17 July 2013 : Column WA119

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Written Answers

Wednesday 17 July 2013

Agriculture: Genetic Modification

Question

Asked by The Countess of Mar

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what advice on genetic modification, and from whom, the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) sought, and (2) was given, prior to making his statements on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme and his speech at Rothamsted Research on 20 June.[HL1330]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley): The Secretary of State's recent statements and speech were based on a general understanding of a broad and varied range of available evidence on genetically modified (GM) crops, as well as some examples of specific impacts. Ministers receive scientific advice on the safety of proposed GM crops from the independent Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment, and the European Food Safety Authority also provides independent advice on GM products being assessed for possible EU approval.

Agriculture: Genetically Modified Crops

Question

Asked by The Countess of Mar

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of reports of moderate to severe allergic reactions of agricultural workers when exposed only to Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) cotton in Impact of Bt Cotton on Farmers’ Health (in Barwani and Dhar District of Madhya Pradesh) by Ashish Gupta et al.[HL1460]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley): The Government believes that the findings reported in 2006 by Ashish Gupta et al should be treated with some caution. The report is based on interviews with a small number of farm workers and does not support a reliable conclusion that the symptoms described were due to exposure to Bt cotton. This is in a context where Bt cotton has been grown by millions of farmers around the world, including seven million in India alone, and we are not aware of any substantiated evidence of a problem with allergic reactions. A number of studies have indicated that the cultivation of Bt cotton has had a positive effect on the health of farm workers, because it has meant fewer incidents of accidental pesticide poisoning.

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Banking: Remittance Transfers

Question

Asked by Baroness King of Bow

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have received following the decision of Barclays Bank to close the accounts of Dahabshiil Transfer Services Ltd and companies involved in the secure transfer of remittances from the United Kingdom to family members in developing countries; and what action they are taking in response.[HL1375]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton): Following the decision by a number of banks, both nationally and internationally to withdraw banking services from many of the smaller firms in the money service business sector, including the most recent decision by Barclays, ministers and officials have received a number of representations from affected Money Service Businesses and other interested parties.

The Government is committed to supporting a healthy and legitimate remittance sector, and to ensuring that UK citizens are able to continue to remit funds safely to family abroad. As such, work has been underway for some time on addressing and reducing risk in this area but we recognise that there is more to do.

We do not know yet what the impact of market restructuring in this sector will be. The Government is committed to doing everything it can to minimise any negative impact on individuals and businesses in the UK and on developing countries that rely on remittances from abroad.

The Government will assess the impact of market restructuring on developing countries and working with private sector and aid partners to mitigate negative repercussions. We commit to working with all the relevant authorities to look urgently at concerns expressed by several of the UK's leading high street banks around the structural features of the sector and the money laundering and terrorist financing risks this poses to the UK and the global financial system.

Burma

Question

Asked by Baroness Nye

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the British Ambassador to Burma has raised issues concerning the recruitment of underage soldiers with representatives of the government of Burma and its military; and if so, how many times this issue has been raised, and what has been the response of the government of Burma to those concerns. [HL1385]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): Our Ambassador has not raised the issue of child soldiers specifically with the Burmese government or military; however, he frequently

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raises the wide range of human rights issues, including that of forced labour, with senior members of the Burmese government.

I refer the noble lady to my previous answers of 15 July on Burma, Official report, Columns WA78-79.

Children: Sexually Explicit Material

Question

Asked by Baroness Uddin

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is being done to ensure that their work on children's safety on the internet is being relayed to all parents including those who may not be computer literate or have access to a computer.[HL1543]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash): The Government believes that law enforcement organisations, internet industries and charities are best placed to advise parents and children how to stay safe online. That is why the Government is working through the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) which brings together government, internet industries, children and parenting charities and experts to help parents keep their children safe online. Many UKCCIS members such as Vodafone, BT and Microsoft are working with specialists to ensure a wide range of parents, including those that are less technically knowledgeable, can access help and guidance. Projects include BT professionals offering parents sessions on internet safety in schools and Microsoft sponsoring an outreach programme to encourage parents to talk to their children about internet safety. Through UKCCIS, the biggest internet service providers have committed to launch a multi-million awareness campaign aimed at parents in the New Year.

Conflict, Stability and Security Fund

Questions

Asked by Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale

To ask Her Majesty’s Government which activities will be covered under the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund; at what interval those activities will be reported to Parliament; and how the breakdown in spending will be reported to Parliament.[HL1443]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund will support the Building Stability Overseas Strategy.[HL1444]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund will contribute to upstream conflict prevention.[HL1445]

Baroness Northover: The Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) will become operational in Financial Year 2015-16 with a budget of £1billion. The National Security Council will govern the CSSF, bringing a more strategic cross-Government approach to resource allocation to help prevent conflict and tackle the risks to UK interests that arise from instability overseas. It will bring together existing conflict resources

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(the Conflict Pool and the Peacekeeping Budget) with additional resources from across Government.

The CSSF will build on the success of the Conflict Pool, a key resource for delivering the Building Stability Overseas Strategy, by bringing together defence, diplomatic, development, security and intelligence capabilities.

Details of agreed resource allocations and spending priorities will be notified to Parliament. The Cabinet Office is leading a cross-Government project to ensure the new fund and supporting structures implement the National Security Council’s priorities.

Courts: Rolls Building

Question

Asked by Lord Thomas of Gresford

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the facilities in the new Rolls Building of the High Court of Justice for (1) fire safety, (2) sanitation, (3) air conditioning, and (4) court facilities and services.[HL1079]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The Rolls Building is a world leading venue for dispute resolution, and has state of the art facilities. The Ministry of Justice is determined the building will be maintained to the highest standards, and has, to this end, raised a number of minor issues with the landlord in accordance with the terms of the lease and work is planned to resolve these issues shortly.

Regular user meeting and court user surveys are undertaken in the Rolls Building. The building, its facilities and the administration are regular agenda items to ensure that the building continues to operate efficiently.

Education: GCSEs

Question

Asked by Baroness Sharp of Guildford

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, for each year since 2003, (1) how many, and (2) what proportion of, 16 year-olds did not achieve an A* to C grade at GCSE in English and mathematics; and what proportion of those went on to enrol at a further education college.[HL1359]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash): The table below provides estimates of the number and proportion of 16 year olds not achieving an A* to C grade at GCSE in English and mathematics since 2002/2003.

YearNumberProportion

2002/03

343,000

59.7%

2003/04

348,000

58.7%

2004/05

332,000

56.7%

2005/06

329,000

55.1%

2006/07

323,000

53.5%

2007/08

309,000

51.5%

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2008/09

285,000

49.1%

2009/10

266,000

45.3%

2010/11

244,000

42.4%

The proportion of these enrolling at a further education college for the following academic year is shown in the table below.

YearFurther education collegeSchool 6th form6th form collegeOther institution or trainingTotal

2002/03

36.1%

16.5%

5.7%

19.1%

77.5%

2003/04

37.5%

16.3%

5.7%

18.7%

78.1%

2004/05

39.2%

16.2%

5.7%

17.8%

78.9%

2005/06

41.8%

17.2%

5.4%

16.9%

81.3%

2006/07

43.6%

17.6%

5.3%

17.6%

84.1%

2007/08

47.3%

18.4%

5.5%

15.8%

87.0%

2008/09

50.0%

19.9%

5.9%

15.6%

91.4%

2009/10

51.2%

18.5%

5.4%

15.5%

90.7%

2010/11

52.2%

17.6%

5.3%

15.9%

91.0%

The figures relate to young people who were in the state sector in year 11 (15 at the start of the academic year, 31st August).

Education: Missing Children

Question

Asked by Baroness Whitaker

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the revised statutory guidance concerning children missing from education has been published.[HL1501]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash): The Government plans to publish the final statutory guidance on children missing from education in the autumn.

Employed and Self-employed Workers

Questions

Asked by Lord Marlesford

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many people in the United Kingdom are (1) employed, and (2) self-employed.[HL1590]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many people in the United Kingdom (1) over 65, (2) over 70, (3) over 75, and (4) over 80, are (a) employed, and (b) self-employed.[HL1591]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the Authority to reply.

Letter from Glen Watson, Director General for ONS, to Lord Marlesford, dated July 2012.

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Questions asking i) how many people in the United Kingdom are (1) employed. and (2) self-employed

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HL1590 and ii) how many people in the United Kingdom (1) over 65, (2) over 70, (3) over 75, and (4) over 80, are (a) employed. and (b) self-employed. HL1591

The table attached shows Labour Force Survey (LFS) estimates for the period January to March 2013. The estimates for the total number of people employed and self-employed are published in the monthly Labour Market Statistical Bulletin and are provided both on a seasonally adjusted and non-seasonally adjusted basis. The age group breakdowns are only available on a non-seasonally adjusted basis

Estimates of people aged 80 and over are not available. however due to being of insufficient quality as a result of the small sample size.

As with any sample survey. estimates from the LFS are subject to a margin of uncertainty. Indications of the quality of the estimates provided are given in the table.

Thousands, not seasonally adjusted (unless stated)
Total in employment1EmployeeSelf-employed

All aged 65 and over

985*

596**

352**

All aged 70 and over

307**

147***

138***

All aged 75 and over

96***

-****

56***

All aged 80 and over

-****

-****

-****

Total (all aged 16 and over)

29,600*

25,177*

4,166*

Total (all aged 16 and over) (seasonally adjusted)

29,708*

25,280*

4,176*

Source: Labour Force Survey (LFS)

Estimates by age are not mutually exclusive

- Estimates are considered too unreliable for practical purposes

1 Includes, in addition to employees & self-employed, unpaid family workers & those on government supported training & employment programmes who are under 65.

Guide to Quality:

The Coefficient of Variation (CV) indicates the quality of an estimate, the smaller the CV value the higher the quality. The true value is likely to lie within +/- twice the CV - for example, for an estimate of 200 with a CV of 5% we would expect the population total to be within the range 180-220.

KEYCoefficient of Variation (CV) (%)Statistical Robustness

*

0 ≤ CV < 5

Estimates are considered precise.

**

5 = CV < 10

Estimates are considered reasonably precise.

***

10 ≤ CV < 20

Estimates are considered acceptable.

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****

CV ≥ 20

Estimates are considered too unreliable for practical purposes

Employment: Youth Employment

Question

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Freud on 1 July (WA 185), why the Minister for Employment did not raise United Kingdom efforts to tackle youth employment under the Youth Employment Initiative at (1) the ministerial meeting on youth unemployment in Madrid on 19 June, or (2) the European Employment and Social Policy Council meeting in Luxembourg on 20 June.[HL1410]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): Both the ministerial meetings on Youth Unemployment in Madrid, and the European Employment and Social Council in Luxembourg discussed youth unemployment and actions the EU and its Member States could take to address it. The Minister for Employment drew attention to the actions we have been taking, highlighting policies including the Youth Contract and Work Programme.

At the time of the meetings the Local Enterprise Partnerships and the Scottish Government had not yet finalised their approach to implementing the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI). As these are the responsible bodies, no information was available on the implementation on the YEI to share with EU colleagues.

Energy: Electricity and Gas

Question

Asked by Lord Donoughue

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their estimate of the total cost by 2030 of the investments required to achieve their full plan for power and gas generation, including all renewables, connection, transmission, distribution, storage, systems and meters.[HL1485]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Baroness Verma): The 2011 EMR White Paper calculated that up to £110 billion of investment in electricity generation and transmission was likely to be required by 2020 (75 billion could be needed in new electricity generation capacity, and Ofgem's 'Project Discovery' estimated that around an additional £35 billion of investment is needed for electricity transmission and distribution). These figures are in the process of being updated. Investment needs beyond this period are subject to a number of uncertainties and only therefore near term investment needs to 2020 are reported.

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Energy: Fracking

Question

Asked by Lord Greaves

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of their proposal for local communities where fracking takes place to receive £100,000 per well and 1 per cent of the overall revenues, at what stage the payment per well will be made; how the overall revenues will be assessed, at what intervals, and when those payments will be made; how the nature and extent of local communities will be defined; which bodies will be responsible for making the payments; which local persons or bodies will receive and control the payments; and for what purposes the money may be used.[HL1434]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Baroness Verma): The industry has recently published its Community Charter, setting out how it will engage with communities that host shale development, and also proposing to provide communities with £100,000 per well-site at exploration stage, and 1% of any revenues made at production stage.

The Government welcomes this offer from industry, which represents a good deal for communities at this stage in the development of the UK shale industry. We are also pleased that industry has pledged to keep this offer under review, and to consult with communities about it from time to time in the light of operating experience.

The UK Onshore Operators Group plan to publish further details of how the Charter will operate in practice in the Autumn, and they will be engaging with communities and stakeholders as they develop these proposals further.

Energy: Smart Meters

Question

Asked by Lord Harrison

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the recommendations made by the Electrical Safety Council's industry summit white paper in respect of the smart meter roll out. [HL1278]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Baroness Verma): The Government has been working with the Electricity Safety Council (ESC) as part of our commitment to raising awareness of electrical safety issues via the smart meter implementation programme. DECC has also established a stakeholder working group including energy suppliers and network operators which considers operational issues, including safety matters. This group has considered many of the issues raised in ESC’s recent paper and a number of improvements are planned, or have already been implemented by industry. For those issues that fall outside of the scope of the smart

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meter implementation programme, DECC will facilitate discussion with industry and Ofgem to ensure that the issues are understood and seek assurance that those parties who are responsible for resolving them have appropriate plans in place.

Energy: UK Coal

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have any liability in respect of employees and pensioners of UK Coal who previously served in the nationalised coal industry; what UK Coal paid annually to the Pension Protection Fund (PPF); whether PPF's latest accounts show a surplus, and, if so, how much; whether there are plans to increase the levy to meet new liabilities; and how PPF intends to operate any coal mines that come with UK Coal's pension scheme.[HL1377]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): When the British Coal Corporation was privatised in 1994 its two large occupational pension schemes were closed to further contributions and, since that time, Her Majesty’s Government has provided them with solvency guarantees which safeguard the accrued rights of members up to the point of privatisation.

Corporation employees who transferred to private sector employers including, what is now, UK Coal were given the right to join newly established “industry-wide” pension schemes. These schemes stand alone and Government has never had a direct locus in their respect.

The levy paid by an individual scheme for the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) is a matter between that scheme and the PPF. The scheme receives a levy invoice each year. As this information is confidential, it would not be appropriate for me to disclose it. However, the noble Lord may wish to contact the pension scheme directly.

The PPF’s annual report and accounts for 2011/12 show the Fund had total assets of £17,271 million and total liabilities of £16,206 million, providing a reserve of £1,065 million. This figure should be seen in the context of the PPF’s objective to be financially self-sufficient by 2030 and the more challenging environment for pension schemes as a whole.

The pension protection levy estimate for 2013/14 is £630 million. The Board of the PPF will be consulting on the levy for 2014/15 in the autumn.

UK Coal is being restructured and the relevant sections of the industry wide pension schemes are expected to enter the PPF. The PPF will not have any controlling equity in the new company that replaces UK Coal. Instead, the PPF’s interest in the new company will consist of a series of debt instruments. The PPF will not be involved in the day-to-day running of the company.

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EU: Olive Oil

Question

Asked by Lord Pearson of Rannoch

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how United Kingdom representatives voted in the European Union Commission and COREPER on the Commission's proposal to ban the selling of olive oil in restaurants except in sealed non-refillable containers.[HL1519]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley): During negotiations on an amendment to EU marketing standards for olive oil (Commission Regulation no. 29/2012) the Government consistently opposed a new EU requirement for bottles containing olive oil in the catering sector to be non-refillable and non-resealable from 1 January 2014. However, this only formed one element of the proposals which also included improved labelling provisions for consumers and the UK, therefore, abstained in the final vote. Given the support for the proposal from olive oil producing Member States, a vote against the proposal would have had no impact on the outcome.

Subsequent to the vote, common sense prevailed; the EU Agriculture Commissioner announced on 23 May that the proposal would be withdrawn and that he would consult further on the issue before deciding next steps. We await the outcome of those consultations.

Finance: Credit Cards

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the present status and purpose of the Office of Fair Trading investigation into the charges for transactions made using MasterCard and Visa credit cards; when that investigation began; what are the permissible interest rates those companies can charge; and whether they intend to encourage new entrants to the credit card market.[HL1350]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie): The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has an ongoing investigation, under the Competition Act 1998 and Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, into the interchange fee arrangements for UK domestic point-of-sale transactions made using MasterCard/Maestro and Visa consumer payment cards. These are charges paid by the retailer's bank to the bank that issued the payment card. The investigations were opened in May 2004 (Visa) and December 2005 (MasterCard).

The OFT's investigations concern domestic (UK) interchange fee arrangements. Separately, the European Commission has investigated cross-border interchange fees.

The UK Government (with the OFT as lead department) has intervened in support of the European Commission before the Court of Justice of the European Union in the appeal proceedings brought by MasterCard

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against the 2007 decision of the European Commission regarding MasterCard's, including Maestro's, intra-European cross-border interchange fee arrangements. On 24 May 2012, the General Court dismissed MasterCard’s appeal. MasterCard’s further appeal to the Court of Justice was heard on 4 July 2013. The OFT intends to consider whether to issue Statements of Objections in respect of its own investigations following the conclusion of these proceedings.

The interest rates charged to consumers by credit card issuers are not the focus of these investigations. The OFT does not set permissible interest rates payable to credit card issues.

The OFT does not have a remit to encourage new entrants to any particular market. However, it seeks to tackle barriers to entry and anti-competitive behaviour where there is evidence of a problem. In addition to the current investigation, the OFT has conducted reviews of the barriers to entry in retail banking and of payment systems, details of which can he found on its website.

Financial Ombudsman Service

Question

Asked by Lord Martin of Springburn

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Deighton on 4 July (WA 242), when the Financial Ombudsman's Service will reply to Lord Martin of Springburn; and who will reply.[HL1495]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton): The Noble Lord was sent a reply by the Chief Ombudsman Natalie Ceeney on 12 July.

G8

Question

Asked by Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to ensure that the agreement reached at the G8 summit on tax is made mandatory.[HL1380]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton): The purpose of the G8 summit was to achieve the agreement of political leaders on a number of global policy issues. Adherence to these policies is not mandatory and countries can decide whether or not to adopt these policies.

The G8 summit declaration made clear that tax authorities should automatically share information in order to fight tax evasion and we are working closely with our international partners to secure a new global standard in the automatic exchange of tax information.

The G8 leaders provided political support for the ongoing work by the OECD and G20 on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS). The OECD will be presenting their action plan for tackling these issues to the G20 later this month. The action plan will identify actions needed to address BEPS along with deadlines for implementation and resources and methodology for the work.

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The G8 also commissioned the OECD to develop a standardised template for multinational companies to report, to tax authorities, where they make their profits and pay taxes around the world.

Government Departments: Ministerial Meetings

Question

Asked by Baroness Smith of Basildon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when Ministers last met representatives of the Civil Nuclear Police Federation; and when they next intend to do so. [HL1493]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Baroness Verma): The last occasion when Ministers from the Department of Energy and Climate Change met representatives of the Civil Nuclear Police Federation was on 18th July 2012. There are presently no further meetings scheduled.

Health: Research

Questions

Asked by Lord Crisp

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many health research projects based in primary care settings, submitted both by practices and by university departments, have been funded by the National Institute for Health Research.[HL1406]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what proportion of applications to the National Institute for Health Research for the funding of health research based in primary care settings, submitted both by practices and by university departments, are successful. [HL1407]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what proportion of applications to the National Institute for Health Research for the funding of health research based in secondary and tertiary care settings, submitted both by hospitals and by university departments, are successful.[HL1408]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the National Institute for Health Research prioritises funding for research applications submitted by university departments over those submitted by primary care practices.[HL1409]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Department’s National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) does not hold this information in the form requested, and it could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

All NIHR research programmes assess applications against the same criteria irrespective of the care setting. Success depends on the importance of the topic to patients and the National Health Service, value for money and scientific quality.

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Project proposals are typically submitted by a multi-disciplinary—and often multi-professional—team of researchers working in both NHS organisations and universities. Many projects encompass interventions and follow-up within a mix of settings that can include primary, secondary and tertiary care, general and specialist clinics, community settings and other controlled environments such as care homes and prisons.

The NIHR issued a call for research to evaluate health care interventions or services delivered in primary care settings in February 2013. This call is a key component of the NIHR response to recognition of the need for further research-based evidence related to the provision of primary care services in the NHS.

House of Lords: Legislation

Question

Asked by Lord Avebury

To ask Her Majesty’s Government on what occasions Ministers have sponsored legislation to which they have indicated they were personally opposed since May 2010.[HL1555]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: Her Majesty's Government is bound by the principles of collective responsibility. This is set out in the Ministerial Code and requires that Ministers should be able to express their views frankly in the expectation that they can argue freely in private while maintaining a united front when decisions have been reached.

Immigration: Children

Question

Asked by Baroness Doocey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many non-British children were intercepted at Greater London and south-east ports of entry in (1) 2012, (2) 2011, (3) 2010, and (4) 2009.[HL1050]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): In each of the fours years 2009 to 2012, the number of children intercepted and consequently detained at Greater London and the South East ports was as follows:

Year
2009201020112012

Number of children detained

1,985

1,839

1,538

1,386

(1) All figures quoted have been derived from management information and are therefore provisional and subject to change. This information has not been quality assured under National Statistics protocols.

We have taken Greater London and South-East regional ports to mean the following ports: Gatwick, Heathrow, Stansted, Luton, London City, Southend and St Pancras International.

17 July 2013 : Column WA132

Mobile Phones: SIM Cards

Question

Asked by Viscount Waverley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord West of Spithead on 16 July 2007 (WA 4), whether, as part of their plans for tackling organised crime, they will consider compulsory checks for proof of identity to be produced when individuals apply for a pay-as-you-go mobile telephone SIM card.[HL1504]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): We have no plans to introduce compulsory identity checks for the public when purchasing pay-as-you-go mobile telephone SIM cards.

Overseas Aid

Questions

Asked by Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have plans to allocate more United Kingdom development assistance in the form of loans. [HL1382]

Baroness Northover: As the nature of development changes, DFID continues to assess new and existing instruments.

Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the work carried out by UNICEF and other multilateral agencies and non-governmental organisations in relation to children in detention in the developing world; and whether they have any plans to increase the role of the Department for International Development in that area.[HL1510]

Baroness Northover: In 2009, UNICEF estimated that more than one million children worldwide were deprived of their liberty by law enforcement officials (UNICEF, Progress for children, 2009). DFID supports several agencies which work to protect the rights of children in developing countries including those in detention, including UNICEF and the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). While we do not evaluate the performance in this particular area of work of the multilateral organisations to which we provide funding, we do carry out a detailed assessment of their overall effectiveness through the Multilateral Aid Review (MAR) process. Based on the MAR, we seek to ensure that maximum impact is achieved with the funding we provide. DFID works closely with the multilateral agencies to ensure that they take action on identified weaknesses and continue to deliver value for money across programmes.

DFID also works with a number of non-governmental organisations primarily concerned with protecting children, for example Save the Children and War Child. Through War Child, we are helping children in

17 July 2013 : Column WA133

detention centres in Afghanistan through improving the justice system as well as the conditions in the centres. Children are also being assisted to re-connect with their families and local communities when they leave the centres.

DFID does not currently have specific plans to increase its role in the area of children in detention in developing countries.

Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the number of Palestinian refugees living in camps for long periods, what representations they have made with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency about securing additional funds for the higher and further education of school leavers amongst that population.[HL1572]

Baroness Northover: The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) provide a range of services, including vocational training and tertiary education, for Palestine refugees in UNRWA camps. The majority of the UK’s support to UNRWA is channelled through its General Fund, which pays for many of UNRWA’s essential services for refugees. The UK’s contribution to UNRWA’s General Fund will provide, among other things, primary education for over 36,000 refugees a year up to 2015.

We do not currently plan to raise the specific issue of securing additional funds for the higher and further education of school leavers amongst that population. We regularly work with UNRWA and other donors and partners to explore how to best reduce poverty and improve opportunities for Palestine refugees, as well as to improve the Agency’s financial position.

Philippines

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will raise with the government of the Philippines the impact of organised crime on the sexual exploitation of the children in that country.[HL1480]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): Criminal activity with regard to child exploitation in the Philippines tends to be localised and fragmented rather than organised through major crime syndicates. Our Embassy in Manila works very closely with the Philippines government and Philippines law enforcement agencies to help tackle and prevent child exploitation.

The UK’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP), working with our Embassy in Manila, has delivered regular training courses in the Philippines and in the ASEAN region to share our expertise in identifying and preventing child sexual abuse, Senior Philippines government officials and politicians have attended these events. This training has included specialist courses for law enforcement officers and training to help teachers identify the early signs of child abuse so

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that immediate action can be taken to remove victims from abusive relationships. Further funding has recently been approved to allow CEOP to deliver additional training later this year, including on the prevention of cyber abuse.

Police: Civil Nuclear Police Federation

Question

Asked by Baroness Smith of Basildon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many Civil Nuclear Constabulary Police officers are currently on gardening leave on full pay (1) as a direct result of the cessation of policing at Capenhurst, Springfields and Chapelcross, and (2) for other reasons.[HL1494]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Baroness Verma): Following the cessation of Civil Nuclear Constabulary presence at the Capenhurst and Springfields sites, 17 non-Authorised Firearms Officers (non-AFOs) are currently on gardening leave on full pay, in line with their contractual notice periods, awaiting the conclusion of the Civil Nuclear Police Authority’s consultation with the affected officers. There are no other CNC officers on gardening leave for other reasons. Formal consultation on redundancy for a further 7 non-AFOs at the Chapelcross site will commence ahead of the cessation of CNC protection later this month.

Police: Women Recruits

Questions

Asked by Baroness Uddin

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps if any are being considered to increase the number of police women recruits from minority communities. [HL1540]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what progress has been made to increase the number of police women from Muslim communities.[HL1541]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): Police forces that reflect the communities they serve are crucial to cutting crime in a modern diverse society. While the police workforce is more representative in terms of gender and ethnicity than it has ever been, there is still much more to be done, and under-representation of Black and Minority Ethnic women officers is a particular challenge that needs to be addressed.

Police forces themselves must take active steps on these issues, in discussion with their Police and Crime Commissioners and their local communities, and with the support of the College of Policing. The Government is working with forces and the College to ensure that the positive action provisions of the Equality Act 2010 are used effectively to improve recruitment from under-represented groups in the police workforce.

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Sudan

Questions

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the answer by Lord Wallace of Saltaire on 9 July, what assessment they have made of the new Amnesty International satellite imagery and eyewitness testimonies relating to the Sudanese military's activities against the Nuba people in South Kordofan and Blue Nile.[HL1488]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): We are very concerned over recent reports from Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, including Amnesty International's June 2013 report, which detail the upsurge in conflict in recent months. We have made it clear to the Government in Sudan, and the Sudanese People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), that the conflict is having an unacceptable impact on civilians who need to be protected.

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the answer by Lord Wallace of Saltaire on 9 July, when the situation in South Kordofan and Blue Nile was last raised in the United Nations Security Council.[HL1489]

Baroness Warsi: The United Nations Security Council discuss Sudan and South Sudan on a fortnightly basis. The situation in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile was raised in the most recent consultations on II July 2013. In addition to this, the Noble Lady, the right hon the Baroness Amos, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, covered the humanitarian Situation in those areas in her briefing to the Council on 20 June.

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the answer by Lord Wallace of Saltaire on 9 July, whether they support the extension of the current arms embargo on Darfur to cover the whole of Sudan.[HL1490]

Baroness Warsi: The UK fully supports the EU arms embargo which covers the whole of Sudan. We would consider any proposal to extend the current UN arms embargo on Darfur.

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the answer by Lord Wallace of Saltaire on 9 July, whether they are collecting first-hand witness accounts to establish the truth about the alleged genocide and crimes against humanity in South Kordofan and Blue Nile; and, if not, why not.[HL1491]

Baroness Warsi: The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague). made it

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clear that at the start of the conflict that the situation in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile deserves a Full and credible independent investigation. We continue to believe that is the right course to take when circumstances and access allow it.

Waste Management: Toxic Chemicals

Question

Asked by The Countess of Mar

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the effectiveness of the design of statutory risk assessment procedures in both the United Kingdom and the European Union in detecting chronic sub-clinical effects such as endocrine disruption caused by low-level exposure to toxic chemicals. [HL1329]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley): The human health risk assessments performed for chemicals in the UK and European Union are in line with internationally accepted procedures; for example, those described by the World Health Organisation. For substances such as pesticides, extensive animal study data sets are required, including chronic/carcinogenicity and reproduction studies. A full range of end points is routinely examined, including sub-clinical effects. Acceptable exposure for humans is determined by dividing by a factor of 100 (or more), a dose that produces no effect in the most sensitive animal study. Due to the large number of general chemicals addressed by the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation & restriction of Chemicals (REACH) Regulation (EC No. 1907/2006), a tiered testing approach is undertaken. More extensive data are required for those substances produced or imported in the greatest amounts.

Recent publications in the scientific, peer reviewed literature indicate that this approach is as applicable to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDs) as it is to other classes of chemicals. This is supported by the recent Opinion of the Scientific Committee of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA Journal 2013;11(3):3132), which stated that ‘EDs can therefore be treated like most other substances of concern for human health and the environment’. The studies that are required to be undertaken for regulatory purposes are expected to identify any compounds that act on endocrine sensitive tissues or hormonally controlled physiological processes. Any such effects are considered as part of the overall risk assessment.

Young People: Drugs

Question

Asked by Baroness Uddin

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what programmes or initiatives are in place to tackle the numbers of juveniles who are engaged in the selling of drugs in the east London area.[HL1539]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): The Government has devolved responsibility for the commissioning of

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crime prevention and community safety programmes to locally elected Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) and to the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) in London. It is therefore for PCCs to decide whether young people's involvement in crime such as drug dealing is a priority for their local area.

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The Government provides a number of different funding streams, such as the Community Safety Fund, which PCCs may use to deliver prevention and diversionary activities aimed at young people engaged in or at risk of becoming involved in gangs and youth violence, which is often connected to drug dealing.