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Written Answers

Volume 710: debated on Monday 11 May 2009

Written Answers

Monday 11 May 2009

Air Quality: Carbon Dioxide

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the present level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in parts per million. [HL3173]

The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere varies seasonally and regionally. Data collected by the Earth System Research Laboratory at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration indicate that the globally averaged concentration in 2008 was 385 parts per million by volume. (It is important to note that this value may change slightly, depending on recalibration of the reference gas mixtures used, and other quality control procedures).

Airports: Taxes

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the justification for the introduction of differential airport departure taxes for passengers travelling from the United Kingdom to different parts of the world. [HL2923]

Rates in the air passenger duty regime have always taken account of the destination of journeys.

The reformed air passenger duty, due to take effect from 1 November 2009, increases the number of distance bands.

Moving to a four band structure provides stronger environmental correlation and ensures those who fly further and contribute more to emissions pay more.

Aviation: Passengers

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord West of Spithead on 26 November 2008 (WA 329), whether air carriers are obliged to check the identities of passengers flying between Northern Ireland and Great Britain; if so, under what powers; and what forms of identity are acceptable. [HL2086]

Section 14 of the Police and Justice Act 2006 gives the police the power, subject to commencement through secondary legislation, to require a carrier, on request, to capture passenger and crew identity and other service data on domestic routes.

The Government are considering the use of these powers on routes between Great Britain and Northern Ireland only. This is to strengthen counterterrorism checks on international travellers who attempt to evade checks by travelling through the Republic of Ireland into or out of the UK. There are no plans to introduce these powers on other domestic UK routes, such as crossings to the Isle of Wight nor any other offshore islands. The Government will consult fully on the detailed terms of any implementation legislation, including the forms of identity that would be needed, before the powers are introduced.

Belfast Agreement: Parity of Treatment

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, as a result of the Belfast agreement of 1998, all residents on the island of Ireland (a) should be treated with parity, and (b) are treated with parity. [HL3219]

Child Tax Credit

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the cost of the increase to the child tax credit which is proposed in the 2009 Budget for each of the years 2010–11 and 2011–12. [HL3054]

The table below sets out the costs of the increase in child tax credits as announced in Budget 2009 for the years 2010-11 and 2011-12.

2010-11

2011-12 *

Increase in the child element of CTC by £20 above indexation

£140 million

£170 million

* For 2011-12 any costs are included within the spending growth assumption for 2011-12 onwards. Allocations of spending within this assumption will be announced in the next spending review.

Child Trust Funds

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the cost of the additional payments into child trust funds for disabled children which are proposed in the 2009 Budget for each of the years 2010–11 and 2011–12. [HL3053]

The cost of making payments to the child trust fund accounts of disabled children of £100 per year, with £200 per year to the accounts of severely disabled children, is £15 million in 2010-11 and £15 million in 2011-12. For 2011-12 costs are included within the spending growth assumption for 2011-12 onwards. Allocations of spending within this assumption will be announced in the next spending review.

Children: Poverty

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their estimate of the number of children in poverty in 2010 both before and after taking account of the 2009 Budget changes. [HL3055]

In 2006-07 there were 2.9 million children in relative low-income poverty, a fall of 600,000 children from 1998-99. Measures announced in and since Budget 2007 will lift around a further 500,000 children out of relative poverty.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what measures are in place to reduce (a) the level of income disparity in the United Kingdom; and (b) the number of children living in poverty. [HL3084]

The Government have pursued a comprehensive strategy to support families on lowest incomes:

introduced the national minimum wage in 1999, which has been increased by 24 per cent in real terms since then;

introduced working tax credit in 2003, the first system of inwork support for families without children;

rising support for families with children through tax credits meaning that four out of 10 families with children now receive more in tax credits and child benefit than they pay in income tax;

by April 2009 child benefit and the child tax credit guarantee support for the first child of £3,820 a year for families with an income of less than £16,040 a year;

introduction of a child benefit disregard in housing benefit (HB) and council tax benefit (CTB) by October 2009 will make HB and CTB more generous for low-income families with children (benefiting a working family with one child by up to £17 per week, and more for larger families); and

introduction of pension credit in 2003 means that no single pensioner has to get by on less than £130 a week, compared to £69 in 1997.

As a result of direct tax and benefit measures introduced since 1997, by April 2009-10, in real terms, households in the poorest fifth of the population are on average £2,850 a year better off; families with children in the poorest fifth of population are on average £4,750 a year better off. Between 1998-99 and 2006-07 relative child poverty fell by 600,000 children, and measures announced in and since Budget 2007 will lift around 500,000 more children out of relative poverty.

Civil Service: Performance Pay

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Statement by the Lord President (Baroness Royall of Blaisdon) on 31 March (WS 83–84), what was the estimated size of the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform's non-consolidated performance-related pay pot for the senior Civil Service in each of the past five years for which information is available. [HL2842]

Climate Change

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to discuss with the Government of Sweden climate change targets beyond the European Union's target of a 20 per cent cut in emissions, should the United States and other countries introduce stronger targets. [HL3201]

As part of the EU climate and energy package, agreed in December 2008, the EU is committed to increasing its emissions reduction target for 2020 from 20 per cent to 30 per cent as part of a global agreement for the period beyond 2012, provided that other developed countries commit to comparable targets and that developing countries contribute adequately according to their responsibilities and respective capabilities. Government Ministers meet regularly with their counterparts in other EU member states, including Sweden, to discuss climate change matters.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to visit the Commission for Sustainable Development in Stockholm, to discuss climate change targets with its chairman, the Swedish Prime Minister, and other officials. [HL3202]

There are as yet no definite plans for a visit to the Commission for Sustainable Development in Stockholm. However, the UK Government continue to discuss the UNFCCC climate change negotiations and EU efforts with Sweden and other EU member states through formal and informal meetings, at both ministerial and official level. My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change is due to hold a bilateral meeting with the Swedish Environment Minister later in May ahead of the Swedish presidency.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact on the United Kingdom and other European Union member states of the Government of Sweden's announcement in early March that they would aim at a 40 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. [HL3204]

The UK Government welcomed the Swedish Energy and Climate package announced on 5 February as an ambitious proposal which effectively places Sweden firmly as a world leader on climate change. Such strong ambition from the upcoming holder of the EU presidency enhances the credibility of the EU as a leader in international negotiations and will help encourage comparable action from international partners. The UK continues to work towards its target of 34 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 and 80 per cent by 2050.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the effect on United Kingdom policy of the Government of Sweden's pledge to be carbon neutral by 2050. [HL3206]

The UK Government welcomed the Swedish Energy and Climate package announced on 5 February as an ambitious proposal which effectively places Sweden firmly as a world leader on climate change. The UK continues to demonstrate its ambition and leadership through the Climate Change Act which made the UK the first country in the world to have a legally binding long-term framework to cut emissions, adapt to climate change, and commit to a low-carbon economy. The Act contains some of the world's most ambitious and far-sighted climate change targets.

Courts: Northern Ireland

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government when the two Northern Ireland Court Service officials investigated over hospitality abuses were suspended; and how much each has been paid since suspension.[HL3132]

The two officials were suspended in August 2005. The officials have been receiving their salaries while on precautionary suspension and have been paid £149,000 and £128,000 respectively.

Criminal Records Bureau

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what deadlines to process approvals the Criminal Records Bureau set itself; and what percentage of cases are within its targets. [HL3215]

The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) operates to a set of published service standards (PSS) which include issuing 90 per cent of standard disclosures within 10 days and 90 per cent of enhanced disclosures within 28 days. Between April 2008 and March 2009 the CRB has issued 396,000 standard disclosures and 3,459,000 enhanced disclosures.

During this period the CRB has exceeded PSS for standard disclosures with a cumulative total of 99.1 per cent issued within 10 days and has not met PSS for enhanced disclosures, issuing 88.6 per cent within 28 days.

The CRB has been receiving a higher than anticipated volume of disclosure applications. There are a number of reasons for this, but the volumes have put a great deal of pressure on both the CRB and the police forces. Consequently, some applications are taking longer to deal with.

Forces have been responding effectively and positively to these high intakes and this has enabled record numbers of disclosures to be issued in recent months.

For those forces which, for a variety of reasons, have been having greater difficulty with the increased demand, the CRB has been working very closely with them to address what additional help and support they need in the form of IT and workflow management expertise, accommodation and a 10 per cent increase in staff resources. The CRB has increased its own staff resources by 11 per cent to provide support for the police disclosure units and the bureau continues to monitor their performance regularly.

A joint improvement plan has been initiated aimed at reducing the number of aged cases, which are those applications that have been outstanding for longer than 25 days. Aged cases are those which cause the most difficulties for applicants, employers and other users of the disclosure service. This improvement plan has contributed towards a steady decline in the number of these cases over recent months. Monthly performance figures for each of the police forces for their part of the disclosure service are now published on the CRB website at www.crb.gov.uk.

Debt

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how much debt is owed to the United Kingdom by developing countries; and which are the ten most indebted nations. [HL2605]

The UK Government are owed a total of £2,813 million (including accrued interest) by emerging and developing countries, as defined by the International Monetary Fund. The 10 emerging and developing countries with the greatest sovereign debts to the UK are:

Indonesia;

Sudan;

Iraq;

Serbia;

Zimbabwe;

Cuba;

Egypt;

Republic of Congo;

Democratic Republic of Congo; and

Somalia.

Debt: United States

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Myners on 20 April (WA 324) concerning the war debt owed to the United States, whether this debt is still regarded as a live debt. [HL3048]

Department for International Development: Comprehensive Spending Review

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the details of the Department for International Development's £647 million contribution to the new 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review target set out on page 131 of the 2009 Economic and Fiscal Strategy Report. [HL3098]

At Budget it was announced that the Department for International Development (DfID) will make a further £155 million in 2010-11 value for money savings as part of the additional £5 billion cross-departmental savings, taking its total savings to £647 million over the CSR period. DfID is able to make savings while its budget increases at an average annual real growth rate of 11.4 per cent over the 2007 CSR period.

Detail on how the £647 million of savings will be delivered is set out in DfID's value for money delivery agreement, and the addendum, which was published alongside Budget. These are available online at:

www.dfid.gov.uk/aboutdfid/audit-committeeVfM-Delivery-Agreement.pdf.

www.dfid.gov.uk/news/files/budget09_vfm.asp

More information on DfID's approach to value for money is set out on page 39 of the 2009 Value for Money Update, available on the Cabinet Office website at:

www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/media/203122/value_for_money.pdf.

Department for International Development: Travant

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what benefits accrued to the United Kingdom from the Department for International Development's £15 million investment in Travant in 2007. [HL3102]

The Department for International Development (DfID) has no investment in Travant. Investment in Travant is made by CDC using its own capital. By making this investment, CDC is making a contribution to the achievement of the UK's broader poverty reduction objectives: increased private investment (as through entities such as Travant) is vital to generate the sustainable enterprises, jobs, incomes and taxes that lift people out of poverty and away from aid dependency.

Euro

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government when the Bank of England last intervened to support the euro; what was the extent of that intervention; and how much of that intervention has been refunded to the Bank of England by the European Central Bank. [HL2962]

The Bank of England, acting as agent for HMT, last intervened to support the euro in September 2000. This action was taken as part of a concerted intervention by the G7 monetary authorities. The Bank purchased €85 million in this intervention, as reported in the October 2000 reserves press release (www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/press_107_00.htm). The intervention was not refunded to the Bank by the ECB, in line with normal practice.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will send a delegation to Malta, Cyprus, Slovenia, Slovakia, the United Kingdom Sovereign Bases in Cyprus, and Iceland, to examine the effect on those countries of euro membership. [HL3260]

We have no plans to send a delegation to the countries mentioned in the noble Lord's Question.

Houses of Parliament: Police

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many police officers were deployed on 29 April to supervise a meeting about former Gurkha soldiers and a demonstration in Parliament Square by Tamils. [HL3256]

Houses of Parliament: Road Closures

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government why St Margaret Street and Old Palace Yard were closed to traffic on 29 April; and for how long they were closed. [HL3255]

Houses of Parliament: Select Committees

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by the Lord President (Baroness Royall of Blaisdon) on 20 April (WA 346), on how many occasions and in what circumstances Ministers of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport have refused to give evidence to Parliamentary Select Committees during the past five years. [HL2999]

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by the Lord President (Baroness Royall of Blaisdon) on 20 April (WA 346), on how many occasions and in what circumstances Ministers of the Department of Health have refused to give evidence to Parliamentary Select Committees during the past five years. [HL3001]

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by the Lord President (Baroness Royall of Blaisdon) on 20 April (WA 346), on how many occasions and in what circumstances Ministers of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office have refused to give evidence to Parliamentary Select Committees during the past five years. [HL2983]

My right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary and his ministerial team take their responsibilities to Parliament and its committees very seriously. They appear regularly before parliamentary committees in the course of their inquiries. The specific information requested is not held centrally. The Foreign Secretary recently answered queries from the Joint Committee on Human Rights in written form, and explained that he did not believe he could add to his answers through an oral hearing.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by the Lord President (Baroness Royall of Blaisdon) on 20 April (WA 346), on how many occasions and in what circumstances Ministers of the Department for International Development have refused to give evidence to Parliamentary Select Committees during the past five years. [HL3058]

I am not aware of any occasion where a Minister from the Department for International Development has refused to give evidence to a parliamentary Select Committee during the past five years.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Royall of Blaisdon on 20 April (WA 346), on how many occasions and in what circumstances Ministers of the Northern Ireland Office have refused to give evidence to Parliamentary Select Committees during the past five years. [HL3059]

There have been occasions when particular dates suggested by parliamentary Select Committees have not suited diaries, but there have been no occasions within the past five years when Ministers of the Northern Ireland Office have refused to give evidence to a committee.

Houses of Parliament: Summer Recess

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will review the length of the parliamentary Summer Recess in view of the current financial situation. [HL3220]

As is usual practice, the Government Chief Whip announced the intended dates for the Summer Recess to the House at the end of the last Session, but as ever they are subject to the progress of business.

Housing: Valuations

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether (a) garden sheds, (b) conservatories, (c) fish ponds, or (d) garden gnomes, within the curtilage of a domestic dwelling, are potentially taken into account by the Valuation Office Agency when assessing dwellings for council tax valuation and revaluation purposes. [HL3158]

Only features that form part of a dwelling are taken into account, and only where they are substantial enough to affect market value. Conservatories may do so, depending on their size and the materials used. Normal garden sheds, fish ponds and chattels, such as garden ornaments, usually do not, and are therefore not typically taken into account.

Justice: Family Law

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what were the average net earnings after VAT and expenses of family law practitioners dependent upon publicly funded work in each of the past three years.[HL3116]

To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the anticipated total costs of legal representation in family law cases supported by public funds in the current financial year; and what were the figures for the past three years.[HL3118]

Northern Bank

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what role they played in the reimbursement of funding to the Northern Bank following the robbery of its Belfast headquarters.[HL3131]

Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Royall of Blaisdon on 30 March (WA 199–200) concerning funding of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, why the Commission was allocated more money in 2008–09 than its original budget; and whether they will place a copy of the relevant business case in the Library of the House. [HL2764]

As previously stated in the Answer given on 30 March (Official Report, cols. WA 199-200), budgets of all sponsored bodies are reviewed throughout the financial year. Where appropriate, budgets are adjusted to reflect pressures arising throughout the year. A copy of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission's August monitoring return and the Northern Ireland Office response has been placed in the Library of the House.

At the end of 2008-09 financial year, the commission raised additional pressures. A copy of the commission's letter and the Northern Ireland Office response has been placed in the Library of the House.

All additional funding provided, on approval during the financial year, is included in the commission's annual expenditure which is published each year in its annual report and accounts. Copies are placed in the Libraries of both Houses. The commission's 2008-09 annual report and accounts will be published in due course.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, following the murders of two soldiers in Antrim on 7 March and a police constable in Craigavon on 10 March, they have considered the legality of the visit of Professor Monica McWilliams, of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, to detained dissident republican suspects at Antrim police station on 23 March under the powers granted by Sections 69 to 69D of the Northern Ireland Act 1998; and whether they have had discussions with the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission or the Police Service of Northern Ireland or both regarding the matter. [HL3147]

The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission's visit to Antrim serious crime suite was arranged with the agreement of the chief constable and the commission's formal investigation powers were not invoked. The commission routinely visits places of detention with the agreement of the relevant authorities, as part of its remit under Section 69(1) of the Northern Ireland Act 1998.

In line with usual practice, the visit has been discussed at official level with the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, following the murders of two soldiers in Antrim on 7 March and a police constable in Craigavon on 10 March, they have been informed of the nature of the investigation being carried out by Professor Monica McWilliams, of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission; whether they have been given the terms of reference of the investigation; whether they were prepared by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission; and whether they will publish the terms of reference. [HL3148]

The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission's visit to Antrim serious crime suite was arranged with the agreement of the chief constable and the commission's formal investigation powers were not invoked.

The commission routinely visits places of detention with the agreement of the relevant authorities, as part of its remit under Section 69(1) of the Northern Ireland Act 1998, and no formal terms of reference were provided.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, following the murders of two soldiers in Antrim on 7 March and a police constable in Craigavon on 10 March, Professor Monica McWilliams, of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, waited 15 days from the arrest before visiting the suspects in a police station; and, if not, whether the Police Service of Northern Ireland tested the legality of any visit. [HL3221]

The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission's visit to Antrim serious crime suite was arranged within short notice with the agreement of the chief constable and the commission's formal investigation powers were not invoked. The commission routinely visits places of detention with the agreement of the relevant authorities, as part of its remit under Section 69(1) of the Northern Ireland Act 1998.

Northern Ireland Office: Allowances

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Royall of Blaisdon on 24 April (WA 420) concerning the number of staff in the Northern Ireland Office who received allowances in each of the past five years, what are the figures expressed as percentages of the total staff of the Northern Ireland Office. [HL3218]

In each of the past five years 99.8 per cent of staff of the Northern Ireland Office, excluding its agencies and executive NDPBs, received an allowance. Allowances include the revised environmental allowance and, where appropriate, London weighting.

Olympic Games 2012

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Davies of Oldham on 23 April (WA 412) that the Government Olympic Executive “is the only body assessing the entire Olympic project”, what is the role of the International Olympic Committee Co-ordination Commission in respect of the London 2012 Olympic Games. [HL3288]

An International Olympic Committee Co-ordination Commission is formed shortly after the election of a host city to oversee and assist the organising committee (OCOG) as it works towards organising the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. With respect to London 2012, the co-ordination commission acts as a liaison between the International Olympic Committee, the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), the international federations and the national Olympic committees.

For the London 2012 Games, the Government Olympic Executive is the only UK body overseeing the entire London 2012 Olympic programme.

Police: Northern Ireland

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord West of Spithead on 20 April (WA 362) concerning police officers undertaking television interviews while driving a police car on a public road, whether they consider that practice to be safe and in keeping with the Highway Code. [HL3047]

Section 3 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 act applies to police officers as well as members of the public and failure to drive without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for others can result in prosecution.

Police: Photography

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will issue new guidance to the Metropolitan Police regarding the photographing of public transport and public transport facilities in light of the case of Austrian tourist Mr Klaus Matzka. [HL3015]

The UK's counterterrorism laws do not prohibit photography in public places, including the photographing of transport and transport facilities. We are aware that concerns have been raised that police officers may be using the stop-and-search powers at Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 to stop members of the public from taking photographs. The power cannot be used for that purpose and the revised operational guidance on the use of Section 44 which was issued by the National Policing Improvement Agency in November 2008 makes it clear that Section 44 should not be used to stop people taking photographs.

Polygamy

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Bach on 28 April (Official Report, House of Lords, col. 105), what provision for financial and property protection is available as a safety net for multiple wives whose polygamous marriages are not recognised in United Kingdom law. [HL3264]

Where people live together without being legally married, the ordinary law of property, contract and trusts will generally apply.

Parties in a polygamous relationship have the option of entering into a contract to govern their respective shares in property or assign proceeds of an insurance policy. They can choose to draft wills to give some or all of their property to partners or make specific gifts in the event of a death. Legislation also exists to allow claims to be made for maintenance from a deceased partner's estate if sufficient provision has not been made for surviving partners who were being maintained by the deceased at the date of death.

Where title to a property is registered in joint names, there will be a presumption that the parties are entitled to an equal share of the proceeds of any sale. On the death of a joint tenant, the deceased's share of the property will pass to the surviving joint tenants.

It is currently possible for people to assign the proceeds of an insurance policy on their own life to named beneficiaries, and this enables parties in a polygamous relationship to provide funds for the benefit of their fellow partners.

A former partner from a polygamous relationship can apply for maintenance for any children from the polygamous relationship involved under the Child Support Acts and capital provision for the benefit of children may be sought under Schedule 1 to the Children Act 1989 following a breakdown in the relationship.

The strict application of property law may be modified by the law of trusts, to give one party a beneficial interest in property vested in the other where, for example, one party has contributed towards the purchase price.

Prisons: Alcohol Problems

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress has been made in ensuring that courses to deal with alcohol problems are available to prisoners in (a) HM Prison Gartree, and (b) HM Prison High Down. [HL3267]

A range of interventions are available in prisons to support those with an alcohol problem. These vary between prisons but can include:

clinical services—alcohol detoxification, available in all prisons that have implemented the clinical elements of the integrated drug treatment system (IDTS) including HMP High Down, with services to be introduced into HMP Gartree in 2009;

where alcohol is part of a wider substance misuse problem, the full range of drug interventions are available—available in both prisons;

a number of prisons run alcohol awareness courses;

an alcohol information pack and awareness video is available for all prisoners—available in both prisons;

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) run groups in around 67 per cent of prisons including HMP High down and HMP Gartree;

some offending behaviour programmes address the underlying factors which occur in alcohol-related crime including HMP Gartree; and

for those prisons involved in the rollout of the integrated drug treatment system (IDTS) including HMP Gartree, a 90-minute alcohol awareness session is available, this will be available in all prisons in 2009.

Public Companies

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many applications to disqualify a director of a public company have been made by the Companies Investigation Branch and the Insolvency Service of the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform. [HL2514]

Public Sector Borrowing

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the prediction made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in each of the past 10 years relating to the public sector borrowing requirement and annual economic growth; and, in each case, what was the actual figure. [HL2860]

Projections for public sector net borrowing (PSNB) and annual GDP growth in each of the past 10 years for the current year and year ahead are shown in the tables below:

PSPB (£ billion)

1997-98

1998-99

1999-00

2000-01

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

Outturn

5.8

4 5

-15.5

-18.3

-0.2

25.1

33.2

39.9

37.7

30.8

34.6

90.0

Budget 1998 (PSBR)

2.6

2.3

1998 Pre-Budget

5.7

-2.9

6

Budget 1999

-2.8

4

5

1999 Pre-Budget

-4.5

-2.1

-1

Budget 2000

-11.9

-6

-5

2000 Pre-Budget

-16.4

-10.1

-6

Budget 2001

-16.4

-6

1

2001 Pre-Budget

-18.8

2.5

12

Budget 2002

1.3

11

13

2002 Pre-Budget

1.2

20.1

24

Budget 2003

24.0

27

24

2003 Pre-Budget

22.5

37.4

31

Budget 2004

37.5

33

31

2004 Pre-Budget

34.8

34.2

33

Budget 2005

34.4

32

29

2005 Pre-Budget

38.8

37.0

34

Budget 2006

37.1

36

30

2006 Pre-Budget

37.5

36.8

31

Budget 2007

35.0

34

30

2007 Pre-Budget

31.0

38.0

36

Budget 2008

43

2008 Pre-Budget

77.6

GDP Growth (%)

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

Outturn

3.6

3.5

3.9

2.5

2.1

2.8

2.8

2.1

2.8

3.0

0.7

Budget 1998

2-2 ½

1 ¾-2 ¼

1998 Pre-Budget

2 ¾

1-1 ½

Budget 1999

1-1 ½

2 ¼-2 ¾

1999 Pre-Budget

1 ¾

2 ½-3

Budget 2000

2 ¾-3 ¼

2 ¼-2¾

2000 Pre-Budget

3

2 ¼-2¾

Budget 2001

2 ¼-2¾

2 ¼-2¾

2001 Pre-Budget

2 ¼

2-2 ½

Budget 2002

2-2 ½

3-3 ½

2002 Pre-Budget

1 ½

2 ½ -3

Budget 2003

2-2 ½

3-3 ½

2003 Pre-Budget

2

3-3 ½

Budget 2004

3-3 ½

3-3 ½

2004 Pre-Budget

3 ¼

3-3 ½

Budget 2005

3-3 ½

2 ½ -3

2005 Pre-Budget

1 ¾

2-2 ½

Budget 2006

2-2 ½

2 ¾-3 ¼

2006 Pre-Budget

2 ¾

2 ¾-3 ¼

Budget 2007

2 ¾ -3 ¼

2 ½ -3

2007 Pre-Budget

3

2-2 ½

Budget 2008

1 ¾-2 ¼

2008 Pre-Budget

¾

Central to the Government's retrospective reporting and analysis of fiscal issues and their commitment to transparency, HM Treasury publishes the End of year fiscal report (EYFR), which reports the differences between forecasts and fiscal outturn for the year-ahead forecasts published in Budgets. The latest 2008 EYFR is available on www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/prebud_pbr08_fiscalreport.htm.

Questions for Written Answer

Question

Asked by

To ask the Leader of the House whether she will ask Ministers to answer parliamentary questions directly and not request questioners write directly to (a) the Equality and Human Rights Commission, and (b) the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission. [HL3087]

Non-department public bodies, such as the Equality and Human Rights Commission and the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, operate at arm's length from Government and make decisions independently of Ministers. There is a long-standing convention that when a Parliamentary Question about an NDPB relates to an operational matter, the Member can be referred to the relevant NDPB chief executive for a response.

Regional Development Agencies: South West

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what benefits have accrued to communities from the West Dorset District in the past five years from the activities of the South West Regional Development Agency. [HL2841]

The South West Regional Development Agency (SWRDA) through the regional economic strategy (RES) for the south-west plays a key role in supporting investments/interventions and delivery at regional, sub-regional (eg Dorset) and local (eg west Dorset) levels. These RES driven interventions, though not recoded on a local authority (LA) basis, ultimately benefit localities and communities across the region. Some of the agency's key activities from the past five years, which will have led to benefits for west Dorset communities, including its businesses, are:

provision of business support through Business Link, the Manufacturing Advisory Service and the Rural Enterprise Gateway (regional) and more local projects such as the Dorset skills festival and the Dorset business mentoring scheme;

support to the development and implementation of the Bournemouth Dorset and Poole multi-area agreement, which provides the area with the opportunity to have a direct relationship with Government about its priorities; co-ordination of activity to maximise the economic impact of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games;

support for the Dorset rural renaissance programme;

support for the development of the Dorset Rural Regeneration Company, Dorset Squared (sub-regional);

support towards the Bournemouth Dorset and Poole workspace strategy, helping local authorities plan for appropriate provision of workspace; funding to support the Weymouth and Dorchester economic vision;

support to projects and activities along the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site ie the Jurassic Coast Trust, funding for the quality business scheme helping tourism-related businesses improve their customer care; funding towards local projects to support local community planning and local delivery in Bridport and Lyme Regis and funding towards creation of the Dorset towns network;

investment to support regeneration projects, including provision of employment space, in Beaminster, Lyme Regis (St Michaels Centre) and Bridport (Gore Cross and project development funding for Bridport South West Quadrant).

In addition, the agency is the managing authority for the local action programme of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE), which has awarded £3.1 million to the chalk and cheese partnership which covers west Dorset. The agency has also recently funded the Town Mill Trust in Lyme Regis to acquire a building to refurbish in order to create new work space.

Roads: Byways Open to All Traffic

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether regulation-making powers under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 are adequate to protect Byways Open to All Traffic from damage by mechanically propelled vehicles. [HL3178]

The Government believe the powers under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 are adequate to protect byways open to all traffic from damage by mechanically propelled vehicles, and particularly when used as part of an overall management plan. Defra has published both Making the best of byways and Regulating the use of motor vehicles on rights of way and off road, which provide guidance and advice to local authorities, the police and community safety partnerships on managing byways open to all traffic and on getting the most out of the existing legislation.

Under powers in the 1984 Act traffic regulation orders can restrict vehicular use to certain times or certain seasons, or even ban vehicular traffic altogether. Additional provisions introduced by the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 and the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, mean traffic regulation orders can now be introduced by national park authorities and be used for the purposes of conserving natural beauty.

The police also have powers under Sections 59 and 60 of the Police Reform Act 2002 to seize vehicles that are being driven on byways open to all traffic in a careless or inconsiderate manner and in a way that causes alarm, distress or annoyance.

Senior Salaries Review Body

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Andrews on 21 April (WA 383) concerning the amount of funding for Senior Civil Servants' performance-related pay, what was the figure requested. [HL3144]

The table below shows the Communities and Local Government non-consolidated pay pot for the Senior Civil service in each of the past five years.

Year

Number of staff Receiving Awards

Proportion of Staff Receiving Awards (%)

Cost of Bonuses

2008

102

68

808,720

2007

104

68

686,000

2006

83

67

570,000

2005

86

72

426,000

2004

71

59

343,000

Taxation: Income Tax

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the comparison between their proposals in the Budget for the top marginal rate of income tax, and the threshold at which it will apply, with the figures in each member of (a) the G8, and (b) the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. [HL3207]

The changes to the income tax structure announced at the Budget were based on a full assessment of a variety of factors including international comparisons of income tax and social security contributions.

Taxation: Inheritance Tax

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many applications for conditional exemption from inheritance tax for chattels were made in the years 1997–2008; and what was the total value of the chattels which were subsequently exempted in each of those years. [HL2964]

The following table shows the number of claims for conditional exemption from inheritance tax for chattels and the values designated as exempt. The values designated relate only to claims where exemption was granted.

Claims for chattels to be conditionally exempt from inheritance tax

Year of designation

Claims processed

Value designated (£ millions)

1997-98

61

82

1998-99

73

82

1999-00

49

33

2000-01

23

53

2001-02

24

17

2002-03

27

26

2003-04

20

19

2004-05

16

30

2005-06

20

222

2006-07

18

62

2007-08

14

47

2008-09

14

79

The figures provided include the historically associated contents of historic houses as well as cases where chattels have been granted conditional exemption in their own right.

Terrorism

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government when the Home Office expects to publish statistics covering those arrested, charged, convicted and imprisoned under terrorism legislation. [HL3155]

Further to my reply of 23 March to Baroness Neville-Jones the checking process of the data included in the proposed report has now been completed. The publication has now been pre-announced on the UK Statistical Authorities release calendar. The statistical bulletin will be published at 9.30 on 13 May 2009 with a statistical press conference at 9.00 preceding publication.

Terrorism Act: Section 44 Powers

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the grounds for stopping a motorist under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000; whether the police are expected to give reasons for stopping a motorist; and what guidance has been given to police forces on how they exercise their powers under Section 44. [HL3249]

Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 provides that a police constable in uniform may stop a vehicle in an authorised stop-and-search area and search the vehicle, the driver of the vehicle, a passenger in the vehicle and anything in or on the vehicle or carried by the driver or a passenger. Section 45 of the Terrorism Act 2000 provides that the power conferred by Section 44 may be exercised only for the purpose of searching for articles of a kind which could be used in connection with terrorism and that it may be exercised whether or not the constable has grounds for suspecting the presence of the articles of that kind.

The Practice Advice On Stop and Search 2006 advises that a form must be completed at all stops and that the constable must provide the person stopped with a copy of the completed form.

In November 2008 the National Policing Improvement Agency issued to all police forces revised operational guidance on Section 44 stop and search.

United Nations: Olympics

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they support the collaboration between the International Olympic Committee and the United Nations in their efforts to support peace, development and the achievement of the millennium development goals. [HL3233]

The Government welcome increased collaboration between International Olympic Committee (IOC) and United Nations (UN) agencies in working to support peace, development and the achievement of the millennium development goals. Achieving these goals can only be realised through the co-operation of international and national organisations, including programmes such as the London 2012 international inspiration programme, led by UK Sport and delivered in conjunction with the British Council and UNICEF. International inspiration has been endorsed by the IOC.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they intend to take to promote the 1993 United Nations Resolution to “build a peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic ideal”. [HL3234]

With UK Sport, the British Council and UNICEF, we have established the London 2012 international inspiration programme to deliver the promise made to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in July 2005 to inspire a generation of children and young people around the world through sport. The programme has been endorsed by the IOC.

The international inspiration programme, which started in October 2007, has already engaged 1 million young people and trained over 48,000 teachers, coaches and community leaders in PE and sport during its first year's work.

We will continue to encourage the IOC to work closely with United Nations agencies to help promote the use of sport in helping to achieve wider development objectives.

Waste Management

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 1 April (WA 253–54) on waste management, why (a) an impact assessment, and (b) a consultation paper, were not produced prior to the enactment of the provision in the Climate Change Act 2008 amending Section 46 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to allow local authorities not to collect household waste. [HL3190]

The amendment to Section 46 of the Environmental Protection Act, made through the Climate Change Act 2008, provides a single point of reference in legislation for local authorities. Since it was a clarification of published policy and not a new measure, consultation and development of an impact assessment were not deemed necessary.

Young Offenders: High Down Prison

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that resources are provided to meet the needs of young offenders held at HM Prison High Down. [HL3268]

HMP High Down received a budget allocation of £23 million for the financial year 2009-10. The budget allocation for High Down is allocated towards the costs of all who are accommodated at the prison.