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Written Answers

Volume 714: debated on Thursday 5 November 2009

Written Answers

Thursday 5 November 2009

Belfast Agreement

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, in considering their foreign policy towards the Republic of Ireland, they monitor the steps taken by the government of the Republic of Ireland in implementing the Belfast agreement as it concerns human rights in the Republic of Ireland. [HL5938]

The promotion of democracy and human rights underpins everything that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office does and is essential in the delivery of its four strategic goals: combating terrorism, prevention and resolution of conflict, promoting a high growth, low-carbon global economy and strengthening institutions such as the UN, EU and the Commonwealth.

There is no formal mechanism in the Belfast agreement for monitoring the progress of each Government other than the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference. Human rights issues have been discussed within this forum, both at ministerial and official level.

Citizens Advice Bureaux

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to their report Building a Society for All Ages (page 18), whether they will fund the total cost of rolling out the Financial Skills for Life programme to all those Citizens Advice Bureau offices which do not currently use it, or whether it will occur as part of the Citizens Advice Bureau operational plan in 2009–10 and 2010–11. [HL5829]

A number of projects within the Financial Skills for Life Programme have been funded by various government departments in the past, some of which are still continuing. However the most substantial funding has always been provided by the private financial sector, with Prudential plc as the programme's key partner.

The rolling out of the Financial Skills for Life Programme to all Citizens Advice Bureau offices is included as an objective in the Citizens Advice Service Strategy 2008-2011 under the objective to “work with partners in government, the financial services industry and elsewhere to ensure that our national financial capability work continues to expand and that all bureaux are involved”.

Cyprus

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the Greek Cypriot Government about mobile telephones and internet services across the Green Line between the southern and northern sections of Cyprus. [HL5911]

The Government continue to discuss this issue and other possible confidence-building measures with both communities. The separate telecommunications systems that exist on either side of the Green Line inhibit cost-effective communication between north and south. The Government would welcome any initiatives that would enhance communication between the two communities.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the population of southern Cyprus constituted by (a) Greek Cypriots, and (b) Greek settlers. [HL5913]

The Government have not assessed the population of the south of Cyprus. However, according to the most recent Republic of Cyprus census, undertaken in 2001, 618,455 Greek Cypriots and 17,459 Greek nationals lived in southern Cyprus. The census can be found on the internet at the website address below:

http://www.pio.gov.cy/mof/cystat/statistics.nsf/All/805CB6E0CF012914C2257122003F3A84/$file/MAIN%20RESULTS-EN.xls?OpenElement.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the number of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots crossing the Green Line in Cyprus each month. [HL5914]

The Government have not assessed this information. However, according to figures provided by the Republic of Cyprus and published in the European Commission's Green Line report at http://ec.europa. eu/enlargement/pdf/turkish_cypriot_community/glr_ report_en.pdf, 730,310 Greek Cypriots crossed from the south to the north of Cyprus and 1,287,126 Turkish Cypriots crossed from the north to the south of Cyprus during the period 1 May 2008 to 30 April 2009.

The same source reports that a further 739,097 non-Cypriot EU citizens and third-country nationals crossed the line during this period. These figures do not include border crossings within the UK's sovereign base areas, for which data are not collected.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the value of cross-Green Line trade from (a) Northern Cyprus into Greek Cypriot southern Cyprus, and (b) southern Cyprus into Turkish Cypriot Northern Cyprus. [HL5915]

The Government do not collect any information on the volume or value of cross-Green Line trade in Cyprus. However, according to figures provided by the Republic of Cyprus and published in the European Commission's Green Line report, the total value of goods that crossed the Green Line was €6,111,030 from 1 May 2008 to 30 April 2009, compared to €4,473,408 for the previous reporting period.

http://ec.europa.eu/enlargement/pdf/turkish _cypriot_community/glr_report_en.pdf.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will maintain their commitment under the Treaty of Guarantee for Cyprus following the conclusions of the settlement talks by the two Cypriot community leaders. [HL5916]

The Government will be happy to discuss this issue at the appropriate stage of the negotiations. We are confident that our position will not be an obstacle to a solution.

Cyprus: British High Commission

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the British High Commission in Cyprus is located in the Greek Cypriot administered sector of the island; and how many times the present High Commissioner has visited the Turkish Cypriot administered sector of the island. [HL5910]

Our High Commission has offices on both sides of the UN Green Line. Our High Commissioner frequently visits the north of the island and has regular contact with Turkish Cypriots.

Cyprus: Property

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have had discussions with the Government of Cyprus about whether some Greek Cypriots have agreed compensation for property in Northern Cyprus which they vacated in 1974, and which authority funded the compensation. [HL5912]

The Government are aware of the establishment of the Turkish Cypriot “immovable properties commission” and its payment of compensation but we do not recognise it as a competent authority. The Government have not discussed this matter with the Government of Cyprus, and maintain that only a comprehensive Cyprus settlement can fully address the complicated issue of property.

EU: Employment

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Answer by Lord Myners on 27 October (Official Report, House of Lords, col. 1096) stating that “the EU is a positive contributor to job creation in the UK”, how many such jobs were created in each of the years 1997–98 to 2008–09. [HL6073]

This information is not available and could only be obtained at a disproportionate cost. However, there are clear indications that “the EU is a positive contributor to job creation in the UK”. For instance, approximately a third of all new jobs created in the UK from inward investments originate from the EU.

Government Initiatives: Advertising

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government which initiatives by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and its agencies were advertised in each of the past five years; how much was spent on each; and which used the services of the Central Office of Information. [HL5508]

The range of initiatives and associated costs since 04-05 on which Defra has advertised are given below:

FMD Exercise 2004-05

£4,145

Passports for Horses 2004-05

£46,719

Miscellaneous 2004-05

£91,679

Classified Recruitment 2004-05

£12,003

Total

£154,546

Miscellaneous 2005-06

£75,030

Climate Change Branded Statement 2005-06

£661,120

Environment Direct 2005-06

£221,337

Total

£957,487

Climate Change 2006-07

£627,216

One Planet Living 2006-07

£459,659

Environment Direct 2006-07

£89,773

Illegal Meats Ethnic 2006-07

£38,582

Miscellaneous 2006-07

£9,601

Total

£1,224,832

Climate Change—Citizen and Public Engagement Project 2007-08

£4,491,921

Miscellaneous 2007-08

£115,777

Communications (Pre-Registration Stage) 2007-08

£127,660

Climate Challenge 2007-08

£650,307

Animal Disease Prevention Campaign 2007-08

£40,000

Defra WATO Announcement Ad 2007-08

£14,372

Eco-labelling 2007-08

£12,989

Catering 2007-08

£6,976

Nature Magazine Insertion 2007-08

£6,630

Sheep and Goats Identification 2007-08

£3,460

Greener Living Pages 2007-08

£8,684

Act on CO2 Jan-March 2007-08 **

£695,497

Total

£6,174,273

Act on CO2 2008-09 **

£12,185,373

Resource Efficiency 2008-09

£521,584

Reach Communications 2008-09

£137,949

Miscellaneous 2008-09

£38,905

DEFRA WATO 2008-09

£14,671

Eco-Labelling 2008-09

£9,245

Defra Conservation Volunteering 2008-09

£12,200

Total

£12,919,926

* Refers to “Personal Food Imports” campaign

** Funded by Defra and DfT—Defra share shown above

All figures exclude VAT

All figures exclude advertising rebates and audit adjustments and may differ from official CO1 turnover figures

Media figures exclude online, production, miscellaneous costs, and CO1 fees.

All campaign advertising was placed through COI to make use of its bulk buying discounts.

Figures for Defra agencies are not held centrally and could only be collated at disproportionate cost.

IRA

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the recently released information about the role played by the government of the Republic of Ireland in 1969 and 1970 in the creation of the IRA; and whether they will seek compensation from that government for victims of IRA activities in the United Kingdom. [HL6047]

We are aware of no information that would support the seeking of compensation from the Irish Government.

Iraq

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the impact of the Iraq war on the number of Christians in Iraq. [HL6101]

The number of Christians in Iraq has declined since 2003. Some have been targeted and killed by religious extremists; others became refugees as a result of a deteriorating security situation and sought help in the neighbouring countries of Jordan and Syria; some have emigrated further afield, and some have relocated elsewhere in Iraq. Improvements in the security situation in Iraq have allowed many Christians to return to their homes; however further improvements are needed.

The Government of Iraq have condemned violence against Christians and have advocated tolerance. The Iraqi constitution guarantees the rights and freedoms of minorities and the UK continues to press the Iraqi Government to ensure these freedoms are observed. We are supporting the international agencies which provide assistance to all the vulnerable groups in Iraq, including those displaced internally and those now in neighbouring countries—both to Christians and other minorities. Our contribution amounted to £16 million in 2008-09.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office and our missions in Baghdad are in regular contact with Christian leaders in Iraq.

National Insurance

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many temporary National Insurance Numbers have been granted in each of the past five years for which figures are available.[HL5719]

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many National Insurance numbers have been issued to nationals of each of the last 12 countries to have entered the European Union since their respective accessions. [HL5955]

The available information is in the following tables.

National insurance number registrations issued to nationals of each of the countries acceded to the European Union in May 2004: to March 2009

Republic of Estonia

9,830

Czech Republic

53,620

Slovak Republic

121,330

Hungary

52,610

Republic of Latvia

49,970

Republic of Lithuania

107,030

Poland

797,650

Republic of Slovenia

2,910

Malta

2,940

Cyprus

5,370

National insurance number registrations issued to nationals of each of the countries acceded to the European Union in January 2007: to March 2009

Bulgaria

31,380

Romania

49,170

Notes:

1. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10. 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. This information is available on the DWP website at http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/.

Source: 100 per cent extract from national insurance recording system.

Northern Ireland Office: Bonuses

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what revisions have been made over the last two years to the bonuses and additional payments systems to staff in the Northern Ireland Office; and whether they intend to make further changes. [HL5840]

There have been two revisions to the non-consolidated performance payment system for staff below Senior Civil Service, in the past two years. In 2007-08 the proportion of staff eligible to receive a payment was increased from 15 per cent to 20 per cent and in 2008-09 the proportion of staff at grades D1 and D2 who were eligible to receive a payment was increased from 20 per cent to 40 per cent.

The payment pot was maintained at 0.54 per cent, thus the increase in the proportion of staff eligible to receive a payment was accompanied by a reduction in the individual amounts awarded. No further changes are planned.

Northern Ireland Office: Staff

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what payments have been made for the year 2008–09 to staff of the Northern Ireland Office over and above their normal salaries; and what percentage of staff have received such payments. [HL5836]

Non-consolidated performance payments were made to Northern Ireland Office staff, below Senior Civil Service, in the current year rewarding performance throughout the 2008-09 reporting year. Approximately 28 per cent of staff received non-consolidated performance payments, totalling £599,048.50.

Under a separate scheme special performance payments were awarded to staff in Grades A to D2 in the year 2008-09. Approximately 46 per cent of staff received these payments, totalling £260,865.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Royall of Blaisdon on 13 July (WA 187) concerning press officers in the Northern Ireland Office, what is the monitoring service provided for Ministers and senior officials; what is monitored; how many officials receive the information; and what ranks they are. [HL5987]

The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) has a media monitoring service, covering both print and broadcast media, for Ministers, senior officials and other staff as appropriate.

It also provides a service for the devolved Administration and a range of external bodies.

Outlets monitored cover news and current affairs programmes, both television and radio, which report or comment on the peace and political process, the work of the department or departments in the devolved Administration. Stations covered include BBC, UTV, RTE, Channel 4, Sky News, the Parliament Channel and CNN.

An early morning digest of the local and national papers on issues of relevance is also circulated and cuttings placed on the department's intranet, which are accessible to all staff.

Other services include transcripts, hourly news updates, news digests from the local morning, lunch and evening news programmes as well as a Belfast Telegraph digest.

A digest of relevant articles from the Provincial press is also produced.

It is not possible to provide an exact figure on the number of staff who receive the service because transcripts are requested on demand.

Norway: Trade

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether trade with Norway increased or reduced in each of the past three years for which figures are available. [HL6142]

The UK's trade with Norway for the past three years for which figures are available is as follows:

UK Norway Trade in Goods 2004-08

Millions of Pounds

Period

Imports

Exports

Balance

Total Trade

2006

14,791

2,174

-12,617

16,965

2007

14,595

2,750

-11,845

17,345

2008

20,646

2,755

-17,891

23,401

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether trade between Norway and the European Union increased or reduced in each of the past three years for which figures are available. [HL6143]

Trade between Norway and the European Union in the last three years for which figures are available has increased as follows:

European Union, Trade with Norway

Millions of Euro

Period

Imports

Exports

Balance

Trade

2006

79,161

38,473

-40,687

117,634

2007

76,620

43,538

-33,083

120,158

2008

92,036

43,700

-48,335

135,736

Older People: Retirement

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to their report Building a Society for all ages (page 20, paragraph 15), what will happen to information input by individuals in the course of reviewing options for retirement using those interactive tools; whether the tools will be compartmentalised so that the pension service and private information providers will not have access to information given to the other; how long information supplied in the course of an option review will be held by the service providers; and whether it will be transferred to an archive. [HL5830]

There are no plans at present to store or transfer any information on individuals being input into the One Stop Shop website. The data will be cleared at the end of each session. In the event of any future modifications to the site which allow for the storing of individual information, all data security procedures will be explored and relevant security legislation complied with.

Pensions

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what numbers and percentages of (a) men, and (b) women will be entitled to the state earnings-related pension scheme or the state second pension in (1) 2020, (2) 2030, (3) 2040, and (4) 2050. [HL5546]

The information requested is given in the table below:

Table showing the estimated number and proportion of men and women pensioners in receipt of SERPS or S2P in years 2020, 2030, 2040 and 2050

2020

2030

2040

2050

Men

Number

4,900,000

5,800,000

6,600,000

6,600,000

Percentage

Around 90%

Around 90%

Over 90%

Around 95%

Women

Number

5,000,000

6,700,000

8,200,000

8,400,000

Percentage

Around 75%

Around 90%

Around 95%

Around 95%

Source: DWP projections; Great Britain only.

Notes:

1. This table shows the proportion and number of people over SPA entitled to gross additional pension (SERPs, S2P) ie over 70% of females over SPA in 2020 are projected to be in receipt of gross additional pension (AP).

2. Figures refer to entitlement not to percentage of those in receipt of some AP. Some people may be entitled but not be in receipt of a pension because they have chosen to defer their entitlement.

3. Proportions have been rounded to the nearest 5%.

4. Population numbers are consistent with 2006 ONS population projections and have been rounded to the nearest 100,000.

5. Estimates take into account the 2007 Pension Act reforms and apply to all people over state pension age in the given years.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the answer by Baroness Taylor of Bolton on 14 December 2008 (Official Report, House of Lords, col. 222), what were the total costs incurred by the Ministry of Defence in contesting the case of the late Terry Walker before his war pension was cut from 100 per cent to 40 per cent shortly before he died; and whether they will be represented when the inquest on his death is resumed. [HL5843]

This information is not held in the format requested, so we are unable to identify costs of individual cases.

The Defence Inquests Unit has contacted the office of HM Coroner for Newcastle to offer any assistance it can. It is too early to determine what MoD's involvement in this inquest will be.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether persons receiving public service pensions may be employed again in the public sector. [HL5880]

Consistent with the Government's policy of encouraging longer working lifetimes and flexible retirement and employment law, any individual in receipt of an occupational pension, whether public or private, may be employed again in either sector.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government by what percentage the state old age pension is lower than it would be if it had been linked to the average increase in earnings over the past 10 years. [HL5936]

The basic state pension is 4 per cent lower than it would have been had it been uprated by the average earnings index over the past 10 years.

As set out in the Pensions Act 2007, our objective, subject to affordability and the fiscal position, is to restore the link with earnings in 2012, or by the end of the next Parliament at the latest.

Notes:

The average earnings index figure for July (LNNC series) has been used for calculations.

Peru

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Answer by Lord Malloch-Brown on 6 July (Official Report, House of Lords, cols. 446–49) concerning the indigenous peoples of the Republic of Peru, how they define such indigenous people; and what are their human rights and fundamental freedoms. [HL5924]

The Government make reference to the definition of indigenous people given in Article 1a of International Labour Organisation (ILO) Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention 1989, 169 Article 1, which stipulates that the International Labour Standards Convention applies to:

“tribal peoples in independent countries whose social, cultural and economic conditions distinguish them from other sections of the national community, and whose status is regulated wholly or partially by their own customs or traditions or by special laws or regulations”.

The Government are not a party to this convention.

The Government recognise that indigenous individuals are entitled to the full protection of their human rights and fundamental freedoms in international law, on an equal basis to all other individuals. Human rights are universal and equal to all.

Police: Northern Ireland

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will publish the full note of 24 November 1994 by Detective Chief Superintendent Eddie McIvor, Royal Ulster Constabulary, placed on the police file concerning Mr Martin McGuiness and alleged murders and acts of terrorism which was submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions. [HL5925]

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

Ports: Electricity

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether ports that supply electricity to tenants are classified as directed utilities suppliers under the climate change levy and therefore are responsible for collecting the levy from their tenants. [HL6058]

Ports that supply electricity to tenants are not routinely classified as directed utilities under the climate change levy. There is scope within the levy rules for HM Revenue and Customs to direct that a person be treated as an electricity utility, a gas utility or both but this would usually be at the request of the port.

Thames Barrier: Sewage

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many combined sewage overflow pipes are located between the Thames Barrier and Windsor. [HL6116]

There are 120 consented combined sewer overflows that discharge directly into the River Thames between Windsor and the Thames Barrier.

Fifty-one of these relate to overflows at sewage pumping stations, the remaining 69 are gravity-fed combined sewer overflows.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many consents for combined sewage overflow pipes have been granted on the stretch of the Thames between the Thames Barrier and Windsor in the past five years. [HL6117]

No new consents for combined sewer overflows (CSOs) have been granted in the past five years. All of the existing CSOs have existing consents.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what arrangements exist for notification of spills usage of combined sewage overflow pipes on the Thames between Windsor and the Thames Barrier. [HL6118]

Thames Water notifies the Environment Agency when the three largest sewage pumping stations at Hammersmith, Western (Victoria) and Lots Road (Chelsea) discharge into the Thames. These are the only overflows that discharge directly into the River Thames which are reported to the Environment Agency. The large discharges from Abbey Mills pumping station overflow at West Ham, made into the Channelsea River, which in turn leads to the River Lea, are also reported as it is close to the Thames.

The Environment Agency is also notified of storm discharges from the Mogden sewage treatment plant in Isleworth.

Uganda: Lord's Resistance Army

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the funding of and provision of arms to the Lord's Resistance Army. [HL6149]

We have no verifiable information on the funding and provision of arms to the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). Anecdotal reports suggest however that the LRA has sustained itself through subsistence farming, pillage, preying on humanitarian assistance, brutal intimidation and killing of civilians and contacts with other regional militia groups.

Vehicles: Scrappage

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many authorised treatment facilities for vehicle scrappage there are. [HL6133]

There are over 1,700 sites in the UK classed as authorised treatment facilities and permitted to treat end-of-life vehicles, including those arising from the Government's scrappage scheme.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what process authorised treatment facilities for vehicle scrappage undertake to ensure that all parts of vehicles are scrapped. [HL6134]

Authorised treatment facilities are required to carry out certain depollution activities on all end-of-life vehicles, including removal of the battery, tyres and fluids, and the removal or deployment of any airbags present. A certificate of destruction must also be issued to the last holder or keeper, and the vehicle may not be returned to the road. Authorised treatment facilities may then dismantle certain parts for resale or for recycling, before sending the depolluted vehicle on to metal fragmentisers for processing into secondary raw materials.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government where each element of scrapped material from authorised treatment facilities for vehicles is sent for final disposal. [HL6135]

A minimum of 85 per cent of the weight of end-of-life vehicles, including those arising under the Government's scrappage scheme, must be reused, recycled or recovered by vehicle manufacturers or authorised treatment facilities, as required by the End-of-Life Vehicles (Producer Responsibility) Regulation 2005. A maximum of 15 per cent may be sent for final disposal. On average, around 75 per cent of the weight of ELVs is reprocessed into secondary ferrous and non-ferrous metals, and reuse, recycling and energy recovery of non-metallic materials, such as oils, tyres, glass and plastic, in varying degrees, also take place.