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Written Answers

Volume 714: debated on Tuesday 10 November 2009

Written Answers

Tuesday 10 November 2009

Alcohol

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether 24-hour alcohol licensing has, since November 2005, improved Britain's drinking culture; and, if so, how. [HL6186]

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport produced an evaluation of the impact of the Licensing Act 2003 (the 2003 Act) last year and this is available on their website at http://www.culture.gov.uk/images/publications/Licensingevaluation.pdf.

The evaluation revealed a mixed picture. The introduction of the Act has not led to the widespread problems some feared. Overall, crime and alcohol consumption were down, with evidence of flexible hours smoothing the peaks of disturbances. However, alcohol-related violence had increased between 3 am and 6 am and some communities had seen a rise in disorder.

The main conclusion was that people were using the freedoms, but that not all areas were sufficiently using the considerable powers, granted by the 2003 Act to tackle problems. There is therefore a need to rebalance action towards enforcement and crack down on irresponsible behaviour and the Prime Minister's recent announcements are part of that response.

Bats

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Adonis on 28 October (WA 147), on the advice of which other Government agency the Highways Agency decided to build two bridges for bats over the Dobwalls Bypass in Cornwall; what consideration was given to the adequacy of a single bridge; who drew up the specification for the bridges; and which contractor constructed the bridges. [HL6159]

The Highways Agency is legally bound to protect endangered species such as bats. Mitigation of the severance of three of their main flight lines formed part of the commitments we made at public inquiry in support of European protected species legislative requirements to enable the bypass project to progress, especially since surveys found 12 of the 14 native species of bat in the area.

The Highways Agency sought advice from English Nature (now Natural England), a statutory consultee. They indicated that measures would be required to mitigate the severance of three of the most important bat commuting routes by the then proposed Dobwalls Bypass.

These three commuting routes are some distance apart, and highlighted the need to provide separate mitigation measures for each route. The measures comprised two artificial bat crossing structures plus a raised parapet modification to the new Havett Road overbridge crossing.

The contractor for the bypass, Interserve Project Services Ltd, constructed the bat bridges. Interserve’s design consultant, Parsons Brinckerhoff and environmental sub-consultant Ecological Planning and Research Ltd drew up the specification for them with advice from Natural England.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government over which roads the Highways Agency has constructed bridges for bats in each of the past five years; and what was the cost of each such bridge. [HL6160]

The Highways Agency has constructed structures that enable bats to cross roads at four locations. The table below highlights the locations, length and costs of these structures.

Bat structures designed and constructed between 2004 and 2009

Scheme Name

Road Number

Road opened

Approx Length of Structure (metres)

Single or Dual Carriageway

Cutting/Embankment/At Grade

Approx Construction Cost of Structure

Dobwalls 2 Structures

A38

June 2008

Structure 1—59.47m Structure 2—70m

Dual

At Grade/In Cutting

£300,000.00

Haydon Bridge

A69

April 2009

19.5m between support posts

Single

In cutting

£60,000.00

High and Low Newton

A590

April 2008

33m span between timber supporting posts

Dual

In cutting

£45,000.00

Parton to Lillyhall

A595

Dec 2008

34m span between supporting steel structures

Dual

On embankment

£34,133.00

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, under the legal obligation to protect endangered species, there is any limit to the expenditure that the Highways Agency is required to undertake to provide bridges for bats over new roads; and whether, in the event of the provision of such bridges making the construction of the road under the benefit-cost ratio standards uneconomic, they would cancel or postpone construction. [HL6161]

Mitigation works undertaken on a Highways Agency major project for bats are implemented under the Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 1994.

The legislation does not place an expenditure limit on the provision of bat bridges over new roads. The costs associated with the construction of a bat bridge will vary for a variety of reasons, therefore each scheme is assessed on an individual basis.

If the cost of provision of bat bridges caused the benefit-cost ratio to drop to the point where construction of the road was uneconomic, then alternative options which meet the scheme’s objectives at a lower cost would be considered in the first instance.

If no viable options were found, it is possible that construction could be postponed or cancelled. However, this would be highly unlikely as bat bridges form a very small part of the overall scheme cost for new roads.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will review the cost to public bodies of complying with the legal obligation to protect endangered species such as bats. [HL6162]

The European Habitats Directive places member states under an obligation to ensure that species listed in annex IV to the directive are given strict legal protection; this includes species such as bats. All public bodies are also under a general legal obligation to have regard to the purpose of conserving biodiversity in the exercise of their functions by virtue of Section 40 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006. Measures taken to comply with these obligations can take many forms depending on the individual circumstances of the case in question. The extent of any feasible or necessary measures will very much depend on the degree of harm to the species that is foreseen.

In general, good advanced planning and design, with expert advice where appropriate, will help to minimise the costs of compliance. The requirements of the directive are no more than is necessary to maintain the populations of the species concerned at favourable conservation status. Given the extent of the variable factors, we have no plans to review the cost to public bodies of complying with these obligations.

British Overseas Territories

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the effect of the world economic downturn on each of the British Overseas Territories; and what measures they are taking to mitigate those effects. [HL6015]

Owing to their size, the British Overseas Territories are heavily dependent on a small number of industries. The world economic downturn has affected them all, especially those in the Caribbean. In the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands, the Turks and Caicos Islands and Anguilla, decreases in tourism, financial services activity, and related construction activity have led to falling economic output and government revenues. Insurance activity in Bermuda has held up well, although tourism is down. Elsewhere, fisheries and tourism activity in the Falkland Islands have fallen. Gibraltar has a more diversified economy, and revenues have held up well. Montserrat, St Helena and Pitcairn are in receipt of budgetary support from Department for International Development.

The Overseas Territories are responsible for their own economic development, and for management of their own public finances. To mitigate the effects of the downturn, all the territories are reprioritising public expenditure and looking at their revenue raising methods. These reforms are necessary where territories have required permission from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to borrow. Other territories are also undertaking such measures. The FCO does not accept any legal liability for borrowing undertaken by the Overseas Territories. However we continue to seek involvement in Overseas Territories' Government borrowing decisions in order to ensure the good governance of the territories.

British-Irish Intergovernmental Secretariat

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what reduction there has been in the ordering of newspapers by the British-Irish Intergovernmental Secretariat as a cost-cutting measure; which newspapers were previously ordered; which newspapers are now ordered; and how much has been saved each year by that measure. [HL6252]

The British-Irish Intergovernmental Secretariat has consistently ordered the Belfast Telegraph, News Letter, Irish News, Irish Times and the Daily Telegraph on weekdays to meet business needs. The current cost per day of these five newspapers is £4.10.

Central Asia:

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what scope there is for temporary deployment to central Asian posts of experienced Foreign and Commonwealth Office staff currently assigned to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office corporate pool. [HL6027]

The corporate pool provides staff to cover gaps in Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) departments. Most of these gaps are in London, although staff in the pool may apply for a spell of temporary duty at overseas posts which have requested cover. We have sent four FCO staff to Almaty, Tashkent and Astana on temporary duty in Central Asia since 2007. We have also provided staff to cover eight short-term gaps (caused by illness or annual leave) in posts in Central Asia in the past two years.

Central Asia: British Embassy Staff

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will review the number of staff in each British embassy in each country in central Asia, including Azerbaijan. [HL6028]

Central Asia: Heads of Missions

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government which of the current British ambassadors, deputy heads of missions or chargés d'affaires posted to central Asia have conversational fluency in (a) Azeri, (b) Kazakh, (c) Kyrgyz, (d) Tajik, (e) Turkmen, (f) Uzbek, or (g) Russian. [HL6025]

Current British ambassadors, deputy heads of mission (DHM) and charge d'affaires with fluency in the above languages are HMA Astana, C2 level Russian; HMA Dushanbe, C2 level Russian and DHM Dushanbe, C 1 level Russian.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many Foreign and Commonwealth Office heads of missions eligible to serve in central Asia are fluent in (a) Azeri, (b) Kazakh, (c) Kyrgyz, (d) Tajik, (e) Turkmen, (f) Uzbek, and (g) Russian; and where those officials are currently serving. [HL6026]

The number of FCO officials fluent in each language is as follows:

Azeri, 4;

Kazakh, 0;

Kyrgyz, 0;

Turkmen, 0;

Uzbek, 0;

Dari (for Tajik), 2;

Farsi (for Tajik), 12; and

Russian, 99.

The table below gives the location of these officers:

Language

No. of speakers

Current location

Azeri

4

Moscow, Quito, UK (2)

Kazakh

0

Kyrgyz (Kirghiz)

0

Turkmen

0

Uzbek

0

Dari (for Tajik)

2

Kabul, UK

Farsi (for Tajik)

12

Algiers, Ankara, Canberra, Kabul, Kuwait, Tehran, Washington, UK (2), SUPL (2), Outward Loan

Russian

99

Addis Ababa, Astana (3), Baku, Banjul, Beijing, Belgrade (2), Brussels (Emb), Brussels (UKRep), Budapest, Chisinau, Dushanbe, Hamilton, Hong Kong, Islamabad, Istanbul, Kiev, Los Angeles, Maputo, Moscow (15), New Delhi, Oslo, Paris (Emb), Podgorica, Prague, Quito, Riga, Tallinn, Tashkent, Tbilisi (4), The Hague, Tokyo (2), Vienna (Emb), Vienna (OSCE), Vilnius, Washington, Yekaterinburg, Yerevan, UK (30), EOTL (2), SUPL (5), Outward Loan (4)

Church Buildings

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they have given, in regard to the myplace project developing new facilities for young people, to entering into partnerships with little-used churches to create such facilities; and whether such partnerships could be more cost-effective and sustainable than building new premises. [HL6138]

myplace is delivering over £270 million of government capital investment in world class youth facilities driven by the active participation of young people and their views and needs. Through a competitive bidding process, myplace is funding both new build projects and projects to redevelop existing community assets. It is for bidding organisations from either the public, private or third sector, to work in partnership to develop the most cost-effective and sustainable proposals to meet local needs. Aiming high for young people: a ten year strategy for positive activities set out the Government's expectation that local authorities work with young people and local partners to develop integrated capital strategies to maximise the potential for young people of all existing community assets and funding streams.

Climate Change

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what research, plans or projects (a) have been completed, (b) are ongoing, or (c) are planned to mitigate the impact of climate change in (1) St Helena, (2) Ascension Island, (3) Tristan da Cunha, and (4) the Falkland Islands. [HL6010]

Responsibility for mitigating climate change lies with the Territories' Governments.

(1) St Helena is taking steps towards reducing their carbon footprint through introducing wind power programmes.

(2) In 2010 Ascension Island will be looking to reduce their carbon footprint through wind power and gradually installing solar units in its housing. It also plans to install a carbon emission-monitoring facility.

(3) Tristan da Cunha plans to investigate renewable energy as an option for the island.

(4) There are a number of projects in the Falkland Islands looking at the impacts of climate change, focusing on sea level, vegetation and biodiversity. Plans are in place to continue such work. The Falkland Islands will continue their ambitious work on wind power programmes.

Common Agricultural Policy: Single Farm Payment

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what financial penalties have been imposed by the European Union authorities on the Rural Payments Agency in respect of their administration of the single farm payment scheme over each of the past five years; and from what source those penalty payments have been funded. [HL6163]

To date, financial penalties of the order of £64 million for late payments and £5 million for a shortfall in cross-compliance inspections have been imposed in respect of the 2005 single payment scheme. Funding for these penalties was drawn from a ring-fenced sum that Defra has agreed with HM Treasury for this purpose.

Courts Service

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what number and proportion of criminal cases were heard in (a) the Crown Court, and (b) magistrates' courts, in Northern Ireland, England and Wales over the past three years. [HL6154]

The Ministry of Justice gathers court hearing information for England and Wales, but not Northern Ireland. This information is available from the Northern Ireland Courts Service.

All criminal cases commence in the magistrates' court, the more serious are then committed or sent to the Crown Court for trial or sentence, or as appeals. In 2008, around 143,000 criminal cases were heard in the Crown Court and around 1,915,000 criminal cases were heard in magistrates' courts. Therefore, around 7 per cent of completed criminal cases heard took place in the Crown Court and 93 per cent occurred in magistrates' courts. Comparable statistics for completed criminal cases heard in the magistrates' courts for previous years are not available, as 2008 data were derived from a different data source from previous years.

Annual statistics on the number of criminal cases heard in both the Crown Court and magistrates' courts are published by the Ministry of Justice in the annual command paper Judicial and Court Statistics. The most recent edition, presenting statistics for 2008, was published in September 2009. Copies are available in the Library of the House and from the Ministry of Justice website at http://www.justice.gov.uk/publications/ judicialandcourtstatistics.htm. Quarterly statistics are also published by the Ministry of Justice in the statistical bulletin Court Statistics Quarterly, which is also available on the Ministry's website.

Crime: Shootings and Stabbings

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many deaths there were in (a) Greater London, and (b) Manchester, caused by (1) shootings, and (2) stabbings, in each of (i) 2005 to 2009, and (ii) 1995 to 1999. [HL6188]

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

Letter from Jil Matheson, National Statistician, to Lord Maginnis of Drumglass, dated November 2009.

As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your recent question asking how many deaths there were in (a) Greater London, and (b) Manchester, caused by (1) shootings, and (2) stabbings, in each of (i) 2005 to 2009, and (ii) 1995 to 1999. (HL6188)

Figures for deaths registered in 2009 are not yet available. To allow comparisons with the earlier 5-year period requested (1995 to 1999), figures for the most recent 5-year period available have been provided (2004 to 2008).

The table below provides the number deaths in (a) London government office region, and (b) Manchester metropolitan borough, with an underlying cause of (1) firearm injury, and (2) cut/pierce injury, by intent, for the period (i) 2004-08 and (ii) 1995-99.

Table 1. Number of deaths with an underlying cause of firearm or cut/pierce injury, by intent, London government office region and Manchester metropolitan district, 2004-08 and 1995-991,2,3,4

Deaths (persons)

2004-08

1995-99

Mechanism

Intent

London

Manchester

London

Manchester

Shooting

Homicide and probable homicide

57

3

49

0

Legal intervention/war

3

0

1

0

Suicide

20

1

42

2

Undetermined

1

3

12

0

Unintentional

2

0

2

1

Total

83

7

106

3

Stabbing

Homicide and probable homicide

39

0

67

2

Legal intervention/war

0

0

0

0

Suicide

62

5

52

4

Undetermined

29

0

23

3

Unintentional

10

1

16

1

Total

140

6

158

10

1 The causes of death of firearm and cut/pierce injury, by intent, were defined using the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision (ICD-9) codes for the years 1995 to 1999, and Tenth Revision (ICD-10) codes for 2004 to 2008, as shown in Box 1 below.

2 Figures are for deaths registered in each calendar year.

3 Using government office region and local authority boundaries as of 2009.

4 Deaths registered pending the result of criminal proceedings (not involving transport accidents), are classified as “unspecified” mechanism and “undetermined” intent deaths. These deaths are not included in the table above, and many are subsequently reported as being homicides. Final homicide figures are therefore likely to be higher than those reported at initial death registration.

Box 1. International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision (ICD-9) and Tenth Revision (ICD-10) codes used to define deaths with an underlying cause of firearm and cut/pierce injury, by intent

Firearm

Cut/pierce

Intent

ICD-9

ICD-10

ICD-9

ICD-10

Unintentional

E922

W32-W34

E920

W25-W29, W45

Suicide

E955.0-.4

X72-X74

E956

X78

Undetermined

E985.0-.4

Y22-Y24

E986

Y28

Homicide and probable homicide

E965.0-.4

X93-X95

E966

X99

Legal intervention/war

E970

Y35.0

E974

Y35.4

Cyprus

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government which European Union countries have been involved in joint military exercises with the armed forces of the Government of Cyprus in the Greek Cypriot part of the island. [HL6052]

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many bodies of missing persons were found by the United Nations following the conflict in Cyprus in 1974; and whether those bodies were of both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. [HL6053]

The UN committee on missing persons reported that, as of 15 October 2009, the remains of 570 people had been exhumed from different burial sites across the island. Of these, the remains of 179 individuals had been identified and returned to their families, of which 135 were Greek Cypriots and 44 Turkish Cypriots.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the number of Greek military personnel based in Cyprus; and whether that number is within the limit required by the Treaty of Guarantee. [HL6057]

Cyprus: Larnaca Airport

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with authorities in Cyprus about whether part of Larnaca airport has been developed over land in Greek Cyprus owned by Turkish Cypriots; and whether Turkish Cypriots were compensated by the Greek Cypriot Government for the loss of the property. [HL6054]

The Government have had no discussions with authorities in Cyprus about the development of Larnaca airport. However, we continue to believe that the issue of disputed property ownership can only be fully solved by a comprehensive settlement, and it is for the leaders of the two communities to decide what form this takes during their ongoing settlement discussions.

Cyprus: Property

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether Turkish Cypriot land and property in Southern Cyprus has been taken over by the Greek Cypriot authorities since 1974; and whether payments have been made by the Greek Cypriot authorities to the former owners. [HL6055]

The Government have no direct involvement in this matter and are unable to supply the information requested. The issue of disputed property ownership can only be fully solved by a comprehensive settlement, and it is for the leaders of the two communities to decide what form this takes during their ongoing settlement discussions.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had about whether the Turkish Cypriot Immovable Property Commission has received applications by Greek Cypriots to purchase properties in Northern Cyprus, whether such applications have been approved and whether payments for the acquisition of those properties have been paid to the Greek Cypriot title holders by the Turkish Cypriot authorities. [HL6056]

According to figures recently released, over the past three years 422 applications have been made to the Immovable Property Commission. Of these, 75 cases have been resolved: two were resolved with compensation and exchange; four with compensation and restitution; one with restitution after a settlement; and the remainder with compensation. The European Court of Human Rights is expected to rule on whether the IPC offers an effective domestic remedy following a hearing on 18 November.

Education: Special Educational Needs

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what extra training has been given to teachers and carers involved with children with special educational needs. [HL6232]

There are a wide range of activities currently under way and in the planning stage that the DCSF is co-ordinating in relation to improving training for the school workforce in relation to special educational needs.

From 1 September 2009, new regulations have come into force which mean that SENCOs in schools are now required to be qualified teachers and, if they have been in post for less than 12 months, they are also required to undertake new mandatory training to assist them in their role.

The Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA) is also in the process of strengthening the coverage of SEN and disability issues in Initial Teacher Training and Induction for teachers—primary materials were launched in June 2008, secondary materials in June 2009 and PGCE materials will be available from November 2009. Also in November this year, the TDA will be launching a modular postgraduate course to provide opportunities for specialist SEN study for experienced teachers.

The National College for Leadership of Schools and Children's Services are in the process of developing the Achievement for All programme which will aim to improve SEN and disability coverage in school leadership programmes.

In partnership with the national strategies, we are also in the process of creating and rolling-out the Inclusion Development Programme which will deliver specially designed training resources for the school workforce that address areas of SEN that we know some find difficult—these include communication and autism and behavioural, emotional and social difficulties (BESD).

Elections: Armed Forces

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they propose to ensure that military personnel overseas who are registered for postal voting receive their ballots in sufficient time for them to be returned to be included in constituency counts. [HL6244]

Postal votes cannot be issued until the close of nominations, which for a UK parliamentary election means 11 working days before the poll. For this reason the Electoral Commission recommends proxy voting as the best way to ensure service personnel can cast their ballot, and the Commission recently issued guidance to all military personnel to encourage their participation in this way. However, it is important that service personnel have the opportunity participate in the democratic process, and my right honourable friend Michael Wills MP has written to all MPs inviting them to a meeting to discuss ways in which the registration and voting arrangements for service personnel can be improved.

Electoral Register

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the average number of electors per parliamentary constituency in (a) England, (b) Wales, (c) Scotland, and (d) Northern Ireland, at the latest date for which figures are available. [HL6226]

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

Letter from Jil Matheson, National Statistician, to Lord Roberts of Conwy, dated November 2009.

As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your questions asking what was the average number of electors per parliamentary constituency in (a) England, (b) Wales, (c) Scotland and (d) Northern Ireland, at the latest date for which figures are available. (HL6226)

The table below shows the average number of parliamentary electors in (a) English, (b) Welsh, (c) Scottish and (d) Northern Ireland parliamentary constituencies for 2008 which is the latest date for which figures are available.

Average number of electors per parliamentary constituency. 1 

 

2008

England

71,668

Wales

56,544

Scotland

65,850

Northern Ireland

63,055

1. Parliamentary constituencies are based on existing boundaries.

Source: Office for National Statistics, General Register Office for Scotland, and Electoral Office for Northern Ireland.

Embryology

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answers by Baroness Thornton on 28 October (WA 150–51), whether it is a legal requirement that re-consent procedures should be in place where insufficient information is available to ascertain whether an individual would have objected to the use of their cells to bring about the creation in vitro of an embryo or human admixed embryo for the purposes of proposed research. [HL6148]

It is not a legal requirement that re-consent procedures should be in place where insufficient information is available to ascertain whether an individual would have objected to the use of their cells to bring about the creation in vitro of an embryo or human admixed embryo for the purposes of proposed research.

The condition in paragraph 21(2)(b), (3)(b) and (4)(b) of Schedule 3 to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 is that the information relating to the cell provider that is available to the researcher does not suggest that the individual would have objected to the use of their human cells to bring about the creation in vitro of an embryo or human admixed embryo for the purposes of the research project.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answers by Baroness Thornton on 27 October (WA 124) and 2 November (WA 7) stating that research licence applications and renewals are assessed in light of available scientific evidence, why records of relevant scientific publications are not maintained by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority. [HL6213]

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has advised that relevant publications may be provided by centres when they apply for a research licence or for a renewal of a research licence and by peer reviewers when they submit their reviews of these applications.

The HFEA has a record of all applications and peer reviews submitted, which will be referred to when the HFEA decides whether to grant or renew a research licence. The HFEA may also refer to advice provided by its Scientific and Clinical Advances Advisory Committee when making these decisions.

For this reason, the HFEA does not maintain a record of the type indicated in the Question.

Energy: Gas Storage

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 5 October (WA 483), what are the diverse sources from which natural gas can be imported; and how much time it takes to import supplies in each case. [HL5726]

Over the past year GB has imported piped gas from Norway, Belgium (via the IUK interconnector) and the Netherlands (via the Balgzand-Bacton Pipeline—BBL). The IUK and BBL pipelines give access to gas from a range of sources including the Netherlands, Norway, Germany and Russia. GB has also received shipments of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Algeria, Australia, Egypt, Norway, Qatar, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Piped gas supplies can react quickly to changing market conditions in the UK. The rate at which LNG supplies can respond depends on the proximity and commercial availability of LNG cargoes. The increasing liquidity of the LNG market—the result of its increasing size and more flexible commercial arrangements—is helping to shorten response times.

Energy: Power Stations

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many power stations in the United Kingdom they expect to be shut down before 2015 due to the 20,000-hour operating limit in the European Union's large combustion plant directive. [HL6323]

The timing of the closures of the stations opted out of the large combustion plant directive is a commercial matter for the owners, within the limits imposed by the directive.

EU: Council President

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether (a) Ministers, and (b) civil servants, have lobbied (1) foreign Governments, and (2) officials in the European Union institutions, to promote Mr Tony Blair's appointment as President of the European Council upon ratification of the Lisbon treaty. [HL6032]

My right honourable friend the Prime Minister has long been clear that the Government think that Tony Blair would make an excellent candidate and an excellent President of the European Council. Other members of the European Council share the same view. Ministers will talk to our European colleagues about what is the best outcome, and will continue to do so. Officials have not been instructed to lobby for potential candidates.

The Government hope that we can have an agreement soon that allows us to choose Commissioners and a President of the European Council. The current chair of the European Council, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, made clear recently that he would not seek nominations for this role until he had clarity on when the Czech Republic would ratify.

Fishing: Discarded Fish

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the weight and retail value of edible fish discarded by British fishermen due to being over-quota in the past 12 months for which figures are available. [HL5923]

Cefas (the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science) has analysed fisheries data to estimate the quantity of fish discarded by English and Welsh fishermen. Current estimates do not include data from Scotland or Northern Ireland. The total estimate of all species discarded in 2008 is 17,000 to 25,000 tonnes (approximately 8,000 tonnes of this was made up by the 20 most common commercial species).

The current system for recording catch data does not allow us to differentiate why each fish is discarded. For example, a fish could be discarded because it is undersize (below minimum landing size), over-quota, high-graded or has no market. We therefore cannot assess the weight of over-quota fish discarded in the past 12 months by British fishermen.

Because data on discards are incomplete, any extrapolations to estimate the retail value for the British fleet as a whole are unreliable. Using the average market value of all fish species as a multiplier would give an inaccurate estimate of the retail value of discards. Nor would that methodology take account of the impact of increased supply to the market on price elasticity or the capacity of processors and retailers to manage the increased supply. Again, because of the way catch data are recorded, we would not be able to disaggregate such an estimate to give a specific retail value for over-quota discards. Work will continue this year to build a better picture of discarding and its impacts.

Food: Horse Meat

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how much United Kingdom reared horse meat is (a) sold in the United Kingdom, and (b) exported. [HL5940]

All horse meat intended for human consumption produced at approved UK slaughterhouses is exported.

999 tonnes of meat derived from equidae was exported from the UK in 2008. This includes meat from horses, mules, asses and hinnies and does not differentiate between UK-reared or imported animals.

Food: Supplements

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the status of European Union legislation concerning vitamins and food supplements; and what is their stance on that legislation. [HL6212]

The European food supplements directive 2002/46/EC sets down requirements for food supplements marketed in the European Union and has applied in full since 1 August 2005. The directive is implemented in England by the Food Supplements (England) Regulations 2003, as amended.

The Government support the directive and its broad objectives of ensuring safe supplements that are accurately labelled to facilitate consumer choice and of creating a level playing field for trade in these products throughout the European Union.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Overseas Territories Department

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to relocate the Overseas Territories Department of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. [HL6013]

Gaza

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how much of the £20 million pledged by them in March 2009 at Sharm el-Sheikh for relief and reconstruction in Gaza and economic development has been spent; and how much they have spent so far in 2009–10 in the West Bank and Gaza. [HL6008]

The UK pledged £30 million at the Sharm el-Sheikh conference, of which £20 million was allocated for reconstruction and £10 million for early recovery. We are already funding a number of early recovery projects, such as cash for work schemes employing people to clear rubble and repair agricultural roads, and expect to spend the full £10 million allocated for this purpose by March 2010. However, due to restrictions on the entry of building materials into Gaza, the UK has not yet been able to spend any of the funding earmarked for reconstruction. We stand ready to provide support as soon as the situation improves, and continue to press the Israeli Government for improved access to Gaza for aid, aid workers and reconstruction materials.

The UK has spent £16.9 million in the West Bank and Gaza so far this financial year, including £5.2 million in humanitarian assistance to Gaza, and £10 million in support to the Palestinian Authority to enable it to provide essential public services. We have also provided nearly £20 million to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) to provide support to Palestinian refugees, of which around half is allocated to Gaza and the West Bank.

Health: Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they will take to ensure (a) that herbal practitioners can continue to use a full range of herbal remedies after the Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive (2004/24/EC) is fully implemented in April 2011, and (b) that such practitioners continue to enjoy protection under Article 15 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. [HL6019]

We are currently undertaking a consultation exercise on whether, and if so how, to regulate herbal practitioners. The consultation includes exploration of the link between the nature of such regulation and the possibility of regarding herbal practitioners as authorised healthcare professionals, within the terms of Article 5.1 of European directive 2001/83/EC. This is relevant to the feasibility of introducing a regulatory scheme under Article 5.1 permitting herbal practitioners in the United Kingdom to commission unlicensed herbal medicines manufactured by a third party to meet the special needs of individual patients. We will assess responses to this consultation before announcing proposals on the way forward. We will ensure that our proposals take account of the need to comply with Article 15 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

House of Lords: Fair Trade Goods

Question

Asked by

To ask the Chairman of Committees further to the Written Answer on 19 January (WA 187), what is the present situation in relation to the sale of fair trade bananas by the House of Lords Refreshment Department. [HL6333]

Fair trade bananas are specified as standard when placing orders with the nominated suppliers. In general, fair trade bananas are supplied but on the rare occasions when they are unavailable, an alternative is provided.

Houses of Parliament: Surveillance of Members

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Wilson Doctrine prohibits surveillance of Members of either House of Parliament which is authorised by (a) a general certificate rather than a warrant, (b) the police using powers in Part III of the Police Act 1997, (c) the automatic number plate recognition database, and (d) a public authority using the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.[HL6123]

Human Rights

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made, as a Guarantor Power, of the standards of human rights for Greek Cypriots living in the Northern Turkish Cypriot sector and for Turkish Cypriots living in the Southern Greek Cypriot sector; and whether the number of Turkish Cypriots resident in the Greek Cypriot sector has increased or fallen in the most recent year for which figures are available. [HL6140]

The continued division of Cyprus has an impact on the ability of Cypriots from both communities to enjoy the full range of freedoms and rights.

The recent United Nations Report of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the question of human rights in Cyprus (available at http://daccessdds.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G09/117/09/PDF/G0911709.pdf?OpenElement) highlights a number of ongoing concerns. However, as that report concludes, the situation of human rights in Cyprus would be greatly improved by the achievement of a comprehensive settlement to the Cyprus problem. It is on this that the UK will continue to focus its efforts.

The Government have no knowledge of changes in the population of the Turkish Cypriot community in the south of Cyprus. However, the Republic of Cyprus's most recent census, undertaken in 2001, can be found on the internet at the website address below at http://www.pio.gov.cy/mof/cystat/statistics.nsf/A11/805CB6E0CF012914C2257122003F3A84/$file/MAIN%20RESULTS-EN.xls?OpenElement.

Immigration: Deportation

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether Iraqi asylum applicants are being returned to Iraq; if so, why; and to what places. [HL6003]

Iraqi asylum seekers who are found not to need international protection and who have no legal basis of stay in the UK are expected to leave. We prefer that they do so voluntarily but where they do not, we will seek to enforce their removal.

Removal may be to any part of Iraq. Enforced removals have taken place to the Kurdish Regional Government controlled area of northern Iraq and to Baghdad.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many of the 43 persons deported on a flight in October to Baghdad were accepted by the Iraqi authorities and remained there; how many were rejected and brought back to England; and how many of those brought back were stateless or had insufficient documentation. [HL6004]

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many of the 43 persons deported on a flight to Baghdad in October were convicted criminals. [HL6005]

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Government of Iraq were informed in advance of their intention to deport 43 persons to Baghdad in October. [HL6006]

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many of the 43 persons deported on a flight to Baghdad in October were Arabs; and how many were Kurds. [HL6007]

The UK Border Agency recently arranged, in conjunction with the Iraqi authorities, the removal of 44 Iraqi nationals to Baghdad via a charter flight.

Of the 44 on the flight, 12 were foreign national prisoners subject to a deportation order, and the remaining 32 were subject to removal from the UK for other immigration offences. All those on the flight had an appropriate document to allow their entry into Iraq, as per agreements between the UK Government and the Iraq Government.

Upon arrival, 10 people were given permission to enter Iraq, while the remaining 34 were rejected and subsequently returned to the UK. The 10 who were accepted were a mixture of foreign national prisoners and other immigration offenders.

Of the 44 individuals on the flight, 29 were of Kurdish ethnicity and 15 of Arab ethnicity. All those removed were from outside the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) administered region of northern Iraq.

Immigration: Detainees

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have for (a) better medical care for detainees, and (b) improved reception for mobile telephones, at Yarl's Wood detention centre. [HL5898]

The healthcare centre at Yarl's Wood is registered with the Care Quality Commission and works collaboratively with the local NHS services to provide appropriate care for the residents in the centre. Yarl's Wood constantly strives to improve the quality and access to healthcare for detainees and in August 2009 a new partnership board was established, chaired by Yarl's Wood Healthcare and attended by various NHS heads of services and other local authority stakeholders, including Bedford social services. This board works proactively to plan and deliver high quality healthcare services and to build partnerships between NHS and other sector's services.

Detainees within the centre have access to mobile phones and are able to obtain a reception on all networks. In addition to mobile phones all detainees are able to make and receive calls on one of the many landline phones located on each of the four residential units.

Internet: Illegal Material

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to enable Ofcom to examine and possibly control the use of the internet for illegal or immoral purposes. [HL6113]

The Government have no such plans. The general law applies online as it does offline.

My department is currently assessing the responses received to its consultation document issued on 16 June 2009 asking for views on the effect of any future legislation that might address illicit peer-to-peer file-sharing. The consultation closed on 30 October 2009.

Licensing: Live Music

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what proportion of the 5 per cent increase in venues with a live music permission, reported in the 2008–09 alcohol, entertainment and late-night refreshment licensing statistics published by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport on 22 October, (a) is accounted for by applications from schools and councils licensing their own premises, including parks and streets, and (b) are premises that would not have needed such a permission before the Licensing Act 2003 came into effect. [HL6174]

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport does not hold data on types of premises as, in general, the Licensing Act 2003 does not define these. No analysis of the kind described in part (b) of the question has been conducted.

Migrant Workers: Bulgarians and Romanians

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answers by Lord West of Spithead on 5 October (WA 485) and by Baroness Royall of Blaisdon on 17 July (WA 216), why the numbers of applications for accession worker cards, sector-based schemes and the seasonal agriculture workers scheme approved for Bulgarians and Romanians since their accession to the European Union were not provided in the Answers.[HL6097]

The Answers provided by Lord West of Spithead and Baroness Royall of Blaisdon stated that information relating to the number of accession worker cards issued to Romanian and Bulgarian nationals since their accession to the European Union is published in the Bulgarian and Romanian Accession Statistics.

These statistics are published quarterly and are available in the Libraries of the House. Information on sector-based scheme (SBS) and seasonal agricultural workers scheme (SAWS) applications are also in the annex of this document.

The numbers requested are contained within this document. The statistics can also be accessed on page 45 of the following document on the Home Office's website at http://www. homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs09/immiq209.pdf.

Since the accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the European Union in January 2007 the number of applications approved are as follows:

Accession worker cards—7,455;

Sector-based schemes—3,325; and

Seasonal agricultural workers scheme—41,975.

National Archives

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will make sufficient resources available to enable the National Archives to be open to the public on all working weekdays. [HL6240]

As part of the Comprehensive Spending Review in 2007, the National Archives' budgets were agreed for the financial years 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11. The decision to close to the public on a Monday was undertaken by the National Archives' management in line with a series of other changes designed to achieve savings of 10 per cent. The purpose of these savings is to provide management with the resources to meet new demands. For example, the National Archives has been successful at generating wider interest in history, with large numbers of new online users of their services, and are also actively addressing the challenges of preserving digital records for future generations. HM Government have no plans to provide additional resources above those already agreed with the National Archives. As an executive agency, it is for the National Archives' management to decide how they allocate resources internally.

Nauru and Tuvalu

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how much was paid in aid over the past three years to (a) Nauru, and (b) Tuvalu. [HL5975]

The UK Government did not provide any bilateral aid to either Nauru or Tuvalu in the three years 2006-07 to 2008-09.

Northern Cyprus

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the number of (a) United Kingdom citizens, and (b) German citizens, resident in Turkish Cyprus has increased during the past 10 years. [HL6088]

The Government have not estimated the number of German citizens in Cyprus. We do not have precise figures for the number of British citizens resident in northern Cyprus but we estimate the figure to have increased over the past 10 years to around 10,000.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether flights from (a) the United Kingdom, (b) Germany, (c) Turkey, and (d) Azerbaijan, land at Ercan airport in Turkish Cyprus. [HL6089]

There are no direct flights to Ercan airport except from Turkey. Flights from third countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany or Azerbaijan land in Turkey before continuing to Ercan airport.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether sea transport from (a) the United Kingdom, (b) Germany, (c) Turkey, (d) Syria, and (e) Lebanon, docks in Turkish Cyprus. [HL6090]

Sea transport from a variety of countries, including the UK, docks at ports in the north of Cyprus, although we do not hold any specific information about this. As the European Commission has confirmed, there is nothing in international law to prevent this.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government which nations have offices or consulates located in Turkish Cyprus. [HL6091]

The UK, USA, France, Germany and Australia maintain offices in the north of Cyprus. Turkey is the only country with a self-declared embassy in northern Cyprus.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government which international organisations have offices located in Turkish Cyprus. [HL6092]

The Government are aware of the EU Programme Support Office, managed by a private sector company; and the United Nations Development Programme offices in Northern Cyprus.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the impact on the tourist industry in Turkish Cyprus in the past year if the currency were the euro and not the Turkish Lira. [HL6093]

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the largest religion in Turkish Cyprus; and whether there are restrictions on religious observances by (a) Anglicans, (b) Roman Catholics, (c) Protestant Evangelicals, (d) Orthodox Christians, and (e) Jews. [HL6139]

The north of Cyprus is relatively secular, but the largest religion is Islam. Most denominations are free to worship but restrictions remain on the use of some churches. The Government welcome all steps to ensure and expand freedom of worship.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many times this year Her Majesty's High Commissioner in Cyprus has visited Turkish Cyprus. [HL6141]

Official Visits

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the forecast cost of hiring the “Hebridean Princess” cruise liner for official visits by HRH the Duke of York around the coast of the United Kingdom in the next year. [HL6248]

Organophosphates

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government when the inter- departmental Official Group on Organophosphates (previously the Carden Committee) last met; when it is next to meet; and whether its agenda will be published. [HL6292]

The Official Group on Organophosphates last met on 26 June 2007.

The frequency of the face-to-face meetings is determined by new events which are discussed as agenda items. At the 2007 OGOP meeting it was agreed that the group should meet when the Committee on Toxicity (COT) of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment have completed their review of research on organophosphates and human health.

The agenda for OGOP meetings are not published.

The Official Group on Organophosphates remains in regular contact and all members have had the opportunity to review the three recently released research reports. These three reports were reviewed by the COT at its 22 September meeting. The views of the COT will be available when the minutes of the meeting are published.

Police: Northern Ireland

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Royall of Blaisdon on 26 October (WA 106) saying they are not aware of any decision or direction by the Northern Ireland Office that overruled a decision by the Police Service of Northern Ireland not to award a contract, whether that is because the Northern Ireland Office kept no record of any such decision or direction; and what assessment they have made of the account given by Sir Hugh Orde in the Sunday World on 26 July on that matter. [HL6068]

I can confirm that the Northern Ireland Office has no record of any involvement in a decision or direction which overruled the PSNI's decision not to award a contract in the way described.

The department does not specifically comment on newspaper articles.

Pollution

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with Governments of other European Union member states and European Union institutions on the proposed integrated pollution prevention and control directive. [HL6322]

Government Ministers and officials have had extensive discussions with other European Union member states and European Union institutions on the proposed industrial emissions (integrated pollution prevention and control) directive (recast) since its publication in December 2007. These paved the way to a satisfactory political agreement on the proposal at Environment Council in June 2009, and will continue as the proposal moves to its Second Reading in the European Parliament next year.

Regional Development Agencies

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government which board appointments for the regional development agencies are due for renewal or reappointment by June 2010; and what guidance they have issued on making public appointments to non-departmental public bodies with a tenure of more than one year in the run-up to a general election. [HL6034]

The following table indicates where approvals have been given for re-appointment from December 2009, the number of new appointments which were advertised in June across the regional development agencies (RDAs) taking up post on the 14 December and details of extensions given to date.

RDA

Approved for re-appointment starting December 2009

New Appointments to be taken up on 14 December 2009

Extensions

Advantage West Midlands

Brendan Connor

4 positions

East of England

Peter McCarthy-Ward, William Pope, Lord Edward Iveagh

2 positions plus Chair vacancy advertised.

Richard Ellis, Chair, up to December 2010.

East Midlands

Tricia Pedlar, Haydn Biddle

none

ONE North East

Ruth Thompson, Paul Callaghan, Cllr Peter Jackson

Chair vacancy advertised.

Margaret Fay, Chair, up to December 2010.

North West

none

2

Joe Dwek extended to Dec 2010.

South East of England

Alexander Pratt, Mr Robert Goldfield, Pamela Charlwood

4

South West

John Savage

5

Yorkshire Forward

Cllr John Weighell, Professor Michael Arthur

2 plus Chair vacancy advertised.

Terry Hodgkinson, Chair, up to December 2010.

No guidance has been issued on making public appointments to non-departmental public bodies with a tenure of more than one year in the run-up to a general election.

Roads: Londonderry

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what undertakings they gave to the Northern Ireland Executive about ring-fencing the funding for a new motorway from the Tyrone Border to Londonderry. [HL6046]

No such undertaking has been given by Her Majesty's Government. The Northern Ireland Office's annual block grant to the Northern Ireland Executive is not ring-fenced.

Schools: Special Educational Needs

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what additional support has been given to schools that have children with special educational needs. [HL6231]

To support local authorities and schools to fulfil their duties towards children with special educational needs (SEN), the Government have increased investment with planned expenditure on SEN rising from £2.8 billion in 2000-01 to £5.1 billion in 2008-09.

We are improving school workforce skills, with the Inclusion Development Programme cascading in-service training for the school workforce. The first year of the programme covered dyslexia and speech, language and communication disorders, this year is focused on autistic spectrum disorders and next year the focus will be on behavioural, emotional and social difficulties. Nationally accredited training for all those new to the role of special educational needs co-ordinator in schools started in September 2009.

We have published the Better Communication Action Plan, to improve services for children and young people with SLCN, supported by up to £12 million, and we are funding training for up to 4,000 specialist dyslexia teachers over the next two years.

The £31 million Achievement for All pilots started in 10 areas this September to demonstrate how to improve outcomes for children with SEN.

Schools: Unregistered Institutions

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Morgan of Drefelin on 3 November (HL6067), when they intend to commence the provisions of the Education and Skills Act 2008 on part-time providers of education. [HL6287]

No firm decision has been made about the date on which the provisions of the Education and Skills Act 2008 requiring part-time providers of education falling within specified thresholds to register with this department, come into force.

Shipping: General Lighthouse Authorities

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Adonis on 3 November (WA 52), on how many occasions personnel from the Research and Radionavigation Directorate of the General Lighthouse Authorities of the United Kingdom and Ireland travelled overseas in (a) 2007, and (b) 2008; how many visits are planned for (1) 2009, and (2) 2010; and what the costs and purposes of the visits were or are projected to be. [HL6325]

I have asked the General Lighthouse Authorities to provide the information requested and this will be placed in the Libraries of the House in due course.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Adonis on 3 November (WA 52), what were the travel and subsistence costs of the General Lighthouse Authorities' Research and Radionavigation Directorate for overseas visits in 2008 and 2009 on business relating to the e-Loran project. [HL6326]

The General Lighthouse Authorities' Research and Radionavigation Directorate records show that spending on overseas travel and subsistence relating to the e-loran project was roundly £22,000 in 2008-09 and £11,000 so far in this financial year.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the National Audit Office or any other such body has investigated the General Lighthouse Fund since 1993. [HL6327]

The National Audit Office audits the accounts of the General Lighthouse Fund annually. The last audit of the General Lighthouse Fund covered the 2008-09 financial years.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Adonis on 3 November (WA 51) what was the total income from charges levied by the Research and Radionavigation Directorate of the General Lighthouse Authorities of the United Kingdom and Ireland for their services in each year since its inception. [HL6328]

The income is recorded as below:

2005-06

£132,000

2006-07

£144,000

2007-08

£208,500

2008-09

£27,000

2009 to date

£255,500

Spain: Urbanisation

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report prepared by Margrete Auken MEP, dated 20 February, on the impact of extensive urbanisation in Spain on individual rights of European citizens; and whether they have raised the matter with the Prime Minister of Spain. [HL6107]

The Government have no authority to get involved in any matters relating to Spanish domestic legislation, whether national, regional or local, as property laws are the competency of individual member states, and in Spain responsibility is devolved to the regional governments. Many of the concerns detailed in the Auken report are ones that we share. Although we have not raised this matter with the Prime Minister of Spain, we continue to raise it at other Ministerial and official levels, whenever appropriate. Most recently, my honourable friend Chris Bryant, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, raised property issues with the Spanish Minister of State for Territorial Policy during his visit to Madrid in September and will do so again when he visits this month.

Turks and Caicos Islands

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the anticipated additional cost of imposing direct rule on the Turks and Caicos Islands. [HL6014]

The majority of the costs of implementing the recommendations of the Turks and Caicos Islands Commission of Inquiry, including the suspension of ministerial government and the House of Assembly, will fall to the Turks and Caicos Islands Government.

The Government are funding the provision of additional staff for the Governor's Office, and additional advisers for the Turks and Caicos Islands Government. It is not yet possible to specify the full costs of the provision of such advisers prior to the restoration of an elected Government on or before July 2011.

Vietnam

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they are making to the Government of Vietnam about recent arrests and sentences imposed on critics of official policy and practices, as detailed in the Amnesty International Urgent Action Notices of 8 and 9 October; and whether they have received responses to similar previous representations. [HL5959]

The Government are concerned about the severe prison sentences given to nine Vietnamese citizens between 6 and 9 October for conducting propaganda against the state. We believe that all nine were peacefully expressing their right to freedom of expression in line with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Vietnam is a party.

As with previous cases of this nature, the Vietnamese Government maintain that these nine individuals have broken the law and must be punished accordingly. Our British embassy in Hanoi and our EU partners sent representatives to witness three of the trials. Following the trials we raised our concerns with the Vietnamese Government about the grounds for the convictions and the severity of the sentences.

We regularly highlight to the Vietnamese Government the importance of the free flow of ideas, analysis and debate to Vietnam's long-term sustainable development. We will continue to press the Vietnamese Government to adhere to their international human rights obligations.

Visas: Watoto Children’s Choir

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what arrangements they have made to allow the Watoto children's choir to arrive in January 2010 in the United Kingdom to undertake their concert tour. [HL5784]

As of 28 October, visa applications had yet to be submitted to enable the Watoto children's choir to visit the UK in January 2010. Any applications received will be considered by our visa section in Nairobi in accordance with the Immigration Rules.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken in 2009 to enable the Watoto children to enter and perform in the United Kingdom. [HL5785]

As of 28 October, no visa applications had so far been submitted in 2009 to enable the Watoto children's choir to visit the UK. Any applications received will be considered in accordance with the Immigration Rules.

Young Offenders: Transfers

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many (a) male prisoners, and (b) female prisoners, were transferred between secure training centres in the 12 months to September; and what were their ages. [HL6126]

The Youth Justice Board (YJB) places sentenced and remanded young people in the under-18 secure estate. The YJB defines a transfer as a planned move either resulting from a transfer request or as a result of estate planning. The table below details the number of occasions when males and females were transferred between secure training centres in the year to 30 September 2009. The data have been provided by the Youth Justice Board and are drawn from administrative computers systems, and as with any large-scale recording system, are subject to possible errors with data entry and processing and may be subject to change over time.

Age

Female

Male

13

0

2

14

1

4

15

4

2

16

3

2

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many (a) male prisoners, and (b) female prisoners, were transferred between secure children's homes in the 12 months to September; and what were their ages. [HL6127]

The Youth Justice Board (YJB) places sentenced and remanded young people in the under-18 secure estate. The YJB defines a transfer as a planned move either resulting from a transfer request or as a result of estate planning. The table below details the number of occasions when males and females were transferred between secure children's homes in the year to 30 September 2009, broken down by age. The data have been provided by the Youth Justice Board and are drawn from administrative computers systems, and as with any large-scale recording system, are subject to possible errors with data entry and processing and may be subject to change over time.

Age

Female

Male

12

0

1

13

1

2

14

3

15

15

1

2

16

2

2

17

0

1

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what were the numbers of transfers per prisoner for prisoners aged 12 to 18 who were transferred between (a) young offenders' institutions, (b) secure training centres, and (c) secure children's homes in the 12 months to September. [HL6128]

The Youth Justice Board (YJB) places sentenced and remanded young people in the under-18 secure estate. The YJB defines a transfer as a planned move either resulting from a transfer request or as a result of estate planning. The tables below detail the number of transfers per young person between establishments within each of the three sectors of the under-18 secure estate in the year to 30 September 2009. The data have been provided by the Youth Justice Board and are drawn from administrative computers systems, and as with any large-scale recording system, are subject to possible errors with data entry and processing and may be subject to change over time.

Number of transfers per young person in Young Offender Institutions

Number of young persons

0

11,118

1

535

2

69

3

14

4

3

5

2

Number of transfers per young person in Secure Training Centres

Number of young persons

0

1,340

1

17

2

1

Number of transfers per young person in Secure Children's Homes

Number of young persons

0

905

1

29

2

0

3

1