Skip to main content

Written Answers

Volume 686: debated on Tuesday 7 November 2006

Written Answers

Tuesday 7 November 2006

Asylum and Immigration Tribunal

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many Asylum and Immigration Tribunal hearings concerning conducive deportation of foreign nationals have been conducted since April 2005; how many appeals were successful; and howmany deportations have been successfully completed.[HL7649]

The Asylum and Immigration Tribunal is in the early stages of collating statistical information on appeals against notices of intention to deport, including the outcomes of such appeals. Reconciled information is not currently available.

Asylum and Immigration Tribunal: Visit to Ghana

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What was the purpose of the recent visit of the president of the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal to Ghana; by which officials he was accompanied; whom he met; and what was the total cost to the taxpayer.[HL8103]

The visit to Ghana was undertaken by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs (Bridget Prentice MP). The president of the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal (AIT) accompanied the Minister, as didthe director of asylum and immigration and the operational support manager of the AIT, the Minister's private secretary and a policy official of UKvisas.

The visit was to improve understanding of the issues faced by entry clearance posts, to assess the impact of the revised overseas appeals process and to identify the potential for further improvements for the benefit of the AIT, UKvisas and customers.

The visit included meetings with the acting British high commissioner; front-line entry clearance and appeals staff; visa, appeals and entry clearance managers; compliance and risk assessment teams; local commercial partners of UKvisas; Ghanaian police and banking officials; and Ministers in the Ghanaian Government.

The majority of the visit costs were funded by UKvisas, which is not funded through the public purse. The DCA contributed an estimated £8,500 to the visit costs.

Aviation: Automatic Directional Finding Equipment

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Why Schedule 5 to the Air Navigation Order 2005 (SI 2005/1970) requires automatic directional finding equipment to be fitted in aircraft flying in airways within United Kingdom airspace.[HL8085]

The Air Navigation Order 2005 details the equipment carriage requirements for aircraft to navigate safely in UK airspace below flight level (FL) 95 (9500 feet), without the need for air traffic controllers to provide navigational assistance.

The UK Air Traffic Services (ATS) route structure is a complex system of airways and upper ATS routes enabling operators to flight-plan and safely fly en route under instrument flight rules (IRF) through UK airspace.

Above FL95 the ATS route structure is based on area navigation (RNAV) whereby aircraft can navigate without having to fly from one ground-based navigation beacon to the next. Below FL95 the ATS structure is predominantly based on conventional navigation, which requires the fitment of ADF equipment in aircraft to safely navigate between ground-based beacons.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many automatic direction-finding waypoints are required for the airways of the United Kingdom airspace above flight level 100; and [HL8117]

How many global positioning system RNAV MNP5 waypoints are required for the airwaysof the United Kingdom airspace above flightlevel 100.[HL8118]

I refer the noble Lord to the Answer I have given today (HL 8085).

Above flight level (FL) 95 (9,500 feet) basic area navigation (BRNAV) rules apply and no automatic direction finding (ADF) waypoints are technically required. However, ADF information may form part of the navigation solution, dependent upon its availability.

The UK's RNAV waypoints are set out in the en route section of the UK Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP), pages 4-3-1 to 4-3-15, with five-letter designator codes identifying individual navigation waypoints. The AIP is available free of charge from the UK Aeronautical Information Service (AIS) website at www.ais.org.uk. The AIP information does not differentiate between waypoints at particular flight levels.

Belfast Agreement

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether the promise of equality and parity of esteem for the two traditions in Northern Ireland contained in the 1998 Belfast agreement was included in the St Andrews agreement or its follow-up discussions; and, if so, how this promise will be manifested.[HL7962]

The St Andrews agreement in no way dilutes the promise of equality and parity of esteem contained in the Belfast agreement. This promise remains and is enhanced by the St Andrews agreement, which puts in place new processes and procedures. Annexe B to the agreement sets out the Government's commitment to actively promote the advancement of human rights, equality and mutual respect.

Benefits

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to their response (HC 1187) to recommendation 19 of the House of Commons Select Committee on Work and Pensions Second Report (HC 834–I), whether it is possible to calculate the net fiscal cost to the Exchequer of not moving a person off welfare and into employment, given that it is possible to calculate the net fiscal benefit of doing so.[HL7487]

It is possible to estimate the net fiscal loss associated with not moving a person off welfare and into employment. This was not done separately in the previous analysis referred to in our response(HC 1187) to recommendation 19 of the House of Commons Select Committee on Work and Pensions Second Report (HC 834-I) because the emphasis was to examine the effectiveness of policies in helping people leave benefits and enter work.

Benefits: Polygamy

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether welfare benefits are paid in respect of more than one wife in a polygamous marriage in the case of (a) wives in this country; and (b) wives abroad; and, if so, how many recipients there are in each category.[HL6862]

Regulations to address claimants who are in a polygamous marriage have been in force for some time. For instance, in relation to income support, current regulations were introduced in 1987.

For contributory benefits, no dependants’ increases are payable for any wives where a polygamous household exists, and British law recognisesthose marriages. Where we recognise one of the marriages, any dependants’ increases in contributory benefits would be paid only in respect of that one marriage.

Income-related benefits can be paid for more than one wife in a polygamous marriage where British law recognises the marriage and where the general conditions of entitlement for those benefits are met. This would apply where the marriages were conducted in a country that recognises polygamy and in which the parties to each marriage were domiciled at the time of their marriage. The amount of benefit payable includes personal allowances for the male spouse and one partner at the appropriate couple rate. For each other partner, benefit is payable at the difference between the couple rate and the higher rate for a single person. In general, therefore, there is no financial advantage to claiming for those in polygamous marriages.

Increases in income-related benefits are not payable for wives who do not reside in Great Britain.

Any member of a polygamous marriage can claim a contributory or non-contributory social security benefit in his or her own right where he or she satisfies the relevant conditions of entitlement.

No figures are available for the number of claimants in polygamous marriages where income-related benefits are in payment.

Bloody Sunday: Inquiry

asked Her Majesty's Government:

When, and in what form, they expect to announce the findings of the Bloody Sunday inquiry.[HL8001]

The timetable for completion of the report of the Bloody Sunday inquiry is a matter for the inquiry itself. The report will be delivered to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, who will be responsible for its publication. Detailed arrangements for the publication will be made in due course.

Bovine Tuberculosis

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many cases of bovine tuberculosis have occurred in humans in the United Kingdom for each year since 1995; what were the age groups of those infected; how many of the cases were attributed to drinking raw milk from cows infected with bovine tuberculosis from farms in the United Kingdom; in how many cases the disease was believed to have been acquired from sources outside the United Kingdom; and what has been the outcome of treatment. [HL7890]

The number of cases of bovine tuberculosis which have occurred in humans in the United Kingdom for each year since 1995:

UK

1995

32

1996

37

1997

46

1998

40

1999

41

2000

29

2001

33

2002

19

2003

21

2004

21

2005

39

Age groups of those infected:

0-14

15-44

45-64

65+

N/K

Total

1995

0

3

7

19

3

32

1996

0

2

11

20

4

37

1997

2

8

8

28

0

46

1998

0

7

10

21

2

40

1999

0

8

16

17

0

41

2000

0

7

10

11

1

29

2001

0

5

8

20

0

33

2002

0

3

3

15

1

19

2003

1

2

6

12

0

21

2004

0

8

3

9

1

21

2005

0

12

10

17

0

39

Three-quarters of the cases reported between 1994 and 2004 involved individuals aged 50 years and above. This suggests that a majority of the cases are attributable to re-activation of latent infection, possibly acquired prior to implementation of controls such as milk pasteurisation and tuberculin screening of cattle. Information on non-UK sources of infection is not available. For the majority of cases, information on the outcome of treatment is not held centrally.

British Citizenship

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will place in the Library of the House any documents, dated between 5 July 2002 and 9 October 2002, pertaining to making provision for certain British nationals without other citizenship to register as British citizens under Section 4B of the British NationalityAct 1981.[HL6795]

No. To do so would be contrary to the public interest in ensuring that officials are candid in the policy advice they submit to Ministers.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by the Baroness Scotland of Asthal on 23 October (WA 206), why, given that no ordinary residence test applies to otherwise stateless British overseas citizens, British protected persons and British subjects wishing to register as British citizens, otherwise stateless British nationals overseas should continue tobe required to satisfy an ordinary residence test.[HL7933]

Provision for otherwise stateless British nationals overseas was made by the British Nationality (Hong Kong) Act 1997, which was confined to individuals meeting specific criteria and who were resident in Hong Kong. Provision for otherwise stateless British overseas citizens, British protected persons and British subjects was made in Section 12 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002. They were chosen on the basis that their right to remain in their countries of current residence lacked certainty. There was and is no similar basis relating to British nationals overseas.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Triesman on 24 October (WA 223-24), whether they will place in the Library of the House the list of matters concerning Nepalese nationality law on which they intend to obtain clarification; and whether the interpretations of the law by the Government of Nepal which they are seeking will be treated as legally determinative for the purposes of the British Nationality (Hong Kong) Act 1997.[HL8011]

The issues to be discussed with the Nepalese authorities were outlined in the digest of information placed in the Library of the House pursuant to the Written Answer given by Lord Triesman on 24 October. Only the British courts can determine conclusively the extent of the entitlement conferred by the 1997 Act. We shallin practice be guided in our administration of the Act (and in particular of the requirement that, immediately before the relevant date, the applicant would have been stateless but for his holding a qualifying form of British nationality) by the advice received from the Nepalese and other Governments as to the effect of their citizenship laws.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether the British consul-general to Hong Kong raised matters pertaining to the processing of citizenship applications from the solely British ethnic minorities in Hong Kong on his current trip to the United Kingdom; and, if so, what was the result of the discussions.[HL8066]

The British consul-general in Hong Kong did not raise any matters pertaining to the processing of citizenship applications from applicants applying under the British Nationality (Hong Kong) Act 1997 during his current trip to the United Kingdom.

Cancer: Breast Screening Programme

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What discussions the Department of Health has had with HM Treasury regarding provisions in the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review to ensure that the National Health Service breast screening programme is adequately resourced to meet the demographic challenge posed by an ageing population and the expected increase in women aged 50 to 70.[HL8012]

We are discussing with HM Treasury the impact on costs of pay, prices and other underlying pressures on all aspects of health and social care. Decisions on resource allocation for particular programmes will be made after the Chancellor announces the outcome of the Comprehensive Spending Review.

Climate Change: Stern Report

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Why printed copies of the Stern review report on the Economics of Climate Change are not available four days after publication; when they will be made available; and who was responsible for the decision not to make printed copies available.[HL8133]

The report was published on the review website at www.sternreview.org.uk. Copies were deposited in the Libraries of both Houses on the day of publication, as were CD versions. Printed copies were subsequently delivered to the Printed Paper Office in the House of Lords and the Vote Office in the House of Commons.

Commission for Equality and Human Rights

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will seek to appoint commissioners for the Commission for Equality and Human Rights (CEHR) who reflect specific experiences and backgrounds of the equality strands covered by the CEHR; and when such appointments will be announced.[HL8121]

The Secretary of State will appoint commissioners to the Commission for Equality and Human Rights (CEHR) who as a group have a wide range of knowledge and experience of discrimination and human rights issues and concerns. The announcement of the appointments is likely to be made shortly.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many complaints have been received to date from rejected candidates for appointment as Commission for Equality and Human Rights commissioners; and whether these complaints have been responded to. [HL8122]

By the end of October five candidates whose applications were unsuccessful had made a complaint. Her Majesty's Government have responded to all five candidates.

Compensation: Department for Work and Pensions

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How much the Department for Work and Pensions has paid out in compensation to former employees in each of the past 10 years.[HL7791]

The Department for Work and Pensions does not hold the requested information centrally and it could be obtained only at disproportionate cost, as a physical search of individual archived cases both for the DWP and its precursor organisations would be required.

Compensation: Department of Health

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How much the Department of Health has paid out in compensation to former employees in each of the past 10 years.[HL7792]

The figures have been extracted from the department's losses and special payments register, and all were categorised as ex-gratia payments. Information is available only from 2001-02.

Period

Value

2001-02

£38,480.98

2002-03

£186,766.98

2003-04

£95,330.65

2004-05

£34,983.00

2005-06

£80,000.00

Total

£435,561.61

Construction Industry: Northern Ireland

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether, further to the Written Answer bythe Lord McKenzie of Luton on 27 October(WA 265) concerning the Social Security (Contributions) (Northern Ireland) (Amendment No. 3) Regulations 2001 (SI 2001/597), they will answer the Question asked by the Lord Laird in Question for Written Answer (HL 7831).[HL8046]

As I explained in my earlier Answer, HMRC continually monitors and reviews the operation of exemptions from the payment of national insurance contributions. I cannot enlarge upon what I said.

Consultation: Northern Ireland

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Regarding Section 75 groups recognised by paragraphs 4 and 5 of Schedule 9 to the Northern Ireland Act 1998, whether the groups consulted by the Department for Employment and Learning in Northern Ireland responded to any consultation; to what extent and in what form they addressed equality of opportunity issues, and whether any suggestions were made leading to a change in proposed policies.[HL7559]

For every equality-related consultation issued, policy makers record to whom consultations were issued, who responded and what was stated. This information is included in final policy documents, which are then published on the department's website.

It is difficult to identify specific changes to apolicy as a result of consultation alone, as equalityis mainstreamed effectively into decision-making throughout the policy development cycle.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Rooker on 25 October (HL 7589), why Northern Ireland Members of the House of Lords are not included in the list of those people who are consulted under equality legislation.[HL7964]

The Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister maintains guidance on the distribution of departmental publications which includes a list of individuals, groups and organisations that should be sent all government consultations on policy proposals and proposals for draft Orders in Council and statutory rules. All political parties in Northern Ireland and Northern Ireland Members of the House of Lords are included on this list.

In addition to this core list, each government department holds a supplemental Section 75 consultation list, as required by their equality schemes. This list contains all those individuals, groups and organisations that have requested to be consulted specifically on equality issues.

Northern Ireland Members of the House of Lords are not included on the supplemental Section 75 consultation list because they are already on the core list of those who are always consulted. Both lists are used simultaneously when sending out consultations under equality legislation.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What issues necessitated the Northern Ireland Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety embarking on its Consultation on a Strategy and Action Plan to Promote Equality, Good Relations and Human Rights in Health and Social Services exercise.[HL8080]

The purpose of the consultation is to further the understanding of the department and the health and personal social services (HPSS) of a range of issues affecting people’s access to health and social services and their experience of these services.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is the total budget for the consultative exercise at the Northern Ireland Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, Consultation on a Strategy and Action Plan to Promote Equality, Good Relations and Human Rights in Health and Social Services; how many staff are working on this exercise; and at what management level and by whom such a study was authorised.[HL8081]

The strategy document has been published on the department's website rather than by print-run. A small number of hard copies have been sent to voluntary-sector bodies with a particular interest in equality issues. The non-salary costs of the consultation are therefore limited to postage and stationery and amount to under £200. Four DHSSPS staff have worked on the strategy and action plan, none of whom has worked exclusively or primarily on this project. The development of the strategy and action plan was authorised by the departmental board.

Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000: Access Land

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What procedures are in place for making reasoned decisions on applications for exclusions and restrictions to the rights of access over land mapped as access land under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000; and in particular whether there is a requirement for a site visit in each case; what steps are taken to check that Section 26(3)of the Act is followed with respect to each application; and what are the procedures for considering any objections. [HL8099]

The Countryside Agency (now Natural England) issued guidance under Section 33 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 to the relevant authorities. This sets out criteria for determining applications to exclude or restrict access under the CROW Act. The guidance was approved by the Secretary of State and the relevant authorities are required to have regard to it in making their decisions.

While it is not a statutory requirement to carry out site visits, they have so far been undertaken for the majority of applications received by the relevant authorities.

Restrictions under Section 26 of the CROW Act are for nature conservation and heritage purposes and are not available on application. However, Natural England gives consideration to representations from external organisations and members of the public on these grounds. The relevant authorities consider whether restrictions are required in the light of any advice from the relevant advisory bodies (Natural England for nature conservation and English Heritage for heritage preservation purposes).

Where a long-term restriction is proposed, it is subject to statutory consultation procedures and the relevant authority considers any objections that are received before making its decision.

Crime: Detection Rates

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What are the crime detection rates for each police authority in the United Kingdom.[HL7898]

Detection rates for each police force area in England and Wales are published intable 8.01 of Crime in England and Wales 2005/06. The relevant table can be accessed at www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs06/hosb1206chap8.xls. Statistics for Scotland and Northern Ireland are a matter for the respective Secretaries of State.

Crime: Genital Mutilation

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many prosecutions have been brought for acts of genital mutilation; and [HL7850]

What are their plans for preventing acts of genital mutilation being committed.[HL7851]

Male genital mutilation is not a specific offence. There have been no prosecutions under the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003, nor were there any under the Prohibition of Female Circumcision Act 1985 which it replaced. But the success of the Act cannot be measured only by the number of prosecutions. Prosecution after the fact does not relieve the victim of a lifetime of pain and discomfort. We want to prevent female genital mutilation from happening in the first place. The 2003 Act, with its increased maximum penalty, from five to 14 years’ imprisonment, is designed to deter this unacceptable practice.

Crime: Mental Health Act

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether statistics on crimes committed by individuals while detained or sectioned under the Mental Health Act 1983 are collected by individual police forces.[HL8042]

The information requested is not available centrally. Data collected outside Home Office requirements are a matter for individual chief officers. The statistics collected by forces also vary according to the computer systems used in individual forces.

Home Office statistical bulletin 22/05, entitled Statistics of Mentally Disordered Offenders 2004, gives statistics on admission of unrestricted patients by offence and reconvictions of restricted patients. It does not, however, give statistics on crimes committed by those already detained or sectioned. A copy of this publication is available at www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs05/hosb2205.pdf.

Crime: Non-emergency Number Schemes

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Which areas have applied to take part in the second wave of 101 non-emergency number schemes for reporting certain non-emergency crimes, policing and anti-social behaviour; and which areas have asked for more time to put in an application; and [HL7699]

Whether areas that have been given more time to put in an application to take part in the second wave of 101 non-emergency number schemes for reporting certain non-emergency crimes, policing and anti-social behaviour will have their applications treated on the same basis as those areas that met the original deadline.[HL7700]

The partnership areas (by police force or region and including all local authorities within force or region area) that submitted bids to participate in the second wave of 101 schemes were:

Cumbria

Dorset

Essex

Hertfordshire

Kent

Lancashire

Leicestershire & Rutland

Lincolnshire

London

Nottinghamshire

South Yorkshire

Surrey

Wales

Wiltshire

Two of these areas, Cumbria and Lancashire, had requested further time to refine their bids before final decisions were taken.

The Government have decided not to proceed with the further roll-out of the programme in any areas beyond wave one at this time, although wave one will continue to be maintained. This decision has been taken to allow more time to fully assess the learning from wave one, including optimum costs and benefits. Decisions on future programme development will be deferred pending the outcome of a fuller evaluation of wave one in autumn 2007.

Defra: Budget

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How the Statement by the Lord Rooker on30 October (HL Deb. col. 9) that there has been no £3 million cut to the State Veterinary Service (SVS) this year can be reconciled with the Written Answer by the Parliamentary Secretary for Biodiversity, Landscape and Rural Affairs, Barry Gardiner, on 24 October (HC Deb. cols. 1723–24) that the resource budget for 2006–07 for the SVS will be subject to a £3 million reduction. [HL8095]

The Written Answer by the Parliamentary Secretary for Biodiversity, Landscape and Rural Affairs, Barry Gardiner, on 24 October referred to a £3 million resource reduction. This is consistent with my reply on 30 October that there had been a switch of funding to increase the capital budget by £3 million from the resource budget.

Devolution: Northern Ireland

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they have the power to cap or change the rating system in the event that power is devolved to an Administration in Northern Ireland.[HL8002]

An enabling power has been included within the Rates (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) Order 2006, which would allow a restored Assembly to introduce a range of measures, including a valuation cap, and doing so by bringing forward the necessary regulations. As rating matters are a transferred power within the terms of the Northern Ireland Act, the devolved Administration would have the power to make such changes and in those circumstances it would not be a matter for the Government.

The Government have agreed that a cap should be introduced as part of the St Andrews agreement.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether any new arrangements for intervention in Northern Ireland's affairs by the Government of the Republic of Ireland would be subject to approval by the United Kingdom Parliament or a Northern Ireland Assembly.[HL8003]

At present, institutional and constitutional relationships between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are governed by strands 2 and 3 of the Belfast agreement, relevant international agreements and the related provisions in the Northern IrelandAct 1998 which provide for the North/South Ministerial Council, the British-Irish Council and the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference. Changes to these arrangements would require the approval of either Parliament or any restored Northern Ireland Assembly. Co-operation between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland under these existing frameworks does not necessarily require parliamentary or Assembly approval.

Disabled People

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What legislation has been enacted since 1970 to help disabled people.[HL7777]

Information about legislation enacted since 1970 is available from the Libraries in both Houses. A full analysis of all legislation which has benefited disabled people could be undertaken only at disproportionate cost.

However, this Government are committed to extending rights and opportunities for disabled people and, since taking office in 1997, have introduced several significant pieces of legislation to strengthen the rights of disabled people, including: the establishment of the Disability Rights Commission Act 1999; the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001; extending the coverage of the original DDA from 2004 to significantly improve protection from discrimination in employment and occupation, and to introduce new duties on service providers to tackle physical barriers to accessing their services; the Disability Discrimination Act 2005; and the recent Equality Act.

Drugs: Cannabis

asked Her Majesty's Government:

In respect of juveniles, how many of the total offences for the possession of cannabis broughtto justice so far this year and in (a) 2005-06;(b) 2004-05; and (c) 2003–04 were made up of(i) penalty notices for disorder; (ii) reprimands;(iii) final warnings; (iv) prosecutions; (v) court appearances; and (vi) convictions; and in each case (i) to (vi) what was the proportion of the total offences for the possession of cannabis brought to justice; and [HL7863]

In respect of adults, how many of the total offences for the possession of cannabis broughtto justice so far this year and in (a) 2005-06;(b) 2004-05; and (c) 2003–04 were made up of(i) penalty notices for disorder; (ii) reprimands;(iii) final warnings; (iv) prosecutions; (v) court appearances; and (vi) convictions; and in each case (i) to (vi) what was the proportion of the total offences for the possession of cannabis brought to justice.[HL7864]

It is not possible to provide figures for the total number of cannabis possession offences brought to justice (OBTJ) as one component of the OBTJ measure—offences taken into consideration—cannot be broken down to the requested level of detail.

Available information relates to the number of persons dealt with at court in 2003 and 2004 under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 for unlawfully possessing cannabis. The number of cautions issued to persons aged 18 and over are also provided, as well as the number of reprimands and warnings, which replaced cautions for persons aged between 10 and 17 (inclusive) in England and Wales from June 2000.

Since 2004 those aged 18 and over caught in simple possession of cannabis may have been eligible for a police formal warning, which does not involve an arrest. Data have been available since April 2004; police issued 27,520 formal warnings between April and December 2004.

Emissions Trading

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by the Under-Secretary of State for Defence, Mr Tom Watson, on 10 July (HC Deb, 1430W), for the purpose of the European Union Emission Trading Scheme, on what basis the additional permit costs of establishments are calculated.[HL7713]

To address the shortfall in the initial allocation of free carbon emission permits against the actual carbon emissions between 1 January 2005 and 31 December 2005, additional permits were bought by the Ministry of Defence on the open market at the going rate of exchange.

The calculation of the additional costs depends on whether permits were bought on one or more than one dates, as exchange rates will vary. The required information is being checked by Defence Estates—the MoD agency responsible for these matters—and I will write to the noble Lord as soon as this exercise is complete.

Employment: County Antrim

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What proposals they have to bring employment to the Kells area of County Antrim.[HL8076]

At a local level, Invest NI, through its regional office network, works closely with clients and other stakeholders to encourage entrepreneurship through supporting new business starts and assisting the development and expansion of existing firms. Coupled with its support for innovation and capability development, this approach is intended to facilitate the provision of sustainable employment opportunities throughout Northern Ireland.

The urban regeneration and community development group within the Department for Social Development utilises a number of different policies and regeneration tools to tackle disadvantage and deprivation and consequently promote economic regeneration and employment opportunities.

The department's comprehensive development schemes and urban development grants unlock development opportunities by releasing underused or derelict land and buildings to encourage economic and physical regeneration and promote job creation, inward investment and environmental improvement.

In addition, the department launched the neighbourhood renewal strategy in 2003, aimed at tackling deprivation in the top 10 per cent most deprived areas in Northern Ireland. The strategy has four key strands, one of which is economic renewal. The department aims to encourage business development in these areas and to make sure that people from these areas have the skills they need to participate in the labour market.

The Department for Employment and Learning will support employers who are expanding their workforce or creating new jobs by providing job brokering services and suitable training programmes where appropriate.

The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development delivers the rural development programme 2000-06, which aims to create 1,000 jobs in rural areas in Northern Ireland.

Energy: Nuclear Waste

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How they define the meaning of host communities when considering the long-term storage of nuclear waste; and what are the physical limits of a host community.[HL7990]

In developing the implementation framework for the geological disposal of higher activity radioactive waste, the Government will consider the definition of host communities. The implementation framework will be subject to public consultation next year.

Energy: Savings

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they have proposals for a campaign to identify the benefits of energy saving in Northern Ireland.[HL7884]

Northern Ireland's Strategic Energy Framework includes an energy efficiency target of reducing electricity consumption by 1 per cent per annum from 2007 until 2012. There are already ongoing programmes across various government departments that seek to contribute to this target and wider energy-efficiency objectives by identifying and exploiting the benefits of energy saving.

The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment, which has overall strategic responsibility for energy efficiency, has plans for developing a new energy efficiency strategy, expected to be available in early 2007.

Invest NI supports the work of the Carbon Trust, which has ongoing campaigns to promote the benefits of energy saving across industry and commerce. In the domestic sector, the Northern Ireland Housing Executive has been involved in similar ongoing campaigns, while the Department of Finance and Personnel leads the promotion of energy efficiency in the public sector through a programme of measures. Furthermore, funding from the new Environment and Renewable Energy Fund is being used to enhance action in all these areas.

EU: Maritime Green Paper

asked Her Majesty's Government:

When they expect to publish their response to the European Union's maritime Green Paper.[HL8028]

The Government intend to respond formally to the European Union’s maritime Green Paper once a wide-ranging consultation exercise has been completed. The Government held a conference for UK stakeholders in October that will be followed by a full written consultation exercise in November 2006. The Government will then produce a response for publication in spring 2007, in good time for the European Commission’s deadline for consultation replies (30 June 2007).

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What consultations they are undertaking with interested parties and groups on their responseto the European Union's maritime Green Paper.[HL8029]

The Government intend to consult as widely as possible in preparing the formal UK response to the EU maritime Green Paper. A conference for UK stakeholders from across the maritime sector was held in October and will be followed by a full written consultation exercise in November 2006. In addition, Ministers and officials have been invited to participate in a number of meetings and events organised by different groups and organisations to address various aspects of the Green Paper during the year-long consultation process.

EU: Scrutiny Reserve

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Which proposals for European Union legislation they gave agreement to were passed in 2005 and in 2006 to date on which the Scrutiny Reserve Resolution relating to the work of the House of Lords European Union Select Committee was still in place; and which of these were deemed to be confidential, routine or trivial. [HL7486]

The Government provide the House of Lords European Union Committee with twice-yearly reports of the occasions when Ministers gave agreement to legislative proposals in the Council of Ministers before the committee had lifted its scrutiny reserve. On each occasion, Ministers write to the chairman of the European Union Committee setting out why the Government judged it important to give agreement before scrutiny had been completed. For an accurate assessment of the reasons in each case, we would need to consult the correspondence between the lead Minister and the chairman of the committee and confirm with lead departments their assessment of the reasons. This would incur disproportionate cost.

In 2005, there were 44 occasions. However, that figure was higher than would have been the case had Parliament not been dissolved in April and May due to the general election. In 2006, there have been15 occasions up to the end of June. Figures have yet to be compiled for the period since the end of June. I have placed copies of the reports covering the period from January 2005 to June 2006 in the Library.

Euro

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they have any plans to adopt the European single currency.[HL8129]

The Government's policy on membership of the single currency remains as set out by the Chancellor in his Statement to the House of Commons in October 1997, and again in the Chancellor's Statement on the five tests assessment in June 2003. The determining factor underpinning any government decision on membership of the single currency is the national economic interest and whether the economic case for joining is clear and unambiguous.

European Court of Human Rights: Judgments

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether, in view of the judgment of the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights in Kyprianou v Cyprus, they have any proposals to change the common law on contempt in the face of the court.[HL8023]

The Government do not believe that any change in UK laws is needed as a result of this judgment. The decision by the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights was made on the facts of the particular case.

Food: Bowland Dairy Products

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What action the Food Standards Agency will be taking over the sanctions imposed by the European Commission on Bowland Dairy Products Ltd; and [HL7847]

Whether the Food Standards Agency agrees with the European Commission’s decision to issue emergency measures against Bowland Dairy Products Limited, which resulted in a European Union-wide product recall and the closure of the business; and [HL7848]

Whether they and the Food Standards Agency will be defending any legal action taken against them by the European Commission in connection with Bowland Dairy Products Limited.[HL7849]

Statutory measures have been taken in all four countries of the United Kingdom. These implement Commission Decision 2006/694/EC,

“prohibiting the placing on the market of curd cheese manufactured in a processing establishment in the United Kingdom”.

The United Kingdom fully shares the Commission’s desire to protect public health but was unable to support its proposed measure when it was accepted by member states by a qualified majority in the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health on 6 October, because of genuine differences of view on the science. The Commission has now undertaken to consider the scientific issues with all interested parties.

On 16 October, the Government received aletter from the European Commission, issued under Article 226 of the Treaty of Rome, as amended, setting out the Commission's view that the United Kingdom has failed to correctly enforce the relevant provisions of Regulations (EC) Nos. 853/2004, 178/2002 and 882/2004. The response from the United Kingdom authorities was sent on 23 October, and itis under consideration by the Commission. The response indicates that the Food Standards Agency has advised the industry and the enforcement authorities of a revised approach to the application of EU hygiene rules in the dairy sector which is in line with that taken by the Commission in the decision.

The Government's position on any legal action that may be taken against them in this matter would depend on the full grounds set out for that action.

Food: Health Claims

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What definition has been agreed between European Union member states for generally accepted scientific evidence under the European Union nutrition and health claims made on foods regulation; and what guidance will be available to food manufacturers from the European Food Safety Authority for submissions to the Community register of health claims.[HL8013]

Member states of the European Union have not agreed a definition of generally accepted scientific evidence for the EU regulation on nutrition and health claims made on foods. The Commission,with the assistance of the European Food Safety Authority, is required to give advice to food manufacturers and assistance to small businesses on the preparation and presentation of an application for the authorisation of health claims. We expect this to be addressed once the regulation is published around the end of the year.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What support will be provided by (a) theFood Standards Agency, and (b) the European Food Safety Authority for small and medium-sized enterprises under the European Union nutrition and health claims made on foods regulation.[HL8014]

The Food Standards Agency has worked closely with the Small Business Service and in consultation with small businesses to find ways to help them to comply with the regulation. Detailed guidance is in preparation, tailored to the needs of small business, and the agency will be consulting on this once the EU regulation on nutrition and health claims made on foods is published. The agency has published the developing list of UK health claims on its website to help small businesses to monitor and ensure that the list of generally accepted claims is complete.

The regulation refers to the importance of small businesses in the European food industry and makes it a requirement for the Commission, in close co-operation with the European Food Safety Authority, to make available technical guidance and tools to assist them in the preparation and presentation of an application for authorisation of a claim. We expect this to be addressed once the regulation is published.

Food: Trans Fats

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is their evaluation of the health risks associated with the consumption of trans fats.[HL8069]

Evidence for the health effects of trans fatty acids (TFAs) was reviewed by the Committee on Medical Aspects of Food Policy (COMA) in 1994. COMA concluded that TFAs may increase the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), as they have been shown to raise blood cholesterol levels. These conclusions were supported by the findings of the European Food Safety Authority's risk assessment of TFAs in 2004.

The heart health risks associated with saturated fats outweigh those of trans fats when the relative average population intakes are taken into account.

Foster Parents

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether the remuneration and allowances of foster parents working for local authorities has increased over the past 12 months by more than the rate of inflation; and whether there is now a national minimum allowance.[HL8036]

The Government do not collect information about the level of remuneration that individual foster carers receive. We know, however, that low allowance rates, a lack of transparency about entitlements, and inefficiency in payment systems can impact on foster carers' morale. For that reason, we announced a national minimum allowance for foster carers in July 2006, alongside good practice guidance on payment systems. We expect all fostering providers to work towards meeting the national minimum allowance rates from April 2007.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether the shortage of foster parents, estimated at 8,000 in 2005, has been reduced; whether social services, in conjunction with the British Association for Adoption and Fostering and the Fostering Network, have been successful in (a) improving recruitment, and (b) developing training and support for foster parents.[HL8037]

We do not collect information centrally on the number of foster carers. However, the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) has recently finalised an annual data collection which will provide a range of information about foster carers in England. The return, which will be completed by local authority and independent providers in England, will include information about the number of approved fostering households. We anticipate that data from the returns will be available for analysis in early 2007.

With regard to training and support, evidence from the inspection of fostering services shows that local authorities’ performance is improving, particularly with regard to the management and support ofcarers. However, the Green Paper Care Matters: Transforming the Lives of Children and Young People in Care, published in October 2006, makes clear that more needs to be done to improve support for foster carers. The document outlines proposals for a “tiered” model of placement types, underpinned by a national qualifications framework for foster carers. The proposed model would be structured around the needs of children, with carers trained and skilled to a level matching children’s individual requirements, and would offer a ladder of career progression for carers. The proposals in the Green Paper are subject to consultation.

Freedom of Information

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether as part of the review of the operation of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 they have made an assessment of the introduction in other countries of provisions in freedom of information fees regulations (a) to include reading time, consideration time and consultation time in the calculation of the appropriate limit above which requests could be refused on cost grounds; and(b) to aggregate requests made by any legal person, or persons apparently acting in cohort, to each public authority for the purposes of calculating the appropriate limit.[HL7977]

The Frontier Economics review, published by my department last month, looked only at countries where changes have been made to existing freedom of information fees regimes.

Galileo Satellite Navigation System

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What costs have been incurred by the United Kingdom to date for the Galileo satellite navigation system; and what future cost is anticipated for the completion of the project.[HL8087]

The European Union (EU) and member states of the European Space Agency (ESA) jointly fund the development of Galileo. To date the UK's subscription to the ESA element of the programme has been €142 million. The EU's contribution to the design and development phase of Galileo is made from the EC budget and is estimated by the Commission to be €790 million. The UK makes its contributions to the EC budget as a whole and not to individual programmes within it. The UK's gross contribution to the EC budget is currently around 17 per cent, before abatement.

The deployment and operational phase of the project will be an EU public private partnership (PPP). The provisional budget in the draft Galileo financial regulation is €900 million. There are no reliable estimates of these total costs. An assessment will be presented to Council and Parliament as the budget authorities once the main elements of the contract have been agreed. This is expected in the next few months.

The ESA has recently published an additional call seeking further contributions from its member states for the European Geo-stationary Navigational Overlay Service (EGNOS), which is now integrated with Galileo.

The UK element would be €6 million, if the Government agree to contribute. The deadline for decision is 16 November.

Gulf War Illnesses

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Statement by the Lord Drayson on 19 October (WS 87–88), when the findings on the Vaccines Interactions Research Programme, sponsored by the Ministry of Defence, will be made available in full to the Royal British Legion and placed in the Library of the House.[HL8031]

The findings of the Vaccines Interactions Research Programme have been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals or, in the case of the study of multi-vaccinated staff at DSTL Porton Down, on the MoD website. All are publicly accessible and we have written to veterans’ organisations drawing their attention to them. Where such material is publicly available in this way, the Ministry of Defence does not routinely place copies in the Library of the House.

Home Office: Community Safety and Crime Reduction Group

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What changes they have made within the Home Office Community Safety and Crime Reduction Group in the past 12 months; and why they have made these changes.[HL8008]

The Crime Reduction and Community Safety Group (CRCSG) has undergone a number of changes over the past 12 months to create a structure that better matches resources to priorities. The changes provide a clear organisational focus on crime, drugs and policing policy, including by creating a crime and drugs strategy directorate; strengthen delivery by bringing performance management of police, crime and drugs targets into one directorate, including the work of the former Police Standards Unit; and improve corporate services. In addition, responsibility for information technology-enabled business change projects within the police service has been brigaded together, ahead of the vesting of the National Policing Improvement Agency. Changes are also being made to strengthen group-wide systems for planning, monitoring and managing resources.

Immigration: Fast Track Removal

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What criteria they use to evaluate the success of immigration removal centres; and whether the initial acceptance rate of 1 per cent for new detained asylum seekers in the fast track process at Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre is an indicator of success.[HL7803]

The main purpose of an immigration removal centre is to hold people while identity and basis of claim are established, because of the risk of absconding, as part of a fast-track process or to effect removal.

The criterion used to evaluate the success of immigration removal centres is the rate of removal from the immigration removal estate each month. Cases that are considered straightforward and capable of a quick decision are selected for detained fast track (DFT). The vast majority of claims are unfounded, as evidenced by the low grant rate of1 per cent for asylum, humanitarian protection or discretionary leave at initial decision, and the 98 per cent dismissed appeal rate at Harmondsworth in the second quarter of 2006.

Immigration: High Security Prisons

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many people are currently detained in high security prisons for immigration offences.[HL7976]

It is assumed that the noble Lord is referring to prisoners held in high security prisons solely on the basis of an immigration warrant. On31 October 2006, currently available data show that there were 75 such persons held in prisons designated “high security”.

Indonesia: Munir Said Thalib

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What information they have received about the final report and recommendations of the presidential fact-finding team established in December 2004 to investigate the murder of human rights activist Munir Said Thalib on a flight from Jakarta to the Netherlands on 7 September 2004. [HL8064]

We have received no information about the final report and recommendations of the presidential fact-finding team, as neither have been made public. The Finnish embassy in Jakarta, in relation to Finland’s role holding the EU presidency, made representations to the Indonesian Foreign Minister urging the Government of Indonesia to ensure that the police are fully supported in their ongoing investigations into the death of Munir Said Thalib. We will continue to follow this case closely.

Iran: Export Credit Guarantees

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many export credit guarantees have been granted to British firms involved in activities in Iran in each of the last 10 years; and, in each case, what was (a) the name of the company to which the export credit guarantee was granted; and (b) the nature of the company's business.[HL7746]

In the past 10 years, the Export Credits Guarantee Department has provided support in respect of business with Iran on 43 cases.

It is the ECGD's policy not to disclose details of insurance policies it provides, or the fact of having provided insurance, where it considers the disclosure of such information might increase the likelihood of discriminatory default by the bodies whose payment obligations the ECGD is insuring (because the commercial interests of the ECGD and the UK economy would be prejudiced by such a default). Neither does the ECGD disclose such details where it is aware that the commercial interests of certain exporters are likely to be prejudiced by such a disclosure. Pursuant to this policy, 15 insurance policies, which have been issued in respect of business with Iran in the past 10 years, are not included in the table below.

Year

Name of exporter company

Nature of company's business

2001

Skanska Construction Uk Ltd

Provision of project management services for the construction of a coal mine

2002

Air Products Plc

Air separation plant

Snamprogetti Ltd

Design, supply and construction of a carbon monoxide plant

Shell Research Ltd

Monoethylene glycol plant

2003

Brackett Green Ltd

Design, manufacture and supervised installation of mechanical screening equipment for water intake project

Snamprogetti Ltd

Styrene monomer plant

Cri Catalyst Company Uk Ltd

Plant for Bandar Assaloueh (NPC) petrochemical project

Pipeline Tube And Casing Ltd

Pipeline: pipes, fittings for petrochemical project

Johnson Matthey Plc

Chemical catalysts for petrochemical project

Spx Cooling Technologies Uk Ltd

Cooling tower design for petrochemical project

Pipeline Tube And Casing Ltd

Carbon steel pipes for petrochemical project

Motivair Compressors Ltd

Air compressors

Ele Advanced Technologies Ltd

Machining of turbine blades

Pcc Sterling Ltd

Crude oil heaters

Alderley Systems Ltd

Supply of hydrocarbon liquid, custody metering packages for petrochemical project

2004

Shell Research Ltd

Monoethylene plant

Alderley Systems Ltd

Supply of hydrocarbon liquid, custody metering packages for petrochemical project

Man Ltd

Supply of mechanical, piping and electrical equipment for oil and gas project

Doncasters Middle East Ltd

Turbine blade technology

Spx Cooling Technologies Uk Ltd

Cooling tower design

Salzgitter Mannesmann (Uk) Ltd

Supply of steel and steel-related products for oil and gas project

Capital Valves Ltd

Hydrogen peroxide plant

Capital Valves Ltd

Valves for CO2 gathering plant

Capital Valves Ltd

Valves for CO2 gathering plant

2005

Sembcorp Simon-Carves Ltd

Design, supply and commissioning of a low-density polyethylene plant

Brackett Green Ltd

Mechanical screening equipment

Alderley Systems Ltd

Hydrocarbon metering

2006

Sembcorp Simon-Carves Ltd

Design and supply of equipment and construction of a polystyrene plant

Iraq: Loss of Limbs

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many military personnel serving in the present engagement in Iraq have lost a limb due to combat; and what were the circumstances in each case.[HL7536]

Information on the number of military personnel serving in Iraq who have lost a limb due to combat is not held centrally. To find this number would require the examination of the individual medical records of each patient who has been classified as very seriously injured (VSI) or seriously injured (SI) in Iraq. These records can be viewed for non-clinical reasons only with the express consent of the individual concerned, to protect patient confidentiality.

The Ministry of Defence publishes data on battle and non-battle casualties that resulted from our operations in Iraq from March 2003. The centrally available casualty statistics can be found on the Ministry of Defence website (www.mod.uk/DefenceIntemet/Fact Sheets/OperationsFactsheets/OperationsInIraqBritishCasualties.htm).

Between March 2003 and 31 December 2005,40 UK military and civilian personnel were categorised by the notification of casualty system as VSI from all causes, and 70 personnel have been categorised as SI from all causes in Iraq. These figures will include those who lost a limb due to combat but also other VSIs and SIs sustained as a result of combat and non-combat injuries.

Between 1 January and 30 September 2006, three UK personnel were categorised as VSI and seven as SI from all causes excluding disease. As above, these figures will include those who lost a limb due to combat, but also other VSI and SIs from combat and non-combat causes.

Iraq: Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many military personnel who have served or who are serving in the present engagement in Iraq have been treated for post-traumatic stress disorder; and what is this figure as a proportion of the total number of service personnel who have served in the current operation.[HL7537]

Between1 January 2003 and 30 June 2006, 1897 UK service personnel (regular and Reservists) who were deployed to Iraq on Operation TELIC were diagnosed bythe Defence Medical Services at a department of community mental health with a mental health condition thought to be related to their deployment.

Of these, 278 fulfilled the diagnostic criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder; that represents around 0.3 per cent of service personnel deployed to Iraq in the same period.

Some 829 others were diagnosed with an adjustment disorder. This figure will include some personnel who have post-traumatic symptoms not amounting to full PTSD but with some symptoms of post-traumatic stress.

These figures do not include any personnel who have received treatment for a mental health condition since leaving the Armed Forces. This is because, on leaving the Armed Forces, or on demobilisation for Reservists, it is the long-established practice that responsibility for medical care passes to the NHS. This has been the case since 1948 under successive Governments. To collate figures on medical treatment received by every veteran would therefore require an examination of the records of every NHS trust (and every independent healthcare provider) in the country and could therefore only be done at disproportionate cost.

At a time when personnel have been deployed to other operational theatres before or after deployment to Iraq, it is becoming increasingly difficult to attribute a subsequent mental health condition—which in many cases may not present itself until months or even years later—to service on a specific deployment. The department is therefore reviewing its methods of collating figures on service personnel diagnosed with a mental health condition.

Israel and Lebanon: Cluster Weapons

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they are discussing with the Government of Israel the civilian casualties occurring daily in Lebanon from cluster weapons launched during the war earlier this year; and whether they have requested full details including maps of where they were used to facilitate clearance.[HL8072]

We have held discussions about unexploded ordnance with the Government of Israel (GoI) and called on them to make a public statement about their use of cluster munitions in the recent conflict with Lebanon. We have also asked the GoI to hand over all relevant maps locating unexploded ordnance. We would expect the GoI to investigate any credible allegations of improper use of munitions. We continue to be concerned about levels of unexploded ordnance and cluster munitions in south Lebanon. In response to the recent crisis in Lebanon, the Department for International Development has provided £205,000 to the Mines Advisory Group for clearance of unexploded ordnance and has a commitment to provide a sum of £l million to the UN Mine Action Service for similar tasking.

Israel: Non-proliferation Treaty

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will make representations to the Government of Israel about the prospects of Israel joining the non-proliferation treaty, given that their arsenal of long-range weapons is estimated internationally to be larger than that of the United Kingdom.[HL7870]

We are aware of the widespread assumption that Israel possesses nuclear weapons, but note that the Israeli Government have refused to confirm it. The Government have on a number of occasions called on Israel to accede to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty as a non-nuclear weapon state, and to conclude a full scope safeguards agreement and additional protocol with the International Atomic Energy Agency.

National Insurance

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What percentage of the United Kingdom population resident in the United Kingdom for more than five years by (a) age, and (b) gender are estimated not to possess a national insurance number.[HL8128]

Nepal

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will provide the dates and projected cost of the proposed trip by Home Office officials to Nepal. [HL8022]

We expect the visit by a member of staff from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and a member of staff from the Home Office to take place before the end of November and are currently investigating the most cost-effective travel arrangements.

NHS: Dentistry

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many people in Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and each region of England were registered with a dentist in 1990; 1995; 2000; and 2005; and what those figures are as a percentage of the population in each case.[HL7901]

The data supplied for England are at 30 September each year based on the National Health Service registration periods which applied in each year. The figures for 2000 and 2005 are affected by the reduction in the registration period to 15 months in 1997. Data are not available for 1990. Strategic health authority (SHA) data are not available prior to 1997. The following tables provide the regional data requested for England.

England

1995

2000

2005

27,285,146

24,527,730

24,203,449

Adults and Children Registered with an NHS Dentist

56 per cent

50 per cent

48 per cent

Percentage of Population Registered with a NHS Dentist

1 Personal dental services (PDS) schemes have varying registration periods. To ensure comparability with corresponding general dental services data, PDS registrations for established PDS practices are estimated from 2004 onwards using “proxy registrations”, namely the number of patients seen by PDS practices in the past 15 months.

2 Data for 2000 and earlier do not include those PDS schemes that do not have any registrations (for example, dental access centres) and are therefore not directly comparable with later data.

3 In 1997, the registration period changed to 15 months. Previously, the period for adults was 24 months whilst children's registrations expired at the end of the following calendar year. The introduction of PDS in October 1998 and subsequent growth have also affected the figures.

4 Prison contracts have not been included in this analysis.

General dental services (GDS) and personal dental services (PDS): NHS dental patient registration data at England level, as at30 September, for each specified year (England)

1991

1995

2000

2005

21,570,226

27,285,146

24,527,730

24,203,449

Adult and Children Registered with a NHS Dentist

45 per cent

56 per cent

50 per cent

48 per cent

Percentage of Population Registered with a NHS dentist

Source: The Information Centre for health and social care, NHS Business Services Authority (BSA), Office for National Statistics

General Dental Services (GDS) and Personal Dental Services (PDS): population registered with a dentist, at SHA level and for England, as at 30 September in each specified year.

Strategic Health Authority

1997

2000

2005

England

27,147,063

24,527,730

24,203,449

Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire SHA

1,195,147

1,136,979

1,175,843

Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire SHA

874,093

790,572

804,136

Essex SHA

841,866

824,948

761,559

North West London SHA

927,091

788,973

784,476

North Central London SHA

604,499

516,889

513,558

North East London SHA

713,538

603,645

619,906

South East London SHA

740,707

632,633

626,430

South West London SHA

635,191

530,436

499,416

Northumberland, Tyne & Wear SHA

871,750

774,789

817,238

County Durham and Tees Valley SHA

719,755

661,091

655,776

North and East Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire SHA

906,871

868,704

836,634

West Yorkshire SHA

1,274,203

1,149,755

1,138,407

Cumbria and Lancashire SHA

1,056,559

979,663

925,864

Greater Manchester SHA

1,580,894

1,396,827

1,373,588

Cheshire & Merseyside SHA

1,488,004

1,337,831

1,359,911

Thames Valley SHA

905,167

806,872

794,503

Hampshire and Isle of Wight SHA

961,750

835,434

737,325

Kent and Medway SHA

731,942

699,828

649,273

Surrey and Sussex SHA

1,363,897

1,227,999

1,135,802

Avon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire SHA

1,133,324

1,005,707

990,811

South West Peninsula SHA

844,516

765,894

773,246

Dorset and Somerset SHA

702,884

646,067

618,981

South Yorkshire SHA

800,655

744,260

742,522

Trent SHA

1,508,310

1,443,864

1,388,024

Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland SHA

895,154

822,626

811,696

Shropshire and Staffordshire SHA

756,816

668,314

687,500

Birmingham and The Black Country SHA

1,260,532

1,117,547

1,205,207

West Midlands South SHA

851,948

749,583

775,817

Source: the information centre for health and social care, NHS Business Services Authority (BSA)

1 The postcode of the dental practice was used to allocate dentists to specific geographic areas. SHA areas have been defined using the Office for National Statistics all-fields postcode directory.

2 Dentists consist of principals, assistants and trainees. Information on NHS dentistry in the community dental service, hospitals and prisons is excluded.

3 The data in this report are based on NHS dentists on PCT lists. These details were passed on to the BSA, which paid dentists based on activity undertaken. A dentist can provide as little or as much NHS treatment as he or she chooses or has agreed with the PCT. In some cases an NHS dentist may appear on a PCT list but not perform any NHS work in that period.

4 Most NHS dentists do some private work. The data do not take into account the proportion of NHS work undertaken by dentists.

5 PDS schemes had varying registration periods. To ensure comparability with corresponding GDS data, PDS registrations are estimated using “proxy registrations”, namely the number of patients seen by PDS practices in the previous 15 months. PDS proxy registrations were not estimated for periods before September 2003—actual registrations were used before this date.

General dental services (GDS) and personal dental services (PDS): NHS dental patient registrations as a percentage of the population, at SHA level, as at 30 September for each specified year

Strategic Health Authority

1997

2000

2005

Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire SHA

..

..

51.92%

Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire SHA

..

..

49.31

Essex SHA

..

..

46.27%

North West London SHA

..

..

41.92%

North Central London SHA

..

..

41.30%

North East London SHA

..

..

40.18%

South East London SHA

..

..

41.09%

South West London SHA

..

..

37.39%

Northumberland, Tyne & Wear SHA

..

..

58.10%

County Durham and Tees Valley SHA

..

..

56.93%

North and East Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire SHA

..

..

50.41%

West Yorkshire SHA

..

..

53.73%

Cumbria and Lancashire SHA

..

..

47.77%

Greater Manchester SHA

..

..

53.92%

Cheshire & Merseyside SHA

..

..

57.61%

Thames Valley SHA

..

..

37.14%

Hampshire and Isle of Wight SHA

..

..

40.71%

Kent and Medway SHA

..

..

40.05%

Surrey and Sussex SHA

..

..

43.80%

Avon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire SHA

..

..

44.61%

South West Peninsula SHA

..

..

47.46%

Dorset and Somerset SHA

..

..

50.84%

South Yorkshire SHA

..

..

57.76%

Trent SHA

..

..

51.38%

Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland SHA

..

..

50.57%

Shropshire and Staffordshire SHA

..

..

45.66%

Birmingham and The Black Country SHA

..

..

52.70%

West Midlands South SHA

..

..

49.33%

Source: the information centre for health and social care, the NHS Business Services Authority (BSA) and the Office for National Statistics

1 The postcode of the dental practice was used to allocate dentists to specific geographic areas. SHA areas have been defined using the Office for National Statistics all-fields postcode directory.

2 Dentists consist of principals, assistants and trainees. Information on NHS dentistry in the community dental service, hospitals and prisons is excluded.

3 The data in this report are based on NHS dentists on PCT lists. These details were passed on to the BSA, which paid dentists based on activity undertaken. A dentist can provide as little or as much NHS treatment as he or she chooses or has agreed with the PCT. In some cases, an NHS dentist may appear on a PCT list but not perform any NHS work in that period.

4 Most NHS dentists do some private work. The data do not take into account the proportion of NHS work undertaken by dentists.

5 Not applicable. Population estimates are not available at SHA level prior to 2001.

6 PDS schemes had varying registration periods. To ensure comparability with corresponding GDS data, PDS registrations are estimated using “proxy registrations”, namely the number of patients seen by PDS practices in the previous 15 months. PDS proxy registrations were not estimated for periods before September 2003—actual registrations were used before this date.

The data supplied for Northern Ireland are at30 June each year with the exception of December 1994, as these are the closest available archived data to 1995. Data are not available for 1990.

Northern Ireland December 1994

June 2000

June 2005

992,870

923,974

911,915

Adults and Children Registered with an NHS dentist

60 per cent.

55 per cent.

53 per cent.

Percentage of Population Registered with a NHS dentist

Source: Central Services Agency

1 Figures for registered patients include a small proportion that may reside temporarily elsewhere in the United Kingdom.

2 Population base is mid-year estimate of home population for each year (from General Register Office, Northern Ireland).

Information on dentistry in Wales and Scotland is a matter for the relevant national Administration.

NHS: Financial Reporting

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether strategic health authorities or primary care trusts have any arrangements to enable their staff to raise, in confidence, concerns about matters of financial reporting, disclosure of other information or value for money; and, if so, whether they will give details of the arrangements.[HL7693]

All NHS bodies are required to have appropriate whistleblowing arrangements in place to enable staff to report in confidence on matters of concern such as those raised. The Department of Health subscribes to an independent whistleblowing helpline operated by Public Concern at Work. This is available to NHS staff and is a source of independent advice on whistleblowing issues. In addition, health bodies are required to comply with directions on counter-fraud work and to have a trained local counter-fraud specialist. There is a free telephone reporting line for receiving allegations or reported suspicions of fraud.

NHS: Ministry of Defence Hospitals

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What assessments they have made of the adequacy of the present number of Ministry of Defence hospital units located within National Health Service hospitals to meet current and projected patient volumes; and how these assessments might impact on the planned decision to close the remaining military hospital at Haslar.[HL7541]

Ministry of Defence hospital units (MDHUs) were set up following the decision taken over a decade ago to close military hospitals. It had become clear that our existing military hospitals did not have a sufficient patient volume or range of cases to develop and maintain the skills of our medical personnel. This would, over time, impact upon the level of care we would be able to provide to our military patients. The same rationale lies behind the MoD’s decision in 1998 to withdraw from the Royal Hospital Haslar.

The principal rationale behind MDHUs, located as they are within NHS hospital trusts, is to enable military medical personnel to maintain their clinical skills in an active, up-to-date hospital environment. Our medical personnel are fully integrated within the host trusts, thus ensuring that they retain the essential qualifications allowing them to deploy quickly to areas of conflict, providing the essential medical support to frontline forces. Working with the NHS allows our patients the best possible care from treatment in specialist areas of NHS hospitals.

Service patients can, and do, receive treatment from any NHS hospital, not just those hosting MDHUs; the question of being unable to meet the projected “patient volumes” would not arise. In addition, it should be noted that the current requirement for hospital in-patient beds for military patients still barely represents two full wards nationwide.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by the Under-Secretary of State for Defence, Mr Tom Watson, on 4 September (HC Deb, 1693W), when they expect the new defence medical staff manning requirement figures to be available; and whether these manning requirements will address current shortages in key medical officer and nursing specialities.[HL7543]

The final Defence Medical Services manning requirement figures are expected to be available before the end of this year.

The new requirement figures will indicate the number and type of medical personnel necessary for Defence Medical Services (DMS) to support operations, based on current defence planning assumptions contained in Defence Strategic Guidance 05.

NHS: Recycling

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What targets they have set for paper recycling in the National Health Service.[HL7967]

The Department of Health has not set any targets for paper recycling in the National Health Service in England.

The department collects data from the NHS on estates and facilities-related matters, including recycling, but the figures cover all types of recoverable and recycled waste and are not specific to paper.

The Department of Health publication, Sustainable Development: Environmental Strategy for the NHS, advocates that NHS bodies produce locally based strategies and plans of action against a number of environmental aspects, including waste. This adopts a holistic waste management regime based on the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Waste not, want not report and waste strategy recommendations. This waste management procedure aims to prevent waste occurring in the first instance. Then it advocates a waste hierarchy approach, which addresses the issues of recovery, reuse and recycling.

NHS: Smoking

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What action they propose to take to ensure that National Health Service patients referred by their general practitioner for surgery are treated equally and fairly, regardless of whether they smoke.[HL7928]

Primary care trusts commission surgery services based on their assessment of the needs of their local population and available service capacity. The provision and availability of a particular surgical intervention should be dependent on the clinical need of the individual patient.

An assessment of the benefits of stopping smoking ahead of planned surgery was published in May 2006 by the London Health Observatory. It was entitled Stop before the Op: the short-term benefits of preoperative smoking cessation in London. It estimated that, if London patients admitted for planned surgery were to stop smoking prior to operation, 2,500 to 5,300 fewer post-operative complications would be avoided each year. A copy is available in the Library.

Northern Bank Robbery

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many people have been charged as a result of the raid on the Northern Bank in Belfast in December 2004.[HL7963]

Three persons have been charged in connection with the robbery of the Northern Bank: two with actual robbery and another with an associated offence.

Official Documents: Twelvetrees Crescent Warehouse

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is the estimated financial cost to the Government of the fire at the paper records warehouse in Twelvetrees Crescent, London, in July; whether government property was covered by suitable insurance; whether they implemented a disaster recovery operation; and when Ministers were informed of the loss of government property.[HL7905]

The National Archives (TNA) has collected further detail from those public bodies that reported losses in the Iron Mountain warehouse fire. Because of the varied nature of the information provided, it is not practicable to make an overall estimate of the financial cost to government. However, the information collected on costs, insurance, recovery planning and reporting to Ministers has been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What files were lost by the Crown Estate in the fire at the paper records warehouse in Twelvetrees Crescent, London, in July; what impact these losses will have on the Crown Estate; whether any work or projects will be delayed or abandoned asa result of the fire; and what costs were incurred.[HL7907]

The Crown Estate had 220 boxes of legal documents stored at Iron Mountain, of which 65 were destroyed in the fire. This amounted to around 7,300 documents ranging in date from 1968 to 2005. The documents were leases, deeds, conveyances, licences and the like, some expired and some current.

The immediate impact has been low to date, since the documents have not so far been required. A small pilot study has been undertaken to retrieve copies of some of the documents from other sources, mainly the Crown Estate's own back-up files, and copies of all documents in the pilot were retrieved. No current work or projects will be delayed or abandoned as a result of the fire.

To date, the actual costs incurred are legal costs in obtaining advice on the Crown Estate's potential claim against Iron Mountain and the time and management costs of the Crown Estate's personnel in retrieving copies of documents in the pilot retrieval exercise and any photocopying expenses.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What files were lost by the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control in the fire at the paper records warehouse in Twelvetrees Crescent, London, in July; what impact these losses will have on the institute; whether any work or projects will be affected, delayed or abandoned as a result of the fire; and what costs were incurred.[HL8040]

The files lost in this fire were 71 boxes of scientific test records from the National Institute for Biological Standards and Controls (NIBSC) immunology, haematology and bacteriology divisions and some staff health records of former employees.

Most of the consequences of the losses are contingent on future events. The loss of the scientific records could make replacement of some future international standards more demanding on the NIBSC and collaborating laboratories, although only one of the 15 standards concerned is likely to be replaced in the foreseeable future. The loss of the staff health records might hinder the institute's response to any future legal action by a past employee. The institute is not aware of any such action being considered by any former staff member whose records were affected.

No projects will be abandoned as a result of the fire and no current projects depend on these records. Many test materials are also archived and remain available if the documentary records of their test results do not.

The financial value of the documents lost is impossible to define. So far, the costs incurred by the NIBSC have been modest staff costs for assessing the loss.

Passports: Belfast Office

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many passports have been issued by the Belfast passport office in each of the past five years.[HL8018]

The table below specifies the number of passports issued by the Identity and Passports Service (IPS) Belfast office during the past five full calendar years, and includes the number of passports issued for the current year up to 22 October 2006. These numbers include passports issued based on both applications received from customers by the Belfast office and applications received following internal work transfers.

Calendar Year

Passports issued by the IPS Belfast Office

2001

217,309

2002

241,045

2003

234,508

2004

299,231

2005

362,062

2006*

*311,940

* 2006 data include passports issued up to 22 October 2006

Pensions: Armed Forces

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they were satisfied with the accuracy of the Explanatory Memorandum accompanyingthe Pensions Appeal Tribunal (Armed Forcesand Reserve Forces Compensation Scheme) (Rights of Appeal) Amendment Regulations 2006; and, if not, what action they have taken tocorrect it.[HL7986]

We are satisfied that the Explanatory Memorandum accompanying the Pensions Appeal Tribunal (Armed Forces and Reserve Forces Compensation Scheme) (Rights of Appeal) Amendment Regulations 2006 was accurate, as we had no reason to believe that there would be any adverse reaction to the proposals from the bodies that we consulted.

The ex-service organisations had been briefed in 2005 on the late inclusion of temporary awards into the Armed Forces and Reserve Forces Compensation Scheme Order 2005 and of our intention not to extend appeal rights to such decisions. These groups had already accepted the absence of appeal rights on interim awards, which are in principle similar to temporary awards.

No objections were raised on the lack of appeal rights on interim awards when the Pensions Appeal Tribunals (Armed Forces and Reserve Forces Compensation Scheme) (Rights of Appeal) Regulations 2005 were scrutinised by Parliament early last year. It was therefore felt that temporary awards would similarly not attract any adverse comment.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What representations they have received from the president of the Pensions Appeal Tribunals regarding the Pensions Appeal Tribunals (Additional Rights of Appeal) (Amendment) Regulations 2006, the Pensions Appeal Tribunal (Armed Forces and Reserve Forces Compensation Scheme) (Rights of Appeal) Amendment Regulations 2006 and the Armed Forces and Reserve Forces (Compensation Scheme) (Amendment) Order 2006 (SI 2006/1438); and what action they have taken.[HL7987]

Officials have exchanged correspondence with the president of the Pensions Appeal Tribunals (England and Wales) concerning temporary awards under the Pensions Appeal Tribunals (Armed Forces and Reserve Forces Compensation Scheme (Rights of Appeal) Amendments Regulations 2006. The issues raised have been fully considered and our position has been explained and clarified in correspondence with the president.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What representations they have received from the Select Committee on the Merits of Statutory Instruments regarding the Pensions Appeal Tribunals (Additional Rights of Appeal) (Amendment) Regulations 2006, the Pensions Appeal Tribunal (Armed Forces and Reserve Forces Compensation Scheme) (Rights of Appeal) Amendment Regulations 2006 and the Armed Forces and Reserve Forces (Compensation Scheme) (Amendment) Order 2006 (SI 2006/1438); and what action they have taken.[HL7988]

A letter was received on 12 July 2006 from the chairman of the Select Committee on the Merits of Statutory Instruments in relation to consultation arrangements on the Pensions Appeal Tribunals (Armed Forces and Reserve Forces Compensation Scheme) (Rights of Appeal) Amendment Regulations 2006. A response was provided by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence on 30 October. We understand that these letters will be published by the Merits Committee in due course.

Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is their assessment of the effect of Part 2 of the Planning and Compulsory PurchaseAct 2004 on the planning system in terms of speed, transparency, the level of bureaucracy and general effectiveness; and what actions they are taking to review the operation of the Act.[HL7816]

As part of the implementation of the new planning system, my department set up in 2005 a three-year research project, the Spatial Plans in Practice, which looks at how the new plan preparation process is being implemented. The aim of the research is to assess the overall effectiveness of the new arrangements in plan preparation and to identify areas needing improvement and good practice which will be disseminated to all practitioners. Outputs from the research are being published on a continuous basis during the three-year life of the project.

In addition, the Barker review of land use planning is exploring the efficiency of planning processes as part of a wider review of planning. The review's final report will be issued towards the end of the year.

Planning: Light Pollution

asked Her Majesty's Government:

When they will publish in draft the annexe to Planning Policy Statement 23, Planning and Pollution Control, giving a clear policy statement on light pollution, on which an undertaking to consult was made in 2004.[HL8019]

Police: Retirements

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many police officers by constabulary area in England and Wales retired on grounds of ill health in each of the past five years for which figures are available.[HL7902]

The available data are contained in the attached table.

Police Officer Medical Retirements1 (FTE)2 by Force from 2000-01 to 2004-053

Police Force

2000-01

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

Avon & Somerset

42

42

34

10

16

Bedfordshire

18

8

7

1

3

Cambridgeshire

11

10

8

4

1

Cheshire

22

22

25

15

11

City of London

9

8

4

8

4

Cleveland

9

21

11

11

11

Cumbria

24

7

7

4

3

Derbyshire

12

9

12

2

9

Devon & Cornwall

15

19

9

6

9

Dorset

12

10

3

9

4

Durham

8

15

11

6

7

Dyfed-Powys

14

13

11

7

9

Essex

34

32

21

16

13

Gloucestershire

7

10

13

5

2

Greater Manchester

110

57

33

10

14

Gwent

16

24

22

8

13

Hampshire

17

19

11

11

8

Hertfordshire

13

8

7

3

1

Humberside

20

11

10

2

10

Kent

29

38

21

9

6

Lancashire

30

39

22

13

11

Leicestershire

28

7

9

6

8

Lincolnshire

4

3

10

3

7

Merseyside

47

58

51

25

25

Metropolitan Police

225

219

150

60

64

Norfolk

10

16

13

6

10

Northamptonshire

8

6

3

3

3

Northumbria

28

33

21

9

4

North Wales

31

20

14

6

7

North Yorkshire

37

16

9

8

8

Nottinghamshire

16

14

16

12

15

South Wales

76

50

33

14

8

South Yorkshire

30

30

17

12

3

Staffordshire

9

24

22

14

13

Suffolk

14

13

12

8

3

Surrey

18

24

12

10

6

Sussex

16

16

9

4

12

Thames Valley

20

17

29

17

8

Warwickshire

15

7

8

4

3

West Mercia

28

28

20

11

10

West Midlands

29

30

21

13

12

West Yorkshire

44

61

23

11

5

Wiltshire

5

3

15

2

6

Total

1,209

1,114

819

418

405

1 Data collated on behalf of and published by HMIC. Data for 2005-06 have been collated but not yet been validated. Figures will be available in the HMIC annual report 2005-06 due for publication by March 2007.

2 This table contains full-time equivalent figures that have been rounded to the nearest whole number. Because of rounding, there may be an apparent discrepancy between totals and the sums of the constituent items.

3 Financial year runs 1 April to 31 March inclusive.

Police Officer Retirements1 (FTE)2 for Derbyshire Police Force from 2001-02 to 2005-063

Year

2001-02

2002-034

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

Retirements

54

55

52

73

96

1 Retirements include all medical retirements and ordinary retirements.

2 Full-time equivalent figures that have been rounded to the nearest whole number.

3 Financial year runs 1 April to 31 March inclusive.

4 In 2002-03 leaving figures were not available for quarter 1 (April to June 2002 inclusive).

Police Officer Medical Retirements1 (FTE)2 for Derbyshire Police Force from 2001-02 to 2005-063

Year

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-064

Medical Retirements

9

12

2

9

n/a

1 Data collated on behalf of and published by HMIC.

2 Full-time equivalent figures that have been rounded to the nearest whole number.

3 Financial year runs 1 April to 31 March inclusive.

4 Data not available. Data for 2005-06 have been collated but not yet been validated. Figures will available in the HMIC annual report 2005-06 due for publication by March 2007.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many police officers facing disciplinary charges by constabulary area in England and Wales retired on grounds of ill health before disciplinary hearings were completed in each of the past five years for which figures are available.[HL7903]

The statistics for police officers facing disciplinary charges who retired on grounds of ill health before disciplinary hearings are not held centrally.

Prisons: Strip Searching

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether the strip searching of children at HM Prison Huntercombe and other prison establishments will now be stopped.[HL7509]

Our policy is that all prisoners, including children and young people, may be subject to full searches. Such searches, formerly known as “strip searches”, are a necessary tool in order to maintain security, safety and control in prisons, and there are no plans to alter this approach.

Railways: Central Trains Sunday Services

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport on 2 November (HC Deb, 567W) on train services on the upgraded west coast main line, and further to the Written Answer by the Lord Davies of Oldham on 26 October (WA 259), why they are not able to provide the information requested by the Lord Berkeley in his Question for Written Answer HL 7734.[HL8134]

The Department for Transport does not receive information about the operation of individual trains on specific days. Data of this type are not required by the department to fulfil its responsibilities.

The day-to-day operation of train services, and associated record-keeping, is the responsibility of train operators. Network Rail as the operator of the rail network also holds information on train operations.

Railways: North-west

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Why the north-west regional planning assessment for the railways concludes, as its central case, that rail journeys within the region will increase by 12.3 per cent between 2002-03 and 2031-32.[HL8092]

The figure was based on an assumed GDP growth of 2.1 per cent per annum, trends-based forecasts of population and employment change, and current policy on the level of rail fares. Further details are set out on pages 45 and 50 of the north-west regional planning assessment document of October 2006. Copies are available in the Libraries of the House.

Railways: Train Cancellations

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they are able to provide information on passenger train cancellations and delays broken down by (a) day of week; (b) route; and (c) franchise.[HL8135]

Train running data for the rail network as a whole are collected and processed by Network Rail. The department holds information on passenger train cancellations and punctuality broken down by franchise but not by the day of the week or route.

The following table shows the total cancellations suffered by each franchised train operator for the year to 19 August 2006, the most recent available figures. Punctuality is measured using the public performance measure (PPM) expressed as a moving annual average (MAA). This measure is also included in the table.

PPM MAA and cancellation data for the year running to 19 August 2006

Franchise operator

PPM MAA (%)

Total cancellations

TPE

88.5

746

One

87.2

8,171

Northern

86.5

6,369

FCC

88.1

4,994

GNER

84.1

568

Merseyrail

92.3

2,102

VWC

85.7

638

Central

81.0

7,955

VXC

82.5

650

Arriva

84.1

2,710

Chiltern

92.1

1,016

Silverlink

90.7

3,092

c2c

93.2

1,422

southeastern

87.5

5,502

Gatwick

91.8

489

Southern

89.4

5,783

SWT

90.2

5,677

FGW

83.7

4,798

MML

92.4

395

Rally Ireland

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How much has been spent in Northern Ireland as a result of their support for 2005 and 2006 Rally Ireland.[HL7673]

Final figures for the spend in Northern Ireland as a result of Her Majesty's Government’s support for 2005 and 2006 Rally Ireland are not yet available.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Rooker on 9 October (WA 105) concerning Rally Ireland, when they expect that details of the expenses for the event during 2005 and 2006 willbe completed; and whether they will be published.[HL7677]

It is anticipated that the details of the expenses for the 2005 and 2006 Rally Ireland events will be completed by the end of November 2006. This is dependent on all relevant documentation being provided in a timely fashion to the Northern Ireland Events Company. These details will be included in the post-event evaluation report on the events, which will be available from the Northern Ireland Events Company on request.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Rooker on 9 October (WA 104), how the three public relations firms that quoted for the account of Rally Ireland were selected; and by whom this selection was made.[HL7828]

The Northern Ireland Events Company's contract with Rally Ireland Management Ltd requires three quotes for any spend over €7,500, of which at least one must be from a company based in Northern Ireland. The selection of the public relations firms which quoted for the account of Rally Ireland was a matter for Rally Ireland Management Ltd.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Rooker on 25 October (HL 7678), whether the proposed extent of the part of Rally Ireland that will take place in Northern Ireland was discussed in the initial discussions on the 2007 event; and, if so, what is the proposed extent of that part of the rally.[HL7961]

The proposed extent of the part of Rally Ireland 2007 that will take place in Northern Ireland was included in initial discussions between the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure and Rally Ireland. No decisions have been made on the proposed extent of that part of the rally.

Residential Boats

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the publication of the summary of responses to the consultation paper on security tenure for residential boats in May 2006, what progress they have made on their commitment to take forward, in consultation with stakeholders, best practice guidance and a model written agreement; and [HL7822]

Further to the publication of the summary of responses to the consultation paper on security tenure for residential boats in May 2006, what progress they have made on their commitment to undertake ongoing planning reform so that suitable moorings can be developed and include planning in the best practice guidance; and [HL7823]

Further to the publication of the summary of responses to the consultation paper on security tenure for residential boats in May 2006, what progress they have made on their commitment to encourage sponsoring departments to write to the main navigation authorities outlining the Government’s expectations of the role of the authorities with respect to residential boating.[HL7824]

The Government are scoping how best to take forward the best practice guidance and model agreement, including stakeholder involvement. As part of that work, we will shortly write to the main navigation authorities through their sponsoring departments to commence dialogue on their role in respect of residential boaters. Work on reform of the planning system continues, with Planning Policy Statement 3: Housing to be published later this year.

Roads: Londonderry to Dublin

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What plans they have to upgrade the part of the road from Londonderry to Dublin which passes through the United Kingdom; what is the nature of the proposed upgrade; how the upgrade will be funded; and when the improvements will take place.[HL7960]

The chief executive of Roads Service has written to the noble Lord in response to this question. The text of the letter is as follows.

The Londonderry to Dublin corridor comprises the A5-N2-N32-M1. The section of the route in Northern Ireland forms the western key corridor from Londonderry through Strabane and Omagh to Aughnacloy on the A5. This is one of five key transport corridors identified in the regional transportation strategy for Northern Ireland (RTS). The regional strategic transport network transport plan (RSTNTP), a daughter document of the RTS, contains proposals costing some £1,000 million to develop the strategic road network up to the end of 2015. Schemes on the western corridor included in the current strategic road improvement (SRI) programme include:

Scheme Name

Description

£m

Position

A5 Newtownstewart Bypass

2.6 kilometre single carriageway bypass

8.2

Complete

A5 Strabane Bypass Stage 2

2.6 kilometre single carriageway bypass with 1.4 kilometre side roads

5.0

Complete

A5 Omagh Throughpass 3

2.4 kilometre single carriageway extension to throughpass

10.0

Complete

A5 Tullyvar (PPP Package 2)

3.1 kilometre single carriageway realignment with climbing lanes each way

6.4

Preparation Pool*

A5 Strabane Bypass Stage 3

New 1 kilometre single carriageway bypass extension

4.1

Preparation Pool*

A5/N14 Strabane Bypass-Lifford Link

Upgrade of link between the A5 in Strabane and N14/N15 at Lifford

3.0

Forward Planning Schedule**

* Preparation Pool—high priority schemes that are being designed and progressed through the statutory procedures and are expected to be implemented within the next five years.

** Forward Planning Schedule—schemes that are expected to be implemented within the next five to 10 years.

The investment strategy for Northern Ireland, which was developed by the Strategic Investment Board for Northern Ireland (ISNI) and announced in December 2005, envisages a further investment of £400 million on major works schemes on the strategic road network. Roads Service is currently considering the responses to the consultation document for an expanded SRI programme that would be expected to commence in the latter part of the 2005-15 RSTN plan period.

The consultation document proposes a significant road improvement scheme on the western key transport corridor between Londonderry and Victoria Bridge, south of Strabane. The scheme would provide 30 kilometres of new route (ie, off line), to 2+1 standard, and would include bypasses of New Buildings, Magheramason, Strabane and Sion Mills at an estimated cost of £130 million, at 2005 prices.

I should add that all schemes listed above will be subject to detailed economic appraisal, clearance of the relevant statutory procedures, and the availability of funds through the normal budgetary processes.

Roads: Speeding

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many successful prosecutions there have been in Northern Ireland for speeding on a public road in each of the last five years.[HL7886]

The following table provides the number of convictions for speeding on a public road covering the calendar years 2000 to 2004, the latter being the most up-to-date available at present.

It should be noted that data are collated on the principal offence rule, thus only the most serious offence with which an offender is charged is included.

Convictions for speeding on a public road 2000-041,2

Year

Number of Convictions

2000

3,847

2001

3,769

2002

3,336

2003

3,191

2004

3,248

1. Data for 2004 are provisional.

2. Data include convictions for “L drivers exceeding 45mph”, “R drivers exceeding 45mph” and “exceeding special speed limits”.

Sexual Orientation Regulations

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What response they received to the consultation on the sexual orientation regulations initiated by the Women and Equality Unit in March; whether they have taken account of the concerns expressed by the Society of Christian Lawyers; and when they propose to lay the draft regulations.[HL7924]

St Andrews Agreement

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether the St Andrews agreement is binding in international law; and whether it has the same status as the 1998 Belfast agreement.[HL8078]

The document published by the British and Irish Governments on 13 October 2006 entitled The St Andrews Agreement records the understandings and commitments reached by the two Governments on the matters discussed in St Andrews on 11 to 13 October, to which they are fully committed and which they intend to take forward actively with the political parties in Northern Ireland. The St Andrews agreement focuses on achieving full and effective operation of the political institutions established by the 1998 Belfast agreement.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they gave an undertaking to the Government of the Republic of Ireland atSt Andrews on 13 October that legislation would be introduced in the United Kingdom Parliament with a view to enactment by 21 November 2006 to give force to the agreement reached at St Andrews; whether they consulted Parliament before giving any such undertaking; and what effect the failure of Parliament to pass such legislation by theabove date would have on the St Andrews agreement.[HL8079]

The St Andrews agreement contained a commitment that, if the Northern Ireland political parties endorsed the agreement by 10 November, the Government would bring forward legislation to Parliament to give effect to the agreement. That is a matter for the Government; Parliament's role is to consider the legislation once introduced.

If the legislation is not in force before the25 November 2006 deadline in the Northern Ireland Act 2006, Schedule 3 to that Act would come into immediate effect.

Tax Credits

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What number and proportion of lone parents work below the lower earnings limit but, because they are in receipt of tax credits, qualify for the national insurance stamp.[HL8126]

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What number and proportion of lone parents qualify for tax credits through holding more than one 16-hours per week part-time job.[HL8127]

A lone parent does not need to be in work to qualify for tax credits as they will be eligible for child tax credit.

For working tax credit, only the total number of hours worked is required for tax credit purposes. Details of number of hours worked for each job a claimant has is not required.

Taxation: Inheritance Tax

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they intend to restore the real value of the exemption from inheritance tax (originally capital transfer tax) for transfers to non-domiciled spouses introduced in the Finance Act 1975, bearing in mind that it has not been raised in line with inflation since 1982.[HL8094]

Taxation: Marginal Withdrawal Rates

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is the highest marginal combined tax and benefit withdrawal rate for people in work which will not adversely affect work incentives.[HL7931]

High marginal deduction rates from tax and benefit withdrawal do not affect an individual's decision to work although they can influence decisions to increase their earnings. Changes in marginal deduction rates cause people in different circumstances to respond in different ways. It is therefore difficult to draw general conclusions about behaviour, but there is no evidence to suggest that there is a particular rate above which people's incentives to work are affected.

However, the Government have aimed to ensure that the number of people facing very high rates is minimised. Since 1997 the number of families facing rates of over 70 per cent has fallen by half a million.

Terrorism: Control Orders

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What (a) income support, and (b) benefits individuals subject to control orders mayreceive; and what legislation currently regulates this.[HL7787]

There is no direct link between entitlement to DWP-administered benefits and control orders; as such, there is no specific legislation regulating this.

In order to receive income support or any other benefit, a claimant must meet the specific criteria for that benefit. A person subject to a control order who is entitled to benefit will receive the rate of benefit appropriate to their age and circumstances.

Information is not available on the number of individuals subject to control orders who are in receipt of benefits.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many control orders were issued in the first two quarters of 2006 under the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005; and, of these, how many were orders derogating from the European Court of Human Rights; and [HL7896]

How many control orders were issued in the last two quarters of 2005 under the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005; and, of these, how many were orders derogating from the European Court of Human Rights.[HL7897]

Reports on the exercise of the Secretary of State's control order powers during 2005 and 2006 can be found in the Written Ministerial Statements made on: 16 June 2005 (Official Report, col. 23WS),10 October 2005 (Official Report, col. 9WS), 12 December 2005 (Official Report, col. 131WS), 13 March 2006 (Official Report, col. 88WS), 12 June 2006 (Official Report, col. 48WS) and 11 September 2006 (Official Report, col. 121WS).

To date, the Government have not sought a derogation from Article 5 of the ECHR; therefore no derogating orders have been made.

Traffic Calming: East Belfast

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they have made an assessment of the need for traffic calming measures for the Ballyhackamore area of East Belfast.[HL8130]

The chief executive of the Roads Service (Dr Malcolm McKibbin) has been asked to write to the noble Lord in response to this question.

Letter from Dr Malcolm McKibbin to Lord Laird dated November 2006.

You recently asked Her Majesty's Government a Parliamentary Question about whether an assessment had been made of the need for traffic-calming measures for the Ballyhackamore area of east Belfast. As this issue falls within my responsibility as Roads Service chief executive, I have been asked to reply.

First, I should explain that the Roads Service is committed to play its part in achieving the targets set by the Northern Ireland Road Safety Strategy through the implementation of road safety engineering measures, and in this context we give a high priority to the introduction of traffic-calming schemes in residential areas.

However, the Roads Service receives many requests for traffic-calming measures and, although the funding allocated to this type of work has significantly increased in recent years, demand still outstrips our capacity to meet all such requests, and priorities have to be established. The prioritisation of work within any particular area is never easy; however, I can assure you that the Roads Service does attempt to prioritise all schemes in a fair and equitable manner concentrating the available finance in those areas where the need is greatest.

In helping to prioritise areas for the provision of traffic-calming measures, Roads Service officials take account of a number of factors including: collision history, volume and speed of vehicles, and environmental factors such as the presence of schools, playgrounds, shops et cetera. Of these factors, the highest priority is given to safety, resulting in those sites with an accident history being treated before those with a reasonably good safety record. Implicitly, this assessment process takes cognisance of the overall cost of road traffic collisions to society in general. This approach has led to a substantial reduction in collisions and personal injuries at treated sites over a number of years.

With regard to the Ballyhackamore area of Belfast, I can advise that Roads Service has carried out a number of traffic-calming assessments, although the only site treated to date has been Wilgar Street.

Our local officials have also recently carried out consultations on proposals to provide traffic calming features in the following streets located in the Ballyhackamore area:

Earlswood Road

Belmont Church Road

Sydenham Avenue

Holland Drive

Kirkliston Park

Hewitt Parade

Enid Drive

Enid Parade

I understand that a number of objections have been received, and these will have to be considered fully before a decision is taken to proceed with the traffic-calming measures.

In addition, preliminary assessments have also been carried out on the following streets, with a view to possible inclusion within our three-year programme of works, subject to their being favourably prioritised against competing locations:

Dundela Avenue

Dundela Gardens

Belmont Avenue

Clonlee Drive

Halstein Drive

Irwin Avenue

Transport: Belfast

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they have any plans to improve the traffic flow in Belfast.[HL8016]

The chief executive of the Roads Service has written to the noble Lord in response to this Question. The text of the letter is as follows:

“The Belfast Metropolitan Transport Plan (BMTP) was published in November 2004 and takes forward the strategic initiatives of the Regional Transportation Strategy (RTS) for Northern Ireland which was accepted by the Northern Ireland Assembly in 2002. The BMTP sets out transport proposals for the Belfast Metropolitan Area to be implemented or commenced by 2015 and also supports the development proposals contained in the draft Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan (BMAP) published by the Department of the Environment (DoE) in 2004.

Within the Transport Plan there is a high priority given to public transport, walking and cycling, as large urban areas like the Belfast Metropolitan Area offer the best opportunities to reduce reliance on the private car. Measures to improve rail frequencies and bus services, effective parking controls, better walking and cycling networks and options for rapid transit should all help in this regard. The BMTP sets out a range of proposals to tackle these problems, under the headings of Walking and Cycling, Public Transport, Highway Network and Management. Key features include: improvements in facilities for walking and cycling; step-change in quality of public transport provision, including an ambitious Park and Ride programme, Quality Bus Corridor programme, improvements to rail services and the commencement of a Rapid Transit network; Highway improvements focused on improving the efficiency and safety of the main strategic network; Better management of the transport systems through parking controls, the application of technology; and Measures to change travel attitudes.

Whilst a modal shift from private car to more sustainable modes of travel is unlikely to take effect until towards the end of the Plan period, there are a number of road improvement schemes identified in the Transport Plan that are necessary to remove existing bottlenecks and improve traffic flows on the road network. These include: Ml/Westlink; A55 Outer Ring Road; A2 Sydenham Bypass; M2 widening between Sandyknowes and Greencastle; and completion of south section of the City Centre Ring Road (Bankmore Link).

As you may be aware, the highest profile scheme, the Ml/Westlink/M2 project, is under way and programmed for completion by Spring 2009. This will significantly improve traffic flows on the main strategic route connecting the Ml and M2 motorways through Belfast. As outlined above, road improvement schemes are not the only element of the Plan that will help to improve traffic flows. This week the Department took over responsibility for the enforcement of parking offences in NI and this will also make a contribution to improved traffic flows on Belfast's local road network.

Further details of the proposals in the Transport Plan can be obtained from the BMTP website https://pronet.wsatkins.co.uk/bmtp/. A copy of the BMTP Transport Plan is also available in the House Libraries”.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they plan to consider proposals for a rapid transit system from Greater East Belfast into the city centre.[HL8017]

The Department for Regional Development is currently in the process of appointing consultants to carry out economic appraisals of both EWAY, operating between Dundonald and Belfast city centre, and CITI-route, linking Belfast city centre and Belfast City Airport through the Titanic Quarter of the Harbour Estate in the Bangor Corridor, as pilot rapid transit routes.

Transport: Heavy Goods Vehicles