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Written Answers

Volume 684: debated on Tuesday 25 July 2006

Written Answers

Tuesday 25 July 2006

Animal Research: Primates

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Whether there are any legal impediments (a) to the imposition of a ban on imports to the United Kingdom of all primates, dead or alive; and (b) to the restriction of research using them to descendants of animals already resident in the United Kingdom. [HL6933]

Any European Union (EU) or UK ban on the import of primates, dead or alive, not prohibited by the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) would amount to a prima facie breach of World Trade Organisation rules. In order for a ban to be justified, it would have to be capable of falling within the scope of the permitted exceptions listed in Article XX of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. Those most likely to apply are Article XX(a) (public morals), Article XX(b) (protection of health and life) and/or Article XX(g) (conservation of exhaustible natural resources). Further, any such restriction must also be compliant with the requirement that there is no unjustifiable or arbitrary discrimination nor a disguised restriction on trade.

There are no animal health grounds for imposing a total ban on imports into the UK of all primates, dead or alive. A unilateral UK ban would not be in accordance with Community law, which provides for imports subject to compliance with animal health controls. The Government have no policy in favour of imposing restrictions on the import of non-CITES listed primates on the grounds of conservation.

In addition, any restrictions on imports to the UK from within the European Community would have to be justifiable within Community law and the requirement of free movement of goods. Any departure from an EU-wide position on trade with third countries could be held to be in breach of trade rules under Community law.

The restriction of research using primates to the descendants of animals already resident in the UK is not permissible under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, which regulates the use of living animals in research and testing. This is because the 1986 Act gives the Secretary of State a discretion which can be used to authorise regulated procedures to be undertaken on primates which are sourced from overseas.

Section 10(3) of the 1986 Act provides that the conditions of a project licence issued under the Act shall, unless the Secretary of State for the Home Department considers that an exception is justified, include a condition to the effect that no non-human primates shall be used under the licence unless it has been bred at a designated breeding establishment, or obtained from a designated supplying establishment. The Secretary of State for the Home Department cannot fetter his discretion to grant an exception; he must always consider each application on its merits. The published guidance on the operation of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 gives guidance about the exercise of this discretion to permit the use of non-human primates from overseas.

Energy: Biomass

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Which of the recommendations made by the Biomass Task Force in October 2005 are to be accepted; what the timetable will be for implementing them; and what funding will be available. [HL6931]

The majority of the 42 recommendations made by the biomass task force in October 2005 have been accepted fully or in principle. The remaining recommendations are being considered further, in some cases pending the outcome of ongoing reviews, such as the waste strategy review.

The Government have identified 65 actions to take forward the recommendations of the biomass task force; most of these actions should be implemented by April 2007. A number of actions will, by necessity, continue beyond that date, such as the five-year capital grant scheme for biomass boilers and CHP systems.

The majority of the measures proposed by the biomass task force require no additional funding. Among those actions that do, funding has been announced for the five-year capital grant scheme of £10 million to £15 million over the first two years. This funding will also support an additional round of the bio-energy infrastructure scheme. The level of funding for the continuation of support for the establishment of energy crops under the new rural development programme for England has yet to be finalised; it will be subject to EU and Government decisions on rural development funding.

Gangmasters

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Whether employment agencies are regarded as gangmasters when placing workers in agriculture and food processing industries; and, if so, whether a £250,000 registration fee and a further £1,600 fee are proportionate. [HL7087]

I can confirm that an employment agency would act as a gangmaster, as defined at Section 4 of the Gangmasters (Licensing) Act 2004, when supplying a worker to undertake work to which that Act applies. This includes work in the agriculture and food processing industries. The provisions of the Employment Agencies Act 1973 do not apply to those activities of an employment agency which are regulated by the Gangmasters (Licensing) Act 2004.

Fees charged for a gangmaster licence range from £250 to £4,000. In addition, where the Gangmasters Licensing Authority considers it necessary, an additional fee ranging from £1,600 to £2,500 may be charged for an application inspection. An application inspection will involve a visit to the applicant’s business lasting one to two days. Fees are banded according to business turnover with the highest fee levels applying to businesses with a turnover in the sector of more than £10 million per annum. Fee rates have been set to reflect a business’s ability to pay and to recover Gangmasters Licensing Authority operating costs. A full consultation was conducted before fee rates were fixed.

Jubilee Line: Case Review

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Further to the Statement by the Attorney-General on 27 June (Official Report, 27/6/06; col. 1096) about the Jubilee Line case review, under what legal authority the jurors were interviewed by researchers. [HL6861]

The fact that the trial concluded without the jurors having commenced their deliberations made it possible lawfully to approach and interview them. The principle of the 1981 Act was observed in the agreed scope of the research and the way it was conducted. The jurors were not asked about opinions they might have been forming about whether they believed the evidence, whether the charges were proved, the likely guilt or otherwise of the defendants, or the content of their discussions with other jurors in the course of the trial.

Licensing Act 2003

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

What assessment has been made of (a) the Licensing Act 2003; and (b) the responsible alcohol retailing campaign launched by the British Institute of Innkeepers in reducing the incidence of drink-related crime and disorder. [HL6964]

The new licensing laws have been in place for eight months and it is still too soon to draw any conclusions about their success. What does seem clear is that there has been no discernable increase in alcohol-related crime and disorder, while there have been many reports of an improving situation and better joint working and enforcement by the police, local authorities and other partners.

The Government welcome initiatives to promote the responsible retailing of alcohol, such as the British Institute of Innkeepers’ responsible alcohol retailing week. We are working closely with industry representatives on the implementation of the principles and standards document which was launched by the industry last year.

NHS: Appointments

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Whether the method of advertising senior management posts used by the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust in Birmingham is in accordance with National Health Service employment codes. [HL7064]

The appointment of staff to executive posts is the responsibility of individual National Health Service trusts based on fair and open competition. It is for strategic health authorities to ensure that trusts comply with this. The NHS West Midlands SHA reports that the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Trust is compliant with the relevant employment codes.

NHS: Block Contracts

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Whether block contracts will be allowed in the National Health Service (NHS) after Payment by Results has been implemented in 2008-09; what support and guidance will be provided to those NHS Trusts which maintain block contracts; and how NHS providers will be scrutinised to ensure that the system is being correctly implemented. [HL7153]

What assessment has been made of the effects of maintaining block contracts in the National Health Service. [HL7154]

We anticipate that an increasing range of National Health Service services will be commissioned through payment by results, but there will always be some services for which alternative commissioning arrangements are required.

As well as publishing the tariff and core technical guidance, we are putting in place a payment by results code of conduct and assurance framework. These emphasise the importance of:

transparency and rigour in coding and costing systems;

excellent monitoring and making use of shared data; and

the need for mature relationships between commissioners and providers, to achieve the maximum benefits for patients.

In the past, services were largely paid for through block (fixed-cost) contracts between purchasers and providers of care. This gave few incentives to purchasers and providers to understand and respond to the needs and preferences of patients.

The patient-led NHS allows huge potential for more responsive services and puts a premium on strong and effective commissioning with clear functions and new skills, which focuses on meeting the specific needs of the local community and groups within it.

On 13 July 2006 “Health Reform in England: Update and commissioning framework” was published. Within this document is a consultation to inform the further development of a “national model contract” which will be used to procure services from NHS trusts, foundation trusts, independent and third sector providers.

NHS: Payment by Results

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

How many primary care trusts have adopted payment by results in 2006-07; how many primary care trusts they expect to (a) continue adopting payment by results, and (b) begin to adopt payment by results in 2007-08; and what monitoring they will conduct to ensure that the objectives of payment by results are achieved. [HL7155]

Payment by results is a national policy, and there is a mandatory tariff, which applies across the whole of the National Health Service. The NHS in England: The operating framework for 2006/07, published in January 2006, set out the ability for strategic health authorities to agree specific local additional rules for a fixed period of time under special circumstances. Discussions on where these might be are ongoing with the NHS.

We have a range of formal and informal evaluation tools to assist the analysis of payment by results. For example, we announced on 18 July 2006 the findings of the South Yorkshire laboratory, which tracked the progress of a health economy in which payment by results has been implemented to a faster timescale than elsewhere.

We provide a range of guidance and work with all NHS organisations and Monitor (the regulator of NHS foundation trusts) to progress the implementation of payment by results. Detailed guidance on payment by results and full copies of evaluation material are available on the department’s website www.dh.gov.uk/pbr.

Organised Crime: Northern Ireland

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

What is their estimate of the total value of organised crime in 2004 and 2005 in Northern Ireland through fuel laundering and smuggling. [HL7129]

Estimates of the total non-UK duty-paid consumption are available, and are reported in Measuring Indirect Tax Losses: 2005, which is published alongside the PBR and can be found in the Library of the House.

It is not yet possible to split revenue losses between those resulting from the illicit market and those from legitimate cross-border shopping.

Estimates for 2005 are due to be published at PBR later this year.

Olympic Games 2012: Costs

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

What is their response to the recent reports indicating that the projected costs of the 2012 London Olympic Games have increased. [HL6897]

The costs of the Olympics are under review. The Olympic Delivery Authority is currently procuring the delivery partner that will help it to deliver the Olympic and legacy construction. One element of the delivery partner’s role will be to examine the Olympic programme and direct costs associated with it. We expect this assessment to be completed within six to nine months of the appointment. This assessment will need to be seen in the context of the legacy and wider regeneration benefits of the Olympics.

Philip Gould Associates

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Whether any payments have been made to Philip Gould Associates by HM Treasury or any of its agencies in each of the past 10 years. [HL 7098]

No payments were made to Philip Gould Associates by HM Treasury or any of its agencies since 2002-03. The cost of providing details of payments in the earlier years would be disproportionate as a result of a change in accounting system in 2002-03.

Police: Reorganisation

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

In light of the Home Secretary’s decision to abandon the proposed mergers of police forces, whether they intend to complete the current review of the British Transport Police; and, if so, by what date. [HL7011]

I refer the noble Lord to the Written Ministerial Statement made to the House on Thursday 20 July 2006 [Official Report, cols. WS 103-04] about the outcome of the review of the British Transport Police. Copies of the Statement are also available in the Libraries of both Houses.

Questions for Written Answer

asked the Leader of the House:

Whether she is prepared to accept Questions for Written Answer, if necessary with a four-week response time, to maintain some parliamentary scrutiny of Government for the next 76 days.[HL 7175]

I refer the noble Lord to the Written Ministerial Statement, made in my name today, entitled “Questions for Written Answer”.

Revenue and Customs: Accountancy Rules

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Further to the Written Answer by the Lord McKenzie of Luton on 13 June (WA 19-20) on the implementation of the urgent issues task force’s 40 rules, whether it is the decision of the seller alone to charge an appropriate rate for a completed contractural activity and H M Revenue and Customs will not attempt to impute an income if they believe this to be less than market value. [HL7059]

The terms of a commercial contract are a matter for the parties concerned, not HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). HMRC would only seek to recalculate the trading profits included by an individual taxpayer in his income tax self-assessment return—or by a company in its corporation tax self-assessment return—if it considered that: (i) the trading profits had been derived from accounts not prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting practice; (ii) any adjustments in computing taxable profits required or authorised by tax law had been incorrectly made; or (iii) if the contracts concerned were with a connected party, they had not been priced on an arm’s-length basis.

Roads: Parking of Security Vans

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Whether vans belonging to security companies, such as Securicor, are given a blanket exemption from parking restrictions. [HL7122]

No. Some exemptions are statutory, such as those for disabled blue badge holders, and others are invariably written into local authority traffic regulation orders, which local traffic authorities are empowered to make to create parking restrictions under powers in the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, such as for vehicles used by the fire brigade, ambulance service and police, or vehicles being used to remove an obstruction. Also, there is a general exemption in “no waiting” areas for loading and unloading.

In areas covered by decriminalised parking enforcement (DPE), local authorities issue waiver permits to allow vehicles to park, where parking restrictions apply, on specified stretches of road for specified periods. Where DPE powers do not apply, the police and traffic wardens carry out this task.

Roads: Permit Schemes

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Whether they will take appropriate steps to evaluate the effectiveness of permit schemes for road works in reducing congestion against the costs of implementing them, before more widespread implementation takes place; and [HL6866]

Whether they will limit the number of permit schemes for road works approved in the first instance in order that a baseline of the levels of congestion and their causes can be established and a measurement made of the effectiveness of permit schemes in reducing congestion and the associated costs of implementing such schemes. [HL6867]

Once the relevant legislation is introduced, a local authority wishing to operate a permit scheme will be entitled to prepare and submit a scheme for approval. Any such application must be dealt with objectively and treated on its merits. The department has always committed to reviewing the permit operations after a year of operation. This will form part of our overall monitoring of the Traffic Management Act 2004. The department will seek to ensure that only authorities that demonstrate the ability to operate an effective permit scheme will be granted approval and aims to ensure that as much as possible is learnt from early schemes.

Waste Management: Nappies

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Whether the target of diverting 35,000 tonnes of waste from landfill by April 2006 through the Waste and Resources Action Programme Real Nappy Programme was reached; and what plans they have to set additional targets on domestic waste reduction. [HL6955]

The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) reports annually on its overall progress in meeting targets, including work under the Real Nappy Programme. It is scheduled to report on its achievements for the business plan period up to 2006 shortly.

At the outset of the programme, 91 per cent of expectant parents said they intended to use disposable nappies. Work done for the Environment Agency suggested the figure may be higher, at 94 per cent. WRAP intends to survey parents again at the end of the programme to establish the actual change in behaviour. An estimate of the diversion will be made and published by WRAP when the survey is complete, taking account of other quantitative evidence.

The revised waste strategy for England, due to be published later this year, will identify what further steps need to be taken to tackle domestic waste, including whether any additional targets need to be set.

Water Supply: Government Estate

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Which government departments have achieved the specific target set out in the framework for sustainable development on the government estate for departments to reduce water consumption in office buildings to an average of 7.7 cubic metres per person per year by 31 March 2004. [HL7047]

Departmental performance against government sustainable operations targets, including water consumption, has been published in annual sustainable development in government reports (SDiG). The Sustainable Development Commission (SDC), the independent watchdog, published its latest SDiG report in December 2005. It covered the reporting period April 2004 to March 2005 and is available at: www.sd-commission.org.uk/watchdog.

According to the SDC’s report, seven government departments met the 2004 water consumption target. These departments were: the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; the Department for Constitutional Affairs; the Department of Health; the Inland Revenue; Her Majesty’s Customs and Excise; the Department for International Development; and the Office for National Statistics.

On 12 June 2006, the Prime Minister launched a set of intentionally challenging sustainable operational targets for the government estate. They set an example to the rest of the public sector, businesses and consumers and will catalyse efforts to improve the way the Government manage their land and buildings sustainably. The new targets relevant to water consumption are as follows. Departments are to:

reduce water consumption by 25 per cent on the office and the non-office estate by 2020, relative to 2004-05 levels; and

reduce water consumption to an average of 3m3 per person per year for all new office builds or major office refurbishments.

Animal Welfare: Sanctuaries

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Further to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’s briefing note on animal sanctuaries, whether the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals investigations into complaints in 2004 about animal sanctuaries were found to be justified; how many of those complaints merited prosecution; and how many of those complaints were found to be due to ignorance and how many to cruelty. [HL6974]

Incontinence

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Whether they have delivered on their commitment set out in the National Service Framework for Older People (2004) to establish integrated incontinence services by April 2004; and how many primary care trusts currently provide an integrated incontinence service; and [HL7093]

Whether the National Health Service runs an education and awareness programme on treatment for incontinence; and [HL7094]

What is their assessment of the number of people who suffer from incontinence; and whether they anticipate that the number will rise; and [HL7091]

What is their assessment of the number of people who suffer from light to moderate incontinence; and, of these, what proportion (a) seek medical advice, or (b) have curable incontinence; and [HL7092]

How many incontinence nurses are employed by the National Health Service; and what is the annual National Health Service expenditure on incontinence; and [HL7095]

How many people who are not in residential care (a) receive free continence products, and (b) must purchase their own. [HL7096]

Progress on delivering the National Service Framework for Older People (NSF) was reported in March 2006 in Living well in later life, a joint report of the Healthcare Commission, the Commission for Social Care Inspection and the Audit Commission. That report drew on the National Audit of Continence Care for Older People (NACCOP) that the Royal College of Physicians undertook on behalf of the Healthcare Commission, supported by the National Director for Older People. The initial findings were that, of those sites NACCOP surveyed, less than half had a completely integrated service in place. NACCOP has recently repeated the audit and the results will be widely disseminated later this year. We will be working with stakeholders to develop commissioning guidance, including economic analysis on cost and benefits.

In-service training and awareness for National Health Service staff is the responsibility of their employers.

We have no estimate of the number of people currently experiencing problems with continence, and have not made any estimates of the possible future numbers or what proportion seek professional advice.

The Department of Health does not collect information on which NHS staff spend all or some of their working time addressing the needs of people who are experiencing problems with continence, and information on the total cost of continence care in the NHS is not available.

The department does not collect information on the numbers of people who receive continence products from the NHS.

Agricultural Shows: Ministerial Visits

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

How many Ministers have visited agricultural shows in their official capacity for each year since 1997. [HL7037]

In 2004, three Ministers visited a total of 10 agricultural shows; in 2005 five Ministers visited seven shows; and in 2006 four Ministers visited five shows. There are no comprehensive central records before 2004.

Divorce

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Why it is not possible for statistics on divorces to be given by neighbourhood, given that statistics of births and deaths can be produced by neighbourhood. [HL7035]

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked to reply.

EU: Transfer of Penalties

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

What action is being taken to improve co-operation within the European Union to enable authorities to enforce criminal and civil penalties and charges both for lorries and private cars. [HL7134]

The European Union Financial Penalties Framework Decision, adopted on 24 February 2005, will allow a fine or other financial penalty arising from criminal proceedings in one member state to be transferred to another member state for enforcement. Primary legislation will be required to implement the framework decision. When the framework decision comes into force in member states in March 2007, cases received from other member states will be directed to local courts here for enforcement under the existing fines enforcement regime. We understand that the European Commission is considering making proposals for a directive aimed at fostering international co-operation to enforce criminal penalties and civil charges for vehicles. However, a proposed text has yet to be published.

Fishing Vessels

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Further to the Sea Fishing (Marking and Identification of Passive Fishing Gear and Beam Trawls) (England) Order 2006 (S.I. 2006/1549), whether under Article 5 all such beams shall be the property of the vessel using them while under Articles 6, 7 and 8 the passive gear used by any vessel may be the property of some other vessel. [HL6977]

Beam trawls and passive fishing gear regulated by Commission Regulation 356/2005 must be marked with the appropriate markings of the fishing vessel to which it belongs. Articles 5 to 8 inclusive do not specify that the gear shall be the property of the vessel using them.

Fuel Duty

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

What was the level of tax on gas oil used by railway locomotives in the United Kingdom in each year from 2001 to the present; and how this compares with the current level of tax in France, Germany, Spain and Italy. [HL7135]

Historical fuel duty rates can be found in Hydrocarbon Oils Bulletin published by HM Revenue and Customs and available on the UK Trade Info website at www. uktradeinfo.com/index.cfm?task=bullhydro.

The European Commission publishes current fuel duty rates for all member states, in both national currency and euros, with sterling/euro exchange rates, on the Europa website at ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/taxation/excise_duties/energy_products/rates/index_en.htm.

EU legislation permits total exemption or reduced levels of taxation for fuel used by railway locomotives, though no up-to-date information on individual member states is available.

Government Departments: Special Advisers

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Whether, in accordance with Section 17 of the model contract for special advisers, those special advisers employed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer have notified their head of department of any other external employment they have undertaken in the past year; and, if so, what was the nature of any such external employment.[HL7102]

The special advisers employed by the Chancellor have not undertaken any other external employment in the past year while employed by the Treasury.

Highways Agency

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Whether they propose to give Highways Agency traffic officers any police powers. [HL7119]

There are no plans to give Highways Agency traffic officers any further powers beyond those they already have and those being developed in connection with the removal and disposal of vehicles.

Immigration: Applications for Review

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

How many applications for review made under the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002, including those made out of time, and orders made for reconsideration, there have been for (a) immigrant appellants; (b) appeals from the Home Office; and (c) appeals from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. [HL6824]

In the period from 4 April 2005 to 31 March 2006 a total of 23,836 applications for review were received by the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal (AIT) under the “filter provision” established by paragraph 30 of Schedule 2 to the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants, etc.) Act 2004. The total includes applications that were lodged outside of the prescribed time limits and is broken down as follows:

(a) 21,116 from the appellant party;

(b) 2,450 from the Home Office; and

(c) 270 from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

A total of 6,935 orders for reconsideration were made during the same period, some of which follow applications granted by the previous appellate body prior to the commencement of the AIT, which are broken down as follows:

(a) 4,952 orders for the appellant party;

(b) 1,664 orders for the Home Office; and

(c) 319 orders for the FCO.

A total of 4,468 review applications refused by the AIT were submitted to the appropriate appellate court, excluding Scotland and Northern Ireland, under the opt-in provisions established by the 2004 Act, which are broken down as follows:

(a) 4213 from the appellant party; and

(b) 255 from the Home Office.

A total of 459 orders for reconsideration were made, which are broken down as follows:

(a) 446 orders for the appellant party; and

(b) 13 orders for the Home Office.

Voluntary Organisations

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Rooker on 18 July (WA 177), in addition to the Scouts Association and the National Federation of Women's Institutes, which other organisations have been allocated funding from the Climate Challenge Fund; how much each organisation is receiving; and over what period of time the money will be allocated. [HL7085]

In addition to the Scouts Association and the National Federation of Women’s Institutes, a total of 51 other organisations have been allocated funding for the next two financial years from the Climate Change Fund as announced by the Government in June 2006. These are as follows:

2006-07 (£)

2007-08 (£)

Total (£)

IVCA Ltd

66,140.00

72,250.00

138,390

Cambridge Carbon Footprint

5,160.00

0.00

5,160

National Trust

103,700.00

10,000.00

113,700

Forkbeard Fantasy

25,100.00

52,598.00

77,698

The National Energy Foundation (NEF)

142,000.00

153,500.00

295,500

School Councils UK

80,700.00

14,700.00

95,400

Global Action Plan

49,230.00

49,230

British Association for the Advancement of Science

30,000.00

30,000

WMnet: West Midlands Regional Broadband Consortium

75,000.00

85,000.00

160,000

Forum for the Future

123,566.00

47,940.00

171,506

New Economics Foundation

103,834.00

145,311.00

249,145

Royal Geographical Society

29,000.00

69,750.00

98,750

Yigal Allon Educational Trust

49,480.00

49,480

Cambridge Carbon Footprint

16,284.00

17,750.00

34,034

Ipswich Borough Council

44,098.00

44,098

University of East Anglia

16,245.00

16,245

Bolsover Drama Group

6,850.00

6,850

The Wellingborough Partnership

6,700.00

6,700

Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Local Authorities’ Energy Partnership

207,500.00

171,500.00

379,000

The Friends of Finsbury Park (FoFP)

14,434.00

14,434

Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea

18,450.00

3,550.00

22,000

Greater London Authority

229,500.00

187,500.00

417,000

London Borough of Bromley

30,000.00

31,000.00

61,000

London Sustainability Exchange (LSx)

40,856.00

98,277.00

139,133

London Borough of Sutton

73,000.00

75,750.00

148,750

Langdon Beck YHA

18,300.00

18,300

Sunderland City Council

20,500.00

15,000.00

35,500

Helix Arts

40,941.00

51,931.00

92,872

Sustainability Northwest

22,061.00

17,810.00

39,871

Rite2no-young people’s climate change project/Parklands High School

7,396.00

32,414.00

39,810

Liverpool World Centre

29,210.00

38,671.00

67,881

The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Oxford

78,000.00

122,000.00

200,000

The National Energy Foundation (NEF)

98,750.00

86,000.00

184,750

Thames Valley Energy Centre

13,590.00

0.00

13,590

Dartmoor National Park Authority

7,500.00

0.00

7,500

Westden

12,700.00

16,150.00

28,850

Devon Development Education

35,750.00

39,917.00

75,667

Centre for Sustainable Energy

139,928.00

73,303.00

213,231

Community Energy Plus

28,990.00

56,330.00

85,320

Stoke on Trent City Council

50,771.00

47,949.00

98,720

WMnet: West Midlands Regional Broadband Consortium

95,000.00

95,000.00

190,000

Castle Vale Community Housing Association

16,100.00

0.00

16,100

The Rural Media Company

40,700.00

1,300.00

42,000

Winterbourne Botanic Garden

10,150.00

0.00

10,150

Tide-Teachers in Development Education

27,000.00

21,250.00

48,250

Big Brum Theatre in Education Company

13,355.00

13,355

Stockholm Environment Institute

26,115.00

33,642.00

59,757

Sheffield Galleries and Museums Trust

57,000.00

40,000.00

97,000

Calderdale Sustainability Forum Ltd.

53,266.00

44,375.00

97,641

Kingston Upon Hull City Council

42,689.00

68,728.00

111,417

Taleem Youth Forum

9,390.00

9,390

Including the two organisations previously referred to, a total of £4.8 million will be awarded in the financial years 2006-07 and 2007-08.

Water Supply: Catchment Abstraction Management

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

How many catchments and sub-catchments have so far been assessed under the Environment Agency’s catchments abstraction management strategy; and what proportion of each category has been assessed as (a) over-abstracted, and (b) over-licensed. [HL7088]

As at March 2006, the Environment Agency had completed 64 catchment abstraction management strategies (CAMS) out of a total of 119.

The 64 CAMS have 871 assessment points. An assessment point is a location in a catchment where an estimate of resource availability and the impact of abstraction and discharge has been made.

For the CAMS prepared to date, 12 per cent of the assessment points suggest there may be cases of over-licensing; with a further 10 per cent suggesting that they are over-abstracted.

Armed Forces: Medals

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

What representations the Minister for veterans’ affairs, Mr Tom Watson, has received from Falklands veteran Graham John Cordwell of the Parachute Regiment about the production and sale for private profit of medals and medal ribbons; and whether they intend to take any action. [HL6743]

Mr Cordwell wrote to the Minister for Veterans on 23 June, seeking answers to a number of questions. A copy of the response has been placed in the Library of the House.

Current copyright and design law provides a comprehensive regime for protecting and controlling the re-use of Crown and Ministry of Defence-owned intellectual property. However, the protection afforded is not perpetual and once it has expired manufacturers are free to reproduce the designs. The Ministry of Defence has in place a number of licensees who manufacture replica medals and miniatures for sale, for which fees are paid. We do not control the reproduction of the ribbons as, in the opinion of the MoD’s intellectual property staff, the designs do not meet the originality threshold to obtain copyright or design protection.

In addition, where we do have copyright protection, the Re-use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2005 obliges public sector bodies to licence the reproduction of this material on an equitable basis, where a request is received.

My noble friend may be aware of the current Government review of intellectual property legislation by Andrew Gowers, under the Treasury. The MoD has made an informal submission to the review on the subject of protection of medals and decorations of the Armed Forces. However, the issue of the protection of honours is wider than just those for which the Armed Forces are eligible, these being the responsibility of the Honours Committee of the Cabinet Office. Ultimately it will be the responsibility of the Department of Trade and Industry, as the department responsible for intellectual property, to propose any legislative amendments that Ministers choose to implement from the report's recommendations.

Assisted Area Status

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Why Torridge in north Devon was not designated as having assisted area status. [HL6920]

The Government have taken the current assisted areas map (2000-06) as the baseline for developing the new map. Torridge does not have assisted area coverage on the current map, and therefore has not been designated an assisted area on the draft of the new map.

The Government propose the following measures to prioritise areas for inclusion on the new map (2007-2013):

employment rate,

adult skills at level 2 and above,

incapacity benefit claimants, and

manufacturing share of employment.

Further detail on the proposed designation of assisted areas, including the draft map, can be found in the DTI document Review of Assisted Areas—Stage 2—The Government’s Response and Draft Assisted Areas Map and accompanying documents, available at www.dti.gov.uk/regional/assisted-areas/assisted-areasreview/page24618.html.

Company Law

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

What steps they will take to promote the European Union strategy, “Modernising Company Law and Enhancing Corporate Governance in the EU”, published in May 2003 in the European Union communication for an action plan. [HL7158]

The Government have been promoting a clear UK strategy for modernising company law and enhancing corporate governance in the EU. In July 2005, the Department of Trade and Industry issued a publication, “Promoting Competitiveness: The UK Approach to EU company law and corporate governance” (URN 05/1205). In November 2005, the department hosted a UK presidency conference of EU partners and stakeholders on progress on corporate governance and on future priorities for the European Commission’s action plan. The outcome of that conference has been a full review of the action plan, the results of which are due later this year.

Courts: JPs

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

What representations he has received about the position of self-employed justices of the peace and the difficulties they may face in respect of both their own professional obligations and their magistrates’ court attendance duties if summoned for jury service. [HL7002]

My department has received four letters from justices of the peace summoned for jury service about the combined commitment of being a JP and a juror. All four were received within the first year of JPs and others being eligible to serve. This does not include applications for excusal or deferral from JPs summoned for jury service. Any such applications, made to either the Jury Central Summoning Bureau or Crown Court, would be dealt with on their individual merits. In the case of a self- employed magistrate, the effect of jury service on both their work and their ability to sit as a magistrate would be taken into account in coming to a decision. A circular was sent to advisory committees and sub-committees on justices of the peace on 21 March 2006 clarifying a number of points about magistrates summoned for jury service. It followed a similar circular in 2004.

Gangmasters

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

What steps the Department of Trade and Industry has taken to notify employment agencies that if they place anyone within the agriculture and food processing industries that agency must have a gangmasters’ licence. [HL7086]

Our officials have been in close touch with the relevant employment agency trade association, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, regarding the requirements for licensing under the Gangmasters (Licensing) Act. They have also been working closely with colleagues at the Gangmasters Licensing Authority regarding the implications for employment agencies who supply workers to the agriculture and food processing industries. The GLA has produced a range of publications and guidance for all labour providers which are available on their website or in hard copy. They have worked closely with the Recruitment and Employment Confederation to ensure that employment businesses and agencies are aware of the requirements for licensing.

Government Departments: Special Advisers

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Bassam of Brighton on 10 July (WA 89), how many assistants currently support special advisers to Ministers in the Department for Constitutional Affairs and what is the nature of their services. [HL6939]

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Whether special advisers are required to declare to the Permanent Secretary within the relevant department any other outside employment or work, paid or unpaid, that they may undertake in addition to their main duties; whether such information is published; and what plans they have for creating a register of interests for special advisers; and [HL7046]

Whether, in accordance with Section 17 of the Model Contract for Special Advisers, those special advisers employed by the Prime Minister have notified their head of department of any other external employment they have undertaken in the past year; and, if so, what was the nature of any such external employment. [HL7101]

The rules for civil servants, including special advisers, who wish to take up other employment in addition to their Civil Service duties are set out in Section 4.3 of the Civil Service Management Code. Such information is not normally made public. There are no plans to create a public register of interests for special advisers.

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Bassam of Brighton on 10 July (WA 89), how many assistants currently support special advisers to Ministers in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport; and what is the nature of their services. [HL6971]

Special advisers have one member of staff who provides support of a non- political nature in accordance with the Code of Conduct for Special Advisers.

Government Departments: Independent Expert Reports

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

What reports of independent experts have been commissioned by departments during the current Session of Parliament, giving in each case the date on which a draft report was received; the date on which each was approved for grammar, spelling and syntax; the date on which each was first submitted for ministerial approval; and the date on which each was published. [HL7117]

Gulf War: Pensions

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Drayson on 12 July (WA 124), where, in the Ministry of Defence response to the president of the Pensions Appeal Tribunal’s letter of 5 April, does the department address the hope expressed by the then Minister for veterans’ affairs in October 2005 that the tribunals decisions had achieved closure of the Gulf War syndrome issue, while the subsequent handling by the Veterans’ Agency and the Ministry of Defence of its decision in the McGreevy case appeared designed to undermine any such closure. [HL7048]

In the Ministry of Defence letter of 5 June to the president of the Pensions Appeal Tribunal, the fourth paragraph states: “As you are aware, the Ministry of Defence welcomed the decision by the Pensions Appeal Tribunal in the case brought by Mr Martin. The Tribunal’s decision accepted the use of the umbrella term Gulf War Syndrome for accepted conditions which are causally linked to service in the 1990-91-Gulf War. The Secretary of State recognised that some veterans were concerned that the link between their ill-health and their service in the Gulf had not been sufficiently acknowledged. The Tribunal's decision in Martin gave a formal means of providing such recognition and it was for that reason, not least, that the Ministry of Defence welcomed it”. The then veterans’ Minister, in his Written Statement of 24 November 2005 (Official Report, Commons, col. 129WS), hoped that this formal recognition would help to provide an element of closure for those who have sought this acknowledgement of their ill health. The extract from the 5 June letter was made in the context of the earlier ministerial Statement.

Moreover, in the spirit of helping to provide closure and acting in good faith, the Veterans’ Agency in its notification letters to Mr McGreevy went further than required by including previously accepted conditions, which were linked to his Gulf service, under the umbrella term of Gulf War syndrome. While the 5 June letter accepts that this was done in error, it nevertheless indicates the Ministry of Defence’s willingness to assist in the closure process.

Israel and Palestine: Gaza

to ask Her Majesty's Government:

What action they will take to enable 235 ships' containers of food, now at Ashdod, belonging to the World Food Programme and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East to reach the inhabitants of Gaza for whom they are intended. [HL6929]

Our best information is that the food containers have been moved from Ashdod and are now awaiting delivery at Karni Crossing. The crossing has been open for humanitarian imports since 13 July, but had been closed for six days before that.

In the past fortnight, my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary has spoken to Israeli Foreign Minister Livni and Palestinian President Abbas to try to help find a way to end the current humanitarian crisis. Our missions are working closely with both parties and the G8. The EU and the UK have issued statements in response to the crisis.

Israel and Palestine

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Whether the forthcoming G8 meeting will discuss the current situation in the Middle East, with particular regard to Israel, Palestine and their immediate neighbours and the need for negotiated solutions. [HL7006]

On 16 July, G8 leaders discussed the situation in the Middle East. A copy of their statement will be placed in the Library of the House and I will also arrange for a copy to be sent to the noble Lord.

Kosovo: Peacekeeping Force

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

What plans there are to increase the Kosovo peacekeeping force presence in Kosovo to boost security during the final status talks process. [HL7071]

Although the security environment in Kosovo is stable, NATO has deployed a battalion from its operational reserve as a demonstration of its commitment to Kosovo. The deployment confirms NATO's ability to reinforce in-theatre NATO-led forces at very short notice and continues NATO's mission to provide a safe and secure environment for all of Kosovo. It is not assumed that the NATO force in Kosovo, KFOR, will see an increase in troop numbers during the status process.

Kosovo

asked Her Majesty' Government:

What is their assessment of the security situation in Kosovo. [HL7072]

The security environment in Kosovo is stable. The security forces including NATO's KFOR, the UN Interim Administrative Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and the Kosovo Police Service (KPS) continue to work together to maintain a safe and secure environment as the political process to determine the final status of Kosovo proceeds.

London: Museums

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Why the consultation document on the future sponsorship arrangements for the Museum of London includes the possible transfer to the Greater London Authority of the Horniman and Geffrye Museums when the Mayor of London has not sought this responsibility. [HL7057]

The sponsorship of the Museum of London, the Horniman Museum and Gardens and the Geffrye Museum was the subject of a similar consultation exercise in 1998, when the Greater London Authority (GLA) was in the process of being established. The result of the consultation was that it was decided not to transfer responsibility for these museums to the GLA. However, it was left open to review the matter at a later date when the GLA had been given time to develop its role and functions.

Following the Mayor of London's recent request to take on the Government's sponsorship responsibilities for the Museum of London, it was decided that there were sufficient grounds to consult again on the general principle of the GLA also taking on responsibility for the Horniman and Geffrye Museums. Any proposed changes that may emerge as a result of the consultation will be discussed with the museums in full.

Energy: Microgeneration

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Whether they have any means of providing advice to potential users of microgeneration systems; and, if so, what steps they are taking to increase the amount and quality of any such advice. [HL7138]

The low-carbon buildings programme provides advice to potential users of microgeneration systems through the Energy Saving Trust and the Building Research Establishment and, for large projects, through the Carbon Trust. The Carbon Trust also provides information to potential microgeneration users. The Government have also recently established a biomass energy centre as part of a response to the biomass task force.

The Government have also funded regionally/locally based organisations to provide such information, such as renewable energy advice centres, energy efficiency advice centres and community renewables initiative local support teams. There have also been organisations set up to provide advice by regional development agencies, including Renewables East and Regen SouthWest.

The Government maintain an overview of the information needs, and quality, in this area as part of its microgeneration strategy. As part of its strategy, the DTI will undertake a review of existing activity to assess effectiveness and identify gaps. We will then assess the feasibility of a communications/information campaign.

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Whether any difficulties have been encountered in connecting microgeneration systems to the local and regional grid; and, if so, whether such difficulties are being addressed. [HL7137]

There are a range of issues surrounding metering, connection to the distribution network, and balancing and settlement arrangements that could be preventing widespread take-up of electricity generating technologies.

Changes to the Electricity Safety, Quality and Continuity Regulations 2003, and subsequent amendment of the related Distribution Code of Engineering Recommendation G83/1, have allowed a more straightforward process for network connection for electricity-producing microgeneration technologies below a certain size (16A per phase).

The DTI continues to work with Ofgem, the distribution network operators, energy suppliers and the microgeneration industry to resolve difficulties—particularly through the Electricity Networks Strategy Group.

Ministry of Defence: Rent Collection

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Drayson on 20 July (HL7009), what is the rent currently payable by QinetiQ to the Ministry of Defence on the South Arm explosion testing facility at Rosyth. [HL7151]

QinetiQ does not pay rent on the South Arm explosion testing facility at Rosyth. The vast majority (approximately 95 per cent) of work conducted by QinetiQ at this site is in either direct or indirect (through prime contractors) support to Ministry of Defence programmes. As all the costs of operating this site are passed back to MoD under these contracts there is no point in charging a rent as this would in effect become “circular money”.

Northern Ireland: Events Funding

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

When the business case for (a) Rally Ireland; (b) the Ulster-Scots Academy; and (c) “On Eagle’s Wing” musical were first requested; when they were received in final form; and when they were accepted. [HL7053]

The business cases were reviewed as follows:

The Northern Ireland Events Company commissioned a business case for Rally Ireland in May 2005. The Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) received the final version of the business case on 4 January 2006 and it was accepted by DCAL and the Department of Finance and Personnel on 20 January 2006.

DCAL requested consultants to produce a business case for giving effect to the joint declaration commitment to encourage support to be made available for an Ulster-Scots academy on 22 September 2003. The final version of the business case was received by DCAL on 5 March 2004 and it received ministerial approval on 8 August 2004.

The Ulster-Scots Agency was informed of the need for a business case, including an economic appraisal, to support any public funding for the “On Eagle's Wing” project on 29 January 2003. The final version was submitted to DCAL economists on 27 October 2003 The business case did not demonstrate that there was a need for deficit funding, but that On Eagle's Wing Ltd required funding to avert an upfront cash-flow problem. The Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure does not have the specific statutory powers to make what would have effectively been a loan from voted funds. As a result the business case was not accepted.

Official Travel: Carbon Emission Offsets

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Bassam of Brighton on 10 July (WA 95), whether they will provide details of how each flight undertaken by the Prime Minister since April 2005 has been offset for carbon emissions. [HL6923]

We have agreed to purchase 10,000 certified emission reductions from the Kuyasa low-income housing energy upgrade project in Cape Town, South Africa, to offset the emissions attributable to the UK's presidency of the G8, including all the Prime Minister's flights. The Kuyasa project will retrofit 2,309 low-cost houses in the Khayelitsha township with insulated ceilings, solar water heaters and low-energy lightbulbs. The remaining contributions for the Prime Minister's flights in 2005 have been included in the Cabinet Office’s offsetting under the Government Carbon Offsetting Fund. The process for establishing the Government Carbon Offsetting Fund is under way, and it will be launched formally later this year. Once this has happened, we will identify other projects.

Parliament: Information during Recesses

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Further to the Statement by the Secretary of State for Defence, Des Browne, (Official Report, col. 1140) that they “will do what any Government can to ensure that when Parliament is in recess information on a wide range of issues” will be “communicated appropriately to those who need to know”, on what principles Members of the House of Lords will be selected and identified as needing to know; and what methods of communication will be used. [HL6949]

If Her Majesty's Government need to make any defence-related announcements, or to provide an update on any significant defence issues while Parliament is in recess, I will write to Front Bench spokespersons, my noble friend Lady Dean, Chair of the House of Lords Defence Group and to any noble Lords who may have expressed a strong interest in the specific issue at hand. I would expect to draw any major development to the attention of the ex-Chiefs of Staff, for example. Written Ministerial Statements made in the other place in September will be repeated in the House of Lords.

Pensions

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

What number and percentage of men and women would qualify for the full basic state pension if the number of qualifying years were reduced to (a) 25 years and (b) 20 years in (i) 2010; (ii) 2020; and (iii) 2030; and what would be the gross and net cost of each proposal. [HL 6694]

The White Paper, Security in Retirement: Towards a new pensions system, set out a package of reforms aimed at increasing the number of people entitled to a state pension and the amount to which they would be entitled.

A key element in the package is to reduce the number of qualifying years for a full basic state pension to 30 for both men and women (from 44 for men and 39 for women now) reaching state pension age from 2010.

The reduction in qualifying years to 30 will mean around 125,000, or around 70 per cent of women reaching state pension age in 2010 are expected to achieve full entitlement—compared to around 50 per cent in 2010 without reform (Government Actuary Department’s retirement pension model). The majority of those remaining are expected to achieve between about 61 to 99 per cent of a full basic state pension, with others getting up to 60 per cent full entitlement based on their own records, whereas without reform they may have got nothing. The information requested is in the tables below. The estimates are approximate and reflect the inevitable uncertainty associated with any future projection.

Table 1: Number and percentage of men and women who are estimated to qualify for full basic state pension if the number of qualifying years required for full basic state pension were reduced to 25 and costs

Men of pensionable age

Women of pensionable age

Men reaching state pension age

Women reaching state pension age

Gross £m

Net £m

2010

3,900,000 (85 per cent to 90 per cent)

3,600,000 (around 50 per cent)

305,000 (over 95 per cent)

140,000 (around 80 per cent)

50

40

2020

5,200,000 (90 per cent to 95 per cent)

4,300,000 (around 65 per cent)

310,000 (over 95 per cent)

320,000 (around 90 per cent)

670

520

2030

6,400,000 (around 95 per cent)

6,800,000 (around 85 per cent)

385,000 (around 95 per cent)

405,000 (around 95 per cent)

1,590

1,,240

Table 2: Number and percentage of men and women who are estimated to qualify for full basic state pension if the number of qualifying years required for full basic state pension were reduced to 20 and costs

Men of pensionable age

Women of pensionable age

Men reaching state pension age

Women reaching state pension age

Gross £m

Net £m

2010

3,900,000 (85 per cent to 90 per cent)

3,600,000 (around 50 per cent)

310,000 (over 95 per cent)

150,000 (around 85 per cent)

60

50

2020

5,200,000 (90 per cent to 95 per cent)

4,400,000 (around 65 per cent)

315,000 (over 95 per cent)

325,000 (around 95 per cent)

760

590

2030

6,500,000 (around 95 per cent)

6,900,000 (around 85 per cent)

390,000 (around 95 per cent)

410,000 (around 95 per cent)

1,760

1,370

Notes to Tables 1 and 2:

1. Source: Estimates from the Government Actuary's Department's retirement pension model

2. Estimates are based on reducing qualifying years required for full basic state pension to 25 in table 1 and 20 in table 2, for people reaching state pension age from 2010.

3. Numbers of people of pensionable age are rounded to the nearest 100,000.

4. Numbers of people reaching pension age are rounded to the nearest 5,000.

5. The number of women reaching state pension age in 2010 takes into account state pension age equalisation, which means that only half of the women who are projected to reach age 60 in 2010 actually reach state pension age in 2010.

6. Costs are presented in 2006 prices and rounded to the nearest £10 million.

7. Costs are expressed as additional expenditure over and above expenditure on the current system without any reform.

8. No other policy changes have been modelled in producing these estimates other than the reduction in qualifying years to 25 in table 1 and 20 years in table 2.

9. Net costs are net of income related benefits. They have been estimated by DWP using offsets generated by the policy simulation model.

10. Estimates are for Great Britain only.

Philip Gould Associates

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

In each of the past 10 years, whether any payments have been made to Philip Gould Associates by either the Prime Minister's Office or the Cabinet Office. [HL7045]

The Prime Minister's Office is an integral part of the Cabinet Office. The Cabinet Office has not made any payments to Philip Gould Associates in the past 10 years.

Police: Northern Ireland

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Whether they propose to amend the law on powers of arrest in Northern Ireland, in line with Section 110 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 in England and Wales; and, if so, when. [HL 7001]

The draft Police and Criminal Evidence (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) Order 2006 contains proposals aimed at bringing police powers in Northern Ireland more into line with that currently available to police officers in England and Wales. This includes the new powers of arrest introduced in England and Wales by Section 110 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005.

Subject to consideration of responses received as part of the public consultation exercise on the draft order, these proposals will be brought before Parliament later this year.

Post Offices

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

What support exists to enable elderly persons to access post office services in rural areas. [HL7195]

The Government recognise the important role played by sub-post offices in local communities and made available £450 million (£150 million a year) for the three years 2003-04 to 2005-06 to help maintain the rural post office network. We have now made available a further £300 million to extend financial support until April 2008.

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

How many post offices and sub post offices have closed in each of the past five years; and how many of these were in designated rural areas. [HL7194]

The Question the noble Lord has asked relates to operational matters for which Post Office Ltd is directly responsible. Post Office Ltd has provided the following figures relating to the number of post office closures:

Details to end financial yearClosures in Year

Total

Urban

Rural

March 2000-01

547

106

441

March 2001-02

262

68

194

March 2002-03

345

230

115

March 2003-04

1,278

1,129

149

March 2004-05

1,352

1,208

144

March 2005-06

233

84

149

Prisoners: Foreign Nationals

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many foreign nationals who have completed their prison sentences are currently being held in immigration detention facilities. [HL5953]

As of 10 June 2006, 450 detainees were accommodated within immigration removal centres who are recorded as having previously served a term of imprisonment. This figure is based on provisional management information and may be subject to change.

EU: Shareholders’ Rights

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

What steps they will take to promote shareholders’ rights and democracy within the European Union, in particular the principle of “one share, one vote”; and what further steps they will take to protect non-resident shareholders who hold European equity in a member state in which they are not resident. [HL7157]

The European Commission has consulted on the possibility of action on shareholder democracy in its current review of its May 2003 company law and corporate governance action plan. The Government have supported the proposal for a full study into the issue of “one share, one vote”.

Sustainable Development

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

What steps they have taken to influence consumption patterns, including use of disposable products, since the publication of Securing the Future—UK Government sustainable development strategy. [HL6954]

One of the commitments in Securing the Future is the publication of an action plan to develop the Government’s policies for sustainable consumption and production (SCP) as set out in the strategy document. We are actively working on this.

An important input to this is the sustainable consumption round-table’s recent report, which recommends ways in which government and business can enable people to exercise more sustainable consumption choices. The report is available at www.sd-commission.orq.uk/publications/downloads/I Will If You Will.pdf.

Closely linked with this is the agenda for raising the standard of environmental performance across a range of consumer products, also set out in Securing the Future. We are currently developing an approach towards a cross-section of the most significant product areas (an approach described by the sustainable consumption round-table as “product road-maps”), which will be an integral part of the overall SCP action plan.

Timber

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

From which countries illegally felled timber is imported into the United Kingdom; what, in each case, is its value; and what action they are taking to stop that trade. [HL7109]

We are unable to give a value to the timber imports identified as illegally felled that enter the UK as timber imports are not identified as legal or illegal at ports of entry.

The UK Government take the trade in illegally felled timber very seriously and are taking a range of actions to address it. The EU Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) Regulation adopted last year enables member states to enter into partnership agreements with developing countries and provide them with assistance to tackle illegal logging. This assistance will include a licensing system designed to identify products as legal and license them for export to the EU. It will be reinforced by powers for HM Customs to take a range of actions relating to unlicensed products from partner countries; this will allow member states to prohibit the import of illegal timber from those countries into the EU for the first time.

The UK Government recognise that government purchasing policies can also send a strong signal to the market and timber suppliers. Since 2000, the UK Government have committed central departments to seek to procure products made from timber that has been legally harvested and grown in a sustainably managed forest or plantation.

At the international level, the UK is also working with other major timber-consuming countries. Most recently, this has included following up G8 commitments to tackle illegal logging made at the G8 environment and development ministerial in 2005, and establishing a joint working group on forestry with China.

Tropical Rainforests

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

What is their estimate of the rate at which the world's rainforests are being depleted; and what is their assessment of the impact this will have on worldwide climatic conditions. [HL7107]

According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations 2005 statistics, global deforestation, mainly due to conversion of forests to agricultural land, continues at a rate of 13 million hectares per year. At the same time, forest planting and natural expansion of forests have reduced the net loss of forest area. The net global change in forest area in the period 2000-2005 is estimated at -7.3 million hectares per year (an area about the size of Panama or Sierra Leone), down from -8.9 million hectares per year in the period 1990-2000.

Estimates from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) suggest that tropical deforestation is currently responsible for about 20 per cent of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions. Only approximately one-twentieth of this is offset by reforestation in temperate regions. Tropical forests act as a significant carbon sink, helping to limit the rate of rise of atmospheric carbon dioxide to less than 50 per cent of the rate of emissions. Removal of rainforests weakens this buffering and exposes us more to the effect of our emissions. An accelerated rise of carbon dioxide from both an increased source and a weakened sink implies an accelerated rate of global warming.

Rainforest destruction also affects climate through changes in other greenhouse gases, organic soot particles and through processes such as water recycling, which have local and global impacts. For example, rainforest loss can increase the concentration of ozone, another greenhouse gas.

Aerosols are released by burning forests and can modify temperature and local rainfall regimes. Rainforests recycle rain water back to the atmosphere, which maintains their own moist climate and also affects neighbouring regions; deforestation can modify atmospheric circulation and rainfall across the globe.

Water Supply: Department for Culture, Media and Sport

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 Culture, Media and Sport in each of the past 10 years. [HL7044]

The total water consumption for DCMS's headquarters building, 2-4 Cockspur Street, London, is shown below. Data on water consumption for the years prior to 2002-03 are not readily available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Consumption per occupant cannot be provided as DCMS was one of three occupants of the building.

Financial year

Consumption, Cubic Metres

2002-03

6,112

2003-04

6,615

2004-05

7,557

2005-06

7,013

Afghanistan: Counter-Narcotics

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Further to the Written Statement by the noble Lord, Lord Triesman, on 13 July (WS 52), on what alternative livelihoods Pillar 6 in the national drugs control strategy of Afghanistan, supported by Department for International Development funding, is to be focused. [HL7105]

DfID leads the British Government’s efforts to develop alternative livelihoods to opium production in support of Pillar 6 of the national drugs control strategy of Afghanistan. DfID will contribute £130 million to these efforts between 2005 and 2008. A proportion of this funding is specifically targeted on improving agricultural opportunities for farmers. This work ranges from funding research to help identify, test and implement new crops and technologies through to improvements in health and husbandry for livestock.

At the same time as developing agricultural opportunities, DfID also supports the Government of Afghanistan’s national programmes that are helping to increase access to credit and improve infrastructure for farmers to transport their produce to market. Progress is being made, but it is gradual and will take many years. However, evidence from other countries demonstrates that where the population does not have access to legal livelihood opportunities efforts to reduce opium cultivation, as part of a broader strategy, are not sustainable.

Assisted Area Status

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Which 30 wards in England have the lowest workplace-based gross value added per capita; and how many fall within the designations for assisted area status. [HL6919]

Estimates of gross value added per capita are not available at ward level. The lowest geographical level for which estimates are available is NUTS (nomenclature of units for territorial statistics) level 3. In England, this is equivalent to counties or groups of unitary authorities.

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Which areas of England have received assisted area status; and what criteria they used in the designation. [HL6917]

The Government have taken the current assisted areas map (2000-06) as the baseline for developing the new map. They propose the following indicators to prioritise areas to receive assisted areas status:

employment rate;

adult skills at level 2 and above;

incapacity benefit claimants;

manufacturing share of employment.

Further detail on the proposed designation of assisted areas, including the draft assisted areas map (2007-13), can be found in the DTI document Review of Assisted Areas—Stage 2—The Government’s Response and Draft Assisted Areas Map and accompanying documents, available on the DTI website: www.dti.gov.uk/regional/assisted-areas/assisted-areas-review/page24618.html and in the Libraries of the House.

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

To what extent they have allocated assisted area status up to the permitted maximum allocation of 23.9 per cent of the population. [HL6918]

The draft assisted areas map published on 10 July 2006 uses the full allocation of 23.9 per cent of the UK’s population allowed under the European Commission’s regional aid guidelines.

British Citizenship

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Triesman on 14 July (WA 146), and having regard to paragraph 6.3.1.1 of the Home Office Nationality Instructions, why an application for British nationality made at a British consular post abroad cannot be accepted if it includes the necessary information to constitute a valid application and the applicant has paid or offers to pay the relevant fee but it is not made on an application form. [HL7060]

It has traditionally been our practice in consular sections overseas to accept only British nationality applications made on the relevant application form. However, the Nationality Directorate of the Home Office has informed us recently that, although it prefers applicants to use the appropriate form, there is no requirement to do so provided that the applicant has provided all the necessary information on which a decision is based.

EU: Energy Market

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

What steps they are taking within the European Union to create an open market for energy supplies, and, in particular, gas. [HL6716]

We strongly support moves to create a properly functioning internal energy market, which is essential if European consumers are to obtain sustainable, competitively priced and secure supplies of electricity and gas.

Existing EU legislation sets the legal framework needed for competition and vigorous action is being taken by the Commission to ensure its proper implementation in all member states. The Commission is also undertaking a sectoral inquiry into energy to consider whether structural issues are hampering the development of a proper market. In addition, the Commission published a Green Paper in March, seeking views on proposals on the development of future energy policy. This consultation is due to close in September, after which the Commission will consider whether further action may be required. A UK response to the Green Paper is on the DTI’s website at www.dti.gov.uk/files/file31659.pdf.

European Commission: Voting

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

What is their response to the European Commission’s draft directive published on 10 January, which is intended to encourage cross-border shareholder involvement by increasing safeguards on voting rights and facilitating voting. [HL7159]

The Government support the Commission’s proposal for a directive on shareholder rights, which is currently before the Council and Parliament.

The Government believe that the proposal should be framed in a way that facilitates the exercise of voting rights across borders while offering practical solutions that do not impose unnecessary burdens on shareholders, companies and those who act for them.

Afghanistan: Helmand Province

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

What is the Department for International Development’s advisory role with the United Kingdom military in Helmand province, referred to in the Department for International Development interim strategy for Afghanistan 2005-06; and how this role has developed in recent weeks. [HL6707]

DfID’s representative in Helmand is based in the provincial reconstruction team (PRT) in Lashkar Gah, Helmand province. The PRT also contains representatives from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the military and, arriving shortly, the British embassy drugs team. These four representatives work together as the Helmand executive group, which is responsible for the delivery of the UK joint plan for Helmand.

DfID leads in advising the civilian and military members of the Helmand PRT on the development implications of all interventions in the province. For example, the PRT supports a number of quick impact projects (QIPs) designed to demonstrate immediate progress to the people of the province and to help build a platform for longer-term activity. DfID’s advice helps maximise the developmental impact of these projects and ensures that they fit with national government priorities. The Helmand executive group jointly supervises identification, selection, implementation and monitoring of QIPs, which are funded from a range of departmental budgets.

In June, DfID increased the funding available for QIPs by £3 million, but the advisory role of the DfID representative remains the same.

Iraq: Official Visits

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

How much advance notice visiting heads of state should provide to the Iraqi President and Prime Minister. [HL7038]

Questions on Iraqi Government protocol should normally be referred to the Government of Iraq via their embassy in London. With the current security situation, the Iraqi Government have advised that there are no fixed rules for head of state visits.

Israel and Palestine: Casualties

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Whether they will request from the Government of Israel their estimate of the number of Palestinian and Lebanese civilians killed by Israeli military incursions since the Israeli general election at the beginning of 2006. [HL7039]

Israel and Palestine: Gaza

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

What action they are taking, either unilaterally or with the Government of Israel and the quartet, to restore full electricity supply to the 22 hospitals in Gaza and to provide food for the 30,000 children suffering from malnutrition. [HL6930]

Following the Israeli attack on Gaza’s only power station, electricity supplies in Gaza remain limited. Restoring full and reliable electricity supplies is a humanitarian priority. This will require Israel to facilitate the passage of essential equipment.

Since 11 July, the European Commission has provided fuel for six hospitals in the Gaza Strip. The fuel is for back-up generators which allow hospital equipment to operate during power outages. This is being funded through the temporary international mechanism (TIM) for Palestinian basic needs. The UK intends to contribute up to £12 million to the TIM.

In June and July, the World Food Programme (WFP) provided food for 160,000 people in Gaza. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) also provides food, education, health and housing assistance to Palestinian refugees in Gaza and elsewhere in the Middle East. DfID provided £15 million to UNRWA in April. We continue to monitor the humanitarian situation closely.

Israel and Palestine: Hostages

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Whether they will consider a specific joint initiative with the Government of France to persuade the parties to the Israel-Palestine conflict to enter into immediate peace talks and the release of hostages and detainees. [HL7012]

We are gravely concerned by the escalation of the situation. We continue to raise our concerns on a regular basis to both the Israelis and the Palestinians and call upon all parties in the region to make every effort possible to resolve the current situation by peaceful means. We call for the immediate, unconditional release of the abducted Israeli soldiers. We also continue to have concerns about the detention of members of the Palestinian Government and legislature on 29 June. Those detained should be accorded their full legal rights and either be charged or released.

As my right honourable friend the Prime Minister has made clear, negotiations are manifestly the best way to take this process forward. We will continue to work with both our quartet (EU, US, UN and Russia) and EU partners, including France, to this end.

Energy: Microgeneration

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Whether current grants towards the upfront costs of installing micro-renewable energy systems provide a sufficient incentive to investors. [HL7136]

The Low Carbon Buildings Programme is providing £80 million to reduce upfront capital costs for a range of microgeneration technologies, building on the support already provided under the PV Major Demonstration Programme and the Clear Skies Initiative. Uptake of the grants offered to date indicates that the level of support has given sufficient incentive to those considering investing in microgeneration for their premises.

The DTI commissioned a study from the Energy Saving Trust, published in November 2005, to predict the future uptake, costs and benefits of microgeneration technologies. The study demonstrated that some microgeneration technologies are currently cost-effective but are still not being taken up, indicating that cost is not the only factor that investors consider when installing microgeneration technologies.

The Government are working, with Ofgem and with industry, through their microgeneration strategy, to create conditions under which microgeneration becomes a realistic alternative or supplementary energy generation source for the householder, for the community and for small businesses.

Official Meetings: Gulam Noon

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

On what dates in 2006 the Prime Minister has met Sir Gulam Noon; where each meeting took place; and what topics were discussed; and [HL7025]

On what dates in 2006 the Deputy Prime Minister has met Sir Gulam Noon; where each meeting took place; and what topics were discussed. [HL7026]

My right honourable friends the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister have meetings with a wide range of organisations and individuals on a wide range of subjects. Information relating to internal meetings, discussion and advice is not disclosed as to do so could harm the frankness and candour of internal discussion.

Overseas Development

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

To what extent their overseas development assistance policy has increasingly involved multilateral aid over the past 10 years; and when they will publish the first results of the Multilateral Effectiveness Framework. [HL6956]

Over the past 10 years, the multilateral share of total DfID spend has ranged between 48 per cent (in 1995-96) and 39 per cent (in 2004-05). We are currently assessing what our multilateral spend will be during the Comprehensive Spending Round period.

The Multilateral Effectiveness Framework summary results report was published in 2005 and is available on DfID’s external website (www.dfid.gov.uk).

Tropical Rainforests

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

What discussions they are having with the World Bank, other international organisations and locally based non-governmental organisations to seek ways of protecting the rights and interests of the people who have been living in rainforests and whose livelihood is adversely affected by logging operations. [HL7106]

We have a range of opportunities to discuss the protection of the rights and interests of people living in rainforests, with the World Bank and others.

DfID supports the global partnership for rights and resources with a grant of £300,000. This is a new informal coalition of organisations dedicated to protecting the rights and interests of rainforest-dependent people. It provides a platform for engagement with Governments, other donors, local and international NGOs and research organisations.

DfID is providing £24 million to support the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade (FLEGT) programme, which will support multi-stakeholder processes that will involve rainforest-dependent people in the development and implementation of trade and governance agreements between the EU and timber-producing countries.

In addition to those global initiatives, DfID supports numerous bilateral initiatives to support the rights and interests of rainforest-dependent people. Examples of DfID-funded bilateral initiatives include:

the multi-stakeholder forestry programme in Indonesia, where DfID is working with civil society groups and the World Bank on the resource rights of forest-dependent communities.

In Cameroon, DfID is working together with the World Bank, providing targeted budget support alongside the World Bank’s International Development Association and the Global Environmental Facility contributions.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), DfID supports the Rainforest Foundation to pilot participatory forest mapping and zoning, aiming to secure the rights and interests of rainforest-dependent people.

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

What are the most recent decisions taken by the World Bank with regard to logging operations in rainforests; which countries will be affected; what the impact on the forests concerned will be; and what share of the cost in forms of assistance will be borne by the United Kingdom. [HL7110]

Decisions taken by the World Bank which affect logging operations in rainforests have to conform to its policy on forests that was adopted in 2003. This states that the World Bank will only finance commercial harvesting in areas where strict environmental assessments or authoritative scientific surveys have demonstrated that the areas in question do not contain critical forest areas or other critical natural habitats.

HMG co-operates with the World Bank on a number of country programmes aimed at improving forest governance. These include the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Cameroon, and Cambodia.

The expected impacts of the above programmes include the empowerment of forest-dependent communities, enhanced economic opportunities for the poor and indigenous groups, increased revenues for the state, and improved conservation of biodiversity.

In Cameroon, HMG/DfID has committed £11 million for the Cameroon Forest Governance Programme. Commitments in support of the forest sector in the DRC and Cambodia are still being finalised.

There is a growing consensus that the traditional concession-based industrial logging model does not generate the desired economic, social and environmental benefits. DfID, together with the World Bank and a number of civil society and research organisations, is planning to support research into improved models for forest sector development.

Asian Tsunami: Relief

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Whether any of the money promised by the Government to match public contributions to tsunami relief has been spent in tsunami-affected countries; if so, which countries; and how much has been spent in each country; and [HL7125]

Further to the reply by the Lord President on 17 July (Official Report, col. 994), where the money promised by the Government to match public contributions to tsunami relief has been spent. [HL7124]

The UK pledged £75 million for the immediate humanitarian relief effort following the tsunami.

The breakdown of commitment and spend to date by country is set out in the table below. Most of DfID’s support to the United Nations was for regional activities, allowing the United Nations to channel the funds to where they were most needed. The regional commitment includes up to £7.5 million for disaster risk reduction (DRR) activities.

£ (millions)

Regionally (inc DRR)

Sri Lanka

India

Indonesia

Somalia

Maldives

Committed

£50.6 million

£4.8 million

£2.77 million

£16.47 million

£0.5 million

£1 million

Spent

£40.4 million

£4.5 million

£2.6 million

£16.47 million

£0.5 million

£1million

DfID allocated £65 million to meet reconstruction needs in the tsunami-affected countries. From this allocation, £35.1 million has been committed to the multi-donor trust fund in Indonesia, of which £6 million has so far been paid out. A further £5 million has been committed for technical assistance in Indonesia to help ensure timely, accountable and equitable provision of reconstruction assistance and rebuilding of livelihoods.

Moreover, £10 million has been provided to the UN development programme to support its programme of reconstruction and restoring livelihoods, half of which has been spent, and £6 million has been allocated to strengthening governance, promoting growth and improving service delivery in some of the poorest districts of Aceh. And £3 million has been allocated to the Decentralisation Support Facility for local governance initiatives, plus a further £1 million for financial management and procurement activities in support of the Government’s tendering processes.

A total of £2 million has been committed to Sri Lanka to help speed up implementation of reconstruction programmes and to ensure equitable distribution of assistance, and £1.5 million of this has been allocated to the North East Provincial Council to increase its capacity to deliver services to affected communities. A total of £3 million has been committed to India to provide technical assistance aimed at ensuring effective, transparent and equitable programming of tsunami reconstruction efforts. The use of the balance will depend on evidence of where this funding can be most appropriately used.

Water Supply

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

How much money has been spent since 1972 on water infrastructure and supply in the United Kingdom. [HL6800]

Ofwat is the economic regulator for the water and sewerage industry in England and Wales. It collects information on companies’ financial expenditure and publishes this information annually in its report “Financial performance and expenditure of the water companies in England and Wales”.

The table below shows expenditure on water infrastructure from the earliest year that figures are available (inflated to 2004-05 prices). This expenditure is for the water service only.

Year

Capital expenditure on water infrastructure (millions of pounds)

1974-75

780

1975-76

861

1976-77

858

1977-78

766

1978-79

755

1979-80

678

1980-81

638

1981-82

577

1982-83

576

1983-84

711

1984-85

599

1985-86

632

1986-87

700

1987-88

820

1988-89

645

1989-90

1,046

1990-91

1,701

1991-92

2,176

1992-93

2,185

1993-94

2,086

1994-95

1,667

1995-96

1,609

1996-97

1,986

1997-98

2,046

1998-99

1,824

1999-2000

1,762

2000-01

1,323

2001-02

1,585

2002-03

1,792

2003-04

1,696

2004-05

1,617

Data Source: 1974-75 to 1989-90 Water Authorities Association “Waterfacts”

1989-90 to 2004-05 Ofwat reports

Carers: Credits

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

How many additional men and women would qualify for a national insurance credit by (a) 2010; (b) 2020; and (c) 2030 as carers of more than 20 hours per week for people on (i) incapacity benefit; (ii) lower rates of disability living allowance; (iii) income support disability premiums; (iv) any other disability benefit; and (v) all disability benefits; and how many additional years of national insurance credit would be gained as a result by carers, by median quintiles; and at what additional gross and net cost; and [HL 6695]

If carers of more than 20 hours per week were eligible for up to five years’ worth of backdated credits for caring responsibilities incurred before 2010 for a person on (a) middle and higher rate disability living allowance, and (b) on any other disability benefit, what additional number and percentage of men and women would gain; how many would be eligible for a full basic state pension in (i) 2010; (ii) 2020; and (iii) 2030; and what would be the gross and net costs. [HL 6696]

The information is not available in the format requested.

The White Paper Security in retirement: towards a new pensions system (Cm 6841) includes proposals to ensure more carers are able to build up better state pensions. To do this we are proposing to introduce a new carer's credit for those reaching state pension age from 2010. It would be available for relevant weeks of caring within a tax year allowing a person to build entitlement to basic state pension (BSP) and state second pension (S2P) if they are caring: for 20 hours or more a week; and for one or more persons receiving the middle or highest rate of disability living allowance care component, attendance allowance, or constant attendance allowance.

We have proposed to link the new carer's credit to those caring for someone in receipt of specified disability benefits. We estimate that around 70,000 people a year could gain a credit for BSP from this proposal, and over half of these will be women. The new credit should also mean around 110,000 more women and 50,000 more men will be accruing entitlement to S2P.

We estimate that this may leave around 60,000 people in 2010 who report themselves to be caring for 20 hours or more who may not be accruing BSP through paid contributions or credits, including the new carer's credit. The equivalent figure for S2P is around 180,000 people. It is not possible to break down these figures further by the individual benefits received by the person being cared for.

The potential costs of awarding these extra people a credit for BSP and S2P build up slowly over time. They could reach some £200 million in 2030, over and above expenditure on the current system.

With existing data sources, it is difficult reliably to estimate the intensity of care that someone in receipt of a disability benefit such as incapacity benefit or the disability premium in income support, may be receiving from a particular carer. It is also unclear what care needs, if any, those in receipt of these benefits might have.

For the purposes of estimating the cost of the new carer's credit in the White Paper, it was assumed that all those in receipt of the middle or higher rate care component of AA/DLA, or CAA, would have a carer providing more than 20 hours’ care per week. Although this is not a precondition for the receipt of those benefits, entitlement provides a clear indication that the recipient has a significant level of care needs.

As with any reform, the timing of change to the state pension system involves striking a balance: to achieve fair outcomes for tomorrow's pensioners, while ensuring that the transition from the current arrangements is affordable, avoids complexity and is delivered successfully. Backdating the carers credit to make it available on the basis of self certification for past periods of caring activity would not be feasible; to do so would be intrusive and forfeit any checks and balances in the scheme.

It is not possible to make accurate estimates. However, assuming that all those eligible for the proposed carer’s credit from 2010 were automatically awarded five years worth of backdated credits, costs of the new carer's credit could reach around £200 million, over and above expenditure on the current system in 2030.

Notes:

1. Source: Family Resources Survey 2003-04 and 2004-05, with DWP forecasting assumptions for population changes. Costs: DWP estimates, 2006 prices.

2. Numbers of people are rounded to the nearest 10,000. Estimated costs are rounded to the nearest £100 million.

3. Costs presented refer to the estimated additional expenditure required over and above estimated expenditure on the White Paper reform proposal. They are net of offsetting savings in expenditure on income-related benefits.

4. Costs presented are likely to be overestimates, since they assume that all people eligible for the carer's credit need to use this credit to enhance their state pension record. However for BSP, there has been an adjustment made for the reduction of qualifying years.

Ambassadors

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Whether those who are appointed as United Kingdom ambassadors have visited England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to familiarise themselves with the local cultures and economic and political climates before taking up their posts.[HL7055]

Heads of mission have specific briefing programmes before they take up their appointments that cover in detail all aspects of their responsibilities to represent all parts of the United Kingdom.

British Council: Overseas Students

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Whether the British Council is giving priority to bringing students and scholars to the United Kingdom from Iraq, Palestine and Lebanon and to supporting exchanges with those countries. [HL7145]

A central part of the British Council’s remit is to encourage overseas students to come to the UK. It does this through activities such as the promotion of UK education. Iraq, Palestine and Lebanon are priority areas for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the British Council. The British Council also supports exchanges, particularly among young people. It does this through initiatives such as Connecting Futures, which aims to increase understanding between young people in the UK and countries with significant Muslim populations.

Government Departments: Special Advisers

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Bassam of Brighton on 10 July (WA 89), how many assistants currently support special advisers to Ministers in the Department for Work and Pensions; and what is the nature of their services. [HL7015]

Two civil servants assist the special advisers in DWP. These staff are employed to provide support of a non-political nature in accordance with the Code of Conduct for Special Advisers.

Israel and Palestine: Gaza

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Whether they will make representations to the Government of Israel to open the Rafah crossing point sufficiently to allow inhabitants of Gaza, now stranded in Egypt, to return home. [HL7034]

The Rafah crossing point opened on 18 July to allow people to pass from Egypt into Gaza. It is important that both parties implement the 15 November 2005 agreement on movement and access. We will continue to make representations about this.

Turks and Caicos Islands

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

What discussions have taken place about granting more self-government to the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands. [HL6963]

As part of the constitutional review process for the overseas territories, the Government have had in-depth discussions with representatives of the Turks and Caicos Islands. In October 2005, agreement was reached with the Turks and Caicos Islands Government on the main principles of a new and modernised constitution. A public consultation process on the text of the draft constitution based on these principles showed broad support for the document in the territory. The Turks and Caicos Islands Legislative Council passed a resolution endorsing the draft on 28 June. On 19 July, Her Majesty the Queen made an Order in Council adopting the new constitution. The new constitution grants the Turks and Caicos Islands further self-government, while at the same time incorporating provisions enabling the Government to fulfil their responsibilities for the territory.

Israel and Palestine: Compensation

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Whether they will include in their diplomatic efforts to secure a cessation of Middle East military actions on all sides the case for the parties to the conflict paying compensation for loss of life and injuries to civilians, as well as war damage for buildings. [HL7080]

At the G8 summit in St Petersburg on 16 July, G8 leaders outlined the conditions leading to a cessation of violence in the region that will be sustainable and lay the foundation for a more permanent solution. This requires:

the return of the Israeli soldiers in Gaza and Lebanon unharmed;

an end to the shelling of Israeli territory;

an end to Israeli military operations and the early withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza;

and the release of the arrested Palestinian Ministers and parliamentarians.

The framework for resolving these disputes is already established by international consensus. We have no plans to seek to include the payment of compensation as a further condition.

Israel and Palestine: Gaza

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Why they were unable to support the proposal of the Government of France at the G8 summit in St Petersburg that Israel should agree to an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and Lebanon at the same time as Hamas and Hezbollah stop their actions.[HL7040]

As my right honourable friend the Prime Minister said during his press conference with the UN Secretary-General on 17 July in St Petersburg:

“It is obviously a very critical situation and the most immediate priority is to create the conditions in which a cessation of violence can happen. But this is a very, very serious situation indeed and it is going to be vital that we use every single effort that we possibly can to make sure over the next few days that we put in place those conditions that can actually allow us to have that cessation of violence”.

Lottery Grants

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Which coastal resorts in England and Wales have received heritage lottery grants in each of the years 2003-05. [HL6634]

The Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded the following grants to English coastal resorts (as defined by the British Resorts Association) and Welsh coastal resorts in each of the years 2003-05.

RegionTown2003-042004-05Grand total

Number of Awards

Value of Awards

Number of Awards

Value of Awards

Number of Awards

Value of Awards

Eastern

Clacton-on-Sea

2

36,647

2

36,647

Cromer

1

-

2

72,800

2

72,800

Great Yarmouth

7

371,260

5

117,834

12

489,094

Lowestoft

2

76,900

1

3,227,300

3

3,304,200

Sheringham

2

736,576

2

736,576

Southend-on-Sea

1

9,300

1

9,300

Southwold

1

29,600

1

29,600

Eastern total

11

457,460

12

4,220,756

23

4,678,217

North-east

Hartlepool

1

34,600

1

23,400

2

58,000

North Shields

2

37,900

1

24,104

3

62,004

Redcar

1

50,000

1

148,500

2

198,500

South Shields

2

72,800

2

72,800

Sunderland

4

985,950

2

224,600

6

1,210,550

North-east total

10

1,181,250

5

420,604

15

1,601,854

North-west

Blackpool

3

1,300,000

3

408,600

6

1,708,600

Grange-over-Sands

1

20,200

1

20,200

Lytham St. Annes

1

96,418

1

96,418

Morecambe

2

212,000

2

212,000

Southport

4

656,300

1

70,000

5

726,300

Whitehaven

1

38,800

1

37,400

2

76,200

North-west total

11

2,227,300

6

612,418

17

2,839,718

South-east

Bexhill-on-Sea

1

990,000

1

990,000

Bognor Regis

1

1,695,500

1

1,695,500

Brighton

8

910,472

8

270,171

16

1,180,643

Broadstairs

1

56,500

1

56,500

Christchurch

2

86,655

1

45,025

3

131,681

Eastbourne

2

18,850

3

120,000

5

138,850

Folkestone

2

438,793

2

126,000

4

564,793

Hastings

2

863,500

1

54,121

3

917,621

Margate

1

41,700

1

41,700

Ramsgate

2

1,106,000

2

1,106,000

Ryde

1

775,000

2

102,757

3

877,757

Sandown

3

262,879

71,472

5

334,350

Southsea

1

49,365

1

49,365

Whitstable

1

49,425

1

26,800

76,225

Worthing

3

82,000

2

59,500

5

141,500

South-east total

28

5,632,939

25

2,669,546

53

8,302,485

South-west

Bournemouth

1

211,000

1

17,200

2

228,200

Bristol

18

12,343,623

22

21,830,081

40

34,173,704

Brixham

1

31,600

2

64,100

3

95,700

Bude

2

51,800

2

20,400

4

72,200.

Clevedon

1

25,700

1

25,700

Dawlish

1

20,400

1

20,400

Falmouth

2

104,600

6

1,636,013

8

1,740,613

Lyme Regis

4

111,400

4

111,400

Minehead

1

19,400

3

420,100

4

439,500

Newquay

1

49,300

1

49,300

Paignton

1

24,200

1

24,200

Penzance

2

1,323,441

6

267,759

8

1,591,200

Poole

2

22,678

3

798,674

5

821,352

Sidmouth

2

92,900

2

92,900

St. Ives

1

610,000

1

610,000

Swanage

1

50,000

1

50,000

Teignmouth

50,000

1

50,000

Torquay

3

1,068,509

3

185,128

6

1,253,637

Weston-super- Mare

1

31,400

1

31,400

Weymouth

3

2,020,600

2

590,000

5

2,610,600

South-west total

37

17,247,151

62

26,844,855

99

44,092,006

Yorkshire and the Humber

Bridlington

2

74,900

2

74,900

Cleethorpes

1

25,000

1

25,000

Filey

1

7,500

1

7,500

Hornsea

1

133,000

1

133,000

Scarborough

6

222,978

4

2,347,158

10

2,570,136

Whitby

1

1,502,500

4

78,000

5

1,580,500

Yorkshire and the Humber total

9

1,865,978

11

2,525,058

20

4,391,036

England Total

106

28,612,078

121

37,293,237

227

65,905,315

Wales

Rhyl

1

25,100

4

666,375

691,475

Swansea

5

487,100

7

523,300

12

1,010,400

Tenby

1

41,500

1

41,500

Wales total

6

512,200

12

1,231,175

18

1,743,375

Grand total

112

29,124,278

133

38,524,412

245

67,648,690

Timber

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

What percentage of tropical timber imported into the United Kingdom comes from legally felled sources; what methods they use to verify this; and what is the total value of the imports. [HL7108]