18 Dec 2013 : Column WA201

18 Dec 2013 : Column WA201

Written Answers

Wednesday 18 December 2013

Anti-Social Behaviour

Question

Asked by The Earl of Lytton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of their proposals for new powers for local authorities to deal with anti-social behaviour contained in the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill, whether local authorities maintain, or will be expected to maintain, database records relating to anti-social behaviour; and if not, to which such records local authorities will have access.[HL3967]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach) (Con): The legislation requires local agencies to share information when the new Community Trigger is activated by a member of the public, and our draft guidance for front line professionals also makes clear that effective partnership working and information sharing between agencies using the new powers are essential to ensuring victims of anti-social behaviour receive a first class service. However, it will be for local agencies to decide how best to work together to protect victims and communities in their area, and the Bill does not impose a specific requirement on local authorities to maintain a database relating to anti-social behaviour.

Apprenticeships

Questions

Asked by Lord Adonis

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many apprentices employed by Ofsted on 1 November were (1) under the age of 21, (2) aged between 21 and 25, and (3) aged over 25.[HL3764]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash) (Con): This question is a matter for Ofsted. I have asked Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw, to write to the noble Lord. A copy of his reply will be placed in the House Libraries.

Asked by Lord Adonis

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many apprentices employed by the Valuation Office on 1 November were (1) under the age of 21, (2) aged between 21 and 25, and (3) aged over 25.[HL3988]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton) (Con): The number of apprentices employed by the Valuation Office Agency on 1 November 2013 in the categories requested are as follows

(1) 15 under the age of 21(2) (3)**

** The disclosure of numbers where they amount to fewer than five could enable others to identify which individuals this information relates. This would amount to a release of their personal data in breach of the Data Protection Act. Section 40 of the FOI Act provides an absolute exemption for information in such circumstances.

18 Dec 2013 : Column WA202

Asylum Seekers

Question

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many unaccompanied asylum-seeking children arrived in the United Kingdom (1) in 2012, and (2) thus far in 2013.[HL4107]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach) (Con): In 2012 there were 1,125 applications from unaccompanied asylum seeking children (excluding dependants). There have been 835 applications in the first three quarters of 2013.

The Home Office publishes annual and quarterly statistics on asylum applications from unaccompanied asylum seeking children in tables as_08 and as_08_q (Asylum data tables Volume 2) of Immigration Statistics. A copy of the latest release Immigration Statistics July — September 2013 is available from https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/immigration-statistics-july-to-september-2013 and will be placed in the Library of the House. Data for Q4 2013 will be available from 27 February 2014.

Banking: Bitcoins

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether any authorised United Kingdom bank has been granted permission to make markets in bitcoins.[HL4013]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton) (Con): The Financial Conduct Authority are not aware of any authorised bank in the UK offering Bitcoin trading or exchange services. Bitcoin is currently unregulated in the UK, and as such no permissions currently exist for making markets in Bitcoins.

Companies: Public and Private

Question

Asked by Baroness Goudie

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many (1) publicly-listed, and (2) privately-owned, companies there are in the United Kingdom.[HL4076]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie) (Con): Companies House has confirmed that as of the end of November, the latest date for which accurate figures are available, the number of public companies in the United Kingdom is 7,928 and the number of privately owned companies is 3,170,276. Companies House does not maintain records of the number of public companies that are listed.

18 Dec 2013 : Column WA203

Drugs: Prescribed Drug Addiction

Question

Asked by The Earl of Sandwich

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have any plans to involve service users and patients in improving services for prescribed drug addiction and withdrawal, and in the training of health workers, at either a local or national level.[HL3919]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): Commissioning of local addiction services is the responsibility of local authorities and clinical commissioning groups. Training of health workers is the responsibility of employers, supported by Health Education England and Public Health England (PHE). PHE guidance on commissioning treatment for people dependent on prescription and over-the-counter medicines makes clear that consultation with those affected by addiction to medicines is an invaluable source of additional information.

The previous Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Public Health (Anna Soubry) has met with the All Party Parliamentary Group for Involuntary Tranquilliser Addiction, which has close links with patient groups.

The Department has also convened and supported round table events on addiction to medicines, which included patient groups.

Emergency Vehicles: Red Light Signals

Question

Asked by Viscount Hanworth

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what regulations govern the right of police cars, ambulances and other emergency vehicles to pass though red traffic lights; and whether any special dispensation governs the liability of the driver of such vehicles if passing through a red light causes a traffic accident. [HL4136]

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Kramer) (LD): In respect of signalised junctions and pedestrian crossings, respectively, regulation 36 of the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002, and Regulations 12 and 13 of the Zebra, Pelican Puffin Pedestrian Crossings Regulations and General Directions 1997 allow police cars, ambulances and other emergency vehicles, while being driven for their intended purpose, to pass beyond red light signals, in a manner that does not cause danger to others.

The issue of driver liability in the event of an accident would be a matter for the courts to determine on a case by case basis

Energy: Nuclear Industry

Question

Asked by Lord Dubs

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the continued closure of the Sellafield visitor centre, what proposals they have to publicise information about Sellafield and the nuclear industry to the people of (1) Cumbria, and (2) the United Kingdom.[HL4105]

18 Dec 2013 : Column WA204

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Baroness Verma) (Con): Sellafield Ltd has entered into an agreement, with the approval of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, to create a public exhibition in the Beacon Centre in Whitehaven that covers the development of the nuclear industry in West Cumbria from its origins through to modern nuclear decommissioning and waste management. The exhibition itself, which will be education focused, will be installed during Spring 2014 and should open to the public later in the Summer. There will also be additional space for short term exhibitions which will support ongoing engagement with the local community.

The Nuclear Industry Council is working with universities, research institutes and other programmes to help the people of the United Kingdom better understand how nuclear energy and radiation are used within society, and how they are managed by the industry.

The Council oversees a workstream dedicated to improving the public understanding of nuclear energy, with membership drawn from industry, academics, independent observers and officials. The workstream has identified key sections of the public they will engage with, including nuclear communities like those in Cumbria.

In addition, publicly funded websites such as those managed by the NDA, Sellafield Ltd and DECC continue to provide a considerable amount of information on the UK's nuclear history, current plans and activities and policy matters.

EU: Debt

Question

Asked by Lord Bradshaw

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what other European Union member states' accounting rules classify borrowing for building affordable housing as public sector debt; whether the International Monetary Fund and international credit rating agencies do so; and what assessment they have made of whether that classification acts as a barrier preventing the supply of affordable housing.[HL4057]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton) (Con): The UK Government uses Public Sector Net Debt (PSND) as the key measure of debt because the Government believes this is the best principled measure of Government indebtedness, providing the fullest and most transparent picture of Government's total liabilities. As a local authority's Housing Revenue Account (HRA) is classified by the ONS as a 'public corporation' spending within the HRA adds to PSND.

Some other countries and international organisations use other measures of debt. One common alternative is General Government Gross Debt (GGGD), which is used by the European Union, IMF, OECD and the credit rating agencies. GGGD excludes the liabilities of public corporations.

As part of the Housing Revenue Account reforms in April 2012 total HRA borrowing was capped to ensure the reform did not threaten the Government's fiscal consolidation plans.

18 Dec 2013 : Column WA205

EU: Emissions Trading Scheme

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what effect the proposed changes to the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme will have on industry and commerce and on prices charged to domestic energy consumers.[HL4086]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Baroness Verma) (Con): The European Commission's proposal to delay the auctioning of 900 million carbon allowances (so-called "back-loading") is not expected to result in significant, if any, increases in electricity prices as carbon market traders have advised that it has already been factored in to the current carbon price. There will therefore be little or no impact in the short- term on businesses or end users from an energy costs perspective.

In terms of the impacts on industry “back-loading” will have no impact on the free allocation of allowances to protect sectors at risk of carbon leakage. Energy Intensive Industries will therefore retain the protection that they are already afforded. The Government is also compensating electro-intensive industries for the indirect costs of the EU ETS.

The Government supports backloading as a first step towards substantive structural reform of the EU ETS and has called for the Commission to bring forward proposals for reform. Any proposals should include a full impact assessment, including impacts on energy prices and bills.

EU: Fracking

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have discussed with other European Union member states proposals for European Union regulation of the extraction of shale gas by fracking; and, if so, under what treaty provisions the European Union has competence to make such regulations.[HL4087]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Baroness Verma) (Con): The European Commission committed in both the 2013 and 2014 work programmes to review the existing regulatory framework on unconventional hydrocarbon extraction, including shale gas. This Government is supportive of shale gas development in the UK. We believe there is a need for clarification of the application of existing EU Directives, but are not convinced that there is a need for new European regulation.

We have been engaging with Member States to request they consider the additional burdens new regulations would place on this emerging industry. The Prime Minister has written to a selection of Member States to further this cause.

Under the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), energy and the environment are both matters of shared competence. This means that both the EU and the Member States are able to adopt

18 Dec 2013 : Column WA206

legally binding acts in the areas which would apply to the regulation of unconventional hydrocarbons. However, the Member States can only exercise their competence to the extent that the EU has not exercised its competence. With regard to the regulation of unconventional hydrocarbons, the EU has, for example, exercised its competence to approximate laws in connection with the internal market through Directive 94/22/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 1994 on the conditions for granting and using authorisations for the prospection, exploration and production of hydrocarbons (often referred to as the Hydrocarbons Licensing Directive), which ensures non-discriminatory access to the licensing regimes of the Member States.

In addition, several areas of European environmental law, such as the requirement for environmental impact assessment, apply in relation to hydrocarbons activities; many of these measures are made under Article175 of the Treaty establishing the European Community, which has now been replaced by Article 192 TFEU.

EU: Migration

Question

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what arrangements are in place to monitor and count migrants from European Union member states, in particular Bulgaria and Romania, who enter the United Kingdom after 1 January 2014.[HL4097]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach) (Con): The first national data release which will provide information on Romanian and Bulgarian nationals in employment in the UK after the lifting of transitional controls will be the quarterly Labour Force Survey. This is scheduled for publication on 14 May and released by the Office for National Statistics at: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/index.html.

This release will include employment numbers and rates by nationality and country of birth, covering the period January to March 2014.

The Office for National Statistics also publish their Migration Statistics Quarterly Report at:

http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/migration1/migration-statistics-quarterly-report/index.html.

The release on 28 August 2014 will include provisional estimates of long term international migration for the year ending March 2014, including estimates for the European Union.

On 22 May, the Department for Work and Pensions will publish statistics for National Insurance Number allocations to foreign nationals for the first quarter of 2014 available from:

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-work-pensions.

The previous information collected by the Home Office on Romanians and Bulgarians in connection with the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Scheme and the Sector Based Scheme will end at the same time as the transitional controls as these schemes also then come to an end.

18 Dec 2013 : Column WA207

EU: Overseas Aid

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the estimate by the European Commission of the value of European Union-funded development and humanitarian projects in the Occupied Territories destroyed by Israel between 2001 and 2011.[HL4004]

Baroness Northover (LD): Reports suggest that $66m of European-supported development and humanitarian projects in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs) were destroyed by Israel from 2001-2011. Such demolitions cause unnecessary suffering to ordinary Palestinians; are harmful to the peace process; and, in all but the most limited circumstances, are contrary to international humanitarian law. We have repeatedly made clear to the Israeli authorities our serious concern at the increase in demolitions of Palestinian properties.

EU: REACH Regulation

Question

Asked by Lord Hoyle

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether imports of finished goods containing substances banned under REACH will be allowed into the United Kingdom.[HL3966]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley): The control and use of chemicals in the EU, including those contained in imported goods, is regulated by the EU REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) Regulation. REACH contains two processes designed to control dangerous chemical substances: restriction and authorisation.

Restrictions can ban the manufacture, placing on the market or use of substances that present an unacceptable risk. A restriction can apply to all or specified uses and can include the use in finished articles and the placing on the market of those articles. It also covers imports into the United Kingdom.

Under the authorisation procedure a “substance of very high concern” (SVHC) cannot be placed on the market or used after a sunset date unless it has been authorised for specified uses. The requirement for authorisation applies within the EU and to the import of SVHCs on their own or in chemical mixtures. It does not apply to SVHCs present in imported finished articles. Articles containing the SVHC would therefore be allowed into the United Kingdom. However, the European Chemicals Agency is required to assess whether to propose a restriction on its use in articles, including in imported articles, after the SVHC sunset date.

EU: UK Contribution

Question

Asked by Lord Grocott

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the current annual contribution of the United Kingdom to the European Union's budget.[HL4113]

18 Dec 2013 : Column WA208

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton) (Con): As a result of the deal the Prime Minister agreed in February there will be a real terms cut in the budget for the next Multi-annual Financial Framework.

In 2012-13, the latest year for which outturn information is available, the UK's gross contribution to the EU Budget, after taking account of the UK abatement, was £13.7 billion; the net contribution was £9.7 billion. The Office for Budget Responsibility's December 2013 forecast of the UK's gross contribution to the EU Budget for 2013-14, after taking account of the UK abatement, is £13.7 billion; its forecast for the UK's net contribution in 2013- 14 is £8.4 billion.

Families: Troubled Families

Question

Asked by Lord Bradley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many families in each district of Greater Manchester have been connected to the Troubled Families programme in each of the last two years.[HL4038]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Stowell of Beeston) (Con): My Department publishes programme data on a quarterly basis, including the number of families worked with by each upper tier authority (this includes the ten unitary authorities which make up Greater Manchester). The information can be found on my Department's web pages here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/troubled-families-progress-information-at-september-2013-and-families-turned-around-at-october-2013

Finance: Financial Stability

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they propose to investigate, or ask regulators to investigate and report on, the potential risk to financial stability of increased issuance of synthetic collateralised debt obligations.[HL3899]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton) (Con): The Government has established the independent Financial Policy Committee (FPC) within the Bank of England, with responsibility for identifying, monitoring, and taking action to remove or reduce systemic risks. FPC policy meetings occur on a quarterly basis, and the FPC publishes a Financial Stability Report (FSR) every 6 months.

The latest FSR was published on 28 November and includes the FPC's assessment of the outlook for the stability and resilience of the financial sector and the policy actions it advises to reduce and mitigate risks to stability. The November FSR notes that, “There were tentative signs of investor willingness to take on more complex forms of risk. Market contacts expected issuance of collateralised loan obligations—loan securitisation

18 Dec 2013 : Column WA209

structures—in the United States to reach US$75 billion–US$80 billion this year, close to the pre-crisis peak”. To date the FPC has not made any specific recommendations concerning the issuance of collateralised debt obligations.

Food: Saturated Fat

Questions

Asked by The Countess of Mar

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 18 November (WA 139), what consideration they have given when formulating dietary policy to the views of scientists who are sceptical of the assertion that saturated fat intake increases the risk of coronary heart disease; and, if so, what weight was given to those views. [HL3856]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN), an advisory committee of independent scientific experts replaced the Committee on Medical Aspects of Food and Nutrition Policy in 2001. The SACN follow a stringent framework for evaluating evidence on nutrition and health topics, including consideration of the hierarchy of evidence when judging the strength of evidence according to study design. Current recommendations on saturated fat are based on a review of the totality of evidence available, rather than single studies or individual opinions.

The advice is consistent with other advisory organisations and in line with a recently published systematic review of the evidence. The SACN will continue to monitor any emerging evidence on saturated fat and coronary heart disease.

Asked by The Countess of Mar

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 18 November (WA 139), whether they consider that the findings of the Committee on Medical Aspects of Food Policy in its 1984 report “Diet and Cardiovascular Disease” constitute a sufficient scientific basis for their policy on saturated fat, in the light of that Committee’s analysis at paragraph 4.1.11 of the status of the evidence it took; and, if not, whether there is any further scientific basis for their policy.[HL3925]

Earl Howe: The Government's policy on saturated fat is based on the totality of evidence and is consistent with other advisory organisations.

The Committee on Medical Aspects of Food and Nutrition Policy (COMA) recommendation to limit saturated fat intake to no more than 11% of total food energy to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease was based on a review of the scientific evidence available in 1984. This recommendation was endorsed by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition, an advisory committee of independent scientific experts who replaced COMA in 2001.

18 Dec 2013 : Column WA210

Since the publication of the COMA report there has been a wealth of evidence from randomised controlled trials to demonstrate that saturated fat consumption influences cholesterol levels and that cholesterol levels are related to cardiovascular disease. The Government continues to monitor developments in the evidence base on saturated fat and cardiovascular disease to ensure its policy is based on sufficient scientific evidence.

Gaza

Questions

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they intend to take following reports of the killing on 7 December by Israeli soldiers of Wajeeh Wajdi Mustafa al-Ramali near the entrance to the Al Jalazoun Refugee Camp in Gaza.[HL4010]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): The details of the incident of 7 December at the al-Jalazoun Refugee Camp, in the West Bank, are not yet clear. The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) have launched an investigation into the incident but cannot confirm at this stage whether the minor died as a result of IDF live fire. We will follow developments closely.

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the effect on human health of the fishing limit imposed by Israel off the coast of Gaza, particularly in the light of recent problems with sewage services there.[HL4011]

Baroness Warsi: We are concerned by reports of sewerage from Gaza polluting the sea. We have not made an assessment of the impact of this pollution of the sea on fish stocks or any associated public health risk. We continue to press the Israeli government at ministerial and official level to ease restrictions on Gaza, including access to fishing areas.

Genetic Modification

Questions

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answers by Earl Howe on 30 October (WA 259) and 26 November (WA 263), whether they consider it possible for something to be both a form of germline modification and gene therapy but not genetic modification; what other examples they can provide of gene therapy that do not involve introducing genetic material from another source; and under what circumstances they would consider that an egg or embryo that has some or all of its nuclear genome replaced would not be genetically modified as a consequence.[HL4017]

18 Dec 2013 : Column WA211

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answers by Earl Howe on 3 December (WA 33 and WA 36), whether it is intended that no human eggs or embryos that could be classed as “permitted eggs” or “permitted embryos” should be subjected to any of the same techniques that fall within either Part I or Part III of Schedule 2 to the Genetically Modified Organisms (Contained Use) Regulations 2000, to which other species might be subjected.[HL4018]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The two mitochondrial donation techniques about which the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) undertook its public dialogue in 2012 involve the transfer of the nuclear DNA to an egg or embryo with healthy mitochondria that has had its own nuclear DNA removed. The nuclear DNA, which shapes personal characteristics and traits, is not therefore modified. However, as the aim is that children born as a result of mitochondrial donation, and their offspring, would be free of serious mitochondrial disease it would be a form of germline modification or germline gene therapy, as respectively recognised by the HFEA and the Nuffield Council on Bioethics.

Genetic modification of humans or human embryos is not covered by the Genetically Modified Organisms (Contained Use) Regulations 2000. Therefore, whilst the techniques described in Schedule 2 might be applied to humans, it would be inappropriate to discuss such work in terms of these Regulations.

Government Departments: Management Information Reports

Questions

Asked by Lord Mendelsohn

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the Attorney General's 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.[HL3948]

The Advocate-General for Scotland (Lord Wallace of Tankerness) (LD): The Attorney General's Office (AGO) produces monthly finance reports which track spend against forecast and reforecast year end outturn for the use of the AGO Executive Board. These reports are reviewed monthly by the board member with responsibility for finance and are reviewed by the whole board on a bi monthly basis.

The AGO also receives details of all spend over £25k by the Law Officers' Departments on a monthly basis. This is shared with the Solicitor General prior to publication under the transparency regime.

Asked by Lord Mendelsohn

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills produces monthly management information reports

18 Dec 2013 : Column WA212

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.[HL3950]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie) (Con): The Department has developed a robust Management Information strategy encompassing a range of reports and measures within the Corporate and Programme Delivery areas. The Corporate reports include monthly management information on financial, Human resources (HR) and corporate services performance indicators and the Programme Delivery reports include information and activity on projects, programmes, operational delivery and systems management in support of the Department's aims and objectives. These reports are submitted to Ministerial level, the Permanent Secretary, Director Generals and respective Directors as part of the regular monthly and quarterly performance reviews at Management and Board level and cover the core Department and key activities within The Department for Business (BIS) partner organisations.

Asked by Lord Mendelsohn

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the Department of Health 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.[HL3965]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The Department produces reports for Ministers and senior officials that contain information about financial performance and progress against a variety of targets for consideration at Departmental and Executive Board meetings. Details about Board papers are not disclosed. The Department publishes an annual report and accounts that gives details of progress against financial and other key targets.

Asked by Lord Mendelsohn

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the Department for International Development 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.[HL3995]

Baroness Northover (LD): The Department produces a monthly management report which includes indicators against financial targets. This report is submitted and discussed by the Executive Management Committee on a monthly basis. The reports are also shared with DFID’s Treasury spending team. The Department also produces a monthly report for Ministers including key data on the Department’s results and progress towards the Official Development Assistance target.

On a quarterly basis, an extended management information report is produced that includes data on key performance metrics including HR, procurement

18 Dec 2013 : Column WA213

and estates that aligns to information submitted to the Cabinet Office via the Quarterly Data Summary (QDS). This report is submitted to both the Executive Management Committee and Departmental Board. On a bi-annual basis, the quarterly management information report also includes an update on progress towards DFID’s results targets.

The Executive Management Committee comprises the Permanent Secretary, Director Generals and Non-Executive Directors. The Departmental Board comprises Ministers, the Permanent Secretary and Director Generals and non-Executive Directors.

Asked by Lord Mendelsohn

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether HM Treasury 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.[HL4030]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton) (Con): HM Treasury produces monthly management information reporting departmental

18 Dec 2013 : Column WA214

performance against both financial and non financial targets. The reports are sent to the Treasury Executive Management Board, which is chaired by the Permanent Secretary and to Directors.

Government Departments: Expenditure

Question

Asked by Lord Morris of Aberavon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the expenditure of each department of state headed by a Cabinet Minister in the last year for which they have figures.[HL4089]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton) (Con): The table below shows spending by each departmental group. This information is from the Public Spending Statistics Release published by HM Treasury in October 2013. This data for 2012-13 is the latest available and is presented in the table below.

2012-13 spend by departmental group (£ million)Total Departmental Expenditure Limit (1)Total Departmental Annually Managed ExpenditureTotal Expenditure

Education

54,688

11,598

66,287

NHS (Health)

105,221

18,878

124,100

Transport

12,143

529

12,672

CLG Communities

3,781

413

4,194

CLG Local Government

27,599

140

27,739

Business, Innovation and Skills

16,707

6,037

22,744

Home Office

11,641

1,260

12,901

Justice

8,349

915

9,264

Law Officers' Departments

592

5

598

Defence

34,259

7,325

41,584

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

2,026

88

2,114

International Development

7,758

185

7,943

Energy and Climate Change

3,155

5,368

8,523

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

2,301

-30

2,270

Culture, Media and Sport

2,471

4,799

7,270

Work and Pensions

7,492

160,788

168,280

Scotland

28,281

2,942

31,223

Wales

14,848

393

15,242

Northern Ireland

10,430

8,000

18,430

Chancellor's Departments

3,467

20,778

24,245

Cabinet Office

2,439

9,431

11,870

Small and

1,455

-150

1,305

Total

361,103

259,694

620,798

(1) Total Departmental Expenditure Limit (DEL) is given by Resource DEL less depreciation plus capital DEL.

Government: Ministerial Visits

Questions

Asked by Lord Ashcroft

To ask Her Majesty’s Government which members of the business community were invited to accompany the Prime Minister on his visit to China in December 2013 but did not accept the invitation.[HL3900]

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Hill of Oareford) (Con): Companies decide whether to participate in overseas visits on a commercial basis. We do not therefore think it is appropriate to provide details of companies who chose not to take part in the recent visit to China.

A full list of the business delegation that accompanied the Prime Minister on his visit to China is available on the gov.uk website and in the Library of the House.

18 Dec 2013 : Column WA215

Asked by Lord Ashcroft

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what were the names of all those, other than the employees of Virgin Airlines, who were on the flight with the Prime Minister to China in December 2013. [HL3901]

Lord Hill of Oareford: I refer the noble Lord to my answer of 11 December 2013 (WA120).

The Government publish information on a quarterly basis about Ministers’ overseas travel. This includes the number of officials who accompanied the Minister in each case, as well as the cost of the visit. It has been the practice under successive Administrations not to name officials accompanying Ministers on overseas visits. In addition, representatives from the following media organisations were present:

BBCChannel 4Daily MirrorITNDaily MailThe TimesDaily ExpressDaily TelegraphBloomberg NewsSky NewsThe SunReutersPress AssociationFinancial TimesThe GuardianPress AssociationIndependent

Health: Clinical Commissioning Groups

Questions

Asked by Lord Greaves

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the total budget for each Clinical Commissioning Group in England; and in each case how much of the budget has been allocated to newly commissioned work in the current financial year.[HL3903]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, for each Clinical Commissioning Group, what proportion of work that is being put out to tender in the current year was formerly carried out by NHS organisations. [HL3904]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what proportion of work that has been newly commissioned by each Clinical Commissioning Group to date was given (1) to NHS organisations, (2) to charities or other third sector organisations, and (3) to private sector bodies.[HL3905]

18 Dec 2013 : Column WA216

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): NHS England is responsible for allocating clinical commissioning group (CCG) budgets. It is for local CCGs to decide how best to use the funding allocated to them, underpinned by clinical insight and knowledge of local healthcare needs.

A table containing the total budget for each of the 211 CCGs in England, NHS England, Annex A 2013/14 Allocation & Indicative Target Allocation Working Paper has already been placed in the Library.

CCGs are best placed to decide how to secure improvements in NHS services because of their understanding of their local healthcare needs enabling them to determine which providers are best able to meet those needs.

NHS England advises that it does not collect data on contracts held by CCGs. For this reason it is unable to confirm the proportion of CCGs' budgets that has been allocated to newly commissioned work in 2013-2014 or confirm the proportion of newly commissioned work that that has been awarded to non-NHS organisations during that period.

Health: Healthcare Assistants

Question

Asked by Lord Mawhinney

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the remarks by Earl Howe on 19 November (HL Deb, col 864), how many meetings that included at least one Minister were held in the past 12 months as part of the regular review of the regulation of healthcare assistants.[HL3854]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): Ministers routinely discuss issues such as this, and have kept the issue of the regulation of healthcare assistants under regular review. This matter was considered in great detail in the numerous Ministerial meetings that were convened in order to determine the Government's response to the Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust Public Inquiry. Our intention is for all healthcare support workers to have the right training, values and support to provide high quality care.

Health: Hospital Passports

Question

Asked by Baroness Browning

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 5 December (WA 64), what methods they use to evaluate the take-up and use of hospital passports in England. [HL4028]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The uptake and use of hospital passports is not routinely evaluated.

However, National Health Service foundation trusts (NHSFTs) are asked quarterly by Monitor to certify their compliance with a number of requirements in relation to access to healthcare for people with learning

18 Dec 2013 : Column WA217

disabilities. These include indicating that they 'have a mechanism in place to identify and flag patients with learning disabilities and protocols that ensure that pathways of care are reasonably adjusted to meet the health needs of these patients'. The Care Quality Commission has the key role in overseeing standards in this area for all healthcare providers (including those that are not NHSFTs).

Health: Human Papilloma Virus

Question

Asked by Lord Patel of Bradford

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how much it has cost to deliver the current human papilloma virus vaccination programme for girls for each year since 2010; and what estimate they have made of the cost of extending the current programme to boys.[HL4041]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The average annual administration cost of the Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination programme for the three year period from the start of April 2010 to the end of March 2013 is shown in the following table:

2010-2011 - £8.9 million2011-2012 - £8.9 million2012-2013 - £7.8 million

This figure excludes the cost of the vaccine and its storage and distribution as this information is commercially confidential.

There has been no recent estimate of the cost of extending the current programme to boys. A HPV subcommittee of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has been established and will be considering a number of key issues around HPV vaccination, including the option of vaccinating men who have sex with men (MSM) and/or adolescent boys. Once the sub-committee has reviewed the available evidence, including additional analyses where needed, it will report back to the JCVI its recommendations. This will inform any plans for extending the current programme to MSM and/or adolescent boys.

Health: Medical Schools

Questions

Asked by Lord Alderdice

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many medical schools in the United Kingdom provide medical qualifications for doctors; and which of those schools has a professor of psychiatry or mental health.[HL4074]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government which medical schools in the United Kingdom have closed down posts in psychiatry or mental health, or have left such posts vacant, in each of the last 10 years. [HL4075]

18 Dec 2013 : Column WA218

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): This information is not held centrally.

Health: Ophthalmology

Question

Asked by Lord Harrison

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what funding has been made available through the National Health Service for eye lens treatment in the financial year 2012–13.[HL3885]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): Treatment services for ophthalmic conditions for 2012-13 were funded from primary care trusts' (PCTs) general recurrent revenue allocations, in common with most other elements of health care. Since April 2013, this has been the responsibility of clinical commissioning groups (CCGs).

General allocations are not attributed to specific services centrally. Local commissioners decide the distribution of resources, after taking account of local and national priorities.

Health: Quality and Outcomes Framework

Questions

Asked by Lord Patel of Bradford

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of NHS England's decision to retire indicators DM015 and DM016 from the Quality and Outcomes Framework for 2014–15; and what implications that decision will have on the implementation of action six of the Department of Health's Cardiovascular Disease Outcome Strategy. [HL4042]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the implications of the decision to retire indicators DM015 and DM016 from the Quality and Outcomes Framework for 2014–15 for the Department of Health's Framework for sexual health improvement in England.[HL4043]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The removal of Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) indicators will not mean that general practitioners (GPs) will no longer tackle important health issues. Rather, the aim is that reducing QOF will help free up time to enable GPs to spend more time on providing more proactive coordinated and individual care for their patients, based on their clinical judgement.

Many aspects of the retired QOF indicators are now embedded as good clinical practice. NHS England will continue to use data extracted from GP practice systems to ensure continued transparency about quality and outcomes in relation to these areas in which indicators are retired.

18 Dec 2013 : Column WA219

Health: Walk-in Centres

Question

Asked by Lord Mawhinney

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the answer by Earl Howe on 10 December, why they do not keep a record of health decisions or proposals which are not pursued after a public consultation. [HL4061]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The Department does not keep a record of health decisions or proposals regarding walk-in-centres which are not pursued after a public consultation because this is a matter for local commissioners.

It is for local commissioners to determine how walk-in-centres fit into plans locally, rather than a central decision. Local commissioners make such decisions by involving patients and by using their clinical expertise to determine the pattern of local services and where walk-in-centres fit in with this.

Any major changes to local services are subject to the four tests for reconfiguration, which include arrangements for public and patient engagement as one of the tests.

Hillsborough Castle

Question

Asked by Lord Kilclooney

To ask Her Majesty’s Government to what extent the government of the Republic of Ireland was consulted about Hillsborough Castle becoming a permanent Royal Residence in Northern Ireland. [HL4088]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Wales Office (Baroness Randerson) (LD): The Northern Ireland Office has not consulted the Government of the Republic of Ireland in this matter. Hillsborough Castle is a working royal residence, and there are no plans to make any changes to this status.

Homeless Families

Questions

Asked by Baroness King of Bow

To ask Her Majesty’s Government why homeless families in bed and breakfast annexes are excluded from protection under the maximum six-week limit established by the Homelessness (Suitability of Accommodation) (England) Order 2003.[HL3981]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Stowell of Beeston) (Con): Bed and breakfast annexes are not excluded from the order. It is unlawful to accommodate families with children for longer than six weeks in any annexe which is not self contained and where facilities are shared.

The Homelessness (Suitability of Accommodation) (England) Order 2003 is intended to ensure that families with children are not required for a lengthy period to share facilities with other households. Bed and breakfast accommodation is defined as accommodation which

18 Dec 2013 : Column WA220

is not self-contained in which a toilet, personal washing facilities or cooking facilities are shared by more than one household.

Asked by Baroness King of Bow

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are taking to ensure that local authorities notify homeless families whom they have placed in bed and breakfast accommodation for longer than six weeks of their legal position.[HL3982]

Baroness Stowell of Beeston: Statutory guidance, to which local authorities must by law have regard, makes it clear that local authorities should notify applicants of the effect of the Homelessness (Suitability of Accommodation) (England) Order 2003, including the requirement that authorities cannot use bed and breakfast accommodation for families with children for longer than six weeks.

Ministers and officials have had discussions with a number of the local authorities with the highest numbers of families with children in bed and breakfast to understand their plans to tackle the problem and to remind them of their legal responsibilities.

Immigration

Questions

Asked by Lord Touhig

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many checks undertaken through the United Kingdom Border Agency employer checking service in 2012–13 were completed within the service standard of five working days.[HL3282]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach) (Con): The information requested is not available in the format required and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Asked by Lord Avebury

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what are the average and maximum times taken to process applications for indefinite leave to remain in the United Kingdom; what is the average time taken to process 95 per cent of such applications; and whether they plan to prioritise applications from people who are stateless.[HL3744]

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: For postal Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) applications dispatched between 1st July 2012 and 30th June 2013:

• Average time to conclusion was 91 days.• Average time taken to conclude 95 per cent of applications was 66 days.

In relation to maximum time taken to process applications for ILR, this will depend on the complexity of the application type. As at 12 December 2013, for the most complex work stream, Settlement Other (SET O) cases, casework teams are working on ILR applications submitted a maximum of 206 days earlier.

18 Dec 2013 : Column WA221

There are currently no plans to prioritise applications purely on the grounds that an individual may be stateless.

Iraq: Chilcot Inquiry

Questions

Asked by Lord Morris of Aberavon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what has been the cost to date, per day, of the Chilcot Inquiry since July 2013.[HL4118]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what are the reasons for the delay in the completion of the Chilcot Inquiry.[HL4119]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what involvement the Prime Minister has had with any decisions about the release of documents requested by the Chilcot Inquiry; and, if he has been involved in any such decisions, what are his views on the matter.[HL4120]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when they expect to publish the Chilcot Inquiry report. [HL4191]

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Hill of Oareford) (Con): The costs of the Chilcot Inquiry are published after the end of each financial year; therefore the costs incurred since July 2013 are not yet available.

On the timing of publication, I refer the noble Lords to the answer I gave Baroness Browning on 12 December Official Report (WA139).

The release of documents requested by the Iraq Inquiry is governed by the protocol agreed between the Government and the Inquiry, which sets out the process by which disclosure negotiations are conducted. The protocol is publicly available at www.gov.uk/government/publications/iraq-inquiry-information-sharing-protocol

Israel

Question

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have received from the government of Israel about academic boycotts of that country; and whether they plan to take action as a result of those representations.[HL3936]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): The Israeli Ambassador to the UK wrote to the former Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for North East Bedfordshire (Mr Burt), in May, to express concerns over a small number of incidents involving Israeli speakers at British universities. As we made clear, the Government strongly opposes boycotts of Israel or Israeli academics.

18 Dec 2013 : Column WA222

National Institute of Health and Care Excellence

Question

Asked by Lord Clement-Jones

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to ensure that the new value assessment to be proposed by the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence will not discriminate against children and older people when assessments of the wider societal impact of medicines are undertaken. [HL3922]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): We have asked the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) to develop a clear and comprehensive approach to value assessment and it will do this through an evolution of its world-renowned technology appraisal process. The Terms of Reference for this work are available at:

www.nice.org.uk/aboutnice/howwework/devnicetech/DevelopmentWorkForValueBased Pricing.jsp?domedia=l&mid=9A46903F-A8A3-2090-57684CAOD69C6E1D

NICE will involve industry, patient groups and other key interests in its work to implement this brief and will carry out a public consultation before implementing its methods for broader value assessment in autumn 2014.

As a public authority, NICE is required to fulfil its duties under the Equality Act 2010. It is for NICE as an independent body to ensure that its guidance is compliant with the Act.

Nature Conservation: Game

Question

Asked by Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer

To ask Her Majesty’s Government which game species have a closed season for shooting to enable them to reproduce successfully; whether any such closed season applies to hares; and, if not, why not.[HL3894]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley) (Con): Wildlife management is a devolved matter, so I am answering only for England. I am aware that the situation may be different in the devolved administrations. The following species have close seasons:

Pheasant, partridge, grouse, common snipe, woodcock, golden plover, coot moorhen, certain ducks and geese, and all species of deer found in England except Muntjac. There is no closed season for hares in England and there is currently no power to make one.

The majority of hare shooting occurs to prevent serious crop damage in regions, such as East Anglia where hares are abundant and has no long term impact on hare populations.

There is a code of practice to protect hares in England available on the British Association for Shooting and Conservation website at: www.basc.org.uk/en/codes-of-practice/brown-hares.cfm

18 Dec 2013 : Column WA223

NHS: Clinical Commissioning Groups

Questions

Asked by Baroness Masham of Ilton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many Commissioning Support Units have a member dedicated to cancer, in support of Clinical Commissioning Groups in their responsibility to commission cancer services; and which ones. [HL4080]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment has been made of the level of cancer expertise present in Clinical Commissioning Groups and Commissioning Support Units in order to support them in meeting the objectives outlined in Improving Outcomes: A Strategy for Cancer and Domain 1 of the NHS Outcomes Strategy.[HL4081]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): Information concerning the number of commissioning support units with a member dedicated for cancer is not collected. All clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) will have a nominated clinical lead for cancer. CCGs are responsible for securing the necessary commissioning support to secure high quality outcomes for patients as necessary.

Strategic Clinical Networks (SCNs) play a key role in bringing together all commissioners and providers to plan pathways of care which deliver the best outcomes for patients. Cancer has been made a priority condition for SCNs in 2013-14.

Commissioners will be able to use SCNs as a source of clinical advice and support in driving their quality improvement programmes locally, supporting the outcome ambitions for cancer set out in Domain 1 of the NHS outcomes Framework.

NHS: East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust

Question

Asked by Lord Greaves

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what reasons they were given for the resignation of the Chief Executive of the East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, Mr Mark Brearley; and what are the financial terms on which he has resigned.[HL4008]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): National Health Service organisations, including East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, are independent employers in their own right. This is an employment matter between Mr Brearley and the East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust.

NHS: General Practitioners

Question

Asked by Lord Warner

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the number of visits by National Health Service patients to general practitioners in each of the last three

18 Dec 2013 : Column WA224

years for which information is available; and what proportion of those visits involved (1) children under 18, and (2) adults over the age of 65.[HL4129]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The requested information is not held centrally.

NHS: Mid-Staffordshire NHS Trust

Question

Asked by Lord Mawhinney

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the remarks by Earl Howe on 19 November (HL Deb, col 868) and their stated intention to avoid creating a blame culture, how they envisage that Ministers, NHS trusts, and NHS staff will be held accountable. [HL3852]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The measures set out in Hard Truths: the Journey to Putting Patients First, (Cm 8754) a copy of which is available in the Library, aim to ensure a just culture in the

National Health Service where staff are well supported and feel safe to speak up, mistakes are reported and learned from, and patient feedback is central to improving services. This will be accompanied by clear accountability, greater transparency and a new duty of candour. These new measures include:

- A statutory duty of candour placed on providers, and a professional duty of candour on individuals through changes to professional codes;- The Care Quality Commission's (CQC's) new inspections include consideration of whistleblowers' concerns and how they have been handled;- Regular publication of 'never events';- Proposals for the establishment of a network of Patient Safety Collaboratives across England;- A new criminal offence, proposed in the Care Bill, applicable to care providers who supply, publish or otherwise make available certain types of false or misleading information;- A new fit and proper persons test for Board level appointments, regulated by the CQC;- Fundamental standards that will set a clear bar below which standards of care should not fall- The CQC chief inspectors will make judgements about providers using a set of clear and meaningful ratings;- Trusts aspiring to Foundation Trust status will have to achieve a 'good' or 'outstanding' rating prior to any successful authorisation;- Legislation to introduce a responsive and effective failure regime which looks at quality as well as finance; and- Where foundation trusts are placed in special measures, they will have their freedom to operate as an autonomous body suspended.

Ministers are accountable to Parliament.

18 Dec 2013 : Column WA225

NHS: Staff

Question

Asked by Lord Warner

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what were the savings made, at constant prices, by the National Health Service through the Quality, Innovation, Productivity and Prevention Programme in each of the last three years for which information is available, and what proportion of those savings related to restraints on the pay of staff.[HL4130]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The National Health Service reported efficiency savings of £5.8 billion in 2011-12 and £5 billion in 2012-13 (in constant 2013-14 prices these savings equate to £6 billion and £5.1 billion respectively). It forecasts further efficiencies of £4 billion in 2013-14.

While the NHS does not routinely separately identify savings relating to restraints on the pay of staff, it is estimated that approximately one quarter of efficiencies during this period have been delivered as a consequence of pay restraint. Pay accounts for around 45% of total NHS costs.

North Korea

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have questioned the North Korean ambassador to the United Kingdom about the allegations of ill-treatment of political prisoners in that country made in Amnesty International’s briefing “North Korea: New satellite images show continued investment in the infrastructure of repression”; and, if so, what was discussed and what was the response.[HL3959]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): We have not raised the specific allegations of the treatment of political prisoners outlined in Amnesty International’s report, which was published on 5 December 2013. However, we regularly raise our concerns about human rights violations in North Korea, including concerns about the use of political prison camps and the treatment of people inside these camps. Most recently, on 25 November 2013, a delegation from the North Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs met Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials to discuss human rights. During this meeting we reiterated our concerns, including about the use of political prison camps, and encouraged North Korea to participate meaningfully in its Universal Periodic Review and engage with the UN Commission of Inquiry. In both meetings North Korean officials refused to acknowledge the universality of human rights standards and refused to engage with the international community on human rights.

18 Dec 2013 : Column WA226

Northern Ireland Assembly

Question

Asked by Lord Empey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have received from the Northern Ireland Assembly about designating some excepted matters as reserved matters; what were those matters; and on which dates any such representations were received.[HL4050]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Wales Office (Baroness Randerson) (LD): The Assembly has not made any representations about redesignating excepted matters as reserved matters.

Overseas Aid

Questions

Asked by Lord Rana

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they currently fund any schemes to promote the safety of textile workers in developing countries through better pay and working conditions; and, if not, whether they have considered establishing such a scheme.[HL4059]

Baroness Northover (LD): DFID currently funds a wide range of schemes to promote better working conditions for textile workers in developing countries, including building capacity around rights and responsibilities for workers and employers, and improving working conditions.

DFID also works with the Ethical Trading Initiative, an alliance of businesses and voluntary organisations working to improve the working lives of poor and vulnerable people who make or produce consumer goods.

Asked by Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their response to the criticism made by the Independent Commission for Aid Impact on 6 December that, despite the implementation of changes to the TradeMark Southern Africa programme, the programme is still seriously deficient.[HL4092]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their response to the analysis of the Independent Commission for Aid Impact that the TradeMark Southern Africa programme failed to assess the impact of trade on poverty reduction and made a presumption that economic growth would automatically be “pro-poor”.[HL4093]

Baroness Northover: Investigations carried out by the Independent Commission for Aid Impact and DFID’s Internal Audit Department revealed flaws in the governance and programme management of the TradeMark Southern Africa (TMSA) programme, which in part stemmed from serious errors in the design and implementation phase in 2007 – 2010. Our investigations confirmed that following DFID’s commitment in July

18 Dec 2013 : Column WA227

2009, £67 million of funds deposited in 2010 have been only partly committed. The remaining uncommitted funds, approximately £44 million, will now be reclaimed by HMG. My Rt Hon Friend, the Secretary of State for International Development has given notice to commence shutting down TMSA with immediate effect.

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Northover on 10 December (WA 98), whether the United Kingdom’s £3.87 billion contribution to the International Climate Fund is part of, or separate from, the overseas aid budget.[HL4190]

Baroness Northover: All of the climate finance that the UK spends through the International Climate Fund (ICF) is classified as Overseas Development Assistance The ICF is managed/ decided/ administered by DECC/DEFRA/DFID.

Palestine

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what measures they will propose to provide effective relief for, and resettlement of, Palestinian refugees in Egypt, and to resolve their nationality status.[HL4005]

Baroness Northover (LD): We are very concerned by reports of an estimated 5000 Palestinian refugees from Syria currently in Egypt. The government has raised concerns with relevant authorities over reports of indefinite detention, deportation to third countries - including Syria - and urged them to allow the relevant UN agencies to provide services to such refugees in Egypt. We will continue to raise these issues with the Egyptian authorities.

Parades Commission

Question

Asked by Lord Kilclooney

To ask Her Majesty’s Government which, if any, members of the new Parades Commission have connections with political parties; with which parties any such new members are connected; and whether any members of the Ulster Unionist Party or Democratic Unionist Party have ever been appointed as members of the Parades Commission.[HL4170]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Wales Office (Baroness Randerson) (LD): In line with the Commissioner for Public Appointments' Code of Practice candidates for public appointments must declare any political activity undertaken in the previous 5 years and this must be published by the appointing Department. Of the five new members due to take up office on 1 January 2014 only one has declared any political activity. Glyn Roberts is a member of the Alliance Party and was Chairman from 2012-2013. He no longer holds any elected position within the party.

18 Dec 2013 : Column WA228

One current member, the Rev Brian Kennaway, declared at the time that he was appointed that he had previously canvassed on behalf of a member of the Ulster Unionist Party.

NIO records indicate that former member Donald MacKay was a member of the Democratic Unionist Party at the time of his appointment in 2006.

Persecution of Christians

Question

Asked by Lord Pearson of Rannoch

To ask Her Majesty’s Government further to the remarks of Baroness Warsi on 19 November (HL Deb, GC 402), on what evidence they base their conclusion that the persecution of Christians is mostly the work of extremists who do not follow any faith. [HL3881]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): As I set out in my speech at Georgetown University last month the perpetrators of persecution range from states to militant groups, and even to a person’s own family. We do not hold statistics on the perpetrators but we are clear that the jihadists, whom you referred to in the debate on 19 November, in carrying out these attacks are not being faithful to the teachings of any faith.

Railways: Network Rail

Questions

Asked by Lord Jones

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the condition of the Crewe to Holyhead railway line.[HL4187]

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Kramer) (LD): Network Rail is responsible for the operation, maintenance and renewal of the railway and it is for them to monitor the condition of the Crewe to Holyhead line. I have not received any information to suggest that the line is not in a condition appropriate for the services which use the line.

Network Rail is currently undertaking a Long Term Planning Process in consultation with industry, local and other stakeholders including the Welsh Government to identify priorities for future development of the rail network following the 2014-2019 Control Period.

Asked by Lord Jones

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the condition of the Wrexham to Bidston railway line.[HL4188]

Baroness Kramer: Network Rail is responsible for the operation, maintenance and renewal of the railway and it is for them to monitor the condition of the Wrexham to Bidston line. I have not received any information to suggest that the line is not in a condition appropriate for the services which use the line.

18 Dec 2013 : Column WA229

Network Rail is currently undertaking a Long Term Planning Process in consultation with industry, local and other stakeholders including the Welsh Government to identify priorities for future development of the rail network following the 2014-2019 Control Period.

Rainforests

Question

Asked by Lord Eden of Winton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their current estimate of the extent to which rainforests are being felled (1) under licence, and (2) illegally, in Asia, Africa and Latin America; and whether they are engaged in any discussions seeking to preserve the areas of rainforest which remain.[HL4065]

Baroness Northover (LD): The UK government does not collect international data on the felling of rainforests under licence or illegally, Tackling deforestation is a priority for the government's International Climate Fund (ICF). Funding from the ICF supports a number of major programmes aimed at stopping illegal logging and supporting better management of forests in developing countries.

Small Businesses: Export

Question

Asked by Lord Harrison

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the recommendations of the British Chambers of Commerce and DHL Quarterly International Trade Outlook regarding support for small businesses; and whether they have any plans to increase financial incentives for small businesses to export.[HL3887]

The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Livingston of Parkhead) (Con): UK Trade and Investment (UKT1) welcomes the publication of the BCC and DHL Quarterly International Trade Outlook. As highlighted in the publication, UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) is pleased to be working with the BCC to support the development of business networks in key markets across the globe.

As a result of the funding made available to UKT1 in the Autumn Statement 2012, a range of additional financial support was made available to small businesses to export. That support included export vouchers for companies on UKTI's Passport to Export and Gateway to Global Growth programmes, as well as increased funding for UKTI's Tradeshow Access Programme to help more SMEs participate in overseas exhibitions.

St Helena: Airport

Question

Asked by Lord Jones of Cheltenham

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when they expect an agreement to be concluded with air operators on providing passenger air services to and from St Helena when the airport opens in 2016.[HL3890]

18 Dec 2013 : Column WA230

Baroness Northover (LD): Work is currently underway to specify the requirements of future air services. We expect to reach agreement with an airline in early 2015.

Sudan

Question

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what they are doing to support organisations in Sudan working to ensure the provision of full reproductive health services including abortion to survivors of sexual violence.[HL4125]

Baroness Northover (LD): The UK supports health and protection programmes in Sudan through the Common Humanitarian Fund. In 2013, it funded 16 partners to run health programmes to increase access to primary and referral healthcare services for vulnerable people. It also funded 9 partners working on protection programmes to assist health facilities to respond to survivors of gender-based violence (GBV).

Transport: Cross-border Projects

Questions

Asked by Lord Jones

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of cross-border transport projects in (1) north-east Wales, (2) south-east Wales, and (3) mid-Wales.[HL4184]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to hold a conference with representatives from England and Wales to examine the issues involved in transport projects requiring cross-border co-operation between the United Kingdom and Welsh Governments.[HL4185]

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Kramer) (LD): The Welsh Government has devolved powers in relation to roads and motorways in Wales as well as delivery of rail infrastructure projects in Wales. This is in addition to managing the Wales and Borders Rail franchise. Decisions on those matters are therefore a matter for the Welsh Government. However, where there are identified priorities for investment in projects which have cross-border aspects and which are the responsibility of the DfT (or its agencies) on the English side, I am more than happy to reiterate the existing commitment to working closely with the Welsh Government.

Asked by Lord Jones

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans the Secretary of State for Wales has to visit Wales to discuss with local government and the Welsh Government the issues involved in cross-border transport projects.[HL4186]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Wales Office (Baroness Randerson) (LD): The Welsh Government attends the Wales Office Infrastructure Working Group and cross- border transport projects have been an important part of the discussions of that Group. The Secretary of State for Wales meets regularly with

18 Dec 2013 : Column WA231

representatives from both Local Government and the Welsh Government on a wide variety of issues, including transport infrastructure. In August, the Secretary of State for Wales met with Local Government representatives in North Wales together with local businesses to discuss the case for electrifying the Wrexham to Bidston rail line.

Unemployment: Young People

Questions

Asked by Lord Fearn

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what schemes to find employment they make available for unemployed young people below the age of 24. [HL4082]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assistance they provide to university graduates to help them find employment.[HL4085]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud) (Con): Jobcentre Plus offers young unemployed people tailored help to get into work quickly. This can include skills training, apprenticeships, pre-employment training, and help to set up a business. Through our Youth Contract we also offer young people work experience placements and employers have access to financial incentives to recruit young people and to put them on apprenticeships.

Through the Work Programme those at risk of long-term unemployment are given personalised support to find and stay in work. Jobcentre Plus provides further intensive support to young people returning from the Work Programme without a job.

18 Dec 2013 : Column WA232

Graduates have access to our web based Graduate Talent Pool, which brings together employers looking to take on interns and recent graduates seeking an internship. This scheme has assisted more than 100,000 new and recent graduates with their search for experience, and meaningful, permanent graduate-level employment.

Universal Credit

Question

Asked by Lord Touhig

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the answer by Lord Freud on 6 November 2012 (HL Deb, col 888) regarding Universal Credit and his statement on 10 December, whether the reference in the 2012 answer to “go live in October 2013” referred to the whole system of Universal Credit going live or simply to the pathfinder.[HL4060]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud) (Con): We have always been clear about our plan for progressive roll out of Universal Credit from October 2013 in a careful and controlled way. To this end, I recently tabled a Written Ministerial Statement on 5 December 2013 regarding the roll out of Universal Credit.

We have always intended to take a staged approach. We started the pathfinder early in April and began to expand the service from October. That initial expansion will be completed, as planned, by the spring. We are confident that this is the right approach for such a large and complex change, and the Secretary of State has now set out our next stage delivery plans.

We will continue our progressive approach — to test, learn, then implement — as we deliver this vital reform.