Defence Agreements

Question

Asked by Lord Avebury

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will publish a list of the United Kingdom’s defence agreements indicating which of them are published in full, and stating the criteria used in deciding not to publish the others.[HL2165]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): No formal distinction is made between treaties and agreements, which are both regarded as legally binding under international law. In common with other international treaties, the texts of bilateral defence treaties are routinely published and laid before Parliament as Command Papers once they have entered into force for the United Kingdom. Treaties that require ratification are additionally laid before Parliament for scrutiny under Part 2 of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010 (which replaced the earlier non-statutory “Ponsonby Rule”). Records of all treaties signed and/or ratified by the United Kingdom are maintained by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, details of which can be found at: http://treaties.fco.gov.uk/treaties/treaty.htm on the gov.uk website. Original signed treaties binding on the United Kingdom are held in the National Archives.

Defence: Sharing Defence Spectrum

Question

Asked by Lord Clement-Jones

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what consideration the Ministry of Defence has given to the possibility of releasing and sharing its access to 1427–1452 MHz spectrum with programme-making and special events users, and what assessment they have made of the impact that would have.[HL2178]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The Ministry of Defence (MOD) is conducting technical assessments in several military frequency bands to consider the feasibility

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of sharing access with other users. 1427–1452 MHz is one of the bands to be investigated in due course. Until this technical assessment is complete no decision can be made on whether the band can be shared, what technology is compatible and under what terms sharing can be accomplished. The MOD will release a statement once the technical co-existence study on the 1427–1452 MHz band has been completed.

Energy: Biofuels

Questions

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what further action they plan to take to support the production of biofuels from used cooking oil.[HL2199]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the quantity of biofuels made from virgin oil used in the United Kingdom. [HL2200]

Earl Attlee: We amended the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) in December 2011 to provide extra support to biofuels made from waste feedstocks, including used cooking oil, by awarding two Renewable Transport Fuel Certificates (RTFCs) per litre.

We are currently assessing the available data and other evidence regarding the impact of these and other changes made to the RTFO in a post implementation review. We will shortly be asking suppliers to input to that review, including providing views on the effectiveness of double counting biofuels made from waste.

The latest statistics for year 5 of the obligation (15 April 2012 to 14 April 2013) provide the volume of sustainable biofuel supplied by feedstock and are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/226038/rtfo-2012-13-year_5-report-4.xls. This provisional data suggests that around 2% of biofuel supplied under the RTFO was made from virgin oils.

Financial Conduct Authority

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the technical competence of the Financial Conduct Authority in understanding algorithmic strategies.[HL2172]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton): The Financial Conduct Authority has been at the forefront of the international regulatory debate on algorithmic trading. As outlined in written evidence to the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards (December 2012), the FCA has undertaken extensive work on highly automated trading firms in recent years. The FCA has also been actively involved in the development of UK policy in relation to the new regulatory framework for algorithmic trading which forms part of the revision of the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive, currently under negotiation.

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Georgia

Question

Asked by Lord Ashcroft

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the statement in August 2013 by the International Young Democrat Union on recent political developments in Georgia.[HL2222]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): The Government is aware of the statement made by the International Young Democrat Union.

There have been reports of violence between supporters of the ruling and opposition parties in the municipalities of Georgia. We condemn the violence which occurred in Tbilisi on 17 May 2013, and joined EU partners in issuing a statement to this effect on 20 May 2013. We have also underlined to the Georgian government the need to ensure that all prosecutions are transparent, evidence-based, and follow the rule of law.

In our contacts with both sides, we continue to encourage the parties to co-operate during the current political cohabitation, and to facilitate the conduct of free and fair presidential elections in October. Our embassy in Tbilisi will be observing the presidential elections, which take place on 27 October 2013.

Housing

Question

Asked by Baroness Quin

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many tenants in social housing for each local authority in the United Kingdom have been reported, since 1 April, to be in rent arrears for the first time; and what proportion of those are subject to the under-occupancy charge.[HL2092]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): Statistics are published annually on the total value of local authority social housing rent arrears, and were most recently published on my Department’s website for 2011-12: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/73210/lahs-data-returns-for-2011-12.xls (Tab H of the spreadsheet).

Data for 2012-13 will be available at the end of this year.

The 2012 Global Accounts of Housing Providers, published by the social housing regulator in March 2013, show that current private registered providers’ tenant arrears at the end of the 2011-12 financial year were 4.8% in England. This is an improvement in performance on arrears compared to 2010-11, when they were 5.1%. The overall financial performance of the sector has also improved compared to the year before. The regulator will publish the Global Accounts for 2012-13 in spring 2014.

The Department does not collect official statistics on how many social housing tenants were in arrears for the first time nor on any notional sub-classification based on welfare reform.

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Ian Brady

Questions

Asked by Lord Campbell-Savours

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what were the total legal costs incurred by the National Health Service in connection with the Mental Health Tribunal for Ian Brady.[HL2123]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Mental Health Tribunal is part of the legal system and patients detained under the Mental Health Act 1983 are entitled to one at least every three years. Patients are entitled to legal representation. The trust is also legally represented.

The total legal costs incurred by Mersey Care NHS Trust in connection with the Mental Health Tribunal for Ian Brady amounted to £181,699.75.

All decisions around the procurement of legal advice are made by Mersey Care NHS Trust.

Asked by Lord Campbell-Savours

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the total cost of the legal aid fees in connection with the Mental Health Tribunal for Ian Brady.[HL2124]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government which legal firms received payments from public funds in connection with the Mental Health Tribunal for Ian Brady; and how much each received.[HL2125]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): Two firms of solicitors have represented Mr Ian Brady leading up to and during his Mental Health Tribunal hearing earlier this year. Initially, his case was handled by RMNJ Solicitors, but was subsequently taken over by Scott-Moncrieff and Associates Ltd.

The Legal Aid Agency has only received a bill from RMNJ Solicitors. The total amount paid to this firm was £92,363 (inclusive of VAT), which includes payments to experts and counsel. Scott-Moncrieff and Associates Ltd have yet to submit their bill in this matter.

The LAA is legally bound to cover the costs of legal aid for eligible cases. The funding for Mr Brady’s tribunal was managed by a specialist team within the LAA, who were best placed to ensure that costs in this case were carefully controlled.

Judicial Review

Question

Asked by Baroness Scotland of Asthal

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how the proposal in the Ministry of Justice consultation outlining the necessity of granted permission for judicial review applications will ensure the accountability of public bodies.[HL2224]

Lord Newby: The Government has carefully considered the responses to the consultation Transforming Legal Aid: Delivering AMore Credible And Efficient System and has published the response Transforming Legal Aid: Next Steps, available at: https://consult.justice.gov. uk/digital-communications/transforming-legal-aid-next-steps.

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We remain of the view that taxpayers should not be expected to pay the legal bills for a significant number of weak judicial review cases which are not permitted by the court to proceed at the permission stage. This doesn’t just cost the legal aid fund, it also means more costs for the courts in considering applications and for public authorities in defending proceedings.

However, the Government has listened to concerns raised by a number of respondents who argued that the original proposal not only targets weak judicial review cases but would also unfairly affect meritorious cases where permission is not granted simply because the case concludes prior to consideration by the court. The revised proposal seeks to address this concern.

We are therefore consulting on a further proposal in which providers would not be paid unless granted permission, subject to discretionary payment in certain cases which conclude prior to a permission decision without a costs order or agreement. We continue to believe that it is important to make legal aid available for most judicial review cases, to ensure access to a mechanism which enables persons to challenge and hold to account decisions made by public authorities which affect them. Legal aid will remain available to enable such challenges under our proposals.

The further proposal is set out in a separate consultation paper on judicial review available at: https://consult. justice.gov.uk/digital-communications/judicial-review.

Local Government: Procurement

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the procurement processes in local government and the value for money that such processes deliver.[HL2195]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): Some councils have made significant progress in simplifying their processes and reducing disproportionate qualification criteria from their tenders. But many councils are still adopting overly bureaucratic procurement processes.

My department is working with the department of Business, Innovation and Skills, the Cabinet Office and the Local Government Association to look at what more councils can do to get best value from their procurement of construction projects. We will shortly be undertaking a significant consultation on procurement reforms across the whole public sector, which follows on from Lord Young’s report, Growing Your Business, to simplify and standardise the bidding, payment and advertising of contracts, and remove the complexity, cost and inconsistency of public sector procurement processes.

Migration Watch UK

Question

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

To ask Her Majesty’s Government on how many occasions (1) the Home Secretary, (2) the Minister of State for Immigration, (3) the Minister of State for Policing and Criminal Justice, (4) the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Crime and Security,

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(5) the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Criminal Information, (6) the Minister of State for Crime Prevention, and (7) any of the above Ministers’ advisers or officials, have met representatives of Migration Watch UK to date, since May 2010. [HL2134]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): Home Office Ministers and officials have meetings with a wide variety of international partners, as well as organisations and individuals in the public and private sectors, as part of the process of policy development and delivery. Details of Ministerial meetings with external organisations and individuals are passed to the Cabinet Office on a quarterly basis and are subsequently published on the Cabinet Office website which is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/ministers-hospitality-gifts-travel-and-meetings-2012-2013.

NHS: General Practitioners

Question

Asked by Lord Sharkey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what mechanisms are in place to ensure that general practitioners are aware of developments in medical treatments and medical science; and what measures there are of the levels of such awareness.[HL2159]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Medical revalidation, which commenced in December 2012, requires all doctors with a licence to practise medicine in the United Kingdom to provide evidence, through their annual appraisals, of how they have kept their knowledge and skills up to date, including the latest techniques, technologies and research.

General practitioners (GPs) have to demonstrate that they are actively maintaining their skills through continual professional development and are aware of new clinical guidelines which are regularly published by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and disseminated to GPs.

Nutrition: Health Food Products

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have investigated (1) the method by which the products of Herbal Life are sold in the United Kingdom, and (2) the manufacturing standards and safety of Herbal Life products; and whether they have had any communication with overseas regulators or authorities on those matters.[HL2174]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Methods of selling products to consumers are regulated under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. The Regulations are not enforced by central Government and any investigation into sales practices would be for the appropriate enforcement

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authorities; local authority Trading Standards Officers and the Office of Fair Trading. The Office of Fair Trading has confirmed that it has not investigated these sales practices.

Similarly, any investigation of this company or its activities in the United Kingdom in relation to the manufacturing or safety of its products would be carried out under food law by local authority Trading Standards and Environmental Health officers. The Government has not had any communication with overseas regulators or authorities on this matter. Local authorities liaise with other enforcement bodies and international counterparts as appropriate.

Overseas Aid

Questions

Asked by Lord Moonie

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what proportion of United Kingdom overseas aid they estimate is diverted from its intended purpose due to corruption. [HL2155]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what proportion of United Kingdom overseas aid they consider not to have a sufficient audit trail leading to its intended final use.[HL2156]

Baroness Northover: DFID has strong systems and processes in place to ensure that its aid reaches those for whom it was intended and that the risk of losses through fraud, corruption or other misappropriation is minimised or mitigated. These processes include Fiduciary Risk Assessments and other due diligence requirements. DFID will not provide financial support unless it is satisfied that any risks have been identified and appropriate safeguards put in place. Any allegations of loss are rigorously investigated and recovery of proven losses pursued. Net losses are published in our annual accounts; the latest accounts published for 2012-13 showed losses of £1.2 million on a total budget of £7.9 billion.

Prisoners: Women

Question

Asked by Lord Beecham

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many women prisoners are currently held in segregation units.[HL2168]

Lord Newby: Responsibility for the use, management and monitoring of segregation and data on segregation is primarily a matter for the Governor of the prison with routine oversight of segregation procedures provided by the Independent Monitoring Board for the prison and external scrutiny by Ministry of Justice audit and HM Inspectorate of Prisons. For this reason the information requested is not collected centrally on a routine basis.

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However, officials will contact individual establishments in the female prison estate in order to obtain this information and I will write when these enquiries have been completed.

Railways: Public Funds

Question

Asked by Lord Moonie

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, for each of the last five years, what proportion of the costs of running the railway in the United Kingdom is provided by public funds; and what figures they forecast for each of the next five years.[HL2157]

Lord Newby: Details of historic funding for the railway are published annually by the Office of Rail Regulation on their data portal which can be viewed on their website at: http://dataportal.orr.gov.uk/ browsereports/1.

Public funding for the railway for the next 5 years was set out in the Government’s High Level Output Specification Statement which was published in July 2012. This can be viewed on the .gov.uk website at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/high-level-output-specification-2012.

Royal Navy: Ships

Questions

Asked by Lord West of Spithead

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Astor of Hever on 5 August (HL1935), how many (1) aircraft carriers, (2) destroyers, (3) frigates, (4) mine countermeasure vessels, (5) survey ships, (6) landing ships, and (7) Royal Fleet Auxiliary tankers, they have withdrawn from service since 2010; and how many (a) Royal Fleet Auxiliary tankers, and (b) 45-foot patrol craft, they have ordered since 2010.[HL2147]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): I refer the noble Lord to the answer I gave him on 5 August 2013 (Official Report, col. WA334). Over the same period, four Royal Fleet Auxiliary tankers and six 15-metre police boats have been ordered. Planning and design work is in advanced stages for the new Type 26 global combat ship.

Asked by Lord West of Spithead

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Astor of Hever on 5 August (HL1936), whether the three River Class Offshore Patrol Vessels they have purchased are the same vessels the Royal Navy previously operated under lease.[HL2148]

Lord Astor of Hever: I can confirm that the three River Class Offshore Patrol Vessels purchased in 2012, HMS Tyne, Severn and Mersey, are the same vessels previously operated under lease by the Royal Navy.

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Sudan and South Sudan

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what progress has been made in (1) implementing agreements between Sudan and South Sudan, and (2) the cessation of attacks in Blue Nile and South Kordofan and unrest in Jonglei, following the United Nations Security Council statement on 23 August.[HL2183]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): We welcome the meeting that took place between the Presidents of Sudan and South Sudan in Khartoum on 3 September, during which they renewed their commitment to implement all outstanding agreements between them. This was a welcome response to the statement by the President of the United Nations Security Council on 23 August, as well as the efforts of the African Union to encourage progress on the agreements. We will continue to monitor progress closely, and to encourage both governments to fulfil their commitments, as well as to resolve outstanding disputes not covered by the agreements.

We also welcome the recent announcement by the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North of a unilateral ceasefire in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states. We have seen reports that representatives of the Government of Sudan may also have welcomed the ceasefire. We will be urging both sides to follow through these signals with action to achieve a lasting cessation of hostilities, and to use this as a basis for ensuring full humanitarian access to both states and for beginning negotiations on a political resolution.

We are concerned at the humanitarian impact of the conflict in Jonglei state in South Sudan, where large numbers of civilians have been displaced and have not been accessible for assistance. The British Ambassador has recently visited Jonglei with other international representatives, and has been in close touch with the South Sudanese authorities to ensure that full humanitarian access is granted, and that those responsible for any abuses against civilians are held accountable.

Terrorism

Question

Asked by Lord Hollick

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many of the persons detained in 2012–13 under Schedule 7 to the Terrorism Act 2000 were determined, following their detention, to be involved in the commission, preparation or instigation of terrorism.[HL2206]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): In his annual report published in July 2013, the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, David Anderson QC reported that 670 people were detained under Schedule 7 to the Terrorism Act 2000 in 2012-13. Absolute numbers of those people determined to be involved in terrorism,

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or not involved, are unavailable. Those conclusive determinations may not be made for some time as terrorism investigations are typically long-running, and draw on a wide range of information including information derived from examinations under Schedule 7.

Terrorism: Stop and Search

Question

Asked by Baroness Scotland of Asthal

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the proportion of Black and Asian people stopped and searched under stop and search powers compared with that of other ethnicities, and of the reasons for any differences in the figures. [HL2226]

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: Statistics in relation to the use of stop and search powers are published annually; the most recent were included in Police Powers and Procedures England and Wales 2011/12, which is available online at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications /police-powers-and-procedures-in-england-and-wales-201112/police-powers-and-procedures-in-england-and-wales-2011-12.

These statistics show that, based on the self-classification of those who were stopped and searched under Section 1 of the Police and Criminal Justice Act 1984 in 2011-12, 14 per cent were Black and 10 per cent were Asian. In the same period, of those stopped and searched under Section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, 36 per cent were Black and 17 per cent were Asian. In 2011-12, no searches were conducted under Section 47a of the Terrorism Act 2000.

These figures indicate that Black and Asian people are over-represented in stops and searches, as against the proportion of Black and Asian people in the population of England and Wales. The Government is currently consulting publicly on the use of stop and search powers. Part of the aim of the consultation, alongside a recent inspection of stop and search powers by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, is to understand better the public experience of the use of these powers, and to gain public views on how the police should deploy and account for their use. The consultation ends on 24th September.

Turkey and Syria

Question

Asked by Lord Patten

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the position of the Armenian Christian churches in Turkey and Syria.[HL2187]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: All Syrians are suffering greatly as the situation continues to deteriorate, and Christians are no exception. Syria’s Christians are said to number around 2.5 million (11 per cent) of

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the population, although this figure has probably been reduced by pre-uprising emigration and recent displacement. The largest Christian communities in the country were in Aleppo and Homs, cities which have seen some of the most intense clashes between the regime and opposition. We regularly meet with representatives of minority groups, including a number of Christian religious leaders, and they have been similarly affected by the wider implications of the conflict; internal displacement, lack of security, seeking refuge in neighbouring countries. Using UK Conflict Pool funding, we are working with civil society organisations in Syria and the wider region to support inter-faith dialogue and tolerance.

We have expressed our strong concern over a number of reports of the kidnapping and killing of clergymen inside Syria. The most high-profile example to date has been the kidnap of Bishops of Aleppo, Boulus Yazigi and Yuhanna Ibrahim. However, it is not clear that they were abducted on the basis of their religion.

The regime’s actions continue to undermine the stability and security of Syria and therefore endanger all Syria’s citizens, including Christians and other religious minorities. We welcome the statements made by the Syrian National Coalition leadership in November, and reiterated since, that it is committed to a future in Syria in which there is a place for all Syrians regardless of ethnicity or religious belief.

The European Commission’s 2012 annual progress report on Turkey’s accession to the EU highlighted that the Armenian Christian community continued to face difficulties, particularly with training of clergy and public anti-Armenian sentiment. However, we welcomed, in September 2012, the third religious service since 1915 to be held at the Armenian Holy Cross Church on the Akdamar island in lake Van; and the granting of foundations status to the Armenian Tibrevank Lycée in Istanbul.

Along with the EU Commission and others, we strongly encourage Turkey to maintain efforts to strengthen freedoms for all religious minorities in Turkey including the Armenian Christians, in line with Turkey’s commitments as an EU candidate country and a member of the Council of Europe.

Vehicles: Diesel Particulate Filters

Questions

Asked by Lord Berkeley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many vehicles operating in the United Kingdom they estimate have had their factory-fitted diesel particulate filters removed.[HL2160]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to warn vehicle owners of any legal consequences resulting from the operation of vehicles from which factory-fitted diesel particulate filters have been removed.[HL2161]

Lord Newby: Diesel particulate filters are inspected visually at the annual MoT. Removal of the diesel particulate filter might trigger the vehicle’s Malfunction Indicator Lamp (MIL) and the MoT tester would bring

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this to the attention of the owner but the vehicle would not fail the MoT test. Also, if the visual inspection indicated that the filter was missing, the tester would inform the owner, but again the vehicle would not fail the MoT test unless it failed the emissions test. However, the Department for Transport does not record information on the number of filters that have been removed from vehicles.

The Department does not currently provide information or advice to vehicle owners of any legal implications of removing these filters. However, Departmental officials are working on a guidance note that aims to provide vehicle owners with relevant information on the consequences of removing the filters. Nevertheless, officials will give appropriate advice either verbally or in writing when questions arise.

Answers received between Tuesday 17 September 2013 and Monday 23 September 2013

Banks: Co-operative Bank

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will ensure that the independent advice given to holders of bonds and other non-primary equity issued by the Co-operative Bank in connection with that Bank’s recapitalisation evaluates all alternatives and is not limited to considering only the proposal put forward by the board of the Bank and its shareholder.[HL2209]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have sought and received commitments of future capital support from (1) National Australia Bank in respect of the Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks, and (2) the Co-operative Group in respect of Co-operative Bank; and whether those organisations meet the test of being fit and proper in respect of their actions as bank controllers.[HL2210]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether all deposits with Co-operative Bank are guaranteed as to principal and interest.[HL2211]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have considered covering all deposits with the Co-operative Bank by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme for so long as is necessary for the Co-operative Bank to be recapitalised by its owner and retained earnings, as an alternative to seeking capital from its bondholders.[HL2212]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton): The Co-operative Bank has stated that it is considering how to facilitate the provision of independent financial advice to retail holders in respect of its current liability management exercise (LME) at the bank's cost. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is monitoring the bank closely throughout the LME process, working to ensure that consumers are afforded an appropriate degree of protection.

The provision of capital support for a UK regulated bank by its parent company, and the assessment of the fitness and propriety of individuals who exercise significant

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influence on the conduct of an authorised person's affairs as it relates to a regulated activity, are matters for the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and FCA.

Provisions of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 prevent both the PRA and the FCA from disclosing confidential information about a regulated person, which would include discussions with a parent company in respect of capital support.

Both the PRA and FCA have set out the position in respect of the assessment of Directors of the Co-operative Group, in letters to the Noble Lord dated 6 August 2013 and 13 August 2013, copies of which are available in the library of the House. I have passed the question in respect of National Australia Bank on to the PRA and FCA, who will reply to the Noble Lord directly by letter. A copy of the responses from the PRA and the FCA will also be placed in the Library of the House.

Under the Deposit Guarantee Schemes Directive (DGSD), the UK's Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) is required to cover eligible deposits up to the harmonized coverage level of £85,000 (or 100,000 Euros) per depositor. The scheme guarantees those deposits up to the point when a bank is declared in default, and includes any interest owed as part of the compensation amount up to that point.

All eligible deposits in the Co-operative Bank are covered by the FSCS on this basis. The DGSD does not allow the FSCS to cover deposits over and above the prescribed amount. Further information on FSCS protection can be found on their website (www.fscs.org.uk).

Debt

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what are the total amounts of (1) private, and (2) public, debt currently outstanding in the economy; what were those figures at the end of financial year 2009-10; and whether the current figures are consistent with their economic strategy.[HL2214]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton): The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is responsible for estimates of United Kingdom private sector gross debt, which they publish on a quarterly basis. In the first quarter of 2013, private sector gross debt stood at £27.1 trillion (1,722 per cent of GDP). In the first quarter of 2010, private sector gross debt was £25.9 trillion (1,805 per cent of GDP). The ONS July Public Sector Finances release showed public sector net debt stood at £1,193.4 billion (74.5 per cent of GDP) at the end of July this year. At the end of 2009-10, public sector net debt was £828.3 billion (56.4 per cent of GDP).

The UK economy is recovering from the most damaging financial crisis in generations after a decade of growth built on unsustainable debt. The Government remains committed to restoring debt to a sustainable, downward path. Although public sector net debt will continue to rise in the short term, in its March 2013 Economic and fiscal outlook, the Office for Budget Responsibility forecast that public sector net debt will fall as a share of GDP in 2017-18.

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Habitual Residence Test

Question

Asked by Baroness Scotland of Asthal

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how the proposed residence test envisaged by the Ministry of Justice consultation will impact upon the attainment of legal redress by non-residents in challenging Government action.[HL2223]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The Government has carefully considered the responses to the consultation “Transforming Legal Aid: Delivering a more credible and efficient system” and has published the response “Transforming Legal Aid: Next Steps” available at:

https://consult.justice.gov.uk/digital-communications/transforming-legal-aid-next-steps

We continue to believe that individuals should in principle have a strong connection to the UK in order to benefit from the civil legal aid scheme and that the residence test we have proposed is a fair and appropriate way to demonstrate that connection.

We are therefore proceeding with our proposal that applicants for civil legal aid will need to be lawfully resident in the UK, Crown Dependencies or British Overseas Territories at the time they apply and have resided there lawfully for at least 12 months in the past. The test will not apply to serving members of Her Majesty's Armed Forces and their immediate families, or to asylum seekers.

We will also provide that applicants for civil legal aid on certain matters of law will not be required to meet the residence test. These broadly relate to the individual's liberty, such as challenges to the lawfulness of detention, where the individual is particularly vulnerable or where the case relates to the protection of children.

Anybody excluded from civil legal aid as a result of the residence test in the future would be entitled to apply for exceptional funding, including in respect of services described in Part 1 of Schedule 1 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 from which the individual has been excluded as a result of the residence test.

Homelessness: Rough Sleepers

Question

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what are the most recent numbers by (1) age, and (2) nationality (including stateless people), of rough sleepers and homeless people in (a) constituent countries, and (b) regions, of the United Kingdom.[HL2137]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): Figures for total numbers of households accepted by English local authorities as being owed the main homelessness duty under homelessness legislation are available at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/live-tables-on-homelessness. In particular:

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• Live Table 781 gives a breakdown by age of applicant; and

• Live Table 785 gives a breakdown by nationality of Foreign National acceptances.

The most recent available figures are for Q2 (April to June) 2013, which were published on 5 September.

The rough sleeping counts and estimates that the Department publishes for each English local authority area do not include any breakdowns by age or nationality. The Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN) - maintained by Broadway, a London-based homeless charity - does, however, collect and publish information about people seen by outreach teams and those who have accessed accommodation for rough sleepers in London. Information on the nationality of rough sleepers in London in 2011- 12 is summarised in the Department's latest Rough Sleeping statistical release at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/rough-sleeping-in-england-autumn-2012. Other figures from CHAIN — including breakdowns by age - are published at:

http://www.broadwaylondon.org/CHAIN/Reports/StreettoHomeReports.html.

As outlined in the Written Ministerial Statement of 18 September 2012, Official Report, Column 32WS, my Department no longer publishes statistics by government office region.

I have placed two tables in the Library giving English local authority figures for Q2 2013 for homelessness acceptances broken down by the age of applicant and by the nationality of Foreign Nationals.

Rough sleeping counts and estimates for Autumn 2012 for individual English local authorities are available at

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachmentdataffile/73201/ Rough_sleeping_table_l.xls .

Figures for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are a matter for the relevant devolved administration, although web-links to their published homelessness figures are given on pages 16 and 17 of the latest English Statutory Homelessness statistical release at https://wvvw.gov.uk/government/publications/statutory-homelessness-in-england-april-to-june-2013; and web-links to published rough sleeping figures for Wales and Scotland are given on page 9 of the latest English Rough Sleeping statistical release https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/rough-sleeping-in-england-autumn-2012

We are investing £470 million going to councils and charities in the current Spending Review (2010/11 to 2014/15) to prevent homelessness and rough sleeping.

I also refer the noble Lord to my answer of 30 July 2013, Official Report, Column WA285, on steps we are taking to address rough sleeping especially by foreign nationals.

23 Sep 2013 : Column WA463

Legal Aid

Question

Asked by Baroness Scotland of Asthal

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact of their legal aid reforms on female victims of domestic violence and those from migrant communities who pursue civil remedies, and in particular civil injunctions. [HL2225]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The Government is committed to supporting victims of domestic violence which is why the reforms to legal aid, contained in the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO), provides for victims of domestic violence and forced marriage to remain in scope of funding. My officials are currently holding a series of meetings with representative bodies of domestic violence victims,

23 Sep 2013 : Column WA464

solicitors and those providing evidence to victims to assess the impact of the evidential requirements for private family law cases, including its impact on victims of domestic violence (including such victims from migrant communities).

In addition, we are monitoring numbers of applications, and types of evidence used, for legal aid in private family law cases although at present the current volume is still reflecting a substantial increase in applications immediately prior to implementation of the reforms in April. We expect to be in a position to make an initial assessment of how the scheme is working by the end of the calendar year, and whether any changes are required to improve its operation.

Funding for protective injunctions is unchanged under LASPO. There have been 6,057 applications made between 1st April and 8th September. This is a small decrease compared with pre-LASPO volumes. Again, we will be in a better position to assess any impacts by the end of the year.