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Written Answers

Volume 688: debated on Thursday 18 January 2007

Written Answers

Thursday 18 January 2007

Animal Welfare

asked Her Majesty's Government:

When secondary legislation consequential on the Animal Welfare Act 2006 will be laid before Parliament. [HL1246]

The table below outlines in full our intended timetable for the introduction of secondary legislation under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

Issue

Proposed timetable

Mutilations

Regulations by April 2007 (to be introduced at same time as Act comes into force)

Tail Docking

Regulations by April 2007 (to be introduced at same time as Act comes into force)

Racing Greyhounds

Regulations by 2008

Pet Fairs

Regulations by 2008

Primates as Pets

Code of practice by 2008

Wild Animals in Circuses

Regulations by 2008

Cat Code

Code of practice by 2008

Dog Code

Code of practice by 2008

Pet Shops

Regulations and possible code of practice by 2008

Game Birds

Draft code of practice by end 2008 coming into force 2009

Animal (dog & cat) Boarding

No commitment*

Tethering of horses

No commitment*

Riding Schools

No commitment*

Livery Yards

No commitment*

Animal Sanctuaries

No commitment*

Performing Animals

No commitment*

*These regulations and codes will be introduced as soon as possible in line with available resources. Bringing any other issues forward may have a detrimental effect where commitments have already been given.

Anti-social Behaviour Orders

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many people have had anti-social behaviour orders served on them in the past year. [HL1080]

The number of anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOs) issued in 2005 (latest available) in England and Wales, as reported to the Home Office by the Court Service, is 4,060. The Scottish Executive advises that 283 ASBOs were granted in Scotland in 2005-06 (latest available). The Northern Ireland Office advises that 24 ASBOs were made in Northern Ireland in 2006.

Benefits: Winter Fuel Payment

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by the Lord McKenzie of Luton on 19 December 2006 (WA 273), what savings to the Exchequer would result if the winter fuel payment to pensioners were made fully taxable; and what could be the increase in winter fuel payment for all pensioners from that saving. [HL1157]

Winter fuel payments are worth £200 to households with someone aged 60 or over and £300 to households with someone aged 80 or over. Estimates suggest that making winter fuel payments fully taxable would raise revenue of around £465 million. This would represent an increase of around £55 for each of the 8.5 million households that receive winter fuel payments.

The estimation of revenue raised excludes those in residential care and relies on a number of simplifying assumptions such as 100 per cent take-up of winter fuel payments and no behavioural change. Taxing winter fuel payments would be administratively complicated, and this administrative cost is also not taken into account.

British Citizenship

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether, having regard to the total prohibition on dual nationality in Nepal, which was communicated on 22 November 2006 to the Home Office and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office by the Nepalese Ministries of Home and Foreign Affairs at a meeting in Kathmandu, there are any circumstances under which a person would (a) have failed to become a British overseas citizen under Article 6(1) of the Hong Kong (British Nationality) Order 1986; and (b) as a British Overseas citizen, not be entitled to registration as a British citizen, if (i) he was born before 1 July 1997; (ii) immediately before 1 July 1997 he was a British Dependent Territories citizen; (iii) he ceased to be a British Dependent Territories citizen on 1 July 1997 under Article 3 of the Hong Kong (British Nationality) Order 1986; (iv) at the time of his birth his father was a citizen of Nepal; (v) he has not registered as a British national (overseas); (vi) other than a nationality or citizenship held as a consequence of (i) to (v) above, he has never held any other nationality or citizenship; and (vii) he has mistakenly applied for and holds a Nepalese passport because in good faith both he and the Nepalese authorities believed he was solely a citizen of Nepal and were unaware that he holds British nationality. [HL1088]

As the noble Lord is aware, discussions between the Her Majesty’s Government and the Nepalese Government are still continuing, and we are still awaiting formal confirmation from the Nepalese side that a note of the meeting prepared by our side accurately records the Nepalese position.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Under what circumstances a person would not have been a British Dependent Territories citizen on 4 February and 30 June 1997, if (a) he was born in Hong Kong after 31 December 1948 and before 1 January 1983; (b) at the time of his birth his father did not possesses immunity from suit and legal process as was accorded to an envoy of a foreign country; (c) at the time of his birth his father was not an enemy alien and Hong Kong was not under occupation by the enemy; and (d) he has not made renunciation of British nationality. [HL1252]

Whether such a person would have had a claim to British Dependent Territories citizenship is a matter of law which can be determined conclusively only by the courts. However, from the information provided, it appears that a person with the circumstances you have described would have been a British Dependent Territories citizen on those dates.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Under what circumstances a person would not have been a British Dependent Territories citizen on 4 February and 30 June 1997, if (a) he was born in Hong Kong after 31 December 1982 and on or before 4 February 1997; and (b) at the time of his birth his father or his mother was a British Dependent Territories citizen or was settled in Hong Kong. [HL1253]

Whether such a person would have had a claim to British Dependent Territories citizenship is a matter of law which can be determined conclusively only by the courts. However, subject to his never having renounced citizenship, I cannot envisage circumstances in which such a person would not have been a British Dependent Territories citizen on those dates.

Children: Policy Review

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Why their policy review of children and young people (January 2007) did not mention foster parents, stable placements or the training of staff in children's homes. [HL1234]

Improving outcomes for children in care is already a key priority for the Government. The children and young people's review discussion paper, published on 9 January 2007, examined new evidence on how we can improve outcomes for all children by: fulfilling their potential through better prevention and early intervention; helping young people reach their full potential; achieving better outcomes for disabled children; and supporting families caught in a cycle of low achievement. It did not focus specifically on children in care because the Government have published two key documents on these issues in recent months.

New proposals on children in care were set out in the Care Matters Green Paper, which was launched for consultation in October. It focuses on early intervention, strengthening the corporate parenting role, high quality placements and education. In addition, the report of the Options for Excellence Review published in October 2006 provides a framework for future developments for the social care workforce. This focuses on five key areas: continuing professional development, recruitment and retention, new ways of working, strengthening leadership and management and improved commissioning. Copies of these documents are available in the Libraries of both Houses.

Children: UN Conventions

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will indicate the date when they will sign up in its entirety to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. [HL1286]

The Government signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child on 19 April 1990. Subsequently—on 7 September 2000—the Government signed the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography and the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict.

Climate Change

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What assessment they have made of the response by the Confederation of British Industry and United Kingdom companies to their proposals on climate change controls. [HL1074]

The CBI's director-general has recently highlighted that the business community is serious about playing a full and active role in tackling climate change alongside other key players. The CBI’s new climate change task force will help to encourage the actions necessary to enable business to achieve its contribution. The CBI also supports the Government’s Climate Change Bill and will now work to ensure that the resulting policy framework is effective while ensuring that a healthy and competitive business base is maintained.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether their present policy of increasing wetlands environmental zones will counter the effects of pollution, incorrect waste disposal and global warming in and near large United Kingdom conurbations. [HL1188]

The Government believe that the creation and restoration of wetlands, especially peatlands, can help reduce the effects of climate change by sequestration of carbon. Further information is available on the Defra website at www.defra.gov.uk/wildlife-countryside/biodiversity/biostrat/index.htm.

The Government are seeking to promote integrated urban drainage. Further information on this is available in Making Space for Water: First Government Response, which is available on the Defra website at www.defra.gov.uk/environ/fcd/policy/strategy.htm. On 15 January, my honourable friend the Minister for Climate Change and Environment announced 15 pilot projects in urban areas to provide the Government with information on the best working arrangements for managing urban flood risk. The pilots are due to be completed by April 2008.

Sustainable urban drainage systems (SUDS) can include in their design small wetlands. They can intercept pollution from storm drains and run-off from hard surfaces, such as roads and car parks. They are an integral part of the pilot projects.

Wetlands, as functioning biological systems, can clean water by a mix of physical and biological mechanisms. Natural wetlands are shallow, permanently flooded or wet marshy ground populated with macroyphytic vascular plants (that is, reeds). Constructed wetlands are now a very widespread and quite well understood form of soft engineering for pollution mitigation. However, the primary function of wetland systems in the UK and Europe is now the provision of biodiversity. Most wetlands are under conservation designation, which may compromise their function to clean water. Many would benefit from clean water entering the system, because pollutants can compromise the biodiversity of the ecosystem.

Crime: Domestic Violence

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many lives were lost during the years 2002 to 2005 as a result of domestic violence. [HL1124]

Available data for England, Wales and Scotland relate to currently recorded offences of homicide (murder, manslaughter and infanticide) where the relationship of the victim to the principal suspect includes current or former spouse, cohabitant or lover, and were published in Violent Crime Overview, Homicide and Gun Crime 2004/2005 (HOSB 02/06) and Homicide in Scotland, 2005/06. Figures for Northern Ireland relate to the recorded crime data collection, where offences of murder have been classified as domestic-related.

Homicides currently recorded for all victims, where relationship of victim to principal suspect was “partner/ex-partner”: 2002-03 to 2005-06

Numbers

Recorded crime

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

England and Wales 1

135

118

139

-

Northern Ireland 2

7

4

7

6

Scotland 3

13

5

14

16

1 As at 28 November 2005; figures are subject to revision as cases are dealt with by the police and by the courts, or as further information becomes available. Source: table 2.05 of HOSB 2002-06. Revised data up to and including 2005-06 are scheduled to be published on 25 January 2007.

2 Offences of murder that have been classified as domestic-related. Manslaughter (and infanticide) are not included in these statistics. Source: table 2.4 of Domestic Incidents and Crimes (Statistical Report No. 2).

3 As at 8 November 2006; figures are subject to revision as cases are dealt with by the police and by the courts, or as further information becomes available. Source: table 5 of Homicide in Scotland, 2005/06 (Bulletin 537).

Crime: Rape

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What was the proportion of successful convictions for rape in the last year for which statistics are available where guilt was established through (a) a guilty plea, and (b) a jury decision. [HL1220]

From data held by the Office for Criminal Justice Reform court proceedings database, of the 787 defendants found guilty of rape at the Crown Court in 2005, 361, or 46 per cent, pleaded guilty and 426, or 54 per cent, were found guilty by a jury decision. Information for Scotland is a matter for the Scotland Office and that for Northern Ireland for the Northern Ireland Office.

Cyclists: Footpaths

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many prosecutions there have been of cyclists riding on footpaths in the Metropolitan Police area in each of the past 10 years for which figures are available; and [HL1200]

How many fixed penalty notices have been issued to cyclists riding on footpaths in the London Metropolitan Police area; and how many of those have been paid. [HL1201]

The number of cyclists prosecuted at magistrates’ court, for offences relating to riding on pavements in the Metropolitan Police force area, 1996 to 2005 can be found in the attached table. Information on the number of fixed penalty notices issued to cyclists riding on footpaths is not held within RDS OCJR (research and development statistics, Office for Criminal Justice Reform). Data for 2006 will be available in the autumn of 2007. Information for Scotland is a matter for the Scotland Office and that for Northern Ireland for the Northern Ireland Office.

The number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates court for offences relating to pedal cycles—riding on footpath in the Metropolitan Police force area, 1996-05 1 2

Statute

Offence Description

Proceeded against (Year)

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

Highway Act, 1835 Sec 72. Metropolitan Police Act 1839 Section 54(7) & Byelaws Offences under the Metropolitan Police Acts

Pedal cycles—riding on footpath

40

19

54

40

10

11

8

10

17

29

1 These data are on the principal offence basis.

2 Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete.

However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.

Cyprus: Green Line

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they have made an assessment of Greek Cypriot proposals to establish checkpoints at the green line crossing points; and whether they will make representations on the matter either directly or through the European Union. [HL1117]

Cyprus Government checkpoints already exist at all crossing points on the green line. The Republic of Cyprus has EU rights and obligations in this matter, reflected in a regulation adopted at the time of accession, as well as national law. However, we recognise that the green line regulation is still very limited in scope and that there are a number of obstacles which hinder trade across the green line. We continue to encourage both sides to lift all restrictions to allow for unhindered exchanges of goods, which we believe is in the interests of all Cypriots and all EU member states, and would promote reunification of the island.

Demonstrations

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What representations they have received from Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur or other senior police officers about the policing of demonstrations, what discussions they have held in connection with such representations; and whether they are making any proposals in response to them; and [HL1095]

Whether they intend to introduce legislation to ban the burning of flags at demonstrations or otherwise; and [HL1096]

Whether they intend to introduce legislation to empower the police and other authorities giving consent to demonstrations the power to approve, amend or ban particular slogans or other words on banners and placards as a condition of giving consent; and [HL1097]

Whether they intend to introduce legislation to prevent persons taking part in demonstrations from covering their faces. [HL1098]

We have had discussions with the Metropolitan Police Service in the light of the representations from Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur on the policing of demonstrations. We keep public order legislation under review and would always consider representations from the police service on changes. We would also consult the police service as a whole on any proposed changes to legislation.

It is already a criminal offence for a person to display or deface a national flag if such activity is likely to pose a real risk to public order or the activity constitutes incitement to racial or religious hatred. For example, under Sections 4A and 5 of the Public Order Act 1986, a person may be guilty of an offence if they display any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting, within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress.

In determining whether a person has committed such offences the court is required to respect a person's right to freedom of expression, while balancing that freedom with the need to maintain public order and protect the rights of people who may be offended by the activity.

In addition to the offences under Sections 4A and 5, the Public Order Act 1986 gives the police the power to impose conditions on, or to prohibit, processions and to impose conditions on assemblies. The types of conditions that may be imposed on an assembly are limited to those relating to its place, the numbers taking part and its duration. There are no restrictions on the type of conditions that may be placed on processions.

There are already powers in place to allow the police to require the removal of face coverings. Section 60AA of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 was inserted by the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001. It enables a police officer of inspector rank or above to authorise police officers within a given area for a period of up to 24 hours to require the removal of face coverings worn for the purpose of concealing identity and to seize any such items. Before authorising an area, an inspector must reasonably believe that activities likely to involve the commission of offences will take place in that area and that it is expedient, in order to prevent or control the activities, to give an authorisation.

Diplomatic Passports

asked Her Majesty's Government:

To which categories of people they issue diplomatic passports; and on the basis of what criteria. [HL1233]

The following British nationals are eligible for diplomatic passports:

members of Her Majesty's (HM) Diplomatic Service accredited as diplomatic staff at UK Missions overseas;

members of other government departments and the British Council, accredited as diplomatic staff at UK missions overseas; and

governors of overseas territories and the staff of such governors who are members of HM Diplomatic Service; and accompanying British dependants of any of the above who are resident at UK missions overseas.

Diplomatic status is granted in accordance with the requirements of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961).

Disabled People: Care Services

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What representations the Minister for Care Services has received from Nicole Penn-Symons, chief executive of the Disabled Living Foundation, regarding the transforming community equipment services project; and what reply is being sent. [HL1002]

A representation from Nicole Penn-Symons of the Disabled Living Foundation regarding transforming community equipment services was received by the department on 9 January 2007. A reply will be sent as soon as possible.

EU: Biodiversity

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will take steps to assist the European Commission to promote the growth in environmental goods, technologies and services. [HL1070]

The Government are already working closely with the European Commission and other European Union member states to stimulate growth in environmental markets. This is being done through our input into initiatives such as the Environmental Technologies Action Plan, the High Level Group on Energy, Environment and Competitiveness and the Framework Programme on Competitiveness and Innovation.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will propose measures to help the European Commission to increase its wetlands biodiversity conservation programme in both member states and nearby non-member countries, following recent initiatives in the three Maghreb projects. [HL1071]

Biodiversity conservation within the European Community, including wetlands, has been promoted and supported in a number of ways. This has occurred most notably via the EC habitats and birds directives and by funding from the nature conservation strand of the LIFE III Regulation (LIFE Nature).

The “Maghreb” wetlands project is aimed at supporting wetland management and capacity building in Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. It was 65 per cent co-funded through a different strand of the LIFE Programme (LIFE Third Countries). This strand supported the building of environmental capacity in countries bordering the territory of the EU; that is, European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) countries.

Future support for ENP countries will be provided through a dedicated European neighbourhood and partnership instrument (ENPI). Between 2007 and 2013, ENPI funding will approach €12 billion, including access to thematic programmes (€465 million from the development co-operation instrument), one of which focuses directly on environment issues. The European Commission is expected to present a strategy setting out priorities for the funding of environment-related issues once its content has been agreed.

LIFE Nature will become part of the new LIFE+ regulation. This has not yet been implemented and is currently subject to a conciliation procedure between the European Council and European Parliament.

Flags

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What legislation covers the definition of the form, shape and design, and any rules about the permitted use, of (a) the union flag; (b) the English flag (cross of St George); (c) the Scottish flag (St Andrew's saltire) (d) the Scottish royal lion flag (e) the Welsh flag (dragon); (f) the flag of Northern Ireland. [HL1099]

(a & b) There is no legislation that governs the form, shape or size of the union flag or the English flag (St George's cross). There are no rules about the permitted use of the union flag or English flag (cross of St George) on non-government buildings, provided the flag is flown on a single vertical flagstaff and neither the flag nor the flagstaff display any advertisement additional to the design of the flag as explained under the Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) Regulations 1992. Government departments are restricted to flying flags on 18 fixed days a year in compliance with rules issued by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Consideration should also be given to flag protocol, which considers it improper to fly the union flag upside down and requires that the flag should not be defaced by text or symbols and should be treated with respect.

(c & d) There is also no legislation that governs the form, shape or size of the Royal Arms of Scotland (here referred to as the Scottish royal lion flag) or the St Andrew's cross, but the design is firmly specified in the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland. The Royal Arms of Scotland can only be used by the Sovereign or her Great Lieutenants when acting in their official capacity. The Scottish flag (St Andrew's cross) may be flown by Scots and to represent Scotland on all occasions; however, under The Act of Lyon King of Arms Act 1672, cap. 47 individuals may not deface the flag by placing a symbol on top of the flag or use it in such a way that suggests it is his/her personal property.

(e) There is no specific legislation about the Welsh flag design or rules about permitted use.

(f) The union flag is the only official flag that represents Northern Ireland. The Flags (NI) Order 2000 empowered the Secretary of State to make the Flags Regulations (NI) 2000, which governs when and where the union flag can be flown from government buildings in Northern Ireland on specified days. The legislation does not define the form, shape or design of the union flag. Flag flying from non-governmental buildings is unregulated.

For all flags, consideration should also be given to flag protocol, which requires flags to be treated with respect, not to be defaced by text or symbols or flown upside down.

Guantanamo Bay

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will seek an urgent meeting with the Government of the United States to make representations for the closure of the Guantanamo Bay prison and the immediate release of all detainees unless they are guaranteed an early judicial process under United States territorial jurisdiction. [HL1249]

The Government's position on the closure of Guantanamo Bay is clear. As my right honourable friend the Prime Minister has said, Guantanamo Bay should be closed. The US Government are fully aware of our position.

We welcome President Bush's public statements expressing a wish to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility as soon as practicable and the US Government’s efforts to reduce numbers at the camp. However, we recognise that this is a complicated task and that there are issues, including trials of detainees under the recent Military Commissions Act, which still need to be resolved. Careful consideration needs to be given to how numbers at the camp are reduced to ensure international security is maintained and the human rights of detainees respected—including if they are to be transferred back to their countries of nationality.

Health: Prescriptions

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What measures are being taken to encourage the medical profession to prescribe in line with patient pack sizes. [HL1190]

Work previously undertaken by the prescription pricing division of the National Health Service Business Service Authority has shown that quantities prescribed already match that of an available pack size in the majority of cases. For example, sample statistics show that drugs available in a pack size of 28 are prescribed in multiples of 28 nearly 78 per cent of the time. Further, it is unlikely that standard packs sizes would always represent the best or most clinically appropriate quantity for every patient. We are therefore not convinced that further encouragement for prescribers to prescribe in line with patient pack sizes will significantly increase the dispensing of patient packs.

However, we are fully supportive of increasing the use of patient packs and new services provided as part of the new community pharmacy contractual framework—such as repeat dispensing and medicines use review—are giving community pharmacists and general practitioners new opportunities to work together. These two services may give rise to the opportunity to consider the optimum quantities in which medicines should be prescribed for an individual patient, taking into account, amongst other things, the ability to dispense using a patient pack.

Further, at the end of 2005, we consulted on proposals to simplify the reimbursement arrangements for NHS dispensing contractors. These included measures designed to further promote patient pack dispensing, such as allowing pharmacists a limited dispensing discretion with regard to the quantity prescribed to be able to dispense a full patient pack on more occasions. We are currently considering how we take this forward in light of responses.

Health: vCJD

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What representations the Secretary of State for Health has had from the chairman of the Haemophilia Society on the findings of Professor John Collinge in the December 2006 edition of the Lancet on the transmission by infected blood of variant Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease to blood donor recipients in the United Kingdom; what reply is being sent; and what action they are planning. [HL1047]

The chairman of the Haemophilia Society wrote to the Secretary of State for Health on 12 December about a number of issues in relation to vCJD and the possible risk of transmission of vCJD to haemophilia patients through treatment. Officials are preparing a comprehensive response which will set out government action and developments in relation to vCJD. We will send a copy of the response to the noble Lord.

Immigration: Children

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many non-British children have been taken into care by children's social services, on or soon after arrival in the United Kingdom, in each of the past three years; whether they can specify which local authorities were involved and distinguish between accompanied and unaccompanied children. [HL1087]

The table below shows the number of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children who started to be looked after during each of the years ending 31 March 2004 to 2006. Other non-British children who are taken into care are not separately identifiable in nationally collected data.

Unaccompanied asylum seeking children who started to be looked after during years ending 31 March 2004, 2005 and 2006 1, 2

numbers

2004

2005

2006

England

1,600

1,800

2,100

North-east

10

20

10

Shire counties

Durham

0

0

-

Northumberland

0

0

0

Unitary authorities

Darlington

0

0

0

Hartlepool

0

0

0

Middlesbrough

0

0

0

Redcar & Cleveland

0

0

0

Stockton on Tees

-

-

-

Metropolitan Districts

Gateshead

0

0

0

Newcastle upon Tyne

-

15

0

North Tyneside

-

-

-

South Tyneside

0

0

-

Sunderland

0

0

0

North-west

50

70

150

Shire counties

Cheshire

0

0

0

Cumbria

0

0

0

Lancashire

0

0

0

Unitary authorities

Blackburn & Darwen

0

0

0

Blackpool

0

0

-

Halton

0

0

0

Warrington

0

0

0

Metropolitan Districts

Bolton

-

5

-

Bury

-

-

15

Knowsley

0

0

0

Liverpool

-

10

25

Manchester

40

40

90

Oldham

-

0

0

Rochdale

-

-

0

Salford

-

-

-

Sefton

0

0

0

St Helens

0

0

0

Stockport

-

0

-

Tameside

-

0

-

Trafford

0

0

0

Wigan

-

-

-

Wirral

0

0

-

Yorkshire & The Humber

40

70

40

Shire counties

North Yorkshire

-

0

-

Unitary authorities

East Riding Yorkshire

-

-

-

Kingston upon Hull

0

-

0

North-east Lincolnshire

-

-

0

North Lincolnshire

0

-

-

York

0

0

0

Metropolitan Districts

Barnsley

0

-

0

Bradford

0

-

0

Calderdale

-

-

0

Doncaster

-

0

0

Kirklees

-

0

0

Leeds

-

15

Rotherham

-

-

-

Sheffield

20

30

20

Wakefield

0

-

-

East Midlands

30

20

30

Shire Counties

Derbyshire

0

-

-

Leicestershire

-

-

15

Lincolnshire

0

-

-

Northamptonshire

5

-

-

Nottinghamshire

-

-

-

Unitary authorities

Derby

5

-

-

Leicester

10

-

-

Nottingham

0

-

-

Rutland

0

0

0

West Midlands

50

90

160

Shire counties

Shropshire

-

-

-

Staffordshire

-

10

15

Warwickshire

-

10

10

Worcestershire

0

-

-

Unitary authorities

Herefordshire

0

0

0

Stoke-on-Trent

0

0

0

Telford & Wrekin

0

0

0

Metropolitan Districts

Birmingham

10

40

90

Coventry

-

-

-

Dudley

0

0

0

Sandwell

0

-

-

Solihull

30

30

35

Walsall

0

-

-

Wolverhampton

-

0

0

East of England

70

90

140

Shire counties

Bedfordshire

-

-

-

Cambridgeshire

-

25

90

Essex

5

15

5

Hertfordshire

-

-

5

Norfolk

10

10

20

Suffolk

0

0

0

Unitary Authorities

Luton

10

10

-

Peterborough

5

25

-

Southend

0

0

0

Thurrock

25

-

-

London

1,000

1,000

1,100

Inner London

390

320

340

Camden

15

20

5

City of London

10

20

10

Greenwich

30

15

40

Hackney

10

10

0

Hammersmith & Fulham

55

50

30

Islington

30

30

20

Kensington & Chelsea

35

30

25

Lambeth

30

25

105

Lewisham

75

30

15

Southwark

50

30

20

Tower Hamlets

10

30

20

Wandsworth

5

-

-

Westminster

40

30

40

Outer London

630

700

770

Barking & Dagenham

20

40

40

Barnet

15

45

20

Bexley

-

20

15

Brent

20

35

30

Bromley

5

10

15

Croydon

145

170

240

Ealing

-

30

35

Enfield

5

0

0

Haringey

55

90

55

Harrow.

5

10

25

Havering

-

-

-

Hillingdon

145

115

195

Hounslow

15

55

45

Kingston upon Thames

60

30

25

Merton

15

-

-

Newham

45

20

10

Redbridge

15

20

5

Richmond upon Thames

-

-

0

Sutton

0

0

-

Waltham Forest

50

10

15

South-east

310

380

470

Shire Counties

Buckinghamshire

-

-

-

East Sussex

-

-

-

Hampshire

-

15

15

Kent

160

215

270

Oxfordshire

30

40

40

Surrey

5

30

35

West Sussex

75

40

50

Unitary authorities

Bracknell Forest

0

-

0

Brighton & Hove

-

-

20

Isle of Wight

0

0

0

Medway Towns

0

0

0

Milton Keynes

0

0

0

Portsmouth

0

0

Reading

5

5

10

Slough

10

10

10

Southampton

-

-

0

West Berkshire

10

20

10

Windsor & Maidenhead

0

-

-

Wokingham

0

0

South-west

20

30

20

Shire counties

Cornwall

0

0

0

Devon

0

-

0

Dorset

0

0

0

Gloucestershire

-

0

-

Isles Of Scilly

0

0

0

Somerset

-

0

0

Wiltshire

-

-

-

Unitary authorities

Bath & North-east Somerset

0

0

0

Bournemouth

-

0

0

Bristol

-

-

-

North Somerset

-

-

-

Plymouth

5

5

-

Poole

0

0

-

South Gloucestershire

0

0

0

Swindon

0

20

10

Torbay

0

0

0

1Source: DfES, SSDA903 return which since 2004 covered all children looked after by local authorities.

2 To maintain the confidentiality of each individual child, numbers at local authority level have been rounded to the nearest five, except numbers from one to five inclusive, which have been suppressed and replaced by a hyphen “-”. At national level, numbers have been rounded to the nearest 100 if they exceed 1,000 and to the nearest 10 otherwise.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they have made an assessment of the average and standard deviation of the ages, between 16 and 20, at which children develop particular dental characteristics in Eritrea, Afghanistan, Iran, China and Somalia; and how they intend to use these data to assist in age determination for immigration control purposes. [HL1090]

While no specific assessment as outlined above has been carried out we have commissioned a review of the current scientific evidence on the effectiveness of dental age assessment techniques. We will carefully consider the findings of this review, which is expected to report by the end of February, before proceeding with any plans to introduce dental analysis as supplementary evidence in assessing age for immigration purposes. An interview with the child or young person and consideration of information submitted will remain important factors in the final decision on their age. We are planning to publish a consultation paper soon on this and other possible reforms in the context of processing applications for asylum from unaccompanied minors.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many unaccompanied young persons made applications for asylum in 2006; and in how many of these cases, and in respect of what countries, there was a dispute about the age of the applicant. [HL1091]

Information is not available on how many of those asylum applications lodged in 2006 from unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASCs) have, been age disputed.

Information on UASCs is published on a quarterly basis. Statistics on age-disputed applications are published annually. The quarter four UASC report will be available from 27 February 2007. Copies of these publications and others relating to immigration to the UK are available from the Library of the House and from the Home Office Research, Development and Statistics Directorate website at www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration1.htm. Data on age-disputed asylum applications in 2006 do not necessarily relate to UASC applications received within the same period.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many young unaccompanied asylum seekers from countries to which non-suspensive appeals apply claimed to be under 18; and on what grounds were each deemed to be over 18.[HL1092]

Data on the numbers of asylum applications from unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC) and age-disputed cases from non-suspensive appeals countries can be found in the attached tables. Data on the grounds upon which individual age-disputed cases were deemed to be over 18 could be obtained only at disproportionate cost by examination of individual case records.

Information on unaccompanied asylum-seeking children is published quarterly and annually. Copies of these publications and others relating to immigration to the UK are available from the Library of the House and from the Home Office Research, Development and Statistics Directorate website at www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration1.html.

UASC Applications from Non-suspensive Appeals Countries: Q3 2006 1

Nationality

Number of UASC Applications

Albania

10

Bulgaria

-

Jamaica

*

Macedonia

-

Moldova

*

Serbia and Montenegro

5

Romania

5

Bolivia

-

Brazil

-

Ecuador

-

South Africa

*

Sri Lanka

10

Ukraine

-

India

10

Ghana 2

*

Nigeria 2

10

Mongolia

5

1 Provisional figures rounded to nearest five, with “*” = one or two.

2 Includes figures for females who are not non-suspensive appeals (NSA) cases because NSA applies only to males from these countries.

Age Disputed Applications from Non-suspensive Appeals Countries: Q3 2006 1 2 3

Nationality

Number of Age Disputed Applications

Albania

5

Bulgaria

-

Jamaica

-

Macedonia

-

Moldova

-

Serbia and Montenegro

5

Romania

*

Bolivia

-

Brazil

-

Ecuador

-

South Africa

-

Sri Lanka

5

Ukraine

-

India

5

Ghana 4

*

Nigeria 4

10

Mongolia

-

1 Provisional figures rounded to nearest five, with “*” = one or two.

2 When an asylum applicant claims to be a minor but his/her physical appearance strongly suggests that he/she is over 18, IND’s policy is to treat the applicant as an adult until there is credible documentary or other persuasive evidence to demonstrate the age claimed.

3 Includes cases for which age disputed at time of application.

4 Includes figures for females who are not non-suspensive appeals (NSA) cases because NSA applies only to males from these countries.

Immigration: Deportation

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will keep central records of persons detained under the immigration laws in the belief that they were foreign nationals liable to deportation, and who were subsequently found to be either (a) British, or (b) otherwise exempt from deportation. [HL928]

Detention reviews of those detained under immigration laws with a view to deportation are carried out on a case-by-case basis according to the specific individual circumstances of the detainee to ensure that detention is lawful and meets our current criteria on detention. Reviews are carried out on a monthly basis to ensure that the individual continues to meet the requirements for detention. Collating this information on a central basis in order to record details of those who were initially determined to be liable for deportation but then found not to be would require a significant use of resources at disproportionate cost.

Immigration: Harmondsworth Removal Centre

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Why night staff at Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre have only limited access to ligature cutters which can be used to save those who may try to hang themselves; and whether they will take steps to increase staff access to ligature cutters. [HL665]

Ligature cutters are available at all staff points throughout the immigration removal centre (IRC), and are carried by senior detention custody officers (DCOs) on duty in the residential areas. There are procedures in place to ensure that a staff cutter is readily available to any DCO who is the first on scene.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will give a breakdown of the persons who were discharged from Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre during the third quarter of 2006, showing how many were (a) granted bail; (b) granted temporary admission; (c) released for any other reason; (d) removed; and (e) transferred to another immigration removal centre or prison. [HL1165]

The total number of people discharged from Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre during the third quarter of 2006 was 1,741. Sixteen were granted bail, 233 were granted temporary admission, 955 were removed and 537 were transferred.

Immigration: Spot Checks

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will publish figures showing the number of sudden spot checks carried out by security and immigration personnel on entrants through United Kingdom airports in the past six months, as a proportion of total entrants; how many of these were checks carried out as soon as the passenger had left the aeroplane; and how many were carried out after the normal checks applicable to all passengers. [HL1184]

Immigration: Unlimited Detention

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What assessment they have made of the evidence of irreparable mental health damage to migrants, refugees and asylum seekers detained without time limit. [HL1119]

Immigration Act powers to detain are not time limited. However, domestic and European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) case law provides that detention must last for no longer than is reasonably necessary for the purpose for which it is authorised and must not be of excessive duration.

Under the terms of Rule 34 of the Detention Centre Rules 2001 (No. 238) Immigration Service removal centres must ensure that arrangements are in place for detainees to have a physical and mental examination by the medical practitioner within 24 hours of their arrival. The purpose of this is to identify any immediate and significant mental or physical health needs. Rule 35(5) requires medical practitioners to pay particular attention to any detainee whose mental condition appears to require it and to make arrangements for their care.

Iraq: Execution of Saddam Hussein

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Why no immediate official comment was made by members of the Cabinet on the circumstances surrounding the execution of the former president of Iraq. [HL1251]

My right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary made a Statement immediately after the execution of Saddam Hussein on 30 December 2006. Unofficial footage was published the following day that revealed the unacceptable behaviour of some of the people present. My right honourable friend the Deputy Prime Minister commented on 2 January 2007. Officials from our embassy in Baghdad repeated concerns to Iraqi officials at the highest level and stressed that further executions should be carried out with appropriate sensitivity and security.

Local Government: Unitary Authorities

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether the invitation to local authorities to submit proposals for unitary status, published on 26 October, is according to the system and within the framework and constraints set out in Part 1 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Bill. [HL999]

Chapter 1 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Bill provides the procedure by which the Secretary of State may invite proposals for a single tier of local government from district and county councils in England. The invitation that was issued on 26 October is in accordance with the provisions of the Bill.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether the timescale for the invitation to local authorities to submit proposals for unitary status, published on 26 October with a deadline of 25 January 2007, gives sufficient time for the development of proposals; and whether they will consider an extension of this deadline if requested in particular cases. [HL1000]

The Government consider that requiring councils to submit proposals by 25 January gives them sufficient time. As the invitation document, published on 26 October 2006, makes clear, the Government give no commitment that they will consider proposals received after that date.

Obesity

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidelines on childhood obesity recommends surgical procedures; and, if so, which specific procedures are recommended. [HL909]

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence's clinical guideline on obesity recommends bariatric surgery for children and young people only in exceptional circumstances and only if they have achieved physiological maturity. The surgical procedures recommended are: jejunoileal bypass, gastric bypass, biliopancreatic diversion, gastroplasty and gastric banding.

Roads: Abnormal Loads

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Which accredited companies have been approved to escort abnormal loads on motorways. [HL1181]

There is no formal accreditation or approved list for abnormal load escort companies.

Abnormal load escorts operate on motorways and other roads under a voluntary code of practice published by the Highways Agency and supported by the police and the principal haulage industry associations. The code is a statement of best practice designed to ensure that those escorting abnormal loads do so in a manner that maximises safety. A copy has been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Schools: Manchester

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What percentage of 18 year-old students who attended a City of Manchester school and were resident in the city obtained a place at a higher education institution in each of the past 10 years. [HL1248]

The latest available figures on participation in higher education show participation rates by the local area in which the student was resident prior to entering higher education. The figures were published by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) in January 2005 in Young Participation in England, which is available from their website at: http://www.hefce.ac.uk/pubs/hefce/2005/05_03/.

This report shows participation rates for young people who enter higher education aged 18 or 19, disaggregated by local authority, for the years 1997 to 2000. The figures for Manchester local authority, and the comparable figure for England, are shown in the table. HEFCE has not produced participation rates beyond 2000.

Young participation rate (YPR (A)) in Higher Education (1) for year cohort aged 18.

1997

1998

1999

2000

Cohort for Manchester (2)

5,150

5,020

5,200

5,190

Young Participation Rate (A) for Manchester (3)

17 per cent

18 per cent

19 per cent

19 per cent

Young Participation Rate (A) for England

29.2 per cent

28.8 per cent

29.2 per cent

29.9 per cent

Source: Higher Education Funding Council for England

(1) Covers all students studying higher education courses at UK higher education institutions and other UK institutions—for example, further education colleges

(2) Cohorts are reported to the nearest 10

(3) Young participation rates for constituencies are reported to the nearest per cent.

The total numbers of undergraduate entrants to UK higher education institutions from Manchester local authority for each year since 2001-02 are given in the table:

Entrants to undergraduate courses (1) from Manchester Local Authority

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

Aged 18

680

705

740

795

870

Aged 19

490

505

515

615

600

Other Ages (2)

2,415

2,715

3,360

3,065

3,380

Total Entrants

3,580

3,925

4,615

4,470

4,850

Source: Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA).

Note: Figures are based on the HESA standard registration population for entrants and have been rounded to the nearest five, so components may not sum to totals.

(1) Covers all students studying higher education courses at UK higher education institutions only. Students studying higher education courses elsewhere such as further education colleges are excluded.

(2) Includes a very small number of students with unknown ages or ages under 18.

The department uses the higher education initial participation rate (HEIPR) to assess progress on increasing first-time participation of English students aged 18 to 30 in higher education towards 50 per cent: the latest provisional figure for 2004-05 is 42 per cent. The HEIPR is not calculated at local authority level.

Schools: Meals

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is the level of skill required for preparing adequate school meals; what training is provided for this purpose; and what is the relevant sector skills council. [HL1228]

The level of skill required varies depending on the role of the individual. A competent member of staff who could cook, prepare and finish meals from scratch, which meet the new school food standards, would be working at level 2 of the qualifications framework, and would be a competent cook able to work with a high degree of autonomy. A head chef or someone with supervisory responsibilities would be working at level 3 of the framework, and be able to manage staff and resources and have significant operational responsibilities for work in kitchens.

Training is currently provided in a number of ways. Local authorities and contract caterers provide significant amounts of in-house training. In addition, there are colleges and private training providers which offer courses leading to nationally recognised qualifications such as the certificate in providing healthier school meals, the support workers in schools qualification and national vocational qualifications in professional cookery and food processing and cookery. The department will also be investing £2 million in 2007-08 in the establishment of a network of regional training centres for school catering staff to act as centres of excellence. The department has asked the School Food Trust to take the lead on developing this proposal. Further work is under way, including looking at how this network will fit into existing provision in schools and colleges, and by private providers.

The relevant sector sills council for catering skills is People 1st.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What provision is typically made in state schools for the storage of school meals brought in by pupils; and whether these arrangements are adequate. [HL1229]

The department does not collect information on the provision for the storage of pupils' lunchboxes in state schools. However, the Management of Health and Safety Regulations 1999 require an employer, which will include either a school or local authority, to ensure that risk assessments are conducted and measures put in place to control any known risk. This should take all factors into account, including putting arrangements in place for the storage of food and drink on school premises.

Guidance on food safety including food storage is also available on the Food Standards Agency's website.

Schools: Multiverse Theory

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Adonis on 18 December 2006, whether multiverse theory could be taught in schools, being one of a range of views on the cause of a universe hospitable to life which students might consider and evaluate against the evidence. [HL1290]

Multiverse theory—the theory that there are other universes besides our own—is not part of the national curriculum for science. The advanced science behind this theory is normally taught at university.

Security Industry: Private Companies

asked Her Majesty's Government:

When they will stop using private security companies that have not been registered as approved in accordance with the compliance requirements of the Security Industry Authority. [HL1122]

The Private Security Industry Act 2001 requires contract security guards to hold a personal licence issued for that purpose by the Security Industry Authority. There is no exception from this requirement in respect of guards at government offices. Where a security firm has been granted approved status by the SIA under the voluntary approved contractor scheme and has the required authorisation from the SIA, they may deploy up to 15 per cent of staff who are unlicensed but have licence applications being processed by the SIA.

Traffic Management Act 2004

asked Her Majesty's Government:

When they propose to publish the outstanding regulations following the enactment of the Traffic Management Bill. [HL1214]

The Department for Transport is currently implementing several parts of the Act to a published timetable (www.dft.gov.uk/stellent/groups/dft_roads/documents/page/dft_roads_040926.hcsp). The implementation dates for some later aspects of the timetable have yet to be finalised.