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Written Answers

Volume 707: debated on Monday 26 January 2009

Written Answers

Monday 26 January 2009

Agriculture: Incineration

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by the Minister for Farming and the Environment, Jane Kennedy, on 24 November 2008 (Official Report, House of Commons, cols. 847–48W), whether the methodology used by the Environment Agency for determining large-scale incineration projects is different from that used by applicants; if so, how; and why. [HL708]

Applications for permits to operate large-scale waste incinerators under the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2007 are determined by the Environment Agency's National Permitting Service.

These are determined in accordance with the guidance contained in the Environmental Permitting Core Guidance and Environmental Permitting Guidance: The Directive on the Incineration of Waste. These documents are available on Defra's website and applicants will use this guidance when preparing their applications.

Airports: Heathrow

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of suggestions that the planned Heathrow third runway and sixth terminal will infringe local residents' human rights in respect of noise pollution and stress. [HL776]

The Government’s recent decision to support a third runway at Heathrow has sought to balance environmental, economic and social considerations. It is now for the airport operator to decide how to progress a planning application. Under the new arrangements provided for in the Planning Act 2008, planning applications for nationally significant infrastructure will be considered by the independent Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC). In deciding an application, the IPC must be satisfied that its decision would not be in breach of any domestic legislation or the UK’s international obligations, which would include relevant human rights legislation.

Armed Forces: Aircraft

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government where in Europe the A400M heavy lift aircraft will be assembled. [HL710]

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government which nation will make the A400M heavy lift aircraft wings; and in which locations. [HL711]

The wings for the A400M are constructed from component parts made in Belgium, France, Germany, Spain, Turkey and the UK. The wings are assembled in the UK at Filton.

Armed Forces: Helicopters

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans there are to update the Chinook fleet to a common standard; over what timescale; and at what cost. [HL689]

The Ministry of Defence manages Chinook upgrades via a through-life management plan leading to progressive capability developments. We are currently undertaking a number of system upgrades to meet current and future operational requirements including enhancements to communications, night vision, defensive aids and engines which will be completed across the fleet by 2016. We are also planning to fit the whole Chinook fleet of 48 aircraft with a common cockpit in order to deliver maximum flexibility and capability. This will be subject to the Department's investment approvals process later this year, during which cost and time estimates will be approved. Beyond this, we are developing plans to ensure that the Chinook fleet can continue to provide an effective capability until 2040. Investment decisions are not expected until early next decade.

Atomic Weapons Establishment

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they retain full ownership and control of all the assets of the Atomic Weapons Establishment, Aldermaston, notwithstanding the appointment of a consortium company to manage the establishment; and, if so, (a) in whom that ownership and control is vested; and (b) in what documents their working arrangements with that management company are set out. [HL771]

The Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) operates under Government-owned contractor operated arrangements. AWE has been contractorised since 1993. The UK Government have retained full ownership and control of all AWE assets, vested in the Secretary of State for Defence.

The management and operation of AWE have been contracted to AWE Management Limited (AWEML) since 1 April 2000. Day-to-day operations are undertaken by a separate company, AWE plc, which is owned by AWEML and has its own board of directors with no AWEML parent company affiliations. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) holds a special share in AWE plc, which would allow intervention in the management of AWE or the transfer of responsibility to another contractor if that became necessary.

The AWE contract is managed by the Directorate Strategic Weapons (DSW) in the Defence Equipment and Support area of the MoD. DSW works with a wide range of stakeholders in the MoD and other government departments.

The primary document that defines the relationship between the MoD and AWEML is the contract between the parties. This requires the MoD to be consulted in respect of any changes to the composition of AWEML. Such consultation took place in respect of the recent changes in ownership of AWEML, which has no bearing on the ownership and control of AWE assets. Strategic requirements and the UK deterrent programme are set by the UK Government. UK nuclear forces will remain fully operationally independent; decision-making and the use of the system remains entirely sovereign to the UK.

Bailiffs

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what safeguards they have put in place to control bailiffs' use of force when entering homes to recover outstanding personal debt. [HL503]

At present the law relating to enforcement by the seizure and sale of goods is complex and is contained in numerous statutes, secondary legislation and common law that does not provide for a single cohesive process.

The Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 prescribes or enables regulations to prescribe the entire process to be followed by enforcement agents and includes provisions on the powers of entry.

Under the current contracts between Her Majesty's Courts Service, and the private bailiffs companies which undertake work on behalf of magistrates’ courts, there are specific instructions to the bailiff companies requiring them to adhere to instructions and processes issued by HMCS on the use of forced entry. These processes must be agreed by Her Majesty's Courts Service Regional Management before there can be any use of forced entry by private bailiffs.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what arrangements they have to monitor use of force by bailiffs when enforcing debt recovery against moveable goods on private property. [HL504]

At present the law relating to enforcement by the seizure and sale of goods is complex and is contained in numerous statutes, secondary legislation and common law that does not provide for a single cohesive process.

The Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 prescribes or enables regulations to prescribe the entire process to be followed by enforcement agents and includes provisions on the powers of entry.

Under the current contracts between Her Majesty's Courts Service and private bailiff companies there are specific requirements for the companies to report on the use of forced entry. These reporting procedures include the details of any complaints received by the bailiff companies on the actions taken when enforcing debt recovery. Any such complaints must be investigated thoroughly by the company itself. In addition, Her Majesty's Courts Service Regional Management will investigate the complaint to determine that the correct action was taken by the bailiff or if the situation requires further investigation.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what new powers they propose to make available to bailiffs when enforcing debts against moveable goods on private property. [HL505]

The Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 clarifies and unifies, where possible, the law governing the activities of enforcement agents when taking control of and selling goods.

The Act introduces a single piece of law which brings together in one place a legal structure for all warrant enforcement, written in terms that are easily understandable and which clearly outline the rights and responsibilities of creditors, debtors, the police and enforcement agents. The reforms are part of a package of measures that will address concerns and will govern amongst other things:

when and how enforcement agents can enter somebody's premises;

what goods they can and cannot seize and sell; and

what fees they can charge.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to consult on any extension of powers available to bailiffs. [HL506]

It is intended that a major consultation exercise will be undertaken that will include a consultation paper setting out the draft regulations for enforcement by taking control of goods and the table of fees.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to set up a regulator to oversee the use of powers of recovery by bailiffs. [HL507]

A consultative partial regulatory impact assessment was issued on 30 January 2007 exploring the costs and impact of a regulatory body. The paper set out the options for the future of regulation of enforcement agents who are not Crown employees. Regulation by the Security Industry Authority is the preferred option. The Security Industry Authority has been commissioned to deliver a business case which will be reviewed and final decisions will be made in February 2009.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will place in the Library of the House a copy of guidelines issued to bailiffs when enforcing debts against private property. [HL508]

A copy of HMCS's Search and Entry Powers (Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004) Guidance to Civilian Enforcement Officers and Approved Enforcement Agents has been placed in the Library of the House. The guidance contains a number of redactions for reasons of public interest and on health and safety grounds.

Benefits: Incapacity Benefit

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government with reference to a report in the Sunday Times on 7 December 2008, why the areas of (a) Breckfield in Liverpool, (b) Castle Swansea and (c) Central and Falinge in Rochdale have higher than average incapacity benefit rates; and what steps they are taking to investigate this. [HL510]

Estimates of the proportion of the working age population on incapacity benefits for lower super output areas, which are the basis for the article in the Sunday Times referred to in the Question, were calculated using Department for Work and Pensions incapacity benefits caseload figures and experimental working age population estimates from the Office for National Statistics.

Estimates of the proportion of the working age population on incapacity benefits at this level of geography are not published or monitored by the Department for Work and Pensions and should be treated with caution. This is because benefit data are rounded to multiples of five so the percentages are approximate and only represent a snapshot at a point in time which may or may not be representative of the area; a more complete analysis would consider a longer trend.

There is known geographical variation in the percentage of the working age population that claims incapacity benefits: from 11 per cent in Wales to 5 per cent in the south-east. The percentage tends to be high in areas where heavy industry and mining used to be the major employer, but have since declined.

However, Department for Work and Pensions employment programmes, including the successful Pathways to Work programme, are primarily focused on individuals, so areas with high levels of benefit claimants will generally receive higher levels of government support.

China: Human Rights

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government when they last raised the case of the imprisoned blind human rights lawyer, Chen Guangcheng, with the government of China; what is known about his present condition; what response they received from earlier representations; and whether they intend to raise his case during the next official United Kingdom–Chinese dialogue on human rights. [HL449]

We raised the case of Chen Guangcheng at the latest round of the UK-China Human Rights Dialogue on 12 January 2009, together with the cases of other human rights defenders. The Chinese side failed to provide a satisfactory response. We had also raised this case at the UK-China Human Rights Dialogue in January 2008, and had previously raised a number of concerns about his treatment in prison with the Chinese Government. We continue to monitor his situation.

Countryside and Rights of Way Act

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many appeals were lodged against proposals in provisional maps as part of the mapping of access land under Part I of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000; how many of those appeals were withdrawn; and, of the remainder, how many were dealt with by (a) written representations, (b) public hearings, and (c) public inquiries. [HL694]

Following the publication of the provisional map under Part 1 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, 3,556 appeals were lodged, 385 of which were withdrawn or rejected. Some 2,467 were dealt with by written representations, 676 by public hearing and 28 by public inquiry.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what proportion of appeals against proposals in provisional maps as part of the mapping of access land under Part I of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 were (a) upheld, (b) partly upheld, and (c) dismissed; and what were the proportions in each case for appeals that were dealt with by (a) written representations, (b) public hearings, and (c) public inquiries. [HL699]

Of the 3,171 appeals heard following the publication of the provisional map under Part 1 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, 1,864 were upheld, 482 were partly upheld and 825 were dismissed. Of those upheld, 1,486 were dealt with by written representations, 369 by public hearing and nine by public inquiry. Where the appeal was allowed in part, 335 were dealt with by written representations, 138 by public hearing and nine by public inquiry. Of those dismissed, 646 were dealt with by written representations, 169 by public hearing and 10 by public inquiry.

Energy: Reserves

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the President of the European Commission will have the legal authority to take over European Union energy reserves following the commencement of the Lisbon treaty. [HL626]

The Lisbon treaty will not give the President of the European Commission any legal authority to take over energy reserves. The Lisbon treaty makes it clear that national Governments determine the conditions for exploiting their energy resources, their choices between different energy resources and the general structure of their energy supply. This is clearly set out in Article 194 of the consolidated treaties (Cm 7310).

Fishing: Accidents

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many fishermen died in accidents between 1992 and 2006; and how the rate compares with the general workforce ashore. [HL717]

There were 256 recorded deaths of commercial fishermen on UK-registered fishing vessels during the period 1992 to 2006 (ref: Marine Accident Investigation Branch report—Analysis of UK Fishing Vessel Safety 1992 to 2006, published November 2008)

Directly comparable statistics for the same time period are not available, but the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s Research Project 578—Update of Mortality for Workers in the UK Merchant Shipping and Fishing Sectors, published in July 2007, showed the fatal accident rate for UK fishermen for the period 1996 to 2005 to be 115 times than that of the general workforce in Great Britain.

Football: Ticket Sales

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assurances on ticket prices were given by the present owners of Manchester United Football Club, at their meetings with Ministers in May 2005; and whether they have been honoured since then. [HL532]

During the informal meeting that my right honourable friend, the former Sports Minister, Richard Caborn, had with the Glazers in 2005, about their purchase of Manchester United, they reassured him that they had the best interests of the club in mind. I also understand they indicated that ticket prices would not automatically rise, and that they were looking to expand that club by raising its profile around the world.

The issue of ticket prices is one for each individual club and the football authorities.

Gaza

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Government of Israel has responded to the European Union presidency statement of 14 November on Gaza; and, if so, in what terms. [HL141]

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps the European Union presidency will take to ensure that the civilian population of Gaza does not suffer collective punishment, contrary to international law and to the European Union–Israel trade agreement. [HL142]

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the response of the Government of Israel to the recent request by the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Office that humanitarian supplies be allowed into Gaza; and whether they will take any further action. [HL143]

We, along with the EU presidency, are concerned with the serious humanitarian situation in Gaza and consider the restrictions of Gaza's borders to the passage of relief supplies a disproportionate and inappropriate response to the security threat.

Although there is no permanent physical Israeli presence in Gaza, given the significant control that Israel has over Gaza's borders, airspace and territorial waters, Israel retains obligations under the fourth Geneva convention as an occupying power. The fourth Geneva convention is clear than an occupying power must co-operate in allowing the passage and distribution of relief consignments.

We will continue to urge the Israeli Government to ease the restrictions on the Gaza border and permit the flow of essential supplies.

Gulf War: NAPS Tablets

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many personal medical records of British troops deployed to the 1990–91 Gulf conflict have details of the use and administering of nerve agent pre-treatment sets (NAPS) tablets. [HL531]

This information is not held centrally. We would need the permission of 1990-91 Gulf veterans before reviewing individual medical records to collate the necessary information (if available) and this could only be provided at disproportionate cost. In October 2001, MoD published the paper Medical Records in the Gulf. This paper describes the arrangements for medical record-keeping during the 1990-91 Gulf conflict and discusses a number of reasons why records that were kept may not have been complete. A copy of this paper is available in the Library of the House. The MoD's Vaccines Interactions Research Programme addressed the possible adverse health effects of the combination of vaccines and tablets (NAPS) given to troops to protect them against the threat of biological and chemical warfare. This showed that there would not have been adverse effects on 19 October 2006 (Official Report, col. WS 87).

House of Lords: Tips

Question

Asked by

To ask the Chairman of Committees what is the House of Lords' policy in relation to tips and how they are distributed. [HL655]

Tips in House of Lords catering outlets are distributed among Refreshment Department staff in addition to their salary. Salary scales for House of Lords staff are published online at www.parliament.uk/about_ lords/lordshro/2008_09_staffpayrange_hoc.cfm.

House of Lords: Weighing Scales

Question

Asked by

To ask the Chairman of Committees whether he will arrange to have the weighing scales in the Peers' lavatories on the Bishops’ corridor, and in other locations in the House of Lords, display stones and pounds as well as kilograms. [HL950]

It would not be cost-effective to replace the existing weighing scales. However, I have arranged for a conversion chart (kilograms to stones and pounds) to be placed next to the scales to assist Members.

Houses of Parliament: Warrants

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether any warrant was executed on or behalf of the Secretary of State for the Home Department under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 in October, November or December 2008 authorising the interception of communications within the Palace of Westminster in relation to investigations into leaks transmitted to a member of either House of Parliament; and, if so, whether such a warrant was issued in the case of Mr Damian Green MP. [HL269]

To ask Her Majesty's Government under what warrant under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 the Metropolitan Police intercepted parliamentary electronic communications in October, November or December 2008. [HL270]

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Metropolitan Police approached the Home Office, the Cabinet Office or the Law Officers of the Crown seeking advice on whether a warrant was required to be executed on or behalf of the Secretary of State for the Home Department under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 in October or November 2008 authorising the interception of communications within the Palace of Westminster; if so, what reply was given; and at what level it was given. [HL271]

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether it is necessary for the police to obtain a warrant under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 to intercept the electronic communications of a member of either House of Parliament. [HL272]

Any interception—the monitoring or interference with a communication during the course of its transmission so as to make it available to a third party, whether police or other agencies—requires a lawful authority.

Such conduct has lawful authority only if it takes place in accordance with a warrant authorised by the Secretary of State.

RIPA places an obligation to keep secret all matters relating to any warrant, including the application, issue and the execution of it. Accordingly it has been the policy of successive Governments neither to confirm nor to deny whether a warrant has been sought or issued.

The Home Secretary confirmed on 4 December 2008 that the Wilson doctrine as outlined by the Prime Minister has not been abrogated. (col. 143).

Human Rights

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government why they have not complied with the decision on interim measures of the European Court of Human Rights that Faisal Attiyah Nassar al-Saadoon and Khalaf Hussain Mufdhi should not be transferred to the Iraqi authorities until further notice, having regard to the obligation imposed on the United Kingdom by Article 34 of the European Convention on Human Rights. [HL783]

Her Majesty's Government take their responsibility to comply with requests from the European Court of Human Rights at Strasbourg very seriously. However, after 31 December 2008 the UK had no legal power to detain any individuals in Iraq and there was therefore no lawful option other than to transfer Mr al-Saadoon and Mr Mufdhi to the Iraqi authorities. The Government therefore took the view that, exceptionally, they could not comply with the measure indicated by the court.

Israel and Palestine: Detained Parliamentarians

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress is being made towards releasing detained Palestinian parliamentarians, following their recent representations to the Government of Israel. [HL144]

We welcome the announcement by the Israeli Government, made during my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary's visit to Israel and the Occupied Territories, on the planned release of over 200 Palestinian prisoners. However, while we welcomed Israel's release of two Hamas Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) members in June, we continue to call for all elected PLC members detained by Israel to be either released or subject to due legal process.

Legal Aid: Northern Ireland

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what circumstances within the legal aid system in Northern Ireland led to the withdrawal or suspension of services to some who had qualified to receive legal aid; and what the latest position is. [HL587]

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many lawyers in Northern Ireland have withdrawn or suspended their defence services due to a dispute over the timeliness of payments under the legal aid system. [HL588]

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many court cases in Northern Ireland have been affected by problems involving legal aid payments; what effect this is having on the courts' timetables; what has been the estimated cost of such delays; and when the matter will be resolved. [HL589]

The Bar Council of Northern Ireland recently resolved that “No counsel at the Bar of Northern Ireland shall be required to accept or retain any brief ... in any matter, criminal or otherwise, if he or she reasonably forms the view that fair remuneration will not be forthcoming within a reasonable time”. In reliance on this, counsel have declined to act in a number of cases in the Crown Court and in the County Court Family Care Centre pending resolution of difficulties regarding the payment of legal aid fees for such cases.

In the Crown Court six cases have been deferred and in the Family Care Centre 16 cases have been affected. No separate identifiable cost will result from the rescheduling of these cases.

Arrangements have been made to expedite legal aid payments in very high cost criminal cases in the Crown Court. The Lord Chancellor has also approved an interim payment scheme for cases where fees have not been paid after six months in such cases.

Discussions are well advanced to resolve the outstanding difficulty in relation to legal aid fees for Family Care Centre cases.

Marine and Coastal Access Bill [HL]

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government which access authorities in England include coastal land that will be subject to Part 9 of the Marine and Coastal Access Bill. [HL789]

The following access authorities in England will be covered by the coastal access provisions in the Marine and Coastal Access Bill:

Blackpool;

Bournemouth;

Brighton and Hove;

Bristol;

The Broads Authority;

Cheshire;

Cornwall;

Cumbria;

Devon;

Dorset;

Durham;

East Riding of Yorkshire;

East Sussex;

Essex;

Exmoor National Park;

Gloucestershire;

Hampshire;

Hartlepool;

Kent;

Kingston-upon-Hull;

Lake District National Park;

Lancashire;

Lincolnshire;

Liverpool;

Medway;

Middlesbrough;

New Forest National Park;

Norfolk;

North East Lincolnshire;

North Lincolnshire;

North Somerset;

North Tyneside;

North York Moors National Park;

North Yorkshire;

Northumberland;

Plymouth;

Poole;

Portsmouth;

Redcar and Cleveland;

Sefton;

Somerset;

South Gloucestershire

South Tyneside;

Southampton;

Southend-on-Sea;

Stockton-on-Tees;

Suffolk;

Sunderland;

Thurrock;

Torbay;

West Sussex; and

Wirral.

The final decision on the alignment of the coastal access route and margin will be taken by the Secretary of State following consideration of Natural England's coastal access report and any representations made on the report in accordance with regulations made under Section 292 55E of the Bill.

Modernising Scientific Careers

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what technical difficulties have led to the consultation document The Future of the Healthcare Science Workforce. Modernising Scientific Careers, the Next Steps: a Consultation being replaced on the Department of Health's website twice following its publication on 26 November; and what alterations have been made to the document since then. [HL474]

The first version of the document published on the department's website on 25 November contained two printing errors. This version was therefore withdrawn on 28 November and replaced on the website with a second version on 5 December. A further printing error was then corrected and a third correct final version was published on 10 December and has since been produced in hard copy.

During the period between 28 November and 5 December we took the opportunity to review the document and made some plain English and grammatical changes.

A copy of that document has already been placed in the Library. Tables detailing all of the changes made from the first version to the final version have also been placed in the Library.

In view of the delay in publishing the final version of the document, the consultation period has been extended from 27 February—as shown in the final version of the document—to 6 March 2009.

National Probation Service: Discrimination

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Bach on 12 January (WA 114–15), whether any disciplinary action has been taken by the National Offender Management Service in cases when its staff have been alleged to have perpetrated discriminatory actions. [HL636]

Behaviour constituting discrimination or harassment will not be tolerated in the National Offender Management Service and, depending on the individual circumstances of the case, could fall under the category of gross misconduct which would invariably lead to dismissal.

The National Offender Management Service has taken formal disciplinary action against its directly employed staff in cases where their actions have been proven to be discriminatory in nature.

In respect of probation boards and trusts they are bodies corporate and responsible for the employment of their staff. Allegations of discriminatory behaviour are investigated thoroughly and dealt with in accordance with the local disciplinary regulations.

National Security

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Cabinet Office or the Home Office supplied the Metropolitan Police with a list of the instances of considerable damage that had been caused to national security referred to in the letter from Mr C Wright. [HL273]

NHS: Staff

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the proportion of male to female nurses working in the National Health Service. [HL908]

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the proportion of male and female doctors working in National Health Service hospitals. [HL909]

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many men and how many women are working as general practitioners in the National Health Service. [HL910]

A breakdown by gender of people working in the National Health Service as of 30 September 2007 is given in the table below.

Total

Male

Female

Unknown

General Practitioners (Excluding GP Registrars and GP Retainers)

33,364

19,018 (58%)1

14,346 (42%)1

N/A

Medical and Dental Staff (All Specialities and Grades)

94,638

57,365 (61%)1

37,273 (39%)1

N/A

All Qualified Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting Staff

376,737

37,039 (10.9%)2

303,820 (89.1%)2

35,878

Notes:

1 Percentage of total number of staff

2 Percentage of number of respondents

Northern Ireland Assembly: Policing and Justice

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether responsibility for historic inquiries involving the Royal Ulster Constabulary GC and the Police Service for Northern Ireland will come within the responsibility of the Northern Ireland Assembly at the same time as the devolution of policing and justice; if so, what will be the manpower and financial implications for policing; and how it is planned to provide the necessary resources. [HL653]

Both the Police Service of Northern Ireland's Historical Enquiries Team (HET) and the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland carry out reviews/investigations of historic incidents. Both are expected to come within the legislative competence of the Northern Ireland Assembly as part of the devolution of policing and justice. The resourcing of the HET is additional to the core PSNI budget and the resourcing of the police ombudsman historical inquiries is additional to the ombudsman's core budget.

Northern Ireland Office: Bonuses

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by the Lord President (Baroness Royall of Blaisdon) on 10 December 2008 (WA 5) concerning the payment of bonuses to certain officials of the Northern Ireland Office, where the relevant trade unions were consulted and whether their approval was sought or obtained. [HL599]

Relevant trade unions were consulted about the policies which determine the bonus schemes. Trade unions have no role in the approval process for the payment of bonuses to individual officials.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will place in the Library of the House the criteria to determine which staff of the Northern Ireland Office are awarded a bonus in D2 to A grades. [HL748]

The Northern Ireland office has produced a code of practice and a guidance document in relation to the award of non-consolidated bonuses for staff at grades D2 to A. The operation of the special bonus scheme mirrors that of the Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS) and details are to be found in chapter 25 of the NICS staff handbook.

I have arranged for copies of these documents to be placed in the Library of the House.

Northern Ireland Parades Commission

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by the Lord President (Baroness Royall of Blaisdon) on 17 December 2008 (WA 54) concerning payments to the Northern Ireland Parades Commission, why the chairman's salary increased by £5,066 from 2000 to 2008 and the board members' salary reduced by £6,116 during the same period. [HL745]

In accordance with Schedule 1 of the Public Processions (Northern Ireland) Act 1998 (as amended), the Secretary of State may pay to the chairman and other members of the commission such remuneration and allowances as he may determine. To ensure propriety the Secretary of State has regularly reviewed the remuneration packages of the chairman and members since the establishment of the commission in 1997.

The reduction in remuneration of the commission members and the increase in the chairman's remuneration brought the members in line with other similar bodies.

Olympic Games 2012

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will place in the Library of the House copies of the tender specifications for hosting the 2012 Olympic shooting and equestrian events. [HL765]

The venues for the 2012 Games were selected by the bid committee in 2004 taking into account the technical requirements of each international federation and the guidelines for bidding cities provided by the IOC. There were no tenders.

KPMG was commissioned by the ODA last year to test and challenge the plans for a number of 2012 temporary venues, including the shooting and equestrian events. In December, the Olympic Board published the findings of the KPMG report. It endorsed the recommendation that the equestrian events should be at Greenwich and agreed that further work to assess the venue for shooting should be carried out by the ODA and LOCOG. This work is ongoing.

The London Organising Committee's tender process for the temporary installations and overlay to support the delivery and operation of these venues is scheduled to begin later this year.

Olympic Games 2012: Safety and Security

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government which department and Minister have responsibility for the design phase of the Olympic safety and security programme. [HL616]

To ask Her Majesty's Government what work will follow the design phase of the Olympic safety and security programme; and which departments and Ministers will have responsibility for that work. [HL617]

The Secretary of State for the Home Department and the Home Office have overall responsibility for the Olympic safety and security programme. Day-to-day responsibility for the design phase of the programme rests with Admiral the Lord West of Spithead.

Following the design phase of the Olympic safety and security programme the programme will transition to an implementation phase which will take forward the security activities and planning necessary to deliver a safe and secure 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. In broad terms this work will involve protecting Olympic venues, events and supporting infrastructure; preparing for any disruptive challenges; identifying and disrupting security threats; planning and resourcing security for the Games; and engaging with domestic and international security partners. Departmental and Ministerial responsibilities during the implementation phase will be unchanged.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the timetable for the Olympic safety and security programme. [HL618]

The Olympic safety and security programme is already under way with planning and design work in progress and significant activity taking place at the Olympic Park in Stratford.

The Olympic safety and security strategy will be presented to the Cabinet sub-committee on National Security, International Relations and Development (Protective Security and Resilience) in February 2009 and following this the programme will transition into an implementation phase. This will last until the summer of 2012 when the operation to secure the Games will take place.

The programme is scheduled for completion on 31 March 2013 to allow time after the end of the Games to undertake the International Olympic Committee's lessons learned process and implement the changes necessary to reduce security to the levels required in a legacy environment.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether a costed security plan for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games has been delivered to Ministers. [HL683]

Police: Groups

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord West of Spithead on 12 January (WA 119), what are the annual grants paid to (a) the British Association of Women in Policing; and (b) the National Association of Muslim Police. [HL734]

Grant in aid approval for the financial year 2008-09 is £100,000 for the British Association for Women in Policing (BAWP) and £45,000 for the National Association of Muslim Police (NAMP).

Police: Menezes Inquest

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government following the verdict on 12 December in the de Menezes inquest, what assessment they have made of the responsibility of senior members of the Metropolitan Police for the case. [HL484]

The case was a complex one raising important issues about the way in which operational policing is carried out. Those are primarily matters for the police service, with assistance from the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA), to ensure that the lessons are learnt and applied across all forces. The Home Office is also considering those issues carefully with the police service and the health and safety executive.

The police service, together with our security services, remains in the forefront of the fight against terrorism and retains the Home Office's full confidence.

Police: Northern Ireland

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the decision of the Police Service of Northern Ireland to announce publicly that the Omagh bomb murders, the McCartney murder and Northern Bank theft were no longer to be investigated was related to the devolution of policing and justice; if so, what assessment they have made of the effect on public opinion; and why that procedure is being introduced now. [HL650]

This is an operational matter for the chief constable. I have asked him to reply to the noble Lord directly, and I will arrange for a copy of the letter to be placed in the Library of the House.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the decision of the Police Service of Northern Ireland not to pursue their investigation of the Omagh bomb murders, the McCartney murder and the Northern Bank theft was affected by the level of confidence between the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the Public Prosecution Service for Northern Ireland. [HL651]

This is an operational matter for the chief constable. I have asked him to reply to the noble Lord directly, and I will arrange for a copy of the letter to be placed in the Library of the House.

Railways: International Passenger Trains

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the definition of an international passenger service to which the draft Railways Infrastructure (Access and Management) (Amendment) Regulations 2009 will apply. [HL835]

The definition of an international passenger service used in directive 2007/58/EC will apply to the draft Railways Infrastructure (Access and Management) (Amendment) Regulations 2009:

“international passenger service” shall mean a passenger service where the train crosses at least one border of a member state and where the principal purpose of the service is to carry passengers between stations located in different member states; the train may be joined and/or split, and the different sections may have different origins and destinations, provided that all carriages cross at least one border.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government in respect of the draft Railways Infrastructure (Access and Management) (Amendment) Regulations 2009, under what circumstances international passenger trains will be able to carry passengers within the United Kingdom between Ashford International, Stratford, London St Pancras, stations north of London, on the west coast main line, Midland main line and east coast main line. [HL836]

Under draft Railways Infrastructure (Access and Management) (Amendment) Regulations 2009, any railway undertaking may request access to infrastructure to operate an international passenger service from 1 January 2010. This will include the right to pick up and set down passengers at any station located on the international route within Great Britain. However, the Office of Rail Regulation may limit the access rights if the proposed international service would compromise the economic equilibrium of a relevant public service contract.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government in respect of the draft Railways Infrastructure (Access and Management) (Amendment) Regulations 2009, whether they intend to implement the legislation allowing them to levy an additional charge on such trains offering domestic journeys. [HL837]

The Government do not propose implementing a provision within directive 2007/58/EC allowing the authorities responsible for rail passenger transport to impose a levy on railway undertakings providing passenger services, as it would place an unnecessary burden on train operating companies.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government in respect of the draft Railways Infrastructure (Access and Management) (Amendment) Regulations 2009, whether they will refuse rights to operate within the United Kingdom to operators from member states which do not permit United Kingdom operators to operate there. [HL838]

The objective of directive 2007/58/EC on the liberalisation of international passenger rail services is to open up the international passenger rail market in Europe. From 1 January 2010, member states will no longer be able to refuse potential operators of international passenger services access to their infrastructure.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government in respect of the draft Railways Infrastructure (Access and Management) (Amendment) Regulations 2009, who will fix and approve access charges for international passenger services operating in the United Kingdom on High Speed 1 and on lines regulated by the Office of Rail Regulation; and in what circumstances those charges will vary from those paid by domestic passenger operators. [HL839]

Charges for the use of HS1 will be fixed by HS1 Ltd in its role as infrastructure manager and will be published in a network statement. Those charges must be in accordance with a charging framework that will be established by the Secretary of State.

It is proposed that the Office of Rail Regulation shall have the statutory responsibility for ensuring that the charges imposed by HS1 Ltd are in compliance with the relevant regulations. In addition it is proposed that the Office of Rail Regulation will from time to time review the efficiency of the charges and act as the appeal body in the event of any complaint.

Provided HS1 Ltd’s charges are efficient and otherwise compliant with the relevant regulations they need not be the same for both international and domestic passenger services.

Charges imposed on any international passenger operators on the national network will be fixed by Network Rail in accordance with the charging framework established by the Office of Rail Regulation.

Recycling

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how much material collected by local authorities for recycling is being stored owing to the present market conditions. [HL697]

Defra does not hold the specific information requested. The best available information indicates that markets for recycled materials have stabilised though at lower prices than formerly. Most materials are continuing to flow, but there is additional storage of some types of steel and paper. Recycling continues to be an economically viable and environmentally beneficial part of the UK's waste strategy, and householders should continue to put out waste for recycling in order to help the environment.

Residential Care

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what amount was paid in grants under Section 55 of the Health and Social Care Act 2001 (which allows a local authority to take a charge on a person's home rather than a contribution towards the cost of residential accommodation) for each of the years 2001–02 to 2007–08 inclusive. [HL578]

The deferred payments grant, made under Section 55 of the 2001 Act, ran for three years from 2001-02 to 2003-04. It was felt this was long enough to allow the funding from earlier deferred payments agreements to be recycled by councils. The amount allocated to councils was £15 million in 2001-02, £30 million in 2002-03 and £40 million in 2003-04.

Smoking

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Action for Smoking on Health Group (ASH) or other anti-smoking organisations have received Government funding in 2006, 2007 and 2008; and, if so, how much in each year. [HL850]

The department's grants to Action on Smoking Health (ASH) are set out in the following table.

Financial year

Grants (£)

2005-06

180,000

2006-07

185,400

2007-08

191,000

The department's grants to the No Smoking Day (NSD) organisation are set out in the following table.

Financial year

Grants (£)

2005-06

250,000

2006-07

250,000

2007-08

250,000

The department in 2007-08 contracted the Tobacco Control Collaborating Centre to support the implementation of smoke-free legislation in residential mental health units. This contract was valued at £50,000.

The department also provides funding directly to the National Health Service for tobacco control and smoking cessation activities.

Sudan: Darfur

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their response to the report Abductions, Sexual Slavery and Forced Labour in Darfur, published on 17 December by the Darfur Consortium. [HL450]

We welcome the report of the Darfur Coalition and join its authors in condemning all instances of abduction and trafficking and other forms of contemporary slavery.

We agree with many of the report's recommendations, including the need for full deployment of the UN/African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), a comprehensive ceasefire and inclusive peace process. The UK works closely with UN, African Union (AU) and international partners to help UNAMID to improve security in Darfur, and supports the AU/UN-led political process led by the chief mediator, Djibril Bassole, as the only way to achieve sustainable peace and security in Darfur.

The UK has contributed £40 million to the Common Humanitarian Fund. This fund has supported women's rights projects in Sudan, including action on sexual and gender-based violence in Darfur and southern Sudan.

Telecommunications: Security

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what measures they have in place to prevent the compromise, by covert surveillance by criminal and hostile agents, of critical telecommunications infrastructure provided by private companies and their subcontractors. [HL756]

The Government provide advice on protective security measures through the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) for organisations and businesses across the national infrastructure. This includes businesses and organisations in the communications sector that own or operate critical national infrastructure.

The CPNI provides and shares information regularly by means of information exchanges, face-to-face consultancy, briefings, seminars, advice publications and through its website. The CPNI has also provided input into the development of minimum standards for public communications networks and services, as a means of reducing vulnerability.

Terrorism

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, following the judgment of the Court of First Instance of the European Communities of 4 December in Case 284/08, representatives of member states in the Council of Ministers can vote individually on the names of organisations listed in the Annex to Council Regulation (EC) No 2580/2001 of 27 December 2001 and successor decisions on specific restrictive measures directed against certain persons and entities with a view to combating terrorism by maintaining or amending the original list. [HL182]

The Council is considering the implications of the Court of First Instance's judgment of 4 December in Case T—284/08 OMPI-v-Council including its impact on the procedures for how the names of entities and individuals are placed on the EU terrorism sanctions list. The UK is fully engaged in these discussions, and as I said in the House on 13 January (Official Report, col. 1007) the UK believes that EU member states must observe and respect the court's judgment in the current review of the EU list of terrorist organisations.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many (a) children and (b) adults in each police authority in England and Wales have been stopped and searched by police officers in each of the past five years using powers under section 44(1) of the Terrorism Act 2000. [HL752]

The information requested is not available.

Information on the age of persons stopped and searched under Section 44(1) of the Terrorism Act 2000 cannot be separately identified from the data on the total number of stops and searches under the Act reported to the Home Office.

Data on the total number of searches can be found in table P3 of the publication Arrests for Recorded Crime (Notifiable Offences) and the Operation of Certain Police Powers under PACE. Copies of the publication covering 2000-01 to 2006-07 (latest available) are in the Library of the House.

Turkey: Leyla Zana

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the European Union Enlargement Commissioner about the compatibility of the conviction and 10-year prison sentence imposed on Leyla Zana with Turkey's compliance with the Copenhagen principles. [HL116]

The Government have not yet discussed the conviction of Leyla Zana with the European Commission. We would expect the European Commission, following the appeal procedure and final judgment, to investigate the details of the case as part of its ongoing assessment of Turkey's reforms to meet the specified EU standards on the judiciary and fundamental rights and on compliance with the Copenhagen criteria.