16 May 2013 : Column WA7

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Written Answers

Thursday 16 May 2013

Alcohol: Licensing

Question

Asked by Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when they plan to introduce public health as a licensing objective, as outlined in their Alcohol Strategy (Cm 8336). [HL13]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): As part of a public consultation on key measures in the Government’s Alcohol Strategy, the Government recently sought views on a proposal to introduce a health-related licensing objective linked specifically to cumulative impact. The consultation closed on 6 February 2013. The Government are carefully considering the views received and will respond in due course.

Aviation: Air Quality

Questions

Asked by The Countess of Mar

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the remarks by Earl Attlee on 13 June 2012 (Official Report, col. 1406), whether, as the matter was formally referred, the Committee on the Toxicity of Chemicals in Food and the Environment have yet received the relevant papers on research into cabin air quality. [HL117]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will expedite the Committee on the Toxicity of Chemicals in Food and the Environment’s consideration of the subject of cabin air quality following the article published on the subject in Flight Global in the week commencing 22 April. [HL118]

Earl Attlee: All four of the Department for Transport’s completed research studies into cabin air were formally submitted to the Committee on Toxicity (COT) in May 2012. The timing of the consideration of these reports is a matter solely for the COT.

Charities: Cup Trust

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will review the oversight of the Cup Trust by the Charity Commission; and whether they will order the publication of the names of donors who obtained tax reductions by donating to the Cup Trust.[HL97]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: At the Public Accounts Committee hearing on 7 March 2013 [HC 1027] into the Charity Commission’s regulation of the Cup Trust, the Comptroller and Auditor General agreed to conduct a review of the Charity Commission, which will report

16 May 2013 : Column WA8

to Parliament. HM Revenue and Customs is subject to a strict duty of confidentiality in relation to customer information and may not disclose details outside the department without the permission of the customer, except where there is specific legislation permitting the disclosure.

Driving: Penalty Points

Question

Asked by Lord Berkeley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many drivers currently have more than 12 points on their driving licences; whether any of those drivers are not disqualified from driving; and, if so, for what reasons.[HL16]

Earl Attlee: There are currently 12,470 drivers with more than 12 points on their driving record. Of these 7,842 have not been disqualified from driving. The courts can choose to exercise discretion and not disqualify the driver.

Energy: Wind Farms

Question

Asked by Lord Donoughue

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what calculations they have made of the effect of the carbon price support mechanism on (1) the level of subsidy payable to existing wind farms and to those planned to be built by 2017, (2) the total of subsidies payable to wind farms by 2020, and (3) the estimated impact on cost of living per household by 2020.[HL63]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Baroness Verma): The impact of the carbon price support mechanism on wholesale prices, as well as other evidence on expected cost and revenues for wind farms, was taken account of in the analysis to inform the renewables obligation banding review. This is detailed in the final stage impact assessment published in July 20121. DECC has not estimated the effect of the carbon price support mechanism in isolation. The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced in the March Budget 2013 that the carbon price floor trajectory will remain as planned.

The direct costs of the carbon price support mechanism are estimated to add around 6% to households electricity bills in 20202. However, this does not account for the fact that low-carbon support costs (from the renewables obligation and electricity market reform contracts for difference) would need to be higher in the absence of the carbon price support mechanism.

The carbon price support mechanism itself is part of the overall package of policies the Government are implementing in order to encourage greater investment in low-carbon power generation. Over the long-term UK consumers stand to benefit from cleaner, cheaper and more reliable sources of low carbon energy.

l https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/ attachment_data/file/42847/5945-renewables-obligation-government-response-impact-a.pdf

2 https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/estimated- impacts-of-energy-and-climate-change-policies-on-energy-prices-and-bills

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Health: 999 Calls

Question

Asked by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether all 999 calls in England answered by private ambulance services in contract with the National Health Service are attended by properly trained and equipped staff.[HL64]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): It is the responsibility of individual ambulance services to ensure 999 calls are attended by staff that are properly trained and equipped whether that be their own directly employed staff or those sub-contracted staff working for a private provider.

All private ambulance providers are regulated by the Care Quality Commission and private ambulance staff must register with the Health and Care Professions Council.

Commissioners will hold ambulance services to account to ensure that they meet appropriate levels of safety and quality.

Health: Complementary and Alternative Medicines

Questions

Asked by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when the statutory register for practitioners supplying unlicensed herbal medicines, announced by the Secretary of State for Health in 2011, will be established.[HL134]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to consult a full range of interested parties, including representatives of United Kingdom herbal practitioners supplying unlicensed herbal practitioner associations, before reaching a decision on whether to establish a statutory register for medicines. [HL135]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the implications of the recent finding by the Court of Justice of the European Union that Poland was in breach of Article 5.1 of Directive 2001/83/EC with respect to their plans for the establishment of a statutory register for practitioners supplying unlicensed herbal medicines.[HL136]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The legislation around this policy is complex and has required consideration of a number of difficult issues. We appreciate that the delay in going out to consult on this matter is causing concern; however, it is important that any new legislation is proportionate and fit for purpose.

The department intend to make an announcement on the progress of this policy shortly which takes into account the European Court of Justice case of Commission v Poland.

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Asked by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they will take to assist practitioners, producers and suppliers of herbal medicines in dealing with the consequences of European Union Directive 2004/24/EC and the simultaneous repeal of section 12(2) of the Medicines Act 1968.[HL137]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what safety precautions they are taking to prevent citizens from purchasing unregulated, unprescribed and misadvertised herbal medicines purchased through the internet.[HL138]

Earl Howe: Since the introduction of the directive 2004/24/EC, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has offered extensive help and advice to businesses applying for registrations under the traditional herbal registration scheme and will continue to do so. The scheme in the United Kingdom is one of the most active in the European Union and there have now been over 280 applications, covering more than 100 different herbs, granted under the UK scheme. Issues around practitioners wishing to commission manufacture of an unlicensed herbal medicine are being considered in the context of the regulation of practitioners.

The MHRA routinely monitors medicines being offered for sale on the internet, scrutinises published advertising and in certain circumstances vets advertising material prior to publication. Where appropriate, enforcement action is taken against suppliers who operate outside the legal requirements. The MHRA works closely with the EU and other international regulatory authorities with a view to ensuring that offending websites are amended to reflect the law. Where appropriate, overseas websites are referred to the relevant country for action.

Asked by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the Chief Medical Officer and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency have provided their views on the establishment of a statutory register for practitioners supplying unlicensed herbal medicines.[HL139]

Earl Howe: The department intends to make an announcement on the progress of this policy shortly, which will take into account the views of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and the Chief Medical Officer.

Living Wage

Question

Asked by Lord Greaves

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what actions they are taking to promote the use of the living wage.[HL130]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie): The Government support businesses that choose to pay the living wage. However, the decision on what wages are set, above the national minimum wage, is for employers and workers.

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The Government’s primary policy for supporting the low paid is through the national minimum wage. For the lowest paid workers, the Government’s aim is to have a minimum wage rate that helps as many low-paid workers as possible, while making sure that we do not damage their employment prospects by setting it too high. Also, in order to ensure that the NMW is paid, we concentrate our efforts on making sure workers and businesses are aware of the NMW rates and that they are effectively enforced.

In addition to the minimum wage, the Government are doing everything they can to help all working people on low pay with the cost of living. That is why we are cutting income tax for the low paid have taken 2.4 million people out of income tax altogether.

Migration: Romanians and Bulgarians

Questions

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the recent report by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, Potential Impacts on the UK of Future Migration from Bulgaria and Romania, what assessment they have made of the potential impact of future migration from (1) Bulgaria, and (2) Romania, following the lifting of transitional controls at the end of 2013.[HL74]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): The aim of this report was to provide an independent evidence base on which the Government can draw to assess the potential impacts of migration from EU2 countries following the lifting of transitional controls on 31 December 2013.

The report makes some observations on the possible impact on health services, schools and housing of any future migration flows from Bulgaria and Romania. But there are many uncertainties and the numbers who may migrate to the UK, as well as any resulting impacts, are impossible to predict with confidence. The report confirms that, “it is not possible to predict the scale of future migration from Bulgaria and Romania to the UK numerically”.

Rather than produce speculative projections, we are focusing on work across Government to cut out abuse of free movement and address pull factors, such as access to benefits and public services.

Minimum Wage

Question

Asked by Lord Greaves

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they propose to change the way in which the minimum wage calculations are made.[HL129]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie): The Government remain committed to the national minimum wage (NMW) and will continue to use the current method to set rates.

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This means that Government annually review the minimum wage rates that should apply and make their decision on the basis of recommendations from the Low Pay Commission. We intend to continue with this approach.

On 15 April we announced the minimum wage rates that will apply from 1 October 2013 and I refer my noble friend to this Statement on 22 April 2013 (Official Report, col. WS 142-143)

In addition, we are consolidating the numerous NMW regulations into a single set of regulations. This is because we want to reflect the simplicity and clarity of the NMW rules within a single set of regulations. We will introduce the improved set of regulations, following consultation, during this Parliament.

National Insurance

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many Romanians and Bulgarians respectively have registered for national insurance numbers (1) in each year since 2007, and (2) in total; how many of those are not recorded as ever paying national insurance contributions; and what is their estimate of the numbers of such nationals who are presently resident in the United Kingdom.[HL102]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The statistics we have on the number of NINo registrations to Romanian and Bulgarian nationals entering the UK are available at: http://statistics.dwp.gov.uk/asd/index.php?page=tabtool.

Guidance for users is available at: http://research. dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd1/tabtools/guidance.pdf

I understand that the support staff in the House of Lords Library are also able to assist the noble Lord in extracting the information he requires.

Information of the numbers of Romanians and Bulgarians not recorded as paying national insurance contributions or estimates of numbers presently resident in the UK could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Planning

Questions

Asked by Baroness Jones of Whitchurch

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many planning applications for buildings on school sports fields have been approved since 2010, and in what locations.[HL2]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): The number of planning applications approved for buildings on schools sports fields is not available centrally.

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Asked by Lord Avebury

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the Communities and Neighbourhoods Planning scheme could in principle make grants to organisations representing Gypsies and Travellers wishing to engage in local planning processes.[HL73]

Baroness Hanham: Our policy encourages proactive engagement from local planning authorities with Travellers to assess and meet their needs and we have made £60 million Traveller pitch funding available to support establishment and renovation of around 650 Traveller pitches.

To be eligible for grants under the Supporting Communities in Neighbourhood Planning programme groups must be either a town or parish council, a neighbourhood forum or an emerging neighbourhood forum, and they must be preparing a neighbourhood development plan or neighbourhood development order in England under the Localism Act.

Asked by Lord Whitty

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what rules apply, and what guidance is given, to local authorities in designating a neighbourhood forum (other than parish councils) under Section 61F of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, particularly with respect to (1) the level of support among residents of the neighbourhood area, and (2) potential conflicts of interest.[HL133]

Baroness Hanham: A local planning authority may designate an organisation or body as a neighbourhood forum if the authority is satisfied that it meets the conditions set out in the legislation. These conditions ensure that a prospective neighbourhood forum is the appropriate body to lead neighbourhood planning in a particular neighbourhood area.

It is for the local planning authority to decide whether a prospective neighbourhood forum meets the conditions for designation. In making that decision, the local planning authority must consider whether an organisation or body has a purpose that reflects the character of the area and whether it has taken reasonable steps to get members from across the neighbourhood area and from different sections of the community, including those living, working in or who are elected members for the area concerned.

The Government have produced a short basic guide to neighbourhood planning available at: https://www.gov. uk/neighbourhood-planning and are considering further guidance as part of the recommendations set out in the External Review of Government Planning Practice Guidance led by Lord Taylor of Goss Moor.

The Government have also funded the Planning Advisory Service to provide learning events and online resources to help local authorities understand their duties under the neighbourhood planning system including designating neighbourhood forums.

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Poverty

Question

Asked by Lord Dykes

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have plans to introduce alert mechanisms to assist local authorities in detecting any rise in poverty as a result of austerity measures.[HL46]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The Government have no plans to introduce any alert mechanisms. Poverty data are produced each year in the Households Below Average Income series, and at a local level in England in the local child poverty proxy statistics for each local authority. Under the Child Poverty Act, local authorities are required to publish an assessment of the needs of children living in poverty in their areas, and must prepare a strategy to address those needs.

Railways: High Speed 2

Question

Asked by Viscount Astor

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their forecast of the total borrowing of Network Rail on completion of HS2 from (1) London to Birmingham, and (2) the extension to Leeds and Manchester. [HL106]

Earl Attlee: We do not hold a forecast of Network Rail’s net debt position out to completion of phase 1 (2026) and phase 2 (2032) HS2.

Railways: Network Rail

Questions

Asked by Viscount Astor

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their forecast of the change in the total borrowings of Network Rail for the next (1) five, (2) 10, (3) 15, and (4) 20 years.[HL105]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their estimate of the average percentage interest cost paid by Network Rail on short-term and long-term debt.[HL107]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when Network Rail intends to start making capital repayment of their borrowings; and, if so, how much will be repaid on an annual basis.[HL109]

Earl Attlee: This is a matter for Network Rail, which is an independent private sector company limited by guarantee, whose activities are governed by the regulatory regime provided by the Railways Act 1993 as amended and by general law. All forms of companies (as permitted by the United Kingdom Companies Act) are incorporated and registered with Companies House and file specific details as required by the current Companies Act 2006. Network Rail is one of those

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companies. Therefore such figures may be available at Companies House or at www.networkrail.co.uk. or from Network Rail direct.

Asked by Viscount Astor

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the borrowing of Network Rail exceeds £28 billion. [HL108]

Earl Attlee: This is a matter for Network Rail, which is an independent private sector company limited by guarantee, whose activities are governed by the regulatory regime provided by the Railways Act 1993 as amended and by general law. All forms of companies (as permitted by the United Kingdom Companies Act) are incorporated and registered with Companies House and file specific details as required by the current Companies Act 2006.

Network Rail’s unaudited accounts published in September 2012 states that their net debt had exceeded £28 billion.

Suicide

Question

Asked by Lord Kinnock

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what were the rates of death by suicide among (1) men, and (2) women, aged a) 18–25, (b) 25–40, (c) 40–50, (d) 50–60,

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(e) 60–70, and (f) over 70, (or the age categories in which such statistics are recorded) in each year between 1997 and 2012 inclusive.[HL240]

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 Kinnock, dated May 2013.

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your recent question asking what were the rates of death by suicide among (1) men, and (2) women, aged (a) 18–25, (b) 25–40, (c) 40–50, (d) 50–60, (e) 60–70, and (f) over 70, (or the age categories in which such statistics are recorded) in each year between 1997 and 2012 inclusive. [HL240]

Table 1 provides age-specific suicide rates, for males and females in the United Kingdom aged (a) 15–29, (b) 30–44, (c) 45–59, (d) 60–74, and (e) 75 and over, for deaths which were registered between 1997 and 2011 (the latest available period).

The number of suicides and suicide rates for deaths registered between 1981 and 2011, by sex and five-year age group, for the United Kingdom, England and Wales, and regions of England are published in the UK suicides bulletin. This bulletin also contains information on how suicide data is recorded and the impact of registration delays on suicide statistics: www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/subnational-health4/suicides-in-the-united-kingdom/index.html

Table 1: Age-specific suicide rates for broad age groups by sex, United Kingdom, 1997 to 20111, 2, 3,4,5,6
Age-specific suicide rate
Registration YearMalesFemales
15–2930–4445–5960–7475+15–2930–4445–5960–7475+

1997

20.0

22.1

18.6

13.0

20.0

4.6

6.5

7.2

6.3

6.0

1998

22.4

26.0

20.1

13.6

17.8

5.1

6.8

6.7

6.5

6.9

1999

20.0

25.7

19.9

15.1

20.6

4.8

6.7

6.4

6.0

7.0

2000

20.0

24.4

19.3

13.6

18.7

5.1

6.4

7.5

5.6

6.5

2001

17.6

23.4

20.4

13.5

18.1

4.0

6.7

6.7

5.7

6.2

2002

16.6

24.2

19.1

13.0

14.2

5.0

6.1

6.6

5.4

6.8

2003

15.2

23.9

18.2

13.1

16.7

4.1

6.5

7.1

4.9

6.3

2004

14.1

23.8

19.1

12.7

18.2

4.2

6.6

7.5

5.9

7.0

2005

12.9

23.1

19.0

13.2

16.2

4.1

6.2

7.7

4.9

5.5

2006

12.5

22.9

19.7

13.1

14.8

3.6

5.3

7.5

5.0

4.7

2007

12.7

22.4

18.4

12.0

15.3

2.9

5.5

6.8

5.1

4.4

2008

13.7

23.6

19.5

12.9

14.1

3.7

6.1

7.1

4.4

4.5

2009

13.5

22.8

20.8

11.7

13.7

3.9

6.0

6.5

4.6

4.8

2010

12.0

21.7

20.9

12.5

14.8

3.9

5.9

6.8

4.7

4.2

2011

13.3

23.5

22.2

12.7

13.8

4.2

6.4

7.3

4.6

4.8

1 Suicide was defined using the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision (ICD-9) codes E950-E959 and E980-E989 (excluding E988.8) for the years 1991 to 2000, and Tenth Revision (ICD-10) codes X60-X84 and Y10-Y34 (excluding Y33.9 where the Coroner's verdict was pending) for 2001 onwards. From 2007, deaths which were previously coded to Y33.9 are coded to U50.9.

2 Figures are for people aged 15 years and over.

3 Age-specific suicide rates per 100,000 population

4 Comparisons between suicide rates for 2002 to 2010, and 2011 should be treated with caution, as rates across the two time periods are not directly comparable due to the planned revisions to population estimates. More details can be found in the section ‘Population estimate revisions and their impact on suicide statistics for 2002 to 2011’ in the latest statistical bulletin.

5 Deaths of non-residents are included in figures for the UK.

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6 Figures are for suicides registered, rather than suicides occurring between 1997 and 2011. Due to the length of time it takes to hold an inquest, it can take months for a suicide to be registered in England and Wales and Northern Ireland, but registration delays are very small in Scotland. Further information is available

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on the ONS website: www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/subnational-health4/suicides-in-the-united-kingdom/index.html.

Source:

Office for National Statistics, National Records of Scotland and Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency