Prepared: 17:12 on 4th August 2014

 

House of Lords

Summer Recess 2014

Written Answers and Statements

Afghanistan 

Question

Asked by The Marquess of Lothian  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the current security situation in Afghanistan; and what is their assessment of Taliban intentions.[ HL1481]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): The security situation in Afghanistan is still challenging, however violence levels remain lower than at the same stage last year, with the exceptions of anticipated spikes in violence on both election polling days. Despite this, the Taleban appear committed to their military campaign and the prospects for an Afghan-led peace process remain difficult in the short-term. We continue to call for the Taleban to enter a peaceful political process with the Afghan government.

Alcoholic Drinks 

Question

Asked by Lord Brooke of Alverthorpe  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have had any discussions with their partners in the Responsibility Deal about the recent introduction of vodka sorbet in supermarkets.[ HL1508]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The Department does not discuss individual products with producers or retailers. Alcohol units are clearly labelled on individual products so all consumers can make informed choices. We do have a commitment from over 30 companies to take a billion units of alcohol out of the market by the end of 2015, primarily through improving consumer choice of lower alcohol products.

Antibiotics 

Question

Asked by Lord Empey  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the risk to public health of the antibiotic-resistant bacteria recently discovered in riverbeds downstream from sewage works.[ HL1455]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): Professor Wellington’s paper was co-authored by Professor Peter Hawkey, one of Public Health England’s (PHE) Lead Microbiologists. Investigating the presence of extended-spectrum β-lactamases (ESBLs) and other antimicrobial resistance genes in the environment is part of PHE’s antimicrobial resistance research programme. Few studies address the presence of ESBLs in the environment and assessing the level of public health risk is not easy.

PHE is assessing the occurrence of ESBL-producing E. coli from a variety of non-human sources, including sewage (but not river waters), to identify major reservoirs of the strains that cause human disease and to inform public health risk assessment. This Policy Research Programme-funded project will produce its final report in 2016.

Professor Wellington also reports the first carbapenem-resistant E.coli from a United Kingdom river. Carbapenem resistance is considered a critical resistance threat by PHE, the Chief Medical Officer, the Department and the World Health Organization. Although carbapenem resistance rates in the UK are low, the actual number of carbapenem-resistant bacteria seen by PHE from hospitals is increasing year on year. A member of PHE recently reviewed the small but growing number of reports from around the world of carbapenem-resistant strains from non-human sources in collaboration with colleagues from the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency and the National Health Service.

The key public health message arising from the latest paper by Professor Wellington’s team is that members of the public should always inform their general practice that they’ve been swimming in rivers/streams if they become ill (most likely with gastro symptoms).

Armed Forces: Officers 

Questions

Asked by Lord Moonie  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government who are the serving officers at 4 star level; and what are their appointments and dates of appointment.[ HL1328]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government who are the serving officers at 3 star level; and what are their appointments and dates of appointment.[ HL1329]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government who are the highest-ranked women serving in each branch of HM Armed Forces; and what are their respective ranks.[ HL1330]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever) (Con): Information on 3 star and 4 star appointments and the highest ranking female officers in the Armed Forces are provided in the tables. While no women have yet reached 3 or 4 star the proportion of women in senior military posts is increasing and we are now seeing the best and brightest of our people recognised and promoted, irrespective of gender. We are working to address the under-representation of certain demographic groups, including women. The most tangible evidence of the progress that women have made in getting to the most senior ranks of the Armed Forces is the appointment in 2013 of Air Vice Marshals Elaine West and Sue Gray as the first female two-star officers in the RAF.

3 star officers

Name

Substantive Rank

Position

Date of appointment

Alan Richards

Vice Admiral

Chief of Defence Intelligence

19/01/2012

Ian Corder

Vice Admiral

UK Military Representative to NATO

30/05/2013

Simon Lister

Vice Admiral

Chief of Materiel (Fleet) / Chief of Fleet Support

27/11/2013

Philip Jones

Vice Admiral

Fleet Commander and Deputy Chief of the Naval Staff

30/11/2012

David Steel

Vice Admiral

Second Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Personnel and Training

10/10/2012

Peter Hudson

Vice Admiral

Commander Maritime Command, NATO

14/02/2013

Simon Mayall

Lieutenant General

Defence Senior Adviser for the Middle East

09/05/2011

Nicholas Carter

Lieutenant General

Commander Land Forces

12/11/2013

Gerald Berragan

Lieutenant General

Adjutant General

20/08/2012

Christopher Deverell

Lieutenant General

Chief of Materiel (Land) and Quarter Master General

10/07/2012

Philip Jones

Lieutenant General

Chief of Staff Supreme Allied Command Transformation

04/10/2013

Timothy Evans

Lieutenant General

Commander Allied Rapid Reaction Corps.

30/08/2013

Jonathan Page

Lieutenant General

Force Development and Training Command

17/02/2012

Andrew Gregory

Lieutenant General

Chief of Defence Personnel

04/04/2013

John Lorimer

Lieutenant General

Commander Urgent Operations, -Training and Mobilisation

28/08/2014

James Everard

Lieutenant General

Commander Land Forces

07/08/2014

Mark Poffley

Lieutenant General

Commander Force Development and Capability

28/02/2014

Gordon Messenger

Lieutenant General

Deputy Chief of Defence Staff (Military Strategy and Operations)

07/07/2014

David Capewell

Lieutenant General

Chief of Joint Operations

01/12/2011

Edward Davis

Lieutenant General

Deputy Commander, NATO Land Command, Izmir

01/07/2014

Christopher Evans

Air Marshal

Surgeon General

22/12/2012

Simon Bollom

Air Marshal

Chief of Materiel (Air) and Chief Engineer (RAF)

01/10/2012

Graham Stacey

Air Marshal

Deputy Commander Joint Force Command  - Brunssum

15/01/2013

Christopher Harper

Air Marshal

Director General International Military Staff - NATO Brussels

24/07/2013

Richard Garwood

Air Marshal

Director General Military Aviation Authority.

01/05/2013

Stephen Hillier

Air Marshal

Deputy Chief  of Defence Staff (Military Capability)

11/01/2012

Gregory Bagwell

Air Marshal

Deputy Commander Operations Air Command

16/04/2013

Barry North

Air Marshal

Deputy Commander Capability Air Command

03/05/2013

4 star officers

Name

Substantive Rank

Position

Date of appointment

Nicholas Houghton

General

Chief of Defence Staff

18/07/2013

Stuart Peach

Air Chief Marshal

Vice Chief of Defence Staff

10/05/2013

George Zambellas

Admiral

First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval staff

09/04/2013

Peter Wall

General

Chief of the General Staff

15/09/2010

Andrew Pulford

Air Chief Marshal

Chief of Air Staff

26/07/2013

Richard Barrons

General

Commander - Joint Forces Command

19/04/2013

Adrian Bradshaw

General

Deputy Supreme Allied Commander - Europe

28/03/2014

Richard Shirreff

General

Ex Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe - Pending Retirement

N/A

Highest ranking female officers

Name

Substantive Rank

Position

Date of appointment

Juliet Bartlett

Brigadier

Director - Operational Law

15/10/2013

Susan Ridge

Brigadier

Director -Legal Advisor

21/05/2012

Elaine West

Air Vice Marshal

Director of Projects and Programme Delivery

01/08/2013

Susan Gray

Air Vice Marshal

Director Combat Air and DE&S

29/01/2014

Note: The highest ranking female officers in the Royal Navy are Captains (6) and Acting Captains (2). However, we do not disclose names of officers and civil servants below the rank of Commodore or Senior Civil Servant.

Arrest Warrants 

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the new conditions for granting European Arrest Warrants will (1) require prima facie evidence to be produced, and (2) safeguard the right of habeas corpus.[HL1114]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach) (Con): It is not a requirement of the European Arrest Warrant Framework Decision that a State provide prima facie evidence when issuing a warrant. Prima facie evidence was similarly not required under the previous extradition arrangements for countries within the EU-the European Convention on Extradition of 1957. The Government has legislated to reform the operation of the EAW and increase the protections for British citizens and others who are wanted for extradition. These safeguards, contained in the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, were commenced on 21 July 2014. These changes include the introduction of a proportionality bar. This requires a British judge to consider whether extradition would be disproportionate (and to discharge the person if it would be), taking into account the seriousness of the alleged conduct, the likely sentence the person would receive if convicted, and the possibility of the issuing State taking measures that would be less coercive than extradition.

We have also addressed the concerns that relate to pre-trial detention. Where there are reasonable grounds for believing that decisions to charge and try the person have not been made, the issuing State must now prove that they have been (unless the only reason for this is the person’s absence from the issuing State), or the judge is required to discharge the person. This will help ensure people are not extradited only to spend length periods in pre-trial detention whilst the issuing State continues to investigate the offence. In addition, to help deal with concerns relating to length of pre-trial detention, it is now possible for an individual to be temporarily transferred to the issuing State or to speak with the authorities in that State by videoconference ahead of the extradition hearing in the UK, if the person consents. We have also made the Extradition Act 2003 clearer with regard to the existing requirement for dual criminality, in particular setting out that in cases where all or part of the conduct occurred in the UK, and the conduct is not criminalised here, the European Arrest Warrant must be refused for that conduct. The Government has also introduced (by way of the Crime and Courts Act 2013) a forum bar, to ensure that the possibility of a domestic prosecution has been properly explored as part of the extradition proceedings. The Government is satisfied that the UK’s transposition of the European Arrest Warrant Framework Decision complies fully with the concept of Habeas Corpus.

Asylum: Albania 

Questions

Asked by Lord Storey  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what information and personal data are provided to the Albanian authorities on unaccompanied asylum-seeking children from Albania making asylum claims in the United Kingdom; and whether such children are informed or asked to consent to the transfer of such information and personal data before they are transferred.[ HL1515]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in respect of how many Albanian asylum seekers claiming to be children, information was sought from the Albanian authorities leading to the identification of 23 individuals who were suspected of providing incorrect information about their age and the establishment of Operation Coldspell in December 2013.[ HL1516]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach) (Con): The Government has a legal duty to endeavour to trace the families of unaccompanied asylum seeking children and to take into account their best interests. In response to safeguarding concerns arising from reports that Albanian adults were falsely claiming to be children, and in order to facilitate the family tracing process, the Home Office piloted a process in late 2013 whereby information relevant to family tracing and confirming identity was obtained from the Albanian authorities in respect of 215 individuals. In all of these cases, the asylum claims had been refused and the Albanian authorities had not been the alleged actor of persecution. The piloted process became business as usual with effect from 29 January 2014. Checks are only conducted under this process if such a step will not jeopardise the safety of the child and their family. The Albanian authorities are provided with the names, dates of birth, identity numbers, places of birth, addresses and contact numbers for the child and their parents. Published Home Office guidance stipulates that the child should be informed shortly after point of claim for asylum that the Home Office will take appropriate steps to endeavour to trace their families.

Borders: Personal Records 

Question

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact universal exit checks at United Kingdom borders will have on (1) passenger and freight queuing times at ports and airports, and (2) United Kingdom trade and travel; and what additional resources they will provide to ensure that the introduction of such checks does not lead to (a) increased queuing, and (b) travel disruption for the travelling public.[ HL1241]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach) (Con): The Home Office is working with industry to identify a solution to implement exit checks at sea and airports and at international stations to minimise any impact on queuing times. We are also working with service operators to agree how passenger data can be used to reduce the level of additional checks made at the point of departure.

Burma 

Questions

Asked by Baroness Uddin  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of Preventing Sexual Violence (PSVI) summit earlier this year, what representation, if any, have they made to the government of Burma with regards to sexual violence and rape in that country to ensure perpetrators are held accountable and brought to justice.[ HL1343]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): Baroness Warsi: We continue to raise our strong concerns about reports of rape and sexual violence in Burma with senior members of the Burmese Government and military. The Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right honourable friend the Member for East Devon (Mr Swire), met Deputy Foreign Minister U Thant Kyaw during the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict on 13 June 2014. He publicly stated that Burma’s attendance at the summit was a signal of their support to the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI) and readiness to take action against perpetrators, including members of the military. We welcomed the Burmese Government’s attendance at the summit and have made clear that concrete action is needed, including a credible action plan that involves the military. Our Ambassador in Burma has also raised this with U Thant Kyaw following the summit.

It is our view that the investigation of human rights abuses in Burma is the responsibility of the Burmese Government. We have made clear to the Burmese Government that all allegations of human rights abuses must be dealt with through clear, independent and transparent investigative and prosecutorial processes which meet international standards.

Asked by Baroness Uddin  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of Preventing Sexual Violence (PSVI) summit earlier this year, what action they are taking to support the establishment of an international investigation to end sexual violence and rape in Burma.[ HL1345]

Baroness Warsi: We continue to raise our strong concerns about reports of rape and sexual violence in Burma with senior members of the Burmese Government and military. The Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right honourable friend the Member for East Devon (Mr Swire), met Deputy Foreign Minister U Thant Kyaw during the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict on 13 June 2014. He publicly stated that Burma’s attendance at the summit was a signal of their support to the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative (PSVI) and readiness to take action against perpetrators, including members of the military. We welcomed the Burmese Government’s attendance at the summit and have made clear that concrete action is needed, including a credible action plan that involves the military. Our Ambassador has also raised this with U Thant Kyaw following the summit.

It is our view that the investigation of human rights abuses in Burma is the responsibility of the Burmese Government. We have made clear to the Burmese government that all allegations of human rights abuses must be dealt with through clear, independent and transparent investigative and prosecutorial processes which meet international standards.

Asked by Baroness Uddin  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of on-going allegations of rape against military officials in Burma, what conditions, if any, were agreed with the government of Burma on ending the use of rape as a weapon of war prior to any training provided by the British Armed Forces.[HL1346]

Baroness Warsi: To date, the UK has only provided one educational course to the Burmese military: "Managing Defence in a Wider Security Context", a non-combat, academic course delivered to 30 military officers and government officials in January 2014. The course covered the importance of good governance in defence and professionalism in a nation’s Armed Forces, the observation of human rights obligations and preventing sexual violence. We did not make provision of this course conditional; such education and our exchanges with the Burmese military are themselves aimed at changing mindsets.

We regularly address the issue of sexual violence by the Burmese army with the Burmese Government and with the military. We continue to make clear that where serious crimes have been committed, those who have perpetrated them should be held accountable for their actions. We lobby on preventing sexual violence in conflict areas, on encouraging the Burmese military to step back from politics, and on action to tackle human rights issues such as the use of child soldiers. The Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right honourable friend the Member for East Devon (Mr Swire), raised the issue of rape and sexual violence with the Burmese army's Commander-in-Chief and military northern commander during his visit to Burma in January. Mr Swire also urged the Burmese Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, who attended the Ending Sexual Violence in Conflict Summit in the UK in June 2014, to ensure a quick and credible action plan to implement the Declaration on Ending Sexual Violence.

Bus Services: Concessions 

Question

Asked by Lord Greaves  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what proportion of the full-fare cost of journeys undertaken by older people using free bus passes was reimbursed to bus operators by each local authority in 2005–6, 2009–10, and in each financial year since, including the current year.[ HL1553]

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Kramer) (LD): The Department for Transport publishes concessionary travel statistics for each local authority in England showing, for older and disabled people: the total reimbursement of bus operators; the average reimbursement per journey; the average reimbursement per pass.

These figures are obtained from bus operators through the annual Concessionary Travel Survey. They do not show reimbursement as a proportion of the full-fare cost of a journey and, as the figures include both older and disabled travellers, it is not possible to provide figures for older people only. In addition, if bus operators indicate that the information is commercially sensitive, it is not included in the final published table.

The available statistics cover the years 2010/11 to 2012/13 and can be found on the GOV.UK website at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/265955/bus0832.xls

We do not hold these statistics at local authority level for 2005/06 or 2009/10.

Castes: Discrimination 

Question

Asked by Lord Avebury  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 6 May (WA 331–2) and the comments by Helen Grant, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Women and Equalities on 9 July (HC Deb, col. 140 WH), how they intend to establish baseline data that can be used to determine whether caste legislation is stopping unlawful discrimination given their acceptance of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission’s statement that research for that purpose would not be possible; and what are the terms of reference of the feasibility study announced by Mrs Grant.[HL1061]

Baroness Northover (LD): The Government has accepted that the Equality and Human Rights Commission will not be undertaking further research in the area outlined in the question. However, in their respective statements neither Lord Ahmad nor Helen Grant accepted that such research cannot be done, which is why we are commissioning the feasibility study to which the Noble Lord refers.

The key objectives for this study, which form its terms of reference, are to:

Identify and critically assess the key issues which affect the feasibility of quantifying the extent of caste discrimination in Britain, and measuring changes over time;

Identify specific methodological approaches for realistically and feasibly quantifying the scale of caste discrimination in Britain and measuring changes over time;

Appraise the costs and benefits associated with each methodological option.

Central African Republic 

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of reports of worsening humanitarian access to the Central African Republic.[ HL1246]

Baroness Northover (LD): Conditions in CAR are extremely challenging for both humanitarian workers and local communities. The Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has reported over 770 security incidents throughout CAR since January 2014. 67 of these incidents have directly targeted humanitarian personnel. DFID is working with agencies which have appropriate systems and a level of community acceptance to enable them to access some of the most vulnerable populations in CAR. In 2014 DFID has funded the ICRC, UN agencies and international NGOs to support communities who have suffered from the violence.

Clinical Commissioning Groups 

Question

Asked by Lord Grocott  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the answer by Earl Howe on 9 July (HL Deb, col. 216), how many managerial and clerical staff were appointed to each of the Clinical Commissioning Groups established by the Health and Social Care Act 2012.[HL1472]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): Information concerning the number of clerical and administrative staff, managers, and senior managers in Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) in England, as at 30 September 2013, has been placed in the Library.

Common Fisheries Policy 

Question

Asked by Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what they are doing to reform the European Union fisheries policy.[ HL1443]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley) (Con): The Government recently secured wide-ranging and progressive reforms to the EU Common Fishery Policy. Specific changes include the introduction of regionalised fisheries management, a phased landing obligation banning the discarding of fish and a legal commitment to setting fishing rates at sustainable levels. These wide ranging reforms will help deliver a prosperous fishing industry, healthy fish stocks and protect the marine environment.

Work to implement these measures is underway. A formal consultation on how to implement the landing obligation in pelagic fisheries in England recently closed. Regionally agreed Discard Plans for the North Sea and North West waters have been submitted to the Commission for adoption. Consultations with the fishing industry and other groups have started to develop a policy position for the introduction of the landing obligation in demersal fisheries.

Diesel Fuel 

Question

Asked by Lord Blencathra  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have received from environmental non-governmental organisations, over the past 20 years, on the subject of efforts to encourage motorists to switch to diesel fuel.[ HL1686]

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Kramer) (LD): The Government regularly receives correspondence from environmental non-governmental organisations on a range of issues which are relevant to our fuel policies. The information requested could only be provided at disproportionate cost. If my Noble Friend would like to write to me I am happy to investigate any specific concerns in this area he should wish to raise.

Entry Clearances 

Question

Asked by Baroness Smith of Basildon  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many (1) business visitor visas, (2) child visitor visas, (3) family visitor visas, (4) general visitor visas, and (5) student visitor visas, were issued in 2013.[ HL1464]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach) (Con): In 2013, 1,988,068 visit visas were issued to applicants in the following categories:

Category of visitor

Total applications

Business Visitor

353,445

Child Visitor visas (includes accompanied and unaccompanied Children)

322,030

Family Visitors

207,434

General Visitor (includes Chinese nationals issued under the Approved Destination Agreement)

1,027,559

Student Visitor (includes general students and English language Students)

77,601

EU: Parliamentary Scrutiny 

Question

Asked by Lord Boswell of Aynho  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, for each government department, from July to December 2013, (1) on how many occasions the scrutiny reserve resolution in the House of Lords was overridden, (2) on how many occasions the scrutiny reserve resolution in the House of Commons was overridden, and (3) in respect of how many documents an override occurred in (a) both Houses or (b) either House.[ HL1471]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): The Government seeks to avoid breaching the Scrutiny Reserve Resolutions, continuing to account for overrides in writing to the Committees. The last EU Committee report recognises that engagement between the Committee’s Secretariat and Departments helped the number of overrides fall, the largest category of override being on sensitive, fast-moving Common Foreign and Security Policy matters (16 of the 20 overrides across the two Houses) which cannot be publicised beforehand, making overrides difficult to avoid. During this period, 568 Explanatory Memoranda were submitted, the 20 overrides representing the lowest number since 2010.

The figures requested are in the Table.

Overrides July-December 2013

Department

(1) House of Lords Override

(2) House of Commons override

(a) No. of overrides in both Houses

(b) Total no. of overrides

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

2

1

1

2

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

1

1

1

1

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

15

17

15

17

TOTALS (with reference to questions)

18 (Q 1)

19 (Q 2)

17 (Q a)

20 (Q b)

Female Genital Mutilation 

Question

Asked by Lord Taylor of Warwick  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what are their long-term targets concerning the prevention and punishment of female genital mutilation (FGM), in the light of recent reforms and the creation of an FGM unit.[ HL1382]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach) (Con): Our longer term focus has not changed. Prevention remains at the heart of our work to tackle and eradicate Female Genital Mutilation in the UK. The new FGM unit is being set up to drive a step change in nationwide outreach on FGM with criminal justice partners, children’s services, healthcare professionals and affected communities. The details of the new FGM unit are being developed across government and in consultation with interested parties.

Forests 

Question

Asked by The Lord Bishop of St Albans  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when they intend to bring forward legislation to establish a new public body to hold the Public Forest Estate to account.[ HL1506]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley) (Con): The Government’s policy on the future of the Public Forest Estate is set out in its Forestry and Woodlands Policy Statement of January 2013. The Government is committed to maintaining the Public Forest Estate in public ownership and to establishing a new operationally independent public body to manage the estate for the long-term benefit of people, nature and the economy.

There were many proposals competing for the limited space within the Fourth Session programme and the proposed forestry measures could not be accommodated. However, the Government stands by its commitment to establish the new public body as soon as parliamentary time allows.

Fuels: Tax Evasion 

Questions

Asked by Lord Mawhinney  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the answer by Lord Newby on 15 July (HL Deb, col. 501), what specific legislative change was undertaken specifically to deal with the absence of custodial sentences for illegal production or smuggling of diesel in Northern Ireland; and on what date those legislative changes became effective.[HL1348]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the answer by Lord Newby on 15 July (HL Deb, col. 501), for each of the 22 convictions referred to, what was the (1) date of conviction, (2) the charge on which the perpetrator was found guilty, (3) the other charges, if any, dealt with in the same trial, on which the convicted person was found not guilty, (4) the sentence passed, and (5) the court in which the hearing took place.[HL1349]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the answer by Lord Newby on 15 July (HL Deb, col. 501), what is their estimate of how much of the diesel bought in the Republic of Ireland and brought into Northern Ireland, is illegally produced or smuggled into the province.[HL1351]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton) (Con): Legislative change enacted in, The Criminal Justice Act 1988 (Review of Sentencing) Order (Northern Ireland) 2013 (SR 249/2013) allows the appeal of unduly lenient sentences for fuel fraud to the Court of Appeal. It came into force on 9 December 2013.

All 22 convictions related to offences prosecuted under Section 170(2)(a) of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979 for fraudulent evasion of duty. Further details area as follows:

15 of the cases were prosecuted for two offences under this Act

12 of these convictions resulted in suspended sentences totalling 104 months, with each being suspended for a period of time between 12 and 36 months

One case resulted in the defendant being bound over

In nine cases fines of up to £4,000 were imposed - totalling £11,700; and in two of these the defendant was given a period of up to 26 weeks to pay the fine or an additional custodial sentence would be imposed

One conviction was converted into a time to pay agreement due to the ill health of the defendant

One Confiscation Order was made for £98,000

One Compensation Order was made for £500

It would not be prudent to provide the further detailed information requested as they could lead to identification of the individuals concerned and jeopardise the safety of the defendants and their immediate families.

No assessment has been made of how much of the diesel bought in the Republic of Ireland and brought into Northern Ireland is illegally produced or smuggled. However, tax gap figures estimate the market share for all illicit diesel in Northern Ireland at 12-13% in 2011-12 and negligible for petrol.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/measuring-tax-gaps-tables

HMRC fights fraud on a wide range of fronts, from special units performing thousands of roadside checks to raiding laundering plants. The UK has recently announced, jointly with Ireland, an improved new marker for rebated fuel, which will make it much harder to launder marked fuel and sell it at a profit.

Gastrointestinal Cancer 

Question

Asked by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what measures they are taking to ensure that primary carers and general practitioners receive sufficient training about paediatric, adolescent, wild-type and syndromic gastrointestinal stromal tumours in order to ensure better patient management and specialist treatment.[HL1370]

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

Medical Royal Colleges design the curricula for postgraduate medical education and in doing so they must ensure that teaching meets the standards of the GMC in order to be able to retain GMC recognition of their course.

Government Departments: Recruitment 

Question

Asked by Lord Bradshaw  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether their recruitment of 10 positions to advise on the management and performance of the railways represents additional Department for Transport staff or is offset by staff reductions elsewhere.[ HL1730]

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Kramer) (LD): This recruitment is to fill existing vacancies within the Department for Transport’s Rail Executive. This recruitment will not be offset by staff reductions elsewhere.

Health Visitors 

Question

Asked by Lord Harrison  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many of the 4,200 extra health visitors they are seeking to recruit by 2015 they expect (1) to work in the National Health Service, and (2) to complete training on identifying the signs of postnatal depression.[HL1386]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The additional 4,200 health visitors will all be providing front line services to families. Health visitor services are currently commissioned by NHS England as part of Section 7A of the NHS Act 2006*. NHS England’s Local Area Teams determine the most suitable local service provider. Currently, most provision is through a variety of National Health Service organisations, with a small proportion delivered by other organisations, including social enterprises. The trajectory for delivering growth of the health visitor workforce is not related to the type of provider. All services are based on a national model of health visiting and the NHS England service specification.

NHS England Area Teams and local authorities are working together in co-commissioning these services, prior to the lead commissioning role moving to local authorities in October 2015.

All health visitors, including the additional 4,200 being delivered by 2015, receive education and training on maternal mental health, so they can detect the early signs of postnatal depression and ensure all women get support during and after birth.

The NHS England 2014-15 service specification emphasises throughout, the role of the health visitor in promoting maternal mental health within clearly defined pathways. It makes clear that health visitors are expected to be trained and developed to be competent in delivering the evidence-based assessments and interventions set out in the Healthy Child Programme. In addition, NHS England is resourcing Area Teams to support delivery of the new model of health visiting which explicitly includes maternal mental health as a high impact area.

To supplement core training, health visitors are able to enhance their skills and knowledge in the context of their specific roles. The Department has earlier this year, commissioned the training of 375 perinatal mental health champions across England. The champions are cascading their training in local areas so as to facilitate the spread of knowledge and practice among colleagues. In addition to the champions’ training, all health visitors are able to access perinatal mental health e-learning modules.

Note: *As amended by the Health and Social Care Act 2012.

Hilda Murrell 

Question

Asked by Lord Rooker  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Taylor of Holbeach on 9 April (WA 302–3), on what specific date in July 2014 they will make an application to the Lord Chancellor’s Advisory Council to allow the file held on Hilda Murrell to be transferred to the National Archives; and at what location the file is held in the meantime.[ HL938]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach) (Con): I refer the noble Lord to the reply I gave on 9 April 2014, Official Report, columns WA 302-3. Following the cancellation of the July Lord Chancellor’s Advisory Council, the one file referred to will be considered in September. Since my previous answer, a further six relevant files have been identified. Of these further files, five were submitted to TNA on 9 May 2014 for agreement of selection for permanent preservation in The National Archives. This series will be the subject of the Lord Chancellor's Committee on 13 November. The remaining file is from 1993 and is not due for review until 2017.

Israel 

Question

Asked by Lord Judd  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have had discussions with the directors of G4S about that company’s adherence to the terms of the Fourth Geneva Convention as it applies to the detention of Palestinian prisoners inside Israel; and what was the outcome of any such discussions.[ HL1271]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): The Government has made clear our concerns about Israel’s treatment of Palestinian detainees in meetings with G4S. The UK also considers that Israel’s detention of Palestinian prisoners within Israel is contrary to Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and has clearly stated this position to Israeli officials. International law does not impose direct obligations on corporations. However, the Government encourages British companies to show respect for human rights in their operations in the UK and internationally. On 21 April 2013, G4S publicly confirmed that they would not renew a number of security contracts in the West Bank "to ensure that G4S Israel business practices remain in line with our own business ethics policy". These include the servicing of security equipment at Ofer Military Prison, at West Bank checkpoints and at a police station in the contentious E-1 area of Jerusalem.

Jubilee Line 

Question

Asked by Lord Bradshaw  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Kramer on 28 July (WA 257–8), whether they have considered conducting a reassessment, 10 years after the last, of the benefit-cost ratio of the Jubilee Line extension; and whether they intend to carry out any similar assessments of other infrastructure projects.[ HL1729]

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Kramer) (LD): The Mayor and Transport for London (TfL) are responsible for the Jubilee line. TfL have no current plans to undertake a further evaluation of the benefit-cost ratio of the extension.

The Department for Transport takes a structured approach to understanding the benefits of projects once delivery of those projects has started. Actively managing the realisation of benefits will improve value for money and maximise the benefits for passengers.

Large Goods Vehicles: Safety 

Question

Asked by Baroness Gardner of Parkes  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have any plans to remove the exemption for skip lorries and concrete mixing lorries from the requirement to be fitted with a safety bar, and, if so when; and what assessment they have made of the efforts made by Cemex in that area.[HL1714]

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Kramer) (LD): The Department for Transport will be consulting in the autumn to change the rules for side guards to be fitted to tippers, refuse vehicles and car transporters that were registered from 1 January 2010. Side guards will be required to be fitted to the majority of new vehicles from 29 October 2014.

There has been no specific assessment of the measures implemented by Cemex but the Government welcomes the initiatives taken by a number of companies to voluntarily fit additional safety equipment to protect pedestrian and vulnerable road users.

Large Goods Vehicles: Speed Limits 

Questions

Asked by Lord Berkeley  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Statement by Baroness Kramer on 24 July (WS 137), what tougher procedures and sanctions they propose for lorry drivers caught exceeding the new speed limits.[ HL1698]

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Kramer) (LD): In conjunction with the speed limit change, we are considering whether to adopt a new approach to the offence of exceeding a vehicle specific speed limit. This would be to ensure that drivers receive a strong warning letter from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency for a first offence, and are called to a driver conduct hearing for a subsequent offence, where the Traffic Commissioner will consider whether action should be taken against their licence. We could also consider in future taking this approach for all speeding offences in a large vehicle, though it would require changes to the way offences are recorded.

In addition police forces can refer vocational licence holders directly to driver conduct hearings at a first offence.

The Senior Traffic Commissioner publishes guidance and directions about driver conduct hearings. We anticipate consultation about revised guidance will begin later this year.

Asked by Lord Berkeley  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Statement by Baroness Kramer on 24 July (WS 137), how the change to HGV speed limits will reinforce the credibility and importance of other safety-critical laws.[ HL1699]

Baroness Kramer: We consider the change to the 40 mph HGV speed limit will remove an out-dated and poorly observed speed limit. We consider modernising that limit in itself reinforces the importance of other speed limits, particularly lower local speed limits. Other key safety-related laws, such as the ban on using had-held mobile phones whilst driving, have similar penalties to those for speeding and their importance is likewise enhanced by the modernisation of the HGV speed limit itself. For mobile phone use whilst driving large vehicles the Government is already introducing and encouraging the greater use of vocational driver conduct hearings, where action can be taken against drivers’ licence entitlements.

In addition having the current limit gives rise to an untenable position where motorists’ expectations of relatively quick journeys on some rural roads are only being met because HGV drivers are routinely breaking their speed limit.

Having a law in place which we know to be widely disregarded can only increase the likelihood that drivers will consider other laws to be optional, and so the Government decided a change in the HGV speed limit to a more modern and credible 50 mph is necessary

Manchester-Burnley Railway Line 

Questions

Asked by Lord Greaves  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the introduction of railway services between Manchester and East Lancashire via the Todmorden curve is still expected to take place by December 2014; and, if not, what are the reasons for the delay.[HL1644]

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Kramer) (LD): Although the work to reinstate the track is now finished, Network Rail has yet to complete the signalling infrastructure works that will allow trains to run through the full length of the curve in both directions. Once Network Rail has finished all the necessary infrastructure works, Northern will be able to begin driver route training.

Northern Rail, in consultation with Lancashire County Council, the project sponsor, have informed the Department for Transport that they are working towards implementing train services from the start of the May 2015 timetable change, subject to signing a formal funding agreement contract with Lancashire County Council. Northern will endeavour to introduce services as soon as is practicable, subject to agreement being reached over the local funding.

Asked by Lord Bradshaw  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government with whom responsibility lies for the acquisition of rolling stock to commence operating a direct train service from Manchester to Burnley now that the new infrastructure is in place.[ HL1731]

Baroness Kramer: Although the work to reinstate the track is now finished, Network Rail has yet to complete the signalling infrastructure works that will allow trains to run through the full length of the curve in both directions. Once Network Rail has finished all the necessary infrastructure works, Northern will be able to begin driver route training.

The acquisition of rolling stock is a matter for the sponsor (Lancashire County Council) and the operator.

Middle East 

Questions

Asked by Lord Hylton  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will use the calls of the families of those killed in Israel and Palestine for non-violence as a means to promote verified ceasefires and the adherence by all parties to the norms of international law.[ HL1288]

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 Statement on Gaza of 21 July 2014 by the Prime Minister, my right hon. Friend the Member for Witney (Mr Cameron), repeated in the House of Lords by the Leader of the House and Lord Privy Seal (Baroness Stowell), Official Report, Column 979-982. We strongly endorse the call by the UN Security Council for an immediate ceasefire and for respect for international humanitarian law and the protection of civilians. We are open to the idea of appropriate mechanisms to verify and ensure a durable ceasefire.

Asked by Baroness Tonge  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of Hamas’ offer of a 10-year truce.[ HL1338]

Baroness Warsi: The Government has not made any assessment of this offer. The UK's policy on Hamas is clear: Hamas must renounce violence, recognise Israel and accept previously signed agreements. We continue to press for an urgent agreement on a ceasefire and for all sides to minimise civilian casualties. We would like to see a durable end to the current cycle of violence and a long term strategy to address the underlying causes of the conflict and transform the situation in Gaza.

Asked by The Marquess of Lothian  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what recent representations they have made to the government of Israel about their ground incursion into Gaza.[ HL1408]

Baroness Warsi: The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr Hammond), discussed the current crisis in Gaza with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman during his visit to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories between 23-24 July. He made clear that whilst Israel had a right to self-defence, any response must be proportionate and maximum efforts made to avoid civilian casualties. He urged progress towards a ceasefire.

Asked by Baroness Uddin  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of how civilians in Gaza can best be protected.[ HL1520]

Baroness Warsi: The UK is deeply concerned by the high levels of civilian casualties. We have called on all those involved in the current crisis to avoid any action which risks civilian casualties in line with humanitarian law. The Government assesses that civilians can best be protected through the agreement of an immediate ceasefire that ends the current bloodshed, opens up humanitarian access, and allows displaced people to return to their homes. The British Government is working closely with international partners in order to secure this goal.

Muslim Brotherhood 

Question

Asked by Lord Empey  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what investigations have been or are being carried out into (1) The Cordoba Foundation, (2) The Emirates Centre for Human Rights, and (3) The Middle East Eye; and whether they consider those organisations to have any links to the Muslim Brotherhood.[ HL1452]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach) (Con): The Prime Minister commissioned a review into the Muslim Brotherhood. We must not prejudge the review’s findings, the purpose of which is to inform Government policy towards the Muslim Brotherhood. Its scope includes linked and affiliated organisations and individuals and the review will take account of evidence relating to allegations of such links. The review is internal but we expect to say something publicly about its conclusions after the summer recess.

Orders and Regulations 

Question

Asked by Lord Goodlad  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many statutory instruments from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs have been laid this calendar year; of those, what percentage corrected errors in a previous instrument (including drafts of affirmative instruments that had to be superseded by correcting drafts); and what steps that Department is taking to reduce the need for correcting instruments.[ HL1425]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley) (Con): Defra laid 33 Statutory Instruments this calendar year. Two of these, 6% of the total, corrected errors in other Statutory Instruments. They are the Marine Licensing (Application Fees) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 and the Veterinary Medicines (Amendment) Regulations 2014.

The Department and its legal team have standing procedures for checking Statutory Instruments. If a correction to a Defra Statutory Instrument is required, the reasons for the error are investigated and appropriate action taken.

Defra will be working with The Treasury Solicitor and First Parliamentary Counsel in the coming months to improve the quality of Statutory Instrument drafting

Pakistan 

Questions

Asked by Lord Ahmed  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the total amount of Department for International Development money spent on education programmes in Pakistan; and how many school teachers have been trained using the Department for International Development money.[ HL1388]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how much they have spent on education awareness programmes in Pakistan over the last three years.[ HL1389]

Baroness Northover (LD): From 2011-12 to 2013-14 DFID has spent a total of £183 million on education in Pakistan, with £92 million spent during the last financial year. This support has helped get additional children into school, increase teacher attendance, improve school facilities and train teachers amongst other activities. During the last two years (2012-13 & 2013-14), DFID programmes have helped the Pakistani Government to train 150,000 teachers.

Asked by Lord Ahmed  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they are continuing to fund the Mir Khalil ur Rahman Foundation (MKRF) to provide education awareness programmes in Pakistan; and what was the total amount allocated to MKRF in the last 3 years.[ HL1390]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to publish the proposal submitted by the Mir Khalil ur Rahman Foundation for the education awareness programme in Pakistan, any progress reports, or information on what they have accomplished so far through their media campaign in Pakistan.[ HL1391]

Baroness Northover: Funding to Mir Khalil Ur Rahman Foundation (MKRF) ended in January 2014. Over the period 2011 to 2014, £5.06 million was spent by MKRF as part of our larger Transforming Education in Pakistan (TEP) programme.

The department has published progress reports on our development tracker in line with our commitment to transparency. http://devtracker.dfid.gov.uk/projects/GB-1-202491/.

Palestinians 

Questions

Asked by Baroness Deech  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have made representations to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency concerning the storage of rockets in its facilities in Gaza, and its arrangements for their disposal.[ HL1334]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): The Government has not made any representations to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) over this issue. UNRWA issued a statement on 17 July strongly condemning the placement of rockets in its school. UNRWA responded rapidly to the discovery of the rockets, removing the weapons and launching an investigation into the circumstances surrounding this incident.

Asked by Baroness Tonge  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the capability of hospitals in Gaza to cope with the numbers of injured.[ HL1339]

Baroness Warsi: Longstanding movement and access restrictions have caused a deterioration in the quality of medical care available in Gaza. And some hospitals in Gaza have also been damaged in the current military operation. The UN has expressed concern that the Palestinian Ministry of Health is struggling to cope with the increased burden of medical emergencies on the health system, given the high levels of shortages of medicines, medical disposables and hospital fuel supplies, and rising health care debt. Some patients have been referred to hospitals outside Gaza for specialised and life-saving medical treatments. The ongoing violence in Gaza has impeded others from reaching crossing points.

Asked by Baroness Tonge  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the alleged delivery of medical equipment and drugs to hospitals in Gaza by the Israel Defence Forces; and whether the European Union will provide emergency medical staff to assist with the casualties in Gaza.[HL1340]

Baroness Warsi: We are aware that the Israeli authorities are facilitating medical access and evacuations through the Erez crossing. The EU is supporting specialised and life-saving medical treatments and emergency healthcare in Gaza. The UK funds the UN Access Coordination Unit to work with Israel, the Palestinian Authorities, the World Health Organisation and aid agencies to facilitate the transfer of medical equipment and supplies in to Gaza. We are also bringing forward £3 million in funding to the International Committee of the Red Cross, much of which will provide emergency health care.

Parliamentary Information and Communications Technology Service 

Question

Asked by Lord McAvoy  

To ask the Chairman of Committees how many staff are employed by PICT in each senior pay band; and what has been the average yearly increase in salary for each band in each of the last five years.[HL1618]

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Sewel): PICT employs 1 member of staff at senior pay band 2 and 4 at senior pay band 1.

Pay for senior staff in the House of Commons, under whose terms and conditions PICT staff are paid, has increased over the last 5 years as follows:

Financial year

Percentage increase

13/14

yet to be agreed

12/13

0%

11/12

0%

10/11

0%

09/10

2.3%

08/09

2.5%

Police: Vehicles 

Question

Asked by Lord Blencathra  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many 4x4s or SUVs or off-road vehicles each police force possesses, listed by make and model.[ HL1682]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach) (Con): Data on the number of vehicles possessed by police forces is not collected by the Home Office.

Self-harm 

Questions

Asked by Baroness Kennedy of Cradley  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answers by Earl Howe on 14 July (WA 105–7), what are the figures for each NHS Trust in England for (1) the number of (a) girls, and (b) boys, aged under 18 years who received hospital treatment for self-harm each year since 2010, and (2) the number of (a) men, and (b) women, aged over 18 years who received hospital treatment for self-harm each year since 2010.[HL1446]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answers by Earl Howe on 14 July (WA 105–7), what is the age breakdown of the figures in respect of the number of (1) girls, and (2) boys, aged under 18 years who received hospital treatment for self-harm each year since 2010.[HL1447]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answers by Earl Howe on 14 July (WA 105–7), what is the ethnic breakdown of the figures in respect of the number of (1) girls and (2) boys aged under 18 years who received hospital treatment for self-harm each year since 2010.[HL1448]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many (1) girls, and (2) boys aged under 18 years who received hospital treatment for self-harm each year since 2010 (a) were offered a comprehensive assessment of their physical, psychological and social needs in line with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines, and (b) accepted that offer, broken down by each NHS Trust in England.[ HL1449]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): Data for the number of girls, and boys, aged under 18 years who received hospital treatment for self-harm each year since 2010, and the number of men, and women, aged over 18 years who received hospital treatment for self-harm each year since 2010, broken down by National Health Service trust in England has been placed in the Library.

Data on the age breakdown of the figures in respect of the number of girls, and boys, aged under 18 years who received hospital treatment for self-harm each year since 2010 has been placed in the Library.

Data on the ethnic breakdown of the figures in respect of the number of girls and boys aged under 18 years who received hospital treatment for self-harm each year since 2010 has been placed in the Library.

For each question we have provided a count of finished admission episodes with a cause code of self harm and a count of accident and emergency attendances (excluding planned attendances) with a patient group of deliberate self-harm for 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13.

Please note:

the same person may have been admitted on more than one occasion;

a patient may have attended Accident and Emergency (A&E) and then been admitted to hospital as a single event, in this case the event would be included in both the A&E and hospital admission figures; and

it is not mandatory for data providers to submit data for "patient group".

The notes should be referred to when interpreting the data.

Data is not available on the number of girls, and boys aged under 18 years who received hospital treatment for self-harm each year since 2010 who were offered a comprehensive assessment of their physical, psychological and social needs in line with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines, and accepted that offer, broken down by each NHS trust in England.

Sovereignty: Scotland 

Question

Asked by Lord Wigley  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the implications for Wales of the outcome of the referendum on Scottish independence.[ HL1650]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Wales Office (Baroness Randerson) (LD): This Government has demonstrated a clear commitment to devolution in Wales and that will continue regardless of the outcome of the referendum on Scottish independence. The Wales Bill delivers on most of the Silk Commission’s part one recommendations and the Government is currently considering the Commission’s part two recommendations that do not require primary legislation.

Any further changes to the devolution settlement in Wales, including consideration of the recommendations in the Silk Commission’s second report that do require primary legislation are matters for the next Parliament and should therefore inform party manifestoes for next year’s General Election.

Speed Limits 

Question

Asked by Lord Berkeley  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Statement by Baroness Kramer on 24 July (WS 137), whether they intend to apply the reasoning that the "current speed limit just does not work-it is broken by about three quarters of HGV drivers at any particular time" in considering alterations to speed limits for other types of vehicle.[HL1697]

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Kramer) (LD): The Government is not reviewing national speed limits for the other main vehicle classes (ie light goods vehicles, cars towing trailers and caravans and buses and coaches). The table below summarises the 2013 data the Department for Transport holds about speeds in free flow conditions (ie when they are not constrained by congestion) for the main vehicle types. However, the Department is considering the responses to a consultation about changing the speed restriction on agricultural tractors and trailers from 20 mph to 25 mph.

There are a variety of reasons why it is appropriate to change the national HGV speed limits on single and dual carriageways. One is that the low level of compliance with them is symptomatic of their being set at the wrong level compared to other limits. So on single carriageways the non-compliance level for cars is 7% and buses and coaches 26%, compared to 73% for articulated lorries.

For the main categories of vehicles the percentage breaking the main speed limits in free flow conditions in 2013 are:

Cars

Motorcycles

Cars Towing

Light Goods

Buses/ Coaches

Articulated HGV*

Limit

% > limit

Limit

% > limit

Limit

% > limit

Limit

% > limit

Limit

% > limit

Limit

% > limit

30 mph roads

30

46

30

47

30

42

30

50

30

25

30

44

40 mph roads

40

21

40

29

40

13

40

24

40

11

40

18

Single carriageways

60

7

60

21

50

19

60

9

50

26

40

73

Dual carriageways

70

39

70

45

60

28

70

41

60

45

50

82

Motorways

70

47

70

46

60

31

70

48

70**

17

60

0

* The speed limit for HGV rigids varies by size for some road types.

**60 mph for >12m coaches, figures based on 70 mph limit.

Transport: Capital Investment 

Question

Asked by Lord Bradshaw  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what are their typical requirements for a business case seeking investment in a transport-related investment scheme; whether those requirements are the same for each mode of transport; and by what means those requirements are measured.[ HL1570]

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Kramer) (LD): Transport investments are supported by a Transport Business Case, which, in line with HM Treasury guidance, considers the case for investment from five perspectives, showing whether schemes:

are supported by a robust case for change that fits with wider public policy objectives – the ‘strategic case’;

demonstrate value for money – the ‘economic case’;

are commercially viable – the ‘commercial case’;

are financially affordable – the ‘financial case’; and

are achievable – the ‘management case’.

Further information and guidance on the Transport Business Case is available at:https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/transport-business-case. This sets out what should be covered in each element of the business case; the questions likely to be asked by the relevant investment committee; how the level of detail should be developed as a scheme progresses; and provides tools and sources of further guidance to aid in the development of business cases. These requirements are the same, regardless of the mode of transport being considered for investment. The business case is considered using the questions set out in the above document. In addition, the economic case includes an assessment of the value for money category and guidance on the value for money assessment process is also available at the link above.

Viral Haemorrhagic Disease 

Question

Asked by Lord Blencathra  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what consideration they have given to banning all flights from countries in Africa in which cases of the Ebola virus have occurred.[ HL1683]

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Kramer) (LD): All avenues to restrict the virus entering the UK are under constant review. UK Airlines are constantly reviewing the Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s travel advice when planning their services and ensuring that measures they take are consistent with Public Health England guidance.

Currently, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the World Health Organisation are not recommending travel restrictions to countries in Africa with cases of Ebola. UK airlines are not planning to stop services to these countries. However, airlines and the UK Government are constantly reviewing the situation.

A ban on direct flights would not allow a country to avoid the spread of a virus altogether, as potentially infected passengers could travel via hubs in third countries.

Written Questions: Government Responses 

Question

Asked by Lord Mawhinney  

To ask the Leader of the House, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 17 July (WA 144–5), whether she will discourage ministers and spokespersons from answering Written Questions by reference to websites.[ HL1283]

The Lord Privy Seal (Baroness Stowell of Beeston) (Con): I refer the noble Lord to the reply I gave to Lord Stoddart of Swindon on 29 July (WA 304).