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Written Answers

Volume 715: debated on Wednesday 16 December 2009

Written Answers

Wednesday 16 December 2009

Afghanistan: Bagram Prison

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they exercise control over those detained or interrogated at the Bagram prison site in Afghanistan; and whether NATO is kept informed of their presence. [HL458]

The issue of detainees at Bagram is a matter for the US and Afghan Governments as the Bagram facility is a US facility.

Detentions operations are absolutely vital when conducting counterinsurgency campaigns. The ability to detain suspect insurgents is essential for operational effectiveness in Afghanistan. Counterinsurgency work is vital to international efforts to bring stability to Afghanistan. The US plays a key role in this work.

In the case of UK detention operations in Afghanistan, detainees are held in accordance with ISAF guidelines for a maximum of 96 hours and then transferred to the Afghan authorities or released. In exceptional circumstances, and with ministerial authorisation, detention can be extended to allow for gathering intelligence that is vital for the protection of UK forces and Afghan nationals. The UK is clear that all detainees should be treated humanely.

Afghanistan: Narcotics

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether Border Management Badakhshan, Afghanistan (BOMBAF) will terminate its anti-narcotic activities along the northern Afghan border on 15 December. [HL295]

To ask Her Majesty's Government what financial provision is to be made to allow Border Management Badakhshan, Afghanistan (BOMBAF) to continue its activities in countering narcotics in north-east Afghanistan beyond 15 December. [HL296]

To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the conclusion of the European Union assessment mission in Kabul on the effectiveness of Border Management Badakhshan, Afghanistan (BOMBAF). [HL297]

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of alternatives to the activities of Border Management Badakhshan, Afghanistan (BOMBAF). [HL298]

BOMBAF Badakhshan is a border management project aimed at developing the capacity of the Government of Afghanistan to facilitate legitimate trade and movement between Afghanistan and Tajikistan, increase revenues through clear and accountable customs taxation, and tackle illegal smuggling (including narcotics). Phase I of the project, which will end on 15 December 2009, has been working to deliver, among other things, three Afghan border check-points (BCPs) in Badakhshan through the provision of infrastructure, equipment and border management training to local Afghan officials. This stage has cost €5.5 million, funded by the European Commission, United Kingdom and the UN Development Programme (UNDP). UNDP have administered the project. The UK contributed £500,000 towards Phase I.

A September 2009 assessment of BOMBAF Badakhshan by the European Commission concluded that the infrastructure, equipment and training supplied through the project had provided a good platform for further development of Afghan Border Police operational capacity in Badakhshan. The report identified the need for further funding to enable the project to continue. We understand that the UNDP are in discussions with potential donors about funding for BOMBAF Phase II.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) commends the work of BOMBAF Badakhshan, which has successfully established three operational BCPs in the province. While these BCPs have increased the Afghan Government's capacity to combat cross-border crime (including narcotic trafficking) to Tajikistan, the FCO recognises the continuing need for investment into border management in Badakhshan. This need must however be considered alongside competing demands for UK resources, and as such there are no current plans to provide further funding for BOMBAF Badakhshan.

The UK continues to be a major supporter of the Afghan Government's national drug control strategy, and is spending over £27 million in 2009-10 in support of it. This strategy is a comprehensive approach that balances the need to ensure that there are viable alternatives to poppy for farmers with the need to directly target those involved in the drugs trade.

Airports: Security

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how the security arrangements for going airside at the main London airports are monitored; by whom; and when. [HL872]

Transport security arrangements at all UK regulated airports are regulated by the Department for Transport and overseen and monitored by a regular programme of audit and inspection.

Alcohol: Fraud

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people were prosecuted for alcohol fraud in the United Kingdom in (a) 2006, (b) 2007, and (c) 2008. [HL514]

Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office prosecuted the following number of people in the years indicated for alcohol fraud in England and Wales:

Year

Number of People Prosecuted

2006

15

2007

10

2008

7

Armed Forces: Senior Staff

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many officers of the rank of Lieutenant-General and above there are in the Army; and what was the cost of the aggregate of salaries, official residences, official cars and other emoluments in the most recent financial year for which figures are available for all such officers. [HL220]

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many officers of the rank of Vice-Admiral and above there are in the Royal Navy; and what was the cost of the aggregate of salaries, official residences, official cars and other emoluments in the most recent financial year for which figures are available for all such officers. [HL221]

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many officers of the rank of Air Marshal and above there are in the Royal Air Force; and what was the cost of the aggregate of salaries, official residences, official cars and other emoluments in the most recent financial year for which figures are available for all such officers. [HL222]

The number of officers of rank Vice Admiral, Lieutenant General, and Air Marshal and above and the cost of their aggregate salaries is contained in the following table:

No of Officers

Total Salary

Total for All 3 Services

47

£6,762,207

Royal Navy

11

£1,526,717

Army

23

£3,322,416

Royal Air Force

13

£1,913,074

Occupants of official service residences hold posts that require them to entertain and accommodate guests including British Royalty, Ministers, politicians, senior representatives of the private sector and officially hosted overseas representatives, to support Ministry of Defence objectives. It is the post and not the residence or the individual which carries the official service residences designation.

In 2007-08, this specific group occupied 19 official service residences and the aggregate cost to the department was £2,656,398.07. This is broken down by:

Rent

£375,174.00

Utilities

£68,182.20

Planned Maintenance

£63,963.81

Unplanned Maintenance

£100,864.09

Improvements

£40,098.87

Furniture and Equipment

£11,786.00

Fees to consultants and designers, works service managers and for special reports and services

£4,481.89

Household Staff

£1,991,139.90

Total

£2,656,398.07

Official cars are an extension of the office and provide a more private space for senior officers to work in and so make best use of time spent travelling. Costs for these vehicles are held centrally. However, to determine which of those official cars are allocated to this specific group and then obtain the costs associated would require a manual search of records thus incurring a disproportionate cost.

For the year 1 April 2007 to 31 March 2008, entertainment expenditure relating to this specific group amounted to £77,366.12. A breakdown of the constituent elements of official entertainment is not held centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Autism

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to involve interested parties outside of Government in the post-consultation phase of the adult autism strategy. [HL732]

The External Reference Group (ERG) was convened to provide external advice and guidance on the content of the department's National Adult Autism Strategy and its communication and implementation.

We are very grateful for the invaluable contribution that members of the ERG have made to the development of the autism strategy and we look forward to continuing to work with them in the delivery of that strategy.

Consultation with the ERG is a vital part of the development process. We will be looking for them to comment on the draft strategy, as well as discuss how the recommendations from the ERG report will be taken forward.

We will also be looking for their input into the communications plan for the launch and dissemination of the strategy, and the consultation on guidance for commissioners and providers, due in late 2010.

Bees

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government if the outcome of studies into sudden bee colony collapse identifies infection, contagion or invasion as its cause, whether they will support research into the protection of bees. [HL708]

The Food and Environment Research Agency's National Bee Unit (NBU) has been investigating the causes of colony losses in England and Wales over the past two years. The results have shown that the most important risk factor in the mortality or weakening of colonies is deformed wing virus, a virus transmitted by the parasitic varroa mite, clearly indicating failed or unsuccessful treatments of mite infestations. The key results from the investigations into abnormal colony losses will be published on the NBU's website in the near future.

Defra recognises that in addition to colony losses, there are a number of factors that influence bee health and therefore has allocated additional funding of £4,000,000 to investigate these issues. This will be used to: implement the first stage of the Healthy Bees plan, which is aimed at protecting and improving bee health over the next 10 years; fund three bee health research projects in 2009-10; and provide a contribution to the insect pollinator initiative on pollinator decline under which, with other funding partners, up to £10,000,000 will be available over the next five years.

Biological Weapons

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what support they are giving to the Royal Society's efforts to secure more regular reappraisal of scientific developments in biological weapons controls. [HL495]

The Government agree with the Royal Society that new scientific and technological developments relevant to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention need to be reviewed more frequently than every five years, when review conferences are convened. The Government addressed this issue in a Green Paper of April 2002 Strengthening the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention: Countering the Threat from Biological Weapons (Cm 5484). The Government are committed to ensuring that the convention continues to take account of the challenges presented by rapid advancements in the life sciences. We maintain a dialogue with the Royal Society and other relevant institutions on this issue, and the UK will work with partners to address it at the next review conference in 2011.

Carbon Emissions: Motorways

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will promote the contribution of moderating driving speeds on motorways to reducing carbon emissions. [HL728]

The current national speed limit of 70 miles per hour on motorways reflects a balance between economic, environmental and safety objectives, but we keep this under review. Enforcement of speed limits is a matter for the police.

The THINK! campaign is aimed at achieving better compliance with road safety law overall, including speed limits. The Act on CO2 campaign encourages smarter driving, including staying at or below the speed limit to reduce emissions.

Census

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what answers they anticipate to the 2011 census to the proposed ethnic group questions “any other Black/African/Caribbean background” and “any other ethnic group”; what “other ethnic group” other than Arabic was considered; and what percentage of respondents to the 2007 census test described themselves as “Gypsy or Irish traveller”. [HL699]

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 Laird, dated December 2009.

As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your recent question asking (a) what answers are anticipated to the 2011 Census to the proposed ethnic group questions “any other Black/African/Caribbean background” and “any other ethnic group”; (b) what “other ethnic group” other than Arabic was considered; and (c) what percentage of respondents to the 2007 census test described themselves as “Gypsy or Irish traveller”. (HL699)

(a) We would expect a range of different written responses for those ticking the “Any other Black/African/Caribbean background” box and the “Any other ethnic group” box in the 2011 Census question on ethnic group.

In 2001, for more than eight in 10 (84 per cent) of those in the “Other Black” group, an ethnic group description was specified in the text box on the census form. The majority (63 per cent) specified a “Black British” ethnic identity. A further 13 per cent were coded to a “Black Mixed” group, indicating mixed ethnicity where both or all ethnicities described are from different black groups.

The main write-in descriptions of the “Other Ethnic group” were Filipino (23 per cent), Japanese (21 per cent), Vietnamese (11 per cent), Arab (11 per cent), Middle Eastern (6 per cent), and North African (4 per cent) although we except most east Asian descriptors to be written in under the “Other Asian” space in 2011 and Arab respondents to use the “Arab” tick-box.

More information about the 2001 “other” groups can be found in our article Who are the “Other” ethnic groups? which can be downloaded from http://www.statistics.gov.uk/articles/nojournal/other_ethnicgroups.pdf.

(b) With space on the census questionnaire limited to only two new tick boxes, and many more demands for tick-boxes than could be accommodated, ONS developed a set of principles by which requirements for new tick box categories for ethnic groups could be assessed and prioritised. These covered:

strength of need for information;

lack of alternative sources of information;

clarity and quality of the information collected and acceptability to respondents; and

comparability with the 2001 Census data.

Particular groups which were identified during the consultation with users and also considered for individual tick boxes were:

African

Cornish

East African Asian

Eastern European

Greek/Greek Cypriot

Iranian

Jewish

Kashmiri

Kurdish

Latin American

Mixed: Black and Asian

Mixed: White and Chinese

Nepalese

Non-European White

Sikh

Sri Lankan

Turkish/Turkish Cypriot

Vietnamese

Detailed information about the prioritisation process and the ethnic groups which were considered together with the scores obtained are available in Annex A of the Information Paper Deciding which tick-boxes to add to the ethnic group question in the 2011 England and Wales Census.

http://www.ons.gov.uk/census/2011-census/2011-census-questionnaire-content/question-and-content-recommendations-for-2011/index.html.

(c) Less than 1 per cent of respondents to the 2007 test which was carried out in approximately 100,000 households from within the five local authority areas of Bath and North East Somerset, Camden, Carmarthenshire, Liverpool and Stoke-on-Trent recorded themselves as “Gypsy or Irish Traveller”.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will print the “tick answer” options such as “choose one” and “tick all” on the 2011 census form in bold and capital letters to reduce incorrect responses. [HL744]

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will add the words “Mixed British” to the proposed ethnic group question title “Mixed/multiple ethnic groups” in the 2011 census, in line with the existing “Asian British” and “Black British” ethnic group options. [HL747]

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 Laird, dated December 2009.

As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your recent questions asking (a) whether “tick answer” options such as “choose one” and “tick all” on the 2011 census form will be printed in bold and capital letters to reduce incorrect responses (HL744); (b) whether the words “Mixed British” will be added to the proposed ethnic group question title “Mixed/multiple ethnic groups” in the 2011 census, in line with the existing “Asian British” and “Black British” ethnic group options (HL747).

(a) The design of the 2011 Census questionnaire, including fonts, text format and page layout, has been subject to extensive methodological research and testing. In the options you refer to, “one” is in bold type and “tick all that apply” is in a different colour and font. There are no plans, at this late stage, to make any changes to the format of such instructions on the questionnaire.

(b) There are no plans to change the wording of this question. Parliament has now approved the Draft Census (England and Wales) Order 2009, which set out the question topics to be asked in the 2011 Census. The title of the “Mixed/multiple ethnic groups” category in the ethnic group question cannot, therefore, be amended at this stage.

Central Asia

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the current British Council activity in each country of central Asia, including levels of funding; and what plans will be implemented with regard to British Council activity. [HL528]

In Central Asia, the British Council has offices in Kazakhstan (Almaty and Astana) and in Uzbekistan (Tashkent), and also delivers small programmes from these centres to Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. The British Council also has offices in Afghanistan and Pakistan, which it funds and operates on a regional basis. Grant funding for 2009-10 is approximately £2 million.

China: Organ Donation

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether human organs have been imported into the United Kingdom from China in the last three years; if so, how many; which organs; and how they were verified. [HL756]

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will press for the European Union to ban the import of human organs from China until doubts about their origins have been removed. [HL757]

No human organs are or have been imported from China into the United Kingdom. Information is not held in the UK about other member states in the European Union and from what countries organs are imported for transplant. The European Commission is working with European Union member states to identify and implement a programme of work to improve the quality and safety of organs across Europe; increasing organ availability; and making transplant systems more efficient and accessible. This aims to stimulate joint actions and facilitate co-ordination across member states.

Civil Service

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Royall of Blaisdon on 30 November (WA 8), how many civil servants have been seconded to the transport industries in 2008 and 2009. [HL768]

The number of civil servants seconded or on loan to the transport industries* in 2008 and 2009 totals 21, comprising the following breakdown:

Year

Number

2008

7

2009

14

Total

21

* Transport-related policy areas within UK government departments and their executive agencies, the European Commission, the United States, Australian and Nigerian Government departments.

Crime: Drink-Driving

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are considering reviewing and amending the law on drink-driving. [HL608]

I announced on 3 December 2009 in a Written Ministerial Statement (Official Report, cols. WS 139-140) that I have asked Sir Peter North to undertake an independent review of drink and drug driving legislation. The noble Lord will be aware that Sir Peter is an internationally renowned legal expert whose previous studies include the review of road traffic law which led to the Road Traffic Act 1991.

The review will examine possible changes to the current provisions, including the case for changes to the legal alcohol limit for drivers and whether there is a need to tighten the law on drug driving. The study will also consider the likely impact of any changes on driver behaviour, and the practical steps needed to support the introduction of any new or revised offences.

Sir Peter has been asked to report by the end of March 2010 and we will then consult on his findings and finalise and publish the Government’s new road safety strategy. I have placed a copy of the terms of reference for the review in the Libraries of the House.

Democratic Republic of Congo

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their response to the final report of the United Nations Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of Congo, stating that they did not receive co-operation from the United Kingdom Government in identifying telephone numbers in contact with the Rwandan Liberation Democratic Forces military satellite telephones. [HL555]

The UK welcomes the Group of Experts report, and the thorough research that went into it. Where it has been legally and practically possible to do so, the UK has shared information on the activities of militia groups as requested by the Group of Experts and will continue to co-operate in this way. We have also provided assistance on the ground in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to members of the group.

On the telephone numbers in question, we forwarded the request for information to the police, who passed it on to the War Crimes Unit. This process has proven to be a lengthy one and we continue to press for a response.

The UK takes its obligations under the DRC sanctions regime very seriously and will not hesitate to support sanctions against any person or company against whom there is sufficient evidence. That could of course include UK-based companies or individuals.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their response to the statement in the final report of the United Nations Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of Congo that commanders of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) have telephone contact with United Kingdom telephone numbers; and whether they have evidence of United Kingdom funding or the provision of arms for the LRA. [HL556]

We are aware of allegations but we have no evidence that any links exist between the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) and individuals in the UK.

The UK takes its obligations under the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) sanctions regime very seriously and will not hesitate to support sanctions against any person or company against whom there is sufficient evidence. That could of course include UK-based companies or individuals.

UK has been in touch with the group throughout, and offered as much assistance as possible to it in its enquiries and shared information on the activities of militia groups as requested by the Group of Experts and will continue to do so where possible. We have also provided practical assistance on the ground in eastern DRC to members of the Group of Experts.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how they are supporting the United Nations Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of Congo (GOE) investigating Rwandan Liberation Democratic Forces diaspora networks in the United Kingdom and Europe; how they are providing the GOE with intelligence on links between the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) and individuals living in the United Kingdom; and what action they will take against individuals in the United Kingdom who are in direct contact with LRA commanders. [HL557]

The UK welcomes the Group of Experts report, and the thorough research that went into it. Where it has been legally and practically possible to do so, the UK has shared information on the activities of militia groups as requested by the Group of Experts and will continue to co-operate in this way. The UK has been in touch with the group throughout—and offered as much assistance as possible to it in its enquiries. We have also provided practical assistance on the ground in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo to members of the Group of Experts.

We are aware of allegations but we have no evidence that any links exist between the Lord's Resistance Army and individuals in the UK.

The Lord’s Resistance Army is not proscribed as a terrorist group by the UK. Nevertheless, we will not hesitate to support sanctions against any person or company against whom there is sufficient evidence. That could of course include UK-based companies or individuals.

Education: Home Schooling

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what were the costs of the Review of Elective Home Education in England by Graham Badman; and what were the costs of the information-gathering exercises which have followed it. [HL430]

Following careful consideration Ministers have decided that this information will remain confidential because of the potential impact on those involved in the review. There have been a large number of postings on various websites and blogs harassing Mr Badman and the apparent campaign is continuing. The department will review the position again in the new year.

The information-gathering exercise that followed the review did not incur any external costs as it was conducted by departmental officials.

Embryology

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 18 June 2007 (WA 8–9) regarding the distinction between a pronucleus and a nucleus, whether cells containing pronuclei and nuclei are also distinct; and whether it would be accurate to describe the polar body of an oocyte that contains a pronucleus as equivalent to the blastomeres of an embryo that contain nuclei. [HL674]

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Thornton on 9 November (WA 111) and the ensuing letter from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) Legal Advisor on 7 December, whether the polar body of an egg is identified as identical to or distinct from the blastomere of an embryo according to paragraph 14.24 of the HFEA's Code of Practice (6th Edition) and the Journal of Histochemistry & Cytochemistry, Volume 53, Issue 3, pages 255–60. [HL675]

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Thornton on 9 November (WA 111) and the ensuing letter from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority Legal Advisor on 7 December, which professional bodies have consistently described the polar body of an egg as if it was identical to one of the blastomeres from a subsequent embryo; and with what frequency such terms have been used synonymously in academic literature. [HL676]

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has advised that it would not be accurate to describe the polar body of an oocyte that contains a pronucleus as equivalent to the blastomeres of an embryo that contain nuclei. The HFEA has also advised that it has never identified the polar body of an egg as being identical to the blastomere of an embryo.

The content of professional body guidelines is a matter for the professional bodies themselves and not the HFEA.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have responded to reports in the Independent on 6 December about the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority and patient protection, suggesting it is too close to the clinics it regulates. [HL786]

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have investigated allegations that Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority inspections are insufficiently rigorous to identify problems in clinics. [HL787]

To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the areas for improvement acknowledged by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority's chief executive; and what changes are being made as a result. [HL788]

The Government are aware of the findings of the Hampton Implementation Review of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), to which the Independent on Sunday’s articles refer.

Since the review in April 2009, the HFEA’s change programme has continued, with many improvements made to the way in which the authority conducts its business. The HFEA has advised that it accepts that there are still areas for improvement, some of which it has already started work on. These include introducing a new risk-based compliance cycle, which the authority will roll out over the next few months. The HFEA has already streamlined its licensing process by introducing an executive licensing panel to approve straightforward licence applications. The members of the authority had initial discussions about the Hampton report at their meeting on 9 December 2009. The members will have a more detailed discussion on the findings at their next meeting on 20 January 2010.

The Government are satisfied that the HFEA remains fit for purpose.

Emissions Trading Scheme

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what changes they are considering for Phase 3 of the European Union Emission Trading Scheme from the end of 2012. [HL785]

As part of the EU Climate and Energy Package, in December 2008 EU member states reached agreement on a revised European Union Emission Trading System (EU ETS) to apply from 1 January 2013. The revised EU ETS will play an important in meeting the EU's commitment to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 20 per cent by 2020. It includes:

a centralised, EU-wide cap on emissions with a trajectory declining annually by 1.74 per cent of 2005 emissions. This will deliver an overall reduction of 21 per cent below 2005 verified emissions by 2020;

a significant increase in auctioning levels—at least 50 per cent of allowances will be auctioned from 2013; compared to around 3 per cent in Phase II;

100 per cent auctioning to the power sector in the UK and across most of the EU from 2013;

sectors at significant risk of carbon leakage to receive 100 per cent free allocation, based on an environmentally ambitious benchmark;

access to international project credits from outside the EU to be limited to no more than 50 per cent of the reductions required in the EU ETS across 2008-20;

the potential for opting out small emitters and hospitals from EU ETS, providing they are subject to equivalent national measures; and

inclusion of aviation in the EU ETS from 2012.

In the event that the EU moves to a 30 per cent GHG emissions reduction commitment as part of an international agreement on climate change, further changes will be needed to the EU ETS, including tightening the cap to meet the 30 per cent reduction target.

Energy: Clean Coal

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government when they anticipate a demonstration clean coal plant will be built in the United Kingdom. [HL548]

As set out in the response to the Framework for the Development of Clean Coal consultation (URN09D/806), we are planning on the basis that carbon capture and storage will be ready for wider deployment by 2020. It remains an objective of the CCS demonstration competition for the successful project to be operational by 2014, but this is one of a number of objectives for this project. The successful bid will be the one that best meets these project objectives overall.

Energy: Efficiency

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are assessing the system of decentralised energy and cogeneration established in Woking; and whether they will assess its suitability for replication elsewhere. [HL612]

Woking is one of a number of decentralised energy and cogeneration initiatives of which we are aware and we continue to follow their progress. We believe that such schemes are replicable in a number of areas across the country as described in the energy White Paper 2007, Meeting the Energy Challenge.

The Household Energy Management Strategy, the follow-up to the Heat and Energy Saving Strategy consultation will be published in the new year. It will set out work the Government have undertaken to support development of these types of scheme.

Faroe Islands: Whaling

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made or will make to the Government of Denmark regarding the practice in the Faroe Islands of injuring and not killing whales as a sport. [HL660]

I am not aware that the practice of hunting whales and dolphins for sport takes place in the Faroe Islands. The Faroese claim that their drive hunts, or grind, provide an important supplement to their diet and whales and dolphins are killed purely for food. However, the UK has long been concerned about the welfare aspects of these hunts, in particular the cruelty involved. Consequently, the UK has made representations on this matter to Denmark, including pressing for improvements in the conduct of the hunts.

Fluoridation

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their response to the statistics for dental health among 5-year-olds published in October this year showing a further decline in carious teeth in the area of the Southampton City Primary Care Trust from 1.99 dmft in 2003–04 to 1.76 dmft in 2005–06 and most recently to 1.13 dmft in 2007–08, in the light of the decision in February this year by South Central Strategic Health Authority to fluoridate water supplies in Southampton and some neighbouring areas. [HL630]

Oral health is improving but unacceptable inequalities remain. Direct comparisons should not be made between the results of this survey and previous surveys. This was the first survey of children's dental health where parents of children were required to give positive consent to the examination of their children. Experience shows that non-respondents to requests for consent are more likely to be from deprived areas, where there is a tendency for children to have higher levels of dental decay. I understand that the number of general anaesthetic required for tooth extractions in Southampton remains unacceptably high with recent figures from 2006 to 2009 showing that approximately 500 children every year need to have decayed teeth removed. We continue to support South Central Strategic Health Authority's decision to fluoridate a large part of Southampton and parts of south-west Hampshire.

Food: Labelling

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what part Ministers are playing in the proposed European Union food labelling regulation under negotiation in Brussels; and when they will make public details of it. [HL671]

Negotiations on the proposed regulation are being taken forward by the United Kingdom's Food Standards Agency (FSA)—a non-ministerial government department. Ministers in Her Majesty’s Government have been involved through a ministerial committee in developing the negotiating lines for the FSA and Ministers collectively agreed these negotiating lines. Health Ministers have received a regular update from the FSA on the progress of the negotiations. Details on progress in the negotiations are also notified publicly by way of letters to interested parties. These are available on the FSA website at: www.food.gov.uk/foodlabelling/ull/labellingproposals/.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government when they expect the food manufacturing and retailing sectors to agree on a single system of food labelling. [HL781]

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) recently conducted a public consultation on front of pack nutrition labelling for pre-packed foods sold through retail outlets, and is currently considering the responses in detail. The matter will be considered by the FSA Board in March 2010, who will then make recommendations to Ministers.

Food: Nano-capsules

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether legislation requires food manufacturers to indicate on the label whether nano-capsules are incorporated into food. [HL710]

European Union/United Kingdom food labelling legislation requires the indication of ingredients used in the manufacture food, but does not require specific indication of the form in which these have been added (e.g. nano-capsules). Food manufacturers are free to make this declaration on a voluntary basis, so long as this is accurate and not misleading.

Government Departments: Bonuses

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government for each of the last three years for which figures are available, how many people were eligible for performance bonuses and special bonuses in the Cabinet Office and its agencies, by civil service band; how many people received each type of bonus, by civil service band; what the average payment was for each type of bonus, by civil service band; and what the maximum payment was for each type of bonus, by civil service band. [HL45]

An element of the Cabinet Office's overall pay award is allocated to non-consolidated variable pay related to performance. These payments are used to drive high performance and form part of the pay award for members of staff who demonstrate exceptional performance, for example by exceeding targets set or meeting challenging objectives.

Non-consolidated variable pay awards are funded from within existing pay bill controls, and have to be re-earned each year against pre-determined targets and, as such, do not add to future pay bill costs. The percentage of the pay bill set aside for performance-related awards is based on recommendations from the independent Senior Salaries Review Body and has been increasing year-on-year towards a target of 10 per cent.

The table below details how many people were eligible for and received a non-consolidated variable pay award and the average and the maximum payment for a non-consolidated variable pay award, by Civil Service band, awarded under the Cabinet Office standard pay and performance management process for the last three years of published accounts.

2005-062006-072007-08

SCS

Non-SCS

SCS

Non-SCS

SCS

Non-SCS

Number of staff eligible for performance-pay award

163

1506

161

1,192

153

1073

Number of staff who received a performance-pay award

112

697

123

761

105

638

Average value of a performance-pay award

£6,820

£1,211

£7,280

£1,123

£9,260

£1,133

The maximum payment for a performance pay award1

£16,000

£3,408

£18,000

£4,086

£24,000

£3,075

Percentage of SCS paybill set aside for performance pay

6.5%

N/A

7.6%

N/A

8.6%

N/A

1 In addition, an individual employed on a SCS non-standard form of contract, which links a higher than normal percentage of their pay to delivery-based objectives, received a non-consolidated award of £37,000 for their performance in 2006-07 and £50,000 for their performance in 2007-08.

I have asked the chief executive of the Central Office of Information (COI) to write to the noble Baroness with the information relating to COI.

Copies of the COI letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

Guyana: Rainforests

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their response to the proposals of the President of Guyana for maintaining the rainforests of his country. [HL574]

We welcome the leadership shown by President Jagdeo. Guyana has one of the world's lowest deforestation rates and we want this to continue. We recognise that Guyana needs to reconcile development challenges with the need to keep forests standing in order to help in the fight against climate change. It is therefore essential that Guyana is supported with sufficient incentives to maintain the services that its rainforests provide. The UK welcomes the historic deal struck with Norway to maintain Guyana's forests.

Guyana is the first country to submit a draft readiness plan to the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, to which the UK contributed £15 million. This will complement the support provided by Norway.

Gypsies and Travellers

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what revision to any regional spatial strategy relating to accommodation for Gypsies and Travellers in the south-east of England has been made. [HL700]

The South East England Partnership Board submitted its review of Policy H7 of the South East Plan—provision of new pitches that each local authority should provide for Gypsies, Travellers and Travelling Showpeople to Government in June 2009.

Consultation on the revision closed on 1 September 2009. An examination in public is scheduled to be held in February 2010.

Following the examination, the panel will publish a report before further consultation and final publication of the revised policy.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government when an order to commence the provisions of the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008 with regard to Gypsy and Traveller sites will come into force. [HL701]

The Government plan to commence Section 318 of the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008 by order on 6 April 2010.

Following a period of consultation, the Government also plan to introduce an order that will commence on 6 April 2010 and will make amendments to Schedule 1 to the Mobile Homes Act 1983. This order would be made under Section 2A of the 1983 Act and will therefore be subject to affirmative resolution procedures and debate in both Houses.

Health: Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ Myalgic Encephalomyelitis service at the Royal Free Hospital has been instructed to return all CFS/ME patients to community mental health teams in Camden, Islington, Haringey and Enfield; whether the community teams have the resources to treat those patients; whether the action is in line with the report to the Chief Medical Officer on ME/CFS of 2002 or NICE guidelines on ME/CFS; and what action they propose to take to ensure ME/CFS patients are treated in accordance with current guidance. [HL725]

Higher Education: Equality

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many further education colleges have been inspected between 2006 and 2009 and found to be failing or sub-standard in meeting their equality obligations; and what action has been taken. [HL718]

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many further education colleges since 2006 have been found to be in non-compliance with statutory equality duties; what enforcement actions have been taken; and what results have been recorded. [HL719]

The number of colleges inspected between 2006 and 2009 and found to be failing or sub-standard in meeting their equality obligations is a matter for Ofsted. I have asked Her Majesty's Chief Inspector to write to you to provide these details and advise you of what action they have taken.

Colleges are autonomous bodies responsible for ensuring for themselves that they are fully compliant with statutory duties, including through their governing bodies. The LSC does, however, impose as part of its funding agreement with colleges, a requirement that they must comply with all statutory responsibilities. The LSC is responsible for ensuring this happens. I have therefore written to the LSC asking it to provide you with details of how many colleges have been found to be in non-compliance and what action has been taken.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what efficiency savings or budget reductions are proposed for further education colleges in 2010–11; and what equality impact assessments have been undertaken to determine the effect on learners in deprived areas. [HL720]

In 2010-11 financial year after efficiency savings, total investment in adult training places delivered through FE colleges and training institutions will increase by 3 per cent to £3.5 billion compared with 2009-10.

As part of Budget 2009 it was agreed that £340 million efficiency savings would be made from the further education (FE) and skills sector in 2010-11 financial year. The Skills Investment Strategy 2010-11 (November, 2009) sets out how this level of savings can be achieved. £100 million of savings will be achieved by reviewing the funding provided to deliver partners, including the Learning and Skills Improvement Service. The remainder of savings will be achieved from the funding routed through the Skills Funding Agency (which will replace the Learning and Skills Council from April 2010) to FE colleges and training institutions.

In making these savings we have sought to protect front-line services and focus on improving value for money by only buying high quality provision and maximising the contribution toward training from businesses, which are the main beneficiaries of the skills system.

The potential impact of funding changes on FE colleges and training providers and their ability to deliver to priority groups of learners was considered when taking decisions on where savings should be made. At the national level we have ensured that funding is better focused on provision that will support our priority groups of learners including those with learning difficulties and/or disabilities, individuals out of work and those with a low level of skills in line with our statutory entitlements.

The LSC will now undertake discussions with individual colleges and training institutions to agree funding allocations for the 2010-11 academic year. It is through these discussions that any issues relating to the mix and balance of their provision will be considered.

House of Lords: Energy Conservation

Question

Asked by

To ask the Chairman of Committees what steps he will take to promote the energy conservation in the House of Lords; how the House of Lords will economise its use of energy; and whether heating will be adjusted as appropriate to the temperature. [HL726]

The Management Boards of both Houses have endorsed an Environmental Action Plan and are currently reviewing an environmental policy statement prepared by the Head of Fire Safety and Environment. The policy statement will be considered by the relevant domestic committees in early 2010. Work is also taking place to establish credible baseline figures against which emissions figures can be measured and to identify environmental opportunities across the Parliamentary Estate, including voltage optimisation and energy awareness. This will enable robust long-term environmental targets, including a carbon reduction target, to be set from 2010. Parliament's energy consumption and carbon emissions are already monitored on a monthly basis. In previous years, carbon emissions have risen year-on-year because of increased occupancy of the Parliamentary Estate, IT use and cooling loads, but they appear to be on course to decrease over the financial year 2009-10 for the first time.

In the last 18 months, building management systems controlling heating and cooling have been reconfigured; new remote energy meters, kitchen ventilation and lighting controls and energy efficient lighting and movement sensors have been installed; an insulation trial has been initiated as part of the cast iron roofs project; and a feasibility study of the energy supply options has been conducted. On the specific question of temperature, some radiators on the estate have temperature controls but the age of the buildings and the infrastructure make heating a difficult issue. It will be possible to improve the situation through refurbishment of primary and secondary systems over the coming years.

House of Lords: Members' Expenses

Question

Asked by

To ask the Chairman of Committees how many Peers who attended the House from 1 April 2008 to 31 March 2009 claimed expenses totalling (a) under £5,000, (b) £5,000–£9,999, (c) £10,000–£14,999, (d) £15,000–£19,999, (e) £20,000–£24,999, (f) £25,000–£29,999, (g) £30,000–£34,999, (h) £35,000–£39,999, (i) £40,000–£44,999, (j) £45,000–£49,999, (k) £50,000–£54,999, (l) £55,000–£59,999, (m) £60,000–£64,999, (n) £65,000–69,999, and (o) over £70,000. [HL771]

The figures requested are as follows:

(a) under £5,000

162

(b) £5,001-£9,999

60

(c) £10,000-£14,999

65

(d) £15,000-£19,999

49

(e) £20,000-£24,999

60

(f) £25,000-£29,999

41

(g) £30,000-£34,999

29

(h) £35,000-£39,999

39

(i) £40,000-£44,999

45

(j) £45,000-£49,999

62

(k) £50,000-£54,999

45

(l) £55,000-£59,999

41

(m) £60,000-£64,999

11

(n) £65,000-£69,999

5

(o) over £70,000

1

Houses of Parliament: State Opening

Question

Asked by

To ask the Chairman of Committees what was the cost to the House of Lords of the State Opening of Parliament on 18 November. [HL580]

The breakdown of the estimated costs to Parliament of the State Opening on 18 November is set out below.

Black Rod’s Department

£17,000

Department of Facilities (Lords)

£4,000

Parliamentary Estates Directorate

£271,000 (of which the House of Lords’ share is £108,400)

Total

£292,000

Internet: Broadband

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that the installation of broadband in private homes will not be used by employers to breach the working time directive. [HL750]

The working time regulations require that employers keep records to show the weekly working time and night work limits are complied with regardless of where an individual works. Employers must also check how a worker's working time is arranged and whether they are able to take the rest breaks they are entitled to.

Iraq: Camp Ashraf

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether their commitment to train the Iraqi navy takes account of the Government of Iraq's alleged persecution of residents at Camp Ashraf; and what positive results they expect will ensue from that arrangement. [HL679]

The UK/Iraq Naval Training Agreement forms part of the transition to a broad bilateral relationship between the UK and Iraq, following the withdrawal of British troops in June. Camp Ashraf is part of a sovereign and democratic Iraq and the situation there is a domestic matter for the Government of Iraq, and is an issue for the Iraqi authorities and the camp leadership to resolve. There is no link between the two issues.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they classify the residents in Camp Ashraf as not being “protected persons” under the Fourth Geneva Convention; whether that classification takes account of their international obligations; what assessment they have made of the Spanish Central Investigative Court ruling that the residents of Camp Ashraf are “protected persons” under the Fourth Geneva Convention; and whether they recognise the right of that court to investigate the alleged attacks in July by Iraqi forces on the residents of the Camp. [HL680]

The Government view is that, with the formal end of hostilities in Iraq and the transfer of responsibility for the camp to the Iraqi authorities, any claim to protected person status has ceased to apply. This is a view also shared by the US.

The decisions of the Spanish National High Court are a domestic matter for Spain. It is for the Spanish to judge how they interpret their adherence to the international treaties and conventions to which they are signatories, including any investigations they may commission or carry out.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the Government of Iraq about the proposal to transfer residents of Camp Ashraf who have lived there for 23 years to another area of Iraq where it is suggested they are in greater danger. [HL681]

Officials from our Embassy in Baghdad have raised the issue with the Iraqi Prime Minister and other Ministers and are in regular contact with a number of organisations involved with Camp Ashraf, including the UN Assistance Mission—Iraq, International Committee of the Red Cross and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

If the residents of Camp Ashraf are to be relocated to another part of Iraq, then it should be done humanely in a manner consistent with applicable law. That is best done through discussions between the Iraqi authorities and the camp leadership.

Ireland: Republican Groups

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government in view of an individual having been charged with republican arms offences while being a member of the Irish Army, whether they will have discussions with the government of the Republic of Ireland about possible collusion between that Army and republican groups. [HL456]

The Irish Government have confirmed that an individual charged with offences stemming from the recent successful cross-border policing operation at Garrison, on 21 November, has been formally dismissed from the Irish Reserve Defence Forces. As this case is currently before the courts it would be inappropriate to comment further.

Justice: Custody

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what measures they are taking to reduce the number of accused persons who are remanded in custody and subsequently found not guilty; and whether there is a person with specific responsibility for that matter. [HL652]

The purpose of a bail hearing is for the court to determine whether the circumstances of the case and the defendant's history suggest that the defendant presents such a risk to the course of justice or to the safety of the public as to warrant a remand in custody. This issue is entirely separate from the determination of guilt or innocence, which is for the trial alone. The fact that a defendant who has been remanded in custody is subsequently found not guilty does not mean that the remand decision was wrong.

While the Government believe that bail should be withheld in all appropriate cases, we also believe that no one should be remanded in custody unless the circumstances justify it. Our approach over several years, therefore, has been to provide bail services that allow the courts to make bail the appropriate decision in more cases. These services include the provision of electronic monitoring of defendants on bail as an alternative to custody and the introduction of bail support and accommodation schemes to provide, where possible and where necessary, suitable addresses to which defendants can be bailed and where they can get help to comply with their bail conditions.

National Audit Office

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their response to the National Audit Office report on services to people with rheumatoid arthritis. [HL796]

The department welcomes the National Audit Office’s report into National Health Service provision of services for people with rheumatoid arthritis. The Government are committed to improving care and outcomes for all people with long-term conditions, including people with rheumatoid arthritis.

For example, the department has published a good practice commissioning pathway for inflammatory arthritis which supports clinicians in identifying cases of rheumatoid arthritis and ensuring that they are set on the right pathway of care. This describes key symptoms, for example where patients should be referred for urgent treatment.

The pathway is also aimed at supporting local implementation of good practice, to improve efficiency, reduce delays, and improve quality of service provision in a safe and effective way.

The department has also published Your health, your way—a guide to long term conditions and self care which provides people living with long-term conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, with information about the choices that should be available to them locally to enable them to self care in partnership with health and social care professionals. The guide can be found on the NHS Choices website at:

www.nhs.uk/Planners/YourheaIth/Pages/Yourhealth.aspx

The department gave evidence to the Committee of Public Accounts on the National Audit Office’s report on 23 November and the Government will formally respond to the Committee's report following its publication.

NHS: Race and Equality

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many NHS organisations have not met their obligations under the Race Relations Act 1976 and the Equality Act 2006; and what action they propose in that regard. [HL531]

The department does not centrally hold data on how many National Health Service organisations meet their obligations to eliminate discrimination, and promote equality of opportunity and good relations under the Race Relations Act 1976 and the Equality Act 2006.

The department does not performance manage the NHS; this responsibility falls to strategic health authorities (SHAs), the majority of which have assurance systems in place for their trust's levels of compliance.

Because of the different approaches currently taken in each SHA, it is not possible to aggregate local evidence into a comprehensive national picture. Whole NHS evaluation of content, scope and quality of compliance would be costly and time-consuming, drawing resources away from other work including service delivery.

Delivering equality in relation to patients, the public and staff is central to the work of the department, the NHS and social care.

All NHS organisations must have due regard to the NHS Constitution, which puts equality at the heart, requiring the provision of “a comprehensive service, available to all irrespective of their belief.” The Constitution clearly sets out that all staff should be “treated fairly, equally and free from discrimination.”

To drive up equality performance in the NHS the department has recently established the NHS Equality and Diversity Council, chaired by the NHS Chief Executive, David Nicholson.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress they have made in appointing black and minority ethnic staff to senior positions in the National Health Service; and what initiatives are being pursued to increase the number of such staff in such positions. [HL534]

The department does not appoint staff to positions within the National Health Service, as this is the responsibility of individual organisations and trusts.

The department supports the NHS to operate as an employer of choice, attracting, recruiting and retaining the best talent from all communities.

All NHS organisations must have due regard to the NHS Constitution, which puts equality at its heart. The Constitution clearly sets out that staff should “be treated fairly, equally and free from discrimination.”

The newly formed NHS Equality and Diversity Council, chaired by David Nicholson the Chief Executive of the NHS, will be championing equality in the NHS and seeking assurances on future progress.

The department funds the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement to run programmes to support black and minority ethnic staff to improve their career prospects, such as Breaking Through and Top Talent. These aim to identify and support NHS staff from black and minority ethnic backgrounds, who have talent and potential, to develop their careers in the NHS, possibly successfully competing for senior leadership roles. With the NHS Institute, the Kings Fund runs a Transformational Leadership Programme aimed at increasing black and minority executive membership of NHS Boards.

The National Leadership Council supports and develops people in leadership roles across the NHS with a priority focus on inclusion.

Piracy

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the extent to which the civil maritime industry is encouraging British-flagged ships and ships owned by companies based in the United Kingdom to take measures to protect themselves from piracy. [HL844]

The civil maritime industry takes the threat of piracy very seriously and is working with the UK Government to revise the Marine Guidance Note 298 on counterpiracy, through the DfT-led National Maritime Security Committee (NMSC). Industry representatives have also recently updated the Best Management Practice to Deter Piracy in the Gulf of Aden and off the Coast of Somalia (BMP) and have ensured that advice and guidance is widely circulated, encouraging its adoption by both UK and non-UK flagged ships.

An increase in the numbers of reports to the UK Maritime Trade Organisation (UKMTO Dubai) from ships transiting through, and reports of pirate activity in, the Gulf of Aden region illustrates that industry is both aware of, and following, the above guidance.

Planning: Open Fibre Ducts

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will ensure that all new planning applications can only be approved if the plans allow for open fibre ducts for the supply of broadband and other technology. [HL571]

Planning Policy Guidance Note 8: Telecommunications (PPG8) advises that in considering planning applications for other forms of development, planning authorities will wish to consider telecommunications issues. Planning authorities should encourage prospective developers of new housing, offices and industrial estates to consider with all relevant telecommunications operators how the telecommunications needs for the occupiers will be met.

PPG 8 should be taken into account by local planning authorities in the preparation of local development documents and may be material to individual applications for prior approval and planning permission.

It is for local planning authorities to decide on a case by case basis what is material to an individual planning decision and what weight is to be given to particular elements of that decision.

Railways: Rolling Stock

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the minimum standards for rolling stock used by railway franchises; and whether different standards apply to significantly used tourist routes such as the Gatwick Express. [HL869]

There are no minimum standards for rolling stock used by railway franchises. It is up to the train operating companies to decide what rolling stock they are going to lease and the standard to which they are going to refurbish them.

Retail: Charity Shops

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what measures have been introduced to remove regulatory burdens affecting charity retail shops. [HL801]

Charity owned and run shops receive significant tax concessions, examples include exemption from corporation tax on profits, zero VAT rating on the sale of donated goods and 80 per cent mandatory non-domestic business rates relief if the shop sells “wholly or mainly” donated goods and the proceeds are applied for charitable purposes. The concessions do not apply to shops owned by charities’ non-charitable trading subsidiaries. In addition, charities are able to claim Gift Aid on the sale of donated goods in charity shops.

The Health and Safety Executive has produced revised guidance Charity and Voluntary Workers—A guide to Health and Safety, and, jointly with the Charities Safety Group, an example risk assessment for charity shops which should make it easier for charity shop workers to ensure that they are meeting all relevant health and safety requirements.

The new Charitable Incorporated Organisation, planned for next year, will give charities the advantages of incorporation without the burden of dual regulation by both the Charity Commission and Companies House.

More generally, both the Charity Commission and the Cabinet Office (of which Office of the Third Sector is part) are publishing revised simplification plans this month, that indicate the progress made in, and plans for, simplifying regulatory burdens on charities and other third sector organisations.

Roads: Motorways

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the annual maintenance costs of the elevated sections of the Midlands Links motorways; and what assessment they have made of the added costs due to traffic delays. [HL799]

The annual maintenance costs of the elevated sections of the Midland Links motorways vary depending on the maintenance schemes that have been carried out during the year. Maintenance schemes are divided into major and routine categories. The following amounts have been or are due to be spent on the maintenance of the structures of the Midland Links during the current four year period:

2006-07—£17.5 million;

2007-08—£10.5 million;

2008-09—£14.5 million; and

2009-10—£22.5 million.

During this period, the following four major maintenance schemes were carried out. The first three included elements of carriageway surface renewal work:

Ray Hall Viaduct Deck Refurbishment (2006-07);

Bromford Viaduct Deck Refurbishment (2006-07);

Bromford Viaduct Resurfacing (2008-09); and

Ray Hall Viaduct Structural repairs to concrete supports (2006-07-2007-08).

As the surfacing work extended beyond the elevated sections, it is not possible to identify separate figures for this work for these sections. All four schemes had significant effects on traffic flows on the motorway.

Other schemes included in the annual figures involved works on the support structures beneath the running lanes of the motorway and thus did not affect motorway traffic flows.

As part of the preparation process for all major schemes that have a potential effect on traffic flows on the motorway, the Highways Agency takes into account the level of predicted delays so that they can be minimised. The delay costs for the above schemes have been calculated as follows:

Ray Hall Deck Refurbishment—£2.7 million;

Bromford Viaduct Deck Refurbishment—£1.51 million;

Ray Hall Viaduct Structural Repairs—£23.4 million; and

Bromford Viaduct Resurfacing—£1.52 million.

The figure of £23.4 million for Ray Hall Viaduct is high because the repairs were to the supports carrying the M6 over the link road from the M6 southbound carriageway to the M5 southbound carriageway. The link road beneath was reduced to one lane for safety reasons, causing unavoidable delays to both M6 southbound traffic and traffic using the link road.

None of the annual figures includes routine maintenance, such as minor resurfacing, lighting and drainage, or winter maintenance—that is, salting. Such works are funded from a regional budget for all motorways and are not separated for Midland Links sections. Routine maintenance is generally carried out overnight to minimise delays to motorway traffic.

Senior Salaries Review Body

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the salaries and annual expenses of Mr Bill Cockburn and the other members of the Senior Salaries Review Body. [HL561]

The Chairman and members of the Senior Salaries Review Body (SSRB) do not receive annual salaries, but are paid on a daily basis for each day of attendance and work for the SSRB. The Chair is remunerated at £350 and the members at £300 respectively. The number of days worked per year varies depending on workload.

In addition, the members have their travel and related essential expenses reimbursed.

During the financial year 2008-09 the annual fees and expenses of the SSRB Chairman and members were as follows:

Name

Fees

Expenses

Bill Cockburn

£10,150.00

£1,110.60

Mark Baker

£5,700.00

£900.60

Mary Galbraith

£6,600.00

£6,794.72

Mei Sim Lai

£6,300.00

£52.50

Mike Langley

£6,300.00

£52.50

Jim McKenna

£1,200.00

£367.00

Peter North

£7,800.00

£1,780.95

Richard Pearson

£7,800.00

£696.85

Paul Williams

£9,000.00

£585.50

John Baker

£700.00

£0.00

Sexual Assault Referral Centres

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Department of Health's responsibility for sexual assault referral centres includes responsibility for the care of children and young people who have been sexually assaulted. [HL705]

The Government have committed to rolling out a Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) in each police force area by 2011. The Department of Health, Home Office and the Crown Prosecution Service work closely together on this programme with advice from the Department for Children, Schools and Families on the specific needs of children and young people where required.

Responsibility for the commissioning of Sexual Assault Referral Centres lies in the partnership of police forces, primary care trusts and local authorities. SARCs can be established to provide services to victims of all ages. Quite often, children who may have been sexually abused may have experienced other forms of abuse and would require a co-ordinated multi-disciplinary and multi-agency approach to their care. SARCs which provide services to children and young people need to take account of national guidance in Working Together to Safeguard Children, clinical guidelines from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, and guidelines from the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH).

The Department of Health, Home Office and the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) jointly published a guide in October 2009, which sets out the minimum elements essential for providing high quality Sexual Assault Referral Centres for adults and children who are victims of sexual assault. A copy of the guide has been placed in the Library.

Sufi Muslim Council

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord McKenzie of Luton on 6 July (WA 116), what assessment they have made of the effectiveness of the three years of funding for the Sufi Muslim Council; and against what criteria that was measured. [HL492]

The department requires all Community Leadership Fund projects to produce end of year evaluation reports, regular interim progress reports and a statement of grant usage. Project effectiveness is measured against milestones and outputs agreed between the department and the organisation which are set out in the funding agreement. The Sufi Muslim Council has provided the department with satisfactory reports as required and has delivered the agreed outputs.

Terrorism

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Scotland of Asthal on 1 December (WA 30), how many cases relating to terrorist offences committed before 10 April 1998 have been prosecuted in (a) Northern Ireland, and (b) England, since that date. [HL567]

In respect of the information relating to Northern Ireland, the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) has collected data of this type only since 2002. For cases prior to that date, the PPS is not able to provide the level of detail requested without incurring disproportionate cost.

Since 1 January 2002 to date, eight individuals have been prosecuted by the PPS for terrorist-related offences in respect of offending that occurred before 10 April 1998 with two further individuals currently before the courts awaiting trial. A further eight individuals were prosecuted for offending which spanned a period both before and after 10 April 1998.

In respect of the information relating to England, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) does not routinely collate data of this type, and the CPS is not able to provide the level of detail requested without incurring disproportionate cost.

Transport: City Centres

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are assessing the priority measures given to trams, buses, bicycles and pedestrians in certain city centres with a view to their wider adoption.[HL655]

The design, installation and any performance assessment of priority measures is a matter for the local highway authority. It is for them to decide what type of priority measures to provide for particular modes of transport.

There is a wide range of engineering and other measures available to local highway authorities to help provide priority to different groups where necessary or desirable. These have been developed over many years and the Department for Transport has published guidance covering good practice in design and installation. These include local transport notes and traffic advisory leaflets, which provide information on the performance of such measures on the ground.