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Written Answers

Friday 24 October 2014

Aspartame

Question

Asked by The Countess of Mar

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when they intend to publish the results of the Hull trial on aspartame on the Food Standards Agency website. [HL2094]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The Food Standards Agency (FSA) advise that the paper is still in the peer-review process. Publication in a scientific journal is expected and is the preferable route as it makes the data more readily available to the scientific community. Once this happens the FSA will publish the final report on foodbase, the FSA’s open access repository.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Questions

Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the level of the flood damage in Bosnia-Herzegovina in May 2014; whether they have made an assessment of the proportion of the flood damage covered by insurance; what amount of external emergency funds has been spent; and whether additional European Union assistance is available.[HL2085]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): A comprehensive needs assessment of the post-disaster recovery requirements stemming from this year’s floods was carried out by the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The EU, the UN and the World Bank supported this process by providing resources and technical support. The assessment reflects damages, effects, impact and needs across a range of sectors including agriculture, education, health, public services, housing, transportation and energy. It estimates that the economic impact of the floods was £1.62bn. A European Commission hosted donors’ conference in July raised £810m towards the rehabilitation effort.

The EU assistance to the flood response is currently €42m, plus €1m from the UN Development Programme (UNDP), which has gone to rebuild schools, houses and other community infrastructure. An additional tranche of €43m is due to be released to cover flood prevention and provide more housing assistance.

In addition to a £1.03m commitment for immediate humanitarian assistance, the British Government is due to release a further £1m to the flood response work through the UNDP. We will continue to work closely with the EU, the UN and other international organisations to assess what further help might be given to help Bosnia Herzegovina recover from the impact of the floods.

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The British Government has not made an assessment of the proportion of damage covered by insurance.

Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they are encouraging the various elements of civil society in Bosnia to work together with all the religious leaders, and all levels of government, to reconstruct that country.[HL2086]

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: Through its project work and donor coordination, our Embassy is working with stakeholders, including civil society and other citizens’ groups, to support Bosnia in dealing with the consequences of this year’s devastating floods. This includes building on existing community cooperation. More widely, the UK considers that joining the EU would be the most effective way for Bosnia to progress towards a more united and prosperous country. The UK has consistently demonstrated leadership within the EU in encouraging Bosnia to make progress on meeting the criteria necessary for EU accession.

British Overseas Territories

Question

Asked by Lord Ashcroft

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will publish a list of investment protection treaties agreed by all United Kingdom Overseas Territories with another country.[HL2132]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): The UK has extended a number of Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (IPPA) to the Overseas Territories when the Territories have provided a case for doing so and the other country agreed. These are the IPPAs currently in force that have been extended to Overseas Territories:

UK-Antigua & Barbuda IPPA (Gibraltar)UK-Belize IPPA (Cayman Islands, Turks & Caicos Islands)UK-Dominica IPPA (Gibraltar)UK-Grenada IPPA (Bermuda, Gibraltar, Turks & Caicos Islands)UK-Guyana IPPA (Bermuda, Gibraltar, Turks & Caicos Islands)UK-Hungary IPPA (Bermuda, Gibraltar, Turks & Caicos Islands)UK-Indonesia IPPA (Bermuda)UK-Korea Republic IPPA (Turks & Caicos Islands)UK-Mauritius IPPA (Gibraltar)UK-Panama IPPA (Cayman Islands)UK- Philippines IPPA (Turks & Caicos Islands)UK-Singapore IPPA (Turks & Caicos Islands)UK-St Lucia IPPA (Cayman Islands, Turks & Caicos Islands)UK-Thailand IPPA (Turks & Caicos Islands)UK-Tunisia IPPA (Bermuda, Gibraltar, Turks & Caicos Islands)

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Records of all treaties involving the United Kingdom concluded between 1834 and 31 March 2014 can currently be found through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO)’s UK Treaties Online service at:

http://treaties.fco.gov.uk/treaties/treaty.htm

Details of treaties involving the United Kingdom since March 2014 can be found on the FCO Treaty Section’s pages on GOV.UK at:

https://www.gov.uk/uk-treaties

Children in Care

Question

Asked by Lord Storey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of Action For Children’s recent report Too Much, Too Young on the recognition of the emotional needs of young care leavers; and what steps they are taking to improve the emotional well-being of young care leavers.[HL2115]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash) (Con): Improving the lives of care leavers has always been a priority for this Government, and the Department for Education has significantly improved the support on offer to this vulnerable group. The Department published the first cross-Government care leavers’ strategy in 2013, and will shortly produce a “one year on” report setting out how those commitments have been met. We have tightened the rules so that fewer young people leave care before they are ready. We have also provided an additional £40 million to local authorities, backed by a change in the law, so that looked-after children can remain with their former foster carers until they are 21 years old.

The Action for Children report highlights the importance of mental health and emotional wellbeing.[1] We recognise that there is more to be done, and the Government has established the Children and Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Task Force to make recommendations on improving mental health commissioning for young people. This will include a particular focus on the needs of vulnerable groups. The Government recently published a National Prospectus setting out the key activities it wishes to fund at a national level though organisations working with children, young people and families in 2015-16. One of the policy areas we wish to fund through this programme relates to improving the identification of children and young people’s mental health issues (including care leavers’), prevention, improved commissioning of support and more effective collaboration between agencies and services.

[1]

www.actionforchildren.org.uk/policy-research/policy-priorities/ too-much-too-young

Class Sizes

Question

Asked by Baroness Jones of Whitchurch

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the educational impact on infant pupils of being taught in classes of over 30 pupils. [HL2165]

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash) (Con): The Department for Education has reviewed academic studies on the relationship between class size and attainment. The effect of class sizes on attainment in primary schools has long been contested and complicated by debates about how it can be accurately measured. The most robust studies have been reviewed and suggest class sizes have little effect beyond the early years when smaller classes have some positive impact.

The review “Class size and education in England evidence report” was published on the Department’s website in December 2011 and is available online at:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/class-size-and-education-in-england-evidence-report

Children are only permitted to join classes of 30 or more in exceptional cases - if for instance they are in care or from military families and admitted outside the normal admission round. On 12 June, the Department published data that showed the average infant class size currently stands at 27.4, which is well within the statutory limit of 30 pupils per teacher. This is published online at:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/schools-pupils-and-their-characteristics-january-2014

Cyprus

Question

Asked by Lord Maginnis of Drumglass

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the public support of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland for the Greek-Cypriot cause reflects the Cabinet’s position in respect of Cyprus; and, if not, what action they intend to take.[HL2012]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): The UK remains committed to supporting the UN's efforts to achieve a settlement based on a bizonal, bicommunal federation with political equality as defined by the relevant Security Council resolutions. We will continue to encourage the leaders of both communities to keep up the momentum on the talks which restarted in February this year.

Doctors: Registration

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many doctors were registered to practise medicine by the General Medical Council (GMC) in the last five years; and how many of the first registrations with the GMC in each year were from doctors who gained their primary medical qualification in the European Economic Area, United Kingdom or rest of the world respectively.[HL2126]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The Department does not hold the information. This information is held by the General Medical Council and they have provided the information below for the purposes of answering this question.

The following table shows the number of doctors joining the register for the first time, from 2009 to 2013, by the region of their primary medical qualification and first registration year.

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No. of Doctors
20092010201120122013

EEA

2,368

2,973

2,726

2,899

3,062

Non-EEA

2,579

2,959

2,437

2,222

2,379

UK

6,876

7,010

7,112

7,083

7,451

Grand Total

11,823

12,942

12,275

12,204

12,892

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Source:

General Medical Council

The following table shows the number of doctors on the register at the end of each year by the region of their primary medical qualification. The number of registered doctors who hold a licence at the end of each year is also provided. A licence in necessary to work as a doctor in the UK, but holding one does not guarantee that a doctor is working.

EEANon-EEAUK
YearNo. of Doctors RegisteredNo. of Doctors LicensedNo. of Doctors RegisteredNo. of Doctors LicensedNo. of Doctors RegisteredNo. of Doctors Licensed

2009

21,177

19,495

64,685

59,857

145,498

139,161

2010

22,757

21,174

66,001

61,422

150,465

144,042

2011

24,032

22,398

66,574

61,892

155,258

148,442

2012

25,529

23,305

67,092

61,297

159,890

151,597

2013

27,114

23,931

67,821

59,893

164,688

154,397

Source

: General Medical Council

Notes

:

1. Doctors will leave and re-join the register over the course of a year so the difference between each year end total will never be equal to the number of first time registrants in a year.

2. These tables exclude doctors who were registered with a status of “Temporary full registration for special purpose registrations”, which allows doctors to be registered for a temporary period in order to treat non-UK nationals within the UK. For example, we had a significant number of doctors who were registered temporarily in 2012 to accompany their national team to the Olympic or Paralympic games. The tables also exclude “Temporary full registration for visiting eminent specialists”. These registrations are for doctors visiting the UK for a temporary period to provide specialist knowledge and skills in a particular branch of medicine and cannot exceed 26 weeks in a 5 year period.

General Practitioners

Question

Asked by Baroness Royall of Blaisdon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many newly qualified general practitioners have started work in (1) the United Kingdom, (2) the South West of England, and (3) Bristol, in the last 12 months. [HL2137]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The information is not held centrally. On 25 March 2014 the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) published its annual census on the General and Personal Medical Services workforce, which collects information from general practices in England and reflects the position as at 30 September 2013. The census shows that 2,763 general practitioners (GP) (excluding registrars and retainers) joined the profession between 2012 and 2013. However, the census does not show how many of these joiners were newly qualified GPs.

The census also shows that there were 36,294 full time equivalent GPs working in the NHS in England. More information is available at:

http://www.hscic.gov.uk/catalogue/PUB13849/nhs-staf-2003-2013-gene-prac-rep.pdf

The Government established Health Education England (HEE) to be responsible for delivering a better health and healthcare workforce for England and for ensuring a secure future supply. HEE has published the number of postgraduate medical trainees that enter general practice specialty training at ST1 in each of the last five years, at:

http://gprecruitment.hee.nhs.uk/Portals/8/Documents/Annual%20Reports/GP%20ST1%20Recruitment%20Figures%202009-13.pdf

The provision of health services in the UK is a devolved issue. The contacts for Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales are available from the links below:

Northern Ireland: http://www.dhsspsni.gov.uk/index.htm

Scotland: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Health

Wales: http://wales.gov.uk/topics/health/?lang=en

General Practitioners: Pay

Questions

Asked by Lord Lipsey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what are the (1) average, and (2) median, earnings of a salaried general practitioner in England and Wales.[HL2015]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what are the (1) average and (2) median, earnings of a partner general practitioner in England and Wales.[HL2016]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The information in relation to salaried general practitioners (GP) (HL2015) is recorded in the following table:

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Salaried GPs – Income before tax in Cash terms – England and Wales 2012-13
Mean EarningsMedian Earnings
Gross IncomeExpensesIncome before TaxGross IncomeExpenseIncome before Tax

England

£64,700

£8,100

£56,600

Data not held

£53,700

Wales

£65,200

£11,100

£54,100

Data not held

£53,300

The information relating to partner general practitioners (HL2016) is recorded in the following table:

Contractor GPs – Income before tax in Cash terms – England and Wales 2012-13
Mean EarningsMedian Earnings
Gross IncomeExpensesIncome before TaxGross IncomeExpenseIncome before Tax

England

£289,300

£184,200

£105,100

Data not held

£102,100

Wales

£233,800

£142,800

£91,000

Data not held

£90,700

Copyright © 2014 Health and Social Care Information Centre

Source

: GP Earnings and Expenses Enquiries

Notes

:

The tables are presented in cash terms of income before tax for contractor GPs (partners) and salaried GPs under a General Medical Services (GMS) or Personal Medical Services (PMS) contract and exclude expenses. This is taxable income before pension contributions are deducted, made up of gross earnings less total expenses, also known as net income.

The data covers income from both NHS and private sources where a GP has at least some NHS income. Figures are rounded to the nearest £100.

The median earnings gross income and expenses data is not held, only the income before tax.

Data is for GPs under a GMS or PMS contract only

Health Services

Questions

Asked by Baroness Suttie

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to implement a national outreach service for diseases such as tuberculosis, HIV and diabetes for areas with high health inequalities.[HL2050]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The Department through NHS England has a legal duty to have regard to reducing health inequalities and this will be reflected in any assessment for the potential development of national services.

Diagnosing, treating and preventing transmission of TB among under-served groups will prevent transmission of infection to the wider population and reduce health and social inequalities. Public Health England and NHS England will launch the Collaborative TB Strategy for England 2015-2020 this year. The strategy sets out the improvements that need to be achieved across 10 key evidence based areas of action to reduce TB in England, and the mechanisms by which these should be delivered. One of the key evidence based areas of action is to reduce incidence of TB in under-served populations by providing specific and targeted outreach interventions (informed by proven models such as “Find & Treat” in London). These include specific services for active case finding for TB of the lungs among homeless people and those attending substance misuse services, use of mobile X-ray units (MXUs) with incentives for people to have chest X-rays, enhanced case management and return to service interventions to prevent loss to follow up.

There are a number of actions being taken to improve access to HIV testing and reduce late diagnosis, especially in areas with high inequalities. These include the Terrence Higgins Trust to manage a national HIV Prevention Contract which the Department funds; information PHE publishes on rates of late HIV diagnoses by LA, socio-demography, and risk group; and joint PHE and DH approaches to increase HIV testing through funding a national home-sampling service that resulted in a large number of the most at-risk getting tested for HIV.

Clinical commissioning groups are responsible for commissioning diabetes services, so they would decide, depending on local needs and circumstances, whether an outreach service was appropriate. The NHS Health Check plays an important role in reducing the risk of diabetes and identifying people earlier who have the disease and plays a key role in tackling health inequalities.

Asked by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the nature of the relationship between Ministers, the Prescribed Specialised Services Advisory Group and NHS England in prescribing specialised services under the Health and Social Care Act 2012.[HL2065]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they plan to change the scope of specialised services directly commissioned by NHS England.[HL2066]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the commissioning of specialised services by NHS England.[HL2067]

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Earl Howe: The Secretary of State for Health, in his Annual Assessment of National Health Service England’s Annual Report for the last financial year (2013-14), has stated that “[NHS England] must […] ensure that spending controls are effective, particularly around specialised commissioning.” A copy of the Secretary of State’s Annual Assessment has been placed in the library.

Section 3B(1)(d) of the National Health Service Act 2006, as amended by the Health and Social Care Act 2012, gives the Secretary of State the power to require the NHS Commissioning Board (known as NHS England) to commission prescribed services or facilities in relation to England by making regulations. Using this power, the Secretary of State may require NHS England to commission specialised services for people with rare or very rare conditions. Before deciding whether to make regulations, the Secretary of State must (a) obtain appropriate advice for that purpose and (b) consult NHS England. The Prescribed Specialised Services Advisory Group (PSSAG) is a Department of Health appointed expert committee which was established in 2013 to provide the Secretary of State with this advice. NHS England commissions all the services listed in Schedule 4 of The National Health Service Commissioning Board and Clinical Commissioning Groups (Responsibilities and Standing Rules) Regulations 2012.

The scope of specialised services directly commissioned by NHS England is kept under review.

Hepatitis

Question

Asked by Baroness Suttie

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the impact of the provision of housing on treatment completion for vulnerable populations in the United Kingdom suffering from (1) hepatitis B, and (2) hepatitis C.[HL2049]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): Public Health England has not made any formal assessment of the impact of the provision of housing on treatment completion for vulnerable populations in the United Kingdom suffering from hepatitis B, and hepatitis C.

Our estimates of the prevalence of chronic hepatitis B and C infection in the UK population are 180,0001 and 214,000[2] respectively.

Studies of hepatitis B and C in the UK homeless population are limited but a recent survey of people who inject drugs found that those who had ever been homeless were more likely to have antibodies against hepatitis C (42%) than those that were in stable accommodation (34%)3.

Notes

:

[1] Department of Health. (2002a) Getting ahead of the curve: a strategy for combating infectious diseases (including other aspects of health protection). A report by the Chief Medical Officer.London

2 Hepatitis C in the UK, Annual Report 2014 Public Health England.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/337115/HCV_in_the_UK_2014_24_July.pdf

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3 Health Protection Agency, Health Protection Scotland, National Public Health Service for Wales, CDSC Northern Ireland, CRDHB. Shooting Up: Infections among injecting drug users in the United Kingdom 2008. London: Health Protection Agency, October 2009.

Hong Kong

Questions

Asked by The Lord Bishop of St Albans

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what recent discussions they have had with the Hong Kong Government regarding the progress of the official consultation on plans to implement universal suffrage in 2017.[HL2152]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): Hong Kong is an important part of the UK’s relationship with China. We continue to meet regularly at senior levels with both the Chinese authorities and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government.

Earlier this month, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr Hammond), met the Chinese Ambassador to discuss developments in Hong Kong and to set out the UK position. The Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my hon. Friend the Member for East Devon (Mr Swire), also met the Hong Kong government’s Secretary of Justice to discuss the importance of the introduction of universal suffrage. The Prime Minister, my right hon. Friend the Member for Witney (Mr Cameron), and the Foreign Secretary also discussed Hong Kong in recent meetings with Chinese Vice Premier Ma Kai.

Mr Swire outlined the UK’s position in his Written Ministerial Statement of 13 October, Official Report, Column 12WS.

Asked by The Lord Bishop of St Albans

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had with the Hong Kong Government regarding the alleged police brutality against protester Ken Tsang.[HL2153]

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: We monitor the situation in Hong Kong closely. The footage shows what looks like police officers using disproportionate force. The Hong Kong authorities have described this incident as inappropriate and are investigating. We welcome this investigation.

Hong Kong is an important part of the UK’s relationship with China. We continue to meet regularly at senior levels with both the Chinese authorities and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government. We have consistently called on all sides to ensure that the demonstrations are peaceful and in accordance with the law.

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Languages: Primary Education

Question

Asked by Baroness Jones of Whitchurch

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what resources are being made available to support the implementation of foreign language teaching at primary school level from September 2014; and how this roll-out will be monitored.[HL2046]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash) (Con): It is for schools to decide which resources they use to support their teaching. The Government is providing funding of £1.8 million over two years for continuous professional development for primary and secondary teachers to support delivery of the new modern languages curriculum. The training is being funded through nine organisations, whose performance will be monitored against the agreements the Department for Education is making with them.

In addition, links to sources of support that schools can use to support modern languages teaching in primary school are hosted on the website of the Association for Language Learning.

Medical Records: Data Protection

Questions

Asked by Lord Warner

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether, in the responses to their consultation document Protecting Health and Care Information published in June, they have received any representations suggesting that the proposals would (1) have the effect of limiting to a few public bodies the ability to process and analyse publicly held health and care information, and (2) damage the system of accredited safe havens for a wider range of analytical capability.[HL2143]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): There were over 250 responses to the consultation, from a wide range of organisations and interests and some covered the issues raised. Through the Department’s consideration of those responses, it will seek to ensure that the proposals put forward in due course, move the health and care system in the direction of travel towards:

the minimum necessary level of identifiable information being used to support any particular purpose;there being a clear lawful basis for all uses of information; andthere being robust controls in place to prevent security breaches or misuse of information.

Asked by Lord Warner

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when they will publish the results of their consultation on Protecting Health and Care Information that ended in August.[HL2144]

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Earl Howe: There were over 250 responses to the consultation, from a wide range of organisations and interests. The Department is currently working through the responses and aims to publish its response later this year.

Medicine: Education

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 3 June 2013 (HL210), whether they have altered their decision to reduce by two per cent the number of students entering medical schools in 2014; what were the findings of the 2014 review by Health Education England on the question; and whether they plan to expand the numbers significantly from 2015 and in later years.[HL2125]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The Government has not altered its decision to reduce, by 2%, the number of students entering medical school in 2014.

Health Education England (HEE) has not, to date, undertaken a comprehensive review of medical student intake numbers since that undertaken by the Health and Education National Strategic Exchange review published in December 2012.

The requirement for graduate doctors (and the medical student intakes that create this supply) will form an integral part of the 2015 annual workforce planning process undertaken by HEE.

Mental Health Services: Children

Question

Asked by Lord Ouseley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government why waiting times for children referred to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services have increased; and what action they will take to reduce waiting times. [HL2019]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): Information on waiting times for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services is not collected centrally. There is anecdotal evidence of increasing waiting times in some areas. We do not know whether or not this is due to an increase in referrals or the prevalence of mental health conditions but will be seeking further information by commissioning a survey into the prevalence of mental illness in children and young people.

NHS England and the Department have set up a Taskforce to look into the complex system of provision and commissioning of children and young people’s mental health services. The Taskforce is considering ways to improve access and create services that are more responsive to children’s needs. Additional funding this year is being invested into improving specialised, in-patient mental health services for children and young people. This will help to fund additional bed capacity and case management will also be improved.

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Achieving Better Access to Mental Health Services by 2020 announced improvements that will be made to services for patients with emerging psychosis, including setting the first ever waiting time standard in mental health from April 2015. It also sets out a longer term ambition to extend waiting time standards across all mental health services by 2020.

Middle East

Question

Asked by The Marquess of Lothian

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact of ISIL on Christian communities in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon; and what plans there are to protect such communities. [HL2148]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): The humanitarian reports from Iraq, Syria and elsewhere in the region are deeply concerning. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and associated armed groups continue to commit atrocities against Muslims, Christians, Yezidis, Turkmen and other communities throughout the areas under their control. We condemn any and all abuses of human rights, including those against Christians.

We are working closely with our international partners, including in the region, to try to assist and protect civilians—including Christians—from ISIL through a long-term, comprehensive strategy to degrade and defeat this terrorist organisation.

This strategy is being delivered by a large international coalition, where UK actions complement, and are coordinated with, those of other actors. It has security, political and humanitarian dimensions. For example, in Iraq, we are carrying out airstrikes against ISIL and are providing military assistance to the Kurdish Peshmerga forces so that they can restore control over the areas taken by ISIL. In Syria, we support military action by the US and five Arab states against ISIL; we are supporting the Syrian moderate opposition, who are fighting ISIL; and we continue to work for a political transition: when it comes to tackling ISIL, Assad is part of the problem, not part of the solution. In Lebanon, we continue to press for the election of a President, strengthen municipalities and support the Lebanese Armed Forces reassert state authority in their border regions On the humanitarian front, we continue to provide swift and substantial assistance to those who have fled areas controlled by ISIL, including air drops to deliver aid to those trapped by ISIL. On the diplomatic front, at the Human Rights Council in September we, alongside our international partners, secured a resolution strongly condemning ISIL and stressing the need for accountability.

Obesity: Children

Question

Asked by Lord Taylor of Warwick

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to provide further advice to schools on how to tackle childhood obesity.[HL2262]

24 Oct 2014 : Column WA116

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash) (Con): This Government recognises that through physical education, competitive school sport and encouraging healthy eating, schools can help address the problem of childhood obesity. The PE and sports premium is part of a package of measures to tackle obesity in primary schools. Our research found 96% of schools said that their pupils are now living healthier lives as a result of the funding. In addition, the introduction of universal infant free school meals will ensure that all infants receive a nutritious school lunch.

Pupils: Disadvantaged

Question

Asked by Lord Storey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they plan to take to co-ordinate good leadership with local authorities to improve the attainment levels of disadvantaged pupils.[HL2113]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash) (Con): The Department for Education expects local authorities to provide strategic leadership to improve the attainment of disadvantaged pupils in their maintained schools. This was set out in the recently revised guidance to local authorities on Schools Causing Concern, which was published in May 2014. Since May 2013, Ofsted has inspected local authority school improvement arrangements which relate to their duty to ensure that, “their education functions are exercised with a view to promote high standards and fulfilment of potential” (Education Act 1996, s13a).

My Rt. hon. Friend the Minister of State for Schools, has met leaders from the nine local authorities that have failed these inspections to date. These discussions have focused on the attainment of disadvantaged pupils. In addition, in his role as Pupil Premium Champion, Sir John Dunford has worked closely with school leaders in 25 local authority areas with the poorest results for disadvantaged pupils during the 2013/14 school year. This work continues.

Peer-to-peer support for school leaders is a highly effective way to tackle poor school performance. The Department is therefore increasing the number of National Leaders of Education (NLEs) and the number of teaching schools. The National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) has designated over 900 NLEs and establish 602 teaching schools to date, and some local authorities use local teaching school alliances and national leaders to provide school improvement.

The Talented Leaders programme and School-to-School Support Fund, both launched on 10 September 2014 by the Minister of State for Schools, will also help drive school improvement through better leadership. The Talented Leaders programme will recruit one hundred talented school leaders and deploy them to take on headship positions in challenging schools, working with local authorities who sign up to the programme. The £13m School-to-School Support Fund will support NLEs and teaching schools to undertake deployment in under-performing maintained schools and academies.

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Schools: Governing Bodies

Question

Asked by Baroness Jones of Whitchurch

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Nash on 30 July (HL1619), when the Secretary of State for Education intends to respond to Parliament on the recommendations of the Education Commissioner.[HL2166]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash) (Con): This Government is clear that there is no place for extremism in our schools. As my Rt hon. friend the Secretary of State for Education set out in her recent evidence to the Education Committee, a great deal of progress has been made in implementing Peter Clarke’s thorough and wide-ranging recommendations. The Secretary of State has appointed Sir Mike Tomlinson as Education Commissioner to work with Birmingham City Council to oversee its improvement. New trust members are in place in the four academies in special measures, and several teachers have been suspended. We have strengthened guidance on governance and set out the importance of promoting fundamental British values. The Secretary of State plans to update Parliament with further progress shortly.

Suicide: Young People

Question

Asked by Lord Ouseley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the causes of suicides among young people; and what action they propose to reduce such fatalities by providing more effective and quicker access to mental health services. [HL2020]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The causes of suicides are not currently collected but the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness at the University of Manchester will be setting up a national investigation into suicides by young people under 25, which will be covering antecedents such as bullying, use of social media & contact with services. This investigation will be funded by National Health Service England and is due to begin in April 2015.

NHS England and the Department have set up a Taskforce to look into the complex system of provision and commissioning of children and young people’s mental health services. The Taskforce is considering ways to improve access and create services that are more responsive to children’s needs. Additional funding this year is being invested into improving specialised, in-patient mental health services for children and young people. This will help to fund additional bed capacity and case management will also be improved.

24 Oct 2014 : Column WA118

Turkey

Question

Asked by Lord Patten

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had, or intend to have, with President Erdogan over the nature of secular society in Turkey.[HL1995]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): We and our EU partners regularly engage with the Turkish government on the full range of EU accession matters, including on human rights and freedom of religion and belief. We are encouraged by the progress Turkey has made on these issues. In particular, we welcome the steps taken to protect the interests of religious minorities in Turkey. This includes the freedom granted to hold religious services at the Greek Orthodox Sumela Monastery and Armenian Orthodox Akdamar Church; updated religious textbooks for schools; and the returning of property seized by the state to religious minorities. We are also encouraged by the ‘democratisation package’ announced by the Turkish government in October 2013, aimed at addressing concerns over minority rights.

Wind Power

Question

Asked by Lord Browne of Belmont

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps are being taken to protect Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Sites of Specific Scientific Interest from wind turbine development.[HL2106]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon) (Con): The National Planning Policy Framework sets out strong protection for the natural environment and valued landscapes and is clear that planning applications for renewable energy should only be approved if the impact is, or can be made, acceptable. In addition our planning guidance makes clear that the need for renewable energy does not automatically override environmental protection and the planning concerns of local communities.

Under the National Planning Policy Framework Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty have the highest status of protection in relation to landscape and scenic beauty. Strong planning protection also applies to Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Development on land within or outside such sites which is likely to have an adverse effect on the site, either individually or in combination, should not normally be permitted.