17 Dec 2014 : Column WA71

Written Answers

Wednesday 17 December 2014

Abortion

Question

Asked by Lord Lester of Herne Hill

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what measures are in place to prevent access to lawful abortions from being obstructed or impaired by intimidation or harassment.[HL3654]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bates) (Con): The Home Office is aware of a number of recent protests outside some abortion clinics which we take extremely seriously. This country has a proud history of allowing free speech but the right to peaceful protest does not extend to harassment or threatening behaviour. The law currently provides protection against such acts.

The police have a range of powers to deal with protests outside clinics. Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986, makes it an offence to display threatening, or abusive words or images that, within the sight of someone, is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress. Section 14 of the Public Order Act 1986 allows the police to place conditions on the location, duration or numbers attending a public assembly. This can be applied where the police believe that the assembly may result in serious public disorder, serious damage to property, serious disruption to the life of the community, or that the purpose by the assembly organisers is to intimidate others to compel them not to do an act that they have a right to do.

The police have dispersal powers (in public places) under sections 34 and 35 of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, to remove or reduce the likelihood of members of the public being harassed, alarmed or distressed, or to prevent local crime or disorder.

The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 includes criminal offences that protect individuals, who are conducting lawful activities, from harassment by protestors.

The policing of protests and the use of powers are an operational matter for the police.

Apprentices

Question

Asked by Lord Willis of Knaresborough

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the total number of apprenticeship frameworks started in England in academic years 2012–13 and 2013–14 by young adults aged (1) 19–21, and (b) 22–24. [HL3524]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Neville-Rolfe) (Con): Table 1 shows the number of apprenticeship starts in England for age groups 19-21 and 22-24 in 2012/13 and 2013/14.

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Table 1: Apprenticeship Starts by Age, 2012/13 to 2013/14
Age group2012/132013/14

19-21

99,900

101,000

22-24

65,400

58,100

19-24 total

165,400

159,100

Source: Individualised Learner Record

Notes:

1) Volumes are rounded to the nearest 100.

2) Age is calculated based on age at the start of the programme.

3) Volumes are a count of the number of starts at any point in the year. Learners starting more than one apprenticeship will appear more than once.

Apprentices: Northern Ireland

Question

Asked by Lord Browne of Belmont

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what recent discussions they have had with the Northern Ireland Executive about encouraging businesses to offer apprenticeships to young people.[HL3393]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Neville-Rolfe) (Con): Apprenticeship policy is a devolved matter. It is for the devolved administration of Northern Ireland to determine how they manage their apprenticeship programme including engagement with employers.

The devolved administrations were consulted during the apprenticeship review in England and we have engaged with them since to consider any implications to their own apprenticeship programme.

Arts: Liverpool

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have received about Arts Council funding for the Liverpool Black-E project; and what plans they have to ensure its ability to continue.[HL3668]

Lord Gardiner of Kimble (Con): Arts Council England has the responsibility for making individual spending decisions independently of Ministers and Government. The Arts Council’s Relationship Managers are in contact with The Black-E and they are clear that they will continue to do all that they can to keep the dialogue open with the organisation, supporting staff, management and funding partners to maintain its continued development.

The Arts Council have supported The Black-E through recent years including when it was recently successful in being awarded a £450,000 small-scale capital grant which will further support their work and will increase their capacity to source additional income. Although the organisation will receive a smaller level of investment from 2015, the Arts Council are working with The Black-E to negotiate the best way forward to meet their goals over the coming months.

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Bahrain

Questions

Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Anelay of St Johns on 3 December (HL3112), what specific measures to prevent torture and maltreatment of persons in custody they consider have resulted from British expert assistance to Bahrain.[HL3484]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): The Government has supported the establishment of the Office of the Ministry of Interior’s Ombudsman and the Prisoners’ and Detainees’ Rights Commission (PDRC) in Bahrain through the provision of UK training and expertise. In 2013, we funded Northern Ireland Cooperation Overseas’ (NICO) work with the Office of the Police Ombudsman on several priority areas. This included sharing UK best practice on complaints procedures, investigation reports and the role of prison inspection. We have built on this work, and since early 2014 we have been supporting NICO to deliver a 15 month package of support to help build the capacity of the Ombudsman's Office, increase accountability and public confidence. We have also provided UK-based training to all PDRC members through Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) including sharing best practice on inspection procedures.

Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Bahrain about (1) individuals who have died in custody since 2011, in particular Mr Hassan Sheikh who died on 26 November, (2) Mr Ahmed al-Mouswi, who alleged he was tortured while in custody, and (3) the individuals arrested in November 2014 for attempting to hold an unofficial referendum. [HL3575]

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: Our Ambassador in Bahrain publicly raised the UK’s concern about the death of Hasan al-Shaikh at Bahrain’s Reformation and Rehabilitation Centre. Investigations by both the Special Investigations Unit of the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Interior Ombudsman are ongoing.

We understand Mr Al Mouswi has been accused of a number of terrorist related charges. We urge any detainee who alleges to have been mistreated and/or tortured to contact the Ministry of Interior Ombudsman, the National Institute for Human Rights and the Prisoner and Detainee Rights Commission.

The unofficial referendum was called for by the Bahraini proscribed organisation, the 14 February Youth Coalition, who have been responsible for a number of bomb attacks in Bahrain. We understand investigations into those connected with the campaign are being investigated.

Asked by Lord Patten

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Anelay of St Johns on 2 December (HL3124), how many British citizens are imprisoned in Bahrain.[HL3617]

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Baroness Anelay of St Johns: We are currently aware of three British citizens imprisoned in Bahrain and Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials are providing consular assistance when required.

Asked by The Marquess of Lothian

To ask Her Majesty’s Government which naval vessels are likely to use the new naval base in Bahrain and for what purposes.[HL3630]

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: The improvement of the existing facilities will support the Ministry of Defence and Other Government Departments in the furtherance of British interests in the region. The facilities will be used by Royal Navy vessels specifically assigned to the region and those that pass through as part of other global deployments.

Blue Badge Scheme

Question

Asked by Lord Touhig

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will undertake a review of the operation of the Blue Badge Scheme guidance for people with autism by (1) working alongside a sample of local authorities in order to better understand the operation of the guidance for people with autism, and (2) examining how the regulations and guidance on the Blue Badge Scheme in Wales and Scotland are working for the people with autism.[HL3798]

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Kramer) (LD): We will seek to work with two local authorities, one urban and one rural, after the revised guidance has been in operation for six months with a view to understanding any operational difficulties that might need resolution.

We are liaising with Scotland and Wales in order to understand the impact of eligibility changes to the Blue Badge scheme in those countries. However it is too early to draw conclusions as the Personal Independence Payment has still to fully impact on the Blue Badge scheme.

China

Questions

Asked by Lord Eames

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of China on the detention for 21 days of British citizen Alexandra Wilson and her subsequent release without explanation.[HL3527]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): On 6th November a Note Verbale was sent to the Chinese authorities expressing Ms Wilson’s doctors concerns over her health issues and on 7th November our political team wrote to the Chinese Embassy in London highlighting Ms Wilson’s case. A number of Follow up phone calls were by Consular officers to the Public Security Bureau regarding a release date or a further Consular visit.

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Asked by Lord Eames

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when they became aware of the detention by Chinese authorities of British citizen Alexandra Wilson.[HL3528]

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: Consular Staff at our Embassy in Beijing were informed of Ms Wilson’s arrest by her friends on 31st October.

Asked by Lord Eames

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what attempts were made to contact British citizen Alexandra Wilson during her detention in China; and by whom.[HL3529]

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: Consular Officers from our Embassy in Beijing made repeated phone calls to the police and Dou Ge Zhuang Detention Centre, and were permitted a 30 minute visit with Ms Wilson on Monday 3 November. Consular officers from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London were in daily contact with Ms Wilson’s mother.

Asked by Lord Eames

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what advice the Foreign and Commonwealth Office make available to British citizens intending to visit China who have been granted a visa to travel.[HL3530]

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office publishes travel advice for 225 countries and territories, including China. This includes information and advice about the risks from terrorism, crime and natural disasters, as well as advice on entry requirements, restrictions on internal travel, and local laws and customs. Current travel advice is available on our website at: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/china.

A copy of the current travel advice for China is attached.

This Answer included the following attachment: Current travel advice for China (China travel advice at 17 december.docx)

Asked by Lord Eames

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they intend to make to the government of China following the release from detention of British citizen Alexandra Wilson; and whether they intend to request an explanation.[HL3531]

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: At Ms Wilson’s mother’s request our Embassy in Beijing has written to the Chinese authorities asking for an explanation for these delays. There has been no response to our request as yet.

Community Assets

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have any plans to review the protected period for Community Right to Bid powers.[HL3691]

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon) (Con): Under the Community Right to Bid, the protected period ensures that if, after either an interim (6 weeks) or full (six months including the six weeks) moratorium has been triggered but where a sale to the community did not result, the same owner wishing to sell the asset will not be subject to any further delay as no further moratorium can be triggered in this period. In total this is an eighteen month period which would include within it the interim or full moratorium.

Parliament agreed that this provision struck an appropriate balance between the property rights of an owner and the rights of the community. Post-legislative scrutiny for the Community Right to Bid will be taken forward over the next year and will be an opportunity to consider the efficacy of the right and whether the balance is right, including on this question.

Crimes of Violence: Females

Question

Asked by The Lord Bishop of St Albans

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to improve the standardisation of comprehensive and analysable data on violence against women.[HL3284]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bates) (Con): The Coalition Government is strongly committed to tackling violence against women and girls. The Home Secretary, as part of the commitment to take forward the recommendations made by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) on the police response to domestic abuse, has established and chairs a National Oversight Group. The Home Office is working with police forces to put in place measures to enable the collection of consistent and comparable data on domestic abuse from April 2015.

Additionally, the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) provides estimates which are comparable over time of the proportion of adults resident in households who experience domestic abuse. The latest published figures cover the financial year 2012/13 and were included on the Office for National Statistics (ONS) bulletin 'Focus on Violent Crime and Sexual Offences, 2012/13' available on the ONS website here:

http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/crime-stats/crime-statistics/focus-on-violent-crime-and-sexual-offences--2012-13/index.html

Criminal Law

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many new criminal offences have been created between 2009 and 2013 inclusive; whether any have been rescinded; and whether there are periodic reviews to ensure that they are not having a detrimental effect on freedom of speech, of thought and of individual conscience.[HL3532]

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The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Faulks) (Con): The bulletin collates and presents statistics on the number of criminal offences created by government departments within each 12 month period. The bulletin does not capture information on all criminal offences made in legislation across the UK but only those offences that will be in force for England and Wales or England alone.

The table below summarises the information available. 712 criminal offences were created during the period 1 June 2009 to May 2010.

Period coveredNumber of legislative provisions (secondary & primary) with new offences created withinTotal criminal offences created

1 June 2010 to 31 May 2011

33

174

1 June 2011 to 31 May 2012

52

292

1 June 2012 to 31 May 2013

60

327

1 June 2013 to 31 May 2014

42

280

For the period from June 2012 to May 2013 it was estimated that 15 pieces of legislation that contained criminal offences were repealed or revoked. These pieces of legislation contained 140 offences but this estimate does not indicate whether an offence has been remade in another piece of legislation or if it has been completely removed from the statute book. Data are not available on repealed or revoked legislation or offences for the period from June 2009 to May 2012.

The latest edition of the bulletin was published on 11 December. It can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/new-criminal-offences-statistics-in-england-and-wales-may-2014

I would expect the development of all government policies including criminal offences to include appropriate consideration of the potential impact on areas such as freedom of speech. All new legislation requires a certificate of compliance with human rights or an explanation as to why it does not.

The decision to review criminal offences after they are commenced is a decision for individual departments. Where appropriate for collective Government agreement.

Driving under Influence

Question

Asked by The Lord Bishop of St Albans

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have any plans to lower the legal blood-alcohol limit for driving from 80mg to 50mg in every 100ml of blood.[HL3742]

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Kramer) (LD): The Government currently has no plans to alter the drink drive limit. We currently have tough penalties to tackle drink driving and the Government believes increased enforcement is a more effective deterrent than a change in the law. We are removing the automatic right for drivers who fail a

17 Dec 2014 : Column WA78

breathalyser test to demand a blood or urine test. High risk offenders are now also required to prove they are no longer alcohol-dependent before being allowed to drive.

Driving under Influence: Scotland

Question

Asked by The Lord Bishop of St Albans

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the research on the basis of which the Scottish Government has decided to lower the legal blood-alcohol limit for driving from 80mg to 50mg in every 100ml of blood.[HL3741]

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Kramer) (LD): Sir Peter North looked at the possibility of altering drink driving limits and delivered his findings in a report in 2010. The Government provided a formal response to the report in March 2011. The Government’s response acknowledged some of the proposed benefits of lowering the drink drive limit to 50mg, however, we concluded that the priority should be tougher enforcement.

Energy: Meters

Question

Asked by Lord Tope

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have made an assessment as to the benefits of delivering smart meter roll out and national home energy efficiency programmes together; and if not, whether there are plans to do so.[HL3585]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Baroness Verma) (Con): The Government considered the potential for delivering smart meter rollout and national home efficiency programmes together in the course of developing the smart meter Consumer Engagement Strategy in 2012:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/smart-meter-consumer-engagement-strategy

The Government recognised that the smart meter installation process provides an opportunity to support other home energy efficiency programmes and it asked suppliers to consider how they can bring together obligations to deliver initiatives such as the Affordable Warmth element of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) with the smart meter roll-out. In addition, energy suppliers are required to comply with an Installation Code of Practice that requires installers to demonstrate the smart metering system, offer energy efficiency advice, and inform the consumer how they can obtain additional and impartial information or assistance in improving energy efficiency. This includes, for example, generic information about programmes such as the Green Deal and ECO.

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Entry Clearances: Married People

Question

Asked by Lord Marlesford

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether, in considering visa applications from outside the European Union, they differentiate between applicants who are monogamous or polygamous wives of United Kingdom residents; and whether they differentiate between such applicants who are intended monogamous or polygamous wives.[HL3692]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bates) (Con): It is government policy not to allow the formation of polygamous households in the UK. Section 2 of the Immigration Act 1988 and the Immigration Rules prevent a UK resident from sponsoring a second or subsequent non-European Economic Area national spouse to come or remain here, if another person has already been admitted as his or her spouse and the marriage has not been dissolved.

Faith Schools

Question

Asked by Lord Warner

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Nash on 26 November (HL3028), what action they advise local authorities to take to safeguard children who attend unregistered schools that do not teach a broad and balanced curriculum and are based on a narrow set of religious beliefs; and whether they consider that such schooling falls under the relevant provisions of child protection legislation.[HL3778]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash) (Con): The Department for Education's statutory safeguarding guidance to local authorities, contained in ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’, is clear on what action authorities have to take if they are concerned about the safety and welfare of any child in their area.

The department does not regard an excessively narrow curriculum as a child protection matter, although such provision does relate to parents’ duty to ensure that children of compulsory school age receive a suitable full-time education, and the duty of local authorities to identify children who are not receiving such an education.

The department works closely with authorities when unregistered provision is identified to ensure that it is either registered or closed, and that safeguarding concerns are dealt with promptly.

Females: Equality

Questions

Asked by Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had with the Scottish Government concerning implementing the commitments agreed and announced by United Kingdom Ministers at the Girl Summit held in London in July.[HL3263]

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To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had with the Scottish Government since the Girl Summit in July 2014 on the issue of prosecution for cases of female genital mutilation; and what specific actions have taken place as a result.[HL3265]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bates) (Con): Scottish Ministers have been consulted on the implementation of the commitments agreed at the Girl Summit where they impact upon Scotland. This has included discussions on measures to strengthen law enforcement on female genital mutilation(FGM) with a particular focus on some of the legal barriers in cases of FGM.

As a result the Scottish Parliament's consent is being sought for the provisions on extra territorial jurisdiction in clause 67(2) of the Serious Crime Bill amending both the FGM Act 2003 and the Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation (Scotland) Act 2005.

Fly-tipping

Question

Asked by Lord Browne of Belmont

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what co-operation there has been with the government of the Republic of Ireland on tackling cross-border illegal dumping.[HL3502]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): This is primarily a matter for the Department of the Environment in Northern Ireland (DOENI) to take forward with their interlocutors in the Irish Republic. DOENI has not requested the assistance of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in respect of this issue.

Freedom of Expression

Question

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what provisions they have put in place to safeguard the exercise of free speech in the United Kingdom.[HL3566]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Faulks) (Con): The United Kingdom is bound by its obligations under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which makes clear that everyone has the right to freedom of expression. It also makes clear that this right carries duties and responsibilities and consequently can be restricted for the reasons set out in Article 10 where prescribed by law and necessary in a democratic society.

In the Coalition Agreement the Government agreed that the obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights, including Article 10, will continue to be enshrined in UK law.

The removal earlier this year of the word “insulting” from the offence under section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986 is a concrete example of the Government keeping our legislation under review and ensuring it strikes the right balance in protecting freedom of speech.

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G4S

Questions

Asked by Lord Harris of Haringey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether G4S was considered for the delivery of call centres dealing with enquiries associated with Universal Credit; if so, when such consideration ceased; and whether any payments were made to G4S in respect of any such work.[HL3657]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether G4S was considered for any work other than call centres associated with Universal Credit; if so, when such consideration ceased; and whether any payments were made to G4S in respect of any such work. [HL3658]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what payments have been made to G4S in respect of the Department for Work and Pensions Child Maintenance Options Contact Centre service.[HL3659]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what payments have been made to G4S in respect of the Department for Work and Pensions Community Work Placements programme.[HL3660]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what payments have been made to G4S by the Department for Work and Pensions in total in each of the years 2010/11, 2011/12, 2012/13 and 2013/14.[HL3661]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud) (Con): G4S have not been considered for any aspect of the delivery for Universal Credit.

The payments made to G4S in relation to delivery of the Child Maintenance Options Contact Centre service, since the inception of the contract in September 2013 through to 31 October 2014, total £5.707m.

The Department does not publish financial information at provider level for Community Work Placements Programme because in conjunction with performance data it allows the calculation of unit prices which are commercially confidential. Release of this information would reduce the department's ability to gain best value for money in future procurement exercises.

I can confirm that total payments to G4S Group are as follows:

2010/11

£81,433

2011/12

£17,947,271

2012/13

£32,123,087

2013/14

£46,377,724

Gibraltar: Spain

Questions

Asked by Lord Patten

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of progress made by the government of Spain in response to the request from the European Commission to carry out works on the border with Gibraltar to speed up movement at the frontier by the summer of 2015.[HL3410]

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The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): We have been very clear that Spain’s response to its border recommendations from the European Commission is nowhere near satisfactory. The European Commission itself has expressed its concerns about the lack of progress, as well as Spain’s refusal to share its plans to upgrade border infrastructure with the authorities in Gibraltar. We will continue to work with the European Commission to ensure that Spain completes the required works, with minimal impact on existing traffic and within an agreed timeframe.

Asked by Lord Patten

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the action taken by the government of Gibraltar to respond to the recommendation of the European Commission concerning changes at the border with Spain.[HL3411]

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar acted swiftly to implement changes at its border with Spain, in response to recommendations from the European Commission. These changes range from reducing the number of cigarettes allowed in the border area from 1000 to 200 per person, through to infrastructure upgrades aimed at risk profiling travellers, including providing facilities for dedicated vehicle searches. The European Commission has welcomed the steps taken to date.

House of Lords: Catering

Questions

Asked by Lord Empey

To ask the Chairman of Committees what is the policy of the House of Lords on the disposal of unwanted food from catering outlets.[HL3671]

To ask the Chairman of Committees what was the monetary value of surplus food disposed of by House of Lords catering outlets in the last year for which figures are available.[HL3672]

To ask the Chairman of Committees what is the mechanism employed by the House of Lords to dispose of surplus food from House of Lords catering outlets.[HL3673]

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Sewel): Catering and Retail Services seeks to reduce the amount of food waste generated through careful menu management and the use, where appropriate, of pre-prepared ingredients. Food waste is controlled in each outlet through reuse in other outlets. Approximately 50% of unsold prepared food products are either recycled through other outlets or reused (subject to food safety procedures). Typical examples of this include roast beef, chicken or baked ham being used for cold meat platters or as ingredients for other dishes, and vegetables being used as ingredients for soups.

The estimated food waste generated by House of Lords outlets each month for the year 2013–14 is shown in the table below.

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MonthTotal cost of waste (£)

April 2013

2,183.99

May 2013

2,608.50

June 2013

3,933.41

July 2013

5,381.78

August/September 2013

1,775.02

October 2013

4,370.16

November 2013

4,507.32

December 2013

3,545.60

January 2014

5,416.39

February 2014

4,787.02

March 2014

6,359.75

Total

44,868.95

The above figures represent prepared unsold food at cost value that cannot be reused or recycled. To put this into perspective, total food waste for the period above is 4.5% of total food consumption. The highest proportion of food waste is from the cafeterias and self service outlets.

Unsold food waste is either bagged or passed through a commercial waste disposal unit which extracts most of the water content, resulting in a dry mass which is bagged. The food waste is collected daily by a waste contractor and sent to a local facility for anaerobic digestion. No food waste produced in the House of Lords is sent to landfill.

Illegal Immigrants: Deportation

Question

Asked by Lord Browne of Belmont

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many illegal immigrants were deported in (1) August, (2) September, and (3) October.[HL3397]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bates) (Con): Deportations are a specific subset of enforced removals which are either following a criminal conviction or when it is judged that a person’s removal from the UK is conducive to the public good.

The table below shows the total number of enforced removals including deportations from the UK in August and September 2014

Month Enforced removals

August 2014

918

September 2014

872

Total

1790

The table shows data for August and September only. The Home Office produces data in line with published statistics. Presently held published statistics only go to the end of September 2014.

The latest quarterly statistics covers Q3 of 2014 (July-September). The Q3 data does not cover the month of October 2014 requested in the PQ. Q3 data was published on 27th November 2014 and Q4 data (October-December) is due to be published in late February 2015. The February publication date allows Migration Statistics to quality assure our raw removals/departures data in preparation for publication.

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Internment: Northern Ireland

Question

Asked by Lord Kilclooney

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the intention of the government of the Republic of Ireland to request that the European Court of Human Rights revise its judgment from 1978 in relation to the treatment of internees. [HL3434]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever) (Con): That is a matter for the Irish Government.

Iran

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will impose sanctions on Mr Mohamed Beheshtifar and ban him from entry into the United Kingdom, following his reported involvement in attacks on women in Basij in Iran.[HL3578]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): We were shocked to learn of the stabbing of six women in Fars Province in Iran at the end of November, and are aware that Mohamad Beheshtifar has been arrested on suspicion of his involvement in the attacks. We will continue to follow the case closely.

Israel

Question

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Livingston of Parkhead on 18 August (HL1576) on British military exports to Israel, whether they will clarify the uses of components for combat aircraft, drones, targeting equipment, military radar, weapon night sights, anti-armour ammunition, sniper rifles and high powered radio frequency weapons systems; and whether those components constitute a particular weapon or system being used for internal repression or external aggression as specified in the Export Control Act 2002.[HL3408]

The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Livingston of Parkhead) (Con): The Government’s review of extant export licences for Israel, the results of which were announced on 12 August, found that the vast majority of licences are not for items that could be used by Israeli forces in operations in Gaza. However the review did identify 12 licences for components which could be part of equipment used by Israeli Defence Forces in Gaza. These licences include components for combat aircraft, components for military radars,

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and components for targeting equipment. The Government will suspend these licences in the event of a resumption of significant hostilities.

The majority of the remaining licences are for components to be incorporated into other equipment for onward supply to third countries, for test or demonstration purposes, or for hunting and sports shooting.

The Government is currently conducting a further review of licences for Israel. The outcome of the review will be announced in due course.

Middle East

Questions

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Anelay of St Johns on 4 December (HL3192), what is their assessment of the use of live fire for crowd control.[HL3499]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): In our conversations with Israeli interlocutors including the Israeli Police and the Israeli Defense Force, we urge investigations into all incidents of the use of live fire for crowd control. We are aware of the rise in the number of deaths resulting from live fire – in comparison to last year – and consistently and regularly encourage restraint in our follow-up on related incidents.

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Israel concerning reports of Israeli Defence Force soldiers and jeeps entering a school in the West Bank village of Al-Sawiyah, and preventing students from entering, on 3 December.[HL3559]

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: We regularly raise issues relating to the conduct of Israel's occupation of the West Bank with our Israeli interlocutors including the Israeli Defence Force, although no representations have been made about this incident.

Museums and Galleries: Young People

Question

Asked by Lord Storey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they will take to encourage more young people to visit museums, particularly those from disadvantaged families.[HL3606]

Lord Gardiner of Kimble (Con): The government continues to support free entry to the national museum collections. Entrance to the national museums has been free since 2001 and visitor numbers have risen continually, including for families from all backgrounds. A number of the museums and galleries have developed specific programmes targeting young people including Youth Panels. Examples of initiatives specifically targeting

17 Dec 2014 : Column WA86

young people include the TATE Galleries participation in Circuit, led by the National Youth Network for the Visual Arts, and The Imperial War Museum’s project, New Perspectives: Lesser known histories of the first world war which challenges young people to take a new perspective on the First World War.

The major partner museums sponsored by Arts Council England are also seeking innovative and creative ways of engaging young people with their collections including: Norfolk Museums Creative Collisions Youth Arts Network and Exeter’s The Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery’s, Count Me In Programme. ACE also directly funds education provision through investment in major partner museums.

In addition, and to increase the number of young people accessing museums, the Museums and Schools Programme has been introduced to increase the number of schools visits to museums. Through Arts Council England, The Department for Education is providing funding of £3.6m, supporting 10 regional museum services in partnership with National Museums and schools in areas of high deprivation across England, where engagement between schools and culture has been low. So far 87,598 pupils have visited a regional museum as part of the museums and schools programme.

North Korea

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they consider North Korean asylum seekers to hold South Korean nationality; and whether the possession of South Korean nationality disqualifies North Korean asylum seekers from refugee status in the United Kingdom under Article 1(A)(2) of the 1951 Refugee Convention.[HL3710]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bates) (Con): As with any other nationality, all asylum and human rights applications from North Korean nationals are carefully considered on their individual merits in accordance with our international obligations and against the background of the latest available country of origin information from a wide range of well-recognised sources.

However, the Government considers that all North Korean citizens are also citizens of South Korea. This was confirmed by the courts in the country guidance case of “GP & Ors (South Korean citizenship) North Korea CG [2014] UKUT 391 (IAC) (20 August 2014)”.

Any application for asylum owing to a fear of persecution in North Korea is, therefore, likely to fall for refusal on the basis that:

(i) The applicant will not be removed to North Korea. The applicant could be returned to South Korea which is not a country where they have a well founded fear of persecution;and/or(ii) The applicant could reasonably be expected to avail himself of the protection of South Korea, where they could assert citizenship.

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Occupied Territories

Questions

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Anelay of St Johns on 17 November (HL2757), whether they plan to encourage international prosecution of settlement building as being a war crime according to the Rome Statute, in order to make possible a viable Palestinian state.[HL3498]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): We have repeatedly condemned settlement announcements and will continue to call on the Israeli authorities to cease all settlement building and to remove illegal outposts, as required under international law. We continue to believe that negotiations toward a two-state solution are the best route to meeting Palestinian aspirations in reality and on the ground. We judge that attempts to seek International Criminal Court jurisdiction over the Occupied Territories at this stage could make a resumption of negotiations more difficult.

Asked by Lord Ahmed

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will propose that the European Union freezes the assets of organisations supporting Israeli settlements, including Israeli banks providing mortgages on settlement properties or loans to settler regional councils.[HL3686]

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: There are currently no plans for the UK to propose freezing the assets of organisations supporting Israeli settlements. However, discussions are underway in Brussels on what further measures the EU could take to discourage further settlement expansion. As the Foreign Affairs Council conclusions of 17 November made clear, the UK and other EU Member States are deeply concerned by recent developments, are closely monitoring the situation and its broader implications, and remain ready to take further action in order to protect the viability of the two state solution.

Palestinians

Questions

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had with other European countries concerning the harvesting and ownership of Gaza’s gas fields.[HL3495]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): There are seven offshore gas fields off the coast of Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (Leviathan, Tamar, Dalit, Gaza Marine (aka Marine 1), Noa (aka Marine 2), Mari B and Nir). Currently, only the Mari B and Tamar fields, controlled by Israel, are being exploited. Marine 1/Gaza Marine lies entirely within the control

17 Dec 2014 : Column WA88

of the Palestinian Authority. Marine 2/Noa straddles the Gaza/Israeli maritime border and so has been split on that basis into two fields: Noa South (under the control of the Palestinian Authority) and Noa (under the control of Israel). This issue has been discussed at EU level in the context of how to facilitate a sustainable and long-term solution to the energy crisis in Gaza.

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how much money they estimate could be saved from the aid budget during the next five years by making Israel bear the costs of occupation and reconstruction in Gaza and the West Bank.[HL3497]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for International Development (Baroness Northover): It is not possible to calculate the full costs of the Occupation to any degree of accuracy and determine how these are currently offset through the provision of international aid, including from the UK. What we do know is that Israeli restrictions do considerable damage to the Palestinian economy, are one of the main impediments to economic growth, and contribute to a reliance on international aid. DFID is providing £349 million in support of Palestinian development between 2011 and 2015. Decisions on funding for the next five years will be made at the next spending review.

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Northover on 1 December (HL2862), whether Palestinian farmers have received compensation for their loss of fruit trees; and if so, from whom.[HL3500]

Baroness Northover: Palestinian farmers have not been systematically compensated for fruit trees destroyed as a result of settler violence. However, the Palestinian Authority’s Committee Against the Wall and Settlements has provided small amounts of compensation on an ad hoc basis to some Palestinian farmers affected by settlement activities in the West Bank. The UK continues to raise concerns about incidents of settler violence with the Israeli authorities.

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what progress has been made in the recent United Nations efforts to remove rubble in Gaza.[HL3628]

Baroness Northover: Rubble clearance is underway in Gaza, although much still remains to be done. Efforts are complicated by the dangers of unexploded ordnance concealed beneath the rubble. The UK pledged £20 million for early recovery and reconstruction in Gaza, including support for short-term employment schemes that provide an income to local people to assist with rubble clearance and infrastructure repair.

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Papua

Question

Asked by Lord Harries of Pentregarth

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to make representations to the government of Indonesia to encourage it to establish an inquiry into the incident at Paniai, West Papua, on 8 December in which the Indonesian police and military reportedly shot into a crowd; and whether they will encourage that government to allow access to West Papua for non-governmental organisations and the media. [HL3613]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): We are concerned by reports of a number of deaths in Paniai on 8 December, apparently following attempts to disperse a group of protesters. We support calls by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights for the authorities to conduct an independent and thorough investigation into the incident.

We regularly discuss the situation in Papua province with the Indonesian authorities, raise concerns about access for international journalists and non-governmental organisations and encourage a greater focus on resolving disputes through peaceful dialogue. Most recently the Charge d’Affairs visited Papua province on 3-5 December.

Pensions

Question

Asked by Lord Bradley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their estimate of the proportion of people whose defined contribution pension fund is in the ranges (1) £0 to £5,000, (2) £5,000 to £10,000, (3) £10,000 to £15,000, (4) £15,000 to £20,000, (5) £20,000 to £25,000, (6) £25,000 to £30,000, (7) £30,000 to £35,000, (8) £35,000 to £40,000, (9) £40,000 to £45,000, (10) £45,000 to £50,000, and (11) over £50,000.[HL3653]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud) (Con): Estimates of defined contribution wealth in the accumulation phase have been made by DWP using the Wealth and Assets survey (WAS). The analysis excludes individuals with zero DC wealth and includes all adults aged 16 and over.

Table 1: Distribution of individuals with wealth in DC pensions not yet in payment, 2010/12
DC Wealth in Accumulation phase% of individuals

between £0 and £4,999

26

between £5,000 and £9,999

14

between £10,000 and £14,999

10

between £15,000 and £19,999

8

between £20,000 and £24,999

5

between £25,000 and £29,999

4

between £30,000 and £34,999

4

between £35,000 and £39,999

3

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between £40,000 and £44,999

3

between £45,000 and £49,999

2

greater than £50,000

21

Source: DWP analysis of ONS WAS data from 2010-12 (Wave 3)

Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme

Question

Asked by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 3 December (HL2953), how they consider the removal of the existing taper to be of benefit to small companies, and why it was removed.[HL3551]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The 2014 Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme (PPRS) provides certainty and stability to all companies that decide to join it. Companies with less than £5 million in health service sales are exempted from having to make any PPRS payments.

The 2014 PPRS was negotiated with the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry with the agreed objective of ensuring that the branded medicines bill stays within affordable limits. Smaller companies were represented in the negotiations.

Police and Crime Commissioners

Question

Asked by Lord Condon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their response to the number of Police and Crime Commissioners who are facing or have faced investigation following complaints about their behaviour.[HL3288]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bates) (Con): Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) have an important role in holding their forces to account and focussing on cutting crime. It is right that they are held to the very highest standards. It is precisely because PCCs are visible, elected individuals that they are able to be held to account in this way, quite in contrast to police authorities. PCCs are delivering a level of transparency, visibility and accountability that did not exist before 2012 under the Police Authority model of police governance.

There have been 44 PCC related complaints referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). Of these referrals, only six have led to an independent investigation conducted by the IPCC, and two managed investigations which are carried out by external police forces under the direction and control of the IPCC. The remainder did not meet the IPCC’s

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threshold for investigation. No IPCC referrals have so far led to a PCC being charged or convicted of any offence.

Prescription Drugs: Misuse

Question

Asked by Lord Browne of Belmont

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what schemes and measures are currently in place to enable other agencies to work alongside police in combating prescription drug abuse.[HL3506]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): Local authorities and the National Health Service work together and with other agencies to assess local needs, prevent problems with prescription and over-the-counter medicines, and commission responses for people dependent on those medicines.

Designated healthcare organisations are required to appoint a Controlled Drugs Accountable Officer (CDAO) to investigate concerns about prescribing and supply of medicines, and to share findings with the Local Intelligence Network (a partnership of key organisations to review and respond to controlled drug concerns).

Services prescribing and/or dispensing controlled prescription drugs are required to liaise with their local CDAO and contribute to their Local Intelligence Network.

Prison Sentences

Question

Asked by Lord Beecham

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many prisoners serving indeterminate sentences, other than sex offenders, have been waiting for courses for (1) more than two years, (2) more than one year, and (3) more than six months.[HL3403]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Faulks) (Con): NOMS does not have any centrally held data on how many prisoners serving indeterminate sentences, other than sex offenders, have been waiting for courses for (1) more than two years, (2) more than one year, and (3) more than six months. This could only be obtained by requesting it from individual establishments which would entail disproportionate cost.

Private Education

Questions

Asked by Lord Storey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of possible partnerships between state and private schools, and the possible implications for private schools already offering significant bursaries and scholarships.[HL3768]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash) (Con): We welcome the fact that as noted in my previous Answer on this subject (HL3224), more than 9 out of 10 independent schools are engaged on partnership activity. However, we want this to

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continue to be a voluntary activity, borne out of genuine enthusiasm for the benefits of such arrangements, and carried out in a way proportionate to the resources of the schools involved. It would be counter-productive if an artificial requirement for partnership resulted in a reduction in the resources that schools devote to the provision of scholarships and other assistance with fees, which also demonstrates public benefit and helps social mobility.

Asked by Lord Warner

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answers by Lord Nash on 1 December (HL3032 and HL3033), whether they consider that independent schools are obliged to meet the requirements in section 78 of the Education Act 2002 to teach a broad and balanced curriculum; and whether such schools are permitted to teach young earth creationism or intelligent design to children as scientifically valid, or are obliged to teach evolution as part of their science curriculum using appropriate teaching materials.[HL3780]

Lord Nash: Independent schools are not obliged to meet the requirements of section 78 of the Education Act 2002 for a broad and balanced curriculum which

(a) promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at the school and of society, and(b) prepares pupils at the school for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.

However, there are requirements in the independent school standards which, as explained in a previous Answer (HL3032), independent schools are obliged to follow. They contain a detailed standard for spiritual, moral, social and cultural development, and the revised standards which come into force on 5 January 2015 also include an enhanced requirement on preparation for adult life.

The standards do not, as noted in Answer HL3032, prevent the teaching of creationism. Nor do they require the teaching of any specific scientific matters, such as evolution. However, in their arrangements for teaching science, schools are expected to imbue pupils with an appreciation of the need for an evidence-based approach, and an ability to think and learn for themselves.

Prostitution

Question

Asked by The Lord Bishop of St Albans

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what consideration they have given to criminalising the purchase of sex in order to protect vulnerable women.[HL3283]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bates) (Con): The government is committed to eradicating violence against women and girls. This includes protecting those involved in prostitution who are particularly vulnerable. We are also committed to tackling the harm and exploitation to individuals,

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impact on communities, and links to organised crime, that can be associated with prostitution. Our focus is on harm-minimisation, including supporting those who wish to exit prostitution.

Our progress is constantly reviewed via the cross-government action plan on violence against women and girls. We are in regular dialogue with the relevant policing leads and the Crown Prosecution Service, to ensure that legislation and its enforcement remains as effective as possible.

Pupils: Disadvantaged

Question

Asked by Lord Storey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what consideration they have given to extending the measure of disadvantage for school pupils to include factors beyond eligibility for free school meals and the Pupil Premium.[HL3605]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash) (Con): The Government currently defines the term ‘disadvantaged pupil’ in national statistics to be those pupils known to be eligible for free school meals at any point in the last 6 years or children looked after for six months or more. These are the pupils who attract pupil premium funding.

From April 2014, eligibility for the pupil premium was extended to all looked after children, and to children who have left care through adoption, special guardianship orders or child arrangements orders. The Government is considering widening the national statistics definition of “disadvantaged pupil” to this group for the publication of test and examination results from 2015.

We recognise that educational disadvantage extends beyond eligibility for free school meals and the pupil premium. This is why the Government has given local authorities the discretion to allocate dedicated schools grant funding for pupils with low prior attainment and pupils for whom English is not their first language. In addition, local authorities can choose to allocate funding through an area-based measure of deprivation, either alongside or instead of free school meals eligibility.

In considering future measures of disadvantage, the Department for Education commissioned RAND and the University of Cambridge to undertake a study to examine whether indicators other than free school meal eligibility may be used to identify which pupils are likely to underachieve. The report will be published soon.

Remembrance Day

Question

Asked by Lord Kilclooney

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the Republic of Ireland participated in the Remembrance Day ceremony at Whitehall on 9 November; and whether they will give consideration to the participation of representatives of the Overseas Territories at future Remembrance Day ceremonies at Whitehall. [HL3698]

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Lord Gardiner of Kimble (Con): The Republic of Ireland participated in this year’s Remembrance Sunday ceremony for the first time in almost 70 years. There are no plans to change the existing arrangements in which the Foreign Secretary lays a wreath on behalf of the British Overseas Territories.

Reoffenders: Foreign Nationals

Question

Asked by Lord Browne of Belmont

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many foreign nationals convicted for criminal offences have re-offended over the last five years.[HL3356]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Faulks) (Con): Proven re-offending data currently produced by the Ministry of Justice does not include information on the nationality of all offenders. To extract this information would require the manual inspection of individual offender records, and linking relevant offender details to the Police National Computer to assess their re-offending, which could be done at disproportionate cost.

Roads: Safety

Question

Asked by The Earl of Courtown

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the annual budget of the THINK! campaign for each year from 2009/10.[HL3719]

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Kramer) (LD): The THINK! campaign annual budget since 2009/10 is outlined in the following table:

Financial yearAllocated annual budget

2009/10

£19,200,000

2010/11

£6,800,000

2011/12

£4,100,000

2012/13

£3,570,000

2013/14

£3,750,000

2014/15

£5,500,000

Since June 2010 Government marketing spend has been reduced to help deliver efficiency savings. Since then, only the most essential campaigns – including the THINK! campaign – have continued.

It is vital that taxpayers’ money is spent wisely and spend is prioritised using killed and seriously injured statistics for road users. We are delivering more efficient road safety initiatives by focusing spending on those activities which are most likely to reach our target audience. For example to date, our new drink drive film has been viewed 696,000 times.

We continually monitor attitudes towards drink driving, road casualty statistics and policing data (such as breath tests) to inform our campaign strategies.

The most recent annual road casualty figures, for 2013, show Britain’s roads are still among the safest in the world and fatalities are the lowest since records began in 1926. But one death on the road is one too

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many, which is why our focus remains on tackling dangerous drivers and investing in making our roads safer for everyone.

Roads: Snow and Ice

Question

Asked by Lord Scriven

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they plan to take to ensure that local authorities in South Yorkshire are fulfilling their statutory duty to grit local roads in the light of the increase in car accidents on stretches of roads that Sheffield City Council have stopped gritting this year.[HL3784]

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Kramer) (LD): Local highway authorities have a duty under Section 41 of the Highways Act 1980 to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that safe passage along a highway is not endangered by snow or ice. Winter service planning is therefore the responsibility of the respective local highway authority.

The Department for Transport has undertaken a great deal of work with the transport sector to prepare for this winter season and all key transport operators, including local authorities, train operating companies, the Highways Agency, Network Rail and airports, have contingency plans in place to deal with any winter weather that may be encountered.

In addition the Department continues to liaise closely with salt producers and as in previous years has started to monitor road salt stock holdings being held across the country. Analysis from a recent stock survey highlights the Highways Agency and local highway authorities are holding over one million tonnes of road salt. The Government has also retained an emergency salt stockpile of around 400,000 tonnes for this winter season.

Schengen Agreement

Questions

Asked by Lord Boswell of Aynho

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the answer by Lord Bates on 4 December, why they have refused the European Union Committee’s request of 26 November for an oral statement to be made regarding the override of the House of Lords scrutiny reserve resolution over the draft Council Decision concerning the United Kingdom's participation in provisions of the Schengen acquis on 1 December. [HL3449]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government why the deposit in Parliament of the draft Council Decision concerning the United Kingdom's participation in provisions of the Schengen acquis, published on 19 November, was delayed until 4 December, leading to an override of the House of Lords scrutiny reserve resolution on 1 December.[HL3450]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government why they failed to write in advance of 1 December to describe the circumstances and provide justification for their agreement to the draft Council Decision concerning the United Kingdom's participation in provisions of the Schengen acquis, as required by paragraph 6.2.11

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of the Cabinet Office Guidance for Departments on Parliamentary Scrutiny of European Union Documents.[HL3451]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bates) (Con): The Council Decision concerning the United Kingdom’s participation in provisions of the Schengen acquis gave effect to the decision of the House of Lords on 17 November that the Government should re-join a package of 35 measures following the exercise of the UK's opt-out under Protocol 36 to the Treaties on the functioning of the EU (the 2014 opt-out decision). The Government accepts that the draft of this document should have been deposited earlier and apologises for the delay in its provision to the Committee.

Whilst we have noted the wishes of the Committee for an oral statement on the override, the Government does not believe it to be necessary given the number of debates and the extensive engagement with both Houses of Parliament and their Committees on the Protocol 36 op-out. We have responded to the Committee's correspondence on this matter and a written statement was laid in Parliament on the 10th December.

Secure Colleges

Question

Asked by Lord Allen of Kensington

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what training for the world of work will be undertaken by young offenders sent to the new secure college that is due to open in 2017; and how that training will be evaluated.[HL3366]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Faulks) (Con): The Secure College in Leicestershire will be the first of a new generation of secure educational establishments which will put education at the heart of youth custody. It will inform our vision for the future of the youth custodial estate across England and Wales.

Education provision will be tailored to the particular needs of young people in custody. We anticipate Secure Colleges providing a strong focus on the core skills, such as literacy and numeracy, which all young people need, but with sufficient flexibility for vocational training and workplace skills to develop those offenders seeking employment on release. We would want to afford operators the same freedoms as academies, to personalise learning pathways and target intervention.

The Secure College Pathfinder operator will make continuous assessment of young people to ensure that they progress towards the targets set out in their individual plans.

Slavery

Questions

Asked by Lord Judd

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what arrangements they are making, and with whom, for consultation on the guidance to support businesses in their preparation of the slavery and trafficking statement to be required by the enactment of

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clause 51 of the Modern Slavery Bill; and whether those consultations will involve both business and civil society.[HL3249]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bates) (Con): Plans for a full and thorough consultation are currently being worked up. We recognise the importance of this measure and want to get it right. We will undertake a full consultation, involving key interested parties, including business and civil society.

Asked by Lord Judd

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to begin their consultations on the guidance to support businesses in their preparation of the slavery and trafficking statement to be required by the enactment of clause 51 of the Modern Slavery Bill before the House of Lords completes its scrutiny of the bill; and when they intend those consultations to be completed.[HL3250]

Lord Bates: We are committed to consulting on this important issue and to getting it right. The timing of the consultation is under consideration and further details will be announced shortly.

Asked by Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had with the Scottish Government concerning the relationship between the Modern Slavery Bill and the Human Trafficking and Exploitation Bill announced by the First Minister of Scotland on 26 November.[HL3264]

Lord Bates: The UK Government works closely with all devolved administrations to ensure the UK delivers a coordinated response to modern slavery. The Scottish Government is represented on the Inter-Departmental Ministerial Group on Modern Slavery, which leads this work. We have worked closely with the Scottish Government on the development of the Scottish Trafficking and Exploitation Bill, as well as the development of the Modern Slavery Bill, to ensure that legislation across the UK is coherent and effective.

Social Security Benefits

Questions

Asked by Baroness Lister of Burtersett

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the answer by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on 8 December (HC Deb, col 633), what specific new steps they are taking to raise awareness of short-term benefit advances.[HL3743]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will examine “the possibility of allowing advice workers to request automatically short-term benefit advances electronically for their clients” as recommended by the report of the All-Party Parliamentary inquiry into Hunger and Food Poverty in Britain.[HL3744]

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To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the recommendation of the All-Party Parliamentary inquiry into Hunger and Food Poverty that the Department for Work and Pensions should “automatically consider paying short-term benefit advances if a benefit claim has not been paid within five working days”.[HL3745]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they plan to simplify the application process for hardship payments and short-term benefit advances as recommended by the All-Party Parliamentary inquiry into Hunger and Food Poverty.[HL3746]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud) (Con): I refer the Noble Baroness to the oral answer given by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, the Rt.Hon. Iain Duncan Smith, Official Report, 8 December 2014, column 633. He set out how the Department for Work and Pensions will be doing much more to raise awareness of Short Term Benefit Advances (STBAs) as recommended by the All-Party Parliamentary inquiry and others, including the Social Security Advisory Committee. This will include providing more information to claimants about STBAs online and in Jobcentres. Staff guidance on STBAs will also be updated and staff reminded of the process for considering an STBA.

A key part of the STBA process is a discussion between the claimant and the Decision Maker to consider the circumstances of the request and make an informed discretionary decision about the claimant’s needs. Such a discussion needs to be had with the claimant and cannot be done online or with a third party.

Benefits are normally paid in arrears and where the Department can pay any benefit due to the claimant it does. Where an STBA can be paid it is usually paid the day after it is first requested by the claimant.

The Government believes the current system for claiming STBAs is simple. All claimants need to do is mention to staff that they will not be able to manage until their payment is due and the STBA process will start. However, the Government has accepted the need to raise awareness of STBAs as set out above.

The Government has made improvements to the hardship process. In July 2014 it strengthened guidance for work coaches so that all claimants are informed about how and when they can make an application for hardship payment and processing times have also been improved.

Sports: Disability

Question

Asked by Lord Storey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what measures they have introduced to make sports more widely accessible for young people with disabilities. [HL3771]

Lord Gardiner of Kimble (Con): Sport England is currently investing over £171 million to get more disabled people playing sport including young people. Since 2012 Sport England has made disability sport a key

17 Dec 2014 : Column WA99

part of its strategy and 42 of the National Governing Bodies of Sport (NGBs) it invests in have specific targets for increasing the number of disabled who play their sport. Through the School Games, over 28,000 young disabled people played competitive sport at the county festival level, with meaningful competitive sporting opportunities to young disabled people at every level of the programme. Project Ability has also helped introduce around 25,000 young disabled people to competitive sport and Change4Life Clubs offer the Paralympic sports boccia and basketball as part of the ‘menu’ of opportunities for participating schools.

Sports: Tickets

Question

Asked by Baroness Grey-Thompson

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they consider that the terms and conditions required by governing bodies of sport as the promoters of major events should be adhered to and take priority over secondary market interests.[HL3618]

Lord Gardiner of Kimble (Con): The terms and conditions on an event ticket are a matter of civil law. We do, however, expect there to be a reasonable balance between the terms and conditions which apply when purchasing goods and enabling consumers with unwanted tickets to dispose of them fairly and openly.

Summertime

Question

Asked by Lord Tanlaw

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to devolve responsibility for time in order that the Scottish Parliament can select the best clock time for daylight saving during the winter months.[HL3473]

The Advocate-General for Scotland (Lord Wallace of Tankerness) (LD): Devolution of time was not included in the Smith Agreement reached between the five parties in Scotland, and this Government has no plans to devolve it.

Syria

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of reports that Daesh controls a border crossing between Turkey and Syria; and what representations they are making to the government of Turkey on the matter.[HL3576]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): The situation on the Turkish-Syrian border remains dynamic. We understand that Turkey has closed a number of border crossings with Syria following the occupation of the Syrian side by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). We have regular discussions with the Turkish

17 Dec 2014 : Column WA100

government about the threat posed by ISIL. The Prime Minister, my right hon. Friend the Member for Witney (Mr Cameron), discussed cooperation against ISIL when he met Prime Minister Davutoglu and President Erdogan during a visit to Turkey on 9 December.

Terrorism: Northern Ireland

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the current state of discussions with the relevant authority in Syria concerning compensation for those in Northern Ireland who were injured as a result of explosives and guns that were supplied to the IRA.[HL3464]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): We have been discussing this matter with the Libyan authorities, not the Syrian government. While we do not intend to negotiate a compensation settlement with the Libyan authorities, once stability returns, and our Embassy re-opens, we will again encourage the Libyans to engage with UK victims seeking redress, including those seeking compensation and their legal representatives. The Prime Minister, my right hon. Friend the Member for Witney (Mr Cameron), has said that he is committed to doing this and has asked the National Security Advisor to lead cross-government efforts to engage the Libyans on reconciliation initiatives. The Government will also continue to promote broad and lasting reconciliation between Libya and affected UK communities.

Transport: Capital Investment

Question

Asked by Lord Bradshaw

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether (1) they are satisfied that the system of appraising transport projects, as set out in the Treasury Green Book, takes sufficient account of the wider economic effects, such as on employment, access to training, linking housing provision to employment opportunities and addressing the potential of run down areas of cities, and (2) they plan to revise the guidance on the appraisal of such projects.[HL3391]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton) (Con): The Green Book requires that all new policies, programmes and projects be subject to a comprehensive but proportional assessment of value for money and that, wherever feasible, all impacts of the proposal should be accounted for within the social cost benefit appraisal.

The Department for Transport appraises transport investment using the Department’s Transport Analysis Guidance, which is fully compliant with the Green Book. The guidance takes into account a number of wider economic impacts, such as labour market effects and agglomeration economies. The Department also appraises the impacts of transport investments on unlocking housing developments and regeneration areas. Where appropriate these impacts are quantified and monetised for transport schemes.

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The government guidance on project appraisal, including that specifically relating to transport investment, is kept under constant review and is updated and developed when appropriate.

UK Trade with EU

Question

Asked by Lord Pearson of Rannoch

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Livingston of Parkhead on 19 November (HL2689), what research they have conducted since 1992 to determine the benefits of the European Single Market for United Kingdom trade.[HL3677]

The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Livingston of Parkhead) (Con): The joint HMG and Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) e-book on the UK and the Future of the Single Market, “Twenty Years On” (2012), looked at a wide range of benefits of the European Single Market to the UK. Specifically related to trade, the report notes that European markets account for just under half of UK exports of goods and services and following the enlargements of 2004 and 2007, which had a positive effect on the UK’s trade with the new Member States, UK exports to the EU12 have doubled since 2004.

A BIS Economics Paper on “The economic consequences for the UK and the EU of completing the Single Market” (BIS, 2011), which concluded that if all Member States removed barriers to the full implementation of the Single Market, UK exports would increase 47%.

UK and the Future of the Single Market, “Twenty Years On” (2012)

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/34715/12-199-twenty-years-on-uk-and-future-single-market.pdf

“The economic consequences for the UK and the EU of completing the Single Market” (BIS, 2011)

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/83815/economic_consequences_for_the_UK_ and_the_EU_of_completing_the_Single_Market.pdf

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United Arab Emirates

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have yet received clarification from the United Arab Emirates as to why they included at least three British charities in a list of organisations to be blacklisted; and if not, when they expect to do so. [HL3488]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): The British Government is continuing to seek information from the Emirati government on these designations.

Vocational Guidance

Question

Asked by Lord Allen of Kensington

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact of their careers Inspiration Vision Statement published in September 2013; and whether its implementation has led to significant improvements in providing young people with the skills required in the world of work. [HL3365]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash) (Con): The Inspiration Vision Statement encourages schools and employers to work together to better prepare young people for the world of work. We know that many schools and employers have taken up the challenge and that there are many examples of positive engagement between employers and schools.

However, the evidence is that all young people do not yet have equal access to excellent careers advice, guidance and inspiration. That is why the Government has made available £20 million to support improvements in this area in the Autumn Statement, and, further announced on 10 December, the creation of a new employer-led careers and enterprise company. The new company will support much greater engagement between employers on the one hand and schools and colleges on the other, to create inspired and skilled young people ready to engage positively with the world of work.