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Written Answers

Volume 716: debated on Wednesday 6 January 2010

Written Answers

Wednesday 6 January 2010

Air Quality

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government following the European Commission on 11 December not extending the United Kingdom's deadline to comply with air quality laws to 11 June 2011, what action they will take to remedy the situation. [HL846]

The Commission decision of 11 December makes clear that further information is needed to demonstrate that compliance with the daily limit values would be achieved in London by 2011. However the decision recognised that additional time to meet the limit values in seven other parts of the UK, and the annual limit value in London was no longer required as those limit values had now been met.

We are working with the Mayor of London and Greater London Authority with a view to presenting as soon as practicable evidence which will satisfy the Commission that the limit values in London will be met by 2011.

Armed Forces: Dogs

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many dogs that have been deployed with British armed forces in Afghanistan have (a) been killed, and (b) gone missing. [HL582]

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many dogs that have been deployed with British Armed Forces in Iraq have (a) been killed, and (b) gone missing. [HL583]

In our operations in Iraq since 2003, one military working dog has died as a result of an accident while carrying out search operations. None has gone missing.

Autism

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the adult autism strategy will contain a commitment that all frontline JobcentrePlus staff have basic training in autism. [HL729]

Following the recent consultation exercise on the Autism Bill, the Department for Work and Pensions is working closely with the Department of Health and others on the planned autism strategy.

Jobcentre Plus is committed to supporting disabled people, including people with autism. There are a number of learning products currently available to frontline staff, with signposts to sources of specialist help such as disability employment advisers. Jobcentre Plus staff have also been encouraged to access telephone tutorials on autism, led by the Employers Forum on Disability.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that all young people with autism have the opportunity to undertake work experience. [HL730]

The Department for Work and Pensions is represented on the Department of Health-led steering group, working with the National Autistic Society, the Department for Children, Schools and Families and other organisations following the recent consultation A better future: a consultation on a future strategy for adults with autistic spectrum conditions and the Public Accounts Committee report, published on 15 October 2009 Supporting people with autism through adulthood. A formal response to the consultation is expected to be published early next year.

Work Preparation and WORKSTEP can support disabled people thinking about entering work by helping them gain work experience, and where possible, progress into paid employment. This provision continues to be available for people with autism.

From 6 April 2009, customers starting a work trial became eligible to apply for Access to Work support. Work trials are used to establish an individual's suitability for a particular job vacancy by giving them an opportunity to try the job. Work trials can last between one day and six weeks.

Pathways to Work is a pan-disability programme, available for recipients of employment and support allowance, offering flexible support according to the needs of the individual. This could include a work placement where this is thought to be beneficial.

There is support available for all young people through all stages of a jobseeker's allowance claim, including a guaranteed job offer and meaningful activity (work experience), before they reach the 12 month stage of their claim. From January 2010 the guaranteed offer will come at the six month stage and by the 10 month stage it is expected that an offer would have been accepted. This will be a mandatory requirement from April 2010.

In 2008 the Department for Children, Schools and Families funded the establishment of the Autism Education Trust, which works closely with the department to improve outcomes for those with autism. The department recognises that high quality-work experience can make a real difference to aspirations.

In January 2010 the work experience placement element of Backing Young Britain goes live, offering young jobseeker's allowance claimants aged between 18 and 21 a short-term work experience placement.

Care Services

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Thornton on 8 December (WA 114–15), what assessment they have made of whether local authorities' assessments of people as "critical" under Fair Access to Care Services current guidance are consistent. [HL880]

In 2008, the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) reviewed the eligibility for social care. In their review Cutting the cake fairly, they asked people what needed to be changed about the Fair Access to Care Service (FACS) guidance which was launched by the department in 2003. The findings in paragraph 3.62 of the commission’s review show that the top proposal for improving FACS was “More consistent implementation”. A copy of the document has been placed in the Library.

As a result of the CSCI report, the department is revising the FACS guidance. A consultation ended on 6 October 2009. The intention is to bring forward revised guidance in the new year and a set of training materials that will help councils apply the criteria more consistently.

Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission about its future information technology strategy. [HL633]

The part played by IT systems in the difficulties experienced by the CSA is well documented. The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission is currently undertaking a major programme which includes the development and deployment of new information technology and systems. The new IT systems are intended to provide significant improvements in efficiency and in client experience, overcoming the shortcomings of the existing systems.

The strategy for these new systems was based upon some initial feasibility work and upon the proposals of Tata Consulting Services (TCS), which was appointed in March 2009 to design and build these systems. Rather than build bespoke applications, the commission's IT strategy is based on commercial off-the-shelf packages, which are widely used in banking and other industries, which it is configuring and integrating. This will ensure that it maximises the re-use of existing and proven functionality while ensuring that it meets specific needs.

Given that the commission has selected to adhere to the hosting, network, desktop, application maintenance and service integration strategies of the Department for Work and Pensions, relevant parts of its IT strategy were discussed with the department. In addition, the commission's future systems programme has been reviewed by the Office of Government Commerce and the department's Risk Assurance Division. The commission has also discussed its IT strategy with other government departments in the context of its plans to interface with their data and systems.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their forecast of the annual capital cost of the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission's information technology system over the next three years. [HL634]

The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission currently expects to capitalise around £8 million of its forecast expenditure, based on current plans, on the IT systems supporting the new child maintenance scheme in the three-year period from 2010-11 to 2012-13 inclusive. Of the £8 million, £6.7 million is expected to be capitalised in 2010-11 with the remaining £1.3 million to be capitalised in 2011-12.

Climate Change

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether any agreement signed at the Copenhagen climate change conference or any subsequent meeting of parties to the conference will be put before both Houses of Parliament for approval. [HL811]

As was done for the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, and in accordance with the Ponsonby rule, any treaty signed at the Copenhagen climate change conference or any subsequent meeting of parties to the conference will be laid before Parliament for 21 sitting days before ratification.

Council Tax

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what would have been the financial effect by income decile had council tax been frozen for the past year for which information is available. [HL499]

We estimate that the average change in income by income decile of all UK households as a result of holding 2008-09 rates of council tax constant in cash terms in 2009-10 would be as shown in the table below.

Income decile

Average change for those effected (£ per year)

Bottom

+35

2nd

+35

3rd

+35

4th

+35

5th

+35

6th

+40

7th

+35

8th

+40

9th

+40

Top

+45

These estimates have been calculated from HM Treasury's tax and benefit static micro-simulation model using Family Resources Survey 2007-08 data uprated to 2009-10 levels of prices and earnings. Figures have been rounded to the nearest £5.

Counterterrorism

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the original estimated cost of the Whitehall Streetscape Improvement; what is the current estimated cost; and what proportion of that cost relates to counter-terrorism precautions. [HL792]

The Whitehall Streetscape Improvement project in its entirety is designed to provide physical protection to establishments considered to be at increased risk of attack, particularly from the threat of terrorism.

The original published estimated cost for delivery of the core scheme of the Whitehall Streetscape Improvement Project is £25 million; this figure consisted of:

initial payments covering all stages of project design and the required local authority planning application and listed building consents; and

staged grant payments to Westminster City Council for phased delivery of the project.

An additional sum of £5,500,000 was made available from Home Office CONTEST funds and paid as staged grant payments to Westminster City Council to deliver additional physical security measures previously unaffordable under the original core scheme.

The project remains on target to be delivered within the grant that has been paid and by the completion date of December 2010 and that disaggregation is not possible.

Cyprus

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they propose to transfer part of the sovereign base areas in Cyprus to assist a political settlement in the island. [HL864]

On 10 November 2009 the Government made an offer to the UN Good Offices Mission to cede 45 square miles, almost 50 per cent, of its sovereign base area land to a unified Cyprus. This offer would come into effect in the event of a solution, and it would be up to the two leaders to negotiate what happens to this land.

The land transfer would have no adverse impact on the functioning of the sovereign base areas.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are considering ceasing to be a guarantor power in Cyprus. [HL865]

The Government will be happy to discuss the issue of guarantees at the appropriate stage of the negotiations. We do not envisage being an obstacle to a solution proposed by the two leaders.

Employment: Discrimination

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will place in the Library of the House a copy of the European Commission's reasoned opinion relating to employment for the purposes of religion. [HL554]

There is an understanding between the European Commission and member states that a reasoned opinion in infraction proceedings remains confidential. The Commission publishes the fact that a reasoned opinion has been sent, but not the letter itself. The Government will therefore not be placing in the Library of the House the reasoned opinion which the Commission sent to us on 20 November 2009.

Energy: Nuclear Power Stations

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many incidents involving an explosive or incendiary device have occurred on the premises of the 31 licensed civil nuclear sites in the United Kingdom in each year since 2001. [HL487]

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what were the five incidents referred to on page 4 of the Director of Civil Nuclear Security's report The State of Security in the civil nuclear industry and the effectiveness of security regulation April 2008 to March 2009 that “warranted further investigation and subsequent follow up action”. [HL491]

This information is not releasable for national security reasons.

The criteria for determining whether information is releasable are described in the Finding a Balance document published on the Health and Safety Executive website. The objective of this document is to prevent the disclosure of sensitive nuclear information that could assist a person or group planning theft, blackmail, sabotage and other malevolent or illegal acts. It identifies categories of information which should not be disclosed, provides reasons for protecting this information and indicates the appropriate protective marking to be afforded to such information.

Fishing: Tonnage

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the total tonnage of fish caught by the United Kingdom-registered fishing fleet from species regulated by Common Fisheries Policy quotas in the past year for which the figure is available; and what was the total tonnage of those fish that were discarded. [HL833]

UK fisheries laboratories send observers to sea to record the quantity of fish discarded and retained by fishing vessels. This sampling is intended to provide estimates of discards of the main commercial species, but at present is not representative of all UK fisheries. It is also only possible to sample a proportion of the vessels participating in any fishery. As a consequence, estimates of total discards are subject to uncertainty.

Around 440,000 tonnes of quota stocks were landed by UK vessels in 2008. These were caught in a wide range of different areas and fisheries, many of which were not sampled by scientific observers. Estimates of discards for 2008 are available for the following fisheries:

Fleet—English and Welsh vessels over 10 metres in length.

Areas—North Sea (ICES area IV), and waters to the south and west of England and Wales (ICES area VII).

Species—Demersal quota species (Cod, haddock, plaice, sole, anglerfish etc.).

Estimated 2008 catches—37,000t, of which 27,600t were landed and 9,400t discarded.

Fleet—Scottish vessels over 10 metres in length.

Areas—North Sea (ICES area IV), and west of Scotland (ICES Division Vla).

Species—Cod, haddock, whiting and saithe.

Estimated 2008 Catches—91,700t of which 56,600t were landed and 35,100t discarded.

Fleet—UK vessels fishing for pelagic species.

Areas—All areas.

Species—Mackerel, horse mackerel, herring, sprat, blue whiting.

Estimated 2008 Catches—203,200t of which 198,300t were landed and 4,900t discarded.

In total these fisheries are estimated to have caught around 332,000t of the relevant species in 2008, of which 283,000t was landed and 49,000t were discarded.

Food: Advisory Committees

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government which food advisory committees deal with matters covered by the Official Secrets Acts; and why the Acts were applied in those cases. [HL834]

It would not be in the national interest to identify whether issues relating to national security might be discussed within the context of food advisory committees.

Food: Infant Milk

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will discuss with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees the desirability of entering into a new partnership agreement with Nestlé, with reference to the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes and subsequent relevant World Health Assembly resolutions. [HL378]

We fully support the principles of the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes and subsequent resolutions adopted by the World Health Assembly and are committed to the promotion and encouragement of breastfeeding for infants. We have spoken with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and understand that they are in the process of considering their position.

Freedom of Information Act 2000

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will extend the application of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to activities of the BBC which impose charges on individual members of the public. [HL884]

Except for information held for the purposes of journalism, art or literature, which is expressly excluded, the BBC is subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act. There are no plans to amend the current provisions.

Gilts

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they will take to prevent other European Union member states' government bond yields and prices affecting the sale of United Kingdom gilts. [HL920]

The majority of demand for United Kingdom gilts is from domestic sources such as pension funds and insurance companies, and this demand is likely to be sustained over the medium term. The UK also benefits from being the only regular issuer of sovereign sterling debt instruments.

Health: Continuing Care

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Thornton on 3 November (WA 42–5), whether there was any change in the variation between primary care trusts of the numbers receiving NHS continuing care in the first two quarters of 2009–10. [HL842]

Analysis of the numbers receiving National Health Service-funded continuing care in the first two quarters of 2009-10 shows a slight reduction in the variation in rates receiving continuing care per 10,000 population between primary care trusts, from a standard deviation of 4.5 in quarter 1 to a standard deviation of 4.2 in quarter 2.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the extent to which primary care trusts in which few people are receiving continuing care are meeting their obligations. [HL843]

The department has raised this issue with strategic health authority (SHA) directors of performance.

SHAs have responsibility for working with primary care trusts (PCTs) on performance issues. All SHAs have arrangements in place for obtaining detailed performance data from their PCTs in relation to continuing care.

Since the issuing of the National Framework for National Health Service Continuing Healthcare (CHC) in 2007, the variation in eligibility levels for continuing care between PCTs has reduced significantly, and continues to reduce.

Practice guidance for CHC is presently being developed by the department and key stakeholders for issuing in 2010.

Health: Neo-natal Services

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress they have made in implementing the recommendation in the NHS Toolkit for high-quality neonatal services, that "Every effort is made to keep a mother and her baby/babies in the same hospital during their respective admissions". [HL874]

The Toolkit for High Quality Neonatal Services was launched on 4 November 2009. National Health Service regions, together with neonatal networks are holding implementation events to review what actions they may need to take to implement this best practice toolkit locally.

The NHS Operating Framework for 2010-11 also highlights to the NHS that the toolkit can be used to support them in improving their neonatal services. Networks and commissioners will be reviewing capacity within their areas as part of the unit designation process, which should also take account of transfer issues.

Health: Thalidomide

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what recent developments there have been in addressing the problems and needs of those suffering the effects of thalidomide prescribed by the National Health Service; and what further action they will be taking. [HL924]

The Minister of State for Health has announced, on 23 December, details of a £20 million three-year pilot scheme to explore a more personalised way of meeting the health needs of Thalidomide survivors in England.

Under the scheme, the department will provide the Thalidomide Trust with grant funding, which it will distribute to its beneficiaries to invest in adaptations and other preventive interventions to help reduce their long-term health needs and improve their quality of life.

Infrastructure Planning (Applications, Prescribed Forms and Procedures) Regulations 2009

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government why the definition of “special category land” in regulation 2 of the Infrastructure Planning (Applications: Prescribed Forms and Procedures) Regulations 2009 (SI 2009/2264) differs from the definition in article 30(3) of the Infrastructure Planning (Model Provisions) (England and Wales) Order 2009 (SI 2009/2265). [HL711]

These statutory instruments serve different purposes. The Infrastructure Planning (Applications: Prescribed Forms and Procedures) Regulations 2009 govern the process of making an application for development consent and so the definition of “special category of land” captures all land which is potentially relevant.

The Infrastructure Planning (Model Provisions) (England and Wales) Order 2009 sets out guidance for the types of provision which might be included in an order granting development consent. The model provision at article 30 suggests a reference to the book of reference as it is in existence when an order granting development consent is made.

Infrastructure Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2009

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the definition of “significant” in the definition of “EIA development” in regulation 2 of the Infrastructure Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2009 (SI 2009/2263); and what guidance will be issued on its interpretation. [HL852]

The Infrastructure Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2009 transpose the requirements of EU Directive 85/337/EEC (the EIA Directive, as amended) to the regime established by the Planning Act 2009. The word “significant” in the definition of “EIA development” in regulation 2 of those regulations has the same meaning as in Article 1 of the EIA Directive. Guidance on EIA is available on the Communities and Local Government website. The regulations under Schedule 3 provide selection criteria for screening Schedule 2 development in order to assess whether a development is likely to have significant effects.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether regulation 4(2)(a) of the Infrastructure Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2009 (SI 2009/2263) means that any applicant preferring to take a proposed development to the Commission may do so provided it is covered by one of the descriptions of development in Schedule 2 and is considered by the applicant to be significant. [HL853]

Regulation 4(2)(a) of the Infrastructure Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2009 enables an applicant to determine that their development is subject to EIA without the need to first obtain a screening opinion. This allows the screening step to be skipped where the applicant is confident that the EIA regulations apply.

Whether or not a proposed application falls within the scope of the Planning Act, and must therefore be examined by the IPC, is determined by reference to the thresholds set out in Part 3 of the Act, once the relevant threshold has been commenced.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government in what circumstances the Secretary of State may give a direction under regulation 5(2)(b) of the Infrastructure Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2009 (SI 2009/2263). [HL854]

The Secretary of State may give a direction where the IPC has accepted but not decided an application, and he judges that a direction is an appropriate course of action.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether regulation 5(5)(b) of the Infrastructure Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2009 (SI 2009/2263) will remove any development from all planning procedures. [HL855]

Regulation 5(5)(b) of the Infrastructure Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2009 empowers the Secretary of State to direct that a project falling within its scope is not subject to EIA, for the purposes of those regulations only. It has no bearing on any other planning procedures that may apply to the project, including the procedures established by the Planning Act 2008.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether regulation 5(5)(b) of the Infrastructure Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2009 (SI 2009/2263) may apply to developments instigated by departments other than the Ministry of Defence. [HL856]

Regulation 5(5)(b) of the Infrastructure Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2009 applies to any project falling within its scope, irrespective of the party promoting the project.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Secretary of State is required to make public his reasons for issuing a direction under regulation 5(5)(b) of the Infrastructure Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2009 (SI 2009/2263). [HL857]

Where the Secretary of State issues a direction under regulation 5(5)(b) of the Infrastructure Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2009, he is not required to make public his reasons for doing so.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the periods of 21 days in regulation 6(6), and 42 and 28 days in regulation 8 of the Infrastructure Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2009 (SI 2009/2263) exclude national holidays. [HL887]

The periods of time referred to in regulations 6(6) and 8 of the Infrastructure Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2009 do not exclude public holidays. This is in line with similar provisions in existing consents regimes.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether paragraph 15(c)(vii) of Schedule 3 to the Infrastructure Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2009 (SI 2009/2263) will create a presumption against national infrastructure projects in densely populated areas, including where they concern waste disposal or power generation. [HL888]

Schedule 3 to the regulations sets out selection criteria for screening Schedule 2 development to assist an authority in reaching a decision about whether a development is subject to EIA. The criteria are transposed directly from the EIA Directive.

The fact that EIA is (or is not) required does not create a presumption for or against development taking place.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what will be the effects of the Commission or the relevant authority not adhering to the timetable laid down in regulation 6(6) of the Infrastructure Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2009 (SI 2009/2263). [HL889]

To ask Her Majesty's Government what will be the effects of the Commission or the relevant authority not adhering to the timetables laid down in regulation 8(6), (7) or (8) of the Infrastructure Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2009 (SI 2009/2263). [HL890]

There are no legal penalties which apply should the commission or relevant authority fail to adhere to the deadlines specified in regulations 6(6) and 8(6), (7) or (8) of the Infrastructure Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2009. However, the Government expect the IPC to comply fully with its statutory obligations under the Planning Act 2008 and subordinate legislation. Performance against statutory timetables for EIA scoping and screening decisions are amongst the IPC's key performance indicators, as set out in their interim corporate plan. The Government have given a firm commitment to carry out a two year review of the effectiveness of the IPC.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government with reference to regulation 5(4) of the Infrastructure Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2009 (SI 2009/2263), how the Secretary of State will be made aware that there has been a screening opinion to the effect that the proposed development is not an EIA development. [HL891]

Where a proposed development has been the subject of a screening opinion to the effect that it is not EIA development, it is the Government's expectation that the IPC will make the Secretary of State aware of this decision in the normal course of its business.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what elements of cost will be included in the charge made under regulation 9(5) of the Infrastructure Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2009 (SI 2009/2263); whether the charge will be fixed by each body listed in regulation 9(3) for all applications over a set period; and whether the applicant will be able to access the charge rate before deciding whether to notify the Commission under regulation 6(1)(b). [HL892]

A body consulted under regulation 9(3) of the Infrastructure Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2009 must provide information that is relevant to the preparation of an environmental statement for a proposed project, subject to certain exemptions. Under regulation 9(5), that body may require a charge to be paid for the costs reasonably incurred in providing such information.

It is for the relevant body to set any charge, which would vary depending on the information to be provided.

Infrastructure Planning (Model Provisions) (England and Wales) Order 2009

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government why a limit is set for the completion of works under the Infrastructure Planning (Model Provisions) (England and Wales) Order 2009 (SI 2009/2265), while in Schedule 4 to the Order the limit concerns the commencement of the works. [HL626]

Both provisions relate to ensuring that any works granted development consent under the Planning Act 2008 commence and complete in a timely manner. Such provisions avoid prolonged disruption and the unnecessary eyesore of unfinished works as well as, to some extent, deterring blight.

Iraq: Chilcot Inquiry

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they will take to ensure that the Chilcot Inquiry does not regularly withhold evidence from publication. [HL921]

Should the inquiry wish to disclose any government information, the process for doing so is set out in the information protocol agreed with the inquiry and published on the Cabinet Office's website on 29 October.

Lisbon Treaty

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how they will follow up the ratification of the Lisbon treaty with an information programme for the British public about the enhanced legislative role of European Parliament. [HL783]

A fact sheet of the changes that the Lisbon treaty brings, including the greater role of the European Parliament in agreeing legislation, is available on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's website (http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/global-issues/institutions/britain-in-the-european-union/eu-lisbon-treaty1/what-the-lisbon-treaty-will-do). The UK Office of the European Parliament runs a range of information programmes for the British public on the European Parliament, details of which can be found on its website (http://www.europarl.org.uk).

Local Government: Water Management

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many government offices in the south-east of England are fitted with rainwater harvesting systems for flushing water closets. [HL896]

Minister for the Olympics: Overseas Visits

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Davies of Oldham on 9 December (WA 135) which referred only to costs, what were the destinations, purposes and names of those in each official party of overseas visits on ministerial business undertaken by the Minister for the Olympics in (a) 2008, and (b) 2009 to date. [HL722]

The annual list of all ministerial travel costing over £500, referred to in my previous Answer on 9 December 2009 (Official Report, col. (WA 135), includes the cost, destination and purpose of the trip. It also provides information on the number of officials who accompanied the Minister.

National Audit Office

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the remarks by Lord Davies of Oldham on 7 December (Official Report, House of Lords, col. 952), what is the source of the statements that “the National Audit Office … noted that projects across the programme are making significant improvements to the efficiency of public services” and “our £26.5 billion SR04 savings … meet the most robust data category of the National Audit Office”. [HL672]

The National Audit Office's review of the SR04 efficiency programme The Efficiency Programme: A Second Review of Progress noted that, “projects across the programme are making significant improvements to the efficiency of public services”.

At the end of the Gershon programme departments reported their savings against criteria based on those used by the National Audit Office and only reported savings that met these criteria. HM Treasury reported these savings in November 2008 in 2004 Spending Review: final report on the efficiency programme.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the remarks by Lord Davies of Oldham on 7 December (Official Report, House of Lords, col. 952) saying that “the National Audit Office … noted that projects across the programme are making significant improvements to the efficiency of public services”, how that statement relates to the finding of the National Audit Office in their report The Efficiency Programme: A Second Review of Progress that only 26 per cent of claimed efficiency savings “fairly represent efficiencies made”. [HL673]

The National Audit Office's review of the SR04 efficiency programme The Efficiency Programme: A Second Review of Progress noted that “projects across the programme are making significant improvements to the efficiency of public services”.

The review rated 26 per cent of the savings reported as fulfilling NAO criteria. A further £6.7 billion of savings were said to represent efficiencies but were carrying some measurement issues. Additionally the NAO review stated “It is also important to note that problems with measurement mean that it is possible that in some areas of the programme efficiency gains are being understated”.

In response to the NAO's review departments focused on strengthening the reporting and measurement of savings.

HM Treasury produced a final report on the SR04 efficiency programme in November 2008 2004 Spending Review: final report on the efficiency programme. Treasury reported the £26.5 billion of savings that departments had declared against criteria based on those used by the National Audit Office and only reported savings that met these criteria.

NHS: IT Strategy

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Thornton on 20 October (WA 62), what were in March 2007 and March 2009 and what are forecast to be in March 2010 the total number of front-line systems installed by the NHS National Programme for IT under the headings (a) electronic prescription service, (b) choose and book, (c) general practitioner systems, (d) Map of Medicine, (e) GP2GP record transfer, (f) Acute Hospital Trust Patient Administration Systems, (g) Picture Archiving and Communications Systems, (h) radiology systems, (i) theatre systems, (j) accident and emergency systems, (k) community systems, (l) child health systems, (m) mental health trust patient administration systems, (n) prior systems, and (o) other systems; and what is the estimated number of further systems under each heading required to complete the National Programme for IT after March 2010. [HL829]

The information is in the following table.

March 2007

March 2009

March 2010 (l)

Electronic Prescription service (EPS) - GP

1,812

6,583

6,987

EPS - Pharmacy

2,790

8,836

9,247

Choose & Book

6,984

7,464

7,532

General Practitioner systems

591

904

1,122

Map of Medicine

149

273

331

GP2GP record transfer

613

4,958

5,209

Acute Hospital Trust Patient Administration Systems (2)

19

43

62

Picture Archiving and Communication systems (3)

258

304

304

Radiology systems (3)

44

71

71

Theatre systems

21

33

54

Accident and Emergency systems

16

37

42

Community systems

42

43

70

Child Health systems

44

64

113

Mental Health Trust Patient Administration systems (2)

18

25

26

Community Patient Administration Systems (2)

59

78

82

Prior systems

n/a

n/a

n/a

Notes:

(1) Forecast deployment information is accurate as at 31 December 2009, but is subject to change.

(2) Figures include deployments of the Lorenzo Care Management deployment unit/module.

(3) Figures are for the number of site installations within Trusts. The final deployments as part of the national programme took place prior to 31 March 2009.

Plans for the pace and scale of future deployments beyond 2009-10 are currently being reviewed in the light of announcements made in the Pre-budget Report, and of the evolving information technology needs of the National Health Service.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what were the total financial savings and the annualised recurring savings from the NHS National Programme for IT at (a) 31 March 2007, and (b) 31 March 2009. [HL831]

In March 2008, the Department published the National Programme for IT in the NHS: Benefits Statement 2006/07. The document included an appendix listing actual reported, and annualised recurrent, cash-releasing savings attributable to the programme as at 31 March 2007, totalling £208 millions and £119 millions respectively.

In response to a report on the programme published in January 2009 by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), the department is reassessing the methodology used to capture the programme's benefits. The department is committed to finding a new approach with the aim of combining publication of the annual benefits statement with a first Annual Report of Progress on the Programme to 31 March 2010. This will include reliable estimates of overall costs and benefits and will be auditable.

Personal Care at Home Bill

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Thornton on 8 December (WA 115–16), why their estimate of the year-to-year increase in the cost of the Personal Care at Home Bill makes no provision for an increase in demand; whether that takes account of evidence from the Scottish Government suggesting that demand increases when personal care at home is made free; and whether the forecast price increases of two per cent per year takes account of that evidence's suggestion that costs rise at a higher rate. [HL879]

Estimates of the cost of extending free personal care at home to all those with the highest needs, as presented in the Impact Assessment for the Personal Care at Home Bill, incorporate three specific demand effects.

First, the number of older people who would otherwise have entered residential care, but who choose instead to receive free personal care at home, has been estimated. Secondly, older people whose needs would otherwise be classed as critical under Fair Access to Care Services were it not for their receipt of informal care may in future decide to withdraw from their informal care in order to qualify for free personal care. An estimate of the number of such individuals has been included in the estimated costs. Thirdly, the Personal Social Services Research Unit’s estimate of the number of older people who would in future qualify for free personal care at home, but who currently neither receive free personal care nor make a means-tested contribution, includes those with unmet need. It is therefore not just an estimate of the number of older people who pay for all of their own care now; it also includes those who are not fully meeting their needs privately.

The Scottish experience of extending free personal care differs in respect of coverage, in that it is not limited to those with the highest needs and it includes people in residential care. In addition, the relative prices of residential and home care, eligibility criteria and preferences may also differ. For these reasons, it was not considered appropriate to extrapolate changes in demand for personal care in Scotland to the English context.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether local authorities may use the £550 million saving that the Pre-Budget Report required them to make by 2012–13 to meet their share of the costs of implementing the Personal Care at Home Bill. [HL881]

The Pre-Budget Report announced that councils will make £250 million efficiency savings by 2012-13 from reducing the significant variations in the proportion of funding that councils spend on residential care provision through supporting more people to live for longer in their own homes.

These efficiency savings will be used to help meet the ever-growing pressure on budgets from demographic changes and to support more people to live in their homes through the offer of free personal care for those with the greatest need. These savings may be used alongside the funding made available by the department to deliver the proposals of the Personal Care at Home Bill.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether assessments made by a local authority under the Personal Care at Home Bill will be made available to another authority should a person move area. [HL882]

The proposals for regulations and guidance under the Personal Care at Home Bill are being consulted upon. The department plans to develop a national assessment tool for all authorities to use to ensure a consistent application of the eligibility criteria for free personal care at home. Comments on this, along with the potential portability of any assessments is a matter for the consultation, Personal Care at Home: a consultation on proposals for regulations and guidance.

The consultation document has been placed in the Library and on the department’s website at:

www.dh.gov.uk/en/Consultations/Liveconsultations/DH_109139.

Somalia: Pirates

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether in any encounters between Royal Navy units and suspected pirates operating off the coast of Somalia hostages were being held; and, if so, whether they were released following the Royal Navy's intervention. [HL525]

Since October 2008, Royal Navy units have carried out compliant boardings on three suspected pirates vessels where hostages were subsequently found on board. In all three cases the hostages were released following the Royal Navy's intervention.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Royal Naval forces off the coast of Somalia have given any aid, advice or sustenance to suspected pirates; and, if so, whether it was subject to conditions. [HL526]

To date there have been four instances where water, fuel or food has been provided to suspected pirates in line with our duty under international law to render assistance to ensure safety of life at sea. In these cases, following detailed analysis of all physical evidence, suspects were released as it was assessed that there was insufficient evidence to be reasonably confident that a successful prosecution could be undertaken. Any suspected pirate equipment was destroyed to prevent its future use.

Sport: Budgets

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how much has been spent by each of the Regional Sports Boards in each year since 1987; and what have been the annual operating budgets for each of the boards. [HL483]

Sport England has supplied the information below. Regional Sport Boards were officially formed in 2004 and disbanded in 2008 therefore the following information is for that time period.

Regional Sports Board Operating Expenditure

Department Description

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

North East Region

£13,215

£14,952

£16,921

£15,446

£5,094

Yorkshire Region

£6,392

£5,963

£5,330

£2,484

£1,457

East Midlands Region

£685

£4,247

£2,754

£6,599

£616

East Region

£13,803

£16,656

£8,354

£7,072

£6,366

London Region

-

£2,281

£1,251

£2,888

£324

South East Region

£7,161

£10,148

£9,508

£6,315

£3,353

South West Region

£15,012

£16,353

£19,213

£15,203

£3,011

West Midlands Region

£,1168

£2,284

£6,252

£10,792

£3,273

North West Region

£3,509

£7,978

£15,626

£18,535

£7,489

Totals

£ 60,944

£80,861

£85,208

£85,333

£30,983

Chairman RemunerationSalary Band £'000

Board Member

Appointments held

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

Ged Roddy

Vice Chair until Oct 2008, Board Member from Feb 2007 to Jan 2009, RSB Chair from Dec 2005 to Dec 2008

n/a

-

10-15

20-25

10-15

Andy Worthington

Board Member from Feb 2007 to May 2008, RSB Chair from Jun 2006 to Dec 2008

n/a

0-5-

10-15

10-15

5-10

John Brewer

RSB Chair from Oct 2007 to Dec 2008

n/a

n/a

n/a

0-5

5-10

Stephen Castle

RSB Chair from Aug 2005 to Dec 2008

n/a

-

10-15

5-10

5-10

Len Jackson

RSB Chair from Dec 2005 to Dec 2008

n/a

-

10-15

10-15

5-10

Mary McAnally

RSB Chair from Dec 2005 to Dec 2008

n/a

0-5

10-15

10-15

5-10

Paul Millman

RSB Chair from Jan 2008 to Aug 2008 (interim for Mary McAnally)

n/a

n/a

n/a

-

5-10

Rauf Mirza

RSB Chair from Jun 2006 to Dec 2008

n/a

-

5-10

10-15

5-10

Peter Price

RSB Chair from Dec 2005 to Dec 2008

n/a

-

10-15

10-15

5-10

Peter Rowley

RSB Chair from Nov 2007 to Dec 2008

n/a

n/a

n/a

0-5

5-10

Philip Lewis

RSB Chair from Apr 2004 to Sep 2007

-

-

10-15

5-10

0-5

Tim Cantle-Jones

RSB Chair from Jan 2003 to Dec 2007

0-5

0-5

10- 15

5-10

0-5

* All figures are taken from the relevant annual report & accounts of the English Sports Council

* Remuneration band reflects total of all appointments held

Telephone Polls

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they have given to introducing a requirement that the full results, including the total votes cast and how many for each option, be published for telephone polls conducted by (a) the BBC, and (b) commercial broadcasters. [HL883]

The Government have no plans to introduce such requirements either for the BBC or for commercial broadcasters. Under the terms of the statutory framework and the BBC Charter, the public service broadcasters are independent of Government and there is no provision for Government to intervene in such matters. Similarly, there is no provision for Government to intervene in such matters in relation to other broadcasters.