More broadly, this Government have initiated a range of practical policies and incentives to work with local communities to get empty homes back into use, as outlined in our housing strategy issued in November 2011, a copy of which is in the Library of the House.

India

Question

Asked by Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the current epidemic of dengue fever in India; and whether they have made representations to the Government of that country about its response. [HL3525]

Baroness Northover: The World Health Organisation in India says that despite the large number of cases of dengue fever in the country, this is a seasonal upsurge rather than an outbreak situation. We are in constant dialogue with the Indian Government.

Iraq: Chilcot Inquiry

Question

Asked by Lord Lester of Herne Hill

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when the Chilcot inquiry is expected to report; and how much public expenditure has so far been incurred by the inquiry. [HL3672]

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Strathclyde): I refer the noble Lord to my answer to the oral question asked by the noble Lord, Lord Dykes, on 29 October 2012 (Official Report, col. 407) for information on the timing of the report.

The total expenditure incurred by the Iraq inquiry, from its establishment on 15 June 2009 to 31 March 2012, is £6.1 million. The inquiry will publish its expenditure for 2012-13 in due course—the inquiry's practice is to publish its expenditure after the end of the financial year.

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Israel and Palestine: West Bank

Questions

Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will make representations to the Government of Israel against the transfer of existing residents of Area C of the West Bank to Areas A and B. [HL3463]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): The UK has encouraged the Israeli Government to comply fully with their obligations under international law with regard to their actions in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including Area C of the West Bank.

This is an issue of concern shared by our European partners. The European Union's Foreign Affairs Council, in conclusions agreed on 14 May, called on Israel to meet its obligations regarding the living conditions of the Palestinian population in Area C, including by halting forced transfer of population. Together with our EU partners, we will continue to make this case to the Israeli Government.

Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will make representations to the Government of Israel not to proceed with the eviction of Bedouin communities in order to complete proposed developments in Area E1 of the West Bank.[HL3467]

Baroness Warsi: The UK has encouraged the Israeli Government to comply fully with their obligations under international law and to ensure that any decision reached on the movement of Bedouin communities should be made with their full consent and not result in a forcible transfer.

The UK position on Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories is clear: they are illegal under international law and undermine the possibility of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and those working for a sustainable peace. We look to the Government of Israel to take all necessary steps to prevent settlement construction.

We, together with our European partners, will continue to follow the situation in Area C of the West Bank, including El, closely.

Justice: Compensation

Question

Asked by Lord Wigley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many people have received compensation for wrongful imprisonment over the past 10 years; and how much money was paid in total.[HL3436]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The table below shows the number of applications for compensation that have been accepted since 2001-02 and the amount of compensation that has been paid out in the corresponding period. There is no correlation between the amount paid out in a particular year and the number of applications accepted in that year.

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No Applications GrantedS133Ex-GratiaPaid £M

2001-02

27

17

10

6.2

2002-03

36

25

11

8.2

2003-04 -

31

23 -

8

6.3

2004-05

47

39

8

6.5

2005-06

27

21

6

8.3

2006-07

28

23

5

12.3

2007-08

9

7

2

8.2

2008-09

7

7

0

12.6

2009-10

1

1

0

11.5

2010-11

1

0

1

11.3

2011-12

3

3

N-A

13.2

This information covers awards of Miscarriages of Justice compensation made under either section 133 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 or the ex gratia scheme (abolished by the Home Secretary in 2008). These figures do not include compensation paid by prosecuting authorities (i.e. the police) for wrongful arrest or unlawful imprisonment.

The award of compensation for a Miscarriage of Justice does not depend on the applicant having spent time in prison, although most applicants will have done so.

There is no correlation between the numbers of people who have been granted eligibility to the two schemes in any one year by the Secretary of State and the amount of compensation paid by the Government in that year. The amount of compensation payable is decided, by the independent assessor, on the basis of information supplied by the applicant. This process can take some time.

The table above shows that one applicant was found eligible for compensation under the ex gratia scheme in 2010-11, two years after the scheme was abolished. This application had initially been refused, but the decision was reversed following Judicial Review proceedings.

Libya

Question

Asked by Lord Empey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government on what dates in 2012 they have discussed with the Government of Libya the issue of compensation for United Kingdom victims of terrorist attacks committed with weapons supplied by the Gaddafi regime.[HL3523]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): Individual compensation claims are being pursued on a private basis and the Government are not involved in negotiations with the Libyan authorities on securing compensation payments. However, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office provides facilitation support to a number of such private campaigns. The Government have raised Gaddafi’s support of Irish Republican Army (IRA) terrorism with the Libyan authorities on numerous occasions, including this year on 16 January, 16 February, 22 February, 6 July, 16 July, 24 September, 3 October, 4 October, 10 October, and 11 October. We also continue to encourage the Libyan authorities to engage with representatives of UK victims.

The Libyan authorities are in no doubt of the importance the UK attaches to resolving this and other outstanding bilateral issues arising from the actions of the Gaddafi regime.

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Pakistan

Questions

Asked by Lord Ahmed

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the total budget of the Department for International Development education awareness programme in Pakistan.[HL3632]

Baroness Northover: The Transforming Education in Pakistan programme has a budget of £20 million for 2012-15, equivalent to just around 3% of our total education budget for Pakistan.

Asked by Lord Ahmed

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Northover on 20 November (WA 357), what assessment they have made of the connection between the Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman Foundation and the Geo/Jang group in Pakistan.[HL3633]

Baroness Northover: An assessment of the Mir Khalil ur Rahman Foundation (MKRF) and its links with GEO TV/The Jang Group was undertaken prior to awarding an accountable grant. MKRF is an independent not-for-profit organisation with its own bank account, independent processes and a separate board of directors. As stipulated in our accountable grant, MKRF is partnering with a wide range of media outlets to ensure optimal national reach, including Pakistan TV, Apna TV and Waseb TV.

Asked by Lord Ahmed

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Northover on 20 November (WA 357), how the contract to engage the Mir Khalil-ur-Rahman Foundation was awarded; and whether it was subject to competition.[HL3634]

Baroness Northover: The Mir Khalil ur Rahman Foundation (MKRF) was awarded an accountable grant to implement the media campaign of the Transforming Education in Pakistan programme in response to a proposal it submitted. Accountable grants are used by DfID to fund project activities with organisations identified as non-commercial or not-for-profit organisations. They therefore do not require a competitive tendering process.

All DfID's programmes are subject to independent evaluation and rigorous monitoring to ensure UK taxpayers' money reaches poor people, secures value for money and delivers real results.

South Sudan

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what reports they have received of cases of hepatitis E, jaundice, cholera and malnutrition arising from food shortages in the South Sudan refugee camps.[HL3601]

3 Dec 2012 : Column WA110

Baroness Northover: 1,204 cases of acute jaundice syndrome have been reported in the refugee camps in Upper Nile State so far this year as a result of an outbreak of hepatitis E. A total of 31 people died. A smaller outbreak which began in Yida camp, Unity state, has resulted in 47 recorded cases and two deaths in September. Active community awareness campaigns and hygiene promotion activities are being implemented to help reduce further transmission of the virus. In July 2012, rapid diagnostic test (RDT) results for people with severe acute watery diarrhoea indicated the possible presence of the bacterium responsible for cholera. However, after further laboratory testing in Nairobi, cholera infection was discounted.

There have been no significant food shortages within the refugee camps. However, new arrivals to the camps have shown heightened malnutrition rates as a result of food insecurity in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states and the physical stress of walking long distances to cross the border into South Sudan. Malnutrition rates in the camps have gradually fallen over the period July to October, as these new arrivals have benefited from access to food and nutritional programmes.

Sport: Disabled People

Question

Asked by Lord Moynihan

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether, following the London 2012 Paralympic Games, they intend to introduce a comprehensive set of initiatives to promote and protect the interests of those with disabilities.[HL3707]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): London 2012 delivered a hugely successful Paralympic Games. We must now ensure that we convert this success into an enduring legacy. The Government are committed to delivering the full legacy benefits of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. A Cabinet Olympic and Paralympic Legacy Committee, including Lord Coe in his role as legacy ambassador and the Mayor of London, is co-ordinating our programme and ensure that it delivers real and tangible benefits. Delivering a Paralympic legacy that helps enable all disabled people to fulfil their potential and to have opportunities to participate fully in society is embedded in this work. This includes broadening access to disabled sport, rolling out the Access for All programme, using role models to inspire young disabled people to fulfil their potential, and engaging with the media to help change attitudes and behaviours towards disabled people.

Sudan

Questions

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how much they will contribute to the 2012–13 budget of the United Nations Mission in Darfur.[HL3480]

3 Dec 2012 : Column WA111

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): As set out in Article 17 of the United Nations (UN) charter, UN member states are legally obliged to pay their respective share towards peacekeeping operations. As a permanent member, the UK expects to pay, through UN assessed costs, approximately $82 million towards the total running cost of the United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) in UN financial year 2012-13.

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, following the use of United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) helicopters to evacuate Sudanese armed forces, whether UNAMID will offer medical evacuation services to all wounded combatants.[HL3481]

Baroness Warsi: As the United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) spokesperson made clear at the time of the evacuation, providing medical assistance forms part of the UNAMID mandate. UNAMID has also in the past provided medical evacuation services for both the Sudanese army and rebel forces. Provision of these services is made on a case by case basis, decided by UNAMID, and could also be provided for wounded civilians and combatants in the future. However, given logistical constraints, it would be unrealistic for the mission to be able to do so for all wounded combatants and civilians.

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, following the use of United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) helicopters to evacuate Sudanese armed forces, whether UNAMID will offer medical evacuation to wounded civilians in Darfur.[HL3482]

Baroness Warsi: As the United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) spokesperson made clear at the time of the evacuation, providing medical assistance forms part of the UNAMID mandate. UNAMID has also in the past provided medical evacuation services for both the Sudanese army and rebel forces. Provision of these services is made on a case by case basis, decided by UNAMID, and could also be provided for wounded civilians and combatants in the future. However, given logistical constraints, it would be unrealistic for the mission to be able to do so for all wounded combatants and civilians.

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what information they have about reports concerning the spread of yellow fever in Darfur; what is their assessment of the risk this poses to human life; and what resources are available to combat it.[HL3483]

Baroness Northover: We are deeply concerned about the outbreak of yellow fever in Darfur. The latest report from the World Health Organisation suggests that 497 people have been infected, with 124 deaths. Sudan has been allocated 2.4 million vaccines from the International Co-ordinating Group on Vaccine

3 Dec 2012 : Column WA112

and the vaccination campaign started on 20 November 2012. The UK has contributed to the vaccination campaign through its support to the Central Emergency Response Fund. We will continue to monitor the situation closely.

Syria

Question

Asked by Baroness Uddin

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to ensure women who have been raped in Syria and other zones of conflict have access to all necessary advice, counselling and medical assistance, including termination, if it is their choice.[HL3581]

Baroness Northover: In the past year the UK has significantly stepped-up efforts to tackle the problem of violence against women and girls, and we now have 20 country programmes in place that directly tackle the problem. These interventions will help 10 million women access justice by 2015. For Syrian refugees in Jordan, UK funding is providing clinical care and counselling for 12,000 people who have survived sexual assault and trauma, including women, men and children. 1,800 particularly vulnerable Syrian women, perceived to be at risk of coerced marriage, will also receive financial support to help mitigate the potential risk of this exploitation.

In addition, the Foreign Secretary's preventing sexual violence initiative aims to replace the culture of impunity with one of deterrence by increasing the number of perpetrators brought to justice both internationally and nationally.

Thames Tideway Tunnel

Question

Asked by Lord Berkeley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how much has been spent each year since 2005 by (1) the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, (2) OFWAT, and (3) the Consumer Council for Water, on (a) the Thames Tideway Tunnel, and (b) alternatives to the Thames Tideway Tunnel. [HL3475]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley): Thames Water Utilities Ltd is the sewerage undertaker in London and responsible for ensuring a solution to ongoing sewage discharges into the Thames. It is expected to make an application to the Planning Inspectorate for a development consent order for the Thames tideway tunnel in early 2013. The environmental statement which forms part of its application will need to outline the main alternatives considered by Thames Water.

We are unable to provide cost figures split along the lines requested. Resources have been allocated to working with Thames Water in finding a solution to sewage discharges into the Thames rather than split into enabling a tunnel solution and into alternatives.

For Defra, the annual staff costs allocated to preventing sewage pollution into the Thames in 2012-13 are estimated at approximately £360,000. The costs in 2011-12 were similar; in previous years they were significantly less.

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With regard to other costs since 2005, none were allocated from 2005 to 2009. From 2009 onwards, estimated approximate figures are as follows:

2009-10

Waste Water National Policy Statement - £44,000

2010-11

Waste Water National Policy Statement - £94,000

2011-12

Waste Water National Policy Statement - £13,000

Project Financing Advisers - £150,000

Legal Advisers - £200,000

2012-present:

Project Financing Advisers - £239,000

Legal Advisers - £246,000

Project Insurance Advisers - (figures not yet available)

For Ofwat, it estimates its costs allocated to preventing sewage pollution into the Thames as approximately:

2005-06

Consultancy costs - £34,000

2006-07

Consultancy costs - £33,000

2007-08

Consultancy costs - £177,000

2008-09

Staff costs, expenses and consultancy costs - £148,000

2009-10

Staff costs, expenses and consultancy costs - £152,000

2010-11

Staff costs, expenses and consultancy costs - £206,000

2011-12

Staff costs, expenses and consultancy costs - £731,000

Apr 2012-Sep 2012

Staff costs, expenses and consultancy costs - £584,000

Ofwat is unable to provide estimated staff costs and expenses from 2005-08 as they were not identified separately during that period.

The Consumer Council for Water is unable to provide accurate staff and expenses costs related to its involvement in the Thames tideway tunnel discussions; it has not incurred any consultancy costs relating to the Thames tideway tunnel.

The Consumer Council for Water estimates its costs allocated to helping water companies ensure the successful delivery of a sustainable wastewater service with minimal sewer flooding throughout England and Wales as approximately:

2010-11

£491,000

2011-12

£438,000

2012-13

£271,500

Asked by Lord Berkeley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what are their current estimates in respect of the Thames Tideway Tunnel of (1) its capital cost, (2) the cost of finance, (3) the operation and maintenance costs for the first 10 years of operation, and (4) any additional or contingency costs.[HL3476]

Lord De Mauley: The Written Ministerial Statement in November 2011 gave a cost estimate for the Thames tideway tunnel of £4.1 billion, based on 2011 prices and excluding financing costs. This included a significant £0.9 billion contingency element for risk allowance

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and optimism bias. The Statement also said that the estimated average maximum annual sewerage bill impact was £70 to £80 at 2011 prices, and this included an estimate of the cost of finance.

Thames Water, as part of normal project development, has since revised the estimated project costs. These latest estimates suggest that the average peak annual bill impact of £70 to £80 in 2011 prices has not changed from November 2011. This range continues to reflect the impact that financing costs will have on bills and the difficulty in estimating these for a project of this nature and duration. Relatively small changes in the cost of capital for the project could have a significant impact on bills.

The latest cost estimate produced by Thames Water in August 2012 showed the project cost has slightly increased, but remains between £4.1 billion and £4.2 billion, again at 2011 prices and excluding financing costs. The makeup of this cost figure including the contingency element is commercially sensitive as negotiations on the financial and delivery structure for the tunnel are still ongoing.

The approach used by Thames Water to develop these cost estimates has been reviewed by independent advisers on behalf of Ofwat and confirmed to be in accordance with best industry practice.

The current working assumption is that the Thames tideway tunnel will be delivered by an independently regulated infrastructure provider and the capital cost and the cost of finance for this will be competitively tendered.

Thames Water estimates the operating cost of the tunnel (Lee and Thames Tunnels combined) will vary with actual rainfall in any particular year. A typical design year would mean that the operating costs for direct staff and power to operate the pump station would be £11 million pa (2011 price base). This estimate excludes the operating costs of treating the material at the sewage treatment works, the management, financing and funding of the tunnel and long-term replacement of assets. Every 10 years there would be a major inspection period for the tunnel, and this is estimated to cost about £20 million. It is not expected to have any significant maintenance or repair capital costs during the first 10 years.

Asked by Lord Berkeley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what limit to taxpayer liability is established by the Water Industry (Financial Assistance) Act 2012 in respect of the Thames Tideway Tunnel before, during and after its construction.[HL3477]

Lord De Mauley: The Water Industry (Financial Assistance) Act 2012 does not set any taxpayer liability limit in respect of Government contingent financial support for exceptionally large or complex water or sewerage construction or improvement works. With respect to the Thames tideway tunnel, the Government have stated that they are willing in principle to provide such support for exceptional project risks, and are working closely with Ofwat and Thames Water Utilities

3 Dec 2012 : Column WA115

Ltd to ensure that the likelihood and impact of these risks are minimised and taxpayers' interests are protected throughout.

Town and Village Greens

Question

Asked by Lord Greaves

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many applications there have been for the registration of town and village greens in each year since the coming into force of the Commons Act 2006; and how many (1) were successful, (2) failed, and (3) are still pending.[HL3456]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley): Section 15 of the Commons Act 2006, under which new town or village greens are registered, was brought into force on 6 April 2007 by virtue of the Commons Act 2006 (Commencement No. 2) (Transitional Provisions and Savings) (England) Order 2007.

The data given below include only applications made under Section 15(1) and not any applications made by the owner of the land under Section 15(8).

The data are estimates based on actual figures provided by commons registration authorities during biennial surveys undertaken by Defra in the years 2007, 2009 and 2011. The data themselves had to be extrapolated due to the fact that no survey received a 100% return rate. The last survey was conducted in September 2011 so full-year data are not available for 2011. In the case of 2007, it is only possible to give full year data, rather than from April when Section 15 was brought into force.

Applications submitted under the predecessor legislation (Commons Registration Act 1965) have been factored into the data presented below.

Applications20072008200920102011

No. submitted

143

196

194

134

137

No. successful

18

26

25

38

27

No. failed

35

52

79

45

57

No. still pending

90

118

90

51

53

Uganda

Question

Asked by Lord Lester of Herne Hill

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the Anti-Homosexuality Bill introduced in the Ugandan Parliament is being taken into account in their review of aid granted to Uganda.[HL3675]

Baroness Northover: Her Majesty's Government are committed to ensuring that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people around the world are free to live their lives in a safe and just environment. We are therefore concerned about the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill being considered by the Ugandan Parliament. We have raised our concerns regularly at the most senior levels of the Ugandan Government.

The current decision to freeze aid to the Ugandan Government was over concerns about allegations of corruption in the Office of the Prime Minister. However,

3 Dec 2012 : Column WA116

aid to the Government of Uganda has always been predicated on fundamental commitments and agreed principles which include poverty reduction, respect for human rights, improved public financial management, and promoting good governance. Where we think that some of these principles are not being met, we would consider the best way to respond, ensuring there is no disproportionate effect on the poorest people.

World Trade Organisation: Customs Tariffs

Question

Asked by Lord Pearson of Rannoch

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Gardiner of Kimble on 7 November (WA 218), whether United Kingdom and German bound custom tariff rates are the rates actually charged.[HL3758]

The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint): Bound tariffs are not necessarily the rate that a WTO member applies to other WTO members' products. Members have the flexibility to increase or decrease their tariffs (on a non-discriminatory basis) so long as they do not raise them above their bound levels. In current usage, most favoured nation (MFN) tariffs are the maximum countries promise to impose on imports from other members of the WTO, unless the country is part of a preferential trade agreement.

The common customs tariff (CCT) applies to the import of goods across the external borders of the EU and is common to all EU members including the UK and Germany, but the rates of duty differ between trade partners depending on whether the EU has a preferential trade agreement with that country. Hence in many cases the tariffs actually charged by both the UK and Germany are lower than the bound tariff.

Zimbabwe

Question

Asked by Lord Avebury

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the report by Partnerships Africa Canada, Reap What You Sow: Greed and Corruption in Zimbabwe’s Marange Diamond Fields; and what role they propose the international community should play in enabling Zimbabwe to recover stolen diamonds. [HL3509]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): We welcome the recommendations made in the Partnership Africa Canada report, which raises important questions and issues around the potential misuse of diamond revenues in Zimbabwe. The misuse of Zimbabwe's mineral wealth not only deprives the people of Zimbabwe of the benefits that they should receive from their natural resource but is likely to damage the

3 Dec 2012 : Column WA117

prospects of free and fair elections. The Zimbabwe budget statement released on 15 November reported that from estimated diamond exports of US$563 million, US$43 million in diamond dividend revenue has been remitted to Zimbabwe's Treasury this year.

The statements made at this month's Victoria Falls diamond conference in Zimbabwe underscore the lack of international unity on questions of transparency in Zimbabwe's diamond sector. Although the Kimberley Process (KP) has helped improve internal controls over diamonds and shone a spotlight on production, export and revenue data, the KP's narrow remit and

3 Dec 2012 : Column WA118

reliance on unanimity for decision-making make further progress difficult. The UK is therefore focusing its efforts on supporting solutions from within Zimbabwe. Although it is clear that more needs to be done, we welcome the efforts of the Government of Zimbabwe in developing the Diamond Act, which includes legislation aimed to regulate the industry more effectively. The UK will continue to work with international organisations, such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, to achieve transparency of diamond revenue flows and to do what we can to support the transparency agenda within Zimbabwe and elsewhere.