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Written Answers

Volume 717: debated on Monday 1 March 2010

Written Answers

Monday 1 March 2010

Afghanistan

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people are held in detention in Afghanistan without charge or prospects of trial (a) by NATO forces, (b) by the Government of Iraq, and (c) by United States forces; and whether they will take steps towards creating review procedures. [HL2013]

UK Armed Forces are operating in a dangerous environment in Afghanistan. It is essential that they have the authority and capability to deal with individuals who pose a serious threat to UK and other International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troops, the Afghan security forces as well as the local population.

ISAF, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation-led security and development mission in Afghanistan, is not responsible for charging or prosecuting detainees. ISAF forces are mandated to either transfer detainees to the Afghan Government for prosecution through their judicial system or release them. As a sovereign nation, responsibility for prosecution lies with the Government of Afghanistan. The question of how many prisoners detained without charge or prospects of trial by the Governments of Afghanistan and the US is a matter for those Governments to answer.

The London conference held on 28 January welcomed the Government of Afghanistan's determination to take on increasing responsibility for detentions. The UK will continue to work with the Afghan authorities to build capacity within their detention and judicial systems. The Government of Afghanistan will decide what review procedures should be put in place.

Afghanistan: Dams

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress has been made in installing the third turbine at the Kajakai Dam; what was the total financial and manpower cost of Operation Oqab Tsuka; and whether the position has been affected by financial constraints or the level of planning. [HL1053]

USAID, the US Federal Government agency responsible for the US effort in the field of development and reconstruction, is committed to installing a third unit at Kajaki which would increase the generation capacity to 51 megawatts, and to constructing a new transmission line from Kajaki to Kandahar when the security situation becomes permissive. The Ministry of Defence does not calculate the financial cost of individual operations. Four thousand International Security Assistance Force troops were involved in the operation, including troops from the UK, US, Canada, Denmark and Australia. While the dam does not operate to its full capacity, currently it does provide electricity to the population of Helmand. Two generators are in place and being used, along with diesel-powered, local generation to increase supply. While the security situation in the area makes access and delivery to Kajaki challenging, supplies, including oil, are being delivered. USAID is leading the work on the refurbishment of the power station. It continues to plan to make the facility fully operational.

Alcohol

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their forecast of the cost to HM Treasury of introducing zero duty on beers of 2.8 per cent ABV and below. [HL1982]

Armed Forces: Body Armour

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking following the Osprey Assault body armour not passing safety testing, to ensure that members of Her Majesty's Armed Forces are provided with protective body armour. [HL2041]

We are continually seeking ways to improve the protection provided to our Armed Forces personnel, and body armour is part of a constant scientific development process.

A contract was let to manufacture Osprey Assault body armour plates. These were to offer the same ballistic protection as the Osprey plate but of a slightly thinner design. This contract is being reviewed because after testing we found the plates did not meet our stringent standards. No Osprey Assault plates were ever issued to troops.

The current Osprey plates, which are second to none in the world, continue to be issued with the more comfortable Osprey Assault covers to form the Osprey Assault body armour system.

Armed Forces: Medals

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many recommendations for gallantry medals for service in Afghanistan have been submitted in each year since 2001. [HL2044]

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many gallantry medals have been awarded for service in Afghanistan in each year since 2001. [HL2045]

Citations that demonstrate the highest levels of excellence will be recognised through the award of medals for gallantry. Therefore, there may be other acts of individual gallantry which are not recognised in this way for a variety of reasons. Nevertheless, all who deploy, and meet the criteria, receive a campaign medal which recognises the risks they face in the arduous circumstances in which they are deployed.

Recommendations that are not approved are not retained or recorded. All such records are destroyed, thus enabling impartial consideration of any future citations. No information on the number of recommendations can therefore be provided.

Recommendations for gallantry awards are made through the chain of command. Recommendations are screened at various levels and a committee comprising senior military officers (all with operational experience) makes the final decisions. It has always been this, and previously, Government's view that Ministers should not be involved in the process of awarding gallantry medals.

Notice of all awards for gallantry is published in the London Gazette. The following table lists the number of gallantry awards for service in Afghanistan in each year.

Year

Gallantry Awards

2001

0

2002

32

2003

3

2004

4

2005

6

2006

64

2007

49

2008

119

2009

157

Total

434

British Transport Police

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government when is the next quinquennial review of the activities of the British Transport Police. [HL2326]

To ask Her Majesty's Government who will set the remit for the quinquennial review of the activities of the British Transport Police; and whether views from the public will be sought. [HL2327]

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the discussions about policing of transport interchanges during the passage of the Policing and Crime Act 2009 will be taken into account in the quinquennial review of the activities of the British Transport Police. [HL2328]

A review of the British Transport Police Authority is due to take place this year. In accordance with Cabinet Office guidelines, its remit will be set by the Department for Transport and I expect one of the areas for consideration to be the possibility of extending the jurisdiction of the British Transport Police.

Those carrying out the review will want to take account of the views expressed on the subject during the passage of the Policing and Crime Bill and the undertakings given by the Government at the time. The arguments for extending the British Transport Police’s remit are well known and I would expect those with a direct interest to be given the opportunity to comment further before any significant changes were made.

Buying Solutions

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how much was paid by HM Revenue and Customs and its agencies to (a) PricewaterhouseCoopers, (b) KPMG, (c) Deloitte, (d) Ernst & Young, (e) Grant Thornton, (f) BDO Stoy Hayward, (g) Baker Tilly, (h) Smith & Williamson, (i) Tenon Group, (j) PKF, (k) McKinsey and Company, and (l) Accenture, in each of the past five years for which information is available; how they monitor contracts with those firms; and how the department reports (1) during, and (2) at the end of contracts, to Buying Solutions. [HL2082]

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) spend information prior to 2006 is held on legacy HM Customs and Excise and Inland Revenue systems and is not available at the level of detail requested for the period 2005-06. Information is available at the level of detail requested for the periods 2006-07 onwards and is provided in the table below:

Service ProviderHMRC—Spend per financial year (£)

2006/07

2007-08

2008-09

2009-10 to date

Accenture

2,337,256

478,997

0

30,920

Baker Tilly

4,000

15,394

0

72,681

BDO Stoy Hayward

23,275

21,799

18,069

4,967

Deloitte MCS Ltd

7,300,231

444,735

7,517,609

11,570,451

Ernst and Young

185,517

106,429

2,358,492

3,803,793

Grant Thornton UK LLP

28,146

13,101

21,537

25,908

KPMG LLP

1,198,652

2,422,338

5,462,555

5,653,448

McKinsey and Company

0

0

0

0

PKF

69,680

87,704

138,827

65,957

PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP

1,302,253

828,427

2,949,391

2,032,219

Tenon

0

0

0

0

Smith & Williamson

0

0

0

0

The increase in expenditure in 2008-09 and 2009-10 is to support delivery in departmental transformation programmes: government banking, modernising PAYE processes for customers (MPPC), pacesetter/lean, data security and compliance and enforcement.

The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) is able to provide detailed information from 1 April 2005 and this is provided in the table below.

Service providerVOA—Spend per financial year (£)

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

2008-09

2009-10 to date

Accenture

0

0

0

0

0

Baker Tilly

0

0

0

0

BDO Stoy Hayward

0

0

0

0

0

Deloitte MCS Ltd

0

0

0

0

708,093

Ernst and Young

0

0

0

0

0

Grant Thornton UK LLP

0

0

0

0

0

KPMG LLP

1,362,188

29,823

0

0

0

McKinsey and Company

0

0

0

0

0

PKF

0

0

0

0

0

PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP

1,245

1,111

0

0

0

Tenon

0

0

0

0

0

Smith & Williamson

0

0

0

Contracts awarded are monitored by the business area (within HMRC or VOA) receiving the services. The service providers are monitored against the agreed contract, which may include assessment of:

delivery against the agreed key performance indicators;

delivery of agreed outputs, within agreed timescales;

payment, in accordance with the agreed proposal and fees structure; and

skills transfer to staff (where appropriate).

HMRC and VOA may on occasion choose to use Buying Solution framework contracts but there is no reporting relationship to Buying Solutions since it acts as an agent to departments. HMRC and VOA hold regular business relationship meetings with Buying Solutions at director level but these do not involve individual contract spend discussion.

Cambodia

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have made representations to the Government of Cambodia about the conviction and sentencing of opposition leader Sam Rainsy and two others. [HL1989]

The UK is aware of the case of Sam Rainsy and two local farmers. Our embassy is in close contact with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, who monitored the trial. We are in discussion with EU member states regarding further representations.

The UK and its EU partners have on a number of occasions raised concerns with the Government of Cambodia about treatment of opposition members of the National Assembly. We have also urged the opposition parties to engage constructively with the political process. In August 2009 the UK as local EU presidency carried out a demarche at the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to raise concerns about respect for freedom of expression, democracy and the rule of law. The subjects raised included a legal case brought against an opposition MP for criminal defamation. Concerns about the prosecution of opposition MPs, and respect for democratic norms and freedom of expression more generally, were also raised by a number of member states on 1 December 2009 during the UN Human Rights Council's Universal Periodic Review of Cambodia.

Mr Rainsy provided Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials with a briefing on his situation during his visit to the UK.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will propose that the European Union makes representations to the Government of Cambodia about the convictions and prison sentences passed on the leader of the opposition, Sam Rainsy, and two Members of Parliament belonging to his party. [HL1991]

The UK is aware of the case of Sam Rainsy and two local farmers. Our embassy is in close contact with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, who monitored the trial and expressed a number of concerns about its conduct. We are in discussion with other EU member states to consider further representations.

The UK and its EU partners have on a number of occasions raised concerns with the Government of Cambodia about treatment of opposition members of the National Assembly. We have also urged the opposition parties to engage constructively with the political process. In August 2009 the UK as local EU presidency carried out a demarche at the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to raise concerns about respect for freedom of expression, democracy and the rule of law. The subjects raised included a legal case brought against an opposition MP for criminal defamation. Concerns about the prosecution of opposition MPs, and respect for democratic norms and freedom of expression more generally, were also raised by a number of member states on 1 December 2009 during the UN Human Rights Council's Universal Periodic Review of Cambodia.

Council Tax

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government why the name of council tax benefit has not yet been changed to council tax rebate; and why there must be consultation before this change can take place. [HL2156]

By taking swift action to include order making powers in the Welfare Reform Act 2009 to change the name of council tax benefit to council tax rebate we have demonstrated that we are committed to making this change at the earliest opportunity. We believe that the change of name could have a positive impact on take-up and help more pensioners with council tax bills.

There are no plans for a formal consultation exercise.

We have been and will continue to work closely with local authorities and their IT suppliers to assess the impact and costs of these changes and the fit with other initiatives the department and local authorities have to deliver, so that renaming can be introduced at the earliest opportunity.

Debt: Rural Areas

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to increase the number of face-to-face debt advisers operating in rural areas; and what is their target. [HL2187]

The Rural Project, part of the BIS face-to-face debt advice project, employs 24 advisers providing advice to around 4,800 financially excluded clients each year. Since the 2006 launch, they have helped 16,535 clients (to the end of 2009).

The project has a fixed budget which is primarily provided from the Treasury's Financial Inclusion Fund. There are no current plans to increase this although the Government's July 2009 consumer White Paper did provide the face-to-face debt advice project with an extra £300,000 which has allowed the Rural Project to help an additional 50 clients during a particularly busy period.

Department for Communities and Local Government: Faith Advisers

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what are (a) the names, and (b) the terms of contract, of each of the recently appointed faith advisers in Communities and Local Government. [HL1627]

The new panel of faith advisers is comprised of the following individuals:

Rev Dr Alan Billings;

Dr Harriet Crabtree;

Marcia Dixon;

Dr Doreen Finneron;

Jenny Kartupelis;

Wakkas Khan;

Alveena Malik;

Mehri Niknam;

Rosalind Preston;

Dr Jasdev Singh Rai;

the Rt Rev Timothy Stevens;

Arjan Vekaria; and

Professor Paul Weller

The members of the panel advise my department in a voluntary, personal capacity. They are not employees and therefore do not hold contracts. However, they are bound by the Civil Service Code in relation to their conduct while advising my department.

In addition, we have appointed a faith policy adviser on a 12-month fixed term contract in line with Civil Service recruitment principles.

European Public Prosecutor

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord West of Spithead on 9 February (WA 111), what stage any proposal for a European Public Prosecutor has reached; and whether they will refuse to opt into or veto it in due course. [HL2191]

There is no proposal at present to create a European Public Prosecutor (EPP). The Government have consistently opposed the creation of an EPP.

Further Education: Vocational Training

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of vocational teaching in the further education sector. [HL2256]

The quality of vocational education and training in the further education (FE) sector is improving significantly. For example, colleges achieved a qualification success rate of 81 per cent in 2007-08, against the target of 80 per cent that was set for 2011. Our apprenticeship programme also saw a record successful achievement rate of 71 per cent in 2008-09—up from 37 per cent in 2004-05. The second inspection cycle of 2005-09 by the Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills (Ofsted) shows that 65 per cent of colleges were judged to be good or better. This is significantly better than the first cycle (2001-05) where less than 50 per cent of colleges were judged to be good or better.

We are also seeing increasing professionalism in the FE teaching workforce. Through a series of reforms, including requirements for teachers to hold appropriate qualifications; work towards qualified teacher learning and skills status; and be professionally registered with the Institute for Learning (IfL), we are ensuring that both pedagogical and subject specialist skills are maintained and enhanced. All teaching staff must undertake a minimum of 30 hours continuing professional development (CPD) each year and there is evidence that this minimum is generally being exceeded. The Business Interchange programme is providing opportunities for the workforce to update vocational skills through employer placements. There is early evidence from Ofsted inspections of the benefits of these reforms to teaching practice and learners.

Gaza

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what action it is taking with its European partners to persuade Israel to lift the blockade of Gaza. [HL2239]

The UK and its key partners, including the EU, continue to press the Israeli authorities to ease border restrictions and permit the flow of humanitarian aid, reconstruction materials, trade goods, and people into Gaza. The EU Foreign Affairs Council made this clear in its statement of 8 December 2009.

Gross Domestic Product

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their estimate of the proportion of gross domestic product in the United Kingdom represented by the creative industries. [HL2032]

According to the Creative Industries Economic Estimates bulletin released on 10 February 2010, the creative industries (excluding crafts and design) accounted for 6.2 per cent of gross value added in 2007, the latest year for which figures are available.

Immigration

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assistance they offer to European Union migrants who are unemployed but have not paid 12 months of national insurance contributions. [HL1755]

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assistance they offer European Union migrants who are homeless but have not paid 12 months of national insurance contributions. [HL1756]

European Union nationals who are unemployed but seeking work may be eligible for income-based jobseeker's allowance. They may also be eligible for housing benefit and council tax benefit in respect of any housing costs.

European Union accession country nationals are subject to particular rules. They are eligible for income-based jobseeker's allowance but only if they have been working and registered on the worker registration scheme or worker authorisation scheme for at least 12 months, and are seeking work. They may also be eligible for housing benefit and council tax benefit in respect of any housing costs.

Jobcentre Plus personalised services, such as personal advisers, are available to European Union nationals claiming benefits. European Union nationals who are not claiming benefit may access the universal Jobcentre Plus services for job seekers, such as job points and Jobseeker Direct.

In addition, the Government provide funding to support local authorities and homelessness charities in helping homeless EU nationals to find work, or in some instances, to pay for travel back to their own countries.

Notes:

1 People from Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Bulgaria and Romania

National Insurance

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the amount of employee national insurance contributions which were not due on benefits in kind which were subject to employers' national insurance contributions in the latest year for which figures are available. [HL1965]

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many employees benefited from employee national insurance contributions not being levied on certain benefits in kind which are subject to employers' national insurance contributions in the latest year for which figures are available. [HL1966]

HM Revenue and Customs estimates that 3.4 million individuals receive benefits in kind that are subjected to employers' national insurance contributions but not employees' national insurance.

The estimated value (using current valuation methods) of employee national insurance contributions that are not levied on these benefits is £350 million per year.

Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress is being made to achieve agreement on including a fourth pillar to the non-proliferation treaty to cover nuclear security at the United Nations Review conference in May. [HL2152]

As the Government stated in the Road to 2010 (http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/reports/roadto2010.aspx), “nuclear security must be seen as the fourth pillar of any nuclear regime, alongside non-proliferation, disarmament and the right to peaceful uses of nuclear technology”. It is not our intention to reopen the non-proliferation treaty. We will use the Washington summit in April to press for more work, co-ordinated globally, to secure a stronger international consensus for making nuclear security an essential underpinning of the multilateral nuclear framework.

Nuclear Disarmament

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress is being made in establishing the United Kingdom's nuclear centre of excellence. [HL2153]

The Road to 2010 White Paper (Cm7675) set out the Government's commitment to establish a nuclear centre of excellence. Since publication of the White Paper the National Nuclear Centre of Excellence Steering Group, chaired by the Government's chief scientific adviser, has overseen development of the centre, including the appointment of an interim director and agreement on the business model to be adopted. The project has strong support from key government, industry and academic stakeholders including the Technology Strategy Board, the National Nuclear Laboratory, the Nuclear Industries Association, UK research councils and universities. There has also been international interest in the centre of excellence.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what other countries support the Global Threat Reduction Programme; and what are its achievements so far. [HL2154]

The Global Threat Reduction Programme delivers the UK contribution to the Global Partnership against the spread of weapons and materials of mass destruction. The Global Partnership was established at the G8 summit in June 2002. The contributions made by other states are set out in the G8 Global Partnership Working Group 2009 annual report, annex A consolidated data sheets (http://www.g8italia2009.it/static/G8_Allegato/ GPWG-Report-2009-AnnexA-Consolidated-Data-Sheets,2.pdf)

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many countries have now ratified the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material; and what changes are being implemented in the United Kingdom following ratification. [HL2155]

Thirty-four countries have ratified the Amendment to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM).

There are 142 states which are parties to the CPPNM. The amended convention will enter into force once it has been ratified by two-thirds of these parties. The amendment to the convention will strengthen its effectiveness by making it legally binding for states parties to protect civil nuclear facilities and material in peaceful, domestic use, storage and transport. It also provides for expanded co-operation between parties on rapid measures to locate and recover stolen or smuggled nuclear material, mitigate any radiological consequences of sabotage, and prevent and combat related offences.

The Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 contains provisions, brought into force on 30 November 2009, which implement the amendment. The relevant provisions are Section 75 and Schedule 17, which created a number of new criminal offences—including extraterritorial offences. These new offences relate principally to acts directed at a nuclear facility, the misuse of nuclear material with intent to cause damage to the environment, and involvement outside the UK in the unlawful importing, exporting or shipping of nuclear material. It was also necessary to increase the penalty for existing UK offences relating to the import, export and shipment of nuclear material.

Pakistan

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have made, or intend to make, representations to the Government of Pakistan about the use of child labour under 14 years of age. [HL2149]

The UK is committed to working with the Government of Pakistan to address the issue of child labour. Together with our EU partners, the UK regularly raises its concerns about the use of child labour and has lobbied the Government of Pakistan to implement existing legislation which protects children from such abuse. The most recent EU demarche on this issue was in December 2009. The issue of child labour will also form part of the forthcoming EU-Pakistan human rights dialogue.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will make representations to the Government of Pakistan about the family of the housemaid Shazia Masih being able to obtain access to legal representation. [HL2150]

The allegations surrounding the treatment and death of Shazia Masih are deeply disturbing. They highlight the challenges facing Pakistan in dealing with issues such as child labour, the treatment of religious minorities and access to education. Shazia Masih's case is currently sub judice in Pakistan, and so direct representations from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office are not possible. Nevertheless, we continue to raise our concerns on the issue of child labour with the Government of Pakistan. These concerns were most recently raised alongside our EU partners in the demarche of December 2009, and will form part of the forthcoming EU dialogue on human rights.

Passports

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, following the alleged abuse of British passports in Dubai, they will suspend intelligence co-operation with Israel. [HL2228]

Pensions

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the percentage uplift to the basic state pension will be applied to the extra portion earned by those pensioners who used the state pension deferral scheme (as set out in booklet SPD1 of April 2006). [HL2001]

The proposed 2.5 per cent increase in the rate of the basic state pension from April 2010 will not be applied to the extra state pension payable to those recipients who have deferred their state pension. The retail prices index showed that prices had fallen for the 12 months ending in September 2009. Given this evidence the Government have decided to maintain the value of increments at 2009-10 rates.

People with increments who deferred their state pension for at least one year since 2005 get a state pension that is 10.4 per cent higher than if they had not deferred. They will also benefit from the 2.5 per cent increase in the basic state pension announced at the Pre-Budget Report. We are writing to every individual in receipt of state pension with an uprating notification which clearly states that, while basic state pension is increasing by 2.5 per cent, increments and additional pension are not.

In addition, the increase in the basic state pension will be reflected in the value of increments being accrued by those who are currently deferring their state pension.

The booklet SPD1 State Pension DeferralYour Guide is being updated to reflect the change from April 2010 and the other leaflets and website are being updated to reflect the Pre-Budget Report.

Pensions: Taxation

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many pensioners, and what percentage of all pensions, they estimate have received pension tax relief at the higher rate of income tax, and subsequently in retirement pay income tax at the basic rate, in each of the past three years for which information is available. [HL1749]

Around £18.9 billion of tax relief was given on pension contributions across all taxpayers in 2008-09. Within this total, an estimated two-thirds of the relief was on contributions made by higher rate tax payers.

However, HM Revenue and Customs does not have sufficient data for enough years about individual taxpayers to build up a history of rates at which pensions tax relief is given, compared with tax rates in retirement, necessary to provide the exact information requested.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the forecast revenue to the Exchequer of the restriction of pensions tax relief to 20 per cent in respect of taxpayers earning in excess of £150,000 in each year to 2015–16. [HL1785]

At Budget 2009 the Government published the forecast revenue to the Exchequer from the measure “Pensions Tax: restrict tax relief to 20 per cent above £150,000” as follows:

2009

0

2010

0

2011

£200 million

2012

£3.1 billion

The above may be seen on table A1 of the Budget 2009 Report (see item 45 and footnote 4).

There are no published forecasts for this measure for yield beyond 2012-13.

At Pre-Budget Report 2009 it was announced that the income definition would be updated to include the value of the benefit from the pension contributions from the employer subject to an income floor (excluding employer contributions) at £130,000. The floor protects individuals with relatively low net incomes from being caught by the measure, as well as providing certainty for many individuals around whether they are affected, and reducing administrative burdens for schemes.

The forecast revenue resulting from the change in income definition was shown as follows (£ million):

2009-10

-10

2010-11

-40

2011-12

0

2012-13

+500

The above may be seen in table B4 of the Pre-Budget Report 2009.

There are no published forecasts for this measure for yield beyond 2012-13.

Ports: Public Authorities

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government which trust ports are (a) designated, and (b) not designated, as public authorities under the Freedom of Information Act 2000; and what criteria are used to make the decision. [HL2111]

Four trust ports in Northern Ireland are designated under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. No others in England or Wales are designated.

The Government announced last year the outcome of a consultation on the designation of additional public authorities and decided not to extend coverage to harbour authorities beyond those already designated by virtue of being run by an existing public authority.

The Government's guidance to trust ports states that they should aim to comply with the spirit of the Act in responding to reasonable requests for information from the public.

Shipping: General Lighthouse Authorities

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how much Trinity House has spent on developing the e-LORAN navigation system; and whether, following the decision of the government of the United States to cancel their development work on that system, Trinity House plans to cease work on it. [HL2108]

The Research and Radionavigation Directorate of the General Lighthouse Authorities of the United Kingdom and Ireland has spent around £0.75 million to date developing the eLORAN navigation system in Cumbria. The Department for Transport has provided 50 per cent of the funding in the form of a grant.

No decision has been made about the long-term future of the UK eLORAN service. The US decision to cease funding the older LORAN-C service should not affect the eLORAN service for northern Europe.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Adonis on 22 February (HL1979), why Trinity House and the Commissioners for Irish Lights are not designated as public authorities under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 when the Commissioners of Northern Lighthouses are so designated. [HL2110]

Neither Trinity House nor the Commissioners of Irish Lights are designated as public authorities under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, because they are neither listed in Schedule 1 to the Act nor designated under Section 5.

The list in Schedule 1 may be added to by order under Section 4(1), but to be added a body or office must satisfy two conditions:

that the body or office is established by virtue of Her Majesty’s prerogative or by enactment or by subordinate legislation, or by certain Government or Welsh Assembly Government authorities; and

in the case of a body, that it is wholly or partly constituted by appointment made by certain Government or Welsh Assembly Government authorities.

The Commissioners of Northern Lighthouses were added to the list in Schedule 1 as they met both the criteria above. This amendment was made by the Freedom of Information (Additional Public Authorities) Order 2002 (SI 2002/2623) that came into force on November 2002. Trinity House and the Commissioners of Irish Lights meet the first condition but not the second, as no appointments to their boards are made by any government entity, nor by the Welsh Assembly Government authorities.

Under Section 5, any other body that is regarded as performing a public function can be designated a public authority for the purposes of the Act. However, the Commissioners of Irish Lights primarily operate in the territory of a separate sovereign nation (Ireland) and Trinity House has substantial charitable functions beyond its remit as a General Lighthouse Authority.

However, the department expects both Trinity House and the Commissioners of Irish Lights to comply with the spirit of the Act in responding to reasonable requests from the public for information relating to their functions as a General Lighthouse Authority under UK law.

Taxation: Income Tax

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their estimate of the revenue that will be raised from the introduction of the 50 per cent rate of income tax on incomes over £150,000 in (a) 2010–11, (b) 2011–12, and (c) 2012–13. [HL1835]

To ask Her Majesty's Government what have been the effects of revisions to (a) gross domestic product forecasts, and (b) expected behavioural responses since Budget 2009 on the revenue forecast to be collected from the 50 per cent rate of income tax on incomes over £150,000 in (a) 2010–11, (b) 2011–12, and (c) 2012–13. [HL1836]

The estimated revenue to be raised from the introduction of the 50 per cent rate of income tax on incomes over £150,000 is (a) £1.13 billion in 2010-11, (b) £2.52 billion in 2011-12, and (c) £2.4 billion in 2012-13. (These estimates are as shown in the Budget 2009 Report: the estimates for 2010-11 and 2011-12 are obtained by adding line 44 of table A1 of the report to line h of table A2 of the report, and the estimate for 2012-13 is given in footnote 3 to Table A1.)

Updated estimates of the revenue expected to be collected from the 50 per cent rate of income tax will be published at Budget 2010. These estimates will take into account latest information including updated economic assumptions.

Waterways: Canals

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their strategy for encouraging more passenger and freight services on English canals. [HL2107]

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has recently published a consultation document, Waterways for Everyone, chapter 8 of which details the current government view of the role inland waterways play in moving people and freight. The consultation, which closes on 26 March, asks some key questions about the future of inland waterways. I would urge all with an interest in this to respond to the consultation.

Waterways: Transport

Question

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To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will follow the recommendation of the House of Commons Transport Committee to transfer responsibilities for the inland waterways to the Department for Transport (Sixth Special Report, Session 2007–08). [HL2109]

The Government responded to this recommendation from the Transport Committee on 17 September 2008. Their position has not changed.