Thursday, 17 March 2005.
Northern Ireland: Ards And Down Area Plan
asked Her Majesty's Government:What proposals they have to reduce traffic congestion in East Newtownards; what is the timetable for the Ards/Down area plan; and what expenditure is committed to future road schemes in the Newtownards district. [HL1137]
The Chief Executive of Roads Service (Dr Malcolm McKibbin) has been asked to write to the noble Lord in response to this Question.
Letter from Dr Malcolm McKibbin to Lord Kilclooney.
You recently asked Her Majesty's Government what proposals they have to reduce traffic congestion in East Newtownards; what is the timetable for the Ards/Down area plan; and what expenditure is committed to future road schemes in the Newtownards district [HL1137].
The Draft Ards and Down Area Plan 2015 was published by the Department of the Environment's planning service in December 2002. It contains a number of road proposals for the east of Newtownards. Examples of these include the provision of a road linkage from the A20 Portaferry Road, at its junction of the Old Shore Road, to the Bowtown Road and a developer-led road connecting Bowtown Road to Donaghadee Road via Movilla Road. The roads service is also presently developing proposals for a further major works scheme at Frederick Street and statutory procedures have commenced on the proposed link from Portaferry Road to Scrabo Road via Comber Road, which will be largely funded by the private sector. All of these schemes, which are expected to cost in the order of £5 million, have been designed to facilitate existing traffic as well as additional traffic generated by land use proposals in the Draft Ards and Down Plan and are expected to impact favourably on traffic congestion currently experienced in Newtownards.
It is anticipated that work will commence within the next two to three years depending on the satisfactory outcome of statutory procedures, the successful acquisition of necessary land, and the availability of funding at the relevant time.
The planning service advises that a public inquiry to discuss objections received following publication of the Draft Ards and Down Area Plan, is programmed to start on Tuesday 3 May 2005 and is expected to continue for several months.
I trust this is helpful.
asked Her Majesty's Government:What difficulty arose regarding the number of Northern Ireland representatives within the United Kingdom delegation for the British-Irish Council Summit, noted in paragraph 3 of a document entitled
North/South British Irish Council Issues, Meeting 14 November 2002.[HL1401]
The issue which arose related to the composition of the United Kingdom Government delegation attending the British-Irish Council [BIC] summit meeting on 22 November 2002. This was the first BIC summit to be held following suspension of the devolved institutions in Northern Ireland and there was a need to reconcile the constraints on the size of the United Kingdom delegation with the fact that that delegation had to represent interests in the absence of Ministers from the devolved Northern Ireland Administration.
Northern Ireland: Agriculture And Fisheries
asked Her Majesty's Government:How Northern Ireland agriculture and fisheries have been promoted in each of the 10 new member states of the European Union since 1 May 2004. [HL1450]
The interests of Northern Ireland agriculture and fisheries are promoted in European Union negotiations with the other member states by the UK Government. The Minister responsible for agriculture and rural development in Northern Ireland contributes to UK policy by means of ministerial meetings with the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the devolved administrations. The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development maintains a policy presence in Brussels. The Minister responsible for agriculture and fisheries in Northern Ireland and senior DARD officials regularly attend agriculture and fisheries councils where there is contact with representatives of the new member states.Invest NI assists Northern Ireland fish processing companies to exhibit at the European Seafood Exhibition, a major trade event which takes place each year in Brussels. This event permits Northern Ireland fish processing companies to showcase their produce to the wider European Union including the 10 new member states.Research to determine the potential for seafood companies to access the Maltese market has been carried out under the seafood development programme, which is managed jointly by Northern Ireland Seafood and the Irish Sea Fisheries Board, BIM.More generally, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development officials bring Northern Ireland expertise to a range of agriculture, veterinary and scientific projects in the new member states. The majority of these projects are sponsored through Northern Ireland Public Sector Enterprises Ltd (NI-CO).
Irish Republican Army Council
asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they consider that Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams are members of the Irish Republican Army Council. [HL1471]
The Government have always stated that it believes Sinn Fein and the IRA are inextricably linked. It has been the longstanding policy of the Government not to comment on matters of intelligence or individual cases.
Law Officers' Advice: Distribution To Cabinet
asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether the full text of legal advice issued by the Attorney-General, Lord Goldsmith, has always been circulated to all members of the Cabinet prior to Cabinet discussion of the issue concerned. [HL1498]
As the Ministerial Code states, when advice from the Law Officers is included in correspondence between Ministers, or in papers for the Cabinet or ministerial committees, the conclusions may if necessary be summarised but, if this is done, the complete text of the advice should be attached. There is no other guidance on the distribution of the Law Officers' advice to Cabinet.
Police Service Of Northern Ireland: Gender Action Plan
asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they will place in the Library of the House a copy of the gender action plan for the Police Service of Northern Ireland; and what is their assessment of how, in accordance with that plan, they will ensure that the specific childcare arrangements proposed in Recommendation 123 of the Patten report will be achieved. [HL1504]
The Equality and Diversity Unit of the PSNI will arrange for a number of copies of the gender action plan to be sent to the Library of the House as requested.Work in the areas of childcare arrangements and flexible working is ongoing within the PSNI. In line with Recommendations 16 and 17 of the gender action plan, a number of meetings are currently being held with interested stakeholders to determine what specific policy changes need to be implemented.
Northern Ireland Civil Service
asked Her Majesty's Government:What is the current salary scale for Northern Ireland Civil Service permanent secretaries; and what percentage increases have been made for this scale during each year since 2000. [HL1535]
The current salary scale for Northern Ireland Civil Service permanent secretaries is £89,195 to £192,424. The percentage increases for each year since 2000 are as follows.
|2000||2.9 per cent|
|2001||3 per cent|
|2002||2.5 per cent|
|2003||2.25 per cent|
|2004||2 per cent|
asked Her Majesty's Government:What is the current salary scale for the head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service; and what percentage increases there have been in each year since 2000. [HL1536]
The current salary scale for the head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service is £135,584 to £229,449. The percentage increases for each year since 2000 are as follows.
|2000||2.9 per cent|
|2001||3 per cent|
|2002||2.5 per cent|
|2003||2.25 per cent|
|2004||2 per cent|
Northern Ireland: Sudden Infant Deaths
asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether the State Pathology Department is working to protocols drawn up jointly by the Northern Ireland Department for Health, Social Services and Public Safety and the Northern Ireland Office for the investigation of sudden unexpected deaths in children in the region; whether these protocols include the use of double doctoring with paediatric pathologists; and whether they include the concept of a lead pathologist for each case. [HL1585]
The State Pathologist, in collaboration with senior medical officials from the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, developed a protocol in March 2004 for the conduct of infant autopsies in coroners' cases. This protocol includes the concept of double doctoring with consultant paediatric pathologists. The NIO is currently working with the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety to develop a regional protocol for the investigation of sudden and unexplained deaths in infants.
Under the system of double doctoring there is no formalised arrangement for one pathologist leading over the other since these are "joint" examinations. However, in non-suspicious deaths it is usual for the paediatric pathologist to do most of the prosection and prepare the report which is then "jointly" signed. In suspected criminal cases, the forensic pathologist would do the majority of the examination and be largely responsible for writing the report. Further thought is currently being given to formalising this arrangement.
asked Her Majesty's Government:Further to the Written Answer by the Lord President on 24 February
(WA 218) concerning the appointment of the director of marketing and communications for Waterways Ireland, when the post was given approval to be filled by the North/South Ministerial Council; and on what date the appointee was confirmed. [HL1621]
I refer the noble Lord to my Answers of 17 November 2004 (Official Report, col. WA 159) and 27 January 2005 (WA 173).I have nothing further to add.
asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether KPMG were engaged to manage the recruitment process for directors of Waterways Ireland; and, if so, what was their role in the appointment of the director of marketing and communications. [HL1649]
I refer the noble Lord to my Answer of 12 November 2004 (WA 101).I have nothing further to add.
Northern Ireland: Government Property
asked Her Majesty's Government:What property they own in Northern Ireland which is leased to a church for religious activity; when each such property was purchased; and, in each case, what is the cost of the lease per year. [HL1652]
The Department of Finance and Personnel has a licence agreement with the Elim Pentecostal Church, Bloomfield Road, Bangor for use of the Rathgael House office car park, Bangor. The car park has been in Government ownership for circa 30 years and can be used only for car parking by members of the church congregation or their guests attending church services on a Sunday. The current licence has a fee of £1,750 per annum. The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development leases Castlewellan Castle, Castlewellan Forest Park, as a Christian conference centre. The property was acquired in 1967. The lease rental is £850 per annum. The Department for Regional Development's Water Service has leased land adjacent to the Church of the Resurrection, Cavehill Road, Belfast to the church solely for use as a car park. The land was acquired over 100 years ago and attracts a yearly rent of £312.
asked Her Majesty's Government:Further to the Written Answer by the Barobess Scotland of Asthal on 3 March
(WA 37), what procedures they have in place at British consulates overseas to avoid statelessness in the cases mentioned where the authorities in the country of birth are unresponsive or unwilling to issue such a confirmation; the local Indonesian or Pakistani consulate is unresponsive or unwilling to issue such a confirmation, or where there is no Indonesian or Pakistani consulate in the country of birth to issue such a letter. [HL1640]
I thank the noble Lord for his Question on children born to British Nationals (Overseas) or British Overseas Citizens who would become British Overseas Citizens if they would otherwise be stateless.The onus is on the applicant, or the parent of the applicant, to prove that they have no claim to any other nationality. If the consulate of the country concerned is unwilling to issue a letter confirming that the applicant has no claim to the nationality of that country, the applicant would be advised to seek the advice of a lawyer qualified in the law of the country concerned. No procedures have been put in place at British diplomatic missions to confirm that applicants have no claim to the nationality of another country.
asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether a British National (Overseas) or British Overseas citizen, by virtue of the Hong Kong (British Nationality) Order 1986, resident overseas, can apply to his or her local British Consulate to provide a certificate stating that his or her child born in that country has not acquired British Overseas citizenship at birth. [HL1659]
Where a child has not acquired British nationality at birth, British diplomatic missions will, on request, issue a letter to that effect.
Iraq: Civilian Casualties
asked Her Majesty's Government:How many United Kingdom civilians working in Iraq have been killed and wounded by United States armed forces since direct hostilities ceased in May 2003. [HL1675]
We are not aware of any British civilians who have been killed or wounded by United States armed forces since direct hostilities ceased in May 2003.
asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they have considered the report of Transparency International that the United Kingdom has "neither centralisation nor adequate co-ordination" of overseas anti-corruption efforts; and what response they will make. [HL1694]
The fight against corruption overseas covers a wide range of issues and inevitably involves different actors. At the level of central government, co-ordination is assured by the Cabinet Office, with the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) taking a lead role as the investigative agency of choice. The SFO assumed this lead role for all overseas bribery cases in summer 2004, thereby simplifying co-ordination. It may be that Transparency International's assessment was written before this date.
Anti-Terrorism, Crime And Security Act 2001: Intercept Material
asked Her Majesty's Government:Further to the Written Statement by the Baroness Scotland of Asthal on 26 January
(WS 52), why the option of allowing intercepting agencies unfettered freedom to choose when to go evidential would fail to meet the requirements of ensuring fairness in criminal proceedings, given that it would be the responsibility of the trial judge to ensure that there was a fair trial. [HL1074]
An evidential regime could not give the prosecution freedom to choose when to use intercept evidence as this would be open to "cherry-picking" by the state which would be incompatible with our responsibilities under ECHR.
asked Her Majesty's Government:How many incidents of gun crime were recorded in Greater London in each of the past 10 years, including the number of (a) woundings; and (b) deaths. [HL1490]
The available information relates to the London region (i.e. the Metropolitan and City of London police force areas) and is given in the tables. Information on injuries in the London region is available only from 1997.Table 1. Offences recorded by the police in which firearms were reported to have been used.
|London Region: 1995 to 2003–04|
|Period||Number of offences|
|London Region: 1997 to 2003–04|
|Period||Fatal injury||Serious injury||Slight injury|
|1 Excluding offences of "other criminal damage" of value £20 and under.|
|2 There was change in counting rule for recorded crime on 1 April 1998.|
|3 Figures for some crime categories may have been inflated by some police forces implementing the principles of the national crime recording standard before 1 April 2002.|
|4 The national crime recording standard was introduced on 1 April 2002. Figures for some crime categories may have been inflated by this.|
Prevention Of Terrorism Act 2005
asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they consider that the Prevention of Terrorism Bill introduced in the House of Commons on 22 February contradicts, subsumes or negates the Habeas Corpus Act 1679. [HL1492]
The Government do not consider that the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 (as enacted) affects the Habeas Corpus Act 1679. That Act allows anyone detained to issue a writ requiring him to be brought before a court to have the lawfulness of his detention determined.The 2005 Act in no way precludes this. By virtue of Section 11(1), any habeas corpus application would go to the relevant control order court (as defined in Section 15(1)).
asked Her Majesty's Government:Further to the Written Answers by the Baroness Scotland of Asthal on 8 February
(WA 98) and 24 February (WA 226), why "the benefits of the new provision against incitement to religious hatred" have any bearing on the Government's review of the blasphemy laws. [HL1542]
Although the issue of blasphemy has arisen throughout recent discussions on incitement, there has never been any suggestion on the part of the Government that the two are linked a priori. Moreover, this has been an important part of our message on the new offence. The Government have been at pains to emphasise that the proposed measure is not an extension of the law on blasphemy—that it is about protecting people, not beliefs.However, it is partly due to the understandable tendency to link the two that the Government have decided to pause before taking a serious look at the blasphemy offences.There has been substantial public debate on the issue of incitement which has, unfortunately, led to some unrealistic expectations. The Government believe that to tackle the issue of blasphemy would lead to confusion. We are keen to wait until the impact of incitement has been assessed and related expectations have been given time to settle.Furthermore, although the Law Commission and the Select Committee on Religious Offences have reflected on the matter in detail, there has not been a wide-ranging consultation on blasphemy, and nor has there been a consensus on what action should be taken. A recent ICM poll shows that public opinion is much more divided on blasphemy than on incitement to religious hatred, 57 per cent of those polled supporting the creation of this offence. Pausing before any further legislation is proposed will give the Government the opportunity to consult more widely.
Prisons: Female Remand Population
asked Her Majesty's Government:What is their response to each of the recommendations made in the report by the Prison Reform Trust,
Lacking Conviction: the rise of the women's remand population. [HL1639]
The Government share the Prison Reform Trust's concern about the number of women in prison, in particular the female remand population and those serving short sentences. We welcomed the report Lacking Conviction which highlights some important issues about the use of custodial remands for women and provides some helpful ideas on how those issues could be tackled. The Government agree that more needs to be done to support greater use of community interventions and bail for women offenders, and to ensure that custody is used only for those who really need to be there.
We are pursuing these aims through the Women's Offending Reduction Programme which contains action points designed to improve community interventions and services that are better tailored to the needs of women. One of our priorities is to increase opportunities to divert women away from custody at the pre-sentence stage. The programme will address a number of the Prison Reform Trust's recommendations, including: making support in the community more appropriate and accessible for women; developing a community multi-agency approach to tackling women's complex needs; and improving the effectiveness of court-based diversion schemes for women offenders with mental health problems.
The report also calls for an increase in women-only bail hostels. The National Probation Service accommodation strategy includes a commitment to develop more women-only provision within the approved premises estate.
Police Commanders: Political Statements Guidance
asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they plan to issue guidance to the Metropolitan Police Commissioner and other senior police commanders on making statements on political matters without authority. [HL1676]
The Home Office has no plans to issue such guidance.
National Offender Management Service
asked Her Majesty's Government:What legislative changes will be needed to introduce the National Offender Management Service fully. [HL1714]
The National Offender Management Service (NOMS) is currently being developed within the existing legislative frameworks. There are provisions in the Management of Offenders and Sentencing Bill to; (a) establish the aims of NOMS, (b) give the Home Secretary greater control to direct probation boards to commission services from other providers, (c) establish sentence planning and review as a core offender management function and (d) provide for data sharing between the constituent parts of NOMS and the police. Further work is also being taken forward to look at what organisational design might best suit the service's future needs.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they are satisfied with the level of knowledge of the long-term consequences of the use of Ritalin and amphetamine-based drugs in the neurological development of young people suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. [HL1661]
The National Institute for Clinical Excellence published guidance on the use of methylphenidate for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in October 2000.It recommended long-term follow-up to monitor the incidence of adverse effects in the light of insufficient formal research evidence currently available. The lengthy experience of the use of methylphenidate has not so far highlighted serious causes of concern though it has been known for some while that growth can be affected. Studies to assess long-term impact of methylphenidate are underway, mainly in the United States. All new information received on adverse effects of medication is assessed by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency. There are also warnings on the prescribing information regarding monitoring patients on long-term treatment.The safety profiles of all licensed medicines including methylphenidate arc continually monitored by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency-Committee on Safety of Medicines.
asked Her Majesty's Government:How much research has been undertaken into the alternatives to drugs for young people suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; and how this has been evaluated and disseminated. [HL1662]
A considerable amount of research has been conducted into the alternatives to drugs for young people suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), including the multi-centre multi-modal treatment study in the United States and a study in Southampton of health visitor-delivered training programmes for parents of preschool children diagnosed with ADHD.A number of evaluations of the literature on the identification and treatment of ADHD have been published including European clinical guidelines guided by an evaluation of the scientific evidence-based information and developed by a group of child psychiatrists and psychologists from several European countries.An exemplar of clinical good practice in the care of a child with ADHD is currently being developed and will be published as part of the further documentation to inform the delivery of the children's national service framework. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence will also be developing a clinical guideline on the identification and treatment of ADHD, that will include alternatives to drugs, and this is due to be published in 2008.
asked Her Majesty's Government:What research has been undertaken into the effects of stimulatory exercises and dietary changes in the treatment of young people suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. [HL1664]
The Department of Health is not aware of any satisfactory research into the effects of stimulatory exercises in the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).Discussions at the European network for hyperkinetic disorders has concluded that here is some limited evidence for the value of elimination diets that seek to exclude foods to which intolerance exists, but an elimination diet will help only a minority of children and can be difficult to apply.A recent study on the impact of food supplements on the incidence of aggressive behaviour amongst young people in custody has demonstrated positive results but further research is required and the study was not specifically focused on ADHD.
Nhs: Audit Arrangements
asked Her Majesty's Government:How many inspectors visit a National Health Service hospital in order to perform an audit. [HL1740]
The independent healthcare commission (Commission for Healthcare Audit and Inspection) is the lead inspectorate with responsibility for inspecting National Health Service hospitals in England and assessing and rating their performance on an annual basis.The commission has recently consulted widely on the assessment model to be used to audit and assess NHS performance. Their proposals for the new 2005–06 performance assessment model are currently being finalised and are likely to be significantly different from previous arrangements.
asked Her Majesty's Government:What steps are being taken to ensure that all bridge and highway authorities are using the same methodology and code of practice for measuring the clearance height of bridges. [HL1643]
The Department for Transport's advice on the methodology for measuring bridge heights is set out in chapter 4 of the Traffic Signs Manual. A new edition was published in June 2004.
Left-Hand Drive Coaches
asked Her Majesty's Government:What regulations exist to prevent left-hand drive coaches discharging their passengers into the middle of the highway. [HL1658]
Regulations on the conduct of drivers of public service vehicles require a driver to stop the vehicle when picking up or setting down passengers as close as is reasonably practicable to the left or near side of the road. It would appear that "near side" in relation to a left-hand drive vehicle would be the side on which the passenger doors are located, that is to say, the right-hand side.
asked Her Majesty's Government:What steps they will take to ensure that the proposed improvements to the A303 near Stonehenge are not further delayed; and whether they will announce a timetable for the improvements. [HL1693]
The Secretary of State for Transport, jointly with the First Secretary of State, is currently considering the inspector's report of the inquiry into the A303 Stonehenge improvement scheme. An announcement will be made in due course.
Ministers Of The Crown: Financial Interests
asked Her Majesty's Government:What are their reasons for failing to give effect to the recommendation by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration that Ministers of the Crown should disclose their financial interests to the public; and [HL1384]Whether it is in the interests of good public administration for details of the financial interests of Ministers of the Crown to be withheld from the public; and, if so, why they take this view. [HL1385]
The case in question was referred to the ombudsman under the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information prior to the introduction of the Freedom of Information Act in January 2005. In its response to the ombudsman, the Government made clear that they are currently considering a similar request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. The Government said that they would send the ombudsman a full reply in the light of that consideration. The ombudsman decided it would not be appropriate to wait, and issued her report.