Enforcement of The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 is a matter for Trading Standards and any consumers with concerns should approach their local authority’s Trading Standards or Citizens Advice via their helpline which is 03454 040506.

Tickets: Fraud

Question

Asked by Baroness Heyhoe Flint

To ask Her Majesty’s Government , further to the remarks by Baroness Neville-Rolfe during the Report Stage of the Consumer Rights Bill on 19 November that “there is fraud in the ticket market; we do not dispute the numbers quoted from the National Fraud Authority on this. In this case of ticket fraud, it reports £1.5 billion of losses” (HL Deb, col 489), whether they intend to take action in the Bill to address the scale of fraud on consumers, in particular sports, music, theatre and entertainment fans.[HL3648]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Neville-Rolfe) (Con): There is existing legislation in place to protect fans, as consumers, when they buy tickets. The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 and the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 ensure consumers are given key information before they buy from a trader.

These Regulations exist alongside the Fraud Act 2006 which encompasses frauds involving tickets.

Whilst we do not believe that further legislation is required on the specific issue of ticket fraud, the Government is reflecting on the best way to respond to the debate on tickets during Lords Report Stage of the Consumer Rights Bill.

Unmanned Air Vehicles

Question

Asked by Lord Chidgey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how long it will take to procure an armed long-range anti-submarine warfare system and maritime surveillance capability, based on an unmanned aircraft, following the completion of the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review.[HL3799]

6 Jan 2015 : Column WA219

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever) (Con): Analysis conducted to date suggests that unmanned systems will not be able to provide an armed, long-range, anti-submarine warfare capability in the near to medium term.

Vending Machines

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had with the vending machine industry regarding the introduction of new coins and the costs to business it may entail.[HL3713]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton) (Con): The Government launched a public consultation on 12 September 2014, which focused on the impacts to industry of introducing a new, highly secure £1 coin in 2017. The consultation process ran until 21 November 2014 and included discussions with a wide range of industry stakeholders. The Government is currently analysing the responses to the consultation and will respond in due course.

Veterans: Housing

Question

Asked by Lord Rogan

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Astor of Hever on 3 December (HL2639), when and how the outstanding balance of the £100 million veterans accommodation fund will be awarded.[HL3443]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever) (Con): I believe the noble Lord is referring to the £40 million Veterans Accommodation Fund as announced by my hon. Friend, the Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans, in February 2014.

As I advised in the answer I gave on 3 December 2014 (Official Report, column WA282) the entire £40 million has now been allocated. Twelve of the projects have already been announced and these are detailed in the table below.

Delivery OrganisationProject TitleFunding Agreed

Veterans Aid

Refurbishment and extension to Veterans Aid hostel

£3 million

Haig Housing Trust

Haig Housing Trust Morden and Edinburgh Infill Project

£8.6 million

Royal Naval Benevolent Trust

Pembroke House Care & Nursing Home Window Replacement

£112,270

Stoll

Refurbishment of Bathrooms for Disabled Veterans at Stoll

£246,199

6 Jan 2015 : Column WA220

Royal British Legion

Maurice House Dementia Wing

£2,556,705

First Choice Housing Association

Veterans Accommodation Pathway (Wales and the Borders)

£2.268 million

Blind Veterans UK

Life Skills for Independent Living

£1.25 million

RAF Benevolent Fund

Kitchen and Garden Adaptations for Use by Wheelchair-Dependent, Lifetime Disabled Veterans

£400,000

Riverside ECHG

Colchester Veterans Accommodation Pathway

£6 million

RBLI

Project LIBOR

£1.950 million

Erskine

Erskine Lighting Project

£550,000

Stoll/Riverside ECHG/Haig Housing Trust

The Aldershot Veterans Accommodation Pathway

£8.5 million

The remainder will be announced in due course.

Vocational Guidance

Question

Asked by Lord Storey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government , further to the statement by the Secretary of State for Education, Nicky Morgan MP, on 10 December (HC Deb, cols 891–3), what was the tendering process for the transformation of the National Careers Service into the proposed National Careers Company. [HL3841]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash) (Con): The new careers and enterprise company that my Rt hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, announced on 10 December will not replace the National Careers Service. The National Careers Service does a different job. The new company will not itself be a direct delivery organisation. It will work closely with the National Careers Service, which will continue to support adults and young people and help the company bring employers and schools together, and it will work with a wide range of other organisations.

Welfare Assistance Schemes

Question

Asked by Baroness King of Bow

To ask Her Majesty’s Government which organisations responded to the consultation on Local Welfare Assistance funding published on 10 October.[HL3877]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon) (Con): The Government will publish a summary of responses that have been received, early in 2015.

6 Jan 2015 : Column WA221

Work Experience

Question

Asked by Lord Storey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to encourage and support the remuneration of internships.[HL3766]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire (LD): The term “intern” is not defined in any legislation: entitlement to the minimum wage depends on whether or not an individual is a worker. If an internship meets the legal definition of a worker, then they must be paid at least the minimum wage from the start. Given the dependency on employment status, it is vital that employers and workers understand how this is determined.

Last November, the Minister for Employment Relations launched a series of posters and an information video alongside 200 letters to employers to increase awareness of employers’ and interns’ rights and responsibilities in relation to the National Minimum Wage. This was followed by a Facebook campaign. The Facebook messages reached 160,000 young people and HMRC are currently evaluating the impact of the letters sent to employers.

In addition, complaints from interns about non-payment of the minimum wage are prioritised by HMRC for investigation and HMRC will investigate every complaint made to the Pay and Work Rights Helpline. Any worker who believes that they are being paid below the minimum wage should call the helpline on 0800 917 2368.

Determining an individual’s employment status can be complicated; this is why the Business Secretary announced a review of employment status in October this year, to help ensure an employment status framework in the UK that meets the needs of everyone. This is an internal review and will present findings to Ministers early next year.

World War I: Debts

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what arrangements they are making to repay outstanding

6 Jan 2015 : Column WA222

debt from the First World War; and to whom the repayments will be made.[HL3432]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton) (Con): The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, announced on 3 December that the Government will redeem 3½% War Loan, thus repaying the vast majority of the nation’s First World War debt. The Chancellor also announced that the Government will adopt a strategy to remove the other remaining undated gilts in the government’s debt portfolio, some of which have origins going back to the eighteenth century, where it is deemed value for money to do so.

This announcement followed the Government’s decision on 31 October to redeem the much smaller 4% Consolidated Loan, the first planned repayment of an undated gilt of this kind by government for 67 years. The Debt Management Office also announced on 17 December that 3½% Conversion Loan would be redeemed on 1 April 2015. After these redemptions, none of the £2.2bn worth of First World War debt currently in the government’s debt portfolio will remain.

The Treasury will redeem the outstanding £1.9 billion of debt from 3½% War Loan on Monday 9 March 2015, and the 4% Consolidated Loan will be redeemed on 1 February 2015.

The repayments on this debt will go to the holders of these bonds. The Treasury does not hold detailed information on the identity of organisations or individuals who own gilts, however information on sectoral holdings of gilts is published on a quarterly basis by the Office for National Statistics. The latest information on the breakdown of gilt holdings by sector, including a breakdown of non-UK resident holders of gilts by foreign central banks and other non-residents, is published by the ONS in Section 5.2.10 of its quarterly United Kingdom Economic Accounts publication.

We are only able to take this action today thanks to the difficult decisions that this government has taken to get a grip on the public finances. The fact that we will no longer have to pay the relatively high rate of interest on these gilts means that most important of all, this decision represents great value for money for the taxpayer.