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Written Answers

Volume 684: debated on Wednesday 12 July 2006

Written Answers

Wednesday 12 July 2006

Asylum Seekers: Support Service

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What action they are taking in view of recent criticisms of the National Asylum Support Service by the Citizens Advice Bureaux concerning Section 4 support for asylum applicants who are unable to leave the United Kingdom for reasons beyond their control.[HL6639]

The Government are already implementing a range of initiatives to improve the administration of Section 4 support. As a result, the time taken for initial decisions has been reduced to less than five days, dedicated helpline numbers and an e-mail inquiry point have been established, and housing inspections are taking place on properties occupied by those on Section 4 support. We will continue to liaise with external stakeholders, including the Citizens Advice Bureaux (CAB), on administrative issues that are identified.

While the Government have made clear that they do not intend to provide Section 4 support in cash, we have already been reviewing a number of the areas where the CAB has criticised the current arrangements. This includes ensuring that the handling of cases by the new asylum model supports the transition to Section 4 support in appropriate cases, and also maternity and healthcare provision. We will continue to engage with stakeholders on matters relating to Section 4.

Autism

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answers by the Lord Rooker on 14 June 2005 (WA 119) and 20 June 2006 (WA 67), whether there has been a shortfall in achieving the Northern Ireland Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety's 2004-05 priorities for action which required boards and trusts to establish multidisciplinary diagnostic assessment and early intervention teams.[HL6620]

Boards and trusts were required to establish multidisciplinary diagnostic assessment and early intervention teams to improve the life outcome for an additional 200 children and young people with autism across Northern Ireland. This target was achieved by the boards and trusts by September 2005.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Rooker on 20 June (WA 68), whether the multi-disciplinary early intervention team from the Foyle Health and Social Services Trust, which works in collaboration with the Sperrin Lakeland Trust, has the full-time services of a consultant paediatrician; and how many full-time speech therapists are currently working with autistic children in these two trusts.[HL6621]

There are approximately 42.8 whole-time equivalent (WTE) speech and language therapists working within Foyle and Sperrin Lakeland health and social services trusts. However, one of these therapists provides exclusively an early intervention service for children with autism. The other therapists work with a range of children with speech problems, including those with autism in special care schools, learning support units and community clinics. There is no full-time consultant paediatrician for children with autism, although one further WTE paediatrician is employed in collaboration with Autism NI.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Rooker on 20 June (WA 67), whether the multi-disciplinary early intervention team from the Newry and Mourne Trust that provides early intervention services in the Armagh and Dungannon Trust has the full-time services of a consultant paediatrician; and how many full-time speech therapists are currently working with autistic children in these two trusts.[HL6622]

At present a locum is acting into the position of consultant community paediatrician while a recruitment exercise is taking place to fill the post substantively.

There are approximately six whole-time equivalent speech and language therapists working within Newry and Mourne Trust and Armagh and Dungannon Trust. These posts do not work exclusively with children with autistic spectrum disorder, but do provide support for children with autism in special care schools, learning support units and community clinics.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Rooker on 20 June (WA 67), who is the team leader for each of the seven multidisciplinary early intervention teams operating within Northern Ireland; whether team leaders are dedicated to managing their teams full time; what is the specific discipline of each team leader; and whether there is an overall Northern Ireland co-ordinator for autistic spectrum disorder.[HL6625]

Healthcare professionals from a range of backgrounds provide early diagnosis, assessment and intervention services for children with autism, within the boards and trusts.

The lead individuals responsible for autism services at board/trust level are as follows.

Down Lisburn Trust

Dr Margaret Stanfield

Medical Officer

Ms Eileen Sherrard

Clinical Psychology

Ms Heather Crawford

Speech and Language Therapy

Foyle HSS Trust

Dr Vivien Dale

Social Work

North & West Belfast Trust

Dr Janice Bothwell

Paediatrician

South & East Belfast Trust

Dr Anne Armstrong

Paediatrician

Southern Health and Social Services Board

Ms Lorraine Scott

Teaching

Homefirst Trust

Mrs Joan Stephenson

Speech and Language Therapy

Mrs Lyz Elks

Speech and Language Therapy

Mrs Geraldine Teague

Occupational Therapy

Dr Clare Bailey

Paediatrician

Ulster Community & Hospitals Trust

Dr Cathy MacPherson

Consultant Paediatrician

Team leaders are generally not dedicated to managing their team full time. However, Ms Lorraine Scott is specifically dedicated to managing autism services in the Southern Health and Social Services Board area.

Northern Ireland does not have a full-time co-ordinator for autistic spectrum disorders.

Civil Service: Northern Ireland

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many whole-time equivalent posts there are in the Northern Ireland Civil Service; how many there were in each of the past three years, and how many of the current employees are (a) seconded; (b) temporary; (c) casual; and (d) employed by the Northern Ireland Assembly.[HL6549]

The numbers of whole-time equivalent posts in the 11 Northern Ireland departments and the NIO, including their agencies, for each of the past three years are as follows:

Year

11 Departments

Northern Ireland Office **

Total

2004*

28,607

1,622

30,229

2005*

27,836

1,715

29,551

April 2006

26,886

1,849

28,735

* The 2004 and 2005 figures are based on information held by departments at April or September each year.

** NIO figures exclude Home Civil Service staff, PSNI, Youth Justice Agency non-administrative staff, and uniformed Prison Service staff.

The number of employees, as at 1 April 2006, (a) seconded; (b) temporary; (c) casual; and (d) employed by the Northern Ireland Assembly are as follows.

11 Departments

Northern Ireland Office

Total

Seconded

300.1

19

319.1

Temporary

58.7

0

58.7

Casual

637.5

59

696.5

Employed by Northern Ireland Assembly

123.65

6

129.65

For the purpose of this Question, “seconded” means staff seconded to other NICS departments and the Northern Ireland Office, including agencies, as well as to external organisations, but excluding those seconded to the Northern Ireland Assembly. “Temporary” refers to NICS staff employed on fixed-term contracts for a specified duration, and “casual staff” is defined as “a short-term contract lasting no more than 51 weeks”. NICS employees employed by the Northern Ireland Assembly include only those on secondment from the departments/NIO to the Assembly.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Which major public sector employers in Northern Ireland have imposed a recruitment and promotion freeze pending implementation of the changes proposed in the review of public administration; and why the Northern Ireland Civil Service is exempt from that freeze.[HL6550]

All health and social services boards, trusts and agencies have currently imposed vacancy controls on recruitment of senior executive, general administration, HR, finance, IT, estates, planning and public relations staff. In addition, Enterprise Ulster is in the process of managing a redundancy situation, which includes a freeze on recruitment.

Other major employers are considering the need for vacancy control arrangements to the extent that they are affected by RPA decisions.

The 11 departments of the Northern Ireland Civil Service have been operating vacancy control since the publication of Fit for Purpose in order to implement required reductions in staff numbers without the need for redundancies. These arrangements will also take into account RPA implementation.

Crime: Diminished Responsibility

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether, in order to protect the public from repeat offences, they will increase the flexibility given to judges sentencing those with a mental illness found guilty of manslaughter on grounds of diminished responsibility, attempted murder and other violent offences.[HL6419]

The courts already have wide-ranging powers to divert mentally disordered offenders to hospital for treatment for their mental disorder. These powers apply to offenders convicted of any imprisonable offence and similar powers are also available for persons found unfit to plead or not guilty by virtue of insanity.

These powers have proved effective in protecting the public from repeat offences.

Crime: Knives

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many weapons were handed in to the police during the five-week national knife amnesty in May and June; whether these have been categorised by type; if so, how many of each type were handed in; and how many were handed in in each of the 51 police areas of England, Wales and Scotland.[HL6737]

Figures for the number of items handed into the police during the knife amnesty in England and Wales are currently being gathered from forces and collated. The figures will be released later this month. Figures for the number of items handed in under the knife amnesty in Scotland are a matter for the Scottish Executive.

The amnesty was one part of our wider strategy to tackle knife crime. Provisions have also been introduced in the Violent Crime Reduction Bill to tighten legislation, including raising the age at which someone can be sold a knife to 18, introducing a new offence of using someone to mind a weapon and new powers for head teachers to search pupils for knives.

The Home Secretary announced on 19 June that he was giving very serious consideration to the suggestion that the maximum sentence for having a knife or blade in a public place should be increased from the current sentence of two years. We are also supporting education and prevention projects aimed at highlighting to young people the risks of carrying knives. Following on from the amnesty, many forces will now focus enforcement effort on knife possession to ensure that those carrying knives are brought to justice.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is their assessment of the research by the Press Association which showed that there were 91 serious knife attacks in England and Wales from 24 May to 30 June, 19 of which were fatal stabbings.[HL6738]

The Government are aware that there have been a number of knife-related incidents during the period of the knife amnesty—some of which have been fatal. The knife amnesty is one element in our overall strategy to tackle knife crime and has served to highlight the importance of this issue as well as removing dangerous weapons from circulation.

We are also tightening legislation. Provisions have been introduced in the Violent Crime Reduction Bill to tighten legislation, including raising the age at which someone can be sold a knife to 18, introducing a new offence of using someone to mind a weapon, and new powers for head teachers to search pupils for knives. The Home Secretary announced on 19 June that he was giving very serious consideration to the suggestion that the maximum sentence for having a knife or blade in a public place should be increased from the current sentence of two years.

We are also supporting education and prevention projects aimed at highlighting to young people the risks of carrying knives. Following on from the amnesty, many forces will focus enforcement effort on knife possession to ensure that those carrying knives are brought to justice.

Exports: Northern Ireland

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will consider the creation of an enterprise zone for export-focused companies in Northern Ireland with special rates and tax incentives.[HL6715]

Two enterprise zones were established in Belfast and Londonderry in the 1980s as a possible solution to economic decline.

However, an evaluation of enterprise zones in 1987 concluded that they were only a partial success, resulting in some cases in displacement of economic activity from one area to another without necessarily increasing economic activity. It was therefore decided by the UK Government that enterprise zones should be created or extended only in exceptional circumstances and there are no plans to revive them.

It is the role of Invest NI to increase the wealth and prosperity of Northern Ireland by delivering expertise and resources to accelerate the creation and growth of businesses. Through this portfolio, known as Business Development Solutions, the agency focuses on businesses from the manufacturing or international tradeable services sectors that have the commitment and capability to grow in export markets.

Support is provided through six core areas; namely, strategic development, people development, technology and process development, export focus, research and development, and technical and sustainable development.

Extradition

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will suspend the operation of the United Kingdom/United States extradition treaty until the United States Senate approves the treaty so as to ensure reciprocity and equality of treatment; and, if not, what are their reasons for not doing so.[HL6651]

Extradition to the United States is governed by Statutory Instrument 2003, No. 3334, which designates the US as a territory not required to provide prima facie evidence in support of extradition requests made to the UK. The Government have no intention of removing the US from this order. The decision to remove the prima facie requirement from the US addressed a previous imbalance in that the UK required a higher standard of evidence than the US.

The US was required to present a prima facie evidential case in support of extradition requests made to the UK, whereas the UK only had to demonstrate “probable cause”. Probable cause is a requirement of the US Bill of Rights, which it cannot amend. The Government are happy to respect that requirement. Total reciprocity in extradition relations is not possible because of the differences between separate legal systems, rules of evidence and case law. However, the new treaty and the Extradition Act 2003 have improved the balance in extradition relations between the UK and the US.

The “probable cause” test is broadly comparable to the requirement under Section 71 of the Extradition Act 2003 for,

“information that would justify the issue of a warrant for the arrest of a person accused (or convicted) of the offence within the judge's jurisdiction”,

that the UK requires of the US. To reintroduce the prima facie test would be to recreate an unequal relationship.

Fire Service: Bin Burning

asked Her Majesty's Government:

On how many occasions the Lisburn Road fire station in Belfast has been called to deal with bin burning and related arson incidents in alleys in the past 12 months; and whether the local police have consequently been involved in investigations relating to such arson and in developing an approach to curb the number of these fires and to deal with those responsible.[HL6746]

During the period from 1 July 2005 to 30 June 2006, the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) dealt with 866 arson-related incidents in the Cadogan fire station area on Belfast's Lisburn Road, of which 388 involved deliberate ignition of rubbish, skips and bins. The NIFRS has an ongoing arson reduction programme as part of an educational package for primary and secondary schools.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland has advised that figures are not available on the numbers of recorded incidents of arson, as these are recorded against the owner’s address rather than as an “alleyway incident”. “Alleygating”, whereby locked gates are placed at both ends of an alley, thus making it a private space to which residents have a key, is being rolled out across Belfast. This citywide initiative is being co-ordinated by Belfast City Council Community Safety Unit. Initial pilots have seen a remarkable reduction in levels of anti-social behaviour in those areas. The community safety wardens scheme in the Holylands area has improved the local environment and should reduce bin burning in the area.

Gulf War: Pensions

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is their response to the statement by the president of the Pensions Appeal Tribunal in his letter to the Ministry of Defence of 4 April that, following the hope expressed by the Minister for veterans' affairs in October 2005 that the tribunal's decision in the Martin case had achieved closure of the Gulf War syndrome issue, the subsequent decisions of the agency and the ministry in the McGreevy case appeared “designed to undermine any such closure”.[HL6603]

Copies of the president's letter and the response from the Ministry of Defence were placed in the Library of the House in response to an earlier Question from the noble Lord on 26 June (Official Report, col. WA 126).

Immigration: Hunger Strikes

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many incidents of hunger strikes have been recorded during the past 12 months at immigration detention centres; how many individuals have been involved; how long such incidents have lasted on average; and where those incidents have occurred.[HL6596]

We record detainees who refuse to eat the meals provided after three days. Since 1 May 2006, from when numbers were fully recorded, the number of detainees refusing food for three days or more by removal centre was as follows.

Campsfield House

6

Colnbrook

22

Dover

4

Dungavel

2

Harmondsworth

17

Haslar

0

Lindholme

2

Oakington

1

Tinsley House

0

Yarl’s Wood

6

Total

60

Manufacturing: Northern Ireland

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will ensure that manufacturing in Northern Ireland has access to the expertise and practical support provided by the Department for Trade and Industry's Manufacturing Advisory Service.[HL6717]

Government, through Invest NI, provide the broad range of manufacturing sectors within Northern Ireland with access to both expertise and practical support similar to that provided by the DTI's Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS). The agency encourages manufacturing businesses, through its Technical Advisory Unit (TAU), to make technological improvements in their business processes through increasing collaboration with universities and research establishments. The TAU follows similar delivery criteria to the MAS.

In addition, Invest NI's Business Improvement Services and Innovation, Research and Technology Division offer a wide range of services to manufacturers. These include programmes such as Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP), Lean Manufacturing, Supply Chain Development, Interim Manager (often used by manufacturers implementing new manufacturing processes), and process development support under both Compete and Product/Process Development schemes.

Other national R&D programmes, such as Smart and Smart Micro, are also promoted within Northern Ireland by Invest NI. These also encourage Northern Ireland companies to develop innovative efficient processes (and products).

These support measures are integral parts of Invest NI’s objectives of helping companies to become more innovative, entrepreneurial and internationally focused.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will ensure that the interests of manufacturing industry in Northern Ireland are considered in any plan to establish a National Manufacturing Skills Academy.[HL6718]

SEMTA, the sector skills council for the science, engineering and manufacturing technologies sector, is progressing plans for a National Manufacturing Skills Academy for England only. Centres of excellence across the priority skills areas in Northern Ireland, including manufacturing, have been established in further education (FE) colleges. In light of the new FE Means Business programme, these centres of excellence are being strengthened to become the recognised hubs for specialist skills development at levels 3 and 4 in NI and to reinforce the relationship with employers. Any proposal for a National Manufacturing Skills Academy to operate in NI would therefore be considered within the context of existing policy and the new structures of FE.

Northern Ireland Assembly

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Rooker on 13 June (WA 17) concerning the Belfast agreement, how it can be actively developed across its structures and functions without an Assembly.[HL6376]

I refer the noble Lord to my Answer on 13 June (WA 17) and would draw his attention to paragraph 4 of the joint statement made on 29 June 2006 by the Prime Minister and the Taoiseach, which referred to continuing work on new partnership arrangements that would need to be put in place to ensure effective joint stewardship of the Belfast agreement in the event that devolution does not take place by 24 November.

Northern Ireland Events Company

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they propose to provide the Northern Ireland Events Company with more funding for community festivals; if so, how much; and when.[HL6690]

Government have no proposals to provide more funding to the Northern Ireland Events Company for the Community Festivals Fund.

Having reviewed the funding decrease experienced by a specific number of festivals as a result of the new arrangements for funding community festivals, Government have decided to award further transitional funding to three community festivals. This funding will be processed by the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure.

Northern Ireland National Stadium

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether senior civil servants in the Northern Ireland Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure and the Strategic Investment Board are lobbying for a national stadium based on the site of the Maze prison. [HL6540]

No. The decision is one for Ministers. On the basis of a site selection exercise undertaken by the Strategic Investment Board (SIB) on behalf of the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) between 2004 and 2005, Ministers decided in March 2005 that the Maze/Long Kesh was the only suitable location in Northern Ireland for a proposed multi-sports stadium. DCAL and SIB officials are, as a consequence, currently considering a range of issues in relation to the construction of the stadium at the Maze/Long Kesh.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Rooker on 22 June (WA 107), whether they intend to retain the Bobby Sands hospital block as an integral part of plans for a sports stadium at the former Maze prison site; and, if so, which department, agency or Minister is responsible for this decision.[HL6580]

The Environment and Heritage Service of the Department of the Environment listed or scheduled a number of buildings and structures at the Maze/Long Kesh site including the former prison hospital. No decisions have been taken by the Government regarding their potential future use.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether the funding for a national stadium for Northern Ireland will come from the Northern Ireland block grant; and, if not, from where.[HL6689]

A final decision has not yet been made to proceed with this project, and accordingly no public expenditure allocations have been made in the current Budget period. In the event that the project does proceed, the level and source of funding will be an issue for future Budget processes.

Northern Ireland Tourist Board

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is the incidence of absence through sickness of the staff of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board in each year since 2000.[HL6749]

Sickness Absence Days Lost 2000-06

Financial Year

Days Lost Due to Sickness Absence

2000-01

1,321

2001-02

1,525

2002-03

1,045.5

2003-04

1,848.5

2004-05

1,522

2005-06

2,233

Official Meetings: Prime Minister

asked Her Majesty's Government:

On which dates since 30 September 2002 the Prime Minister has met Rupert Murdoch or Richard Desmond.[HL6761]

The Information Commissioner has recently issued a decision in relation to freedom of information requests for this information. A copy of the Information Commissioner's decision notice and the Cabinet Office's disclosure in response to the decision is available in the Library for the reference of Peers.

Police: Northern Ireland

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Why the 2009 completion date for a new Police Service of Northern Ireland police college has been postponed; whether all consultants working on the project have had to cease their work; and what will be the cost of compensation for this delay.[HL6657]

The PSNI has completed a detailed re-scoping of the new police college project and a revised outline business case has been submitted to the department.

The Government have advised the policing board and PSNI that it will make up to £90 million available for the new college and work is ongoing to explore a number of options to take this project forward. Currently consultancy work and the commencement of the construction of the college are on hold until that work is finalised and it is too early to say when the college will be completed. There will be no compensation for this delay.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether, in view of the public attendance record, they will review the role and functions of the district policing partnership boards in Northern Ireland.[HL6714]

District policing partnerships form a vital link between their local community and the PSNI and have increased the understanding of the public in policing issues. The policing Oversight Commissioner has reported that district policing partnerships are functioning as intended and therefore Government have no plans for a review of their role and functions.

Prisoners: Deportation

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether foreign criminals who have been deported on discharge from prison are banned from re-entering the United Kingdom; if so, for how long; and whether they are liable to immediate deportation, without rights of appeal, if they return illegally while under ban from re-entry.[HL5948]

A person entering or seeking to enter the United Kingdom in breach of a deportation order (DO) is an illegal entrant as defined in Section 33(1) of the Immigration Act 1971 and so is not permitted to seek re-entry to the UK. Information on deportation orders is contained in Part 13 of the Immigration Rules (HC 395). We will seek to remove any person who enters the UK illegally while subject to a DO and the decision to remove an illegal entrant does not in itself attract an in-country right of appeal.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether the courts of the United Kingdom can recommend citizens of other European Union countries who have been convicted of an imprisonable offence for deportation; and what powers they have to deport such persons.[HL6001]

There is nothing to prevent courts from recommending the deportation of an EEA national. EEA nationals are considered for deportation following a court recommendation or where they have been convicted of an offence and sentenced to 24 months or more imprisonment. We will shortly be setting out proposals on how the system for deporting foreign national prisoners can be improved.

Prisoners: Foreign Nationals

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many foreign nationals who have been sentenced to imprisonment in the United Kingdom are currently serving their sentences in prisons in their own countries; and what rules and arrangements determine their early release; and[HL5998]

Whether deportation of foreign nationals who have been given custodial sentences in the United Kingdom, but who have not completed those sentences, invariably involves an agreement with the Government of the country to which they are deported that they should be kept in prison in that country until they have completed their sentences, as determined by the United Kingdom rules for early release.[HL5999]

The Repatriation of Prisoners Act 1984 enables prisoners to be repatriated to continue serving their sentences in accordance with international arrangements to which the United Kingdom is a party. The United Kingdom is a party to two multi-party agreements: the Council of Europe Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons, and the Commonwealth Scheme for the Transfer of Convicted Offenders. In addition, the United Kingdom has concluded bilateral prisoner transfer agreements with 19 countries. In all, the UK has a prisoner transfer arrangement with 96 countries and territories. Under each of these agreements, the release arrangements following transfer are those applicable in the state to which the prisoner has been transferred, not those of the UK. Since 1 January 2002, 392 prisoners have been transferred to other countries to continue serving their sentences. British prisoners may be deported and removed from the United Kingdom early under the early removal scheme. This scheme enables prisoners to be removed up to 135 days prior to the halfway point of their sentence.

Public Bodies: Chairmen

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What are the salary and time requirements for all chairmen of public bodies appointed by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.[HL6558]

The current remuneration and time commitment for the chairs of the Department for Work and Pensions’s non-departmental public bodies are set out in the table.

Non-departmental public bodies (NDPB)

Chair

Remuneration (actual amounts paid*)

Time Commitment

Disability Employment Advisory Committee (DEAC)

Sally Witcher OBE

Unpaid

Part-time

Disability Living Allowance Advisory Board (DLAAB)

Anne Spaight

£286 per day

Part-time

Disability Rights Commission (DRC)

Bert Massie CBE

£117,000 per annum

Part-time

Health and Safety Commission (HSC)

Bill Callaghan

£126,594 per annum

Part-time

Independent Living Funds (ILF)

Margaret Cooper

Unpaid

Part-time

Industrial Injuries Advisory Council (IIAC)

Professor Anthony Newman-Taylor

£260 per full council meeting and £141 per council sub-group meeting

Part-time

National Employment Panel (NEP)

Lord Leitch of Oakley

Unpaid

Part-time

Pensions Ombudsman (PO)/Pension Protection Fund Ombudsman (PPFO)1

David Laverick

£122,186 per annum

Full-time

Pension Protection Fund (PPF)

Lawrence Churchill

£82,934.80 per annum

Part-time

Remploy Ltd

Alan Pedder CBE

£38,634 per annum

Part-time

Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC)

Sir Richard Tilt

£21,000 per annum

Part-time

The Pensions Regular (TPR)

David Norgrove

£103,668.50 per annum

Part-time

1 The Office of the Pensions Ombudsman and Pension Protection Fund Ombudsman are tribunal NDPBs. The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions appoints the ombudsman and although a deputy is also appointed, these are individual positions, as the bodies do not have management boards. Details of the ombudsman’s remuneration have been included for completeness.

*This is the part-time element of the remuneration, which can include pensions and national insurance where appropriate.

Questions for Written Answer: Reasonable Expense

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How a decision is made that the cost of providing an Answer to a Question for Written Answer will be disproportionate; and what level of expenditure would prompt such a decision.[HL6669]

Where the cost of answering a Question for Written Answer exceeds the disproportionate cost threshold—currently £600, as announced to both Houses of Parliament by Written Ministerial Statement on 22 March 2005—the Minister concerned decides whether it would be appropriate to answer the Question irrespective of its cost.

Schools: Northern Ireland

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How much funding they estimate is spent in schools in Northern Ireland teaching (a) Irish, and (b) Ulster Scots languages.[HL6828]

I refer the noble Lord to the Answer given on 4 July (Official Report, col. WA 40), which provides all the information that is available. It is not possible to provide information at school-level on the amount spent on individual subjects.

Strategic Investment Board: Northern Ireland

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Under what authority the Strategic Investment Board operates in Northern Ireland; to whom it reports; and when; and[HL6643]

Who are the members of the Northern Ireland Strategic Investment Board; when they were appointed; by whom; and on what basis; and[HL6644]

How many employees there are in the Strategic Investment Board in Northern Ireland; how they were appointed and by whom; and what is their community background.[HL6687]

The Strategic Investment Board Limited was established and operates under the provisions of the Strategic Investment and Regeneration of Sites (Northern Ireland) Order 2003. The Strategic Investment Board reports to the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister on a quarterly basis and on other occasions as required by the office.

Membership of the Strategic Investment Board comprises: A Watson, J Stewart, G Sparks and N Hamilton—who were initially appointed on 1 April 2003 and re-appointed on 1 April 2006—D Gavaghan—appointed 21 July 2004—D Dobbin—appointed 1 October 2005—and B Hannam—appointed 11 January 2006.

These appointments were made by the Minister with responsibility for the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister. The appointment of the non-executive directors was in accordance with the guidance issued by the office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments in Northern Ireland. The executive directors D Gavaghan and B Hannam are senior officers of the Strategic Investment Board.

The Strategic Investment Board employs 16 people all of whom were appointed by the company through external recruitment processes. The community background of employees is as follows:

Roman Catholic—8

Protestant—6

Non-determined—2.

Underwater Heritage

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they intend to ratify the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s underwater heritage convention.[HL6599]

The position of Her Majesty's Government remains unchanged since the decision not to ratify the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage was taken in 2001.

Vehicle and Operator Services Agency

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by the Baroness Ashton of Upholland on 3 July (HL6470), what was the total cost to central funds of all actions brought by the Vehicle Operations Services Agency where the agency has not succeeded in those actions.[HL6755]

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will charge to the budget of the Vehicle Operations Services Agency the cost of all unsuccessful actions which the agency pursues in the courts.[HL6756]

We do not charge to any prosecuting authority the sums awarded in costs from central funds to an acquitted defendant. However, the criminal court in which the proceedings have been brought does have the power to award costs against the parties in respect of unnecessary or improper acts or omissions.

Water Supply: Consumption

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How much water in total and per occupant in cubic metres was consumed in the headquarters of the Department for Work and Pensions in each year since its creation.[HL6568]

The overall water consumption figures for the whole of DWP in cubic metres per person per annum, as reported in the Sustainable Development in Government Report, are as follows.

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

8.5

11.2

10.2

Calculations for 2005-06 have not yet been made, but will be published later this year.

The following table provides a breakdown of total water consumption, in cubic metres, for each building that is currently on our headquarters estate. It is not possible to provide data on the consumption rate per occupant as the department does not maintain historical information on the number of staff deployed within individual buildings.

Data are reported from 2002-03 as this was the first full year of DWP operations.

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

Grays Inn Rd, London

21,993

27,548

28,785

21,199

Tavis House, London

2,348

3,565

3,620

1,523

Quarry House, Leeds

31,669

32,909

34,314

25,269

Lawnswood, Leeds

5,137

4,726

4,568

4,092

Porterbrook House, Sheffield

3,286

2,738

2,796

3,030

King's Court, Sheffield *

2,878

5,128

5,987

4,544

Rockingham Court, Sheffield *

2,715

2,332

2,324

1,567

Mayfield Court, Sheffield *

2,963

2,465

2,671

2,407

Steel City House, Sheffield *

3,402

2,971

3,196

3,854

Nelson House, Sheffield *

454

335

298

524

Fitzwilliam House, Sheffield *

253

188

254

254

The data given for 2003-04, for all buildings marked with an *, has been estimated. Full-year information was not available, due to failures in the recording system. Part-year data were amended to show an estimated consumption for the whole year.

We are unable to provide any information on water consumption in the following buildings, as the department is either a minor occupier to another government department (which would report consumption figures) or it is a building where the water charges are included as part of the overall rental figure paid to the landlord.

The Adelphi, London

Belgrave Road, London

Caxton House, London

New Court, London

Richmond House, London

Trevelyan House, London

Peel House, Sheffield

Skills House, Sheffield

Victory House, London

Moorfoot, Sheffield

Revised targets for water consumption across the government estate were published on 12 June. These require us, using a baseline of 2004-05 data, to achieve a 25 per cent reduction in water consumption by 2020 and also to reduce water consumption to an average of 3 cubic metres per person/year in all new builds or major office refurbishments.

The department is working with its estates partners, Land Securities Trillium, to develop additional measures to meet current and any future water consumption targets. This includes investment into water saving devices such as waterless urinals, which are anticipated to considerably reduce water consumption figures across the estate.

Waterways Ireland

asked Her Majesty's Government:

At what level the director of marketing and communications was designated and transferred from the Civil Service to Waterways Ireland in March 2002; and what is his current salary.[HL6607]

The current salary of the director of marketing and communications at Waterways Ireland is £50,571.35 per year.

It would be inappropriate for me to comment on his previous employment in the Irish Civil Service.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether Waterways Ireland will be included in the discussions and negotiations on restoring devolution to Northern Ireland due to take place over the coming months.[HL6608]

The Government will do all they can to facilitate discussions and negotiations between the Northern Ireland political parties in the lead-up to the 24 November deadline. It is primarily a matter for the parties to determine which issues need to be included in these discussions. To date, none has suggested that Waterways Ireland be included.