23 Jan 2014 : Column WA151

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Written Answers

Thursday 23 January 2014

BBC Trust

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will ensure that the next Chairman of the BBC Trust has significant business experience as well as a knowledge of broadcasting itself.[HL4551]

Lord Gardiner of Kimble (Con): Appointments to the BBC Trust are made by Her Majesty The Queen by Order in Council as set out under article 13 (Composition of the Trust) of the BBC Charter.  The BBC Chairman is appointed by The Queen on advice from DCMS (Department for Culture, Media and Sport) ministers through the Prime Minister. The post of Chairman is publically advertised and requires a broad range of skills. The Chairman is chosen on merit and the process is regulated by the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments.

Child Maintenance

Question

Asked by Lord Kirkwood of Kirkhope

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the latest ten-year forecast of the investment costs for the Department for Work and Pensions associated with the closure of all existing Child Support Agency cases and the running of the new 2012 statutory child maintenance scheme; and whether the ten-year operational cost savings figure of £413 million given by Lord Freud on 10 December 2013 (WA 97–8) takes account of those investment costs when making a comparison with the cost of running the existing child support schemes.[HL4570]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud) (Con): The Impact Assessment for case closure and the introduction of charging sets out the costs and benefits of introducing those specific measures on the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), as well as on other government Departments and on third parties such as parents and employers.

Operational cost savings for DWP as a result of these measures total £413m between 2013/14 and 2022/23. Savings continue beyond this window at around £25m per annum. As previously stated, fee revenues over the same period are estimated at £1,199m making a total benefit of £1,612m. Fee revenues of £170m per annum accrue beyond this point. These figures do not include the investment costs associated with the closure of all existing Child Support Agency cases.

Investment cost to deliver this totals £416m including:

supported closure of around 900,000 cases on the 1993 and 2003 schemes,

23 Jan 2014 : Column WA152

information and support for all parents in making their choice between a family based arrangement or an application to the 2012 statutory scheme (estimated at around 600,000), activity to cleanse all existing schemes cases arrears balances and establish these on the 2012 scheme, and the cost of the additional IT development to deliver charging and case closure functionality.

These investment costs should be compared to the total benefit including fee revenues (£1612m) as without case closure the volume of 2012 cases would be significantly lower and important changes to client behaviours (supported to make family based arrangement, paying directly between parents within the state scheme) would not be delivered. They additionally deliver the ongoing benefits and fee revenues of almost £200m per annum beyond 2022/23.

The impact assessment can be seen at https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/259694/cm-case-closure-and-charges-regs-ia-final.pdf. Figures are taken from annex 4a.

Dentistry

Question

Asked by Lord Mawson

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their policy advice to dentist schools in relation to undergraduate and postgraduate training, in the light of the remarks by the Chief Dental Officer for England, Dr Barry Cockcroft CBE, that this should increasingly happen in local community settings. [HL4502]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Government has established Health Education England (HEE) to ensure that medical and dental education, which it funds from its E5 billion budget, reflects the current practice and local needs, including teaching, learning and assessment.

HEE has no current plans to review how dental training is provided.

Education: Foreign Languages

Question

Asked by Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what measures they are taking to encourage the teaching of foreign languages.[HL4730]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash) (Con): Learning a foreign language provides an opening to other cultures, fostering pupils’ curiosity and deepening their understanding of the world. It also equips pupils to study and work in other countries. That is why a modern or ancient language forms part of the English Baccalaureate, which is already encouraging more young people to take a language at GCSE level. Take up by key stage 4 pupils in England of a modern foreign language increased by over 20% between 2012 and 2013.

23 Jan 2014 : Column WA153

We have also introduced a foreign language at key stage 2 (ages 7-11) as part of the new national curriculum, which comes into force from September 2014. By starting languages earlier, pupils will have longer to develop their skills to a high level before continuing with language learning in secondary school.

Embryology: Animal Testing

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 15 July 2013 (WA 82), what assessment they have made of the view that monkeys have “a uniquely important role in research into human reproduction”, as described by the Medical Research Council in its document “Primates in Medical Research”; and what assessment they have made of the view that “rodents and other non-primates have only limited usefulness as models of human reproductive physiology”, as described in the report of the independent working group on the use of non-human primates in research, chaired by Sir David Weatherall.[HL4535]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie) (Con): The Weatherall Report, sponsored by the Academy of Medical Sciences, the Royal Society, the Wellcome Trust and the Medical Research Council (MRC), was published in 2006 and identified a strong case for maintaining research involving Non-Human Primates (NHP) for defined questions of biological or medical importance. The potential of different models was acknowledged in the report and the benefits of the NHP model for certain conditions such as endometriosis were identified. The report stated that:

“Humans and non-human primates share many features of reproductive biology that are not present in other mammals, including mechanisms of gametogenesis, fertilisation, implantation of embryos into the uterus and maintenance of early pregnancy. Similarly, only human and some non-human primate females menstruate (a cycle of 28 days in macaques) and undergo the menopause. Hence, rodents and other non-human primates have only limited usefulness as models of human reproductive physiology.”

The document ‘Primates in Medical Research’ was published by the MRC and the Wellcome Trust, also in 2006, and aimed to explain how and why non-human primates are used in research; it presented some of the crucial work that was underway at that time, highlighted some of the medical advances that would not have been achieved without non-human primates, and looked at the efforts to find alternatives to the use of non-human primates.

As the noble Lord is aware, the expert panel, convened by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) to conduct a scientific review of the safety and efficacy of methods to avoid mitochondrial disease through assisted conception, gave its view on using a primate model in the research in its March 2013 advice to Government. The Panel’s advice can be found on the HFEA’s website at: http://www.hfea.gov.uk/6372.html

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The Government is committed to working to reduce the use of animals in research. However, there is a strong scientific case for the carefully regulated use of non-human primates where no practicable alternatives, including other mammalian species, are available. Rodents remain suitable for certain aspects of research into reproduction and development.

Scientific advances and innovation will continue to present significant opportunities to replace animal use. However, where animal use is currently unavoidable, scientific advances can also help reduce the number of animals used, and refine procedures involved so as to minimise suffering.

Energy: Costs

Question

Asked by Lord German

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their comparative analysis of the differentials between the costs of energy for business enterprises in Great Britain, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.[HL4799]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Baroness Verma) (Con): Data on business costs of energy (electricity and gas) for the UK and Republic of Ireland are collected by Eurostat, the European Statistical Agency, and re-published by DECC in Table 5.4 of Quarterly Energy Prices, available on the DECC website:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/261175/qep541.xls.

Data is not separately available for GB and Northern Ireland.

Energy: Electricity

Question

Asked by Lord German

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will list all existing and proposed energy interconnectors between Great Britain, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.[HL4702]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Baroness Verma) (Con): Existing and proposed electricity interconnectors (with connection agreements) linking the electricity markets of the jurisdictions in question are listed in the GB System Operator's Interconnector Register.

There are also proposed electricity generation and storage projects in the Republic of Ireland with connection agreements that would involve electric lines conveying electricity to Great Britain. These proposed projects are listed in the GB System Operator's Transmission Entry Capacity (TEC) Register under the project names of: Greenwire Wind Farm; Codling Park Wind Farm; Energy Bridge; and Marex.

Both the Interconnector and TEC Registers can be found at the following link: http://www2.nationalgrid .com/UK/Services/Electricity-connections/Industry-products/TEC-Register/

There are four gas interconnectors between Great Britain, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

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There are no proposals for any additional gas interconnectors to be built between the three jurisdictions.

Three of the gas interconnectors are between Great Britain and the island of Ireland:

• The Scotland to Northern Ireland Pipeline (SNIP) which connects Northern Ireland to the gas transmission network in Scotland.• Interconnector 1 and Interconnector 2 (IC1 and IC2) which both originate in Moffat, Scotland and connect to the Republic of Ireland.

There is also a gas interconnector within the island of Ireland:

• The South North Pipeline which runs from Co. Antrim in Northern Ireland to Gormanstown in Co. Meath, Republic of Ireland.

Energy: Gas-fired Power Stations

Questions

Asked by Lord Framlingham

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have received or been made aware of for a gas-fired power station and associated sub-station near Eye, Suffolk; how far advanced any plans are; and what stages remain in the planning process before any construction may commence.[HL4670]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Baroness Verma) (Con): Progress Power Ltd has informed the Planning Inspectorate of their intention to submit a planning application under the Planning Act 2008 (amended by the Localism Act 2011) for a gas-fired power station at Eye Airfield Industrial Estate, Suffolk, with a nominal generating capacity of up to 299 MW. It is our understanding that the application will include proposals for grid connection.

According to the Planning Inspectorate's website, the current estimated date for the application to be submitted is during the first quarter of 2014. Details can be found at:

http://infrastructure.planningportal.gov.uk/projects/eastern/progress-power-station/?ipcsection=overview

If an application is submitted, the Planning Inspectorate will have 28 days to decide whether or not the application meets the standard required to be formally accepted for examination. Should the application be accepted, the pre-examination stage will follow which allows the public to register and make relevant representations. There is no statutory timescale for this stage. The Planning Inspectorate will then proceed with examination of the application which takes up to 6 months, before submitting their recommendation to my rt. hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change (within 3 months of end of examination). The Secretary of State will then have another 3 months in which a decision on the application must be published.

Should the Secretary of State grant development consent, he may do so with requirements that may need to be complied with before construction could commence.

Further details on the planning process can be found at the Planning Inspectorate's website at:

23 Jan 2014 : Column WA156

http://infrastructure.planningportal.gov.uk/application-process/the-process/

Asked by Lord Framlingham

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what consultations they have held with residents local to Eye, Suffolk, or have responded to, regarding the construction of a gas-fired power station there; and whether any further consultation is planned. [HL4671]

Baroness Verma: Her Majesty's Government has held no consultations with local residents with regard to the proposed Progress Power Station project located at Eye, Suffolk. Under the Planning Act 2008 (as amended by the Localism Act 2011), it is the responsibility of developers to conduct thorough local consultations.

Further details on the requirements for developers to carry out consultation within the local community can be found at:

http://infrastructure.planningportal.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Advice-note-16.pdf

The Planning Inspectorate have published a Scoping Opinion in respect of the content of the Environmental Statement for the proposed Progress Power Station following consultation with the statutory consultees in respect of Progress Power Limited’s report entitled “Progress Power Project, Environmental Impact Assessment Scoping Report (May 2013)”. Both documents are available at:

http://infrastructure.planningportal.gov.uk/projects/eastern/progress-power-station/?ipcsection=docs

Asked by Lord Framlingham

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what information regarding the construction of a gas-fired power station near Eye, Suffolk, they have made available to the public; and where it may be found.[HL4672]

Baroness Verma: Details of the proposed Progress Power Station near Eye, Suffolk, have been made available on the Planning Inspectorate's website at:

http://infrastructure.planningportal.gov.uk/projects/eastern/progress-power-station/?ipcsection=overview

The Planning Inspectorate publishes all documents submitted to them in connection with applications with the exception of any draft or working documents which are incomplete. For the Progress Power station proposal, such published documents are available via the above hyperlink.

Energy: Nuclear Power Stations

Question

Asked by Lord Hollick

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Verma on 16 December 2013 (WA 152), whether they will quantify the level of return on EDF's investment in the Hinkley Point nuclear programme which they judge to be a fair return.[HL4691]

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Baroness Verma) (Con): Should an investment contract be agreed for Hinkley Point C, it would be laid before Parliament subject to the redaction of confidential data in accordance with the provisions set out in the Energy Act. The Government also has committed to publish summaries of reports from expert technical and financial advisers, including a value for money assessment. This would include the extent to which the strike price would provide a reasonable return to the developer whilst being affordable and representing value for money.

Energy: Prices

Question

Asked by Lord Jenkin of Roding

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are taking to respond to the suggestion in the Department of Energy and Climate Change's December 2013 Impact Assessment that the Department has underestimated the extent to which wholesale prices will rise in response to tight capacity margins.[HL4553]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Baroness Verma) (Con): The Impact Assessment (IA) notes that DECC's modelling could underestimate the impact on wholesale prices if the Capacity Market is not introduced. However, the Energy Act was passed by Parliament in December and the first capacity auction is scheduled to take place at the end of this year. The Capacity Market will ensure there is sufficient investment to keep the lights on and protects consumers against the risk of high wholesale prices for energy.

As the IA noted, we are seeking to improve the capability of the Department's Dynamic Dispatch Model. In particular we are exploring the use of stochastic modelling to assess the impact of unpredictability in plant outages and demand, as well as the modelling of investor decisions in response to expectations of future prices.

Flags

Questions

Asked by Lord Rogan

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Gardiner of Kimble on 7 January (WA 260), what criteria the Ministry of Defence uses to determine on what occasions and where to fly flags from other nations.[HL4656]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever) (Con): Decisions on the flying of foreign flags are delegated to Commanding Officers, who may choose to do so when deemed appropriate. Foreign flags are normally flown over Main Building (MOD Headquarters in London) for arrival parades during a state visit, and over NATO and US bases on UK soil, such as HQ Allied Rapid Reaction Corps.

23 Jan 2014 : Column WA158

Asked by Lord Rogan

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Gardiner of Kimble on 7 January (WA 260), what criteria the Wales Office uses to determine on what occasions and where to fly flags from other nations.[HL4659]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Wales Office (Baroness Randerson): The Wales Office does not fly flags from other nations.

Government Departments: Administrative Costs and Salaries

Questions

Asked by Lord Morris of Aberavon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what were the administrative costs, including salaries, of the private offices of each Minister in the Department of Energy and Climate Change for the last year for which figures are available.[HL4364]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Baroness Verma) (Con): The costs of all DECC staff are published online together with an organogram at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/decc-junior-staff-datasets

This includes the Private Office group.

For access to the information at the above link:

• Click on “Interactive structure chart for DECC”• Once the page has loaded, click on “Principal Private Secretary — Private Office Group.”

Asked by Lord Morris of Aberavon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what were the administrative costs, including salaries, of the private offices of each Minister in the Scotland Office for the last year for which figures are available.[HL4525]

The Advocate-General for Scotland (Lord Wallace of Tankerness) (LD): The Scotland Office operates one private office function for cost and efficiency purposes, which supports the Secretary of State and the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State. The administrative cost, including salaries, of running the ministerial private office in 2012-13 was £535,559. The figure does not include accommodation costs.

Asked by Lord Morris of Aberavon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what were the administrative costs, including salaries, of the private offices of each Minister in the Wales Office for the last year for which figures are available.[HL4581]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Wales Office (Baroness Randerson) (LD): The Wales Office has sought to reduce costs since May 2010 by having a combined private office for all three of its Ministers. This allows the Department to make the most efficient use of its resources, by ensuring flexible support for Ministers and avoiding duplication of work.

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Further efficiencies have been made by sharing a Parliamentary Team with the Northern Ireland Office and the Scotland Office, and recently by piloting a shared service with Northern Ireland Office for correspondence relating to Freedom of Information.

The total cost of private office salaries and travel and subsistence in 2012-13 was £419,641 some 19% lower than equivalent cost in 2010-11.

Government Departments: Management Information Reports

Questions

Asked by Lord Mendelsohn

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Viscount Younger of Leckie on 18 December 2013 relating to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (WA 211–12), whether any performance data are collated on a daily or weekly basis for Ministers or the Permanent Secretary; and, if so, what.[HL4585]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie) (Con): The reporting of performance data to Ministers and the Permanent Secretary on both corporate and policy issues is aligned with the Department's objectives and governance structures and on the basis of an analysis of risk. For example, performance data is reported for Ministerial correspondence and Parliamentary Questions daily, for Freedom of Information requests, and financial management accounts data are reported monthly. For major projects, key performance data are reported depending on an assessment of priority and risk. Performance data are reported publicly via www.data.gov.uk.

Asked by Lord Mendelsohn

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Viscount Younger of Leckie on 18 December 2013 relating to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (WA 211–12), what key performance indicators are used to review progress against the overall performance targets and objectives of the Department.[HL4586]

Viscount Younger of Leckie: The Department publishes an annual Business Plan setting out its Objectives, planned structural reform actions and performance indicators used to measure progress. Performance data for these indicators are available on www.data.gov.uk. The Department also provided an update on progress against objectives and performance measures in the BIS Mid-year Report which is available on www.gov.uk.

Government Departments: Research and Development

Question

Asked by Lord Adonis

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how much the Department of Energy and Climate Change spent in total in (1) 2010–11, (2) 2011–12, (3) 2012–13, and (4) 2013–14; how much the Department spent on research and development in each of those

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years; and how much the Department spent on the Small Business Research Initiative in each of those years.[HL4694]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Baroness Verma) (Con): The Department of Energy and Climate Change incurred the following expenditure in total, on research and development and on the Small Business Research Initiative from 2010-11 to 31st December 2013.

2010-112011-122012-132013-14
£(m)£(m)£(m)£(m)

Total spend

4,111

3,584

4,345

N/A*

Spend on R&D

69

20

28

N/A*

Spend on SBRI

0

0

1

6**

* Figures not available

** Spend up to 31 December 2013

Health: Vaccinations

Question

Asked by The Countess of Mar

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether there is any arrangement under the Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme for compensating individuals with proven disability arising from commonly administered vaccines.[HL4798]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud) (Con): The Vaccine Damage Payments Scheme provides a one-off lump sum payment to those who are severely disabled as a result of vaccination against diseases listed in the Vaccine Damage Payments Act 1979. The scheme is designed to cover those diseases that are or have been vaccinated against as part of the Department of Health's routine childhood immunisation programme. The payment is not compensation and an award does not prejudice the right of the disabled person to pursue a claim for damages through the courts if they wish. There is no facility to accept a claim in respect of a disease that is not listed in the Act.

Israel and Palestine

Questions

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact on the Israel–Palestine peace process of reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah; and what action they will take to encourage such a reconciliation.[HL4679]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): We continue to follow closely developments regarding the issue of reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah. The British Government's

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position, and that of the EU, remains that Palestinian reconciliation, if agreed on the basis of the principles set out by President Abbas in his speech of 4 May 2011, would be a positive step for the unity of a future Palestinian state and for reaching a two state solution. We do not presently plan to take any action, as this is a matter for the Palestinians.

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what actions they have taken to discourage JCB from supplying equipment to the Israeli authorities for the construction of illegal settlements and destruction of Palestinian property.[HL4682]

Baroness Warsi: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has online advice to raise awareness of the key security and political risks which UK businesses may face when operating abroad, including in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs). This includes guidance on Israeli settlements. We are advising British businesses to bear in mind the Government's view on the illegality of settlements under international law when considering their investments and activities in the region. This is voluntary guidance to British businesses on doing business in Israel and OPTs. Ultimately it will be the decision of an individual or company whether to operate in settlements in the Occupied Territories, but the Government would neither encourage nor offer support to such activity.

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have invited Sir Stephen Sedley to review progress on the recommendations of the Children in Military Custody report; and, if so, when his review is expected.[HL4684]

Baroness Warsi: The Government is in discussion with the delegation who compiled the Children in Military Custody report about a possible return visit to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories in the near future.

Low Pay Commission

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will place in the Library of the House copies of the submissions made to the Low Pay Commission by HM Treasury and the Department for Business, Skills and Innovation.[HL4758]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie) (Con): Copies of “National minimum wage: final government evidence for the Low Pay Commission 2014 report” and “National minimum wage: government evidence for the Low Pay Commission additional assessment” have been placed in the Library.

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Natural Environment Research Council

Question

Asked by Lord Hunt of Chesterton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the proposed privatisation of parts of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), what will be their policy about the availability to the public and private sector of research data and monitoring data, past, present and future, obtained by NERC institutions and university programmes funded by NERC.[HL4445]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie) (Con): The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) is considering how to secure the long-term future of its Research Centres and the national interests they serve. No decision has been made to privatise the centres. NERC Council is examining alternative options, within and outside the public sector, alongside a continuation of the present arrangements.

NERC has consulted widely on the potential benefits and risks of alternative arrangements through its open 'Call for Evidence', and will ensure that the on-going, national interest is retained in any alternative option.

NERC is committed to maintain and curate environmental data records, and ensure their widest possible use for research and wider societal benefit. This is an important consideration in evaluating potential options for the centres. NERC places uniform requirements on all those benefitting from its funding, be they wholly-owned NERC Centres, universities or charities, to ensure that data is lodged within a recognised NERC or other data centre with responsibility for the long-term curation of environmental data. There are no plans to change NERC's policy in this respect.

NHS Property Services Limited

Question

Asked by Lord Mawson

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many contracts NHS Property Ltd entered into since April 2013 for the provision of primary care premises.[HL4503]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): Since 1 April 2013, NHS Property Services Ltd (NHS PS) has entered into a total of 18 contracts that relate to the provision of primary care premises. These contracts are grouped as follows:

— Two sale agreements;— 14 primary care lease contracts; and— Two construction build contracts.

These contracts relate solely to property in the ownership of NHS PS. NHS England has responsibility for contracts relating to other primary care premises development.

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Official Secrets Act

Question

Asked by Lord Empey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what obligations are placed upon a member or former member of the armed forces who signed the Official Secrets Act if they become the subject of legal proceedings or inquiries in connection with their activities during their time of service.[HL4504]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever) (Con): If a member or former member of the Armed Forces has information relating to their Crown service which is potentially subject to disclosure in legal proceedings, they are obliged to seek authorisation from the Ministry of Defence (MOD) before disclosing the information. It is an offence, under section 2(1) of the Official Secrets Act 1989, for a person who is or has been a Crown servant if without lawful authority he or she makes a damaging disclosure of any information, document or other article relating to defence which is or has been in his possession by virtue of his or her position as such. The declaration that members of the Armed Forces and other Crown servants sign on appointment to the MOD states that the signatory is aware of the duty of confidentiality owed to the MOD and that the obligations to protect the confidentiality of official information entrusted during Crown service continue after termination of Crown service and are lifelong.

Police: Black and Ethnic Minority Officers

Question

Asked by Lord Ouseley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to increase the number of black and ethnic minority police officers across England, Wales and Scotland; and what contributory roles HM Inspectorate of Constabulary, the Association of Chief Police Officers and the College of Policing will play.[HL4755]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach) (Con): It is important police forces reflect the communities they serve. While progress has been made to increase diversity of the workforce, the Government has said that there is still more for forces to do.

This Government's reforms have already made improvements, for example we set up the College of Policing which has embarked on a major programme looking at recruitment, retention and progression of black and minority ethnic officers. Locally Police and Crime Commissioners will ensure that the public's priorities on crime and community safety are acted upon, that victims are consulted, and that the most vulnerable groups' and individuals' needs are heard and understood.

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The Home Office is actively engaged with the College and forces to ensure that this work is given appropriate priority and that learning, best practice and opportunities are identified and shared.

Recruitment in Scotland is a matter for the Devolved Administration and Police Scotland.

Police: Missing Persons

Question

Asked by Lord Morrow

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will provide the protocol used by police in England in 2004 as to (1) the reporting of a missing person, (2) the definition of a vulnerable person, (3) the definition of a person with severe learning disabilities, and (4) the logging mechanisms for a missing person report; and when and if such protocols have been updated since 2004 to date.[HL4561]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach) (Con): In 2004 the relevant protocol for the investigation of incidents of missing persons was the 'Police Officers Guide to the Investigation of Missing Persons', published in 2002. The police receive missing persons reports from a number of sources and the protocol sets out guidance for forces on how to respond to those reports. The definition of a vulnerable person and of a person with severe learning disabilities was not included within the protocol.

With regards to recording of information, the 2002 guidance states that:

“This must be done clearly and in a way that can easily be reviewed. It is apparent that lack of clarity means that enquiries are overlooked or time is wasted double-checking the outcome of others. Make sure that the enquiries are set out so that the results can be entered nearby to show the outcome.”

No specific system or means of logging the report were set within the protocol/guidance.

Guidance on police handling of missing persons cases was updated in 2005, 2010 and 2013. There are plans for a further update in Autumn 2014.

The documents are available for reference in the National Crime Agency's UK Missing Persons Bureau, the more recent guidance is available online

Roads: Rubbish

Question

Asked by Lord Mawson

To ask Her Majesty’s Government which body has overall responsibility for ensuring that rubbish is not ejected from passing cars within the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty; and what practical steps they intend to take to prevent such action.[HL4663]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley) (Con): It is everyone’s individual responsibility not to drop or throw litter, whether they are in a car or not. Local authorities have a legal duty to keep their land clear of litter and refuse, and they have powers to fine

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people who make this difficult by dropping litter. It is up to local authorities to decide how best to do this in their areas. The Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) includes or crosses a number of different local authority areas, and the Government does not hold details of their individual strategies to tackle littering from vehicles within the AONB.

Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013

Question

Asked by Lord Avebury

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will commission research on the number of small scrap dealers who have gone out of business and are now claiming benefits as a result of the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013.[HL4540]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach) (Con): There are no plans to commission such research and I refer the noble Lord to the answer I gave on 21 November 2013, Column WA234.

Sellafield

Question

Asked by Lord Lewis of Newnham

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the summit the week of 9 December 2013 concerning tier 1½ work on the decommissioning of Sellafield, reportedly announced by Mark Lesinski, then Chief Operating Officer at the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, at the Weapons Complex Monitor Decisionmakers’ Forum on 22 October 2013, took place; if so, with what result; if not, whether any such summit is planned to take place, and when; and how any subsequent procurements will be integrated with the second five-year tier one contract term with the existing Sellafield consortium which is scheduled to be extended from April 2014 to March 2019.[HL4700]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Baroness Verma) (Con): The summit in question did not take place on 9 December 2013. Sellafield are currently developing their site strategy which will consider how SL works with its programme partners.

Responsibility for the contracting strategy between Sellafield Ltd and its supply chain sits with Sellafield Ltd. The NDA, as owner of the Sellafield site and the client for the Sellafield contract, works closely with Sellafield Ltd on its plans including scrutinising its decisions on the most appropriate procurement routes to enhance the capability of Sellafield Ltd to deliver its plans.

Sellafield Ltd has identified a number of areas in which it is seeking to improve its contracting arrangements, including the use of organisations which can provide high level capability to support a range of activities. A range of options are currently being explored in order to determine the most appropriate way forward.

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Shipbuilding

Question

Asked by Lord West of Spithead

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the new Minister for Portsmouth will be able to allocate funding to assist the maintenance of a shipbuilding capacity in Portsmouth.[HL4743]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie) (Con): The government is confident that Portsmouth has a strong maritime future and can emerge stronger from the recent decision taken by BAE. We have already allocated funding to support the sector, through the Solent Futures Regional Growth Fund (RGF) scheme worth a total of £13m. And we have established the Solent Maritime Forum to identify what further steps need to be taken to secure sustainable growth in the marine and maritime sectors locally.

State Aid

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many applications to the European Union for permission to give state aid to United Kingdom undertakings are at present under consideration; and whether the power to make decisions about state aid is one of those which they consider should be returned to member states.[HL4614]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie) (Con): The UK currently has 26 State Aid cases before the Commission for approval. This figure includes notified cases and cases at pre-notification stage.

The Review of Balance of Competences: Competition and Consumer policy report will cover State Aid and will look at the advantages and disadvantages of EU competence in this area, but the report will not make specific recommendations about where competence should lie.

United Nations Conference on Natural Disaster Reduction

Question

Asked by Lord Hunt of Chesterton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what are the policy and technical objectives they will be promoting at the United Nations Conference on Natural Disaster Reduction in 2015; and what consultations are planned in preparation for the Conference with scientific and engineering institutions, non-governmental organisations, and the private sector.[HL4442]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire (LD): Cabinet Office and the Department for International Development (DFID) are jointly leading work to develop the Government’s

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negotiating position ahead of the 3rd United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, in March 2015.

At the May 2013 Global Platform meeting in Geneva, the UK’s representative shared the Government’s initial thoughts on issues for further exploration under the new framework, namely: improving accountability; ensuring that disaster risk reduction is both a humanitarian and development priority; tackling the root causes of vulnerability; focusing on the most vulnerable; and moving the focus from the national to the local and community level to encourage a more inclusive approach.

Responding to the UN’s request for countries to conduct national dialogues on the new framework, DFID and Cabinet Office organised two national events in October and December 2013. These well-attended events included representatives from civil society, academia, science and technology, local responders, government departments, INGOs, NGOs, and the private sector, as well as representatives the UN and other international partners who shared their views on priority areas for the post-2015 framework. A report of these events is currently being prepared and will be submitted to the UN for publication on the UN’s website for disaster risk reduction. The events will also inform the ongoing development of the UK’s negotiating position.

Universal Credit

Question

Asked by Baroness Lister of Burtersett

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what analysis has been undertaken of the impact of the freeze in work allowances, announced in the Autumn Statement, on the living standards and work incentives of low income workers.[HL4559]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud) (Con): Once fully rolled out, 3 million households gain on average £174 per month (in 2012/13 prices) from Universal Credit after taking account of the Work Allowance freeze. Around 75% of the households that gain are in the bottom 40% of the income distribution. Transitional Protection will ensure that there will be no cash losers under Universal Credit, providing their circumstances remain the same.

Universal Credit will encourage claimants to move into employment and to work more by introducing a smoother and more transparent reduction of benefits when they increase their earnings.

Once Universal Credit is fully rolled out, the number of households losing more than 70% of their earnings when starting work of ten hours per week will fall by 800,000.

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Visas

Question

Asked by Lord Lester of Herne Hill

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will reconsider their refusal to grant a temporary visa for travel to the United Kingdom for the Russian journalist working for Novaya Gazeta, who applied to the United Kingdom embassy in Moscow.[HL4459]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach) (Con): UK visa applications are assessed against the UK Immigration Rules and where an application does not meet these rules it must be refused. The decision to refuse an application is not taken lightly by Entry Clearance staff and is made on consideration of the information provided at the time of the application.

Where the Immigration Rules permit, and on receipt of further documentation, it may be possible to review the application and where appropriate the decision will be overturned.

If a right of appeal is not permitted under the Immigration Rules, the applicant is free to apply at any time and should be mindful to address the reasons for the previous refusal in the new application.

We are not able to comment publically on individual immigration cases.

Waste Management: Export

Question

Asked by Lord Willis of Knaresborough

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their policy on the exportation of waste from the United Kingdom; when the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs will publish its consultation into waste export; what is the deadline for responses to the consultation; and when their recommendations following the consultation will be published. [HL4746]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley) (Con): All waste exports must comply with the requirements of the EU Waste Shipments Regulation. This does not allow the export of waste that is contaminated to the extent that it could not be managed in an environmentally sound manner.

The Waste Shipments Regulation applies directly in the UK and is supplemented by a set of domestic regulations, the Transfrontier Shipment of Waste Regulations, which we are currently amending. We consulted on these regulations between March and May last year and aim to publish the Government’s response at the end of February.