Skip to main content

Written Answers

Volume 689: debated on Wednesday 21 February 2007

Written Answers

Wednesday 21 February 2007

Ambulance Service: Northern Ireland

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many first and co-responder training schemes were introduced by the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service in 2005-06; and how many are planned for 2006-07. [HL1917]

The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) did not provide any formal training schemes for first and co-responder projects during 2005-06 nor are there any planned for 2006-07. NIAS has, however, facilitated and supported four schemes that have been established by local communities and organisations; namely, Lifesavers West, Public Access Defibrillation Scheme (North West Belfast, South Antrim), Island Magee and Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (not yet live).

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What percentage of ambulance personnel in Northern Ireland are qualified paramedics. [HL1918]

Currently 46 per cent of front-line accident and emergency personnel are qualified as paramedics.

Ambulance Service: Single-manned Paramedic Vehicles

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many single-manned paramedic vehicles are currently operating in Northern Ireland. [HL1915]

There are nine single-manned paramedic vehicles (known as rapid response vehicles) currently operating in Northern Ireland.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Where the single-manned paramedic vehicles operating in Northern Ireland are located. [HL1916]

Three of the rapid response vehicles are located in the western division and based at Altnagelvin, Omagh, and Enniskillen ambulance stations. One vehicle is located in the southern division, based at Armagh. Two vehicles are located in the northern division, based at Coleraine and Antrim. The remaining three vehicles are located in the eastern division, based at Lisburn, Bangor, and Ardoyne.

Although based at these locations the rapid response vehicles are deployed throughout the day as and when required.

Armed Forces: Defence Logistics

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is the current position on the progress of the defence logistics transformation programme; and when this process is expected to be complete. [HL1957]

The defence logistics transformation programme continues to deliver significant benefits to the UK's Armed Forces. It is not only driving improvements in the effectiveness of the logistics support provided to the front-line commands, but also reducing the costs associated with providing that support.

Against the Defence Logistics Organisation's (DLO’s) strategic goal of reducing output costs by 20 per cent, the programme had delivered audited savings of £755 million by the end of 2005-06. This enabled the DLO to exceed its strategic goal target by £100 million. In 2005-06, the programme also contributed a further £660 million of audited savings against an in-year efficiency target of £538 million.

The principles of logistics transformation instigated by the programme are becoming increasingly embedded throughout the MoD including the front-line commands. They will also be at the heart of Defence Equipment and Support, the new integrated procurement and support organisation that forms in April 2007.

Armed Forces: Joint Deployed Inventory System

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What improvements have been made to the visibility in transit asset logging system in advance of the introduction of the management of the joint deployed inventory (MJDI) system; and whether the chief of defence logistics still expects the MJDI system to reach (a) initial operating capacity by February 2007, and (b) full operating capacity by October 2007. [HL1956]

The visibility in transit asset logging (VITAL) system has been improved by enabling it to link with other systems (such as the GLOBAL stock control system and the unit supply and accounting system), through software updates, data cleansing, by making it more user friendly and by improving training. CONVIS stage 1 has just been rolled out across defence and ensures the supportability of VITAL beyond 2007, bringing increased practical benefits to users with a more responsive and automated system. CONVIS stages 2 and 3 will continue to deliver improvements through to early 2008.

The expectation is that management of the joint deployed inventory (MJDI) initial pilot operating capability will be rolled out in March 2007, with contract award in late 2007, followed by system development and roll-out. MJDI full operating capability is currently planned for 2010, but this is dependent on approval and implementation of the suppliers' proposals, which are currently being developed.

Armed Forces: Steven Roberts Inquiry

asked Her Majesty's Government:

With reference to the published findings of the board of inquiry into the death of Sergeant Steven Roberts in March 2003, whether the content of Royal Armoured Corps crew courses includes training on the risks of employing weapons systems below the computed minimum range; whether such training is now supplemented with written procedures or caveats on the use of all armoured fighting vehicle weapons systems at very close range engagements; and what proportion of relevant personnel have now undertaken such training. [HL1954]

The Royal Armoured Corps (RAC) delivers gun crew courses for Challenger 2 and the combat vehicle reconnaissance (tracked) SCIMITAR.

Following the board of inquiry into the death of Sergeant Roberts, changes have been made to all Challenger 2 crew courses to include training on the risks of employing weapons systems below the computed minimum range. All Challenger 2 crewmen are now conversant with the implications of firing weapons systems below the computed minimum range.

RAC crews expecting to deploy on operations are instructed by gunnery staff on these matters and individuals likely to conduct short-range shooting receive a formal machine gun shooting lecture as part of their pre-deployment training.

The other arms and services that use armoured fighting vehicles (AFV) are being directed to make the necessary changes to all courses (including pre-deployment training), wherever this is required, to ensure that personnel, at all appropriate levels, understand the implications of using AFV weapons systems at short range.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

With reference to the published findings of the board of inquiry into the death of Sergeant Steven Roberts in March 2003, what changes in procedures and practices have been made to improve the working of the supply chain and to ensure the correct and efficient use by all concerned of logistic information systems. [HL1955]

Significant improvements have been made since 2003 to the joint supply chain. The core tracking system, VITAL (visibility in transit asset logging), has been integrated with deployed inventory systems, and VITAL terminals have been located alongside the unit quartermasters in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Improvements to training, policy and process have made it easier for troops to operate the system. Further improvements to VITAL are planned to enable a simpler, more streamlined method of tracking consignments. These changes will also improve the quality and coverage of the data held by VITAL.

Additionally, the joint demand tracking system has been successfully rolled out to the three services, which allows any unit with access to the intranet to retrieve data relating to a demand and its location.

The management of the joint deployed inventory project is developing the current RAF inventory control system so that it can be deployed with all three services to deliver visibility of all stocks held within an operational theatre and provide common processes across defence.

Separately, it should be noted that following the board of inquiry report into Sergeant Roberts, those on operations are now issued with their own set of enhanced combat body armour before deploying.

Autism: Middletown Initiative

asked Her Majesty's Government:

With reference to the proposed Middletown Autism initiative in Northern Ireland, how the proposed building complex was acquired; when it was acquired; from whom it was acquired; by whom; what is the physical extent of the property; and what are the total capital and estimated revenue costs to date. [HL1750]

The Middletown Centre for Autism building complex was acquired through a legal conveyancing agreement on 30 June 2004. The site was purchased from the St Louis Order by the Middletown Centre for Autism (Holdings) Limited, a company limited by guarantee, set up with funding from the Department of Education Northern Ireland and the Department of Education and Science, Ireland.

The Middletown Centre for Autism is located in grounds of circa 20 acres, including the former St Joseph's Adolescent Centre, St Louis Primary School, residential accommodation, convent buildings and other ancillary buildings.

The capital costs to date have been £3 million for the purchase of the site, of which DE paid £1.5 million. The estimated capital cost of the refurbishment project is £3.6 million, of which DE will pay half. The project costs for DE from 2002 to date are approximately £0.6 million and the estimated revenue costs of the centre are some £3 million per annum when fully operational, of which DE will pay half. A copy of the purchase agreement was placed in the Library in 2005.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is the proposed Middletown Autism initiative; what feasibility study has been undertaken and by whom; and whether they will place in the Library of the House a copy of the findings and recommendations of the feasibility study. [HL1751]

The proposed Middletown Autism initiative is to develop a centre of excellence in Middletown, Co. Armagh for the education of children and young people with autism. The development of the centre is being taken forward by the Department of Education in Northern Ireland and the Department of Education and Science, Ireland. The centre will offer the following services: an educational assessment service, a learning support service, a training and advisory service and a research, dissemination and information service.

The following feasibility studies have been undertaken: an initial economic appraisal for the Department of Education's joint purchase of the site through executive programme funds in 2001, completed by the Department of Education's economic advisory unit; a building masterplan for the site completed in 2006 on behalf of the Department of Education and the Department of Education and Science by Anthony Reddy Associates; and a review of the original economic appraisal completed by the Department of Education's special education branch in conjunction with the economic advisory unit. This review examined the feasibility of the Middletown site taking account of the recommendations in the building masterplan; and examined the ownership and management of the centre. A copy of the 2001 economic appraisal had previously been placed in the Library and a copy of the 2006 economic appraisal has been placed in the Library.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether the proposed Middletown Autism initiative relates directly to the physical extent of the Middletown base. [HL1752]

The centre of excellence for the education of children and young people with autism in Middletown will provide services to schools, teachers and parents throughout Northern Ireland and Ireland. Its services will not be restricted to the Middletown area. Parents and children will be able to access the educational assessment and learning support services, irrespective of their home location. Similarly schools, teachers and others working in the education of children and young people with autism will be able to access the training and advisory, and research and information services throughout Northern Ireland and Ireland.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many children, living within a 10-mile radius of the proposed Middletown Autism Centre, have been assessed as having autistic syndrome disorder. [HL1754]

There are 33 children within a 10-mile radius of the proposed Middletown Centre for Autism who have had a health assessment of autism. There are 67 children with an educational assessment of autism attending schools which are within a 10-mile radius of the centre and three pre-school children with an educational assessment of autism living within a 10-mile radius of the centre. It is not possible to provide the actual number of all school age children with an educational assessment of autism who live within a 10-mile radius of the centre. I should like to reiterate the response to PQ/07/296 that the centre will provide services to children throughout Northern Ireland and Ireland.

Autism: Northern Ireland

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Why it has not been possible to identify the person responsible for planning and directing the government programme to deal with the increasing incidence of autistic syndrome disorder (ASD) in Northern Ireland. [HL1755]

Policy in relation to autistic spectrum disorders is not the responsibility of one government department or one individual. Responsibility lies with the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS) and the Department of Education (DE).

Within DHSSPS, Mr Leslie Frew is responsible for policies for health service provision for learning disability services including those for children with autism.

Within DE, Ms Dorothy Angus is responsible for policies for educational services for children with autism.

Benefits

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is the total distribution of all forms of income support and other financial benefits in each county in England in the past financial year. [HL1725]

The available information is in the table.

English Counties 2005-06 £ million

(a) Income Support and Jobseeker's Allowance-income based

(b) Pension Credit

(c) Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit

(d) Other Benefits

Greater London

2,113

948

4,312

6,841

Greater Manchester

634

327

801

3,356

Merseyside

455

214

2,045

2,130

South Yorkshire

276

160

346

1,783

Tyne and Wear

272

157

395

1,554

West Midlands

709

397

881

3,359

West Yorkshire

426

237

546

2,605

Bedfordshire

46

29

84

435

Buckinghamshire

39

28

86

535

Cambridgeshire

55

43

107

652

Cheshire

78

54

125

923

Cornwall and Isles of Scilly

76

63

133

771

Cumbria

69

49

110

748

Derbyshire

100

76

155

1,047

Devon

76

74

160

1,080

Dorset

36

36

89

647

Durham

99

64

146

775

East Sussex

74

53

152

782

Essex

173

121

320

1,744

Gloucestershire

64

49

123

739

Hampshire

106

80

230

1,526

Hertfordshire

114

79

243

1,209

Kent

195

125

355

1,771

Lancashire

186

125

268

1,625

Leicestershire

48

48

80

771

Lincolnshire

82

71

130

1,005

Norfolk

113

89

194

1,224

Northamptonshire

79

55

128

748

Northumberland

47

32

67

457

North Yorkshire

51

48

106

785

Nottinghamshire

107

67

150

1,049

Oxfordshire

56

38

133

657

Shropshire

27

29

54

414

Somerset

54

48

112

728

Staffordshire

89

73

140

1,107

Suffolk

79

65

151

947

Surrey

82

60

203

1,247

Warwickshire

54

46

101

676

West Sussex

76

61

176

1,075

Wiltshire

36

32

84

537

Worcestershire

61

49

110

737

Total

7,613

4,499

14,336

52,799

Source: DWP Benefit expenditure tables and DWP Information Directorate: Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study

Notes:

Figures are for 2005-06 rounded to the nearest £million and are consistent with Pre-Budget Report 2006.Totals may not sum due to rounding.

Income Support, including Jobseeker's Allowance income-based, is in column (a). Other main Income based benefits are in columns (b) and (c).

In column (d) are the principal benefits, State Pension, Winter Fuel Payments, Attendance Allowance, Incapacity Benefit and Severe Disablement Allowance, Jobseeker’s Allowance-contribution based, Disability Living Allowance, Carer's Allowance and Bereavement Benefits.

Demonstrations

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What plans the Crown Prosecution Service has in the case of the rally in support of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and its leader Prabhakaram, held on 25 July 2006. [HL2038]

It would not be appropriate for the Crown Prosecution Service to comment on what plans it might or might not have in a case where there could be an ongoing police investigation.

Elections: Northern Ireland

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many new electors have been registered in each of the 18 constituencies in Northern Ireland since the completion of the electoral registers on 16 October 2006. [HL2001]

16 October 2006 was the deadline for registering to be included in the published 1 December register. The following table shows an overall increase from the 1 December register to the current register, which will be in use for the forthcoming March election, of 3.8 per cent. This represents an addition of 40,849 names to the electoral register.

Constituency

Register 1.12.06

Revised Register Feb 07

Per cent change Dec 06 - Feb 07

Belfast East

48,570

50,053

+3.1

Belfast North

47,369

49,629

+4.8

Belfast South

47,190

49,177

+4.2

Belfast West

45,923

51,057

+11.2

East Antrim

55,658

57,025

+2.5

East Londonderry

55,056

56,491

+2.6

Fermanagh & South Tyrone

64,039

66,410

+3.7

Foyle

62,521

65,430

+4.7

Lagan Valley

68,430

70,654

+3.3

Mid Ulster

59,358

61,783

+4.1

Newry & Armagh

68,812

71,387

+3.7

North Antrim

70,868

73,332

+3.5

North Down

56,420

57,947

+2.7

South Antrim

63,983

66,046

+3.2

South Down

69,951

72,340

+3.4

Strangford

65,504

67,158

+2.5

Upper Bann

69,588

71,244

+2.4

West Tyrone

55,876

58,802

+5.2

Total

1,075116

1,115965

+3.8

Energy: Hydro Generation

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they have carried out or commissioned any research into the feasibility of run-of-river hydropower generating facilities involving greater use of individual river stretches and weirs. [HL1842]

The last review of run-of-river hydro commissioned by the Department of Energy was published in 1989, titled Small Scale Hydroelectric Generation Potential in the UK. The British Hydro Association, DTI and the Scottish Executive are considering the case for an updated study.

Gulf War Illnesses

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What recent representations they have received from the National Gulf Veterans and Families Association on Gulf War illnesses; and what action they will take as a result of these representations. [HL1935]

My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence and Minister for Veterans (Derek Twigg) recently received a letter from the vice-chairman of the National Gulf Veterans and Families Association about “Gulf War syndrome” and the department's handling of war pensions claims from veterans of the 1990-91 Gulf conflict. The vice-chairman has accepted an invitation to discuss these and other issues with the Minister for Veterans. The Minister has offered a number of dates and we hope that a meeting will take place shortly.

Health: MRSA and C. difficile

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many people died as a result of methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection in each strategic health authority area in England and Wales in (a) 2004; (b) 2005; and (c) 2006; and [HL1610]

How many people died as a result of methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection in mental illness hospitals in each strategic health authority area in England and Wales in (a) 2004; (b) 2005; and (c) 2006; and [HL1611]

How many people died from Clostridium difficile in each strategic health authority area in England and Wales in (a) 2004; (b) 2005; and (c) 2006; and [HL1612]

How many people died from Clostridium difficile in mental illness hospitals in each strategic health authority area in England and Wales in (a) 2004; (b) 2005; and (c) 2006. [HL1613]

I very much regret the delay in answering the noble Lord's Questions which were transferred to the Treasury on 15 February. The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, National Statistician dated 21 February 2007.

As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your recent questions asking:

How many people died as a result of methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection in each strategic health authority area in England and Wales in (a) 2004; (b) 2005; and (c) 2006. (HL1610);

How many people died as a result of methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection in mental illness hospitals in each strategic health authority area in England and Wales in (a) 2004; (b) 2005; (c) 2006. (HL 1611);

How many people died from Clostridium difficile in each strategic health authority area in England and Wales in (a) 2004; (b) 2005; and (c) 2006. (HL 1612); and

How many people died from Clostridium difficile in mental illness hospitals in each strategic health authority area in England and Wales in (a) 2004; (b) 2005; (c) 2006. (HL1613)

Analyses of deaths involving methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Clostridium difficile in England and Wales are undertaken annually by ONS. The latest year for which figures are currently available is 2004.

Numbers of deaths in 2004 involving MRSA/Clostridium difficile are provided in the table below for strategic health authorities in England, and for Wales.

In 2004 in England and Wales there were seven deaths where MRSA was mentioned on the death certificate, and where the place of death was recorded as a psychiatric hospital. Of these, three certificates specified MRSA as the underlying cause of death. In the same year there were six deaths where Clostridium difficile was mentioned on the death certificate, and where the place of death was a psychiatric hospital. Of these, three certificates specified Clostridium difficile as the underlying cause of death. These figures on deaths in psychiatric hospitals cannot be provided for individual strategic health authorities because they may be potentially disclosive.

ONS publishes annual reports on deaths involving MRSA and Clostridium difficile in Health Statistics Quarterly. The next reports, which will include the first release of data for 2005, will be published in Health Statistics Quarterly 33 on 22 February 2007.

Number of death certificates where MRSA1 and Clostridium difficile2 were (a) mentioned and (b) recorded as the underlying cause of death 3, by Strategic Health Authorities in England, and Wales,4 20045

MRSA

Clostridium difficile

(a)

(b)

(a)

(b)

North East

68

20

125

72

North West

127

28

278

138

Yorkshire and the Humber

115

34

155

74

East Midlands

90

21

137

90

West Midlands

115

39

282

149

East of England

128

48

245

138

London

135

39

239

145

South East Coast

91

31

148

80

South Central

87

31

188

102

South West

136

43

358

199

Wales

75

26

88

55

Total

1,167

360

2,243

1,242

1 Identified using the methodology described in Griffiths C, Lamagni TL, Crowcroft NS, Duckworth G and Rooney C (2004). Trends in MRSA in England and Wales: analysis of morbidity and mortality data for 1993-2002. Health Statistics Quarterly 21, 15-22.

2 Identified using the methodology described in Office for National Statistics (2005) Report: Deaths involving Clostridium difficile: England and Wales, 1999-2004. Health Statistics Quarterly 30, 56-60.

3 Excludes neonatal deaths.

4 Excludes deaths of non-residents. Figures are provided for current boundaries of English Strategic Health Authorities.

5 Deaths occurring in the calendar year 2004.

Health: Pressure Ulcers

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What action they are taking to reduce the incidence of pressure ulcers among United Kingdom hospital patients in light of the finding of the Your Turn campaign, supported by the Tissue Viability Nurses Association, that the condition is preventable in 98 per cent of cases. [HL829]

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has published detailed clinical guidelines on pressure ulcer management in primary and secondary care. It is the responsibility of local health bodies to ensure that this guidance is implemented.

Immigration: Detainees

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

How many asylum and immigration detainees were held in prisons at the most recent date for which figures are available. [HL1026]

Information on foreign nationals held in prison establishments in England and Wales is currently collected centrally on the basis of country of origin. This information is not broken down further by immigration status.

The position on 30 September 2006 can be found in the attached table drawn from data held on the prison IT system.

These figures have been drawn from administrative IT systems. Although care is taken when processing and analysing the returns, the detail collected is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recording system, and although shown to the last individual the figures may not be accurate to that level.

Population in prison by nationality and sex England and Wales 30 September 2006

Nationality

Male

Female

Total

All nationalities

74,782

4,573

79,355

UK nationals

64,063

3,539

67,602

Foreign nationals

9,988

940

10,928

Not recorded

731

94

825

Total Africa

2,708

342

3,051

Angola

69

5

74

Burundi

9

1

10

Dahomey (Benin)

10

0

10

Botswana

4

0

4

Ivory Coast

26

2

28

Central African Republic

7

0

7

Congo

106

3

109

Cameroon, United Republic

33

2

35

Cape Verde

1

0

1

Algeria

206

0

206

Egypt

9

1

10

Ethiopia

68

2

70

Ghana

177

29

206

Gambia

40

3

43

Guinea

15

0

15

Equatorial Guinea

1

0

1

Guinea/Bissau

3

0

3

Kenya

50

5

55

Liberia

27

4

31

Libya

31

0

31

Morocco

48

3

51

Mali

1

0

1

Mauritania

1

0

1

Mauritius

24

1

25

Malawi

11

1

12

Mozambique

1

0

1

Namibia

4

1

5

Niger

3

0

3

Nigeria

762

212

974

Rwanda

15

0

15

Seychelles

1

0

1

Sudan

53

1

54

Sierre Leone

86

5

91

Senegal

9

0

9

Somalia

335

14

350

Chad

1

0

1

Togo

8

4

13

Tunisia

18

0

18

Tanzania

18

0

18

Uganda

84

6

90

Western Sahara

1

0

1

South Africa

139

23

162

Zambia

14

2

16

Congo, Democratic Republic

32

0

32

Zimbabwe

145

15

159

Total Asia

1,607

94

1,701

Bangladesh

197

1

198

Bhutan

1

0

1

Burma

4

1

5

China

242

37

279

Hong Kong

7

0

7

Indonesia

4

0

4

India

261

9

271

Japan

1

0

1

Cambodia

1

0

1

Korea Republic of (Sth)

3

0

3

Sri Lanka

157

0

157

Myanmar, Union of (Burma)

1

0

1

Mongolia

6

0

6

Malaysia

24

4

28

Nepal

4

0

4

Phillipines

12

4

16

Pakistan

430

6

437

Singapore

2

0

2

Thailand

2

4

6

Taiwan (Nationalist Chinese)

1

0

1

Vietnam

246

26

272

Total Central and South America

312

56

368

Argentina

3

1

4

Bolivia

4

1

5

Brazil

43

14

57

Belize

3

0

3

Chile

15

1

16

Colombia

120

14

135

Costa Rica

4

0

4

Ecuador

12

1

13

French Guyana

4

0

4

Guatemala

4

0

4

Guyana

30

8

38

Honduras

1

0

1

Mexico

13

1

14

Panama

2

1

3

Peru

5

0

5

Paraguay

1

0

1

Surinam

7

1

8

South Georgia

1

0

1

El Salvador

0

3

3

Uruguay

3

0

3

Venezuela

37

10

47

Total Europe

2,922

233

3,155

Albania

127

4

131

Armenia

4

0

4

Austria

9

3

12

Azerbijan

3

0

3

Bosnia-Hercegovina

6

5

11

Belgium

43

4

47

Bulgaria

10

0

10

Croatia

10

2

11

Switzerland

4

2

6

Czech Republic

31

5

36

Cyprus

61

2

63

Germany

113

18

131

Denmark

10

1

11

Estonia

16

0

16

Spain

74

13

87

Finland

3

0

3

France

154

17

171

Georgia

13

0

13

Gibraltar

2

0

2

Greece

24

4

28

Hungary

19

1

20

Irish Republic

643

48

692

Iceland

1

0

1

Italy

117

9

126

Kazakhstan

2

1

3

Kyrgystan

4

0

4

Lithuania

177

13

190

Latvia

49

2

51

Moldova

33

0

33

Macedonia

5

0

5

Serbia and Montenegro

98

0

98

Malta

10

0

10

Netherlands

118

29

147

Norway

5

0

5

Poland

240

9

248

Portugal

159

13

172

Romania

130

10

140

Sweden

8

6

14

Slovakia

18

4

22

Slovenia

3

1

4

Russia

104

9

113

Turkey

255

1

256

Turkmenistan

2

0

2

Uzbekistan

3

0

3

Total Middle East

647

6

652

United Arab Emirates

5

0

5

Afghanistan

89

1

90

Iran

188

3

191

Israel

20

0

20

Iraq

269

0

269

Jordan

11

0

11

Kuwait

14

0

14

Lebanon

26

1

27

Oman

1

0

1

Saudi Arabia

12

1

13

Syrian Arab Republic

3

0

3

Yemen, Republic of

8

0

8

Total North America

102

25

127

Canada

21

5

26

United States of America

81

20

101

Total Oceania

38

4

42

Australia

19

1

20

Fiji

11

2

13

French Southern Territories

1

0

1

Kiribati

1

0

1

New Zealand

6

1

7

Total other

7

0

7

Total unrecorded

731

94

825

West Indies

1,644

181

1826

Aruba

1

0

1

Anguilla

1

0

1

Netherlands Antilles

23

8

31

Barbados

27

3

30

Bermuda

4

0

4

Bahamas

4

0

4

Cuba

1

0

1

Dominica

4

0

4

Dominican Republic

8

2

10

Grenada

27

6

34

Haiti

2

0

2

Jamaica

1,406

132

1,538

St Lucia

23

6

29

Montserrat

17

0

17

St Christopher & Nevis

1

0

1

St Kitts and Nevis

2

0

2

Trinidad and Tobago

79

23

103

St Vincent & The Grenadines

12

1

13

Investment

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What the budget for UK Trade and Investment has been for each of the past five financial years. [HL1971]

The net budget for programme resources for UK Trade and Investment for each of the past five financial years was:

2001-02 £88,378,000

2002-03 £95,916,000

2003-04 £97,078,000

2004-05 £101,097,000

2005-06 £100,057,000

Administration budgets for running UKTI's operation form part of the Department of Trade and Industry's and the Foreign and Commonweath Office's main estimates.

Iraq: Bulldog Armoured Vehicles

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many Bulldog armoured vehicles are currently deployed to Iraq. [HL1905]

I am withholding the number of Bulldog armoured vehicles that are currently deployed to Iraq as this information would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness and security of our Armed Forces.

It is intended that delivery of the full buy—more than 100 vehicles—should be completed by the summer.

Iraq: Operation Sinbad

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What multinational forces are contributing to Operation Sinbad in Iraq; and how many United Kingdom military forces currently contribute to Operation Sinbad; and [HL1902]

What further investments they expect to make to reconstruction projects under Operation Sinbad; and [HL1903]

What reconstruction projects remain to be completed under Operation Sinbad; what is the expected timescale for the completion of these reconstruction projects; and whether any further such projects are planned. [HL1904]

Operation Sinbad is a joint multinational force (MNF)/Iraqi operation to improve security in Basra City. When the operation began in September 2006, Iraqi forces were employed in a supporting role but, as Op Sinbad has progressed, they have gained valuable experience and expertise, which has seen them taking on the lead role. As a consequence, the number of UK troops involved reduced from approximately 650 in the early phases of the operation to fewer than 150 troops in the latter phases of the operation.

Over the course of Op Sinbad, more than $70 million is being invested in a host of reconstruction activities including water and electricity infrastructure projects, hospital and school refurbishments and resupply and road network improvements. In order to achieve this, security forces “pulse” into a particular focus area for 36 hours to allow civilian and military engineers, and Iraqi civilian workers to carry out a variety of immediate impact reconstruction activities and to initiate a number of medium and longer-term projects. Following the initial pulses the medium and long-term projects are carried forward by Iraqis. There are currently more than 100 Op Sinbad medium/long-term projects, worth tens of millions of dollars, still ongoing and it is estimated that the majority of the medium-term projects will be completed in the next two months while the longer-term projects are likely to remain ongoing for three to six months. In addition to the reconstruction work, a MNF police training team visits local police stations during Op Sinbad to assess the abilities of the police services and provide training and mentoring.

Op Sinbad will continue to be conducted in other parts of Basra province, including more rural and provincial areas, with Iraqi forces taking the lead for delivering the operation in these areas. The projects for these focus areas are still being developed and it is not possible to say accurately at this stage what further investment will be made in these areas. However, outwith Op Sinbad, five major projects are planned to improve roads, water and sewage treatment in the multinational division (south-east) area. It is estimated that the total cost of this investment will be some $23 million.

Light Pollution

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Andrews on 16 January (WA 141–2), by which month in summer 2007 they intend to consult on draft guidance concerning light pollution; and whether they will specify which recommendations in the Barker review they will be taking into account in the preparation of the draft guidance. [HL1660]

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is fully committed to producing guidance on light pollution and will do so as soon as possible in conjunction with Communities and Local Government.

In developing this guidance, the Government will take into account recommendation 14 in the Barker review that there should be a substantial streamlining of national policy.

Ministry of Defence: EU Nationals

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many (a) executive, and (b) administrative posts are held by non-British European Union nationals in the Ministry of Defence; how they were selected; and when the first non-British European Union national was recruited by the department. [HL1826]

Data on how many executive and administrative posts are held by non-British European Union nationals in the department and when the first non-British European Union national was recruited are not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate effort.

Any non-British European nationals employed permanently by the MoD would have been recruited on the basis of fair and open competition in accordance with the Civil Service Commissioners Recruitment Code, which can be found at www.civilservicecommissioners.gov.uk.

Money

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will take steps to ensure that businesses do not penalise customers who pay their bills in notes and coins. [HL1994]

We are not aware of this as a major issue. In general, companies are free to use whatever contractual terms and conditions they consider reasonable. If prospective customers are unhappy with these they can attempt to re-negotiate the terms in question or go elsewhere. However, we keep issues such as this under review, and if we see any evidence of this being a major problem then we will consider what steps we might take when necessary.

North/South Implementation Bodies

asked Her Majesty's Government:

When they will reach the necessary agreement with the Government of the Republic of Ireland in order that Section 55 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 can be used to remove the words, “Irish Lights Commission” from the title of the North-South aquaculture body. [HL1913]

The noble Lord will be aware of paragraph 19 of Annexe A of the St Andrews agreement, which provides for a restored North/South Ministerial Council (NSMC) to appoint a review group to examine the efficiency and value for money of existing implementation bodies; and the case for additional bodies and areas of co-operation within the NSMC where mutual benefit would be derived.

That group would also input into the work commissioned by the NSMC, prior to suspension in 2002, on the identification of a suitable substitute for the proposed Lights Agency of the Foyle, Carlingford and Irish Lights Commission. When such a substitute is identified and agreed by NSMC, the name of the implementation body as defined in the North/South Co-operation (Implementation Bodies) (Northern Ireland) Order 1999 could be amended, though I would have to stress that any such amendment to the body's functions or title would require the specific endorsement of the Northern Ireland Assembly and the Oireachtas.

Olympic Games 2012: Construction Materials

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What proportion of construction materials and fittings for the Stratford Olympics project are planned to be delivered by rail or water; and [HL2007]

How the Olympic Delivery Authority proposes to minimise delivery of materials by road to the Stratford Olympics site; and how this will be implemented. [HL2008]

The ODA's sustainable development strategy, published on 23 January, sets out its aim to maximise the environmental and health benefits of its transportation and logistics planning for materials during the enabling works and construction phases of the Olympic programme. It aspires for at least 50 per cent of materials, by weight, to be transported to the Olympic park by water or rail during construction, minimising the impact on the surrounding community and road networks. Where road transportation is used, the ODA will facilitate full journeys, palletised deliveries and routine road shipments during off-peak travel times.

Olympic Games 2012: Legacy

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether the plans for the Olympic broadcast and media centres envisage use for sporting activity in legacy mode. [HL1719]

The Olympic Delivery Authority is shortly to commence a procurement process in order to identify a potential legacy user for the international broadcast centre and the media and press centre. A final decision on legacy use will therefore not be made until that process has been completed.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will support the creation of a National Skills Academy for the active leisure and learning sector as a contribution to the legacy from the London Olympics. [HL2024]

The Government are fully committed to the principle of national skills academies. They aim to have the first 12 in place by 2008, with an aspiration of one in each major sector of the economy, as resources permit. To date, four national skills academies have been approved and a further four are in the business planning process. Expressions of interest for additional academies have recently been invited in the round 3 prospectus, launched in January 2007. The closing date for expressions of interest is 5 March 2007. All proposals received will be assessed by an independent, employer-led panel against criteria that include clarity of vision, strength of employer support and sustainability. The Government wish to encourage proposals from all sectors that do not yet have an academy under development. This includes those who submitted proposals in previous rounds that were not selected by the panel.

Pensions: Expatriates

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How much has been saved in each year for which figures are available as a result of the Social Security Benefits Up-Rating Regulations, which freeze the pensions of some United Kingdom pensioners living overseas. [HL1773]

The information is not available in the format requested. Current estimates are that it would cost approximately £3 billion, in 2007-08, to bring frozen rate pensions up to current levels and to pay all the arrears but would cost around £420 million if arrears are not paid, and this would be ongoing costs which will rise year on year.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What would be (a) the total annual cost, and (b) the average cost per head of abolishing the Social Security Benefits Up-Rating Regulations which freeze the pensions of some United Kingdom pensioners living overseas. [HL1774]

It would cost around £420 million to bring frozen pensions up to current levels in 2007-08, which would increase year on year. The average cost per head would amount to approximately £800 per pensioner.

Pensions: Extra Payments

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is the average cost per United Kingdom resident pensioner for (a) healthcare; (b) pension credits; (c) winter fuel allowance; (d) age-related payments; and (e) Christmas bonus. [HL1775]

The average cost per GB resident over the age of 65 for health care in 2003-04 was £2,073. The average cost per GB resident over the age of 60 for pension credits, winter fuel allowance, age-related payments and Christmas bonus in 2005-06 are shown in the table below:

Benefit type

Average cost per GB resident over age 60 in 2005-06

Pension Credits

£514

Winter Fuel Allowance

£158

Age Related Payments

£91

Christmas Bonus

£9.70

Costs are shown in terms of the prices current at the time the expenditure was made.

Pensions

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What safeguards exist to protect company pensioners if their company is sold or broken up to ensure that any deficit in the moneys available to maintain pension levels is made up and will continue to be made up; and whether they will take action to strengthen the guarantees. [HL1998]

The Government have introduced or strengthened a number of safeguards to protect scheme members where their company is sold on or broken up.

Where a defined benefit occupational pension scheme pension continues to run on and the new sponsoring employer remains solvent, the employer would need to meet the new scheme funding requirements applicable to pension scheme valuations completed on or after 30 December 2005 which are based on an effective valuation date on or after 22 September 2005. Under the new regime trustees must develop prudent funding strategies, and the new requirements can be expected to lead to improvements in scheme funding levels generally over time.

Where such a pension scheme commences wind-up, any deficit in the scheme becomes a debt on the employer. The Government have strengthened this requirement so that the debt is calculated on the basis that the scheme should be able to meet the full costs of winding up and the full benefits that scheme members have accrued and expect to receive (the “full buy-out” level).

The law also specifies a priority order so that, where a defined benefit occupational pension scheme is wound up with insufficient assets to meet all liabilities, the assets are shared as fairly as possible among scheme members.

Where the sponsoring employer of a defined benefit occupational pension scheme becomes insolvent and the scheme cannot pay the benefits members were expecting, members may be eligible for compensation from the Pension Protection Fund, which was set up in April 2005.

The Secretary of State for Trade and Industry may make payments out of the National Insurance Fund into an occupational pension scheme if he is satisfied that an employer has become insolvent and that at the time it became insolvent there remained unpaid employee or employee contributions falling to be paid to the scheme.

In addition to these measures, the Government introduced the financial assistance scheme, which was recently extended substantially. The financial assistance scheme provides assistance funded by the taxpayer to qualifying members of qualifying schemes who face pension losses because their scheme started to wind up underfunded, between 1 January 1997 and 5 April 2005, where the employer is insolvent or no longer exists.

The Government are currently considering the implications of the recent ruling of the European Court of Justice on article 8 of the 1980 insolvency directive, as explained by the right honourable John Hutton in his Written Statement laid in both Houses on 26 January 2007.

Police: Northern Ireland

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether operational manpower and funding will be diverted by the Chief Constable from front-line policing in Northern Ireland, in order to enhance the historic enquiries team that will investigate conclusions in the recent report of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland; and, if so, to what extent. [HL1701]

The historic enquiries team unit was established by the PSNI in January 2006. It is an integral part of the PSNI and it is a matter for the chief constable to take decisions on the most appropriate manner in which to deploy the resources at his disposal.

It is yet to be decided whether PSNI resources or funding will be diverted to the historic enquiries team.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they intend to augment the Police Service of Northern Ireland budget in order to compensate for operational manpower and funding which may be diverted to increased investigations by the historic enquiries team arising from the recent report of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland. [HL1702]

The Government devote considerable resources to policing in Northern Ireland. The PSNI budget for 2006-07 is £882.4 million with a further £34 million allocated to the HET project. The PSNI budget is considerably more per head of population than in other areas of the UK. Decisions on appropriate allocations of resources are for the chief constable.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What progress there has been in terms of charges for murder arising from the historic enquiries review currently being conducted by the Police Service of Northern Ireland; what has been the manpower requirement of the review, by rank and man-days to date; and what has been the operational cost to date. [HL1703]

The historic enquiries team began work in January 2006. Its aims are to assist in bringing closure to families of victims and to ensure that all investigative and evidential opportunities are examined and exploited in a manner that satisfies the obligation of an “effective investigation”.

The HET is tasked with re-examining 3,268 murders committed between 1968-98. The HET generally examines cases in chronological order and is currently working on cases from 1969 and the early 1970s.

To date no one has been charged with murder as a result of the HET's work. However, many families have been helped as a result of the detailed information about the death of a relative provided by the HET.

The HET comprises 110 staff including nine police officers: two detective chief inspectors, one detective superintendent, three detective sergeants, and three detective constables.

The remaining staff are supplied by agencies on a contract basis and include retired police officers who assist in carrying out review, investigation and family liaison work and administrative staff.

The HET project has been allocated £34 million over six years. Estimated expenditure to 31 March 2007 is £10.5 million.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many murders of Royal Ulster Constabulary GC officers the historic enquiries team of the Police Service of Northern Ireland has investigated to date; how many charges have been laid; and for what offences. [HL1704]

The historic enquiries team will re-examine the deaths of all RUC GC officers killed between 1968 and 1998.

The work of the historic enquiries team proceeds mainly in chronological order. The team is currently re-examining 53 deaths of RUC GC officers. Of these one has been completed with no additional evidential opportunities discovered.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by Lord Rooker on 6 February (WA130 ) on the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland, whether exemption from disclosure under Section 40 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 applies to a matter directly affecting a public appointment; and whether they will reconsider their answer to Lord Maginnis of Drumglass's Question (HL1682). [HL1972]

Information supplied in an application for a public appointment is personal information to the applicant. It would not be appropriate to release such personal information to a third party.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by Lord Rooker on 5 February (WA 100 ), whether there is a welfare department in the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI); whether the PSNI has a duty of care for serving officers; and, if so, whether records of the uptake of such support are maintained. [HL1973]

There is a welfare department in the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI). Following an internal review, the welfare branch was amalgamated with occupational health service, to form occupational health and welfare, which allows a holistic delivery of service to officers and staff within PSNI. This service is now provided by the PSNI employee support officers under the supervision of a clinical psychologist. Records of the uptake of this support are maintained. The extent of the PSNI's duty of care for serving officers is currently subject to an awaited judicial decision.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by Lord Rooker on 5 February (WA 101), whether there is provision for welfare and medical support for long-serving ex-Royal Ulster Constabulary GC and ex-Police Service of Northern Ireland officers; if so, whether records on the uptake of such support are maintained; and how they define their duty of care to these ex-officers; and [HL1974]

Further to the Written Answer by Lord Rooker on 5 February (WA 97), whether there is provision for welfare, medical support or counselling for the wives or dependants of deceased long-serving ex-Royal Ulster Constabulary GC and ex-Police Service of Northern Ireland officers. [HL1975]

The support available for ex-RUC GC and ex-PSNI officers as well as the wives and dependants of deceased officers is provided through a number of channels.

The Police Rehabilitation and Retraining Trust (PRRT) provides a range of psychological therapies and physiotherapy treatments. It also provides a comprehensive service of career and personal development guidance, as well as training and education. These services as well as being available to ex-officers are available (and promoted) to members of the RUC GC Widows Association and the RUC GC Parents Association. Children of deceased officers can receive psychological support through the PRRT Children and Young People's Service.

Further support is also available from the Northern Ireland Police Fund to ex-RUC and PSNI officers seriously injured as a result of terrorist activities. This is also applicable to widows and dependants of officers murdered by terrorist violence.

Records are maintained by both organisations as to all the assistance provided.

The RUC Widows Association, the RUC Benevolent Fund, and the Police Dependants Trust exist specifically to support the families of ex-officers. There are a wide range of charitable organisations that operate in this area. The PSNI Employee Support Service is happy to provide advice about the range of external organisations that are available to assist.

Questions for Written Answer

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by Lord Bassam of Brighton on 16 January (WA 138), whether they will adopt the practice of replying substantively to Questions for Written Answer rather than referring to Answers given to Questions in the House of Commons; and whether they will make such a reply in the case of the above Question (WA 138).[HL1446]

Cabinet Office practice is to reply substantively to Questions for Written Answer. However, in certain circumstances, it may be appropriate to refer to previous Answers. In this case, since the original Question referred to an Answer given by my right honourable friend the Prime Minister in another place, it was deemed appropriate to respond by referring to the most recent Answer given by the Prime Minister.

Schools: Commissioner

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether the Schools Commissioner, Sir Bruce Liddington (a) is contracted to the Department for Education and Skills on a contract of employment or as an external consultant, and for how many hours a week is he contracted; and (b) has criteria in his contract against which his performance is judged; and, if so, which criteria are used to assess his remuneration. [HL2015]

This contract requires him to work 41 hours a week and additional hours as are reasonable and necessary.

Sir Bruce's contract specifies that his performance is subject to regular appraisal and review and any performance-based salary increase is determined annually. The contract itself does not specify detailed objectives, as with all members of the Senior Civil Service. Annual objectives are agreed with all staff and regularly reviewed and performance against these determines any performance-based salary increase.

Shipping: Ballycastle to Campbeltown Ferry

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Why the operation of a ferry service from Ballycastle, County Antrim, to Campbeltown, County Argyle, has been delayed. [HL2027]

Reflecting on the present Comprehensive Spending Review process and the public expenditure priorities ahead, the overall assessment is that no financial support can be offered to the reinstatement of the ferry service between Ballycastle and Campbeltown.

Special Advisers

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is the job description of Mr Phil Taylor, who is a political adviser in the Northern Ireland Office.[HL1344]

Phil Taylor is subject to the Code of Conduct for Special Advisers, which contains a detailed description of the role and duties of special advisers. A copy of the code is available in the Library.

Transport: Fatalities

asked Her Majesty's Government:

In respect of the national statistics for 2005-06 published by the Health and Safety Commission, why, in the section on page 12 on injuries to members of the public (a) statistics are included for “fatal injuries due to suicides/trespass on the railways” when railway safety is now the responsibility of the Office of Rail Regulation; and (b) why no statistics are included for fatal injuries on the roads. [HL2010]

The health and safety statistics for 2005-06 cover all cases of death, injury and ill health which are reportable to the health and safety enforcing authorities, including the Office of Rail Regulation, under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) 1995.

Road traffic legislation is not enforced by the health and safety enforcing authorities, so most road accidents are not reportable under RIDDOR.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

In respect of the national statistics for 2005-06 published by the Health and Safety Commission, whether, in the section on page 13 on ill health and injuries by industry sector, the transport and communications statistics include people working on road maintenance and construction and those driving as part of their employment; and within the transport and communications sector, what are the separate figures for road and rail transport.[HL2011]

The health and safety statistics for ill health and injuries by industry sector are based on the Labour Force Survey (LFS). The statistics by sector do include people working on road maintenance and construction but they are classified under the construction sector, not the transport and communications sector.

Injuries from road traffic accidents are not included in these LFS statistics. This is in order to be consistent with the scope of the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) 1995, which forms the basis for the statistics published by the HSC and does not require the majority of road accidents to be reported to the health and safety enforcing authorities.

However, ill health reporting requirements in RIDDOR do not exclude work-related driving. Any cases of work-related illness ascribed by respondents to driving as part of their employment are included under the appropriate industry sector for that employment, including transport and communications, but they are not separately identifiable.

The standard industry classification does not allow road and rail transport to be clearly separated within the transport and communication section code.