3 Dec 2014 : Column WA257

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Written Answers

Wednesday 3 December 2014

Acts

Question

Asked by Lord Skelmersdale

To ask Her Majesty’s Government which are the oldest three Acts on the statute book; and what is the reason for their retention in each case.[HL3012]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire (LD): Legislation.gov.uk lists all of the known Acts of the United Kingdom Parliament and its predecessors.

The three oldest enactments are contained in the 1267 Statute of Marlborough which contains four chapters from that session. The age of an Act does not always indicate its utility; legislation is only repealed where a clear case has been made to do so. The Law Commissions regularly produce reports identifying obsolete and unnecessary legislation.

The Law Commission for England and Wales have recently published a consultation paper proposing the repeal of chapters 4 and 15 of the Statute of Marlborough. The consultation can be found at the following web address:

http://lawcommission.justice.gov.uk/consultations/general-slr-repeal-proposals.htm

Alcoholic Drinks

Question

Asked by Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when they will publish the Chief Medical Officer's review of safe drinking levels and their response to that review. [HL3018]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The review is currently underway and we expect to be able to consult on any new guidelines by summer 2015.

Apprentices

Question

Asked by Lord Storey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to change the eligibility criteria for young people who wish to undertake apprenticeships, but have prior academic qualifications such as A-levels. [HL3181]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Neville-Rolfe) (Con): Having prior academic qualifications does not preclude a young person being eligible to do an apprenticeship. There are therefore no plans to change the eligibility criteria.

3 Dec 2014 : Column WA258

Full details of the funding rules can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sfa-funding-rules and cover both the current apprenticeship programme and for the Trailblazer Apprenticeship Standards.

Bahrain

Questions

Asked by Lord Avebury

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the reported deprivation of citizenship of former Bahraini nationals and of whether any of the persons concerned had access to the courts to challenge the decisions; and how many of those concerned are currently in the United Kingdom.[HL3074]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): The Government has raised repeatedly with the Government of Bahrain its decision to withdraw citizenship from 31 individuals in 2012. Ministers publicly expressed concern at the decision by the Cassation Court to uphold the life sentences of these individuals. We encourage the authorities to conduct full and transparent investigations into any of those accused of crimes and ensure that individuals are given a right of appeal against citizenship deprivation decisions. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office does not hold figures on the location of these individuals.

Asked by Lord Avebury

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the arrest in November of women in Bahrain for establishing and organising a public referendum, inciting hatred against the regime and disrupting the elections there; and whether they consider that such charges are compatible with Articles 15, 17, 18, 19 and 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.[HL3075]

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: We are aware of the arrest of 15 women on 16 November on suspicion of disrupting the electoral process, belonging to an illegal group and calling for the overthrow of the government. We understand that all of them have now been released, but investigations into 12 individuals continue. Our Embassy in Bahrain will continue to monitor these cases.

Asked by Lord Avebury

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what information they have about the reported attack by Bahraini security forces on Youssif Baddah in the village of Sitra on 19 November.[HL3076]

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: We understand that Youssif Baddah was injured by a tear gas canister while taking part in a demonstration on 19 November, and is currently undergoing medical treatment for his injury while under arrest. The British Government will continue to monitor the case and encourage the

3 Dec 2014 : Column WA259

Government of Bahrain to ensure that due legal process is followed in this case and international norms of justice adhered to.

Asked by Lord Avebury

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when was the last time they met with Al-Wefaq, the opposition party in Bahrain; what is the rationale for their policy in respect of meeting that organisation; and what steps they have taken to evaluate that party’s boycott of the elections there on 22 November. [HL3077]

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: Our Ambassador and his team in Bahrain and officials in London frequently meet senior members of Al-Wefaq. The British Government’s engagement with Al-Wefaq, as with all political societies in Bahrain, is focused on encouraging constructive engagement in political dialogue. It is disappointing that the opposition societies boycotted the elections on 22 November, but we are encouraged by the 51.5 per cent turnout, and welcome the participation of a broad range of candidates.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office halted engagement with all political societies, independent candidates and former members of parliament during the election period. We intend to re-engage when the new parliament is inaugurated in mid-December.

Asked by Lord Avebury

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have made representations to the government of Bahrain about its postponement of the visit by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture. [HL3078]

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: The UK continues to encourage the Government of Bahrain to agree a new date for a visit by the Special Rapporteur for Torture and to enhance its overall co-operation with UN institutions, including through visits by other Special Rapporteurs and UN officials.

Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether positive results have come from their programmes to strengthen the judiciary and to reform the security services in Bahrain; and, if such results have not yet come, when they expect to see improvements.[HL3112]

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: We judge that since 2011 a number of incremental steps have been made to strengthen the judiciary and to reform the security services in Bahrain. The UK is providing a package of technical assistance to support progress in line with the recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry and UN Universal Periodic Review. These include the establishment of the Ministry of Interior’s Ombudsman’s Office to receive complaints and to oversee and conduct investigations, the establishment of a Prisoners’ and Detainees’ Rights Commission and reform of the National Institute of Human Rights. The British Government continues to work closely with the Government of Bahrain to

3 Dec 2014 : Column WA260

provide practical assistance in torture prevention, judicial reform, civil service capacity building and community neighbourhood policing.

Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will make representations to the government of Bahrain about the practice of stripping citizens of their nationality; and whether they will ask for restoration of normal services for those already stripped and for an appeal process for future cases. [HL3113]

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: The Government has raised repeatedly with the Government of Bahrain its decision to withdraw citizenship from 31 individuals in 2012. We encourage the authorities to conduct full and transparent investigations into those accused of crimes and to ensure that individuals are given a right of appeal against citizenship deprivation decisions.

Asked by Lord Patten

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether any United Kingdom citizens are imprisoned in Bahrain.[HL3124]

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: We can confirm that there are British citizens imprisoned in Bahrain and that Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials are providing consular assistance when required.

Campylobacter

Question

Asked by Lord Condon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will consider further action to encourage supermarkets to provide more information to customers about the campylobacter contamination rates of chickens sold.[HL2943]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): Supermarkets do not provide this information to customers. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is publishing quarterly results from its year-long retail survey of campylobacter on whole fresh chickens in order to further drive the implementation of poultry production methods that reduce campylobacter throughout the supply chain. The prime objective is to lower the levels of campylobacter on chickens so that there is minimal risk to consumers.

In addition, through Food Safety Week 2014, the FSA has successfully focused on the message about safe handling of raw poultry which has had widespread coverage in the media. The FSA intends to periodically reinforce the messages to consumers to minimise the risk from cross-contamination by handling raw chicken carefully and to avoid washing it. The FSA has also worked closely with retailers so that the ‘Do not wash’ message is now being rolled out across all poultry packaging at retail.

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Care Homes

Question

Asked by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they consider that there is sufficient distinction in the Care Quality Commission’s handling of major and minor non-compliance issues when publicly naming non-compliant care homes; and if not, on what basis they made that assessment.[HL3049]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and adult social care in England. The CQC has provided the following information.

The provider handbooks that set out the end-to-end process, CQC’s Key Lines of Enquiry and the assessment framework were published on the 9 October 2014. CQC’s new approach contains ratings that provide a much finer grading of quality with services being rated outstanding, good, requires improvement or inadequate. CQC inspection reports clearly set out whether regulations have been breached or not, and the action that a provider must take to return to meeting its legal requirements.

Care Quality Commission

Questions

Asked by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their current assessment of whether there is duplication of activities by the Care Quality Commission and local authorities.[HL3047]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their current assessment of the level of co-ordination between the Care Quality Commission and commissioners for places in care homes.[HL3048]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and adult social care in England. The CQC has provided the following information.

CQC has outlined its commitment to working with local authorities to minimise duplication, including in adult social care, in its provider handbooks which were published on 9 October 2014. This includes CQC inspection managers having regular meetings with their assigned local authorities, attending local safeguarding meetings where relevant and also local safeguarding boards to provide an update on CQC’s work annually. In addition, providers are asked to complete a CQC Provider Information Return and an evaluation form before an inspection. 79% of residential care providers responding said they had not recently been asked to provide similar information for any other purposes.

CQC has organised its adult social care directorate to reflect local authority boundaries which will allow the alignment of CQC staff with local authorities for commissioning and information sharing and safeguarding.

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CQC’s Adult Social Care inspection staff also have relationships with local clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) which enables the CCGs to update CQC on the outcomes of their contract monitoring visits as well as CQC providing the CCG with information and outcomes of recent inspections in the area.

CQC anticipates that as its new methodology beds down and more services are rated, local authorities will have greater confidence in the regulatory system for adult social care and therefore reduce their activity for those services with ‘good’ and ‘outstanding’ ratings. Local authorities will always have their own contract monitoring duties to fulfil but one of the benefits of the new regulatory approach should be a minimisation of unnecessary duplication of activities. There is work underway between CQC and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services to develop an information sharing portal.

Asked by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment has been made by the Care Quality Commission of proposals in the Deregulation Bill to create a statutory duty for the Commission to consider economic growth when carrying out their functions.[HL3050]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will instruct the Care Quality Commission to brief parliamentarians on the impact of proposals in the Deregulation Bill to create a statutory duty for the Commission to consider economic growth when carrying out their functions.[HL3051]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how they will ensure that proposals in the Deregulation Bill to create a statutory duty on the Care Quality Commission to consider economic growth when carrying out its functions will not impact on the protection of the public.[HL3052]

Earl Howe: Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspects health and adult social care services in order to ensure they provide people with safe, compassionate, high quality care. The effect of the Deregulation Bill is that regulators, including the CQC, will have regard to economic growth and ensure regulatory action is necessary and proportionate. CQC, as an arms-length body of the Department, is able to brief Parliamentarians on how it carries out its functions, including the new duty to have regard to economic growth.

Community Health Services

Question

Asked by Baroness Greengross

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have any plans to increase the extent of community healthcare coverage to conditions, such as frontotemporal dementia, which to date they have considered highly socially complex, rather than medically complex, and not deemed a primary health care need.[HL3094]

3 Dec 2014 : Column WA263

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): Health and Wellbeing Boards in each upper-tier Local Authority are responsible for the development of Joint Strategic Needs Assessments to identify the current and future health and wellbeing needs of the local population and a Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy that sets the strategic direction for local commissioning decisions. This may include assessment of the prevalence and impact of dementia, and appropriate actions for prevention, diagnosis and care.

The healthcare provided is inclusive of all types of dementia including frontotemporal dementia.

Compulsorily Detained Mental Patients

Question

Asked by Lord Ouseley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will require the Care Quality Commission to publish specific ethnic data about detainees under the Mental Health Acts in its next Annual Report due to be laid before Parliament in February 2015; and if not, why not.[HL3134]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and adult social care in England. The CQC is required to publish an annual report on the use of the powers of detention in the Mental Health Act 1983. In its role as an independent regulator it is for CQC to use its expertise to determine how it assesses and reports on the use of these powers.

Counterfeit Manufacturing

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are taking to stop the sale of counterfeit goods online in the United Kingdom.[HL3063]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Neville-Rolfe) (Con): This Government takes Intellectual property (IP) crime very seriously and is working closely with law enforcers and rights holders to tackle criminality, including the sale of counterfeit goods online. We recently announced an additional £3 million investment in the police IP crime unit (PIPCU), securing its future until 2017. PIPCU is an operationally independent law enforcement unit dedicated to tackling serious and organized IP crime affecting physical and digital goods.

In addition to this, the Intellectual Property Office continues its coordinating role to ensure that industry, Government and law enforcement share intelligence, and that collaborative operations result in arrests. All this activity is supported by a range of education programmes and a government/private industry partnership to provide IP training to enforcement officers and brand representatives to help them tackle issues arising from counterfeit products.

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Diabetes

Questions

Asked by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are taking to reduce amputation rates amongst the diabetic population.[HL2954]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what initiatives they have (1) considered, and (2) taken, to reduce the number of preventable amputations occurring within the National Health Service.[HL2957]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): NHS England and clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) have responsibility for determining the overall approach to improving clinical outcomes from healthcare services for people with diabetes. There are various actions at a national level to help ensure that all patients with diabetes receive good quality care, including foot care.

The National Institute for Health and Care (NICE) Excellence has published clinical guidance and quality standards on the treatment of diabetes and its complications. The NICE Diabetes Quality Standard is clear that people with diabetes who are at risk of foot ulceration should receive regular reviews by a foot protection team in accordance with its clinical guidance. The Health and Social Care Act (2012) places a duty on NHS England to have regard to the NICE Quality Standards. CCGs should also have regard to them in planning and delivering services, as part of a general duty to secure a continuous improvement in quality.

As part of the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF), general practitioners are remunerated for assessing nerve damage and poor blood supply to the feet in people with diabetes on an annual basis. Information is collected annually both through QOF returns and through the National Diabetes Audit (NDA).

The new National Diabetes Foot Care Audit, a module of the NDA, aims to establish the extent to which national guidelines on the management of diabetic foot disease are being met. The audit will provide local teams with the evidence needed to tackle any identified differences in practice which will lead in turn to an overall improvement in management and outcomes for patients. Local and national level results will be available March 2016.

Diabetic foot disease is also a focus of the cardiovascular Strategic Clinical Networks across England, with an emphasis on rolling out best practice.

Directors: LGBT People

Question

Asked by Lord Browne of Madingley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the action they have taken on gender and race, what efforts they are making to improve the representation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people on corporate boards in the United Kingdom. [HL3043]

3 Dec 2014 : Column WA265

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Neville-Rolfe) (Con): Following Lord Davies’s Review on Women on Boards in 2011, we are now at 22.8% women on FTSE 100 boards (October 2014), from a starting point of 12.5% in 2011.

The Secretary of State for Business innovation and Skills has also recently asked Trevor Phillips to start a new private sector led campaign which will look to address the lack of ethnic diversity in boardrooms, based in part on research that indicates the proportion of Black & Ethnic Minority people in leadership positions is lower than expected compared to the wider population (estimated at 5.1% and 14% respectively).

Recruitment, appointment and promotion should always be on merit, irrespective or gender, race, disability or sexual orientation. We believe it is in the best interests of business to tap into the widest talent pool and that by definition means a diverse and representative leadership team.

We expect that through the progress made on gender and the planned work on ethnic diversity, the momentum will help to improve diversity on corporate boards for all people from different backgrounds, including those from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

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Disabled Students’ Allowances

Question

Asked by Lord Addington

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether, when assessing the Disabled Student’s Allowance, previously diagnosed lifetime conditions will be considered sufficient criteria for qualification without a requirement for further assessment.[HL3062]

Baroness Williams of Trafford (Con): Student Finance England will continue to consider medical evidence submitted by the student when assessing whether they are eligible for DSA.

Eggs and Poultry: Imports

Question

Asked by Lord Hoyle

To ask Her Majesty’s Government from which countries (1) eggs, and (2) poultry, have been imported into the United Kingdom in each of the last four years; and what are the respective quantities from each country.[HL3061]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley) (Con): The tables below provide the numbers and countries within the EU and third countries from which live poultry and hatching eggs have been imported:

EU imports of live poultry and hatching eggs
2011201220132014 (to 26 Nov)
CountryNumber of EggsPoultry Number of birdsNumber of EggsPoultry Number of birdsNumber of EggsPoultry Number of birdsNumber of EggsPoultry Number of birds

Belgium

63950

412750

7200

371264

112400

221472

5040

187325

Czech Rep

8640

5000

0

17380

5760

47760

0

40780

Germany

1025482

627798

1007850

401274

1126806

701409

1291524

388139

Denmark

1000

0

2500

0

285960

0

126100

0

Spain

590000

0

329460

0

399026

0

203800

2768

Finland

75240

0

67250

0

0

0

2000

0

France

14242537

1972197

16479078

1988591

16753060

1750953

15793874

1209422

Hungary

257284

4000

324982

4000

214214

0

169887

0

Ireland

27786675

9574151

33551712

8474460

36863359

6847264

40434677

7309954

Italy

1157760

0

3634560

0

15962400

32500

1695600

0

Netherlands

4816640

2188437

2298680

1750349

9084440

1556067

20083325

1229405

Norway

15

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Poland

72000

0

6480

0

125500

0

356560

0

Portugal

1526400

0

558000

0

302400

0

1568160

0

Sweden

0

0

0

0

23400

0

20000

0

Slovenia

0

45

0

0

0

0

0

0

Third country imports of live poultry and hatching eggs
2011201220132014
CountryNumber of EggsPoultry Number of birdsNumber of EggsPoultry Number of birdsNumber of EggsPoultry Number of birdsNumber of EggsPoultry Number of birds

Brazil

13320

0

61920

8968

65880

0

0

0

Canada

0

0

6000

0

0

0

25200

0

Russia

0

0

26

0

0

0

0

0

USA

3382620

143445

3056220

157677

1742475

163940

1227700

92577

3 Dec 2014 : Column WA267

European Commission

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Anelay of St Johns on 20 November (HL2790), whether the Member State could insist on its candidate for membership of the European Commission.[HL3131]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): I refer the noble Lord to my previous answer of 20 November, Official Report, Column WA130. The Commission President is responsible for the internal organisation of the Commission, and Member States are responsible for proposing nominees for the Commission. Both parties would need to discuss and agree next steps depending on the facts of the particular situation.

Genito-urinary Medicine

Question

Asked by Baroness Gould of Potternewton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when the planned clinical audit of sexual health and HIV services is planned to be commissioned; and how long it is expected to take.[HL2968]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): Following a tendering exercise that concluded in August 2014, the Healthcare Quality Improvement Partnership (HQIP) appointed a contractor to carry out a one year feasibility study for this work. It is anticipated that the contract will commence in December with a report being provided at the end of the one-year contract, for evaluation by HQIP, NHS England, the Welsh Government and their advisors.

Guinea-Bissau

Question

Asked by Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have provided any humanitarian assistance to the people of Guinea Bissau in each of the last three years.[HL3236]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for International Development (Baroness Northover) (LD): The UK Government has not provided direct humanitarian assistance to the people of Guinea Bissau in any of the last three years.

The UK Government provides humanitarian core funding to a number of UN agencies, who in turn have provided funding to Guinea Bissau. For example, between 2011 and 2013 the UK Government provided over $300m to the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), which in turn allocated over $3m to Guinea Bissau.

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Hearing Impairment

Questions

Asked by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they plan to publish their National Action Plan on Hearing Loss before North Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Group makes its final decision on the provision of hearing aids for patients with mild to moderate adult-onset hearing loss.[HL3099]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what impact they expect the publication of their National Action Plan on Hearing Loss to have on the commissioning decisions made by clinical commissioning groups. [HL3100]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The Action Plan on Hearing Loss is still being finalised by NHS England. An announcement on a potential publication date will be made in due course, although it is not likely to be linked to any other external activity relating to hearing loss such as the commissioning intentions of North Staffordshire Clinical Commissioning Group.

NHS England’s Action Plan is intended to set out actions being undertaken by NHS England, Public Health England, the Department of Health, other Government Departments and stakeholder organisations involved in hearing loss. Although it will include improvements in commissioning, it will not determine individual local commissioning decisions about services.

Hospital Beds

Question

Asked by Lord Ouseley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what are the implications of changes in available social care to support hospital patients ready for discharge but having no one to look after them at home.[HL2975]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The current budget pressures are challenging. There are a number of changes in social care that address the needs of people leaving hospital including those that live alone.

The initiatives necessary to enable safe and timely discharge are included in the Operational Resilience and Capacity Planning Guidance and in the conditions for the Better Care Fund. For example they both require the National Health Service and local government to implement seven day working to facilitate timely discharge. Both require the effective engagement of the voluntary sector.

System Resilience plans and Better Care Fund plans take forward the rapid commissioning of care and support services to enable people who live alone to receive support and to recover. These place a significant emphasis on integration, making sure that vulnerable people have joined up care plans in which their own self-care is supported, and ensuring good communication and engagement of family and friends who may well

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not live with the patient. In many cases this involves collaboration with voluntary and community based networks that can provide timely voluntary assistance for people who may live alone.

The Government has provided £700 million this year to help the NHS cope with winter pressures. This funding will provide more bed space and pay for additional clinical staff, as well as measures to prevent delayed discharges of patients. A percentage of this money is being spent to secure joint health and care solutions to safe discharge. The Government has created the Better Care Fund, now worth £5.3 billion, to promote integration across health and care. Better Care Fund plans will also contribute to reduced admissions and delayed discharge. The Social Care Action fund has committed £2 million to scale up and test social action that impacts on admissions and discharge.

Human Rights

Question

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Anelay of St Johns on 20 November (HL2762), whether the substantial discussions on human rights issues with the government of Bahrain have included any discussions of the alleged use of torture; and what success the European Union has had in getting Israel to address the human rights concerns which it regularly raises. [HL3106]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): Our Ambassador in Bahrain and his team regularly discuss human rights and political reform with the Government of Bahrain at the highest levels. Most recently on 9 November, our Ambassador called for the Special Investigation Unit to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation into the death of Hasan Al-Shaikh at Bahrain’s Reformation and Rehabilitation Centre. The Government continues to work closely with the Government of Bahrain to share best practice on torture prevention measures and to address allegations of torture and mistreatment.

The EU raised human rights issues with Israel in the informal working group on human rights on 20 November and will do so again in a political dialogue on 8 December.

In Vitro Fertilisation

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, George Freeman, on 11 September (HC Deb, col 749W), whether their definition of genetic modification in the context of pronuclear transfer and spindle-chromosome complex transfer has been primarily academic or strategic in intent; what were

3 Dec 2014 : Column WA270

the internationally authoritative sources that provided the basis for their conclusion that “there is no existing universally agreed definition of genetic modification in humans”; and to what extent they consulted Lord Winston or similar experts in assessing the accuracy of their own redefinition.[HL3158]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The development of a working definition for genetic modification in humans was undertaken in order to bring clarity to the discussion around mitochondrial donation. A full transcript of the Chief Medical Officer’s views on this matter can be found at:

http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/science-and-technology-committee/mitochondrial-donation/oral/14822.html

As regards the discussions that took place in reaching this position, I refer the noble Lord to the answer given on 18 March 2014 (Column WA20).

Indonesia

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of Amnesty International's report Prosecuting Beliefs: Indonesia's blasphemy laws. [HL3089]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): We welcome Amnesty International’s report which identifies blasphemy prosecutions as a concern in Indonesia. It is positive that Indonesia’s Ministry of Religious Affairs has responded constructively to the report, stating it will look at the law again to see how it can be improved and made more relevant to modern day conditions.

The newly inaugurated Indonesian government has taken some positive steps on religious freedoms. The Minister of Religious Affairs has announced plans to develop legislation to strengthen protection to adherents of all religious beliefs. The Minister for Home Affairs is investigating how district and regional governments can better protect rights of minorities, and met representatives of a number of different minority belief groups earlier this month.

Iran

Question

Asked by The Lord Bishop of Coventry

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the ability of members of the Baha’i community in Iran to bury their dead in accordance with the rituals of their faith.[HL3103]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): The UK remains concerned over restrictions on freedom of religion in Iran. We were deeply concerned to learn of the destruction of a Baha’i cemetery in Shiraz, where approximately 950 Baha’is are buried. We continue to

3 Dec 2014 : Column WA271

call for Iran to abide by its international commitments to ensure all Iranians are free to practice their religion without fear of persecution. This includes protection of religious sites. The UK last raised our concerns about freedom of religion in Iran during our inputs in Iran’s Universal Periodic Review at the UN Human Rights Council on 31 October.

Middle East

Questions

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Israel concerning the shooting of Saleh Samer Attiyeh Mahmoud with a sponge bullet on 14 November. [HL3108]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): While our officials in Tel Aviv have not raised this specific case with the Israeli authorities, we have raised our concerns about the manner in which the Israel Defence Forces polices non-violent protests, including the use of lethal and non-lethal ammunition.

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the causes of recent violence in Jerusalem; and what action they plan to take to address those causes.[HL3109]

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: The Government is deeply concerned by the increased tensions in Jerusalem in recent weeks, in particular around the Temple Mount/Haram al Sharif. It is vital that the longstanding status quo in respect of access to and governance of the Temple Mount/Haram al Sharif be preserved. We have called on all those with influence to work together to restore calm.

Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will propose that the European Union makes adherence to the International Criminal Court a necessary condition for both Israel and Palestine in any negotiations concerning trade, tourism or visas. [HL3111]

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: It is normal practice now for the EU to seek the inclusion of a standard text on the International Criminal Court (ICC) in agreements with third countries. We would therefore expect this to be the case for any new third country agreement which the EU entered into with either Israel or the Occupied Palestinian Territories. These clauses usually require parties to agreements to assist in strengthening the position of the ICC and to respect the principles underpinning the Court but do not require membership per se. The EU has no means to compel either Israel or the Palestinians to become parties to the ICC.

3 Dec 2014 : Column WA272

Migration

Question

Asked by Lord Kilclooney

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what are the most recent figures for migration for each of the 12 months up to June 2014; how many were emigrants from the United Kingdom; how many were immigrants from the European Union; how many were immigrants from non-European Union countries; and whether the latter figure has increased compared to 12 months ago.[HL3240]

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 Nick Vaughan, Director, National Accounts & Economic Statistics for Office for National Statistics, to Lord Kilclooney, dated December 2014-12-03

In the absence of the Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question To ask Her Majesty’s Government what are the most recent figures for migration for each of the 12 months up to June 2014; how many were emigrants from the United Kingdom; how many were immigrants from the European Union; how many were immigrants from non-European Union countries; and whether the latter figure has increased compared to 12 months ago. (HL3240)

Long-term international migration estimates are published quarterly, monthly breakdowns of these estimates are not produced. These estimates are published with a margin of error that refers to the 95 per cent confidence interval and is a measure of the uncertainty associated with making inferences from a sample survey. The margins of error around central estimates are shown in brackets.

The latest (provisional) estimates published on 27 November 2014 are for the year ending June 2014. Net migration was 260,000 with a margin of error of +/-39,000.

The emigration estimate from the UK was 323,000 (+/- 22,000), of which an estimated 133,000 (+/- 13,000) were British citizens.

The immigration estimate to the UK was 583,000, with a margin of error of (+/- 32,000), of which an estimated 228,000 (+/- 23,000) were EU citizens (excluding British citizens) and 272,000 (+/- 18,000) were non-EU citizens. The estimate for non-EU citizens for the year ending June 2014 was a statistically significant increase of 30,000 compared to the estimate of 242,000 (+/- 16,000) for the year ending June 2013.

Occupied Territories

Question

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have held with Israeli ministers over the prosecution of settlers for acts of violence against Palestinians.[HL3107]

3 Dec 2014 : Column WA273

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): The Government has repeatedly raised our concerns about incidents of settler violence and intimidation with the Israeli authorities. We have stressed the importance of bringing the extremist settlers responsible to justice and of the Israel security forces providing appropriate protection to the Palestinian civilian population.

Offences Against Children

Question

Asked by Lord Harris of Haringey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the outcome of the meeting held with the NSPCC on 14 November to discuss the Serious Crime Bill. [HL2909]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Faulks) (Con): The meeting between Government officials, the Crown Prosecution Service, the Police and the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children to discuss the case for criminalising sexual communications with a child was constructive.

As my Rt Hon friend the Home Secretary indicated during Home Office oral questions on 17 November (House of Commons, official report, column 17), we will complete our consideration of the case for a new offence in good time to enable an amendment to be tabled to the Serious Crime Bill in the House of Commons should the Government decide to do so.

Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome

Questions

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 18 November (HL2640 and HL2690), whether the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has taken the advice of clinicians and professionals on the matter; why the HFEA is not able to decide on the evidence required to predict the cohort of patients that may develop ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome; and what contributions the HFEA makes to protecting women's health and safety other than referring to guidelines by other bodies or giving its assent to them.[HL2976]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what sanctions the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) imposes if women are exposed to risks of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS); to what extent the HFEA advises clinics to use “OHSS prevention” protocols; what information the HFEA collects regarding the identities and dosages of drugs that women are exposed to during in vitro fertilisation treatment; and, if such data are not collected, what is the reason for not doing so.[HL2977]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has advised that it has nothing further to add to the answer given to the noble Lord on 18 November 2014 (Official Report,

3 Dec 2014 : Column WA274

col. WA107) in respect of clinical and professional advice or the evidence required to predict the cohort of patients. The HFEA ensures that licensed clinics advise women about the possible side effects and risks both to the woman being treated and to any resulting child, including the risk of Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS). Clinics should also advise patients what to do if symptoms arise and should have an emergency contact number which patients can use at any time. Clinics are also required to report to the HFEA cases of OHSS which require a hospital admission and has a severity grading of severe or critical.

The HFEA has also advised that it regards the prevention and management of OHSS as primarily the responsibility of clinical practice and subject to professional guidelines. The HFEA does not regulate the administration of drugs and therefore does not collect such data.

Overseas Aid

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what proportion of British investment in infrastructure in warzones has subsequently been destroyed in (1) Palestine, and (2) Afghanistan, over the past five years. [HL2959]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for International Development (Baroness Northover) (LD): An assessment from the UN Relief and Works Agency indicates that nine out of thirteen schools built using DFID funding sustained damage during the recent conflict in Palestine.

To ensure maximum impact from our contribution, DFID’s infrastructure funding in Afghanistan is largely channelled through multi-donor trust funds, including the World Bank-managed Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF) and the Asian Development Bank-managed Afghanistan Infrastructure Trust Fund. There are thirty-three donors to the ARTF, making it difficult to directly attribute all infrastructure projects to specific countries. It is therefore not possible to provide figures in the form requested.

Palestinians

Questions

Asked by Baroness Deech

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment have they made of reports of suppression and harassment of journalists in Gaza and the West Bank.[HL3079]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): The British Government has not made any assessment of reports of suppression and harassment of journalists in Gaza and the West Bank.

Asked by Baroness Deech

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the Palestinian Authority through the Consulate General in Jerusalem in respect of the number of honour killings in the Palestinian Territories.[HL3080]

3 Dec 2014 : Column WA275

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: Officials from our Consulate General in Jerusalem have discussed the issue of “honour” killings with the Chief of Police and also with officials from the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO).

Asked by Baroness Deech

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the recent launch by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees of the campaign iBelong, which has the aim of ending statelessness within ten years, what representations they have made to Arab League countries concerning their policy of refusing citizenship to Palestinian refugees residing in those countries.[HL3081]

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: The UK commends the launch of the campaign iBelong by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. The UK’s longstanding position is that we support a just, fair and agreed settlement for Palestinian refugees as part of a negotiated settlement between Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. We have not made any representations on this issue.

Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme

Question

Asked by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 17 November (HL2576), whether small companies were represented in the negotiations over the new Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme at the final stages when the number of negotiators were reduced to two; and if small company representatives were removed from the final negotiations, how the interests of such companies were maintained.[HL2953]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry represented the interests of the whole United Kingdom pharmaceutical industry, including smaller companies, for the purposes of negotiating the 2014 Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme (PPRS).

The 2014 PPRS includes a number of provisions relating to smaller businesses. For example, companies with sales of health service medicines of less than £5 million a year (not counting global sales) are exempt from making any payments under the 2014 PPRS.

Planning Permission

Question

Asked by Lord Marlesford

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether planning authorities are required to notify town or parish councils of planning applications relating to their towns or parishes.[HL3002]

3 Dec 2014 : Column WA276

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon) (Con): Yes, if the council of any parish makes a request to the local planning authority that they be consulted on planning applications in their area, they must be given the opportunity to make representations about a planning application. The local planning authority must take into account any relevant representations made and notify the council of any parish of the decision.

Prisoners: Death

Question

Asked by Lord Patten

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many serving prisoners have died (1) by suicide, and (2) from natural causes, in each year from 2010 to date.[HL2986]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Faulks) (Con): The number of deaths in prison by apparent cause is published in the Safety in Custody statistical bulletin which is available at http://www.gov.uk/government/collections/safety-in-custody-statistics.

Reducing the number of self-inflicted deaths in prisons is a key priority for the Government. We are working hard to understand the reasons for the recent rise, but, as is the case in society at large, there is no simple explanation with complex and individual reasons behind any suicide.

We have dedicated resources providing support every day in prisons and have created a specialist team to help share good practice as part of our strenuous efforts to learn from each death.

Young adults are a particularly challenging and vulnerable group, and that is why we have commissioned an independent review into the deaths of 18 to 24-year-olds in prison custody.

Secure Colleges

Question

Asked by Lord Quirk

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many of the secure colleges for under-18s will be providing education at the target rate of 30 hours per week in the new contract by the end of (1) 2015, (2) 2016, and (3) 2017.[HL2983]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Faulks) (Con): The first Secure College will open in the East Midlands in 2017. This will be the first of a new generation of secure educational establishments which will put education at the heart of youth custody. If successful, it will inform our vision for the future of the youth custodial estate across England and Wales.

The Government has recently completed a public consultation on our plans for Secure College Rules. These Rules will provide the statutory framework for the effective operation of Secure Colleges. We have proposed a Rule on education which would set out a

3 Dec 2014 : Column WA277

requirement for Secure Colleges to establish a minimum of 30 hours of educational activities for young people each week. This, in addition to wider activities, will help to equip young people with the skills, qualifications and self-discipline they need to lead lives free from crime. We will respond to the consultation in due course.

Sign Language: Interpreters

Questions

Asked by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the effectiveness of the market for British Sign Language interpreters to meet the needs of the deaf community.[HL3153]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to ensure that there are enough fully qualified British Sign Language interpreters to support the needs of the deaf community.[HL3154]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Neville-Rolfe) (Con): The Department for Business Innovation and Skills supports British Sign Language (BSL) provision in England through the Adult Skills Budget (ASB). Colleges and providers have the freedom and flexibility to use the ASB as best fits the needs of their local learners and businesses. This includes BSL qualifications, for those wishing to learn for their own use or to become an interpreter.

Skills provision in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is a devolved matter and the assessment and adequacy of BSL provision is the responsibility of the devolved administrations.

Suicide

Questions

Asked by Lord Boateng

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the pattern of suicides in each of the constituent parts of the United Kingdom broken down by reference to age and gender in each of the last five years for which there are figures available; and what is their assessment of the trends.[HL2969]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what advice they have issued to National Health Service Clinical Commissioning Groups as to the impact of the Equality Act 2010 on the provision of services to men in the light of the male figures for suicide. [HL2970]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have any plans to introduce a gender-specific suicide reduction policy in the light of their statistics on the proportion of men among those committing suicide. [HL2971]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact of gender on suicide. [HL2972]

3 Dec 2014 : Column WA278

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the financial impact on families and the overall costs to the Exchequer of suicide; and what proportion of that impact is attributable to suicide by men.[HL2973]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The Government does not collect figures on, or issue policy for, suicide prevention in the devolved administrations. However the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness Annual Report of July 2014 (NCI) included a table comparing suicide rates across the United Kingdom until 2012. The findings for the five years up to 2012 from that report are shown in the following table:

Suicide rates per 100,000 of population by UK country 2008-2012:
Country/Year20082009201020112012

England

10.1

9.4

9.4

9.5

9.4

Northern Ireland

16.7

14.8

18.8

15.7

15.4

Scotland

18.1

16.3

16.6

18.9*

17.4*

Wales

11.3

10.5

11.2

11.7

12.8

Source: National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness Annual Report of July 2014.

Note: * Death coding rules changed in Scotland and rates for 2011 and 2012 are counted under these new rules. This means that overall numbers of suicides for these years are not directly comparable to previous years.

The NCI Annual Report of July 2014 also included tables on suicide rates by gender for each country of the UK. The figures for the five years up to 2012 from that report are shown in the following table:

Number of Suicides in the general population, by gender:
Country, Gender/Year20082009201020112012

England:

Male

3474

3300

3276

3402

3446

Female

1147

1041

1092

1020

958

Total

4621

4341

4368

4422

4404

Northern Ireland:

Male

203

173

229

185

190

Female

55

58

66

62

54

Total

258

231

295

247

244

Scotland:

Male

628

559

581

641 (552*)

609 (554*)

Female

213

205

201

252 (217*)

218 (195*)

Total

841

764

782

893 (769*)

827 (749*)

Wales:

Male

225

227

236

252

280

Female

79

58

67

67

68

Total

304

285

303

319

348

Source

: National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness Annual Report of July 2014.

Note:

* Indicates the number of suicides using the old death coding rules.

3 Dec 2014 : Column WA279

The NCI Annual Report of July 2014 included tables on suicide rates by certain age-groups for males in England and Scotland. The figures for the five years up to 2012 from that report are shown in the following tables:

Male suicide rates per 1000,000 population in those aged 25-34, 45-54 and 55-64 in England:
Age/Year20082009201020112012

25-34

17.2

15.8

15.2

14.9

14.2

45-54

19.3

20.5

20.3

21.8

22.6

55-64

16.6

15.7

16.1

15.2

16.4

Source

: National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness Annual Report of July 2014.

Male suicide rates per 1000,000 population in those aged 25-34, 45-54 and 65+ in Scotland:
Age/Year20082009201020112012

25-34

45.4

32.5

33.6

42.1

34.7

45-54

29.5

31.4

36.9

33.5

37.4

65 +

19.9

9.4

14.3

13.4

14.9

Source

: National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness Annual Report of July 2014.

Over the past 10 years, good progress has been made in reducing the suicide rate in England. Three-year rolling averages are generally used for monitoring purposes, in preference to single year rates, in order to avoid undue attention to year on year fluctuations instead of the underlying trend.

Suicide rates in England are low compared to other European countries and have steadily reduced, with the lowest number ever recorded in 2007, but with a small rise since then. However, around 4,500 people took their own life in 2012 so suicide continues to be a major public health issue, particularly at a time of uncertainty.

Our suicide prevention strategy, Preventing suicide in England: A cross-government outcomes strategy to save lives published in September 2012 already recognises men, particularly young and middle-aged men, as being the highest risk group for suicide.

This message was reinforced in the first annual report on the Strategy, published in January 2014, which acknowledged that ‘men aged 35-54 years are now the group with the highest suicide rate. Understanding and addressing the factors associated with suicide in men, or working to limit their negative impact, will help to reduce population suicide risks’.

Further, at the time of the first annual report Professor Louis Appleby, Director of the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness, wrote to all Directors of Public Health and Health and Wellbeing Board leads to draw the report to their attention.

We published Preventing suicide in England: Assessment of impact on equalities alongside the suicide prevention strategy. The assessment acknowledges the duty of the public sector to advance equality and reduce inequality which was established by the Equality Act 2010. Recognition of the implications for the people sharing

3 Dec 2014 : Column WA280

protected characteristics in the Equality Act 2010 was an integral part of the process of developing the suicide prevention strategy.

We also published an Impact Assessment alongside the consultation on the suicide prevention strategy in July 2011. This assessment recommends that the financial benefits of the strategy for the ‘main affected groups’, will include savings from averted emergency treatment and the involvement of police and coroner at around £2 million for a ten-year period, at an opportunity cost of around £4 million. There are also large savings from reduction in fatalities - valuation of life – at around £7 billion. Although the Impact Assessment does not apportion any of these savings to specific impact groups, the strategy’s focus on ‘high-risk’ groups would specifically include the highest risk group, men in the 35-54 year age bracket.

Syria

Question

Asked by Lord Palmer of Childs Hill

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of reports that hospitals in northern Israel have spent $10 million treating wounded Syrians; and how many of these were combatants. [HL3125]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): We are aware of patients from Syria being treated in Israeli hospitals. We have not made any assessment of how many of those being treated were combatants.

Travellers

Question

Asked by Baroness Whitaker

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what has been the outcome of the advice of the Traveller Movement representative on the Department for Work and Pensions Ethnic Minority Adviser Group on promoting access to vocational training and higher education.[HL3196]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud) (Con): The aim of the Department for Work and Pensions’ Ethnic Minority Employment Stakeholder Group (EMESG) is to offer Ministers and officials advice on the Department’s services and strategy for the employment/self-employment of ethnic minorities and minority groups.

The EMSG does not provide advice on vocational training and higher education as these issues fall outside of DWP’s responsibilities.

Unmanned Air Vehicles

Question

Asked by Lord West of Spithead

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the Birmingham Policy Commission’s report The Security Impact of Drones; and whether they will make a statement on a national policy on the use of lethal drones.[HL3117]

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The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): We have studied the Report, which is a useful contribution to discussion of issues around the use of armed drones.

The UK has repeatedly set out its policy position on the use of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS), including at the UN General Assembly and the UN Human Rights Council. The UK’s fleet of armed RPAS are operated by highly trained Royal Air Force personnel in accordance with International Humanitarian Law and UK Rules of Engagement. The same strict Rules of Engagement that govern the use of conventional manned military aircraft also apply to RPAS, this includes robust criteria on establishing positive identification and requires commanders to do everything feasible to verify that the target is a military objective. The UK believes that existing international law sufficiently covers the use of RPAS, which are subject to the same legal considerations as other weapons systems.

Veterans: Housing

Questions

Asked by Lord Rogan

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many of the bids received by the veterans accommodation fund were from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland respectively; and how many of the successful bids were projects in each of those countries.[HL2638]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when further amounts from the veterans accommodation fund will be awarded; and how much they estimate will be awarded.[HL2639]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever) (Con): As announced by my hon. Friend, the Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans (Anna Soubry) in February 2014, £40 million of LIBOR money is being allocated to the Veterans Accommodation Fund (VAF).

The table below details, by Country, the number and the outcome of bids received for the VAF.

CountryNumber of Bids ReceivedNumber of Successful Bids

England

52

10

Wales

3

2

Scotland

8

2

Northern Ireland

3

0

UK wide

3

2

Total

69

16

The Fund attracted bids totalling £163 million. Unfortunately, the limit of funding meant that a number of good projects had to be turned down. The whole £40 million VAF has now been allocated, with nine of the sixteen successful projects already announced. The complete list can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/veterans-accommodatino-fund/veterans-accommodation-fund-what-you-need-to-know-armed-forces-covenant.

3 Dec 2014 : Column WA282

There are no current plans to extend the Fund.

This Answer included the following attachment:

Armed Forces Covenant (https_www_gov_uk_government _publications_veterans-accommodati.pdf)

Written Questions

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask the Leader of the House what steps she takes to ensure the quality of answers to parliamentary questions; and what assessment she has made of the length of time taken to provide them.[HL2945]

The Lord Privy Seal (Baroness Stowell of Beeston) (Con): It is the responsibility of individual ministers to decide what answers they give to Questions for Written Answer (QWAs), and they are of course accountable to the House for those answers. That direct accountability is important: that is why Ministers in this House must provide personally signed answers to members. The Ministerial Code states that “It is of paramount importance that Ministers give accurate and truthful information to Parliament”.

As Leader of the House I have a particular responsibility to encourage Ministers and their departments to be punctual in answering written questions. My office immediately approach departments who have not responded to questions after 10 working days, and remain in contact with them until the questions are answered. At the end of this Session I will publish data on the annual performance of departments on their promptness in dealing with QWAs.

Young Offender Institutions: Employment

Question

Asked by Lord Quirk

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the view of the fact that in 2013 young people in young offender institutions were experiencing on average only 12 hours a week of purposeful activity, what progress has been made towards the 25 hours a week promised in the contract.[HL2982]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Faulks) (Con): The Government is placing education at the heart of youth custody to equip young offenders with the skills, qualifications and self-discipline they need to build a life free from crime and become productive, hardworking members of the community.

As part of the Transforming Youth Custody Programme a competition is underway for new education contracts in directly managed young offender institutions which will more than double existing education provision and enable the delivery of at least 30 hours per week of education, integrated into a wider rehabilitative regime. The contracts will commence in spring 2015. This, in addition to wider provision of purposeful activity will help to equip young people of the skills, qualifications and self discipline they need to lead lives free from crime.