Answers received between Wednesday 22 July and Monday 27 July 2009
As my right honourable friend the Prime Minister stated on 15 July 2009 (Official Report, col. 282), the purpose of our mission in Afghanistan is to prevent terrorism coming to the streets of Britain. The UK, along with 41 other countries, contributes to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in support of the democratically elected Government of Afghanistan. We are complementing military action with commitments to build the capacity of Afghan security forces and with economic and social development programmes to give the people of Afghanistan a stake in their future.
Armed Forces: Leave
Several schemes exist to facilitate home leave outside the UK: Domiciled Collective Leave (DOMCOL), DOMCOL Substitute, Get You Home (Early Years) (Overseas Assistance) and Commonwealth Enlistment Compassionate Travel (COMECT).
The DOMCOL scheme grants authorised periods of absence to visit the country of domicile to eligible service personnel. Dependent on certain conditions, personnel are eligible for 45 working days’ leave in their home country, with travel at public expense, on completion of each five years’ service outside the home country.
DOMCOL Substitute allows those personnel who are not eligible for DOMCOL to accumulate up to 25 per cent of annual leave to enable them to visit their home country at their own expense.
Service personnel in their first three years of service serving in the UK can make use of the Get You Home (Early Years) (Overseas Assistance) scheme which provides a contribution towards one return journey a year for the first three years of service to a qualifying address abroad.
Central Asia: Regional Security
The UK values its strong, open and growing relationship with Kazakhstan. Energy security and supplies, together with the resultant commercial opportunities, are especially important. The UK is the third largest investor in Kazakhstan with over US$5 billion invested since independence in 1991. Bilateral trade is worth some US$3.5 billion annually.
Good governance and regional security issues will also feature prominently in the coming months as Kazakhstan assumes the chairmanship of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in 2010. We look forward to further progress on the governance and human rights commitments set out by Foreign Minister Tazhin at the OSCE Ministerial Council in Madrid in 2007. We have made it clear that the UK stands ready to help to ensure that Kazakhstan has a successful OSCE chairmanship.
The UK maintains a constructive and balanced relationship with Uzbekistan. That relationship also takes account of the EU sanctions regime imposed after the tragic events in Andijan (eastern Uzbekistan) in May 2005.
Our main priorities are to support good governance, democracy and human rights. We raise our concerns in a critical but constructive dialogue with the Uzbek authorities in Tashkent and in discussions with the Uzbek embassy in London. In addition, the EU has a comprehensive and results-oriented annual human rights dialogue with Uzbekistan, which includes a focus on the need for further progress in Uzbek promotion and protection of human rights.
Regional security is also a priority given the potential for instability in the Ferghana Valley (straddling the Uzbek, Kyrgyz and Tajik borders). There are several factors that may contribute to unrest there: growing poverty, a fall-off in remittances, and the relocation of extremists from Pakistan/Afghanistan into central Asia. We believe that Uzbekistan could have an important and positive influence in Afghanistan and more broadly.
Kyrgyzstan remains one of the poorest countries of the region. Our main priorities are to support good governance, democracy and human rights. Members of the UK Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) visited Kyrgyzstan in September 2008, following a July 2007 Kyrgyz IPU visit to the UK. President Kurmanbek Bakiev faces an election on 23 July 2009, and we look forward to the post-election conclusions of the observation mission being undertaken by the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, which includes participants from the UK.
The Department for International Development runs a programme worth some £7 million per year that has key themes of governance, service delivery, accountability and some regional HIV/AIDS work.
Tajikistan is the poorest of the former Soviet republics and is faced by rising economic hardship caused by a slowdown in growth and a fall in remittances, as well as the risk of overspill from the conflict in Afghanistan. Our main priorities there are good governance, democracy and human rights.
The Department for International Development’s programme is worth about £6 million this financial year and is focused on private sector and rural development, good governance and improving the effectiveness of the international aid effort. DfID’s programmes also include some regional HIV/AIDS work. In 2008, the UK also provided significant emergency support in response to a major winter energy and humanitarian crisis.
Our priority is to support Turkmenistan in becoming a stable and prosperous partner for the UK and EU. We are pleased that UK companies are expressing interest and seeking to develop business links in Turkmenistan. Turkmenistan can play a key role in the development of a southern corridor bringing gas from the Caspian region to the EU, and help diversification of supply routes to ensure energy security. To that end, we and our EU partners supported Turkmenistan's initiative last year for a UN resolution on the secure transit of energy supplies.
We are working to support further reform in Turkmenistan in contacts with the Turkmen authorities and stand ready to help the process in whatever way we can. In addition, the EU has a comprehensive and results-oriented annual human rights dialogue with Turkmenistan, which includes a focus on the need for further progress in Turkmen promotion and protection of human rights.
We are also looking to work more closely with the Ashgabat-based UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy in Central Asia and encourage substantive progress towards its core objectives (that include drug trafficking, terrorism and organised crime; environmental degradation, water and energy management; and issues relating to Afghanistan).
The central Asia region, and our relationships with its five independent states, is important to a number of the Government's strategic objectives.
The Caspian basin is a region of growing importance for world energy markets. Kazakhstan is set to become one of the world's top 10 oil producers. The UK will potentially be a major importer of central Asian gas. The diversification of supplies to ensure energy security, for example, by the development of a southern corridor bringing gas from the Caspian region via Turkey to the EU, is a key priority.
We remain concerned about human rights and shortcomings in democratic values and the rule of law in many parts of the region. We regularly raise these concerns in our dialogue with central Asian governments and continue to work with EU, Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe and other international partners to support real reform in these areas.
Central Asia is important to our efforts in Afghanistan as well as to combating drugs, the spread of religious extremism and international terrorism. With EU and other partners, we are monitoring the risk posed to regional stability by water management issues because of competing demands between upstream and downstream states.
We fully support the EU's Strategy for Central Asia. This aims to support the development and consolidation in central Asia of stable, just and open societies that adhere to international norms. It includes good governance, the rule of law, human rights, democratisation, education and training, and regional security and energy issues as key areas for co-operation.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Crawley on 10 July (WA 177–8), whether the methods for resolving disputes set out by the chief executive of the Charity Commission would apply to cases in which there was an alleged abuse of voting procedures which can be shown to be deliberate. [HL5188]
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Crawley on 10 July (WA 177–8), whether the Charity Commission would consider it proportionate and necessary to intervene in a case where the dispute concerns the validity of the appointment of trustees of a charity and where all other methods of resolving the dispute had failed. [HL5189]
To ask Her Majesty's Government in relation to the article by Mr Christopher Booker in the Sunday Telegraph on 5 July entitled “Is the state guilty of child kidnap?”, whether they will review the system whereby social workers remove children from their parents. [HL4995]
If the local authority has concerns about a child’s welfare, it cannot take any action to remove a child from the care of his or her parents or other adults with parental responsibility without first obtaining a court order. The Children Act 1989 sets out the extent of the local authority's powers and the limitations on them in these circumstances. Where there is risk to a child’s life or a likelihood of serious immediate harm, under Section 44 of the Act the local authority may apply to the family court for an emergency protection order (EPO). This would be to ensure that either the child remains in a safe place or is removed to a safe place. The order will be time limited—the EPO may last for up to eight days, providing time for the local authority to investigate the child’s welfare and obtain the evidence it needs to decide whether further protective action is needed, if any. In addition, under Section 31 of the Children Act 1989 the local authority can apply to the court for a care order. As it may take some time for the proceedings to be concluded, the court has power to make an interim care order whenever the proceedings are adjourned. Before making an interim order the court must be satisfied that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the child’s circumstances fulfil the criteria for a care order, i.e. that the child is suffering or is likely to suffer significant harm due to inadequate parenting or the child is beyond parental control. In any court proceedings of this type, the court’s decisions must be made in accordance with Section 1 of the Act—popularly known as the welfare checklist. The child's welfare must be the court’s paramount consideration throughout and an order should be made only if the court considers that doing so would be better for the child than making no order at all.
Education: Pupil Information
To ask Her Majesty's Government which departments and agencies are authorised to access information held by the Department for Children, Schools and Families under the Education (Information About Individual Pupils) (England) Regulations 2006 (SI 2006/2601), as amended. [HL5159]
To ask Her Majesty's Government which persons or bodies that are not part of the Government or their agencies are authorised to access information held by the Department for Children, Schools and Families under the Education (Information About Individual Pupils) (England) Regulations 2006 (SI 2006/2601), as amended. [HL5160]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether any persons or bodies are authorised to access information held by local education authorities under the Education (Information About Individual Pupils) (England) Regulations 2006 (SI 2006/2601), as amended; and, if so, who. [HL5161]
The Education (Information About Individual Pupils) (England) Regulations 2006 define the individual pupil data items to be collected from schools in the school census. The regulations can be viewed at http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2006/20062601.htm. The provision by all maintained nursery, primary, secondary, middle deemed primary, middle deemed secondary, special and non-maintained special schools, academies and city technology colleges schools is a statutory requirement by virtue of these regulations, which are made under Section 537A of the Education Act 1996.
DCSF cannot answer on behalf of local authorities, which have their own individual data protection obligations, so have answered HL5160 for DCSF.
Section 537A of the Education Act 1996 provides for the Secretary of State to prescribe persons and categories of person who can exchange individual pupil information. Individual pupil information is defined as “information relating to and identifying individual pupils or former pupils at any school”. The DCSF uses the powers in Section 537A to provide information about individual pupils to information collators, prescribed persons and prescribed categories of person for:
research and statistical purposes which inform, influence and improve education policy and to monitor the performance of the education sector;
matching departmental data sources together to model and monitor pupils' educational achievements and progression;
obtaining samples for statistical surveys, and matching data to data obtained from statistical surveys; and
operational purposes including the provision of pupil data for use in school inspections, the pupil test registration process. Individual pupil level information is also shared with post-16 learning institutions to minimise the administrative burden on application for a course and to aid the preparation of learning plans.
The Education (Individual Pupil Information) (Prescribed Persons) (England) Regulations 1999 (as amended) prescribe which persons may be provided with individual pupil information. The regulations can be viewed at http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si1999/19990903.htm. These regulations will be consolidated in the Education (Individual Pupil Information) (Prescribed Persons) (England) Regulations 2009 coming into force on 1 September 2009. These are essentially the same as the regulations they replace, with an update to the description of some of the persons and the addition of Becta and Ofsted to the list of prescribed persons. They can be viewed at http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2009/uksi_20091563_en_1.
Financial Services Authority
The matter raised in this Question is the responsibility of the Financial Services Authority (FSA), whose day-to-day operations are independent of government.
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they will ratify (a) the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families, and (b) the International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance. [HL5172]
The work being undertaken within Government to examine the potential impact of the convention against enforced disappearance on the law of the UK is ongoing.
This includes analysing the extent to which common law provisions may need to be replicated in statute law, the creation of one or more new criminal offences, and whether the UK required any reservations or declarations upon ratification. It is now clear that primary legislation would be necessary to permit ratification if the Government decide to pursue this course of action. This would be introduced when parliamentary time allowed.
We currently have no plans to ratify the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families. The Government believe that migrants are entitled to the same human rights as other citizens. We are proud of our record in protecting migrants under national and international law.
Northern Ireland Office: Efficiency
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Royall of Blaisdon on 6 July (WA 111-12) concerning 170 efficiency initiatives identified by the Northern Ireland Office in 2004, what was the original list of 170 efficiency initiatives. [HL5131]
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Royall of Blaisdon on 6 July (WA 111–12) concerning the identification of 170 efficiency initiatives by the Northern Ireland Office in 2004, whether a record was kept in 2004 of those 170 efficiency initiatives. [HL5132]
A list of the 174 initiatives which were initially identified in late 2003 has been placed in the Library. Over time, as the SR04 period progressed, these initiatives were modified as plans were firmed up and new information became available.
Bilaterally, and with EU partners, the UK continues to urge the Government of Pakistan to protect the human rights of all its citizens and repeal laws that can be used to discriminate against minority communities.
The most recent EU demarche, 16 December 2008, called upon the Government of Pakistan to promote tolerance, to protect effectively freedom of belief and freedom of expression and to reform discriminatory legislation, in particular blasphemy laws. The EU also called on the Minister for Minority Affairs, Shahbaz Bhatti, to find opportunities and means to raise awareness about abuses against minorities and to increase their political representation at all levels.
My honourable friend the former Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Gillian Merron, met Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan's Minister for Minority Affairs, during her visit to Pakistan in February 2009. She raised concerns about the difficulties faced by religious minorities in Pakistan and the misuse of blasphemy legislation.
We have not made representations about the incident in Taiser Town but the most recent EU démarche on 16 December 2008 called on the Government of Pakistan to promote tolerance, to protect effectively freedom of belief and freedom of expression and to reform discriminatory legislation, in particular blasphemy laws. This démarche also called on the Minister for Minority Affairs, Shahbaz Bhatti, to find opportunities and means to raise awareness about abuses against minorities and to increase their representation at all levels.
Bilaterally, both in London and through our high commission in Islamabad, officials regularly raise the treatment of minorities with their Pakistani interlocutors and will continue to do so. My honourable friend the former Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Gillian Merron, met Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan's Minister for Minority Affairs, during her visit to Pakistan in February 2009. She raised concerns about the difficulties faced by religious minorities in Pakistan and the misuse of blasphemy legislation.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether representatives of Her Majesty's high commissioner in Pakistan have made or will make a fact-finding visit to the Christian village of Bahmani Wala, District of Kasur, that was attacked on 30 June by those alleging blasphemy against the prophet Mohammed. [HL5144]
We are concerned about reports that members of the Christian community in Bahmani Wala, Pakistan, have been attacked. The UK supports freedom of religion and condemns persecution because of faith or beliefs. Incidents such as the attack in Bahmani Wala are an example of the discrimination and violent extremism faced by religious minorities in Pakistan.
We regularly raise our concerns with the Government of Pakistan about the situation of religious minorities, both with our EU partners and bilaterally in London and through our high commission in Islamabad, and will continue to do so. The most recent EU démarche called upon the Government of Pakistan to promote tolerance, to protect effectively freedom of belief and freedom of expression and to reform discriminatory legislation, in particular blasphemy laws.
Although there are no plans to visit Bahmani Wala, officials from the high commission in Islamabad will continue to monitor developments closely. We note that a compensation package has been announced for those affected by the attack.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission asked them to make provision for pensions for all or any of commissioners; if so, when; and whether they will place a copy of the letter making the request in the Library of the House. [HL5016]
The Northern Ireland Office received no written request on this matter from the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, although the question of pension provision for commissioners was raised by the staff at the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission in discussions with Northern Ireland Office officials.
Police: Northern Ireland
To ask Her Majesty's Government why it took seven years for the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the Public Prosecution Service for Northern Ireland to decide not to proceed with the prosecution of Larry Zaitschek for the break-in at Castlereagh police station; and what assessment they have made of any effect of those developments on public confidence in the policing and justice system in Northern Ireland. [HL5052]
The statement issued by the Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland gives a full account of the circumstances of this case. The statement made clear that there had been sufficient evidence to prosecute Zaitschek but after the original decision for prosecution had been taken new information came to the attention of the public prosecution service (PPS) through the chief constable, which led the PPS to conclude that the test for prosecution was no longer met.
A decision not to prosecute in any high profile case has the potential negatively to affect public confidence in the administration of justice. The overriding objective in all cases must be to ensure that the rights of all those in contact with the criminal justice system are protected, including the right of a defendant to a fair trial.
To ask Her Majesty's Government when the Police Service of Northern Ireland sent the files to the Public Prosecution Service for Northern Ireland for the prosecution of Larry Zaitschek for the break-in at Castlereagh police station; whether additional evidence was available other than any evidence submitted by another Government; and, if so, why that additional evidence was not used in the prosecution. [HL5054]
The statement issued by the Public Prosecution Service for Northern Ireland gives a full account of the circumstances of the case. The Government are not able to comment further on this case. Operational matters are the responsibility of the chief constable and I have asked him to reply to your question about the dates on which files were sent to the PPS. A copy of his reply will be placed in the Library of the House.
Russia: Human Rights
My noble friend Lady Kinnock of Holyhead, the Minister for Europe, made the following statement on 16 July 2009, the day after the murder of Natalia Estemirova.
“I am saddened and troubled to learn of the kidnapping and murder of Russian human rights defender, Natalia Estemirova. I share the indignation expressed by the European Union, President Medvedev and human rights advocates at this shocking crime. I extend my deepest sympathies to her family and colleagues.
Natalia Estemirova's work in the field of human rights was internationally renowned. We welcome the announcement that a criminal investigation will be led by the Russian Prosecutor-General. We stress the need for a full and thorough investigation, and hope that it will bring to justice those responsible for her murder”.
Our ambassador in Moscow conveyed personal condolences to the head of the non-governmental organisation (NGO) Memorial, Natalia Estemirova's employer. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office will make representations to the Government of the Russian Federation about Natalia Estemirova's murder. We will press the Russian Government for a full, transparent investigation, which should be conducted at the highest level. We will also continue to press the Russian Government to ensure a safe working environment for NGOs in the region.
We continue to raise concerns about the safety of human rights defenders and journalists in Russia at every opportunity, including at the bilateral human rights consultations which were held in Moscow on 16 January 2009, and at the EU-Russia human rights consultations on 26 May 2009.
The EU presidency issued a statement on the murder of Natalia Estemirova on 16 July 2009, which also urged the Russian authorities to investigate the murders of human rights defenders promptly and impartially, and to bring all perpetrators to justice. We will press for the presidency to raise Natalia Estemirova's case during the next EU-Russia human rights dialogue.
We do not envisage Regulation 12 (2A) affecting any collections of seeds and produce grown from seed. The Seeds (National Lists of Varieties) (Amendment) Regulations 2009 allow varieties of agricultural plant species threatened by genetic erosion to be national-listed in a less prescriptive way to facilitate their marketing. Such varieties will be identified as “conservation varieties” in the national list.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether Regulation 12(2A) of the Seeds (National List of Varieties) (Amendment) Regulations (SI 2009/1273) will mean that companies offering seeds and plants through a catalogue will only be allowed to offer varieties appearing on the National List of (a) the United Kingdom, (b) any other European country, or (c) any country outside the European Union, if they have been propagated in the region of origin. [HL5251]
Regulation 12(2A) of the Seeds (National List of Varieties) (Amendment) Regulations relates specifically to conservation varieties of agricultural plant species on the UK National List. Seeds of such varieties may be produced and marketed only within their prescribed regions of origin. In most cases, the region of origin will be the UK although regions may be drawn more tightly—for example, England and Wales—to maintain genetic integrity. Seed of conservation varieties listed elsewhere in the EU or in third countries would not be eligible for sale in the UK since this would be outside the regions of origin determined under the Seeds (National List of Varieties) (Amendment) Regulations (SI 2009/1273).
The latest United Nations (UN) figures indicate that 276,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) are held in camps under the control of the Government of Sri Lanka in Vavuniya. There is no independent comprehensive health surveillance for this population and hence no reliable data on the number of deaths and diseases. Similarly, it is difficult to make an assessment of the number of families whose members are separated from each other because of the absence of reliable data.
I refer the noble Lord to the Written Ministerial Statement made on 14 July (Official Report, col. WS 75) which sets out our current position on the humanitarian situation in Sri Lanka.
The latest assessment from our humanitarian adviser in Colombo is that international agencies including the United Nations (UN), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and NGOs have improved access to the internally displaced person (IDP) camps in Sri Lanka. However, we continue to press the Government of Sri Lanka for full and unrestricted access for UN, ICRC and NGOs.
I refer the noble Lord to the Written Ministerial Statement made on 14 July (Official Report; col. WS 75). This sets out our current position on the humanitarian situation in Sri Lanka.
We regret the cancellation of President Kiir's visit to the UK, planned for 13 to 14 July 2009, which would have been an opportunity to underline UK commitment to Southern Sudan and our support for implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).
I spoke to President Kiir on 20 July 2009 to express our disappointment that the visit had not gone ahead and our hope that we would be able to reschedule. We also spoke about the challenges faced in implementation of the CPA and the importance of the Abyei decision later this week.
Transport: Prison Vans
Transport for London has agreed that the 14, 12 and seven-cell prisoner escort vehicles have permission to use these lanes. These vehicles deliver a high priority service to courts and prison. They are also classed as mini buses and are able to use these lanes. Further discussions are taking place with Transport for London and the high sheriff to ascertain whether the prisoner escort contractor’s smaller six-cell vehicle can also use the lanes.
Prisoner escort contractors are within target of no more one escape for every 30,000 prisoners handled. Data on escapes from vehicles in the London area for the past five financial years 2004-05 to 2008-09 are shown in the table. These figures are broken down into key performance indicator (KPI) and non-KPI escapes.
A KPI escape is where a prisoner is at liberty for 15 minutes or more before recapture or an offence is committed during an escape that lasts less than 15 minutes. A non-KPI escape is where a prisoner is recaptured within 15 minutes and no offence is committed during the course of the escape. Levels of escapes continue to be at their lowest since escorts were contracted out in 1998.
KPI Escapes Non KPI Escapes 2004-05 1 1 2005-06 2 0 2006-07 0 0 2007-08 0 0 2008-09 2 1
Non KPI Escapes
The department does not collect information on the number of prisoner escort vehicles that are late to court. However, the department does collect data on the late arrival of prisoners to court. Details on these figures are below, showing the percentage of prisoners delivered late to courts in London.
The department's method of recording this information does not necessarily mean that the prisoner was late for their court appearance. It is unusual for the court to be delayed. The prisoners are recorded late against agreed delivery time to the court, which will normally be 30 minutes before the court sits.
The figures provided cover the period December 2008 to June 2009.
Prisoners on Time % Prisoners Late Dec 2008 85.80% 14.20% Jan 2009 88.10% 11.90% Feb 2009 87.90% 12.10% Mar 2009 89.40% 10.60% Apr 2009 91.50% 8.50% May 2009 89.20% 10.80% June 2009 85.60% 14.40%
Prisoners on Time
% Prisoners Late
Turkey: Democratic Society Party
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will make representations to ascertain from the Government of Turkey how many members or supporters of the Democratic Society Party (DTP) have been arrested since that party's successes in the local elections of late March 2009; how many of those arrested have been charged with offences; whether any of those cases have so far been heard; and with what results. [HL4909]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have received complaints from the Democratic Society Party of Turkey (DTP) that 500 of their members have been arrested since 14 April of whom 267 have been detained; and, if so, what action they are taking. [HL4910]
We understand that some 300 members of the Democratic Society Party (DTP) have been arrested, 54 of them party officials, within the scope of a Turkish operation against the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK). On behalf of the EU, the Commission delegation in Turkey has formally requested information from the Government of Turkey about the legal grounds for the arrests and detentions but has not yet received a response. It is for the Turkish courts to assess the evidence in the first instance. It would not therefore be appropriate for us to intervene in the legal proceedings but it is important that due process is followed. We are therefore following events closely.
Answers received between Monday 27 July and Monday 3 August 2009
The Ministry of Defence will continue to use a range of activities to explain the value of the international mission in Afghanistan and the vital role that UK Armed Forces are playing in it. This programme includes visits by media to the operational theatre, background and on-the-record briefings by Ministers, senior officials and service personnel, speeches and articles and direct engagement with key stakeholders including the Afghan community living in the UK. We will also use new media channels to deliver our messages. Our programme continues to develop and a number of activities, which exploit these and other channels, are planned for the rest of the year and beyond. Key areas of focus will be the Afghanistan elections, the deployment of 11 Brigade and the return of 19 Light Brigade and the UK becoming the lead partner nation in RC South. Our communications activities will form part of the cross-government communications effort.
The MoD places a very high priority on the welfare of its service personnel and their families. To that end, the MoD has robust procedures in place to support immediate family members of service personnel who are killed while on operations. These procedures are under constant review to ensure that the support provided meets the needs of the recipients and reflect current MoD policy. Families are assigned a visiting officer who acts as the link between the family and the services, assisting with such matters as repatriation, funeral arrangements and expenses, and help with necessary paperwork to procure pensions etc. The visiting officers will also direct the family to the most appropriate internal and external welfare agencies for specific areas of support.
Armed Forces: Cadet Training
The Fremington Training Camp facility is used by air cadet squadrons purely for their annual camps and is not used by any squadrons as a venue for their weekly training.
A new training facility already exists at St Mawgan in Cornwall, and air cadet squadrons will be entitled to use this facility for their annual camps in the same way as they did the Fremington Training Camp. The closure of Fremington Training Camp should therefore have minimal effect on the air cadet training programme.
Armed Forces: Christmas
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the arrangements for families of military personnel serving overseas to send gifts and receive telephone calls during the Christmas period, including those personnel not from the United Kingdom. [HL5212]
There are comprehensive arrangements in place to ensure that service personnel serving overseas can communicate with their families over the Christmas period. All personnel who qualify for the Deployment Welfare Package have a weekly allowance of 30 minutes’ free telephone calls to anywhere in the world throughout the year. Over the Christmas period this allowance is doubled to 60 minutes and over the past two years, the allowance has been further supplemented by an additional 30 minutes donated by the telephone provider, Paradigm, for those on operations. With regard to mail, the Enduring Families Free Mail Service enables friends and families to send packages of up to 2kg in weight out to operational theatres throughout the year. The British Forces Post Office also runs a free package service out to other remote BFPO addresses for the month running up to Christmas. Additionally most deployed personnel are able to access both the internet and the e-Bluey electronic mail system.
Armed Forces: Leave
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the advantages and the disadvantages of allowing home leave for military personnel after shorter intervals of service in operations overseas in order to reduce the incidence of stress-related illness. [HL5208]
The determination of tour lengths is a matter of military judgment. There is a balance to be struck in the conduct of operations between the needs of the mission and the need for appropriate periods of leave. Longer tours allow for greater continuity which has many operational advantages but such tours may place greater stresses on deployed personnel. The current tour length of about six months for those fighting on the front line, which is usually broken by a period of approximately 10 days’ rest and recreation, is believed to achieve the correct balance.
Armed Forces: Stress-related Illness
To ask Her Majesty's Government what support they provide for the families of military personnel serving overseas in order to reduce the incidence of stress-related illness, including those personnel for whom the United Kingdom is not their home country. [HL5211]
The MoD seeks to provide families accompanying service personnel overseas with services comparable to those that they would receive from the state in England. Every unit has an officer responsible for the welfare of families, and each of the services has its own professional and confidential welfare support service for service men and women and their families.
Additional welfare support is provided to families when service personnel are deployed on operations. It is recognised that families overseas are often unable to draw on the support of their wider family, especially the families of foreign and Commonwealth personnel for whom additional help is available.
Chaplaincy support is offered to all family members of service personnel and those dealing with casualties. This support is confidential and outside of the chain of command. Chaplains provide support to all regardless of faith.
Armed Forces: War-related Illnesses
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consultation there has been with ex-service organisations concerning letters sent by lawyers acting for the Ministry of Defence to service men and women seeking compensation for war-related illnesses and disabilities saying that assessments of their claims could be “undertaken covertly by surveillance”; and what is the breakdown of the costs to date of implementing that policy. [HL5253]
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many ex-service men and women seeking compensation for war-related illnesses and disabilities have had the assessment of their claims “undertaken covertly by surveillance”. [HL5254]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether public reaction to the disclosure that claims by ex-service men and women for compensation for war-related illnesses and disabilities could be “undertaken covertly by surveillance” has led the Ministry of Defence to reconsider its policy. [HL5255]
The Ministry of Defence has a duty to ensure that common-law compensation claims are paid at the correct level where there is a legal liability to do so. In exceptional circumstances surveillance might be undertaken to observe the true extent of a claimant's alleged injuries in cases where there is a reasonable suspicion about the veracity of a claim or where medical evidence suggests that the claimant's disability is wholly inconsistent with the type of injury. Claims that are found to be grossly exaggerated are either repudiated or settled at a greatly reduced level of damages in line with the injury suffered and true levels of loss incurred by the claimant. Surveillance should be of no concern to claimants with a legitimate claim and where the alleged injury has not been grossly exaggerated in an attempt to extract higher levels of compensation.
About 54,000 claims for compensation have been made against the Ministry of Defence since 2000 from which 284 cases have been subject to surveillance. Such surveillance is not restricted to service personnel, but may be used in any case brought against the Ministry of Defence. In the vast majority of these cases, surveillance proved that the claim was grossly exaggerated resulting in very considerable savings to the defence budget.
No formal consultation was undertaken with ex-service personnel organisations, but lawyers representing claimants bringing cases against the Ministry of Defence are fully aware of the department's policy on surveillance. The average cost of surveillance is about £1,500 per case. The largest amount saved on an individual case that proved to be grossly exaggerated was about £1 million.
This policy relates only to common-law compensation claims where the claimant is suing the department, not to the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme.
The Government have made clear that the banking industry must develop sustainable long-term remuneration policies to prevent excessive risk-taking, both in the UK and internationally.
The FSA has published a code of practice on remuneration, which it intends to add to the FSA handbook. The consultation on the code recently closed and the FSA is reviewing responses with a view to having the code in place for firms’ 2009 remuneration processes. In the Government’s recent paper Reforming Financial Markets the Chancellor announced that he has asked the FSA to provide an annual report on remuneration practices, including compliance with the FSA’s new code, emerging risks to financial stability, and any action that needs to be taken.
Institutional shareholders also need to be more actively engaged in monitoring the boards of the bank in which they have invested, including in respect of remuneration. In relation to the banks in which the Government have a stake, UKFI has been engaging with the banks to ensure that they offer incentives based on the Government’s principles on remuneration, including no rewards for failure, and therefore protect the interest of the taxpayer as a shareholder.
Banking: Small Businesses
Incentives available to encourage banks to provide financial support to small businesses include the enterprise finance guarantee scheme (EFG) and the working capital scheme (WCS).
The EFG is aimed at viable companies with insufficient security at the margins of commercial lending. If a company does not have sufficient security to be offered a normal commercial loan, it may then be offered a loan through the EFG. The EFG provides a 75 per cent government guarantee on individual loans to viable businesses with less than £25 million turnover. It will enable an additional £1.3 billion of lending to businesses up to end of March 2010, on top of normal commercial lending. Under the EFG, 3,350 businesses have been offered loans totalling £327 million as of 24 June.
The WCS was announced on 14 January by BERR and guarantees have now been provided which meet the Government's commitment to provide an initial tranche of £l billion of guarantees. It offers £l billion in capital guarantees to participating banks, up to 50:50 risk share on short-term working capital loans for businesses with an annual turnover of up to £500 million.
In addition, small businesses will benefit from the legally binding lending commitments entered into by Lloyds Banking Group and RBS as a condition of these banks accessing the asset protection scheme. Lloyds Banking Group will lend an additional £14 billion, and RBS an additional £25 billion, on commercial terms over the 12 months from March 2009.
To ask Her Majesty's Government in respect of the two bridges for bats constructed on the Dobwalls bypass in Cornwall, (a) what was the purpose of the bridges; (b) how much they cost to build; (c) how many bats have been monitored using the bridges; (d) how many bats used the route of those bridges before they were built; (e) how many bats cross the bypass without using the bridges; and (f) how many bats have hit cars using the bypass since the bridges were built. [HL5321]
(a) The bridges provide a linear feature over the bypass that is used by the bats to guide them along their flight lines. Previously they used the hedgerows but these were removed by the scheme.
(b) The bridges cost £300,000 to construct.
(c) Sample monitoring during 2008 and 2009 has identified that on the day of the survey on average there were between 11 and 17 bats using the bridges to cross the bypass.
(d) In 2004, prior to construction of the scheme, on the day of the survey, some 30 to 40 bat movements were recorded at the bridge locations.
(e) The monitoring exercise concentrated on bat movement at the bridge. There are consequently no specific data about how many bats cross the bypass without using the bridge.
(f) There have been no recorded incidents of bats hitting cars since the bridges were built.
The social security system only recognises relationships that have been lawfully contracted in the UK or in other jurisdictions.
Businesses: Overseas Relocation
The Government are aware of a small number of British companies moving the tax residence of their parent company out of the UK over the past three years. The Government estimate that loss of UK tax as a consequence of these moves will be minimal.
The Government remain committed to enhancing the competitiveness of the UK, and recently announced a reform to the way that the UK taxes foreign corporate profits. From the first of this month, a wide-ranging dividend exemption was introduced which enhances the UK's competitive position, allowing companies, including UK headquarters, to bring profits back to the UK tax-free.
The Government have also committed to reforming the controlled foreign company regime in consultation with business, to enhance the UK's competitive position while maintaining protection of the UK tax base.
Channel Islands: Food Supplements
The Medicines Law is not yet in force in Guernsey. It remains the intention of Guernsey's Administration that the Law will commence with effect from 1 October 2009, through seeking approval of a Commencement Ordinance in the States of Deliberation shortly beforehand.
Children: Children's Commissioner
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that the post of Children's Commissioner for England is compliant with the United Nations principles relating to the status and functioning of national institutions for protection and promotion of human rights (the Paris principles). [HL5087]
The role and functions of the Children's Commissioner for England were debated in Parliament at length during the passage of the Children Act 2004.
As set out in the Children Act 2004, the Children's Commissioner for England must have regard to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The commissioner attends meetings of the European Network of Ombudsmen for Children (ENOC), the association of independent children's rights institutions. ENOC's mandate is to facilitate the promotion and protection of the rights of children, as formulated in the Convention on the Rights of the Child
The Government's priority is to support the Children's Commissioner in making the most of his current powers. We have no plans to review these powers.
Children: UN Committee on the Rights of the Child
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to communicate to Parliament for consideration and further action the concluding observations of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child and their response. [HL5065]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to communicate to children the concluding observations of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child and their response. [HL5066]
The concluding observations of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child provide an extremely helpful framework and we are working with key stakeholders such as NGOs and children and young people to take them forward.
In response to the UN committee's concluding observations, through a Written Statement to the House of Commons in October 2008, the Government committed to consider the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child's concluding observations with NGOs. The Minister of State for Children, Young People and Families, Beverley Hughes, also wrote to Members of Parliament on progress, next steps and alerting them to the Statement to the House.
When I gave evidence on children's rights to the Joint Committee on Human Rights, in March 2009, I proposed to meet Ministers from devolved Administrations to discuss what a clear articulation of the UK's response to the concluding recommendations should look like.
In June, I met Ministers from the devolved Administrations and agreed that the Government will publish a UK-wide action plan this year, which sets out how the UK is responding to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child's concluding observations and how each of the devolved Administrations are considering the recommendations within the context of their own national requirements.
Copies of the UK-wide action plan will be placed in both House Libraries.
The action plan will be easy to access and understand by children and young people. In England, we are involving children and young people in the development of the plan and will be seeking their views on action and how we communicate it.
Children: UN Convention
The UK is fully committed to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). The Government implement the convention through a combination of legislation and policy initiatives. As set out, for example in the Government's Children Plan for England, the ambitions for children and young people and the policies to deliver these, reflect and are informed by the general principles and the articles of the UNCRC.
Legislation is subject to scrutiny by a range of bodies including the Joint Committee on Human Rights and interested parties such as the Children's Commissioner and NGOs concerned with children's rights.
All of these bodies can and do play a very important role in scrutinising and commenting on the degree to which new legislative proposals would be consistent with the UK's obligation under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
City of London
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the answer by Lord Myners on 2 July (HL Deb, col. 328), what is their estimate of the contribution to United Kingdom tax made by firms in the City of London, split between investment management, investment banking, other banking and insurance. [HL5320]
Total tax and national insurance contributions collected from the financial sector are estimated to be £32.5 billion in 2008-09. Estimates are not available for the different sub-sectors requested.
Education: Overseas Students
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many private students from (a) India, (b) Pakistan, and (c) Bangladesh came to the United Kingdom to study in (1) universities, and (2) colleges of further and higher education, in each of the last five years. [HL5267]
The department does not hold information separating private from non-private overseas students attending UK higher education institutions (HEIs) or English further education colleges.
Table 1 contains figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) on entrants to UK HEIs from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Figures for the 2008-09 academic year will be available in January 2010.
Academic Year India Pakistan Bangladesh 2003/04 8,240 2,820 900 2004/05 9,290 4,105 1,030 2005/06 10,765 4,450 1,140 2006/07 14,095 5,220 1,485 2007/08 16,210 5,205 1,520
Source: Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA).
Notes: Figures are based on a HESA standard registration population and have been rounded to the nearest five. (1) Covers entrants to all levels of study and both full-time and part-time courses. (2) Excludes the Open University due to inconsistencies in their coding of entrants across the time series.
Table 2 shows the number of learners participating in further education provision in 2003-04 to 2007-08 whose country of domicile is India, Pakistan or Bangladesh.
Academic Year India Pakistan Bangladesh 2003/04 2,700 1,500 700 2004/05 2,800 1,500 600 2005/06 2,800 1,500 600 2006/07 3,200 1,700 700 2007/08 3,000 2,000 800
Source: FE Individualised Learner Record.
1) Numbers are rounded to the nearest hundred.
2) Further Education Provision includes General Further Education Colleges including Tertiary, Sixth Form Colleges, Special Colleges—Agricultural and Horticultural Colleges and Art and Design Colleges, Specialist Colleges and External Institutions.
3) Data include both LSC funded and non-LSC funded learners for whom providers have made returns on the Individualised Learner Record.
4) This information is based on Country of Domicile—institutions are advised that the Country of Domicile should be treated as a self-assessment field and reflect the country where the learner was ordinarily resident for the three years preceding the start of their programme.
The Government are taking a number of measures to promote security of supply and thus reduce price volatility, including: updating the planning and consenting regimes for gas supply infrastructure to facilitate capacity investment, continuing to push for liberalisation of EU energy markets, and promoting energy efficiency. Greater reliance on renewable energy sources will also reduce the UK's exposure to fluctuations in global energy prices.
EU: Financial Institutions
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have estimated the amount of tax which may be lost as a result of United Kingdom financial companies relocating outside the United Kingdom in order to avoid the European Union’s proposed directive on alternative investment fund managers and other European Union regulatory and supervisory proposals which may affect them. [HL5315]
The Government are working closely with the European Commission, other member states and the European Parliament to ensure that the legislation, when finalised, enhances the single market and is proportionate. No estimate has been made of its potential effect on tax.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Myners on 20 July (WA 278), how many firms have relocated to Switzerland from the City of London in (a) the last year, and (b) the previous year; and what were their respective contributions to United Kingdom tax revenue. [HL5316]
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the answer by Lord Myners on 2 July (HL Deb, col. 328), when they expect to receive the European Commission's impact assessments on its draft Directive on Alternative Investment Fund Managers and its proposed financial supervisory powers; and whether they will place them in the Library of the House. [HL5319]
A copy of the Commission's impact assessment on its 30 April 2009 proposals for an alternative investment fund managers directive was deposited in both Houses on 6 May 2009.
A copy of the Commission's impact assessment on its 27 May 2009 communication European Financial Supervision was deposited in both Houses on 28 May 2009.
EU: Fraud and Financial Mismanagement
To ask Her Majesty’s Government further to the Written Statement by Lord Myners on 20 July (WS 147), when there will be a debate on the Statement on the 2009 EC budget and measures to combat fraud and financial mismanagement (Cm 7640). [HL5317]
The Government have no current plans for a debate on this annual White Paper, which is the twenty-ninth in its series.
Financial Services Authority
This is a matter for the Financial Services Authority (FSA), which is independent from the Government. The noble Lord's inquiry has been passed to the FSA, which will write directly to him on this subject.
HM Revenue and Customs is responsible for the collection of data on imports of goods into the United Kingdom. It is not possible to identify the quantity of botulinum toxin products imported into the UK from the data held.
Incitement to Disaffection
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will introduce legislation to repeal the Incitement to Disaffection Act 1934. [HL5233]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will introduce legislation to repeal Section 3 of the Aliens Restriction (Amendment) Act 1919, which created an offence of causing or attempting to cause sedition or disaffection. [HL5234]
As I indicated during debate at Lords Committee stage of the Coroners and Justice Bill (Official Report, 9/7/09, col. 850), the Government intend to bring forward amendments at Report to abolish the common law offences of sedition and seditious libel. We have considered whether, as a consequence of that decision, the immediate repeal without replacement of the offences under the Incitement to Disaffection Act 1934 and Section 3 of the Aliens Restriction (Amendment) Act 1919 could also be justified. But we need to consider more fully than the Bill timetable will allow whether the abolition of those offences would leave a gap in the law.
Licensing: Live Music
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many (a) student unions, (b) clubs and associations, (c) church halls and community centres, (d) pubs and inns, (e) small clubs, (f) hotels and (g) restaurants and cafes had a premises licence or a club premises certificate in each year since the Licensing Act 2003 came into force. [HL5228]
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many new applications were granted for the performance of live music in (a) student unions, (b) clubs and associations, (c) church halls and community centres, (d) pubs and inns, (e) small clubs, (f) hotels and (g) restaurants and cafes in each year since the Licensing Act 2003 came into force. [HL5229]
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many (a) student unions, (b) clubs and associations, (c) church halls and community centres, (d) pubs and inns, (e) small clubs, (f) hotels and (g) restaurants and cafes were licensed for the performance of live music in each year since the Licensing Act 2003 came into force. [HL5230]
We do not hold all of the information that has been requested. Since the implementation of the Licensing Act 2003, DCMS has been collecting Alcohol, Entertainment and Late Night Refreshment statistics for England and Wales on an annual basis by financial year from licensing authorities. The statistical collection identifies how many premises have permission, in the form of a premises licence or club premises certificate, to put on regulated entertainment, including live music. However, it is not known how many different types of premises (e.g. student unions) have obtained an appropriate permission to cover live performances of music. In some cases, a premises may decide to put on an event by giving a temporary event notice.
The latest statistical bulletin reports there were an estimated 195,500 premises licences and 17,500 club premises certificates as at 31 March 2008 in England and Wales. These include an estimated 80,500 premises licences with live music provisions and an estimated 10,900 club premises certificates with live music provisions.
There are no centrally collected data on the number of new applications granted solely for the performance of live music.
Migrant Workers: Bulgarians and Romanians
To ask Her Majesty's Government why data on allocation of National Insurance numbers were removed from the UK Border Agency's quarterly Bulgarian and Romanian accession statistics; and where they are now. [HL5095]
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many National Insurance numbers have been allocated to (a) Bulgarians, and (b) Romanians, since those countries’ accessions to the European Union. [HL5096]
A new quarterly National Statistics series on “National Insurance Number allocations to adult overseas nationals entering the UK”, including Bulgarian and Romanian nationals, was published by the Department for Work and Pensions from August 2008.
These National Statistics replaced the previously published management information on National Insurance Numbers allocated to accession nationals which were removed from the UK Border Agency report on Bulgarian and Romanian Accession Statistics from August 2008.
Quarterly National Statistics on National Insurance Number Allocations to all adult overseas nationals entering the UK are available via the DWP website: http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/tabtool.asp.
Information on the number of National Insurance Numbers that have been allocated to (a) Bulgarians, and (b) Romanians, since those countries’ accessions to the European Union, is in the table below.
Bulgaria (Thousands) Romania(Thousands) Jan-07 to Mar-07 1.43 2.26 Apr-07 to Jun-07 2.96 5.53 Jul-07 to Sep-07 5.05 6.27 Oct-07 to Dec-07 2.81 5.11 Jan-08 to Mar-08 3.14 6.05 Apr-08 to Jun-08 4.42 6.73 Jul-08 to Sep-08 5.87 6.76 Oct-08 to Dec-08 2.46 3.9
Jan-07 to Mar-07
Apr-07 to Jun-07
Jul-07 to Sep-07
Oct-07 to Dec-07
Jan-08 to Mar-08
Apr-08 to Jun-08
Jul-08 to Sep-08
Oct-08 to Dec-08
1. Definitions and conventions: Figures are rounded to the nearest ten and displayed in thousands. Some additional disclosure control has been applied.
2. Registration date is derived from the date at which a National Insurance Number is maintained on the National Insurance Recording System.
3. Bulgaria and Romania both gained entry to the European Union in January 2007.
4. This information is available on the DWP website at http://research.dwp.gov.ukiasd/
1. 100% extract from National Insurance Recording System.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many Romanian and Bulgarian nationals who are self-employed in the United Kingdom have registered their business activity with HM Revenue and Customs in (a) Northern Ireland, and (b) Great Britain, since Romania's and Bulgaria's accessions to the European Union. [HL5097]
The number of Romanian and Bulgarian nationals who registered with HM Revenue & Customs as self-employed in the period 1 January 2007 to 30 June 2009 inclusive, where their address is recorded as being in Northern Ireland or Great Britain, is shown in the table below.
The figures are estimates based on a sample scan of HM Revenue & Customs’ National Insurance Recording System.
Great Britain Northern Ireland Romanian 26,500 400 Bulgarian 15,000 250
National Lottery: Big Lottery Fund
National Offender Management Service
NOMS HQ administration costs (as used in the Supply Estimates and MoJ resource accounts) in 2008-09 were £74 million; or £151 million if public sector prisons' administration costs are included. This is 1.7 per cent or 3.1 per cent respectively of the total NOMS resource expenditure.
The total resource expenditure of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) HQ is as follows:
2008-09 £1,193m 2007-08 £1,114m 2006-07 £954m 2005-06 £863m 2004-05 £212m
The figures are as recorded in the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) Departmental Annual Report 2008-09 except for the 2008-09 figure, which was an estimate and is as per the MOJ annual accounts.
The major component of this expenditure relates to services which transferred from HM Prison Service and from the National Probation Directorate and are either front-line services, such as electronic monitoring and prisoner escort service, or in support of front-line services, such as prison property maintenance. Although this expenditure is managed at NOMS HQ, it is not simply the head office function. For example, the following table provides an analysis of the £1,193m expenditure in 2008-09:
£ million Prison and Probation Property 570 Electronic Monitoring 93 Prisoner Escort Service (includes Operation Safeguard) 162 Payments to Probation Trusts 112 Other Programme expenditure 182 Administration Costs expenditure 74 Total resource expenditure 1,193
Prison and Probation Property
Prisoner Escort Service (includes Operation Safeguard)
Payments to Probation Trusts
Other Programme expenditure
Administration Costs expenditure
Total resource expenditure
The £570 million expenditure on Prison and Probation Property relates to costs associated with the custodial and the probation estate including: capital charges; estate management including major maintenance; and, where applicable, rent, rates, insurance and utilities.
Electronic Monitoring (i.e. tagging of prisoners on licence or people on bail) and prisoner escort services are outsourced national contracts managed centrally. Payments to Probation Trusts are the allocation by NOMS of the funding for their running costs. Other programme expenditure includes other expenditure related to front-line services, for example: grants and payments to the third sector (e.g. for voluntary Approved Premises); payment to the Department of Health for drug treatment; and IT support. Administration costs cover the central NOMS functions of finance, HR, policy making, NOMS board, etc.
Care should be taken in comparing figures over time. The components of NOMS headquarters have changed over time as a result of changes in the management of certain functions. For example, from 1 April 2008 NOMS became an agency and certain services transferred to the Ministry of Justice centre; at the same time, some expenditure which had previously been included in HM Prison Service and so classified as public prisons now falls into NOMS headquarters.
The above annual expenditure figures include expenditure on the regional offender managers’ (ROM) offices.
To ask Her Majesty's Government following the judgment in Barnet v The Parking Adjudicator  EWHC 2357 that penalty charge notices which did not carry two dates (date of contravention and date of issue) were “a nullity from which no financial liability arises”, and the subsequent letter to local authorities from the Chief Adjudicator of the Traffic Penalty Tribunal instructing them to comply with the judgment, whether any local authorities have disregarded that advice; and, if so, which ones. [HL5329]
The Department for Transport does not hold such information. Local authorities, rather than the Government, are responsible for ensuring that their own activities are compliant with the relevant legislation.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps are being taken to ensure that the same standard of compliance with the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002 in respect of traffic signs and road markings, which is a condition for authorising new civil parking enforcement powers to a local authority, is applied as a condition for lawful parking enforcement in local authorities that were exercising de-criminalised parking enforcement under the Road Traffic Act 1991. [HL5330]
The Department for Transport has, since late 2005, required a senior official from the local authority to confirm, in writing, six weeks before civil parking enforcement can come into force that there has been a complete review of the Traffic Regulation Orders, traffic signs and road markings within the entire proposed civil enforcement area, any deficiencies highlighted by this review have been rectified, and as a result they all conform to legislation and are consistent with one another. The Government have no plans to seek such an undertaking from local authorities that were given parking enforcement power before this requirement was introduced.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government when officers of the Department for Transport and its predecessors have addressed meetings of the Joint Committee of Parking And Traffic Regulations Outside London; whether such officers have informed the joint committee in any such addresses of the condition of compliance of traffic signs and road markings with the traffic signs regulations and general directions before lawful enforcement of parking restrictions is possible; and, if not, when such instructions will be presented. [HL5331]
On 7 October 2008 the head of traffic management division at the Department for Transport (DfT) gave a speech to a meeting of the Joint Committee of Parking and Traffic Regulations Outside London (PATROL), on behalf of DfT Ministers. The speech reviewed parking enforcement six months after the implementation of relevant parts of Part 6 of the Traffic Management Act 2004, and encouraged local authorities to adopt best practice in parking enforcement, in particular by taking full account of statutory guidance and carrying out regular reviews of policy and processes. DfT has no plans to address PATROL members about their duty to comply with specific items of legislation.
Prisoners: Voting Rights
To ask Her Majesty’s Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Bach on 7 May (WA 145–6), whether in their second consultation on implementing the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in Hirst (No. 2) v United Kingdom they will consult prisoners. [HL5303]
The second consultation on the voting rights of convicted prisoners was opened on 8 April 2009. We have sought to engage directly with a broad range of groups and organisations that support or campaign on behalf of prisoners, and sent copies of the consultation to organisations representing prisoners, together with other stakeholders, including those organisations who represent victims of crime.
Although we have already received some responses from serving prisoners, in the light of the limitations prisoners may face in accessing the consultation, we have also sent a communication to prison governors requiring them to take steps to ensure that prisoners are aware of the consultation if they have not already done so. We welcome responses from all those with an interest in this issue.
The following table provides resource expenditure figures for probation boards and trusts. This is taken from the published annual consolidated accounts of local probation boards for 2004/05 to 2007/08. For 2008/09 the consolidated accounts for local boards are not yet published and the figure is taken from the National Offender Management Service annual report and accounts.
Year Resource £ million 2008/09 (Provisional) 897 2007/08 845 2006/07 807 2005/06 770 2004/05 688
Due to organisational and structural changes, the expenditure on probation services met directly by local boards and trusts (and hence included in their accounts) has changed. Some expenditure, notably some IT and premises costs, has been met centrally by the National Probation Directorate or by the National Offender Management Service. Care should be taken in comparing figures over a long period of time.
The table shows the number of staff in post in the National Probation Service in England and Wales on 31 December 2007, the latest date for which information is available.
Job Group Total1 Chief Officer 42.00 Deputy Chief Officer 72.17 Assistant Chief Officer 300.68 Area/District Manager 185.60 Middle Manager 1,596.22 Senior Practitioner 258.05 Probation Officer 5,368.16 Practice Development Assessor 171.89 Trainee Probation Officer 1,138.00 Treatment Manager 161.47 Probation Services Officer 6,060.30 Psychologist 17.20 Other Operational Staff 615.76 Support Staff - Administration 4,494.75 Support Staff - Other 297.54 Other Staff 114.57 Total 20,894.34
Deputy Chief Officer
Assistant Chief Officer
Practice Development Assessor
Trainee Probation Officer
Probation Services Officer
Other Operational Staff
Support Staff - Administration
Support Staff - Other
1The figures provided are Full Time Equivalent (FTE) and are about to be made public.
As no final decisions have been taken on budgets for subsequent years, it is not possible to provide accurate staffing projections for March 2010 and 2011.
Responsibility for resourcing levels ultimately lies with each probation board or trust, as they are the employers of probation staff. It is for them to take the action necessary at a local level to ensure they can deliver the required service within available resources.
The department last directly commissioned research on this topic from Ofsted in April 2005. Ofsted conducted a survey involving 13 local authorities and found that most were aware of a small number of unofficial exclusions, and had mechanisms in place to detect these.
However, we also funded TreeHouse, a non-maintained special school in North London, for children with autism, to work with 10 local parent support groups to campaign constructively for better autism services. One of the groups was particularly interested in informal exclusions and TreeHouse decided to survey the parents in all 10 projects. This reported that 55 per cent of parents reported that their child had been illegally excluded at some time.
It is difficult to measure the prevalence of informal exclusions due to their unlawful nature.
The department recognises the importance of tackling informal/unofficial exclusions, since they can have serious impact on children's education, particularly if they are used repeatedly or result in the child being removed from education for a long period of time. For these reasons, the department’s guidance on exclusions, to which head teachers and local authorities must have regard, gives an unequivocal message that unofficial exclusions are illegal and should not take place. Additional guidance is available from the department setting out effective practice for local authorities and schools in managing and eliminating incidents of unofficial exclusion.
Sport: Active People Survey
Taxation: Income Tax
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Myners on 8 July (WA 173–4), what percentage of the respective populations of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland (a) paid income tax in 2006–07 and 2007–08, and (b) are projected to pay income tax in 2008–09 and 2009–10. [HL5156]
The estimated proportions of the total population in each country with an income tax liability are shown in the table.
England (%) Wales (%) Scotland (%) Northern Ireland (%) 2006-07 52 50 53 45 2007-08 53 50 53 45 2008-09 50 48 51 43 2009-10 47 45 49 40
These figures are based on estimates for the number of taxpayers in 2006-07 and projections for later years prepared by HM Revenue & Customs, and the population estimates for mid-2006 and mid-2007, and projections for later years, prepared by the Office for National Statistics.
The decline of the proportion of people with an income tax liability in recent years is mainly due to above indexation increases to personal allowances. Country variation reflects levels of employment.
Taxation: Intellectual Property
The Government have committed to reforming the way in which the UK taxes foreign corporate profits. From the first of this month, a wide-ranging dividend exemption was introduced which enhances the UK's competitive position, allowing companies, including UK headquarters, to bring profits back to the UK tax free.
The Government have also committed to reforming the controlled foreign company regime in consultation with business, in order to enhance the UK's competitive position while maintaining protection of the UK tax base and, as announced at the last Budget, are currently reviewing the balance of taxation of innovative activity.
Answers received between Monday 3 August and Monday 10 August 2009
To ask Her Majesty's Government what improvements have been made to the quality of life of elderly people, disabled people, black and ethnic minority people and those living in relative poverty as a result of their initiatives to tackle inequalities. [HL5289]
Government are taking action to tackle inequality and promoting a fair and equal society and thereby improving the quality of life for disadvantaged groups. Government achievements since 1997 include: significantly improving the employment rate of disabled people, reducing the proportion of disabled people without a qualification, reducing the gap in employment rates for minority ethnic groups from almost 17 percentage points in 2003 to 12.5 percentage points, and lifting 900,000 pensioners out of relative poverty since 1998-99. The Government are building on these achievements through a challenging set of Public Service Agreements.
G8: Gleneagles Aid Commitments
The UK is firmly committed to ensuring that G8 countries are meeting their Gleneagles promises. That is why this year we strongly supported a G8 interim accountability framework showing what progress each country is making towards meeting some key commitments. In 2010, the G8 will present a comprehensive report on past development promises, and the UK will press for transparent and full engagement from all G8 partners in this process.
The G8 this year reaffirmed its commitment to the Gleneagles target to increase annual ODA to Africa by US$25 billion a year and overall ODA by an estimated $50 billion by 2010. The UK is on track to meet its ODA targets of 0.56 per cent by 2010 and continues to encourage G8 countries to meet their aid commitments.
Government Initiatives: Advertising
To ask Her Majesty's Government which initiatives of the Department for International Development or its agencies have been advertised in each of the past five years; how much was spent in each case; and which were carried out via the Central Office of Information. [HL5335]
In the past five years, the Department for International Development (DFID) has spent the following on advertising and publicity. Ninety-eight per cent of this expenditure has been for procurement and recruitment reasons.
Year Total amount (£) Amount spent via COI 2004 703,719 Nil 2005 423,952 Nil 2006 699,898 Nil 2007 310,191 75,990 2008 338,887 338,887
Total amount (£)
Amount spent via COI
DfID has advertised other initiatives that do not fall into the categories above during the past five years, but information on them is not held centrally and cannot be provided without incurring disproportionate costs.
DfID has one non-departmental public body, the Commonwealth Scholarships Commission (CSC), which undertakes publicity and advertising to promote scholarship opportunities and the commission’s professional fellowship programme. The breakdown of spend over the past five years is shown below:
Year Total amount Amount spent via COI 2004-5 24,366 Nil 2005-6 19,562 Nil 2006-7 20,342 Nil 2007-8 19,346 Nil 2008-9 12,426 Nil
Amount spent via COI
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made concerning the Dalit Christian families who were victims of murder, persecution and the destruction of homes and churches in Kandhamal, Orissa, India, in August 2008; and how many families remain in camps. [HL5338]
The Department for International Development (DfID) raised the persecution of Dalit Christian families in Kandhamal district with the Government of Orissa during our annual bilateral aid discussions in March 2009.
The Government of Orissa have led the process to resettle families affected by the violence. The number of people housed in relief camps has come down from 24,000 in the wake of the violence to 700 at present. DfID will raise this matter with both the Government of Orissa and the Indian Government to press for the urgent resettlement of those who remain.
Newspaper Licensing Agency
Defra was created in 2001. The following payments have been made to the NLA for licensing agreements for core Defra and Defra agencies since that date:
Year Total Cost including VAT £ 2009 147,293.51 2008 183,829.38 2007 178,777.15 2006 170,458.95 2005 164,178.46 2004 54,678.12 2003 10,746.66 2002 6,961.88 2001 42,774.79
Year Total Cost including VAT £
Costs have risen as distribution of cuttings has moved away from a hard copy service to electronic distribution with a wider circulation. NLA costs for electronic distribution are based on headcount rather than per hard copy. In addition, the number of agencies and NDPBs that are included in the NLA licensing arrangements as part of the Defra family have increased since Defra's inception in 2001.
Most Defra agencies and NDPBs are covered by the central NLA agreement. I refer the noble Lord to my Answer to HL5201. Figures are not held centrally for NLA payments made by Defra agencies outside of the central agreement. To gather this information would incur disproportionate cost.
Olympic Games 2012
The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Limited (LOCOG) is a private company limited by guarantee. Its members are the British Olympic Association, the Mayor of London and the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. However, pursuant to an agreement between the company and its members in 2007, functions relating to the company in the Secretary of State's name are exercisable concurrently by the Secretary of State and the Paymaster General, my right honourable friend the Minister for the Olympics. The agreement is consistent with the Transfer of Functions (Olympics and Paralympics) Order 2007, which provided for all Games-related statutory functions in the Secretary of State’s name to be exercisable concurrently by the Secretary of State and the Paymaster General. LOCOG will be wound up after the Games in a timely manner.
Olympic Games 2012: Construction Vehicles
We expect the construction period, when the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) is building the Olympic Park, venues and infrastructure, to be largely completed by mid-2011.
The ODA records the number of vehicles entering the Olympic Park but does not record data relating to type or size of road vehicle. To date, there have been 270,000 two-way lorry movements.
Based on the forecast average of 15,700 two-way movements per month—a projection made in 2007 as part of the business case in support of the logistics project—the ODA predicts the following construction-related two-way movements during the periods:
2009 78,500 2010 188,400 2011 94,200 2012 As this is beyond the construction phase the ODA has no information for this year.
As this is beyond the construction phase the ODA has no information for this year.
The ODA also records the number of vehicles accessing the off-park venues—for example, Broxbourne, Eton Dorney—but due to the significantly smaller scale of these sites does not predict future vehicle movements accessing these venue sites.
The ODA has committed to ensuring 50 per cent of materials by weight will be delivered by either rail or waterways, significantly reducing the number of construction-related vehicles from the road network.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many construction-related road vehicles and of what sizes and types accessing the main Olympic sites are expected to travel along which key roads in Greater London in (a) 2009, (b) 2010, (c) 2011, and (d) 2012. [HL5072]
We expect the construction period, when the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) is building the Olympic Park, venues and infrastructure, to be largely completed by mid-2011.
All road deliveries have to go to one of the two off-site logistics centres, at Barking and Chigwell, prior to arriving at the Olympic Park. At those centres all deliveries are assigned an arrival time slot at the Olympic Park entrance plazas. The ODA has worked with the Metropolitan Police and the local boroughs to develop suggested route maps for all vehicles travelling from the logistics centres to the Olympic Park. These designated routes ensure all road deliveries remain on the A road network, using the A11, A12 and A13.
While the ODA records the number of vehicles entering the Olympic Park it does not record data relating to type or size of road vehicles, nor the specific travel routes taken by construction-related road deliveries before arriving at the logistics centres.
The ODA has committed to ensuring that 50 per cent of materials by weight will be delivered by either rail or waterways, significantly reducing the number of construction-related vehicles from the road network.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what monitoring arrangements the Olympic Delivery Authority has in place to measure air quality along key public roads used by construction-related road traffic accessing each of the main Olympic sites; and whether that monitoring shows that European Union limit values for particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide are being met along such roads. [HL5073]
As part of the environmental impact assessment submitted in support of the outline planning applications in 2007, the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) undertook detailed air dispersion modelling in order to understand the effects of the Olympic Park development on air quality. The results showed that effects on air quality from construction-related traffic would be negligible and that year-on-year long-term concentrations of traffic-derived air pollutants would be reduced as a result of the increasing proportion of more stringent “Euro” emission-class vehicles in the national vehicle fleet.
The ODA does not monitor air quality along the key public roads used by construction-related road traffic. Generally, local authorities have responsibility for monitoring the ambient air quality within their boroughs through a review and assessment process. Any significant construction activity, such as the Olympic Park development, would be taken into account in any such assessment. In addition, the ODA publishes the monitored data for noise and dust each month on the London 2012 website.
The ODA does, however, have an extensive monitoring network around the Olympic Park site, but this is focused on construction activity and not road deliveries to the site. However, as the Olympic Park site is within the London low emission zone, all site delivery vehicles must comply with Euro III emission standards. The ODA also encourages its contractors’ delivery vehicles to comply with Euro IV standards.
Furthermore, the ODA has committed to ensuring that 50 per cent of materials by weight will be delivered by either rail or waterways, significantly reducing the number of construction-related vehicles from the road network.
Olympic Games 2012: Energy
The Olympic Park has an energy centre which, during Games time, will produce its energy from the combustion of both natural mains gas and biomass with the majority of energy being produced through the combustion of natural gas. There are also separate wood burning boilers which will produce entirely renewable energy and current plans are that these will use wood pellet rather than wood waste.
The London Development Agency (LDA) is currently assessing the potential for a waste-derived gas solution to replace natural gas in the energy centre in legacy, which would then make the energy supply system wholly renewable.
In addition, the LDA is looking at the possibility of a local food waste-to-fuel conversion plant to utilise Games-time food waste.
Olympic Games 2012: Shooting
To ask Her Majesty's Government what person or organisation is responsible for specifying the equipment to be installed in the 2012 Olympic shooting venue; what meetings that person or organisation has had with British Shooting to discuss the specification of the equipment; when next that person or organisation intends to meet British Shooting for that purpose; and what expectations and proposals that person or organisation has for the reuse of the equipment after the Olympic Games. [HL4616]
The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) has responsibility for procuring the sporting equipment for the Olympic shooting events, with the specification set by the International Shooting Sport Federation as the ruling body for the Olympic shooting competition. LOCOG has the same responsibility for the Paralympic shooting events, with the specification set by the International Paralympic Committee.
British Shooting has recently committed to work collaboratively with LOCOG and stakeholders to help define and secure the best possible legacy for the sport. As a consequence LOCOG is in the process of arranging an appropriate meeting with British Shooting to follow up on this welcomed support. LOCOG and the Olympic Delivery Authority will also assess the potential to reuse and relocate assets and equipment used in the 2012 shooting events in conjunction with British Shooting, government and Sport England.
There are three components to the legacy. First, the Olympic and Paralympic Games will provide the opportunity to showcase the shooting events in an iconic London location and raise the profile of the sport. Secondly, there is the reuse of sports equipment and shooting ranges following the Games. British Shooting has recently provided a much welcomed commitment to work with the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) to help define and secure the best possible legacy from the Games. The engagement with British Shooting will consider every opportunity, including those that may exist beyond the reuse of equipment.
Thirdly, through using inspiration of London 2012 Games, Sport England has recently invested £750,000 in the development of grassroots target shooting as part of the Whole Sports Plans 2009-13. The plan will harness the interest in the sport created by the 2012 Games and aims to increase participation levels.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the annual cost of maintaining (a) the House of Commons; (b) the House of Lords; and (c) the European Parliament, with the cost to the United Kingdom separately identified, including (1) salaries, pensions travelling allowances, secretarial expenses for Members; (2) salaries, allowances and pensions and other costs of supporting staff; (3) accommodation, including rent, operating costs and security; and (4) all other administrative costs such as stationery, office equipment, publications, payments to parliamentary bodies and other relevant outgoings for 2008–09 and the previous three financial years. [HL4954]
The information requested is set out in the table below. The House of Commons and House of Lords have provided data relating to costs on a resource basis, consistent with their resource accounts. This data replaces the information detailed in the Answer given to the noble Viscount on 24 June 2008, Official Report col. WA234-5.
House of Lords £ 000s 2008-09 2007-08 2006-07 2005-06 Salaries, pensions, for Members (a) 18,988 18,399 17,718 15,613 Salaries and pensions for admin staff 22,964 20,976 19,651 16,547 Accommodation costs, including rent, operating costs and security 24,834 23,405 28,692 28,180 Other administration costs (b) 39,754 89,772 41,008 49,839 Total 106,540 152,552 107,069 110,179 House of Commons £ 000s 2008-09 2007-08 2006-07 2005-06 Salaries, pensions, for Members (c) 157,228 151,341 143,944 147,410 Salaries and pensions for admin staff (d) 76,985 74,451 65,420 60,099 Accommodation costs, including rent, operating costs and security (e) 94,896 94,718 89,442 91,812 Other administration costs (f) 62,715 58,716 55,746 168,648 Total 391,824 379,226 354,552 467,969
House of Lords
Salaries, pensions, for Members (a)
Salaries and pensions for admin staff
Accommodation costs, including rent, operating costs and security
Other administration costs (b)
House of Commons
Salaries, pensions, for Members (c)
Salaries and pensions for admin staff (d)
Accommodation costs, including rent, operating costs and security (e)
Other administration costs (f)
(a) Members of the House of Lords do not receive a salary but are entitled to reclaim reimbursement of expenses. This figure includes Members’ expenses.
(b) Includes non-cash and capital expenditure.
(c) Figures from resource accounts: Member salaries & pensions, staffing allowance, incidental expenses provision, additional costs allowance, communications allowance (from 1 April 2007), travel, contribution to Members’ staff pensions, temporary secretarial assistance, staff redundancy and winding-up allowance only.
(d) Cost of House staff salaries taken from the resource accounts.
(e) Accommodation costs taken from resource accounts include buildings rental, accommodation services and security, depreciation on land and buildings, and cost of capital charge.
(f) This figure is the net resource outturn less (b) and (c). The figure for 2005-06 includes a technical accounting adjustment on the pension provision worth £115.7 million.
The resource costs shown on accommodation services fluctuate depending on the type of projects undertaken during the year.
The European Parliament outtum figures for calendar years 2005, 2006 and 2007, and budget figures for 2008 and 2009 can be found on the European Parliament website(g).
(g) European Parliament budget information can be found on their website: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/parliament/public/staticDisplay.do?Ianquage=EN&id=153
Revenue and Customs: Fraudulent E-mails
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of fraudulent e-mails circulating under the designation HM Revenue and Customs with an e-mail address email@example.com and a postal address at Plymouth, PL6 5BZ, advising recipients of tax refunds due; whether they have referred that matter to the police; and whether HM Revenue and Customs has procedures for alerting the public about it. [HL5304]
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) takes online security, including instances of “phishing”, very seriously. Customers are encouraged to forward potentially fraudulent e-mails to the department’s phishing mailbox, firstname.lastname@example.org. The e-mails are then analysed and action taken in concert with the Metropolitan Police to close them down.
Information about phishing/scam attempts and advice on how to avoid fraud are provided to the public through the department's website at http://www.hmrc.gov. uk/security/fraud-scams.htm.
HMRC is aware of this specific phishing attempt and is working with the Metropolitan Police’s e-crime unit to close it down. HMRC did not publicise details on its website about this particular incident due to the very low numbers in circulation in comparison to other attacks. The department has advised customers who submitted it to the department's phishing mailbox that the email was a scam and that HMRC were taking action to disrupt it.
Sport: Active People Survey
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will publish the methodology and questionnaire format being used by IPSOS MORI in compiling the Active People Survey 3, showing how the sample of 500 people per local authority is prepared and implemented. [HL5165]
An easily accessible questionnaire briefing note is available on Sport England's website. This provides detail of every question in the survey, who it is asked of, and the rationale for each question (see link below). A hard copy of the actual CATI (Computer Aided Telephone Interviewing) questionnaire is available, on request, from Sport England.
The Active People Survey 3 is based on a random stratified sample to ensure minimum samples in each Local Authority in England. Random Digit Dialling (RDD) is used in the selection of the sample, with one respondent randomly selected from the eligible household members.
Frequently Asked Questions outlining the methodology are available on Sport England's website (see link below). A full technical report is also is available, on request, from Sport England (this relates to Active People Survey 1, as subsequent technical reports have not yet been published).
Warm Front Scheme
To ask Her Majesty's Government why an engineer registered under the Warm Front Scheme may carry out a boiler replacement that is eligible for a £300 voucher but may not do the same work if the householder is awarded a grant for the full cost. [HL5246]
Installers registered to work on the £300 rebate scheme cannot work on the Warm Front Scheme unless they are appointed to do so through the relevant competitive tendering process.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether engineers registered under the Warm Front Scheme will be able to claim tax allowances for administrative charges debited from £300 vouchers in the period before the Warm Front Scheme started to issue invoices for those debits. [HL5248]
Installers registered on the £300 rebate scheme are able to reclaim VAT for the administrative charge debited from the £300 voucher if they are VAT-registered with HM Revenue & Customs. Invoices for the administrative charge were issued from the start of the £300 rebate scheme.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many engineers are registered under the Warm Front Voucher Scheme; how many under the full grant scheme; and how many in the former category have carried out work without being sent an invoice for the £50 administrative charge per claim. [HL5249]
7,924 installers are currently registered to work on the £300 rebate scheme. 116 installers are currently registered to work on the Warm Front Scheme.
Every installer who has carried out work under the £300 rebate scheme will be sent an invoice for the £50 administrative charge.
Answers received between Monday 10 August and Monday 17 August 2009
There are a number of unclassified documents that describe the work of the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism. These include the Home Office departmental annual report and material on the Home Office website.
The work of the Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism is also set out in detail in the unclassified CONTEST strategy, which was published on 24 March 2009. The strategy is available on the Home Office website and copies have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
The consultation paper Keeping the Right People on the DNA Database published on 7 May 2009 sets out the retention periods proposed by the Government for consideration in compliance with the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of S and Marker. The research within that report indicates the propensity of some of those arrested and not convicted to offend in the future.
We have concluded that a retention period of six years for most offences is reasonable with a longer period of 12 years for serious sexual, violent or terrorist-related offences. As the consultation paper indicates, we believe that a longer retention period for the serious offences recognises the serious consequences of such offences and the implications of a missed detection.
I recognise that individual reactions to UK foreign policies, such as military involvement overseas, can be a factor in radicalisation and that violent extremists exploit this when recruiting others to their cause. But we also know that radicalisation occurs for a wide range of complex and personal reasons. The aim of the Government will continue to be to prevent radicalisation at home and abroad.
Interception of Communications
The Home Office and GCHQ work closely together. It is long-standing government policy not to comment further on intelligence matters.
The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 makes provision for the lawful interception of communications, which includes content of internet communications. A range of technologies is used to ensure that effect can be given to warrants for lawful interception.
Current legislation—the Data Retention (EC Directive) Regulations 2009 (Statutory Instrument 2009/859)—provides that the Secretary of State may, subject to prior agreement, reimburse any expenses incurred by a public communications provider in complying with the regulations for retention of communications data.
The Government’s consultation paper Protecting the Public in a Changing Communications Environment, published in April, outlined high-level initial estimates of the cost of the options considered as part of the Interception Modernisation Programme. These were in the range of up to £2 billion over a 10-year period. The Government have actively sought the views of business on the options and how to minimise their impact on business consistent with better regulation commitments.
National Security Strategy
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what consideration was given to the threat to the critical national infrastructure of a high-intensity electromagnetic pulse, produced by malign intent or as a result of solar activity, in preparing the National Security Strategy. [HL4906]
The Government’s updated National Security Strategy takes into account the threat posed to UK interests, including the critical national infrastructure, by the full range of “threat actors”, a definition that includes natural hazards, as well as individuals or organisations with malign intent. The associated Cyber Security Strategy of the United Kingdom, published alongside and reflected in the National Security Strategy update, considers a number of methods of cyber attack, including those that generate high levels of power that can damage or disrupt unprotected electronics.
In addition, the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) provides advice on electronic or cyber protective security measures to the businesses and organisations that comprise the UK’s critical national infrastructure, including public utilities companies and banks. CPNI also runs a CERT service which responds to reported attacks on private sector networks.