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Written Answers

Volume 712: debated on Tuesday 14 July 2009

Written Answers

Tuesday 14 July 2009

Advocates Graduated Fees Scheme

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have reviewed the practice of solicitors paying referral fees to other solicitors for advocacy work under the Advocates Graduated Fees Scheme. [HL4824]

No. The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) regulates solicitors in England and Wales and the regulatory arrangements concerning referral fees are set out in the SRA's code of conduct.

The Legal Services Commission (LSC) is currently investigating a small number of specific allegations that have been made about referral fees. The LSC will continue to investigate any specific issues brought to its attention, and will respond appropriately if a firm has breached the terms of its contract with the LSC.

Afghanistan

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what funds they are providing towards the rebuilding of the education system in Afghanistan. [HL4665]

The United Kingdom's largest contribution to education in 2009-10 will be made by the Department for International Development (DfID) to the Afghanistan Reconstruction Trust Fund (ARTF). The ARTF is managed by the World Bank and reimburses proven expenditures on Government operating costs, of which the education sector accounts for 52 per cent. Of DfID's ARTF contribution of £60 million in 2009-10, a nominal £31.2 million will be spent on education.

DfID provided an additional £1.2 million for construction, equipment and training of staff at the Helmand agricultural college, on course to be completed in August 2009. The cross-departmental Stabilisation Aid Fund (SAF) also funds some small-scale educational projects in Helmand, expected to amount to approximately £1 million this year.

The British Council expects to spend over £400,000 on education in 2009-10. This includes vocational and higher education, and the Connecting Classrooms project, which links Afghan schools to others in the region and the UK.

DfID also provided £32 million to the National Solidarity Programme (NSP) between 2003 and 2009. Through NSP, communities have delivered 47,000 small projects of their own choosing. As of August 2008, education projects made up 13.4 per cent of all NSP spending nationwide, giving a nominal UK spend of £4.3 million.

Airports: VIP Suites

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what charges BAA levies on users of VIP suites at airports under its control; how many persons were on the list of those entitled to use the suites when the Government transferred responsibility for managing them, including selecting those entitled to use them, to BAA; what progress is being made in considering how to open up those facilities to a wider market, including domestic and foreign customers; and whether ability to pay will be the criterion for access to the suites. [HL4779]

Since the privatisation of the British Airports Authority in 1986, operational issues such as this have been a matter for the airport operator.

Armed Forces Day: Northern Ireland

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what arrangements they made to mark Armed Forces Day in Northern Ireland. [HL4943]

Armed Forces Day 2009 was a resounding success with local communities organising the vast majority of events throughout the UK to show their support for our Armed Forces and veterans. In Northern Ireland the MoD provided funding to the event held in Carrickfergus.

Armed Forces Day events also took place in Ballymena, Coleraine and Portglenone.

Banking: Asset Protection Scheme

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what right HM Treasury has reserved to amend the terms of the Asset Protection Scheme (APS) in the case of (a) a change in the value of the assets, (b) the time taken to agree the final terms of the APS, and (c) a change in the overall economic outlook. [HL4843]

The Treasury and its advisers are continuing to work with participating banks to conduct due diligence on the assets intended for inclusion in the scheme. Further detailed information will be provided after the final contracts are signed.

Banking: Bonuses

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they propose to prevent the granting of excessive bonuses to senior executives of banks. [HL4884]

The Government are clear that the banking industry, both in the UK and globally, needs to develop sustainable long-term remuneration policies that take better account of risk.

The FSA has recently completed a consultation exercise on its code of practice on remuneration, which it intends to add to the FSA handbook. The FSA will be issuing a response statement shortly and aims to have the code in place for firms' 2009 remuneration review processes. The Chancellor has also asked the FSA to provide an annual report on remuneration practices, including compliance by firms with the new code. This report will assess whether remuneration practices are likely to lead to a build-up of systemic risk, and make recommendations for action if this is thought to be the case.

In parallel, the Walker review is looking, among other things, at strengthening remuneration practices as part of improvements to corporate governance. Sir David will be publishing his consultation paper on 16 July 2009. Neither the FSA's work nor the Walker review is intended to dictate the quantum of remuneration, either for individuals or at the level of groups or institutions. This remains a matter for those institutions.

British Overseas Territories

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether any British Overseas Territories contribute to the United Kingdom Exchequer in return for services provided through overseas representation and in international negotiations; and, if so, how much each Territory contributes per annum. [HL4716]

The British Overseas Territories do not contribute to the United Kingdom Exchequer in return for services provided through overseas representation and in international negotiations. Certain Territory Governments meet the salary, accommodation and other expenses of governors and some of their staff. Visa and consular/passport services provided by the United Kingdom Government on behalf of the Overseas Territories are on a full cost recovery basis direct from the Overseas Territory citizens who use these services. No contribution is required from Overseas Territory Governments.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the remarks by Lord West of Spithead on 23 June (Official Report, House of Lords, col. GC 422), what is the ambit of the general entrustment of authority to conduct external relations to British Overseas Territories. [HL4766]

General entrustments have no pre-set ambit. Their extent is determined by what is agreed to by the Government, taking into account the needs of the territory to which it is granted.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the remarks by Lord West of Spithead on 23 June (Official Report, House of Lords, col. GC 422), whether the general entrustment of authority to British Overseas Territories to conduct external relations or individual entrustments to specific territories have been reported to Parliament or published. [HL4767]

There is no legal requirement to report general or individual entrustments to Parliament or to publish them as Command Papers, but the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is committed to keeping Parliament fully informed about the Overseas Territories.

Climate Change: China

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government, in light of their recent report, The Road to Copenhagen, which calls for an international agreement on cutting emissions, how they intend to respond to the Government of China's stated intention to increase their emissions by a factor of two or three by 2050. [HL4900]

We are not aware that the Chinese Government have officially endorsed any particular projection of their future emissions. Projections from Chinese and international experts vary considerably in magnitude and are highly dependent on assumptions about government policy. The UK is calling for China to commit at Copenhagen to pursue a low-carbon development plan in which future emissions growth deviates substantially from what would be expected in the absence of mitigation policies.

At the Major Economies Forum summit on 9 July 2009, major developing countries, including China, committed to undertake low-carbon-growth plans, and agreed that they would have to show how these produce meaningful deviation from their projected emissions, should no mitigation action have been taken.

Crown Dependencies

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Crown Dependencies contribute to (a) the United Kingdom's subscriptions to international organisations, and (b) the United Kingdom's bilateral and multilateral aid expenditure. [HL4715]

The Crown Dependencies contribute neither to the UK's share of the UN Regular Budget, nor to the core budgets of the UN's autonomous specialised agencies, with the exception of the Universal Postal Union where they make a small contribution.

The Crown Dependencies do not contribute to the UK's gross public expenditure on development assistance, which totalled £6,027,115,000 in financial year 2007-08.

Crown Dependencies and British Overseas Territories

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the implications for the United Kingdom's obligations under international law of non-implementation in any or all of the Crown Dependencies and British Overseas Territories of international conventions and treaties which the United Kingdom has ratified. [HL4765]

If a treaty to which the United Kingdom is a party has been extended to one or more Crown Dependency or Overseas Territory and the Crown Dependency or Overseas Territory fails to implement the treaty, putting the United Kingdom in breach of its obligations under the treaty, then the United Kingdom is ultimately responsible under international law.

Data Protection

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the passing on of motorists' private addresses to third parties other than the police by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency is permitted by the Data Protection Act 1998. [HL4868]

The Data Protection Act 1998 does not permit or prevent the passing on of personal data. Instead the Act provides a framework in which data may be used. Information held on the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency's vehicle record may be disclosed to third parties other than the police in a number of circumstances. Disclosure in these circumstances is therefore in accordance with the Act.

Electoral Register

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the proposed start and end dates for the consultation on the future of the edited version of the electoral register. [HL4731]

The Government are committed to holding a public consultation to establish how removing the provisions that govern the edited register would impact not just on individuals but the economy as a whole. The consultation will launch as soon as possible and it will run for a minimum period of 12 weeks. The consultation will enable the Government to build a firmer evidence base about the advantages and disadvantages of the edited register and consider the way forward on the basis of the responses received.

Energy: Electricity

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government, with reference to the review by the National Audit Office of the data collected by the Building Research Establishment and published in March 2007 by the Sustainable Development Commission, whether in 2008 departments achieved the target, set in 2004 and reiterated in 2006, for at least 10 per cent of their electricity to be from renewable sources. [HL3628]

The Government have met their target to source at least 10 per cent of electricity from renewables by 31 March 2008. The 2007-08 performance data, published by the Sustainable Development Commission in December 2008, showed that 22 per cent of the Government's electricity was derived from renewable sources. A copy of departments' individual performances has been deposited in the Library of the House.

Energy: Power Stations

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the cost per unit of electricity provided by (a) wind turbines; (b) coal-fired power stations without carbon capture; (c) coal-fired power stations with carbon capture; (d) gas-fired power stations; and (e) nuclear power stations, including decommissioning costs. [HL4692]

The Government have carried out analysis on generation costs in some detail in recent years to inform policy decisions. Some of these estimates were published as part of the Energy Review (2006) (http://www.berr. gov.uk/files/file32014.pdf). More recently the Committee on Climate Change has published estimated levelised costs (£/MWh, in 2008 prices) associated with 1 MWh of electricity generated, for its December 2008 report (http://www.theccc.org.uk/pdf/TSO-ClimateChange.pdf), as set out in table 1 below, including construction, operation and maintenance costs and where applicable the cost of carbon allowances (EU ETS). Moreover, for nuclear, it also includes the costs of decommissioning and waste.

It should be noted that the estimates of levelised costs1 for different types of electricity generation are highly sensitive to the assumptions used for capital costs, fuel and EU ETS allowance prices, operating costs, load factor and other drivers. In reality, there are large uncertainties and ranges around these figures.

Technology

Levelised cost (£/MWh) 2010

Levelised cost (£/MWh) 2020

Wind Plant

Onshore Wind (High wind)

65

62

Offshore Wind (High wind)

83

82

Coal-fired plant

Coal—central fuel

54

74

Coal CCS—central fuel

60

Gas-fired plant

CCGT—central fuel

53

61

Nuclear plant

Nuclear

51

47

1 Total lifetime costs of a technology, expressed per-unit. The figure is based on an assumption of the technology's likely output over its lifetime.

The updating of cost assumptions for a range of generation technologies is also ongoing to take account of developments over the past year. The costs of most generation technologies have increased over the past 18 months, primarily due to increases in input prices. Work is ongoing to update the Government's cost assumptions for different forms of generation.

Eritrea

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have made or will make representations to the Government of Eritrea about (a) the non-implementation of the constitution approved in 1997, (b) the lack of elections and sittings of the interim parliament since 2002, (c) the imprisonment of returned refugees, (d) the level of freedom of the press and media, and (e) the level of freedom of religion and the expulsion of 14 Roman Catholic missionaries; and what position they will take in considering Eritrea's periodic review at the United Nations Human Rights Council in December. [HL4822]

Our ambassador in Asmara has raised the imprisonment of returned refugees with the Eritrean Government and was told that they would be treated in accordance with Eritrean law in the same way as other citizens.

As part of the Article 8 Political Dialogue, our ambassador, along with other EU Heads of Mission, raised both the freedom of the press and freedom of religion at their meeting with the Eritrean Government earlier this year. Both these subjects are scheduled to be on the agenda for the next Article 8 meeting in September. In view of the Eritrean Government's request to discuss human rights at the next Article 8 Political Dialogue meeting in September, we will consider Eritrea's periodic review at the United Nations Human Rights Council in light of these and any subsequent discussions.

We have not made and currently have no plans to make representations to the Eritrean Government about: (a) the non-implementation of the Eritrean constitution approved in 1997; and (b) the lack of elections and sittings of the interim parliament since 2002 because we judge that such representations would be unlikely to be productive at this time.

Extremist Organisations

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they propose to take to counter the level of racially biased materials being disseminated by extremist organisations with the aim of increasing prejudice, hatred and violence. [HL4771]

In February 2009, a ministerial seminar agreed a cross-governmental action plan to address community concerns about anti-Semitic and other hate material circulated on the internet. It recognised the challenges and need to balance freedom of speech with a responsibility to tackle illegal material whose purpose is incitement.

The plan is being overseen by the Home Office Minister Alan Campbell and has been incorporated into the cross-governmental Hate Crime Action Plan which is to be launched Autumn 2009.

More broadly, the police and, where necessary, the security services, already monitor and evaluate the words and actions of individuals and organisations preaching racially and religiously inflammatory messages and take action where appropriate.

Financial Services Authority

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the expected time commitment of the chair of the Financial Services Authority. [HL4867]

Lord Turner's contractual requirement is “...that the time commitment entailed by his role shall be open-ended but shall average not less than three days per week...”.

Food: Labelling

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether their proposals to clarify the “best before”, “sell by” and “use by” recommendations on food products in retail outlets require the permission of the European Commission. [HL4399]

Gaza

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their response to the latest report from the International Committee of the Red Cross on the situation in Gaza. [HL4693]

This short report from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) provides a stark and honest account of the current situation in Gaza. The situation remains extremely serious, and although some basic humanitarian assistance is getting into Gaza, access constraints are severely impeding aid efforts and wider recovery. The UK continues to press the Israeli Government to provide full and unhindered access for humanitarian aid, aid workers, and the materials needed for reconstruction.

Health: Contaminated Blood Products

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Darzi of Denham on 29 June (WA 14), what action Lord Darzi of Denham as a Minister has taken, in addition to his department contacting the Whips' Office, to secure a debate on their response to the Archer report. [HL4724]

I refer the noble Lord to my Answer of 3 June (Official Report, col. WA 92). The decision on whether to hold a debate on the government response to the Archer report remains a matter for the House business managers.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Darzi of Denham on 29 June (WA 14), whether they will review the point at which the widow of a patient infected with hepatitis C by contaminated NHS blood products becomes eligible for financial assistance. [HL4725]

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what figures the Department of Health has on the number of haemophilia patients who died of hepatitis C infection from contaminated NHS blood products in each of the past five years; and, on the basis of those figures, what they anticipate could be the number of such deaths by 2014. [HL4726]

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many haemophilia patients infected with HIV by contaminated NHS blood products have died in each of the past five years; and, on the basis of those figures, what they anticipate could be the number of such deaths by 2014. [HL4768]

Information in the form requested is not available, and the department has made no estimates of future rates of death in this patient group.

The Macfarlane Trust, set up in 1988 to administer a fund for haemophiliacs infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), provides the following data on deaths of infected patients, but these cannot necessarily be attributed to HIV as the cause of death is not recorded.

2004-05

10

2005-06

7

2006-07

9

2007-08

9

2008-09

11

There are no comparable data on hepatitis C. However the UK Haemophilia Doctors' Organisation Annual Report 2008 and Bleeding Disorder Statistics for 2007 records two deaths attributable directly to HIV and six to hepatitis C in bleeding disorder patients in 2007. The same report states that deaths from hepatitis C in this group of patients run at between six and eight each year, but does not provide similar information on deaths from HIV.

Houses of Parliament: Select Committees

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Crawley on 24 June (WA 290), in the absence of a centralised system of record-keeping, by what means members of each House of Parliament and the public will have access to information of future instances where Ministers or officials decline to give evidence to Parliamentary Select Committees. [HL4635]

This is a matter for the relevant Parliamentary Select Committee. Where a Minister declines to give evidence, either personally, or for an official to give evidence on their behalf, it is a matter for the relevant Select Committee to decide on further action.

Immigration

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people were (a) arrested, and (b) convicted, in each of the past three years for assisting unlawful immigration. [HL4420]

Due to changes in the nature of the system used to record details of arrests made by the UK Border Agency, complete data are only available for the past two financial years.

In 2007-08, a total of 73 individuals were arrested by UK Border Agency staff on suspicion of an offence relating to the facilitation of unlawful entry into the UK (including trafficking); in 2008-09, 127 individuals were arrested for the same reason.

These figures do not constitute part of National Statistics as they are based on internal management information. The information has not been quality assured under National Statistics protocols and should be treated as provisional and subject to change.

With regards to actual convictions, the Home Office publishes statistics on persons proceeded against for offences under immigration Acts, including offences relating to the facilitation of unlawful entry, in England and Wales annually. These 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 changes have been made to the UK Border Agency's visas website regarding application to enter the United Kingdom by overseas students since the new points-based system started on 31 March. [HL4534]

We have made three substantive changes to the UK Border Agency's visa services website regarding entry as a student under tier four of the points-based system since it was implemented on 31 March 2009.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to review immigration rules in order to deal with skill shortages facing the curry industry. [HL4747]

The independent Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) advises Government on shortage occupations. Skilled chefs, including those in the curry industry, are currently on the shortage occupation list for tier two of the points-based system.

The Government have asked the MAC to review this entry by September 2009 and recommend whether it is sensible to continue to fill shortages of skilled chefs through migration. The Government will consider the MAC's recommendations carefully in due course.

Immigration: Deportation

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord West of Spithead on 1 June (WA 42–3), how many people they have tried to deport to (a) Jordan, (b) Libya, (c) Lebanon, (d) Ethiopia and (e) Algeria on the ground of national security; how many of those deportations have succeeded; how many have not; and what was the reason for each case which did not succeed. [HL4707]

Her Majesty's Government have undertaken deportation proceedings against (a) five Jordanian, (b) 12 Libyan, (c) no Lebanese, (d) one Ethiopian and (e) 18 Algerian nationals on the ground of national security. Eight of these individuals have been deported and 14 are at various stages of the appeals process.

There are 14 cases where deportation on national security grounds has been discontinued and these comprise: 12 Libyan cases following a court judgment; one case where the court found the individual concerned did not pose a threat to national security; and one case where the Secretary of State withdrew the deportation decision as it was considered the individual no longer posed a current threat to national security.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord West of Spithead on 1 June (WA 42–3), whether the memoranda of understanding on deportation with assurances they have signed with Jordan, Libya, Lebanon and Ethiopia allow legal deportation on the ground of national security; and, if so, why there have been appeals. [HL4708]

The Memoranda of Understanding referred to in my previous Answer formalise the arrangements for seeking assurances in respect of individuals whom the UK wishes to deport to one of these four countries or whom one of those countries wishes to deport to the UK.

A deportation from the United Kingdom is governed by the provisions of the immigration Acts. Under that legislation, a decision to make a deportation order attracts a right of appeal under either Section 82 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 or Section 2 of the Special Immigration Appeals Commission Act 1997.

Kenya

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what recent reports they have received concerning the human rights situation in Kenya. [HL4790]

We have noted the recent report by Human Rights Watch on the October 2008 disarmament operation by the Kenyan military in north-eastern Kenya and the report to the Human Rights Council in June 2009 by UN Special Rapporteur Philip Alston on extrajudicial killings. As with previous reports alleging human rights violations, we have urged the Kenyan Government to instigate independent investigations into the allegations raised.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the Government of Kenya concerning the treatment of internally displaced persons. [HL4792]

The UK, with others in the international community, has regularly urged the Kenyan Government to ensure that all internally displaced persons are treated in accordance with international humanitarian principles.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to promote political stability in Kenya. [HL4793]

The UK has provided support to civil society organisations to assist communities to reconcile and engage in the peace process following the disputed 2007 elections. In the past two financial years, civil society support amounted to £1.2 million.

We have provided a further £1.4 million over the past two years to support the Annan process and the National Accord. We will continue to offer our full support to Kofi Annan and his leadership role in the reform process.

All support has been jointly managed by the Department for International Development and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, through the Africa Conflict Prevention Programme.

We continue to urge Kenya's leaders to work together to ensure that the key reforms needed in Kenya are made in order to prevent a return to the violence and instability seen at the start of 2008.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of progress towards judicial reform in Kenya. [HL4794]

There has been little action on judicial reform in Kenya, although a reform group has been set up to look at the judicial services commission.

We continue to urge the Kenyan Government to implement all of the recommendations of the Waki Commission, including those on reform of the judiciary. This will be vital in combating the culture of impunity and restoring the trust of the Kenyan people in their country's institutions.

Ministry of Justice

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what expenditure was incurred in moving the offices of the Ministry of Justice. [HL4638]

The expenditure incurred in relocating 2,200 staff from five separate buildings to a single HQ (102 Petty France) in 2008-09 was £2,683,113. It is estimated that this rationalisation of the estates will contribute more than £10 million annually in savings which, over the duration of the lease will produce savings in excess of £200 million.

NHS: Primary Care Trust Finances

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many NHS hospital trusts (a) did not have a balanced budget in the fiscal year 2008–09 without one-off balancing items; and (b) carried forward historic debts into the current financial year. [HL4745]

The number of National Health Service trusts that did not have a balanced budget in the fiscal year 2008-09 without one-off balancing items is not available from the accounts. Information about carried forward historic debts into the current financial year is given in the following table. This information is taken from the 2008-09 unaudited NHS trust summarisation schedules.

NHS TrustCumulative Deficit at 31 March 2009

£000

Ashford and St Peter's Hospitals NHS Trust

-2,423

Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust

-103,553

Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals NHS Trust

-37,190

Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust

-17,834

Bromley Hospitals NHS Trust

-53,949

Buckinghamshire Hospitals NHS Trust

-1,107

Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust

-619

East Cheshire NHS Trust

-4,386

Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust

-996

George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust

-3,727

Hinchingbrooke Healthcare NHS Trust

-38,874

Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust

-8,365

Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust

-3,073

Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust

-26,110

Newham University Hospital NHS Trust

-3,744

North Bristol NHS Trust

-31,573

North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust

-5,214

North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust

-4,897

North West London Hospitals NHS Trust

-21,589

Oxford Radcliffe Hospital NHS Trust

-19,729

Queen Elizabeth Hospital NHS Trust

-48,438

Queen Mary's Sidcup NHS Trust

-38,465

Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust

-42,768

Royal United Hospital Bath NHS Trust

-22,674

Royal Wolverhampton Hospital NHS Trust

-7,438

Scarborough and North East Yorkshire NHS Trust

-18,721

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust

-22,921

South Warwickshire General Hospitals NHS Trust

-7,717

St George's Healthcare NHS Trust

-30,380

Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust

-47,098

The Lewisham Hospital NHS Trust

-9,337

The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust

-2,930

The Royal West Sussex NHS Trust

-892

Trafford Healthcare NHS Trust

-2,289

University Hospital of North Staffordshire Hospital NHS Trust

-7,625

West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust

-4,513

West Middlesex University NHS Trust

-16,786

West Suffolk Hospital NHS Trust

-5,016

Weston Area Health NHS Trust

-13,826

Whipps Cross University Hospital NHS Trust

-24,207

Winchester and Eastleigh Healthcare NHS Trust

-2,001

Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust

-22,179

Worcestershire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust

-5,035

Worthing and Southlands Hospitals NHS Trust

-20,430

Source:

2008-09 NHS Trust unaudited summarisation schedules.

Olympic Games 2012: Temporary Venues

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will request the Audit Commission to investigate all decisions made and evidence submitted by the Olympic Delivery Authority to the Olympic Board and London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) and all the decisions made by LOCOG at its board meeting held on 19 March regarding temporary venues and other relevant matters. [HL4786]

There are no plans for any investigation into either the decisions made or evidence submitted to the Olympic Board on 19 March.

The decisions made by the board regarding temporary venues and other matters were based on sound and robust information and follow transparent joint working between the Olympic Delivery Authority and the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games in assessing all the available options.

LOCOG and the ODA have held several briefing sessions with a number of MPs and Peers and are happy to undertake further meetings to explain the rationale behind the Olympic Board's decision as are the BOA and British Shooting. The latter has accepted that Bisley is not a viable option for the 2012 events and will work with London 2012 on legacy for the sport.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will consider an investigation by a cross-party group of Peers into all evidence, and principally the integrity of the selection process, submitted by the Olympic Delivery Authority to the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games for the determination of temporary venues, including financial and contractual considerations the decision of which was announced by the Chairman of the Olympic Board following its meeting on 19 March. [HL4787]

There are no plans for any investigation into either the decisions made or evidence submitted to the Olympic Board on 19 March.

The decisions made by the board regarding temporary venues and other matters were based on sound and robust information and follow transparent joint working between the Olympic Delivery Authority and the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games in assessing all the available options.

LOCOG and the ODA have held several briefing sessions with a number of MPs and Peers and are happy to undertake further meetings to explain the rationale behind the Olympic Board's decision as are the BOA and British Shooting. The latter has accepted that Bisley is not a viable option for the 2012 events and will work with London 2012 on legacy for the sport.

Passports

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the average waiting time for biometric appointments for foreign students; and how that varies between offices used for that purpose. [HL4536]

Appointments in the United Kingdom are currently available within our agreed standard of 15 days for applicants who are prepared to attend at any of our sites. The average waiting time for a premium single appointment is eight days, based on a range of seven to 10 days between regional offices across the country. In the case of postal applications, the average waiting time for a single appointment is eight days, based on a range of two—28 days across the offices. A walk-in service for those with an urgent need to travel is available from the UK Border Agency office in Croydon.

Information on waiting times for students overseas applying for visas is not available because the UK Border Agency is unable to distinguish appointment times by type of visa. I am able to give figures for all appointments—of our 328 application points around the world, 110 allow walk-in appointments and there is no waiting period. These sites handle approximately 60 to 70 per cent of all applications. Of the 218 sites that require appointments, only 10 per cent currently report average waiting times from inquiry to the next available appointment, which is 1.08 days.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the new Passport Office in Armagh City has any signage at its external elevation at the public footway. [HL4835]

The IPS office in Armagh does not have external signage. The office provides an interview facility for first-time adult passport applicants by appointment. It delivers no other passport service. Applicants using the office are provided written or verbal directions to site when selecting their preferred interview date. Applicants are additionally able to reference detailed location maps via IPS' Direct.gov web portal. When introducing its revised application process IPS sought to distinguish between “interview only” and “regional issuing” offices so as not to mislead other applicant types into believing emergency travel documents or related services could be delivered from offices such as Armagh.

Police: Protection

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether any foreign nationals in the United Kingdom are given police protection; if so, how many; and at what cost. [HL4814]

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether Pervez Musharraf has been granted police protection in the United Kingdom; whether the same protection is provided to all former heads of state or government; and whether any contribution is made by their country of origin towards such costs. [HL4815]

It is long established Home Office policy not to comment on protective security arrangements and their related costs for any individuals or groups.

The noble Lord will appreciate that disclosure of such information could compromise the integrity of those arrangements and affect the security of the individuals concerned.

Prisons: HMP Albany

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how much time per day out of their cells prisoners are allocated at HMP Albany; how much they got on average in practice before the new timetable was introduced; and how much they get on average now. [HL4853]

During 2007-08 prisoners at HMP Albany spent an average of 9.9 hours out of their cells per week day against a target of 10 hours. In 2008-09, the year in which the core day was introduced, the average time out of cell in HMP Albany was 10.1 hours against a target of 9.7 hours.

Public Spending

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what are their short- and medium-term public spending objectives. [HL4827]

Chapter 6 of Budget 2009 sets out the Government's short-term and medium-term public spending objectives, consistent with its fiscal policy objectives:

in the short-term to support the economy through the downturn, providing temporary and targeted support to the individuals and businesses most affected by the global economic shocks; and

in the medium-term to continue to improve and invest in key public service priorities, while also ensuring a sustainable path for the public finances.

Railways: Crossrail

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how they will ensure that Crossrail will not be postponed. [HL4831]

The Government remain fully committed to Crossrail. The Crossrail core agreements, which were signed in December 2008, set out robust governance arrangements to ensure that the project is delivered within the timelines agreed by the Department for Transport and Transport for London—the joint sponsors for the project.

Crossrail is now into the delivery phase and the Prime Minister launched the start of works in May 2009 at Canary Wharf Crossrail Station. Works have also begun at Tottenham Court Road and the land acquisition programme has been underway since late 2008.

Railways: East Coast Mainline

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will allow sufficient time to evaluate whether or not the nationalisation of the East Coast railway franchise is in the public interest. [HL4950]

Assuming that a state company takes on responsibility for the East Coast railway franchise later this year, it is the Government's intention that the franchise be managed in the public sector for at least a year.

In due course, I expect to invite bids from private sector companies for a new franchise. However, those bids will be subject to a full value for money assessment, and no franchise will be awarded to a private operator which does not offer good value for money.

Railways: East Midland Trains

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to run more through services from Lincoln to London from December 2010. [HL4817]

East Midlands Trains run one service daily between Lincoln and London and there are no plans to increase this frequency.

National Express East Coast has secured track access rights to operate a service every two hours, and was expected to implement that service subject to resolution of outstanding timetabling issues.

The Department for Transport intends to implement this service in December 2010 subject to resolution of timetable issues and acceptability of the business plan.

Work has now started to develop proposals for the specification of the replacement franchise. This will include looking at service patterns and destinations. The draft specification will be consulted on with stakeholders, including passenger groups, parliamentarians and the Scottish Executive.

Railways: Franchises

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have for allowing the publicly owned company which will take over the East Coast Main Line franchise from National Express East Coast to bid, as the existing operator, in the tendering process for a new East Coast franchise operator from the end of 2010. [HL4837]

Roads: Speed Humps

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to outlaw speed humps on public highways which cannot be traversed at 15 mph or less without risking hidden damage to the vehicle or its tyres, or harm to vehicle occupants (including ambulance patients) and motorcyclists. [HL4927]

Local highway authorities already have powers to place and remove road humps on their roads where appropriate.

The Highways (Road Humps) Regulations 1999 set out the permissible dimensions for road humps. Road humps must be a maximum of 100mm in height, although the department recommends local authorities consider using road humps 75mm in height to ensure those vehicles with low suspensions do not suffer from grounding.

There are no plans to amend these regulations to reduce the maximum permissible height of road humps.

Serious Organised Crime Agency

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many new cases in Northern Ireland the Serious Organised Crime Agency has investigated since its creation. [HL4696]

SOCA operational activity is often multi-faceted with concurrent activity across the UK and internationally, these figures are therefore not available on a regional basis.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how much the Serious Organised Crime Agency has (a) claimed from criminal activity, and (b) cost to operate, since its creation. [HL4697]

The Serious Organised Crime Agency's overall resource budget for all its activities in its first three years of operation was £1.2 billion. Since its inception, SOCA has denied criminals access to £460 million worldwide.

Asset recovery is one of the many tools that SOCA utilises to prevent organised criminals causing harm to UK citizens. The main aim of asset recovery in an organised crime context is to deny to criminals the resources that they need to operate and to make organised crime less attractive and less lucrative.

Shipping: Registration

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will make registration of ships on the British register conditional on reasonable facilities being provided for crews to keep in touch with their families during long sea voyages. [HL4857]

The Government have no plans to introduce such a condition.

The UK ship register is one of the best performing flags in the major port state control regimes with a reputation for maintaining the highest international standards.

Vehicles: Automatic Plate Recognition

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made on whether the increased use of automatic number plate recognition surveillance by police forces is justified in terms of human rights and costs. [HL4695]

Automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) is used by police forces for intelligence-led policing and investigative purposes. It is a very effective operational policing tool which allows the police to target known offenders and independent studies have evidenced its success.

The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) has published detailed advice to police forces about the use of ANPR technology. This advice was drafted in consultation with the Information Commissioner's Office and aims to ensure that ANPR is used in accordance with the Data Protection Act (1984 and 1998), Human Rights Act (1998), Freedom of Information Act (2000) and Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (2000).

As the National ANPR Data Centre is in the final stages of being developed and tested, the advice is being updated, and ACPO and the National Policing Improvement Agency are currently working with the Information Commissioner's Office to ensure that human rights are appropriately balanced with proportionate collection, use and retention of ANPR data.

Visas

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are considering changing the visa system in order to attract Chinese tourists in possession of a Schengen visa. [HL4739]

The UK does not take part in the visa and border control aspects of Schengen because doing so would not allow us to have a system to count and track people in and out of the UK, to maintain our exported border controls in France and Belgium and our juxtaposed controls, and to retain our flexibility in introducing visa regimes (as we would be tied to the common visa list).

As a consequence, those in possession of a Schengen visa wishing to travel to the UK must satisfy the requirements and conditions of entry to the UK and would need a visa in line with our standard procedures, including the payment of a fee.

Worker Registration Scheme

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to continue the Worker Registration Scheme for migrants from the European Union. [HL4606]

The Government announced on 8 April 2009 that the Worker Registration Scheme will continue. The scheme will be reviewed again in April 2010.

Yarl's Wood: Hunger Strike

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether there is or has recently been a hunger strike at Yarl's Wood Detention Centre; and, if so, how many people took part. [HL4820]

There have been no hunger strikes at Yarl's Wood IRC recently.

A small number of individuals at the centre recently pressurised families to avoid taking their meals in the canteen, which was subsequently reported in certain parts of the media as a hunger-strike. At its height, a total of 54 individuals failed to take their meals in the canteen.

Zimbabwe

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the state of agriculture in Zimbabwe; and what research they will use in considering possible support for future programmes involving agricultural rehabilitation, resettlement and land reform in Zimbabwe. [HL4597]

Recent UN reporting—by the Food and Agricultural Organisation and the World Food Programme—suggests that this year's maize harvest, Zimbabwe's main crop, will have more than doubled from last year's record low. This improvement is largely due to good rains and tools, seeds and fertiliser provided by the international community ahead of the growing season. Much work remains to be done to improve food security, increase production, ensure the availability of grain and generally stabilise the sector.

Our support will continue to be based on information provided by a range of food and nutritional assessments, principally by the UN. We will also look to the inclusive Government to drive progress in the agricultural sector as it has begun to do in its short term emergency recovery programme (STERP). A land reform commission is also planned which will start its work by conducting a land audit expected to deliver results later in the year.