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Written Answers

Tuesday 11 November 2014

Afghanistan

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what consideration they are giving to the future of the tented camp used by British Forces in Kandahar; whether Agility and those involved in its disposal have been instructed to examine urgent humanitarian uses to which it could be put; whether any discussions have taken place with non-governmental organisations willing to purchase it; whether commercial interests will be given priority; and what plans they have for assistance to be given by the Department for International Development to enable the camp to be transported for use by refugees in the Kurdish region of Iraq.[HL2102]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever) (Con): Agility operates on behalf of the Defence Disposal Services Authority and is charged with securing the best value for money for items that our redeployment process has determined should be disposed of in theatre. It is for Agility to make subsequent arrangements, in line with this objective.

Antidepressants

Question

Asked by The Earl of Sandwich

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many prescriptions for antidepressants were issued in England in 2013; what percentage change since the previous year that represents; what studies they rely on to evaluate the outcomes of the long-term use of prescribed and over-prescribed drugs; and what plans they have to encourage further research in this area.[HL2489]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): Information on the number of antidepressant prescription items (as defined by section 4.3 of the British National Formulary, Antidepressant drugs), dispensed within the community in England for 2012 and 2013 and the percentage difference between the two years, by individual drug, is shown in the following table.

Antidepressant prescription items (000s), England
Chemical Name20122013Percentage difference, 2012 to 20131

Agomelatine

24.4

24.0

-1.8

Amitriptyline Hydrochloride

10,394.5

11,091.8

6.7

Citalopram Hydrobromide

13,651.0

13,702.9

0.4

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Citalopram Hydrochloride

77.2

75.6

-2

Clomipramine Hydrochloride

345.5

342.2

-0.9

Dosulepin Hydrochloride

1,427.9

1,305.8

-8.6

Doxepin

48.6

48.6

0.1

Duloxetine Hydrochloride

965.2

1,172.7

21.5

Escitalopram

1,044.6

959.3

-8.2

Fluoxetine Hydrochloride

5,847.2

6,016.2

2.9

Flupentixol Hydrochloride

169.7

163.1

-3.9

Fluvoxamine Maleate

27.3

27.4

0.3

Imipramine Hydrochloride

182.3

175.8

-3.5

Isocarboxazid

1.8

1.9

3.9

Lofepramine Hydrochloride

303.9

285.8

-6

Mianserin Hydrochloride

8.4

8.3

-1.9

Mirtazapine

4,578.5

5,292.0

15.6

Moclobemide

21.1

19.8

-5.9

Nortriptyline

454.6

498.3

9.6

Paroxetine Hydrochloride

1,539.9

1,512.6

-1.8

Phenelzine Sulfate

19.3

18.8

-2.7

Reboxetine

40.8

37.3

-8.8

Sertraline Hydrochloride

4,904.0

6,305.1

28.6

Tranylcypromine Sulfate

10.1

9.7

-4.2

Trazodone Hydrochloride

1,033.9

996.0

-3.7

Trimipramine Maleate

105.5

87.7

-16.9

Tryptophan

12.2

3.2

-73.7

Venlafaxine

2,927.5

3,144.4

7.4

Other 2

0.3

0.3

-12.4

Source: Prescription Cost Analysis (PCA) system, supplied by the NHS Business Services Authority

1

Some growth rates may appear disproportionate due to rounding applied to medicines with low numbers of prescription items

2

Includes Maprotiline Hydrochloride, Nefazodone Hydrochloride and Oxitriptan

The Department has not evaluated the effects of long-term use of prescription medicines and there are no plans to commission research into this issue.

Prescribers have access to a number of sources of advice to inform their decision-making, including the British National Formulary and guidance from theusb National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. In addition, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency is responsible for alerting clinicians to any issues arising from the use of particular drugs.

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Armed Forces: Hospitals

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many staffed and equipped field hospitals they have. [HL2618]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever) (Con): The Armed Forces operate 14 Field Hospitals: three Regular Army, ten Regionally Recruited Reserve Field Hospitals and one Nationally Recruited Reserve Field Hospital. These are shown below:

22 Field Hospital (Regular) - presently deployed in Sierra Leone33 Field Hospital (Regular)34 Field Hospital (Regular)201 (Northern) Field Hospital (Reserve)202 (Midlands) Field Hospital (Reserve)203 (Welsh) Field Hospital (Reserve)204 (North Irish) Field Hospital (Reserve)205 (Scottish) Field Hospital (Reserve)207 (Manchester) Field Hospital (Reserve)208 (Merseyside) Field Hospital (Reserve)212 (Yorkshire) Field Hospital (Reserve)243 (Wessex) Field Hospital (Reserve)256 (London) Field Hospital (Reserve)306 Hospital Support Regiment (Reserve)

Regular Field Hospitals have a permanent cadre of staff who maintain the hospital and its equipment in barracks. During deployments and exercises they are augmented with Regular clinical staff from the Joint Medical Command. At the highest level of readiness, one of these units is able to deploy its lead elements at five days’ notice.

The Reserve Field Hospitals’ role is to be ready to deploy for enduring operations with a minimum of 18 months’ notice. This allows sufficient time to prepare both the manpower and equipment for the deployment. Reserves can and do also volunteer as individuals to deploy on operations with Regular units at shorter notice.

Arrest Warrants

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Taylor of Holbeach on 4 August (HL1114) about the European Arrest Warrant, whether they consider that habeas corpus can be applied in other European jurisdictions following extradition; and, if so, how.[HL2466]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bates) (Con): Article 12 of the relevant Framework Decision (“Keeping the person in detention”) states that “When a person is arrested on the basis of a

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European Arrest Warrant, the executing judicial authority shall take a decision on whether the requested person should remain in detention”. This obliges the relevant judicial authority to take a decision on whether or not the person should remain in detention, and that must be taken in accordance with the law of the executing State. Therefore, each and every EU Member State must consider carefully whether a person can be legally detained or not. That is in keeping with the intention underpinning the principle of habeas corpus.

The Government has also introduced reforms to the operation of the Arrest Warrant that limit the unjustified detention abroad of individuals surrendered by the United Kingdom. For example, section 12A of the Extradition Act 2003 provides a bar to extradition on the grounds of “absence of prosecution decision”. This means that, in cases where the person is wanted to stand trial, extradition can only go ahead where the issuing State has made a decision to charge the person and a decision to try the person, or that the person’s absence from that State is the only reason for the failure to take the decision(s). This provision ensures that, where a State is simply not ready to try a person, extradition is refused and the person is not surrendered only to spend a potentially lengthy period in pre-trial detention.

Following our reforms, Section 21B of the same Act allows, with both the requested person’s and the issuing State’s consent, for the person’s temporary transfer to the issuing State or for the person to speak with the authorities in that State whilst he or she remains in the UK (for example, by video link). This provision ensures those who are subject to an Arrest Warrant have an opportunity to communicate with the issuing State without being surrendered. In a number of cases this may result in the issuing State withdrawing the Arrest Warrant (e.g. if it decides the person is not the person they are looking for), ensuring the minimum time possible will be spent in detention.

Asylum: Finance

Questions

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many retailers are part of the Azure Card programme; and what is the total amount spent with each retailer since the card's inception.[HL2454]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government why an Azure Card user does not qualify for emergency food vouchers when a technical problem occurs with the card.[HL2455]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what efforts have been made to ensure that staff at retailers who accept the Azure Card are educated about the card’s rules and do not deny card users purchases which they are entitled to make.[HL2456]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the statement by Refugee Action that more than 90 per cent of those on support under section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 regularly missed a meal.[HL2458]

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bates) (Con): The Azure card is issued to destitute failed asylum seekers accommodated under section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 because they are temporarily unable to leave the United Kingdom.

The card is updated each week with credit to the value of £35.39 for each person in the household to enable them to buy enough food and other essential items.

The table below lists the retailers that accept the Azure card and the total amounts spent at each of them since it was introduced. The table includes Peacocks, which no longer participates in the card scheme.

Retailer NameValue (£)

Tesco

20,660,480.59

Asda

11,373,929.59

Sainsbury's

5,935,535.81

Morrisons

2,528,626.86

Boots

2,478,849.23

Peacock Group

333,709.46

Co-operative Group Food

250,074.03

Food City Halal Market

202,813.59

Mothercare

39,947.70

Iceland Foods

38,311.88

Midlands Co-operative

22,172.05

Salvation Army

3,544.40

British Red Cross

3,380.32

Masala Bazaar

330.55

Holland and Barrett

326.68

Information and training materials are provided to the retailers about the terms and conditions attached to the card, which are reviewed and updated regularly.

We are aware of some isolated instances where people have been denied purchases, but in the great majority of cases this is because they had insufficient funds on the card to buy the particular items.

If there is a defect in the card that means it cannot be used, for example because it has been damaged, arrangements are made to issue vouchers.

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they consider those on support under section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 to be able to meet their basic needs from that support alone. [HL2490]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government why individuals on support under section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 are prohibited from accessing any kind of transportation with the Azure Card. [HL2491]

Lord Bates: Failed asylum seekers supported under section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 are provided with accommodation, utilities, household equipment and free healthcare. A weekly allowance to the value of £35.39 is also provided for each person in

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the household. The Government is satisfied that this package of support is sufficient to meet their essential needs.

It is not currently possible to purchase travel tickets with the Azure card for practical reasons. Accommodation is provided within walking distance of shops and other services and tickets are provided for essential medical appointments.

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they consider that Azure Card users are able to meet their essential living needs; and on what grounds they base their assessment.[HL2502]

Lord Bates: Failed asylum seekers supported under section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 are provided with accommodation; utilities, household equipment and healthcare are provided free. The Azure Card is provided to enable them to buy food and other items and is uploaded each week to the value of £35.39 for each person in the household. Extra assistance is also provided where necessary, for example by arranging travel to medical appointments and by providing maternity grants for pregnant women.

The Government keeps this package of assistance under review but is satisfied that it meets the essential living needs of recipients of section 4 support.

Bahrain

Question

Asked by Lord Avebury

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Bahrain about the deprivation of citizenship of 49 of that country's nationals; and what effect the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s “comprehensive package of reform assistance [to Bahrain], with a focus on strengthening human rights and the rule of law”, as set out in their country case study, has had on the state of Bahrain’s law on citizenship. [HL2563]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): We have raised with the Government of Bahrain the decision to withdraw citizenship from 31 individuals in 2012 and are aware of a number of new cases since then. We encouraged the authorities to conduct full investigations into any of those accused of crimes and ensure that individuals are given a right of appeal against citizenship deprivation decisions. The UK provides technical assistance to Bahrain and share best practice on the criminal justice system. These programmes aim to help with implementing the recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry and UN Universal Periodic Review. In addition to this technical assistance, we engage politically with the Government of Bahrain at the highest levels on areas of concern – including encouraging Bahrain to ensure that international norms of justice are adhered to in every case.

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British Nationals Abroad: Armed Conflict

Question

Asked by Lord Temple-Morris

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they consider that the Foreign Enlistment Act 1870 provides sufficient authority to prosecute British citizens who join with states or other entities making war in support of the enemies of the United Kingdom; and, if not, whether they intend to amend the Act or to introduce new legislation based upon it in order to do so.[HL2574]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bates) (Con): The Foreign Enlistment Act 1870 remains in force and there are no current plans to amend it.

The UK has a range of terrorism and criminal law offences to tackle British citizens who travel overseas to participate in armed conflict abroad. Where there is evidence that these individuals are engaging in activities there which may harm the UK, we can already seek prosecution on their return to the UK.

The Prime Minister recently announced a package of wide-ranging measures which will further strengthen our capability to deal with the increased threat from foreign fighters and British-born jihadists who seek to harm the UK. In addition, the Government is already legislating in the Serious Crime Bill to extend our territorial jurisdiction over two offences in the Terrorism Act 2006 which will enable the prosecution of those who travel overseas to prepare and train for terrorism.

Development Aid

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the latest figure of the annual average percentage of gross domestic product paid by contributing countries in official development assistance; and what would be the cost to the United Kingdom if it used that average in assessing its own aid programme. [HL2613]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for International Development (Baroness Northover) (LD): Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) is reported by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Development Assistance Committee (OECD DAC) through its donor states as a proportion of Gross National Income (GNI). DFID calculates ODA disbursements to measure its stated goal of achieving 0.7% during 2013 and in order that international comparisons can be made with other DAC donor states.

The average ODA to GNI ratio for 2013 for all DAC donor states is 0.397%. The UK GNI for 2013 (using the ESA95 unadjusted for (Eurostat) reservations methodology) was £1,622,166m. If the average percentage were applied, the UK contribution would be £6,437m.

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Driving: Licensing

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, since the transfer of driver and vehicle licensing services for people in Northern Ireland from Coleraine to Swansea, how motorists in Northern Ireland obtain driving licences; what is their assessment of the success of the new system; and what changes to that system they propose, if any.[HL2661]

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Kramer) (LD): Driver licensing in Northern Ireland is a devolved issue. Responsibility for issuing driving licences in Northern Ireland remains with the Driver and Vehicle Agency, based in Coleraine, and there have been no changes in how motorists in Northern Ireland obtain driving licences.

Vehicle registration and licensing in Northern Ireland is not devolved and is the responsibility of the UK Government. The operational responsibility for delivering vehicle registration and licensing services in Northern Ireland passed from the Driver and Vehicle Agency to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency in Swansea on 21 July. For the first time, motorists in Northern Ireland now have access to the same range of services as those in Great Britain. This includes online vehicle licensing, a wider range of vehicle licensing services available at around 175 Post Offices in Northern Ireland and access to direct debit payments for vehicle excise duty.

Egypt

Questions

Asked by The Lord Bishop of Coventry

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the government of Egypt’s commitment to freedom of religion and the case for political reconciliation in Egypt were amongst the issues raised by the Prime Minister in his meeting with the Egyptian Foreign Minister on 27 October.[HL2567]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns): The Prime Minister, my right hon. Friend the Member for Witney (Mr Cameron) and the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr Hammond), raised international concerns about the human rights situation and political inclusiveness in Egypt with Egyptian Foreign Minister Shukri on 27 October.

The Egyptian constitution contains protection for freedom of religious belief and it is important that this is respected. The British Government will continue to raise concerns with the Egyptian authorities and to encourage them to promote and defend the freedom of religion.

We believe that a genuinely open political process, in which all political groups are able to participate, offers the best prospect of long-term political stability in Egypt. Shukri assured the Prime Minister that Parliamentary elections would take place in the coming months.

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Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Egypt about recent kidnappings, in particular of women and children in central and upper Egypt, allegedly for forced conversion and marriage. [HL2617]

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: The British Government is concerned about reports of kidnapping in Egypt. We have been clear throughout recent events in Egypt that freedoms in the Egyptian constitution, including of religious belief, need to be protected as a vital component of a democratic society. Most recently, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr Hammond), and the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my hon. Friend the Member for Bournemouth East (Mr Ellwood), raised the need to protect human rights in their meeting with the Egyptian Foreign Minister on 27 October.

Electoral Register

Questions

Asked by Lord Tyler

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will include information about online electoral registration with notifications and reminders of National Insurance numbers.[HL2450]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire (LD): Users are reminded they will need their National Insurance Number before they start the application.

Cabinet Office along with HM Revenue and Customs will explore the potential mutual benefits of collaboration in regards to the inclusion of electoral registration information in National Insurance Number reminder letters.

The Government is looking at all options to exploit the full potential of online registration in increasing the completeness and accuracy of the register.

Asked by Lord Tyler

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they are making preparations to publish data on how many electors on the new electoral register due to be published in December are registered by virtue of (1) filling in a form online, (2) filling in a paper form, (3) responding to a doorstep canvass, (4) confirmation through the data-matching process, and (5) carry-over from the household electoral registration system.[HL2453]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The Electoral Commission (EC) will assess progress in the transition to Individual Electoral Registration in England and Wales based on the Electoral Register as of 1 December 2014 and plans to publish their evaluation in February 2015. The Office for National Statistics will also publish statistics on the December register.

Scotland will publish their registers in March and the EC plans to publish a separate assessment of these in April 2015.

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The Government intends to make their own assessment of the transition. An assessment of the confirmation live run in England and Wales was published in October 2014 and can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/365451/Confirmation_Evaluation_England_and_Wales.pdf

Electronic Surveillance

Questions

Asked by Lord Lester of Herne Hill

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what are the safeguards against the misuse by the police and other public authorities of International Mobile Subscriber Identity Catcher devices to intercept and listen to phone calls, collect and read text messages and emails, and block phone calls in a specific area.[HL2602]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bates) (Con): Investigative activity involving interference with property or wireless telegraphy, such as International Mobile Subscriber Identity (IMSI) grabbers, is regulated by the Police Act 1997 and the Intelligence Services Act 1994 which sets out the high level of authorisation required before the police or Security and intelligence agencies can undertake such activity. Use of these powers is overseen by the Intelligence Services Commissioner and the Office of Surveillance Commissioners. In any case involving the interception of the content of a communication, a warrant authorised by the Secretary of State under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 is required.

Asked by Lord Strasburger

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how official police use of international mobile subscriber identity catchers is authorised.[HL2681]

Lord Bates: Investigative activity involving interference with property or wireless telegraphy is regulated by the Police Act 1997 which sets out the high level of authorisation required before the police can undertake such activity. Use of these powers is overseen by the Office of Surveillance Commissioners.

European Union

Question

Asked by Lord Ashcroft

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Anelay of St Johns on 24 October 2014 (HL2132), whether there are any investment protection treaties between the European Union and other countries.[HL2580]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): No investment protection treaties are currently in force between the European Union and other countries.

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Forced Marriage Protection Orders

Question

Asked by Lord Lester of Herne Hill

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many Forced Marriage Protection Orders have been issued since the Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act 2007 came into force.[HL2469]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Faulks) (Con): Forced marriage is an appalling crime and should not be tolerated.

Since the 2007 Act came into force on 25 November 2008 and up to the end of June 2014, 719 Forced Marriage Protection Orders have been made.

We have also created a new criminal offence that will enable faster and more effective action to be taken against those who breach forced marriage protection orders by forcing someone to get married against their will. This offence is designed to prosecute individuals who force someone to get married against their will; the person who has been forced to get married will not be prosecuted.

Frontex

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the scope of Frontex's new maritime patrol operation, Triton; when they expect it will become effective; what progress has been made with Eurosur; and whether this will be augmented with reconnaissance drones or satellite technology.[HL2408]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bates) (Con): The situation in the Mediterranean is deeply distressing. So far this year a record 150,000 migrants have attempted the perilous crossing and more than 3,000 are estimated to have died, compared to 700 in the whole of 2013. Traffickers are placing more and more vulnerable people on unseaworthy boats on the dishonest basis that all will be rescued and taken to Italy. This is why all EU Member States support the difficult decision Italy has taken to phase out its ‘Mare Nostrum’ operation.

Frontex Operation ‘Triton’ commenced on 1 November 2014 and will last at least until the end of the year. We expect the objectives of the operation to sit within the remit of Frontex: external border security; operational cooperation; exchange of information, identification of risks and threats and training. Search and Rescue remains outside the competence of the EU or its Agencies, including Frontex. The air and maritime assets of the Member States deployed in the operation will respond to any emergency operation that arises, in accordance with the regulation establishing rules for the surveillance of the external sea borders which was adopted in May 2014.

The operational area of Triton is likely to include the eastern and southern approaches to Southern Italy as well as the maritime approaches to the south of the islands of Sicily and Sardinia. Frontex operations are

11 Nov 2014 : Column WA26

very flexible and these patrolling areas may change in response to irregular migration flows across the Central Mediterranean area.

The technical and human resources to support Operation Triton will be made available by the Member States and are likely to include surveillance aircraft and maritime patrol vessels as well as shore-based screening and debriefing teams.

National Coordination Centres (NCCs) have been established in the Member States at the southern and eastern external borders of the Schengen area and others are opening in the course of 2014. The Eurosur electronic network that enables communication between the National Coordination Centres (NCCs) and between the NCCs and Frontex is already functioning and is being rolled out in all Schengen states during the course of 2014. The quality of national situational pictures and the European Situational Picture for the external borders is expected to improve as a result.

Eurosur also seeks to improve the surveillance capabilities of the Schengen Member States: Frontex have reported an encouraging identification of a migrant vessel as a result of a trial using satellite technology. Frontex has also encouraged Member States to look at the possibility of using ultra-lite aircraft and drone technology to enhance their border surveillance capability. There remain a number of technical, legal and budgetary constraints that need to be overcome before Member States might be able to make such technologies available to Frontex operations on a regular basis.

Gender: Equality

Question

Asked by Lord Taylor of Warwick

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to reduce the gap between men and women in the workplace, in the light of the World Economic Forum report on Britain's ranking in respect of gender equality.[HL2472]

Baroness Garden of Frognal (LD): As a result of steps already taken by this government, there are now more women in employment than at any previous time. There are now 711,000 more women in employment and 157,000 fewer women unemployed than in May 2010. The proportion of businesses that are led by women is increasing. In 2012, 20% of SMEs were either run by women or by a team that was over 50% female, an increase from 14% in 2008. Unprecedented progress has also been made in equality on company boards, with the latest data showing 22.8% of FTSE 100 Directors are now female, up from 12.5% in February 2011.

The government continues to bring forward a range of measures to further improve equality between men and women in the workplace: a new system of shared parental leave will be implemented from April 2015, a significant step towards changing workplace culture; and almost 2m families will benefit from new tax free childcare scheme from autumn 2015, worth up to £2,000 per child.

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Immigration: Appeals

Question

Asked by The Earl of Sandwich

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the number of expert non-legal members in the Immigration and Asylum Chamber has been reduced; and, if so, whether they have any plans to recommend a review of the situation following the recent consultations within the judiciary.[HL2488]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Faulks) (Con): In 2014/15 non-legal members have sat for 419 days within the Immigration and Asylum Chambers between 1 April 2014 and 30 June 2014, the most recent reporting period. This is a reduction of 35 sitting days from the same period in 2013/14 when non-legal members sat for 454 days.

The First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal (Composition of Tribunal) Order 2008 provides that composition of Tribunal panels is a matter for the Senior President of Tribunals and that this power may be delegated to Chamber Presidents. The Immigration and Asylum Chambers make available sufficient sitting days for non-legal members required for the panel compositions requested under the Senior President’s delegated powers and there are no plans to recommend a review at this time.

Immigration: Poland

Question

Asked by Lord Patten

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the employment rate of Polish immigrants in the United Kingdom.[HL2694]

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

Letter from Glen Watson, Director General for ONS to Lord Patten dated November 2014.

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics (ONS), I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking Her Majesty’s Government what is the employment rate of Polish immigrants in the United Kingdom. (HL2694)

Estimates of the employment rate for immigrants are not available directly. As a proxy, estimates of employment by nationality are available from the Labour Force Survey (LFS). The convention for Labour Market statistics is to express the employment rate in terms of the population aged 16 to 64. For the three month period April to June 2014 there were an estimated 564,000 Polish nationals aged 16 to 64 in employment. This represented 84% of the Polish nationals present in the UK. These estimates are not seasonally adjusted.

It should be noted that a person’s nationality can change over time. Also the identification of foreign nationals takes no account of how long they have been in the UK. As with any sample survey, estimates from the LFS are subject to a margin of uncertainty. Also the LFS is a survey

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Iran

Question

Asked by Baroness Deech

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the French-Iranian collaboration on uranium enrichment through SOFIDIF, and its relationship with the P5+1 group progress towards an agreement with Iran on the Iranian nuclear programme.[HL2666]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) and Areva, a French company, jointly own Société franco–iranienne pour l’enrichissement de l’uranium par diffusion gazeuse (SOFIDIF). SOFIDIF in turn has an interest in a uranium enrichment facility in France. The collaboration between AEOI and Areva pre-dates the 1979 Revolution in Iran. We do not believe it has a bearing on P5+1 talks with Iran.

Iraq

Questions

Asked by The Marquess of Lothian

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many Royal Air Force sorties there have been over Iraq in the last three weeks; how many of them have resulted in the deployment of ordnance; and what the assessed results of such deployments have been.[HL2486]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever) (Con): From 8 October to 29 October 2014, the total number of sorties (individual flights by individual aircraft, alone or as part of a mission group) flown over Iraq by all UK military aircraft including Tornado GR4, Air-Air Refuelling aircraft, C-130 transport aircraft and Reaper/Rivet Joint surveillance aircraft was 109. The total number of missions was 46. Of these, the number of missions involving deployment of ordnance was four. Analysis indicates that all four engagements were successful.

Asked by The Marquess of Lothian

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many United Kingdom military personnel are currently deployed on the ground in Iraq; and in what capacities.[HL2487]

Lord Astor of Hever: The UK has a small Defence Section working in the British Embassy in Baghdad. As at 3 November, this permanent presence is supplemented by around 30 personnel acting in support of operations against ISIL terrorists. These personnel are performing a range of non-combat roles including: supporting humanitarian operations; providing training to Kurdish forces; and supporting coalition planning activities.

Israel

Question

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Israel concerning Israeli citizens having access to pray within the Al-Aqsa compound.[HL2636]

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The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): Our Embassy in Tel Aviv has delivered clear messages to senior Israeli officials in the Prime Minister’s Office, National Security Council and Ministry of Foreign Affairs in recent days on the importance of maintaining calm and the status quo at the Temple Mount/Haram al Sharif.

Magistrates

Question

Asked by Lord Beecham

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many lay magistrates were asked to step down by advisory committees in the last year for which there are data on the ground of failing to maintain the required competences; and how many magistrates each year undergo appraisal.[HL2475]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Faulks) (Con): The assessment of magistrates’ competence is a matter for the local Bench Training and Development Committee (BDTC), which reports to the advisory committee for the local justice area. Where the BDTC has concluded that a magistrate has failed, over a period of time, to reach the required standard the advisory committee may make a recommendation to the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice that the magistrate should be removed from office.

The process for removing a magistrate on such a basis is managed by the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office. One magistrate has been removed from the magistracy during the last year for failing to maintain the required competences.

Magistrates are appraised on their performance once every three years for each jurisdiction (adult court, family court, youth court) in which they sit. Appraisals are carried out locally by trained appraisers in line with a nationally approved framework. On account of the three-yearly cycle, roughly a third of the approximately 21,000 magistrates in England and Wales could expect to undergo appraisal in any given year.

Magistrates: Training

Question

Asked by Lord Beecham

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many magistrates last year took courses described by the Judicial College as “desirable”; and what were those courses.[HL2477]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Faulks) (Con): The responsibility for the training of Magistrates lies with the Lord Chief Justice as head of the judiciary and is exercised through the Judicial College.

In May 2009, the former Judicial Studies Board set out guidance on the status of training and on attendance at training events by magistrates. There are three categories

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of training: 1) compulsory 2) essential and 3) desirable. Compulsory training arises out of the s.10 (4) Courts Act 2003 which sets out where induction training must take place. Essential training provides consolidation and continuation training and also “specific issues training”. The latter is where major legislative or procedural changes take place which magistrates are expected to be familiar with and where attendance at training events will be expected. Desirable training is what is provided beyond the compulsory and essential elements and the full training delivery programme is determined locally by each Magistrates Area Training Committee taking in to account local training needs.

Under the Protocol for the National Minimum Training provision for Magistrates, HMCTS must provide the resources for the delivery of all compulsory and essential training identified in each MATC Training Plan. The MATC will prioritise the delivery of desirable training from any additional training funds that may be available.

Each (MATC) provides a return to the Judicial College on their activities for the year. The returns show that all compulsory and essential training has been completed but it is not possible to extract from the returns the total number of magistrates who attended “desirable” training during 2013/14 in accordance with the Judicial College definition. The range of “desirable” training events covered overall is as follows:

Advisory Training,

Applications, Road Traffic & Effective Questioning in Court training

Appraisal Continuation

Appraiser Panel Bite Size training

Appraiser Refresher

Allocation Training and Mental Health Presentation

BTDC Interviewing

BTDC New Member Training

Case Management/Adjournment Training

Community Orders and Suspended Sentences

Community Orders and Suspended Sentences/update on the role of LA

Crown Court Sitting

Crown Court Training

Dealing with young and vulnerable people in court

Presentation on Access to Substance Misuse Treatment within DRR & ATR Orders

Refresher Training covering LASPO , Allocation, Freeman of the land, & Case Management

Fines Enforcement Training

Focus on Fairness

Follow up session - New JPs

Locally Identified Training Need - Metal Theft Training

Local Training Conferences

Loopholes in Road Traffic Law

MA AGM & Annual Training Event

Magistrates' Association Training Conferences

Mentor Continuation Training

Mentor Development

Prison Visit for core training

Probation Projects & Restorative Justice Training Event

Probation Training Day

Refresher Appraiser Training

Restorative Justice

Road Traffic Act

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Road Traffic Special Reasons and Exceptional Hardship

Role Play Session for Trainee Chairmen

Sentencer Engagement Events

Special Appeals Panel

Speech, Language Communication Needs Workshop

Online training - Mental Health and learning Disabilities in criminal courts

Search Warrant Training

Speeding

TDC Member Training

TDC New Member Training

TDC Recruitment & Selection Training

Youth Offending Service events

Mediterranean Sea

Question

Asked by Lord Lester of Herne Hill

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Anelay of St Johns on 15 October (HL1977), what is the evidence for their view that United Kingdom support for search and rescue operations to prevent refugees and migrants drowning in the Mediterranean encourages “more migrants to attempt the dangerous sea crossing” .[HL2468]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bates) (Con): Search and rescue operations are the responsibility of individual national governments. Since Italy launched its Mare Nostrum operation in October 2013, there has been an unprecedented increase in illegal migration in the Mediterranean and a fourfold increase in deaths.

The operation has been drawn closer and closer to the Libyan shore, as traffickers have taken advantage of the situation by placing more migrants in unseaworthy boats on the basis that they will be rescued and taken to Italy.

But many are not rescued, which is why we believe that the operation is having the unintended consequence of placing more lives at risk, and why EU Member States have unanimously agreed that the operation should be promptly phased out. However, any decisions on search and rescue operations are ultimately for the Italian Government and it is of course vital that this phasing out is well-managed and well-publicised.

Middle East

Question

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have held with the government of Israel concerning its alleged weapons testing, including of dense inert metal explosives, during Operation Protective Edge. [HL2634]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): While we have not raised this issue with the Israeli authorities, there must be a robust process of accountability given the heavy civilian death toll in Gaza. Israel has confirmed

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plans to form their own investigative committee which we understand will be mandated to investigate the proportionality of Israel Defence Forces actions. To be credible, the committee must be independent, transparent and rigorous, and must draw on lessons from the past to examine how Israel can in future exercise its right to self-defence without such heavy civilian loss of life.

Navy

Question

Asked by Lord West of Spithead

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether any of Her Majesty’s ships have had to cancel planned operations due to shortage of trained manpower over the last 12 months.[HL2406]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever) (Con): The Royal Navy has not cancelled any planned operations due to a shortage of trained manpower over the last 12 months.

NHS

Question

Asked by Lord Bradley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what are the requirements for (1) NHS Trust Boards, and (2) other NHS Boards, to hold their meetings in public.[HL2484]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): National Health Service trust boards and all other NHS boards are required to hold their meetings in public. The Public Bodies (Admission to Meetings) Act 1960 sets out the requirement for most NHS bodies to have their meetings in public. NHS foundation trusts and clinical commissioning groups are governed by the NHS Act 2006 (as amended by the Health & Social Care Act 2012), which sets out similar requirements for these bodies.

The public body may exclude the public from a meeting where publicity would be prejudicial to the public interest by reason of the confidential nature of the business of the body or for other special reasons as decided by board resolution.

Occupied Territories

Questions

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to take any action in respect of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's order to advance plans for new housing units in East Jerusalem.[HL2631]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my hon. Friend the Member for Bournemouth East (Mr Ellwood), issued a statement on 29 October condemning the announcement of plans for 1060 new housing units in East Jerusalem. We are continuing to work closely with our European partners to discourage settlement expansion, and discussions are currently underway in Brussels to that end.

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Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to take action in respect of Israel's recent appropriation of land for settlement building between the Etzion settlement bloc in the Bethlehem area and Jerusalem.[HL2632]

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my hon. Friend the Member for Bournemouth East (Mr Ellwood) discussed his strong concerns about the issue of settlements and land expropriation with the Israeli Justice Minister on 6 October during his visit to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Discussions are continuing in Brussels on how the EU can best discourage settlement expansion, and the UK is working closely with other Member States to that end.

Offenders: Health Services

Question

Asked by Lord Beecham

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have, in the light of the recently published report of the Care Quality Commission on health services in prisons and other custodial institutions, to investigate the commissioning and provision of health services for ex-offenders on their return to the community.[HL2478]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): Offenders often have complex health needs and poor health outcomes and it is important that care they have been receiving in custodial settings continues when they return to the community. For offenders leaving custody, National Health Service guidance sets an expectation that prisoners are either registered with a general practitioner (GP) practice before they leave or are provided with the necessary information to register with a GP on release and, where possible, provided with support in doing so. The Transforming Rehabilitation reforms within the justice system should enable continuity of care through the prison gate by supporting offenders from custody to community.

Registration with a GP ensures access to the healthcare services that the offender needs. Quality and Surveillance Groups (QSGs), which have been established at both local and regional level, enable partners across the health and care system to share information and intelligence about the quantity and quality of care across their localities, including those services accessed by ex-offenders on their return to the community.

Where a QSG identifies issues or concerns about the quantity or quality of care being provided in their area, members will be able to coordinate any action that is needed to respond to these concerns.

The Department of Health and Ministry of Justice have jointly funded an initiative to improve the “through the gate” provision for prisoners who are dependent on drugs and alcohol. Ten prisons in the North West are currently piloting a range of innovative interventions to provide more intensive support and supervision for

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people leaving custody which include the use of peer mentors, recovery housing services and take-home naloxone as they return to the community.

Palestinians

Questions

Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when they expect payments of the $5.4 billion pledged for reconstruction in Gaza to begin; and who will be responsible for collecting the pledges, and for supervising payments for work done.[HL2616]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for International Development (Baroness Northover) (LD): Disbursement of pledges has already begun, funding early relief, recovery and reconstruction interventions in accordance with the multi-phased strategy set out in the Palestinian Authority-led Early Recovery and Reconstruction Plan 2014-2017. The Palestinian Authority will oversee the implementation of the plan in coordination with the UN, donors, international financial institutions, civil society and the private sector.

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have held with the government of Israel concerning the directive issued by Moshe Ya'alon in respect of segregating bus lines in the West Bank.[HL2633]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns): Our Embassy in Tel Aviv registered its concerns with the Israeli Ministry of Defence over the matter on 29 October. Israeli media had reported that Defence Minister Moshe Ya'alon had issued a directive that banned Palestinian workers from travelling on Israeli-run public transportation in the West Bank into green-line Israel. The Israeli Ministry of Defence have denied the media reports and clarified that Palestinians will be required to enter and exit Israel through the Eyal border crossing, so that Israel can supervise entries and exits, reducing the risk of a terrorist attack. The Transportation Ministry has said publicly that, by law, Palestinians cannot be prevented from riding buses. The Israeli Attorney General office requested clarification of the directive from the Ministry of Defence by November 9. Posts are monitoring the situation closely.

Population

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what projection they have made of the size of the population of the United Kingdom in 2030, 2040, and 2050.[HL2542]

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

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Letter from Nick Vaughan, Director, National Accounts & Economic Statistics, Office for National Statistics to Lord Laird dated November 2014.

On behalf of the Director General for the Office for National Statistics (ONS), I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking Her Majesty’s Government asking what projections they have made of the size of the population of the United Kingdom in 2030, 2040, and 2050 [HL2542].

The most recent national population projections produced by the ONS are based on mid-year population estimates for 2012 and a set of demographic assumptions about future fertility, mortality and migration. The 2012-based principal population projections for the United Kingdom for 2030, 2040 and 2050 are

2030

71,037,000

2040

74,158,000

2050

76,971,000

National population projections are not forecasts and do not attempt to predict the impact of future government policies, changing economic circumstances or the capacity of an area to accommodate a change in population. They provide an indication of the future size and age structure of the population if recent demographic trends continued.

Radicalism

Question

Asked by Lord Pearson of Rannoch

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they monitor the broadcasting of incitement to violent jihad on non-English-language broadcasts in the United Kingdom; and whether they have any plans to do so.[HL2686]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bates) (Con): Her Majesty’s Government works with the independent regulator Ofcom which is responsible for regulating broadcasting services. Ofcom monitors broadcasts to detect breaches of the Broadcasting Code and a broadcast which contained incitement to violent jihad would breach this code.

Ofcom has fined broadcasters in the past for inciting violent action and has a foreign language translation resource which enables it to monitor foreign language channels.

Religious Freedom

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the status of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Advisory Group on freedom of religion or belief; and when the group is expected to next meet. [HL2594]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): The Advisory Group on Freedom of Religion or Belief, comprised of civil society experts on this topic, is a Sub-Group of my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary’s Advisory Group on Human Rights. It operates under my

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Chairmanship and directly informs Foreign and Commonwealth Office policy and activities in this area; and reports to the main Advisory Group. The Sub-Group has met twice so far, on 24 March and 14 October 2014. It is next expected to meet in the Spring.

Travellers

Question

Asked by Lord Avebury

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what actions have been taken in pursuance of the commitments undertaken by the Ministerial Working Group on tacking inequalities experienced by Gypsies and Travellers in their progress report of April 2012; and what further meetings have taken place, with what outcomes, since that date.[HL2504]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon) (Con): The Ministerial Working Group on Gypsies and Travellers was convened as an ad hoc meeting to discuss inequalities experienced by the Gypsy and Traveller community. This working group resulted in the publication of a progress report which included 28 commitments made by the Departments represented on it, with the aim of helping mainstream services work more effectively with Gypsies and Travellers.

Since the report, Ministers have not needed to meet to implement the agreed policy, as this has been delegated to the Civil Service. There have been regular meetings between Gypsy and Traveller organisations and officials across Whitehall to discuss the progress made against the Government’s commitments, and wider action to improve the social outcomes of Gypsies and Travellers. We intend to publish a follow up report in due course.

I have deposited in the Library of the House a document with a summary of progress so far against each of the 28 commitments with links to where further information can be found.

This Answer included the following attachment: 28 Commitments (Gypsies and Travellers commitments -DEPOSITEDPAPER-455504 (HL2504).doc)

Vaccination

Question

Asked by Lord Moonie

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they are reassessing the United Kingdom's capability in vaccine development and production with a view to reducing the time taken to produce new vaccines for use against emerging diseases.[HL2492]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): We are not currently reassessing the United Kingdom’s capability in vaccine development and production, which is primarily a matter for the pharmaceutical industry.

However, our horizon-scanning and surveillance for emerging infectious diseases and the development of arrangements for emergency preparedness and response will include collaboration with the pharmaceutical industry when the use of a vaccine may be a potential control measure.

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One example of this work is the current efforts to accelerate clinical trials for an Ebola vaccine, working closely with other Governments, vaccine regulators, industry and the World Health Organization.

Welfare State: Northern Ireland

Question

Asked by Lord Empey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they propose to legislate to provide for welfare reform in

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Northern Ireland, in the light of the failure of the Northern Ireland Executive to agree new welfare reform proposals.[HL2678]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Wales Office (Baroness Randerson) (LD): Discussions on welfare reform are continuing to be held at the multi-party talks which are taking place in Belfast. The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland is pressing hard for an agreed resolution of the issues.