20 Jun 2013 : Column WA63

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Written Answers

Thursday 20 June 2013

Agriculture: Single Farm Payment

Question

Asked by Lord Empey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how they manage commons in regard to single farm payment entitlements.[HL247]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley): In England, Single Payment Scheme (SPS) payments are generally available to those who are entitled to exercise rights of common over common land ('the commoners'). These rights are registered under the Commons Registration Act 1965 or Part 1 of the Commons Act 2006. A slightly different system operates in the New Forest, where these Acts do not apply. The Rural Payments Agency allocates to each commoner a notional area of the common proportionate to the commoner's share of the total grazing rights (so a commoner with 10% of the total rights would be allocated a purely notional 10% of the common). The commoners do not need to graze the land, but have to ensure the common is kept in Good Agricultural and Environmental Condition. Owners, provided they are farmers, generally have the right to any surplus grazing beyond the registered rights of the commoners.

As normal with the SPS, the commoners were required to establish payment entitlements in 2005 and need to submit a claim for payment each year. They must also comply with the general rules of the SPS scheme, for example on minimum claim size.

SPS payments for common land elsewhere in the UK are the responsibility of the appropriate Devolved Administration.

Armed Forces: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Question

Asked by Baroness Stern

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by the Minister of State for the Armed Forces, Andrew Robatham, on 24 April (HC Deb, col 906W) on unmanned air vehicles, whether United Kingdom personnel embedded with United States forces other than the United States Air Force have ever operated unmanned aerial vehicles; and, if so, where and when.[HL741]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The UK has not embedded Remotely Piloted Aircraft System operators with any of the United States Armed Forces other than the United States Air Force.

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Assets: Publicly Owned Assets

Question

Asked by Lord Barnett

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to sell any publicly owned assets before May 2015.[HL785]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton): The Government is committed to ensuring the effective and efficient management of publicly owned assets, including assessing options for disposal. Where there is no longer a strong policy reason for continued public ownership or where there is potential for an asset to operate more sensibly and efficiently in the private sector, the Government will continue to look into the potential sale of public sector assets.

Asylum Seekers

Question

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Taylor of Holbeach on 21 May (WA 40), what is their rationale for conducting an internal review of the asylum support rate system.[HL885]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): It is the Government's normal practice to conduct an annual internal review of asylum support in order to assess whether the levels of support are sufficient to meet the statutory requirement to provide for the essential living needs of recipients.

Aviation: Air Passenger Duty

Question

Asked by Baroness Benjamin

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they have taken on the subject of Air Passenger Duty following the United Kingdom–Caribbean Forum held in January 2012 at which the Foreign Secretary committed to address any deleterious impacts of Air Passenger Duty on the Caribbean Region. [HL849]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): I refer the noble Baroness to the answer given by the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my hon. friend the member for Boston and Skegness (Mr Simmonds), on 11 March, Official Report, column 54W.

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Benefits

Question

Asked by Baroness Corston

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether there are allowances within the Work-Related Activity scheme to take account of the unpredictability of the effects of benzodiazepine addiction in enabling compliance with that programme.[HL837]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): Employment and Support Allowance claimants in the Work Related Activity Group are required to undertake work related activity, as a condition of continued entitlement to full payment of benefit. If somebody is addicted to a drug, and is in treatment to overcome that dependency, then we would not expect them to undertake any activity which prevented them fully engaging with that treatment. All Work Related Activity must be reasonable, having regard to an individual's circumstances.

Caribbean

Questions

Asked by Baroness Benjamin

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to assist Caribbean nations in addressing crime and insecurity in the region.[HL850]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): The Foreign and Commonwealth Office supports wider Government efforts to tackle organised crime and drug trafficking in the Caribbean with the twin aims of increasing capacity in the region and reducing the harm to the UK.

Much of the assistance we provide is underpinned by the Department for International Development programming of £75 million over four years. The Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) has established a regional law enforcement network to help provide maritime intelligence and to build capacity to combat drug trafficking. In the period from April 2012 to March 2013, Project Latitude, a joint SOCA/UK Border Force initiative in partnership with French Customs, Martinique and 15 Caribbean nations, seized 2.8 tonnes of cocaine, eight vessels and made 16 arrests. The Crown Prosecution Service deploys Criminal Justice Advisors to help governments build the rule of law thereby improving the prosecution of serious crime and human rights perpetrators in the region. Addressing these issues also contributes to improving prosperity in the region.

Asked by Baroness Benjamin

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to promote prosperity in the Caribbean.[HL851]

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Baroness Warsi: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, alongside other Government departments, carry out various activities to enhance the business environment and promote trade across the Caribbean.

We have recently developed a regional approach to our prosperity programme working alongside the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in UK Trade and Investment. Underpinning this is the Economic Partnership Agreement which was promoted by the UK and which provides for free trade between the EU and the Forum of the Caribbean Group of African, Caribbean and Pacific States. We encourage the Caribbean to take advantage of the benefits of it to enable the region to make the right move from aid to trade.

Council Tax

Question

Asked by Baroness King of Bow

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how much of the £100 million transition fund made available to local authorities in 2013–14 to meet the costs of establishing a local council tax reduction scheme has been allocated.[HL957]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): The Government made available an additional £100 million of new funding in transition grant to encourage councils to develop well-designed council tax support schemes and maintain positive incentives to work. It was a voluntary grant intended to give councils time to transition to the new localised regime and realise greater efficiencies—such as cutting the £200 million wasted from council tax benefit fraud and error.

Transitional grant claims totalling £53,468,243 were made by 196 billing authorities. As a result over two thirds of local authorities received funding. A breakdown of which authorities claimed and how much was allocated to them has been deposited in the Library of the House.

Debt: Private Sector

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether private sector debt has increased since May 2010; and if so, by how much, and whether that is consistent with their economic strategy.[HL808]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton): The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is responsible for estimates of debt in the private sector, these estimates are published quarterly.

The pre-crisis decade of growth was built on unsustainable levels of debt. It has been estimated that, by 2008, the UK private sector had become the most indebted in the world. Private sector debt fell by £53 billion or 43 percentage points of Gross Domestic Product between its peak in the first quarter of 2010 and the fourth quarter of 2012.

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Economy: Sport and Recreation

Questions

Asked by Lord Greaves

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their estimate of the value of recreational climbing and mountaineering to the United Kingdom economy. [HL344]

Lord Gardiner of Kimble: The Government cannot provide an overall estimate of the value of recreational climbing and mountaineering in the countryside as data is not delineated into this specific category. Value to the economy derives from avoided health costs, visitor spend and the use of local contractors in maintaining access infrastructure among others.

Asked by Lord Greaves

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their estimate of the value of recreational horse-riding to the United Kingdom economy.[HL345]

Lord Gardiner of Kimble: The Government has not made an estimate of the value of recreational horse-riding to the United Kingdom economy. However, the British Equestrian Trade Association carries out periodic surveys and, according to the National Equestrian Survey (2011), the gross output of the equestrian sector is valued at £3.8 billion a year.

Energy: Carbon Capture and Storage

Question

Asked by Lord Ezra

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they consider that sufficient resources are being put into the development of carbon capture and storage in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, in the light of the level of coal in use in power stations worldwide. [HL894]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Baroness Verma): The Government is absolutely committed to the development of Carbon Capture and Storage. In April 2012, we published the CCS Roadmap which sets out a comprehensive strategy for the development of cost-effective CCS and launched the £1bn Commercialisation Programme, together with a £125m four-year Research and Development programme. Budget 2013 announced the selection of two preferred bidders in the CCS Competition with the remaining two bidders as reserve projects.

We believe this is one of the best offers of any Government anywhere to support this technology. The UK is ideally suited to the development of a CCS industry, with excellent storage potential and industry expertise, as well as world-leading CCS research being undertaken in UK universities. To complement, we are working internationally to share knowledge and learn from other countries and projects, and to support capacity-building efforts in key developing countries, helping accelerate the deployment of CCS.

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Energy: Electricity

Questions

Asked by Lord Marlesford

To ask Her Majesty’s Government from what date electricity companies started to charge customers in respect of renewable options, feed-in tariffs and climate change; and what proportion of the average electricity bill was represented by those charges in respect of (1) the first quarter of 2013, and (2) the second quarter of 2013.[HL811]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Baroness Verma): The Feed-in Tariff (FiTs) scheme started in April 2010. The Renewable Obligation (RO) started in England and Wales in April 2002, in Scotland in a different form (the Renewable Obligation (Scotland)) in April 2002 and in Northern Ireland in 2005.

While it is for suppliers to decide whether to pass costs incurred through the RO and FiTs on to consumers (both households and businesses) through their electricity bills, the Government assumes that they do for budgetary and cost control purposes. The total cost of these policies is controlled within agreed limits by the Levy Control Framework (LCF).

On 27 March 2013, DECC published an updated assessment of the average impact of energy and climate change policies on household and business energy bills, which is available online at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/estimated-impacts-of-energy-and-climate-change-policies-on-energy-prices-and-bills.

Asked by Lord Marlesford

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether electricity companies are required to disclose to consumers the amount being charged in each bill in respect of renewable options, feed-in tariffs and climate change; which companies already do so; and whether they will arrange that those charges should be disclosed on retail and business bills by all electricity companies.[HL812]

Baroness Verma: Electricity companies are not required to disclose to consumers on bills the amount they are being charged in respect of environmental programmes.

Ofgem produces fact sheets that provide a breakdown of the costs which make up a typical energy bill. We are aware that some suppliers provide this information on customers' bills, but we do not hold comprehensive data on each individual supplier's approach.

We do not have any plans to require suppliers to set out the cost of environmental schemes on bills.

Energy: Solar Parks

Question

Asked by Lord Marlesford

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their policy on the use of agricultural land for solar parks; and how much grade 1 or grade 2 agricultural land in each county in England is (1) already under solar panels, and (2) under planning application for solar panels.[HL814]

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): The National Planning Policy Framework requires local planning authorities determining planning proposals that affect farmland to recognise the character and beauty of the countryside, and have regard to all the benefits of the best and most versatile agricultural land. After consultation with their local communities they should approve renewable energy development only if the impacts - including any cumulative impact - will be acceptable. The Government does not gather statistics on land used for solar arrays or subject to planning applications.

Ethiopia

Question

Asked by Lord Patten

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made, or intend to make, concerning the journalists Reeyot Alemu, Yusuf Getachew, Solomon Kebede, Eskinder Neya and Wubshet Taye, currently imprisoned in Ethiopia. [HL778]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): We are concerned by the imprisonment of journalists under Ethiopia's anti-terrorism legislation. Both the Deputy Prime Minister, my right hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Hallam (Mr Clegg), and the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my hon. Friend the Member for Boston and Skegness (Mr Simmonds), have raised this in meetings with Ethiopian Ministers.

Our Ambassador in Addis Ababa has also raised these cases, in the context of press freedoms, in his contacts with the Ethiopian government.

EU: Cars

Questions

Asked by Lord Greaves

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have received advice from the European Commission regarding the compliance of new car models with the requirements of the EU Mobile Air Conditioning Directive 2006/40/EC since January 2011.[HL895]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the effectiveness of the EU Mobile Air Conditioning Directive 2006/40/EC in preventing the use in cars of air conditioning units with a global warming potential above 150.[HL896]

Earl Attlee: The European Commission has advised all Member States that Directive 2006/40/EC should be fully enforced, and that it intends to take action to ensure that this is the case. The Department for Transport is not aware that any cars with air conditioning units containing refrigerants with a Global Warming Potential above 150 have been registered in the UK in contravention of legal requirements.

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Investigations into this are on going in conjunction with vehicle manufacturers, and the Department is in close contact with the European Commission on this issue.

Food: Food Banks

Question

Asked by Baroness Corston

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they provide funding or other assistance to the Trussell Trust for the provision of food banks.[HL840]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The Government does not provide funding to support food banks and is not considering doing so. We do, however, recognise the good work of organisations that redistribute surplus food to provide access to nutritional meals for those who may otherwise struggle. In addition, most major retailers already have partnerships with redistribution charities. In 2012, DEFRA held a meeting with retailers and food distribution charities to explore the current barriers to redistribution and the Waste and Resources Action Programme has recently begun working with Fareshare and FoodCycle to deliver a trial to increase food distribution from retail stores.

Jobcentre Plus district managers have freedom to link with food banks in a variety of ways, for example by: having formal agreements with Trussell Trust, signposting to a wider variety of local provision, signpost claimants to Local Authorities.

Health: Mesothelioma

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what estimate they have made of the additional cost of backdating the date of eligibility for a mesothelioma scheme payment from 25 July 2012 to 10 February 2010; how that cost is estimated in terms of both the numbers of claimants and the average payment, and whether it is inclusive or exclusive of benefit or lump sum payments; and what other relevant factors will be taken into consideration in reaching the estimate.[HL720]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The additional cost of backdating the mesothelioma scheme to 20/21 February 2010 (including 856 more cases, receiving on average £39.3 million directly from the scheme) would be £119 million. Recovery of government benefits and lump sum payments is included in this estimate.

Other relevant factors taken into consideration in reaching the stated estimates are outlined in the 2013 published Impact Assessment1, including the proposed tariff of 70% of average civil compensation. The assumption on legal fees for individuals was moved to £2,000 per case. Dates are rounded to the nearest quarter (i.e. taking the start date from 1st January 2010).

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Further information can be found in the ad hoc statistical publication, published on 05/06/2013 entitled ‘Analysis to support the passage of the Mesothelioma Bill'

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment-data/file/207023/mesothelioma_bill_04062013.pdf

1

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/ attachment_data/file/198388/mesothelioma-payment-scheme-impact-assessment.pdf

Housing: Funding

Questions

Asked by Lord German

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how much discretionary housing payment funding was allocated to local authorities in 2012–13 (1) in total across the United Kingdom, (2) in England, (3) in Wales, and (3) in Scotland.[HL882]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The Department for Work and Pensions has responsibility for Discretionary Housing Payments in Great Britain only. The total allocation in 2012/13 was £67.9m. This comprised the annual allocation of £60m and £7.9m of unspent funding from 2011/12 which local authorities were exceptionally allowed to carry over into 2012/13.

The 2012/13 allocations for Great Britain, England, Scotland and Wales are set out in the table below.

Government contribution towards Discretionary Housing Payments (including any carry over from 2011/12) in 2012/13

England

£60, 918,250

Scotland

£4,188,843

Wales

£2,799,823

Great Britain

£67,906,916

Asked by Lord German

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what were the total amounts of unused discretionary housing payment funding returned to the Government by each local authority in 2012–13; and what was the cumulative total for the whole of the country. [HL883]

Lord Freud: I will place a copy of the DHP unused allocation table for 2012/13 in the Library which shows how much of the Government contribution towards Discretionary Housing Payments in 2012/13 was unused by each local authority. This also sets out the cumulative total for Great Britain together with individual figures for England, Scotland and Wales.

As a one-off arrangement agreed by Treasury local authorities were allowed to carry-forward unspent Discretionary Housing Payment funding from 2011/12 to 2012/13, in total £7.9m was carried forward.

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Immigration: Deportation

Question

Asked by Lord Judd

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many convicted criminals who were not United Kingdom citizens, (1) were deported, and (2) voluntarily removed themselves from the United Kingdom, following completion of their prison sentences in 2012. [HL517]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): In 2012, 4,589 foreign national offenders were deported from the UK, 38 per cent of whom left voluntarily under the Facilitated Removal Scheme.

Iraq: Chilcot Inquiry

Question

Asked by Lord Rooker

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to make published copies of the Iraq Inquiry report available to each member of both Houses of Parliament; and what factors informed that decision. [HL1017]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: Upon publication, copies of the Iraq Inquiry’s report will be made available in both Houses of Parliament. The Inquiry has indicated that its report will also be available on line. The Government has not yet made any decisions about whether to make psychical copies available to each member of both Houses. Cost is a key factor informing that decision; government expects the report to be a very substantial document; the Inquiry has indicated that the text of its report is likely to be more than a million words.

Mesothelioma Bill [HL]

Question

Asked by Lord Wills

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the remarks by Lord Freud on 5 June (HL Deb, GC 235), what assumptions they used on the percentage figure of claims that claimants would receive of any compensation to which they were entitled under the scheme set out in the Mesothelioma Bill [HL] in forecasting the projected costs of that scheme of either £119 or £747 million.[HL701]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The two figures quoted in the question are:

£119 million - The estimated cost of the levy if the scheme start date was moved to the 20th or 21st February 2010.£747 million - the estimates cost of the levy if the scheme start date was in 1968.

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Both figures use the same assumptions as those in the 2013 published Impact Assessment1, except here we use a legal fee figure of £2,000 per case instead of £7,000 per case, no government funding is included and the assumption of the proposed tariff to use 70% of average civil compensation. Dates are rounded to the nearest quarter (i.e. taking the start date from 1st January 2010). Further information can be found in the ad hoc statistical publication, published on 05/06/2013 entitled 'Analysis to support the passage of the Mesothelioma Bill' http://statistics.dwp.gov.uk/ asd/asd1/adhoc_analysis/2013/mesothelioma_bill_04 062013.pdf.

1

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/ attachment_data/file/198388/mesothelioma-payment-scheme-impact-assessment.pdf.

National Insurance

Question

Asked by Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many individuals aged 16 and above and eligible to be issued with a National Insurance number were resident in the United Kingdom in the last year for which figures are available; how many National Insurance numbers issued were active at that date; and what is the reason for any discrepancy between those two figures.[HL832]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): In 2011/12 (the latest figures available) 601,000 NINos were issued to individuals via the DWP Adult NINo Allocation process. HMRC is responsible for issuing National Insurance numbers to juveniles under the age of 16 for children who are having Child Benefit claimed for them.

In order to be allocated a NINo via the DWP Adult NINo Allocation process an individual must be resident in the UK at the time of application. Of the 601,000 NINos issued in 2011/12 all would be considered to be active on the DWP Customer Information System (CIS).

Once a NINo is allocated it needs to remain on the Department’s computer system. This is because the NINo provides a permanent numerical link between the individual and their National Insurance Contribution Record, which determines entitlement to contributory benefits and State Pension.

Northern Ireland Assembly

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Randerson on 22 May (WA 87), whether the extensions of the terms of the Welsh Assembly and Scottish Parliament to five years related to a legislature already chosen by the people or one yet to be elected; which political parties in Northern Ireland have sought an extension to their elected term; and what other reasons do they adduce for an extension.[HL758]

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Wales Office (Baroness Randerson): As a result of the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011, and following concerns raised by the Scottish Parliament and the National Assembly for Wales, the length of the terms of both legislatures were temporarily extended from four to five years in advance of the 2011 elections to avoid a clash with the 2015 UK parliamentary election. Following consultation, and with the agreement of the four political parties in the National Assembly for Wales, the Government will introduce draft legislation later this year permanently to extend the length of a term of the National Assembly for Wales to five years from 2016.

On 12 June 2012, Northern Ireland's First Minister, deputy First Minister and Justice Minister wrote to the then-Secretary of State making clear their view that they wished to see the current term of the Northern Ireland Assembly extended until May 2016, in common with the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly elections. That position was confirmed in a letter to the current Secretary of State dated 15 April 2013 from the First Minister and deputy First Minister.

Overseas Conflict: Sexual Violence

Questions

Asked by Baroness Stern

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of their commitment in the G8 Declaration on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict to review the doctrine and training provided to the United Kingdom military to ensure that it includes training for personnel deployed to relevant theatres on the implications of rape and other forms of sexual violence in conflict and post-conflict situations, what discussions the Secretary of State for Defence has had with officials of that department to implement that commitment.[HL581]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what guidance is currently issued on training for appropriate military personnel deployed to relevant theatres on the implications of rape and other forms of sexual violence in conflict.[HL582]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): Following the commitment made by the UK Government in the G8 Declaration on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict to review the doctrine and training provided to the UK Armed Forces, Ministers have instructed officials in the Ministry of Defence to undertake a review of our doctrine and training, and this work is currently ongoing.

All operations are informed by appropriate legal advice and are conducted in accordance with applicable international humanitarian law. All Service personnel are subject to the criminal law of England and Wales by virtue of the Armed Forces Act 2006 (which applies extra-territorially). Any criminal wrongdoing (involving rape or other sexual violence) would be investigated by the Service police and result in a criminal trial by court-martial.

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All Army personnel, whatever their rank, are subject to mandatory annual training in this area involving what is known as Military Annual Training Tests 7 dealing with Operational Law. Current guidance to Armed Forces personnel on sexual violence in conflict (in the context of war crimes) is set out in the Joint Service Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict. Overarching Prescriptive Guidance on the treatment of detainees is given by Joint Doctrine Publication 1-10 (JDP 1-10) entitled 'Captured Persons'.

JDP 1-10 repeatedly emphasises the minimum standard of treatment permissible which is humane treatment. In the chapter of JDP 1-10 on Standards of Treatment, the following is stated, inter alia, in relation to the treatment of females: “The captivity of females is culturally sensitive. Due regard must be given to females' physical strength, the need to protect them against rape, forced prostitution and other forms of sexual violence or abuse”. JDP 1-10 is currently under review with the intention to publish a new edition.

In addition, wherever the UK is asked to provide training or capacity building for overseas Armed Forces, we ensure that human rights risks are assessed in accordance with Her Majesty Government's Overseas Security and Justice Assistance Guidance, and include a human rights component wherever possible.

Pensions

Questions

Asked by Lord Jones of Cheltenham

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their estimate of the average savings to public funds as a result of the emigration of a United Kingdom citizen who qualifies for the basic State Pension. [HL770]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The Government has not made any estimate of the average savings to public funds as a result of the emigration of a United Kingdom citizen who qualifies for the basic State Pension.

Asked by Lord Jones of Cheltenham

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they are taking any steps to encourage more United Kingdom citizens who qualify for the basic State Pension to emigrate; and, if so, what steps.[HL771]

Lord Freud: The Government is not taking any steps in this regard. The decision to retire abroad is a purely personal one.

Police and Crime Commissioners

Questions

Asked by Lord Storey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the report of the Merseyside Police and Crime Panel on 17 May, what consequences follow a failure

20 Jun 2013 : Column WA76

by a Police and Crime Commissioner to fulfil statutory publication requirements, with regard to (1) the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 and (2) the Elected Local Policing Bodies (Specified Information) Order 2011.[HL708]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): The Act and the Order require Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) to publish information specified by the Home Secretary, including a register of interests, budgets and decisions of significant public interest. This is a legal obligation which is ultimately enforceable by the courts.

The Act also introduced a Police and Crime Panel in every police area to scrutinise the actions and decisions of the PCC. The Panel has the power to question the PCC and report publicly on the PCC's performance of his or her statutory duties. This ensures that the local electorate is able to hold the PCC to account at the ballot box.

Asked by Lord Condon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the resignation of the Chief Constable of Gwent on 11 June, in the light of the expected role and remit of Police and Crime Commissioners set out in the Policing Protocol Order 2011.[HL846]

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: The Policing Protocol makes clear that the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) must not interfere in the operational independence of the police. However, PCCs have a statutory duty and electoral mandate to hold the police force and Chief Constable to account on behalf of the public. It is for the PCC to determine who is best placed to lead the force as Chief Constable. The PCC has the power to call on the Chief Constable to resign or retire, but this is subject to a general legal duty to act reasonably and fairly, and also various safeguards set out in the legislation. This includes requirements for the PCC to provide reasons in advance, for the Chief Constable to respond, for HM Inspectorate of Constabulary to give their views, and for the Police and Crime Panel to scrutinise the proposed dismissal before it can be finalised.

Police: Traffic Accidents

Question

Asked by Lord Condon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the code of practice on the management of police pursuits issued in May 2011 has led to a reduction in the number of accidents involving police vehicles compared with previous years.[HL779]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): Information on the number of accidents involving police vehicles is not collected centrally by the Home Office.

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Project Crossbow

Questions

Asked by Baroness Stern

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assurances they have received from the government of the United States that intelligence shared via Project Crossbow will not be used to conduct targeted killings in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.[HL737]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the intelligence gathered via Project Crossbow has been or may be used in operations outside Afghanistan. [HL738]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The Crossbow capability is near real time imagery intelligence analysis that is currently used only to support the International Security Assistance Force mission in Afghanistan; it previously supported operations in Libya.

The UK only uses this capability on missions that are compliant with UK policy and Rules of Engagement.

Questions for Written Answer

Question

Asked by Lord Jopling

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what recent advice has been given to Ministers regarding the importance of ensuring that answers to Questions for Written Answer go as far as possible to answer the questions asked.[HL847]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The Cabinet Offices publishes a ‘Guide to Parliamentary Work': Ministers obligations to Parliament are set out in the Ministerial Code.

Roads: M4

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Attlee on 7 February (WA 88) concerning the bus lane on the M4, what is the nature of the environmental assessments that are being considered; and why they include the restoration of the bus lane.[HL752]

Earl Attlee: The environmental assessments to understand more fully the effect on the local environment of removing the M4 bus lane looks at all the topics identified in the Design Manual for Roads and Bridges, scoping out those topics which are not likely to have an effect on the environment. For the M4 Bus Lane the focus is on the likely significance of the impact the removal of the bus lane has on air quality. As part of the assessment, the feasibility of a range of mitigation options for air quality is considered.

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The scenarios include a ‘with bus lane' option because the bus lane removal is still in its trial period, and we have two outstanding objections to its permanent removal.

Schools: Academies and Free Schools

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what are the locations of existing and proposed academies and free schools in (1) Somerset, and (2) Bath and North-East Somerset; and how many schools, by category, remain in the local authority systems in those areas.[HL719]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash): The information requested has been placed in the House Library.

Schools: Inspectors

Question

Asked by Lord Storey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether independent schools are permitted to select their own inspectors; and, if so, (1) which schools are permitted to do so, and (2) whether the Government plan to (a) halt this practice, and (b) review the list of approved independent inspectorates.[HL531]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash): Independent schools are not permitted to select their own inspectors. Independent inspectorates are approved to inspect schools belonging to certain associations and/or groups, and schools can only change inspectorate by joining or leaving the relevant association or group. Non-association schools are inspected by Ofsted, and Ofsted always conducts a school’s first inspection after opening.

The only schools which have an element of choice of inspectorate are those which belong to the Association of Muslim Schools UK (AMSUK). AMSUK schools are approved to be inspected by the Bridge Schools Inspectorate (BSI). When BSI was established, AMSUK schools were given a choice as to whether to be inspected by BSI or remain with Ofsted. If a school subsequently wants to change inspectorate, AMSUK must apply to the Department for permission, and a school will only be permitted to move to BSI if it is meeting all of the independent school standards.

The Secretary of State has the power to ask Ofsted to inspect any independent school at any time, including those schools that are normally inspected by an independent inspectorate.

There are no current plans to change this practice or to review the list of approved independent inspectorates. Ofsted monitors the work of the independent inspectorates and reports annually on their performance.

20 Jun 2013 : Column WA79

Schools: New Schools

Question

Asked by Lord Storey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what information is available to interested parties wishing to establish (1) community, (2) foundation, (3) academy, (4) grammar, (5) special, or (6) free schools in England. [HL705]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash): The current arrangements for establishing new schools came into effect on 1 February 2012 as a result of the Education Act 2011 introducing section 6A (the ‘academy presumption’) to the Education and Inspections Act 2006. Where a local authority considers a new school is needed in its area it must now seek proposals for the establishment of an academy or free school. Non-statutory guidance sets out the Department’s expectations around the academy presumption process. This can be found at:

http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/leadership/schoolorganisation/f00209212/academy-free-school-presumption

Information relating to the Free School application process, including the criteria by which applications are judged, is posted on the Department’s website.1

We expect to add detailed guidance for the next application round shortly.

Groups thinking of applying can also seek assistance from New Schools Network2.

In certain circumstances it is also possible to publish proposals for the establishment of new maintained schools outside the academy and free school processes. These are set out in sections 10 and 11 of EIA 2006, as amended by EA 2011. In each case a statutory process must be undertaken. The department published guidance on how to establish a new school in May 2012. This can be found at:

http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/leadership/schoolorganisation/f00209212/academy-free-school-presumption

The law prohibits the establishment of a new selective school of any type.

1

http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/leadership/ typesofschools/freeschools/b00222064/apply.

2

www.newschoolsnetwork.org

Sport: Boxing

Question

Asked by Lord Pendry

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when the Minister for Sport last met the School Amateur Boxing Association; what was the purpose of that meeting; and what was the outcome.[HL679]

Lord Gardiner of Kimble: DCMS officials met the Schools Amateur Boxing Association, together with the Amateur Boxing Association in England and Sport England last year. The aim was to encourage the two

20 Jun 2013 : Column WA80

boxing associations to work more closely together to promote boxing opportunities for young people. The follow up action lay with the Associations.

St Helena and Overseas Territories

Question

Asked by Lord Jones of Cheltenham

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what regulations are in place to protect the historic built environment on (1) St Helena, and (2) other Overseas Territories. [HL769]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): The protection of the built environment in St Helena and other Overseas Territories is a devolved responsibility of the Territory Government.

However, I am able to advise that in the case of St Helena, the Land Planning and Development Control Ordinance 2013 (and its 2008 predecessor) regulates the development of land and buildings: the conservation of historic buildings is an integral part of this. It operates in a similar way to our own Town and County Planning Act and is implemented by the Land Development Control Authority. The Land Development Control Plan 2012, adopted in March 2012 following a public consultation, provides a strategic steer for development of the Territory.

Regulatory policy in the other Overseas Territories varies though several have well-defined rules for the built environment, some of which also cover protection of the natural environment. Examples include; in Bermuda, the Town of St George (Protection of Buildings of Special Interest) Act 1950; in the Cayman Islands, the Planning Regulations 2011; in Gibraltar, the Heritage Trust Act 1989; in Montserrat and the British Virgin Islands Physical Planning Acts; in Turks and Caicos Islands, a National Trust was established under the National Trust Ordinance to deliver heritage protection.

Sudan

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Wallace of Saltaire on 11 June (WA 234–5), at which point the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs called for an independent investigation into serious crimes against humanity in South Kordofan and Blue Nile; what they have done to expedite the establishment of an investigation; and why evidence cannot be gathered from those in refugee camps in the absence of a ceasefire and access to the region. [HL845]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), made the call for an independent investigation on

20 Jun 2013 : Column WA81

28 June 2011 in a public statement, which can be found on the Gov.uk website at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/foreign-secretary-comments-on-violence-in-southern-kordofan-sudan.

At that time, the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) was still present, and could potentially have carried out such an investigation. Since the closure of UNMIS in July 2011 there has been no independent organisation with access to the conflict areas to carry out credible investigations in Southern Kordofan or Blue Nile, although some non-governmental organisations have collected testimony from refugees. We are pressing the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North to enter into talks to bring an end to the ongoing conflict. We would expect that accountability for actions against civilians by both sides in the conflict should form part of any political agreement to resolve the conflict, as well as guaranteeing full, independent access to all parts of the two states.

Teachers: Training

Questions

Asked by Lord Storey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what training is given to teachers in giving pupils a smooth transition from an old to a new curriculum.[HL687]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash): The Government believes that schools are best placed to decide which professional development meets their needs to ensure successful implementation of the new curriculum, and to secure these accordingly. We therefore expect schools to identify their priorities for action, and to identify appropriate sources of support.

We recognise that the high expectations set by the new curriculum will present some significant challenges. To assist with this, we are working with subject experts, publishers, educational suppliers and others to identify what support for schools is already in place, any gaps that need to be filled, and how that might be done. This will also support providers in ensuring that initial teacher training takes account of the new curriculum from 2013/2014 onwards. In addition we have given prominence to national curriculum subjects in our bursaries for teacher training commencing in September 2013.

We are also ensuring that existing opportunities funded by Government meet the needs of the new national curriculum. For example, the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM) has recently released free video training materials focused on calculation. Match funding of £3,000 for phonics materials and training has been extended until October 2013.

Asked by Baroness Jones of Whitchurch

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the quality and availability for teachers of continuing professional development on dyslexia.[HL794]

20 Jun 2013 : Column WA82

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many (1) teachers, and (2) support staff, have taken part in the Special Educational Needs Scholarship Fund in each of the last three years.[HL795]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what provision has been made for training (1) dyslexia specialists, and (2) specialist dyslexia support teachers, within schools.[HL796]

Lord Nash: The government believes that it is important for teachers to undertake high-quality professional development in order to improve their practice and ability to engage and support children with individual needs such as dyslexia.

Headteachers and teachers are better placed than government to make decisions about what particular professional development will best meet the needs of their pupils and school, and about which is most effective.

The Government’s role is to provide the context in which they can make these decisions. We are, for example, working with the National Association for Special Educational Needs (NASEN) and other experts to ensure that schools can access the Inclusion and Development Programme training materials on dyslexia and other common forms of SEN

We introduced the National Scholarship Fund to support teachers in deepening their subject knowledge or specialist expertise. In the first round of the 2011 National Scholarships Fund, 391 of the successful applications came from teachers wishing to undertake a Special Educational Needs (SEN) course or activity. In 2012 we extended the scheme to include a scholarship for SEN support staff. 236 of the successful applications were for teachers, and 274 were for SEN support staff.

Applications for the 2013 round are currently being assessed.

Trees

Question

Asked by Lord Framlingham

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many (1) ash, (2) oak, and (3) plane trees were imported into the United Kingdom during the 2012–13 planting season; and what were their countries of origin. [HL793]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley): Defra implements the EU Plant Health regime (Directive 2000/29/EC) in England and, under a concordat, in Wales. Separate arrangements apply in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Most imported trees are introduced through England, even if intended for other parts of the UK. Since the beginning of October 2012 there have been no imports of ash, oak or plane trees from outside the EU into England or Wales.

Movements of trees within the EU Single Market are not officially recorded routinely, but Defra introduced a statutory notification scheme on 17 January 2013 for certain tree genera (including ash, oak and plane) moved into England from other EU Member States. Since then, there have been no notifications for ash

20 Jun 2013 : Column WA83

trees, which remain subject to import and movement restrictions as part of the management strategy against Chalara fraxinea. There have been 214,554 oak trees and 2,300 plane trees notified as moving into England from other Member States. The trees were imported from Belgium, Germany, Italy, Netherlands (and for oak trees only) France, the Republic of Ireland and Spain.

The Forestry Commission also records trees imported specifically for forest reproductive purposes and since October 2012 there have been 81,825 oak trees imported into England and Wales for that purpose (30,000 of those have been imported since 17 January 2013 and therefore are also included in the Defra figures above). They were imported from Belgium and Germany.

Universal Credit

Question

Asked by Baroness King of Bow

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Freud on 25 March (WA 209), whether they will publish details of the funding that will be made available to each London borough in the current financial year to cover the management element of the costs of temporary accommodation for homeless households on Universal Credit.[HL952]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): Further to my earlier reply, an announcement on future funding available to all local authorities in Great Britain for this provision in Universal Credit will be made in due course. Current arrangements for existing housing benefit claimants in Temporary Accommodation will continue to apply until migration to Universal Credit is complete.

Universal Credit roll out is starting gradually with new claims from single jobseekers living in the North West of England, which means it is unlikely that London authorities will see homeless Universal Credit claimants in the near future. However, if this should occur, Discretionary Housing Payments are available. We will continue to work closely with Local Authorities across the country, including London, as we develop plans for national rollout.

Visas

Question

Asked by Lord Steel of Aikwood

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many representations they have received in the past year from members of both Houses of Parliament concerning the operation of the UK Border Agency in issuing visas.[HL768]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): To obtain statistical information on representations made specifically about the operation of the UK Border Agency in issuing visas would incur a disproportionate cost.

20 Jun 2013 : Column WA84

Waterways: River Thames

Question

Asked by Lord Campbell-Savours

To ask Her Majesty’s Government on what basis the Thames is not designated bathing water; and what advice is given to organisations which organise swimming events in the Thames.[HL802]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley): The purpose of designating bathing waters is to manage and reduce pollution in surface waters expected to be used by a large number of bathers. This ensures a proportionate approach to protecting bather health. Defra has set out clear guidance on the evidence it requires to consider designating waters and this can be viewed on the Government publications website under “designation and de-designation of bathing waters”.

No application has been received in relation to the Thames and Defra is currently unaware of any stretches that would meet its designation criteria.

Organisers should contact the appropriate local environmental health department, Public Health England and the Environment Agency. This will ensure they receive advice appropriate to their circumstances.

Waterways: Sewage

Question

Asked by Lord Berkeley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what information they have about how much has been spent on investigating alternatives to the Thames Tideway Tunnel by (1) the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, (2) the Environment Agency, (3) Thames Water, and (4) the Greater London Authority; and when any such sums were spent. [HL527]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley): Thames Water Utilities Ltd is the sewerage undertaker in London and is responsible for ensuring a solution to ongoing sewage discharges into the Thames. This includes the consideration of alternative solutions to the Thames Tideway Tunnel.

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

In core Defra, prior to 2009 it is not possible to identify the costs associated with work on preventing sewage pollution in the Thames. From 2009 onwards, approximate figures are as follows:

YearActivityCost

2009-10

Waste Water National Policy Statement

£44,000

20 Jun 2013 : Column WA85

2010-11

Waste Water National Policy Statement

£94,000

2011-12

Waste Water National Policy Statement

£13,000

Project Financing Advisers

£150,000

Legal Advisers

£200,000

2012-13

Project Financing Advisers

£678,000

Legal Advisers

£838,000

Project Insurance Advisers

£32,000

Source:

Defra - Water & Flood Risk Management

In addition to these costs, the annual Defra staff costs allocated to preventing sewage pollution into the Thames in 2012/13 were approximately £360,000. The costs in 2011/12 were similar; in previous years they were significantly less.

The Environment Agency similarly does not hold a separate record of costs associated with investigating alternatives to the Thames Tideway Tunnel.

Defra does not hold cost information for Thames Water or the Greater London Authority.

20 Jun 2013 : Column WA86

Young Offenders

Question

Asked by Baroness Stern

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many children have arrived at a secure establishment in each of the last four years (1) between 9.00pm and 11.59pm, (2) between midnight and 12.59am, (3) between 1.00am and 1.59am, (4) between 2.00am and 2.59am, (5) between 3.00am and 3.59am, and (6) between 4.00am and 8.00am.[HL627]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): : Table 1 below shows how many children arrived at Secure Children’s Homes and Secure Training Centres, (1) between 9.00pm and 11.59pm, (2) between midnight and 12.59am, (3) between 1.00am and 1.59am, (4) between 2.00am and 2.59am, (5) between 3.00am and 3.59am, and (6) between 4.00am and 8.00am, from 30th August 2012 to 6th June 2013. Data prior to this is not held centrally.

It is not possible to provide information for Youth Offender Institutions because it would mean manual inspection of daily records which could only be done at disproportionate cost.

Table 1: Arrival times at Secure Training Centre and Secure Children’s Home establishments from 30th August 2012 to 6th June 2013

30th Aug 2012-31st Dec 20121 Jan 2013-6th June 2013
Time bracketNumber of instancesProportion of total number of instancesNumber of instancesProportion of total number of instances

between 9pm-1.59pm

60

11%

86

5%

between midnight-12.59am

5

1%

3

0%

between 1am-1.59am

2

0%

2

0%

between 2am-2.59am

2

0%

0

0%

between 3am-3.59am

0

0%

0

0%

between 4am- 8am

0

0%

0

0%

Total

69

13%

91

5%

Source:

Data provided to the Youth Justice Board from Serco (the current provider of the SCH and STC escort service).

Note:

These figures record the time of arrival at an establishment not just for admissions but also returns from court hearings, police stations, hospital visits.

Escort providers are expected to take all reasonable steps to expedite the journeys of young people in order to reduce the likelihood of late arrivals at establishments. Some youth establishments do have latest reception times but the overall policy is that young people will not be turned away from establishments regardless of the arrival time.