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Written Answers

Tuesday 14 October 2014

Counter-terrorism

Question

Asked by Baroness Stern

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when they will respond in writing to the final report of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Counter-Terrorism which was published on 28 February. [HL1975]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): We have no plans to respond in writing to the report by the UN Special Rapporteur on Counter-Terrorism dated 28 February 2014. However, the UK was represented at the UN Human Rights Council expert meeting on 22 September, where we once again set out our position on the legality of Remotely Piloted Air Systems.

Diego Garcia

Question

Asked by Lord Ashcroft

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to Written Answer by Baroness Warsi on 21 July (HL849), whether the answer remains the same with the word “intelligence” removed.[HL1931]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): The US Government has assured us that there have been no cases of rendition through the UK, our Overseas Territories including Diego Garcia (British Indian Ocean Territory), or the Crown Dependencies, apart from the two cases in 2002, about which the then Foreign Secretary informed the House in 2008.

Email: Fraud

Questions

Asked by Lord Stone of Blackheath

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking (1) to protect the public against phishing emails requesting a transfer of funds and (2) to identify the perpetrators; and what assessment they have made of the success of those steps. [HL1908]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bates) (Con): The need to tackle cyber crime was identified as a key objective of the Government’s Cyber Security Strategy, which is underpinned by £860 million of funding over five years through the National Cyber Security Programme (NCSP).

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We have invested around 10% of this in improving the capabilities of law enforcement to respond to cyber crime. The National Cyber Crime Unit in the National Crime Agency has undertaken high profile operations in the last few months to tackle some of the most serious cases of malware, responsible for infecting computers and stealing banking and other information. This work was undertaken in conjunction with our international partners, to tackle those cyber criminals operating internationally.

We are also working to support the public and industry in better protecting themselves from this type of criminality. The NCSP funds the Cyber Streetwise awareness campaign, which encourages the public and small and medium enterprises to adopt safer online behaviour.

The second phase of the campaign will launch shortly, including a refreshed website with further advice and support. In December last year, the Government also published a set of Guiding Principles with Internet Service Providers which agreed minimum standards for supporting their customers to stay safe online.

The Government also funds Action Fraud, the central reporting point for fraud and financially-motivated cyber crime. This service also provides information on the latest fraud threats, including phishing emails, and individuals can sign up to be alerted when new threats emerge.

Asked by Lord Stone of Blackheath

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their estimate of the total number of phishing emails requesting a transfer of funds received by United Kingdom citizens each year.[HL1909]

Lord Bates: It is not possible to give an exact figure for the total number of phishing emails received by United Kingdom citizens each year. Published data from the Oxford Internet Institute estimates that 19 per cent of internet users experienced phishing attempts in 2013, down from 22 per cent in 2011. Phishing attempts, whether successful or not, can be reported to the Action Fraud reporting centre, run by the City of London Police, which is the UK’s central point for reporting fraud and financially-motivated cyber crime.

The cyber security threat was recognised by the Government as a Tier One threat to national security. In response, we are investing £860 million over five years through the National Cyber Security Programme (NCSP) to improve our ability to understand and tackle this threat. Around 10% of NCSP funding has been used to improve capabilities of the police to investigate cyber crime, including creating the National Cyber Crime Unit in the National Crime Agency, and setting up dedicated cyber teams in each of the Regional Organised Crime Units in England and Wales. We have also launched an awareness campaign, known as Cyber StreetWise, to encourage individuals and businesses to adopt sensible online behaviours so they can avoid the dangers of scams such as phishing. The details can be viewed at www.cyberstreetwise.com.

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Housing Revenue Accounts

Question

Asked by Baroness King of Bow

To ask Her Majesty’s Government which local authorities bid for additional borrowing headroom under the Local Growth Fund Housing Revenue Account Borrowing Programme 2015–17; what were the values of those bids; and how many new homes were involved.[HL1903]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon) (Con): On 9 October 2014 the Government announced £122 million of additional Housing Revenue Account borrowing to support over 1,700 new affordable homes and local growth across twenty two local authorities.

The table below details all the local authorities who bid for additional borrowing headroom.

Provider nameOffer line nameUnitsAdditional borrowing (£m)Status

Ashford Borough Council

Maidstone Road, Charing

21

£1,434,000

Accepted

Birmingham City Council

Birchfield Phase 2

18

£540,000

Accepted

Birmingham City Council

Jarvis Road

60

£3,600,000

Accepted

Birmingham City Council

Radnor Road HRA

13

£780,000

Accepted

Birmingham City Council

Caynham Road

20

£1,200,000

Accepted

Birmingham City Council

Kings Norton Phase 1

44

£2,640,000

Accepted

Birmingham City Council

White Farm Road Phase 2

6

£360,000

Accepted

Birmingham City Council

Park Lane Aston

10

£600,000

Accepted

Birmingham City Council

Cat Lane Shard End

15

£900,000

Accepted

Birmingham City Council

Bangham Pit Road

21

£1,260,000

Accepted

Cannock Chase District Council

Glenhaven

21

£1,015,000

Accepted

Cannock Chase District Council

Hannaford Way

7

£770,000

Withdrawn

Cannock Chase District Council

Pool Avenue

2

£220,000

Withdrawn

Cheshire West and Chester Council

Brook Farm

10

£357,000

Accepted

Cheshire West and Chester Council

Sherbourne Road

10

£357,000

Accepted

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Cheshire West and Chester Council

EPN Garage Sites

18

£946,775

Accepted

Cheshire West and Chester Council

Greyhound Stadium

40

£2,117,885

Accepted

Cheshire West and Chester Council

Former Acorns School

20

£1,063,684

Accepted

Cheshire West and Chester Council

Woodford Lodge Winsford

120

£6,740,735

Accepted

Cheshire West and Chester Council

Stoak Lodge

12

£958,769

Accepted

City of Westminster Council

Tollgate Gardens Housing Renewal

86

£8,467,561

Accepted

City of Westminster Council

Lisson Arches Older People's Scheme

45

£7,500,000

Rejected

Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council

Wrens Nest EO

2

£46,000

Accepted

Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council

Dudley Guest

40

£2,001,888

Accepted

Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council

Middlepark Road

41

£2,080,000

Accepted

Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council

Roseville (archives)

16

£824,000

Accepted

Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council

Portway Close

8

£414,000

Accepted

Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council

Lea Bank Road

6

£312,000

Accepted

Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council

Marley Drive

4

£209,200

Accepted

Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council

Mars Close/Priory Field

3

£157,200

Accepted

Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council

The Walk Depot

3

£166,000

Accepted

Eastbourne Borough Council

Glynde Avenue Bungalow

1

£57,988

Accepted

Eastbourne Borough Council

Tenterden Close

4

£322,400

Accepted

Eastbourne Borough Council

43-45 Longstone road

4

£303,000

Rejected

Eastbourne Borough Council

Fort Lane, Eastbourne

3

£257,000

Rejected

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Eastbourne Borough Council

Belmore road

4

£362,000

Rejected

Eastbourne Borough Council

Ringwood, Eastbourne

2

£260,000

Rejected

Eastbourne Borough Council

84 Northbourne, Eastbourne

5

£663,000

Rejected

Guildford Borough Council

Corporation Club

12

£360,000

Accepted

London Borough of Barking and Dagenham

Leys Phase 2 Wellington Drive

69

£3,200,000

Accepted

London Borough of Camden Council

Harrington Square

2

£193,103

Accepted

London Borough of Camden Council

Maitland Park

51

£4,819,500

Accepted

London Borough of Camden Council

Lamble Rent

3

£283,500

Accepted

London Borough of Camden Council

Kiln Place

6

£567,000

Accepted

London Borough of Camden Council

Crowndale Road

2

£189,000

Accepted

London Borough of Camden Council

Chalton Street

10

£945,353

Accepted

London Borough of Camden Council

Raglan Street

16

£1,527,704

Accepted

London Borough of Camden Council

Three Fields

23

£2,209,500

Accepted

London Borough of Camden Council

Laystall, Camden

5

£457,852

Accepted

London Borough of Camden Council

Heybridge Shared Ownership

2

£189,000

Accepted

London Borough of Ealing

Peterhead Court

74

£11,601,940

Accepted

London Borough of Ealing

Buckingham Avenue, Perivale

25

£3,803,110

Accepted

London Borough of Ealing

Norwood Green

10

£1,661,400

Withdrawn

London Borough of Ealing

Northholt Grange

25

£4,202,640

Withdrawn

London Borough of Ealing

West End Gardens Rent

20

£3,814,200

Withdrawn

London Borough of Ealing

Northolt School Triangle

20

£3,470,220

Rejected

London Borough of Ealing

High Lane estate

34

£5,807,880

Rejected

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London Borough of Ealing

Hotspur road, Northolt

10

£1,661,400

Rejected

London Borough of Ealing

Yeading site

30

£4,885,920

Rejected

London Borough of Hackney

Great Eastern Building

14

£560,000

Accepted

London Borough of Hackney

Bridge House

39

£1,560,000

Accepted

London Borough of Hackney

Marian Court

21

£1,260,000

Accepted

London Borough of Harrow

Binyon Cres

2

£82,000

Accepted

London Borough of Harrow

Amy Johnson Court

3

£123,000

Accepted

London Borough of Harrow

The Heights

3

£123,000

Accepted

London Borough of Harrow

Alexandra Avenue

11

£457,000

Accepted

London Borough of Harrow

Grove Avenue

7

£293,000

Accepted

London Borough of Harrow

Holsworth Close

4

£188,000

Accepted

London Borough of Harrow

Stuart Avenue

4

£188,000

Accepted

London Borough of Harrow

Chenduit Way

4

£188,000

Accepted

London Borough of Harrow

Moelyn Mews

2

£94,000

Accepted

London Borough of Sutton

Centry House Fellowes Road

15

£675,000

Accepted

London Borough of Sutton

Richmond Green

28

£1,260,000

Accepted

London Borough of Sutton

Ludlow Lodge Wallington

47

£2,115,000

Accepted

London Borough of Tower Hamlets

Baroness Road

22

£3,629,814

Accepted

London Borough of Tower Hamlets

6 Jubilee Street

26

£4,594,980

Accepted

London Borough of Tower Hamlets

Stepney Way

15

£2,712,735

Rejected

London Borough of Tower Hamlets

Spellman street

3

£630,484

Rejected

London Borough of Waltham Forest

Mayfield Road

48

£7,128,278

Accepted

Luton Borough Council

Aldenham Close Luton

5

£150,000

Accepted

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Northampton Borough Council

Dallington Beck

100

£8,600,000

Accepted

Thurrock Council

Tops Club, Grays

16

£960,000

Accepted

Thurrock Council

64-82 Argent Street

38

£2,280,000

Accepted

Thurrock Council

Grays Foyer

30

£1,800,000

Accepted

Thurrock Council

Vehicle Testing Centre

79

£4,740,000

Accepted

Thurrock Council

Yacht Club, Thurrock

30

£1,800,000

Accepted

West Lancashire BC (URB)

Firbeck Revival Scheme

39

£2,507,935

Accepted

Wiltshire Council

Southview Trowbridge

50

£1,500,000

Accepted

Wiltshire Council

Warminster Extra Care

40

£1,200,000

Accepted

Winchester City Council

Westman Road

12

£359,969

Accepted

Winchester City Council

2 Spring Vale

2

£160,000

Accepted

Total

1973

£162,034,502

 

Housing Revenue Accounts: Tower Hamlets

Question

Asked by Baroness King of Bow

To ask Her Majesty’s Government why they rejected two of the bids made by the London Borough of Tower Hamlets for additional borrowing headroom under the Local Growth Fund Housing Revenue Account Borrowing Programme 2015–17.[HL1902]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon) (Con): On 9 October, my Department announced £122 million of additional Housing Revenue Account borrowing to support over 1,700 new homes across twenty two local authorities. This included two of the four bids submitted by the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. Of the two approved bids, the total additional headroom amounts to over £8 million supporting almost 50 homes. The Department has not approved two of their bids where they did not meet the Housing Revenue Account Borrowing Programme's clearly stated aims to drive down costs and to support bids with lower public sector costs. The Department gave Tower Hamlets the opportunity to revise their bid which was not taken up by the local authority.

Human Trafficking: Children

Questions

Asked by Baroness Doocey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what are the differences between the child trafficking advocate pilot being operated by Barnardo’s and the scheme

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operated by the comparator group; and in which local authority areas the two models will operate.[HL1898]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bates) (Con): The Child Trafficking Advocacy trial commenced on 8 September across 23 local authority areas. A list of these areas is provided below. In each of the 23 areas, both the Child Trafficking Advocacy service, and the current provision of support for trafficked children will be provided and evaluated so that we can better understand the difference a system of specialist independent advocates makes to the prospects of trafficked children.

The current provision of support will be provided to the comparator group and will include the implementation of the recently published statutory guidance for local authorities on the care of unaccompanied asylum seeking and trafficked children.

Local Authority areas involved in the trial:

Greater Manchester (Manchester City, Stockport, Tameside, Oldham, Rochdale, Bury, Bolton, Wigan, Salford and Trafford); West Midlands (Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton); Croydon; Derbyshire; Kent; Lancashire; Oxfordshire; and West Sussex

Asked by Baroness Doocey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether, as part of the child trafficking advocate pilot scheme, they have agreed with Barnardo’s who will adjudicate in the case of a dispute over the course of action required to ensure the child’s best interests.[HL1900]

Lord Bates: Child Trafficking Advocates are tasked with supporting all agencies to make decisions in the best interests of child victims and ensuring the child’s views are voiced and respected. The Modern Slavery Bill includes a requirement for all public authorities to cooperate with the advocate. As this is not in force we have agreed with all 23 local authorities in the trial that they will cooperate with the advocate. Whilst consultation with the advocate will be expected, final decisions regarding the care and safety of the child will remain the responsibility of the local authority, Home Office, parent or guardian where relevant.

National Security Council

Questions

Asked by Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the ministerial membership of the National Security Council; what are the criteria for membership; and what is the process for appointments.[HL1967]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether members of the National Security Council lead on specific thematic issues; and, if so, what are the thematic issues and who leads on each.[HL1968]

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Lord Wallace of Saltaire (LD): The permanent members of the National Security Council, chaired by the Prime Minister, are: the Deputy Prime Minister, the Leader of the House of Commons, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Foreign Secretary, the Defence Secretary, the Home Secretary, the International Development Secretary, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, and the Minister for Government Policy.

The National Security Council considers a wide range of issues relating to national security policy. The Cabinet Office works with the lead Department to prepare each issue for discussion.

Network Rail

Question

Asked by Lord Berkeley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answers by Baroness Kramer on 15 September (HL1794 and HL1795), with reference to the Framework Agreement between Network Rail and the Department of Transport, whether (1) the Department for Transport, (2) the Office of Rail Regulation or (3) both organisations are now responsible for approving and monitoring progress against Network Rail’s Strategic Business Plan, Delivery Plan, Business Plan and Annual Plan.[HL1881]

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Kramer) (LD): The Framework Agreement sets out how the Department for Transport and Network Rail interact in terms of corporate governance and financial management. As set out in that document, the Department will be engaged by Network Rail during the production of several corporate planning documents, as is appropriate for a sponsoring Department, in order to agree the strategic approach:

- Strategic Business Plans.

- The Delivery Plan.

- The Business Plan.

- Annual Plans.

The Office of Rail Regulation regulates Network Rail’s stewardship of the national network in accordance with the Railways Act 1993. It continues to monitor and oversee Network Rail’s delivery of outputs, efficiency and financial performance against what it has challenged Network Rail to deliver in its Determinations that are developed through the Periodic Review process. The Determinations reflect Network Rail’s Strategic Business Plans amongst other things. The Department will not duplicate the Office of Rail Regulation’s work, but will oversee Network Rail’s performance on behalf of the UK taxpayer at a more strategic level, based on the Office of Rail Regulation’s analysis of performance and discussions with Network Rail’s Board.

The Strategic Business Plans, Delivery Plan and Business Plan for Control Period 5 were finalised prior to the company’s reclassification to the public sector. Network Rail will continue to update its Plans for Control Period 5 on an annual basis.

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North Korea

Questions

Asked by Lord Myners

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many people are employed in the British Embassy in Pyongyang.[HL1956]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): As of October 2014, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office employs 11 staff in our Embassy in Pyongyang, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. This figure includes UK-based civil servants and locally engaged staff.

Asked by Lord Myners

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what are their foreign policy priorities in respect of North Korea. [HL1957]

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: The UK’s foreign policy priorities for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) are focused on two areas: counter-proliferation and human rights. Bilaterally, we use our policy of “critical engagement” directly to communicate issues of substantial concern, and to expose North Koreans to international values and the benefits of engaging with the international community. Multilaterally, the UK co-operates closely with like minded partners to ensure international pressure is maintained on the DPRK to address human rights violations and comply fully with its international obligations, including under UN Security Council resolutions relating to its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.

Private Rented Sector Taskforce

Question

Asked by Baroness King of Bow

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Stowell of Beeston on 25 June (HL334), whether the Private Rented Sector Task Force has met representatives of Crisis, the National Union of Students, Shelter or Generation Rent since its establishment.[HL1907]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon) (Con): The Taskforce has a wide ranging and extensive programme of market engagement focused on meeting its principle objective of increasing institutional investment in the private rented sector and supporting the development of new Private Rented Sector schemes. The wider team within which the Taskforce sits and consults, has met with all of the organisations referred to; the Taskforce has directly met with both Shelter and Crisis.

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Radicalism

Question

Asked by The Marquess of Lothian

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many of the British nationals estimated to have travelled abroad to fight in Syria and Iraq for extremist groups have since sought to return to the United Kingdom.[HL1937]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bates) (Con): We believe that approximately 500 individuals from the UK have now travelled to the region since the start of the conflict. It is estimated half of these have returned.

Water Supply

Question

Asked by The Marquess of Lothian

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the amount of water in the United Kingdom that is lost through leakage between source and consumer; and what steps are being taken to end the current position where the consumer pays for such losses through price.[HL1932]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley) (Con): The most recently available figures

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estimate that across England and Wales around 3.1 billion litres of water leaks each day. Ofwat, as the economic regulator, agrees maximum leakage targets with water companies and has the powers to issue penalties to companies that fail to meet these. In the last decade Ofwat has entered into legal agreements with water companies that have missed their targets, committing them to investing more than £230m in improvements on leakage.

The Government and Ofwat have worked together to raise the issue of leakage and have worked with the water companies to reduce total leakage by one third since its peak in the mid-90s. Over the next five years, across England and Wales, companies are proposing further work to reduce leakage further. Innovative changes in leak detection technology and large scale programmes of customer engagement have allowed companies to improve their understanding of the problems across their networks and how their customers expect them to respond, allowing the companies to take a much more proactive approach to leakage reduction. Companies are obliged to publish and explain their annual leakage figures on their websites and outline what steps they intend to take to meet their targets in future.

In its current price review Ofwat has made it clear that it expects to see companies achieve a balance between keeping customers’ bills down and reducing leakage where it makes sense, such as in water stressed areas where customers are willing to pay.