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Written Answers

Volume 715: debated on Wednesday 9 December 2009

Written Answers

Wednesday 9 December 2009

Alcohol: Duty

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what processes Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs use to identify alcohol which has not had duty paid on it. [HL511]

To ask Her Majesty's Government how much beer was seized by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs in (a) 2006, (b) 2007, (c) 2008 and (d) 2009 due to excise duty not being paid. [HL512]

To ask Her Majesty's Government how much wine was seized by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs in (a) 2006, (b) 2007, (c) 2008 and (d) 2009 due to excise duty not being paid. [HL513]

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) uses a number of processes to identify alcohol that has not had duty paid on it. These include: use of risk and intelligence information; targeted assurance testing of businesses' systems and procedures; credibility testing of alcohol supply chains; physical checks at revenue traders' premises, including warehouses, wholesalers and retailers; and the use of criminal and civil investigation techniques against the highest-risk individuals and businesses.

Specifically in relation to spirits, all bottles and other retail containers of a specific size and alcohol content held for retail sale in the UK must bear a duty stamp.

HMRC works in partnership with the United Kingdom Border Agency (UKBA) to detect illicit alcohol entering the UK. This includes risk-based targeting and challenging of both commercial freight consignments and individual travellers arriving from other EU member states and non-EU countries.

At Budget 2009 the Government announced the renewal of HMRC's and UKBA's tackling alcohol fraud strategy. This includes a number of further measures aimed at helping HMRC identify alcohol that has not had duty paid on it. These changes are being progressed alongside the wider HMRC powers review, which will ensure that HMRC has effective powers to protect alcohol revenue duties.

HMRC publishes details of alcohol seizures on a financial year basis in its annual autumn performance report. Figures for 2005-06 to 2008-09 are provided below:

Product

2005-06 (in litres)

2006-07 (in litres)

2007-08 (in litres)

2008-09 (in litres)

Beer

2,522,253

1,915,173

4,763,006

5,780,117

Wine

292,945

303,048

1,128,117

1,304,518

Animal Health

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of progress to protect animal health in the United Kingdom. [HL181]

The health of animals is central to Defra's work of protecting livestock and controlling and eradicating disease.

The Animal Welfare Act 2006 makes it an offence to cause any unnecessary suffering to an animal, or for an owner or keeper to fail to provide for an animal's welfare needs. This includes the need for a suitable environment (place to live); for a suitable diet; to exhibit normal behaviour patterns; to be housed with, or apart from, other animals (if applicable); and to be protected from pain, injury, suffering and disease.

The Animal Health and Welfare Strategy, published in 2004, aimed continuously to improve the health and welfare of kept animals while protecting society, the economy, and the environment from the effect of animal disease.

The Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO), in his annual report on Animal Health for 2008, summarised progress and developments in UK animal health and welfare. Recent successes include:

the successful implementation of a voluntary bluetongue vaccination campaign in England and Wales, delivered in partnership with the veterinary profession and livestock industries;

the effective control of two outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza in England, due to a co-ordinated response from Defra, Animal Health, the Veterinary Laboratories Agency, the Health Protection Agency, the Environment Agency and local authorities;

major progress towards the elimination of BSE in cattle;

continued progress on the control of salmonella in poultry and the launch of an industry-led zoonoses control programme for pigs; and

good progress in Northern Ireland on the control of bovine brucellosis and Aujeszky's disease in pigs.

Bovine Tuberculosis (bTB) continues to be a challenge. In 2009 the EU approved the UK bTB Eradication Plan, which reflected the control strategies being pursued in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Defra continues to work on developing a bTB vaccine for both badgers and cattle in order to provide a new tool to help control the spread of the disease from wildlife.

A full copy of the CVO's report can be found on the Defra website.

Armed Forces: Aircraft

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with civilian contractors on the provision of aircraft for use in the airbridge to Afghanistan. [HL320]

The Ministry of Defence periodically receives approaches from individuals and commercial bodies offering services, including the provision of aircraft for use on the airbridge to Afghanistan. Many of these discussions are informal and provide a method of seeking advice on the bidding process as well as determining levels of interest. The department does not routinely record informal discussions. However, since November 2007, six formal proposals have been received and were examined in line with departmental guidelines. Recently, defence equipment and support has set up the Defence Suppliers' Service and issued direction and guidance to all Ministry of Defence directorates on how to handle inquiries of interest and unsolicited bids from commercial suppliers.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what proposals they have received from civilian contractors for the provision of aircraft for transporting service personnel to Afghanistan. [HL321]

The airbridge to Afghanistan is absolutely critical for the success of current operations. We use two air transport solutions for the movement of service personnel: direct flights from the UK into Afghanistan, using military air transport aircraft; and commercial chartered flights to a Middle East hub followed by military flights into Afghanistan.

Since November 2007, six unsolicited bids for air transport direct to Afghanistan have been received from Kellogg Brown and Root Limited, Fortis Aviation Services and Solutions, Omega Air, BAe Systems, Crown Aviation Consulting and Government Affairs (Services) Limited. Each of these proposals was formally examined in line with departmental guidelines. The companies were informed that at the time we did not wish to progress further with their offers but that should the situation change and a requirement emerge, the Ministry of Defence would consider a competition and, therefore, advertise the need for such services in accordance with departmental guidelines.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to reduce the number of Tornado GR4 aircraft in Royal Air Force service by 2015. [HL322]

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to reduce the number of Harrier GR9 aircraft in Royal Air Force service by 2015. [HL323]

There are no current plans to reduce the numbers of either Tornado or Harrier aircraft numbers prior to 2015. However, the MoD routinely reviews its forward plans to deliver defence capability to ensure they are sound and that resources are allocated in line with defence priorities. Top priority is given to achieving success on operations in Afghanistan and tough decisions will have to be taken to ensure that this is the case. Planning round 10 (PR10) is currently underway.

As is usual, a wide range of options is being considered in PR10. No final decisions have yet been taken. As nothing definite has been agreed, it is premature to speculate about specific measures.

Armed Forces: Armoured Fighting Vehicles

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how the estimated mean distance between the failure of (a) the power pack, and (b) the engine, fitted to the standard FV430 range of armoured fighting vehicles compares with those of the same vehicle upgraded to Bulldog standard. [HL351]

At the time the Bulldog project was initiated, the mean distance between failure (MDBF) for the AFV430 MkII power pack was reputed to be in the order of 250 kms. The Bulldog powertrain has steadily improved in reliability since its introduction and is now delivering an MDBF of 4850 kms as at November 2009.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether in recent years the Ministry of Defence has experienced difficulties in sourcing spare parts for power packs in the standard FV430 range of fighting vehicles. [HL352]

Yes. Despite whole-life buys of spares made in support of the AFV430 MkII drive trains, it was judged that these spares would be exhausted by the revised out of service date of 2015. This, combined with the increasing obsolescence of the power pack components, was one of the main reasons for initiating the Bulldog project, for which the contract was signed in November 2005, and these issues have now been resolved.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the estimated cost of running for 100 kilometres (a) a standard FV430 armoured fighting vehicle, and (b) the same vehicle upgraded to Bulldog standard. [HL353]

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the steering, service and parking brakes on a standard FV430 armoured fighting vehicle are part of the same system; whether that would be legal for a new civilian vehicle; and, if not, whether that problem has been addressed by the Bulldog upgrade. [HL354]

The steering and brakes on the AFV430 are part of the same system. This would not be legal for a new civilian vehicle. The Bulldog conversion, however, meets current legislative requirements for armoured fighting vehicles.

Armed Forces: Compensation Scheme

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether members of Her Majesty's Armed Forces would in any circumstances have their military careers affected by making a claim under the Armed Forces compensation scheme or the courts for illnesses or injuries whilst in service. [HL212]

The military careers of Armed Forces personnel who claim under the Armed Forces compensation scheme or through the courts should not suffer as a result of that claim.

Armed Forces: Fatalities

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Taylor of Bolton on 12 November (WA 184–5), whether the 655 deaths in Northern Ireland includes those in the Ulster Defence Regiment and the Royal Irish Rifles; whether it includes those who died in accidents or abroad; and why it differs from a 2005 Ministry of Defence figure of 763 service deaths. [HL313]

The 655 deaths in Northern Ireland is sourced by the Northern Ireland Police Service and includes any deaths that occurred to either Ulster Defence Regiment personnel or Royal Irish Rifles personnel. The figure is only for those that died as a result of terrorist action and for those that died in Northern Ireland.

The figure of 763 deaths reported to have occurred in Northern Ireland is not an official MoD figure. This figure was derived from a list compiled by the Daily Telegraph and published in the book Lost lives: The story of the men, women and children who died as a result of the Northern Ireland troubles (Edited by D McKittrick, S Kelters, B Feeney, C Thornton, published 1999 Trafalgar Square, ISBN: 184018227X).

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Taylor of Bolton on 12 November (WA 184–5), how many British military fatalities there were in the Republic of Ireland from 1919 to 1922; how many there were in Iraq during the British Mandate of Mesopotamia; and whether the names of those killed are held by the Ministry of Defence. [HL314]

The information regarding the number of British military fatalities in the Republic of Ireland during 1919 to 1922 and Iraq during the British Mandate of Mesopotamia 1920 to 1932 could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Although details about UK service personnel who died during the period 1919 to 31 August 1921, the date of the official cessation of World War I following an Order in Council under the Termination of the Present War (Definition) Act which declared the war ended, are held by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, they do not indicate where the individual died. The names for those who died after 31 August 1921 and the end of the British Mandate of Mesopotamia in 1932 are not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Armed Forces: Helicopters

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with contractors on the provision of future medium lift helicopters. [HL324]

Over the past few months we have been re-examining our future helicopter plans and as part of this work we have had discussions with industry. We expect to conclude this work shortly and will make any announcements thereafter.

Constable of the Tower of London

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government who is responsible for advising HM The Queen on the appointment of the Constable of the Tower of London; what remuneration he receives; what official accommodation is provided; and what is the annual cost of the appointment. [HL223]

The Constable is a ceremonial role, an honorary office which receives no remuneration. Accommodation provided by the Historic Royal Palaces is designed for occasional use in support of his ceremonial functions, rather than permanent residence.

The appointment itself is approved by Her Majesty the Queen after recommendation is given by the Prime Minister.

Council Tax

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Valuation Office Agency undertook an internal or external inspection of the property in the London Borough of Barnet with billing authority reference 45320001500019 when it was revalued for council tax in March; whether information derived from (a) the Land Registry, and (b) Rightmove, has been collected on the house; and which individual (1) dwelling house coding, and (2) value significant codes, are assigned by the Valuation Office Agency to that dwelling. [HL239]

The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) will always endeavour to gather property information from other sources, such as Rightmove, in order to minimise the inconvenience to taxpayers of having to gather the information it needs by visiting a property. Internal inspections of houses are particularly rare as most of the information required to ascribe a council tax band can be established externally. The VOA does not use information from the Land Registry for council tax purposes.

The specific information requested relates to the tax affairs of an individual or organisation and cannot be disclosed by virtue of Section 18(1) of the Commissioners for the Revenue and Customs Act 2005.

EU: Community Development Fund

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to propose that the European Union should establish a fund for voluntary peaceful community development in areas of tension and dispute, and for third-party mediation and conflict resolution. [HL401]

We do not currently have any plans to propose that the European Union (EU) should establish a fund for voluntary peaceful community development in areas of tension and dispute, or for third-party mediation and conflict resolution.

We are supporting the Commission's plans to look at ways to strengthen EU mediation capacity. We are keen to ensure that the EU intervenes where it can add real value and avoid duplication. The EU is well placed to make a significant and positive contribution to supporting and conducting international mediation efforts and grounding these efforts in a wider EU and international political strategy.

EU: Free Trade Agreements

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many countries the European Union has free trade agreements with; and how many such agreements the European Union is negotiating. [HL327]

The European Union (EU) has free trade agreements (FTA) with South Africa, Chile and Mexico. As part of the European economic area the EU has FTAs with Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Iceland.

Currently, the EU is negotiating FTAs with: India; Ukraine; Libya; Central America (comprising Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Panama); Andean Nations (comprising Colombia and Peru); the Association of South-East Asian Nations (Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Burma and Cambodia); the Euro-Mediterranean countries (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Palestinian Authority, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey); Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay); Iran; Iraq and the Gulf Co-operation Council (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)).

The EU-Korea FTA was initialled in October 2009 and is scheduled to be signed in 2010.

Other agreements that include elements of free trade agreements include economic partnership, association agreements, stabilisation and association agreements and partnership and co-operation agreements.

The European Commission website provides information on all of the European Union's bilateral trade relations: http://ec.europa.eu/trade/creating- opportunities/bilateral-relations/index_en.htm

EU: National Veto

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government which policy areas remain subject to national veto under the Treaties of Rome, as amended. [HL326]

The treaty of Lisbon introduces 51 moves to qualified majority voting. Twenty of them will offer faster decision-making where the UK wants to see better systems in place, for example: aid to disaster zones; protecting British business ideas; strengthening the EU's research and innovation capability; liberalisation of the energy market. Sixteen of these either will not apply to the UK or will apply only if we choose to opt in; for example, in justice and home affairs. Fifteen of them will be purely procedural changes; for example, how we adjust the rules for technical implementing committees. All other areas where unanimity applied under the treaty of Nice will remain unchanged following entry into force of the treaty of Lisbon. I refer the noble Lord to the Answer given to PQ 207092 of January 2005.

Fishing: Scallops

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, in order to preserve the marine floor and conserve marine stocks, they will set rules to limit scallopers to a maximum of 8 dredges per side and a maximum of 221 kw power in the zone 6 to 12 miles offshore. [HL377]

We are considering the appropriate course of action on this issue in conjunction with the devolved Administrations. This may be to pursue a solution in EU legislation by seeking to extend the restriction which currently prevents any vessels over 221 kw from beam trawling in the 12 nautical miles zone around UK waters to scallop dredging. An alternative option would be to seek to agree bilateral agreements with other member states. Powers under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 will enable restriction of fishing activities where this is appropriate for nature conservation purposes.

Food: MoD Establishments

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government to what extent the Ministry of Defence sources food locally for its establishments in England. [HL237]

The MoD does not directly procure food for its UK establishments. Food for the majority of service personnel working and living in UK units is provided under catering, retail and leisure (CRL) contracts and responsibility for sourcing the food rests with the CRL contractor. Food for UK civilian establishments is provided under multi-activity contracts and, again, responsibility for sourcing the food rests with the individual contractor. Data on the extent to which it is sourced locally are not held by the department.

Purple Foodservice Solutions Ltd (PFS) supplies food to the small number of UK military establishments that are not covered by the CRL contracts as well as to UK Armed Forces personnel serving on operations and some overseas exercises. A report on the proportion of domestically produced food used by government departments published in November 2008, covering the year from 1 April 2007 to 31 March 2008, shows that under the PFS contract the proportion of domestically produced food procured by MoD increased from 43 per cent in 2006-07 to 59 per cent in 2007-08. This report, and the first one covering 2006-07, can be accessed via the following link at www.defra.gov.uk/foodfarm/policy/publicsectorfood/documents/psfpi-datareport081125.pdf.

Figures for 2008-09 are not yet available.

Gaza

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to draft a resolution for the United Nations Security Council about existing and additional Israeli settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, to recognise and give membership to Palestinian lands and to set dates for implementation. [HL405]

The Government have no plans to draft such a UN Security Council resolution. We continue to support efforts to kick-start urgent negotiations which will lead to the creation of a viable Palestinian state alongside a secure Israel.

HMS “Caroline”

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Taylor of Bolton on 26 November (WA 4) stating that HMS “Caroline” will remain in commission until the spring, how that answer relates to the proposed decommissioning to take place in December in Belfast. [HL452]

My noble friend the Minister for Strategic Defence Acquisition Reform, Lord Drayson, informed the noble Lord on 12 November (Official Report, col. WA 216) that the trustees of the national museum of the Royal Navy have agreed to broker a heritage solution to the ship's future. This process will take some time, but we would hope to be in a position to announce the plans for the ship in the spring. In the mean time, the ship will remain in the commission of the Royal Navy.

On 1 December the Royal Navy Reserve unit, which used the ship as its base, was decommissioned. The unit has now moved to Thiepval Barracks as HMS “Hibernian”.

Hostages: British Citizens

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many British citizens are being held hostage by foreign groups; and which governments or organisations are holding them. [HL460]

As of 7 December 2009 the Foreign and Commonwealth Office was aware of six British nationals being held hostage aboard.

Somali pirates have been holding two British nationals since October 2009. Of the five British nationals taken hostage by Asa'ib Ahl al-Haqq in Iraq in 2007, the bodies of three have been returned to the UK. Our embassy in Sana'a is investigating the kidnap of a British national who went missing in Yemen in June 2009. In October 2009 an individual with dual UK nationality was kidnapped in Sudan.

House of Lords: Reform

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their response to suggestions to replace the House of Lords with a nominated advisory committee of experts. [HL336]

The Government are committed to the creation of a reformed second Chamber with a democratic mandate. The Government's 2008 White Paper proposed that the reformed second Chamber should be either 80 per cent or 100 per cent elected through a system of direct elections in order to achieve a more accountable and representative second Chamber.

The Queen's Speech of 18 November confirmed that the Government will publish draft legislation setting out a framework for a reformed second Chamber in the next few months.

Iran

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the Government of Iran and the United Nations regarding executions in Iran, particularly of members of the Kurdish community. [HL448]

The UK's position on the death penalty is clear: we oppose it in all its forms. Alongside our EU partners we have recalled our long-standing opposition to capital punishment on at least 25 occasions this year.

Most recently, on 20 November 2009, the EU presidency summoned the Iranian ambassador in Stockholm to condemn a spate of executions, including that of Kurdish activist Ehsan Fattahian, and to express concern that a high number of Kurds with pending death sentences were facing imminent execution. The EU expressed regret at the execution of Fattahian, and pleaded for clemency for the others. Also on 20 November, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution on the human rights situation in Iran for the seventh consecutive year. This resolution, co-sponsored by the EU, condemns the increasing number of executions in Iran and sends a clear message of ongoing international concern at the human rights situation in Iran.

Alongside our EU and UN partners, the UK will continue to call on the Iranian authorities to abolish the death penalty and, in the mean time, to establish a moratorium on executions as urged by United Nations General Assembly resolutions 62/149 and 63/168.

Iraq and Afghanistan

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many civilian contractors lost their lives in support of United Kingdom operations in Iraq and Afghanistan in (a) 2006, (b) 2007, and (c) 2008. [HL319]

We take very seriously our responsibilities towards our civilian contractors and we greatly value the work done by them in supporting operations. However, collating comprehensive data on fatalities suffered by our contractors is very difficult due to the variety of contractors and the various ways in which they are employed. As a result, detailed and reliable information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Israel and Palestine

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to ask the United Nations Security Council to define the precise future boundaries of Israel and Palestine. [HL400]

The Government have no plans to take such action. We are committed to achieving a negotiated solution in the Middle East. We believe that negotiations are the best way to bring about a just and lasting peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

We are clear that a final settlement should consist of a two-state solution based on 1967 borders; a democratic state of Israel, secure from attack, recognised by—and at peace with—all its neighbours; alongside a peaceful, democratic and territorially viable state of Palestine that accepts Israel as its friend and partner; with Jerusalem the capital for both, and a just and agreed settlement for refugees.

Libraries

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many library authorities comply with national standards for radio frequency identification and E4 libraries; and what measures they are taking to promote those standards. [HL253]

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport does not collect data on the number of library authorities that comply with the UK data model (ISO 28560¬2) for radio frequency identification (RFID) or on the number of library authorities accredited under the E4 scheme.

The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) is compiling an RFID guide for public libraries which will contain information on the new national standard and the benefits of its adoption. It also continues to support and sponsor the E4 accreditation scheme.

Media: Foreign Ownership

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will consider legislation to provide that all owners and controllers of news media groups shall be United Kingdom citizens. [HL565]

Met Office: Publications

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the annual cost of producing the Met Office's quarterly publication Barometer; how many copies are printed; and what is the objective of the publication. [HL292]

The cost of producing Barometer in the past 12 months was £44,750. The Met Office prints 7,000 copies of each edition of the publication, which is also available on line at www.metoffice.gov.uk.

Barometer is the Met Office corporate magazine, aimed at informing and stimulating interest in weather and the natural environment and demonstrating the diverse range of services and activity in which the Met Office is involved. It is read globally and receives a broad range of positive feedback.

Minister for the Olympics: Overseas Visits

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what were the destinations, purposes, costs and names of those in each official party of overseas visits on ministerial business undertaken by the Minister for the Olympics in (a) 2008, and (b) 2009 to date. [HL443]

This Government publishes an annual list of all ministerial travel costing over £500. The list includes a breakdown of travel by all Ministers and the global figure for the cost of ministerial travel includes the cost of staff accompanying Ministers. Detail of travel taken in the current year will be published as soon as it is ready after the end of the financial year. All ministerial travel is undertaken in accordance with the Ministerial Code.

National Insurance

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord McKenzie of Luton on 5 November (WA 78), how many National Insurance numbers have been issued to European Union nationals and how many to non-European Union nationals in each of the last five years; and to nationals of which countries more than 1,000 National Insurance numbers per year have been issued. [HL138]

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many national insurance numbers have been given to individuals in error in each of the past three years. [HL232]

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many national insurance numbers have been given to foreign nationals in error in each of the past three years. [HL245]

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many national insurance numbers have been revoked in the past five years. [HL247]

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many national insurance numbers given to foreign nationals have been revoked in the last five years. [HL248]

The department undertakes rigorous checks on the identity of all adult national insurance number applicants and only when it is satisfied with the identity of an individual will a number be allocated.

There are limited occasions where it is identified that an individual has been issued two national insurance numbers in error. In this situation one of the numbers will be cancelled.

It is not possible to provide figures in respect of foreign nationals from this information. Figures for the past five full years and the latest part year are in the table:

Occasions when an individual has been issued more than one national insurance number and one number has then been cancelled

Year

Number of cases

2004

513

2005

491

2006

534

2007

1517 (see point 4 below)

2008

642

2009 (part)

541

Notes:

1. Figures relate to calendar years.

2. Figures for 2009 relate to the period 1 January to the 22 November.

3. Figures relate to the year the National Insurance Number was cancelled from the Department for Work and Pensions IT records.

4. The figure for 2007 is disproportionately high as it reflects an IT problem which occurred during the transfer of National Insurance Number accounts from the former Departmental Central Index to the improved Customer Information System. The problem was immediately rectified. The figure for 2007 (excluding these IT problem cases) is 562.

Source: Data is Department for Work and Pensions Management information.

In addition to the above table, a further 25 national insurance numbers were identified as having been incorrectly issued to individuals who did not satisfy that requirement shortly after the introduction of the proof of right to work requirement in 2006. These national insurance numbers were not cancelled as in isolation they do not provide access to the benefits system or right to work in the UK.

NATO

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how they have encouraged or will encourage NATO to improve defences against cyber warfare aimed at its member states. [HL194]

The UK fully supported the development of NATO's cyber defence policy, endorsed at the Bucharest summit in 2008, to enhance the protection of its critical communication and information systems against disruption through attack or illegal access. The policy includes provision of assistance to individual allies if requested. The UK has long been an advocate of the need for NATO's transformation to be a continual process to ensure that the alliance has the right capabilities and structures to meet current, emerging and enduring challenges to its security, including cyber defence. We have, therefore, also urged allies to consider NATO's role in tackling new threats, such as cyber attack, as part of the process of updating its strategic concept.

Northern Rock

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government which directors of Northern Rock received bonuses this year; how much they were; and for what. [HL509]

Northern Rock executives and senior management did not receive any cash bonuses in 2009.

Full details of directors' remuneration payable in 2009 were announced in Northern Rock's 2008 annual report, available from Northern Rock's website at http://companyinfo.northernrock.co.uk/investorRelations/corporateReports.asp.

Pakistan: Torture

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many allegations of torture of British citizens in Pakistan when General Pervez Musharraf was Chief of the Pakistan Army have been made to them; and what representations they have made to the Government of Pakistan about such allegations. [HL288]

Former General Musharraf was Chief of Army Staff from October 1998 to November 2007. From consular records we are aware of 11 British nationals who have alleged that they were either tortured or mistreated while in Pakistani custody during that period. However, there are constraints on our ability to search records of past consular cases, and this figure should not therefore be taken as definitive.

When appropriate and with the permission of the individual involved we can raise, and have raised, reports of mistreatment of British nationals in detention in Pakistan at a senior level with the Pakistani authorities, as, for example, my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary did in September. As part of our bilateral relationship, the UK and Pakistan conduct a Joint Judicial Co-operation Working Group. This group aims to establish a formal mechanism committing both parties to facilitate promptly requests for access to their own nationals who are being held by the other country's authorities.

Pensions

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord McKenzie of Luton on 6 November (WA 97–8), from where the £1 billion provided for benefits and pensions from the 2.5 per cent increase in the basic state pension comes. [HL106]

The basic state pension is paid out of the National Insurance Fund. Benefits paid from the National Insurance Fund are part of annually managed expenditure, and any changes in benefit rates are accounted for in the Government's annually managed expenditure forecasts.

Pirates: Kenya

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many persons have been arrested by the Royal Navy on suspicion of piracy; how many have been released; and how many transferred to Kenyan jurisdiction for trial. [HL81]

To date, eight suspected Somali pirates have been detained by the Royal Navy and transferred to Kenya for prosecution. A further 53 suspected pirates have been encountered during boarding operations. However, following detailed analysis of all physical evidence and witness statements, all suspects were released as it was assessed that there was insufficient evidence to be reasonably confident that a successful prosecution could be undertaken in either Kenya or (more recently) Seychelles. The subsequent destruction of any pirate equipment and weapons serves as a disruption measure and prevents their future use.

Prisoners: Growing Food

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration HM Prison Service is giving to allowing prisoners to produce food on open spaces within prison grounds. [HL235]

Various land-based activities operate in public sector prisons providing employment places for up to 2,000 prisoners at any one time. This work provides opportunities for them to learn new skills and achieve sector-related qualifications valued by prospective employers.

Market and amenity gardening takes place in more than 100 public prisons. Where it is possible and/or appropriate to do so, food production takes place in more than 70 prisons under both protective cropping and in open conditions.

School Foods Trust

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will make the School Foods Trust a statutory body. [HL341]

Schools: Teacher Training

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Morgan of Drefelin on 9 July (WA 172–3), what is the recommended proportion of initial teacher training that is concerned with enabling teachers to select appropriate educational resources; what support is in place to help teachers, especially newly qualified teachers, gain value for money in their selection of educational resources; and whether they take into account teachers' ability to assess what materials most effectively support their teaching. [HL271]

The Government do not prescribe proportions of time to be spent on individual activities within initial teacher training (ITT). The Secretary of State has laid down the qualified teacher status (QTS) standards against which training providers must develop the design and delivery of their courses to enable trainees to demonstrate that they can meet the standards. The Secretary of State's ITT requirements (R2.4) expect that training provision will be designed and delivered to take account of individual training needs. This means that programmes will be adapted and tailored to take account of the skills, experiences and needs of all trainee teachers. The requirements also expect (R2.3) that providers will make available to trainee teachers a range of suitable resources to support them in meeting the QTS standards throughout course provision.

School leadership has a strong focus on helping teachers with value for money considerations in the selection and deployment of resources. This is typically devolved to departmental level in secondary schools, and within curriculum areas in the primary phase where middle leaders are expected to monitor value for money closely. There is a wide range of high quality resource material currently freely available to schools, including through the Teacher Training Resource Bank, Behaviour4learning, Multiverse, the Special Educational Needs portal and the subject resource networks.

Resources are also available through the national strategies, Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency (QCDA), specialist schools and academies trust, the exam boards and all of the curriculum and subject associations.

In addition, there is a vast range of commercially available print and online materials available to schools. Through their subject training in ITT teachers will be taught how to discriminate and to make effective use of resources to support their teaching.

The Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA) makes available to trainers and teachers a wide range of resources to support their professional development and their classroom practice through subject resource networks, links with the QCDA and the national strategies. The agency has developed a web-based database of professional development opportunities for the whole children's workforce in schools.

This contains nearly 5,000 development opportunities which are delivered by a range of organisations including schools, universities, subject associations, and private companies.

The TDA also provides online guidance to schools to support the effective impact evaluation of professional development. A review of the guidance is currently underway and the TDA is working closely with interested bodies on that.

Shipping: MV “Canna”

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Rathlin ferry MV “Canna” had a valid passenger certificate throughout September 2008. [HL505]

Further to my Answer of 29 June 2009 (Official Report, col. WA 23) the MV “Canna” did not hold a valid passenger certificate between 1 and 11 September 2008.

Sport and Recreation: Funding

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what proportion of Sport England's combined Lottery and Exchequer funding went to local authorities in each year since 1997. [HL479]

To ask Her Majesty's Government how much financial support was provided to local authorities for sports provision by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport for each of the years 1997 to 2008. [HL481]

The information in the table has been provided by Sport England.

Lottery Funding

Financial Year

Lottery Funding Total £

1996-97

56,526,352

1997-98

114,991,610

1998-99

77,365,551

1999-00

48,684,282

2000-01

68,846,039

2001-02

136,676,297

2002-03

58,663,049

2003-04

45,433,128

2004-05

67,736,059

2005-06

25,516,222

2006-07

12,548,083

2007-08

23,250,211

2008-09

39,875,861

Grand Total

776,112,744

Exchequer Funding

Sport England is unable to provide a breakdown of past Exchequer funding to local authorities because of the way the data historically have been captured. Sport England has changed the data capture process this year and a figure for 2009-10 will be available after the end of the financial year.

Thames Barrier: Sewage

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Davies of Oldham on 1 December (HL208), what is the distinction between “Thames” and “River Thames” in the table of consented discharges. [HL461]

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Davies of Oldham on 1 December (HL208), what is the distinction between “Eastings” and “Northings” in the table of consented discharges. [HL462]

Northings and Eastings are the two numbers used within the Ordnance Survey National Grid reference system for stating the position of any point in Britain on an OS map. A Northing refers to the position of the point along the vertical axis and an Easting refers to the position of the point along the horizontal axis on an OS map.

Vehicles: Maximum Dimensions

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to ensure that truck drivers who intentionally flout maximum dimension regulations are prosecuted and have a deterrent penalty imposed. [HL581]

The Department for Transport's Vehicle and Operator Services Agency deals with any such matters as they arise. The agency has a range of enforcement options open to it and it routinely applies whatever sanctions are most appropriate in the circumstances. These measures include prohibiting non-compliant vehicles from further use, imposing financial penalties, pursuing court prosecutions, and also referring case histories to the traffic commissioners for review in the case of GB-registered vehicles and operators.

War Memorials

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many memorials have been built in the United Kingdom for servicemen from the Indian Army who died during World War 1 or World War 2. [HL523]

This information is not held by the Ministry of Defence.

The UK National Inventory of War Memorials, a registered charity, is currently working to compile a record of all war memorials in the UK. Its website http://www.ukniwm.org.uk/ lists all those memorials that have so far been registered with it. Several of these are dedicated to the Indian Army including a memorial to the 17th Dogra Regiment of the Indian Army located at the National Arboretum, Alrewas, Staffordshire, and an Indian Army Memorial Organ and Screen located in the Royal Memorial Chapel at Sandhurst.