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Written Answers

Volume 712: debated on Thursday 2 July 2009

Written Answers

Thursday 2 July 2009

Afghanistan

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will make representations to the Government of Afghanistan suggesting that 600 prisoners at Bagram be charged if suspected of criminal offences; and that they and other detainees in Afghanistan be provided with a satisfactory review process for their detention. [HL4342]

The UK works closely with the Afghan authorities to support a strengthening of the criminal justice system across Afghanistan. The UK is clear that all detainees should be treated humanely. It is right that the International Committee of the Red Cross have access to those detained at the Bagram detention facility.

The question of prisoners detained at Bagram is a matter for the US and Afghan Governments as Bagram is a US detention facility. President Obama has set in motion a comprehensive review of detention policy and practice, including in Afghanistan. We welcome this and await its outcome.

The formal justice system in Afghanistan faces many challenges, including a shortage of trained judges and legal representation. The UK and international community are supporting the strengthening of the justice sector to address these; for example, at the national level the UK is building the capacity of the Criminal Justice Task Force and, through the Department for International Development, has supported the World Bank's Justice Sector Reform Project.

The UK also supports human rights in Afghanistan. Since 2001 the UK has given nearly £2 million to support the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC). The AIHRC has over 500 staff across Afghanistan, actively tackling human rights issues, including false imprisonment.

In its 2007 annual report, the AIHRC stated that its Monitoring and Investigation Unit, in close co-operation with the Afghan Ministry of Justice, prepared a list of 2,392 people who were in prison after the completion of their sentences or who were otherwise illegally detained. The AIHRC later released an update stating that 819 of those who were illegally detained had been released and the sentences of an estimated 1,500 more had been determined.

Architects: Fees

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether fees charged by architects and allied professionals for construction or alterations to domestic properties to meet the needs of disabled persons are exempt from VAT. [HL4600]

The services of an architect, surveyor or any person acting as a consultant or in a supervisory capacity are liable to VAT at the standard rate in most circumstances, even when supplied in connection with building works which themselves qualify for the zero rate of VAT.

Azerbaijan

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will raise with the government of Azerbaijan the treatment of six Armenian prisoners (five military personnel and one civilian) recently captured when they crossed the border into Azerbaijan; and whether they will make representations about the display of those prisoners on Azeri television and any duress associated with their declared wishes to return to a third country. [HL4499]

We are aware that both Armenia and Azerbaijan report incidents in which their servicemen have been held by the other side.

We encourage both sides to work towards a peaceful, negotiated settlement and to explore the possibilities for confidence-building measures to reduce tension along the line of contact and international border between the two countries. We expect all countries to respect international humanitarian and human rights law in dealing with captured soldiers and civilians.

Bees

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how much funding will be allocated to Honey Bee Research through (a) the National Bee Unit, and (b) higher education institutions, as part of the Living with Environmental Change partnership. [HL4628]

Decisions on what projects will be funded under the insect pollinator initiative will be made by the funders on the basis of whether they fulfil the eligibility criteria, address the issues outlined in the research call and on the basis of their quality. Therefore, it is not possible to predict at this stage what proportion of funds will be allocated to specific areas or research bodies, including the National Bee Unit and higher education institutions. A meeting will be held in London on 3 July to launch the call for proposals and further details can be found on the Living With Environmental Change website.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the University of Sussex's research plan for honey bee health and well-being. [HL4629]

No formal assessment has been made of the University of Sussex's research plan for honey bee health and well-being. However, the Food and Environment Research Agency's chief scientist is intending to visit the university in August to discuss bee health research.

Broadcasting: Analogue Radios

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether any decision to end analogue radio broadcasting will be contingent upon manufacturers being able to convert existing radios affordably. [HL4429]

The recently published Digital Britain report set out our vision for the delivery of a digital radio upgrade programme by the end of 2015, when we would expect all services carried on the national and local DAB multiplexes to cease broadcasting on analogue. In order to help achieve this, we have urged manufacturers to pursue opportunities to develop devices which convert analogue sets affordably, but this is not a pre-requisite. We also welcome manufacturers' commitment to producing sub £20 DAB sets within the next two years.

Civil Partnerships

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Malloch-Brown on 23 October 2008 (WA 119), whether, following the amendment to French law adopted by the Sénat on 28 April, parties to a civil partnership formed under the Civil Partnership Act 2004 will henceforth enjoy the same rights under French law as couples who have concluded a pacte civil de solidarité. [HL4636]

The French Government have confirmed to us that, with effect from 14 May 2009 when the amendment passed into French law, parties to a civil partnership formed under the British Civil Partnership Act 2004 now enjoy equivalent legal status under French law to couples who have concluded a pacte civil de solidarité.

Climate Change: Greenhouse Gases

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government when they expect their official scientific advisers to measure the effects of changes in the United States and other major countries' policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. [HL4165]

We closely follow the impact of policy announcements by the United States and other major countries on plans to mitigate their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in line with their legal obligations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Under the convention, parties are required periodically to report their climate policies and emissions inventories to the UNFCCC secretariat. We take a strong interest in these reports, and use the data presented to inform our understanding of countries' progress in reducing emissions through existing policies, and the further actions that will be required from countries in order to avoid dangerous climate change.

The Government are also monitoring unilateral announcements by major countries on the mitigation actions that they expect to undertake in future. Current negotiations on the overall shape of a future international climate change agreement foresee the adoption at Copenhagen later this year of new, improved international rules for measuring, reporting and verifying the impact of countries' emissions reduction policies.

We also actively monitor the longer term impact of mitigation actions on global concentrations of carbon dioxide and other GHGs in the atmosphere, including through research conducted by the Meteorological Office Hadley Centre. However, we would expect a lag of several years between any significant changes in greenhouse gas emissions and the measurable atmospheric effects that would result from this, due to inertia in the global climate system.

Climate Change

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their response to warnings by scientists of an acceleration in the melting of ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica. [HL4166]

The Government recognise that if we do not take action now to stop climate change getting worse, the ice sheets will continue to melt, the impacts on future generations will be irreversible and the costs of taking action unaffordable. That is why the UK is pushing for an ambitious global climate change deal in Copenhagen later this year that will meet our objective of keeping global temperature rises below 2 degrees Celsius. This will mean nothing less than a 50 per cent reduction in global emissions by 2050 (compared to 1990 levels).

In the EU, we have already committed to a 20 per cent reduction in EU emissions compared to 1990 levels by 2020, and if other countries make ambitious commitments in December, the EU is prepared to increase this commitment to 30 per cent. This is by far the most ambitious mitigation offer on the negotiation table so far.

At a national level, future sea level rise around the UK coast due to the effects of climate change is a major concern. In November 2008, the Environment Agency, working with the Met Office Hadley Centre, published some climate change research findings as part of the Thames Estuary 2100 project (TE100). The research outlined that relative sea levels could rise between 0.2m and 0.88m by 2100. This figure allows for small land movements over that time, but does not fully account for the remote possibility of future rapid changes in ice flows in the Atlantic or in Greenland, which could lead to the upper figures being much higher.

In response, the Environment Agency commissioned the Met Office to consider this gap in ice flow science. The work investigated a most extreme scenario, known as High + +. This suggested a higher range of sea level rise of up to 1.9m. This is regarded as a remote possibility, highly uncertain and highly unlikely in this century. As we go forward, we will refine our projections in the light of what is happening in practice and as science deepens our understanding.

Defra manages the impacts of sea level rise through a range of policy approaches including supporting flood adaptation and resilience. Long-term strategies and plans, such as Thames Estuary 2100, have been prepared on the basis of current understanding and are designed to be adaptable to ensure that future challenges can be met.

Cyprus: Property

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether the private property rights of Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots have been overridden by political acts by both sides; and what assessment they have made of whether property issues in Northern Cyprus can be treated as normal cases of private property rights. [HL4368]

Property issues of both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots have been affected by the breakdown of relations between the two communities. Ultimately we believe the complex issue of property can only be fully resolved through a comprehensive settlement on the island.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether the leaders of the Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots, rather than the European Union and British courts, should resolve disputes over property rights in Cyprus. [HL4369]

Ultimately we believe the complex issue of property can only be fully resolved through a comprehensive settlement on the island. We fully support the efforts of the two leaders on the island to find a settlement to the Cyprus problem by Cypriots, for Cypriots. Good progress has already been made but we would urge the two leaders to intensify their efforts in order to take advantage of the limited window of opportunity to solve this longstanding problem.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the establishment by the Turkish Cypriot authorities of a Claims Commission to which Greek Cypriots are applying for restitution of their property or for compensation; and what assessment they have made of whether, given that provision, Greek Cypriots have any need to sue British buyers for compensation in the English courts. [HL4370]

We are aware of the establishment of a “claims commission”, the Immoveable Properties Commission, in the north of Cyprus. However, as with all individual cases, it is up to individuals how they choose to take up their claims. Ultimately we believe the complex issue of property can only be fully resolved through a comprehensive settlement on the island.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the enforceability of orders of Greek Cypriot courts in so far as they require the demolition of houses in Northern Cyprus or the eviction of their occupiers. [HL4371]

Data Controllers

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many private and voluntary data controllers have been (a) considered to be within the scope of assessment notices, and (b) inspected in accordance with an assessment notice. [HL4594]

To ask Her Majesty's Government where private and voluntary data controllers that have been inspected in accordance with an assessment notice, for which public authorities they were exercising functions or providing services under a contract. [HL4595]

To ask Her Majesty's Government where private and voluntary data controllers have been inspected in accordance with an assessment notice, for what reasons notices were issued; and what were the results of those inspections. [HL4596]

No assessment notices have yet been served by the Information Commissioner’s Office because they are among the provisions in the Coroners and Justice Bill, currently before Parliament.

The Government are currently considering which data controllers, in addition to government departments, should be brought within the scope of assessment notices under proposed new Section 41A(2)(b) of the Data Protection Act (inserted by Clause 156 of the Bill). Any proposals to include additional data controllers within scope will follow consultation with the persons concerned.

The Government are separately considering the arguments that have been made in favour of amending the Bill to extend further the assessment notice scheme to cover a broader range of data controllers, including those in the private sector.

Education: Scholarships

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress is being made by the inter-departmental working group on scholarships; when it will conclude its work; and when they will report to Parliament on the group's recommendations. [HL4410]

The inter-departmental working group on scholarships first met on 19 February 2009. It will continue to meet on an ad hoc basis. It was set up to improve working level co-ordination between departments and other interested organisations and has no specific remit to produce recommendations.

Energy: Meters

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the estimate that an additional 1,000 pre-payment electricity meters are being installed each week in light of the fact that an average pre-payment electricity customer pays £95 a year more in charges than a direct debit customer. [HL3328]

Prepayment meters enable customers to monitor and control their expenditure, and can also be a valuable alternative to disconnection for non-payment of bills. Ofgem’s recent market probe, however, identified that some customers were paying an unjustified premium for their pre-payment meter. Under pressure from Government and Ofgem’s findings suppliers have reduced the premiums paid by customers where they were not cost-reflective. Ofgem is currently consulting on licence modifications to ensure that this situation cannot reoccur.

Energy: Nuclear Reactors

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how security is defined for the civil nuclear sector; and whether it takes into account risks associated with proposed new-build nuclear reactors. [HL4201]

The determining factors that contribute to defining security at a licensed civil nuclear site are: the threat, the consequences of the loss or dispersal of nuclear material, and the UK’s international obligations.

Security in the civil nuclear industry is subject to regulation which reflects the international obligations and best practice. The Office for Civil Nuclear Security (OCNS) regulates the civil nuclear industry by means of the Nuclear Industries Security Regulations 2003 (NISR), which makes provision for the protection of nuclear material, both on sites and in transit, against the risks of theft and sabotage, and for the protection of sensitive nuclear information.

Security measures in the civil nuclear industry are applied in a graduated manner in accordance with the severity of the threat and the level of consequence of a successful attack in a manner that provides defence in depth. OCNS may give directions to the nuclear operators at any time, for instance in the light of a change in the threat level for the industry. This is aided by OCNS being an active member of the UK intelligence community.

Any new licensed nuclear sites would need to satisfy the demanding requirements of the NISR. OCNS will ensure that security measures are included in plans for the construction of any new nuclear power station from the outset. Doing so will avoid the need to retrofit security measures once construction is under way. This will also enable regulators to make an early judgment on the most appropriate measures for any construction site. This will help ensure that security is ingrained into practices at any site from day one. The Government are confident that this approach will ensure that security measures will continue to be robust and effective.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress is being made in securing approval by regulators of generic nuclear reactor designs. [HL4541]

The UK nuclear regulators are currently assessing two designs under the generic design assessment (GDA) process—EdF/Areva's UK-EPR and Westinghouse's AP 1000.

This process is being undertaken by the Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (NII) and the Office for Civil Nuclear Security (OCNS)—both part of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)—and the Environment Agency.

GDA began in July 2007 on a contingent basis, pending the outcome of the Government's consultation on nuclear power in January 2008. Regulators completed their initial stage of the assessment in March 2008. The more detailed assessment stages of GDA commenced in June 2008.

Regulators currently aim to complete GDA by June 2011, with the NII producing interim reports in November 2009 and the Environment Agency undertaking a public consultation on their findings in spring 2010.

Regular updates on the progress of GDA, including quarterly reports, are published on the regulator's joint website at http://www.hse.gov.uk/newreactors/index.htm.

Energy: Power Stations

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to provide the skills and manpower required to build and deliver the proposed new nuclear power stations; and what assessment they have made of the likelihood of those plans delivering that programme. [HL4339]

The Government recognise the challenge of ensuring that the UK has enough skilled workers to maintain and decommission existing nuclear power stations as well as building new ones.

Specifically we are improving science provision in schools, have charged the Sector Skills Council with taking forward a training strategy, and have helped set up the National Skills Academy for Nuclear to improve the supply of specialist skills at all levels.

The Office for Nuclear Development (OND) in DECC has fostered links with all of the various skills bodies, other government departments, academia and industry involved in the nuclear sector to ensure that all are working towards the same goals of ensuring enough skilled people to build a new generation of nuclear power stations.

The OND is currently working in partnership with a number of bodies, including Cogent (the sector skills council responsible for nuclear) to develop a high level skills and capability plan detailing exactly what skills will be needed, the volume of different skills and when they will be needed in order to be able to have new nuclear power plants built and generating electricity by 2018. With this detailed plan in place we will then work to identify and close any potential skills gaps in the nuclear workforce before they become critical. A report will be published in autumn 2009.

Energy: Renewables

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to provide the skills and manpower required to deliver the 15 per cent target for renewables as a proportion of the United Kingdom's energy production; and what assessment they have made of the likelihood of those plans meeting that target. [HL4338]

The Government recognise that meeting the renewable energy target requires a very large increase in deployment of renewable technologies, especially for wind energy. This will require increases in manufacturing, in the capability to deploy the technologies and to operate the new systems. In turn, this will require skilled people at all levels. The Carbon Trust estimates that wind will require around 50,000 new people by 2020, while renewable energy generally could create up to 500,000 new jobs.

DECC is working with the lead Sector Skills Council, Energy & Utility Skills (EU Skills) and with its employer-led Power Sector Skills Strategy Group to develop and take forward a strategy to ensure that the electrical skills to support renewable energy are available in the future, with clear training pathways and qualifications for those seeking work in the sector. We are also working to help develop the National Skills Academy for Power, which will be the prime agent for managing the delivery of the skills and training elements of the strategy.

We are working with the British Wind Energy Association to help develop a skills and training strategy for wind and marine renewables.

Energy: Wind Farms

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will ensure that more wind farm units in the United Kingdom are manufactured and serviced in this country. [HL4080]

The locations of manufacturing and servicing capacity are a commercial decision for wind turbine manufacturers and wind farm developers.

However, the Government are aware of the significant industrial potential that the growing renewable energy sector holds for the UK—for example, the recent publication Low Carbon Industrial Strategy: A Vision, published in March this year, noted that we intend to ensure our skills, infrastructure, procurement, research and development, demonstration and deployment policies make the UK the best place to locate and develop a low carbon business—and make sure international business recognises this. There is significant interest in the UK as a location for renewable business including wind turbine development and manufacturing—for example, the US wind turbine manufacturer Clipper have set up in the North East of England to design, develop and manufacture next generation offshore wind turbines.

We consulted last summer on how to meet the UK share of the EU 2020 target. Our UK renewable energy strategy consultation sought views on what more we can all do to ensure that the UK maximises business benefits, including UK jobs. We will respond to the consultation responses in the Renewable Energy Strategy in the summer, detailing an action plan for promoting further renewable deployment throughout the UK. In addition, my department will be launching an Office for Renewable Energy Deployment (ORED). The ORED will have a strong role to play in tackling renewables deployment barriers related to supply chain, grid and planning, and raising public awareness.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what increase in both land-based and sea-based wind farm units they expect to see by 2015 and 2020 as a result of pending development decisions by wind farm operators. [HL4082]

This department has not made any estimate of the number of wind farms to be installed by 2015 or 2020. However, as of November 2008 the UK had 19,177MW of wind generation either operational or within the planning system.

For the UK to achieve our 2020 renewable energy target will require an eight-fold increase in renewable energy and we expect a significant proportion of this to come from wind, both offshore and onshore.

The Renewable Energy Strategy (RES) consultation document published last summer contained a central scenario illustrating how the 2020 RES target might be achieved. Analysis underpinning that scenario suggested that some 8GW of onshore and 6GW of offshore wind by 2015, and around 14GW of each could be expected by 2020 in order to meet the renewables target.

Updated analysis and scenarios will be published as part of the Renewable Energy Strategy, this summer.

Financial Services Authority: Chairman

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government for how long they expect the Chairman of the Financial Services Authority to remain Chairman of the Committee on Climate Change; and whether their expectation has changed since his appointment. [HL4065]

While no suitable replacement for Lord Adair Turner as Chairman of the Committee on Climate Change has yet been identified, we are grateful to him for remaining as Chair of the Committee for the time being.

Fuel Poverty

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress is being made in reviewing their fuel poverty strategy. [HL3330]

The Fuel Poverty Review is examining whether existing measures to tackle fuel poverty could be made more effective, and whether there is scope to optimise the targeting methods used for current and future policies, to improve their effectiveness. It is also considering whether new policies should be introduced to help us make further progress towards our goals, particularly in light of market conditions and our aims to reduce carbon emissions.

The review is currently undertaking initial analysis of the fuel poverty policy landscape. It is looking at different future price scenarios. The initial findings of the review are expected later this summer.

Until the review has delivered its findings it would be inappropriate to consider whether to revise the Government’s Fuel Poverty Strategy.

Georgia

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how the situation in Abkhazia will be monitored following the ending of the United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia; and whether the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe will provide monitors. [HL4455]

The UN Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) ceased all mandated activity on 16 June 2009. There are now no international military monitors operating in Abkhazia. The EU Monitoring Mission is mandated to operate in the whole of Georgia, but in practice has never had proper access to the separatist regions. We continue to press for this.

The UK and partners are exploring options to strengthen the international presence in Abkhazia. The closure of UNOMIG has had no effect on the status of other UN agencies, such as the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), who continue to operate in Abkhazia. Our embassy officials in Georgia have visited Abkhazia since the war, most recently in May 2009.

We have supported the role of international monitors in investigating—where they can—allegations of human rights violations. This is especially relevant in the case of the increasingly exposed ethnic Georgian population in Abkhazia.

We will continue to remind all parties of their obligations to protect human rights and to allow unhindered humanitarian access in areas they control as enshrined in the Sarkozy-Medvedev agreement. We will push them to deliver on this.

The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) military monitoring operation is due to close on 30 June 2009. The monitors currently operate in Georgian-controlled territory adjacent to South Ossetia. Prior to August 2008 they had access to South Ossetia, but they have never had access to Abkhazia. We continue to press Russia to re-engage on the Greek chairman's proposals regarding the OSCE Monitoring Mission in Georgia, which would allow OSCE monitors to work in South Ossetia. We are concurrently looking at options for an alternative OSCE presence working in Georgia on specific issues, not necessarily related to conflict.

Government Departments: Staffing

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by the Minister for the Natural and Marine Environment, Wildlife and Rural Affairs, Huw Irranca-Davies, on 22 April (Official Report, House of Commons, cols. 698–700W), how many other departments employ more than 10 per cent of their permanent staff in legal and strategic human resources. [HL4471]

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, National Statistician, to Lord Taylor of Holbeach, dated June 2009.

As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question, further to the Written Answer by the Minister for the Natural and Marine Environment, Wildlife and Rural Affairs, Huw Irranca-Davies, on 22 April (HC Deb, cols 698-700W), asking how many other departments employ more than 10 per cent of their permanent staff in legal and strategic human resources. (HL4471).

Comparable data for individual government departments at a directorate level, as provided for Defra in the Written Answer by Huw Irranca-Davies, are not collected centrally.

The Office for National Statistics collects the “profession of post” for individual civil servants, as part of the Annual Civil Service Employment Survey (ACSES). At 31 March 2008, there were nine departments employing more than 10 per cent of their permanent staff in professional, legal or human resources posts (Annex A).

Annex A

Civil Service Employment: Profession by Government Department 1 2

Permanent employees

Headcount

Human Resources

Legal

All reported professions

All employees

Legal and Human Resources posts as percentage of known professions

31 March 2008

Attorney General's Departments

Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office

10

100

290

290

35

Crown Prosecution Service

190

3,040

8,330

8,330

39

Attorney General's Office

0

20

50

50

33

Serious Fraud Office

10

50

310

310

21

Treasury Solicitor

20

480

750

750

66

Health

Medical and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency

10

110

860

860

14

Justice

Ministry of Justice (exc agencies)3

970

0

3,680

3,680

26

Work and Pensions

DWP Corporate Services

400

390

5,650

5,650

14

Scottish Government

Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service

40

460

1,560

1,560

32

Source: Annual Civil Service Employment Survey

1 Numbers are rounded to the nearest ten, numbers less than five are represented by “..”

2 The profession of a civil servant relates to the post occupied by the person and is not dependent on any qualifications the individual may have.

3 Includes Government Office for the Regions employees.

Annex B

Civil Service Employment: Profession by Government Department 1 2

Permanent employees

Headcount

Human Resources

Legal

All reported professions

All employees

Legal and Human Resources posts as percentage of known professions

31 March 2008

Attorney General's Departments

Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office

10

100

290

290

35

Crown Prosecution Service

190

3,040

8,330

8,330

39

Attorney General's Office

0

20

50

50

33

Serious Fraud Office

10

50

310

310

21

Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate

..

20

40

40

..

Treasury Solicitor

20

480

750

750

66

Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform

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

10

0

3,450

3,450

0

Office of Fair Trading

20

30

580

580

9

Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service

20

0

740

740

3

Office of Gas and Electricity Market

10

20

280

280

9

Postal Services Commission

..

10

60

60

..

Companies House

80

10

1,120

1,120

7

Insolvency Service

0

0

2,530

2,530

0

Cabinet Office

Cabinet Office (exc agencies)

0

0

0

1,230

0

Other Cabinet Office agencies

National School of Government

10

..

240

240

..

Parliamentary Counsel Office

0

0

0

70

0

Central Office of Information

50

0

690

690

7

HM Treasury

HM Treasury

..

..

1,080

1,080

..

HM Revenue and Customs

HM Revenue and Customs

1,720

450

88,890

88,900

2

Valuation Office

90

0

4,280

4,280

2

Chancellor's other departments

Government Actuary's Department

..

0

100

100

..

National Savings and Investments

..

0

130

130

..

Debt Management Office

10

0

80

80

7

Office of Government Commerce

0

0

180

180

0

Royal Mint

..

0

710

710

..

Office for National Statistics

80

0

3,140

3,160

3

OGC Buying Solutions

10

0

260

260

5

Charity Commission

Charity Commission

20

20

490

490

8

Children, Schools and Families

Department for Children, Schools and Families3

20

0

550

3,340

3

Innovation, Universities and Skills

Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills

0

0

250

790

0

National Weights and Measures Laboratory

0

0

50

50

0

UK Intellectual Property Office

0

0

1,000

1.000

0

Office for Standards In Education

Office for Standards in Education

50

0

2,460

2,460

2

Communities and Local Government

Department for Communities and Local Government (exc agencies)

160

80

2,780

2,930

9

Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre

..

0

50

50

..

Ordnance Survey

50

10

1,390

1,390

4

Fire Service College

10

0

240

240

4

Planning Inspectorate

30

0

840

840

3

Culture, Media and Sport

Department for Culture Media and Sport

30

..

470

470

..

Royal Parks

0

0

0

100

0

Defence

Ministry of Defence

0

0

0

68,220

0

Royal Fleet Auxiliary

0

0

0

2,280

0

UK Hydrographic Office

30

20

1,040

1,040

5

Meteorological Office

40

20

1,760

1,770

3

Army Base Repair Organisation

40

0

2,340

2,340

2

Defence Science and Technology Laboratory

0

0

0

3,410

0

Defence Aviation Repair Agency

30

0

2,000

2,000

2

Environment Food and Rural Affairs

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (exc agencies)3

140

110

2,980

3,050

8

Office of Water Services

10

10

200

200

9

Rural Payments Agency

190

..

3,440

3,440

..

Animal Health

30

0

1,640

1,640

2

Marine Fisheries Agency

10

0

180

180

4

Veterinary Medicines Directorate

..

0

140

140

..

Central Science Laboratory

0

640

640

Pesticides Safety Directorate

0

0

180

180

0

Veterinary Laboratories Agency

10

0

1,280

1,280

1

Centre for Environment Fisheries and Aquaculture Science

10

0

530

530

2

Government Decontamination Services

0

0

20

30

0

Export Credit Guarantee Department

Export Credit Guarantee Department

0

0

0

210

0

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Foreign and Commonwealth Office (exc agencies)

0

0

0

5,950

0

Wilton Park Executive Agency

..

0

70

70

..

Health

Department of Health (exc agencies)3

60

0

2,180

2,180

3

Food Standards Agency

20

20

770

770

5

Medical and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency

10

110

860

860

14

National Healthcare Purchasing and Supplies

10

0

270

270

5

NHS Business Services Authority (Civil Service only)

0

0

240

240

0

Meat Hygiene Service

20

0

1,230

1,230

2

Home Office

Home Office (exc agencies)3

500

..

2,720

2,720

..

Border and Immigration Agency

0

0

19.290

19,290

0

Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism

0

0

250

250

0

Criminal Records Bureau

20

0

480

480

3

Identity and Passport Service

160

0

4,010

4,050

4

Justice

Ministry of Justice (exc agencies)3

970

0

3,680

3,680

26

Scotland Office

0

30

60

Wales Office

0

0

50

50

0

Tribunals Service

140

0

2,840

2,840

5

Land Registry

0

0

8,020

8,020

0

National Archives

20

0

610

610

2

Public Sector Prison Service

810

0

49,970

49,970

2

HM Courts Service

150

0

20,830

20,830

1

Public Guardianship Office

0

0

310

310

0

International Development

Department for International Development

0

0

0

1,670

0

Northern Ireland Office

Northern Ireland Office

..

..

130

130

..

Security and Intelligence Services

Security and Intelligence Services

0

0

0

5,320

0

Transport

Department for Transport (exc agencies) 3

10

0

150

2,020

5

Office of Rail Regulation

10

10

330

330

5

Maritime and Coastguard Agency

40

0

1,180

1,180

4

Vehicle and Operator Services Agency

30

0

2,430

2,430

1

Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency

0

0

0

6,440

0

Driving Standards Agency

50

0

2,700

2,700

2

Vehicle Certification Agency

10

0

130

130

4

Highways Agency

0

0

3,510

3,510

0

Government Car and Despatch Agency

0

0

0

310

0

Work and Pensions

DWP Corporate Services

400

390

5,650

5,650

14

DWP Shared Services

30

0

4,450

4,450

1

The Health and Safety Executive

110

30

3,600

3,600

4

The Rent Service

20

10

570

570

5

Child Support Agency

150

0

10,710

10,710

1

JobCentre Plus

870

0

73,320

73,320

1

Pension Service

70

0

11,670

11,670

1

Disability and Carers Service

30

0

6,260

6,270

0

Scottish Government

Scottish Government (exc agencies)

150

120

3,730

4,500

7

Scottish Court Service

0

0

1,400

1,400

0

Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service

40

460

1,560

1,560

32

General Register Scotland

..

0

220

280

..

Communities Scotland

10

..

320

360

..

Office of Accountant in Bankruptcy

..

0

100

100

1

Courts Group

0

..

..

30

..

Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator

0

..

40

50

..

Scottish Buildings Standards Agency

0

0

30

30

0

Social Work Inspection Agency

0

0

40

50

0

Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland

0

..

60

80

..

Transport Scotland

10

0

190

250

3

Registers of Scotland

20

0

1,280

1,280

1

Historic Scotland

30

0

1,020

1,020

3

Scottish Fisheries Protection Agency

..

0

270

300

..

Scottish Agricultural Scientific Agency

0

0

10

140

0

Scottish Prison Service

150

10

4,000

4,000

4

National Archives for Scotland

0

0

140

150

0

Scottish Public Pensions Agency

..

0

200

220

..

Fisheries Research Services

..

0

300

310

..

Student Awards Agency

..

0

120

140

..

HM Inspectorate of Education

..

0

170

200

..

Welsh Assembly

0

Welsh Assembly Government

0

10

5,680

5,680

0

ESTYN

..

0

100

100

..

All Employees

8,400

5,640

413,870

515,680

3

Source: Annual Civil Service Employment Survey

1.Numbers are rounded to the nearest ten, numbers less than five are represented by “..”.

2 The profession of a civil servant relates to the post occupied by the person and is not dependent on any qualifications the individual may have.

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.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by the Minister for the Natural and Marine Environment, Wildlife and Rural Affairs, Huw Irranca-Davies, on 22 April (Official Report, House of Commons, cols. 698–700W), how many permanent staff were employed in the Legal and Strategic Human Resources group in each year since the establishment of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. [HL4472]

The Legal and Strategic Human Resources group was formed on 1 April 2008, when it comprised 205 permanent staff, of which 114 were legal staff, 53 were in HR and 38 were employed in other areas.

The number of staff employed when Legal and HR were separate units was as follows:

Legal

HR

Total

30 Jun 2004

162

244

406

31 Mar 2005

166

228

394

31 Mar 2006

159

209

368

31 Mar 2007

142

96

238

The significant reduction in the number of HR staff between 31 March 2006 and 31 March 2007 is due to the creation of the Shared Services Directorate to which many HR staff were transferred.

Information prior to 30 June 2004 is not available.

Hong Kong

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Triesman on 28 June 2006 (WA 147), whether they will ensure that staff at the British Consulate-General in Hong Kong receive training on (a) the provisions of paragraph 6.2 of Annex H to Chapter 14 of the Nationality Instructions, and (b) the statements made by the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs in paragraph 2(e) of their letter dated 27 January 2006 sent to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in response to a request from the FCO, so as to ensure that those who became British Overseas citizens on 1 July 1997 and were hitherto unaware that they are British Overseas citizens can acquire a British passport. [HL4548]

All those members of staff at our Consulate-General in Hong Kong who are required to undertake nationality determinations as part of their job receive formal nationality training provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Housing: Energy Efficiency

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how they will select the seven million homes to be offered whole-house upgrades with energy efficiency and micro-generation technologies by 2020; and whether priority will be given to the old, those on benefits, and those living in houses of multiple occupation. [HL4468]

We are committed to delivering our energy and carbon-saving objectives in a way that is fair and that enables all consumers, particularly the poorest and most vulnerable, to reap the benefits of the move to a low carbon economy. Our goal is for “whole house” packages of measures, including all cost-effective energy-saving measures, plus renewable heat and electricity measures as appropriate, to have been made available to all homes by 2030. We are now analysing potential delivery models and taking into account responses to the Heat and Energy Saving Strategy consultation. The outcome of this analysis will be presented in the finalised strategy which we aim to publish by the end of the year.

Housing: Home Improvement Agencies

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the remarks by the then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Iain Wright, on 1 April (Official Report, Commons: col. 299WH), what proportion of the £17.5 million given to home improvement agencies in 2007-08 was spent in rural areas. [HL4470]

In 2007-08, administering authorities spent £17.832 million of their funding allocated through the Supporting People programme on home improvement agencies. Out of this total £4.929 million was spent in predominate rural areas and £4.430 million was spent in significant rural areas. So overall administering authorities spent £9,359,120, 52 per cent of the total HIA spend on predominate rural or significant rural areas.

Human Rights

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, in view of the Government of the Republic of Ireland giving support in employment and living costs to Irish language speakers, they plan to further monitor human rights in the Republic of Ireland. [HL4367]

Marine Environment: Gibraltar

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Brett on 16 June (WA 201), what action they will take in relation to Gibraltar's application to the European Court of First Instance. [HL4593]

We remain deeply concerned about this issue and continue to examine Gibraltar's case in detail to determine what action to take. I will inform the noble Lord when a decision is made.

Nepal

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether there are contingency plans for strengthening the United Nations Mission in Nepal in the event of any problems arising during the monitoring of Maoist soldiers in their cantonments. [HL4599]

Nepal remains on the list of issues of which the UN Security Council is seized. The situation there, and the UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN), can be discussed at any time should the circumstances require.

The UN Security Council is kept informed of progress in the peace process in Nepal and the implementation of UNMIN's mandate by regular reports of the Secretary-General. The council reviews UNMIN's mandate, as well as any readjustments, on this basis. UNMIN's current mandate expires on 23 July 2009. As such, the Security Council will be discussing UNMIN this month.

Northern Ireland Office: Smoking

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to discourage officials in the Northern Ireland Office from smoking. [HL4566]

A total smoking ban was introduced in all Northern Ireland Office and NI departmental premises in Northern Ireland on 1 January 2005 and was extended to the London office in March 2005. Recruitment and advertising literature highlights the ban and there are a number of measures in place to encourage and assist smoking cessation.

Northern Ireland: Human Rights Commission

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission has built confidence with both major communities in Northern Ireland. [HL4171]

The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission was established by s.68 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 (“the Act”) and its statutory functions are set out in s.69 of the Act. Building confidence is not specified as a function of the Commission.

However, the commission is a designated public authority subject to the requirements of s.75 of the Act to have due regard to the need to promote equality of opportunity and the desirability of promoting good relations. To this end, the commission has developed an approved Equality Scheme, prepares annual Equality Plans, and submits its Strategic Plans to full public consultation and Equality Impact Assessment. The commission is currently consulting on its draft Strategic Plan for 2009-11. Full information can be obtained directly from the commission or found on its website www.nihrc.org.

As set out in Schedule 7(5) to the Act, the commission reports annually to the Secretary of State on the performance of its functions during the year. Annual reports are available publicly and copies are placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Royall of Blaisdon on 16 June (WA 202), whether they have placed any restrictions in relation to the funding from Atlantic Philanthropies for the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission's further work in advising the Government on a Bill of rights for Northern Ireland. [HL4448]

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland approved in full the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC) proposal to access £110,000 of external funding from Atlantic Philanthropies. The Secretary of State considered that the proposal was consistent with the statutory functions of the NIHRC and that the receipt of such funding would be consistent with the conditions set out in the NIHRC management statement. However, the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) suggested to the NIHRC that one of the proposed projects was likely to involve nugatory work and invited the NIHRC to submit an alternative project for consideration, within the scope of the total funding.

Copies of the NIO’s letter confirming these details to the NIHRC will be placed in the Library of the House.

Offshore Financial Centres

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the offshore financial centres which are British overseas territories or Crown Dependencies. [HL4584]

The following offshore financial centres are British Overseas Territories: Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, and Turks and Caicos Islands. The following are Crown Dependencies: Guernsey, Jersey and Isle of Man.

Organophosphates

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many pharmacists are members of (a) the Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment, (b) the Veterinary Products Committee, and (c) the Official Group on Organophosphates. [HL4562]

The Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COT) does not have a pharmacist as a member.

There are currently two pharmacists on the Veterinary Products Committee (VPC); one of these members also sits on the Medical and Scientific Panel (MSP), a sub-committee of the VPC.

None of the members of the Official Group on Organophosphates (OGOP) is a pharmacist.

Questions for Written Answer: Late Answers

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Cabinet Office has a role in ensuring that departments answer Questions for Written Answer within 14 days; and why that office has the three Questions, tabled in March and April, awaiting reply longer than any others. [HL4422]

The Cabinet Office has no role in ensuring other departments answer Questions for Written Answer. The Questions referred to have now been answered.

Railways: Royal Train

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the annual fixed and running costs of the Royal Train; and how many journeys it made in the past year. [HL4657]

The 2008-09 fixed and running costs for the Royal Train were £0.8 million (2007-08: £0. 9 million). Fixed costs were £0.5 million (2007-08: £0.4 million) and running costs were £0.3 million (2007-08: £0.5 million). During the year there were 14 journeys (2007-08: 19), with an average distance of 696 miles per journey (2007-08: 755 miles). During these journeys a total of 19 nights were spent on the Royal Train (2007-08: 27 nights). Members of the Royal Family also made 46 journeys in 2008-09 by scheduled rail (2007-8: 43), with an average distance of 165 miles per journey (2007-08: 146 miles).

Taxation

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the opinion of the CBI that some taxpayers could face a marginal tax rate of 145 per cent as a result of the Finance Bill. [HL4585]

Section 35 of the Finance Bill introduces measures to prevent individuals from forestalling behaviour, ahead of the restriction of higher rate pensions tax relief for those with incomes of £150,000 or over from 2011-12. These measures are designed to protect individuals making regular (defined as quarterly or more) contributions into their pension. The example provided by the CBI would not arise under these provisions since such increases in a final salary scheme would be treated as protected pension inputs.

Taxation: Duchy of Cornwall

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will consider applying a fixed rate of tax to the published earnings of the Duchy of Cornwall. [HL4658]

The tax arrangements for the Duchy of Cornwall are set out in the Memorandum of Understanding on Royal Taxation, attached to the Report of the Royal Trustees published on 11 February 1993 (HC464).

Tourism

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many Israeli tourists visited the United Kingdom in 2008. [HL4582]

According to the 2008 provisional International Passenger Survey figures, the number of visitors to the UK from Israel was 162,000. Please note that all these figures are for visitors whose country of residence was Israel, the number of Israeli nationals visiting in 2008 was 147,000.

Waste Management: Refuse Collection

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what percentage of households are required to use a wheeled bin for disposal of waste materials. [HL4397]

In England, of the 22.7 million dwellings, 63 per cent of them use wheeled bins for the collection of residual (black bag) waste.

Sources: WasteDataFlow for municipal waste data; Valuation Office for dwelling stock figures.

Water Supply: Hosepipes

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will extend the power to ban the use of hosepipes to include the filling of private swimming pools. [HL4519]

In 2007 the Government consulted on proposals to modernise the powers to restrict non-essential uses of water. It was agreed that the existing hosepipe ban powers would be replaced with a new wider power that will increase the range of water uses which could be limited or prohibited when water resources are in short supply.

The Government intend to bring these changes into effect through an enabling power in the flood and water management Bill. This would allow the Secretary of State to extend the uses of water that may be restricted under existing water company hosepipe ban powers. The existing hosepipe ban powers apply only to the watering of private gardens and the washing of private motor vehicles. The proposed legislative change is currently being consulted on as part of the draft flood and water management Bill.

The department has committed to undertake further work to identify evidence of the costs and benefits of these changes. Any additional non-essential uses of water that may be prohibited, which could include the filling of private swimming pools, would be added to the legislation through an order, and would be subject to parliamentary scrutiny.