3 Jun 2013 : Column WA99

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Written Answers

Monday 3 June 2013

Adoption

Question

Asked by Lord Greaves

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what response they have made to the Government of Australia regarding its apology for the past practices of forced adoptions of children of unmarried mothers; and whether they plan to issue a similar apology on behalf of past United Kingdom governments.[HL343]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash): The United Kingdom Government have not made any formal response to the apology issued by the Australian Government. The Government have no plans to issue a similar apology.

Airports: Heathrow

Question

Asked by Lord Avebury

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have for upgrading the short-term holding facilities at Heathrow Airport; and what approved budgets can be used for that purpose.[HL494]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): The provision of accommodation facilities at ports of entry are provided by the port operator. At Heathrow Airport this is Heathrow Airport Limited (HAL).

The Home Office has been working very closely with HAL to progress accommodation improvements to the short-term holding facilities at Heathrow Airport. Some cosmetic improvements have already been implemented. Longer-term plans for upgrading the facilities include expansion of the family holding rooms at terminal one and terminal five. Showers and a toilet lobby will be installed at terminal five and a complete expansion and upgrade of accommodation is being planned at terminal three. The family accommodation at Cayley House (a short-term holding facility used when detaining someone brought to the airport prior to removal) will be reconfigured. Improvements at the holding room at terminal four depend on securing additional space.

HAL will be funding the agreed improvement works to the holding rooms at Heathrow Airport.

Arms Export

Question

Asked by Lord Campbell-Savours

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether officials from the Ministry of Defence, the Defence Export Services Organisation, or the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills were involved in any way in the (1) approval, or (2) export sales support, of

3 Jun 2013 : Column WA100

products relating to bomb detection sold to any countries overseas in conjunction with companies connected to Mr James McCormick.[HL280]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie): No Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) or Ministry of Defence (MoD) official was involved in approval of products relating to bomb detection sold to any countries overseas in conjunction with companies connected to James McCormick. UK Trade & Investment had very limited interaction with Mr McCormick and his company ATSC (UK) Ltd. Records show that Mr McCormick attended a UKTI business seminar in Essex in 2008 at which UKTI officials spoke. No evidence has been found of any subsequent interaction with UKTI or UKTI Defence & Security Organisation (DSO). It is UKTI policy not to endorse products.

Asylum Seekers

Questions

Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Taylor of Holbeach on 22 April (WA 350–1), how many caseworkers are now employed to interview and process asylum applicants; how that compares with the number 12 months ago; and what emphasis they place on the quality of decisions as opposed to speed.[HL24]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): The information required on caseworker numbers in the now former agency, henceforth referred to as the Home Office, is not at this time held in a format compatible with the request, in that obtaining specific information on caseworker numbers held at local level would be excessively costly. However, the Home Office does publish data against 15 key performance measures. Specifically:

asylum intake;work in progress (WiP) cases;intake;asylum support costs;productivity;asylum unit cost;initial decisions in 30 days;cases concluded in six months;cases concluded in 12 months;cases concluded in 35 months;cases removed in 12 months;decision quality;appeal representation rate;appeal win rate;asylum grant rate.

Our most recent published statistics on speed and quality of decisions are in the link below:

http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/documents/aboutus/further-key-data/asylum-performance1.xls?view=Binary

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The statistics show an asylum system which is performing steadily on quality and speed. On speed, although performance on initial decisions within 30 days fell slightly in FY11/12, conclusions overall are performing well:

asylum cases concluded within 12 months (up from 56% in FY 10/11 to 63% in FY 11/12);asylum cases concluded within 36 months (up from 63%, in FY 10/11 to 70% in FY 11/12);asylum cases concluded within six months steady at 53% in FYs 2010/11 and 2011/12.

Decision quality also rose from 88% in financial year 2010/11 to 89% in FY 2011/12.

To build on this, and further improve performance, the Home Office is implementing a new asylum operating model over the next 18 months. This will see caseworkers concentrated in a smaller number of casework “hubs” with greater co-ordination and specialisation. Ahead of this, the Asylum Casework Directorate has initiated a national performance drive across all regional offices, which is expected to show further improved performance in the next set of figures to be published.

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

To ask Her Majesty’s Government why they opted out of the revised European Union Directive on Reception Conditions which laid down minimum standards for the reception of asylum seekers; and whether they plan to revise their position in future. [HL315]

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: The Government chose not to opt in to the recast directive on reception conditions for asylum seekers, because we considered it would have a negative impact on our ability to operate our asylum system; nor did we believe the proposals struck the right balance between the rights of asylum seekers and the needs of member states.

We were particularly concerned that the proposals based on enhancing the rights of all asylum seekers, genuine or not, would act as a pull factor for fraudulent claimants to the detriment of genuine refugees as such claims divert precious resources, erode public support for the asylum system and encourage individuals to undertake dangerous journeys to the EU.

We are committed to working with our EU partners on asylum issues in order to address the challenges we all face in preserving the integrity of our asylum systems and helping those who are genuinely in need. However, at present we have no plans to adopt the recast reception conditions directive in the future because we do not judge that adoption of the directive would be in Britain’s best interests.

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to allow failed asylum seekers who have made fresh submissions for asylum which have been pending for 12 months or more to apply for permission to work, in the light of the judgment of the Supreme Court in July 2010 on the application of Article 11 of the European Union Reception Conditions Directive.[HL316]

3 Jun 2013 : Column WA102

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: The policy on permission to work was amended in line with the judgment of the Supreme Court in July 2010. As such, failed asylum seekers who have made further submissions for asylum that have been pending for 12 months or more are allowed to apply for permission to work for jobs on the shortage occupation list, in the same way as asylum seekers who have initial claims that have been pending for 12 months or more.

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what legal and advice services they provide to prospective asylum seekers throughout the asylum process.[HL317]

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: Legal aid, subject to the normal merits test, is available to help asylum seekers prepare their asylum claims and to provide representation if they wish to appeal against the refusal of the claim. The Home Office also funds voluntary sector organisations to provide advice and assistance on other aspects of the asylum system, including procedures for entering the support system, which are available to destitute asylum seekers. This advice is provided through “one-stop services” located across the United Kingdom.

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many failed asylum seekers’ children were separated from their parents before deportation in each of the last five years.[HL318]

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: Information on how many failed asylum seekers’ children were separated from their parents before deportation is held only at the level of co-ordinated paper case files or within the notes section of the Home Office Case Information Database (CID). Such data are not aggregated in national reporting systems, which would mean that this question could be answered only through a disproportionately expensive manual case search to collate the data.

Bank of England

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the Governor and the Bank of England were consulted about and supported their proposals to support lending for the purchase of residential properties.[HL214]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton): I refer the noble Lord to the Answer given to his previous Question on 10 April 2013 (Official Report, col. WA264).

Banking

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the forecast cost over the next five years of the announcement in the Budget that tier one capital issued by banks will be tax deductible; and why that concession has been limited to banks rather than extended to all industrial sectors.[HL217]

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The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton): I refer the noble Lord to the Answer given on 25 April 2013 (Official Report, col. WA437-8).

Banks: Bank of Cyprus UK

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Deighton on 22 April (WA 351-2), how much by way of extra levies the Bank of Cyprus UK has been charged by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) for the 15,000 accounts in the United Kingdom transferred to it from the Cypriot Laiki Bank; for how much extra the Bank of England is now responsible in the event of the collapse of Bank of Cyprus UK; and whether the FSCS had the option not to guarantee any or all of those transferred accounts.[HL101]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton): Bank of Cyprus UK will start paying a levy on the 15,000 accounts that were transferred from Laiki Bank UK in the next annual levy cycle of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). Information on how the FSCS levies financial institutions is publicly available on its website: http://wwwfscs.org. uldindustry/funding/levy-information/index.html.

Levies are charged by the FSCS on an annual basis at the beginning of each annual cycle, in order to meet its costs for the forthcoming financial year. The levies are calculated based on the accounts held on 31 December ahead of the FSCS financial year.

The Bank of England is the authority in the UK responsible for the resolution of UK authorised banks, including Bank of Cyprus UK. This responsibility has not been altered as a result of the transfer of accounts from Laiki Bank UK.

All eligible deposits in UK-authorised banks are covered up to £85,000 by the FSCS, including those in Bank of Cyprus UK. The FSCS does not have the authority to exclude deposits that are otherwise eligible.

Benefits

Question

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the findings of the report by the Children’s Society, Parliamentary Inquiry into Asylum Support for Children and Young People, whether they have plans to implement a single cash-based support system for all who require asylum support.[HL314]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): The Government are in the process of completing an internal review of asylum support rates, which has taken into account the report by the parliamentary inquiry into asylum support for children and young people. Ministers have undertaken to announce the result of the review once it has been completed but there are currently no plans to implement a single cash-based support system for all who require asylum support.

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Care Bill

Questions

Asked by Lord Touhig

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what provision will be made under the Care Bill for young adults with complex needs who require a transition service after formal schooling.[HL439]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Care Bill gives young people the right to request an assessment before they turn 18 in order to help them to plan for transition to adult care and support so that they have the information they need to plan for their future. This information includes an indication of whether they are likely to be eligible, and advice about what can be done to meet eligible needs and to prevent or delay the development of needs.

The Children and Families Bill includes provision for education health and care plans. These will be single, co-ordinated support plans for children and young people with special educational needs (SEN) from birth to 25, focused on achieving outcomes and making a positive transition to adulthood, including employment and independent living. They will be produced in partnership with parents, children and young people.

The provisions for education health and care plans (EHCPs) in the Children and Families Bill will be supported by the SEN regulations and code of practice, which will set out requirements for co-ordinated working in the assessment process to ensure a joined-up EHCP.

For a young person with complex SEN, being required to transfer to adult services at age 18 may generate too much change and uncertainty at a key point in their life, leading to potential disruption of education and undermining of the progress they may have been making. We have recognised this and, taken together, the provisions in the two Bills enable local authorities to extend Section 17 services for those young people with an EHC plan beyond their 18th birthday and ensure that continuity of provision is maintained at whatever stage the move to adult services takes place. This will allow local authorities to agree with young people the best time for them to make the transition to adult services.

If the young person has complex needs which include SEN, they will have an EHCP under the provisions of the Children and Families Bill that will set out clear plans, support and outcomes for ensuring that the young person makes a successful transition from compulsory schooling to further education or training.

Asked by Lord Touhig

To ask Her Majesty’s Government which child outcomes will be considered where local authorities are conducting a child’s needs assessment under provisions set out in the Care Bill.[HL440]

Earl Howe: Clause 55 of the Care Bill provides a power for local authorities to assess the needs for care and support of a child. The provision applies both in

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relation to a child who is receiving a relevant children’s service, and to a child who is not currently in receipt of relevant services but who is likely to have needs on becoming 18. It provides a right for a child, or a parent or carer acting on their behalf, to request an assessment in advance of their 18th birthday.

Clause 56 sets out the requirements of the assessment. This includes the specific provision that the assessment must include an assessment of the outcomes the child wishes to achieve in day-to-day life. The question of what these outcomes are is a matter for the child concerned to define with their social worker as part of the assessment.

The intention is that, in line with the well-being principle in Clause 1, the individual’s well-being is at the heart of this discussion and they have control over their day-to-day life and are best placed to define the outcomes they want to achieve.

The specific nature of the outcomes will vary according to the wishes of the individual concerned and their particular circumstances, but could include: being able to feed themselves; participation in work; education or training; living independently; getting involved; volunteering in their local community; and maintaining relationships with friends and family.

Asked by Lord Touhig

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the ordinary residence requirement in the Care Bill on young adults who require transition services.[HL441]

Earl Howe: When a young person reaches the age of 18 and is eligible for care services, their ordinary residence should be assessed to determine which local authority is responsible for the provision of these services. The Care Bill does not make provision for how to determine ordinary residence when a young person moves from being eligible for children’s services to being eligible for services under the Care Bill. Therefore, when making decisions about the ordinary residence of young people in transition to adult services, local authorities will have to have regard to all relevant legislation. There is no set procedure for determining ordinary residence in this situation because every case must be decided on an individual basis, taking into account the circumstances of the young person and all the facts of their case.

Guidance about transition to adult care and support will be used to provide clarity about the processes around transition.

Cartels

Question

Asked by Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what requirements regulators must meet to call for evidence of cartel behaviour in a particular market; and when a regulator should be expected to undertake its own proactive investigations.[HL341]

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie): Competition authorities such as the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) conduct investigations both in response to complaints received and on their own initiative. The OFT has active policies to encourage people to supply evidence of cartels—for example, it runs a confidential cartel hotline (on 0800 0851664 or email cartelshotline@oft.gsi.gov.uk) to encourage whistleblowers to come forward; offers potential immunity from criminal prosecution and immunity from or a reduction in fines that could be imposed in civil cases; and it operates a reward policy under which it will pay up to £100,000 in return for information which helps it identify and take action against cartels. Other regulatory and criminal enforcement agencies such as the Financial Conduct Authority and the Serious Fraud Office also take proactive, intelligence-led approaches to investigations.

Census

Question

Asked by Baroness Whitaker

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord McNally on 8 January (WA 39–40), whether they have published their guidance on how to move prisoners from the 2001 census codes to the 2011 census codes; and, if so, how they will ensure that Gypsy, Roma and Traveller prisoners correctly ascribe their ethnicity.[HL19]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): Publication of the guidance has been delayed, as it now forms part of a wider guidance document on collecting personal data from prisoners across all the protected characteristics in the equalities legislation. Whilst this delay is regrettable in this specific context, it is felt that a much greater positive impact will be achieved in the longer term by making available comprehensive guidance on collecting the full range of data from prisoners. It is planned that this will be rolled out across the prison estate by the end of June 2013.

In the meantime the guidance has been piloted in six establishments, in each of which there was an increase in the number of prisoners recorded as identifying as Gypsy, Roma and Traveller or Irish Traveller. This, together with the use of the 2011 codes with new prisoners entering prison, means that the numbers recorded as identifying as Gypsy, Roma and Traveller or Irish Traveller have increased considerably since January. It remains the case, however, that many existing prisoners have yet to be given the opportunity to revise their previously stated ethnicity and that the current total of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller or Irish Traveller prisoners is highly likely to be an undercount. For this reason we are not in a position to publish it.

We remain committed to monitoring the use of the new code, and to publishing the figures once the coverage and data quality are deemed sufficient to provide meaningful and accurate statistics.

3 Jun 2013 : Column WA107

Charities: Cup Trust

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they are investigating any regulated financial institution or person holding a controlling position in such an institution in connection with the Cup Trust charity; and whether the activities of that charity influenced HM Treasury proposals to cap the tax deductibility of high-value charitable donations.[HL149]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton): The Charity Commission opened a statutory inquiry into the Cup Trust in April 2013 and used its powers to appoint an interim manager. The interim manager will act as manager of the charity and will have all the powers and duties of the trustee. The corporate trustee will cease to have any ability or authority to act. In line with its usual practice, the Charity Commission expects to publish a report of the inquiry once it has concluded.

To curtail excessive use of previously unlimited tax reliefs, Budget 2012 announced a limit on uncapped income tax reliefs. This is not an anti-avoidance measure, it is a fairness measure. The Government were always clear that they wanted to understand the impact on charities and take steps to prevent adverse impact. Following engagement with the charitable sector, the Government decided to exempt charitable reliefs from the cap.

Civil Service: Training

Questions

Asked by Lord Adonis

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what were the titles of the training courses provided to civil servants on the Fast Stream programme based at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in (a) 2010, (b) 2011, (c) 2012 and (d) 2013; and how many civil servants on the Fast Stream programme based at the department completed each of those training courses.[HL199]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie): Civil servants on the Fast Stream programme in the Department for Business (BIS) are responsible for planning and identifying their own learning and development priorities and gaps. They are encouraged to review and agree their development needs regularly with their line managers to look at what the best interventions are going to be to benefit their longer-term development goals and make the best use of their Fast Stream training days. An individual’s development priorities will vary and this will influence the type and amount of training individuals require. This can include formal training courses but also includes other options such as job shadowing, locum opportunities and e-learning.

While BIS can give the titles of the formal training courses that are available for the Fast Streamers as part of their programme, we are not able to say how many of the Fast Streamers have undertaken these courses in each year as we do not collect this information.

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Fast Stream core learning programme course titles provided by National School of Government from 2010 until September 2012

Fast Stream Induction;

Parliament, Government and the Civil Service;

Communicating with Ministers and Senior Officials;

Achieving Policy Outcomes; and

Achieving More with Less.

Fast Stream Development Pathway course titles provided by Civil Service Learning introduced from October 2012 to date

Entry Fast StreamersCore Elements

Induction;

Understanding Government;

Communicating effectively and with impact;

Presentation skills;

Working in the policy environment (Policy Foundation 2);

Working with projects; and

Negotiating and Influencing.

Entry Fast StreamersElective Elements

Briefing and Submissions;

Ministerial Correspondence; and

Oral Briefing for Ministers/Senior Officials.

Mid-term Fast StreamersCore Elements

Managing Staff and Performance;

Coaching and Feedback skills;

Personal effectiveness and emotional intelligence;

Delivering Effective Customer Service Skills pt 2 (module A & B); and

Collaborating and Partnering.

Senior Fast StreamersCore Elements

Developing your leadership style;

Managing change—Implementing change;

Securing Employee Engagement; and

Turning strategy into action.

Elective Elements

Managing Policy Development and Delivery.

Asked by Lord Norton of Louth

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many (1) ministers, and (2) permanent secretaries, have completed modules offered by Civil Service Learning since Civil Service Learning came into existence. [HL417]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many (1) MPs, and (2) peers, have been recruited to contribute to modules delivered by Civil Service Learning in the period from 1 January 2013 to 30 April 2013.[HL418]

Lord Popat: Our records show that since 1 April 2012, 20 Ministers and six Permanent Secretaries have completed modules offered by Civil Service Learning.

Our records show that nine MPs and no Peers have delivered sessions at Civil Service Learning events between 1 January and 30 April 2013.

3 Jun 2013 : Column WA109

Cyprus

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they supported the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund in requiring the Republic of Cyprus to apply a levy on amounts covered by the deposit guarantee scheme operating in that country as a condition for supporting its refinancing. [HL152]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton): As mentioned in my reply of 10 April 2013 to the noble Lord (col. WA283), the Financial Secretary to the Treasury informed the House of Commons on 18 March 2013 that the UK was not party to discussions between Cyprus and the euro area on the financial assistance package or the levy that had been proposed as part of the measures announced on 16 March.

The UK Government welcome the Cyprus Government’s commitment that the deposit guarantee will be respected and those with under €100,000 will not lose out. Furthermore, as the Prime Minister stated in Parliament on 20 March 2013, where deposit protection schemes are in place, as they are in the UK and across Europe, those schemes should be respected. The Government are pleased that the final deal does not affect insured deposits.

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Questions

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo about the arrest in that country of the opposition politician Diomi Ndongala.[HL123]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): We are aware that Diomo Ndongala has been detained and that his parliamentary immunity has been revoked. We understand there are concerns about his treatment and allegations that his arrest was politically motivated. We will continue to monitor this closely and where we judge that his case may not be being handled lawfully, we will raise our concerns with the Congolese Government.

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of reported sightings of the M23 militia gang around Goma; and whether they will refer the use of rape as a weapon of war by the M23 and other groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the International Criminal Court. [HL124]

Baroness Warsi: We are concerned that the March 23 Movement (M23) continues to hold positions close to Goma. The Peace Security and Co-operation

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Framework, supported by the renewed UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) mandate, which incorporates the Force Intervention Brigade, forms a strong basis for tackling the problems in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and to do everything to create long-term stability and prosperity there.

We are also concerned by reports that M23 and others are committing acts of sexual violence. We welcome the recently published UN Joint Human Rights Office report, which has served to highlight these abuses. The International Criminal Court (ICC) has jurisdiction in the DRC and the ICC Prosecutor is monitoring the situation there. We support action by the ICC to prosecute those responsible for committing war crimes and crimes against humanity such as rape and serious sexual violence.

Economy

Questions

Asked by Lord Myners

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they continue to cite the research of Professors Reinhart and Rogoff in justifying fiscal policy.[HL215]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the Chancellor of the Exchequer remains of the view that the work of Professors Reinhart and Rogoff offers “perhaps the most significant contribution to our understanding of the origins of the financial crisis”. [HL219]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton): I refer the noble Lord to the Answer given on 25 April 2013 (Official Report, col. WA448).

Education: GCSEs

Question

Asked by Baroness Sharp of Guildford

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many 16–18 year olds obtained a GCSE at grade A*-C in (1) English, (2) mathematics, and (3) both English and mathematics, for each year since 2002. [HL327]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash): The tables below show the number of young people in each cohort who had not achieved GCSE A*-C at age 16 and went on to achieve GCSE A*-C by the end of the academic year in which they turned 19 (i.e. after three post-compulsory years).

The figures relate to young people who were in the state sector in year 11. The earliest data available relates to the cohort who turned 19 in 2004-05.

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3 Jun 2013 : Column WA112

(1) Attainment of GCSE A*-C English between ages 16 and 19
CohortNumber in cohortWithout A*-C English at 16Gaining A*-C English by age 19 (of those without at 16)& gaining A*-C English by 19 (of those without at 16)

19 in 2004/05

558,600

262,200

16,000

6.1%

19 in 2005/06

575,100

265,300

16,700

6.3%

19 in 2006/07

593,100

272,900

19,700

7.2%

19 in 2007/08

585,900

260,600

19,700

7.6%

19 in 2008/09

596,100

259,000

20,900

8.1%

19 in 2009/10

602,900

255,500

21,700

8.5%

19 in 2010/11

600,100

243,900

22,800

9.4%

19 in 2011/12

580,200

223,400

22,700

10.1%

(2) Attainment of GCSE A*-C maths between ages 16 and 19
CohortNumber in cohortWithout A*-C maths at 16Gaining A*-C maths by age 19 (of those without at 16)% gaining A*-C maths by 19 (of those without at 16)

19 in 2004/05

558,600

298,800

15,700

5.3%

19 in 2005/06

575,100

313,400

18,000

5.7%

19 in 2006/07

593,100

313,300

19,600

6.3%

19 in 2007/08

585,900

295,200

18,400

6.2%

19 in 2008/09

596,100

290,000

19,300

6.6%

19 in 2009/10

602,900

281,200

19,100

6.8%

19 in 2010/11

600,100

266,200

20,900

7.9%

19 in 2011/12

580,200

242,000

20,800

8.6%

(3) Attainment of GCSE A*-C in both English and maths between ages 16 and 19*
CohortNumber in cohortNeither English nor maths A*-C at 16Gaining both English and maths A*-C by 19 (of those with neither at 16)% gaining A*-C in both English and maths by 19 (of those with neither at 16)

19 in 2004/05

558,600

228,500

3,300

1.4%

19 in 2005/06

575,100

235,400

3,800

1.6%

19 in 2006/07

593,100

238,100

4,600

1.9%

19 in 2007/08

585,900

223,800

4,400

2.0%

119 in 2008/09

596,100

220,300

4,600

2.1%

19 in 2009/10

602,900

214,000

4,700

2.2%

19 in 2010/11

600,100

200,800

4,900

2.4%

19 in 2011/12

580,200

180,600

'1,700

2.6%

*note that those gaining an A*-C in one of either English or maths at 16 are not included in this table.

Education: High-performing Jurisdictions

Questions

Asked by Lord Quirk

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Nash on 25 April (WA 464), what criteria they used to determine that Hong Kong is a jurisdiction having English as a mother tongue.[HL52]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Nash on 25 April (WA464), why their international research was focused on jurisdictions that have English as a mother tongue; and what consideration they will give to studying high-performing education jurisdictions in Europe. [HL53]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash): The comparative curriculum analysis undertaken by the department on the English curriculum focused on jurisdictions where English is used as a mother tongue or as the language of instruction, and where their pupils showed consistently high performance in reading assessment. In addition, the literature curriculum of both Anglophone and non-Anglophone jurisdictions were examined to assess what we could learn about the specification of reading lists, including in a number of European countries. The department published this analysis in December 2011.

I regret that the Written Answer given to Lord Quirk on 25 April 2013 (Official Report, col. WA464) was incorrect. The Hong Kong curriculum was not used to inform the English curriculum, although it was used in the analysis of both the mathematics and science curriculum. The reason we excluded Hong Kong and other non-Anglophone jurisdictions in the analysis of first language curriculum is that many language features such as tense present different difficulties in different languages and call for different levels of maturity. In addition, word reading and spelling are particularly challenging in English because of the complexity of its orthography.

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Egypt

Questions

Asked by Lord Patten

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Newby on 10 April (WA 280), what is their assessment of reports that Egyptian army medical staff were instructed to operate without anaesthetic on those injured during a protest against military rule in Egypt 2011.[HL205]

Lord Newby: We are aware of unconfirmed media reports alleging human rights abuses during this period. We do not comment on leaked documents.

We are concerned about the human rights situation in Egypt. We closely monitor the situation and are in regular contact about it with the Egyptian authorities and human rights organisations in the UK and Egypt.

Asked by Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the Restitution of Illicit Assets Act in Switzerland; and whether they will introduce a similar measure to address the freezing and returning of assets of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. [HL353]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): As set out in the Minister for Crime Prevention’s Written Ministerial Statement of 17 December 2012 (Official Report, vol. 555, col. WS76), the Arab Spring Asset Recovery Task Force is conducting a review of the UK’s legal framework for providing assistance to other countries seeking to repatriate stolen assets.

Embryology

Questions

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the remarks of Professor Miodrag Stojkovic, reported in Nature, volume 497, no 7449, that “the most surprising thing is that somebody is still doing human somatic-cell nuclear transfer in the era of induced pluripotent stem cells”; and whether that assessment will influence future funding of work involving human embryos for cloning. [HL377]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie): The Government have not made any assessment of the work described in Nature, nor of Professor Stojkovic’s remarks.

The Medical Research Council (MRC) is funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and is one of the main agencies through which the Government support biomedical research. In order to establish which areas of stem cell research may deliver the most effective treatments for particular conditions, the MRC’s strategy is to support research on all types of stem cells to determine which routes should be pursued in the development of cell-based therapies.

3 Jun 2013 : Column WA114

Human reproductive cloning is prohibited in the United Kingdom by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990, as amended. The Government have no plans to change that position. Therapeutic cloning, to create an embryo for the derivation of stem cells for research purposes, is permitted but subject to strict controls on the creation, keeping and use of embryos for research purposes as also set out in the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990.

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 5 December 2012 (WA 158–9), what assessment they have made of the practicality of somatic cell nuclear transfer being used for correcting mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations and rescuing the metabolic function of pluripotent cells from existing patients with inherited mtDNA diseases; and whether any such assessment was conveyed by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority in its consultation “Medical Frontiers: debating mitochondria replacement” so as to enable a lay audience to understand the relevant techniques.[HL378]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Government have not made any assessment of the use of somatic cell nuclear transfer for the correction of mitochondrial DNA mutations. Such procedures would differ from the techniques, on which the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) recently consulted, for use in treatment in the United Kingdom, which would involve the replacement of all the mitochondria in an affected egg or embryo.

Similarly, the HFEA has advised that it has not carried out any such assessment, nor was it asked to do so as part of its consultation “Medical Frontiers: debating mitochondria replacement”.

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the development of new technologies to create cloned human embryos, what is their assessment of the case for an international legal ban on human cloning.[HL436]

Earl Howe: The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990, as amended, prohibits the creation of embryos by cell nuclear replacement for reproductive purposes, an activity often described as human reproductive cloning. The Government have no plans to change that position and have supported initiatives to prohibit human reproductive cloning worldwide.

The 1990 Act does allow the creation of human embryos by cell nuclear replacement for research purposes, known as therapeutic cloning, subject to strict regulatory controls on their creation, keeping and use. The Government consider it important to provide scope for such research to take place, and other types of research, in order to help to increase knowledge about serious disease or other serious medical conditions and to assist in developing treatments for them. These are two of the principal purposes in the 1990 Act for which the use of human embryos in research is permitted

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in the United Kingdom. For that reason, the Government could not support a comprehensive ban on human cloning that would remove the scope for such research to take place.

Energy: Oil

Question

Asked by Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay

To ask Her Majesty’s Government which regulatory body or bodies are responsible for ensuring that companies participating in the oil markets do not abuse their market power; and how those bodies ensure that their oversight is effective.[HL339]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Baroness Verma): The principal laws governing the abuse of market power in the UK are the prohibitions on the abuse of a dominant position in a market in Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (which applies when trade between member states is affected) and in Chapter II of Part I of the Competition Act 1998 (which applies when trade in the UK is affected). The bodies responsible for UK enforcement of Article 102 in oil markets are the European Commission and the Office of Fair Trading; the latter is also responsible for enforcing the Chapter II prohibition.

Regulation 1/2003/EC sets out a framework for the effective, coherent and co-ordinated enforcement of the rules on competition including Article 102. The same arrangements and responsibilities apply in relation to the prohibitions of anticompetitive agreements (including cartels) in Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and in Chapter I of Part I of the Competition Act 1998.

Energy: Wind Turbines

Question

Asked by Lord Donoughue

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what estimate they have made of the total cost to the Government and the consumer of direct and indirect subsidies for the introduction of wind turbines into the United Kingdom's power generating system, including the cost of linking those turbines to the grid.[HL446]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Baroness Verma): The total cost of direct support for renewable electricity is currently determined by the level of the Renewables Obligation, the value of levy exemption certificates (LECs) and the value of total payments under the feed-in tariffs (FITS) scheme. The impact on actual energy bills depends on the total level of electricity sales, how energy suppliers pass these costs through to consumers and the amounts of electricity consumed by individual consumers.

Total support for onshore wind under the Renewables Obligation (RO) in 2011-12 (based on renewable obligation certificates issued, in £2011-12 prices) is estimated to be approximately £490 million. RO support for offshore wind in 2011-12 is estimated to be approximately

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£370 million. Based on the assumption that these costs are passed fully onto electricity consumers (both households and non-domestic) on an equal per MWh basis, DECC estimates the average impact of the RO on household electricity bills in 2011-12 to be around £20, around half of this is from wind.

DECC has estimates of the average costs of linking individual wind projects to the nearest substation, but has not estimated the full costs of linking turbines to the grid, as this falls under the responsibility of National Grid.

Under the Electricity Market Reform, the Renewables Obligation will be closed to new capacity from 1 April 2017 and large-scale renewable electricity will be supported through the new contracts for difference scheme, which is currently being developed.

EU: Banking

Question

Asked by Viscount Waverley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of whether resolution of individual eurozone member states’ banking crises has been made more likely by virtue of those countries being members of the eurozone.[HL158]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton): Since the crisis in the euro area began, the Government have consistently stressed the need to strengthen euro area banks, and the importance of building the institutions needed to make this happen. Last June’s announcement that member states using the euro would move towards a “banking union” was an important step forward. But that work is currently far from complete. Progress is still needed, along with broader actions by member states and the euro area institutions, to restore long-term confidence.

EU: Economic Partnership Agreements

Question

Asked by Lord Harrison

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether European Union Economic Partnership Agreements being negotiated will provide full duty-free access to the European Union market for exports from the poorest countries.[HL355]

The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint): The European Union (EU)’s Everything But Arms scheme already grants all least developed countries (LDCs) duty-free quota-free access to the EU for all their exports, except for arms and ammunitions. Entry into this scheme is automatic and has no time limit.

The EU’s Economic Partnership Agreements also provide duty-tree quota-free access to the EU for African, Caribbean and Pacific countries.

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EU: Fraud

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what estimate they have made of the value of fraud in the European Union; what action they intend to take to obtain a reduction in such fraud; and whether this includes proposals to repatriate the common agricultural policy to member states.[HL272]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton): In the annual Fight Against Fraudon the EU’s Finances report for 2011, the Commission estimates that the financial impact of irregularities reported as fraudulent for 2011 was €404 million (£341 million)1. Only the Commission can compile figures for the financial impact of fraud against the EU budget, based on the information provided to it by each member state. There is no absolute picture of fraud as no distinction is made between suspected and established fraud, and figures are constantly being updated. The figure quoted by the Commission is thus merely an estimate.

The Government take fraud extremely seriously and are committed to tackling it, at both national and EU level. The Government support efforts to reduce fraud in the EU budget, including the work of the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) in detecting and tackling fraud and seeking financial redress for the EU budget when it is found. The Government, however, believe that the Commission’s priority and that of member states should be to reduce fraud through prevention. To that extent, the Government have been strong advocates of simplifying the various complex regulations to both help identify suspected fraud and improve financial management.

In respect of the common agricultural policy, as with all parts of the EU budget, the Government believe it is important that the principle of subsidiarity is fully respected.

1Conversions in this PQ from euro to sterling have been converted at the exchange rate at 30 April 2013 (€1 = £0.8443).

EU: Olive Oil

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the European Union proposal to ban refillable olive oil containers in restaurants was agreed by a majority of member states; and what assessment they have made of the conformity of that proposal with the principle of subsidiarity.[HL411]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley): I can confirm that a simple majority of member states voted in favour of the European Commission’s proposal. We accept that, in order to be effective, marketing standards need to operate at an EU level. The argument we made in opposing the ban on refillable olive oil

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containers is that the burden imposed on the industry and the lack of coherence with EU waste policies means that the measure is disproportionate, particularly given the vague, unquantified benefits ascribed to the new requirements. Regrettably, neither the Commission nor a majority of member states agreed with this view at the time. However, common sense has now prevailed; the EU Agriculture Commissioner announced on 23 May that the proposal is being withdrawn and that he will consult further on the issue before deciding next steps.

EU: Regional Development Fund

Question

Asked by Lord Kilclooney

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the total financial support from the European Regional Development Fund to the United Kingdom in each of the last three years for which figures are available.[HL244]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie): ERDF support received by the UK for 2010, 2011 and 2012 was €763.6 million (£644.7 million), €681.6 million (£575.5 million) and €464.3 million (£363 million). The sterling figures are approximate based on the current monthly exchange rate of £1=IF1.1844.

EU: Taxation

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether, in the light of the implications for the United Kingdom of the operation of the European Union financial transaction tax, they will make preliminary arrangements for a referendum on the exercise of the European Union's powers in that area to be held in the event that the European Court of Justice rejects their legal challenge.[HL338]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton): The conditions under which the Government would hold a referendum on the exercise of the European Union’s powers are set out in the European Union Act 20111.

On 18 April, the UK submitted an application to the European Court of Justice challenging Council Decision 2013/52/EU, authorising a financial transaction tax under enhanced co-operation. The action has been taken on legal advice in order to ensure that the UK retains access to its treaty protections as negotiations continue, and to obtain greater clarity around the limits of the enhanced co-operation procedure.

The UK will continue to contribute actively to Council discussions on the financial transaction tax. If negotiations in Council result in a final design which addresses our concerns, we will reconsider our legal challenge.

1

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2011/12/contents

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EU: Trade Agreements

Questions

Asked by Lord Harrison

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they plan to support the proposed extension to the exemption for Least Developed Countries from the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement.[HL309]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie): The TRIPS agreement sets out a reasonable international minimum standard of intellectual property law. However, we recognise that TRIPS is wide-ranging and not all areas will be an immediate priority for least developed countries (LDCs). We think it important that LDCs are afforded the flexibility to implement IP policies in ways that relate directly to their own national development strategies. We have therefore publicly supported

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the prospect of a further extension to the deadline for LDC implementation of the TRIPS agreement since 2011, and we are actively engaged in ongoing discussions on the subject at the World Trade Organisation.

Asked by Lord Harrison

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many trade-restrictive measures have been adopted by the European Union since the beginning of the financial crisis.[HL310]

Viscount Younger of Leckie: The Government do not collect data on trade-restrictive measures, although a number of other organisations publish monitoring reports on this subject.

There are a number of different ways of defining trade-restrictive measures. One is the number of anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties imposed. The following table shows the number of such measures implemented by the European Union since 2008:

200820092010201120122013 to date

Imposition of Definitive Anti-dumping and Anti-subsidy measures or price undertakings by the EU.

16

11

9

14

3

7

Source

:European Commission

Details of data collected by two other monitoring organisations, the World Trade Organisation and Global Trade Alert, can be can be found at http://www.wto. orgienglish/news_e/newsl2_e/igo_31oct12_e.htm and http://www.globaltradealertorg/site-statistics respectively.

Finance: Hire Purchase and Credit

Question

Asked by Lord Dykes

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will re-introduce terms controls for hire purchase contracts and credit sales to control periods of excess credit expansion.[HL334]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton): The Government have no plans to introduce terms controls for hire purchase contracts or credit sales. The Government have established the independent Financial Policy Committee at the Bank of England with the primary objective of identifying, monitoring and taking action to remove or reduce systemic risks to the UK financial system, such as unsustainable credit expansion.

Finance: Payday Loans

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the answer by Lord Popat on 12 March (Official Report, col. 135), in what circumstances it would be appropriate for the Financial Conduct Authority to cap the interest rates demanded by payday lenders.[HL150]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton): The Financial Services Act 2012 gives the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) the power to make rules to cap the cost and duration of credit agreements, once it takes on responsibility for consumer credit regulation in April 2014.

As stated in their consultation paper, published in March, entitled High-level Proposals for an FCA Regime for Consumer Credit1, the FCA will consider whether to use these powers in future. I refer to paragraph 2.13 of this document, which states: “We think there is further work that should be done to decide whether or not to use the power in future, such as the impacts of different levels of cap and the outcomes for consumers unable to access credit due to a cap. We will engage with stakeholders on this issue in the near future and, when responsibility for consumer credit transfers to us in April 2014, we will start the analysis to help us decide whether or not to use the new power”.

1

http://www.fca.org.uk/statie/fca/documents/consultation-papers /fsa-cpl3-07.pdf

G8

Question

Asked by Lord Harrison

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the removal of trade barriers facing exports from the poorest countries to the markets of developed countries will be included in the agenda for the G8 Summit in 2013.[HL305]

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The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint): We expect that the G8 will discuss the importance of increasing trade in Africa and other poor regions. Most G8 members already have schemes that eliminate or reduce the barriers faced by least developed countries (LDCs). For example, France, Germany, Italy and the UK (through the EU) provide full duty-free, quota-free (DFQF) access for all LDCs; Canada, and Japan provide 99% DFQF; and the US provides significant market access under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). Emerging economies in Asia and Latin America are increasingly important export markets for poor countries, and we will continue to press for all G20 members to meet their commitment to DFQF market access for at least 97% of products originating from LDCs.

Government Departments: Meetings

Question

Asked by Lord Adonis

To ask Her Majesty’s Government on what dates the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills’ Small Business Economic Forum met in (1) 2010, (2) 2011, (3) 2012, and (4) 2013 to date; and what were the names of the attendees at each meeting. [HL288]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie): The Small Business Economic Forum meets quarterly, and has met on the following dates since 2010:

2010: 18 October;

2011: 24 January, 4 April, 11 July, 17 October;

2012: 24 January, 25 April, 18 July, 24 October; and

2013: 24 January, 30 April.

The following businesses and membership organisations are invited to send senior level representatives to meetings:

HSBC

Asset Based Finance Association

Santander

Institute of Directors

RBS

British Bankers’ Association

National Australia Bank Group

British Venture Capital Association

Lloyds Banking Group

ICAEW

Barclays

Institute of Credit Management

Buddi

Finance and Leasing Association

Social Enterprise UK

British Chambers of Commerce

Bank of England

Forum of Private Business

CBI

Federation of Small Business

ACCA

Engineering Employers Federation

A formal register of the individuals attending meetings is not maintained.

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Government Departments: Secondments

Question

Asked by Lord Adonis

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many people are currently on secondment to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills from companies in the United Kingdom; and what are the names of those companies.[HL290]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie): The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills currently has 12 people on secondment from the following companies: Lloyds Group, RBS, Barclays, Interconnect Communications, BDO, Black Rock, Slaughter & May, Freshfields, Lazards and Deloitte.

Government Departments: Staff

Questions

Asked by Lord Adonis

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many staff were employed by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in May 2010 at each of the department’s regional offices; and what were the addresses of each of those offices.[HL197]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie): The table below shows how many staff were employed by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in May 2010 at each of the department’s regional offices; and the address of each of those offices. To note: these figures include UKTI.

Departmental Regional OfficeNumber of BIS staff

Castle View House, East Lane, Runcorn, WA7 2GJ

14

Companies House , Crown Way, Cardiff, CF14 3UZ

73

Cannon House, 18 Priory Queensway, Birmingham City Centre, Birmingham, B4 6BS

3

Europa House, 450 Argyle Street, Glasgow, G2 8LG

45

Moorfoot, Sheffield, S1 4PQ

315

Mowden Hall, Staindrop Road, Darlington, DL3 9BG

13

Newton House, Maid Marion Way, Nottingham, NG1 6GG

13

Piccadilly Place, Manchester, M1 3BG

26

Polaris House, North Star Avenue, Swindon, SN2 1SZ

11

Queensway House, West Precinct, Billingham, Stockton-on-Tees, TS23 2NF

44

Other (includes various locations)

25

Asked by Lord Adonis

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many staff directly employed by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills were previously (1) a director of a United Kingdom company, (2) chief financial officer of a United Kingdom company, or (3) chief executive of a United Kingdom company.[HL291]

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Viscount Younger of Leckie: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills does not hold this information and it could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Gypsies and Travellers

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether Traveller pitches provided from public funds are self-financing, including repayment of capital employed.[HL415]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): The standard approach to funding authorised public Traveller site provision in England is through capital grant, via the Homes and Communities Agency, to local authorities, housing associations and other delivery partners.

However, under the current Traveller pitch funding programme, the Homes and Communities Agency is working with Mendip District Council to develop a self-financing scheme that will seek to provide funding to Traveller communities to develop new authorised pitches themselves. The funding would be paid back to the local authority over an agreed period and would then be reinvested into building new or refurbishing existing Traveller pitches.

Funding for Traveller sites in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is a devolved matter.

Health: Chlamydia

Question

Asked by Lord Patel of Bradford

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how they will ensure continuity in local chlamydia screening services following the transfer of responsibilities to local authorities; and how they will safeguard funding for chlamydia screening services by local authorities. [HL189]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Local authorities are best placed to determine the needs of their particular populations and, therefore, to ensure that the right services are in place to promote good sexual health. They have received a ring-fenced grant to fund their new public health responsibilities, including commissioning sexual health services (which will cover chlamydia screening).

Chlamydia diagnoses among 15 to 24 year-olds is included in the current Public Health Outcomes Framework, and the recently published Framework for Sexual Health Improvement in England recognises the importance of chlamydia screening for young adults. The framework also highlights recent evidence of the effectiveness of chlamydia screening through the national chlamydia screening programme, which covers young people up to the age of 25. We are therefore confident

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that local areas have both resources and support in place to help them to focus on bringing their chlamydia rates down.

Health: Human Papilloma Virus

Question

Asked by The Countess of Mar

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many suspected adverse reaction reports to (1) Gardasil, (2) Cervarix, and (3) other Human Papilloma Virus vaccines, have been recorded under the yellow card or other schemes since August 2012.[HL119]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Reports of “suspected” adverse drug reactions (ADRs) are collected by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the Commission for Human Medicines through the spontaneous reporting scheme, the yellow card scheme. The scheme collects suspected ADR reports from the whole of the United Kingdom in relation to all medicines and vaccines.

Between 1 August 2012 and 9 May 2013, the MHRA received a total of 873 United Kingdom spontaneous suspected ADR reports in association with the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine. The following table below provides a breakdown of these reports by brand.

Vaccine BrandNumber of ReportsTotal number of vaccine/doses given between 1 September 2012 and 31 January 2013

Cervarix

384

Not offered routinely

Gardasil

456

721,397

HPV brand unspecified

33

n/a

Total

873

From September 2012, Gardasil replaced Cervarix in the national HPV immunisation programme. It is important to note that yellow card reports are not proof of a side effect occurring, but only a suspicion by the reporter that the vaccine may have caused the side effect. Yellow card reports may therefore relate to true side effects of the vaccine, or they may be due to coincidental illnesses that would have occurred in the absence of vaccination.

Health: Mental Health

Question

Asked by Lord Patel of Bradford

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what has been the expenditure in England for the past year on (1) male suicide prevention, (2) tackling depression in men, and (3) specific mental health provision for black and minority ethnic men.[HL304]

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The department does not collect this information centrally.

Our suicide prevention strategy Preventing Suicide in England: a Cross-Government Outcomes Strategy to Save Lives was published on 10 September 2012 and recognises that there are higher rates of suicide among men. We know that some people, especially men, may find it difficult to admit that they are having trouble coping. Men can often see owning up to being depressed as a sign of weakness or may feel unable to discuss their feelings. However, one of the keys to full recovery from illness is early diagnosis. Speaking to a general practitioner or a counsellor about mental illness can help understand the treatments available.

We know that prevalence of different mental health problems does vary by ethnicity. The latest Adult Psychiatric Morbidity in England survey highlights that the black population experiences higher rates of suicide attempts.

The Government’s mental health strategy, No Health Without Mental Health, acknowledges the lower well-being and higher rates of mental health problems of some black and minority ethnic groups and makes clear that health promotion and mental ill-health prevention approaches must be targeted at high-risk groups.

Health: Midwives

Questions

Asked by Baroness Cumberlege

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they will take to enable self-employed midwives who are not part of corporate bodies to access affordable professional indemnity insurance.[HL398]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many independent midwives have obtained professional indemnity insurance from commercial insurers since 1 January by forming corporate bodies.[HL399]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what data they will make available to independent midwives to enable a realistic risk assessment of their practices by commercial professional indemnity insurers.[HL400]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): It is the Government’s position that registered healthcare professionals should hold insurance or indemnity as a condition of registration.

A consultation on European Union Directive 2011/24/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council on the application of patients’ rights in cross-border healthcare, to require all regulated healthcare professionals to hold indemnity or insurance as a condition of their registration, concluded on 17 May. Officials are analysing responses to identify the issues in relation to self-employed independent midwives and how they may be addressed.

The Government do not routinely collect data on the number of independent midwives who hold professional indemnity insurance from commercial insurers. Responses to the consultation indicate that 71 midwives are covered or are planning to be covered by professional indemnity insurance from commercial insurers as part of a corporate body.

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The Government and the National Health Service Litigation Authority, an arm’s-length body of the department, do not collect or hold data that may be made available to independent midwives to enable a realistic assessment of their practices by commercial professional indemnity insurers.

Health: Multiple Sclerosis

Questions

Asked by Lord Walton of Detchant

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they propose to increase the benefits of the multiple sclerosis (MS) Risk Scheme particularly with reference to access to treatment and the availability of specialist MS nurses.[HL360]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): There are no plans at present to renegotiate the terms of the multiple sclerosis risk-sharing scheme.

Asked by Lord Walton of Detchant

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how they propose to improve new treatment rates for multiple sclerosis (MS), in particular with respect to the prescription of effective MS drugs.[HL361]

Earl Howe: National Health Service commissioners are legally required to fund treatments recommended in National Institute for Health and Care Excellence technology appraisal guidance, including recommended treatments for multiple sclerosis (MS).

Under the NHS Commissioning Board and Clinical Commissioning Group (Responsibilities and Standing rules) Regulations 2012, NHS commissioners are also required to fund the four multiple sclerosis treatments covered by the MS Risk Sharing Scheme for patients meeting the published clinical criteria.

Asked by Lord Walton of Detchant

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether reviews by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence of clinical guidelines and the development of a quality standard for multiple sclerosis (MS) are in progress; and whether those are expected to improve MS diagnosis and treatment.[HL362]

Earl Howe: The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is currently updating its clinical guideline on the management of multiple sclerosis in primary and secondary care, which will provide updated best practice about diagnosis, assessment, management and treatment of multiple sclerosis. The updated clinical guideline is currently scheduled for publication in July 2014.

Multiple sclerosis is one of the topics in the core library of quality standards referred to NICE. We understand from NICE that this topic has not yet been scheduled into its work programme as development of the quality standard is dependent on the publication of the corresponding clinical guideline from which it will be derived.

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Health: Trans People

Questions

Asked by Baroness Gould of Potternewton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how they will monitor and ensure delivery of consistent standards of care for trans people across all services provided by the National Health Service.[HL294]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Professor Steve Field, the deputy national medical director with responsibility for addressing health inequalities, is about to embark on a national review of gender identity-specialised commissioning. He is chairing a stakeholder event on 18 June. Part of the review will include the question of how NHS England will monitor and ensure consistent standards of care for trans patients across England in the future.

Asked by Baroness Gould of Potternewton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of recent allegations of abuse of trans people by medical staff, collected under the Twitter hashtag #transdocfail, what steps they are taking to ensure that such abuse will not occur in the future.[HL295]

Earl Howe: The Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful for a person providing NHS services to discriminate on grounds of gender, race, disability, age, sexual orientation, religion, belief, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity or marital or civil partnership status. Any kind of abuse of a patient is unacceptable and NHS England and all the services within the National Health Service undertake to safeguard patients from abuse.

The NHS Constitution for England establishes the principles and values of the NHS in England. The NHS Constitution is enshrined in law and sets out rights to which patients, public and staff are entitled, and pledges which the NHS is committed to achieve, together with responsibilities which the public, patients and staff owe to one another to ensure that the NHS operates fairly and effectively.

The NHS Constitution states that respect, dignity, compassion and care should be at the core of how patients are treated, in accordance with their human rights. Furthermore, all staff, “have a duty not to discriminate against patients or staff and to adhere to equal opportunities and equality and human rights legislation”. In addition, staff should aim, “to maintain the highest standards of care and service, treating every individual with compassion, dignity and respect”.

NHS England and clinical commissioning groups have a duty to promote the NHS Constitution. We are aware that the General Medical Council is currently investigating a number of complaints regarding the medical treatment of transgendered patients. We expect all cases of malpractice to be fully investigated by the provider organisation.

Asked by Baroness Gould of Potternewton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what are the lines of responsibility and accountability within both the Government and the National Health Service for the provision of healthcare to trans people,

3 Jun 2013 : Column WA128

including areas that are not specifically related to treatment of gender dysphoria; and how those responsibilities relate to the Secretary of State for Health’s responsibilities as described in Sections 1, 1A and 1C of the National Health Service Act 2006, as amended by the Health and Social Care Act 2012.[HL429]

Earl Howe: The Government are committed to ensuring that NHS services meet the needs of all patients and communities, irrespective of their background or circumstances.

The Equality Act 2010 offers protection to nine characteristics, including gender reassignment (trans). At the heart of the Equality Act are provisions to outlaw direct and indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation with regard to the nine protected characteristics. This is also referred to as the public sector equality duty and it applies to most public authorities, including clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and bodies exercising public functions, such as private healthcare providers.

As a public sector organisation, the National Health Service must have due regard to the public sector equality duty in commissioning and delivering services to all people who share protected characteristics, including gender reassignment.

Under the Health and Social Care Act 2012, the Secretary of State for Health and CCGs both have a duty to improve the quality of healthcare services for patients and to have regard to the need to reduce health inequalities in access to health services and the outcomes achieved. NHS England also has a duty to have regard to the need to reduce inequalities in access to health services and the outcomes achieved.

Higher Education: Grants

Question

Asked by Baroness Sharp of Guildford

To ask Her Majesty’s Government (1) how many, and (2) what proportion, of full-time undergraduates in receipt of (a) full maintenance support grants, and (b) partial maintenance support grants, are classed as independent eligible students by the Student Loans Company for each year since 2011, broken down by age.[HL326]

Lord Newby: A table showing the number and percentage of independent full-time applicants domiciled in England, by age, who have been awarded maintenance or special support grants has been placed in the Library. The figures reflect the position for academic year 2011-12, the latest year for which final figures are available.

Figures on student support awards were published in the statistical first release, Student Support for Higher Education in England 2012/13 on 29 November 2012. http://www.slc.co.uk/statistics/national-statistics/newnationalstatistics 1.aspx

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Higher Education: Universities

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what control they have over the running of universities located in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.[HL207]

Lord Newby: Responsibility for higher education in relation to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is devolved to the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government and the Department for Education and Learning Northern Ireland (DELNI) respectively.

House of Lords: Offices

Question

Asked by Lord Storey

To ask the Chairman of Committees, further to his Written Answer on 22 April (WA 382), to which group, individual or office Room 13 on the second floor, West Front, has been allocated.[HL467]

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Sewel): That room has been allocated to the Labour Party, and the use of that room is therefore a matter for the Labour Accommodation Whip. For security reasons, the House does not disclose publicly to whom particular rooms are allocated on the parliamentary estate.

Housing

Questions

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government which sites and what volume of land will be released for self-build projects in the United Kingdom; and how local authorities and local community groups will be assisted to make other sites available for self-build projects.[HL381]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): The National Planning Policy Framework asks local planning authorities for the first time to assess local demand from people who wish to build or commission their own homes, and plan to meet that need.

To support the development of the sector, the Homes and Communities Agency has already identified eight sites where multi-unit self/custom-build housing will specifically be included as part of the Government’s surplus public sector land disposals programme: Pleasley Coliery, Bolsover (1.12 hectares); Upper Tuesley, Milford, Surrey (12.8 hectares); Chase Avenue, Milton Keynes (0.65 hectares); Wilson Road, Hanford (1.3 hectares); Kingsweir and Torpoint (2.56 hectares); Trevenson Park South, Pool (4 hectares); Can Lodge Farm, Doncaster (59 hectares); and Spencer’s Park, Hemel Hempstead (12.4 hectares). All site sizes are approximate.

The approach and amount of self/custom-build housing on each site will take account of site constraints and local demand. Some of the sites form part of a wider residential development opportunity which is being brought to the market.

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The National Self Build Association has published Planning for Custom Build Housing: A Practice Guide, which offers helpful advice to local authorities, housing associations, developers, self-build community groups and individuals on the ways they can facilitate self- and custom-build development and make it easier for people to build their own homes. A further National Self Build Association guide, How the Public Sector Can Help People Build Their Own Homes: A Practice Guide, explains how public sector organisations can facilitate self/custom build housing.

The Government are keen to support communities that want to take forward their own housing development. To do that, we have put in place a package of funding and support, including: £30 million Custom Build Homes investment fund for group self-build projects; £14 million to help communities take proposals through planning via a community right to build order or a planning application; and Locality has been appointed to provide advice and help to groups that want to access community rights, including the community right to build.

Applications for funding outside London are administered by the Homes and Communities Agency. Separate funding arrangements are available for London and are administered by the Greater London Authority.

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the annual estimated value of self-build to the United Kingdom economy; what is the current volume of construction in the self-build sector; and what strategies they are putting in place to improve access to funding for self-build housing projects.[HL382]

Baroness Hanham: Estimates by AMA Research (Self-Build Housing Market UK 2009-2013) have suggested that the self/custom-build industry is worth approximately £3.6 billion per year to the national economy.

The Government do not regularly monitor self/custom-build completions. However, the latest industry figures from Homebuilding & Renovating market research estimate that the total number of such homes completed in the UK between 1 April 2012 and March 2013 was 10,940.

The Government are keen to see this number increase. We are continuing to engage proactively with the finance sector to stimulate more lending into the market. Lloyds Banking Group recently launched a report into the sector and announced that it will be making self-build mortgage products more accessible. The Datamonitor website (www.datamonitor.com) suggests gross self-build lending may more than double by 2015.

The Government have also launched a £30 million Custom Build Homes investment fund for group build projects, and made available £14 million support funding to March 2015 to help local community groups develop a community right to build order or a planning application. Applications for funding outside London are administered by the Homes and Communities Agency. Separate funding arrangements apply for London, which are administered by the Greater London Authority.

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We have also been consulting on proposals to exempt self-build from the community infrastructure levy; this reflects the fact that self-build homes have far less impact on infrastructure, whereas larger developments are likely to have more of an impact on an area from the cumulative effect of their building.

Housing: Mortgages

Questions

Asked by Lord Myners

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether their proposed plans to support mortgage lending applicable to existing housing stock will cover the purchase of second homes by married couples.[HL153]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton): The Government are clear that the intention of the Help to Buy scheme is to help households who, due to the constrained availability of high loan-to-value mortgages in the wake of the financial crisis, are unable to get on to the housing ladder or are trapped in homes unsuited to their aspirations and needs.

Help to Buy consists of two schemes: the Help to Buy equity loan scheme, which began on 1 April 2013; and the Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme, which is due to launch in January 2014. At Budget, the Government set out an outline for the mortgage guarantee scheme and will be working with industry in the coming months to determine the details of the scheme, including how this intention is best fulfilled.

Second homes will not be eligible for the Help to Buy equity loan scheme. Equity loans will only be available to support the purchaser’s only and main residence. The equity loan builds on the existing FirstBuy scheme. The Help to Buy mortgage guarantee scheme is a new scheme and details, including the eligibility requirements, are still being discussed with industry.

Asked by Lord Myners

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have reviewed the impact on house prices of their new mortgage proposals.[HL154]

Lord Deighton: I refer the noble Lord to the Answer given to his previous Question on 10 April 2013 (Official Report, col. WA312).

Human Trafficking

Questions

Asked by Baroness Doocey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many of the children referred by the UK Border Agency or Border Force in 2012 to the National Referral Mechanism for Victims of Trafficking first arrived in the United Kingdom through (1) the port of Folkestone, and (2) the port of Dover.[HL265]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): There were 98 potential child-trafficking cases referred to the national referral mechanism for victims of trafficking by Border Force and the UK Border Agency in 2012.

Folkestone itself has no seaport.

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With regard to the Channel Tunnel operation at Folkestone/Cheriton and the port of Dover, it is not possible to provide the information requested as information on the individual’s initial point of entry into the UK was not collated centrally during the period in question. The Home Office is working to ensure that this information is collected going forward but the cost of providing this information for 2012, which would require detailed interrogation of 98 individual case files, would involve disproportionate cost.

Asked by Baroness Doocey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when was the last meeting of the UK Border Force with French authorities to discuss the trafficking of children into and out of the United Kingdom through the Channel Tunnel.[HL267]

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: Border Force regularly meets with the French border control authorities, at various levels of management, to discuss matters of border security, including child trafficking issues. Most recently, the Border Force Director for South East and Europe met on 16 May 2013 with the Préfet of the Pas-de-Calais Département, senior members of the Police aux Frontières (PAF) and the Chief Constable of Kent to discuss current cross-border crime issues and opportunities for enhanced collaborative working.

Asked by Baroness Doocey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many coach companies arriving in or departing from the United Kingdom at Victoria coach station have provided information to the Inter-Departmental Ministerial Group on Human Trafficking.[HL268]

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: No coach companies arriving or departing from the UK at Victoria coach station have provided information to the Inter-Departmental Ministerial Group on Human Trafficking and modern slavery.

However, as part of its oversight and co-ordination functions, the group regularly receives information from the police and other law enforcement agencies on the methods, routes and means by which traffickers seek to transport potential victims into and out of the UK.

Asked by Baroness Doocey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of Operation Newbridge, an initiative for detecting potentially trafficked children at Gatwick airport; and whether there are plans to extend that model to other United Kingdom ports.[HL269]

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: Child trafficking is an abhorrent form of child abuse and the Government are committed to combating this crime in all its forms.

The Government’s human trafficking strategy, which includes a specific focus on children, makes a commitment to work with partners and to build on the success of child safeguarding approaches such as Operation Newbridge.

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Work is ongoing to understand the key success factors of such multiagency approaches at the border, which includes an examination of the Operation Newbridge model to ensure that potentially trafficked children are identified and protected at our ports. Meetings have taken place between partners including the Home Office, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, the UK Human Trafficking Centre and the Association of Chief Police Officers, to review the model and consider how established good practice can be developed and delivered more widely.

Asked by Baroness Doocey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of Operation Golf, a joint investigation between the Metropolitan Police, Europol, and Romanian authorities; and whether there are similar operations with Bulgarian authorities.[HL270]

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: Operation Golf was a successful joint investigation team (JIT) led by the Metropolitan Police Service in partnership with the Romanian police authorities, and was the first ever in the EU focusing on child trafficking. There has been no formal assessment of the operation. However, its operational outcome was significant. In the UK, it led to over 90 convictions of organised crime gang members. In Romania, it led to the conviction of 18 senior organised crime gang members. Extensive efforts were made to safeguard 181 victims.

A similar joint investigation team, Operation Inspector, has operated with Bulgarian authorities and the Metropolitan Police Service. This focused on identifying females and teenage girls from the Bulgarian Roma community who were engaged in pickpocketing offences across London. This ran from 2010 to 2012. The operation was responsible for convicting more 60 individuals connected to organised crime gangs and was also responsible for recovering a number of teenage girls believed to be the victims of human trafficking.

Asked by Baroness Doocey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what facilities exist at the ports of Folkestone and Dover to provide a place of safety for children who may be victims of trafficking; and which agency is primarily responsible for children’s safeguarding at those ports.[HL282]

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: During daytime hours, all child potential victims of trafficking found at either Dover Port or the Channel Tunnel site are taken to the Border Force holding facility located within the Port of Dover. This facility is operated by our security contractor Tascor. Children are cared for here pending handover to the competent authority; that is, social services staff.

For the Channel Tunnel, operating at Folkestone/Cheriton, children found during the night are taken to Folkestone police station.

At the point of detection, Border Force is responsible for safeguarding children until such time as they are handed over to the competent authority.

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Asked by Baroness Doocey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Taylor of Holbeach on 22 April (WA284-5), why the UK Border Force confidential telephone number for reporting human trafficking concerns has been made available to only two airlines; and whether they have plans to extend those services to other international transport carriers working to combat human trafficking.[HL283]

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: The reporting line can be made available to any carrier that requests access. However, it is important that airline staff are properly trained to ensure high-quality referrals. To date, two airlines have delivered the tailored training that is available and we are continuing to encourage sign-up from the wider sector.

Asked by Baroness Doocey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the cost of providing specialist care and additional safeguards in the accommodation for child victims of trafficking.[HL512]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash): Local authorities receive significant funding to support the well-being of children in their areas. They are responsible for commissioning appropriate services and monitoring the cost and quality of these services. Local authorities have arrangements in place to ensure that all children in need, including those that may have been trafficked, are assessed and receive appropriate support. Where children are alone or at risk of significant harm, they will come into the care system and be entitled to the full range of support that all looked-after children receive. These children are allocated a social worker who will assess their needs, including for specialist care and support, and draw up a care plan which sets out how the authority intends to respond to the full range of the child’s needs.

Immigration

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what checks are performed when European Union nationals bring spouses and families without a European Union nationality into the United Kingdom; whether any minimum income is required for such individuals; how many such spouses and family members entered the United Kingdom in each of the last three years; and how the restrictions applying to such spouses and families compare to those applying to the foreign spouses and family members of United Kingdom nationals.[HL421]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): The rights of European Union nationals to live and work in other member states, and to be accompanied by their family members who do not hold European Union nationality, are set out in the Free Movement Directive (2004/38/EC).

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Under the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006, which implement the Free Movement Directive, the European Economic Area (EEA) family permit regime allows EU nationals to bring their non-EU family members to the UK.

Applicants for an EEA family permit are checked against criminality and immigration databases and must submit proof of identity and nationality, proof that their family member is an EU national, and proof of a qualifying family relationship. There is no minimum income requirement but non-EU family members can remain in the UK for longer than three months only if their EU relative is exercising treaty rights in the UK, as a worker, jobseeker, student, self-employed or self-sufficient person, and both the EU national and their family member meet the other qualifying criteria.

An EEA family permit, instead of a visa, is required whenever a non-EU national wishes to accompany their EU national spouse, parent or other family member to the UK, including for holidays, family visits and business trips. The Home Office issued 20,746 EEA family permits in 2010, 19,885 in 2011 and 19,242 in 2012.

The Free Movement Directive does not cover the rights of EU citizens living in their country of nationality, so it does not apply to British citizens living in the UK, who must meet the requirements of the Immigration Rules, including the minimum income threshold of £18,600, to sponsor a non-EEA national spouse to settle here.

Immigration: Interpreters

Question

Asked by Lord Avebury

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many hearings of the second tier immigration tribunal have been cancelled on the grounds that (1) interpreters failed to attend, or (2) interpreters attending did not speak the correct language, since Applied Language Solutions began operating as the Ministry of Justice's sole contractor for language services in February 2012.[HL71]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): Statistics published by the Ministry of Justice in March covering the first year of the language services contract break down requests by tribunal type. Tables 5 and 6 cover data from both the first tier tribunal and Upper Tier Tribunal of the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, and contains information on bookings which were cancelled and the bookings where an interpreter did not attend. The data are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/177042/statistical-tables-jan12-jan13.xls.

These show that there has been a dramatic improvement in the interpreter contract since the start of last year, with the vast majority of bookings now being completed and a major reduction in complaints. Our changes saved taxpayers £15 million this year.

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Hearings where an interpreter does not attend may exceptionally continue with the hearing to consider any “error of law” issues which can be dealt with in the absence of an interpreter. A failure to attend may not lead necessarily to a cancellation.