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Written Answers

Volume 713: debated on Wednesday 21 October 2009

Written Answers

Wednesday 21 October 2009

Climate Change: Carbon Dioxide Emissions

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their response to the view of the Committee on Climate Change that a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions of the order of 2 to 3 per cent annually will be necessary to ensure that official targets on emissions reductions are met. [HL5639]

As required by the Climate Change Act 2008, the Government will respond to the Committee on Climate Change's first annual progress report by 15 January 2010. The UK Low Carbon Transition Plan, published in July 2009, sets out how our carbon budgets and targets for the period 2008 to 2022 will be met. Projections of future emissions published alongside the transition plan show annual reductions in line with those the committee says are required to meet the current carbon budgets.

Death Certificates

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what forecast has been made of the cost of introducing short death certificates, as proposed in the 2002 report Civil Registration, Vital Change. [HL5583]

A high level forecast of the cost of introducing short death certificates indicates costs in the order of £130,000. Broadly these costs would cover changes to the software used by registrars in England and Wales and provision of an additional supply of serially numbered secure stationery.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what information technology changes would be required to facilitate the introduction of short death certificates. [HL5584]

The software used by registrars would need to be amended to extract relevant information from the record of a death to be printed on a certificate form.

Embryology

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the state of research into stem cell therapy for pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH); and what is their advice to patients regarding clinics offering curative stem cell therapy for PAH, particularly in relation to safety. [HL5661]

Stem cell therapy for pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) remains an experimental approach and is not a proven treatment. There have been a small number of peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals that point to a potential role for stem cells in the treatment of PAH, but much more laboratory and clinical research is needed ahead of any definitive proof of efficacy or safety.

The department is aware of a growing number of unlicensed and unproven stem cell products that are being marketed to patients over the internet from overseas “clinics”. Regrettably, such marketing falls outside the jurisdiction of medicines legislation in the United Kingdom. The department, NHS Choices and the Gene Therapy Advisory Committee have all issued warnings and provided advice on their respective websites for anyone who may be considering such “stem cell treatments”.

Energy: Carbon Budgets

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they support the monitoring approach set out by the Committee on Climate Change in its report Meeting Carbon Budgets—the need for a step change. [HL5638]

As required by the Climate Change Act 2008, the Government will respond to the Committee on Climate Change's first annual progress report by 15 January 2010. Departments with a carbon budget will set out their approach to monitoring delivery of emissions reductions in their forthcoming carbon reduction delivery plans. These will include milestones and indicators against which progress will be measured and will be informed by the committee's advice.

Energy: Efficiency

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress they have made in deploying the additional £375 million allocated in the 2009 Budget to support energy and resource efficiency in businesses, public buildings and households. [HL5690]

DECC, CLG and Defra are the departments responsible for deploying the additional funding in England. After applying Barnett consequentials in respect of the devolved Administrations, progress in deploying the additional funding in England is as follows:

£84 million was allocated for 2009-10 and 2010-11 to the Carbon Trust through DECC for loans to small and medium-sized businesses to improve their energy efficiency. As of 8 October 18 per cent of that funding has been committed. A small proportion of funding will be used for administrative costs;

£55 million was allocated for 2009-10 to the Carbon Trust Salix Scheme in England which provides loans for around 3,000 energy saving projects in schools, hospitals and other public sector institutions; to date it has committed 45 per cent. A small proportion of funding will be used for administrative costs;

a further £84 million is being deployed by the Homes and Communities Agency for social housing through the Social Housing Energy Saving Programme. This programme is geared to help social landlords insulate hard-to-treat cavity walls that would not otherwise be filled under the Decent Homes programme. Eighty per cent of the money will be spent this financial year;

£100 million was allocated to CLG for the construction of new homes at higher energy efficiency standards as part of the housing package; and

£8 million was allocated to Defra for new grants to businesses to deliver anaerobic digestion and composting, providing capacity to remove 316,000 tonnes of waste from landfill, reducing local government and business waste disposal costs.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress they have made in deploying the additional £70 million allocated in the 2009 Budget to support decentralised small-scale and community low-carbon energy schemes. [HL5691]

Of the £70 million allocated in the 2009 Budget to support decentralised small-scale and community low-carbon energy schemes, £25 million was made available to fund community heating infrastructure in the UK.

£20.96 million is being administered by the Homes and Communities Agency in support of community heating schemes in England. All available funding has been allocated to 14 schemes. The remainder of the £25 million was made available to devolved Administrations using the Barnett formula. More information on the 14 schemes being supported by the HCA is available at www.homesandcommunities.co.uk/low-carbon-infrastructure.

An additional £45 million has been made available to the Low Carbon Building Programme in the Budget 2009. Funding will be split across the next two years, with £30 million allotted for year 2009-10 and £15 million for year 2010-11. LCBP offers capital funds for small scale onsite energy generation. The scheme is administered by EST and BRE. For further information about this programme go to www.lowcarbonbuildings.org.uk.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many homes they plan to provide with insulation in the United Kingdom in (a) 2009, and (b) 2010. [HL5692]

Free or subsidized insulation is delivered to UK homes through a variety of schemes; these are the Carbon Emissions Reduction target (CERT), the Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP), the Social Housing Energy Saving Programme (SHESP), Warm Front and Decent Homes. Measures include loft, cavity wall, and solid wall insulation treatments.

Between January and June 2009 insulation was delivered to approximately 900,000 homes under the full range of schemes; in total more than 1.6 million homes will benefit from insulation measures by December 09.

For 2010 we estimate that more than 1.6 million homes will receive insulation treatment through the various schemes.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to promote lower energy use in the commercial sector through replacement of capital stock such as pumps and valves with more efficient models. [HL5693]

The Government fund two schemes specifically to help businesses reduce energy use by supporting the replacement of capital stock:

a loan scheme for small and medium-sized businesses, which provides interest-free loans of up to £400,000 to purchase energy-saving equipment. A wide range of technologies are eligible for the scheme; and

the enhanced capital allowance scheme provides tax relief for businesses on their purchase of energy-saving plant and machinery from a designated list of almost 14,000 items spanning 15 technologies.

In addition, the Government fund the Carbon Trust to provide advice to businesses on energy efficiency; and a range of government policies (such as the forthcoming CRC energy efficiency scheme) provide additional incentives for businesses to reduce energy use.

Energy: Low-carbon Generation

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what further proposals they have to improve the investment climate for low-carbon power generation. [HL5641]

The low carbon transition plan sets out how the Government are seeking to maintain the right conditions for investment in low-carbon power generation. At the heart of the plan is the EU Emissions Trading System which sets a declining limit or “cap” for emissions.

The most effective way of strengthening the carbon price is by limiting the supply of allowances by tightening the cap. The UK Government are working hard to deliver an international climate agreement in Copenhagen later this year. If we achieve the right agreement, the EU has pledged to increase our target from a 20 per cent to a 30 per cent reduction on 1990 emissions. This would lead to a significant tightening of the EU ETS cap.

However, the carbon price is not the complete answer. The low carbon transition plan also sets out other steps the Government are taking to remove barriers to the development and deployment of low-carbon technologies with policies to:

produce around 30 per cent of our electricity from renewables;

fund up to four demonstrations of carbon capture and storage; and

facilitate the building of new nuclear power stations.

Energy: Nuclear Waste

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government when they intend to publish their finalised proposals for the management of spent nuclear fuel. [HL5526]

The Energy Act 2008 requires operators of new nuclear power stations to have a funded decommissioning programme, approved by my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, in place before construction of a new nuclear power station begins and to comply with this programme thereafter.

The funded decommissioning programme prepared by the operator of a new nuclear power station must include details of the operator's plans for the management of their spent fuel.

In February 2008 the Government published the Consultation on Funded Decommissioning Programme Guidance for New Nuclear Power Stations. In this consultation the Government set out a base case, a means by which waste may be managed and disposed of and decommissioning carried out that will be costed by or on behalf of the Secretary of State. This included a number of assumptions in relation to the management and disposal of spent fuel.

Operators of new nuclear power stations will be expected to have regard to the base case when developing the programme they will submit to the Government, but there will be flexibility to allow operators to propose other effective ways of dealing with decommissioning and waste management if they choose to do so. Operators' funded decommissioning programmes will be considered on a case-by-case basis. When considering whether to approve an operator's programme, the Secretary of State will have regard to whether it achieves the overall outcome of ensuring a prudent means for carrying out and estimating the costs of waste management, disposal and decommissioning.

It is anticipated that an updated base case will be included in the final funded decommissioning programme guidance, which is expected to be published in spring 2010.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government when they intend to launch the formal public consultation on proposals for a fixed unit price for the disposal of spent nuclear fuel. [HL5527]

It is anticipated that the consultation on a draft methodology for establishing an indicative fixed unit price for the disposal of intermediate level waste and spent fuel from new nuclear power stations will be launched before the end of 2009.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how long those planning to build new nuclear reactors will have before they must accept the fixed unit price proposed for the disposal by them of spent nuclear fuel. [HL5528]

The Energy Act 2008 requires operators of new nuclear power stations to have a funded decommissioning programme, approved by my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, in place before construction of a new nuclear power station begins and to comply with this programme thereafter.

It is anticipated that operators will request that the Government provide them with a fixed unit price at the time they seek approval for their funded decommissioning programme. This will occur alongside the regulators' licensing and permitting processes. To help future operators with their planning, the Government would expect to give operators a non-binding indicative price at an earlier date than when the Government would be willing to provide them with a final fixed unit price.

The Government would expect to enter into an agreement with the operator, once the fixed unit price for the waste disposal service, the schedule for the Government to take title to and liability for the waste and spent fuel and a schedule of payments have been set. This agreement would cover issues such as the abort or termination costs that would be payable by the operator if it later chose not to use the Government waste disposal service.

Energy: Oil

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions the G8 had about the effect of the prediction of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) that global demand for OPEC oil will increase from 45.5 million barrels a day in 2010 to 106 million barrels a day in 2030 on the G8's decision to reduce global carbon emissions by 80 per cent by 2050. [HL4977]

Energy: Renewables

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 15 June (WA 173) regarding the National Grid report The Potential for Renewable Gas in the United Kingdom, which officials are continuing to work with National Grid to refine their analysis; and how the analysis is being refined. [HL5477]

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 15 June (WA 173) regarding the National Grid report The Potential for Renewable Gas in the United Kingdom, whether the work on refining the analysis is required because National Grid or Ernst and Young have made an error; and, if so, what is the nature of that error. [HL5478]

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 15 June (WA 173) regarding the National Grid report The Potential for Renewable Gas in the United Kingdom, whether the work with National Grid will involve the Institution of Mechanical Engineers following their production of a series of papers on the treatment of waste. [HL5479]

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 15 June (WA 173) regarding the National Grid report The Potential for Renewable Gas in the United Kingdom, whether they are querying the report in respect of (a) the figures on potential gas production, (b) the estimated capital expenditure requirement, (c) the estimated capital expenditure required at the margin, or (d) technical factors affecting either the production or the delivery of renewable gas. [HL5480]

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 15 June (WA 173) regarding the National Grid report The Potential for Renewable Gas in the United Kingdom, whether they will not support any of the four recommendations made by National Grid; and, if so, which ones. [HL5481]

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 15 June (WA 173) regarding the National Grid report The Potential for Renewable Gas in the United Kingdom, what is their assessment of National Grid's suggestion that a decision on the nationwide production of renewable gas from waste and its distribution through the gas network should be expedited to ensure that any investment by local authorities in large-scale waste incineration plants is not unnecessary. [HL5482]

We welcome National Grid's report, and will consider its recommendations as part of the wider work on renewable gas. A number of officials from DECC and Defra have been in contact with National Grid over the past few months regarding the report. As noted in the renewable energy strategy, our analysis indicates that the technical potential of biogas generation for heat and power is about 10-20 TWh or more. Recent work increased that assessment of technical potential of biogas production from anaerobic digestion to 27TWh. These estimates do not include an assessment of the potential contribution of gasification technology, given the uncertainties surrounding when this technology will become commercially available. We have encouraged National Grid to input comments into the latest analysis published alongside the RES to help us to revise and improve our data. National Grid, with a number of other interested parties, also participated in the subsequent seminar to discuss this analysis. We will publish revisions to this analysis alongside the RHI consultation in December. However as this is an evolving area, we recognise the need to keep our analysis under review.

Defra is supporting the development of anaerobic digestion technology. As part of its on-going research and development programme, it is currently looking at the optimisation and impacts of expanding biogas production. This project is due to be completed next year. Defra is also providing around £10 million for the Anaerobic Digestion Demonstration Programme. A series of projects will demonstrate the state of the art use of anaerobic digestion to create renewable energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and avoid waste being sent to landfill. These include a collaborative project by National Grid and United Utilities to upgrade biogas to grid quality biomethane. This project will be the first large scale biomethane gas to grid injection system in the UK.

Energy: Tidal Generation

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the report of the Committee on Climate Change recommended the use of tidal energy; and whether their approach draws on the experience of France in using tidal energy. [HL5697]

The Committee on Climate Change considered the potential for a tidal power project in the Severn estuary using information from the Severn Tidal Power Feasibility Study. The report concluded that a Severn tidal project could form part of a clearly affordable low-carbon strategy if other options (such as nuclear, carbon capture and storage (CCS) and other renewables) were not available. The report notes that these other options carry their own delivery risks and therefore recommends that the option of a Severn tidal project (including a large barrage) is kept open.

The Committee on Climate Change, while being aware of the La Rance barrage operating since the 1960s in France, made its judgment on Severn tidal power based on cost estimates specific to the Severn, and comparison of these with the costs of other low carbon options. The committee also considered the potential learning benefits of a tidal power project in the Severn in comparison to offshore wind, tidal stream and wave energy.

Equality Bill

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government why the Equality Bill does not provide for protection against harassment for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. [HL5678]

The Equality Bill does not leave lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people unprotected from harassment. There is specific protection against harassment in the workplace. Outside the workplace, protection against conduct which could count as harassment is provided through the direct discrimination provisions in the Bill.

EU: Emissions Trading Scheme

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the recession on the effectiveness of the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme market. [HL5640]

The recession will not affect the amount of emission reductions under European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) as this is determined by the emissions cap, not the carbon price. Therefore, the current phase (Phase II, 2008-12) of EU ETS will deliver a 6 per cent reduction on 2005 emission levels, and this is unaffected by the recession.

However, the recession has affected the carbon price. The average carbon price in the first half of 2008 was €24. The carbon price in 2009 has averaged €13. This does mean that it is cheaper for the EU to meet its climate targets.

We have published a report on the 2008 results under EU ETS for the UK and the EU, which provides a more detailed assessment of the carbon market in that year. This can be found at http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/what_we_do/change_energy/tackling_clima/emissions/eu_ets/publications/publications.aspx.

Fishburn Hedges

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether Fishburn Hedges is contracted to work for the Learning and Skills Council or whether they work on specific projects; and how much the council has paid to Fishburn Hedges in each of the past three years for which figures are available. [HL5630]

The department does not hold this level of information. The Learning and Skills Council makes decisions about any work it contracts for specific projects based upon its own business needs. Geoff Russell, the council's acting chief executive, will write to the noble Baroness with further information. A copy of his reply will be placed in the Library of the House.

Further Education: Funding

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how much the Learning and Skills Council paid to (a) PricewaterhouseCoopers (1) to advise it in allocating additional funding for college capital projects as announced in the 2009 Budget, and (2) to review alternative funding sources for college capital projects; (b) Lambert Smith Hampton to undertake an audit of the development status of college capital projects in April 2009; and (c) Grant Thornton to review internal data systems in April 2009. [HL5580]

The total fees, excluding VAT, invoiced to date is £363,672 by PricewaterhouseCoopers, £317,788 by Lambert Smith Hampton and £81,208 by Grant Thornton. This represents less than one per cent of the total capital budget 2009-10. The work was carried out in line with the Foster recommendations which the Government have accepted in full.

Grocery Market Ombudsman

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to act on the recommendation by the chairman of the Competition Commission to establish a Grocery Market Ombudsman. [HL5543]

The Government have not yet made a decision. Ministers and officials are studying the Competition Commission's recommendation to establish a Grocery Market Ombudsman very carefully and will respond in due course.

Health: Infectious Disease Consultants

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will review the availability of infectious disease consultants in the United Kingdom's universities and hospitals, in the light of the absence of such specialist consultants in several United Kingdom medical schools and teaching hospitals. [HL5601]

There were 318 consultants in the infectious diseases medical speciality at the last NHS workforce census, carried out in September 2008.

Infectious disease (ID) consultants tend to be found only in major teaching/regional centres.

The work carried out by ID specialists has a large degree of crossover with the medical microbiology and medical virology specialities.

What is most important is getting the right people with the right skills to deliver services appropriate to the local population needs and that strategic health authorities together with local National Health Service organisations and deaneries should work together to plan and train a medical workforce, which matches the needs of the population they serve.

Health: Thalidomide

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to support people affected by thalidomide. [HL5625]

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will meet people affected by thalidomide together with representatives of the firm Diageo to discuss increased compensation. [HL5626]

Thalidomide survivors are already compensated through a private settlement agreed between the Thalidomide Trust, the body established to administer payments to survivors, and Diageo PLC. We have no plans to meet representatives from Diageo to discuss further compensation. This is a matter solely for the parties concerned.

Those living with the effects of thalidomide are able to access the full range of health and social care. My colleague, the Minister of State for Health, has already met the National Advisory Council to the Thalidomide Trust and hopes to meet it again on 22 October to explore ways of improving access to personal budgets and direct payments in social care, as well as developing a pilot that tests the use of personal budgets for thalidomide survivors. This will potentially tailor help to each individual according to their needs.

Higher Education: Staff

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many teachers and lecturers are employed in colleges of education. [HL5618]

There were 75,755 full-time equivalent teaching staff in post in further education colleges in England in the year 2007-08, the latest year for which information is available. There were 174,945 full person equivalent academic staff in post in UK higher education institutions in the year 2007-08.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many ancillary and support staff are employed in colleges of education. [HL5619]

There were 23,500 full-time equivalent learning support staff and 60,101 full time equivalent other support staff in post in further education colleges in England in the year 2007-08, the latest year for which information is available.

There were 197,515 full person equivalent non-academic staff in post in UK higher education institutions in the year 2007-08.

Higher Education: Students

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many students study higher education in colleges of education. [HL5621]

The number of enrolments to higher education courses at higher education institutions and further education colleges in England in 2007-08 is shown in the table.

Higher Education Enrolments

English Higher Education Institutions and Further Education Colleges

Academic Year 2007-08

Total Higher Education

2,044,330

of which:

Higher Education Institutions

1,922,185

Further Education Colleges (1)

122,145

Source: Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) and Individualised Learner Record.

Notes: Higher Education Institution figures are based on a HESA standard registration population. Further Education College figures are based on a BIS whole year count basis. All figures have been rounded to the nearest five.

(1) Provisional. Final figures available in January 2010.

Iraq: Scheduled Flights

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether there are any scheduled direct flights from the United Kingdom to Baghdad; and, if not, whether they will consult the Government of Iraq in order to instigate such flights from the United Kingdom or elsewhere in western Europe. [HL5666]

There are currently no such flights, but my department negotiated a new bilateral air services agreement with Iraq in May. This agreement will pave the way for the resumption of scheduled direct flights in the future.

Light Bulbs

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Rooker on 16 January 2008 (WA 260), whether under British law tungsten filament light bulbs can continue to be imported, sold and used legally in the United Kingdom. [HL5447]

The technical requirements of EU Regulation 244/2009, which was agreed by member states in December 2008, mean that from 1 September 2009 it is not permitted to place on the EU market pearl or frosted (non-clear) non-directional incandescent lamps, regardless of wattage.

One hundred watt clear non-directional lamps cannot be placed on the market from the same date. Therefore importing of these products is not permitted, although retailers and individual householders are allowed to use up existing stocks.

Mental Health

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what arrangements are being made to provide specialist health care for individuals with mental health illnesses who were served by Omnicare Community Services in Birmingham, which has closed. [HL5723]

The responsibility for providing healthcare, including specialist mental health care services rests with primary care trusts (PCTs). The department provides funding for PCTs to provide healthcare for their local populations through National Health Service or independent sector providers. We are not prescriptive about how individual PCTs spend their budgets and each PCT decides its own spending levels for specific healthcare treatments and services.

Olympic Games 2012: Costs

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will investigate (a) the integrity, and (b) the cost of designing and building the “Zaha Hadid Architects supported by S&P/Contractors Balfour Beatty” 2012 Olympics Aquatics Stadium Roof and supporting pillars; and what part was played by Alison Nimmo CBE, Director of Design & Regeneration, and David Higgins, chief executive of the Olympic Delivery Authority, for commissioning the roof. [HL5531]

The outline designs for the Aquatics Centre were approved by the Olympic Board in July 2006 and as reported in the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games Quarterly Economic Report issued in July 2009, the anticipated final cost of the Aquatics Centre project remains at £244 million, which is within the current project budget of £246 million. The Government Olympic Executive has no reason, at the present time, and does not intend to, investigate the project beyond its current level of scrutiny and oversight of the ODA's programme.

A design competition for the Aquatics Centre was held in 2004, and pre-dates the creation of the Olympic Delivery Authority. Subsequent revisions to the design in 2006 involved David Higgins, as chief executive of the ODA, and Alison Nimmo, as Director of Design and Regeneration for the ODA, but neither were directly involved in the procurement process.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the cost of designing and building the “Zaha Hadid Architects supported by S&P/Contractors Balfour Beatty” 2012 Olympics Aquatics Stadium Roof and supporting pillars is over budget, and if so, by how much, and why. [HL5532]

As reported in the July 2009 Quarterly Economic Report, issued by the Government Olympic Executive, the anticipated final cost of the Aquatics Centre remains at £244 million. This figure is within the current budget for the venue which, as reported in the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games annual report published in January, is £246 million.

The November 2007 baseline budget for the project was £214 million. This was increased to £246 million owing to the transfer of £28 million from the project budget for the F10 Bridge—the huge land bridge that will form part of the roof of the venue—and increases in scope to allow for enhanced community use of the venue in legacy.

Overseas Aid

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how much overseas aid has been given by United Kingdom Governments (a) in total since 1980, and (b) in each year since 1980. [HL5622]

The total level of UK official development assistance in each year between 1970 and 2008 is published in the Department for International Development's (DfID) publication, Statistics on International Development, 2009 available via the DfID website at www.dfid.gov.uk

A copy will also be placed in the Libraries of the House.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government which state has received the most overseas aid from the United Kingdom since 1998. [HL5623]

The country which has received the most United Kingdom official development assistance since 1998 is India.

Post Office: Armed Forces

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many items the British Forces Post Office delivered to addresses in mainland Europe in the past 12 months for which figures are available. [HL5717]

Items of mail are recorded by weight and are not individually counted. Over the period 1 October 2008 to 30 September 2009 British Forces Post Office dispatched a total of 1,166,257 kgs of mail to mainland Europe.

Prostitution

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to discourage prostitution, and the buying of sex, in the United Kingdom. [HL5582]

The Government's Co-ordinated Prostitution Strategy, published in July 2006, aims to challenge the view that street prostitution is inevitable, achieve an overall reduction in street prostitution and reduce all forms of commercial sexual exploitation.

To achieve these objectives we have updated guidance on safeguarding children from sexual exploitation to prevent children from becoming involved in prostitution. We have also run a campaign to discourage kerb crawling, involving co-ordinated police action and a publicity campaign informing potential kerb crawlers of the consequences of being convicted.

In November 2008 the Government published Tackling the Demand for Prostitution: A Review and following the review's recommendations has included a number of measures in the Policing and Crime Bill aimed at reducing the demand for prostitution. These measures are; a new offence of paying for sex with someone who has been subject to exploitative conduct, amendments to the offence of kerb crawling to allow police to arrest someone the first time they solicit prostitutes in public places, and closure orders which would allow premises associated with certain prostitution or pornography-related offences to be closed for up to six months. The Bill also includes a measure to create a new rehabilitative order as a punishment for loitering or soliciting for the purposes of prostitution to help prostitutes find a way out of prostitution.

Public Information

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how much they have spent in England and Wales in each of the past five years on public information programmes relating to: (a) poor air quality; (b) alcohol abuse; (c) drug abuse; (d) road traffic accidents; (e) obesity; and (f) smoking. [HL5774]

This information is not collected centrally. Each government department, agency and NDPB is responsible for setting its own communications priorities and outputs, and each Secretary of State is responsible to Parliament.

Railways: High-speed Line

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have prepared a cost-benefit analysis of the proposed new high speed rail link from Scotland to London; and, if not, whether and when they plan to do so. [HL5664]

High Speed Two has been asked to help consider the case for high speed rail services from London to Scotland and, as a first stage, the company will report by the end of this year with a detailed proposal for a new line between London and the West Midlands.

High Speed Two will also provide advice on the potential development of a high speed line beyond the West Midlands, at the level of broad “corridors”, in particular (but not exclusively) the potential for the new line to extend to the conurbations of Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire, the North East and Scotland.

Sector Skills: Funding

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how much funding they provided to each of the sector skills councils in each of the past three years for which figures are available; and how many staff each of them employs. [HL5627]

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills provides grant in aid funding to the UK Commission for Employment and Skills to contract with sector skills councils for work on areas such as national occupational standards and labour market information. The funding provided to each sector skills council by the UK Commission, and its predecessor the Sector Skills Development Agency, in the years 2006-07, 2007-08 and 2008-09 is given below along with the number of staff as at 30 June 2009.

Most sector skills councils also receive other funding from a range of sources, including other government departments, and this is reflected in their staffing figures.

Sector Skills Council

Funding in 2006-07 £000

Funding in 2007-08 £000

Funding in 2008-09 £000

Staffing as at 30 June 2009

Asset Skills

2,365

4,537

3,624

50

Automotive Skills (IMI)

1,966

3,079

2,875

47

Cogent

1,938

2,499

2,545

44

Construction Skills

2,972

4,490

3,801

1550

Creative and Cultural Skills

2,631

1,782

2,947

55

Energy and Utility Skills

2,415

3,211

2,598

63

e-skills UK

6,774

5,039

3,331

57

Financial Services Skills Council

1,928

3,199

3,755

38

GoSkills

2,280

2,373

3,151

35

Government Skills

1,802

2,537

1,737

51

Improve Ltd

2,688

2,229

2,607

33

Lantra

2,272

4,413

3,653

93

Lifelong Learning UK

1,954

1,875

2,511

177

People 1st

1,781

2,790

3,613

58

Proskills UK

2,376

2,575

2,828

44

Semta

3,659

3,614

3,610

93

Skillfast-UK

2,295

3,487

2,851

32

Skills for Care and Development

2,035

1,444

2,079

12

Skills for Health

2,646

2,993

2,799

249

Skills for Justice

1,714

3,283

4,253

71

Skills for Logistics

2,352

1,940

2,438

39

SkillsActive

2,596

3,626

3,314

85

Skillset

4,243

3,807

3,665

82

Skillsmart Retail

2,553

2,891

3,013

37

SummitSkills

1,760

2,648

2,127

39

Serious Organised Crime Agency

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the management structure of the Serious Organised Crime Agency; how many managers are at each level; and what is the cost per year of their salaries and expenses. [HL4940]

The Serious Organised Crime Agency has a nine-grade structure from the director general, to grade 6. Almost all staff at grade 2 and above and most staff at grades 3 and 4 have line management responsibility, including leading teams of investigative officers. Grades are also reflective of specialist skills. The breakdown of full-time equivalent staff by grade and salary range as of 30 September 2009, including those at CEOP and secondees where SOCA pays their salary is as follows:

Grade

Number of staff

Salary range

Director General

1

£180,000 to £185,000

Executive Director

5 (includes SOCA legal advisor)

£135,000 to £145,000

Deputy Director

31

£82,861 to £93,909

Grade 1

86

£62,146 to £80,883

Grade 2

257

£50,732 to £66,025

Grade 3

573

£40, 586 to £54,050

Grade 4

1,225

£32,469 to £43,240

Grade five-6

1,802

£17,689 to £34,591

SOCA's annual accounts for 2008-09 stated that £18,578,000 was spent on accommodation, subsistence and general expenses in 2008-09. This figure includes expenses incurred by staff based overseas and expenses both at home and overseas incurred in the course of operational activity. A breakdown of this figure by grade could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government when they will answer Written Questions HL4940, HL 4941 and HL4942, tabled on 8 July; and what is the cause of the delay in answering them. [HL5646]

Unfortunately, due to an administrative error in the internal questions alert system these Questions were not received by policy officials until 7 October. They have all now been answered and I apologise for the delay incurred.

Shipping: Light Dues

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how much the Department for Transport and its predecessors spent on consultants' studies on light dues issues (a) from 1993 to 2004, and (b) from 2005 to 2008. [HL5591]

Information for the years prior to 2004 may not be complete because records are no longer retained but the following amounts are known to have been spent:

(a) from 1993 to 2004: £80,113; and

(b) from 2005 to 2008: £72,919.

Sierra Leone: Visas

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government why they ceased issuing visas in Sierra Leone; and whether they will restore consular services in Freetown to allow citizens to obtain appropriate documentation for visiting the United Kingdom. [HL5659]

The UK Border Agency continues to issue visas in Freetown, Sierra Leone. All applicants in Sierra Leone continue to be able to submit their applications and collect appropriate documentation in Freetown. Consular services for British nationals have not been affected by decisions relating to the visa service for nationals of Sierra Leone. The British high commission in Freetown continues to provide the full range of consular services to British nationals in Sierra Leone.

St Helena: Airport

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many responses they received to the public consultation on the planned airport for St Helena; and when they expect to publish their conclusion. [HL5613]

We received approximately 2,530 written responses to the public consultation on the most appropriate option for access to St Helena. In addition, approximately 1000 people attended meetings with the consultation facilitator.

The consultation report will be published in accordance with Cabinet Office guidelines this autumn.

Trade Unions

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what proposals they have to require trade unions which elect their national officers to publish their political affiliations at the time of such elections. [HL5701]