Finally let me touch on the BBC and its future. I must, of course, declare an interest here, but I speak not just as a broadcaster but as someone who has been educated, entertained and enlightened by the BBC. Several noble Lords, especially Conservative Peers, mentioned this week their pride, which I share, in your Lordships’ record of scrutiny and improvement in this Chamber, and urged the Government not to overreact to constructive criticism in this place. I would say that, inevitably, parties in power, of whatever hue, are going to feel got at by an organisation such as the BBC if its journalists are doing their job properly in reporting the workings of Westminster, as we are charged with doing our job of scrutiny—but not, in the final analysis, of obstruction—in this Chamber. From my vantage point, I see and feel the huge cuts that have been made in the BBC. Many arts programmes have been cut to the bone. The noble Lord, Lord Hall, in his role as director-general of the BBC, is gradually turning this huge vessel in the right direction, but it cannot be done overnight. So I would counsel Ministers and the Government to tread carefully and sensitively when looking at the licence fee. Once lost, valuable and much-loved aspects of public service broadcasting, not available anywhere else, will, I fear, be very hard to retrieve.

9.04 pm

Lord Brooke of Alverthorpe (Lab): My Lords, I welcome the new Health Ministers, the noble Lord, Lord Prior, and, in her absence, the noble Baroness, Lady Chisholm. I wish them well. I wish them good health and that they will be able to improve the health of the nation in their new roles. I hope that they will seek to apply to themselves and, in particular, to their senior officials the statutory duty of candour for the NHS which the Secretary of State introduced in the previous Parliament.

Notwithstanding that, and the unsuccessful attempts of some of us parliamentarians to gain public access to the official activities of former Health Minister Andrew Lansley in the run-up to the Health and Social Care Act 2012, it was pleasing to hear in the Recess that the High Court had ruled that there should after all be disclosure. In doing so, Mr Justice Charles said that the two senior civil servants were “unimpressive” witnesses and concluded that their evidence had fallen,

“way below the standards that the public and the FTT are entitled to expect of government departments and senior civil servants in advancing public interest arguments”.

So if the Minister cannot answer me this evening, I would be grateful if he would subsequently write to tell me whether the Government have decided to submit a further appeal or are willing to accept the judgment and go public. I hope that they will go public; then we can put this behind us and it will be the end of the episode. In future, though, when we talk about candour it should apply right across the board, not just to civil servants but to government Ministers. Looking at the noble Lord, Lord Prior, I am sure that he will endeavour to ensure that.

Having got that off my chest, I welcome the Government’s commitment in the gracious Speech to implement the National Health Service’s own five-year plan. My health interest is mainly in public health

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policy, well-being and lifestyle. I focus particularly, as many noble Lords will know, on the health problems arising from alcohol abuse. The NHS five-year plan calls for,

“a radical upgrade in prevention and public health”,

and specifically calls for,

“hard-hitting national action on obesity, smoking and alcohol”.

More recently, the NHS CEO, Simon Stevens, has stated that obesity is now becoming a bigger killer than smoking. That must be of huge concern to all of us, particularly to the Government as they continue to struggle to get public spending and the deficit under control. It is true that the coalition made some progress on those items, but in one area, obesity—and they could not point to the Labour Government prior to them failing—they failed badly. All the records indicate that during the period of the coalition being in power, the waists and weight of the nation grew, and obesity expanded. That needs to be reversed. It is now one of the major health issues facing us, and over the course of the coming months I will be looking to see just what the Government intend to do to address this problem.

I make the point that the problem arises not solely from food, as many people seem to believe, or from a lack of exercise, but also from drinking alcohol. Alcohol is a significant but generally unrecognised and unknown contributor to obesity. Most alcoholic drinks contain sugar, some in very large amounts indeed. A relatively small number of producers and distributors show calories on their product labels, but most do not—and few, if any, show the sugar content. Noble Lords may think that this is a relatively minor or indeed trivial issue but I do not; I believe that it is one of several factors on which action needs to be taken to start to improve the nation’s health, particularly with regard to obesity.

It worries me that so far the Government have not been able to get any movement on this front. I have been chasing them on it for five years. We have had some retailers making changes voluntarily, but the overwhelming bulk of them still do not show anything in this area. It worries me that if the Government cannot resolve relatively minor or trivial issues, as some people refer to them, what chance is there that they will face up to the really tough decisions that they will have to take in respect of obesity, given their failure to move on the smaller topics?

I shall give the House an example of where the Government ran away from taking a tough decision in the last Parliament: minimum unit pricing. The drinks industry itself, however, knows that pricing works. That is why it lobbied the Chancellor so aggressively before the last Budget, a couple of months ago. The industry lobbied for a freeze or reduction in excise duties and won—and it is very pleased indeed with the out-turn from that, because it means that it will be able to maintain or increase its market share and sales.

However, when it comes to the Government introducing minimum unit pricing to reduce the sale of alcohol, the industry pretends not to be convinced of the case and the evidence that it would work. On the one hand we have the industry itself, which knows that it works, and on the other hand the Government are still

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unconvinced. I put it to the Minister that he needs to address this topic early on. Alcohol affects people’s health in a whole range of areas, as well as obesity. I am patron of the British Liver Trust, and we have seen in recent years that liver disease and deaths caused by it have been increasing, and there is a whole range of other topics where health is affected by alcohol. However, this evening I am speaking in particular about our major problem of obesity.

Given that the five-year plan and the CEO of the NHS have been so specific about the urgent need to tackle this issue, and that past policies—certainly over the last five years—have failed, can the Minister say when he will come to the public and to the House to set out the programme that now needs to be implemented, to truly start to tackle the fundamental problems that arise which relate to obesity, certainly on the drinks side, but also in other areas, including food? We need to see a truly hard-hitting programme put in place that we can all come together around, to make sure that we can reduce the number of deaths that are likely to arise in the future, and in turn reduce the costs that arise for the National Health Service.

9.11 pm

Lord Storey (LD): My Lords, there is much in the gracious Speech that we on these Benches welcome: the mention of social care, apprentices, child protection and, of course, childcare provision. On childcare provision, however, it is not just about the extra resources or extra finance; it is also about the quality of that provision. But we need to look closely at the financing issues as well. We also welcome the proposals on adoption, which further develop the coalition’s Children and Families Act. Various people have been praised. We should not forget the incredible work that Sarah Teather did on that particular legislation.

Every child deserves only the best education that we can provide. As I have said on many occasions before, a pupil cannot repeat a year or a subject, so the professionalism and quality of teachers is paramount, and the leadership of those schools is hugely important. I hope we will see the coalition’s proposals for a college of teachers taken forward by this Government.

We all want our children not only to get the best from their schooling but to achieve the best. We used to extol the virtues of the Finnish system when worrying about our position in the PISA international league tables but in Finland, of course, they do not have league tables or an endless battery of tests. Children start formal schooling at seven-plus and, most importantly, teachers are qualified to the highest standards, having to have a master’s degree. We seem to have gone instead for a sort of Asian model of name and shame, and constant testing and league tables. Sometimes I hark back to a time when children could enjoy their childhood and their schooling. The model of a top-down approach to education, with continual testing and targets—brought to us by a Labour Government—is stifling learning and creativity.

I am delighted that the noble Lord, Lord Nash, has decided to stay on, and I am sure that in education matters he will bring his inclusive and constructive approach to this House. He said that the new Education

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and Adoption Bill will speed up the academy programme, with up to a further 1,000 schools in England being turned into academies. He also said that the legislation will sweep away bureaucratic and legal loopholes, which includes consultation with parents. Heaven forbid that parents dare to have a view. What happened to the Conservative view of listening and trusting parents? Will the Minister say why parents should not be consulted on whether a school should become an academy?

The onward march of academisation will continue apace, so at the end of this Parliament we will be left, presumably, with a small rump of excellent, non-coasting maintained schools. If the new-found freedoms and financial rewards enjoyed by academies are so beneficial and pupils thrive so much more, I wonder—tongue in cheek—why it does not make sense to make all secondary schools academies, rather than endlessly chipping away at the maintained sector, which cannot be good for the morale of governors, teachers and parents.

Primary education should remain part of the local community and part of the maintained sector. Some of our academy chains have become bigger, in terms of the number of schools, than the smaller local authorities. Sir Michael Wilshaw is right to say that, like local authorities, these academy chains should be subject to inspection, and their finances regularly audited and made available for public and parental scrutiny.

As a number of noble Lords have mentioned, the BBC is a jewel in our nation’s cultural crown: it is the engine of innovation. In partnership with its commercial broadcasters, it provides a service that is the envy of the world. When listening in the last Parliament to the debate on soft power, I was taken with how many times the BBC was mentioned. I am sure that the review will be genuine, and not an attempt to emasculate Auntie. Can the Minister look at whether the money that was top-sliced for the ill-fated local TV could be used by the BBC? Why do we need to have a charter review every 10 years? Leaving the BBC to the whim of a particular Government cannot be a good thing.

My noble friend Lord Lee of Trafford raised the important issue of tourism. As he rightly pointed out, it creates 9% of our GDP, and has created a third of the new jobs that have been created. Indeed, my own city was turned round by tourism.

My noble friend Lady Tyler, along with other noble Lords, raised the issue of mental health. Three children in every classroom suffer from a diagnosable mental health problem. As with so many areas of education and health, early intervention is crucial. If we detect and treat early on mental health problems that children are facing, they do not become severe, chronic or life-threatening later on. Half of adults with mental health problems have the symptoms by the age of 14, yet there is often little urgency in getting a child into treatment or getting support. Would we tolerate such a response with other health issues? Of course we would not. Families and schools should not have to battle for weeks or even months to get treatment. The notion that teachers are not able to identify such conditions is shocking. If every teacher, as part of their professional training and development, had mental

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health awareness training, just imagine the impact on the lives of those children, the benefit it would bring to society as a whole, and the savings made in scarce NHS resources.

9.18 pm

Baroness Jones of Whitchurch (Lab): My Lords, I should like to thank all noble Lords who have spoken in today’s excellent debate, and I apologise in advance that time will not allow me to reference them all individually. I should also like to welcome the noble Lords, Lord Nash and Lord Freud, back to the Dispatch Box. I look forward to some robust debates in the months to come.

It was not so long ago that the noble Lord, Lord Nash, was claiming that the Children and Families Bill was the first, and the last, education Bill that he would steer through this House. He has obviously decided that he enjoys it rather more than he, and we, thought. And who would have thought that the noble Lord, Lord Freud, would still be occupying the welfare brief? His defence of the bedroom tax and of the previous welfare cuts has surely led him to be branded the most unpopular Minister in the Lords. He obviously has a thicker skin than we ever imagined. The £12 billion of welfare cuts to which the Government are now committed risks making the noble Lord and his Secretary of State, I regret, even more unpopular.

A number of noble Lords have raised concerns today about the scale of the planned welfare cuts. The cuts already identified—freezing the level of working-age benefit for two years, disqualifying most 18 to 21 year-olds from claiming housing benefit, and reducing the household benefit cap from £26,000 to £23,000—will raise only an estimated £1.5 billion. We all want to know where the remaining £10.5 billion will come from.

What we can anticipate is that the cuts will disproportionately hit the poor, the young, the sick and the disabled. There will undoubtedly be a rise in the level of child poverty, a further decline in living standards for the poorest and further demands on the good will of food banks. Can the Minister clarify how these further monumental cuts will be decided? Will there be a detailed analysis of need before any further steps are taken? Will the charities working on the front line with these groups be properly consulted, and will the proposals be piloted before they are rolled out universally?

Another area where the sums do not add up is the health proposals. Again, sadly, the Government have some form on this. A number of noble Lords have referred to this matter: the subjecting of the NHS to a massively bureaucratic reorganisation while, at the same time, patient services have deteriorated. As we heard, it is harder than ever to see your GP; the number of patients waiting for more than four hours in A&E has quadrupled; the number waiting longer than 62 days for cancer treatment has nearly doubled; and the number waiting more than 18 weeks for an operation has more than doubled.

Meanwhile, the Government have pledged to find an extra £8 billion for the NHS by 2020, and obviously that is to be welcomed. However, as my noble friend Lord Hunt made clear, the NHS needs these resources

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immediately. Therefore, can the noble Lord give an indication of the likely budget increases in the coming year and future years to address the growing pressures on these services? Further, does he accept the point that was very well made in the debate today—that the funding needs to be focused on social care as much as on healthcare? Does he also accept that the Government’s plans for a seven-day NHS are simply not credible without extra resources and an urgent plan to address the workforce shortages, particularly the supply of trained GPs and consultants, and, equally importantly, to reverse the cuts in training places for nursing staff?

Another area where a lack of properly trained and qualified staff threatens to derail the Government’s proposals is childcare. Obviously, we welcome plans to extend childcare, and we had our own plans in our manifesto for a more radical extension of childcare. However, the fact is that since 2010 there are more than 40,000 fewer childcare places, and six in 10 councils do not have enough childcare available for working families. Therefore, increasing childcare entitlement without tackling the supply side does not make sense. How will the Government address the concerns of the Pre-School Learning Alliance and others that the current childcare subsidy system is being provided at a loss and is simply not sustainable in the longer term? How will the Government’s proposals address the education inequalities that start in the early years and are currently exacerbated as children progress year on year through school? Perhaps the noble Lord can tell us how we can ensure that the necessary quality resources are targeted at very young children of preschool age.

We also look forward to debating the new schools Bill later this year. We agree that new interventions are needed to address coasting schools, and we should not tolerate underperformance. However, my noble friends have rightly raised concerns about the disadvantages of having a monolithic school structure and the need for a better evidence base of what works.

We also recognise that raising standards requires a strong focus on the quality of classroom teaching, support for head teachers, greater collaboration between schools at a local level and more devolution of decision-making and oversight to a local level. Can the noble Lord the Minister reassure us that in future the Government will stop demonising the teaching profession, which is having the effect of driving good teachers out of the profession and is exacerbating the staff shortages that already exist? Does he also agree that the funding of new schools should be prioritised in areas currently facing shortages of school places?

Finally, my noble friend Lord Hunt highlighted the glaring absence of policies on culture in the Queen’s Speech. Again, a number of references have been made to this. There is so much to be said and done, given its importance to our economy, heritage and well-being.

One area where we know that action will need to be taken is the review of the BBC licence fee. I very much hope that the disparaging remarks made by some of the Minister’s colleagues during the election are not a foretaste of things to come. A number of noble Lords raised the fantastic contribution of the BBC to British

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culture and soft power in the world. I very much hope that the review will recognise that the BBC delivers high-quality services and programmes for everyone in the country and, indeed, brings the nation together. It is a vital part of our creative industries’ success story. In this sprit, could the noble Lord, Lord Freud, confirm that there will be a widespread consultation among viewers and listeners before any changes are made?

We look forward to scrutinising the government Bills with duty and diligence in the coming months. The Prime Minister has adopted the mantle of one nation and this will be a useful tool for us against which to measure future detailed proposals as they come forward. In this spirit, I very much look forward to hearing the noble Lord’s response this evening.

9.26 pm

The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud) (Con): My Lords, among the many excellent contributions this evening, I was heartened most by that from the noble Lord, Lord Stone of Blackheath. His description of the impact of mindfulness training on many Peers means, as I understand him, that their kindliness has increased. Therefore, I am expecting a much warmer ride in Oral Questions in future—except perhaps from the noble Baroness, Lady Jones.

I will begin with the Full Employment and Welfare Benefits Bill, which is a necessary and important part of the Government’s commitment to ensure that it pays to work rather than to rely on benefits, and to deliver fairness to the taxpayer while continuing to provide support for those in greatest need. The noble Lord, Lord Touhig, made a point about the anti-poverty impacts around lowering the benefit cap. The cap has had the effect of increasing the incentive to work. Where we have already introduced it, capped households were 41% more likely to move into work than a comparable group—and work clearly is the key route out of poverty.

Many noble Lords referenced welfare reform and the cuts. The noble Lords, Lord Hunt and Lord Kirkwood, my noble friend Lord Fowler, and the noble Baronesses, Lady Pitkeathley and Lady Thomas, all asked where the cuts will come from. Clearly, as all noble Lords know perfectly well, I am not in a position to tell them that. We are looking at how to make those savings and will set out those savings when the work is complete.

The noble Lord, Lord Kirkwood, raised the issue of universal credit. He has understood that important reform more, I think, than virtually any other noble Lord here. He said that he would like it go faster. I have promised in the past to make sure that I communicate what is happening with universal credit to noble Lords and I am just looking for the right way to do that. It is the most important reform that we have seen in this area, not just for a generation but for some generations. Therefore, it is important that this House understands it, and I will make sure that that is done to the fullest of my ability.

The noble Lord, Lord Morris, talked about welfare helping people to obtain personal independence. As my noble friend Lady Stedman-Scott said, we need to

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ensure that work always pays. Indeed, research on universal credit has already found that people who are on that benefit enter work more rapidly and earn more than do their JSA equivalents.

The noble Lord, Lord Hunt, asked whether enough funding would be available for discretionary housing payments. Total payments remain at more than £100 million, which is six times their level at the beginning of the coalition Government. Mid-year returns showed that the majority of local authorities were spending below the 50% level: that is, below the full amount that they could.

Both the noble Lord, Lord Hutton, and the noble Lord, Lord Kirkwood, gave some interesting food for thought to my new colleague, my noble friend Lady Altmann, who I think is sitting on the Front Bench for the first time. Your Lordships can imagine how pleased I am to have a colleague of her calibre covering this important part of DWP responsibility. She will be thinking about those comments from the noble Lord, Lord Hutton, in particular, who has direct experience in this area, and I know that she is grateful for the support that has been given to the reforms that the last Government brought in.

On financial and digital inclusion, referred to by the noble Lord, Lord Kirkwood, we are working hard with local authorities and relevant charities to ramp up both of those, and clearly we have had a breakthrough with the deal between the Treasury and the banks to ensure that safe basic bank accounts are available to all universal credit claimants. We are still working with credit unions—it has been a big programme—to make sure that they are in a position to deliver low-cost credit to those who need it.

Let me turn to the Childcare Bill. A number of noble Lords queried who would be eligible for the new benefit, would it support those who could afford it already, and would it be targeted at the most vulnerable—the noble Baroness, Lady Jones, asked whether it would be targeted at the youngest. There were questions, too, from the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Durham and the noble Baroness, Lady Tyler. We will consult on detailed eligibility criteria, and this information will be available in due course. We want the scheme to be as simple as possible for both providers and parents. Children from disadvantaged backgrounds are able to access their 15 hours of entitlement early at the age of two, and lower-income families also receive support through working tax credits, which will increase through universal credit.

The right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Durham asked a rather direct question about why we are forcing parents to work. We know that childcare costs can be high. We want to help make childcare more affordable for families and to make it easier for parents to return to work if that is what they choose to do.

On the living wage, the market is more than 80% privately run, and it is for those businesses to decide what to pay employees in a competitive labour market. However, I can assure the right reverend Prelate that, according to the 2013 providers survey, the average

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hourly wage in full-day care nurseries rose by 7% between 2011 and 2013 to £8.40, which is above the UK living wage of £7.85.

The Education and Adoption Bill will ensure that all children have the opportunity to attend a good school. It provides powers for us to intervene to secure swift action in schools that are not providing children with a high quality of education and that cannot demonstrate the capacity to improve. There was a challenge from the noble Baroness, Lady Morris, and the noble Lord, Lord Griffiths, who asked, essentially: why academies? Sponsored academies have played a significant role over many years in improving many failing and underperforming schools. The evidence has shown that schools in sponsored academy arrangements improve their performance faster than maintained schools. The Government greatly appreciate the work of my noble friend Lord Lingfield to create the Institution for Further Education, and we look forward to its continued growth and development.

The same two noble Lords asked about how we will deal with failing academies. We want all schools to be good or outstanding, and this includes academies. Where an academy underperforms we shall take swift action to tackle this. Decision-making has been devolved to a regional level through eight regional schools commissioners, critically supported by outstanding head teachers.

As to the question raised by the noble Lords, Lord Hunt and Lord Storey, about removing consultation on academy conversions, there comes a point when children’s education has to be paramount—and we are talking here about schools that have been failing children for years.

The noble Lord, Lord Hunt, asked about centralising education. Systems across the globe are shifting power and responsibility to leaders of education and the Government’s education policies effectively embody that trend. We believe that education professionals know best and that is why we have appointed the eight regional schools commissioners.

The noble Lord, Lord Touhig, and the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Norwich asked about the role of diocesan schools. Church schools and academies play a crucial role in the education system and we will, of course, engage with the church and other faith groups as the Bill progresses. As to the point raised by the noble Baroness, Lady Jones, new school places will be a priority in areas of need.

The noble Lords, Lord Addington and Lord Storey, asked about the training of teachers for pupils with special educational needs and mental health needs. It is vital that there is appropriate training for those working with children with those needs. That is why we have developed specialist resources for initial teacher training, funded development of the SEND Gateway online portal, funded 11,000 new SENCOs, funded 1,000 staff to take postgraduate qualifications, and supported the highly successful Achievement for All approach.

The noble Lord, Lord Kirkham, asked about the need to create well-rounded pupils. Clearly excellent teachers already do that. Our Character Innovation Fund is an example of this support. As to the related

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issue raised by the noble Baroness, Lady McIntosh, and the noble Lords, Lord Bragg and Lord Berkeley, about the role of arts subjects, our new progress 8 performance will, from next year, further incentivise schools to offer arts subjects at key stage 4.

As to the Government’s commitment to ensuring that everyone can get the care they need seven days a week in their hospital services, our priority is to ensure that the services which patients might need urgently are available seven days a week and that hospital patients get the same standard of care on any day of the week. We are still working with NHS England and others on the detail of this implementation.

A number of noble Lords raised the issue of funding, including the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, and the noble Baronesses Lady Jones, Lady Emerton, Lady Tyler and Lady Walmsley. I thank the noble Baroness, Lady Finlay, for her support for our commitment to invest at least £8 billion to implement the NHS’s own vision for the next five years. This sets out plans for delivering seven-day services where it will make a clinical difference to outcomes. The exact budget for future years will be determined in the spending review, taking account of our ambitions to achieve the best possible care for everyone whenever they need it.

As to the other points on the NHS, the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, and the noble Baroness, Lady Emerton, asked about the spend on agency staff. We agree that this requires urgent action. Last year, the total agency bill was £3.3 billion, which would pay for every one of the 22 million accident and emergency attendees last year. We have ordered a clampdown as part of a package of tough new financial constraints to cut down waste in the NHS, including setting a maximum hourly rate for agency doctors and nurses, banning agencies that are not improved and setting a cap on total agency staff for each NHS trust.

My noble friend Lord Fowler asked about alternative methods of funding. A review of evidence has been gathered. It was included in the comprehensive review by Derek Wanless a few years ago. It showed that general taxation is the most fair and efficient method. Indeed, evidence suggested that other systems seemed likely to prove more costly. The noble Baroness, Lady Walmsley, mentioned the English-Welsh border. I assure her that Welsh residents are able to access primary care services in England on the same basis as English residents.

We will continue to take mental health as seriously as physical health, and to hold the NHS to account for achieving the objectives set out in the NHS mandate; that is, to ensure that mental and physical health conditions are given equal priority. A number of noble Lords, including the noble Baronesses, Lady Masham, Lady Tyler, Lady Hollins and Lady McIntosh, the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, and the noble Lord, Lord Stone, asked what we are doing for mental health sufferers. We are providing significant additional investment of £1.25 billion over the next five years to boost the mental health of children and young people, and investing more than £120 million to introduce for the first time waiting time standards for mental health. We will also trial the collocation of IAPT staff in jobcentres to help improve health unemployment

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outcomes. The Department of Health and the DWP are working together to explore innovative ways to improve employment and health outcomes for people with common mental health problems. This year, 75% of people who need psychological therapies will be able to access treatment within six weeks and 95% within 18 weeks.

We recognise that mental health support and care for offenders and those in prison can be improved, which is why various departments—including the Department of Health and the Ministry of Justice as well as NHS England, NOMS and Public Health England—are working together to reconfigure services so that mental health needs are identified and to ensure that a range of services are available to support the mental health needs of prisoners and to prevent them escalating. The noble Baroness, Lady Hollins, asked about learning disabilities. We expect to publish a response to our consultation in the autumn.

The noble Lord, Lord Hunt, mentioned integrating health and social care. With the £5.3 billion better care fund we are finally doing what has long been talked about but never delivered: joining up the two systems. It is vital that we make systematic changes in a way that is safe. We therefore cannot demand them overnight but will ensure that we build on the progress that local areas have made to date. The noble Lord and the noble Baroness, Lady Emerton, asked about the regulation of plastic surgery. The Department of Health is working closely with stakeholders to implement recommendations from the Keogh review. The Royal College of Surgeons has set up a speciality committee to look at standards for training and certification of cosmetic surgeons. Health Education England is developing standards of qualifications for non-surgical interventions such as dermal fillers.

The noble Baronesses, Lady Walmsley, Lady Emerton, Lady Campbell and Lady Jones, asked about nurse training. For 2015-16, Health Education England has increased the number of adult nursing training places and there has been a growth over the past two years of 13.6%. However, we recognise that more can be done and we will continue to ensure that we recruit and retain the staff we need to deliver health and social care for the future.

There was a question about the professional accountability Bill. I recognise the disappointment expressed by the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, and the noble Baronesses, Lady Emerton and Lady Walmsley, that there is no Bill on this issue in the Queen’s Speech. However, the Government have been clear about their commitment to take forward the recommendations made by the Law Commission on this issue and to bringing forward legislation as soon as parliamentary time allows.

I shall pick up the points made by the noble Lords, Lord Sharkey and Lord Giddens. The total budget for the National Institute for Health Research for 2014-15 is more than £1 billion. Further funding will be subject to the spending review this year, so that is a slightly standard response on questions of money.

I turn now to the subject of the BBC. The noble Lord, Lord Hunt, asked whether we will reduce the BBC’s budget. All aspects of the BBC, including how

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it is funded, are up for debate as part of the charter review. This is one of many issues that will need to be looked at. The charter agreement, including the level of the licence fee required to deliver on the BBC’s public purpose, will be reviewed before the end of 2016. On the issue of the decriminalisation of non-payment of the licence fee raised by the noble Lords, Lord Hunt and Lord Bragg, the open, independent and evidence-based review into TV licence payment enforcement is due to report to the Secretary of State by the end of this month, and until that review is completed we should make no presumptions about its conclusions. A number of noble Lords, including the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Norwich and the noble Lords, Lord Hunt and Lord Storey, talked about the value of the BBC. I can assure them that this will be borne in mind in the context of the forthcoming charter review.

The noble Lord, Lord Hunt, talked about the funding disparity in the arts between London and the regions. In the current financial year, 55% of Arts Council England’s national portfolio funding will go to organisations outside London. The noble Lord, Lord

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Bragg, emphasised how valuable the arts are. The Government agree with this policy and it is being continued through, for instance, the cultural elements of the northern powerhouse, the new Factory theatre in Manchester and the designation of Hull as the UK City of Culture for 2017. I also share the noble Lord’s view on the importance of the arts in schools, which is why the last Government invested funds in cultural education and music hubs.

The noble Lord, Lord Lee, asked about investment in tourism. My new ministerial colleagues are closely focused on tourism and will reduce the barriers faced by the industry in line with our manifesto commitments.

The noble Baroness, Lady Kidron, raised issues around young people online. I commend the noble Baroness’s work and agree with her on the importance of empowering children to make the best use of the internet, and I will ask colleagues across government to look at the Schillings report in more detail.

Debate adjourned until tomorrow.

House adjourned at 9.48 pm.