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Written Answers

Volume 716: debated on Wednesday 27 January 2010

Written Answers

Wednesday 27 January 2010

Afghanistan

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many times Ministers have visited Afghanistan in the past 12 months to see (a) the work of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces, and (b) development projects; how much time they spent examining development projects; and what steps they took to publicise such visits to development projects. [HL851]

Details of ministerial travel, including the purpose of visits, is published annually. Information for previous years is available in the House Library and on the Cabinet Office website http://www.cabinetoffice. gov.uk/propriety_and_ethics/ministers/travel_gifts .aspx.

Information for the current year will be published as soon as it is available. Details on specific programmes and steps taken to publicise each visit are not centrally held. To provide additional information would incur disproportionate costs.

Agriculture: Dairy Farms

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what were the levels of (a) imports, and (b) exports, for United Kingdom dairy industry products for each year from 2003 to 2009. [HL1406]

The Answer to the Question is given in the tables below. The latest information available is up to October 2009.

Table 1

UK trade in liquid drinking milk (pasteurised or UHT), 2003 to Oct 2009

Million litres

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

Jan to Oct 2009 (Prov)

Exports

193

251

485

512

423

457

377

Imports

37

55

47

84

88

134

75

Table 2

UK trade in milk products, 2003 to Oct 2009

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

Jan to Oct 2009 (Prov)

Exports

Butter

44

35

45

36

32

24

22

Cheese

90

93

96

104

97

88

87

Condensed Milk

20

18

4

6

6

3

4

Cream

114

81

93

94

78

62

51

Milk powders

173

186

102

96

105

98

60

Imports

Butter

118

114

129

147

103

81

74

Cheese

316

335

353

378

403

422

342

Condensed Milk

20

25

33

45

41

39

31

Cream

15

15

30

37

43

55

54

Milk powders

45

68

78

51

61

66

67

Source: HMRC

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many (a) dairy farmers, and (b) dairy cows, there were in each year from 2000 to 2009. [HL1407]

Changes in the number of farmers and dairy cows are just two elements of the structural changes that have taken place in the sector. The long-term trend in dairy production is towards fewer, larger and more productive herds. The table below provides the fuller picture on the structural changes in the sector and shows how the decline in the number of dairy farms and farmers has been offset by an increase in average herd size and milk yields.

The number of principal farmers on dairy holdings is not yet available for 2009, so the most recent data cover up to 2008. The 2009 data will be released in March 2010.

The decrease in the numbers of dairy farmers in England between 2000 and 2008 (-26 per cent) is less than the fall in the number of holdings with dairy cows between 2000 and 2009 (-36 per cent). This reflects a rise in the average number of farmers per farm over the period as the average farm size has increased.

However, the number of dairy cows has decreased by less (-24 per cent), reflecting a rise in the average herd size.

Number of dairy farmsNo farmers (a) on dairy holdingsNumber of dairy cows (thousands)

(b)

(c)

(b)

(c)

(b)

(c)

2000

15,219

31,418

1,576

2001

14,293

30,178

1,490

2002

14,537

30,425

1,462

2003

13,770

28,918

1,435

2004

13,264

28,057

1,374

2005

12,918

26,168

1,311

2006

11,522

11,079

22,483

25,706

1,259

1,290

2007

10,907

21,082

1,236

2008

10,331

20,122

1,199

2009

9,805

--

--

--

1,163

% change between 2000 and 2009(e)

-36%

-26%

-24%

-- not yet available

(a) Farmers are defined as principal farmers, partners, directors and spouses if working on the holding.

(b) Sourced from the Cattle Tracing System (CTS). Defined as the number of holdings on 1 June each year with more than 10 dairy cows in the milking herd. CTS became the main source of cattle data from 2006 onwards. Results prior to this were sourced from the June Survey of Agriculture but are not directly comparable.

(c) Sourced from the June Survey of Agriculture. Defined as the number of holdings with dairy as the predominant farming activity.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they hold statistics on the market value of female dairy animals sold in English livestock markets. [HL1409]

Statistics on the market value of dairy animals sold in English livestock markets are held by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board. These statistics are provided to Defra on a monthly basis, split into 13 categories by age and pedigree or non-pedigree status. The information is then published on the Defra website at https://statistics.defra.gov.uk/esg/publications/amr/default.asp.

Agriculture: Wildlife

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what measures they are considering to ensure that farmers preserve and enhance wildlife on their land. [HL1370]

Many of our wildlife species and best habitat sites are already protected by legislation, and individuals should be free to manage wildlife within the law with government intervening only when necessary.

The Government provide funding (£2.9 billion) to farmers and land managers through agri-environment schemes under the Rural Development Programme for England for the effective environmental management of land to meet scheme objectives including conservation of wildlife (biodiversity).

Environmental stewardship, in particular entry level stewardship (which covers more than 5 million hectares), is the main delivery mechanism for promotion of farmland bird recovery, including as part of the campaign for the farmed environment to recapture the benefits of former set-aside. Higher-level stewardship is a major deliverer for achieving favourable condition of sites of special scientific interest (SSSIs).

Recommendations from a review of progress of environmental stewardship have been incorporated into the scheme in time for the first renewals of entry-level stewardship; more than 26,000 agreements expire in 2010-11. A new training and information programme to assist farmers in targeting options appropriately on their land and ensuring best environmental practice is due to commence in February.

Armed Forces: Health

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what proportion of the 16,000 service personnel deemed unfit for battle are overweight. [HL1476]

I refer the noble Lord to the Answer given in the other place by my honourable friend the Minister for Veterans on 14 December 2009, (Official Report, Commons, col. 820W) in response to a Question by the honourable Member for Portsmouth South (Mr Hancock).

Armed Forces: Senior Staff

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what active service each of the 47 senior officers of the ranks of Vice-Admiral, Lieutenant-General, Air Marshal and above have been involved in. [HL1017]

All officers that reach the ranks of Vice-Admiral, Lieutenant-General, Air Marshal and above have undertaken a number of challenging, demanding and varied roles both within an operational environment and in direct support of it.

In addition, all will have undertaken postgraduate training through the Defence Academy and will have attended the advanced staff course. Furthermore, many will have also attended the Royal College of Defence Studies, involving close engagement with current international issues. To determine which training each officer received would require a manual search of personal records incurring a disproportionate cost.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many senior officers of the ranks of Vice-Admiral, Lieutenant-General, Air Marshal and above there were in (a) 1945, (b) 1960, (c) 1970, (d) 1980 and (e) 1990. [HL1022]

Information on the number of Vice-Admirals, Lieutenant-Generals, Air Marshals and above for the years requested is not held as a management information system report. The following table has been reproduced from entries made in the Navy List, the Army List and the Air Force List for the respective years.

YearNo. of Officers

Total

Naval Service

Army

Royal Air Force

1945

112

36

62

14

1960

79

30

29

20

1970

56

23

23

20

1980

57

19

17

21

1990

51

17

18

16

Aviation: Air Traffic Control

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have regarding air traffic control. [HL1389]

On 8 December the Government published the Operational Efficiency Programme: Asset Portfolio.

The portfolio includes a section on NATS which notes that, in light of the impending expiry of the restrictions on the transfer of shares for NATS, it is appropriate for the Government to engage with other shareholders who are likely to consider the shareholding options available to them.

No decision has been made by the Government with regard to reducing their shareholding. Any options considered would be required to best meet the needs of the company and its workforce, as well as of shareholders.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the 20-year European Union plan to improve air traffic controls is still in place; and, if so, what stage it is at. [HL1390]

The single European sky initiative was first launched in 1999 and is still in place. The first package of measures under the initiative has led to the separation of service provision from regulation to improve the interoperability of air traffic control equipment, as well as common approaches to the certification of service providers and to the charging of users in this field.

A second package of measures was agreed by the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament on 4 December 2009 to reinvigorate the initiative. This will see the introduction of a Europe-wide performance scheme to incentivise better air traffic management by 2012 and better co-ordinated management of the network. It also imposes a deadline of 2012 for the introduction of functional airspace blocs within which groups of EU member states will co-ordinate their air traffic management. The UK and Ireland have led the way in this area, concluding the first functional airspace bloc in July 2008.

SESAR (Single European Sky ATM Research) is the single European sky project to develop the technology needed to modernise air traffic management across Europe. It was launched on 12 July 2009 as a partnership between the European Commission, Eurocontrol (the intergovernmental organisation for air traffic control in Europe) and 15 industry partners, including NATS and a consortium that includes BAA amongst its membership.

Aviation: Security

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what responsibility they have for the security of flights coming to the United Kingdom from JFK airport in New York; what assessment they have made of security checks on passengers and hand luggage at JFK airport for flights coming to the United Kingdom; and what assessment they have made of security checks, including scanning of shoes, at JFK airport on staff going airside to United Kingdom-bound flights. [HL1400]

The security of flights inbound to the United Kingdom is subject to the principle of host state responsibility, under which each state is responsible for the security of flights departing from its territory. This is governed by international law as set down by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). The responsibility for aviation security at JFK is therefore a matter for the US.

UK aviation security officials visited JFK airport last year to observe the security afforded to UK airline operations. It would not be appropriate, for obvious reasons, to comment further on the security measures in place.

Banking: European Central Bank

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the United Kingdom will be required to make a contribution to the cost of building a proposed new headquarters for the European Central Bank in Frankfurt. [HL1208]

Banking: Iceland

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Myners on 13 January (WA 154), what were the criteria used to decide that all Icesave retail depositors with the United Kingdom branch of Landsbanki should have their deposits returned in full; what was the cost of doing so; what legal powers were used to do so; and whether they are likely to recover that money. [HL1417]

Under the EU banking consolidation directive, firms with permission in their home EEA states to perform deposit-taking activities may establish branches in the UK. However, in order to exercise this passport right, a firm must have satisfied the conditions set out in Schedule 3 to the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. These conditions include the requirement for the FSA to have received a consent notice from the firm’s home regulator that it has given consent for the firm to establish a branch in the UK. Landsbanki satisfied these conditions and exercised its passport right to establish a branch in the UK, where it carried on deposit-taking business.

The EC deposit guarantee schemes directive (94/19/EC) sets the minimum terms on which depositors are protected throughout the European Union and European Economic Area (EEA). All EEA member states are required to ensure that the deposit guarantee schemes directive is adequately implemented in their territories.

Under the directive, depositors at branches in a host state are covered by the guarantee scheme of the home state. Depositors with the UK branch of Landsbanki were therefore eligible for compensation (for deposits up to €20,887) from Iceland’s Depositors’ and Investors’ Guarantee Fund (DIGF).

Where a bank’s home state scheme provides a lower limit of compensation than the UK FSCS, or the scope of protection is less than the FSCS’s, the bank may choose to join the FSCS to top up the level of protection offered by the home state scheme.

Landsbanki chose to exercise this top-up option, meaning that depositors with the UK branch are protected to the FSCS limit per depositor and therefore may claim from the FSCS for the amount of their deposits above the DIGF limit to £50,000 (the FSCS limit).

Landsbanki, the Icelandic bank, is authorised and regulated by the financial services regulator in Iceland. Landsbanki’s UK branch is subject to limited regulation by the UK Financial Services Authority (FSA).

On 8 October 2008 the FSA announced that the UK branch of Landsbanki was in default for the purposes of the FSCS. The Chancellor announced that all retail depositors with the UK branch of Landsbanki would receive their money in full. The Government’s objectives in taking action in relation to the UK branch of Landsbanki were to maintain financial stability and to minimise the exposure of, and costs to, taxpayers.

In total, around £4.5 billion has been paid. It is estimated that this includes £2.35 billion compensation that the UK Government paid out to depositors on behalf of the Iceland Depositors’ and Investors’ Guarantee Fund (DIGF), £1.4 billion paid out by the FSCS for deposits above €20,887 and below £50,000, and £800 million paid out by the UK Government in respect of deposits above £50,000.

In guaranteeing UK retail depositors of the Icelandic banks, the Treasury acted under its common law powers. The statutory authority for the Treasury to incur this expenditure was provided by Section 228 of the Banking Act 2009 (retrospectively).

We expect that the FSCS and HM Treasury will make significant recoveries of the compensation paid to depositors through the winding up of Landsbanki. In relation to the compensation paid out on behalf of the DIGF, on 5 June 2009, the UK Government reached agreement with the Icelandic authorities on a process to ensure the UK is refunded. The terms of the loan arrangements are set out in my letter to the House of 13 January (WA 154). They include a state guarantee which, under Icelandic law, must be authorised by the Icelandic Parliament in order to take effect.

A Bill was passed in August to this effect but with a number of conditions introduced by the Icelandic Parliament. Following further negotiations, the loan agreement was amended to take account of these conditions. On 30 December, the Parliament in Iceland endorsed the loan arrangement and agreed a state guarantee. However, on 5 January 2010 the Icelandic President announced that he would not sign the Bill that the Parliament had approved, and instead proposed a referendum. A referendum has been scheduled for 6 March 2010.

The UK Government have received assurances from the Icelandic Government that they remain committed to meeting their legal obligations under EEA law and intend to repay the loan in full.

Banks: Taxes

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will consider introducing taxes similar to a capital levy on banks in receipt of public money, similar to the proposals of the Government of the United States. [HL1340]

The United States has announced a levy to recoup $117 billion that it expects to lose from interventions under the troubled asset relief programme. We believe that UK losses from banking sector interventions will be minimal at worst. The need for a similar levy therefore does not apply. The UK is, however, leading a global debate on how to ensure that banks, not taxpayers, support the financial sector in respect of any future emergencies.

Benefits: Attendance Allowance

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government in the last year for which figures are available, how much in total was paid to recipients of attendance allowance who first received the allowance in that year. [HL1202]

Bovine Tuberculosis

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will introduce a compensation scheme for bovine tuberculosis which varies payments according to the value of cattle. [HL1408]

Compensation for cattle affected by bovine tuberculosis (TB) in England is determined each month, primarily using table valuations based on contemporaneous sales prices. The 47 different cattle categories are based on the animal’s age, gender, type (dairy or beef), and status (pedigree or non-pedigree).

A judicial review of the compensation system accepted Defra’s submission that the true value of any animal affected by TB is the salvage value of its carcass, and there are no plans to introduce any substantial changes to the current system.

Carers: Tax

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they are considering introducing tax breaks for long-term carers with definite commitments. [HL1372]

The Government keep all areas of tax policy under review. At the 2009 Pre-Budget Report, the Government announced an improvement in the tax arrangements for carers looking after vulnerable individuals under a qualifying “shared lives” scheme (also known as adult placement carers). From 6 April 2010, shared lives carers will receive a tax-free allowance for their caring income similar to the current foster care relief.

The Government also took action to ensure, from the date of the Pre-Budget Report, that there is no loss of capital gains tax private residence relief where adult placement carers use part of their home exclusively for the accommodation of an adult in care.

In addition, to help carers balance work with caring responsibilities, the Building Britains Recovery White Paper (published in December 2009) announced that the Government will carry out a consultation on how we can help individuals meet their caring responsibilities while remaining in employment. It also announced raising the earnings limit within the carer’s allowance from £95 a week to £100 a week to increase work incentives for carers.

The Government also published a revised national carers strategy in June 2008. Key components of the new strategy will ensure that carers have increased choice and control, and are empowered to have a life outside caring. They are investing over £255 million to ensure that the new strategy is implemented.

Crime: Suspicious Activity Reports

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government further to the Written Answer by Lord West of Spithead on 16 December 2009 (WA 16), what steps are taken to ensure that persons subject to suspicious activity reports (SARs) made anonymously or by unknown persons are checked before the SARs are recorded on the Elmer database of the Serious Organised Crime Agency; and how they will ensure that anonymous SARs which may have been made maliciously do not result in individuals being entered on to the Elmer database. [HL1154]

All suspicious activity reports received by the Serious Organised Crime Agency are recorded on the Elmer database. SOCA does not take steps to establish whether an unknown or anonymous reporter’s suspicions are unfounded before the information is recorded on Elmer. A SAR can be used in combination with other sources of intelligence to contribute towards a particular law enforcement investigation. If a SAR had been submitted maliciously, this fact would become apparent in the course of an investigation, when the information was cross-checked with other forms of intelligence.

In these circumstances, and where a SAR is submitted electronically, the relevant local enforcement agency can attach an appropriate flag to the SAR to indicate no further action. Procedures on the handling of SARs may be revised depending on the outcome and recommendations of the forthcoming Information Commissioner’s review.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will continue to allow local authorities direct access to the Elmer database of the Serious Organised Crime Agency; and what guidance has been given to local authorities about the purposes for which they should access Elmer. [HL1156]

No local authority has direct access to the Elmer database. However, accredited financial investigators at some local authorities have access through terminals housed in local police units. The Serious Organised Crime Agency provides guidance material to users and all users are required to attend training delivered by the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) or SOCA before accessing the database.

Future access to Elmer by local authorities and other potential end users will be subject to review in 2010, as indicated in the action plan in the SARs annual report 2009.

Crown Dependencies

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the form and financial equivalent of the current annual voluntary contribution each of the Crown Dependencies makes to the costs of their defence and international representation by the United Kingdom. [HL985]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government through what procedures the size and shape of the voluntary contributions each of the Crown Dependencies makes to the costs of their defence and international representation by the United Kingdom are agreed. [HL986]

The UK is responsible for the defence and international relations of the Crown Dependencies, Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man. Jersey and Guernsey surrender hereditary revenues of the Crown to the Consolidated Fund in accordance with the Jersey and Guernsey (Financial Provisions) Act 1947. The last such payment from Jersey was for an amount of £225,000 in November 2008 and the last payment from Guernsey was an amount of £7,910,000 in February 2003.

The Isle of Man makes contributions in accordance with the Contribution Agreement 1994. The most recent contribution was £2,559,278.55, made in February 2009. The amount is initially calculated by the chief accountant of the Isle of Man Government Treasury Department, and then agreed with the UK Government.

Democratic Republic of Congo

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their estimate of the numbers displaced by the conflict in the north-east of the Democratic Republic of Congo; and what assessment they have made of the capacity of the United Nations agencies, including peace-keeping forces, to respond. [HL911]

The United Nations (UN) estimates that over 1.5 million people are currently displaced as a result of the conflict in the north-east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). There are approximately two million internally displaced people across the DRC.

The Government consider the UN’s capacity to respond, including that of the peacekeeping force, to be reasonable. Major loss of life due to displacement has been averted.

Disabled People: Leonard Cheshire Report

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their response to Leonard Cheshire Disability’s report Disability and the downturn; and what action they will take on its findings. [HL1290]

The department welcomes the report and is aware of the difficulties that disabled people may face in a recession. The Minister for Disabled People met with Leonard Cheshire on 19 January to discuss the report and its annual review. However, the department will not be publishing a formal response to the report.

We believe no one should be left behind on benefits or in poverty. We have a range of programmes designed to help disabled people overcome barriers and obstacles and move into and retain employment. Pathways to Work is available to everyone claiming incapacity benefits and employment and support allowance in Great Britain, and we have a range of specialist provision, including Access to Work, for those with greater needs.

Education: NEETs

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action has been taken to reduce the number of persons not in education, employment or training (NEETs); and what steps they have taken to re-engage those young people who are in the NEETs category. [HL1243]

The Government have taken decisive steps to strengthen existing provision and put in place new support to reduce the proportion of young people who are not in education, employment or training. In December 2009, the Department for Children, Schools and Families, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Department for Work and Pensions jointly published Investing in Potential, our strategy to increase the proportion of 16-24 year-olds in education, employment or training.

Through the September guarantee, we offer all 16 and 17 year-olds a suitable place in learning. In 2009, almost 96 per cent of 16 year-olds and almost 90 per cent of 17 year-olds said that they wanted to continue in learning and received a suitable offer through the guarantee. We are building on this with a January guarantee in 2010, which will offer all 16 and 17 year- olds who are not in education, employment or training this month a place in entry-to-employment provision.

We will invest a total of £8.2 billion in 2010-11 to fund learning for 1.6 million young people, the highest ever number of young people participating in education and training in our country’s history, and we will increase 16-19 funding by 0.9 per cent in real terms in 2011-12 and 2012-13 to continue our commitment to the September guarantee. We are also investing more than £650 million in 2009-10 in financial support for 16-18 year-olds, including education maintenance allowance, care to learn and discretionary learner support funds, to help young people overcome financial barriers to participation.

Through our 14-19 reform programme, we are transforming the range of qualifications on offer to ensure that there are options available to suit every young person’s needs.

Apprenticeships are one of these key routes and we are creating an additional 35,000 apprenticeship places in 2009-10, including 21,000 in the public sector. By March 2010, the National Apprenticeship Service will provide 5,000 subsidies to employers to support them to take on 16 and 17 year-olds as apprentices.

The young person’s guarantee will ensure that 18-24 year-olds still unemployed after six months will be guaranteed access to a job, training or work experience. This will be supported by more time with their personal adviser.

We are widening participation in higher education to ensure that all those with the potential and merit to benefit are able and willing to do so. We have created the Graduate Talent Pool, which has offered over 12,000 vacancies for graduate internships since its launch at the end of July 2009. For those new graduates who cannot find work, the graduate guarantee ensures that those still unemployed at six months will have access to an internship, training or help to become self-employed.

Together, these measures represent a clear and substantial offer of support that will continue to prevent young people becoming NEETs and help those who are not in education, employment or training to re-engage.

Embryology

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Thornton on 14 January (WA 170–1) regarding multiple inquiries from the media about the use of eggs under research licence R0152, what specific information was sought from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority’s press office, rather than requested under the Freedom of Information Act 2000; and what were the details of each response provided to those requests at the time. [HL1375]

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority has advised that its press office receives hundreds of queries every year, a large number of which are over the telephone, and it is not, therefore, possible to put together a comprehensive record of the information requested by the noble Lord.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government further to the reply by the Minister of State for the Department of Health, Gillian Merron, on 12 January (Official Report, Commons, col. 552), why there is to be an internal governance review of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority’s performance instead of an externally led inquiry. [HL1376]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government further to the reply by the Minister of State for the Department of Health, Gillian Merron, on 12 January (Official Report, Commons, col. 552), what arrangements are in place to ensure that all appropriate information will be provided to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority’s internal governance review. [HL1377]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will place in the Library of the House a full copy of the documents regarding the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority faxed to the office of the Minister of State for the Department of Health, Gillian Merron, by Dr Evan Harris on 12 January. [HL1378]

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has advised that it determined it unnecessary for the review to be undertaken by an external person. The purpose of the review is to assess the adequacy of the Authority’s revised governance arrangements in relation to the threshold between administrative enforcement of its powers and the sphere of criminal law. The HFEA consider this internal review to be the right way to look critically at what happened and to ensure changes made since then, to its processes and procedures, provide it with adequate governance arrangements.

The senior officer undertaking the review has devoted many months to reviewing the extensive documentation held by the HFEA. The senior officer will shortly contact those involved inviting them to contribute.

A copy of the HFEA internal memo provided to the office of the Minister for Public Health by Dr. Evan Harris MP on 12 January 2010 has been placed in the Library.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government further to the reply by the Minister of State for the Department of Health, Gillian Merron, on 12 January (HC Deb, col. 552), what was the cost to public funds of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority’s investigations of Dr Mohamed Taranissi’s Assisted Reproduction and Gynaecology Centre; what was the outcome of those investigations; in what capacity were any staff of the Authority involved in the inquiry subsequently employed by the Department of Health; and whether individuals associated with the inquiry had their salaries reduced as a result. [HL1410]

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has advised that it understands that by the term “investigations” resulting in costs to public funds, the noble Lord is referring to the settlements paid to Mr Mohamed Taranissi in relation to two judicial reviews. The first involved the quashing of a warrant and the second involved setting aside a Licence Committee decision. Those costs totalled approximately £770,000.

In 2006, the HFEA had concerns that Mr Taranissi was not complying with the statutory regulatory scheme that all licensed clinics in the United Kingdom have to follow. A number of outcomes followed, including legal challenges and a protracted licensing process. Mr Taranissi was granted a new three-year licence for the Assisted Reproduction and Gynaecology Centre in April 2009 and was offered a new one-year licence for the Reproductive Genetics Institute on 5 January 2010.

One member of HFEA staff subsequently went on secondment to the Department of Health from 1 October 2007 to 30 September 2008, and subsequently completed a one-month’s fixed term appointment with the department from 1 October to 28 October. Both the secondment and the fixed term appointment were in the role of Director of Public Health Performance and Delivery.

No individual’s salaries were reduced as a result of the inquiry. Information on HFEA salaries is outlined in its annual report and accounts, which have already been placed in the Library.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will place in the Library of the House a copy of each document in file CPO 2/10—David Alton Bill to reduce time limit on abortion to 18 weeks, held by the Department of Health. [HL1412]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will place in the Library of the House a copy of each document in file CPO 2/10—David Alton Bill to reduce time limit on abortion in other countries, held by the Department of Health. [HL1413]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will place in the Library of the House a copy of each document in file CPO 2/22 S OF S AND PS(H) Meeting With David Alton 04/12/1991, and Follow Up Papers, held by the Department of Health. [HL1414]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will place in the Library of the House a copy of each document in file CPO 2/23 S OF S Meeting With David Alton Feb 1996 And Follow Up Papers, held by the Department of Health. [HL1415]

It is an established convention that Ministers of one Administration cannot see the documents of a previous Administration. I am therefore unable to provide the information requested.

Eritrea

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how the €122 million allocated by the European Development Fund for Eritrea for 2009–2013 will be spent. [HL403]

The European Commission’s support for Eritrea between 2009 and 2013 will help the Eritrean people reduce poverty and improve their prospects for economic and social progress. Projects will focus on improving food security (€70 million), rehabilitating infrastructure (€34 million), and strengthening governance (€10 million). The remaining funds will be earmarked for programmes to preserve the national heritage, support non-state actors and establish a Technical and Cooperation Facility.

Finance: Lending

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will take action against companies seeking to induce consumers to incur excessive interest charges on short-term loans agreed over the internet. [HL1338]

Food: Trans Fats

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will introduce measures to eradicate artificial trans-fatty acids from the British diet, as recommended by the Faculty of Public Health and the Royal Society for Public Health. [HL1365]

The Government note the reports by the Faculty of Public Health and the Royal Society for Public Health regarding the banning of artificial trans fats from foods.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) carried out a comprehensive review of the health impacts of trans fats in 2007, and reported that voluntary action taken by the food industry to reduce the levels of trans fats in foods in the United Kingdom has been successful in achieving the reduction in dietary intakes to 1 per cent of food energy. The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) recommends that trans fats should contribute no more than 2 per cent. of food energy. Given this, the Government believe that further action including legislation would be unlikely to deliver any additional health benefit. The FSA continues to monitor the intakes of trans fats.

The FSA is currently focussing effort on reducing intakes of saturated fat where there is clear evidence that the UK population is consuming more than public health recommendations, which increases the risk of coronary heart disease.

Gary McKinnon

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government in the light of the decision of Mr Justice Mitting on 13 January 2010 to allow an application for judicial review of the Home Secretary’s decision on the extradition of Mr Gary McKinnon, whether they will initiate a debate on the floor of the House on this case. [HL1350]

Genetics and Insurance

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their response to the recommendations of the UK Forum for Genetics and Insurance report on the genetics and insurance moratorium; and whether there will be a period after the potential end of the moratorium during which individuals who have taken a specific genetic test will not have the result of that test taken into account by insurers. [HL1383]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will discuss with the Association of British Insurers whether a special life insurance scheme can be developed for individuals with highly predictive adverse genetic results. [HL1384]

The Government will consider these matters when they undertake their scheduled review of the concordat and moratorium on genetics and insurance in 2011. This and other reports will inform the Government and the Association of British Insurers when considering a long-term agreement about the use of genetic test results for insurance purposes.

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 Department for International Development 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. [HL43]

Department for International Development (DfID) Senior Civil Service (SCS) members are eligible for a non-consolidated performance award. Awards are intended to reward delivery of personal business objectives during the reporting year or other short-term personal contributions to wider organisational objectives. In considering SCS members for an award, line managers are asked to take into account:

performance against agreed priority business objectives or targets;

total delivery record over the year;

relative stretch (ie the challenge of the job compared to that of others); and

response to unforeseen events that affected the performance agreement.

Awards are funded within existing pay bill controls, have to be re-earned each year against the pre-determined criteria above and, as such, do not add to future pay bill costs.

The annual size of the non-consolidated performance pay pot for the SCS is based on recommendations by the independent Senior Salaries Review Body (SSRB).

Staff in grades below the SCS (Al and below) are eligible for a non-consolidated performance award. Awards are intended to reward both the delivery of personal business objectives during the reporting year and demonstration of DfID’s values.

Non-consolidated performance related payments for all staff are paid at the year end. DfID does not operate a special bonus scheme.

The three tables below show by Civil Service band; the number of staff eligible for a non-consolidated performance payment; the number of staff who received a non-consolidated performance payment; the median payment; and the maximum payment.

Financial Year: 2007-081

Grade

No. of staff eligible for non-consolidated performance payments

No. of staff who received non-consolidated performance payments

Average (median) payment (£)

Maximum payment (£)

Director General 2

*

*

*

*

Director

12

9

£5,750

£12,500

Deputy Director

73

52

£5,750

£12,500

A1 (G6)

238

131

£365

£1,150

A2(G7)

426

250

£365

£1,150

A2(L) (SEO)

142

100

£365

£1 150

B1 (HEO)

272

168

£365

£725

B2(EO)

264

171

£365

£725

C1(AO)

231

134

£365

£520

C2 (AA)

30

13

£365

£520

Financial Year:2008-091

Grade

No. of staff eligible for non-consolidated performance payments3

No. of staff who received non-consolidated performance payments

Average (median) payment (£)

Maximum payment (£)

Director General2

*

*

*

*

Director

14

10

£8,282

£20,685

Deputy Director

80

59

£6,350

£14,612

A1 (G6)

0

0

£0

£0

A2 (G7)

0

0

£0

£0

A2(L) (SEO)

0

0

£0

£0

B1 (HEO)

0

0

£0

£0

B2 (EO)

0

0

£0

£0

C1 (AO)

0

0

£0

£0

C2 (AA)

0

0

£0

£0

Financial Year: 2009-101

Grade

No. of staff eligible for non-consolidated performance payments

No. of staff who received non-consolidated performance payments

Average (median) payment (£)

Maximum payment (£)

Director General 2

*

*

*

*

Director

14

10

£7,003

£12,500

Deputy Director

79

54

£5,497

£10,000

A1(G6)

238

181

£495

£750

A2(G7)

433

359

£495

£750

A2(L) (SEO)

128

73

£495

£750

B1(HEO)

245

183

£495

£750

B2(EO)

238

189

£495

£750

C1(AO)

198

167

£495

£750

C2(AA)

30

23

£495

£750

1 Payments made are for the financial year indicated but relate to performance achieved in the previous reporting year.

2 Information not provided on grounds of confidentiality (less than five members of staff).

3 DfID did not operate a non-consolidated reward scheme for staff below the SCS.

Government: Office Equipment

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government further to the Written Answer by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Barbara Follett, on 9 December 2009 (HC Deb, col. 390W), what was the average purchase price, excluding value added tax, of a 500 sheet ream of white A4 80 gsm photocopier paper paid by (a) the Equality and Human Rights Commission, and (b) the Government Equalities Office, in the latest period for which figures are available. [HL1174]

The current purchase price for a 500-sheet ream of white A4 80 gsm photocopier paper paid by (a) the Equality and Human Rights Commission was £1.96 and (b) the Government Equalities Office was £2.17.

Greece

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the United Kingdom would be required, although not a member of the eurozone, to make a financial contribution to any financial rescue of Greece and any other member country of the eurozone; and, if so, why. [HL1207]

Membership of the European Union does not impose any obligation on the UK to contribute to any financial rescue, or accept the debt obligations, of any EU member state. There has been no request for UK support. Any such requests are considered on their individual merits.

Health: Expenditure

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what the National Health Service and Department of Health combined expenditure was on (a) pharmaceuticals, and (b) influenza and other vaccines, in cash and real terms in (1) 1996-97, (2) 2003-04, (3) 2005-06 and (4) 2008-09; and what the estimated expenditure is in 2009-10 for those items. [HL1344]

Pharmaceuticals (drugs) expenditure includes National Health Service expenditure in primary care and the Hospital and Community Health Service (HCHS). The primary care expenditure reflects amounts paid to pharmacy and appliance contractors and amounts authorised for dispensing doctors and personal administration in England. This includes expenditure on the seasonal influenza and adult pneumococcal vaccines, which are procured and administered by general practitioners and other contractors.

Table 1 provides details of NHS expenditure on drugs in cash and real terms (2008-09 base year).

Table 1: NHS expenditure on drugs

£ million

NHS drugs expenditure

Year

Cash

Real Terms

1996-97

4,735

6,323

2003-04

9,271

10,541

2005-06

9,979

10,837

2008-09

11,378

11,378

2009-10 (April to September primary care)

3,796

3,722

Sources:

Prescription Pricing Division of the NHS Business Services Authority, England, Department of Health Finance Division, Foundation Trust year-end accounts.

Notes:

1. Government accounting policy changed in 2000-01; as a result, figures prior to 2000-01 are not strictly comparable to figures thereafter. Expenditure prior to 2000-01 represents the amounts paid between April to March for medicines and appliances and relate to prescriptions dispensed between March and February. This is due to the delay in prescription processing and payment calculations. From 2000-01, figures represent the actual cost of the prescriptions for medicines and appliances dispensed in the period April to March.

2. Year-to-date primary care figures have been provided for 2009-10. We do not have HCHS figures, which are sourced from accounts information available at year-end only. Primary care drugs expenditure is approximately 70 per cent of total NHS drugs expenditure.

3. Real-term calculation uses GDP deflator series at January 2010, 2008-09 = 100.

Additionally, the department provides centrally purchased vaccines for the NHS routine childhood immunisation programme and catch up programmes, vaccines against anthrax, rabies, smallpox, and the swine influenza vaccination programme 2009-10. The department is not able to divulge expenditure on swine influenza vaccine as it would violate confidentiality clauses in the contracts with the manufacturers. The available information about the department’s expenditure on vaccines for England (not including swine influenza vaccine) is given in Table 2 in cash and real terms (2008-09 base year).

Table 2: Department of Health expenditure on vaccines

£ million

Vaccines

Year

Cash

Real Terms

1996-97

-

-

2003-04

88

101

2005-06

107

116

2008-09

229

229

2009-10 (April to December)

160

157

Notes:

1. Where relevant, figures for England have been calculated as 84 per cent. of expenditure on vaccines for the United Kingdom. Childhood vaccines and smallpox vaccine are purchased for the UK. Anthrax and rabies vaccines are purchased for England and Wales.

2. Year-to-date figures to December 2009 have been supplied for 2009-10.

3. Real-term calculation uses GDP deflator series at January 2010, 2008-09 = 100.

The vaccines provided for NHS programmes have changed over the period of time shown in the table. For example, the higher level of expenditure in 2008-09 partly reflects the addition of human papilloma virus vaccination against cervical cancer.

Information about vaccine expenditure in 1996-97 is not available. It has not been possible to confirm whether or not records of vaccine expenditure for 1996-97 have been retained centrally by the department and there is no obligation for such records of this age to be retained.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how much was spent on public health and health promotion combined in (a) 1996-97, and (b) 2008-09, in cash and real terms. [HL1345]

The department does not collect detailed expenditure information in these areas since, subject to delivering national targets, there is local discretion on how the funding is spent. However, for public health and prevention, a report by Health England shows (mostly using end of year information) expenditure in England on public health and prevention for 2006-07. See Table 3 in the Report: Health England Report No 4. Public Health and Prevention Expenditure in England 2009, which is available from: http://healthengland.org/health_england_publications.htm.

Table 3 in that report is replicated here as follows, entitled Table 1, and provides a breakdown of spending based as closely as possible on Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) definitions

Table 1: Detailed Prevention Expenditure in England 2006-07

Primary prevention

Secondary prevention

Total £m

Screening

Other

Medication

Total prevention and public health services

1,771

1,482

482

1,337

5,072

Maternal and child health; family planning and counselling

840

21

0

0

861

Maternity services

618

618

Family Planning Clinics

101

101

Contraceptives

66

66

Health Visiting Group Services

53

53

Neonatal audiological screening

14

14

Quality and Outcomes Framework (1)

2

6

9

School health services

44

0

115

0

159

School-based Children’s Individual Health Services

115

115

School-based Children’s Group Health Services

27

27

Healthy Schools Programme (2)

17

17

Prevention of communicable diseases

284

0

0

0

284

Immunisation (2)

238

238

Other infectious diseases (2)

24

24

Quality and Outcomes Framework

19

19

Reducing MRSA incidence (2)

3

3

Prevention of non-communicable diseases

206

1,461

348

1,337

3,352

Pharmaceuticals

1,337

1,337

Dental check-ups

937

937

Quality and Outcomes Framework

28

41

348

417

Screening programmes

275

275

Sight tests

208

208

Obesity/diet/lifestyle

116

116

NHS Stop Smoking Services

56

56

NICE Public Health Guidelines

4

4

CJD surveillance (2)

2

2

Occupational health care

4

0

0

0

4

Occupational Health for Dentists

4

4

Quality and Outcomes Framework

1

1

All other miscellaneous public health services (1)

394

0

19

0

412

Health Protection Agency

248

248

NHS Blood and Transplant (2)

53

53

Publicity for prevention activities

34

34

Charitable expenditure on prevention

33

33

National Biological Standards Board

25

25

Public Health in Prisons (2)

19

19

Source:

Health Inequalities and Partnership, DH (Health England Report No 4. Public Health and Prevention Expenditure in England 2009)

Notes:

1. Figures may not sum due to rounding

2. Refers to expenditure from the central budget, data available only for 2006-07

The expenditure on pharmaceuticals is included as its primary aim is prevention. Nevertheless, strictly, expenditure on pharmaceuticals is not included in the OECD prevention and public health category. Hence, for comparison with other countries using OECD data, these medication figures should be excluded. Excluding pharmaceuticals in line with OECD methodology gives a total expenditure on public health and prevention of £3.7 billion. If pharmaceuticals were included, the overall total for 2006-07 would be £5 billion.

Total health expenditure for England for the same period was approximately £93.5 billion. This suggests that about 4 per cent of health expenditure is directed towards prevention (using the figure without pharmaceuticals and without health-related expenditure, so that this can be compared with other OECD countries). This share indicates that England is above the average of other OECD countries, where prevention was only 2.8 per cent of total health spending in the same period.

A decade ago, the share of total health spending going to prevention and public health stood at only 1.8 per cent in the United Kingdom, which was below the OECD average at that time.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what the expenditure was on adult social care in cash and real terms in each year from 1996-97 to 2008-09 inclusive; what the percentage increase was in real terms in each year; what was the real terms increase in NHS expenditure in each of those years; and what adult social care expenditure was in each of those years as a percentage of NHS expenditure. [HL1346]

Table 1 shows the total gross current expenditure on social services for adults aged 18 and over in England for the period 1996-97 to 2008-09, in both cash and real terms.

Table 2 shows the real terms increase in National Health Service expenditure in England for the period 1996-97 to 2008-09.

Table 3 compares the difference in spend between adult social care and the NHS by showing the percentage of adult social care expenditure of NHS expenditure for the period 1996-97 to 2008-09.

Table 1: Gross Current Expenditure 1, 2 on Social Services for Adults aged 18 and over, 1996-97 to 2008-09

England

£ millions and percentage

Gross Current Expenditure (Cash)

Gross Current Expenditure (Real Terms3)

Percentage increase (Real Terms3)

1996-97

7,049

9,414

1997-98

7,609

9,902

5

1998-99

8,196

10,447

6

1999-2000

8,928

11,160

7

2000-014

9,628

11,878

6

2001-02

10,106

12,197

3

2002-035

11,312

13,224

8

2003-046

12,480

14,190

7

2004-05

13,492

14,927

5

2005-06

14,345

15,578

4

2006-07

14,893

15,710

1

2007-08

15,275

15,660

0

2008-097

16,066

16,066

3

PSS Ex1

Notes:

1. Gross current expenditure includes income from client contributions but excludes certain income items which count as expenditure from elsewhere in the public sector, such as contributions from primary care trusts (PCTs). This is to avoid double counting within the aggregate public sector accounts of the money involved.

2. 1996-97 to 2006-07 figures include estimated Service Strategy and Asylum Seekers Assessment and Care Management apportioned to Adult Services and Children and Families Services using proportions calculated using 2007-08 data. From 2007-08 this information was collected separately.

3. Real term figures have been converted from cash terms using the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) deflator.

4. From the 2000-01 financial year, the PSS EX1 replaced the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) Actuals return, which was discontinued after 1999-2000.

5. The figures from 2002-03 include the cost of residential and nursing placements for adults and older people with Preserved Rights; councils took over responsibilities for those people in April 2002.

6. Expenditure funded from the Supporting People (SP) grant that councils have classified as social services expenditure rather than housing expenditure was introduced from 2003-04 onwards.

7. Data for 2008-09 are provisional. Final data for 2008-09 are expected to be published by the NHS Information Centre in April 2010.

Table 2 - Total Net NHS Expenditure in England, 1996-97 to 2008-09

Year

Net NHS Expenditure (4) £ billion

% increase

% real terms increase (7)

1996-97

Outturn

32.997

3.2

-0.5

1997-98

Outturn

34.664

5.1

2.4

1998-99

Outturn

36.608

5.6

3.4

1999-2000

Outturn

39.881

8.9

6.8

Resource Budgeting Stage 1(2)

1999-2000

Outturn

40.201

-

-

2000-01

Outturn

43.932

9.3

7.9

2001-02

Outturn

49.021

11.6

9.1

2002-03

Outturn

54.042

10.2

6.8

Resource Budgeting Stage 2(3)(5)

2003-04

Outturn

64.173

-

-

2004-05

Outturn

69.051

7.6

4.7

2005-06

Outturn

75.822

9.8

7.8

2006-07

Outturn

80.561

6.3

3.2

2007-08

Outturn

89.261

10.8

7.7

2008-09

Estimated Outturn

94.522

5.9

3.3

Notes:

1.Expenditure pre 1999-2000 is on a cash basis

2.Expenditure figures from 1999-2000 to 2002-03 are on a Stage 1 Resource Budgeting basis

3.Expenditure figures from 2003-04 to 2010-11 are on a Stage 2 Resource Budgeting basis

4.Figures are not consistent over the period (1971-72 to 2010-11), therefore it is difficult to make comparisons across different periods

5. Figures from 2003-04 include a technical adjustment for trust depreciation

6. Expenditure excludes NHS (AME)

7. GDP deflator 4 January 2010

8. Total expenditure is calculated as the sum of revenue and capital expenditure net of non-trust depreciation and impairments. This is in line with HMT Guidance

Table 3 - What adult social care expenditure was in each of those years as a percentage of NHS expenditure

Proportion of Spend % (1)

1996-97

22%

1997-98

23%

1998-99

23%

1999-2000

23%

2000-014

23%

2001-02

21%

2002-035

22%

2003-046

20%

2004-05

20%

2005-06

19%

2006-07

19%

2007-08

18%

2008-097

18%

Note:

(1) This proportion is based on gross current personal social services expenditure (cash) as shown in table 1, of total net NHS expenditure as shown in table 2.

Health: Kidney Disease

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are taking to publicise the availability of home-based kidney dialysis from the National Health Service and to encourage informed choice for kidney dialysis patients as to the location and the manner in which they may be dialysed. [HL1398]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the relative costs and benefits to the National Health Service and the wider economy of hospital-based and home-based kidney dialysis. [HL1399]

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence published technology appraisal guidance—Guidance on home compared with hospital haemodialysis for patients with end-stage renal failure—in September 2002. This recommended that all suitable patients should be offered the choice between home haemodialysis or haemodialysis in a hospital/satellite unit. The department is currently considering how to extend patient choice for people on dialysis.

In addition, the improvement organisation, NHS Kidney Care, has recently published a specification for the commissioning of peritoneal dialysis as a comprehensive guide to best practice, offering greater choice and flexibility for patients.

Immigration: Asylum Support Office

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they will take to establish the new European Asylum Support Office approved by the European Council last autumn. [HL1196]

The setting up of the European Asylum Support Office will fall initially to the European Commission, but the Government will co-operate closely with the Commission to ensure that the office is able to start work in its host country of Malta as soon as possible.

Immigration: Frontex

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when they expect the new Frontex plans for regular use of chartered joint return air flights for extraditions to be functioning. [HL1198]

There are no arrangements in place for Frontex to use chartered joint return flights for extradition purposes, nor are there any plans to do so.

Immigration: Tinsley House

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have modified the education provision for children at Tinsley House immigration removal centre since HM Chief Inspector of Prisons noted it was “inadequate”. [HL1127]

As we are not currently holding children at Tinsley House for more than 24 hours, planned education provided by a trained teacher is neither appropriate nor practicable.

Where children are to be held for longer than 24 hours, they are transferred to Yarl’s Wood immigration removal centre, where comprehensive education provision is available for children of all ages, delivered by qualified nursery nurses and teachers.

India: Orissa

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the Department for International Development is supporting projects in the Kandhamal districts of Orissa State; and, if not, where their nearest project which is benefiting members of all faiths is operating. [HL611]

The Department for International Development (DfID) is providing £10 million for community development in four districts of Orissa, including Kandhamal. The Orissa Tribal Empowerment and Livelihoods Programme (OTELP) which runs from 2004-10, aims to increase incomes, reduce malnutrition and improve water and sanitation for over 375,000 tribal men and women of all faiths.

Insolvency: Football Clubs

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government which professional and semi-professional football clubs have been issued with petitions for insolvency by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs in each of the past 10 years; and what was the outcome in each case. [HL1318]

HM Revenue and Customs is under a strict, statutory duty of confidentiality and cannot comment on the tax affairs of individual businesses.

Kenya

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether, following reports by the World Bank, all Department for International Development resources pledged to assist primary education in Kenya have been fully accounted for. [HL1305]

A recent Kenyan Ministry of Finance internal audit report, supported by the World Bank, provided evidence of the misappropriation of both government and donor funds totalling over Ksh 100 million (£800,000) in the month of June 2009.

Department for International Development (DfID) resources for education in Kenya (primary and secondary) have been frozen since these allegations, pending a satisfactory response by the Government of Kenya. This would need to include the reimbursement to donors of all funds lost through fraud if the allegations are found to be correct.

NHS: Race and Equality

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the Equality and Human Rights Commission or its predecessor bodies in recent years initiated investigations into alleged or actual discriminatory activities by the National Health Service; if so, when those investigations commenced; when any were discontinued; and why. [HL1004]

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has initiated investigations into the NHS for breaches of the equality duties. The commission’s predecessor bodies, the Commission for Racial Equality and the Disability Rights Commission, had published investigations into the Department of Health shortly before their closure regarding compliance with the race equality duty and fitness standards, respectively. With regards to the fitness standards, some follow-up work was undertaken by the EHRC.

The commission had decided initially to undertake a formal assessment under Section 31 of the Equality Act 2006 of the Department of Health’s compliance with the public sector duties, but has since held discussions with the department about reaching an agreement on this matter, the details of which are still under negotiation.

As for cases that have been discontinued, the commission is prevented from disclosing information on reasons why they were discontinued under Section 6 of the Equality Act 2006.

Northern Ireland Office: Equal Pay

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether staff in the Northern Ireland Office will be eligible for compensation under the proposed equal pay settlement in the Northern Ireland Civil Service; if so, what is their estimate of the cost; whether the compensation will be taxable; and from what source funding for the settlement will come.[HL1059]

The equal pay settlement for staff in the Northern Ireland Civil Service department does not apply to staff in the Northern Ireland Office (NIO).

The Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance has indicated that it would like to discuss this matter with NIO management and a meeting has been arranged. The NIO has its own pay and grading arrangements and does not accept that there are similar equal pay issues to be addressed in the department. This will of course be a matter for discussion with the Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance.

Northern Ireland: Justice

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Royall of Blaisdon on 14 December 2009 (WA 184), when they instructed the Public Prosecution Service in Northern Ireland and the Crown Prosecution Service not to pursue outstanding extradition proceedings against convicted fugitives appearing to qualify for early release under the terms of the Northern Ireland (Sentences) Act 1998; by what means they issued those instructions; and whether the policy was subjected to an equality impact assessment in Northern Ireland. [HL1061]

Neither the Public Prosecution Service of Northern Ireland nor the Crown Prosecution Service has any role in respect of the extradition of individuals who have already been convicted, whether or not they would appear to qualify for early release under the terms of the Northern Ireland (Sentences) Act 1998.

The general policy on extradition requests was subject to equality screening as part of the Northern Ireland Office’s initial screening of policies following its designation as a public authority under Section 75. This screening found that no impact assessment was necessary. The decision not to pursue the extradition of convicted fugitives appearing to qualify for early release involved consideration of the public interest in relation to a limited number of specific cases and was not subject to an equality impact assessment.

Official Secrets Acts

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what advisory committees covered by the Official Secrets Acts there are in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; who are the members of each such committee; and why they are required. [HL1298]

None of Defra’s advisory bodies is explicitly identified in the Official Secrets Act legislation.

Were Defra’s advisory NDPBs to handle information on security and intelligence, defence or international relations then that advisory body’s members would be bound by the provisions of the Official Secrets Act 1989, as these apply whenever office-holders handle those categories of official information.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what advisory committees covered by the Official Secrets Acts there are in the Northern Ireland Office; who are the members of each such committee; and why they are required. [HL1299]

The Northern Ireland Office does not sponsor any advisory committees covered by the Official Secrets Act.

Palestine

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what reports they have received from the World Bank concerning the development of economic enclaves in the occupied West Bank of Palestine. [HL815]

We have received no reports from the World Bank specifically addressing the development of economic enclaves in the West Bank. The World Bank has, however, produced a number of reports assessing the impact of Israeli movement and access restrictions on economic development in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Full details of these reports are available on the World Bank website (www.worldbank .org).

Prisoners: Rights

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether there is any law whereby prisoners may be obliged to wear identity cards or an arm-band; if not, why the practice is carried out in HM Prison Wakefield; and what assessment they have made of the effect of the practice on prisoners’ rights to exercise and to attend religious services. [HL1397]

There is no legal requirement for prisoners to wear identity cards. However, prisoners at Wakefield high-security prison and some other prisons are issued with identity cards. Prisoners at Wakefield, when leaving their residential unit, are expected to display the identity card on the outer layer of clothing using an armband. This enables staff throughout the prison to readily identify any prisoner. For security reasons, where a prisoner declines to wear his identity card he will not be permitted to leave his residential unit.

Railways: Corby

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made as to the use being made of the new railway station at Corby; and how the level of use differs from that which was forecast before the station was built. [HL1457]

The Department for Transport is currently reviewing station usage against that which was originally forecast for the 40 stations that have opened in England, Scotland and Wales over the past 10 years. This includes Corby station, which opened on 23 February 2009. The study will be reporting in April 2010.

Railways: France

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have made an assessment of the impact of the Government of France’s new tax on rail passenger vehicles operating in France but not registered in France, coupled with a partial abolition of an asset-based tax applicable to vehicles registered in France, on the ability of United Kingdom operators to introduce competitive open access services in France; and, if so, whether they will make representations to the Government of France and the European Union regarding this development. [HL1362]

We estimate the impact on the wider Eurostar business to be in the region of €7 million per annum. We have not made any assessment of the impact on other specific operations. The proposed taxe sur le material roulant needs to be seen in the context of a wider restructuring by the French Government of taxe professionnelle and the introduction of other carbon taxes. Nevertheless the UK Government are concerned about the potential burden this tax represents on a green form of transport at a time when we and our European partners are seeking to grow and develop international rail markets and competition. I have written to the French Government to convey these concerns. The UK, along with a number of other member states, has also made representations to the European Commission.

Railways: Rolling Stock

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what progress has been made in providing 1,300 additional carriages for the railway system by March 2014, as stated in the high-level output statement; and whether that figure has been adjusted to allow for the growth in passenger traffic. [HL1458]

Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they are considering amending the renewable transport fuel obligation to lessen the effect of deforestation on sensitive rainforests. [HL1371]

The Department for Transport is currently in the process of amending the renewable transport fuel obligation to incorporate the mandatory sustainability requirements set out in the renewable energy directive. Following these changes, biofuels will only be awarded a certificate if suppliers can demonstrate that the biofuels they supply achieve at least 35 per cent greenhouse gas emissions reductions, and also that they did not either come from converting high-carbon stock land, including forests, or have other negative environmental impacts, including upon biodiversity.

Royal Mail: Bicycles

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether Royal Mail has considered investing in freight bicycles to enable cycling postal workers to carry more weight; if so, what conclusions were reached; and for what reasons. [HL1465]

Decisions regarding its delivery operations are matters which are the direct responsibility of Royal Mail’s senior management team.

I have therefore asked the chief executive of Royal Mail, Adam Crozier, to respond directly to my noble friend and a copy of his reply will be placed in the Library of the House.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment Royal Mail has made of the effects on health, road safety and the environment that would arise from its plan to switch deliveries from bicycles to vans. [HL1466]

Decisions regarding its delivery operations are matters which are the direct responsibility of Royal Mail’s senior management team.

I have therefore asked the chief executive of Royal Mail, Adam Crozier, to respond directly to my noble friend and a copy of his reply will be placed in the Library of the House.

Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the 35 per cent reduction in the grant to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents for 2010-11. [HL1315]

We value the partnership that we have with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) and the work that it does to provide advice and help to people to make their lives safer. The £166,050 grant in 2009-10 from BIS represents only a small proportion of the total funding that RoSPA receives from government.

Given the current pressures on the public finances, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has to take difficult decisions on the programmes that it continues to support, and needs to ensure that work supported is aligned with the department’s priorities.

Safety in the home is now part of the work carried out by other government departments—for example, the Department for Children, Schools and Families—and the £18 million Safe at Home scheme is run by RoSPA and targets support for vulnerable families.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has worked closely with RosPA over the past months to see where its expertise might better match the needs of the department but the evidence is not there to justify continuing the grant at its previous level. We will be meeting with RosPA shortly to discuss the detail of its 2010-11 work programme.

Schools: Teachers

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action is being taken to recruit more science, technology, engineering and mathematics teachers in primary schools. [HL1242]

Teachers are recruited directly by schools and local authorities according to their needs, but the Government specify the content of initial teacher training, and for this all primary trainees must have a grade C or above in GCSE (or equivalent) in mathematics, science and English. Primary school teachers are trained to teach across the whole range of curriculum subjects rather than as specialists, but before they can qualify they must have gained, or already have, a first degree (or equivalent) and have passed professional skills tests in numeracy, literacy and information technology.

Although teachers are not given initial training to be science specialists, this department is encouraging greater use of practical work and other enhancement and enrichment activities in science lessons in both primary and secondary schools. As part of this, the Association for Science Education has been contracted to run a support programme to improve the use of practical work in science in schools.

To meet the Williams review recommendation that every primary school should have access to a mathematics specialist teacher to champion maths and act as the nucleus for achieving best pedagogical practice, there is now a two-year professional development programme for current primary teachers to develop their subject knowledge, subject-specific pedagogy and ability to mentor and coach colleagues. As well as their generalist teaching duties, mathematics specialist teachers work with colleagues to improve mathematics teaching across the school and increase pupil engagement, confidence and achievement in mathematics. The first cohort of the programme began in January 2010.

Swine Flu

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the cost to date of immunisation against the spread of swine flu; what estimate they have of recovery of funding from the sale or return of unused vaccines; how many people died from the disease in the last year; how many died from other influenzas in the same period; and whether they received any epidemiological advice contrary to that which was followed. [HL1418]

We are not able to give details of the cost of the swine flu vaccine due to confidentiality clauses in our contracts with the manufacturers. We are unable to return vaccines that have already been delivered. The options for handling the anticipated surplus of vaccine are currently being explored with the manufacturers. We will be seeking to minimise the overall cost to the British taxpayer.

The Chief Medical Officer has carried out a confidential investigation of swine flu-related deaths since the pandemic began. As of 21 January 2010, there had been 279 swine flu-related deaths in England. There has been no significant circulation of seasonal influenza in England in this same period.

The Health Protection Agency has a long-term established system to monitor excess deaths (deaths in excess of what would normally be expected for the time of year) based on data from the Office for National Statistics. Influenza is one important contributory factor to excess deaths each year. In the period April to December 2009, no excess mortality has been observed.

Throughout the swine flu pandemic, we have been advised by a wide range of experts from all relevant disciplines. Our decisions have been based on the information we had about swine flu; at the beginning there was very little information available but our knowledge about the disease has increased with time. The epidemiological advice we followed reflected the consensus view of the scientists who provided that advice.

Swine and Avian Flu

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the Chief Medical Officer’s forecast of the number of deaths from swine flu; and how many deaths to date are attributable solely to swine flu. [HL1401]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the Chief Medical Officer’s forecast of the number of deaths from bird flu; and how many deaths to date are attributable solely to bird flu. [HL1402]

The department has never made forecasts of the number of deaths from swine flu or avian flu. Planning assumptions about a pandemic’s course were used to inform preparedness planning, recognising that the precise characteristics and impact of a pandemic flu virus would only become apparent as the virus emerged.

The national framework for pandemic flu (Pandemic flu: a national framework for responding to an influenza pandemic) has already been placed in the Library and can be found at:

http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/publicationsandstatistics/Publications/PublicationsPolicyAndGuidance/DH_080734

It was published in 2007 and set out a number of assumptions for planning purposes which gave a range of possible scenarios. These assumptions were for an influenza pandemic of any kind, including the potential for a human virus evolved from current avian flu.

The department and Cabinet Office issued revised guidance to planners as information about the characteristics of swine flu became available. The assumptions were revised as more information became available and regular updates were issued to ensure United Kingdom planners were equipped with the most up-to-date information. We have been clear that the planning assumptions have never been a prediction of what would happen; they simply set out the reasonable worst-case scenario for planning purposes.

The Chief Medical Officer (CMO) was not involved in drawing up the figures given in the planning assumptions, which were based on the advice of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies.

The CMO has carried out a confidential investigation of swine flu-related deaths since the pandemic began. As of 21 January 2010, there had been 279 swine flu-related deaths in England. Of these, approximately 20 per cent had no pre-existing diseases or underlying medical conditions.

Further detail is available in a report in the British Medical Journal, “Donaldson U, Rutter PD, Ellis BM, Greaves FEC, Mytton OT, Pebody RG and Yardley IE. Mortality from pandemic A/H1N1 2009 influenza in England: public health surveillance study. BMJ 2009;339 b5213.”

UNICEF

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how the new UNICEF Strategy will benefit children living or working on the street. [HL769]

The Department for International Development’s (DfID’s) new three-year institutional strategy with UNICEF supports the implementation of UNICEF’s own medium-term strategic plan. We want to support UNICEF’s work for all vulnerable children including street children. UNICEF’s plan includes work on the protection of children from violence, exploitation and abuse. This includes collecting and analysing data to improve understanding of the conditions of marginalised and vulnerable groups, and also work to ensure the views of children are captured in the policies and programmes that affect their lives.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their response to recommendations by non-governmental organisations and the International Development Committee that specific street children indicators should be adopted in the new UNICEF strategy; and what representations they made to UNICEF about the recommendations. [HL770]

The Department for International Development (DfID) is committed to reducing child poverty and reaching particularly vulnerable groups of children.

In developing our new institutional strategy with UNICEF, our concern was to support UNICEF’s work for all vulnerable children, including street children. DfID does not have a specific policy focus on street children above other vulnerable children. Children usually live on the streets because of poverty in their communities and therefore our priority is reducing child poverty.

Our approach is to draw on UN agencies’ own targets and commitments wherever possible. UNICEF does not have a specific target in its strategic plan on street children. However, our UNICEF strategy target on vulnerable children provides an opportunity to raise street children in our policy discussions with UNICEF.

Working Time Directive

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the European Commission is considering ending the opt-out from the working time directive; and what their estimate is of the cost to the United Kingdom’s economy and the effect on personal incomes if the opt-out is ended. [HL1438]

Loss of the individual’s right to opt-out of the 48-hour maximum working week (as set out in the working time directive) would cost billions in terms of lost pay to individuals, which is one reason why this Government would not support the end of the opt-out. Over 3 million employees choose to make use of this flexibility and we believe that it is right that they should be able to do so if they wish, provided the choice is voluntary.

There is no Commission proposal to remove the opt-out.

We have always accepted, however, that other issues on the directive remain since the negotiations failed, in particular the need to address two ECJ judgments on treatment of residential on-call time and compensatory rest that continue to cause problems for many member states. We would be happy to engage with new Commission ideas on those issues but our view on the opt-out has not changed.