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Written Answers

Tuesday 17 December 2013

Anguilla

Questions

Asked by Lord Boateng

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the purpose and what were the outcomes of the visits by the officials of the Department for International Development to Anguilla in 2012 and 2013. [HL3871]

Baroness Northover (LD): DFID officials visited Anguilla in 2012 and 2013 with colleagues from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The visits were to discuss the economy and public finances with Anguillan officials and the private sector. The visits have provided technical assistance to the Government of Anguilla in economic and financial management.

Asked by Lord Boateng

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they have taken to support the government of Anguilla’s implementation of the actions necessary to be taken pursuant to the International Monetary Fund Staff Report for the 2011 Article IV Consultation Series: Country Report 12/8.[HL3872]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): Anguilla is a British Overseas Territory with an elected government that has constitutional responsibility for economic management and public finances. The British and Anguilla Governments share a vision for the Territory as a vibrant and flourishing community, proudly retaining aspects of British identity and generating opportunities for its people. In this spirit of partnership, the British and Anguilla Governments agreed a Framework for Fiscal Responsibility and Development, which was passed into Anguillan law in November 2013. This set out the Government of Anguilla’s commitment to a balanced budget, borrowing guidelines and a medium term fiscal plan for the management of public finances over the next five years. On 26 November, the 2013 Joint Ministerial Council brought together UK Ministers and Overseas Territory leaders and agreed an ambitious agenda to support economic diversification, jobs and economic growth in the Territories. In Anguilla, the British Government is, among other things, supporting efforts to develop professional skills for the financial services and information and communications technology sectors, vocational skills and commercial fisheries.

Apprenticeships

Questions

Asked by Lord Adonis

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many apprentices employed by the National College for Teaching and Leadership on 1 November were (1) under the age of 21, (2) aged between 21 and 25, and (3) aged over 25.[HL3767]

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash) (Con): The Department for Education employed 44 apprentices on 1 November 2013, 14 of whom worked within the National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL). We are unable to provide a full age breakdown for data protection reasons.

AgeNo of apprentices within NCTL

Under 21

Less than 10

21 – 25

Less than 10

Over 25

Less than 5

Total

14

For comparison, as at May 2010 there were a total of 18 apprentices employed by the Department.

Asked by Lord Adonis

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many apprentices employed by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner on 1 November 2013 were (1) under the age of 21, (2) aged between 21 and 25, and (3) aged over 25.[HL3822]

Lord Nash: No apprentices have been employed by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner since it was established in 2004.

Asked by Lord Adonis

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many apprentices employed by the National Offender Management Service on 1 November 2013 were (1) under the age of 21, (2) aged between 21 and 25, and (3) aged over 25.[HL3825]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally) (LD): The Ministry of Justice is committed to improving the quality and access to apprenticeships.

The National Offender Management Service (NOMS) currently employs one externally recruited apprentice. For data protection reasons, NOMS is not able to give any age information of this member of staff.

From 1 April 2013 to 1 November 2013, a total of 370 existing NOMS staff enrolled onto an apprenticeship qualification as part of our on-going up-skilling programme.

Apprenticeship figures are collated for the Ministry of Justice as a whole. From 1 April 2008 to 1 November 2013, 3,430 existing Ministry staff have enrolled on an apprenticeship programme. Information on the age ranges requested for existing staff is not kept.

To provide the full information requested would require analysing individual records for the members of staff concerned and would incur disproportionate costs

Asked by Lord Adonis

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many apprentices employed by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory on 1 November were (1) under the age of 21, (2) aged between 21 and 25, and (3) aged over 25.[HL3989]

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever) (Con): The number of apprentices employed by the Defence Science and Technology:

Laboratory in each age range specified was as follows:

Apprentices as at 1 November 2013Number

Under 21

20

Age 21-25

11

Over 25

2

Total

33

Asked by Lord Adonis

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many apprentices employed by the Health and Safety Executive on 1 November were (1) under the age of 21, (2) aged between 21 and 25, and (3) aged over 25.[HL3990]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud) (Con): HSE employed the following apprentices by age group on 01 November 2013.

AgeNumber employed

1) Under the age of 21

1

2) aged between 21 and 25

9

3) aged over 25

0

Total 10

10

Asked by Lord Adonis

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many apprentices employed by the Highways Agency on 1 November were (1) under the age of 21, (2) aged between 21 and 25, and (3) aged over 25.[HL3991]

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Kramer) (LD): Total number of Highways Agency apprentices at 1st November 2013 is17.

(1) Under 21 years 10(2) 21 - 25 years 2(3) over 25 years 5

Asked by Lord Adonis

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many apprentices employed by HM Passport Office on 1 November were (1) under the age of 21, (2) aged between 21 and 25, and (3) aged over 25.[HL3992]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach) (Con): As at 1 November 2013, Her Majesty’s Passport Office has not ever employed any apprentices. However they do intend to recruit apprentices jointly with the Home Office in the future.

Asked by Lord Adonis

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many apprentices employed by the Defence Support Group on 1 November were (1) under the age of 21, (2) aged between 21 and 25, and (3) aged over 25. [HL3993]

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Lord Astor of Hever: As at 1 November 2013 the Defence Support Group had the following numbers of apprentices in the requested age groups:

20 under the age of 21 years.12 aged between 21 and 25 years.19 aged over 25 years.

Asked by Baroness Sharp of Guildford

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the most recent year for which figures are available, how many 18 year-olds in England were on apprenticeships; and what proportion of those started (1) before, and (2) after, their 18th birthday.[HL4103]

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Con): Information on Apprenticeship starts in England by age is published in a Supplementary Table to a Statistical First Release: http://www.thedataservice.org.uk/NR/rdonlyres/6D9AE2BF-CDB4-44C9-AB55-0EACF719BBBE/0/Nov2013_Apprenticeship_Starts.xls

The equality and diversity table shows the number of 17 and 18 year old Apprenticeship starts in 2012/13, based on their age at the start of the Apprenticeship programme.

Asil Nadir

Question

Asked by Lord Maginnis of Drumglass

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they, or any of their agencies, are in possession of any documents relating to the 2012 trial of Asil Nadir which were not made available during that trial; and, if so, whether they will place copies of those documents in the Library of the House.[HL3870]

The Advocate-General for Scotland (Lord Wallace of Tankerness) (LD): After Mr Nadir’s trial concluded, a small amount of additional material came to light. None of it met the current test for disclosure in criminal cases, which concerns whether it assists the defence or undermines the prosecution. However, the Common Law of disclosure applied to this case and the SFO has made appropriate post-trial disclosure accordingly.

It would not be appropriate to by-pass the criminal litigation procedures by making disclosure through the Library of the House.

Broadcasting: Sensory Impairment

Question

Asked by Baroness Jones of Whitchurch

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to improve the availability of access services to on-demand broadcasting content for people with sensory loss.[HL3794]

Lord Gardiner of Kimble (Con): As noted in the Government’s Connectivity, Content and Consumers: Britain’s digital platform for growth strategy paper published in July, the Government has committed to work with Ofcom and The Authority for Television

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On-Demand (ATVoD) over the next three years to look at how the amount of Subtitles and Audio Description (AD) available via non- linear network providers can be improved. Progress will be monitored via ATVOD’s annual survey of its members, that also assess their efforts made on this issue.

The Minister for Communications will be writing to Peter Johnson CEO of ATVoD to let them know that he will be monitoring responses to the 2013 ATVoD survey to review what progress is being made to make online (non-linear) TV and Catch-Up and On-Demand services more accessible to disabled and older consumers. If it is clear that progress isn’t being made in three years’ time–a reasonable timeframe in our view–we will consider legislation.

Building Stability Overseas Strategy

Question

Asked by Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what progress they have made on the implementation of the Building Stability Overseas Strategy since 2011.[HL3926]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): Since the Strategy’s launch we have improved our early warning analysis, to better anticipate, identify and respond to potential risks and issues. We have enhanced the UK’s ability to provide rapid responses where those are needed. Within the Conflict Pool, implemented by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department for International Development (DfID) and the Ministry of Defence, we created an Early Action Facility of £20 million per annum to provide a guaranteed, flexible funding reserve for rapid responses. This has been used effectively in Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Mali and, most recently, the Central African Republic.

The National Security Council ensures we target our efforts, including our joint Conflict Resources, on the highest UK priorities. The Government’s commitment is reflected in the increasing size of the Conflict Resources settlement during this Spending Review Period. For financial year 2013-14 funding for the discretionary Conflict Pool is £229 million, compared with £209 million in financial year 2012-13. The Pool funds a wide range of activities through five geographical and one thematic programme, working with local and regional institutions, international partners and non-governmental organisations.

Cars: Fuel Consumption

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what rules govern the regulation of miles per gallon claims by car manufacturers; whether they assess the accuracy of such claims; and if so, what assessment they have made.[HL4009]

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The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Kramer) (LD): Car manufacturers’ official fuel consumption figures are measured using a standard test procedure set out in European Directives. Manufacturers are obliged to quote the figures from the official test in order to ensure that purchasers are able to compare vehicles on the same basis. Testing must be overseen by an approval authority from one of the 28 EU Member States which ensures the accuracy of the results according to the specified test procedure.

Although the official test results provide an indication of the relative fuel economy of different vehicles it is recognised that they no longer represent average on the road fuel consumption. For this reason work is well underway to develop a revised test which better reflects real driving conditions.

Charities

Questions

Asked by Lord Rooker

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to request the Charity Commission to produce a report on those charities which direct and oversee schemes run by trading companies with respect to governance and the salaries paid to directors of trading companies.[HL3972]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will request the Charity Commission to produce a list of the number of directors of trading companies which are directed and overseen by charities who are paid annually more than (1) £250,000, (2) £500,000, and (3) £750,000.[HL3974]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the process of registered charities directing and overseeing schemes run by commercial companies, and whether they consider that process to be consistent with good corporate, financial and trusteeship governance.[HL3977]

Lord Gardiner of Kimble (Con): There is no intention to request a report on or make an assessment of charities which direct or oversee schemes run by trading companies. Charities are independent organisations and their trustees are legally responsible for all aspects of their management and administration. The Charity Commission’s powers of intervention are reserved for cases of serious misconduct or mismanagement, but it does publish guidance for charities on trading, and on identifying and managing conflicts of interest.

The data requested on the directors of trading companies is not currently collected. Any trading company controlled by a charity would be included in the group accounts of the charity. Group accounts are prepared where the charity’s and its subsidiary’s combined income exceeds £500,000. Disclosure of remuneration is provided in £10,000 bandings over £60,000 for all group employees. The filed accounts and trustees’ annual reports of all registered charities with annual income of over £25,000 are publicly available on the Charity Commission’s website.

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Asked by Lord Rooker

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will request the Charity Commission to produce a report showing the numbers of charity trustees who have served for more than (1) 10 years, (2) 20 years, and (3) 30 years.[HL3973]

Lord Gardiner of Kimble: The information required is not currently collated by the Charity Commission.

Charity Commission

Questions

Asked by Baroness Armstrong of Hill Top

To ask Her Majesty’s Government which persons were shortlisted for the post of Chair of the Charity Commission when it was most recently filled. [HL3911]

Lord Gardiner of Kimble (Con): Applications were made in confidence and it would not be appropriate to disclose the names of shortlisted candidates.

Asked by Baroness Armstrong of Hill Top

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the Minister for the Cabinet Office met any of the candidates for the post of Chair of the Charity Commission, and if so when, prior to the appointment of the successful candidate.[HL3912]

Lord Gardiner of Kimble The Minister for the Cabinet Office, together with the Minister for Civil Society and the independent Public Appointments Assessor representing the Commissioner for Public Appointments as chair of the selection panel, met the appointable candidates on 18 July 2012.

Colombia

Questions

Asked by Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what are their priorities for their chairmanship of the G24 group, constituted as a result of the London-Cartagena-Bogotá process in 2003 to further the Colombian peace processes.[HL3833]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): The British Embassy in Colombia became chair of the Human Rights sub-group of the G24 in February 2013 for one year. Under the British presidency the group’s priorities have been to support the creation of a national human rights policy, to accompany the Guarantees Working Group which aims to provide security for human rights defenders, and to support dialogue between civil society and the government on human rights issues.

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Asked by Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what preparations they have made for their chairmanship of the G24 group on human rights in Colombia to support human rights agenda in general; and whether those preparations included consideration of the implementation of Constitutional Court order 164 regarding the San Jose de Apartado Peace Community. [HL3834]

Baroness Warsi: Our Embassy has met six times with other G24 countries since it assumed the presidency in February 2013. The G24 has also met with a variety of government agencies, national human rights groups and communities, and visited the region of Cordobá to witness progress and the challenges for the government’s land restitution agenda. The group met with the Peace Community of San Jose de Apartado on 16 August, after which it raised the implementation of the four points in Constitutional Court order 164 with the Ministry of the Interior.

Asked by Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what briefings they have received to inform their chairmanship of the G24 group on human rights in Colombia regarding recent reports of human rights abuses in the region of the San Jose de Apartado Peace Community; and whether those briefings have given any indication that people under the age of 18 have been abducted or killed.[HL3835]

Baroness Warsi: Our Embassy has received regular reports from the Peace Community of San Jose de Apartado regarding human rights abuses against their members by armed groups, including the abduction of six community members in November. In December, Embassy staff met with individuals living with the community who indicated that four minors and two other members of the community had been abducted. We understand that all six have now been released.

Conflict, Stability and Security Fund

Question

Asked by Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how the National Security Council will decide on the strategic direction of the new Conflict, Stability and Security Fund. [HL3927]

Lord Gardiner of Kimble (Con): In line with the practice of previous governments, information relating to the proceedings of Cabinet Committees, including what issues were discussed, is generally not disclosed as to do so could harm the frankness and candour of internal discussion. However, we can confirm that the NSC will determine the strategic direction of the new Conflict Stability and Security Fund on an annual basis.

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Coram Foundation and Foundling Museum

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Wallace of Tankerness on 2 December in relation to the Foundling Museum (WA 21), whether they consider the recommendations put forward by the Charity Commission to have been adequately addressed; and, if not, whether the Attorney General intends to take action against Coram and its trustees.[HL4012]

The Advocate-General for Scotland (Lord Wallace of Tankerness) (LD): The Coram Foundation and the Foundling Museum are in on-going discussions with each other about necessary changes to the governance arrangements which may now be required as a result of the Charity Commission's recommendations. The Commission is monitoring those discussions. The Attorney General expects that both charities and the Commission will seek his confirmation that he does not object to any proposed final disposal of the matter so that they may be reassured he will not seek to commence any proceedings in his own name.

Courts: Closures

Question

Asked by Lord Beecham

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what revenue savings have accrued as a result of the closure of magistrates’ courts and county courts since the 2010 review; and what capital receipts have been engendered by the sale of such buildings.[HL3830]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally) (LD): The gross accumulated resource savings accrued from the closure of magistrates’ and county courts since the start of the 2010 review (the Court Estates Reform Programme) to 30 September 2013 is £31.3m. The programme anticipates savings of £97.2m over the Spending Review period.

The gross capital receipts produced from the sale of the buildings as at 5 December 2013 is £19.8m. Gross capital receipt does not include deductions for the cost of sale.

Crown Immunity

Question

Asked by Lord Berkeley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made as to whether or not the Duke of Cornwall and the Duchy of Cornwall are entitled to Crown Immunity.[HL4003]

Lord Gardiner of Kimble (Con): Guidance regarding the application of Crown immunity is available from the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel via the below link and I have placed a copy in the library of the house.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/193143/Crown_Application_pamphlet_12-03-13.pdf

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Cyprus

Question

Asked by Lord Maginnis of Drumglass

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made, as a guarantor power under the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee, of the action proposed to be taken by the government of Cyprus in relation to the work of the Immovable Properties Commission; and what steps they intend to take to ensure future protection of human rights through that procedure. [HL3868]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): We have made no such assessment of the recent proposals. The European Court of Human Rights ruled in March 2010 that the Immovable Property Commission established in the north provided an effective remedy for local property issues related to the Cyprus problem. Property remains one of the most complex and sensitive aspects of the Cyprus problem and we believe it can best be addressed as part of a comprehensive settlement that protects the interests of both communities. We continue to support the two leaders in their attempts to achieve this.

Detention Centres: Sexual Abuse

Question

Asked by Baroness Stern

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they are conducting any inquiries in relation to allegations of sexual abuse at Medomsley Detention Centre; and, if so, when they expect to report.[HL3509]

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Con): There is currently an ongoing police investigation being undertaken by Durham Constabulary into the allegations of sexual abuse at Medomsley Detention Centre.

No other investigation is currently being carried out.

EU: Migration

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the European Commission’s proposal to make payments of €6,000 to European Union member states for each United Nations-registered refugee whom they agree to resettle. [HL4019]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach) (Con): Since 2008 the UK Gateway Protection programme has been co- financed by the European Refugee Fund (ERF) at €4,000 per person for specific categories of refugees sponsored by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

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From 2014 a new funding stream called the Asylum and Migration Fund (AMF) will replace the European Refugee Fund. It is anticipated Member States will receive either €6,000 or €10,000 per UNHCR sponsored refugee resettled. These amounts will be used for planning purposes.

First World War: Commemoration

Question

Asked by Lord Rogan

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Gardiner of Kimble on 26 November (WA 263), whether they intend to provide any funding to the Imperial War Museum as part of their scheme to commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War in addition to the £5 million they have committed towards the costs of Imperial War Museum London’s refurbishment of its First World War Galleries. [HL3712]

Lord Gardiner of Kimble (Con): The Government currently has no plans to provide additional funding for the Imperial War Museum’s First World War centenary activity.

Government Departments: Management Information Reports

Questions

Asked by Lord Mendelsohn

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the Cabinet Office produces monthly management information reports including indicators of performance against financial and other targets; and, if so, whether those reports are submitted to a Minister, the Permanent Secretary, or to another official.[HL3949]

Lord Gardiner of Kimble (Con): The Cabinet Office prepares management information reports on its own performance on a monthly basis. They are used by the Cabinet Office Board, which is chaired by the Minister for the Cabinet Office, and the Executive Management Committee, which is chaired by the Permanent Secretary for the Cabinet Office.

Asked by Lord Mendelsohn

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the Department for Culture, Media and Sport produces monthly management information reports including indicators of performance against financial and other targets; and, if so, whether those reports are submitted to a Minister, the Permanent Secretary, or to another official.[HL3952]

Lord Gardiner of Kimble: The Department produces monthly management information reports on financial and corporate performance, including performance against financial and other targets where appropriate. Financial performance reports are submitted to the

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executive team, including the Permanent Secretary and form part of the performance pack, submitted to Secretary of State and ministers, for the bi-monthly Departmental Board meetings.

The Government Equalities Office is part of the Department and does not produce separate reports on its financial or business performance.

Asked by Lord Mendelsohn

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the Ministry of Defence produces monthly management information reports including indicators of performance against financial and other targets; and, if so, whether those reports are submitted to a Minister, the Permanent Secretary, or to another official.[HL3953]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever) (Con): The Ministry of Defence Permanent Secretary provides a monthly management information report for the Defence Board chaired by the Secretary of State for Defence.

Asked by Lord Mendelsohn

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the Department for Education produces monthly management information reports including indicators of performance against financial and other targets; and, if so, whether those reports are submitted to a Minister, the Permanent Secretary, or to another official.[HL3960]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash) (Con): Monthly management information on delivery of the Department for Education’s key reforms is produced for the Performance Committee, a sub-committee of the Department for Education Board. Monthly management information on finance, human resources and department of state business is produced for the Management Committee, a sub-committee of the Department for Education Board. The Department uses a range of indicators to monitor progress.

The membership of both the Performance Committee and Management Committee includes the Permanent Secretary, Non-Executive Board Members, Directors General and Directors of Strategy, Human Resources and Finance.

Asked by Lord Mendelsohn

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the Department for Energy and Climate Change produces monthly management information reports including indicators of performance against financial and other targets; and, if so, whether those reports are submitted to a Minister, the Permanent Secretary, or to another official.[HL3961]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Baroness Verma) (Con): DECC has a range of mechanisms for managing performance and reporting progress to Ministers and the Permanent Secretary. These include:

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a monthly performance report to our Executive Committee chaired by our Permanent Secretary;a quarterly performance report to our Departmental Board chaired by the Secretary of State;a business plan quarterly data summary (QDS) to the Cabinet Office commissioned by the Minister of State; anda quarterly report to the Major Project Authority for each of our major programmes in the Government Major Project Portfolio

Additionally, Ministers and the Permanent Secretary regularly meet with individual project teams to discuss performance.

Asked by Lord Mendelsohn

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the Government Equalities Office produces monthly management information reports including indicators of performance against financial and other targets; and, if so, whether those reports are submitted to a Minister, the Permanent Secretary, or to another official.[HL3964]

Lord Gardiner of Kimble: The Department for Culture, Media & Sport produces monthly management information reports on financial and corporate performance, including performance against financial and other targets where appropriate. Financial performance reports are submitted to the executive team, including the Permanent Secretary and form part of the performance pack, submitted to Secretary of State and ministers, for the bi-monthly Departmental Board meetings.

The Government Equalities Office is part of the Department and does not produce separate reports on its financial or business performance.

Asked by Lord Mendelsohn

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the Home Office produces monthly management information reports including indicators of performance against financial and other targets; and, if so, whether those reports are submitted to a Minister, the Permanent Secretary, or to another official.[HL3994]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach) (Con): The Home Office produces a variety of management information reports which are seen by Ministers, the Permanent Secretary and other officials.

Asked by Lord Mendelsohn

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the Ministry of Justice produces monthly management information reports including indicators of performance against financial and other targets; and, if so, whether those reports are submitted to a Minister, the Permanent Secretary, or to another official.[HL3996]

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The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally) (LD): Monthly management information is produced by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ). The Executive Committee (ExCo), which comprises all Directors General; the Chief Executives of NOMS, HMCTS and LAA; and is chaired by the Permanent Secretary, reviews the MoJ Performance Dashboard monthly. This contains performance information on MoJ overall and each of the Department’s agencies in relation to service delivery, finance and efficiency, people and capability, reform and reputation. In addition ExCo reviews the Transforming Justice Portfolio Status Report on a monthly basis. This sets out progress against milestones, issues and risks on the Department’s Ministerial priority programmes and other major programmes included in the Government Major Projects Portfolio.

The Departmental Board (comprising Ministers, ExCo and MoJ Non-Executives from outside Government, and chaired by the Secretary of State) which meets six-weekly also receives the Performance Dashboard and Portfolio pack.

Asked by Lord Mendelsohn

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the Northern Ireland Office produces monthly management information reports including indicators of performance against financial and other targets; and, if so, whether those reports are submitted to a Minister, the Permanent Secretary, or to another official.[HL3997]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Wales Office (Baroness Randerson) (LD): Management information reports, including indicators of performance against financial and other targets, are a standing agenda item at the Northern Ireland Office’s monthly management board meetings. Regular updates on the Department’s performance are provided to Ministers.

Asked by Lord Mendelsohn

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the Department for Transport produces monthly management information reports including indicators of performance against financial and other targets; and, if so, whether those reports are submitted to a Minister, the Permanent Secretary, or to another official.[HL3999]

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Kramer) (LD): The Department for Transport produces a monthly management information pack that contains indicators of performance against financial and other targets.

The pack is reviewed by the Executive Committee, chaired by the Permanent Secretary, on a monthly basis. Membership includes Directors General, the General Counsel, the Director of Communications and the Director of Human Resources.

On a bi-monthly basis, the report is sent to the Executive Non-Executive Meeting (ENEM), also chaired by the Permanent Secretary. Membership consists of the Directors General and the Non Executive Board Members.

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On a bi-monthly and alternating basis with the ENEM meeting, the report is sent to the DfT Board, chaired by the Secretary of State. Members comprise all Ministers, Permanent Secretary, Directors General and the non-executives.

Asked by Lord Mendelsohn

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the Wales Office produces monthly management information reports including indicators of performance against financial and other targets; and, if so, whether those reports are submitted to a Minister, the Permanent Secretary, or another official. [HL4031]

Baroness Randerson: Management information reports, including indicators of performance against financial and other targets, are regularly reviewed by the Wales Office Director and the Senior Management Team. These reports are also a standing agenda item at the Wales Office’s bi-monthly management committee meetings. Regular updates on the Department’s performance are provided to Ministers by the Wales Office Director.

Government Departments: Secondments

Question

Asked by Lord Pearson of Rannoch

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many British nationals, at what level of seniority, are currently on secondment to the World Trade Organisation from (1) the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and (2) the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.[HL3882]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): Neither the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills nor the Foreign and Commonwealth Office currently has any member of staff on secondment to the World Trade Organisation.

Grenada

Question

Asked by Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they plan to discuss with the Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience the possibility of ending loan disbursements to Grenada and changing the United Kingdom contribution to a grant, and changing the loans into grant disbursements.[HL3839]

Baroness Northover (LD): Grenada is currently implementing the funding allocated to it by the Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience (PPCR). The PPCR is a multilateral fund governed by a sub-committee of which the UK is one member (out of thirteen, including six contributor country representatives). For these reasons it is not possible for the UK unilaterally to replace the type of finance Grenada receives.

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Homeless Families

Question

Asked by Baroness King of Bow

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Stowell of Beeston on 22 October (WA 159–160), whether they took account of any potential savings to the public purse before rejecting the London Borough of Tower Hamlets’ bid for “Gold Standard” funding to reduce the long-term use of bed and breakfast accommodation for homeless families.[HL3984]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Stowell of Beeston) (Con): As I explained in my earlier answer, the bid from the London Borough of Tower Hamlets was rejected following the initial assessment of compliance with the overall objectives set out in the Government's prospectus for the award of funding. The bid did not proceed to a subsequent assessment against the published criteria, including value for money.

Human Rights

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of whether litigants from the United Kingdom would have the right to bring cases before the European Court of Human Rights through the institutions of the European Union in the event of the United Kingdom withdrawing from the European Convention on Human Rights.[HL4020]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally) (LD): The Government has agreed in the context of the Coalition Agreement that the obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights will continue to be enshrined in British Law. While political parties have expressed views on policy directions they may wish to consider in the future, the Coalition Agreement makes it clear there will be no major changes to the human rights framework before the election.

Individuals may petition the European Court of Human Rights in respect of any alleged violation of their rights under the European Convention on Human Rights committed by a party to the Convention. The European Union is not currently a party to the Convention, although its accession to the Convention is currently under negotiation in line with the obligation in Article 6 of the Treaty on European Union.

Human Trafficking

Question

Asked by The Lord Bishop of Derby

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many people were arrested, prosecuted and convicted for human trafficking-related offences in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.[HL3443]

17 Dec 2013 : Column WA185

The Advocate-General for Scotland (Lord Wallace of Tankerness) (LD): Information on the number of arrests made by the police for human trafficking offences is not held centrally and could only be obtained at a disproportionate cost.

Crown Prosecution Service data is available through the Case Management System (CMS) and associated Management Information System (MIS). The CPS collects data to assist in the effective management of its prosecution functions. The CPS does not collect data which constitute official statistics as defined in the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007. Official criminal justice statistics are published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The CPS does however maintain a central record of the number of cases flagged as involving human trafficking where there have been prosecutions, including convictions, by way of a monitoring flag, introduced in April 2010. The flag is applied at the onset of a case; and remains in place even if the charges are subsequently amended or dropped.

The number of human trafficking flagged prosecutions and convictions for the last three calendar years for which data is available, is as follows;

ConvictionsUnsuccessfulTOTAL

2010

43

70.5%

18

29.5%

61

2011

98

67.1%

48

32.9%

146

2012

103

69.6%

45

30.4%

148

These figures should be used as an indicative guide only for the reasons set out above.

Immigration

Question

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what were the total number of (1) successful, (2) unsuccessful, and (3) dropped appeals against refusals of non-European Economic Area spouse entry clearance and further leave applications lodged in (a) 2011, and (b) 2012.[HL3760]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach) (Con): The requested figures are shown in the following tables:

Table 1 — Non-European Economic Area National Partner Entry Clearance
Appeals outcome
YearSuccessfulUnsuccessfulWithdrawn

2011

3,705

2,303

436

2012

2,422

1,739

437

Grand Total

6,127

4,042

873

Table 2 - Non-European Economic Area National Partner Further Leave
YearSuccessfulUnsuccessfulStruck out/abandonedTotal

2011

181

176

10

367

2012

145

104

8

257

17 Dec 2013 : Column WA186

Grand Total

326

280

18

624

Notes: 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. 2. The data relate to First Tier Appeal Outcomes only. 3. Data relates to partners and spouses of non-EEA Nationals and 4. Withdrawn appeals are listed separately in table 1 as overseas appeals data is recorded in less detail than in country data. In Table 2, the number of successful appeals includes those Allowed and Withdrawn by the Home Office; the number of unsuccessful appeals includes those Dismissed and Withdrawn by the appellant; and the number dropped refers to those Struck Out and Abandoned.

Immigration: Holding Facilities

Question

Asked by Lord Avebury

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what improvements have been made to the short-term holding facilities at Heathrow Airport since they were the subject of critical reports by the Independent Monitoring Board; and when they now expect the deficiencies noted by the Board to be remedied. [HL3778]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach) (Con): The Heathrow Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) published their annual report on 10 June 2013.

The provision of accommodation facilities at ports of entry are provided by the port operator, at Heathrow Airport this is Heathrow Airport Limited (HAL).

The Home Office has been working very closely with HAL to progress accommodation improvements to the short term holding facilities at Heathrow Airport.

Some improvements including re-decoration have already been implemented since the publication of the Independent Monitoring Board's Annual Report. Border Force and HAL have agreed and signed off a scope of works that covers all the recommendations of the IMB report and more.

This includes expansion of the family room in Terminal 2 and Terminal 5; provision of showers and a toilet lobby in Terminal 5; re-configuration of the family accommodation at Lima 23; and a complete re-build of the holding room accommodation in Terminal 3 and Terminal 4.

HAL have produced a detailed project plan and the earliest that the works will be completed is December 2014. This is primarily because of the high level of costs associated with the works and that the funds do not become available to HAL until 1st April 2014 (new regulatory finance period). The works at Terminal 2 will be complete in time for opening of the terminal in June 2014.

17 Dec 2013 : Column WA187

HAL, Border Force and the Home Office are currently in the detailed design stage with HAL due to go to tender for a contractor to carry out the works in March 2014.

Imports

Question

Asked by Lord Empey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have any plans to promote import substitution in the United Kingdom.[HL3916]

The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Livingston of Parkhead) (Con): The Government is committed to free, fair and open markets. The Trade and Investment White Paper, published in 2011 states that, “access to imports improves the competitiveness of UK companies and spurs innovation”. In addition, this Government is committed to strengthening and

17 Dec 2013 : Column WA188

rebuilding the capacity and competitiveness of UK supply chains. Promotion of import substitution does not therefore form a part of our economic strategy. The measures we have taken to restore the economy to health are providing the right framework for companies to grow and be competitive in global markets and we are now seeing signs of a return in business confidence and improved business performance.

Intestacy

Question

Asked by Lord Beecham

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how much the Crown has received in each of the last five years by way of the operation of the intestacy rules in cases where no family member was entitled to the estate.[HL3915]

The Advocate-General for Scotland (Lord Wallace of Tankerness) (LD): The information requested is contained in the following table.

Cash Account
2012-20132011-20122010-20112009-20102008-2009

Receipts (Income) f.

18,252,039.91

34,505,430.97

16,199,586.26

21,388,035.49

17,852,488.64

Payments (Expenditure) £

16,969,811,76

18,554,695.99

17,502,280.28

10,736,238.23

8,554,627.51

Running Costs £

1,901,748.93

1,830,332.86

2,011,422.69

2,008,901.66

1,856,675.50

Net Receipt

-619,520.78

14,120,402.12

-3,314,116.71

8,642,895.60

7,441,185.63

The estates of those who die without a valid Will or known entitled kin is called Bona Vacantia (Latin for ownerless property). This passes to the Crown under the intestacy rules and is collected by the Crown’s Nominee, currently the Treasury Solicitor, and passed to the Consolidated Fund. An estate can be claimed by entitled kin for up to 12 years (represented in the “Payments (Expenditure)” category above).

The figures provided have been drawn from the Crown Nominee’s published accounts and adjusted to provide the data requested.

Since 2010 the amount of money paid out to entitled kin has increased significantly, resulting in a negative net income figure for years 2010-11 and 2012-13. This is mainly due to the publication of unclaimed historic estates going back to 1997; but is also partly due to an increase in public awareness following independent newspaper and television coverage of bona vacantia work. The historic work will slowly reduce over the next 2 or 3 years, as a result of changes in practices, resulting in an increase net income to the Crown.

The Treasury Solicitor’s relevant running costs have been apportioned.

Jobcentre Plus: Toilets

Question

Asked by Baroness Thomas of Winchester

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Freud on 26 November (WA 266–7), what action they propose to take to ensure that all Jobcentre Plus staff are aware of the policy set out in that Written Answer that claimants with certain medical conditions are allowed to use toilet facilities in Jobcentres, subject to the constraints in certain locations caused by the layout of the building and keeping people safe.[HL4124]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud) (Con): It is standard practice to leave this sort of issue to the discretion of local advisers and managers. I have asked that this be reaffirmed with local office managers.

Migration

Question

Asked by The Earl of Sandwich

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the analysis by the Institute of Public Policy Research in its paper International students and net migration to the UK regarding the impact of their immigration policies on the number of international students coming to the United Kingdom.[HL3987]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach) (Con): The Government has made no official assessment of the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR’s) report, which was published in April 2012. Changing the way we measure migration would not make any difference to our student

17 Dec 2013 : Column WA189

migration policy. The UK has a great offer for international students. We have introduced some basic minimum standards for colleges and students to tackle abuse, while ensuring the UK remains a highly attractive place to study.

Those with the right qualifications, sufficient funds and a good level of English can study here, with no annual limit on numbers. The latest statistics published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS') show there were 216,895 study visas (excluding student visitors) issued in the year ending September 2013, a rise of 3%, and this figure includes a 7% increase for the university sector.

Students will continue to count in the ONS’s net migration figures because this is the international standard approach as set out by the UN, and adopted by other countries in broadly the same way. Students who stay for more than 12 months are migrants. Net migration measures the difference between the number of people coming the UK and the number leaving, so if students return home after their studies, their impact on long-term net migration will be minimal.

The ONS has recently improved its methodology to make it easier to identify students in the emigration flows to give a more accurate measure of the contribution of students to overall net migration.

Ministry of Defence: Police

Question

Asked by Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Taylor of Holbeach on 4 December (WA 54), what are the daily rates of pay for lay members of the police disciplinary panel for the Ministry of Defence Police.[HL3943]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever) (Con): The daily rate of pay for independent members of Ministry of Defence Police misconduct panels is £211.50.

Mohammed Ahmed Mohamed

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Taylor of Holbeach on 28 November (WA 294), what citizenship Mohammed Ahmed Mohamed previously possessed; and whether he is still a national of that state.[HL4054]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach) (Con): Mohammed Ahmed Mohamed previously held Somali nationality which, under Somali nationality law, he automatically lost in 1999 when he was naturalised as a British citizen. Mohamed is, therefore, a mono British national.

17 Dec 2013 : Column WA190

National Infrastructure Plan

Questions

Asked by Lord Berkeley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government on what evidence they base the statement on page 16 of the National Infrastructure Plan 2013 that road traffic growth might increase by 43 per cent by 2040; what is the comparable estimated increase in rail passenger and freight traffic; and what changes in the carbon emissions of transport would result from those projections.[HL3932]

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Kramer) (LD): The evidence behind the projection of 43% growth in road traffic from 2010 to 2040 is set out in ‘Road Transport Forecasts 2013’, which is available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/260700/road-transport-forecasts-2013-extended-version.pdf

The first chapter of this document explains that this growth (within a range of 23%-66%) is primarily driven by population growth (20%), rising incomes (66%), and falling motoring costs (24% for cars). Chapter five reports that road traffic carbon dioxide emissions are projected to fall by 15% over the same time period.

Rail passenger and freight use growth is provided in the National Networks: National Policy Statement, which is available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/263720/consultation-document-draft-national-policy-statement.pdf

Table 2.3 highlights that rail passenger miles in Great Britain is forecast to grow 36%-46% between 2011 and 2030. Rail freight figures are given in table 2.4 which states that freight was 23 billion tonne kilometres (btkm) in 2011 and is forecast to grow to 44btkm by 2033.

Asked by Lord Berkeley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government why there is no mention of investment for cycling infrastructure in the National Infrastructure Plan 2013; and what is their policy in relation to the promotion of cycling.[HL3934]

Baroness Kramer: The Government recognises that within large programmes of investment, there are certain key projects which contribute particularly towards the overall strategic objectives, carry particular risks in terms of the scale of overall capital investment or complexity, or pioneer new approaches to infrastructure delivery, with potential impacts on the wider investment programme or the sector as a whole. Each of the Top 40 priority investments within the National Infrastructure Plan has been selected because it makes a crucial contribution to the achievement of the government’s strategic objectives for that sector.

The Government continues to be committed to making improvements for cycling. This is demonstrated through the cycling ambition programme (£94m), focusing

17 Dec 2013 : Column WA191

entirely on delivering improved infrastructure for cycling. The Local Sustainable Transport Fund (£600m), of which around 98% of projects include a cycling element (and features in the National Infrastructure Plan along with the Local Growth Fund). The Cycle Safety and Linking Communities programmes (£65m) are delivering better layout and design for roads at 81 locations, and enhanced cycle parking, cycling and walking links to communities respectively.

Non-governmental Bodies

Question

Asked by Baroness Armstrong of Hill Top

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Wallace of Saltaire on 8 October (WA 27–8), how many women have been shortlisted for appointments in non-governmental bodies for which the Minister for the Cabinet Office has been responsible.[HL3910]

Lord Gardiner of Kimble (Con): The Government is, for the first time, releasing data twice yearly on the gender of ministerial public appointments. Information for the period 1st April 2013–30 September 2013 was published on 3 December and showed that of the 10 new appointments made by the Cabinet Office during this period, 40% were women. This data is available on the Cabinet Office’s website at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/diversity-in-public-appointments

North Korea

Questions

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of Amnesty International’s briefing “North Korea: New satellite images show continued investment in the infrastructure of repression”. [HL3957]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): The UK has serious concerns about the continued use of prison camps in North Korea and about reports of severe and systematic human rights violations within these camps. Given this context, the reports of continued investment in infrastructure for prison camps outlined in Amnesty International’s report are worrying. However, we are unable to make a full assessment of the precise extent and scale of prison camps in North Korea because the North Korean government refuse to allow independent observers access to these camps.

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the United Kingdom ambassador to Pyongyang has raised with the authorities in North Korea reports of the recent execution of North Korean officials and the enlargement of political prison camps in that country.[HL3958]

17 Dec 2013 : Column WA192

Baroness Warsi: The British Ambassador in Pyongyang has not specifically raised these issues, but do regularly raise our concerns about human rights violations in North Korea, including concerns about the use of political prison camps and executions.

Most recently, on 25 November 2013, a visiting delegation from the North Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs met Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials. During this meeting, we reiterated our concerns about the use of the death penalty and political prison camps, and encouraged North Korea to participate meaningfully in its Universal Periodic Review process and engage with the UN Commission of Inquiry. We also arranged for the delegation to visit a British prison and continue to pursue requests for our Embassy in Pyongyang to visit a North Korean prison.

Overseas Aid

Question

Asked by Lord Luce

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what proportion of total overseas aid is allocated to Commonwealth countries; and in what form that aid is given. [HL3845]

Baroness Northover (LD): The UK is committed to its strong relationships with the countries of the Commonwealth. In the financial year 2012-13 UK Government departments provided a total of £1.84 billion in bilateral ODA expenditure to Commonwealth countries, representing 35% of total bilateral expenditure for that year.

These figures exclude the UK Government’s contribution to multilateral organisations and regional programmes which also benefit Commonwealth countries.

UK aid is provided in various forms, including budget support, project type interventions, support to non-governmental organisations, public private partnerships and research institutions, the provision of experts, and debt relief.

Parthenon Sculptures

Question

Asked by Lord Dubs

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what response they have made to the request from the Director General of UNESCO that the dispute about the Parthenon sculptures should be settled by mediation. [HL3907]

Lord Gardiner of Kimble (Con): The Government will respond to the request from UNESCO in due course.

Registration of Deaths

Question

Asked by Lord Turnberg

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to ensure that registration of deaths can be accomplished in a timely way; and when they propose to take any such steps.[HL4014]

17 Dec 2013 : Column WA193

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach) (Con): The Home Office has responsibility, through the General Register Office, for the registration of deaths. The process of death registration is normally straightforward and timely. Deaths that are not referred to a coroner are usually registered within a few days of occurrence after the appropriate certification has been issued. When a death is the subject of a coroner investigation the registration takes place after its conclusion, when the cause of death has been established. Where a coroner has started an investigation, he or she may issue a certificate of the fact of death to interested persons but this cannot be used for registration purposes. The Chief Coroner has issued guidance to all coroners on the operation of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009, which includes setting out the coroner's role in the registration of deaths. The Department of Health's death certification reforms when implemented are not expected to have any significant bearing on the existing time period for the registration of deaths. Deaths not investigated by a coroner will continue to be registered within a few days of occurrence.

17 Dec 2013 : Column WA194

Roads: Car Traffic

Question

Asked by Lord Berkeley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the actual car traffic usage in each of the years 2000 to 2012.[HL3931]

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Kramer) (LD): The table below contains the car and taxi traffic volume in Great Britain between 2000 and 2012. The figures are presented in billion vehicle miles and billion vehicle kilometres, where one vehicle mile is defined as one vehicle travelling one mile. Similarly, one vehicle kilometre is defined as one vehicle travelling one kilometre.

Due to the very similar physical properties of taxis and cars, the data collected is unable to distinguish between the two. As a result, a combined figure is presented here.

Department for Transport statistics
Traffic (www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-transport/series/road-traffic-statistics)
Road traffic for Cars and Taxis in Great Britain, annual from 2000
Billion vehicle kilometres/miles
KilometresMiles

2000

376.0

233.7

2001

381.2

236.9

2002

390.6

242.7

2003

390.0

242.3

2004

394.2

245.0

2005

392.7

244.0

2006

397.4

246.9

2007

397.9

247.3

2008

395.0

245.4

2009

394.0

244.8

2010

385.9

239.8

2011

387.4

240.7

2012

386.7

240.3

1 One vehicle mile is defined as one vehicle travelling one mile



Telephone: 020 7944 3095



Email: roadtraff.stats@dft.gsi.gov.uk



Notes & definitions (www.gov.uk/transport-statistics-notes-and-guidance-road-traffic)

The figures in this table are National Statistics.


Roads: New Schemes

Question

Asked by Lord Berkeley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact of their proposal to remove the requirement for planning inspectors to take into account greenhouse gas emissions when considering new road schemes on the level of greenhouse gas emissions.[HL4002]

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Kramer) (LD): The draft National Networks National Policy Statement (NN NPS) makes clear that any increases in carbon as a result of nationally significant infrastructure projects will need to be offset by reductions elsewhere. This is entirely consistent with the approach set out in the Government’s Carbon Plan, published in 2011. Carbon impacts will still continue to form a key part of the transport appraisal and decision making process for road schemes.

The sustainability appraisal that accompanies the NN NPS shows that the overall impact of the policy will reduce carbon emissions. This is because of the Government’s wider policies to support the environment including the transition to ultra-low emission vehicles.

17 Dec 2013 : Column WA195

Schools: Expenditure

Question

Asked by Lord Lexden

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the answer by Lord Nash on 4 December (HL Deb, col 231), how the estimate of revenue and capital funding of £6,350 per state school pupil was calculated; and whether any elements of school spending were excluded from that estimate.[HL4058]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash) (Con): The estimate of revenue and capital funding of £6,350 per state pupil in financial year 2012-13 was calculated by taking all planned expenditure identified as the schools budget within the Department’s expenditure limit and dividing that by all pupils in maintained schools and academies aged 3 to 19.

The schools budget figure includes revenue funding provided to local authorities to cover delegated budgets to schools and all other services provided to benefit schools and pupils such as the dedicated schools grant, academies funding, as well as the pupil premium and other miscellaneous programmes.

On the capital side it covers all capital programmes including basic need, maintenance, devolved formula capital, priority school building programme, academies and free schools capital and other miscellaneous programmes.

As the figure covers all funding identified as the schools budget within the Department’s expenditure limit, it aims to be as comprehensive an estimate as possible of the overall funding available to state schools.

St Helena: Airport

Questions

Asked by Lord Jones of Cheltenham

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action is being taken to translocate indigenous species from the site of St Helena’s airport to other parts of the island.[HL3889]

Baroness Northover (LD): The St Helena Government is currently implementing a Landscape and Ecology Mitigation Programme as part of the airport project. Translocation of indigenous species of flora and fauna for the purposes of off-site conservation is one of the mitigation options open to environmental managers under this programme.

Asked by Lord Jones of Cheltenham

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the rate of progress on provision of accommodation for tourists to St Helena in preparation for the opening of the island’s airport in 2016; and what they consider to be the reasons for any delay. [HL3891]

Baroness Northover: The St Helena Government, with the support of the Department for International Development, is currently examining options for improving the quality and quantity of tourist

17 Dec 2013 : Column WA196

accommodation on the island, in order to ensure the needs and expectations of visitors can be met after the airport opens.

Syria

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of reports of an attack by Syrian rebels on the town of Ma’aloula, north of Damascus; and whether they have any information about the Greek orthodox nuns, and the orphaned children in their care, in the St Thecla convent in that town. [HL3902]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): We have received conflicting accounts regarding the fighting in Maaloula, and the reported kidnapping of the nuns on 3 December. Regime media outlets claim that the nuns have been abducted, whilst opposition sources have suggested that they were transferred to another town, Yabroud, to ensure their safety whilst the fighting around Maaloula was ongoing.

We understand that the nuns are being detained but are unharmed. However, given that the British Embassy has been closed in Syria since March 2012, our lack of access and the complex nature of the conflict mean that it is impossible to easily verify reports of this nature. We have no further information regarding the situation inside the monastery or the wellbeing of those still dwelling there. We will continue to monitor the situation and are seeking further clarification through our contacts in Syria.

Transport: Buses

Questions

Asked by Lord Bradshaw

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many times in 2012 Traffic Commissioners held a Highway Authority to account for its contribution to poor bus punctuality.[HL4055]

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Kramer) (LD): There were no instances of Traffic Commissioners holding a Highway Authority to account for poor bus punctuality in 2012.

Asked by Lord Bradshaw

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the provisions relating to state aid in European Union Regulation 1370/2007 have ever been invoked because a local authority has over-compensated a bus operator in respect of concessionary travel reimbursement. [HL4056]

Baroness Kramer: EU Regulation 1370/2007 is not “invoked” directly regarding concessionary travel reimbursement. In domestic Regulations, Regulation 6 of The Mandatory Travel Concession (England) Regulations 2011 complements EU Regulation 1370/2007 as it requires local authorities to ensure that bus

17 Dec 2013 : Column WA197

operators are left “no better off and no worse off” as a consequence of taking part in the mandatory travel concession.

The decision maker appointed to act on behalf of the Secretary of State for Transport to determine applications by bus operators has powers under domestic Regulations to reduce the level of reimbursement in the event of a dispute between an operator and a local authority. For one application made by an operator in 2011/12 he determined that there should be a specific rate of reimbursement for fare revenue forgone which was less than the overall rate, including the amount of reimbursement for the additional costs element of reimbursement, which the authority had published for its scheme.

With regard to State aid, the Directorate General for Competition in the European Commission is the appropriate body to consider complaints.

Turkey

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of progress on withdrawing Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) fighters from Turkey; and whether they consider that any such progress will increase the prospects of (1) the release of prisoners held in Turkey for political reasons, and (2) the removal of the PKK from their list of proscribed terrorist organisations.[HL4047]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): We support the Turkish government in its desire to find a peaceful and sustainable settlement of the Kurdish issue and applaud the steps taken by all parties to move the process forward.

In August 2013 The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) began withdrawing from south-east Turkey. The PKK announced in October 2013 that this withdrawal was frozen, but the ceasefire still holds.

We were encouraged by the “democratisation package” announced by the Turkish government in September 2013 and hope that further progress can be made, with the aim of bringing stability and prosperity to Turkey’s south east. The release of any prisoners and the proscription status of the PKK in Turkey, is a matter for the Turkish authorities.

Visas

Questions

Asked by Lord Moynihan

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to abolish transit visas to encourage business travel to the United Kingdom.[HL3928]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach) (Con): Direct Airside Transit Visas (DATVs) allow the Government to run comprehensive checks on those intending to transit

17 Dec 2013 : Column WA198

the UK. Since the introduction of the DATV there has been a noticeable fall in transit passengers claiming asylum. We therefore have no plans to abolish transit visas, but do keep the specifics of our transit visa regime under regular review

Asked by Lord Patten

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the European Union proposals to allow Turkish citizens to travel without a visa within the whole European Union area; and what is the likely effect of any such proposal on the United Kingdom.[HL4070]

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: The UK does not participate in the EU common visa policy, and therefore any such proposals would not allow Turkish nationals to travel to the UK without a visa. The Government notes that agreement has only been reached for the European Commission to begin discussions with the Turkish authorities on visa liberalisation, and that these discussions will take a considerable period of time. As such, it is too early to make an assessment of any such visa liberalisation on the UK.

World Trade Organisation

Question

Asked by Lord Pearson of Rannoch

To ask Her Majesty’s Government which Ministers represented the United Kingdom at the 9th World Trade Organisation Ministerial Conference in Bali on 5–7 December; and what role they played in proceedings.[HL4029]

The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Livingston of Parkhead) (Con): My Noble Friend Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint represented the United Kingdom at the 9th World Trade Organisation Ministerial Conference held in Nusa Dua Bali on 3-7 December. Lord Green also acted as one of the three Vice-Chairs at the Conference supporting Chairman, Gita Wirjawan, Indonesia's Trade Minister. Further details can be found in the Written Ministerial Statement tabled before the Conference - Hansard reference 28 Nov 2013: Column WS93.

Zimbabwe

Question

Asked by Lord Maginnis of Drumglass

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Bates on 6 November (WA 62), how much of the financial aid and support they provide is delivered to Zimbabwe through multilateral organisations, international non-governmental organisations and the private sector; whether accountability reports are maintained; and what proportion of aid is delivered to the Matabeleland region.[HL3869]

17 Dec 2013 : Column WA199

Baroness Northover (LD): DFID channels all its aid to Zimbabwe through either multilateral organizations or the private sector. During the UK financial year 2012/13, DFID Zimbabwe provided £82m of development assistance for nationwide programming in over 15 sectors. This spend is allocated as follows: International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs) 19%, multilaterals 59% and the private sector 22%. All programmes run under the DFID Zimbabwe portfolio are reviewed

17 Dec 2013 : Column WA200

annually and subject to on-going financial scrutiny. Programme Annual Reviews are accessible to the public on the DFID website.

Geographical spread of programming within Zimbabwe is dictated by need, and most of our programmes operate nationally. Our rural Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programming benefits the Matabeleland region in particular (20% of overall WASH spend).