Monday 29 March 2010
Agriculture: Cattle Emissions
To ask Her Majesty's Government why it took 15 months to publish the data for 2007 in Indicator 6.1.2 (greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture) in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs' autumn performance report 2009; and why the data for 2008 will not be available before April 2010. [HL3051]
Indicator 6.1.2 on greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture is compiled using statistics from the set of environmental accounts published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which in turn use statistics from the greenhouse gas inventory now published by DECC. The 2007 environmental accounts were published by the ONS in July 2009 and these were then used to update indicator 6.1.2 published in the 2009 autumn performance report in line with previous years. The 2008 data are expected to be available in the summer of 2010 and will be used to update the indicator within the 2010 autumn performance report.
The complex nature of the calculations for both the inventory and the environmental accounts and the timing by which the variety of data sources used in their compilation become available leads to an inevitable delay before indicator 6.1.2 can be published. But we will continue to look for ways to improve the timeliness of the publication of this indicator without compromising its accuracy.
Agriculture: Genetically Modified Crops
To ask Her Majesty's Government which genetically modified products approved and marketed bring benefits to consumers in terms of taste, nutrition, cost and shelf life; and what assessment they have made of the effect of marketed genetically modified crops on production costs, choice of seeds for growers, yields, pesticide use and weed resistance. [HL2865]
Current genetically modified (GM) products approved for food and feed use in the European Union (EU) are not intended to provide benefits directly for consumers. They are mainly products made from GM crops which are designed to make weed and pest control easier for farmers, being herbicide-tolerant, insect-resistant, or a mix of both these traits. In addition, the EU has just approved the cultivation and marketing of a GM potato which has altered starch composition for various industrial uses.
Defra is aware of various published reports on the impact of GM crop cultivation in other countries. The reported impacts can vary according to the specific type of crop involved and the country or region of use. In addition, outcomes may fluctuate over time, and the range of evidence available on a given impact may not cover a consistent period.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Davies of Oldham on 8 March (WA 12), whether there was discussion about the scientific evidence of proposed authorisations for genetically modified products in the Council of Ministers. [HL2899]
There is not normally a substantive discussion when votes are taken in the Council of Ministers on proposed authorisations for genetically modified (GM) products. Any issues about the scientific evidence relating to a specific product are usually raised at an earlier stage in the EU assessment process, before a decision is referred to the council. Scientific questions concerning GM food and feed applications under Regulation (EC) No.1829/2003 can be raised at the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health, and for applications made under the GMO Deliberate Release Directive 2001/18/EC, at the associated Regulatory Committee. The position taken by the UK on GM applications is informed by the expert scientific advice provided by the European Food Safety Authority and the Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many original maps were submitted in each month for the Rural Payments Agency's (RPA) remapping exercise; how many maps have been confirmed by the RPA in each month; how many maps have been amended; how many have been returned in each month; and how many have yet to be returned from each month of submission. [HL2913]
The number of maps that the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) has confirmed, amended and returned and those still outstanding, are shown in the table below.
Week Ending 4/9/2009 21/10/2009 30/10/2009 27/11/2009 18/12/2009 29/1/2010 26/2/2010 19/13/2010 Original Maps Sent from RPA 49,512 71,396 103,416 107,111 107,111 107,247 107,247 107,247 Maps Accepted by Customers 10,520 26,847 38,833 52,150 *53,949 *57,045 *57,064 *57,064 Maps Returned to RPA for Amendment 9,885 16,814 27,567 44,360 49,011 50,183 50,183 50,183 Customer Responses Outstanding 29,107 27,735 37,016 10,601 4,151 19 0 0 Amended Confirmation Maps Sent 293 293 1,397 4,627 10,254 24,208 30,362 39,850 Outstanding Confirmation Maps still to be Sent 9,592 16,521 26,170 39,733 38,757 25,975 19,821 10,333
Original Maps Sent from RPA
Maps Accepted by Customers
Maps Returned to RPA for Amendment
Customer Responses Outstanding
Amended Confirmation Maps Sent
Outstanding Confirmation Maps still to be Sent
* The number of maps accepted by customers includes customers who did not respond after several reminders and were therefore deemed to have accepted by default.
The Rural Land Register has been using base data from Ordnance Survey 2001 Mastermap. The Rural Payments Agency has been updating this with the 2008 version and using this information, along with aerial photography, to identify changes to land and features ineligible for the single payment scheme.
The maps sent to farmers show field parcel sizes so farmers can compare the new map information with the old maps they held previously and can see any increase or decrease in field size.
Anglo-US Defence Trade Treaty
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with (a) the government of the United States, and (b) members of the United States Congress, about the ratification in the United States of the United Kingdom–United States Defence Trade Co-operation Treaty which was ratified in the United Kingdom in early 2008. [HL2995]
Her Majesty's Government discusses the UK-US Defence Trade Co-operation Treaty frequently with all levels of the US Government. Ratification of the treaty still awaits the approval of the US Senate, and the UK has also ensured that Members of the Senate are aware of the benefits the treaty brings to both nations in operational and industrial terms.
Armed Forces: Aircraft
As published in the Major Projects Report 2009 (MPR09), the cost of the Typhoon demonstration and manufacture phase is £17.526 billion. This covers the main development contract, tranche 1 and tranche 2. The tranche 3A cost is subject to validation by the National Audit Office and will be reported formally in MPR 10.
Armed Forces: Medals
The accumulated campaign service medal was instituted for aggregated service and repeat tours of duty for those locations anywhere where a campaign medal is awarded.
We believe this is the most appropriate way to recognise repeat tours of duty, and so there are no plans to consider adding a bar to service medals.
Armed Forces: Reserve Forces
In order to qualify for an annual bounty, a tax-free, lump-sum bonus of up to £1,621 for meeting the training commitment, volunteer reservists are required to undertake a minimum 27 days training per annum, or 19 days for some specialist units.
Between 1 March 2009 and 1 March 2010, 20,470 volunteer reservists, excluding members of university units, received an annual bounty. This represents 61 per cent of all volunteer reservists, excluding members of university units—a level that has been stable for the past 20 years.
Members of the regular reserve currently have various training obligations according to service and status under the Reserve Forces Act 1996. In practice, these have not been applied since the end of the Cold War, although voluntary training may be undertaken. In 2009, 30 individuals received the ex-regular and other ranks training bounty of £369 for undertaking annual specialist military training of 5-10 days.
The Case Resolution Directorate (CRD) does not process outstanding asylum legacy cases in order of the person's arrival in the United Kingdom. As set out in the Home Office's Immigration and Nationality Directorate review of July 2006, command paper reference 275921, CRD prioritises those individuals who may pose a risk to the public, are receiving support from the agency, and those who can more easily be removed or where it is likely that the decision will be made to allow them to remain in the United Kingdom.
All cases will be dealt with on their own individual merits and in accordance with these priorities.
To ask Her Majesty's Government following the recent Human Rights Watch report Fast-Tracked Unfairness: Detention and Denial of Women Asylum Seekers in the UK, whether they will ensure that people with complex claims are not included in the fast-track asylum procedure; and whether complex gender-related persecution claims will be excluded from that procedure. [HL3047]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the percentage of new employment and support allowance applicants expected to fail to qualify for supported benefit who we status under the work capability assessment and who will be directed to claim jobseeker's allowance instead. [HL2880]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what percentage of current employment and support allowance claimants who fail to qualify for supported benefit status under the work capability assessment are being advised to claim jobseeker's allowance instead. [HL2881]
The department estimated that around 50 per cent of people found fit for work by the work capability assessment for employment and support allowance claims would subsequently move to jobseeker's allowance. Information on the percentage of current employment and support allowance claimants who fail to qualify for supported benefit status and are being advised to claim jobseeker's allowance not and currently available.
Biocidal Products: Formaldehyde
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the biocidal products directive (98/8/EC) on funeral practices in the United Kingdom, especially the embalming of bodies with formaldehyde prior to burial. [HL2892]
No specific assessment has been made of the impact of the biocidal products directive on the use of formaldehyde in the embalming process or more generally on funeral practices in the United Kingdom. When the Biocidal Products Regulations 2001 were drafted to implement the biocidal products directive in Great Britain, a regulatory impact assessment was prepared by the Health and Safety Executive using the best available information. Compliance costs of the Biocidal Products Regulations for industry as a whole were estimated over and above those for existing national legislation, and industry was consulted.
Embalming and taxidermist fluids is one of 23 biocidal product types identified in the biocidal products directive. Formaldehyde (often as formalin, a solution of formaldehyde gas in water) is widely used as a disinfectant, preservative and for antifouling and vertebrate control. The embalming industry is, therefore, not alone in having to support active substances used in its products through the review process required by the directive, and may wish to work with other sectors to share costs as appropriate.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what financial contribution they have committed to the Cambridge guided busway project; what is its expected opening date; what is the estimated outturn cost; and whether they intend to contribute further funding to the project. [HL3036]
The Department for Transport's contribution has been capped at a maximum of £92.5 million. There is no intention to contribute further to this scheme. When approved in 2006 the scheme had an expected outturn cost of £116.3 million. I understand that Cambridgeshire County Council has recently indicated that the total may now fall between £140 million and £145 million.
I also understand that the council is in regular contact with the guided busway contractors regarding establishing an opening date.
Businesses: VAT Registered
A business's place of registration may not always be a reliable indicator of where it does business. This is particularly true for larger businesses as while most businesses have one VAT registration, larger businesses may have more than one VAT registration.
Figures on the number of VAT registered entities operating in each region were published in the then Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform's publication Business Start-ups and Closures: VAT Registrations and De-registrations in 2007 and its associated tables, available at http://stats.berr.gov.uk/ed/vat/. This information is reproduced in the table below.
1997 2006 2008 £48,000 £60,000 £64,000 Number of VAT registered entities at start of: 1997 2006 2008 Region North East 42,600 48,990 52,285 North West 160,175 184,700 194,700 Yorkshire and the Humber 121,470 139,125 145,240 East Midlands 111,885 132,520 139,155 West Midlands 137,210 160,795 167,075 East of England 163,655 196,270 204,645 London 238,680 300,160 321,635 South East 249,300 305,395 319,850 South West 156,375 183,440 191,125 Country England 1,381,350 1,651,395 1,735,710 Wales 77,825 85,045 87,340 Scotland 120,810 134,290 141,895 Northern Ireland 55,375 64,685 66,230
Number of VAT registered entities at start of:
Yorkshire and the Humber
East of England
As this report is no longer compiled, recent figures for 2009 are available only at disproportionate cost. In January 2009 HMRC's figures show that there were 1,974,142 VAT registered traders in the UK; the VAT registration threshold was £67,000 at this time. Further information is available at https://www.uktradeinfo.com/index.cfm?task=bullvat.
Communities: Preventing Extremism
To ask Her Majesty's Government what legislation authorises local authorities to map locations and residential areas containing Muslims, as provided in the Preventing Violent Extremism scheme National Indicator No 35; and what assessment they have made of the effect of such action on Muslims. [HL2911]
National Indicator 35 or NI35 “Building resilience to violent extremism” is one of the 188 indicators that make up the national indicator set. All district and unitary local authorities in England are required to report against NI35 and some have agreed it as a priority indicator in their local area agreement. The principles of the national indicator set are set out in more detail in the Local Government White Paper Strong and Prosperous Communities.
The Communities Secretary has made clear that work on “Prevent” should be done in partnership with Muslim communities. Local authorities can do this only by knowing who their communities are. The measure around understanding and engagement of Muslim communities in NI35 is consistent with the statutory duties placed on local authorities to involve their communities in local decisions.
A new duty to involve came into force on 1 April 2009 as part of the Local Government Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 and includes an additional requirement on local authorities to ensure that people have greater opportunities to have their say. Statutory guidance, Creating Stronger and Prosperous Communities which supports the Act, was issued to local authorities in July 2008.
A copy of this guidance is available on the CLG website at http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications /localgovernment/strongsafeprosperous.
It is for local authorities themselves to make assessments about the impact of their work on local communities. We would expect them to listen to any concerns raised by their communities about any aspects of their work.
The Race for Justice Advisory Group members are a broad range of community representatives who are all independent of any relevant government department or criminal justice agency. They are led by an independent chair, Professor John Grieve, and include academic experts, representatives of third-sector bodies, victims groups and people directly affected by hate crime. The group is self-selecting and has invited new members to join when it has felt it needed to broaden membership to respond to new challenges. Members of the group have expertise and involvement in all five strands of monitored hate crime, being disability, race, religion, sexual orientation and transgender.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Bach on 5 February (WA 72), whether they will publish the advice of the Independent Advisory Group to the cross-government hate crime programme “Race for Justice” given to assist the preparation of the new hate crime manual. [HL2985]
In addition to the advice given to the “Race for Justice” programme, the Advisory Group took a decision to act as the standing Independent Advisory Group to the Hate Crime Portfolio Group of the Association of Chief Police Officers. It is this group that is developing the refreshed hate crime manual. Given that this document will be owned by the Association of Chief Police Officers, Her Majesty's Government do not intend to publish the advice received in the preparation of the document. The Association of Chief Police Officers has indicated that it intends to complete an equality impact assessment which will reflect the advice of the advisory group and all other consulted groups.
Crime: Public Transport
We had anticipated publishing a summary of the research findings on the cost of crime on public transport to tie in with an event specifically focusing on transport crime last autumn, which was subsequently postponed. The research findings will be published in due course.
Department for Transport: Instructional Videos
To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the cost to public funds of the instructional videos that the Department for Transport commissioned on how Flip video camcorders should be used when filming Ministers; whether they will place those videos on the Department for Transport's website; and what other such videos have been commissioned in the past five years. [HL3034]
The cost to public funds for the production of the camcorder training video was £767.71.
As it is for internal use, the video will not be placed on the Department for Transport's website. No other camcorder training videos have been commissioned in the past five years.
As a trial, a total of four small camcorders were acquired in 2009 and issued to selected communications directorate staff for the purposes of producing short films suitable for publicising departmental announcements and events on social media such as YouTube.
Material produced using these small camcorders is edited by the department's social media team and checked for quality and suitability by Communications Directorate senior management.
Elections: British Nationals
Section 1 of the Representation of the People Act 1985 provided for the first time that British citizens living overseas should be able to register to vote in parliamentary elections in the UK. That Act established the principle that a British citizen living abroad can only be registered within a fixed period of time. That period currently expires 15 years from the date on which the citizen in question was last resident in a parliamentary constituency in the United Kingdom and was included in the register for that constituency as a result.
Parliament decided to impose a time limit on the eligibility of overseas electors to vote in parliamentary elections, as it was thought that, during a lengthy period of absence from the UK, their connection with the UK is likely to diminish. Accordingly, it was considered that the ability of those electors to have a direct influence on our democratic processes by voting should also diminish.
The length of the period after which the right to vote lapses was initially set at five years but has subsequently been increased by statute to 20 years then, from 1 April 2002, reduced to 15 years. Each time a change has been has been made, Parliament has approved that change and confirmed its view that the basic principle of time-limiting overseas voting rights remains appropriate.
However, despite the general time limit described above, there are certain categories of person living abroad for a period longer than 15 years who are still entitled to vote. The categories of person are members of the Armed Forces; persons in Crown service posts; and persons working for the British Council. This exception also covers the spouses and civil partners of members of each of those categories. In the case of the Armed Forces, the right recognises the need for special arrangements that reflect the important nature of their service to the United Kingdom. Crown Servants are given this right because their service and loyalty to the Crown and State are considered to be directly comparable to that of a civil servant who lives and works in the United Kingdom.
Energy: Light Bulbs
In December 2008, Defra funded the “Impact Assessment of Energy Using Products (EuP) Implementing Measures for non-directional household lamps” as part of its work to transpose the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive into UK law. This assessment is available online in the Better Regulation Executive (BRE) library at: http://www.ialibrarv.berr.gov.uk.
Section 4.3 of the evidence attached to this impact assessment addresses the end-of-life phase, covering the key environmental impacts and associated disposal issues.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will consider removing the requirement for approval through the Microgeneration Certification Scheme, together with product accreditation, for micro-hydro installations under the feed-in tariff regime, in light of the non-standard applications that apply to that technology, as recorded in section 1.3 of Analysis of the Feed-in Tariff responses to the Consultation on Renewable Electricity Financial Incentives 2009. [HL3041]
The microgeneration certification scheme (MCS) is an important component of the feed-in tariff scheme (FITs) to ensure consumer protection. The Government have taken account of comments summarised in 1.3 of the analysis of responses to the FITs consultation.
The draft MCS installation standard (MIS 3006) currently being developed by the MCS micro-hydro expert working group was recently published on the MCS website. The consultation closed on 8 March 2010 and responses are being considered. The working group is aware of concerns that installations are non-standard and it is drafting the MCS standards to take account of this. The group will clarify the position on products shortly, when the MCS steering panel consults on the draft MCS product standard through http://www.microgenerationcertification.org.
Energy: Severn Barrage
We will publish our assessment of the Severn Embryonic Technologies Scheme alongside the publication of the Severn Tidal Power Feasibility Study evidence base later this year.
Energy: Wind Generation
The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) does not use any one, single load factor assumption for onshore wind. Load factors may vary according to prevailing site conditions and technology used.
Analysis for DECC by Redpoint/Trilemma (2009)1 used load factors for onshore wind of 21 per cent (low), 27 per cent (medium) and 29 per cent (high). The Digest of UK Energy Statistics 2009 reports that average onshore wind load factors have varied between 26.7 per cent and 29.4 per cent over the period 2004 to 2008 (unchanged configuration basis).
1 Redpoint/Trilemma, 2009, Implementation of the EU 2020 Renewables Target in the UK: RO Reform
All the responses to the consultation have been published on the website of the Department for Energy and Climate Change, http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/consultations/elec_financial/elec_financial.aspx which is arranged to facilitate searching by type of response.
The Government response to the points made is available from the same website, www.decc.gov.uk/fits
Equality and Human Rights Commission: Consultants
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is independent and manages its own affairs; the following is based on information it has provided.
The EHRC has spent a total of £290,985.73 on public affairs and public relations consultants during the past three years. For each year spend is as follows:
2009-10—£99,612.74 (spend to date) plus £26,488.55 for which the EHRC is contractually obliged to pay.
This expenditure was for seven distinct pieces of work:
the Muslim Women's Power List;
Young Brits at Art;
the Celebr8 Project;
preparation for the Commission's appearances before parliamentary Select Committees and provision of strategic advice on the Equality Bill;
deliver communications strategy for the Commission's three year strategic plan; and
development of a Campaign Book to assist the EHRC in messaging and branding work, setting out strategy for engaging with key audiences.
EU: Corporate Governance
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their response to the Law Society's recommendation in its July 2009 document EU Priorities for 2009–2014 for the creation of a “comply or explain” approach to corporate governance in the European Union single market. [HL3077]
The Government support the promotion of the effective use of “comply or explain” in corporate governance across the EU.
Used appropriately, such an approach can achieve high standards of corporate reporting and so assist shareholders in holding directors to account.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what rules or guidelines the Environment Agency works to when drawing up flood action plans that allow the flooding of land. [HL3010]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what rules the Environment Agency considers when drawing up flood action plans that may adversely affect on the livelihood of persons in the area; how soon they inform those affected; and whether they provide support for them. [HL3011]
The Environment Agency undertakes assessments to understand the social, environmental and economic impacts of flood management measures that it is considering, It actively consults landowners and occupiers on possible future decisions.
The Environment Agency follows its project appraisal guidance when considering the most appropriate flood management options. This guidance applies the higher level HM Treasury guidance on appraisal and evaluation in Central Government (The Greenbook) (2003) and Defra's policy statement on Appraisal of Flood and Erosion Risk Management (2009). Guidance on Catchment Flood Management Plans and Shoreline Management Plans also follows those high level guidelines.
When reviewing the appropriate level of maintenance for existing flood protection schemes, four categories are considered:
assets for which there is an economic case for maintenance, to reduce the risk from flooding to people and property;
assets that are required to protect internationally designated environmental features from the damaging effect of flooding where it is sustainable to do so;
assets that do not fit categories 1 and 2 above, but where work is justified because of legal commitments or where stopping maintenance would cause an unacceptable flood risk; and
assets that do not fit the above three categories.
A category four asset will have no economic or other reason to justify continued maintenance of the flood protection scheme. Where plans may include stopping maintenance, the Environment Agency provides support by offering practical advice on future options that may be a viable alternative. This could include the landowner. If maintenance is to cease, the period of notice to the landowner or occupier must be reasonable. This would normally be within six to 24 months. Longer periods may be appropriate in some instances as the definition of what is reasonable can depend on many factors.
The Environment Agency's approach to flood action plans is based on providing effective consultation within government guidelines. This approach has been developed in full consultation with Regional Flood Defence Committee chairs.
Environment Agency guidelines set out the criteria for making decisions and provide a framework that seeks to reduce flood risk and maximise cost effectiveness across England and Wales.
Government Departments: Illegal Immigrants
People employed to work in government departments and their agencies, either directly or through a contractor, are required to satisfy requirements on identity, nationality and immigration status prior to the offer of employment.
There have been two occasions since its inception in October 2008 where compliance checks have found illegal immigrants working through an employment agency for the Department of Energy and Climate Change.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord McKenzie of Luton on 3 March (WA 348), which festivals of Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism and Judaism were marked by ministerial video messages on the website of Communities and Local Government; and which Ministers broadcast each of those messages during 2009. [HL2869]
Further to my Written Answer to the noble Lord, the following festivals of Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism have been marked by ministerial video messages:
Easter greeting April 2009—Sadiq Khan;
Christmas greeting December 2009—John Denham.
Eid greeting September 2009—John Denham;
Eid Ul Adha November 2009—John Denham.
Hanukkah greeting December 2009—John Denham.
Vasaikhi greeting April 2009—Sadiq Khan.
Hinduism, Jainism and Sikhism
Diwali greeting October 2009—John Denham.
It is for local planning authorities to designate new green belt or to enlarge existing green belts through the local plan process. Since 1997 the amount of green belt land in England has grown by around 34,000 hectares, if one disregards the re-classification of 47,300 hectares of green belt as New Forest National Park in 2005.
Health: Contaminated Blood Products
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by the Minister of State for Public Health, Gillian Merron, on 12 March (Official Report, Common, col. 562W), whether they will itemise their estimate of the costs of implementing the recommendations on compensation in Lord Archer of Sandwell's report on contaminated blood and blood products. [HL2876]
Our initial estimate of £3 billion to 3.5 billion was based on an understanding that individual payments made in Ireland to infected patients ranged between £500,000 and £1 million, and was derived by multiplying the average of those figures by the estimated number of infected claimants in the United Kingdom. It did not take account of payments to dependents of those infected.
It is not possible to calculate an accurate figure for the cost of implementing the recommendations for compensation contained in Lord Archer's report because the Irish scheme uses a series of eligibility criteria, which means that different claimants have received different amounts of compensation, depending on their circumstances. Therefore, unless each UK claimant is assessed individually against the same criteria, it would be impossible to give an accurate figure. It is also not possible to estimate with any certainty how many people in the UK might be eligible to apply.
There are currently no centrally held data on the number of people in the United Kingdom who use an insulin pump. We are unable to provide a direct comparison to the number of people using insulin pumps in other parts of Europe or the United States.
The uptake of insulin pumps in the UK is known to be lower than in most other countries of comparable economic standing and level of healthcare provision.
The NHS Technology Adoption Centre is currently investigating the barriers to the adoption of insulin pumps. Their guidance is due to be published at the end of April 2010.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) assesses the cost and benefits of treatments and provides guidance on best practice. We expect all clinicians to consider NICE guidance when making decisions with patients (and/or their parents or carer) about an individual's care pathway.
NICE guidance recommends pump therapy as an option for adults and children of 12 years and older with type 1 diabetes, provided that multiple-dose insulin therapy had failed and that those receiving the treatment could use it effectively.
NICE also recommends that insulin pump therapy can be used as a treatment option for children younger than 12 years with type 1 diabetes, provided that: Multiple daily injection (MDI) therapy is considered to be impractical or inappropriate. Children on insulin pumps would be expected to undergo a trial of MDI therapy between the ages of 12 and 18 years.
There are no centrally held data on the number of people in the United Kingdom that use a continuous glucose monitor either self-funded or funded by the National Health Service.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends that children and young people with type 1 diabetes who have persistent problems with glyceamic control should be offered continuous glucose monitoring systems.
We expect all clinicians to consider NICE guidance when making decisions with patients (and/or their parents or carer) about an individual's care pathway.
Health: Diabetes 1
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the number of people in the United Kingdom who use an insulin pump; and what steps they are taking to increase insulin pump use among people with type 1 diabetes. [HL2857]
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many (a) adults, and (b) children, with type 1 diabetes in the United Kingdom use insulin pump therapy. [HL2889]
There are no data held centrally about how many people in the United Kingdom use an insulin pump. However, in its suite of guidance on Continuous Subcutaneous Insulin Infusion for the Treatment of Diabetes Mellitus, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) estimates that the number of patients using insulin pumps in England could be up to 8,000.
The NHS constitution makes it clear that patients have the right to drugs and treatments that have been recommended by NICE for use in the NHS (subject to any criteria specified in NICE's guidance) if that patient's healthcare professional considers that they are clinically appropriate.
Health: Foreign Doctors
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether their implementation of European Union rules that outlaw checks on foreign doctors' language skills takes account of risks to United Kingdom patients, as shown by the death of Mr David Gray who died as a result of being treated by a German doctor with poor English skills. [HL2854]
Under Directive 2005/36/EC language knowledge is not a ground for refusing recognition of the qualifications of a national of another member state.
The United Kingdom has therefore transposed the provisions in the directive that migrants shall “have a knowledge of languages necessary for practising the profession in the host member state”, not at the point of registration, but at the point where a doctor seeks to provide services in a community; through the Performers List Regulations 2004 and through obligations on employers.
Health Service Circular 1999/137 makes it clear to all National Health Service employers that they are responsible for ensuring that the staff they employ have the necessary language and communication skills needed to do their job safely and effectively.
Providing emergency accommodation for all young people who need it, including young runaways, is the responsibility of local authorities. Since the publication of the Young Runaways Action Plan, we have reviewed the commissioning, delivery and perceptions of emergency accommodation. Commissioning Delivery and Perceptions of Emergency Accommodation for Young Runaways was published in November 2009 and made recommendations about what more can be done to support emergency accommodation. A copy of that review is available in the House library or to download here:
http://publications.dcsf.gov.uk/default.aspx?Page Function=productdetails&PageMode= publications&Productld=DCSF-RR181&
Where relevant we will incorporate the response to those recommendations into a revised version of our statutory guidance to local authorities.
House of Lords: Life Peerages
The position on the creation of new peerages remains as currently provided for until such time as Parliament decides differently.
House of Lords: Procedure Committee
To ask the Chairman of Committees whether he will place in the Library of the House the agendas of Procedure Committee meetings to ensure that non-members of the committee have an opportunity to make their views known to members in advance of meetings. [HL3144]
In general, only the members and staff of a committee see the papers in advance of a meeting. However, I shall put the noble Lord's suggestion to the Procedure Committee at its next meeting
House of Lords: Publications
The production, printing and distribution costs of this year's business plan were £3,238.82.
Houses of Parliament: PICT
PICT was assessed by a “health check” conducted in June 2008 by an independent ICT consultant commissioned by the bicameral joint Business Systems Board. The health check found that PICT had developed into a professional ICT organisation delivering effective ICT services at a reasonable cost. It went on to recommend improvements that could be made in the way in which ICT projects and programmes were organised and financed. A review of the actions taken in response to the health check was undertaken in June 2009 and the consultants found that good progress had been made. Both reports were presented to the Management Board and the Information Committee in the House of Lords.
Both the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and the Department for International Development (DfID) integrate human rights work across their objectives. This means that funding for human rights can be given through numerous programmes.
The FCO holds the Strategic Programme Fund for Human Rights and Democracy dedicated specifically to supporting human rights projects. In 2010-11, this fund has allocated £5.6 million to human rights and democracy projects around the world. These include support to civil society and freedom of expression; and abolition of torture and the death penalty.
FCO's 2010-11 programmes that can fund human rights projects where these help to realise their core objectives include:
Strategic Programme Fund for Reuniting Europe—£3.8 million;
Strategic Programme Fund for Counter Terrorism and Radicalisation—expected £38 million;
bilateral programme budgets—£11.233 million;
DfID's 2010-11 programmes that can fund human rights projects include:
bilateral programmes to support governments and civil society (this includes support to democratic elections, defending human rights and strengthening the management of public finances);
UKaid which supports the role of civil society. It is also channelled through multilateral organisations such as the UN and the EU to support work on human rights amongst other issues;
support to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights;
partnership programme arrangements with organisations that work on human rights issues;
the Governance and Transparency Fund; and
the Disability Rights Fund.
In addition, there is the tri-departmental Conflict Pool that funds conflict prevention and stabilisation work that can fund human rights projects/objectives. The 2010-11 budget is £178.5 million which is for discretionary conflict prevention and stabilisation work. My right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary announced this in his Written Ministerial Statement of 25 March.
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they will respond to the report “Outsourcing Abuse” by Baroness O'Loan; whether they will publish their response; and whether they will take steps to ensure that all complaints of maltreatment will be fully investigated. [HL2912]
Baroness O'Loan was appointed by the Home Secretary to review allegations of systematic abuse of immigration detainees by escorting staff that were published in a dossier entitled Outsourcing Abuse. Her review centred on investigations into the complaints detailed in the dossier and the UK Border Agency's complaints and investigation systems.
Baroness O'Loan's findings were published on 12 March 2010. She found that there was no evidence to substantiate the central allegation of systematic abuse by escorting staff. At the same time, she recognised that many of the concerns she had about the way a number of the investigations into complaints had been handled in the past had been addressed already by the agency following a decision to transfer responsibility to its Professional Standards Unit in February 2008. She none the less made a number of recommendations to strengthen the supervision of staff and improve our complaints handling further.
In the report's foreword, the chief executive of the UK Border Agency welcomed Baroness O'Loan's report. Her response can be found on the UK Border Agency's website.
Immigration: Heathrow Airport
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their response to the report of the Independent Monitoring Board on the short-term holding facilities at Heathrow, in particular concerning the holding of families and the length of detention in unsuitable conditions. [HL3044]
Both I and the chief executive of the UK Border Agency have welcomed the annual report of the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) for the non-residential short-term holding facilities at Heathrow Airport.
We have noted the fact that the board has recognised significant improvement in the way in which immigration detainees are treated at the airport over the past 12 months. At the same time, we have noted the concerns about length of detention and the detention of families.
The chair of the board has been advised that detention services will provide a full reply in May.
Infrastructure Planning: Funding
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have estimated the volume of national infrastructure project applications likely to be made by the 50 smallest councils; and whether they plan to provide assistance with the costs to the smallest councils. [HL2916]
The Government have not made any estimate of the volume of applications for nationally significant infrastructure projects likely to be made by the 50 smallest local authorities; we do not however generally anticipate that local authorities will submit such applications. Funding of such projects is a matter for the scheme promoter.
Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials were neither consulted about nor authorised payment of a ransom to secure the release of Sahil Saeed in Pakistan. The UK Government's policy of not making or facilitating substantive concessions to hostage-takers, including the payment of ransoms, is long standing and clear. We believe that making such concessions rewards hostage-taking and encourages future kidnaps. We will continue to offer consular assistance to the families of those taken by kidnappers.
Kurdistan: British Citizens
Our consulate in Erbil is aware of allegations of malpractices made by certain staff members at the University of Kurdistan Hawler. The consulate has advised that complaints be referred to the university's internal grievance system. The consulate has also passed on names of lawyers based in Erbil who can advise on any additional legal measures that can be considered.
Money Laundering and Terrorism
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many Suspicious Activity Reports have been received by the Serious Organised Crime Agency from the 12,409 bookkeepers who have registered with HM Revenue and Customs under the Money Laundering Regulations 2007 (SI 2007/2157). [HL2959]
Suspicious activity reports (SAR) statistics are maintained by the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA). These are not broken down into SARs submitted by businesses under a particular supervisor. According to the SOCA annual report between October 2008 and September 2009 there were 228,834 SARs of which 6,390 were from accountants and 96 from tax advisors.
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have adopted the anti-money-laundering guidance for the accountancy sector issued by the Consultative Committee of Accountancy Bodies. This is the guidance that bookkeepers, tax advisers and accountants required to register with HMRC are directed to use.
This guidance has been drafted by the accountancy industry. HMRC was consulted on the drafting of the guidance and has had input into its contents. The guidance is approved by HM Treasury.
In addition, HMRC has also published on its website simplified guidance for all the businesses they supervise.
It is not possible to provide an exact figure of British citizens at risk from unrest in Nigeria. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) working with the Ministry of Defence and the in-country team, closely monitors the political and security situation in Nigeria, and keeps the risk to British citizens from unrest under constant review. This ongoing process includes reviewing contingency plans by our posts in Lagos and Abuja, maintaining contact with our community liaison officer network as well as other diplomatic missions, and ensuring FCO travel advice is updated to ensure British citizens have the most up-to-date information on the present situation. We also encourage British citizens to register with our LOCATE service through the FCO website (https://www.locate.fco.gov.uk/locateportal/).
There are no longer any licensed pesticides or veterinary medicinal products in the UK containing the chemical tetrachlorvinphos. Laboratory tests on bacteria and human cells have given evidence that it may present a genotoxic hazard.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had in the past five years with the governments of Australia, Canada, the Falkland Islands, New Zealand and South Africa about reciprocal arrangements for the payment and uprating of pensions and other social security benefits; and what progress has been made. [HL2994]
In the past five years Ministers have had four meetings with Australian Ministers and officials at which the issue of not uprating UK state pensions to persons living in Australia was raised. There have been no similar representations from the Canadian, Falkland Islands or South African Governments on this issue in that period. At the request of the New Zealand Government, officials are currently negotiating minor amendments to the reciprocal social security agreement between the United Kingdom and New Zealand, but those amendments would not include provision for the payment of annual uprating of UK state pension to persons living in New Zealand.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the costs incurred by the Personal Accounts Delivery Authority in setting up the National Employment Savings Trust (NEST) and personal accounts will be transferred to NEST; and, if so, how much will be transferred; and how and when NEST will pay for it. [HL2934]
NEST will be self-financing in the long term, meaning that any loan finance provided by Government to fund the costs of establishment, including those costs incurred by the Personal Accounts Delivery Authority (PADA), will be repaid from members' charge revenues. This will ensure the scheme is delivered at nil overall cost to taxpayers.
Up to the end of February 2010, PADA had received £37 million of loan funding and is expected to receive a further £24 million up to its wind-up on 5 July 2010. All loan funding advanced to PADA is based on evidence of need.
The loan liability owed by the Personal Accounts Delivery Authority (PADA) will, on its wind-up, be transferred to the NEST Corporation, which will then be responsible for repaying the loan along with any further money it borrows from Government in connection with its activities to establish the scheme.
The period in which the loan to NEST Corporation will be repaid will ultimately depend on a variety of factors, including the final costs of NEST and the size and nature of its membership. We anticipate that the total loan period, including the years in which NEST borrows from the Government and the subsequent repayments, will last in the region of 20 years.
The responses to the consultation on the draft Planning Policy Statement (PPS) 15 supported the unified approach to the historic environment but raised concerns about some aspects of the draft. They gave a clear steer as to how these should be addressed. With the help of informal discussions and stakeholder feedback both during and after the consultation exercise we were able to propose changes to the draft which were tested with key practitioner and conservation interests. Once we were satisfied that the draft had been revised in a way that fully met the concerns raised during consultation, a final version was published as PPS 5 on 23 March.
The Government's formal response to the consultation, identifying the main issues raised and how they were addressed, was included in the summary of consultation responses published alongside the new PPS, which can be found on my Department’s website at http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/planningandbuilding/pps 15summaryresponses.
Ports: Business Rates
To ask Her Majesty's Government with reference to the paper deposited in the Library of the House on 1 April 2009 (DEP2009-1056), whether they will publish an updated chart with the (a) pre-review, and (b) post-review, (1) total rateable values, and (2) number of hereditaments, for port and non-port companies, broken down by port across England and Wales, according to the most recent records held by the Valuation Office Agency. [HL2972]
A revised table of pre-review and post-review assessments with an effective date of 1 April 2005 will be placed in the Library.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the estimated cost to (a) local authorities, (b) the Valuation Office Agency, and (c) the Exchequer, of administering and enforcing the new arrangements for business rates on firms in ports, including the cost of the deferment scheme. [HL2976]
No estimate of the cost to local authorities, the Valuation Office Agency and the Exchequer has been made for administering and enforcing arrangements for business rates on firms in ports, as the addition of new properties to the ratings list is part and parcel of the ongoing rating system.
The cost of the schedule of payments scheme to the Exchequer is set out in the impact assessment accompanying the Non-Domestic Rating (Collection and Enforcement) (Local Lists) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2009 (SI 204). It estimates the cost of the scheme as being revenue neutral for local authorities and £33 million over the life of the scheme to the Exchequer. There is no cost associated for the Valuation Office Agency with this scheme.
The schedule of payments scheme was implemented as a result of the Government having listened to the concerns of businesses with significant and unexpected backdated bills, including some businesses within ports. The scheme enables such bills to be repaid over an unprecedented eight years rather than in a single instalment, helping affected businesses to manage the impact on their cash flows during the downturn by reducing the amount they are required to pay now by 87.5 per cent.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Adonis on 22 March (WA 266), what was the cost of employing consultants and other advisers in connection with (a) the case presented to the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) in 2006, (b) the responses to the ORR's consultation documents, (c) the presentation of information for the Competition Commission's investigation, and (d) responding to the Commission's questions and consultation documents. [HL3143]
The cost of employing consultants and other advisers (excluding VAT) was as follows:
(a) £2 million between the beginning of 2005 and June 2006, at which point the Department for Transport asked the Office of the Rail Regulation to investigate the rolling stock market;
(b) £0.6 million between July 2006 and April 2007, at which point the Office of Rail Regulation referred the matter to the Competition Commission; and
(c) £2.8 million between May 2007 and April 2009, at which point the Competition Commission published its final report at the end of its rolling stock leasing market investigation.
Railways: InterCity Express Trains
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they will announce the location for the manufacture of Intercity Express Programme trains by Agility Trains. [HL3122]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the preferred locations for the manufacture of Intercity Express Programme trains by Agility Trains. [HL3123]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with One North East about the suitability of Newton Aycliffe as a location for the manufacture of Intercity Express Programme trains by Agility Trains. [HL3124]
Selection of the site of the Intercity Express Programme manufacturing facility is a matter for Hitachi, which would build the trains on behalf of the Agility Trains consortium. This decision is not being guided, influenced or overseen by the Department for Transport.
There have been no discussions between the Department for Transport and One North East about the suitability of Newton Aycliffe or any other location for the manufacture of Intercity Express Programme trains.
Religious Freedom: ASEAN
We have no current plans to raise religious freedoms with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
ASEAN has recently established the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) to promote human rights in the region. The AICHR commissioners are still drafting the first five-year work plan. It is not yet clear whether religious freedoms will be included in the body's mandate, but if so, this would provide opportunities to discuss religious freedom in a regional context.
We, along with our EU partners, raise human rights concerns, including those around religious freedoms, bilaterally with ASEAN member states. Where there are specific concerns, particularly on the treatment of religious minorities, we have raised them in bilateral discussions.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Morgan of Drefelin on 9 March (WA 55), how many students at maintained secondary schools were entered for A-Levels in 1999 in (a) history, (b) French, (c) German, and (d) Spanish. [HL2835]
Of those students at the end of key stage 5 in maintained secondary schools1 in 1999:
18,818 entered history A-Level;
8,760 entered French A-Level;
4,638 entered German A-Level; and
1,852 entered Spanish A-Level.
1 This excludes 16-18 FE institutions, eg sixth-form colleges.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Morgan of Drefelin on 9 March (WA 55), how many students at maintained secondary schools were entered for A-Levels in 2009 in (a) history, (b) French, (c) German, and (d) Spanish. [HL2836]
The total number of entries for 16 to 18 year-olds' in maintained schools2 in 2009 is shown in the table below:
Subject Total Entries History 25,471 French 6,282 German 2,751 Spanish 2,617
1 Age at the start of the 2008-09 academic year, ie 31 August 2008.
2 Includes community and foundation special schools, hospital schools and pupil referral units but not sixth form colleges.
Statistical First Release: GCE/Applied GCE A/AS and Equivalent Examination Results in England, 2008-09 (Revised).
Information on the number of pupils aged 16 to 18 at state-funded secondary schools in 1999 and 2009 is shown in the table.
Number of pupils aged 16 to 18 (2) 1999 310,800 2009 392,070
Number of pupils aged 16 to 18 (2)
(1) Includes middle deemed secondary schools, city technology colleges and academies.
(2) Includes solely registered pupils only. Includes full and part time pupils. Age as at 31 August prior to the academic year shown.
Figures have been rounded to the nearest 10.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are making representations to the Government of Syria about the alleged killing of three young persons and the wounding of nine others by security forces during Newroz celebrations in the town of al-Raqqa. [HL3043]
My officials are seeking further information about this alleged incident. We will then consider further action.
Taxation: Financial Transactions
The Government continue to engage in the international debate on the subject of financial transaction taxes, following the Prime Minister's speech to G20 Finance Ministers at St Andrews in November, where he raised the issue of a new social contract between banks and society, and called for a global plan to make the financial sector contribute in recognition of the cost to taxpayers of government interventions in the sector. The International Monetary Fund has been commissioned by the G20 to produce a report on these issues. The Government look forward to seeing the results of this work later on this year.
Taxation: Non-domiciled Residents
The Government reformed the rules governing the taxation of non-domiciles in 2008. These reforms struck the right balance between increasing the fairness of the rules and maintaining the UK's international competitiveness.
Evaluations into welfare-to-work programmes are published as part of the department's Research Report Series. These are available on the department's internet site and can be located at http://research.dwp. gov.uk/asd/asd5/rrs-index.asp.
Universities: Officer Training Corps
The number of officer cadets serving in the University Officer Training Corps (UOTC) who, on average, regularly attended training in October 2008 was 2,691. The number of officer cadets serving in the UOTC who, on average, regularly attended training in February 2009 was 2,356.
US: Nuclear Weapons
We cannot comment on specific deployments or the capabilities of coalition forces' vessels anywhere in the world.
Under the UK/US Exchange of Notes which governs the use of the British Indian Ocean Territory for defence purposes, the stationing of nuclear weapons in the territory would require a joint decision by both Governments.
We do not currently publish a list of suspended colleges on the UK Border Agency website.
To ask Her Majesty's Government in which United Kingdom diplomatic missions corruption involving (a) United Kingdom personnel, and (b) locally employed staff, has been detected in the issuing of visas for travel or entry to the United Kingdom in each of the past three years; and what steps they are taking to prevent and detect such corruption. [HL2956]
The UK Border Agency expects the highest levels of integrity from its staff.
The majority of staff carry out their roles with professionalism and integrity. Any allegations of corruption are thoroughly investigated and the agency takes swift action where it finds members of staff have broken the law. The agency has a dedicated unit of accredited counter-fraud investigators who work in close co-operation with the police and other bodies to deter, to detect and to investigate internal fraud and corruption.
With regard to overseas missions in which corruption has been detected and the steps taken to prevent and detect such corruption, I will write to the noble Lord separately, due to the risk of prejudicing steps taken to detect and prevent corruption.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord West of Spithead on 18 March (WA 234), whether they will ensure that the cost of processing a confirmation of acceptance for studies form to a prospective foreign student seeking a United Kingdom visa is in future covered by the fee charged. [HL3065]
The fee for a tier 4 certificate of acceptance of studies will be reviewed during 2010 as part of the Government review of immigration fees that is done on an annual basis.
We will make appropriate changes as necessary in line with our overall objective to set fees to ensure we maintain the UK as an attractive destination for migrants who come to work, study and visit.