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Written Answers

Volume 705: debated on Wednesday 19 November 2008

Written Answers

Wednesday 19 November 2008

Agriculture: Bluetongue

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they propose to make the bluetongue vaccination scheme compulsory. [HL6029]

Vaccination is the key tool for containment and control of bluetongue, and the ongoing approach to vaccination will be shaped in discussion with the farming industry. Following discussions with livestock industry and veterinary profession stakeholders during the development of the 2008 vaccination plan, it was concluded by Defra and the core group of industry stakeholders that a voluntary approach should be taken.

The vaccination plan for bluetongue serotype 8 in 2009 is currently being developed with stakeholders. Further details will be announced following these discussions with the expectation that the vaccination plan will be published by December. This will be made available on the Defra website.

Agriculture: Upland Entry Level Scheme

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Why the proposed upland entry level scheme due to replace the hill farm allowance requires a five-year commitment from tenant farmers renting land on an annual basis; and what area of the countryside will, thereby, receive no environmental upkeep. [HL6074]

All UK agri-environment schemes (including the proposed uplands strand of the entry level environmental stewardship scheme, or upland ELS) are part-funded by the European Union, and it is an EU requirement that commitments under these schemes last a minimum of five years. This is the minimum period necessary to achieve the environmental benefits being paid for. In order to comply with that requirement, it is necessary to obtain the agreement of the landowner (or the next tenant if his rights to the land are defined) where the tenant does not have rights for the full term of the agri-environment agreement.

Farmers with tenancies of less than five years at the time of application will be able to apply for upland ELS provided the landowner countersigns the application and agrees to continue the funded management should the tenant/grazier not be able to do so. The same rule applies to all the other strands of environmental stewardship which have been in place since 2005.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they have considered designing a legally binding agreement allowing tenant farmers access to the proposed upland entry level scheme on the basis that annual renewal of rent for the land in question will denote continuing in the scheme for the full five-year term. [HL6075]

Tenant farmers will be able to access the proposed uplands strand of entry level environmental stewardship, or upland ELS. Farmers with tenancies of less than five years at the time of application will be able to apply for upland ELS provided the landowner countersigns the application, and agrees to continue the funded management should the tenant/grazier not be able to do so. This is to ensure the required land management is carried out for the five-year duration of the agreement. It is an EU requirement that commitments under all agri-environment schemes last a minimum of five years.

Airports: Body Scanners

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they have published guidance on whether the use of body scanners at airports and other security check points complies with provisions relating to the taking of indecent photographs of children in the Protection of Children Act 1978 and the Sexual Offences Act 2003; and what representations they have received from operators of these scanners on this matter. [HL6208]

Only the UK Border Agency currently uses body scanners and the equipment used does not breach either of the Acts quoted. There are no body scanners currently in use at UK airports as the recent trials have been completed.

Bangladesh: Elections

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they plan to send representatives to monitor the forthcoming elections in Bangladesh. [HL6088]

We are supporting the EU and ANFREL (Asian Network for Free Elections) observation missions. Dhaka-based UK officials plan to join the EU election observation mission as short-term observers. International observers have an important role to play, monitoring electoral processes around the world and making recommendations on ways to improve those electoral processes based on their observations.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they plan to send parliamentary representatives to monitor the forthcoming elections in Bangladesh. [HL6089]

We plan to participate in the EU election observation mission, whose efforts will complement other planned international observation missions from the UN, Commonwealth, United States and a regional observation mission led by ANFREL. There are no plans for the UK to send parliamentary representatives to monitor the election.

Banking

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the reply by Lord Myners on 11 November (Official Report, col. 550), how they intend to ensure that the initiative for new financial regulations will come from Her Majesty's Government and not the European Union. [HL6315]

The Financial Services Authority, the Bank of England and Her Majesty's Treasury are responsible for financial regulation in the UK. The Government have already announced certain banking reforms. The Chancellor has asked the noble Lord, Lord Turner, the chairman of the FSA, to make recommendations on the reform of financial regulation. The UK works with EU partners to ensure that EU proposals for regulation are appropriate and effective.

British Overseas Territories

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What has been the cost to the Treasury of contingent liabilities to each Overseas Territory in each of the past 10 years for which figures are available; and how much of this has been due to damage caused by climate incidents and other natural phenomena. [HL5520]

All assistance arises from the UK's contingent liability to meet the reasonable assistance needs of the Overseas Territories, and defence commitments.

The following government departments provide the majority of the assistance to the Overseas Territories: the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), the Department for International Development (DfID), the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the Department for Transport (DfT).

DfID bilateral aid to the Overseas Territories between 1998-99 and 2007-08 was:

£ 000s

1998-99

1999-00

2000-01

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

St Helena & Dependencies

8,805

9,363

10,116

10,106

9,555

10,525

14,481

13,564

15,692

17,550

Anguilla

1,977

2,058

2,232

1,847

1,044

954

1,216

895

127

British Virgin Islands

622

516

186

83

90

11

Cayman Islands

23

18

20

3

Montserrat

30,804

22,273

19,597

22,481

23,350

24,757

14,151

12,617

15,556

17,164

Turks and Caicos Islands

3,808

4,044

2,845

2,719

1,532

741

1,187

357

149

178

Pitcairn

148

99

18

26

53

64

1,314

2,582

1,837

1,460

Bermuda

13

4

Falkland Islands

Gibraltar

28

23

27

23

6

5

1

2

1

Regional programmes

563

578

1,618

1,409

957

663

642

1,532

1,771

1,001

TOTALS

46,779

38,984

36,662

38,697

36,586

37,719

32,991

31,548

35,132

37,353

Within these amounts, DfID provided bilateral humanitarian assistance following natural disasters to Montserrat (£19.9 million), St. Helena and Dependencies (£165,000), Anguilla (£112,000) and the Cayman Islands (£3,000).

DfID also made payments to the Gibraltar Social Insurance Fund in respect of the pension liabilities of certain Spanish nationals who had worked in Gibraltar, totalling £77.4 million between 1998-99 and 2006-07. In 2007-08 DfID made further payments of £15.3 million consisting of pension liabilities and incentive payments made to affected Spanish pensioners as part of the Cordoba pensions settlement.

The FCO's Overseas Territories Programme Fund (OTPF) has a number of high-level objectives, including ensuring that the UK's contingent liabilities are well managed and mitigated. Funding to the Overseas Territories, from this and its predecessor fund, since 2000 has been:

2000-01

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

£m

3.30

2.95

2.84

3.10

3.00

6.50

4.50

6.60

The Department for Transport takes the lead in mitigating contingent liability arising from maritime and aviation activities in the Overseas Territories. Expenditure in these areas has been:

2000-01

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

£m

n/a

0.461

0.461

2.91

2.05

3.06

3.47

3.36

1 Aviation Safety spend only. Other figures not readily available

The Ministry of Defence spent £104 million on maintaining its defence presence in the Falkland Islands in 2008-09. It commits approximately £2 million each year to fund defence of the Overseas Territories and disaster relief in the Caribbean Overseas Territories.

Central Office of Information: Expenditure

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What was the Central Office of Information's total expenditure on public relations, marketing and advertising in 1996–97, using figures comparable with the figures cited in the Central Office of Information's latest annual report and accounts. [HL6141]

This information is a matter of public record and can be found in the Central Office of Information's annual report, copies of which are available in the Library of the House.

The relevant figures for public relations, marketing and advertising, using figures comparable with the figures in the annual reports, were £81.2 million in 1996-07 and £265.8 million in 2007-08.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Which advertiser-funded programming agreements the Central Office of Information has facilitated; and what was the cost to the public purse of each of the programmes. [HL6142]

A summary of advertiser-funded programmes managed by the Central Office of Information (COI) to date is as follows:

Client

Programme

Cost

Department for Children, Schools and Families

Je suis un Rockstar

£263,534.50

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

If in doubt, leave it out

£9,300

National Blood Service

Lifeblood, Blood Matters

£100,000

Xtra time

£53,000

Blood Matters

£32,000

Home Office

Beat: Life on the Street

2 x £400,000

Army

Everest Man v Mountain

£300,000

BERR

Working Wonders

£200,000

Investors in People

In Good Company

£100,000

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How much the Central Office of Information has spent on the FRANK drugs awareness campaign. [HL6143]

The FRANK drugs information campaign was launched in May 2003. The campaign provides young people and their families with advice and information about drugs. The campaign is administered and funded by the Department of Health, the Home Office and the Department for Children, Schools and Families.

The Department of Health, the Home Office and the Department for Children, Schools and Families procure most communication services through the Central Office of Information (COI) for the FRANK campaign. Communication services provided by the COI include media buying, research, digital and sponsorship.

Joint spend on all communications campaign activity on the FRANK campaign for the financial years 2003-08 is set out below:

Year

£ million

2003-04

4.25

2004-05

4.30

2005-06

6.17

2006-07

9.05

2007-08

6.23

Communications spend in this financial year to date (11 November 2008) is £2.5 million.

Total spend in campaign years 2003-08 is £30 million.

Total spend to date (11 November 2008) is £32.5 million.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How much the Central Office of Information has spent on the NHS Choice campaign. [HL6144]

The Central Office of Information has not spent any money directly on supporting the NHS Choice campaign. Between 24 March 2008 and 6 April 2008, the department spent a total of £601,752.33 on publicising the introduction of national NHS Free Choice from 1 April 2008.

Chagos Islands

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether, following the upholding of their appeal on 22 October by the House of Lords in the case of R (on the application of Bancoult) v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, they will allow the Chagos Islanders to return to their homelands other than Diego Garcia. [HL6065]

The House of Lords has upheld the validity of the British Indian Ocean Territory (Constitution) Order 2004. As a consequence of this ruling, the orders of the Court of Appeal in May 2007 and of the Divisional Court in June 2006 in this regard are set aside. The two Orders in Council for the British Indian Ocean Territory therefore stand and provide that no person has a right of abode in BIOT or the right to enter the territory unless authorised.

As my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary has subsequently made clear, given the Government's continuing need to take into account the issues of defence security of the whole of the Chagos archipelago in order to meet our treaty obligations to the US and to serve our mutual defence interests, and the fact that an independent study came down heavily against the feasibility of lasting resettlement of the outer islands of the British Indian Ocean Territory, the Government's policy will remain that no person has a right of abode in BIOT or the right to enter the territory unless authorised. However, we will keep in close touch with the Chagossians and consider carefully future requests to visit the territory.

Community Cohesion

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What assessment they have made of the effect of single group funding on community cohesion. [HL6347]

The Commission on Integration and Cohesion (CIC), which made its recommendations in the summer of 2006, was concerned that groups based on single identities were potentially divisive. In February 2008 the government launched a consultation on Cohesion Guidance for Funders which sought views on this issue. A summary of the responses to this consultation exercise and a decision regarding the future of the guidance will be published shortly.

Data Loss

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What plans they have to prevent accidental loss of data sticks, CD-roms and documents by public officials. [HL6297]

I refer the noble Lord to the Written Ministerial Statement placed in the House of Commons regarding the release of the data handling report (DHR) published on 25 June 2008 (Official Report, col. 26WS). The report puts in place rules that departments must follow to improve data-handling arrangements across government. We are working with departments to ensure action is taken to protect data whether they are held on electronic media or on paper. This includes clear rules on the encryption, minimisation and secure disposal of data and media.

The report also puts in place clear accountability within departments, scrutiny of arrangements and, importantly, a process of cultural change to ensure that government values and handles personal data appropriately. Training and education of officials is a crucial part of this process. A number of departments have already trained their staff on data security in line with DHR requirements and the Cabinet Office will shortly begin rolling out an e-learning package available for all departments to use to train their staff.

East Midlands Development Agency

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 16 October (WA 70), whether the rejection of projects by the East Midlands Development Agency because they are not of suitable standard or merit is affected by the way the agency works with potential applicants. [HL6152]

The application process applied to the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) by the East Midlands Development Agency (EMDA) was developed in conjunction with industry representatives. A substantial amount of information is available on the website at www.emda.org.uk/rdpe which includes a detailed prospectus for funding in the East Midlands and which provides much detail on the funding available in the region. This prospectus provides background information about the programme, details of what can and cannot be funded, possible grant rates and information about the application process.

EMDA's RDPE application process is in two stages. First, applicants submit an expression of interest giving a brief description of the project. In all cases the applicant is provided with detailed feedback and advice on their expression of interest and is invited to contact a named member of the RDPE team at EMDA for further information or clarification if required.

Secondly, when an applicant is invited to proceed to full application they are given a step-by-step guide detailing the information required in each section of the form. When a full application is received by EMDA, it is acknowledged and thoroughly appraised. Applicants are contacted during the appraisal process if additional information or clarification is required.

If an application is rejected the applicant is given specific reasons as to why the project has been rejected. The letter contains both constructive advice and guidance if necessary. If the project has been rejected due to the quality of the application the letter outlines what improvements are required and informs the applicant that they are entitled to reapply if they wish. The applicant is given clear guidance about the areas requiring improvement.

EMDA works closely with other RDPE delivery bodies and regional stakeholders, including the National Farmers' Union, the Country Land and Business Association and representatives of agricultural consultants, as part of its delivery of the RDPE.

In light of all these arrangements there should be no reason to conclude that the way in which EMDA works with potential or actual applicants and their representatives is having an adverse impact on how the programme is being delivered.

Ecosystems

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What progress has been made by the United Kingdom Biodiversity Research Advisory Group in investigating empirical ecosystems. [HL6296]

The UK Biodiversity Research Advisory Group’s Research Needs Analysis for the Role of Biodiversity in Ecosystem Function, published in October 2006, recommended that there was a need for empirical studies on ecosystems to improve our understanding of ecosystem functioning and of the services they provide.

In September 2008, UK BRAG held a joint workshop with the British Ecological Society to look specifically at ecosystem services and the ecosystem approach. The workshop brought environmental researchers together with sociologists and geographers to look at valuing biodiversity in a more holistic and practical way. The proceedings of this workshop will shortly be available on the UK BRAG website.

Energy: Gas Prices

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What incentives they propose for companies to reduce the cost of natural gas. [HL5793]

The main incentive for companies to minimise the price of natural gas is the knowledge that they are operating in a competitive market, with an effective economic regulator to protect the interests of consumers. The Government are doing their part by seeking to ensure fit-for-purpose consents regimes for new gas import and storage facilities through the Planning and Energy Bills now before Parliament and by working for open and competitive international energy markets in the EU and beyond.

Energy: National Grid

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What plans the National Grid has to cope with the projected 30,000 megawatts of intermittent wind turbine energy, equating to approximately half the national peak demand of electricity. [HL5666]

National Grid is responsible for procuring balancing services in order to balance demand and supply and to ensure the security and quality of electricity supply across the GB transmission system.

National Grid has a licence obligation to control system frequency within specified limits. National Grid must therefore ensure that sufficient generation and/or demand is held in automatic readiness to manage all credible circumstances that might result in frequency variations.

The indications from National Grid and our own advisers are that there is no technical barrier to the connection of renewable generation at, for example, a 30 per cent to 40 per cent penetration level. The indications are that the challenge is an economic rather than technical one, ie ensuring that sufficient capacity of all technologies has the right incentives to remain on and join the network to support the deployment of intermittent renewable technologies and ensuring the economic and efficient operation of the balancing mechanism.

Energy: Oil Prices

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is their latest forecast of the future level of oil prices. [HL5348]

The Government do not publish oil price forecasts. They publish oil, gas and coal future price assumptions for the period to 2030.

The latest version of the Government's future fossil fuel price assumptions were published in May 2008, following a consultation published in January. Further details are available at the following links: www.berr.gov.uk/energy/environment/projections/recent/page26391.html and www.berr.gov.uk/files/file46071.pdf.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they are discussing with fuel companies the profits made as a result of the increase in oil prices; and, if so, with which companies. [HL5792]

As part of regular departmental activity, Ministers have discussions with a wide range of UK and international companies operating at each stage of energy supply chains, covering pricing and financials among other issues. Movements in global oil prices and their implications for UK consumers of road transport fuel, gas and electricity are among the factors discussed.

Ethnic Monitoring: Equality Outcomes

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether ethnic monitoring is necessary for measuring equality outcomes. [HL6222]

European Arrest Warrant

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many British citizens have faced proceedings under the European arrest warrant. [HL6101]

The Extradition Act 2003, which gave effect to the provisions of the European arrest warrant (EAW) in the UK, came into force on 1 January 2004. Since that date, and up to 30 September 2008, 203 British citizens have been arrested pursuant to EAWs. 101 British nationals have subsequently been surrendered to other European member states pursuant to EAWs (see attached table).

The table below sets out the figures for each year since the introduction of the EAW:

Arrests

Surrenders

2004

12

5

2005

42

11

2006

49

26

2007

62

27

2008 to 30.09.08

38

32

Government: Contractors

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Which contractors of the Ministry of Justice do not pay their suppliers within 30 days; and what representations they will make to these contractors about withholding retentions from subcontractors, in accordance with the Office of Government Commerce's fair payment charter. [HL6122]

The Ministry of Justice does not hold information about which construction contractors do not pay their suppliers within 30 days or are withholding retentions from subcontractors. To identify and communicate with all suppliers would be disproportionate in terms of cost and time. My department is reviewing recommended action in respect of the OGC’s Guide to Best Fair Payment Practice—Construction Procurement 2007.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Which contractors of the Department of Health do not pay their suppliers within 30 days; and what representations they will make to these contractors about withholding retentions from subcontractors, in accordance with the Office of Government Commerce's fair payment charter. [HL6125]

The department does not centrally collect data on contractors who do not pay their subcontractors within 30 days. The department is committed to the Government's target of paying all satisfactory invoices within 30 days of the date of the individual invoice. The department has recently committed to making payments to small and medium-sized enterprises within 10 days.

The retention of the value of work executed by the contractor or any nominated subcontractor on large-scale projects is 10 per cent. Subject to satisfactory completion, this is released in stages on contract completion. This is in line with the Office of Government Commerce's fair payment charter. The department would support a subcontractor if he experienced difficulty getting paid by the department's prime contractor.

Gypsies and Travellers

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many pitches there were on local authority Gypsy and Traveller sites in England and Wales in May 1997; and how many there were on the latest date for which figures are available. [HL6333]

In January 1997, the biannual count of Gypsy and Traveller caravans found that there were 5,438 pitches on local authority sites in England, accommodating 6,324 caravans. In January 2008, there were 4,902 pitches on local authority sites accommodating 6,696 caravans.

The Welsh Assembly Government are responsible for the caravan count in Wales.

Health: Diabetes

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What mechanisms and guidance they have issued to general practitioners to encourage them to offer blood glucose tests to patients not diagnosed with diabetes who have established risk factors; and [HL6231]

Whether the deployment of the new vascular checks will include plans to provide priority access for people not diagnosed with diabetes who have established diabetes risk factors and to ensure such people are tested for diabetes as part of the checks. [HL6232]

Putting Prevention First, published on 1 April 2008, set out the Government's proposals for a universal, systematic risk assessment programme for people aged between 40 and 74 who are not already on an established disease register. A copy has been placed in the Library.

On 13 November 2008 the department published Vascular risk assessment and management: Next steps guidance, to support primary care trusts (PCTs) in implementing vascular checks. A vascular check will include a filter to determine diabetes risk, and those with established diabetes risk factors will be given a blood sugar test. A copy has been placed in the Library.

The guidance emphasises the important role that vascular checks can play in tackling health inequalities, and we expect PCTs to develop local implementation strategies that take into account the risk levels in their own population.

Healthcare: Clinical Physiology

asked Her Majesty's Government:

(a) whether they plan to include clinical physiology in a system of statutory regulation; and (b) whether they will publish an implementation timetable for the inclusion of clinical physiology in a system of statutory regulation; and [HL6195]

What representations they have received from the Health Professions Council with regard to the inclusion of clinical physiologists in a system of statutory regulation; and [HL6196]

What criteria they use when considering whether to bring new groups of healthcare professionals into a system of statutory regulation. [HL6197]

The Health Professions Council (HPC) previously made a recommendation to the Government that a group of healthcare scientists, including clinical physiologists, should be statutorily regulated. The Government are considering proposals for the regulation of the totality of the healthcare science workforce, including clinical physiologists, to deliver the commitments outlined in trust assurance and safety. Timescales will be made available in due course, including details of the necessary consultation process.

The Extending Professional Regulation Working Group is developing proposals regarding criteria for bringing new groups of healthcare professionals into a system of regulation. The current 10 criteria used by the HPC to assess regulation of new groups are informing this work. The HPC is represented on the working group.

House of Lords: Reform

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will hold a public consultation on the number and different types of representatives of faith or belief organisations as part of their proposals for reform of the House of Lords. [HL6177]

The White Paper published on 14 July is the basis for continuing public consultation. In the White Paper we endorsed the conclusion of the Wakeham Commission, that it would be problematic for a reformed second Chamber to represent all faiths in the UK. We are seeking views on whether an appointments commission for the second Chamber (if appointments are to be made) should be required to provide broader faith representation. We are considering the responses we have received as part of developing detailed proposals for Lords reform.

Housing

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether a permanent tree house within the curtilage of a domestic dwelling is taken into account by the Valuation Office Agency when a property is valued for council tax. [HL6350]

In the case of a new dwelling, all features of the property that affect value are taken into account in the banding. The test is whether, in the open market, the presence of a tree house would have any material effect on the property's capital value: in general this is unlikely.

In the case of an existing dwelling, if the tree house was a later addition that added value, it would only be taken into account when the dwelling was subsequently sold, or let on a lease for more than seven years.

Housing: Right to Buy Scheme

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether, in the light of the availability of social housing to rent, they will discontinue or suspend the right to buy scheme. [HL6318]

I refer the noble Lord to my Answer to his earlier Question on this subject, in Hansard for 1 October 2007, col. WA162. The Government have no plans to discontinue or suspend the right to buy scheme.

India: Orissa

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they have or will discuss with the Government of India allegations that certain Hindu organisations are seeking the religious cleansing of those following other faiths in Orissa state. [HL5765]

We believe that there are a variety of factors behind the recent violence in Orissa. On 17 October, my noble friend Lord Malloch-Brown discussed our concerns with Anand Sharma, Indian Minister of External Affairs, and Mohammed Quereshi, chairman of the Minorities Commission, in New Delhi.

We will continue to urge the Government of India to uphold the right to freedom of religion. The issue of religious freedom is due to be raised at the EU-India Human Rights Dialogue in New Delhi later this year.

Inquiries: Northern Ireland

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How much each public inquiry in progress in Northern Ireland has cost; and what is the average monthly cost of running inquiries in Northern Ireland. [HL6071]

The costs to the end of October 2008 of the independent public inquiries currently under way in Northern Ireland are as follows:

The Robert Hamill Inquiry

£18.20 million

The Rosemary Nelson Inquiry

£33.42 million

The Billy Wright Inquiry

£20.21 million

The Bloody Sunday Inquiry

£184.9 million

The Hamill, Nelson and Wright inquiries were announced to Parliament on 16 November 2004. The average monthly cost of running the inquiries in each financial year since then is as follows:

Average monthly spend by financial year (£000)

Inquiry

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

Robert Hamill Inquiry

111

290

516

365

530

Rosemary Nelson Inquiry

138

294

861

856

1,248

Billy Wright Inquiry

15

192

370

739

649

The Bloody Sunday Inquiry was announced to Parliament on 29 January 1998. The average monthly cost of running that inquiry, and the average monthly legal costs paid by the MoD, are as follows:

Average monthly spend by financial year (£000)

1997-98

1998-99

1999-00

2000-01

2001-02

2002-03

Bloody Sunday Inquiry

40

554

1,047

1,612

1,598

2,148

MoD legal costs

0

101

272

370

538

565

Average monthly spend by financial year (£000)

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

Bloody Sunday Inquiry

2,277

1,198

597

793

421

358

MoD legal Costs

534

271

32

22

19

22

Libya: Compensation

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether, in view of the proposed settlement concerning crimes committed against United States citizens with Libyan support, they will assist British nationals seeking compensation from Libya in the courts of the United States in respect of crimes committed by terrorists trained or armed by Libya.[HL5305]

The conclusion of a government-to-government agreement between the US and Libya on 14 August will provide for compensation for many of the victims of Libya's past sponsorship of terrorism including the British families of the victims of the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie in 1988. While this is welcome news for these families, it is regrettable that the deal will not benefit all UK nationals with cases in US courts against Libya.

During the course of negotiations between the US and Libya, the Government made representations to the US Administration that existing UK claimants with claims before US courts against Libya for its past sponsorship of IRA terrorist acts (the McDonald case) should be included in the recipients of any compensation package. But, in the event, this proved not to be possible.

A key reason for this was that international and US law do not permit the US Administration to espouse the claims of foreign nationals. Also relevant to the US decision was their assessment of how likely it would be that claims would fall within the jurisdiction of US courts, and how likely it would be that they would succeed. We understand from the US that US courts would not have jurisdiction to hear actions by British nationals against Libya.

Malawi

asked Her Majesty's Government:

In view of attempts to rename the President of Malawi “Life President”, what steps they will take to make upholding democracy in that country, in particular the staging of free and fair elections in May 2009, a condition of United Kingdom aid to Malawi. [HL6066]

The UK, with its EU, Commonwealth and other international partners, is working closely with the Malawian authorities, and with the electoral commission in particular, to try to ensure that next year's presidential and parliamentary elections are free, fair and credible. The Government, through the Department for International Development (DfID), are providing £4 million to support the process, including technical preparations (for example to strengthen the capacity of the electoral commission by buying an electronic computerised voter registration system). We are also actively observing the voter registration process. High Commission officials have visited some 200 registration centres in all parts of the country, and we will be discussing our findings with the authorities. Other DfID and High Commission programmes are supporting democratic processes, including strengthening the media and Parliament, and conflict mitigation.

New Forest National Park

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What assessment they have made of the effect of the New Forest National Park management plan on the amount of cycling allowed in the forest. [HL6275]

I have made no assessment. The purpose of the management plan is for the National Park Authority (in co-operation with its stakeholders) to formulate its policy for the management of the park and for the carrying out of its functions. The New Forest National Park Authority is an independent authority operating within the local government framework and legislation.

Parliamentary Ombudsman

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answers by Baroness Scotland of Asthal on 8 November 2006 (WA 194–5) and 21 May 2007 (WA 79), whether they have established means of collating and making available information about recommendations from the Parliamentary Ombudsman following her investigations. [HL5871]

The Home Office is in regular contact with the Parliamentary Ombudsman in relation to complaints. In particular, there are regular meetings between UKBA officials and members of the ombudsman's office. In view of these arrangements, there are no current plans to collate and make available this information.

Pesticides

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 21 October (WA 97), why they abstained in the June vote in the Council on European Union proposals on plant protection products; and what was the tactical or other effect of that abstention. [HL6156]

The Government welcomed most of the compromise proposal which was put to the Agriculture and Fisheries Council, but remained concerned that no proper assessment of the potential impact of the proposals for endocrine disrupters on agriculture in the European Union, or of their benefits for consumers, was made available. The UK and three other member states abstained from the vote. In accordance with the rules on co-decision, the proposal was adopted with the support of the Commission and a qualified majority of member states.

Police: Ethnic Minority Recruits

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many black minority ethnic police officers have been recruited by each police force in each of the past five calendar years. [HL6185]

I refer the noble Lord to the Answer given in the table attached.

Police Officer Minority Ethnic Recruits1 to Police Forces from 2003-04 to 2007-082 (FTE)3

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

Avon and Somerset

4

2

4

1

1

Bedfordshire

5

12

9

0

10

Cambridgeshire

6

6

1

0

0

Cheshire

6

0

3

2

0

Cleveland

2

2

6

0

0

Cumbria

4

1

0

1

1

Derbyshire

1

1

3

6

6

Devon and Cornwall

2

1

1

0

2

Dorset

1

0

0

1

0

Durham

4

1

1

0

0

Dyfed-Powys

0

0

1

2

0

Essex

3

7

7

9

10

Gloucestershire

3

2

1

1

0

Greater Manchester

41

32

11

13

22

Gwent

2

0

2

4

0

Hampshire

7

5

13

9

4

Hertfordshire

14

5

8

6

11

Humberside

4

0

0

1

0

Kent

4

8

6

8

23

Lancashire

15

6

5

11

10

Leicestershire

18

6

9

17

13

Lincolnshire

1

2

2

0

0

London, City of

7

8

3

1

0

Merseyside

7

10

7

19

5

Metropolitan Police

500

252

166

215

193

Norfolk

0

0

0

1

1

Northamptonshire

7

6

1

3

5

Northumbria

1

2

5

2

1

North Wales

0

1

0

1

2

North Yorkshire

2

0

0

1

0

Nottinghamshire

7

5

2

1

3

South Wales

3

3

5

7

2

South Yorkshire

9

5

5

7

4

Staffordshire

2

3

3

1

4

Suffolk

3

0

3

2

1

Surrey

3

1

7

19

12

Sussex

4

6

7

2

2

Thames Valley

20

14

15

12

17

Warwickshire

1

5

10

3

0

West Mercia

2

2

1

2

1

West Midlands

49

43

54

35

45

West Yorkshire

16

35

8

15

18

Wiltshire

5

2

1

0

1

Total

795

502

396

441

430

1. Recruits included those officers joining as police standard direct recruits and those who were previously special constables. This excludes police officers on transfers from other forces and those rejoining.

2. Financial year runs 1 April to 31 March inclusive.

3. 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.

Prisoners: Mental Health

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will provide primary care trusts and strategic health authorities with guidance on the implications of the imprisonment for public protection (IPP) sentence for their commissioning plans for prison mental health services, in the light of the Sainsbury Centre report In the Dark. [HL6206]

We welcome In the Dark, the Sainsbury Centre on Mental Health report on imprisonment, public protection sentences and mental ill health, and fully recognise that mental ill health among the prisoner population is high compared with the general population. The report raises some important points about the information available to prisoners and about access to treatment and care that we will certainly incorporate into our offender health strategy to be published early next year.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What plans they have to ensure that primary care trusts and mental health trusts can commission and provide mental health care for people released on life licence from imprisonment for public protection. [HL6207]

The Home Office launched the Five Year Strategy for Protecting the Public and Reducing Re-offending in February 2008. It contains a commitment to look at ways in which offenders receive effective mental health treatment, whether in prison, in a hospital setting, or in the community.

Offenders with identified severe mental health problems are subject to the care programme approach during their stay in prison and on release. This is a standardised formula for the care planning of treatment and continuity of mental health care for the individual. This means that on release from prison all should have a care plan and, pre-release, the prison mental health in-reach team inform and share information with the individual's local community mental health team and general practitioner.

Race Relations

asked Her Majesty's Government:

In the light of levels of homelessness and unemployment and the consequences for race relations, what role they expect local race equality councils to play. [HL6269]

Race equality councils do not have a statutory role and the Government do not task them in any way. However, where local race organisations such as race equality councils and race equality partnerships work with local authorities and other local bodies, they can provide important expertise, local knowledge and intelligence to assist them in fulfilling their duties under the Race Relations Act to eliminate unlawful discrimination and promote equality of opportunity and good relations between people of different racial groups.

Racism

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they intend to take positive action to tackle any institutional racism in the United Kingdom's political bodies. [HL6224]

The Government intend to use the forthcoming Equality Bill to broaden the range of voluntary positive action measures which can be taken to the full extent allowed by European law. The Bill will allow political parties to take a wider range of actions in relation to matters regarding their constitution, organisation and administration, including:

carrying out an audit of political party membership to identify the proportion of members from under-represented groups and identify where gaps are present;

setting targets for recruitment drives;

carrying out general and specific or targeted recruitment drives;

running mentoring and leadership programmes;

setting targets for increasing the proportion of politicians and staff from under-represented groups; and

establishing and supporting in-house forums for under-represented groups.

Further, on 12 November the House of Commons agreed to establish a Speaker's Conference which will consider, and make recommendations for rectifying, the disparity between the representation of women and ethnic minorities and disabled people in the House of Commons and their representation in the UK population at large. This will be an important platform to discuss the action needed and we look forward to the findings of the conference.

Refineries: Carbon Dioxide Emissions

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will raise the issue of carbon dioxide emissions from flaring at oil or gas wells and refineries in all appropriate international fora; and whether progress is being made towards eliminating such emissions. [HL6097]

The UK has raised, and will continue to raise, the issue of flaring associated gas as appropriate in international fora. We are working with international partners, sharing best practice and encouraging investment in infrastructure to make progress on eliminating gas flaring. But this is a long-term issue which will require action by governments and individual operators in a number of countries to deliver results.

Russia: Human Rights

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many judgments of the European Court of Human Rights given against Russia remain unimplemented; and how much compensation awarded to Russian persons is outstanding. [HL5375]

The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe supervises the execution of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights. It makes available a simplified global database of all pending cases for execution control. While this database is not completely up to date, as it takes time for judgments to become final and does not include some of the older cases, it is the best available public source of information on judgments that remain unimplemented. The database can be accessed at http://www.coe.int/t/e/human_rights/execution/02_Documents/PPIndex.asp #TopOfPage and includes contact details to follow up any case not listed on the database with the secretariat.

The Government fully support the work of the European Court of Human Rights and raise the implementation of the court's judgments with Russia in their bilateral human rights dialogues.

Schools: Academies

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Who has sponsored each educational academy since its formation; and, in each case, who was the lead sponsor and what were their financial contributions. [HL6159]

The two tables show the sponsorship arrangements for each of the academies open in September 2008. The first, headed “traditional procurement academies”, shows for each academy, where sponsorship is a contribution to capita costs, the total pledged and the amount for which the department has evidence of receipt. In some cases further sponsorship payments will have been received by the academy trust but not yet reported to the department. The second table, headed “endowment sponsorship”, shows for each academy where sponsorship is in the form of contributions to an endowment fund, the amounts pledged and the amounts reported so far to the department as received.

Traditional Procurement Academies

Academy

Sponsor

Total sponsorship pledged £(000s)

Total expected expenditure of sponsor’s contribution to end of October 2008 £(000s)

Total confirmed capital contribution from sponsor to end of October 2008 £(000s)

Manchester

United Learning Trust

2,000

1,614

1,614

Lambeth

United Learning Trust

2,000

2,000

2,000

Northampton

United Learning Trust

2,000

1,295

1,295

Paddington

United Learning Trust

*

1,500

857

429

Salford

United Learning Trust

*

1,600

529

214

Barnsley

United Learning Trust

*

1,500

214

27

Walthamstow

United Learning Trust

*

1,500

214

27

Sheffield Springs

United Learning Trust

1,500

1,500

1,500

Sheffield Park

United Learning Trust

1,000

1,000

1,000

Stockport

United Learning Trust

*

1,500

429

202

Manchester William Hulme

United Learning Trust

*

950

135

0

North Oxfordshire

United Learning Trust (in partnership with Vodafone)

1,500

36

36

Swindon

United Learning Trust (in partnership with Honda)

1,500

300

0

Peckham

(1) Harris Federation of South London Schools Trust

2,000

2,000

2,986

Harris Academy South Norwood

(1) Harris Federation of South London Schools Trust (2) The Whitgift Foundation

2,000

1,126

250

Harris Bermondsey

(1) Harris Federation of South London Schools Trust

1,500

500

493

Harris Merton

(1) Harris Federation of South London Schools Trust

500

0

0

Harris Girls—East Dulwich

(1) Harris Federation of South London Schools Trust

500

0

0

Harris Crystal Palace

(1) Harris Federation of South London Schools Trust

1,000

0

0

The King's Academy

Vardy Foundation

2,000

2,000

2,006

Trinity, Doncaster

Vardy Foundation

2,000

2,000

2,000

Haberdashers'—Hatcham, Lewisham

Haberdashers Livery Company

705

705

705

Haberdashers'—Knights, Lewisham

Haberdashers Livery Company

296

296

296

Marlowe

Roger De Haan & Kent County Council

2,735

2,735

2,735

Folkestone

Roger De Haan & Kings School, Canterbury

2,250

2,250

1,501

Walsall

Thomas Telford Online & The Mercers Company

2,500

2,500

2,565

Sandwell

(1) Mercers Company (2) Thomas Telford Online (3) HSBC (4) West Brom Albion FC (5) Tarmac Group

2,794

2,794

2,743

Telford Madeley

Thomas Telford School (CTC)

2,000

500

500

Grace, Solihull

Bob Edmiston

2,000

2,000

2,000

Coventry Grace Academy

Bob Edmiston

2,000

0

0

Enfield

Oasis Community Learning

2,000

308

308

OASIS—Immingham

Oasis Community Learning

2,000

83

0

OASIS—Wintringham

Oasis Community Learning

2,000

83

0

Burlington Danes, Hammersmith and Fulham

ARK

1,500

1,000

1,000

Lambeth 2 Evelyn Grace

ARK

2,000

500

0

Southwark 4 Globe

ARK

1,500

0

0

Westminster King Solomon

ARK

1,500

500

500

Bexley

Sir David Garrard

2,410

2,410

2,462

Greig City Academy, Haringey

Greig Trust/Diocese of London

2,000

2,000

1,930

Unity City Academy, Middlesbrough

Amey Construction

2,000

2,000

1,948

Capital City, Brent

Sir Frank Lowe

2,000

2,000

1,993

City of London Southwark

Corporation of London

2,000

2,000

2,000

City Academy, Bristol

John Laycock

2,499

2,499

1,670

West London, Ealing

Alec Reed

2,000

2,000

2,000

London Academy, Barnet

Peter Shalson

1,500

1,500

1,490

Mossbourne Community Academy, Hackney

Sir Clive Bourne (Deceased)

2,150

2,150

1,745

Stockley

Barry Townsley

2,000

2,000

1,953

St Francis of Assisi

Diocese of Liverpool/RC Archdiocese of Liverpool

2,000

2,000

1,187

The Harefield Academy

David Meller/Haig Oundjian/ Jonathon Green

1,500

1,200

335

Dixons CTC, Bradford

Dixons Academy Trust

651

651

614

David Young, Leeds

Church of England

1,500

1,500

1,000

Westminster

Exilarch Foundation

2,000

900

900

Thomas Deacon Academy, Peterborough

Deacons Trust

2,000

2,000

1,970

St Paul's—Greenwich

Archdiocese of Southwark

2,000

200

200

John Madejski, Reading

John Madejski

2,000

2,000

2,000

The Bridge, Hackney

UBS

2,000

2,000

2,001

Samworth Enterprise

Samworth Brothers/Leicester Diocesan Board for Education

2,443

2,063

2,063

The Petchey Academy, Hackney

Jack Petchey Foundation

2,000

2,000

2,000

North Liverpool

Liverpool University & Granada Learning

1,000

1,000

0

Bradford Cathedral

(1) Diocese of Bradford (2) CoFE

1,000

500

0

Macmillan, Middlesbrough

Macmillan Academy Trust

1,250

450

450

Djanogly Academy, Nottingham

FORMER CTC

0

0

0

St Matthew Lewisham

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Southwark

2,100

2,100

2,100

Slough Langley

Martyn Arbib

2,000

1,500

1,500

Leigh Technology, Kent

FORMER CTC

2,000

2,275

2,275

St Mary Magdalene—Islington

London Diocese Board for Schools

2,000

1,500

1,500

Bristol—Withywood

The Society of Merchant Venturers

2,000

1,050

1,050

Newcastle Excelsior

Lord Laidlaw of Rothiemay

2,000

2,000

2,419

Corby City Academy

Weston Foundation/BeeBee Development/Brooke Weston CTC

_

2,000

1,794

1,794

Ashcroft Technology Academy, Wandsworth

Prospect Education (Technology) Trust Ltd

_

960

860

860

Landau Forte College, Derby

Landau Forte College

460

460

453

Q3—Sandwell

Eric Payne

2,000

0

0

Brooke Weston, Northampton

Brooke Weston CTC Trust

461

176

176

John Cabot, Bristol

John Cabot CTC

378

207

207

Liverpool Belvedere

Girls' Day School Trust & HSBC

980

0

0

Islington—COLA (I)

(1) Corporation of London (2) City University

2,000

1,359

1,359

Sandwell—RSA

RSA

1,500

1,000

0

Darwen Aldridge

The Aldridge Foundation

2,000

0

0

Kingshurst, Solihull

Kingshurst CTC Company

1,338

0

0

Bacons, Southwark

Bacons CTC

0

0

0

Barnet 2 Wren

(1) Diocese of London (2) Birkhamsted Collegiate School

**

Hereford Steiner

Steiner School Fellowship

**

St Mark's Academy—Merton

(1) Southwark Diocesan Board of Education (2) CfBT Education Trust

**

Where there is more than one sponsor the lead sponsor is the first named.

Sponsorship pledged is based on reasonable endeavours.

** Pledged amount to be determined pending signing of Part 2 to the Funding Agreement.

Endowment Sponsorship

Academy

Start Date

Sponsors

Total Pledge

Actuals to Date

Gateway Academy

01/09/06

Main Sponsor(s): The Ormiston Trust (Peter Murray)

2,000,000

20,000

Barnfield South Academy

01/09/07

Main Sponsor(s): Barnfield College Further Education Corporation

2,000,000

100,000

Barnfield West Academy

01/09/07

Main Sponsor(s): Barnfield College Further Education Corporation

2,000,000

100,000

Eastbourne C of E Academy

01/09/07

Main Sponsor(s): Diocesean Board of Education for Durham David & Anne Crossland

1,500,000 (between both)

0

George Salter Collegiate Academy

01/09/07

Main Sponsor(s): Ormiston Trust/Shireland Learning

1,500,000

0

Havelock Academy

01/09/07

Main Sponsor(s): The David Ross Foundation

2,000,000

0

Marsh Academy

01/09/07

Main Sponsor(s): Kent County Council

750,000

750,000

Marsh Academy

De Haan Charitable Trust

100,000

Marsh Academy

Kent County Council (best endeavours by 23/07/12)

150,000

New Line Learning Academy and Cornwallis Academy

01/09/07

Main Sponsor(s): Cornwallis Online Learning/Kent County Council

2,000,000

500,000

Shireland Collegiate Academy

01/09/07

Main Sponsor(s): Ormiston Trust/Shireland Learning

1,500,000

0

St Anne's Academy

01/09/07

Main Sponsor(s): Diocesan Board of Education for Manchester David & Anne Crossland

1,500,000 (between both

500,000

St Michael and All Angels CE Academy

01/09/07

Main Sponsor(s): Southwark Diocesan Board of Education

2,000,000

500,000

Spires Academy

01/09/07

Main Sponsor(s): The Pack Foundation/Crown Products (Kent) Ltd

500,000 (between both

0

Walworth Academy

01/09/07

Main Sponsor(s): Absolute Return for Kids (ARK)

1,500,000

0

Abraham Darby Academy

01/09/08

Main Sponsor(s): Haberdashers'/Telford and Wrekin Local Council

750,000

0

Academy 360

01/09/08

Main Sponsor(s): Gentoo Group/Sunderland CC

2,250,000

1,000,000

Archbishop Sentamu Academy

01/09/08

Main Sponsor(s): Diocese of York

2,000,000

0

Ark Academy

01/09/08

Main Sponsor(s): Absolute Return for Kids (ARK)

1,500,000

0

The Hereford Academy

01/09/08

Main Sponsor(s): Hereford Diocesan Board of Education

1,500,000

0

Longfield Academy

01/09/08

Main Sponsor(s): Leigh Technology Academy Trust/Kent CC/University of Kent

Deed of Gift to be agreed

0

New Charter Academy

01/09/08

Main Sponsor(s): New Charter Housing Trust

2,000,000

0

Oasis Academy Bristol Hengrove

01/09/08

Main Sponsor(s): Oasis Community Learning

1,500,000

0

Oasis Academy Media City: UK Salford

01/09/08

Main Sponsor(s): Oasis Community Learning

1,500,000

0

Open Academy

01/09/08

Main Sponsor(s): Grahame Dacre / Bishop of Norwich

2,000,000

0

Oxford Academy

01/09/08

Main Sponsor(s): Diocese of Oxford/Oxford Brookes University/Adrian Beecroft

1,500,000

0

Pimlico

01/09/08

Main Sponsor(s): Future

2,000,000

0

Priory City of Lincoln Academy

01/09/08

Main Sponsor(s): Priory Trust

6,330,000 sponsorship total across all 3 academies

313,000 sponsorship total across all 3 academies

Priory LSST Academy

01/09/08

Priory Witham Academy

01/09/08

Richard Rose Central Academy

01/09/08

Main Sponsor(s): Brian Scowcroft/Andrew Tinkler/University of Cumbria

2,000,000

0

Richard Rose Morton Academy

01/09/08

Main Sponsor(s): Brian Scowcroft/Andrew Tinkler/University of Cumbria

2,000,000

0

Samworth Church Academy, Nottingham

01/09/08

Main Sponsor(s): David Samworth/Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham

1,500,000

500,000

St Lawrence Academy

01/09/08

Main Sponsor(s): Diocese of Lincoln

1,500,000

0

West Lakes Academy

01/09/08

Main Sponsor(s): Nuclear Decommissioning Authority Sellafield Ltd/University of Lancashire

2,000,000

0

Accrington Academy

01/09/08

Main Sponsor(s): United Learning Trust

1,500,000

125,000

Trent Valley Academy

01/09/08

Main Sponsor: Edu Trust

1,500,000

1,500,000

Shelfield Academy, Walsall

01/01/09

Main Sponsor(s): Ormiston Trust

1,500,000

0

Colston Girls' Academy

01/09/08

Main Sponsor(s): Society of Merchant Venturers

No sponsorship requirement

Bristol Cathedral School

01/09/08

Main Sponsor(s): Bristol Cathedral School

No sponsorship requirement

Harris Falconwood

01/09/08

Main Sponsor(s): Harris Federation of South London Schools Trust

No sponsorship requirement

Oasis Academy Coulsdon

01/09/08

Main Sponsor(s): Oasis Community Learning

No sponsorship requirement

Oasis Academy Brightstowe

01/09/08

Main Sponsor(s): Oasis Community Learning

No sponsorship requirement

Oasis Academy Mayfield

01/09/08

Main Sponsor(s): Oasis Community Learning

No sponsorship requirement

Oasis Academy Lords Hill

01/09/08

Main Sponsor(s): Oasis Community Learning

No sponsorship requirement

Greensward

01/09/08

Main Sponsor(s): Greensward College

No sponsorship requirement

New Rickstones

01/09/08

Main Sponsor(s): Greensward College

No sponsorship requirement

The Maltings

01/09/08

Main Sponsor(s): Greensward College

No sponsorship requirement

Sport: Swimming

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether the Swimming Forum represents a cross-section of interests in swimming-related matters. [HL6077]

The Swimming Forum comprises a wide cross-section of organisations with an interest in the development of swimming. The forum recognises that there are many aspects to swimming as a sport, including recreational swimming, disabled swimming, and swimming's educational aspects, as well as its many associated disciplines. The forum can consider all matters that can influence the delivery of its core objectives, specifically: swimming teaching and coaching, the development of volunteer and professional structures, facility strategy and management, and health and safety.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether the Swimming Forum's business is conducted so as to ensure that the Amateur Swimming Association exercises only appropriate influence. [HL6078]

The Swimming Forum is an independent forum and all member bodies have equal rights. Membership is open to any recognised body in the United Kingdom concerned primarily with the delivery of swimming activities in swimming pools, and which contributes towards the provision of swimming activities for the community. The forum is currently chaired by the Institute of Sport and Recreation Management, with the Amateur Swimming Association providing the secretariat.

Turks and Caicos Islands

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether, following Hurricane Ike, they plan to install a meteorological station in the Turks and Caicos Islands to give more comprehensive weather forecasts. [HL6388]

There are no plans to install a meteorological station in the Turks and Caicos Islands. However, there are already three operational meteorological observing stations located at the islands’ principal airports; the information from these stations is integrated into the weather forecasts produced for the islands by the Bahamas Department of Meteorology and the regional hurricane warning service provided out of the National Hurricane Centre in Miami.

Voluntary Organisations: Grants

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What is the minimum income or turnover that a charity or voluntary group must have in order to be eligible to bid for Empowerment Fund grants. [HL6352]

Having ensured that they meet all the relevant criteria specified by the fund, applicants should have a minimum income of £170,000 pa. However, third sector organisations with a lower income may still be able to apply through a partnership where the lead applicant meets all the necessary criteria.

Voluntary Work: Young People

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What payments the government youth volunteering organisation v has made, or is contracted to make, to public relations consultants; and for what purposes. [HL6145]

In 2008-09 the Cabinet Office awarded a grant of £2.6 million for marketing to the independent youth volunteering charity v. The purpose of the grant is to promote youth volunteering, making it an accessible, attractive proposition to young people. V’s marketing activity drives young people to vinspired.com where they can discover opportunities to volunteer and their local v contact.

V has engaged an agency to develop and implement its ongoing communications activity including public relations. It is paid on a project by project basis.

Women in Prison

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What steps they will take to reduce the number of women in prison for minor offences, as highlighted by the United Nations Committee on the elimination of discrimination against women in its concluding observations in respect of the United Kingdom on 18 July. [HL6114]

Sentencing and remand decisions in individual cases are entirely a matter for the independent judiciary within the law and any guidance issued by the Sentencing Guidelines Council and the Court of Appeal. The law already makes clear that prison sentences should be given only when the offending behaviour is so serious as to make that the only possible punishment. The Government have consistently expressed their view that offenders who are not violent or dangerous do not need to be in custody and their offending can better be addressed with a community order.

The Government have been focusing on finding effective, practical ways of diverting resources into community provision. The CEDAW recommendations will be considered in the context of implementation of the commitments set out in the Governments response to the Corston report.