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Written Answers

Volume 711: debated on Wednesday 3 June 2009

Written Answers

Wednesday 3 June 2009

Airports: Security

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what rules apply to security screening of United Kingdom domestic passengers travelling from United Kingdom airports; and whether they will place a copy of the relevant regulations in the Library of the House. [HL3911]

The Department for Transport is responsible for the national aviation security programme to which regulated airports within the UK are subject.

All passengers irrespective of destination are subject to the following standard security procedures; access controls, security questions, screening of hold and cabin baggage as well as passenger screening. Where necessary this screening can be enhanced by a hand search and further testing.

For security reasons it is not possible to provide more detail about the directions governing security and due to this sensitivity it is not appropriate to place this information in the Library of the House.

Asylum Seekers

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many forced removals have there been since January to (a) the Democratic Republic of Congo, (b) Darfur, and (c) Zimbabwe. [HL3704]

The following table shows the number of removals and voluntary departures in quarter one 2009 to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, and Zimbabwe.

Information for quarter two 2009 will be available after the publication of the next quarterly Control of Immigration bulletin to be published in August.

Published statistics on immigration and asylum are available from the Library of the House and are available from the Home Office Research, Development and Statistics Directorate website at www. homeoffice. gov.uk/rds/immigration-asylum-stats.html.

Country of DestinationEnforced removals and voluntary departures

Enforced removals and voluntary departures (3) (4)

Assisted Voluntary Returns (5)

Other Voluntary departures (6)

Total

Non-asylum cases refused entry at port and subsequently removed (7)

Grand Total

Total removals and voluntary departures from the United Kingdom, by type and destination (1), 01 2009 (2) (P)

Dem. Rep. of Congo

20

5

*

25

*

25

Sudan

5

5

5

15

*

15

Zimbabwe

15

50

10

70

5

75

(1) Destination as recorded on source database.

(2) Figures rounded to the nearest 5 and may not sum to the totals shown because of independent rounding.

(3) Due to a reclassification of removal categories, figures include asylum removals performed by enforcement officers using poll powers of removal and a small number of cases dealt with at juxtaposed controls.

(4) Since October 2006 figures include persons leaving under facilitated return schemes.

(5) Persons leaving under the Assisted Voluntary Return and the Assisted Voluntary Return for Irregular Migrants Programmes run by the International Organization for Migration. May include some on entry cases and some cases where enforcement action has been initiated.

(6) Persons who it has been established left the UK without informing the immigration authorities.

(7) Includes removals performed by immigration officers at ports using enforcement powers, cases dealt with at juxtaposed controls and a small number of cases who it has been established left the UK without informing the immigration authorities.

(p) Provisional figures. Removals and voluntary departures recorded on the system as at the dates on which the data extracts were taken. Figures will under record due to data cleansing and data matching exercises that take place after the extracts are taken.

Autism

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Darzi of Denham on 30 April (WA 57), what steps they will take to ensure the Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust and other NHS Trusts meet the needs of children on the autism spectrum. [HL3816]

This Government have announced a range of measures that will help to improve the lives of people with autistic spectrum conditions (ASCs), and their families—from childhood through to adulthood. We have announced wider policy support and investment in children with specialist or complex needs that will also help children with autism, including: action in response to the independent review of child and adolescent mental health services, and to the Bercow review of services for children with speech, language and communication difficulties; £770 million over three years invested by the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) and the Department of Health in the Aiming Higher for Disabled Children programme; and Healthy Lives Brighter Futures, the strategy for children and young people's health, published in February 2009.

On 29 April, we launched a consultation on a future strategy to support adults with ASCs to live full and inclusive lives with access to the right care and support. The consultation runs until 15 September 2009. It will consider the needs of young people with ASC who are in transition to adult services.

More information on the consultation and the Government's action to improve the lives of people with autism can be found at www.dh.gov.uk/en/SocialCare/DeliveringadultsociaIcare/DH_079431.

The website for the Autism Education Trust which the Government fund is www.autismeducationtrust. org.uk/.

The Good Practice Guidance can be found at www.teachernet.gov.uk/wholeschool/sen/asds/

Further guidance recently published can be found at www.nationalstrategies.standards.dcsf.gov.uk/idp.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Darzi of Denham on 30 April (WA 57), whether the Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust will follow the recommendations of the Healthcare Commission in its report of 5 February; and whether the Trust changed the autism diagnosis in the case of Henry Spiller. [HL3817]

The East of England Strategic Health Authority has assured me that the Princess Alexandra Hospital National Health Service Trust has accepted all the clinical recommendations in the Healthcare Commission report of 5 February and that those recommendations have been implemented at the trust.

It would be inappropriate to share the details of an individual patient's diagnosis as it would be a breach of patient confidentiality.

Aviation: International Flights

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether flights that begin and end in the United Kingdom but travel to other parts of the world will be categorised as international aviation under article 4 of the draft Climate Change Act 2008 (2020 Target, Credit Limit and Definitions) Order 2009. [HL3908]

A single flight which both begins and ends at aerodromes in the United Kingdom is a domestic flight, regardless of whether it enters airspace outside the United Kingdom. If a flight begins at an aerodrome in the United Kingdom and ends at an aerodrome outside the United Kingdom it is an international flight. Any corresponding return flight would also be an international flight.

Return flights which stop at aerodromes outside the United Kingdom are made up of two separate international flights. Such flights cannot, on any common- sense view, be treated as comprising a single flight which begins and ends at aerodromes in the United Kingdom; the stop at an aerodrome in another part of the world breaks the journey into two flights for the purposes of the definition in Article 4 of the order.

Aviation: Passengers

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord West of Spithead on 11 May (WA 154), under what powers air carriers ask for proof of identity of passengers flying between Northern Ireland and Great Britain; whether the Government or the police requested that they undertake such checks; and, if so, when. [HL3861]

Under the terms of the Aviation Security Act 1982, and as set out in the UK National Aviation Security Programme, airlines must ensure that for flights departing UK airports it is the same person who checked in hold baggage who then boards the aircraft. The Government do not specify how this should be achieved and airlines have introduced a variety of methods to achieve this.

Climate Change: Carbon Dioxide Emissions

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Answers by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 19 March (Official Report, House of Lords, cols 329–32), what to date has been the fall in carbon dioxide emissions since 1990. [HL2660]

The table below shows the figures for carbon dioxide emissions since 1990.

Year

Net CO2 emissions (emissions minus removals)

Other greenhouse gases

Kyoto greenhouse gas basket

1990

592.9

182.7

773.0

1991

600.2

182.1

780.0

1992

583.0

174.0

755.3

1993

568.0

167.1

734.5

1994

561.9

162.5

723.9

1995

553.1

162.0

714.1

1996

575.3

160.3

734.7

1997

551.6

159.1

709.8

1998

553.6

152.2

705.4

1999

543.0

129.9

672.7

2000

551.1

123.8

674.7

2001

562.5

115.7

678.2

2002

544.9

111.3

656.4

2003

556.2

104.8

661.1

2004

555.9

102.0

658.6

2005

553.2

99.0

652.8

2006

551.1

96.4

647.9

2007

542.6

93.7

636.6

2008 (p)

531.8

91.6

623.8

Notes:

1. Figures shown for 2008 are provisional.

2. Figures for each individual gas include the land use, land-use change and forestry sector (LULUCF), but exclude emissions from UK Overseas Territories.

3. Kyoto basket total differs slightly from sum of individual pollutants above as the basket uses a narrower definition for the land use, land-use change and forestry sector (LULUCF), and includes emissions from UK Overseas Territories.

4. The entire time series is revised each year to take account of methodological improvements in the UK emissions inventory.

5. Emissions are presented as carbon dioxide equivalent in line with international reporting and carbon trading. To convert carbon dioxide into carbon equivalents, divide figures by 44/12.

6. Figures shown do not include any adjustment for the effect of the EU emissions trading scheme (EUETS), which was introduced in 2005.

Elections: Armed Forces

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether there will be sufficient time between the nomination of candidates and polling day for members of the Armed Forces serving abroad to return their ballots before polling closes in respect of (a) European elections, (b) local elections, and (c) general elections. [HL3892]

Returning officers are responsible for sending out postal ballot packs to service personnel after the close of nominations when the identities of candidates are known and the ballot papers can be printed. In practice, this works out to be 11 working days before polling day for European, local and general elections. I understand that in accordance with the Electoral Commission's guidance on the issuing of postal votes, returning officers prioritise the issuing of postal ballot packs to service personnel and overseas voters.

We are aware that there can be potential difficulties in relation to returning officers being able to send postal ballot packs to service personnel and receive them back within this timescale and keep the position under review. In particular there could be difficulties getting post to those who maybe away from base or those who move location at short notice.

The Ministry of Defence is also working closely with the Electoral Commission to ensure that service personnel have all the information they need so that, if they want to vote, they can. This includes advising service personnel that they can vote by proxy if they have any concerns about the practicability of voting by post.

Embryology

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the comments by Lord Drayson on 3 March (Official Report, House of Lords, cols. 702–3) regarding funding for research on stem cells and regenerative medicines, what assessment they have made of the comments attributed to Dr Stephen Minger in the Tablet (9 May, page 6) regarding funding; what funding they have contributed to the United Kingdom Stem Cell Foundation to support the transfer of stem cell techniques from laboratories to patient care; and what further funding they plan to give to the foundation. [HL3857]

The Government do not provide funding directly to the UK Stem Cell Foundation (UKSCF). However, the Medical Research Council (MRC), which is one of the main agencies though which the Government support medical and clinical research, has committed £2.3 million to five joint projects run by the UKSCF in the past two years. Other funding for these projects is provided by Scottish Enterprise, the London Development Agency and the Wales Office of Research and Development for Health and Social Care.

The MRC has recently formed the Translational Stem Cell Research Committee which offers continued opportunity for co-funding with the UKSCF, as well as other research charities.

The MRC has not made an assessment of the comments in the Tablet.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answers by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 7 June 2007 (WA 203–4) and by Lord Darzi of Denham on 18 May (WA 250–1), whether the requirements of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 (as subsequently amended) permit the use of cloning for therapeutic purposes where this does not involve the derivation of stem cells, such as the use of nuclear transfer in reproduction. [HL3858]

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 (the 2008 Act), most of which is to be commenced on 1 October 2009, sets out in primary legislation a complete prohibition on the implantation in a woman of any embryo created by reproductive cloning. This reflects the fact that Parliament has made clear that it does not want to see reproductive cloning take place.

The 2008 Act contains a regulation-making power which would permit the use of cell nuclear transfer for the specific therapeutic purpose of preventing the transmission of serious mitochondrial diseases. This power is about helping couples conceive a child without the faulty mitochondria that affect the maternal line.

In order for any such regulations to come into force they would have to be consulted upon, and debated and approved by Parliament.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answers by Lord Darzi of Denham on 16 July 2008 (WA 153–4) and 18 May (WA 250–1), how the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority supported the comments by Dr Stephen Minger, Professor Peter Braude, Professor Justin St John, Professor Azim Surani, Professor Lord Winston and Professor Wolf Reik, reported by the Guardian on 22 April. [HL3888]

I have been informed by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority that it has nothing further to add to the response given to the noble Lord on 6 May 2009 (WA 117).

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answers by Lord Darzi of Denham on 22 July 2008 (WA 243–45), 5 May (WA 96) and 20 May (WA 317–8), why Roslin Cells Limited was not included among the centres which have publicly available inspection reports that provide details on the culture of outgrowing embryos, if the objective of the centre's licence was to derive embryonic stem cells. [HL3929]

I have been advised by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority that the inspection report of Roslin Cells Limited was not included among the centres referred to in my Answer of 5 May 2009 (WA 96), because the latest inspection report does not contain details of the embryo culture method used.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answers by Lord Darzi of Denham on 20 May (WA 317–18), whether details regarding the culture of outgrowing embryos are included in inspection reports to reflect deposition of stem cell lines in the UK Stem Cell Bank; whether the omission of such details in the inspection report for Roslin Cells Limited, dated 2 April 2008, means that no embryonic stem cell lines have been thus derived; and whether the inclusion of such details in the inspection reports for Guy's Hospital, dated 2 April 2008, and Oxford Fertility Centre, dated 16 September 2008, reflect embryonic stem cell lines having been derived. [HL3930]

I have been advised by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) that inspection reports are for licence committees to determine a centre's compliance with the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990, licence conditions and the HFEA code of practice. The reports focus on areas of compliance and non-compliance and therefore are not intended to be detailed scientific documents with a description of every protocol used. Description of a method used for embryo culture and stem cell derivation within an inspection report is not an indication of whether a stem cell line has been derived using that method.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answers by Lord Darzi of Denham on 22 July 2008 (WA 243–5) and 20 May (WA 317–18), how many embryonic stem cell lines from outgrowing embryos have been deposited in the UK Stem Cell Bank by each of (a) Guy's Hospital, (b) Oxford Fertility Centre, and (c) Roslin Cells Limited; and, if no embryonic stem cell lines have been thus derived since the issue was raised in 2006, how the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority has assessed the validity of a licence to culture embryos for more than 14 days. [HL3931]

Information on the number of embryonic stem cell lines from outgrown embryos is not held centrally.

I am informed that the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) does not hold data on the number of stem cell lines from HFEA licensed research projects deposited in the United Kingdom Stem Cell Bank. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 provides that no licence may permit the culture of a “live human embryo” beyond 14 days or the appearance of the primitive streak (whichever comes first), and no licence does.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Darzi of Denham on 20 May (WA 318), how often the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) considers inspection reports and progress reports in order to ensure that the proposed research covered by a licence remains necessary or desirable for one of the prescribed purposes and to ensure that the use of an embryo remains necessary in pursuing aims as understood by the HFEA's peer reviewers; and whether there are exceptions. [HL3932]

I have been advised by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) that when applying to the HFEA for a research licence applicants are required to provide, along with the objectives of the research and other information, justification for the creation and/or use of embryos. Two peer reviews are sought for initial licence applications and the HFEA Executive carries out an onsite inspection. A research licence committee, which consists of members of the authority, will consider this information when deciding whether the proposed research is necessary or desirable for one of the prescribed purposes, and therefore whether or not to grant an initial licence.

Following the grant of a research licence, further inspections are undertaken periodically and those inspection reports are considered by a research licence committee. Licensed research centres are required to submit progress reports to the HFEA annually (or six monthly for stem cell research) outlining the research undertaken to date and how this relates to the objectives. When applying to the HFEA for the renewal of a research licence, centres are required to outline how the work undertaken related to the objectives of the original application and how the work they propose to carry out relates to the work since the research licence was granted or since the centre's previously submitted progress report.

The research licence committee refers to the renewal application, latest inspection report, latest progress report and one peer review when deciding whether the research remains necessary or desirable for one of the prescribed purposes, and therefore whether to renew a licence.

There are no exceptions to this method of assessment.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answers by Lord Darzi of Denham on 28 February 2008 (WA 135), 3 July 2008 (WA 49) and 20 May (WA 332–3), why they do not collect information centrally about the number of licensed centres providing fertility services for NHS patients in accordance with the February 2004 National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidelines. [HL3933]

The number of licensed centres with which the National Health Service contracts for the provision of fertility services is a matter for primary care trusts (PCTs) locally. We collect information on PCTs’ policies on the provision of fertility services. The most recent survey is currently being analysed.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answers by Lord Darzi of Denham on 28 February 2008 (WA 135) and 20 May (WA 332–3), why the expert group on commissioning National Health Service infertility provision identified that the expertise of commissioners and their awareness of the consequences of infertility had to be developed; and what were the previous criteria for appointment to the expert group on commissioning National Health Service infertility provision. [HL3934]

The expert group on commissioning National Health Service infertility provision identifies that expert commissioning skills needed to be developed and maintained if fertility services are to be commissioned in an equitable way to meet patients’ needs. The criteria for membership of the expert group include expertise in commissioning and knowledge of the needs of patients with fertility problems.

Geert Wilders

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government on what basis the Home Office refused Geert Wilders’ entry into the United Kingdom in February in the light of the department's press release of 5 May which stated that “excluding European nationals and their family members is expected to take effect from 1 June 2009 … [if they present] a threat to public policy or public security”. [HL3438]

Mr Wilders was refused admission to the UK under European Union law, whereby a member state of the European Economic Area (EEA) may refuse entry to a national of another EEA state if this is justified on grounds of public policy, public security or public health and where the personal conduct of the individual represents a genuine, present and sufficiently serious threat affecting one of the fundamental interests of society.

The immigration officer took into account the Home Secretary's views and concluded that there was a significant risk that Mr Wilders’ presence in the UK would threaten community harmony and therefore public security by fostering hate which might lead to inter-community violence within the UK.

Health: Channel Islands

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what advice they are giving to United Kingdom residents intending to visit the Channel Islands about making provision to meet the cost of urgent healthcare during their stay; and by what means such advice is disseminated. [HL3898]

Following the end of the bilateral healthcare agreement, the department recommends that all United Kingdom residents intending to visit the Channel Islands take out private travel insurance. Preceding the end of the agreement, the department ran a wide communications campaign in national, local, and online press to deliver this message.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many patients ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom received urgent healthcare on the Channel Islands; and what was the cost to the United Kingdom Exchequer in the past three years. [HL3899]

The department does not have data on the total number of United Kingdom residents that were treated in the Channels Islands under the bilateral healthcare agreement. One of the reasons the UK gave notice on the agreement was due to a lack of robust data underpinning the business case. Due to a perceived imbalance in the number of visitors being treated by both parties, under the agreement the UK provided the Channel Islands with an allocation to fund clinical referrals to the UK. This allocation totalled around £11 million over the past three years.

Health: Clinical Diagnoses

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Darzi of Denham on 30 April (WA 57), what form the apology made by the Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust to the family of Henry Spiller took. [HL3813]

Health: Contaminated Blood Products

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate the Department of Health has made of the cost of the proposals set out in its response of 20 May to the report of the Independent Public Inquiry headed by Lord Archer of Sandwell into the infection of haemophilia patients with HIV and hepatitis C by contaminated NHS blood products; and whether they will provide a breakdown of the costs of each of the proposals in the response. [HL3891]

The estimated annual cost of honouring the Government's commitment to increase financial assistance available to those infected with HIV and their dependants is in the order of some millions of pounds. Our intention is that the annual payment to each infected individual should be double the average annual payment at present. The details of payments to infected individuals and to their dependants remain to be clarified through detailed discussion with the trustees of the Macfarlane and Eileen Trusts. Those discussions have commenced.

The estimated cost of the other proposals set out in the Government's response to Lord Archer's independent inquiry report on National Health Service supplied contaminated blood and blood products is £100,000 per annum until March 2014 to support the Haemophilia Society; £10,000 per annum to support twice-yearly meetings with the Haemophilia Alliance; and £50,000 to fund a look-back exercise to identify other patients with bleeding disorders who may have been infected via their treatment.

It is not possible at present to estimate the additional costs which may arise from Government's commitment to review, in 2014, the Skipton Fund, which makes payments to those infected with hepatitis C.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the remarks by Lord Darzi of Denham on 28 April (Official Report, House of Lords, col. 143) undertaking to assist in securing time for their response to the report of the Independent Public Inquiry headed by Lord Archer of Sandwell into the use of contaminated blood in the NHS treatment of haemophilia patients to be debated in the House of Lords, when the debate will take place; and whether they will indicate its timing, following their response to the Archer report being made by Written Statement. [HL3904]

The department would be happy to debate this issue in the House of Lords. However, all debate requests are subject to consultation and agreement with the Government Whips Office and the usual channels of the House.

Health: Dentistry

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Department of Health is on target to ensure that everyone who wants to see an NHS dentist can do so by March 2011. [HL3936]

All 10 strategic health authorities have set themselves the goal of delivering access to National Health Service dentistry for all who seek it by March 2011 and will be monitoring the progress made by primary care trusts.

A national access team has been set up to support the NHS to deliver the new services and new ways of working this ambitious goal requires. To help the NHS quickly to procure and bring on line new services, the programme has developed a procurement framework, is running a series of bidder workshops in April to June 2009 and has launched a dedicated support website. New services for new patients are starting to come on stream now, though the majority of additional procurements, following the framework, will come online in early 2010.

Access to NHS dentistry is already starting to improve. 100,000 more patients saw an NHS dentist in the 24-month period ending 30 September 2008 than in the 24-month period ending 30 June 2008. And a further 240,000 saw an NHS dentist in the 24-month period ending 31 December 2008. The scale of the challenge remains significant and there is much further to go, but the NHS has made a positive start as these figures show.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many private dentists are working in the United Kingdom. [HL3937]

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many dentists are working for the NHS in the United Kingdom. [HL3938]

The department is not responsible for the provision of National Health Service dental services outside of England, as this lies with the devolved Administrations.

In England there were 20,815 dentists who had NHS activity recorded through FP17 claim forms during the year ending 31 March 2008, an increase of 655 on the previous year. This figure is reported in Table 32 of the NHS Dental Statistics for England: 2007/08 report. This report has already been placed in the Library and is also available on the NHS Information Centre website at www.ic.nhs.uk/pubs/denta10708.

This figure refers to the number of high street dentists. It is a headcount and does not differentiate between full-time and part-time dentists, nor does it account for the fact that some dentists may do more NHS work than others. It is possible that some of these dentists also did NHS work in other parts of the United Kingdom.

Health: Incontinence

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will commission research into how many people suffer from incontinence, and how many are likely to suffer from incontinence in 2030. [HL3939]

The department is currently funding research on a range of aspects of incontinence, but none specifically on prevalence. The department has no plans to commission research into the number of people suffering from incontinence.

Health: Non-UK Residents

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government why no healthcare reimbursement money was sought from Poland in 2006–07 and 2007–08. [HL3876]

The United Kingdom did not make claims against Poland in 2006-07 and 2007-08 either because no citizens from there were treated by the National Health Service, the necessary data were not captured to allow the UK to make a claim or claims are still being assessed. The department is currently piloting an improved overseas visitor data capture process in a number of NHS trusts and intends to roll this out across the NHS in October this year.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Darzi of Denham on 18 May (WA 260), why no healthcare reimbursement money was sought from Latvia in 2007–08; and how many Latvians were treated in the United Kingdom that year. [HL3877]

The United Kingdom did not make claims against Latvia in 2007-08 either because no citizens from there were treated by the National Health Service, the necessary data were not captured to allow the UK to make a claim or claims are still being assessed. The department does not collect data centrally on the number of Latvian citizens treated in the UK for any particular year. The department is currently piloting an improved overseas visitor data capture process in a number of NHS trusts and intends to roll this out across the NHS in October this year.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Darzi of Denham on 18 May (WA 260), why no healthcare reimbursement money was sought from Lithuania in 2007–08; and how many Lithuanians were treated in the United Kingdom that year. [HL3878]

The United Kingdom did not make claims against Lithuania in 2007-08 either because no citizens from there were treated by the National Health Service, the necessary data were not captured to allow the UK to make a claim or claims are still being assessed. The department does not collect data centrally on the number of Lithuanian citizens treated in the UK for any particular year. The department is currently piloting an improved overseas visitor data capture process in a number of NHS trusts and intends to roll this out across the NHS in October this year.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Darzi of Denham on 18 May (WA 260), which European Economic Area countries were recorded as having no citizens treated by the National Health Service in 2007–08. [HL3879]

The department does not currently collect data centrally on the number of foreign nationals treated by the National Health Service for any particular year. This information is held by individual trusts. The department is currently piloting an improved overseas visitor data capture process in a number of NHS trusts and intends to roll this out across the NHS in October this year.

Identity Cards

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to ensure staff in the businesses they refer to in their website statement on ID cards as trusted high street businesses will be trained in security issues; if so by whom; for how long; and how the operation will be regulated by the Home Office. [HL3418]

The Identity and Passport Service (IPS) will accredit high street businesses which can demonstrate that they meet our stringent security and service requirements. These requirements will always be defined by the Government and will include security training. It is planned that accredited organisations will need to demonstrate that staff have received the necessary training, which will include all aspects required to ensure the service is delivered securely.

Our approach will ensure that the integrity of a person's biometric data is paramount and that they are not used in any way in the application process other than for the purpose for which they were provided. Work on completing detailed requirements is continuing before the launch of such partnerships in 2011-12.

Israel

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they will take to support the Pope's recent appeal to Israel to negotiate a viable state for the Palestinians. [HL3854]

We welcome the Pope's call for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.

We have been clear, in public and in private, on the need to achieve a two-state solution in the Middle East. The UK will continue to work with the US and other partners to help achieve this objective, which we regard as a priority. My right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary reinforced our commitment during his intervention at the UN Security Council on 11 May 2009.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether any conditions were placed on the Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs, Avigdor Lieberman, prior to his meeting the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, David Miliband. [HL3916]

There were no conditions. It is imperative that we engage with the Israeli Government, including their Foreign Minister, on the important task of reinvigorating a serious political dialogue, aimed at establishing a lasting and just regional peace between Israel and its neighbours.

In their meeting, my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary stressed the importance that the UK attaches to the relationship with Israel and our opposition to boycotts of Israel. He also pressed Avigdor Lieberman on the need to end settlement construction, ease restrictions on movement (especially on Gaza) and to engage in serious negotiations to deliver a two-state solution.

Joint Ministerial Committee (Domestic)

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government who represented them and each of the devolved Administrations at the Joint Ministerial Committee (Domestic) held on 13 May 2009; what subjects were discussed; and what outcomes were agreed. [HL3770]

The Joint Ministerial Committee (Domestic) met for the second time on 14 May, after its inaugural meeting on 11 March 2009. Her Majesty's Government were represented by the Ministers for Immigration and the Northern Ireland Office, and the Parliamentary Under-Secretaries of State for Wales and Scotland. From the Welsh Assembly Government, the First and Deputy First Ministers attended, from the Northern Ireland Executive the First Minister and a junior Minister in the Office of the First and Deputy First Minister attended, and from the Scottish Executive the Ministers for Culture, External Relations and the Constitution and for Schools and Skills attended. The Secretary of State for Wales was in the chair and the meeting discussed managed migration, agreeing further collaboration would be important.

Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism: Staff

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many non-United Kingdom nationals work in the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism in the Home Office. [HL3727]

Currently, we have two non-United Kingdom nationals working in the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism (OSCT). However, these are exceptions as most posts within OSCT are reserved for UK nationals. All OSCT staff undergo security checks relevant to their role.

Police: Discrimination

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord West of Spithead on 5 March (WA 185), whether the independent review of the national police diversity staff support associations will involve consultation with individual police officers of all ranks; when the review is likely to be completed; and whether its findings will be published. [HL3796]

The independent review of the national diversity staff support associations (DSSA) has been received and the report is being considered by the Equality and Diversity Strategy Board (EDSB) which commissioned the review. The equality impact assessment report sets out the formal consultation process undertaken, including face-to-face interviews with national DSSA representatives; questionnaire surveying of national DSSAs and key stakeholder groups; a series of interviews with EDSB members and a formal consultation meeting with the national DSSAs prior to completing the final report. A summary of the review will be available when a final decision on the recommendations has been made.

Questions for Written Answer

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their target time for responding to Questions for Written Answer in the House of Lords; and what percentage of Answers were delivered in that time in (a) this Session, and (b) each of the preceding three Sessions. [HL3917]

In accordance with the Guide to Proceedings, departments aim to respond to Questions for Written Answer within a fortnight.

Until recently, statistical data in relation to Questions for Written Answer were not held centrally. As a result, the information requested is not available for the previous three parliamentary Sessions.

Relevant statistics are now requested from departments and collated by my office on a monthly basis. As of 30 April 2009, 3,024 Questions for Written Answer had been tabled in the House of Lords during the current Session. Sixty-five per cent of these Questions were answered within a fortnight.

Roads: Traffic Officers

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord West of Spithead on 18 May (WA 272–3), what savings have been achieved in expenditure and police time as a result of the introduction of Highways Agency Traffic Officers. [HL3837]

Southern African Development Community

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to support the Southern African Development Community. [HL3842]

The Government maintain a dialogue with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) on a range of regional issues, including Zimbabwe. Thematic groups are the major forum for policy dialogue between SADC and donor countries. The Department for International Development (DfID) co-chairs, with SADC, thematic groups on transport, food security and agriculture.

Since 2003, DfID has been supporting regional economic communities in Southern Africa, including SADC, through the regional trade facilitation programme (£16.1 million) and a new Southern African regional aid for trade programme ($100 million). Of this amount, $67 million will be allocated for trade infrastructure related to the North-South Corridor programme, which will directly benefit SADC countries.

DfID provides direct support to the SADC secretariat (based in Gaborone, Botswana), including funding and technical assistance. DflD's new regional climate change programme (£7.5 million over five years) includes direct support to SADC to provide policy advice and support in international climate change negotiations, in particular in applications for multilateral funding to support adaptation to climate change in the region.

DfID is also initiating, with SADC, the Southern Africa regional programme on access to medicines. £1.5 million has been provided by DfID for the initial phase. This is planned to increase to £12.5 million through to 2013. This programme will increase access to higher quality drugs at lower cost for priority diseases.

Student Loans

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the monetary value of the student loan book; and what projection they have for its value at the end of 2010. [HL3882]

In financial year 2007-08, the latest year for which figures are published, the total student loan debt in England was approximately £22 billion (provisional figure).

This is shown in table 1 of the Statistical First Release (SFR) on Student Loans for Higher Education in England, Financial Year 2007-08 (provisional) which can be found in full at the following web address at www.slc.co.uk/pdf/slcsfr022008.pdf. A copy will also be placed in the House Library.

An update of this SFR is scheduled to be published on 25 June on the Student Loans Company website. Provisional figures for financial year 2008-09 will be found at www.slc.co.uk/statistics/national_statistics.html.

The department's current forecast for outstanding loans at the end of financial year 2009-10 is approximately £30 billion.

All figures have been rounded to the closest £ billion.

Taxation: Income Tax

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what percentage of taxpayers aged (a) 20–39, (b) 40–59, and (c) 60 or over, paid higher-rate income tax in each of the last five years for which figures are available. [HL3845]

The information requested is provided in the table below.

Proportion of taxpayers in each age group who paid higher rate income tax (%)

20-39

40-59

60 or over

2006-07

10

17

8

2005-06

10

16

7

2004-05

9

15

7

2003-04

9

15

6

2002-03

10

15

5

Transformational Government Strategy

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the projected cost of implementing the Transformational Government strategy. [HL2689]

This information is not held centrally.

The transformational government strategy highlights three major change areas which focus on the citizen; joining up and increasing professionalism. Progress against these and other transformational activities are reported in the transformational government annual report. The report contains summary information about IT expenditure across government departments represented on the CIO Council (NB this is not the full IT expenditure across government and not all expenditure is related to transformational government strategy).

The reports for 2006 and 2007 can be found online on the CIO website at www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/cio.aspx and copies are available in the Libraries of the House. The 2008 report is currently being drafted and will be published in due course.

Visas

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government when a list of authorised exchange schemes will be published to assist employers to obtain visas for foreign students to undertake short-term work placements in the United Kingdom. [HL3457]

The UK Border Agency will publish a list of schemes approved under the tier five (Government Authorised Exchange) category of the points-based system on its website by 30 June.

Zimbabwe

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to promote political stability in Zimbabwe. [HL3840]

Through its global political agreement (GPA), the inclusive Government have committed themselves to a package of reforms that will restore security and welfare to Zimbabwe's people and promote respect for human rights and the rule of law. Several aspects of the GPA remain to be implemented. We will support the Government in their continuing efforts to achieve these reforms, offering any assistance that promotes and strengthens positive change. We are in regular contact with the new Government to discuss how this can best be achieved, and we maintain a close dialogue on this with our EU and other partners. Civil society in Zimbabwe remains strong and has an important role in monitoring progress on reform, holding the Government to account. We continue to support civil society with advice and with significant levels of funding.