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Written Answers

Tuesday 2 July 2013

Airports: State Aids

Question

Asked by Lord Berkeley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government under what circumstances and for what purposes state aids are permitted to airports.[HL1074]

Earl Attlee: The provision of State aid for airports is governed by the financial aid criteria defined in Article 87(1) of the European Community Treaty. The European Union has produced guidance on how the State aid rules should be applied in relation to investment in airport infrastructure, capital injections, loan guarantees and privatisation. Any such application for State aid would need to comply with this guidance to ensure that any investment found to constitute State aid is only approved under strict criteria to minimise distortion to the market.

Benefits

Question

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Freud on 25 April (WA 439–441), what plans they have to improve the efficiency of the benefits system to minimise (1) over-payments, and (2) under-payments, caused by fraud and error.[HL1006]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): With the introduction of Universal Credit and Personal Independence Payments, the benefits system is being made simpler and, as far as possible, the opportunities for fraud and error to enter our systems are being greatly reduced.

The Fraud and Error Programme is currently supporting the introduction of Universal Credit pathfinder. This includes delivering a new Integrated Risk and Intelligence Service (IRIS). The new Integrated Risk and Intelligence Service (IRIS) will be a hub for data and intelligence on fraud, error and debt.

This new system is being delivered in phases to ensure that it is in a position to deliver robust protection against the threats that Universal Credit may face. Stage 1 IRIS went live along with the UC Pathfinder on 29 April. The two Programmes will continue to work closely together to ensure that UC is protected by security systems that integrate counter-fraud, cyber and identity assurance capabilities.

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Benefits: Fraud

Question

Asked by Lord Greaves

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their estimate of the amount of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) paid to benefit claimants due to fraud in (1) 2010, (2) 2011, (3) 2012, and (4) 2013; and what percentage of the total amount of DLA paid each year those figures represent.[HL1061]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The latest estimate of the amounts of Disability Living Allowance paid due to fraud is shown in the table below. It should be noted that, as well as fraud, there are other reasons for over and under payments such as errors by the Department and by the claimant, including the failure to report a change in the impact of their condition.

YearDLA ExpenditureFraud% of expenditure

2012/13 (Preliminary)

£13.5bn

£70m

0.5%

2011/12

£12.6bn

£60m

0.5%

2010/11

£12.0bn

£60m

0.5%

2009/10

£11.5bn

£60m

0.5%

Source:

DWP National Statistics: Fraud and Error in the Benefit System: 2012/13 Preliminary Estimates released 9 May

Expenditure rounded to the nearest £0.1bn.

Official error rounded to the nearest £10m.

Estimates may not sum due to rounding.

Children: Sexual Abuse

Questions

Asked by Baroness Benjamin

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what they are doing to reduce the number of sexual offences against children committed by those under the age of 18.[HL1133]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what they are doing to improve support services for child victims of sexual abuse.[HL1134]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): The Prime Minister has asked my right. hon. Friend Damian Green, Home Office Policing and Criminal Justice Minister, to lead Ministers across government and a new National Group. The Sexual Violence Against Children and Vulnerable People Group is a panel of experts brought together to co-ordinate and implement the learning from recent inquiries into historic sexual abuse and current sexual violence prevention issues, including emerging issues relating to peer on peer abuse.

Recently announced measures to trial the use of pre-recorded cross examination for child and vulnerable victims and to consult on a revised Victims Code, with a bespoke chapter on children, will improve the support

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provided to children in the courts. More widely, the group will oversee further work to ensure that victims are listened to and fully supported.

Children: Sexually Explicit Material

Question

Asked by Baroness Benjamin

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to support children who have been adversely affected by watching pornography. [HL1131]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash): Protection from harm is a fundamental right for all children. Those who have been adversely affected by watching pornography may be classed as children in need and require specific support to prevent their needs escalating further.

Where there are child protection concerns, namely reasonable cause to suspect a child is suffering or likely to suffer significant harm, the local authority must make further enquiries and decide if action should be taken, including acting immediately to secure the safety of the child.

Support can also be offered through Sex and Relationship Education (SRE). Schools can use SRE to teach children about the dangers of pornography and the adverse effects from watching it should they choose and we trust in the professional judgement of teachers to do so appropriately.

Civil Service: Bonuses

Question

Asked by Lord Morris of Aberavon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their estimate of total bonuses paid to civil servants and the staff of Government-sponsored organisations in the last available year; and whether they will set a deadline by which such payments will be brought to an end.[HL830]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The information requested is not held centrally. In December 2012, departments published information on their websites (linked to data.gov.uk) providing details of their expenditure on non-consolidated performance related pay (NCPRP) for civil servants for performance in 2011-12. Departments will disclose information on their spend on NCPRP in respect of 2012-13 performance later this year. I refer the noble Lord to the reply I gave on Thursday 31 January 2013, (Official Report) column 345W.

Energy: Power Stations

Question

Asked by Lord Donoughue

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what estimate they have made of the comparative carbon footprints resulting from converting Drax power station from coal to biomass, including the estimated total costs,

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in money and carbon, of mining, logging, processing and transporting, and the relative energy outputs and efficiency.[HL1083]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Baroness Verma): DECC has analysed the potential contributions from different renewable, low carbon and fossil fuel technologies to develop scenarios of how the UK could cost-effectively achieve its energy and carbon targets in 2020 and beyond. We have not made estimates for individual power stations. However, as outlined in our Bioenergy Strategy, the use of sustainable biomass as a transitional fuel to reduce carbon emissions from current coal power generation is an important decarbonisation pathway.

Energy: Wind Farms

Question

Asked by Lord Donoughue

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have co-ordinated a cost-benefit analysis of their policies to introduce wind farms, on- and off-shore, as part of the United Kingdom's national energy generation; whether any such analysis took account of any specified forecast reductions in global temperatures; and, if so, what reductions.[HL1082]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Baroness Verma): The Government response to the Renewables Obligation banding review set out our intentions to support onshore and offshore wind under the Renewables Obligation over the period 2013 to 2017. The accompanying impact assessment details the analysis behind these decisions and can be found here:

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

The modelling for the RO Banding review used the Department's energy and emissions projections. The UK is on track to meet its first three carbon budgets and as such, DECCs energy demand projections are in line with carbon reductions as specified in the first three carbon budgets (to 2022).

DECC's policies are aimed at reducing carbon emissions to contribute towards the UNECCC' s goal of limiting global temperature rise to less than 2°C above pre-industrial levels.

Families: Troubled Families

Question

Asked by Lord Greaves

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the Troubled Families scheme in the Department for Communities and Local Government is expected to achieve its target of helping 120,000 troubled families in England turn their lives around by 2015; what proportion of interventions are expected to be successful; and how a successful outcome will be determined.[HL1130]

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): The Troubled Families programme is on track: as of March 2013, 152 upper-tier councils in England have already identified more than half (66,000) of their families and more than 35,000 of the 120,000 troubled families are already being worked with.

Our payments by results scheme states that a council may claim that a troubled family has been 'turned around' when:

each child in the family has had fewer than 3 exclusions from school and at least 85% attendance over the last three school terms; andthe number of proven offences by all young people in the family has reduced by at least a third in the last 6 months; andthe anti-social behaviour of the whole family has reduced by at least 60% over the last 6 months.

Or

one member of the family has moved off benefits, into work and kept this job for at least 3 months. Further details can be found in our Financial Framework: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-troubled-families-programme-financial-framework

As the Programme measures sustained success over a six to twelve month period (depending on the criteria), there is an inherent time lag from first working with a family to turning them around. However, less than one year into the delivery of the programme, and ahead of expectations, local authorities reported in January that they had successfully turned around the lives of 1,675 troubled families.

As laid out in the Financial Framework, we do not necessarily expect that every family worked with will be turned around. Local authorities may therefore be working with more families than their indicative numbers suggest in order to achieve the overall commitment to turn around 120,000 troubled families. Success rates vary according to the interventions chosen locally.

Health: Cancer Drugs Fund

Questions

Asked by Lord Clement-Jones

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many medicines will no longer be available through the National Health Service if the current Cancer Drugs Fund arrangements come to an end.[HL1071]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Where a drug is not recommended in a National Institute for Health and Care Excellence technology appraisal, it is for the relevant National Health Service commissioner to make a decision on its funding. Where a drug is not routinely funded, NHS commissioners are required to have in place clear and transparent arrangements for considering applications for funding, including on an exceptional basis.

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Asked by Lord Clement-Jones

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had with the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) about the potential impact on patients’ access to medicines not approved by NICE if the current Cancer Drugs Fund arrangements come to an end.[HL1072]

Earl Howe: We have had no such discussions.

Health: Human Papilloma Virus

Questions

Asked by The Countess of Mar

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency ascertain whether or not there is evidence of long-term illness or pain as a result of the administration of human papilloma virus vaccination; what procedures are in place to investigate reports of more serious adverse reactions; and what actions are taken to follow up such cases at defined periods of time. [HL1198]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has responsibility for the safety of medicines and vaccines in the United Kingdom. In evaluating safety, the MHRA takes account of all available sources of data. This includes evaluation of suspected adverse reactions (ADRs) reported through the Yellow Card Scheme, data from clinical and epidemiological studies, the medical literature and information from pharmaceutical companies and other regulatory authorities. The MHRA takes advice from the Government's independent expert advisory body, the Commission on Human Medicines (CHM), when evaluating the risks and benefits of medicines and vaccines.

The MHRA follows up with reporters of suspected ADRs to obtain relevant clinical details and information on the patient outcome where necessary. As well as assessing the clinical information from individual suspected ADRs, the MHRA also applies statistical methodologies to determine whether or not suspected ADRs may be occurring more frequently than expected and whether or not such reporting may indicate a new safety ‘signal'.

The MHRA has closely evaluated the safety of Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine since introduction in the national immunisation programme in 2008. In September 2012, four years after introduction of Cervarix HPV vaccine in the UK, the MHRA sought advice from the CHM on its evaluation of ADR reports received, which included an evaluation of suspected ADRs involving chronic illness and pain. The CHM advised that no new safety concerns have been identified and the balance of risks and benefits of the vaccine remains positive. Information on the MHRA's review is publicly available via:

www.mhra.gov.uk/HPVvaccine.

The MHRA may also undertake epidemiological studies to evaluate safety. The MHRA has recently undertaken an epidemiological study which found no

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evidence that Cervarix HPV vaccine may be a cause of chronic fatigue syndrome, which is often associated with persistent muscle and joint pain. The findings of this study have been submitted for publication in the medical literature.

As with all vaccines and medicines, the MHRA will continue to keep the safety of HPV vaccines under review, including any reports of chronic illness and pain suspected to be associated with HPV vaccines.

Asked by The Countess of Mar

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many of the reports received by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency of suspected adverse reactions to (1) Cervarix, (2) Gardasil, and (3) unbranded human papilloma virus vaccines, have been considered serious; and what percentage those cases represent of (a) the total number of suspected adverse reactions, and (b) the total number of vaccinations.[HL1199]

Earl Howe: A total of 7,230 suspected Adverse Drug Reaction (ADR) reports with Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccines have been reported to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency via the Yellow Card Scheme up to 26 June 2013. It is important to note that a Yellow Card report is not proof of a side effect occurring, but merely a suspicion by the reporter that the vaccine may have been the cause.

The following table provides a breakdown of these reports by brand and seriousness.

Vaccine BrandTotal number of reportsNumber of serious reports (% of total)

Cervarix

6,237

971 (15.57%)

Gardasil

589

136 (23.09%)

HPV Brand unspecified

404

180 (44.55%)

Total

7,230

1287 (17.80%)

Source:

MHRA Yellow Card Database

Data obtained via Public Health England indicate that since September 2008 more than 6.1 million doses of Cervarix and more than 650,000 doses of Gardasil (introduced in September 2012) have been administered in England.-

Asked by The Countess of Mar

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have discussed with the government of Japan that government’s decision to rescind their recommendation for the administration of Gardasil and Cervarix human papilloma virus vaccines pending the outcome of investigations into the cause of serious adverse events associated with the vaccine.[HL1200]

Earl Howe: The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is aware of the recent temporary suspension of the recommendation for Human papillomavirus (HPV) immunisation in Japan. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is in contact with the Japanese authorities to gather more information. A causal association between the reported adverse events and HPV vaccine has not been established at

2 July 2013 : Column WA202

present and the vaccines remain authorised for use in Japan and continue to be available for those who wish to receive them. The advice from the Japanese authorities is precautionary whilst they gather more data. The MHRA is working closely with the EMA and other European Union regulatory authorities in evaluating this as information becomes available.

Health: Medical Negligence

Questions

Asked by Lord Saatchi

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the current law on medical negligence on scientific discovery in cancer. [HL1026]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Government has not made any assessment of the impact of the current law on medical negligence on scientific discovery in cancer.

Asked by Lord Saatchi

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what advice they offer to doctors about the risks of prosecution for medical negligence if they deviate from standard procedure.[HL1028]

Earl Howe: The Government is not in a position to give legal advice to doctors. The law allows doctors to initiate novel treatments which may require them to deviate from standard procedure, as long as they are done in the best interests of the patient and with patient consent.

Negligence is not set out in statute but is developed through the Courts i.e. it falls under Tort law. The Courts look at a range of facts presented in each case, including acts and omissions to act, and the defendant will need to show they met their duty of care in relation to the individual that has been harmed so as not to have been negligent in breaching the duty.

Met Office

Question

Asked by Lord Donoughue

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the Met Office has set a date by which, in the event of no further increase in global temperatures, it would reassess the validity of its general circulation models. [HL1080]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Baroness Verma): General circulation models developed by the Met Office are continually reassessed against observations and compared against international climate models through workshops and peer reviewed publications. The validity of general circulation modelling has been established for over four decades, as evident in the peer-reviewed literature. Such models are further developed in light of improvements in scientific understanding of the climate system and technical advances in computing capability.

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Short term fluctuations in global temperature do not invalidate general circulation models, or determine timelines for model development. The long term projection remains that the underlying warming trend will continue in response to continuing increases in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases.

NHS: Nurses

Question

Asked by Lord Quirk

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the adequacy of provision of fracture liaison nurses in the National Health Service, and of the distribution of those nurses throughout the country.[HL1188]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Department does not hold this data, as the information collected on nurses via the non-medical workforce census does not separately identify those who would be working in this area. Fracture liaison nurses are not a recognised job title.

Local healthcare organisations, with their knowledge of the patients they serve, are best placed to plan and employ a workforce appropriate to the needs of their patients, based on clinical need and sound evidence. Where changes are planned to the size and shape of the workforce, healthcare organisations must provide assurance that the safety and quality of patient care is maintained or improved. The process should include clinical involvement, leadership and sign off.

Commissioners of services will want to know that their workforce is fit to support the quality of care they want for patients and we are expecting Boards who provide services to publish their staffing numbers for the first time this year.

The NHS Mandate makes it clear that quality of care is as important as quality of treatment. Nursing leaders must ensure that their teams are focused on delivering person-centred, intelligent and compassionate care where the patient's fundamental requirements for daily living have the priority they deserve.

Pensions

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many members of the NHS Superannuation Scheme have, in each of the last five years, had their prospective pensions or actual pension in payment reduced or withdrawn because of conviction for a criminal offence or for bringing the health service into disrepute; and what are their powers in those circumstances. [HL1152]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Six members of the National Health Service Pension Scheme, over the past five years, have had their prospective pensions or actual pension in payment reduced or withdrawn due to conviction for a criminal offence.

2 July 2013 : Column WA204

Year200920102011

NHS Pension Scheme member

3

2

1

The Secretary of State may direct forfeiture of pension benefits under the provisions of the NHS Pension Scheme Regulations 1995/2008—regulation T6 of the 1995 regulations.

Railways: Consultants

Question

Asked by Lord Bradshaw

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how much the Department for Transport has spent with First Class Partnerships in each of the last five financial years, including the cost of secondment of staff to the Department and to Directly Operated Railways. [HL1138]

Earl Attlee: Due to changes in the Department’s accounting systems, reliable information to this level of detail is only available for the last four financial years. This data is set out in the table below and includes spending on First Class Partnerships Ltd by Passenger Focus as well as Directly Operated Railways and the Central Department for Transport.

DfT CentralDirectly Operated RailwaysPassenger Focus

2009/10

£874,029.44

£0

£13,750.31

2010/11

£185,260.62

£0

£0

2011/12

£92,130.00

£17,582.02

£0

2012/13

£37,174.23

£88,647.50

£0

Railways: High Speed 2

Questions

Asked by Lord Berkeley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether HS2 will be subject to the same regulatory oversight by the Office of Rail Regulation as Network Rail; and, if not, what differences are proposed.[HL1127]

Earl Attlee: No final decisions have been made on the regulatory approach for HS2 or the role of the Office for Rail Regulation at this stage. Details of the regulatory structure will be set out in the hybrid Bill that is due to be deposited in Parliament later this year

Asked by Lord Berkeley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the new HS2 train services will be franchised; and whether there will be separation of ownership of train services and HS2 infrastructure.[HL1128]

Earl Attlee: The Department for Transport is currently considering different operating options for the HS2 railway. The London to West Midlands leg of HS2 will not open until 2026. It would not be prudent to make decisions on the operating structure at this early stage.

2 July 2013 : Column WA205

Asked by Viscount Astor

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they will take to avoid loss of ancient woodland during the construction of HS2.[HL1165]

Earl Attlee: By careful design of the route and strict controls during construction we are seeking to reduce, as far as practicable, impacts on ancient woodlands. For example on the Phase One route, the provision of a tunnel at Long Itchington avoids ancient wood and a retained cutting minimises land take at South Cubbington Wood.

Asked by Viscount Astor

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how much ancient woodland they estimate will be lost through the construction of HS2.[HL1166]

Earl Attlee: The Sustainability Summary, published as part of the Phase Two announcement in January 2013 estimates that over both Phase One and Phase Two, a total of 33 ancient woodlands could be directly affected. Assessment is continuing on Phase One through the Environmental Statement and this assessment will continue to be refined up to the deposit of the hybrid Bill later this year. The preferred route for Phase Two has yet to be finalised so these figures will be subject to change.

Railways: High Speed Rail Programme Board

Question

Asked by Lord Berkeley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what are (1) the terms of reference, and (2) the membership, of the High Speed Rail Programme Board.[HL1075]

Earl Attlee: In response to (1), the High Speed Rail (HSR) Board terms of reference state:

“The Secretary of State for Transport and the DfT Principal Accounting Officer have given the High Speed Rail (HSR) Board (“the Board”) overall responsibility for the delivery of the HS2 programme to time, cost and quality.

“This is to include in particular:

1. making recommendations to the Secretary of State on any aspects of the HS2 programme;2. maintaining a comprehensive co-ordinated programme plan and ensuring adherence to it; 3. ensuring risks and issues are appropriately identified, allocated and managed; 4. ensuring that an integrated assurance and approvals plan and appropriate compliance framework is in place;5. considering wider policy issues; and6. considering wider issues on stakeholder management and communications.

“In exercising its responsibilities the Board shall have regard to the respective roles and responsibilities of HS2 Limited, as set out by the Secretary of State, and to the HS2 Group in the Department.

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It shall encourage partnership working between the Company and the Department at all levels.”

In response to (2) the Board is chaired by David Prout, DfT Director-General for High Speed Rail. In addition to the Chair, Board membership comprises:

Douglas Oakervee, Chair of HS2 Ltd; Alison Munro, CEO of HS2 Ltd; Martin Capstick, Director of HS2 Policy, Legislation, and Funding; Jonathan Sharrock, Director of HS2 Strategy and Engagement; Becky Wood, (Acting) Director of HS2 Project Sponsorship, Commercial and Technical; Stephen Park, DfT Group Finance (Interim) Director; Nick Bisson, Rail Strategy and Finance Director; Joe Grice, DfT Chief Economist; Nick Joyce, Director of Commercial and Technical Services; one nominated official from HM Treasury; one nominated official from Infrastructure UK; and the HS2 Project Representative. Other officials attend by invitation for specific items of business.

Railways: Infrastructure

Question

Asked by Lord Berkeley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they will take to maximise the financial contribution to the United Kingdom from the European Union Connecting Europe Facility for transport infrastructure projects; and whether they will pursue funding for (1) the Glasgow–Edinburgh rail link, (2) Manchester–Liverpool rail upgrades and electrification, (3) High Speed 2, (4) an upgrade of the freight line between Birmingham, Reading and Southampton, and (5) transport connections between the port of Felixstowe and the Midlands.[HL1076]

Earl Attlee: The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) Regulation is still being negotiated. The UK and other Member States will have the opportunity to bid for funding on projects as part of a competitive process in response to criteria and timescales set by the European Commission.

Railways: Rolling Stock

Question

Asked by Lord Bradshaw

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what were the reasons for the two-year delay between the announcement of Siemens as the preferred bidder to provide rolling stock for Thameslink and the confirmation of that contract; and what impact the delay has had on the re-use of rolling stock currently on Thameslink on newly-electrified lines.[HL1203]

2 July 2013 : Column WA207

Earl Attlee: The Secretary of State for Transport confirmed on 27 June 2013 that Siemens Plc with Cross London Trains have been awarded a contract of around £1.6 billion to build 1,140 state-of-the-art carriages for use on the Thameslink rail line.

It has taken longer than first planned because this is a novel and complex contract and it was important to get it right. Achieving the financing for the contract has also taken place against a background of challenging market conditions.

The Department for Transport is working with rail industry partners to ensure sufficient rolling stock to operate newly electrified services has been identified and will be available.

Railways: Station Platforms

Question

Asked by Lord Greaves

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether there are proposals to provide seating and shelters for passengers on the newly refurbished platforms at Warrington Bank Quay and Wigan North Western stations.[HL1229]

Earl Attlee: There are no current plans for additional seating/shelters to be provided at Warrington Bank Quay and Wigan North Western stations.

Warrington Bank Quay and Wigan North Western stations are operated by Virgin Trains and are owned by Network Rail.

Rainforests

Question

Asked by Lord Eden of Winton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government in what discussions and meetings they have recently been engaged to consider action to control the destruction of the world's rainforests; with what results; whether additional meetings are planned in the near future; and, if so, with what objectives.[HL1212]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Baroness Verma): We fully recognise the need to tackle global deforestation. Forests contain vast biodiversity, contribute to the livelihoods of billions of people, and—as estimated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its Fourth Assessment Report—forestry accounted for 17% of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2004. To this end we are engaged in many discussions related to tackling deforestation.

At the event on international forests hosted by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales on 29 November 2012, Secretary of State Edward Davey announced our plans for a new investments focused on tackling agricultural drivers of deforestation, working with the private sector and rainforest countries. The UK also committed to work together with Australia, Germany, Norway and USA to improve our coordination of

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REDD+ finance, and accelerate REDD+ delivery, in the context of maintaining a two degrees Celsius climate trajectory. With Colombia we jointly outlined our intention to tackle deforestation and forest degradation, in the context of their ambition for zero deforestation in the Amazon by 2020.

On 11 April, Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker pledged UK support to the Tropical Forests Alliance 2020 (TFA2020), a partnership set up by the Consumer Goods Forum and the US Government to tackle deforestation. We see this as an important opportunity to work together with companies and other governments to identify practical opportunities for more sustainable production methods and supply chains. The TFA2020 met at expert level in Jakarta from the 25-27 June 2013.

At the Forest Science meeting hosted by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales at Clarence House on 8 May 2013, the Secretaries of State Edward Davey and Owen Patterson highlighted the importance of rainforest protection to climate and biodiversity respectively.

As part of on-going policymaking, officials from DECC, DFID and Defra have recently engaged in meetings and discussions on tackling deforestation including:

The World Bank's Forest Carbon Partnership Facility meeting in Washington D.0 18-21 March 2013 where a framework to assess progress on readiness with a view to access the Carbon Fund, as well as to demonstrate commitment to reducing emission from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+), was approved.A workshop on drivers of deforestation, 8-9 April 2013 at The Royal Society, with representatives from other countries and non-governmental organisations. The aim was to increase understanding of the commodity drivers of tropical deforestation and degradation, and public and private sector efforts to address them, and to identify key opportunities for new cross-sectoral collaborations and more effective future interventions.The United Nations Forum on Forests which meets biennially. The 10th UNFF was held in Istanbul in April 2013 and reached agreement on a process for discussing future international arrangements on forestry, and their financing, once the mandate for UNFF expires in 2015.A Germany-led mission along with Norway and the UK on 20-24 May to explore opportunities to work together in Colombia on tackling deforestation, this followed from our commitment to deepen the dialogue on tackling deforestation with Colombia.A consultation at Chatham House on 22 May to discuss a proposition for the Forests and Climate Change programme, with representatives from non-governmental organisations and business.The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations on REDD+ 3-14 June in Bonn. We were involved in discussions which resulted in the substantial progress seen on the methodological issues on drivers of deforestation, safeguard information systems, national forest

2 July 2013 : Column WA209

monitoring systems, monitoring, reporting and verification, and the technical assessment of forest reference levels.The REDD+ Partnership meeting on 15 June in Bonn. We agreed the Partnership work plan for the coming 18 months.The UK participates with the European Commission in on-going negotiation and implementation oversight of bilateral timber trade agreements between major tropical timber trading countries and the EU that aim to strengthen forest governance, including respect for indigenous peoples' rights, and ensure only legally logged timber enters international trade. Recent EU meetings related to negotiations or oversight of EU timber trade agreements, where the UK has been involved, have been held with Indonesia (April 2013), Liberia (May 2013), Republic of Congo (April 2013), Ghana (May 2013) and Guyana (May 2013).

We will continue to engage in discussions and meetings to tackle deforestation at Ministerial and official level. Our ultimate objective for these meetings is to support the EU and UK goal of halving global deforestation by 2020 and halting it by 2030.

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Taxation: Blood Relative Partnerships

Question

Asked by Lord Pearson of Rannoch

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many blood relative partnerships they estimate exist; how much they estimate those partnerships save the taxpayer in care costs; and what estimate they have made of the impact on public funds of giving people in such partnerships the inheritance tax and other tax benefits enjoyed by those in civil partnerships. [HL660]

Lord Newby: The Government has made no estimate of the number of blood relative partnerships, such as parents and children, siblings or cousins living together, that exist. Similarly, the Government has made no estimate of the value of the care services they provide, as there is some debate about how best to put a financial value on carers' contributions, or the cost of extending tax reliefs available to married individuals or those in civil partnerships to this group.