14 July 2014 : Column WA83

Written Answers

Monday 14 July 2014

Asylum: Children

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many child asylum applicants have been refused financial and other support by social services departments because their credibility has been challenged, in the last year for which figures are available.[HL845]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash) (Con): Local authorities have a duty to provide support to unaccompanied asylum seeking children, as they would to any other looked after child. Where the age of a person is uncertain and there are reasons to believe that the person is a child, that person is presumed to be a child in order to receive immediate access to assistance, support and protection. Local authorities may only conduct an age assessment where there is significant reason to doubt that the claimant is a child. This assessment must adhere to standards established within case law.

The Government does not hold any data on numbers of child asylum applicants refused support by local authorities.

Asylum: Young People

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they plan to issue guidance to social services departments on the special needs of unaccompanied asylum-seeking young people, in particular in respect of post-traumatic stress and arrested personal development.[HL843]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash) (Con): New statutory guidance for local authorities on the care of unaccompanied asylum seeking and trafficked children is due to be published shortly.

BBC World Service

Question

Asked by Lord Alderdice

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the changes in how the BBC World Service is funded on its coverage of the situation in Ukraine.[HL842]

Lord Gardiner of Kimble (Con): No assessment has been made of how the changes to BBC World Service funding have impacted on its coverage of the situation in the Ukraine. The BBC is operationally, editorially and managerially independent and it is therefore for

14 July 2014 : Column WA84

the BBC Trust to comment on and manage the funding and operation of the World Service. In a June 2013 statement the then Chair of the Trust, Lord Patten, confirmed that the funding for 2014-15, the first year of Licence fee funding, would be £245 million – representing an increase of £5 million on the previous year of (Foreign Office) funding.

Better Care Fund

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans there are for each Health and Wellbeing Board to agree performance measures for implementing the Better Care Fund; and what progress has been made to date.[HL838]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): Following a review of the first set of local plans for the Better Care Fund (BCF), it has become clear that while the majority of areas have made good progress, there is more we need to do to ensure every area is on track to deliver from next April.

As part of this, Ministers have agreed revised arrangements for the pay for performance scheme to ensure that financial benefits linked to reductions in emergency admissions can be clearly demonstrated and that health services and councils share the financial responsibility if emergency admissions are not reduced.

Key elements of the agreement are:

- BCF performance payments will now be linked to reducing emergency admissions;- the size of the performance payment will be determined by local decisions on the level of ambition for the reduction in emergency admissions and the amount spent on local NHS services, as set out in the plan agreed by the local Health and Wellbeing Board;- the remaining money from the performance pot not earned through reducing emergency admissions will be used to support local NHS services, as agreed by Health and Wellbeing Boards; and- the wider metrics in the initial performance framework will continue to be used to monitor progress, but will not be used in assessments for the pay for performance scheme.

Revised guidance on the new pay for performance scheme and further information required to improve BCF plans will be provided to the sector in coming weeks, alongside details of support available and the timetable for submitting revised plans.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Question

Asked by The Earl of Dundee

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to assist economic regeneration in Bosnia Herzegovina.[HL776]

14 July 2014 : Column WA85

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): The UK remains unequivocally committed to supporting Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) as it develops its economy, so as to deliver on its potential and establish itself as a stable and sovereign country within the EU and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

The UK is working closely with the EU, the UN, and other international organisations to support BiH’s people and institutions, so that they can address the issues at the heart of February’s protests – economy, employment and anti-corruption. This includes work through the EU Forum for Prosperity and Jobs, an informed National Economic Programme, encouraging BiH’s commitment to the Open Government Partnership (OGP), efforts to tackle corruption through an expanded EU Structured Dialogue on Justice, and re-programming of the EU’s Instrument of Pre-Accession funds. The recovery from May’s devastating floods highlight the need for politicians in BiH to work together to regenerate the country’s economy and progress towards EU accession.

Bovine Tuberculosis

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what proportion of the badgers shot or trapped in the Somerset and Gloucestershire pilot culls were infected with tuberculosis. [HL688]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley) (Con): The purpose of the structured programme of field observations of controlled shooting and the associated post-mortem examination of carcases was to gather the required evidence to support an assessment of humaneness of controlled shooting, not to test badgers culled for infection with M.bovis.

Broadband

Question

Asked by Lord Birt

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they plan to take to ensure that consumers receive the broadband speeds for which they pay.[HL864]

Lord Gardiner of Kimble (Con): Ofcom, the independent national regulatory authority for communications has agreed a voluntary industry code of practice on broadband speeds. It was introduced in 2008 and subsequently updated in 2010, and requires internet service providers to provide consumers with information on the maximum speed they can achieve, including an estimated speed range, to help ensure that consumers choose the package that is the most appropriate for them in light of their individual circumstances and needs. All the largest internet service providers representing 98% of the broadband consumer market are signed up to the Code and have agreed to abide by its principles and spirit. Headline broadband speeds advertised are unlikely to be achievable all the time. There are a variety of reasons for broadband

14 July 2014 : Column WA86

speed variations, not all of which are within the broadband service provider’s control. The important thing is that consumers receive accurate information on broadband speeds at the point of sale to allow them to make informed purchasing decisions, and ensure that there is not a mismatch between the speeds they expect to receive and what they actually get.

Ofcom has undertaken successive mystery shopping exercises to check compliance with the Code. Results have shown that the level of compliance has continued to improve. The latest results published in May 2013 found that overall 96% of mystery shopping callers were provided with a speed estimate (93% in 2011/12). There was also an improvement overall in the provision of speeds information provided to mystery shoppers via the web. All signatories to the Code, with the exception of two small providers, offered a speed checker which provide estimated access line speeds. The percentage of assessments where any speed estimate was given via the website rose from 87% in 2011/12 to 92% in 2013.

Ofcom is currently discussing with industry and consumer groups, its proposals to revise the Code to reflect significant changes in the broadband market since the Code’s introduction, with the increased take up of superfast packages. The proposals include improving the information on speeds for consumers buying superfast packages to equal that received by consumers buying current generation services.

Burma

Questions

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of reports of the use of torture in the conflict zones of Burma; and whether they consider that any such actions should be categorised as a war crime or a crime against humanity.[HL811]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to urge the government of Burma to end torture in that country, to investigate reports of continuing use of torture, and to bring the perpetrators to justice.[HL812]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): We are concerned by reports of the use of torture in conflict zones in Burma. We remain one of the most vocal and active members of the international community in supporting those calling for human rights in Burma. We regularly raise our strong concerns regarding any violations of human rights with senior members of the Burmese government and military, amongst others. We strongly support work being led by international partners, including the UN, to help Burma better understand the UN Convention Against Torture, and the steps that need to be taken as part of ratification.

It is the policy of the Government that any judgment on whether war crimes have occurred is a matter for international judicial decision, rather than for governments or non-judicial bodies. Our approach is to seek an end

14 July 2014 : Column WA87

to all violations, and to prevent their further escalation, irrespective of whether these violations fit the definition of specific international crimes.

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to discuss with the Burmese authorities the creation of an independent inquiry, with Burmese and international participation, into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in that country. [HL813]

Baroness Warsi: We have made clear to the Burmese government our strong concerns over the human rights situation in the country, particularly in Rakhine state and the ethnic border regions. Our priority is to seek an end to all human rights violations. We have been firm that as part of this process the culture of impunity must be properly tackled, which we believe is best achieved through a clear, independent and transparent investigative and prosecutorial process that meets international standards.

Asked by Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to address accountability for torture, sexual violence and other human rights violations in Burma.[HL862]

Baroness Warsi: We are deeply concerned by reports of the use of torture, sexual violence and other human rights violations in Burma. We remain one of the most vocal and active members of the international community in supporting those calling for the respect of human rights in Burma. We raise our strong concerns with senior members of the Burmese government and military regularly. We have made clear to the Burmese government that allegations of human rights abuses must be dealt with through clear, independent and transparent investigative and prosecutorial processes which meets international standards.

Business: Education

Question

Asked by Baroness Neville-Rolfe

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what measures are in place to encourage enterprise in schools and university technical colleges and to give students technical skills for employment.[HL967]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash) (Con): Lord Young in his report “Enterprise for All” has proposed a number of measures to help schools and colleges embed enterprise in their teaching to help young people develop a career and vocational skills. The Government expects to announce its response in the autumn. This will include the development of Enterprise Advisers to enable school headteachers to strengthen their focus on enterprise and engagement with the world of business and work.

These measures will also apply to university technical colleges, which provide high-quality technical education for those young people that choose to follow a more

14 July 2014 : Column WA88

practically orientated education. Employers play a key role in shaping the curriculum to ensure that students learn practical and relevant skills for industry.

We are linking the whole education system more closely to the world of work. We have introduced Technical Awards for 14-16-year-olds. These qualifications, equivalent to GCSEs, are developed in partnership with employers and will give students the opportunity to develop real-life practical skills.

We have also introduced Tech Levels for 16-19-year-old students who want to learn technical skills as an alternative to, or alongside, A levels. The 227 Tech Levels taught from September 2014 are all endorsed by employers, trade or professional bodies, and cover most practical career paths. From September 2016, all Tech Level courses will also involve employers in the delivery and/or assessment of the qualification. We have changed the way providers are funded for 16-19 year olds so that work experience is funded on the same basis as qualifications. This gives education providers the freedom and flexibility needed to expand their work experience provision.

Channel Tunnel

Question

Asked by Lord Berkeley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Kramer on 30 June (WA 209), what are the reasons for not moving responsibility for railway safety in the Channel Tunnel to the Office of Rail Regulation and its French equivalent at the same time as moving economic regulation.[HL853]

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Kramer) (LD): Unlike economic regulation of the Channel Tunnel there is no European legislative obligation to move responsibility for railway safety in the Channel Tunnel to national regulators. The Government considers that currently there is no justification on safety or other grounds for moving safety regulation and therefore has no plans to do so at the moment. This view is also shared by the French Government.

Claims Management Services

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action are they taking to improve practices in the claims management industry.[HL841]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Faulks) (Con): The Claims Management Regulator (CMR) is making a number of reforms to provide better consumer protection, stricter conduct requirements and stronger enforcement action to improve practices in the claims management industry. The CMR will introduce in October a new set of conduct rules to crackdown on poor practices, particularly in relation to financial claims.

14 July 2014 : Column WA89

The new rules will strengthen requirements for CMCs to ensure that claims are properly substantiated and any leads they receive through telemarketing are legally obtained. Subject to parliamentary approval, by the end of this year new legislation will give the CMR the power to fine CMCs for poor conduct. More resources have been deployed to tackle CMC non compliance and the names of CMCs under investigation or subject to recent enforcement action are now published on the GOV.UK website at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/ claims-management-regulator-enforcement -actions. Reforms have also been made to the internal governance of the CMR. Two non executive members have been appointed to the executive-led CMR Board to help bring a greater element of independent challenge and continuous improvement.

Crossrail Line

Question

Asked by Lord Beecham

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the estimated cost of the proposed extension of Crossrail to Reading.[HL883]

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Kramer) (LD): The Crossrail Project (which is managed by Crossrail Limited) will save approximately £10m as a result of the extension to Reading as some items of scope which were planned to be delivered at Slough and Maidenhead are no longer required.

The service requires one additional train to be added to the Crossrail fleet. This will form part of the recently announced rolling stock and depot contract with Bombardier where there was an option to procure additional trains. The exact costs of the train are commercially confidential but I can confirm that the cost is being met from Crossrail’s existing funding.

Electrification costs are already included in the Great Western electrification programme.

Digital Technology

Question

Asked by Lord Allen of Kensington

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when and how they intend to deliver the legislative changes identified in the policy paper Connectivity, Content and Consumers—Britain’s digital platform for growth, published by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in July 2013.[HL816]

Lord Gardiner of Kimble (Con): The Connectivity, Content and Consumers paper set out the Government’s vision and strategy for the communications sector. As well as a range of non-legislative measures, it proposed a small number of targeted, incremental legislative changes. Government is in the process of implementing these proposals. We have introduced Secondary Legislation to enable Ofcom to share information with the Information Commissioner’s Office about organisations that may be breaking the rules. We are also in the process of introducing Secondary Legislation to ensure that video-on-demand material that would be rated

14 July 2014 : Column WA90

R18 by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) is put behind access controls, and to ban the provision of video-on-demand material that would not receive any classification by the BBFC.

Other legislative measures will be taken forward as soon as parliamentary time allows.

Disabled Students’ Allowances

Questions

Asked by The Lord Bishop of St Albans

To ask Her Majesty’s Government which criteria they will use, under the proposed changes to the Disabled Students' Allowance, to distinguish between the need for higher specification or higher cost computers where a student needs one by virtue of their disability, as opposed to a need because of the way in which a course is delivered.[HL858]

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Con): The criteria for determining when Disabled Student Allowances (DSAs) will contribute to the cost of higher specification or higher cost computers will be set out in guidance that will be published alongside the appropriate regulations in the autumn. Support under DSAs will continue to be available if the need for a higher specification or higher cost computer is by virtue of the student’s disability, rather than how the course is being delivered by the Higher Education Institution (HEI). If access to a higher specification or higher cost computer is essential to all students on that course, regardless of whether they are disabled or not, then provision of such computers would be a matter for the HEI.

Asked by The Lord Bishop of St Albans

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how they intend to ensure that disabled students do not suffer discrimination as a result of the proposed changes to the Disabled Students’ Allowance, due to Higher Education Institutions failing to make the necessary changes to courses to accommodate their needs. [HL859]

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: Higher education institutions are independent and autonomous organisations and are already subject to the strong legal requirements in the Equality Act 2010. They have clear duties to ensure that disabled students do not face discrimination whilst applying to, and studying in higher education. Where an individual believes they have been discriminated against and a dispute occurs, there are already well established processes in place for raising a formal complaint, initially through the university’s internal complaints procedure and then, if unresolved after completing that process, the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA).

Domestic Violence

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the review led by Dr Elizabeth Bates of the University of Cumbria showing that women are more likely to physically and mentally abuse their partners, whether they will encourage men to report such violence to the police.[HL749]

14 July 2014 : Column WA91

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach) (Con): We recognise that men can be victims of domestic violence and abuse, so the Government recognises the need to support frontline organisations working with male victims to ensure there is an enhancement of service provision for male victims. The Government’s approach to tackling domestic violence and abuse is laid out in the Violence Against Women and Girls Action Plan, refreshed in March 2014:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/287758/VAWG_Action _Plan.pdf

which includes actions to protect men from domestic and sexual violence. This includes funding the Men’s Advice Line and Broken Rainbow helplines. We are committed to supporting this vital service for male victims.

The Government believes that any victims suffering persistent abuse should be treated equally and is committed to supporting all victims of this terrible crime, regardless of gender, race or ethnicity.

Driving: Licensing

Question

Asked by Lord Eames

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Kramer on 30 June (WA 210), when they expect to publish the results of the pilot scheme by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency on the application process for licences for all vocational drivers with insulin-treated diabetes.[HL807]

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Kramer) (LD): The pilot showed that around 2,000 customers each year may benefit from their driving licence application being processed 35% quicker. Although the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) is not publishing the outcome of the pilot, changes in how applications are processed have been introduced this week.

The DVLA will continue to explore opportunities to speed up the application process when these initial changes are established.

Employment

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Deighton on 1 July concerning youth unemployment (WA 254), whether they will take steps to ensure that employment policy remains a national policy.[HL955]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud) (Con): Tackling unemployment is essential for sustainable economic growth in the UK and the EU. Where labour market reforms are needed in Member States, these should be encouraged. Opportunities at the EU level to exchange best practice and identify areas for reform exist, in particular through the European Semester process.

14 July 2014 : Column WA92

However, as is recognised in Article 147 of the Lisbon Treaty, responsibility for employment policies rests with the Member States. The Government continues to be firm and vigilant on this principle. It is also very clear that the UK will not take part in any deeper co-operation that may be developed for countries in the Eurozone.

EU Law

Question

Asked by Lord Pearson of Rannoch

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Faulks on 24 June (WA 141), what are the “decision-making processes for making European Union legislation” which are not made public.[HL912]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Faulks) (Con): Article 4 of Regulation 1049/2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents sets out exceptions from the duty to provide access. These exceptions include those intended to protect internal deliberative processes where appropriate. For example, Article 4(3) allows documents to be withheld if they relate to a matter where the decision has not been taken by one of the three institutions, if disclosure of the document would seriously undermine the institution's decision-making process, unless there is an overriding public interest in disclosure.

Article 3(4) also allows a document to be withheld if it contains opinions for internal use as part of deliberations and preliminary consultations within one of the three institutions, and if disclosure of the document would seriously undermine the institution's decision-making process, unless there is an overriding public interest in disclosure.

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 also contains exemptions from the duty to release. For example, section 27 allows information to be withheld where its release would, or would be likely to, prejudice international relations. Section 35 allows information to be withheld where it relates to the formulation of government policy. Both of these exemptions are subject to a public interest test.

European Commission

Question

Asked by Lord Pearson of Rannoch

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the President of the European Commission has the power to veto or approve any proposed new United Kingdom member of the Commission.[HL885]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): Member States each nominate a candidate for a Commissioner. It is for the European Commission President-elect to decide on the proposed internal organisation of the Commission. The Council, by common accord with the President-elect, adopts the list of proposed Commissioners.

14 July 2014 : Column WA93

Exports

Question

Asked by Lord Lee of Trafford

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when they are expecting to announce the interim measures to improve the retail export scheme.[HL712]

The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Livingston of Parkhead) (Con): The Government launched the Retail Industry International Action Plan in March 2013. The plan has two main elements which aims to deliver £500 million of value to the UK economy and assist 1,000 UK companies:

1. We are assisting UK retailers to grow internationally through global campaigns in high growth markets such as China, India, the ASEAN markets and Emerging Europe. The work has included taking 250 companies to new markets through high level trade missions and we anticipate taking another 150 during this financial year. We are supporting UK retailers to participate in activities overseas, such as the World Retail Congress series of events, and targeting UK consumer goods exporters/retailers at trade shows in the UK to offer export assistance.2. HMG are committed to deliver support to UK consumer goods exporters/retailers seeking to grow globally through online channels. As part of this programme UKTI signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with TMall (part of the Alibaba Group) to help UK companies sell via China’s largest internet retailer. We are now in the process of negotiating MoUs with a number of leading platforms across the globe. We will be officially launching the e-Exporting programme in Autumn 2014. We are recruiting Digital Specialists who will work with UKTI’s International Trade Advisors to bring the skills UK companies require to succeed in this fast growing area of commerce.

Flexible Support Fund

Question

Asked by Baroness Thomas of Winchester

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to monitor uptake of the Flexible Support Fund available to Jobcentre Plus managers. [HL889]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud) (Con): The Flexible Support Fund (FSF) provides additional support to Jobcentre Plus Districts to address local issues. In monitoring this, FSF spend is broken down nationally by claimant groups and Districts may further break this down if they determine this is a local priority.

All spending decisions are assessed against established criteria including value for money. Payments are encouraged on an outcome basis linked to employment.

14 July 2014 : Column WA94

Folic Acid

Questions

Asked by Lord Rooker

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the Department of Health expects soon to start discussions with the relevant food industry companies about their willingness in principle to stop voluntary fortification of food products with folic acid, if mandatory fortification were to be introduced; and, if so, when.[HL771]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the Department of Health have explored whether there are any new and innovative communication approaches that would be effective in raising awareness among women, particularly those in lower socio-economic groups who are at greater risk of a neural tube defect-affected pregnancy, of the case for taking folic acid supplements, and in promoting behaviour change.[HL772]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): Discussions with relevant food industry companies have begun. The Department is in the process of contacting organisations across a range of sectors and we hope to complete these discussions by the end of 2014.

The Department is in the final stages of commissioning research to explore any new and innovative communication approaches that would be effective in raising awareness among women of the need to take folic acid supplements and in promoting behaviour change. This research is scheduled for completion in the first quarter of 2015.

Food Supply Networks Review

Question

Asked by Lord Rooker

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when they plan to publish the final report of the Elliott Review into the integrity and assurance of the food supply networks commissioned by the Secretaries of State for Health and Environment Food and Rural Affairs, following publication of the interim report in December 2013.[HL971]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley) (Con): The final report of the Review into the Integrity and Assurance of Food Supply networks, led by Professor Chris Elliott, is due to be published shortly.

General Practitioners

Question

Asked by Lord Taylor of Warwick

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the effect of ranking general practitioners by their record of cancer referrals on referral rates, or the assessment of doctors.[HL713]

14 July 2014 : Column WA95

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): Cancer survival rates in England are some of the worst in Europe. Generally, the earlier a cancer is diagnosed, the greater the chance of survival. We know that some patients visit their general practitioner (GP) with symptoms of cancer several times before they are referred on for investigation, and so we are looking at a range of ways to increase early referral of patients with the relevant symptoms.

Between 2006 and 2010, 27% of cancers were diagnosed through urgent referrals for suspected cancer by general practice and 23% of cancers were diagnosed through emergency presentations. We know this rate varies considerably across the country and for different cancers. We also know that rates for referrals for diagnostic tests which can be important in detecting cancer vary. The Government is looking at ways in which it can use its transparency agenda to improve consistency and drive up cancer survival rates across the system.

Public Health England publishes annual cancer profiles for all GP practices in England. These profiles bring together a range of process and outcomes information relevant to cancer in primary care. They provide comparative information for benchmarking variation at a general practice level, including use of the urgent suspected cancer pathway. The profiles are available at

www.ncin.org.uk/cancer_information_tools/profiles/gp_profiles

Government Departments: ICT

Question

Asked by Lord Beecham

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what central oversight takes place to ensure the maximum efficiency in the procuring of information technology contracts for staffing, procurement and payroll services by separate government departments.[HL703]

Lord Gardiner of Kimble (Con): Since 2010 we have imposed tough central expenditure controls on ICT, as well as on consulting, recruitment, marketing and property, to reduce wasteful expenditure and help reduce the fiscal deficit:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cabinet-office-controls

To further reduce wasteful expenditure, we have implemented a review process for all forthcoming departmental investments on IT with requested spend above £5m.

Health and Social Services

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the combined spending on health and social care in the financial year 2013–14.[HL952]

14 July 2014 : Column WA96

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): Provisional spending outturn figures for all government departments will be published in HM Treasury’s Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses on the 15 July.

For the Department this will include a provisional total spending forecast against the Total Departmental Expenditure Limit control of £109,721 million.

Final spending outturn figures will be published in the 2013-14 Department of Health Annual Report and Accounts, due to be laid to Parliament in July 2014.

Home Education

Question

Asked by Lord Storey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many school children are educated at home; and how they ensure that a high quality of education is maintained for those pupils.[HL725]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash) (Con): The Department for Education does not collect data on numbers of children educated at home.

The Department’s published guidance for local authorities on elective home education makes it clear that, although the primary responsibility for a child’s education rests with the parents, local authorities also have responsibilities in relation to home education. These include identifying children not receiving a suitable education as defined in section 7 of the Education Act 1996. The guidance makes clear that although local authorities have power to require parents to provide information about the education which home educated children are receiving, this is a process best conducted informally and should not amount to routine monitoring. If a local authority concludes that the education provided is not suitable, it has power to serve a school attendance order.

Home Improvement Agencies

Question

Asked by Lord Swinfen

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the total number of home improvement agencies in (1) the United Kingdom, and (2) in each local authority area.[HL875]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Stowell of Beeston) (Con): The Department for Communities and Local Government does not collect this information. The Department funds Foundations, to act as the national body for home improvement agencies in England, and they maintain information on home improvement agency coverage across England. Further information on Foundations can be found at: http://www. foundations.uk.com/home/

14 July 2014 : Column WA97

Immigration: Poland

Question

Asked by Lord Patten

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the contribution made by Polish immigrants to the United Kingdom economy and society since 2010.[HL788]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie) (Con): The 2011 census found that there were 579,121 Polish nationals resident in the UK at that time of polling. There is no data available on the exact contribution of Polish immigrants to UK GDP since 2010 - it is extremely complex to isolate the contribution of just one group of people to GDP, given the wide variety of economic activity that they will be involved in.

However, many economists believe that Polish migrants have had a positive impact on the UK economy since 2004 as they tend to be of working age when they arrive and contribute more to the economy through taxes and consumption than they take out via public services.

By broad industry definitions, Polish nationals work across all industries but are most often found in Manufacturing and Distribution, Hotels and Restaurants. By standard occupation definitions, Polish nationals are found in all occupational areas but are most often in skilled trades, process, plant and machine operative occupations and elementary occupations.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) found that the primary driver for determining an individual’s fiscal contribution is whether they are in employment. The latest Labour Force survey data for January to March 2014 states that the unemployment rate amongst Polish nationals was 6.2%, lower than the UK average of 6.6%.

Independent Schools Inspectorate

Questions

Asked by Lord Lexden

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to alter the procedures and regulations under which the Independent Schools Inspectorate operates.[HL905]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what relationship they envisage in future between Ofsted and the Independent Schools Inspectorate.[HL906]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when changes to the structure and operations of the Independent Schools Inspectorate will come into effect.[HL907]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash) (Con): The Government recently consulted on regulations and advice on the approval of independent inspectorates. We intend to commence the relevant provisions of the Education and Skills Act 2008 in September 2014, and introduce the new regulations and advice under those sections. The current

14 July 2014 : Column WA98

approval of the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) under the Education Act 2002 will cease to have effect, and as signalled in the consultation we intend to re-approve ISI under the 2008 Act. We will publish a response to the consultation shortly which will also set out the timescales for the implementation of changes.

The 2008 Act also gives a basis in statute to Ofsted’s quality assurance role. This role will continue, with Ofsted carrying out monitoring activities and reporting annually to the Secretary of State on the performance of the independent inspectorates.

If, as a result of the revised agreement or for any other reason, ISI makes changes to their structure and operations, we would expect ISI to consult the schools it inspects before changes are introduced.

Israel

Question

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had with the government of Israel concerning its intended policy to force-feed Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike.[HL753]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): Officials from our Embassy in Tel Aviv have met with Members and Officials of the Israeli Knesset to discuss a new bill, which passed its first reading at the Israeli Knesset on 30 June, and that would permit the force-feeding of prisoners on hunger strike. Officials also met an official from the Israeli Prime Minister’s office on 17 June, when they expressed our concern over the bill.

Mobile Phones: Right of Search

Question

Asked by Lord Lester of Herne Hill

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what are the limits to the power of the police and security services to search data stored on mobile phones.[HL681]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach) (Con): There are strict statutory safeguards in place regarding the interference of property to access data stored on mobile phones.

Current UK law limits police powers to search data stored on a mobile phone. The data can only be searched if the phone has been lawfully seized under a power in Police And Criminal Evidence Act (PACE).

Neurofibromatosis

Questions

Asked by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to develop a national service framework for neurofibromatosis Type 1 sufferers.[HL960]

14 July 2014 : Column WA99

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how they will ensure a co-ordinated response at local level for neurofibromatosis Type 1 sufferers.[HL961]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the scale of neurofibromatosis Type 1 in the United Kingdom. [HL962]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The number of people with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) in England is estimated to number 11,267. The condition can be mild in some patients, manifesting itself only in patches of skin discolouration and soft benign bumps under the skin (neurofibromas), but for others NF1 causes more serious complications, including a rare form of cancer, curvature of the spine and nerve problems caused by more invasive neurofibromas.

Since 1 April 2013, NHS England has been responsible for securing high quality care for all patients with complex NF1 as part of its specialised commissioning responsibilities. NHS England’s NF1 service specification clearly sets out what needs to be in place for providers to offer evidence-based, safe and effective care, ensuring equity of access to a nationally consistent, high quality service. Specialist care is delivered by two designated centres based in Manchester (Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust) and London (Guys and St. Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, London) and these provide outreach support into other cities. The service is available to all patients with a suspected or confirmed diagnosis of NF1.

The service specification can be viewed on the NHS England website at the following link:

www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/b13-comp-neurofib-1.pdf.

North Korea

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will propose the renewal of the mandate of the United Nations Human Rights Council's Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.[HL692]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): The Government has no plans to propose the renewal of the mandate of the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Commission of Inquiry (COI) on Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). The COI has fulfilled its mandate and has produced its final report after systematically collecting detailed accounts of appalling human rights violations in a way that has never been done previously.

Palestinians

Question

Asked by Lord Turnberg

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had with the Palestinian unity government following the discovery of the three murdered Israeli teenagers.[HL741]

14 July 2014 : Column WA100

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): Our Consul-General in Jerusalem and the Secretary of State for the Home Department, my right hon. Friend the Member for Maidenhead, (Mrs May), met Prime Minister Hamdallah of the interim, technocratic government on Tuesday 2 July.

Parades Commission

Questions

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the salary of, and what other payments are made to, the chairman of the Northern Ireland Parades Commission. [HL924]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the salary of, and what other payments are made to, members of the Northern Ireland Parades Commission. [HL925]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how much the Northern Ireland Parades Commission cost in each of the last 10 years.[HL926]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Wales Office (Baroness Randerson) (LD): Information relating to the cost of the Northern Ireland Parades Commission and remuneration of Commission members and chair is published in the Commission’s Annual Report and Accounts, copies of which can be found at:

http://www.paradescommission.org/Resources.aspx.

Personal Income

Question

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

To ask Her Majesty’s Government which are the 20 (1) poorest, and (2) wealthiest, local authority wards in the United Kingdom; and in which local authorities those wards are located.[HL768]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire (LD): The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the Authority to reply.

Letter from Glen Watson, Director General for ONS to Lord Roberts of Llandudno, dated July 2014.

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking Her Majesty’s Government which are the 20 (1) poorest, and (2) wealthiest, local authority wards in the United Kingdom; and in which local authorities those wards are located (HL768).

The Office for National Statistics collects information on wealth from the Wealth and Assets Survey; a longitudinal study of the economic circumstances of households in Great Britain. However, owing to limitations of sample size, the lowest level of regional data which can be provided from this data source is at NUTS1 level. NUTS is the European Classification Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics. Level 1 of NUTS consists of Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the

14 July 2014 : Column WA101

nine statistical regions of England. Ward level information is therefore not available. Additionally, the survey is only conducted in Great Britain – comparable estimates for Northern Ireland are not available.

The main findings from the survey for the period 2010-12 were published in May 2014, which include analysis of wealth, split by Scotland, Wales and the nine English regions (http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/was/wealth-in-great-britain-wave-3/2010-2012/index.html).

Police Cautions

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many times cautions have been used for indictable-only offences in England and Wales since 2010.[HL793]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach) (Con): The Home Office does not hold data specifically on indictable-only offences.

The Home Office holds data on the number of cautions for notifiable offences, but this cannot be broken down to the level of detail required to provide data on indictable offences.

Public Opinion

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government to what extent they use focus groups to assist in framing policy; and what is the average number of people making up the focus groups.[HL746]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire (LD): The government uses focus groups for a variety of reasons and the number of people in focus groups varies by subject and purpose. As there is no central record of all focus groups the average could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Public Transport

Question

Asked by Lord Carlile of Berriew

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have any plans to improve or increase transport services at night to ensure the safety and security of passengers from offensive behaviour and disorder, with particular reference to the safety of women. [HL989]

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Kramer) (LD): We want to see more and more people using public transport - one of the key ways of encouraging this is to make sure it is a safe option. The transport industry, local authorities, the police and others are already investing in, and undertaking, wide-ranging initiatives to improve the personal security of public transport passengers and staff and to keep our public transport systems as low crime environments.

14 July 2014 : Column WA102

However, the Government is not readily able to increase passenger services in commercial transport markets. For example, decisions about bus services outside London are largely a matter for the private sector. Equally, it is difficult to see that any such increase would have a positive effect on matters of personal security.

Railways: North of England

Questions

Asked by Lord Greaves

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what provision they are planning to make for high-speed rail connectivity between northern cities, and in particular between places beyond Leeds in Yorkshire such as Bradford and Harrogate, and links between HS2 and Newcastle upon Tyne via Leeds.[HL1035]

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Kramer) (LD): The Government has asked Sir David Higgins to produce proposals for connecting the great northern cities. This work will look at how to bring the benefits of high speed rail to the north more quickly, as well as initial proposals for faster east-west connections – including options on route, timescales and cost – by the time of the Autumn Statement later this year.

Asked by Lord Greaves

To ask Her Majesty’s Government why the northern cities engaged in a programme of work looking at northern connectivity referred to in the Written Statement by Baroness Kramer on 7 July (WS 7) do not include Bradford, York, Newcastle upon Tyne and Preston.[HL1036]

Baroness Kramer: The Government has asked Sir David Higgins to produce proposals for connecting the great northern cities. This work will look at how to bring the benefits of high speed rail to the north more quickly, as well as initial proposals for faster east-west connections – including options on route, timescales and cost – by the time of the Autumn Statement later this year.

York, Newcastle and Preston are also being looked at as part of this process. Bradford falls within the Leeds City Region and as such, connectivity issues are being examined as part of the analysis process being undertaken on the public consultation responses on Phase Two.

Schools: Discipline

Question

Asked by Lord Quirk

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to address the conclusion of the recent Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development report that 40 per cent of classrooms in England are “not favourable to learning” because of bad behaviour.[HL695]

14 July 2014 : Column WA103

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash) (Con): Good behaviour and discipline are key to effective teaching and learning. The recent OECD report identified that serious disciplinary problems in England are unusual and in most schools the learning environment is good. Just 21% of teachers in England agree or strongly agree that they have to wait quite a long time at the start of their class for students to quieten down. This is less than the median for all countries of 27% and below all but one of the high-performing countries. England is typically very close to the international average on other measures of classroom disciplinary environment, including disruptive noise and interruptions in the classroom.

This Government has never been complacent in trying to equip schools with the tools they need to manage discipline in the classroom. That is why we gave schools the powers to impose same-day detentions, extended their powers to search for items that could cause harm or offence, made clear that schools should not have a ‘no touch’ policy and clarified the use of reasonable force. The Government also introduced a system of independent review panels which, unlike the previous system, cannot undermine schools’ decisions on permanent exclusion. In September 2012 we introduced the New National Professional Qualification for Headship with more robust content on behaviour management. In addition, Ofsted have begun implementing no-notice follow-up school monitoring inspections where concerns were previously identified about standards of behaviour.

More recently, in February 2014, and following results from the Teacher Voice Survey (2013) which showed that one in three secondary teachers lacked confidence in their powers to discipline pupils, we:

issued updated behaviour advice to make clear that tough but proportionate sanctions, including litter picking in the playground, removing graffiti, writing lines or an essay, are all valid punishments;produced a series of case studies showing how good schools manage behaviour, ranging from the use of inclusion art projects, having a specially modified curriculum, using Saturday detentions and increased visibility of senior staff around school throughout the day.

We remain determined to support schools in providing safe, calm and orderly classrooms where pupils can learn effectively.

Schools: Libraries

Questions

Asked by Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what percentage of schools in England have libraries.[HL817]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they require that all schools have libraries.[HL818]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what they are doing to ensure that school pupils have access to books.[HL819]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have commissioned research on the link between access to books and literacy in children.[HL820]

14 July 2014 : Column WA104

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they issue any guidance in relation to the provision of school libraries.[HL821]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash) (Con): Findings from the PISA survey (OECD, 2010) indicated that in 2009 96% of pupils in the United Kingdom were attending a school where there was a library.

In line with our approach to giving schools in England greater freedom we believe that it should be for headteachers to decide whether and how to provide a library service for their pupils. We do not, therefore, issue guidance to schools relating to the provision of school libraries. Many headteachers recognise the role libraries play in improving young people’s literacy and love of reading, and ensure that suitable library facilities are provided.

Our new English curriculum makes clear the importance of reading widely and often. The Department for Education supports Booktrust, which runs the Read for My School competition which offers pupils access to a free online library of books, and The Reading Agency, which runs the Summer Reading Challenge, an annual event developed to stop children's reading levels dipping during the long holidays by providing book themed events in local libraries.

The Department has not commissioned research on the link between access to books and literacy, but know from earlier reports (Clark, C, Woodley, J and Lewis, F. [2011]. The Gift of Reading in 2011: Children and young people’s access to books and attitudes towards reading. London: National Literacy Trust.) and (PIRLS [2012] PIRLS 2011 International Results in Reading, TIMSS and PIRLS International Study Centre: Boston) that there is a positive relationship between the number of books in the home and attainment.

Schools: Mental Health Services

Question

Asked by Lord Carlile of Berriew

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what measures they are taking to ensure that children and teenagers receive adequate mental health care and support in schools, with particular reference to school nursing and pastoral provision.[HL987]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash) (Con): Schools have a duty to promote pupils’ mental and physical development and are held to account by Ofsted for doing so. The new 0-25 Special Educational Needs and Disability code of practice, which was put before Parliament on 11th June 2014, makes it clear that schools should look to identify any underlying mental health needs that pupils have. To support this on the 16 June the Department for Education issued new information and advice for schools and teachers on pupils’ mental health and behaviour. This advice helps school staff identify those pupils who may have emerging problems and provides guidance on appropriate routes of ensuring specialist support where necessary.

14 July 2014 : Column WA105

The curriculum gives schools the freedom to address any specific pastoral issues that pupils may have, and teachers can raise awareness of mental health issues in PSHE lessons. Additionally, many schools provide targeted assessment and support. A survey conducted by the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy in 2012 estimated between 60-85% of English secondary schools provide access to counselling, delivering up to 70,000 sessions a year.

School nurses are in an ideal position to promote and maintain the health of children and young people. On 31 March the Department of Health and Public Health England published the Promoting emotional wellbeing and positive mental health of children and young people pathway. This provides a structured framework for school nurses, clarifying roles and responsibilities and giving information to enhance partnership working across agencies to support the emotional health of children and young people and to ensure early support is offered.

Schools: Textbooks

Question

Asked by Lord Quirk

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of recent discussions on the case for schools in the United Kingdom to switch back from work sheets to text books.[HL699]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash) (Con): The Department for Education has made it clear that a return to textbooks would support the new national curriculum. High-quality textbooks can prevent teachers from spending unnecessary time creating plans from scratch, and they provide well-planned stretching activities for pupils. England has very low textbook use compared with many other countries, including high-performing countries like Singapore, where mathematics textbooks play an important part in the success of their pupils. The efficacy studies of the Marshall Cavendish mathematics textbooks are compelling, and the Department is delighted that these textbooks are being adapted for the English market.

Self-harm

Questions

Asked by Baroness Kennedy of Cradley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many (1) men, and (2) women, aged over 18 received hospital treatment for self-harm in each year since 2010. [HL782]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The following table shows the count of finished episodes with a cause of self-harm in males and females over the age of 18 in the years from 2010 to 2013:

Count of finished admission episodes with a cause code of self-harm and a count of accident and emergency attendances (excluding planned attendances) with a patient group of deliberate self-harm for (1) females 18 and over, and (2) males 18 and over for 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13.

14 July 2014 : Column WA106

Activity in English National Health Service hospitals and English NHS commissioned activity in the independent sector
YearAccident and emergency attendancesFinished admission episodes
MaleFemaleMaleFemale

2010-11

45,270

52,022

41,974

55,315

2011-12

49,022

55,516

42,683

55,376

2012-13

45,988

51,128

40,542

51,692

Source:

Hospital Episode Statistics (HES), Health and Social Care Information Centre

Asked by Baroness Kennedy of Cradley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what support they are providing to (1) schools, and (2) charities, that aim to reduce the occurrence of self-harming amongst teenagers.[HL784]

Earl Howe: Spotting the signs of mental health problems, including self-harming early in children and young people is essential to prevent problems from escalating and continuing into adulthood. That is why the Department invested £3 million in MindEd so that people working with children, from teachers to dinner ladies and sport coaches to Scout leaders, can recognise when a child needs help and ensure that they receive it.

MindEd is an e-portal produced by a consortium of 37 organisations which delivered the programme, headed by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) and including the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Royal College of Nursing, Royal College of General Practitioners, the British Psychological Society, the National Children’s Bureau and the children’s charity YoungMinds.

On 16 June 2014, the Department for Education issued advice for school staff on mental health and behaviour. This new advice links to existing advice on behaviour and discipline, which indicates that schools should consider whether continuing disruptive behaviour arises from unmet mental health needs.

The advice will help schools identify and support pupils with an unmet mental health condition. It will give teachers the confidence to:

- Differentiate between poor behaviour linked to potential mental health problems and poor behaviour which cannot be explained in this way;- identify those with less severe problems at an early stage and build their resilience through the school’s pastoral system, using external agencies where necessary; and- identify those with more severe mental health needs and make timely referrals to statutory and/or voluntary agencies, including CAMHS.

Asked by Baroness Kennedy of Cradley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many (1) girls, and (2) boys, aged under 18 received hospital treatment for self-harm in each year since 2010. [HL781]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what are the statistics on the incidence of self-harming in (1) girls

14 July 2014 : Column WA107

under 18, (2) boys under 18, (3) women over 18, and (4) men over 18, in each year since 2010; and how those statistics compare with the rest of Europe. [HL783]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what estimate they have made of the numbers of (1) girls, and (2) boys, aged under 18 who self-harm who continue to self-harm in adulthood.[HL785]

Earl Howe: Data on the number of under 18 boys and girls who received hospital treatment for self-harm in each year since 2010 is in the following table.

Count of finished admission episodes with a cause code of self-harm and a count of accident and emergency attendances (excluding planned attendances) with a patient group of deliberate self-harm for (1) females under 18 and (2) males under 18 for 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13.

Activity in English NHS Hospitals and English NHS commissioned activity in the independent sector
YearAccident and emergency attendancesFinished admission episodes
MaleFemaleMaleFemale

2010-11

4,038

9,264

2,594

11,400

2011-12

4,287

9,388

2,363

10,868

2012-13

3,800

9,943

2,473

12,305

Source:

Hospital Episode Statistics (HES), Health and Social Care Information Centre

Notes:

- Admissions do not represent the number of inpatients as a person may have more than one admission in one year; and

- a patient may have attended Accident and Emergency (A&E) and then been admitted to hospital as a single event, in this case the event would be included in both the A&E and hospital admission figures.

Analysis of how these statistics compare with the rest of Europe has not been made.

Data is not collected on the incidence of self-harm among boys and girls aged under 18 nor those who continue to self-harm in adulthood.

Sri Lanka

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will continue their efforts, with the support of the Commonwealth, to establish an independent and credible inquiry into alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka in 2008 and 2009, following the United Nations Resolution on this matter of March 2014.[HL796]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): We strongly support the UN Human Rights Council resolution of 27 March establishing an international investigation, and welcome the subsequent appointment of the investigative team. We will continue to urge the government of Sri Lanka to cooperate fully with the Office of the High Commissioner and with this investigation, and to ensure that those engaging with the investigation can do so without fear of intimidation or reprisals.

14 July 2014 : Column WA108

In parallel, we will continue to urge the government of Sri Lanka to take meaningful, concrete steps to implement fully the actions called for in the March 2014 Human Rights Council resolution and in the recommendations of its Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC).

St Lucia

Question

Asked by Lord Ashcroft

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assistance is being given to the St Lucia police to find the murderer of Oliver Gobat, a British citizen; and if none, why.[HL822]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): The Government of St Lucia has requested UK Police assistance with the investigation into the death of Oliver Gobat. In order to consider this request the British Government will require assurances that any person convicted of the alleged crime will not be sentenced to death and we are discussing this with the St Lucians. The Government opposes the use of the death penalty in all circumstances.

Terrorism: Northern Ireland

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Randerson on 7 July (WA 16) concerning the release of prisoners in Northern Ireland as a result of the Belfast Agreement of 1998, why the records of those released were not already available in a consolidated form.[HL927]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Wales Office (Baroness Randerson) (LD): Following the devolution of policing and justice powers in April 2010, records received from the Northern Ireland Prison Service (NIPS) at that time were not in a consolidated format. As the previous response indicates, NIO officials are now undertaking a consolidation exercise in conjunction with the NIPS.

Trade Promotion: Wales

Question

Asked by Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how UK Trade and Investment's role in promoting and assisting Welsh businesses is monitored effectively.[HL974]

The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Livingston of Parkhead) (Con): The Welsh Government and the UK Government have concurrent powers to promote international trade and inward investment. UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) has lead UK responsibility for the provision of support and assistance to new and existing exporters of goods and services both at home and overseas. The Welsh Government is responsible for devising and implementing additional programmes to meet the particular needs of companies in Wales.

14 July 2014 : Column WA109

UKTI works closely with the Welsh Government’s trade and Investment team who deliver services on the ground in Wales. Companies in Wales therefore have access to the support provided both by Welsh Government and UKTI.

UKTI uses its Performance and Impact Monitoring Surveys (PIMS) to measure the performance and impact of its support across the UK. The PIMS evidence is periodically complemented by independent impact evaluations. For the most recent example please see:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/uk-trade-investment-performance-and-impact-monitoring-survey

Whilst it is for the Welsh Government to ensure that the support they provide is monitored effectively, UKTI meets with them regularly to discuss progress and issues arising, at chief executive level, at director level and through ongoing discussions at operational level, both through UKTI headquarters and the Investment Services Team that carries out inward investment on its behalf. Following a request for support in developing their capability, UKTI provided a secondment to the Welsh Government to support their work.

Unpaid Taxes

Question

Asked by Lord Howard of Rising

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how much money is owed to HM Revenue and Customs by those whom they have contacted repeatedly to pay what they owe, as described in paragraph 2.4 of the HM Revenue and Customs report Direct Recovery of Debts published on 6 May 2014.[HL827]

14 July 2014 : Column WA110

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton) (Con): The additional tax revenue HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) expects to collect through the use of this policy is represented in Table 2.1 of the Budget 2014 document.

As set out in paragraph 2.12 of the Direct Recovery of Debts consultation document, HMRC estimates that this measure will apply to around 17,000 debtors a year, who have an average of £5,800 in tax and tax credit debts and around £20,000 in their bank and building society accounts.

West Coast Railway Line

Question

Asked by Lord Berkeley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the extension of the West Coast Main Line franchise allows open access operations on all routes served by this franchise.[HL701]

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Kramer) (LD): Ultimate responsibility for determining availability of access to the network, including for applications made by open access operators, rests with the Office of Rail Regulation. However, whilst we see there may be some benefits from open access through competition, we would not support further open access on the West Coast Main Line if there was a potential negative impact on funds available to Secretary of State for Transport.