4 Nov 2014 : Column WA213

Written Answers

Tuesday 4 November 2014

Afghanistan

Questions

Asked by Lord Judd

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what strategic policy on the use of armed drones was put in place before withdrawing troops from Afghanistan. [HL2313]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever) (Con): Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) have played a vital role in supporting UK and coalition forces in Afghanistan. On current plans, in line with the withdrawal of UK combat troops, all of the UK Reaper RPAS will be withdrawn from Afghanistan by the end of the year. Her Majesty's Government has been clear it plans to retain the Reaper RPAS, principally for its intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities. Reaper can be utilised in a variety of environments and roles and has recently been deployed to support operations the Middle East.

Asked by Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will consider issuing visas in Kabul for civil society representatives who wish to attend the London Conference on Afghanistan in November and whose funding is not provided by the United Kingdom. [HL2322]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for International Development (Baroness Northover) (LD): Invited guests of the British Government will have their visa applications facilitated by our Embassy in Kabul for the London Conference on Afghanistan. This includes individuals invited to Government sponsored “associated” events. For other side events not sponsored by the Government, visas will be handled by the UK visa offices in Islamabad and New Delhi. We are liaising with the organisers of these events to ensure that the process is as straightforward as possible.

Alcoholic Drinks: Misuse

Questions

Asked by Lord Taylor of Warwick

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to address Britain’s drinking culture, which Public Health England recently identified as causing a rise in liver disease deaths.[HL2266]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The Government’s Alcohol Strategy set out ambitions whereby ‘we will radically reshape the approach to alcohol and reduce the number of people drinking to excess’. The ambitions include:

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- a change in behaviour so that people think it is not acceptable to drink in ways that could cause harm to themselves and others;- a reduction in the amount of alcohol-fuelled violent crime;- a reduction in the number of adults drinking above the National Health Service guidelines;- a reduction in the number of people ‘binge drinking’;- a reduction in the number of alcohol-related deaths; and- a sustained reduction in both the numbers of 11-15 year olds drinking alcohol and the amounts consumed.

In November 2012, the Home Office launched a consultation on five key areas with the aim of reducing alcohol-fuelled crime, anti-social behaviour and alcohol-related health harm.

The Government response, published in July 2013, provided an analysis of the responses and set out the next steps that the Government will take:

- targeted national action, ending sales of the cheapest alcohol by introducing a ban on selling alcohol below the price of duty and VAT, and strengthening the ban on irresponsible promotions in pubs and clubs;- a challenge to industry to increase its efforts, building on what has already been achieved through the Public Health Responsibility Deal. This includes tackling high strength products; promoting alcohol responsibly in shops; improving education around drinking; and supporting targeted local action; and- support local action on alcohol-related harm, identifying a number of high harm local alcohol action areas and take action with them to strengthen local partnerships; improve enforcement; and share good practice based on what works locally. The Minister for Crime Prevention announced the twenty successful areas on 13 February 2014.

Asked by Lord Taylor of Warwick

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking in respect of Britain's drinking culture in order to reduce liver disease deaths. [HL2288]

Earl Howe: The Government is taking a number of steps to tackle alcohol problems and reduce alcohol-related liver disease. These are being led by Public Health England (PHE), working with partners across government and local authorities. Through the Responsibility Deal the Government is also working with industry partners to tackle alcohol problems.

On 23 October 2014, PHE published its priorities for protecting and improving the nation’s health and one of the seven issues they will be focusing on is preventing and reducing the harmful effects of alcohol. This priority includes two actions relating to liver disease:

- producing a framework on liver disease outlining public health actions to tackle liver disease, including alcohol; and

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- launching liver disease profiles to support local authority health and wellbeing boards to understand liver disease and its risk factors in their area and, in turn, design effective local population level interventions.

Other key actions from PHE on alcohol and liver disease include:

- developing the evidence base for what works in preventing alcoholic liver disease and increasing awareness of the harmful effects of alcohol and the impact of interventions, to support policy development nationally and locally;- supporting and promoting effective use of licensing legislation and local powers to create a safer drinking environment that encourages people who drink to do so at a lower risk levels. Part of this is improving the effectiveness of the powers directors of public health have on alcohol licensing;- encouraging and supporting people who drink to do so within the lower risk levels;- reducing the harmful impact of alcohol on individuals who already experience harm. PHE will be supporting a widespread roll-out of interventions and brief advice; and- supporting improvements in treatment provision in line with National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidance. Locally, PHE is supporting the development of effective alcohol specialist services in secondary care and accessible, evidence-based specialist treatment for dependent drinkers.

Armoured Fighting Vehicles

Questions

Asked by Lord Moonie

To ask Her Majesty’s Government why an order has been placed for the turreted version of Scout SV before the Critical Design Review has been completed, and when completion of the Review is expected.[HL2267]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government why the decision to order Scout SV has been brought forward from after May 2015.[HL2269]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever) (Con): The Scout Specialist Vehicle programme was subject to a number of assurance reviews and found to have reached a level of maturity sufficient to commit to a production contract. Sub-system critical design reviews are progressing ahead of the system level critical design review, which is contracted to be completed in March 2015.

Asked by Lord Moonie

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether all the intellectual property for the Scout SV will be held by General Dynamics United Kingdom or by a foreign company.[HL2268]

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Lord Astor of Hever: General Dynamics United Kingdom owns all the intellectual property generated under the contract and has secured rights of use for pre-existing intellectual property within the supply chain.

Asked by Lord Moonie

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what proportion of the value of work within the Scout SV programme will be carried out in the United Kingdom.[HL2270]

Lord Astor of Hever: An exact figure is not expressed in the contract; however, a substantial proportion of work (around 60% by contract value) will be carried out in the UK, including the design and build of high value sub-systems such as the turret (Bedfordshire), thermal sights (Glasgow), electronic architecture (Hastings), and the armour packs (Wales). The Scout Specialist Vehicle programme represents the biggest single order for a UK armoured vehicle in 30 years and will guarantee at least 1,300 jobs in the UK.

Asked by Lord Moonie

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many Scout SV vehicles are planned to be delivered by the end of 2020.[HL2271]

Lord Astor of Hever: The Scout Specialist Vehicle contract with General Dynamics United Kingdom is for 589 vehicles. Around 230 vehicles are planned for delivery by the end of 2020.

Asked by Lord Moonie

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether support work, including deep support, for Scout SV will be carried out in the United Kingdom.[HL2272]

Lord Astor of Hever: There are no constraints for support work on the Scout Specialist Vehicle to be completed in the UK. In line with European competition rules, the full support solution will be subject to open competition.

Asked by Lord Moonie

To ask Her Majesty’s Government in what ways they expect the Scout SV to prove superior in capabilities to VBCI and CV90 vehicles.[HL2296]

Lord Astor of Hever: The Scout vehicle was chosen by the Army after an extensive assessment period and a competitive process which examined a number of different vehicle options. Scout was selected because it delivered the optimum value for money and the overall balance of capability required to provide a genuine multi-role platform for the Army against a demanding set of requirements. Scout is a fully digitised armoured vehicle which will deliver a step change in versatility and agility for the Army. Scout will be able to conduct both close combat and reconnaissance tasks and will be equipped with a sensor suite and sighting system that will double the range at which all types of target can be detected from the ground, providing a genuine force multiplier to the Army.

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Asked by Lord Moonie

To ask Her Majesty’s Government why there is to be no assembly or production line for the Scout SV vehicle in the United Kingdom; and what, if any cost savings they anticipate as a result of that arrangement.[HL2297]

Lord Astor of Hever: The contract let is in accordance with the Armoured Fighting Vehicle Sector Strategy, announced by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) on 23 June 2009. The strategy made clear that it is not necessary to retain industrial capabilities in the UK in order to achieve appropriate operational sovereignty. The strategy was intended to make greater use of the global market, particularly within the EU and NATO. This remains the case for Scout Specialist Vehicle. General Dynamics United Kingdom was selected on the basis of the best value for money for the MOD and has decided to use the production facilities at General Dynamics European Land Systems in Spain. Neither of the final competition bidders planned to assemble the entire vehicle in the UK; both planned to make best use of their established international facilities and supply chains. Following production of the first 100 vehicles, an option does exist to transfer vehicle assembly to the UK subject to an economic case being accepted.

Asked by Lord Moonie

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what impact they anticipate on the operations and value of the Defence Support Group as a result of overseas assembly of and support for the Scout SV vehicle. [HL2298]

Lord Astor of Hever: There will not be an impact on the operations and value of the Defence Support Group (DSG). It was not assumed that DSG would be involved in the assembly of the Scout Specialist Vehicle, and DSG will be able to bid for the future support contract when it is competed.

Asked by Lord Moonie

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the effect on the costs of production of the Scout SV vehicle of the non-production of the Pizarro II vehicle from which it is derived.[HL2299]

Lord Astor of Hever: This is a matter for General Dynamics. The Scout Specialist Vehicle contract price was secured through international competition and represents value for money regardless of any plans for the Pizarro II vehicle.

Asked by Lord Moonie

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assumptions have been made about the exportability of the Scout SV vehicle family; and what benefits they expect the United Kingdom to derive from any such exports.[HL2300]

Lord Astor of Hever: The UK Trade and Investment Defence and Security Organisation is currently assisting General Dynamics United Kingdom in identifying

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international prospects for the vehicle. The benefit expected from defence exports is a contribution to economic growth.

Bail

Question

Asked by Lord Black of Brentwood

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many individuals were placed on police bail in England and Wales in each year between 1976 and 2013. [HL2323]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bates) (Con): The information requested is not held centrally and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Civil Servants: Languages

Question

Asked by Baroness Coussins

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to conduct a comprehensive audit of the foreign language skills currently possessed by civil servants across all departments and government agencies.[HL2343]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire (LD): I refer my noble friend to the answer provided by The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office on 3 November, Official Report, Column WA188.

There are currently no plans for a formal audit across Government to measure the foreign language skills currently possessed by civil servants.

Diesel Vehicles

Question

Asked by Lord Hunt of Chesterton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to introduce measures to reduce the use of diesel engines as compared to petrol engines because of the effects of diesel fumes on health.[HL2346]

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Kramer) (LD): Progressively tighter new vehicle European emission standards have reduced harmful particulate matter pollution emissions from diesel vehicles to a point where they are now equivalent to those from petrol vehicles. The latest emission standard for lorries and buses, Euro VI, will in addition substantially reduce emissions of oxides of nitrogen (NOx). Government experts are working with the European Commission and other member states to ensure that the Euro 6 emission standard for diesel cars and vans will also deliver reduced NOx emissions.

In addition between 2011 and 2020 we have committed over two billion pounds to increase the uptake of ultra-low emission vehicles, on active and sustainable travel and to support green transport initiatives, which will help to improve air quality.

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As such, the Government has no current plans for any specific restriction or prohibition on the production or sale of diesel vehicles.

Electricity Generation

Question

Asked by Lord Hunt of Chesterton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what are the relative current delivered costs of electricity delivered to users in the United Kingdom produced respectively by nuclear fusion, offshore electricity, solar photovoltaic, gas and coal.[HL2344]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Baroness Verma) (Con): DECC’s most recently published figures for the levelised costs of electricity generation for different technologies are available in the DECC Electricity Generation Costs (December 2013) report:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/269888/131217_Electricity_Generation_costs_report_December_ 2013_Final.pdf

Table 1 below is taken from this report, and shows a range of levelised cost estimates for nuclear offshore wind, solar photovoltaic, and gas projects commissioning in 2014 and 2020 at technology specific hurdle rates (pre-tax real). Estimates are not published for nuclear projects commissioning in 2014, or coal projects without carbon capture and storage commissioning in 2014 or 2020 given there will be no new projects commissioned in this timeframe. DECC does not publish cost estimates for nuclear fusion.

Table 1: Levelised cost estimates for different technologies, technology specific hurdle rates, sensitivities around high/low capital costs
Projects commissioning in 2014Projects commissioning in 2020
£/MWh£/MWh

Nuclear

n.a.

79 – 102

Offshore wind Round 2

131 - 168

105 – 135

Offshore wind Round 3

144 - 189

115 - 152

Large scale solar PV

114 - 131

83 - 94

CCGT (gas) *

73 - 76

79 - 83

* CCGT: Combined Cycle Gas Turbine

The levelised cost of a particular generation technology is the ratio of the total costs of a generic plant to the total amount of electricity expected to be generated over the plant’s lifetime (per megawatt hour). Levelised cost estimates are highly sensitive to the assumptions used for capital costs, fuel and EU ETS allowance prices, operating costs, load factor, discount rate and other drivers and this means that there is significant uncertainty around these estimates. Estimates of levelised costs differ from the retail electricity prices that are paid by consumers (i.e. on delivery of electricity).

This Answer included the following attachment: Electricity Generation Costs Report December 2013 (Electricity Generation Costs Report December 2013.pdf)

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EU Budget

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will make representations within the European Union that any spending increases will be met through countervailing spending cuts and not by increasing the financial contributions of member states. [HL2248]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton) (Con): The UK has been consistently clear: at a time when governments across the EU are taking difficult decisions to manage their deficits, the European Commission should not be asking Governments across the EU for more money.

The UK strongly believes in limiting the size of the EU budget and will continue to press for necessary restraint and discipline in order to get the best deal for British taxpayers.

Eurasian Economic Union

Question

Asked by Baroness Suttie

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the likely political and economic impact of the Eurasian Economic Union being launched on 1 January 2015.[HL2275]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): The UK and EU continue to engage directly with the individual countries that form the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). Not all members have devolved the relevant trade competences to the Union and not all are World Trade Organisation members. This creates incompatibilities in EU-EEU negotiations that can only be addressed with the individual EEU member states.

European Parliament

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the amount of subsidy paid to each of the European Parliament’s political groups annually.[HL2232]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): The annual accounts for all groups are available on the European Parliament (EP) website. The last year for which figures are available is 2013:

European People’s Party: €21,680,180

Progressive Alliance of Socialists & Democrats (S&D): €15,387,789.85

Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE): €6,718,994.35

Greens/EFA: €4,365,639.83

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GUE/NGL: €2,657,578.33

European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR): €4,046,038.85

Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD): €2,614,225.43

Non -Attached: €1,315,501

Link to accounts on EP website: http:// www.europarl.europa.eu/groups/accounts_en.htm

European Rail Traffic Management System

Question

Asked by Lord Bradshaw

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what are their latest cost estimates for the installation of the European Rail Traffic Management System in each cab of United Kingdom trains.[HL2253]

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Kramer) (LD): Our estimates are based upon information and assessments carried out by industry, who have used data from UK and EU deployments.

The Government uses these estimates as a benchmark only, to be used during the evaluation of those new passenger franchises affected by the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) deployment. As this information is used in commercial competitions, it would not be appropriate to put this in the public domain.

Food Banks

Question

Asked by Baroness Gould of Potternewton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what estimate they have made of the percentage of people using food banks who also receive benefits; and whether they have any plans to discuss the matter with the organisers of food banks or to adapt benefits to take account of the situation.[HL2415]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud) (Con): DWP does not monitor or estimate the percentage of people using food banks.

We recognise the extremely valuable work of civil society in supporting local communities. Government officials and Ministers routinely meet with a range of civil society organisations, some of which may be connected to food banks.

DWP reforms are already making the benefits system simpler and helping claimants to move into work.

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High Speed 2 Railway Line

Question

Asked by Lord Jopling

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what are the advantages of the HS2 project, in the light of the statement in the booklet Rebalancing Britain at page 31 that journeys from London to York via the South Yorkshire hub would take 114 minutes plus time changing trains, and via the East Midlands hub would take 121 minutes plus time changing trains, whilst the existing direct journey from London to York takes around 120 minutes without any time changing trains.[HL2508]

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Kramer) (LD): The diagrams on page 31 of the Rebalancing Britain report published on 27 October 2014 demonstrate how far away a destination will be from the East Midlands and Sheffield. We plan to operate direct HS2 services from London Euston to York after the opening of Phase Two.

The current proposal is to operate three direct services per hour from London to York. The current expected fastest journey time would be eighty four minutes.

Housing Benefit

Question

Asked by Baroness Manzoor

To ask Her Majesty’s Government why housing benefit overpayments increased to £1.4 billion in 2013–14 and how they are addressing the issue. [HL2376]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud) (Con): Housing Benefit is a complex benefit administered by 380 Local Authorities. It has a high proportion of in-work claimants and this caseload is more likely to undergo changes in circumstances than out-of-work claimants. If claimants fail to report changes in circumstances correctly and in a timely manner then overpayments will occur.

The rate of fraud in Housing Benefit has been stable for many years at 1.4% since 2008-09. Official error has also remained relatively stable over the last six years, currently standing at 0.6% which is the same level as in 2008-09. Claimant error has increased from 2.7% in 2008-09 to 3.8% in 2013-14.

The rise in HB claimant error is primarily earnings related and a consequence of failure to report these changes. DWP is taking action to deal with this issue through better data sharing with Local Authorities, such as the introduction of real time information (RTI) on earnings, so that local authorities are alerted to changes quickly and do not have to rely on the claimant informing them of changes.

Longer term, Housing Benefit for working age claimants will be replaced by the housing cost element of Universal Credit and will be paid as a single monthly payment with the other elements. This will reduce the opportunity for Fraud and Error and prevent overpayments from occurring.

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Industrial Health and Safety: Agriculture

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what are the latest figures they have of the number of fatal and serious accidents occurring in the farming industry.[HL2414]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud) (Con): These figures are published on the Health and Safety Executive’s website: http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/industry/agriculture/index.htm. They can also be found in the published report attached, “Health and safety in agriculture in Great Britain, 2014” on pages 6 and 7.

This Answer included the following attachment Health and Safety in agriculture in Great Britain (HSE Agri Stats.pdf)

Iraq

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of Amnesty International’s reports of the discovery of unidentified bodies apparently subjected to executions and its allegations of human rights violations perpetrated by Iraqi government forces; and what discussions they have had with the new government of Iraq about entrenching fundamental human rights principles in law and practice and putting in place mechanisms to hold those responsible to account.[HL2181]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): The Government strongly condemns any and all abuses or violations of human rights. We have received reports from Amnesty International and others that Iraqi Security Forces have committed human rights violations in Iraq. Concerns also remain around unlawful detention, as well as deficiencies within the Iraqi justice system more generally. The newly formed Government of Iraq has committed to tackling these issues. We welcome the commitments made by Prime Minister al-Abadi to reorganising the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), integrating volunteer civilian fighters and dissolving militia groups, and his order on 13 September to ISF units fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) not to shell in civilian areas, with the aim of preventing civilian casualties. The UK fully supports the Iraqi government in this as well as its efforts to uphold the rule of law and bring those responsible for all violations and abuses of human rights to justice. At the Human Rights Council in September we co-sponsored a resolution which strongly condemns ISIL and also stresses the need for accountability. The resolution was passed by consensus and mandates the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to despatch an urgent mission to investigate and report on ISIL abuses.

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Jobseeker’s Allowance Sanctions Independent Review

Question

Asked by Baroness Lister of Burtersett

To ask Her Majesty’s Government further to the remarks by Lord Freud on 21 October that they were “taking forward all recommendations” of the Oakley Report on Jobseeker's Allowance sanctions (HL Deb, col 547), whether they will provide an implementation date for each of the recommendations.[HL2436]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud) (Con): We have already published our response to the Oakley Report and a copy can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/332137/jsa-sanctions-independent-review-government-response.pdf

We are considering all recommendations made by the Oakley Report and we have already implemented a number of improvements. Our response sets out a number of target completion dates for recommendations made by the Oakley Report.

We will look at the remaining recommendations and will keep the House informed on progress and implementation.

Kashmir

Question

Asked by Lord Ahmed

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they are providing any financial or material aid to Kashmir after the recent flooding there.[HL2309]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for International Development (Baroness Northover) (LD): We are monitoring the humanitarian situation in the aftermath of the floods in both India Administered Kashmir and Pakistan Administered Kashmir. We have not received a request from either government for assistance, but are in close contact with relevant partners in both countries.

Migration

Question

Asked by Lord Kilclooney

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what are the most recent annual figures for (1) emigrants departing the United Kingdom, and (2) immigrants arriving in the United Kingdom; and how many of those immigrants were non-EU citizens.[HL2524]

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

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Letter from Nick Vaughan, Director, National Accounts & Economic Statistics, Office for National Statistics to Lord Kilclooney dated November 2014.

On behalf of the Director General for the Office for National Statistics (ONS), I have been asked to respond to your Parliamentary Question To ask Her Majesty’s Government, what are the most recent annual figures for (1) emigrants departing the United Kingdom, and (2) immigrants arriving in the United Kingdom; and how many of those immigrants were non-EU citizens. [HL2524]

Estimates of Long-Term International Migration (LTIM) are produced by the ONS primarily based on data from the International Passenger Survey (IPS), with adjustments made for asylum seekers, people whose intentions change with regard to their length of stay, and migration to and from Northern Ireland. LTIM estimates are based on the United Nations definition of a long-term international migrant, that is, someone who changes their country of usual residence for a period of at least one year.

The most recent provisional estimates of annual LTIM are for the year ending March 2014. These show that 316,000 emigrants left the UK, with a margin of error of +/- 20,000, and 560,000 immigrants arrived in the UK, with a margin of error of +/- 31,000. Provisional estimates for the number of non-EU citizens who arrived in the UK for the same period was 265,000, with a margin of error of +/- 19,000.

The most recent final estimates for immigration and emigration (LTIM) are for 2012. These show that 321,000 emigrants left the UK, with a margin of error of +/-20,000, and 498,000 immigrants arrived in the UK, with a margin of error of +/-27,000. The number of non-EU citizens who arrived in 2012 was estimated to be 260,000, with a margin of error of +/-17,000.

The margin of error refers to the 95 per cent confidence interval around the estimate, and is a standard measure of the uncertainty associated with making inferences from a sample survey.

Please note that final LTIM estimates for 2013 and provisional estimates for the year ending June 2014 will be published on 27 November 2014.

Ministers: Pay

Question

Asked by Lord Trefgarne

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many Ministers are presently unpaid (1) in the House of Lords, and (2) in the House of Commons.[HL2235]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire (LD): I refer my noble friend to the answer I gave to Lord Jopling on 26 September, Official Report, Column WA399 and WA400. For reference, as of November 2014, there are three Ministers who are members of the House of Commons and ten Ministers who are members of the House of Lords who are not in receipt of a ministerial salary.

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NATO

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what Royal Navy vessels are currently taking part in NATO’s Operation Active Endeavour.[HL2409]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever) (Con): As at 29 October 2014, HMS KENT (a Type 23 Frigate) and HMS GRIMSBY (a Mine Counter Measures Vessel) are supporting Operation ACTIVE ENDEAVOUR.

NHS: Reorganisation

Question

Asked by Baroness McDonagh

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the cost to date of the reorganisation of the National Health Service as a result of the reforms in the Health and Social Care Act 2012.[HL2241]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): I announced in my Written Ministerial Statement of 23 July 2014, columns WS135-136, that the costs of implementing policies in the Health and Social Care Act incurred to 31 March 2014 were £1,316 million. This is the latest available figure.

These costs have been more than covered by the savings arising from the Health and Social Care Act, which up to 31 March 2014, were approximately £4.9 billion.

Orthopaedics

Question

Asked by Lord Harrison

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they have (1) considered, and (2) taken, to reduce the number of preventable amputations occurring within the National Health Service.[HL2327]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): Diabetes is one of the most common causes of amputations in the United Kingdom and there are a variety of mechanisms in place to support the care of people with diabetes to minimise the risk of amputations. NHS England published Action for Diabetes, which sets out that in many cases amputation as a result of diabetes is avoidable.

NHS England has also piloted a diabetes service specification in a small number of clinical commissioning groups (CCGs). Feedback has been very positive and they have now published the service specification on the NHS Commissioning Assembly website so that it is available nationally for CCGs to use.

In addition, the National Diabetes Foot Care Audit was launched this year. The audit aims to establish the extent to which national guidelines on the management of diabetic foot disease are being met, and will provide local teams with the evidence needed to tackle any

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identified differences in practice which will lead in turn to an overall improvement in management and outcomes for patients.

Finally, NHS Improving Quality is supporting a project to reduce the high mortality associated with diabetic foot disease. People with diabetic foot disease are at particularly high risk of premature death, much of which is due to cardiovascular disease, with 5 year mortality for those with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes and diabetic foot disease around 50%. The project will pilot an approach in several multidisciplinary foot clinics across the country over the next 18 months to introduce an additional clinical pathway which includes a cardiological test and subsequent actions to address risk.

Pakistan

Questions

Asked by Lord Ahmed

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have made any assessment of the condition of internally displaced persons in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan.[HL2306]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have any plans to coordinate financial and material aid from the European Union and the United Nations to help internally displaced persons in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan.[HL2308]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how much financial and material aid they have given to Pakistan in total to deal with the situation affecting internally displaced persons in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. [HL2368]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they are liaising with the government of Pakistan in order to assist internally displaced persons in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.[HL2369]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for International Development (Baroness Northover) (LD): Before the military operation in North Waziristan which started in June 2014, the UK had provided £7 million to support internally displaced people in Northern Pakistan. This helped 400,000 people access safe water and sanitation; supplied 150,000 people with food packages; and supported over 6,000 families to rebuild their livelihoods.

Since the beginning of the current military operation an additional one million people have registered as displaced. In response to this the UK has provided a further £4.7 million. This will support some of the most vulnerable people who have been identified by our partners in a joint assessment run by the UN and the Government of Pakistan. We remain in close contact with the Federal Government of Pakistan, the Provincial Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and all of our partners, including the EU, to ensure an efficient, coordinated response.

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Asked by Lord Patten

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the position of Ms Asia Bibi, a Christian mother of four sentenced to death in Lahore under Pakistan's blasphemy laws; and whether they intend to make representations to the government of Pakistan.[HL2283]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): We are concerned to hear that a Pakistan court has upheld the imposition of the death penalty in the case of Asia Bibi. We support the EU's recent statement of concern and hope that the verdict will be overturned on appeal. We regularly raise at the highest levels the misuse of blasphemy laws in Pakistan both against Muslims and against religious minorities. We have consistently pressed the Government of Pakistan on the issue of the death penalty and expressed our principled opposition to it in all cases. We will continue to raise these issues.

Parliament: Veterans

Question

Asked by Lord Blencathra

To ask the Chairman of Committees whether he has any plans, in conjunction with the House of Commons Commission, to identify those posts in the Palace of Westminster which could be filled by recently disabled servicemen and servicewomen and to keep those posts open, in the first instance, only for such individuals.[HL2331]

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Sewel): There are no current plans to reserve posts in the Palace of Westminster in the first instance for recently disabled servicemen and servicewomen.

Employment practice in both Houses is to recruit through fair and open competition and to welcome job applications from people with disabilities, making any reasonable adjustments to enable disabled applicants to compete equally for employment and promotion.

The bi-cameral workplace equality network ParliABLE promotes awareness and positive approaches to disability through publicity and events which continue to be well supported by Members of both Houses.

Poliomyelitis

Question

Asked by Baroness Manzoor

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how they are working with civil society, other donor governments, the European Union and polio-affected countries to support the global eradication of polio.[HL2390]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for International Development (Baroness Northover) (LD): The Department for International Development (DFID) has committed £300m for 2013-2019 to support polio eradication efforts led by the Global Polio

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Eradication Initiative (GPEI). GPEI is co-funded by a broad range of public and private donors including the European Union. It works with polio-affected countries and implementing partners, including civil society groups such as Rotary International, to eradicate polio. The Secretary of State for International Development has also engaged closely with Rotary International on its work on polio eradication and was presented with Rotary’s Polio Eradication Champion award in November last year.

Prisoners: Suicide

Question

Asked by Lord Beecham

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they propose to take in relation to the growth in the number of suicides in prisons in the light of the observations of the Prison Service Ombudsman’s description of the deaths as “utterly unacceptable”, as reported in The Guardian on 18 October. [HL2257]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Faulks) (Con): Every death in custody is a tragedy, and the Government is committed to reducing the number of self-inflicted deaths in prisons. All prisons are required to have procedures in place to identify, manage and support people who are at risk of harm to themselves. These procedures include the Assessment, Care in Custody and Teamwork (ACCT) process, which is a prisoner-centred, flexible care planning system for prisoners identified as at risk of suicide or self-harm. Prisons are also required to ensure that they have procedures in place to learn from deaths in custody to prevent future occurrences.

We are working hard to understand the reasons for the recent rise in the number of self-inflicted deaths, but there is no simple explanation. Additional resources and support are being provided for safer custody work in prisons, and in particular to improve the consistency of the ACCT system. The National Offender Management Service has also put in place additional staff at regional level to support staff in prisons and to share good practice, and created a dedicated learning and knowledge management team at headquarters which is providing further support for safer custody work.

Data on deaths in custody is published quarterly in the Safety in Custody Statistics Bulletin, available at www.gov.uk/government/publications/safety-in-custody-statistics.

Prisons: Mental Health Services

Question

Asked by Lord Bradley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government which prisons in England and Wales will include a new specialist mental health centre as part of their health care provision.[HL2244]

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The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Faulks) (Con): The Justice Secretary has recently announced that he has agreed with the Secretary of State for Health that our officials work together to ensure that any prisoner can have mental health treatment equivalent to the best they would receive in the community.

Officials are currently drawing up options for the scope of this work, including consideration of specialist mental health centres within the prison estate. Until these options have been developed, I am unable to say what form they may take and in which prisons they may operate.

Railways: Electrification

Questions

Asked by Lord German

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the cost difference between electrifying both the main and relief lines between Severn Tunnel Junction and Cardiff, and electrifying the main lines only.[HL2318]

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Kramer) (LD): The scope is to wire the mains lines and the relief’s lines therefore no assessment has been undertaken on the cost difference.

Asked by Lord German

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what are the implications for the operation of the railway between Severn Tunnel Junction and Cardiff if only the main lines are electrified, and not the relief lines.[HL2320]

Baroness Kramer: Network Rail is currently reviewing the operational impact only electrifying the main lines between Severn Tunnel Junction and Cardiff as part of their value engineering process. Network Rail plan to complete both route sections 8 and 9 of the Great Western electrification by winter 2017.

Railways: Exeter

Question

Asked by Lord Berkeley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the total estimated cost of the works near Cowley Bridge to improve the resilience of the railway by removing three weirs from the River Exe, and what funding the Environment Agency is contributing to the works.[HL2245]

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Kramer) (LD): Network Rail has allocated £13.4million from the geo-environmental resilience programme. Their preferred option involves the removal of three weirs close to Stafford's bridge and Cowley bridge.

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The Environment Agency are not providing financial assistance with the scheme, but support the scheme as it complements their Exeter Flood defence scheme and their general approach of returning rivers to their natural states.

Over the coming months, Network Rail will work with the Environment Agency to work out how they deliver the scheme collaboratively.

Railways: North West

Question

Asked by Baroness Massey of Darwen

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they make of (1) the case for improved commuter services from Manchester to Clitheroe, (2) the case for improved commuter services from Manchester to Burnley, and (3) the case for restoring the rail link from Manchester to Rawtenstall.[HL2363]

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Kramer) (LD): Her Majesty’s Government has recently concluded a consultation on the future of the Northern and TransPennine Express rail franchises. We are currently analysing the responses and considering options for the specifications for these franchises, including those between Manchester and Clitheroe and Manchester and Burnley, which we expect to publish in the Invitations to Tender for both franchises in December this year.

The case for restoring the rail link from Bury to Rawtenstall (part of the East Lancashire heritage railway) is being considered as part of the A56/M66 Haslingden/Rawtenstall to Manchester gateway study to be carried out by Lancashire County Council and Blackburn with Darwen Council.

Renewable Energy

Question

Asked by Lord Hunt of Chesterton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what allowance is made in future costings of renewable energy for weather conditions, such as when wind or solar power are not available.[HL2345]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Baroness Verma) (Con): Estimates of the levelised costs of electricity generation for different technologies are published by DECC. The levelised cost of a particular generation technology is the ratio of the total costs of a generic plant to the total amount of electricity expected to be generated over the plant’s lifetime (per megawatt hour). Where relevant, estimates of electricity generation make an allowance for weather conditions based on estimates of when the relevant energy source is expected to be available, on average, over a plant’s lifetime (load factors). This is the case for intermittent renewable technologies such as onshore wind and solar photovoltaic.

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Levelised cost estimates also depend on other assumptions, including capital costs, fuel and EU ETS allowance prices, operating costs, discount rates and other drivers. This means that there is a range around levelised cost estimates.

The DECC Electricity Generation Costs (December 2013) report contains DECC’s latest levelised cost estimates.

Electricity Generation Costs Report December 2013 (Electricity Generation Costs Report December 2013.pdf)

Reoffenders

Question

Asked by Lord Bradley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what arrangements are in place to identify whether a person recalled to custody has (1) a learning disability, and (2) an IQ of less than 80.[HL2314]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Faulks) (Con): No specific screening is carried out by probation staff for low IQ or for learning disability. However, the Offender Assessment System (OASys) makes specific reference to whether learning difficulties have been disclosed; in addition, it invites the offender manager to consider whether there is any evidence of speech, language or communication difficulties, as well as how these might be addressed. Each offender on licence will also have a risk management plan and sentence plan, where any learning difficulties should be identified and considered.

During recall considerations, an offender manager must consider whether the offender’s behaviour indicates that they present an increased “risk of serious harm” (in terms of the OASys classifications) to the public or an imminent risk of further offences being committed. Recall must also be considered in cases where contact between the offender manager and the offender has broken down. Consideration may be given to the context and intent of the behaviour that breached the licence. Thus, the offender manager must consider whether the offender understood sufficiently the breached condition and its implications. Alternatively, the offender manager should consider whether the breach arose as a result of a lack of support. In considering these things, the offender manager should take into account learning difficulties, disabilities or a low IQ.

We plan to introduce the ‘Basic Custody Screening Tool’ (BCST) to all prisons in January as part of the Transforming Rehabilitation Programme. Once this has rolled out, all offenders entering custody, including all those recalled to custody, will be asked whether they have a learning difficulty or disability; and if so, to specify the nature of the difficulty or disability. The answers will inform their resettlement plan.

Rolling Stock

Question

Asked by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have a policy of encouraging rail operators to convert first class carriages to standard class.[HL2273]

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The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Kramer) (LD): Government specifies high level capacity requirements and expects the industry to determine appropriate operational solutions based on local demand to deliver these requirements. Where appropriate, this may include providing additional seating capacity in standard class carriages through conversion of first class carriages. While it is not our general policy to require operators to convert first class carriages to standard class, the Government would expect operators to consider the appropriate mix of standard and first class provision in meeting local demand for their services. In the case of the recent Virgin West Coast and First Great Western Direct Awards, the Government has contracted with the operators to provide additional capacity in this way.

Sexual Offences

Question

Asked by Lord Smith of Finsbury

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their current estimate of the cost to the Exchequer to date of those parts of Operation Yewtree where (1) the defendant has been acquitted, or (2) a decision has been taken not to proceed with any further action in relation to the defendant.[HL2473]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bates) (Con): The Home Office does not collect information of this kind. Like all investigations led by the police, Operation Yewtree is an operational matter – in this case for the Metropolitan Police Service.

Syria

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they are making to the government of Turkey over the Syrian Kurds currently detained by them at Suruc and who do not wish to be returned to Kobane.[HL2238]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): Reports from Kobane continue to be deeply concerning. We have not made representations about these specific allegations, but we maintain a close dialogue with Turkey on the evolving crisis in the region. We applaud Turkey’s generosity in hosting over 170,000 refugees that have fled the fighting in Kobane in recent weeks, in addition to the 1.4 million refugees already in Turkey.

Teachers: Training

Question

Asked by Baroness Morris of Yardley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to ensure that there is an appropriate regional distribution of teacher training opportunities, in the light of the level of recruitment of teachers in rural and coastal areas.[HL2547]

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash) (Con): The Department for Education’s estimate of trainee teacher need is based on a number of factors, including the current stock of teachers and pupil number projections. This national estimate forms the basis of our allocation of teacher training places.

The allocation of places for the 2015/16 academic year was based on the criteria identified in our published methodology, which is published online at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/allocation-of-initial-teacher-training-itt-places-2015-to-2016

Geographical impact was considered as part of the allocation of places for 2015/16.

Tobacco: Packaging

Question

Asked by Lord Palmer

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether ministerial agreement has been reached on whether the United Kingdom is to proceed with standardised tobacco packaging; and whether it had been reached when they notified the European Commission on the draft regulations.[HL2286]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The Government has not yet made a final decision on whether to introduce standardised packaging of tobacco products.

Trident Submarines

Questions

Asked by Lord West of Spithead

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what long lead items have already been ordered for the replacement for the Vanguard-class submarines. [HL2402]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever) (Con): The long lead items ordered for the Successor submarine programme comprise:

Weapons Handling and Launch System

Gearbox components and associated equipment

Material to support the manufacture of Missile Tubes

Material to support the manufacture of Integrated Tube and Hull Fixtures

A number of other long lead items for the Pressurised Water Reactor 3 reactor plant and the associated main propulsion systems have also been ordered to support the overall build schedule; however, specifics of these items are withheld for the purposes of safeguarding national security.

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Asked by Lord West of Spithead

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the design for the missile compartment of the replacement for the Vanguard-class submarine has been finalised.[HL2403]

Lord Astor of Hever: It is anticipated that the design of the Common Missile Compartment will be finalised at the whole boat design and integration review during 2019.

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Asked by Lord West of Spithead

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how much they estimate will have been spent on the replacement for the Vanguard-class submarine by 7 May 2015.[HL2404]

Lord Astor of Hever: The last financial year for which figures are available show that £2,068 million has been spent on the replacement for the Vanguard Class submarine up to 31 March 2014. This is consistent with the level of approval set for the Successor programme.