13 May 2014 : Column WA465

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Written Answers

Tuesday 13 May 2014

Airports: Luton Airport

Question

Asked by Lord Bradshaw

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether, in granting permission for the Luton Airport expansion plans, they attached any conditions which would improve the current interchange arrangements at Luton Parkway station.[HL6902]

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Kramer) (LD): The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government did not grant permission for London Luton Airport’s expansion plans, but did decide not to ‘call-in’ the planning application. The determination of the planning application is a matter for the local planning authority, Luton Borough Council. This includes the consideration of any conditions that could be attached to a planning consent. I understand that the council has imposed planning conditions to mitigate the impacts of the development, including in relation to surface access, if permission is granted.

Autism

Question

Asked by Baroness Uddin

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how much the National Health Service is spending on autism awareness training for staff in 2014–15; and how that figure compares with that in previous years. [HL6872]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): Spending on autism awareness training in the National Health Service is not collected centrally.

The 2010 Adult Autism Strategy for England, Fulfilling and Rewarding Lives and its related statutory guidance for the NHS and local authorities made it clear that basic autism training should be available to all staff working in health and social care. This has also been highlighted in, Think Autism—the recent update to the 2010 strategy. Since the 2010 strategy, Health Education England (HEE) has been established to ensure that the NHS workforce has the right numbers, skills, values and behaviours to meet patients’ needs today and tomorrow. As part of the Government’s 2014-15 Mandate to HEE, they should work with the royal colleges and other stakeholders to ensure staff are aware of the range of mental health conditions so they can provide appropriate care and support, and focus should include autism awareness.

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Azerbaijan

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Azerbaijan regarding the recent arrests of Mr Rauf Mirkadirov, Dr Leyla Yunus and Mr Arif Yunusov. [HL6881]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): The UK Government is concerned by the recent detentions of Azerbaijani human rights activists Mr Rauf Mirkadirov, Dr Leyla Yunus and Mr Arif Yunusov. All three individuals have worked tirelessly to promote valuable people-to-people dialogue between Azerbaijanis and Armenians, where little contact exists between these peoples since the start of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict twenty years ago. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office and our Embassy in Baku have publicly expressed their concern about these detentions and continue to monitor the cases closely. In a statement on 6 May, the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Aylesbury (Mr Lidington), also expressed his concern regarding an increasingly worrying trend of apparently politically motivated detentions occurring in Azerbaijan.

Central African Republic

Questions

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what are the United Kingdom's obligations under the Responsibility to Protect framework in relation to the Central African Republic.[HL7011]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): The UK is committed to the concept of the Responsibility to Protect which was endorsed by all UN Member States in 2005. This included a declaration that the international community should encourage and help states to fulfil their responsibilities to their own populations, and be prepared to take action if a state failed to do so. The UK supports international efforts to protect the population of the Central African Republic (CAR), including through the UN Security Council. This was demonstrated by our co-sponsorship of the UN Security Council Resolution to authorise a UN Peacekeeping Mission in CAR (MINUSCA). MINUSCA will assume responsibility for stabilisation and the protection of civilians from the African Union mission (MISCA) in September, and we are supporting ongoing efforts to ensure a timely and effective transition.

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the medium-term humanitarian, security and protection risks in the Central African Republic.[HL7012]

13 May 2014 : Column WA467

Baroness Warsi: The humanitarian and security situation in the Central African Republic (CAR) is extremely poor. The UK is playing a strong role as part of the international community’s response, including through significant humanitarian aid, support to the African Union and EU support missions - the International Support Mission to the Central African Republic (MISCA) and the European Union Force (EUFOR), and co-sponsorship of the UN Security Council Resolution that authorised a UN Peacekeeping Operation (PKO). The UN PKO will deploy in September and will have a comprehensive mandate with an initial focus on protecting civilians. However, CAR represents a challenging environment and there is a clear risk insecurity will continue to affect the population of CAR in the medium term. This would continue to affect CAR’s neighbours, including through refugee numbers.

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have further to support the International Support Mission to the Central African Republic.[HL7013]

Baroness Warsi: The International Support Mission to the Central African Republic (MISCA) has been crucial in protecting Central African Republic (CAR)’s citizens, and will continue to play a vital role ahead of the deployment of the UN Peacekeeping Operation in September 2014. The UK is providing a strategic communications expert to the African Union (AU) to support the efforts of MISCA, in January contributed £2 million to cover some of MISCA’s basic costs, and works closely with the AU more broadly to build its capacity. We will consider any further requests for support.

Charities

Question

Asked by Lord Ouseley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the number of voluntary organisations undertaking charitable work activities that have ceased functioning since 2010; and what they consider to be the implications for meeting the social and support needs of vulnerable communities. [HL6899]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire (LD): The number of registered charities in England and Wales has increased slightly from 162,415 on 31 December 2010 to 164,158 on 31 March 2014. During the same period the annual gross income of registered charities rose significantly from £53.86 billion to £63.64 billion.

The Charity Commission removes around 6,000 charities from its register every year and registers a similar number.

Conventional Weapons

Question

Asked by Lord Judd

To ask Her Majesty’s Government by which minister the United Kingdom will be represented at the mid-May meeting in Geneva of the High

13 May 2014 : Column WA468

Contracting Parties of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons; and what are their priorities for the outcome of that meeting.[HL6976]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): An informal meeting of experts on lethal autonomous weapon systems (LAWS) will take place in Geneva from 13-16 May 2014 under the framework of the UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. This is an official-level meeting at which ministerial attendance is not expected, and the UK will be represented by officials from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Ministry of Defence. The Government aims to deepen understanding of the technical, legal, ethical and societal factors pertaining to LAWS through an exchange of information and views.

Debt

Question

Asked by Lord Birt

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to reduce the ratio of national debt to gross domestic product to below 40 per cent; and, if so, in which year.[HL6822]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton) (Con): As set out in Budget 2014, given the costs and risks of high levels of debt, once the supplementary debt target has been met, any future government will need to ensure that debt continues to fall as a percentage of GDP. Even in the absence of future shocks sustained action will be needed to bring down debt.

Disabled People: Blue Badges

Question

Asked by Baroness Thomas of Winchester

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps are being taken to deal with websites offering services to customers wishing to apply for a blue badge parking permit, and which are not associated with the Blue Badge Improvement Service.[HL6928]

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Kramer) (LD): To obtain a Blue Badge in England applicants can apply directly via the Gov.UK website or to the relevant local authority. Successful applicants will be charged no more than £10.

The Government’s contractor, Northgate Public Services, has taken a number of positive steps to raise awareness about unauthorised websites. These include issuing a press release warning people about dubious websites, issuing a Bulletin to all local authorities so that they can warn residents, providing advice and awareness to charitable organisations representing disabled people, and ensuring staff at the national Blue Badge support helpline are able to advise the public accordingly.

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Economy

Question

Asked by Lord Barnett

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what estimate they have made of the value of the “grey economy”, which consists of legal activities but whose participants fail to pay tax or comply with regulations.[HL6854]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire (LD): The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the Authority to reply.

Letter from Glen Watson, Director General for ONS, to Lord Barnett, dated May 2014.

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics (ONS), I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking Her Majesty’s Government what estimate has been made of the value of the ‘grey economy’, which consists of legal activities but whose participants fail to pay tax or comply with regulations (HL6854).

The Government does not publish an estimate of the ‘grey economy’, although the national accounts compiled by ONS do include adjustments for undeclared income. As explained in chapter one of ONS’s, ‘Blue Book, 2013 Edition’, the adjustment for undeclared income in 2011 was £25.9 billion (approximately 1.7 per cent of GDP). ONS is currently working with HMRC to improve the accuracy of these adjustments. ‘Blue Book, 2013 Edition’ can be accessed at:

http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/naa1-rd/united-kingdom-national-accounts/the-blue-book--2013-edition/index.html

HMRC publishes estimates of the ‘tax gap’, which shows the difference between the amount of tax that should, in theory, be collected and what is actually collected. This includes estimates of the tax loss by behaviour, which includes the hidden economy, criminal activity, evasion, avoidance, error and non-payment.

HMRC estimates a total tax gap of £35 billion in 2011-12, which was published on 11 October 2013 in ‘Measuring Tax Gaps 2013’:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/249537/131010_Measuring_Tax_Gaps_ACCESS_2013.pdf

For estimates of tax loss by behaviour, see page 11.

Education: Disabled Students Allowance

Questions

Asked by Lord Addington

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the changes to the Disabled Students Allowance, what criteria will be used for assessing complex needs in candidates with specific learning difficulties or dyslexia.[HL6999]

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Con): Discussions are underway with experts in the sector. Disabled students whose needs cannot be met by the reasonable adjustments made by Higher Education Institutions will continue to receive support through Disabled Students’ Allowances.

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Asked by Lord Addington

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the changes to the Disabled Students Allowance, what level of assistance institutes of higher education will be required to give to those with specific learning difficulties or dyslexia to enable them to complete their studies.[HL7000]

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: Higher Education Institutions will be expected to provide reasonable adjustments under the duties placed upon them by the Equality Act 2010. Disabled Students’ Allowances will remain available where additional support is required to enable disabled students to access their studies successfully.

Asked by Lord Addington

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the preparedness of institutes of higher education to fulfil their duties to students under the Equality Act 2010 following changes to the Disabled Students Allowance.[HL7001]

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: Discussions are underway with the higher education sector to ensure they are ready to meet their legal duties under the Equality Act 2010 by 2015.

The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) is currently undertaking a review of provision and support for disabled students in higher education.

Energy: Petroleum Gas and Oil

Question

Asked by The Lord Bishop of St Albans

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how they intend to ensure the continuing affordability of liquid petroleum gas and oil for those households which are not on mains gas supply.[HL6826]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Baroness Verma) (Con): Her Majesty’s Government is acutely aware of the difficulties people have experienced with the price of liquid petroleum gas and heating oil. The price of LPG and oil is influenced by a range of factors, including crude oil prices (the major factor), refinery capacity, stock levels, distribution costs and retail margins.

We believe that the consumer is best served by open competition between companies. The Office of Fair Trading studied the heating oil market in 2011 and found few competition concerns. Most areas of the UK are supplied by a variety of heating oil suppliers and there are low barriers to entry for new businesses who may want to compete. The OFT study also commented on the generally positive initial impact of the Competition Commission Orders from 2009 to make it easier for domestic bulk LPG consumers to switch supplier, and there is a statutory duty to keep under review the effectiveness of and compliance with these Orders.

13 May 2014 : Column WA471

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Minister of State for Energy will chair a third Ministerial Roundtable meeting on heating oil and LPG supply on 21 May. The Roundtable brings together a wide range of interests including Government, regulators, advisory and charitable bodies, the fuel supply industry and others to work together to improve the security and affordability of off-grid fuel supply.

Finance: Consumer Credit Advertising

Question

Asked by The Lord Bishop of St Albans

To ask Her Majesty’s Government which organisations have been involved in the consultation by the Financial Conduct Authority on the new rules for consumer credit adverts; and when the findings will be published.[HL6830]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton) (Con): This question has been passed on to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The FCA will reply directly to the Right Reverend Prelate by letter. A copy of the letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

Food: Sugary Drinks

Question

Asked by Lord Colwyn

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what consideration they have given to introducing a tax on sugary drinks, in the light of research published in the British Medical Journal in October 2013 that such a measure could reduce obesity in the United Kingdom by 1.3 per cent.[HL7008]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton) (Con): There are difficulties of principle and practice with using tax instruments to promote public health. Unlike smoking, where any level of consumption can have damaging effects, the consumption of most drinks in moderation can be to the benefit rather than the detriment of an individual’s health. Government is instead working with industry to reduce the nation’s calorie intake.

Government Departments: Management Information Reports

Questions

Asked by Lord Mendelsohn

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the Cabinet Office prepares any management information or reports that provide comparisons between departments; and, if so, which areas they cover. [HL6494]

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Lord Wallace of Saltaire (LD): The Cabinet Office runs a system that allows departments and arm’s length bodies to compare their performance across a full range of indicators.

Asked by Lord Mendelsohn

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the statement in Practical Steps to Improve Management Information in Government that “ill-informed public comment can create a conflicting incentive on departments and reduce the impartiality of reporting and thereby data integrity”, what research or evidence has been used or is regularly collected to review the decision not to publish the associated performance data that goes into the Quarterly Data Summary.[HL6495]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The Government’s position is to be as transparent as possible. We consult widely on what data should be published in Dr Martin Read's report “Practical Steps to Improve Management Information in Government” commissioned by the Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chief Secretary to the Treasury in 2012 and regularly consider publication of performance data as part of this consultation.

Asked by Lord Mendelsohn

To ask Her Majesty’s Government which official, with what job title, is responsible and accountable for departmental management information in the Attorney General's Office.[HL6889]

The Advocate-General for Scotland (Lord Wallace of Tankerness) (LD): The Attorney General’s Office collects a range of performance data and management information, tailored to its different functions. This includes information for example about its litigation, casework, supervisory and advisory functions, covering timeliness, results and resources. This information is collated for management purposes at team level, and reviewed at Board level against business objectives and departmental priorities, as revised from time to time. Responsibility for collecting management information rests with teams. No individual official has exclusive responsibility for management information and the Executive Board has overall responsibility.

Asked by Lord Mendelsohn

To ask Her Majesty’s Government which official, with what job title, is responsible and accountable for departmental management information in the Ministry of Defence.[HL6894]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever) (Con): Within the Ministry of Defence the official who holds responsibility for Departmental management information is David Williams, Director General Finance.

Asked by Lord Mendelsohn

To ask Her Majesty’s Government which official, with what job title, is responsible and accountable for departmental management information in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.[HL6972]

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The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): Iain Walker, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Finance Director, is responsible and accountable for departmental management information. This is in line with the Read report of June 2013 which recommended “the most senior Finance Officer in each department should own and be held accountable for departmental management information.” Management Information is also addressed in both the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Departmental Improvement Plan; and its Permanent Under Secretary Governance Statement.

Asked by Lord Mendelsohn

To ask Her Majesty’s Government which official, with what job title, is responsible and accountable for departmental management information in the Department of Health.[HL6973]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): Within the Department of Health the official who holds responsibility for Departmental management information is Richard Douglas, Director-General for Finance and the National Health Service.

Government Departments: Procurement

Questions

Asked by Baroness Seccombe

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Deighton on 6 May (WA 368–70), how many individual transactions there were for each private office listed in each of those years.[HL6991]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Deighton on 6 May (WA 368), how many financial transactions there were using Government Procurement Cards in 2006–07 in the ministerial private office of the Economic Secretary to the Treasury.[HL7018]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton) (Con): The breakdown of the departmental private office Government Procurement Card number of individual transactions for 2005-06 to 2009-10 is in the table below. There are three types of spend within the definition of GPC procurement, lodge and corporate cards.

2005-062006-072007-082008-092009-10

Chancellor of the Exchequer

486

472

340

480

501

Chief Secretary

191

134

100

74

199

Exchequer Secretary

116

117

137

112

130

Economic Secretary

112

220

155

108

36

Financial Secretary

266

198

166

259

213

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Financial Services Secretary

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

152

TOTAL

1171

1141

898

1033

1231

Government Departments: Staff

Question

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many staff were employed at Jobcentre Plus in each year from 2005 to 2013.[HL6998]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud) (Con): The total number of staff employed by Jobcentre Plus in March of each year from 2005 to 2011 is shown in the table below.

Jobcentre Plus Staffing (Full Time Equivalents)

2004/2005

73,406

2005/2006

71,222

2006/2007

67,946

2007/2008

66,416

2008/2009

69,479

2009/2010

82,647

2010/2011

72,939

Jobcentre Plus was re-structured and absorbed into a revised Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Operations structure in October 2011. Since that point, it has no longer existed as a separate organisation.

Health and Social Care

Question

Asked by Lord Mawson

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how often ministers of the Department of Health visit local communities across the country to verify that the figures in relation to health and social care on which policy is based equate with the facts that people experience on the ground.[HL6947]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): Ministers in the Department frequently undertake visits to a wide range of health and social care settings across the country during which they meet a large numbers of staff, service users and patients.

Since May 2010 Ministers in the Department have undertaken a total of 646 official visits.

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Health: Cancer

Questions

Asked by Baroness Greengross

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many (1) non-cancer and (2) cancer-based lymphoedema and lipoedema patients were identified by the National Health Service in each of the last three years; how many such patients were treated by the National Health Service in each of the last three years; and what was the cost of those treatments.[HL6823]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what research they support into the number of patients identified by the National Health Service as having lymphoedema or lipoedema.[HL6824]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what estimate they have made of the potential savings to the National Health Service and social services of providing care for lymphoedema and lipoedema patients from the time of diagnosis.[HL6825]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) data does not separately identify those cases of lymphoedema that are associated with cancer from those that are not, and is unable to identify cases of lipoedema as there is no coding available for this condition, based on the tenth revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD).

Further to this, HES data is not linked to costing information and therefore this information cannot be provided.

In the following table we have provided the number of finished admission episodes (FAEs) for patients with a primary diagnosis of lymphoedema from 2010-11 to 2012-13.

YearFAE

2010-11

1,887

2011-12

2,026

2012-13

2,099

Note:

An FAE is the first period of admitted patient care under one consultant within one healthcare provider. FAEs are counted against the year or month in which the admission

Health: Chronic Pain

Question

Asked by Lord Luce

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to ensure that all patients with chronic pain have access to self-management resources to enable them to support themselves.[HL6926]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): People should expect the right support to help them manage their long-term conditions, including chronic pain, and through the Mandate we have asked NHS England to make

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measurable progress towards making the National Health Service among the best in Europe at supporting people with ongoing health problems to live healthily and independently, with much better control over the care they receive.

NHS England and its partners are working towards the implementation of the House of Care model, which is designed to support the delivery of person-centred, coordinated care, which enables individuals to make informed decisions which are right for them, and empower them to self-care.

NHS England is working to produce with patients and carers a supported self-management guide for people with complex care needs and frailty by June 2014 and is developing practical tools and commissioning guidance to support the delivery of the Mandate commitment for everyone with a long term condition being offered a personalised care plan by April 2015.

Health: Dentistry

Questions

Asked by Lord Colwyn

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment Public Health England has made of whether the current number of consultants in dental public health is sufficient; and when they expect to make a decision on whether the current 12-month fixed-term contracts will be extended.[HL7006]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): Public Health England (PHE) has commenced a review of the number of dental public health consultants required to meet its statutory and non–statutory functions and this will report in the autumn 2014. A decision will be made on the fixed term contracts as part of the review.

Asked by Lord Colwyn

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what proposals they have to increase the number of dental practices piloting the National Health Service's new contractual arrangements; and what is the timetable for those reforms to be completed.[HL7007]

Earl Howe: Decisions on the detailed shape of the next stage have not yet been taken. The forthcoming engagement exercise on the reforms with the dental community is intended to increase awareness of the process and allow an opportunity for the wider dental community to input.

Asked by Lord Colwyn

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment NHS England has made of the effectiveness of Local Area Teams in commissioning NHS dental services since April 2013.[HL7009]

Earl Howe: We are informed by NHS England that the Direct Commissioning Assurance Framework, which was published in November 2013, sets out the methodology for how NHS England can demonstrate

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effective use of public funds in commissioning safe, high quality and sustainable services within available resources

The assurance process is evidence-based and draws on a wide range of information and indicators to assess how well services are being commissioned. The evidence used includes local insight from area teams and wider National Health Service functions. A finance and performance delivery dashboard is also used and dental data is an important component of this. Through this process, NHS England is able to ensure that the delivery of NHS dental services is monitored as an important component of the assurance process and that any concerns are addressed promptly.

Health: Neurofibromatosis

Questions

Asked by Lord Bassam of Brighton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what diagnostic training general practitioners receive with regard to neurofibromatosis.[HL6837]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The content and standard of medical training of trainee general practitioners (GPs) is the responsibility of the General Medical Council, which is an independent statutory body. It has the general function of promoting high standards of education and co-ordinating all stages of education to ensure that medical students and newly qualified doctors are equipped with the knowledge, skills and attitudes essential for professional practice.

In the specific area of genetics in primary care, the curriculum designed by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) requires GPs to understand that while some genetic conditions always present with the same signs and symptoms, others can show variability between family members, particularly some autosomal dominant conditions (such as neurofibromatosis type 1).

The Government has mandated Health Education England (HEE) to provide national leadership on education, training and workforce development in the National Health Service. This mandate includes a commitment that HEE will ensure that GP training produces GPs with the required competencies to practise in the new NHS. Consequently HEE will work with stakeholders to influence training curricula as appropriate.

Asked by Lord Bassam of Brighton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what financial support is provided to carers of neurofibromatosis sufferers.[HL6838]

Earl Howe: We are very much aware of and greatly value the significant contribution which unpaid carers make to the care of disabled people.

If a disabled person has neurofibromatosis and qualifies for a 'gateway' benefit, then their carer could be entitled to Carer's Allowance, which is currently £61.35 per week. This will depend on certain conditions of both the disabled person and the carer being satisfied.

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Universal Credit includes a carer element where an eligible adult in the household provides regular and substantial care for a person with a long-term health condition or disability. The element is awarded where that person satisfies the conditions of entitlement of Carer’s Allowance.

Support for carers is an integral part of social care. Under current legislation, local authorities have a duty to assess carers who are providing substantial care on a regular basis, when requested to do so. The assessment and any eligible services to follow that are designed to support a carer to continue their caring responsibilities, are for the local authority to determine.

Carers are also central to the Government’s proposals for improving care and support, and there are significant improvements in the Care Bill for carers. The Bill extends carers’ rights to an assessment, which will be based on an appearance of need and will include consideration of the impact of caring on the carer, and the outcomes they wish to achieve. For the first time, there will be a duty on local authorities to meet carers’ eligible needs for support, putting them on an equal footing to the people they care for.

We have also provided £400 million to the National Health Service over four years from 2011 for carers to have breaks from their caring responsibilities. In the 2013 Spending Review, we announced the £3.8 billion Better Care Fund, which includes £130 million funding for carers’ breaks for 2015-16.

Asked by Lord Bassam of Brighton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many neurofibromatosis sufferers they estimate to be in the United Kingdom, broken down by (1) county, and (2) type.[HL6836]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to provide guidance to long-haul transport providers to ensure that the special travel needs of neurofibromatosis sufferers are taken into account. [HL6841]

Earl Howe: NHS England commissions neurofibromatosis type two (NF2) services and complex neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) services as part of its remit to deliver specialised services.

NHS England has published service specifications for both types of neurofibromatosis. These estimate that in England there are 11,267 individuals with NF1 and 862 with NF2.

The Department does not have specific guidance relating to the special travel needs of neurofibromatosis sufferers. Domestic equality legislation makes it unlawful for transport operators to discriminate against a disabled person simply because they are disabled, treat disabled people less favourably or fail to make reasonable adjustments in the way they provide their services, depending on the type of vehicles and the services they offer to the public.

Furthermore, an extra level of protection is provided by recently implemented European regulations on passenger rights across all transport modes. These provide a set of rules for the treatment of disabled people and people with reduced mobility.

13 May 2014 : Column WA479

Health: Physiotherapy

Question

Asked by Lord Bradley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many physiotherapists were working in National Health Community Services in each of the last ten years. [HL6900]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The annual National Health Service workforce census, published by the

13 May 2014 : Column WA480

Health and Social Care Information Centre, covers both Hospital and Community Health Services (HCHS) and primary care staff in England as at 30 September each year. The HCHS census includes all physiotherapists employed in NHS trusts and social care trusts but does not differentiate those working in community services or settings from those working in hospitals.

The number of full-time equivalent physiotherapists working in NHS Hospital and Community Health Services in each of the last 10 years is shown in the following table. The most recent annual workforce census has been placed in the Library.

NHS hospital and community health services: Qualified Physiotherapy staff in England as at 30 September each year
Full time equivalent
20032004200520062007200820092010201120122013

Physiotherapy

14,455

15,564

16,291

16,334

16,752

17,652

18,460

18,610

18,586

18,606

19,058

Notes:

It is impossible to isolate those working in community services in the census data.

These statistics relate to the contracted positions within English NHS organisations and may include those where the person assigned to the position is temporarily absent, for example on maternity leave.

Source:

Health and Social Care Information Centre Non-Medical Workforce Census.

Higher Education: Student Loans

Questions

Asked by Lord Barnett

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 9 April (WA 302), what is the amount of student loan debt still available for sale, including the first tranche referred to.[HL6850]

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Con): The total amount of pre-2012 income contingent repayment student loan debt that Government intends to sell has not yet been determined. However, over a five year period, as announced at Autumn Statement 2013, sales are expected to generate between £10 billion and £15 billion in revenues, with a central estimate of around £12 billion.

Asked by Lord Barnett

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 9 April (WA 302), what are the current terms of income contingent repayment loans.[HL6851]

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: The Education (Student Loans) (Repayment) Regulations 2009 set out the terms and conditions of income contingent student loans. This is also set out in the booklet Student Loans – a Guide to Terms and Conditions, the latest copy of which can be accessed at http://www.sfengland.slc.co.uk/media/666045/sfe_t_c_guide_1415_d.pdf Students are informed at the time of taking out their student loan that the regulations may change from time to time and this means that the terms of their loan may also change.

Asked by Lord Barnett

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 26 March (HL Deb, col 528), what was the basis on which he described the sale of the student loan book for £160 million as “value for money for the taxpayer”; and what was the original value of the loans.[HL6852]

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: The Mortgage Style loans offered for sale had a face value of around £890 million.

The sale of the Mortgage Style Loan Book was value for money as the purchase price exceeded the value of retention to Government.

The real value of the book is below the face value of the loans because of the subsidised nature of the loans and their age. These loans attract low interest rates and have an earnings threshold for repayment. The age-related write off combined with the earnings threshold means some borrowers never repay.

The sale of Mortgage style Loans also allowed the Student Loans Company to focus on its core business of supplying income contingent loans to current students and collecting repayments from those loans

International Monetary Fund

Questions

Asked by Lord Judd

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations that are making directly and multilaterally to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in respect of the February 2014 speech by

13 May 2014 : Column WA481

Christine Lagarde suggesting that “rising inequality and economic exclusion can have pernicious effects” and that policy must take account of the inclusiveness of growth, to ensure that this view is reflected in the operational policies of the IMF itself as well as in the policies of its individual member governments. [HL6978]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the International Monetary Fund's Staff Discussion Notes published in February and March dealing with inequality and its impact on growth.[HL6979]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton) (Con): At its April 2014 meeting, the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC) of the IMF, attended by the Chancellor, agreed that rising inequality and high unemployment be addressed by removing structural impediments to inclusive growth.

It is not Government practice to comment on the detail of IMF Staff Discussion Papers. IMF Staff regularly produce such papers, and the analysis and views therein are those of staff and not necessarily the IMF or its Executive Board.

Internet: Broadband

Question

Asked by Lord Patten

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the reasons for the delay in implementing the Connecting Devon and Somerset Programme announced in 2013 that aims to ensure that 90 per cent of premises have access to fibre optic broadband by the end of 2016, and of the effect of that delay on business competitiveness within the South Somerset area.[HL6916]

Lord Gardiner of Kimble (Con): The Connecting Devon and Somerset project is scheduled to deliver superfast availability to 268,494 premises by March 2016. It is currently on track to reach this target and will have delivered to 70,000 premises by the end of July 2014, despite some delays caused by flooding.

Iran

Questions

Asked by The Lord Bishop of St Albans

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Iran, and what other steps they have taken, following attacks on prisoners held at Evin prison. [HL6831]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): The UK was disturbed at reports of attacks on political prisoners in Evin prison on 17 April 2014. As we detailed in the Foreign

13 May 2014 : Column WA482

and Commonwealth Office Annual Human Rights report, released in April 2014, prison conditions in Iran remain a serious concern. The UK’s non-resident Charge d’Affaires raised human rights with a range of Iranian government officials during his visit to Iran in March. The UK works closely with international human rights bodies and partners to encourage Iran to engage seriously on human rights issues.

Asked by The Lord Bishop of Coventry

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the question of human rights and freedom of religion and belief was amongst the range of international issues discussed by the Foreign Office’s Political Director, Sir Simon Gass, when he met senior Iranian officials whilst visiting Iran in April.[HL6833]

Baroness Warsi: Human rights were not amongst the issues discussed by Sir Simon Gass on his visit to Iran in April: his interlocutors did not have responsibilities in this area. However, the UK's non-resident Chargé d’Affaires discussed human rights with a range of Iranian government officials during his visit to Iran on 12 March 2014. He raised the use of the death penalty, freedom of religion and the workings of the criminal justice system. Prior to that, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), raised Iran’s human rights records with Iranian foreign minister Zarif at the UN General Assembly on 23 September 2013.

Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will make representations to the government of Iran for an independent international inquiry into the events at Evin Prison in Tehran on 17 April, and for the International Committee of the Red Cross to have permanent access to that prison, in particular to Ward 350.[HL6882]

Baroness Warsi: The UK was disturbed at reports of attacks on political prisoners in Evin prison on 17 April. We remain concerned by ongoing reports of poor prison conditions in Iran and by the Iranian government’s refusal to accede to requests for internal or international investigations into potential breaches of prisoners’ rights. In March 2014 the UN Special Rapporteur for human rights in Iran said that conditions for inmates are reported to range from poor to inhumane. Access to medical services is often limited, and hygiene and nutrition are poor. The International Committee of the Red Cross already has a presence in Iran, and should they request access to Evin Prison, we would encourage the Iranian authorities to allow this.

Israel

Questions

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the United States' Secretary of State’s prediction that Israel risks becoming an apartheid state.[HL6950]

13 May 2014 : Column WA483

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): The British Government has made no assessment of this issue. A negotiated two-state agreement remains the only way to resolve the conflict.

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Israel concerning reports of Christian pilgrims being fired on with tear gas by the Israeli military at the Tomb of Lazarus in East Jerusalem.[HL6952]

Baroness Warsi: An official from our Embassy in Tel Aviv raised this incident with an Israel Defence Forces (IDF) spokesperson on 8 May. The spokesperson maintained that the Israeli soldiers did not fire tear gas directly at the pilgrims but at Palestinian protesters nearby who were throwing stones at the IDF soldiers.

Asked by Lord Judd

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many of the 38 recommendations made by UNICEF in its March 2013 report on children in Israeli military detention have been implemented by the government of Israel; and what discussions they have had with that government on the number that are yet to be implemented.[HL6975]

Baroness Warsi: The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)’s most recent progress report on children in Israeli military detention, published in October 2013, indicates that Israel has taken some positive steps but does not give an assessment as to how many of the recommendations UNICEF consider to have been implemented.

We continue to urge the Israeli authorities to take action on the recommendations made in the UNICEF report and the earlier independent report by senior British lawyers. Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, my right hon. Friend the Member for Faversham and Mid Kent (Mr Robertson), wrote to the Israeli Attorney General on this issue on 31 March.

Israel and Palestine

Questions

Asked by Lord Luce

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their policy regarding the breakdown of Israeli–Palestinian talks.[HL6927]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): I refer the noble Lord to the answer given by the Minister of State, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Member for Faversham and Mid Kent (Mr Robertson), on 6 May 2014, Official Report, column 73W.

13 May 2014 : Column WA484

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they intend to take to support access to Israeli courts for Palestinian civilian victims of military or settler violence.[HL6949]

Baroness Warsi: The British Government provides funding through our Conflict Pool for the Israeli non-governmental organisation Yesh Din to provide legal aid to victims of settler violence. We do not currently have plans to expand this support to those affected by Israeli military actions.

Israel and Palestine: West Bank

Question

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they intend to take to end Israel's occupation of the West Bank.[HL6948]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): The British Government still sees negotiations towards a two state solution as the best way to meet the national aspirations of Israelis and Palestinians and lead to a sovereign, viable and contiguous Palestinian state, living in peace and security alongside a safe and secure Israel.

Jobcentre Plus: Toilets

Question

Asked by Baroness Thomas of Winchester

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether, as part of the requirement to make reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act 2010, accessible toilets at Jobcentre Plus offices are available for the use of claimants with disabilities.[HL6931]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud) (Con): Where there is a medical need, our policy is to allow claimants to use toilet facilities in our Jobcentres, subject to constraints in certain locations caused by the layout of the building and keeping people safe. We consider that this policy complies with the requirement under the Equality Act 2010 to make reasonable adjustments.

Museums

Question

Asked by Baroness Sharp of Guildford

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the current proposals for restructuring put forward by the National Museums of Liverpool, why the Museums’ administration is planning to cut the number of conservation posts to four and a half and to eliminate all posts relating to conservation science; and how the administration will fulfil its

13 May 2014 : Column WA485

responsibilities of conserving and preserving their collections for the benefit of present and future generations.[HL6869]

Lord Gardiner of Kimble (Con): The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has an arm’s length relationship with its sponsored bodies, such as National Museums Liverpool. Operational and management decisions are, therefore, a matter for the Board and Executive of the Museum.

NHS: Continuing Care

Question

Asked by Lord Bichard

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many people have received National Health Service continuing care over the most recent five years for which figures are available; and what has been the cost of continuing care to the National Health Service for the most recent five years for which figures are available.[HL6868]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): Primary care trusts held statutory responsibilities for National Health Service Continuing Healthcare until 31 March 2013 and the cost of funding such packages was not captured specifically in their audited accounts. From 2009, the Department collected information on the total cost of NHS Continuing Healthcare packages through a financial information management system1. The annual costs (England total) from that date were as follows:

2009-10

£2,030,071,000

2010-11

£2,186,171,000

2011-12

£2,324,655,000

2012-13

£2,762,532,000

From 2009, the Department published quarterly data on the numbers of individuals in receipt of NHS continuing Healthcare. This information can be viewed in detail on the Department’s website at:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/nhs-continuing-healthcare.

The England total Quarter 4 figures for individuals in receipt of NHS Continuing Healthcare are as follows:

2009-10

50,424

2010-11

53,264

2011-12

55,654

2012-13

58,809

From 1 April 2013, statutory responsibilities for NHS Continuing Healthcare transferred to clinical commissioning groups and to NHS England.

Notes:

1

This is management information and is not audited for Departmental accounts.

13 May 2014 : Column WA486

NHS: Data

Questions

Asked by Lord Avebury

To ask Her Majesty’s Government by what date they will revisit the decision on whether to include Gypsies and Irish Travellers as an ethnic category in the NHS National Data Dictionary; and what account they have taken of the recommendation by the National Inclusion Health Board to the Health and Social Care Information Centre to use the 2011 Census ethnic category classifications in national data collection.[HL6855]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): NHS England, in collaboration with other bodies, will shortly produce guidance that advises on the codes for data collection, including those for ethnicity. National Health Service organisations continue to use the 2001 codes in order to support consistency with other data systems within the NHS. NHS organisations can choose to use either the 2001 or the 2011 categories.

Additional codes can be included as appropriate at a local level to reflect the demographic make-up of the local population. This allows local monitoring to take place in a way that supports service planning, decision-making, and key processes such as the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment.

We envisage this position will be revisited, with decisions to change this advice based upon the breadth of utilisation of the new coding system.

The Department, Public Health England and NHS England are together considering the findings and recommendations in the report from the National Inclusion Health Board.

Asked by Baroness Byford

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health, Dr Daniel Poulter MP, on 18 March (HC Deb, 574W), how many of the 145 serious data breaches reported for acute trusts were the result of theft; how many individuals were involved; how many trusts were implicated; and how many trusts were involved in more than one such breach.[HL7003]

Earl Howe: In the period from 1 June 2013 to 14 March 2014 where details of serious incidents have been reported through the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) Incident Reporting tool there have been 21 breaches reported by acute trusts under the categories of either ‘lost or stolen’ hardware or paperwork. Seven of these are verified as theft and 14 are possible thefts but this has not been proven. 19 trusts each reported a single incident and one reported two.

The numbers of individuals affected are indicated in the volume column of following table.

13 May 2014 : Column WA487

ID
(IG Incident log look up number)Lost or Stolen?Volume (estimate in some cases)

IGI/1581

Lost/Stolen

29

IGI/1558

Stolen

15

IGI/1564

Lost/Stolen

132

IGI/1746

Lost/Stolen

20

IGI/1497

Lost/Stolen

38

IGI/1421

Stolen

46

IGI/1599

Lost/stolen

7

IGI/1316

Stolen

416

IGI/1255

Lost/Stolen

23

IGI/1256

Stolen

2

IGI/1251

Stolen

15

IGI/1206

Lost/stolen

13

IGI/1015

Lost/stolen

27

IGI/1160

Lost/stolen

1

IGI/947

Lost/Stolen

7

IGI/879

Lost/Stolen

15

IGI/730

Lost/Stolen

17

IGI/1385

Lost/Stolen

4

IGI/663

Stolen

100

IGI/493

Stolen

115

IGI/533

Lost/Stolen

5,000

Asked by Baroness Byford

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have considered strengthening National Health Service data confidentiality by removing the final digit of the postcode from each anonymised patient record uploaded from hospitals, general practitioner practices and other NHS bodies.[HL7005]

13 May 2014 : Column WA488

Earl Howe: Anonymised records cannot include the last three digits of a postcode and would generally not include postcodes at all. A postcode is sometimes needed for analytical purposes, for example to calculate distances from a specific point such as a hazard but where this is the case, the data cannot be classed as anonymised and so there must be a clear legal basis for its use.

NHS: Drugs and Medicines

Question

Asked by Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, for each of the last three years for which figures are available, what was the total National Health Service expenditure on drugs and medicines produced by (1) AstraZeneca, (2) Pfizer, and (3) GlaxoSmithKline; and what percentage of the National Health Service’s total expenditure on drugs and medicines each of those figures represents.[HL6984]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The following table sets out for 2011, 2012 and 2013, National Health Service spend on medicines and percentage of spend, for AstraZeneca, Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline in primary care only.

This does not include data on NHS use of medicines in hospitals, as comparable current data sources do not take account of the discounts available.

Net ingredient cost and proportion of all primary care spend by manufacturer, in England, for the years 2011, 2012 and 2013, based on prescription items dispensed in the community in England.1
201120122013
Manufacturer nameNet Ingredient Cost (£000s)Percentage of all Primary CareNet Ingredient Cost (£000s)Percentage of all Primary CareNet Ingredient Cost (£000s)Percentage of all Primary Care

AstraZeneca

451,931

5.5

366,037

4.7

353,981

4.5

Pfizer

771,631

9.5

521,610

6.7

408,643

5.2

GlaxoSmithKline

597,634

7.3

565,881

7.2

542,992

6.9

Total (all primary care expenditure on medicines in England2)

8,164,364

100.0

7,840,390

100.0

7,888,304

100.0

Source:

Prescription Cost Analysis provided by the Health and Social Care Information Centre

Notes:

1.

This may not include spend on those medicines made by the companies that are also available generically.

2.

This total relates to all medicines contained within British National Formulary (BNF) Chapters 1 to 19. The cost of dressings and appliances contained within BNF Chapters 20 to 23 has been excluded.

Nigeria

Question

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what diplomatic or alternative measures are being taken to secure the release of the several hundred children abducted by Boko Haram in Northern Nigeria.[HL6996]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): In the days following the abduction of over 200 schoolgirls from Chibok in Borno State, Nigeria, we have offered our assistance to the highest levels of the Nigerian government. The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), spoke to the Nigerian Foreign Minister on 18 April immediately after the abductions and offered the UK’s assistance.

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On 7 May the Prime Minister, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Member for Witney (Mr Cameron), spoke to President Jonathan and offered to send a team of UK experts to Abuja. The President accepted and the team, led by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), arrived in Abuja on 9 May. The team will provide expertise in counter-terrorism, counter-insurgency, military mentoring and training, victim support and economic development. Human rights compliance is, and will remain, an essential element of any UK assistance in Nigeria. The Minister for Africa, my hon. Friend the Member for Boston and Skegness (Mark Simmonds) visited Nigeria on 14 May, and reiterated our support with President Jonathan.

We are coordinating closely with international partners. An FCO team was in Washington on 5 May for talks with the US on Nigeria. Our expert team in Abuja will be coordinating closely with a US team also in Abuja. We are also speaking to the French and are encouraging other EU partners to lend their support. Given Boko Haram’s exploitation of Nigeria’s porous borders and indications that some of the girls may have been taken to Cameroon or Chad, we are engaging with Nigeria’s neighbours.

Overseas Territories

Question

Asked by Lord Luce

To ask Her Majesty’s Government in which United Kingdom Overseas Territories the United States has an interest; and what form such interests take.[HL6922]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): The United States is an important international partner for the UK and we work closely with them on a range of issues relevant to the Overseas Territories. It is for the United States to answer questions about the specifics of their interests.

Pakistan

Questions

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to encourage the government of Pakistan to ensure a fair and just trial in the cases of Savan Masih, Shafqat Emmanuel and Shagufta Kausar, sentenced to death for blasphemy in Lahore in early April.[HL6821]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): We remain concerned about these and other blasphemy cases particularly where the death penalty has been imposed. We regularly raise the issue of blasphemy laws, and their misuse against both Muslims and religious minorities, at the highest levels in Pakistan and press the government to ensure fair trials.

13 May 2014 : Column WA490

The Prime Minister, my right hon. Friend the Member for Witney (Mr Cameron) raised our concerns regarding these laws and the need for reforms during the visit of Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at the end of April. We have consistently pressed the government of Pakistan on the issue of the death penalty and our principled opposition to it in all cases and we will continue to raise both these issues with the government of Pakistan.

Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the 2014 report from the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom in Pakistan, in particular as regards achieving protection for minorities of all kinds.[HL6884]

Baroness Warsi: I am aware of the 2014 report, and am concerned by its findings. The latest Foreign and Commonwealth Office annual Human Rights report launched on 10 April highlights our own assessment and similar concerns. It is vital that the government of Pakistan guarantees the rights of all its citizens, regardless of their faith or ethnicity, as laid down in the Constitution and in accordance with international standards. During Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to the UK at the end of April human rights issues were raised at the highest levels. I will continue to press the Pakistani government to make progress in this area.

Parking

Question

Asked by Baroness Thomas of Winchester

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many car parking companies which are members of the British Parking Association have been refused access to keeper data by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency since the introduction of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012.[HL6933]

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Kramer) (LD): 29 members of the British Parking Association have been suspended from having access to vehicle keeper data since the introduction of the Act in 2012.

Portugal

Question

Asked by Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact on the United Kingdom economy of Portugal's exit from the European Union financial assistance programme.[HL6906]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton) (Con): It is in the UK national interest that the Portuguese, and wider euro area, economy is successful and we welcome the Portuguese Government’s strong commitment to its Economic Adjustment Programme, and the progress achieved under it. Treasury officials

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closely monitor developments in Portugal and the rest of the euro area, as with all major economies, as part of the normal policy development process.

Prisoners: Women

Question

Asked by Baroness Wheatcroft

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the combined cost of keeping one woman in prison and two children in care for a year.[HL6862]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Faulks) (Con): The Department routinely publishes average costs per prisoner and prison place based on actual net resource expenditure for each private and public sector prison and in summary form for the whole of the prison estate in England and Wales on an annual basis after the end of each financial year.

The National Offender Management Service does not hold or collate costs relating to children who are in care. Individual local authorities are required to deliver social care services and placements for children in their public care.

The most recently published figures for financial year 2012-13 is published alongside the NOMS Annual Report and Accounts and available on the Department’s website at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/prison-and-probation-trusts-performance-statistics-201213

Within the link provided, details on costs of custody for women prisoners can be found within the file named: costs per place and cost per prisoner 2012-13 - supplementary information.

A Copy of this is also placed in the House library.

Continuing to reduce prison unit costs is one of the key targets for the Department. Between 2009/10 and 2012/13 prison unit costs (based on overall prison costs) have reduced in real terms by 16% per place and 13% per prisoner. The Department is committed to delivering prison capacity changes designed to modernise the prison estate and further reduce prison costs.

Questions for Written Answer

Questions

Asked by Lord Jopling

To ask the Leader of the House , in the light of the answers on 6 May to written questions tabled by Lord Mendelsohn, what steps he will take to ensure that the replies to written questions answer the question which was put as fully as possible. [HL6992]

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Hill of Oareford) (Con): As Leader of the House, I have a particular responsibility to encourage departments to be punctual in answering written questions, but the content of each answer is a matter for the minister concerned. The Ministerial Code says that “Ministers

13 May 2014 : Column WA492

should be as open as possible with Parliament and the public, refusing to provide information only when disclosure would not be in the public interest”.

Asked by Lord Jopling

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Newby on 6 May (WA 365), whether they will now answer the question which was put.[HL6994]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Faulks) (Con): Further to the information given by my Noble Friend on 6 May (WA 365) I can add that the Ministry of Justice does not operate a strict percentage based escalation process for financial issues. The Departmental Board receive a routine update on the Ministry’s financial position at every meeting. This provides a summary of the overall position and, where necessary, highlights any significant variations from, or changes to, budget forecasts.

Asked by Lord Jopling

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Kramer on 6 May (WA 366), whether they will now answer the question which was put.[HL6995]

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Kramer) (LD): Each month the Department for Transport’s Executive Committee receives a summary of the forecast expenditure against budget as part of a Management Information Pack and a commentary in which any significant forecast variances to individual budgets are described and explained. Information at the detailed level is reviewed by each budget holder and Finance Business Partner to ensure that the Department for Transport remains within its control totals and each budget holder remains within their budget. Where forecasts indicate a possible breach of Treasury control totals, this is reported to the Executive Committee every month until the issue is resolved. There were two potential forecast overspends which were at risk of breaching control totals. These issues were highlighted to the Executive Committee three times in 2013-14 until the issues were resolved.

The Department for Transport does not have a prescribed percentage for any forecast overspend to be tabled at the Board or Executive Committee.

Railways: Intercity Express Programme

Question

Asked by Lord Berkeley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what will be the additional annual cost at 2014 prices of the further tranche of Intercity Express Programme electric trains for the Intercity East Coast Franchise under the contract signed on 16 April.[HL6843]

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Kramer) (LD): In April 2014 financial and commercial close was reached for the full fleet of

13 May 2014 : Column WA493

trains for the East Coast Main Line (ECML). The net present value (NPV) of the deal was £2.7bn in 2009 prices.

It is not possible to disaggregate the different elements of the ECML fleet as the contract was completed for the full fleet. All figures for the Programme are presented in 2009 prices to allow comparison, it is therefore not possible to provide any figures in 2014 prices.

Railways: Thameslink

Question

Asked by Lord Berkeley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the cash value of the contract with the Cross London Trains consortium to provide rolling stock for Thameslink; and what will be the annual charge at 2014 prices when the full fleet is in service.[HL6844]

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Kramer) (LD): The Thameslink Rolling Stock Project contracts comprise the supply, finance and subsequent maintenance (including the provision of depots) of the fleet of 1140 carriages. The Thameslink Rolling Stock Project contracts have an aggregate net present value of approximately £2.8 billion in 2014 prices and a nominal value of approximately £5.7 billion, in each case to the end of the 20 year commitment period relating to the use of the trains by the Secretary of State for Transport.

Shipping: Health and Safety

Question

Asked by Lord Berkeley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government in respect of which vessels engaged on domestic passenger routes in the United Kingdom the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has notified the European Commission of regulatory exemptions and equivalencies to Directive 2008/45/EC used by the MCA to issue EU Passenger Ship Safety Certificates from 2012; and whether there are any vessels operating for which notification has not taken place.[HL6845]

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Kramer) (LD): Her Majesty’s Government has notified the European Commission of a regulatory equivalence to Directive 2009/45/EC in respect of the MV SCILLONIAN III. No other vessels operating on domestic passenger routes in the United Kingdom require exemptions or equivalencies.

South Sudan

Questions

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what progress has been made by the leading donor countries, including the United Kingdom, in South Sudan in promoting civil society, effective governance and accountability.[HL6820]

13 May 2014 : Column WA494

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): The current crisis in South Sudan has significantly set back the development of civil society and effective governance. As a member of a Troika (UK, US and Norway) we have worked closely with the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) mediators to identify opportunities for civil society participation in the political process, and, in particular, the engagement of women, youth and faith group representatives. IGAD has proposed to both parties that representatives of civil society are present in the talks themselves, and assist in informing of the agenda.

We are clear that accountability for human rights violations and abuses will be an essential part of the peace process. We support the work of the African Union Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan and UNMISS (UN Mission in South Sudan) human rights team as first steps towards ensuring that perpetrators are held to account.

The promotion of civil society voices and effective governance will continue to be part of the UK’s development programmes to support stabilisation and peace-building in South Sudan.

Asked by Lord Luce

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the outcome of the most recent political talks commencing on 28 April in Addis Ababa on the situation in South Sudan; and whether plans are in hand to form an interim government to help end the conflict there.[HL6923]

Baroness Warsi: Following the resumption of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD)-chaired talks in Addis Ababa, a face-to-face meeting between South Sudan’s President Kiir and former Vice President Riek Machar took place in Addis on 9 May. This resulted in the two leaders signing a new peace agreement, recommitting both sides to the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (CoHA) originally signed in January this year. The new agreement also commits both parties to work towards a Transitional Government of National Unity which will oversee a new Constitution and guide the country towards elections. The agreement also reaffirms existing commitments to allow humanitarian assistance to reach affected populations on the ground.

The Minister for Africa, my hon. Friend the Member for Boston and Skegness (Mark Simmonds), made a statement on 10 May welcoming the agreement as an important and long overdue step, and urging the immediate implementation of the peace deal.

Taxation

Question

Asked by Baroness Scott of Needham Market

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they plan to increase the tax-free allowance given to individuals who rent out a room in their property. [HL6934]

13 May 2014 : Column WA495

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton) (Con): The Government currently has no plans to increase the threshold for rent a room relief.

As with all aspects of the tax system, the Government keeps all tax reliefs under review, and any decisions on changes will be taken as part of the annual Budget process in the context of the wider public finances.

Taxation: Digital Books

Question

Asked by Lord Smith of Finsbury

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Deighton on 6 May (WA 443) on the treatment of newspaper products, what plans they have in relation to a zero rate of VAT on books provided in digital format.[HL6943]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton) (Con): The Government has no plans to change the VAT treatment of books provided in digital format. Legal advice obtained by the Government indicates there is no scope to do so under EU law.

Ukraine

Questions

Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe election observers and military observers are present in Ukraine; and when they expect that the full planned number will be in country.[HL6957]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) launched an Election Observation Mission (EOM) to Ukraine in March. ODIHR’s Needs Assessment Mission judged that the EOM should consist of 1000 observers in total. 100 long term observers have been on the ground since late March; while a further 900 short term observers will arrive in the week before polling day on 25 May. These observers will also be joined by parliamentarians from the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe amongst others. The ODIHR Mission will be crucial in providing an impartial view of the conduct of these extremely important elections, and the UK is providing over 100 observers to it.

Since March, 7 inspection teams of varying staff numbers from OSCE states have been deployed to Ukraine under the auspices of the Vienna Document to which all OSCE States subscribed, with the aim of building confidence and increasing transparency. This is in response to a Ukrainian request to carry out military inspections and separate from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission, which has a different mandate. A UK-led Vienna Document team is currently in Ukraine and is working closely with national authorities

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to carry out their mission. The inspection team is made up of UK armed Forces Personnel and international observers. Following the UK-led mission, Vienna Document inspectors from other participating states will commence similar missions.

Asked by Lord Judd

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they envisage federation as a possible future constitutional settlement in Ukraine; and, if so, under what conditions.[HL6977]

Baroness Warsi: The Ukrainian people will be voting in Presidential elections on 25 May. The outcome will determine the future direction of their country. It is crucial that Ukraine is able to deliver these elections in a successful, free and fair manner, without external pressures. It is not for the rest of the world to negotiate away the constitution nor the freedom or democracy of Ukraine.

The British Government will continue to support Ukraine’s democratic and constitutional reform process as the best means of overcoming this crisis and helping the people of Ukraine to choose their own future. We stand with them in their efforts to create a better Ukraine.

War Graves

Question

Asked by Lord Ashcroft

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they are considering extending the mandate of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to cover tending the graves of Victoria Cross holders. [HL6864]

Lord Gardiner of Kimble (Con): The Commonwealth War Graves Commission cares for cemeteries and memorials at 23,000 locations around the world. The Commission commemorates the 1,700,000 men and women of the Commonwealth forces who died in the two world wars with dedication and skill and there are no plans to extend its remit. However, as part of our plans to commemorate the First World War centenary, we are working with the Commission to explore the scope for conserving significant burial sites outside their care. We also recently announced funding of up to £300,000, through the Department for Communities and Local Government, for the specific conservation of graves of Victoria Cross holders outside the Commission’s responsibility.

Western Sahara

Question

Asked by Lord Steel of Aikwood

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to support an extension of the remit of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara to include monitoring of human rights in that country.[HL6921]

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The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): The UN Security Council adopted the renewed Mandate of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) on 29 April. The new mandate does not include an extension of the mission’s responsibilities to include human rights monitoring in the territory, but it does welcome Morocco’s recent steps to strengthen the National Council on Human Rights (CNDH), and its continuing interaction with Special Procedures of the United Nations Human Rights Council, including that planned for 2014. It also welcomes the planned

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visit of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in 2014.

The British Government strongly encourages progress towards effective human rights monitoring in Western Sahara and the refugee camps in Tindouf. We also welcome Morocco’s recent commitments to investigate complaints of human rights violations made to the National Council for Human Rights within three months, and to end military tribunal trials for civilians. We regularly raise human rights during dialogue with the parties to the dispute over the territory, and in discussions at the UN Security Council.