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Written Answers

Thursday 4 July 2013

Aviation: A320 Aircraft

Question

Asked by Lord Moonie

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how much launch aid was provided for the A320 aircraft; what are the sales royalties that have been received to date; and what further royalties are expected, over what timescale.[HL1237]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie): Her Majesty’s Government provided £249.3 million in a repayable loan for the design and development of the wing for the A320 aircraft. The loan is being repaid through royalties when the aircraft are delivered by Airbus to their customers.

As with all HMG’s Repayable Launch Investments, the details of the terms, including the timescales of the expected future royalties, are commercially confidential.

Badgers

Question

Asked by The Countess of Mar

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what has been the cost of repairing damage done to roads, railway property and to waterways by badgers in the last five years.[HL1202]

Earl Attlee: The Department for Transport does not hold information on the costs of repairing damage caused by badgers on the road network, railway property or waterways.

Caste Discrimination

Questions

Asked by Lord Avebury

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what research they have commissioned from the Equality and Human Rights Commission on caste discrimination; what relevance any such research has to the implementation of changes to the Equality Act 2010 agreed by Parliament during the last Session; and whether they will place an account of any such research in the Library of the House.[HL590]

Baroness Stowell of Beeston: The Government and the Equality and Human Rights Commission are in discussion about the Commission undertaking research into key aspects of the prospective legislation on caste discrimination. The Commission has a role as a National Human Rights Institution and regulator of equality law to consider the effectiveness and likely effect of the proposed change of law.

Any published documents resulting from this research will be placed in the Library of the House.

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Asked by Lord Avebury

To ask Her Majesty’s Government by what date they have asked the Equality and Human Rights Commission to complete and report on the research they have asked it to undertake on caste discrimination; and whether they intend to delay implementation of changes to the Equality Act 2010 agreed by Parliament during the last Session until after they have received the Equality and Human Rights Commission report on this work.[HL591]

Baroness Stowell of Beeston: As was recognised in the Parliamentary debates on caste during the passage of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill, the changes to the Equality Act 2010, in regards to caste, need to be properly researched and consulted on. This process will inevitably take some time. We expect to be in a position to outline the timetable for it before the summer recess.

Children: Self-harming

Questions

Asked by Lord Touhig

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many children under the age of 18 were admitted to hospital as a result of self-harm in (1) 2012, and (2) 2013 to date.[HL1055]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the relationship between levels of self-harm among young people and access to websites promoting self-harm.[HL1056]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The numbers of admissions to hospital of children aged 0-17 where the primary diagnosis was deliberate self-harm in each month of 2011-12 and 2012-13 are shown in the following table. Data for 2012-13 is provisional. It should be noted that the figures relate to admissions and not necessarily to numbers of children as some children may have been admitted more than once.

Month2011-122012-13

April

1,063

1,117

May

1,257

1,309

June

1,182

1,157

July

1,037

1,086

August

816

794

September

1,048

1,103

October

1,113

1,338

November

1,150

1,368

December

871

1,010

January

1,282

1,428

February

1,110

1,299

March

1,302

Not yet available

Source:

Hospital Episode Statistics (HES), The NHS Information Centre for health and social care.

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The Government is committed to preventing self-harm and suicide. Preventing suicide in England: A cross-government outcomes strategy to save lives was published on 10 September 2012. The new strategy – the first in more than 10 years – reflects concerns about misuse of the internet to promote suicide and suicide methods, and the Government’s commitment to continue working with the internet industry in the United Kingdom to keep young people safe online and to promote access to positive support for suicidal people. Similar concerns apply to websites promoting other harmful behaviours such as self-harm and eating disorders.

In January 2013 the Minister of State for Care Services met with internet security companies, charities and other Government departments to explore how to protect children and young people from harmful internet content related to suicide, self-harm and eating disorders.

He encouraged the security companies, such as McAfee and Symantec, to work collaboratively with interest groups (including BEAT) and internet service providers to sign up to a concordat that would help to speed up the process for reporting harmful content and the blocking of harmful websites by parental controls. They gave him positive assurances that they would explore such a concordat. The Government would be willing to facilitate and support such an initiative however we can.

The UK Council for Child Internet Safety is already making parental controls more accessible so that parents can control children’s access to harmful content.

Communications Data

Question

Asked by Lord Strasburger

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what extra powers they intend to provide to GCHQ under a Communications Data Bill to collect and store internet communications over and above those powers already in use in order to fill the capability gap identified by Home Office witnesses to the Joint Committee which scrutinised the draft Communications Data Bill. [HL1216]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): The draft Communications Data Bill published in June 2012 provided for the Secretary of State to oblige individual communications service providers to retain certain communications data for up to 12 months, with access to that data granted to public authorities only on a case by case basis where necessary and proportionate.

Her Majesty's Gracious Speech on 8 May stated: “In relation to the problem of matching internet protocol addresses, my Government will bring forward proposals to enable the protection of the public and the investigation of crime in cyberspace”.

The Government is continuing to look closely at this issue and will bring forward proposals in due course.

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Equality Act 2010

Question

Asked by Lord Avebury

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to launch the consultation on the implementation of changes to the Equality Act 2010 agreed by Parliament during the last Session before Parliament rises for the summer recess. [HL592]

Baroness Stowell of Beeston: The Government and the Equality and Human Rights Commission are in discussion about the Commission undertaking research into key aspects of the prospective legislation on caste discrimination. The Commission has a role as a National Human Rights Institution and regulator of equality law to consider the effectiveness and likely effect of the proposed change of law.

Any published documents resulting from this research will be placed in the Library of the House.

Financial Ombudsman Service

Question

Asked by Lord Martin of Springburn

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many complaints are currently awaiting appeal to the Financial Ombudsman; and what was the average length of time taken for an appeal to be heard in 2012–13.[HL1044]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton): This is a matter for the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). This question has been passed on to the FOS. The FOS will reply to the Noble Lord directly by letter. A copy of the response will be placed in the Library of the House.

Gaza

Question

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the Department for International Development’s programme on environmental protection includes investigating metal contamination of land from munitions dropped in Gaza and Fallujah.[HL1191]

Baroness Northover: DfID has a £30m global mine action programme transforming the lives of millions of people to live free from the fear from landmines and explosive remnants of war in eight countries worldwide. DfID funds a mine action programme in the Shatt al Arab District in southern Iraq which will clear an estimated 5,250 explosive remnants of war. The programme does not cover Gaza.

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Health: Osteoporosis

Question

Asked by Lord Quirk

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they will take to ensure that future plans for the National Health Service provide for year-on-year increases in osteoporosis services to match the predicted increases in the longevity of the population. [HL1187]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Through our Mandate to the National Health Service, we have asked NHS England to make measurable progress towards making the NHS among the best in Europe at supporting people with on-going health problems, such as osteoporosis, to live healthily and independently, with much better control over the care they receive. The NHS Outcomes Framework sets out the outcomes and corresponding indicators that will be used to hold NHS England to account.

Local clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are responsible for commissioning services for patients with musculoskeletal conditions, including osteoporosis, and will commission services for their population based on an assessment of local need. CCGs will work closely with public health colleagues in this assessment to consider the levels of expected disease prevalence and will plan services accordingly.

House of Lords: All-party Groups

Question

Asked by Lord Shutt of Greetland

To ask the Chairman of Committees what steps have been taken in the House of Lords following the report of the Speakers' Working Group on All-Party groups, published on 11 June 2012. [HL1048]

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Sewel): The report of the Working Group was published on the Parliamentary website on 11 June 2012 (http://www. parliament.uk/business/news/2012/june/speakers- publish-working-group-report-on-all-party-groups/). The regulation and registration of All-Party Groups (APGs) are managed by the House of Commons, and the House of Commons has rules which formally recognise APGs. The House of Lords does not give any such recognition to APGs, and plays no major role in their regulation.

As the regulation of APGs lies with the House of Commons, the two Speakers agreed that Mr Speaker would write to the Standards and Privileges Committee of the House of Commons asking them to look into the matter further. On 22 November 2012 the Standards and Privileges Committee sent Mr Speaker its preliminary views. These have now been published on the Parliamentary website:

http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees/standards-and-privileges/ANNEX%20 to%20APG%20Press%20Notice.pdf

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The House of Commons Standards and Privileges Committee was subsequently split into two separate committees, and on 13 December 2012 the new Standards Committee was appointed, containing three lay members. On 31 January 2013 the Standards Committee launched an inquiry into APGs and published a call for evidence on the Parliamentary website:

http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/standards/news/inquiry-into-all-party-groups/

In parallel the House of Commons Administration Committee has carried out a review of the provision of passes to APGs and their access to facilities. The two Committees have been consulting throughout this process and the Administration Committee has now submitted its findings to the Standards Committee as written evidence. It has also sent its recommendations to Mr Speaker, as the arbiter on access to the House of Commons estate, to review with the House of Commons Commission.

The inquiry by the House of Commons Standards Committee is still ongoing.

Millennium Development Goals

Questions

Asked by Baroness Goudie

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of UNESCO's recent paper concluding that progress towards Millennium Development Goal 2 is too slow.[HL1218]

Baroness Northover: Increased urgency is required by the international community in order to meet Millennium Development Goal 2. International effort should focus on reaching the most vulnerable, increasing rates of school completion and improving learning outcomes.

The UK Government is playing its part; we have promised to support, by 2014, at least 9 million children in primary school, over half of whom will be girls, and 2 million children in secondary school. We will also help to train 190,000 teachers to help children to be able to learn.

Asked by Baroness Goudie

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the illustrative goal 3 "to provide quality education and lifelong learning" proposed by the United Nations High Level Panel on Post-2015 Development.[HL1220]

Baroness Northover: The UK Government welcomes the recommendations contained within the High Level Panel’s report, which are bold and inspiring but also practical and realistic.

We particularly welcome the prominence of education in the report and the goal on illustrative education, which builds on Millennium Development Goal 2. Access to good quality basic education for all should remain the focus post-2015, but with a stronger emphasis on gender equality, learning outcomes and transition to post-primary education.

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Overseas Aid

Questions

Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the European Union’s grant of 75 million euros for assistance to refugees in Lebanon; and how much of that sum is allocated to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees respectively.[HL1087]

Baroness Northover: The UK is lobbying the international community at every opportunity to step up their funding for those affected by the crisis in Syria. Given the rapidly increasing needs in the region, DfID welcomes all contributions to the Syrian humanitarian appeal. Information on European Union commitments can be found at http://www.ec.europa.eu/echo/files/aid/countries/factsheets/syria_en.pdf

Asked by Lord Boateng

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the level of sustained long-term investment in agriculture necessary to eliminate hunger and reduce poverty in Africa.[HL1207]

Baroness Northover: The UK Government reviews independent assessments of the required level of investment in agriculture with interest but does not believe public investment in agriculture is sufficient to eliminate hunger or reduce poverty sustainably. The Government believes long-term progress on tackling hunger and reducing poverty in Africa requires sustained, broad-based economic growth that creates jobs, raises incomes and reduces the price of nutritious food. This will depend on increased public and private investment in agriculture as well as in other sectors, improved governance and many other factors.

Asked by Baroness Goudie

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of reductions in donor development aid for basic education; and what plans they have to use their position as the largest bilateral donor to the sector to influence other donors to reverse that decline.[HL1219]

Baroness Northover: As the largest bilateral donor to basic education the UK is playing its part; we have pledged to support 9 million children in primary school and 2 million in secondary school by 2014. In addition, the DfID Girls’ Education Challenge will support up to an additional 1 million of the world’s poorest girls, to complete their education. We continue to work with our donor partners—both new and emerging— to encourage them to fulfil their commitments on education.

Piracy

Question

Asked by Lord Marlesford

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether insurance companies that make ransom payments in respect of incidents of piracy are required to make a Suspicious Activity Report before doing so. [HL1149]

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): Although it is not an offence in UK law to pay a ransom in piracy cases, the Government counsels strongly against doing so, as making concessions only encourages further criminal activity.

Under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, if an individual knows or suspects they are dealing with criminal property and if they wish to obtain a statutory defence for carrying out that activity they should submit a Suspicious Activity Report to the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) and obtain consent. To obtain the consent of SOCA, they need to provide SOCA with sufficient information for a properly informed consent decision to be taken.

In circumstances where consent was not sought when it should have been, it is exclusively a matter for the independent prosecution authorities to consider whether a criminal offence has been committed in each case on its merits, and to apply the tests of evidential sufficiency and public interest as set out in the Code for Crown Prosecutors.

Railways: Consultants

Question

Asked by Lord Bradshaw

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their latest estimate of the cost incurred in the use of consultants in the procurement for the InterCity Express programme.[HL1204]

Earl Attlee: The latest estimate of total costs incurred by the Department for Transport at the end of the financial year 2012/13 for the use of consultants in the procurement of the Intercity Express Programme since 2005 is £32.34 million.

Rolls Royce: Trent Engines

Question

Asked by Lord Moonie

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how much launch aid has been given to Rolls Royce and other United Kingdom companies for the development of the Trent engine; and what sales royalties are expected to be received, over what timescale. [HL1236]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie): Her Majesty’s Government is committed to provide up to £450 million in repayable loans for the design and development of Trent engines. The loans are being repaid through levies or royalties when the engines are delivered by Rolls-Royce to their customers. No other UK company received Repayable Launch Investment for the development of the Trent engine.

As with all HMG’s Repayable Launch Investments, the details of the terms, including the timescales of the expected future royalties, are commercially confidential.

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Schools: Funding

Question

Asked by Lord Greaves

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what are the amounts per pupil being paid to schools under the national funding formulae in each local authority in the current year.[HL1228]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash): The Department has not yet implemented a national funding formula. The Chancellor of the

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Exchequer confirmed, in his statement to Parliament on 26 June 2013, that the Government will consult on how best to introduce a national funding formula in 2015-16.

The budgets allocated to each local authority for financial year 2013 to 2014 can be found on the Department’s website1.

1

http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/adminandfinance/ financialmanagement/schoolsrevenuefunding/a00218077/funding-settlement-2013-14