13 Mar 2014 : Column WA395

Written Answers

Thursday 13 March 2014

Abortion

Questions

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 26 February (WA 259), whether they will now answer question HL 5467.[HL5652]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 26 February (WA 259), whether representations have been made to the British Pregnancy Advisory Service regarding the accuracy of the information they provided on the subject of gender selective abortion.[HL5654]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): Abortion on the grounds of gender alone is illegal. The 1967 Abortion Act states that two practitioners have to be “of the opinion, formed in good faith” that the woman has grounds for an abortion according to the criteria set out in that Act.

The Department has made this position clear to all providers, including the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, and will do so again in the forthcoming further guidance.

Armed Forces: Sexual Abuse

Question

Asked by Lord Lester of Herne Hill

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they intend to take to ensure that allegations of sexual abuse in the army are properly investigated to ensure compliance with Articles 3 and 13 of the European Convention on Human Rights.[HL5755]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever) (Con): The Armed Forces Act (2006) requires that all allegations of service offences, including those with a sexual element, are appropriately investigated.

Where an allegation is made or an incident comes to light, a Commanding Officer, at the outset, must consider whether they are under a statutory duty to ensure that the Service police are made aware of the matter. If a Commanding Officer becomes aware of an allegation or circumstances which would indicate to a reasonable person that an offence listed in Schedule 2 to the Act, which covers nearly all sexual offences, has or may have been committed by a person under his command, the Commanding Officer must ensure that the Service police are made aware as soon as reasonably practicable.

There are four sexual offences (sexual assault, exposure, voyeurism or sexual activity in a public lavatory) which are not listed in Schedule 2. As to these, a Commanding Officer is under a duty under section 116 of the

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Armed Forces Act to ensure that allegation or evidence is investigated appropriately. Guidance to Commanding Officers is also provided in the Manual of Service Law that, in respect of the four offences, the Commanding Officer should take legal advice to assist him in making the most appropriate decision on who should investigate. There is now an explicit presumption that the Service police should normally be involved in those cases. Moreover, Commanding Officers have been directed that they must take legal advice in respect of any allegations of sexual misconduct.

Investigations by the Service police will comply with the relevant provisions of the Armed Forces Act 2006, subordinate legislation under the Act and other applicable legislation, such as the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (Application to the Armed Forces) Order 2009.

Benefits

Question

Asked by Lord German

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what recent assessment they have made of the cost to the Exchequer of eligible claimants exporting unemployment benefits from the United Kingdom to other European Economic Area (EEA) countries; and of the amount of equivalent benefits imported into the country from the EEA when people come to the United Kingdom to look for work.[HL5839]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud) (Con): Only contributions based Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) is exportable. The Department collects information on the numbers of claimants exporting contributory JSA to European Economic Area (EEA) countries but the actual costs are not recorded separately. Those people exporting their contribution-based unemployment benefit must have made their claim in the UK before leaving and the cost to the Exchequer for the maximum three months they can export their benefit would be the same as if they had remained on the benefit in the UK. In the UK they would be able to claim contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance for up to six months and may be entitled to claim other benefits, such as Housing Benefit, which are not exportable to the EEA.

The Department does not record the amount of the equivalent benefit imported as that is paid by the exporting country directly to the claimant.

Businesses: Opt-out Class Actions

Questions

Asked by Lord Ashcroft

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what consideration they have given to the impact that introducing opt-out class actions in the United Kingdom will have on businesses, investment and the economic recovery.[HL5666]

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie) (Con): The Government has undertaken a full impact assessment when developing the private actions policy. The impact assessment1 concluded the reforms to the private actions regime will benefit the UK economy by more than £800 million over ten years. Additionally, a strong private actions regime acts as an effective deterrent for breaches of competition law thereby benefitting compliant businesses.

1

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/ attachment_data/file/69124/13-502-private-actions-in-competition-law-a-consultation-on-options-for-reform-final-impact.pdf

Asked by Lord Ashcroft

To ask Her Majesty’s Government why they intend to facilitate class action litigation by introducing an opt-out mechanism for competition claims. [HL5667]

Viscount Younger of Leckie: A collective action regime has existed in competition law in the UK since 2002, but it is not delivering redress to consumers. In the twelve years since the regime was introduced, there has been only one case in which fewer than 0.1% people eligible signed up. In addition, the evidence submitted to the Government’s consultation Private actions in competition law: a consultation on options for reform highlighted that consumers and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) have difficulty in obtaining redress for breaches of competition law. The Consumer Rights Bill reforms the private actions regime. The introduction of an opt-out regime is one of a range of measures aimed at facilitating redress to consumers and SMEs, with safeguards to ensure cases are targeted on those genuinely harmed by anti-competitive practices.

1

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/ attachment_data/file/31528/12-742-private-actions-in-competition-law-consultation.pdf

Asked by Lord Ashcroft

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to clarify whether the prohibition on the use of damages-based agreements in opt-out collective proceedings in Schedule 7 to the Draft Consumer Rights Bill will cover third-party litigation funding agreements.[HL5668]

Viscount Younger of Leckie: The Consumer Rights Bill makes clear that any damages-based agreements are not permitted in opt-out collective proceedings. This would include any pre-agreed arrangements whereby third parties would be entitled to an agreed percentage of the damages.

Civil Service: Senior Posts

Question

Asked by Lord Willis of Knaresborough

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many senior civil servants in the Ministry of Defence are female; and how many were educated privately. [HL5795]

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever) (Con): As at 1 March 2014, there were 60 female senior civil servants (SCS) in the Ministry of Defence. This figure includes those employed in Trading Funds and on loan from other Government Departments (OGDs), but excludes those on loan to OGDs, and those on Special Unpaid Leave or Maternity Leave.

Details of members of the SCS who are privately educated are not held.

Companies: Malpractice and Negligence

Question

Asked by Lord Lea of Crondall

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to hold corporate executives personally liable for the payment of a proportion of fines levied against their organisation for corporate malpractice or negligence.[HL5682]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Faulks) (Con): The Government has no plans to hold corporate executives personally liable for the payment of fines levied against their organisation for corporate malpractice or negligence.

Competition and Markets Authority

Question

Asked by Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how they will ensure that the incoming Competition and Markets Authority can take issues of sustainability into account when looking into competition issues. [HL5691]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie) (Con): In October 2013 the Government published its strategic steer to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). In the Steer, the Government stated that:

“The Government considers that the central task of the CMA will be to ensure that the forces of competition are fully harnessed to support the return to strong and sustained growth.”

The Performance Management Framework document of January 2014, which the Government agreed with the CMA, sets out how it is expected that the CMA will meet its objectives. The framework can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/274146/bis-14-559-competition-and-markets-authority-performance-management-framework.pdf

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Copyright

Question

Asked by Lord Clement-Jones

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they consider that the proposed exceptions to copyright can be introduced through the medium of section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972; and whether that assessment is based on independent legal advice.[HL5740]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie) (Con): Having carried out a thorough legal assessment, the Government is of the view that the proposed exceptions to copyright can be introduced via Section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972.

EU: Taxation

Question

Asked by Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how much they have spent to date on their legal cases against the European Commission in respect of (1) the Financial Transaction Tax, and (2) the bankers’ bonus cap.[HL5851]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton) (Con): The Government launched legal challenges to the decision authorising enhanced co-operation in the area of a Financial Transaction Tax (against the European Council) in April 2013, and to the bonus cap and related provisions in the EU capital requirements directive 4 and capital requirements regulation (against the European Parliament and Council) in September 2013. These cases are ongoing and figures for the costs of external legal advice will be made available once they have concluded.

Executive Agencies

Question

Asked by Lord Adonis

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many employees were recruited by Companies House in 2013; and, of that number, how many were graduates. [HL5716]

Viscount Younger of Leckie: Companies House recruited eight employees in 2013 and three of these were graduates.

Exports

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills or its predecessor Department has granted export licences to Chemring Defence allowing it to export its products to Sudan since 2005.[HL5702]

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie) (Con): Two Licences have been issued to Chemring EOD Limited since 2005. The licences issued were both Standard Individual Export Licences and the goods details are as follows:

1) licence granted in September 2008 for: military firing sets;2) licence granted in November 2009 for: components for military firing sets; military firing sets.

Both licences were granted for demining operations by a humanitarian organisation.

FTSE 100 and FTSE 250: Directors

Question

Asked by Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what were the numbers and percentages of female and male executive directors in (1) FTSE-100, and (2) FTSE-250 companies for each of the years for which statistics are available from 1997 until the present.[HL5739]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie) (Con): We have the statistics for the following years.

FTSE 100
YearNo of women executive directorsPercentage of total executive directorsNo of companies with no female executive

2013

18

5.8%

83

2012

20

6.6%

83

2011

(02/11/11) 16

6.1%

84

2010

18

5.5%

84

2009

17

5.2%

85

2008

17

4.8%

84

2007

13

3.6%

89

2006

15

3.8%

87

2005

14

3.4%

89

2004

17

4.1%

87

2003

17

3.7%

87

2002

15

3.0%

88

FTSE 250
YearNo of women executive directorsPercentage of total executive directorsNo of companies with no female executive

2007

29

3.9%

231

2008

27

3.9%

227

2009

25

3.8%

227

2010

27

4.2%

226

2011

(02/11/11) 27

4.4%

226

The figures were obtained from Cranfield School of Management.

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Government Departments: Staff

Question

Asked by Lord Mendelsohn

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many staff are currently employed for more than 50 per cent of their working week to support the Permanent Secretary of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in his role as Accounting Officer; and what are their job titles.[HL5804]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie) (Con): The Permanent Secretary of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in his role as Accounting Officer, is supported by a Senior Management Team of eight Director Generals, who each lead a management group. Their individual titles include:

Director General, Economics and MarketsDirector General, Business and Local GrowthDirector General, People and StrategyDirector General, Finance and CommercialChief Executive, Shareholder ExecutiveDirector General, Legal, Enterprise and SkillsDirector General, Knowledge and InnovationActing Chief Executive, UK Trade & Investment

The Director General of F&C, who is most closely involved in supporting the Permanent Secretary in his role as Accounting Officer, is supported by approximately 129* finance staff who spend some of their working week in this area.

*

Source

: Admin Consolidation & Analysis System

House of Lords: Official Report

Question

Asked by Lord Marlesford

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when the Directors of the Middle East Department of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office first saw the Official Report of the House of Lords debate on developments in Syria and the Middle East held on 27 February; and what arrangements are in place in that Department to ensure that relevant parliamentary debates are brought to the attention of the appropriate officials.[HL5801]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): Arrangements are in place to draw the attention of officials to parliamentary debates so that relevant follow up actions are taken. Officials will consider how to ensure that the Official Report is appropriately and widely disseminated, including at Director level.

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Housing: Possession Orders

Questions

Asked by Lord Carlile of Berriew

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the availability of bailiffs; and whether they are taking any steps to assist landlords with possession orders in regaining possession of their property within a reasonable time period. [HL5707]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact on landlords with possession orders of delays in enforcing those orders, particularly those landlords living abroad who wish to return to the United Kingdom to live, or to sell their property.[HL5708]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to reduce any delays which landlords with possession orders face in obtaining the relevant documentation from the courts.[HL5709]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact of cuts in the Ministry of Justice budget and staff on cases where landlords have obtained possession orders; and what steps they are taking to remedy any negative impact. [HL5710]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Faulks) (Con): Landlords seeking to regain possession of property can pursue two routes through the County Court. For shorthold tenancy there is an accelerated process which aims to provide a court hearing within 2 weeks. For all other possession claims there is a standard process which aims to ensure a court hearing takes place within 8 weeks. Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) aim to issue court orders to both parties within five days of the hearing.

These processes are available to all landlords of property located in England and Wales including those who reside aboard; however, an address for service within England and Wales must always be provided.

Once a court order is made it is open to the landlord to enforce the order by issuing a warrant of possession. HMCTS does not hold information on the average time taken by county court bailiffs to execute a warrant of possession. Each possession case has individual characteristics which prevent general timeliness expectations being set. However HMCTS seeks to enforce warrants as soon as is reasonable and without delay.

County Court bailiff workload is made up of a number of areas of work with possession warrants being just one. HMCTS keeps overall workload and resource under constant review and strives to continually improve the service delivered to the court user.

The Ministry of Justice publishes quarterly data on the number of re-possessions achieved by County Court Bailiffs. This is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/court-statistics-quarterly-july-to-september-2013

In response to the recent Communities and Local Government Select Committee review of the Private Rented Sector the Department for Communities and

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Local Government has established a working group to ensure that the interests of both landlords and tenants are protected and that there is a fair eviction process in the private rented sector. The working group’s membership includes landlords, tenants and other property professionals. Ministers will shortly be considering emerging findings from the working group discussions.

Internet: Broadband

Question

Asked by Lord Berkeley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, with reference to their announcement on 24 February of an extra £250 million funding allocation to extend superfast broadband coverage, what is the percentage coverage in Cornwall at present; what will the percentage be after the allocated £2.96 million is spent; what is the funding allocation for the Isles of Scilly; and when people there will be connected to superfast broadband.[HL5629]

Lord Gardiner of Kimble (Con): The current Superfast Cornwall broadband project is not part of the Government’s original £530m intervention programme, because there was already an established broadband support programme there, We have, however, made available £2.96m funding from the £250m to extend coverage in Cornwall beyond that currently expected by Superfast Cornwall. The Government’s funding will have to be matched by local sources. Superfast Cornwall will be responsible for the local delivery of the project, including determining the split of funding between Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, The Government is in further discussion with Superfast Cornwall regarding the coverage that can be achieved. The Government expects delivery to be complete by the end of 2017 at the latest.

John Anthony Downey

Question

Asked by Lord Empey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether new evidence emerged between 1989 and 2013 which led to the decision to seek to prosecute Mr John Downey in connection with the Hyde Park bombing of 1982.[HL5820]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Wales Office (Baroness Randerson) (LD): The analysis of evidence is a matter for the police.

Justice: On-the-Run Individuals

Question

Asked by Lord Empey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they consulted, or sought and received the agreement of, the Justice Minister for Northern Ireland in relation to the terms of reference of the review into the operation of the “on the run” administrative scheme.[HL5818]

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Wales Office (Baroness Randerson) (LD): Mr Rt Hon Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland did not consult the Justice Minister for Northern Ireland in relation to the terms of reference for the judge-led review into the operation and extent of the administrative scheme for dealing with so called “on-the-runs”. The Justice Minister was however, alerted to the impending announcement shortly before it was made on the 27 February.

Local Authorities

Question

Asked by Lord Storey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what names they have suggested, recommended, and given to combined local authorities since their introduction. [HL5675]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Stowell of Beeston) (Con): There is currently one combined authority—the Greater Manchester Combined Authority—which was established in 2011 following the Government’s consultation on the proposed establishment of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority.

We expect shortly to lay draft Orders for Parliamentary consideration on establishing further combined authorities.

The issues relating to the legal name of the combined authorities was addressed in the government response to the consultations on three of the proposed bodies. I have placed a copy in the Library of the House.

The Government will publish its response shortly on the consultation to establish a combined authority for Durham, Northumberland and Tyne and Wear.

It is up to a local authority to determine its branding or any short hand title.

National Insurance

Question

Asked by Lord Tyler

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will ensure that HM Revenue and Customs form CA5403 is available to fill in and submit online prior to the roll-out of Individual Electoral Registration.[HL5689]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton) (Con): HMRC offer a range of forms including the CA5403 via their website that customers can download, fill in and return.

HMRC are developing HTML versions that can be submitted online. Testing with users for a variety of HMRC forms will start from April 2014. HMRC expects the CA5403 to be in the first tranche to be delivered as soon as they have tested and proven the service.

HMRC are expecting all appropriate forms to be digital by the end of 2014/15.

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Non-departmental Government Bodies: Staff

Questions

Asked by Lord Adonis

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many employees were recruited by ACAS in 2013; and, of that number, how many were graduates.[HL5712]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie) (Con): The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service recruited 69 employees in 2013. Of these, 36 were graduates.

Asked by Lord Adonis

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many employees were recruited by the Arts and Humanities Research Council in 2013; and, of that number, how many were graduates.[HL5713]

Viscount Younger of Leckie: From 1 January to 31 December 2013 the Arts and Humanities Research Council recruited four people, three of whom had a degree.

Asked by Lord Adonis

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many employees were recruited by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council in 2013; and, of that number, how many were graduates.[HL5714]

Viscount Younger of Leckie: From 1 January 2013 to 31 December 2013, Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) recruited 137 employees, of whom 98 are graduates.

Asked by Lord Adonis

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many employees were recruited by Capital for Enterprise Ltd in 2013; and, of that number, how many were graduates.[HL5715]

Viscount Younger of Leckie: In 2013, Capital for Enterprise Ltd recruited 23 employees, of which 14 were graduates.

Asked by Lord Adonis

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many employees were recruited by the Competition Commission in 2013; and, of that number, how many were graduates.[HL5717]

Viscount Younger of Leckie: The Competition Commission employed 43 staff in 2013. 40 of these were graduates.

19 staff were employed on a permanent basis. All of these were graduates.

24 staff were employed on a fixed-term basis. 21 of these were graduates.

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Asked by Lord Adonis

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many employees were recruited by the Competition Service in 2013; and, of that number, how many were graduates.[HL5728]

Viscount Younger of Leckie: The Competition Service recruited two employees in 2013. One of those was a graduate.

Asked by Lord Adonis

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many employees were recruited by the Construction Industry Training Board in 2013; and, of that number, how many were graduates.[HL5729]

Viscount Younger of Leckie: In 2013 the Construction Industry Training Board recruited 207 employees, of these 50 were graduates.

Asked by Lord Adonis

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many employees were recruited by Consumer Focus or Consumer Futures in 2013; and, of that number, how many were graduates.[HL5730]

Viscount Younger of Leckie: In 2013 Consumer Futures recruited 20 employees, of whom 17 were graduates. These employees were recruited to either permanent or fixed-term contracts to fill posts that had become vacant.

Since 1 January 2014 they have recruited a further 4 employees, 3 of whom were graduates.

Asked by Lord Adonis

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many employees were recruited by the Economic and Social Research Council in 2013; and, of that number, how many were graduates.[HL5731]

Viscount Younger of Leckie: From 1 January 2013 to 31 December 2013, the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) recruited 28 employees, all of whom were graduates.

Asked by Lord Adonis

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many employees were recruited by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council in 2013; and, of that number, how many were graduates.[HL5732]

Viscount Younger of Leckie: From 1 January to 31 December 2013, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council recruited twenty-one people, twenty of whom had a degree.

Asked by Lord Adonis

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many employees were recruited by the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board in 2013; and, of that number, how many were graduates.[HL5733]

13 Mar 2014 : Column WA407

Viscount Younger of Leckie: In 2013 the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board recruited nine employees. Of these, three were graduates.

Public Houses

Question

Asked by Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are taking to help promote public houses. [HL5764]

Lord Popat (Con): The Government has introduced a number of measures to help pubs. In Budget 2013 the Government announced the end of the beer duty escalator and cut beer duty, so that the tax on a typical pint of beer is now 4p lower than if we had done nothing. At Autumn Statement 2013, we announced a major business rates package which will benefit small businesses, including pubs. As major employers of young people they will also benefit from the abolition of employer National Insurance contributions for under-21s earning below £813 per week from April 2015.

The National Planning Policy Framework makes clear that local planning policies and decisions should guard against the unnecessary loss of facilities such as pubs. We are also helping pubs to become more sustainable through our funding for Pub is the Hub, which is helping pubs to diversify into new service provision. Our funding towards a co-operative pubs telephone advice line operated by the Plunkett Foundation is supporting communities to take over their local pub as a co-operative. Through the Community Right to Bid, we are giving community organisations in England a better chance to save their local pub by nominating valued assets within their community, stopping the clock for six months on any potential sale and allowing them the chance to raise funds in order to bring the pub into community ownership.

The Government has also consulted on proposals to establish a statutory Code of Practice and an independent Adjudicator, which are aimed at supporting pub tenants.

Questions for Written Answer

Question

Asked by Lord Jopling

To ask the Leader of the House what discussions he has had with Ministers in the Ministry of Justice with regard to the 13 questions asked of that department out of the 27 which remained unanswered after 10 working days on 27 February.[HL5681]

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Hill of Oareford) (Con): Of the 13 questions to the Ministry of Justice that remained unanswered after 10 working days on 27 February, all but one have now been answered.

I take the matter of late answers to Questions for Written Answer very seriously. My office reviews the ‘Questions unanswered after 10 working days’ in House of Lords Business every day. As soon as a question appears in this section of House of Lords Business,

13 Mar 2014 : Column WA408

my office contacts the relevant department’s Parliamentary Team, and they remain in contact with the Parliamentary Team and the Minister’s Private Office until the question is answered.

I have also recently taken the opportunity to discuss the need for timely answers with members of the front bench in this House.

Research: Academic Research

Question

Asked by Lord Stevens of Kirkwhelpington

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to maintain excellence in academic research in United Kingdom universities through block grant funding for research and the work of the research councils.[HL5736]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie) (Con): The Government has maintained science and research resource funding at £4.6 billion per year within a ring-fence throughout this Parliament, with additional research capital investment. This supports excellence across the UK research base including academic research in UK universities. The Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) has also announced additional allocations of over £1.5bn since 2010 through fiscal events, and in the 2013 Spending Review also announced a long term commitment to provide £1.1bn of science capital funding, rising with inflation, to 2021. A consultation will be issued in due course on how to make the best use of this opportunity. This will inform the development of a Science Capital Roadmap, which will be central to the Government’s Science and Innovation Strategy, to be published with the Autumn Statement 2014.

In December 2013, the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) published the latest International Comparative Performance of the UK Research Base, which benchmarks UK performance against key competitor countries on inputs- and outputs- related metrics. This found that whilst the UK as a whole spent less on Research and development (R&D) as share of GDP than most comparator countries, it produced the highest quality research. Notably, it pointed out that with 0.9% of the world population, 3.2% of R&D expenditure and 4.1% of researchers, the UK accounted for 6.4% of publications, 11.6% of citations and 15.9% of highly-cited publications.

Sport: Water Polo and Synchronised Swimming

Question

Asked by Lord Donoughue

To ask Her Majesty’s Government why the women’s Olympic team sports of water polo and synchronised swimming have had their financial support withdrawn by UK Sport.[HL5612]

13 Mar 2014 : Column WA409

Lord Gardiner of Kimble (Con): UK Sport funding decisions are based on its Investment Principles, which are:

1. Our performance mandate is sustained success in Olympic and Paralympic sport.2. We only invest in World Class Programmes run by, or on behalf of a UK National Governing Body (UK NGB) with International Federation (IF) authorised access to major international competitions.3. We will only invest in sports bodies which demonstrate the required standards of leadership, governance, financial management and administration4. We strive to make four-year investments to cover the complete Olympic/Paralympic cycle, but base these on an eight-year high performance development model.5. UK Sport World Class Programme investment is a privilege not a right6. Our investment decisions reflect future medal potential using an approach which links resources directly to athlete places.7. Our objectives for investing in Summer and Winter Olympic and Paralympic World Class Programmes are the same. Where appropriate, the approach adopted to achieve these objectives reflects the different domains.8, Sports will be required to co-fund sport specific budgets for their World Class Programmes from income streams such as commercial activity, sponsorship or membership contributions.9. We will provide core funding to the Home Country Sport Institutes (HCSIs), in proportion to the location of UK Sport-supported athletes, to ensure the long-term development of world-class Sports Science and Sports Medicine (SSSM) practitioners and services10. We will centrally fund support programmes or services focused on universal need or specialist expertise when there is evidence this could improve performance across Olympic and Paralympic sports. The full document can be found here: http://www.uksport.gov.uk/pages/investment-principles/

UK Sport has offered each sport the opportunity to make representations to their Board in March 2014.

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Sudan

Questions

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the UK Trade and Investment Defence and Security Organisation has promoted the sale of United Kingdom defence, crowd management, crowd control, law enforcement and security products to Sudan since 2005.[HL5703]

The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Livingston of Parkhead) (Con): UK Trade and Investment Defence & Security Organisation does not support sales of defence and security equipment to Sudan in accordance with United Nations and EU arms embargoes in force applying to the promotion and export of military or dual-use goods. We have no record of any support being given since 2005, other than alerting UK companies to the embargo. Details of the embargoes and sanctions on Sudan can be found at https://www.gov.uk/arms-embargo-on-sudan.

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the United Kingdom’s total contribution to the cost of the 2010 Sudanese elections, including support given to the United Nations Development Programme; whether they consider that a credible and transparent election process can take place in 2015 in Sudan in the light of the government of Sudan’s policy of closing down or suspending media and confiscation of newspapers; and in what ways they plan to support the 2015 Sudanese elections.[HL5704]

Baroness Northover (LD): The UK gave £9.55m through the United Nations Development Programme to the 2010 elections in Sudan. The UK gave a further £2.3m to the 2010 Sudanese elections via international NGOs, universities and consultancies. These included the Carter Centre, the BBC World Service Trust, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Adam Smith International, GTZ, and Afhad University in Khartoum.

A credible and transparent election process in 2015 Sudan will not be possible without substantive political reforms. Many of the restrictions highlighted by observers during the 2010 election remain. No decision has been made on UK support to the 2015 election and we would only consider support if minimum conditions around the enabling environment and free and fair elections were in place.