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Written Answers

Volume 712: debated on Wednesday 1 July 2009

Written Answers

Wednesday 1 July 2009

Afghanistan

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what resources are available to the Department for International Development for its work in Afghanistan; and what resources are available for military operations there. [HL4243]

Details of the Department for International Development’s (DfID) resource allocation to Afghanistan are available in DfID’s annual report and Statistics on International Development 2008 (SID). Both documents are accessible in the Library of the House and on the DfID website: www.dfid.gov.uk.

Details of expenditure on military operations in Afghanistan are made available by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in its annual report and accounts, published at www.mod.uk.

Armed Forces: Religions and Faiths

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many members of Her Majesty's Armed Forces are (a) Jewish, and (b) Israeli. [HL4581]

As at 1 April 2009, 70 personnel in the UK regular forces had declared their religion as Jewish and no personnel had declared their nationality as Israeli.

Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants, etc.) Act 2004

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government which countries are designated as safe countries under the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants, etc.) Act 2004. [HL4327]

Countries which are designated as safe under the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants, etc.) Act 2004 are as follows: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Republic of Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

Asylum Seekers

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many failed asylum seekers have had all benefits withdrawn. [HL4127]

Information on the total number of failed asylum seekers formerly in receipt of asylum support who have had their support withdrawn, including those supported prior to the existing arrangements coming into force in 2000, could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Asylum Seekers: Democratic Republic of Congo

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many asylum-seeking families from the Democratic Republic of Congo have been detained at Yarl’s Wood immigration removal centre in the past year. [HL4440]

Three asylum-seeking families from the Democratic Republic of Congo were detained at Yarl’s Wood immigration removal centre in the last calendar year.

Charity Commission

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what response the Chief Executive of the Charity Commission is making to the letter sent to him by Professor Leon Poller on 16 June about irregularities in the notification to members of an election meeting of the charity they were entitled to attend; and, in furtherance of the Commission’s duties to enhance good governance of charities, what action the Commission has taken or will be taking to rectify the consequences of such irregularities in relation to the election, and otherwise. [HL4485]

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the Charity Commission. I have asked the commission to reply.

Letter from Andrew Hind, chief executive of the Charity Commission, to Lord Morris, dated June 2009.

As the Chief Executive of the Charity Commission, I have been asked to respond to your Written Parliamentary Question.

Professor Poller’s letter of 16 June related to an allegation that he believed had been made to the Charity Commission about the payment of membership subscriptions to a charity. This allegation apparently suggested that certain named individuals had not paid their subscription to this charity in 2008. We responded on 19 June to confirm that no such allegation had been made to us.

Professor Poller has also corresponded with us about the election meeting held in May 2009. We have looked into his allegation that some members of the charity had not received the notification of the AGM that they were entitled to. We have provided Professor Poller with a full response and we have asked his permission to disclose this to you. If that is forthcoming then I will write to you with the copies.

I hope this is helpful.

Civil Service: Redundancy

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many civil servants have been made redundant in each government department in each of the past three years; and what were the associated costs. [HL4071]

Information relating to the associated costs of civil servant redundancies is not collated centrally and to do so would incur disproportionate cost.

Information requested on numbers of civil servants who have been made redundant falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, National Statistician, to Lord Laird, dated June 2009.

As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question concerning how many civil servants have been made redundant in each government department in each of the last three years. (HL4071)

The Office for National Statistics collects data on leavers from the Civil Service as part of the Annual Civil Service Employment Survey (ACSES).

The requested data are attached at annexe A.

Annexe A

Number of civil servants made redundant by department and agency 2006-0812

Headcount

Permanent employees

200656

200778

200879

Attorney General's Departments

Crown Prosecution Service

10

0

..

Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate

-

0

0

Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers

0

0

0

Revenue and Customs Prosecution Office

-

0

0

Serious Fraud Office

-

..

..

Treasury Solicitor

..

0

0

Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform

Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform(excl agencies)3

-

20

20

Department of Trade and Industry (excl agencies) 3

20

-

-

Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service

-

0

0

Companies House

-

0

0

Insolvency Service

0

0

0

Office of Fair Trading

-

..

10

Office of Gas and Electricity Market

-

10

10

Postal Services Commission

-

..

..

Cabinet Office

Cabinet Office (excl agencies)

-

0

..

Other Cabinet Office agencies

Central Office of Information

-

0

0

National School of Government

-

0

0

Parliamentary Counsel Office

-

0

0

HM Treasury

HM Treasury

10

..

..

HM Revenue and Customs

HM Revenue and Customs

-

..

..

Valuation Office

0

0

0

Inland Revenue

Inland Revenue

0

-

-

Chancellor's other departments

Debt Management Office

-

0

0

Government Actuary's Department

0

0

0

National Savings and Investments

-

0

0

Office of Government Commerce

-

0

0

OGCbuying.solutions

-

0

0

Office for National Statistics4

0

40

110

Royal Mint

0

10

20

Charity Commission

Charity Commission

0

0

0

Children, Schools and Families

Department for Children, Schools and Families3

-

0

0

Department for Education and Skills

Department for Education and Skills

..

-

-

Innovation, Universities and Skills

Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills

-

..

..

National Weights and Measures Laboratory

0

0

0

UK Intellectual Property Office

..

0

0

Office for Standards in Education

Office for Standards in Education

-

0

0

Communities and Local Government

Department for Communities and Local Government (excl agencies)3

90

20

..

Fire Service College

-

0

0

Ordnance Survey

30

..

..

Planning Inspectorate

0

0

0

Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre

-

0

0

Culture, Media and Sport

Department for Culture Media and Sport3

0

0

0

Royal Parks

..

0

0

Defence

Ministry of Defence

470

1,140

1,440

Royal Fleet Auxiliary

-

0

0

Army Base Repair Organisation

160

0

0

Defence Aviation Repair Agency

..

60

10

Defence Science and Technology Laboratory

10

..

0

Met Office

10

20

..

UK Hydrographic Office

0

0

..

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (excl agencies)

70

40

30

Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science

..

0

0

Central Science Laboratory

..

..

0

Government Decontamination Services

0

0

0

Marine and Fisheries Agency

0

0

0

Office of Water Services

..

0

0

Pesticides Safety Directorate

0

0

0

Rural Payments Agency

-

0

10

Animal Health

0

0

..

Veterinary Laboratories Agency

0

0

0

Veterinary Medicines Directorate

0

0

0

Export Credits Guarantee Department

Export Credit Guarantee Department

0

0

0

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Foreign and Commonwealth Office (excl agencies)

10

10

50

Wilton Park Executive Agency

0

0

0

Health

Department of Health (excl agencies)

10

10

10

Food Standards Agency

-

0

0

Meat Hygiene Service

-

20

50

Medical and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency

-

0

0

National Healthcare Purchasing and Supplies

-

..

10

NHS Business Services Authority (Civil Service only)

-

0

..

Home Office

Home Office (excl agencies)3

..

0

..

Border and Immigration Agency

-

0

0

Criminal Records Bureau

-

0

0

Identity and Passport Service

-

0

0

Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism

-

0

0

Justice

Ministry of Justice (excl agencies)

-

10

40

HM Courts Service

-

100

50

Land Registry

0

0

0

National Archives

-

0

0

Public Guardianship Office

-

0

0

Tribunals Service

-

..

20

Scotland Office

0

0

0

Wales Office

-

0

0

Public Sector Prison Service

10

..

0

International Development

Department for International Development

-

10

..

Northern Ireland Office

Northern Ireland Office

0

0

0

Security and Intelligence Services

Security and Intelligence Services

..

..

0

Transport

Department for Transport (excl agencies)3

110

40

10

Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency

0

10

80

Driving Standards Agency

0

0

0

Government Car and Despatch Agency

-

0

..

Highways Agency

..

..

..

Maritime and Coastguard Agency

-

0

0

Office of Rail Regulation

-

0

0

Vehicle Certification Agency

0

0

0

Vehicle and Operator Services Agency

10

0

0

Work and Pensions

DWP Corporate Services

10

20

40

DWP Shared Services

-

..

20

Child Support Agency

..

20

220

Disability and Carers Service

110

10

100

Jobcentre Plus

230

260

970

Pension Service

30

120

400

The Health and Safety Executive

0

..

..

The Rent Service

-

0

0

Scottish Government

Scottish Government (excl agencies)

..

..

..

Communities Scotland

0

0

0

Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service

-

0

0

Courts Group

0

0

..

Fisheries Research Services

0

0

0

General Register Scotland

0

0

0

HM Inspectorate of Education

0

0

0

Historic Scotland

0

0

..

Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland

0

0

0

National Archive for Scotland

0

0

0

Office of Accountant in Bankruptcy

0

0

0

Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator

0

0

0

Registers of Scotland

0

10

10

Scottish Agricultural Scientific Agency

0

..

0

Scottish Buildings Standards Agency

0

0

0

Scottish Court Service

0

0

0

Scottish Fisheries Protection Agency

0

..

..

Scottish Prison Service

-

0

0

Scottish Public Pensions Agency

0

0

0

Social Work Inspection Agency

0

0

0

Student Awards Agency

0

0

0

Transport Scotland

0

..

0

Welsh Assembly

Welsh Assembly Government

0

0

..

ESTYN

0

0

0

Total

1,420

2,000

3,770

Source: Mandate Collection and Annual Civil Service Employment Survey

1 Includes civil servants who have taken “compulsory early retirement” or “compulsory early severance”. Excludes civil servants who are over pension age.

2 Numbers are rounded to the nearest ten, and numbers less than five are represented by “..”. Data not available are represented by “-”..

3 Includes Government Office for the Regions employees.

4 Figures for the Office for National Statistics exclude field staff who were not Civil Servants at the reference date.

5 Data sourced from the Mandate collection, undertaken by Cabinet Office, which provides approximately 85 per cent coverage of Civil Service departments and agencies.

6 Survey reference date 1 April 2006.

7 Data sourced from the Annual Civil Service Employment Survey (2007 and 2008), undertaken by ONS, which provides 100 per cent coverage of Civil Service departments and agencies.

8 Survey reference date 30 September 2007.

9 Survey reference date 31 March 2008.

Common Fisheries Policy

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the effect of the common fisheries policy (CFP) on fishing practices in the six to 12 nautical mile offshore zones around other European Union member states; and what is their assessment of opportunities to reform the CFP. [HL4518]

It is essential that the CFP supports wider marine conservation objectives. We are working with the Commission and other member states to ensure this is delivered as a fundamental part of the reform process.

Crime: Immigration

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many people were (a) prosecuted, and (b) convicted, for immigration-related crimes in each of the last five years. [HL4458]

The Home Office publishes statistics on the number of persons proceeded against for offences under Immigration Acts 1971 to 2006 in England and Wales. The latest published annual information for 2003 to 2007 can be found in Table 6.7 of the Control of Immigration: Statistics United Kingdom 2007 bulletin (http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs08/ hosbl 008.pdf).

Published statistics on immigration and asylum are available from the Library of the House and from the Home Office research, development and statistics directorate website at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration-asylum-stats.html.

Crime: Traffic Offences

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many non-British-driving-licence holders were (a) cautioned, (b) arrested, and (c) prosecuted, for traffic offences in each of the last three years. [HL4457]

Information collected centrally by the Ministry of Justice on the Cautions and Court Proceedings Database for England and Wales does not include nationality of the defendant.

The information requested on arrests is not collected centrally. The arrests collection held by the Home Office for England and Wales covers arrests for recorded crime (notifiable offences) only, broken down at a main offence group level, covering categories such as violence against the person and robbery.

Information for Scotland is a matter for the Scottish Executive and that for Northern Ireland for the Northern Ireland Office.

Elections

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will respond to the recent YouGov polls showing that voters in the European Union elections were concerned about the management of immigration control. [HL4229]

The Government have introduced the biggest shake-up of immigration control for 45 years through the delivery of the points-based system to control numbers coming to the UK, strengthening our borders, targeting criminals, counting in and out, ensuring fairness and reducing public impacts.

Embryology

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that human embryos used in fertility treatments are not implanted into the wrong patient. [HL4337]

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has advised that it has continually reviewed the effectiveness of its directions and guidance in consideration of information from incidents.

The guidance covers procedures within licensed treatment centres for witnessing critical points in clinical and laboratory practice, with the aim of minimising as far as possible the risk of errors occurring, such as the wrong gametes or embryos being used in a patient's treatment. Assessing the witnessing procedures used in clinics continues to be a focus of HFEA inspections.

All licensed centres are required to report any adverse incident that relates to the witnessing of clinical and laboratory practices. Where the HFEA receives a report, the incident is reviewed and followed up either by means of a further inspection or an investigation.

EU: Benefits

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress is being made towards a European Union-wide benefits scheme. [HL4435]

There are no proposals for a European Union-wide benefits scheme.

The European Community provisions on social security co-ordinate the member states' different systems to enable free movement within the EEA. They do not seek to harmonise the different social security systems, nor do they replace the national legislation.

Flooding

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what measure they propose in the light of the Environment Agency’s recent report, Flooding in England. [HL4542]

The Government welcome the Environment Agency’s Flooding in England report, which sets out the challenges we face in managing risk from flooding.

We have taken immediate action to help communities at risk of flooding:

funding has been increased from £600 million in 2007-08 to a forecast of £780 million for 2010-11, with an additional £20 million brought forward into this year’s budgets to allow an early start to projects that will benefit 27,000 homes when complete;

85 flood defence schemes have been completed, protecting nearly 58,000 additional homes in England. Operating authorities are currently on course to exceed delivery targets and provide better protection to 160,000 homes over the three years since March 2008 to March 2011;

an additional 136,000 people have signed up to receive flood warnings in England and Wales;

a £7.7 million flood forecasting centre, jointly run by the Environment Agency and the Met Office, has been set up. The centre is already providing important services to local authorities and emergency responders, helping them to be better prepared for potential flooding;

a £5 million grant scheme for householders for property-level flood protection (such as air bricks and door boards) has been announced. The results of the first round of the scheme which will provide greater flood protection to nearly 600 households in England were announced on 25 June; and

the first allocations have been provided to six local authorities from the £15 million funding allocated to help the highest priority areas manage surface water flood risk. Progress on implementing the first round as well as next steps on the remaining funds will be announced later this summer.

The Pitt progress report, published on 25 June this year, details the significant progress the Government have made in implementing the recommendations contained in Sir Michael Pitt’s report on the 2007 summer floods. The report comes six months after Sir Michael Pitt’s review, published in December 2008, in which he made 92 recommendations to improve the UK’s preparation for, management of and response to severe flooding.

Government Departments: Advertising

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what was their expenditure on advertising by issue and by department in each of the last five financial years for which figures are available. [HL3404]

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the Central Office of Information. I have asked the chief executive to reply.

Letter from chief executive, Central Office of Information, dated 23 June 2009.

As Chief Executive of the Central Office of Information (COI), I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question on the advertising expenditure within Her Majesty’s Government (HMG).

The Central Office of Information publishes total expenditure on advertising in its Annual Report and Accounts, copies of which are available in the Library of the House. The published figure is split between media and non-media spend. An example of non-media spend would be production costs etc.

It should be noted that this figure is the total expenditure through COI and should not be taken as the total spend for HMG.

Health: Contaminated Blood Products

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Darzi of Denham on 16 June (WA 198), whether officials at the Department of Health, when discussing with the Association of British Insurers the issue of insurance for haemophilia patients with HIV, were aware that almost all of them were co-infected with hepatitis C. [HL4451]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Darzi of Denham on 16 June (WA 198), whether the possible threat of vCJD infection to patients with haemophilia supported by the Macfarlane Trust was taken into account by officials at the Department of Health when discussing with the Association of British Insurers the general issue of insurance for such patients. [HL4452]

The department was aware of the fact that many haemophilia patients were co-infected with both human immunodeficiency virus and hepatitis C at the time of its discussions with the Association of British Insurers (ABI). The Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) incidents panel has separately discussed with the ABI the issue of patients who might be at risk of having been infected with vCJD after receiving contaminated blood and blood products.

Health: Former UK Residents

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Darzi of Denham on 16 June (WA 199) concerning the non-reimbursement of National Health Service costs from the Governments of Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, when they became aware that information was not being collected to allow such costs to be recovered. [HL4391]

On 6 December 2007, the department wrote to all European economic area (EEA) member states to advise that from that date their citizens would be required to present a European health insurance card (EHIC) in order to receive National Health Service treatment that becomes necessary during a visit to the United Kingdom, free of charge. This was based on the department's understanding that the lack of data was as a result of overseas visitors not bringing their EHICs to the UK. Subsequently, in February 2008, the department identified that trusts were capturing information on overseas visitors but it was insufficient to allow the UK to raise claims for treatment provided. Therefore, the department initiated a project to address this.

Higher Education Funding Council

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government when they asked the Higher Education Funding Council (HEFC) to ensure that the new research excellence framework reflects the quality of researchers’ contribution to policy making and public engagement; when the HEFC’s response is expected; and whether they will place copies of the request, and of the response when it is received, in the Library of the House. [HL4106]

The Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills’ grant letter to the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) of 21 January 2009 said that the research excellence framework (REF),

“should continue to incentivise research excellence, but also reflect the quality of researchers’ contribution to public policy making and to public engagement, and not create disincentives to researchers moving between academia and the private sector”.

The grant letter is available on the HEFCE website and a copy will be placed in both the Libraries of the House.

Human Rights Act 1998

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Bach on 22 June (WA 255), whether they will legislate to ensure that private bodies carrying out public functions will be subject to the Human Rights Act 1998. [HL4546]

Under Section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998, it is unlawful for a public authority to act in a way which is incompatible with a convention right; “public authority” is defined in Section 6(3) as including inter alia “any person certain of whose functions are functions of a public nature” unless, by virtue of Section 6(5), the nature of the act in question is private. A private body carrying out a function of a public nature is therefore subject to the Human Rights Act. The Government note that concerns have been expressed about the courts' interpretation of what constitutes a function of a public nature. The Government note these concerns and remain committed to consulting on this issue in due course.

Immigration

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many people have been (a) arrested, and (b) convicted, in each of the past three years for holding forged immigration documents. [HL4328]

The UK Border Agency statistics on arrests do not specifically record data relating to arrests for “holding forged immigration documents” as there are a number of offences both under immigration law and other legislation that this type of criminality relates to.

The Home Office publishes statistics on the number of persons removed and departed voluntarily from the UK on a quarterly and annual basis, as well as statistics on persons proceeded against for offences under immigration Acts in England and Wales annually. National statistics on immigration and asylum are placed in the Library of the House and are available from the Home Office’s research, development and statistics website at: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration-asylum-stats.html.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people have been (a) arrested, and (b) convicted, in each of the past three years for entering the United Kingdom without a passport. [HL4383]

On 22 September 2004, Section 2 of the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants, etc.) Act came into force. This legislation makes it an offence for persons seeking entry to the UK, to fail to produce an immigration document, which satisfactorily establishes their nationality or identity.

The Home Office publishes statistics on the number of persons proceeded against for offences under Immigration Acts 1971 to 2006 in England and Wales. The latest published annual information for 2003 to 2007 can be found in Table 6.7 of the Control of Immigration: Statistics United Kingdom 2007 bulletin. National statistics on immigration and asylum are placed in the Library of the House and are available from the Home Office’s research, development and statistics website at: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs08/hosbl008.pdf.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many illegal immigrants were removed in each of the past five years. [HL4421]

Published statistics on immigration and asylum are available from the Library of the House and from the Home Office research, development and statistics directorate website at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration-asylum-stats.html.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the number of illegal immigrants in the United Kingdom. [HL4460]

Since the phasing out of embarkation controls in 1994 no Government have been able to produce an accurate figure for the number of people who are in the country illegally. By its very nature it is impossible to quantify accurately and that remains the case.

However, the Government have reintroduced border controls through the e-borders system which will, in future, allow an estimate to be made.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government following the amendment to the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006 and further to the Written Answer by Lord West of Spithead on 1 June 2009 (WA 42), how many individuals were banned from the United Kingdom from 1 June to 15 June 2009. [HL4462]

Between 1 and 15 June 2009 no individuals have been excluded from the United Kingdom under the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord West of Spithead on 1 June (WA 41), how many people have been excluded from the United Kingdom by the Home Secretary in accordance with paragraph 320(6) of the Immigration Rules. [HL4480]

Under paragraph 320(6) of the Immigration Rules, a person may be refused entry to the UK, where the Secretary of State has exercised their personal power to direct that a person be excluded.

Information on the number of passengers refused specifically in accordance with paragraph 320(6) of the Immigration Rules, could only be obtained by the detailed examination of individual case records at disproportionate cost.

Immigration: Deportation

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many people have had their deportation from the United Kingdom cancelled in each of the past five years. [HL4418]

The data on the number of cancelled deportation over the past five years can be obtained only through detailed examination of individual case files at disproportionate cost.

The chief executive of the UK Border Agency has regularly written to the Home Affairs Select Committee in order to provide all the most robust and accurate information on the detention and deportation of foreign national prisoners. She has advised the committee that there continue to be delays in the deportation process due to last minute legal barriers, obstacles obtaining travel documents and non-compliance.

Immigration: Marriage

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many individuals subject to immigration controls have in each of the past six years (a) applied to receive written permission from the Secretary of State for the Home Department to marry in the United Kingdom, and (b) been refused permission following an application for marriage by the Secretary of State for the Home Department under Section 19 of the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants, etc.) Act 2004. [HL4329]

The “certificate of approval” scheme for deciding whether individuals subject to immigration controls are able to marry in the UK has been in operation since February 2005. Since that time, the following numbers have (a) applied for and (b) been refused permission by the Secretary of State for the Home Department under Section 19 of the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants, etc.) Act 2004.

Year

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

No. of cases

13,877

17,962

17,320

18,717

11,461

Year

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

No. of cases

1,374

692

571

752

312

Please note: The above data is not provided under National Statistics protocols. It has been derived from local management information and is therefore provisional and subject to change.

Legal Aid

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Bach on 17 June (WA 213), why funding for legal aid in Northern Ireland increased from £34.5 million in 1999–2000 to £80 million in 2008–09. [HL4444]

The increase in the legal aid bill reflects the demand for services and the cost of the provision of those services. The largest area of expenditure is criminal legal aid which accounts for 60 per cent of legal aid expenditure. There has been a significant increase in the number of cases granted criminal legal aid and an increase in the cost of the more complex criminal cases.

A range of measures is being brought forward to control the cost of criminal cases together with a wider reform programme on civil legal aid.

Licensing Act

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many complaints about the Licensing Act 2003 have been received by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport since the Act came into force; and, where those were written complaints, whether they will publish them. [HL4467]

The Licensing Act 2003 has been in force since 2005 and has motivated a very large number of Parliamentary Questions and items of correspondence. It is not possible to determine precisely which of these is a complaint and which were asking for clarification of licensing law or making some other point, and it would not be a viable use of public money to publish every item. It is hoped that the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, in its responses, has satisfactorily explained the Government's position and the freedom and powers which have been introduced by the Act.

Licensing: Live Music

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they maintain their view given to the House of Commons Regulatory Reform Select Committee in response to its question 5 published in its report on the Draft Legislative Reform (Minor Variations to Premises Licences and Club Premises Certificates) Order 2009 (2nd Report) that in many cases the extension of music and dancing beyond 11 pm, or the addition of the playing of music to a licence, will not fall within the definition of a minor variation. [HL4463]

Yes. The Regulatory Reform Committee asked:

“Why could the definition not exclude particularly controversial matters such as extension of licensing hours at sex encounter establishments, extension of existing music or dancing licensing hours beyond 11 pm, and first-time applications to allow playing of music?”.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport responded as follows:

“DCMS has indeed agreed to exclude most alcohol-related variations in response to the concerns of consultees.

In many cases the extension of music and dancing beyond 11 pm, or the addition of the playing of music to a licence, will not fall within the definition of a minor variation. This would be most likely where, for example, the extension would coincide with a pre-existing authorisation to sell or supply alcohol. But there may also be cases in which such an extension could not impact adversely on the licensing objectives, and we would not want these to be excluded from the benefits of the new process”.

The new minor variations process will allow licensees to make minor changes to their licences more quickly and cheaply. As this response makes clear, this may potentially include the addition or extension of authorisation for regulated entertainment (such as live music). In all cases, the test of whether a variation is minor is whether it could have an adverse impact on the licensing objectives.

A live music group has been set up by Local Authorities Co-ordinators of Regulatory Services (LACORS) and the Musicians' Union to explain and encourage the use of the new minor variations process for those premises that wish to add live music to their licence. It will also encourage uptake of the existing exemption for incidental music.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what risks to residential amenities and public safety arising from a performance of live music in a bar can only be regulated by licensing under the Licensing Act 2003. [HL4464]

Under the Licensing Act 2003 (the Act), licensing authorities must carry out their functions under the Act with a view to promoting the licensing objectives. These are the prevention of crime and disorder, public safety, the prevention of public nuisance and the protection of children from harm. Public nuisance, in particular, may present a risk to residential amenity.

The licensing regime under the Act regulates licensable activities (such as the sale by retail of alcohol) by authorising them subject to representations (including representation from local residents) and subject to conditions on the licence or club premises certificate. Although other legislation exists that regulates public nuisance (such as environmental health legislation), this typically addresses problems after they have occurred. The licensing regime regulates potential risks in advance, while allowing the particular circumstances of the premises to be taken into account (including the applicant's own risk assessment and whether existing legislation may be sufficient to mitigate risks). This means, for example, that licence holders have more certainty about what is permitted, and enforcement action is both easier and more rarely required.

Licensing authorities report that simple conditions, such as requirement to close windows and doors, are invaluable in the prevention of public nuisance. More strict conditions or restrictions may be required in certain circumstances. For example, residents of properties physically adjoining licensed premises may benefit from specific noise limits. Likewise, conditions may be attached to a licence to ensure public safety, although the Act does not duplicate health and safety legislation.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government why they concluded that the exemption under the Licensing Act 1964 for live music by one or two performers was a source of public nuisance. [HL4465]

The provision in the Licensing Act 1964 known as the “two in a bar rule”, was created before the widespread use of modern amplification. It was widely misunderstood, unpopular with musicians and not widely used. Feedback from local authorities' representatives and members of the public, however, showed that two performers with amplification can create a significant level of public nuisance. It was abolished partly for this reason. Additionally, musicians' representatives argued that, given that an amplified duo could make a great deal of noise, it discriminated unfairly and irrationally against the majority of musicians, who perform in larger groups.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what proportion of public houses and restaurants are licensed under the Licensing Act 2003 for performances of live music. [HL4466]

The latest Alcohol Entertainment and Late Night Refreshment Licensing Bulletin reports as of 31 March 2008 there were an estimated 80,500 premises licences with live music provisions (around 41 per cent of all premises licences).

There were also an estimated 10,900 club premises certificates with live music provisions (around 62 per cent of all club premises certificates).

NHS: Pharmaceutical Services

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when they expect to publish draft regulations setting out the structure and content of pharmaceutical needs assessments. [HL4510]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to incorporate elements of the national vascular risk assessment programme in draft regulations for pharmaceutical needs assessments. [HL4511]

To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have received regarding the formulation of regulations on pharmaceutical needs assessments. [HL4512]

We expect to publish draft regulations on the detailed requirements for pharmaceutical needs assessments (PNAs) by early 2010, working with the advisory group whose formation was announced by my right honourable friend the Minister of State (Mr Mike O’Brien) in a Written Ministerial Statement on 18 June 2009, Official Report, Commons; cols. WS 31-32.

We anticipate primary care trusts will reflect in their pharmaceutical needs assessments what contribution community pharmacy can make to support implementation of public health and prevention programmes such as NHS health checks. We do not believe such matters require regulatory action although we will consider this further with the advisory group.

We have received a wide range of representations on our proposals for PNAs which now form part of the Health Bill 2009 and the regulations to implement them, including responses to the consultation last autumn. These will be considered further with the advisory group.

Prisoners: Voting

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, in considering allowing prisoners to vote, they will take into account the views of victims, particularly in respect of murder and other serious crimes against the person. [HL4556]

The Government will take into account the views of victims of crime in considering the voting rights of convicted prisoners. The Government launched their second stage consultation on this issue on 8 April, and in order to give a voice to victims of crime, copies of the consultation paper have been sent to organisations such as the Victims Advisory Panel, Victim Support, the Survivor's Trust, Support after Murder and Manslaughter and Women's Aid. It is envisaged that these organisations will reflect in their responses the views of victims of crime and their families.

Roads: Byways Open to All Traffic

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government further to the Written Answers by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 11 May (WA 173–74) and 1 June (WA 55), what action they will take to enable responsible organisations and individuals to appeal to the Secretary of State against refusals by local highway authorities to make traffic regulation orders to ban mechanically propelled vehicles from damaged byways open to all vehicles, where the circumstances of the byways in question satisfy any of the criteria in Section 1(1) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984. [HL4532]

There are no plans to amend the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 to provide for a right to appeal to the Secretary of State against a refusal by a local highway authority to make a traffic regulation order. To do so would risk imposing a significant new regulatory and financial burden upon those authorities. Local highway authorities are best placed to judge whether a traffic regulation order would be appropriate in any given circumstances. If an individual wishes to challenge the decision of a local highway authority not to make a traffic regulation order he or she can do so by way of an application for judicial review.

Sir Alan Sugar

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the monetary value of the advertising and marketing which the Central Office of Information has arranged in relation to National Savings & Investments campaigns featuring Sir Alan Sugar. [HL4331]

The COI did not manage any advertising or marketing campaigns for National Savings & Investments featuring Alan Sugar.

Smoking

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the percentage of civil servants who take time off work each year through smoking-related illnesses. [HL4567]

The Cabinet Office ensures sickness absence data can be analysed against the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) version 10. However, it is not possible to tell the percentage of civil servants who take time off work each year specifically because of smoking-related illness.