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Written Answers

Volume 622: debated on Tuesday 27 February 2001

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Written Answers

Tuesday, 27th February 2001.

Annuities And Long-Term Care Benefits

asked Her Majesty's Government:Why pension funds are not allowed to offer long-term care benefits in lieu of part of their annuity payments to policyholders. [HL838]

Successive governments have not thought it appropriate to include long-term care benefits in a tax regime which aims to encourage people to save for an income in retirement. The Royal Commission under the chairmanship of Professor Sir Stuart Sutherland also came to this conclusion.

Single Currency: Economic And Monetary Affairs Framework

asked Her Majesty's Government:What additional requirements have the 11 (now 12) member states of the single currency agreed to impose on themselves in the conduct of their economic and monetary affairs since their agreement to launch the single currency on 1 January 1999. [HL886]

Since 1 January 1996 there have been no amendments to the framework governing the conduct of economic and monetary affairs of the member states participating in the single currency.

Pension Fund Annuity Purchase Requirement

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they have any proposals to change the rules requiring the compulsory purchase of annuities from pension funds. [HL705]

Various proposals have been put forward as alternatives to the annuity purchase requirement for defined contribution pension schemes. An announcement will be made in due course if it is decided that any changes are required.

Employment Statistics

asked Her Majesty's Government:What is the latest estimate of the total number of:

  • (a) full-time equivalent jobs in the United Kingdom economy; and
  • (b) full-time equivalent jobs in the United Kingdom economy which are linked to activities directly contributing to credits in the United Kingdom balance of payments current account. [HL808]
  • The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked to reply.

    Letter to Lord Pearson of Rannoch from the National Statistician and Registrar General for England and Wales, Office for National Statistics, Mr Len Cook, dated 26 February 2001.

    As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your recent question on the total number of full-time equivalent jobs (a) in the United Kingdom economy and (b) those which are linked to activities directly contributing to credits on the United Kingdom balance of payment current account (HL808).

    The Office for National Statistics (ONS) does not calculate the number of full-time equivalent jobs. The table below shows the number of full-time, part-time and total employee jobs in the UK plus the other workforce jobs components (not seasonally adjusted), for the latest period for which data are available, September 2000. Workforce jobs are the sum of employee jobs, self-employed jobs, HM Forces and government-supported trainees.

    These estimates are based on the results of regular sample surveys of employers which count the number of employee jobs, the Labour Force Survey, and administrative sources. The data are published in Table B. 11 of Labour Market Trends, copies of which are held in the House of Lords Library and in Statbase on the ONS website

    Number in thousands for September 2000 (not seasonally adjusted)

    Full-time employee jobs17,430
    Part-time employee jobs6,950
    Self-employed jobs3,397
    HM Forces205
    Government-supported trainees101

    No information is available linking workforce jobs with activities directly contributing to credits on the United Kingdom balance of payment current account.

    Dcms Expenditure Limits

    asked Her Majesty's Government:What plans there are to amend the Department for Culture, Media and Sport's departmental expenditure limit and running costs limit for 2001–01. [HL951]

    Subject to parliamentary approval of the necessary Supplementary Estimate for Class XI, Vote 1, the DCMS Departmental Expenditure Limit (DEL) for 2000–01 will be reduced by £9,839,000 from £1,0:30,565,000 to £1,020,726,000 and the running costs limit will be reduced by £4,400,000 from £35,256,000 to £30,856,000.The changes are to provide for the use of £5,700,000 of the proceeds from the sale by the British Library of 25 Southampton Buildings for meeting the costs of a new conservation and digitisation studio, a further amount of £9,840,000 from the sale proceeds is being surrendered to the Consolidated Fund as Extra Receipts; to provide for the use of £3,000,000 of the proceeds from the sale of 6 Burlington Gardens to assist English Heritage with the purchase of land for the construction of a new visitor centre at Stonehenge, and for use of by the department of £2,000,000 of the sale proceeds for capital works at its headquarters buildings; to provide for a reduction of £4,400,000 in the gross running costs of the Royal Parks offset by an increase of the same amount in their other current expenditure to reflect the reclassification of the expenditure of the Royal Parks Constabulary out of running costs; and to provide for increased expenditure of £630,000 on DCMS gross running costs offset by an increase in recoveries of eligible deductable input VAT.

    Inland Revenue On-Line Tax Filing System: Security

    asked Her Majesty's Government:How they will respond to allegations that the Inland Revenue's on-line tax filing system, particularly with respect to password authentication, is insecure. [HL875]

    The Inland Revenue's on-line tax filing system has security features in line with best commercial practice, which protects passwords against interception.

    Financial Services Single Market: Lamfalussy Report

    asked Her Majesty's Government:How they respond to the recently published proposals of the European Commission for an integrated European market in financial services by 2005. [HL802]

    asked Her Majesty's Government:How they will respond to the interim and final response of Baron Alexandre Lamfalussy and his committee of wise persons concerning the promotion of a single market in financial services. [HL830]

    The Government agree with the Lamfalussy committee's analysis of the problems caused by absence of a single market in securities. We share the committee's desire to speed up and prioritise completion of a single market in financial services. The committee's proposals for reforming European work on securities markets are encouraging and the Government are studying the details very carefully. The proposals are due to be considered at Ecofin, and subsequently the Stockholm European Council.

    Depleted Uranium

    asked Her Majesty's Government:What action they are taking to investigate the operational significance of all existing types of depleted uranium-based munitions; and whether all such types are required. [HL752]

    The Ministry of Defence has for many years conducted research into weapon and armour materials and designs. Research and consultation with allies continues to include the search for potential alternatives to depleted uranium a.nd to identify and characterise their cost effectiveness and environmental impact. Depleted uranium still has a significant margin of operational effectiveness over alternative materials when employed in anti-armour weapon systems. In recent years, a new tungsten round has been developed for the Royal Navy's Phalanx close-in weapons system that offers superior performance (anti-armour qualities are not important for this weapon system). Since 1996, all replacement ammunition for the Phalanx system has been of the tungsten variety.

    asked Her Majesty's Government:What arrangements they are making to ensure that whenever depleted uranium is used in firing tests or training, the health and wellbeing of adjacent civilian communities are protected. [HL754]

    The DU firing test programme in the United Kingdom is subject to regulation under the Radioactive Substances Act 1993, which the Ministry of Defence follows voluntarily, and the Ionising Radiations Regulations 1999, which is enforced by the Health and Safety Executive. The Environment Agency in England and and Wales and the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency in Scotland also are provided with details of monitoring surveys including annual reports of the firing programme.In 1993, the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA) commissioned the consultants W S Atkins to conduct an independent environmental impact assessment of the firing of DU at the firing ranges at Eskmeals and Kirkcudbright.

    The consultants' report concluded that the radiation doses to members of the public, and the associated risks from exposure to DU released into the environment, were extremely low. A copy of the report was placed in the Library of the House in 1995.

    The report also made certain recommendations which were subsequently adopted for the ongoing environmental programme, now overseen by the Defence Radiological Protection Service (part of DERA). This monitoring programme has confirmed that there are only low levels of DU contamination, which are well below anything that could be considered a health hazard either to those who work at the sites or those living nearby. The results of this monitoring are published annually and local authorities at both sites, together with the Environment Agency and Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, receive copies.

    DU is also used by the Royal Navy in their Phalanx close-in weapons system. All live firings are undertaken in dedicated Exercise areas or on the high seas but in the latter case only after issuing a Notice to Airmen and a Notice of Intent. Given that the Naval DU ammunition will be submerged after firings over deep water there is no likelihood of the public coming into direct contact with fired penetrators.

    In addition, the Ministry of Defence Explosive Storage and Transport Committee lays down the policy and standards for the storage and transportation of all conventional military explosives held by the UK MoD and this includes DU munitions. These standards are then enshrined as necessary in Single Service regulations and working practices.

    Haemophilia Patients: Recombinant Clotting Factor Treatment

    asked Her Majesty's Government:Further to the Written Answers by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 5 and 12 February on the provision of recombinant clotting factors (

    WA 92 and WA 13), when they expect to announce the outcome of the consideration they are currently giving to making this treatment available to all adult haemophilia patients in England; and how their estimate of the cost at £50 million is computed. [HL767]

    The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health
    (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath)

    To meet the needs of all haemophilia patients in England currently on plasma derived clotting factors, we estimate that 110 million units of recombinant Factor 8 would be needed at an additional cost of 30.7p per unit and 31.5 million units of recombinant Factor 9 at an additional cost of 42p per unit. This gives a total cost of £47 million for recombinant products currently in production. Costs for third generation, totally synthetic products, are likely to be higher. The calculation is based on data collected from haemophilia centres by the United Kingdom Haemophilia Centre Doctors Organisation and represents a provisional estimate.The Government are continuing to give careful consideration to this issue.

    Children's Commissioners

    asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they will approve the establishment of independent Children's Commissioners in areas of the United Kingdom in addition to Wales to help protect and promote the welfare of all children. [HL772]

    The establishment of independent children's rights commissioners in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales is a matter for those devolved administrations. Through the Care Standards Act 2000, we have created the role of Children's Rights Director which is targeted at meeting the needs of those children in greatest need of additional safeguards. With regard to a commissioner for all children in England, we will of course carefully consider the Welsh experience to see if there are lessons which we can learn in England that would help to protect and promote the welfare of all children.

    Eu Sixth Environment Action Programme

    Environment 2010: Our Future, Our Choice, the sixth Environment Action Programme for the European Community as recently published by the European Commission; and what action they will be taking towards its implementation. [HL780]

    The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions
    (Lord Whitty)

    The Government broadly welcome the European Commission's proposal for a sixth Environment Action Programme, which will set out the European Union's environmental priorities for the next 10 years. We particularly welcome its emphasis on an improved, evidence-based policy process, effective implementation and enforcement, consultation and willingness to consider alternatives to legislation. We are, though, still considering our position on the detail of the proposal.The programme will not have direct regulatory impact and will not require transposition into UK law. Once it has been adopted under the Co-decision procedure by the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament, it will fall to the European Commission to bring forward proposals to the Council and European Parliament to implement the objectives set out in the programme.

    Police Recruits: Wastage

    asked Her Majesty's Government:What is the current rate of wastage amongst recruits into the police service. [HL729]

    The information requested is not collected centrally in England and Wales. The numbers of police officers recruited, and overall wastage for police officers, in England and Wales for the six months ending September 2000 were 3,271 and 2,884 respectively. This figure for wastage includes retirements, resignations, dismissals, deaths and transfers to police forces outside England and Wales.The percentage wastage rate for the year 1999 to 2000 was 3.7 per cent, which, compared to other organisations, is very low. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development's 2000 labour turnover survey reported a wastage rate of 18.3 per cent for all employees in 1999.In the year ending March 2000, there were 437 police recruits in Scotland, and 24 officers left during their probationary period, either by voluntary resignation or discharge.In Northern Ireland, there were 924 recruits between 9 April 1995 and 2 April 2000, and eight of these resigned voluntarily during their probation period.

    Job Advertisements For Senior Officials

    asked Her Majesty's Government:What was the cost of the job advertisements for (a) a Chief Inspector of the National Probation Service for England and Wales; (b) HM Chief Inspector of Prisons for England and Wales; and (c) a Chaplain General of HM Prison Service, which appeared in

    The Times of 15 February; and why public sector appointment advertisements are not evenly distributed between the major daily newspapers. [HL841]

    The costs of the job advertisements for Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of the National Probation Service for England and Wales and Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons for England and Wales was £16,936 for each post, in total a figure of £39,799 including VAT. The cost of the advertisement for the Chaplain General was £9,202 including VAT.In filling public sector appointments, we want to ensure that as best we can we attract the right person for the job. As with many jobs, particular and quite specialist skills may be sought of prospective applicants, and we will often consult with a professional recruitment service on where advertisements would best be placed. With this in mind, it would not be practical to limit ourselves to a regular media circle in which to insert advertisements.

    Tribunals: Publicly Funded Representatiion

    asked Her Majesty's Governrnent:Whether they have any plans to extend public funding for proceedings before the VAT and Duties Tribunal, the General and Special Commissioners of Income Tax and the Protection of Children Act Tribunal.[HL954]

    I have today issued for consultation a direction which extends publicly funded representation to some tribunals: certain proceedings before the VAT and Duties Tribunal, certain proceedings before the General and Special Commissioners of Income Tax and all proceedings before the Protection of Children Act Tribunal.The direction will authorise the Legal Services Commission to fund legal help and legal representation in these proceedings, subject to applications passing the statutory tests of an applicant's means and the merits of the case.The Commission will be able to fund representation in proceedings before the VAT and Duties Tribunal and the General and Special Commissioners of Income Tax in the minority of those proceedings which concern the imposition of penalties which may be considered criminal in ECHR terms. This will ensure that the Government's commitments under Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights are met in full.Although the Protection of Children Act Tribunal does not impose financial penalties, I consider that the overwhelming importance of the proceedings to the individuals involved means that legal representation should be provided at public expense to those who cannot afford it.The consultation period will last one month. I intend to bring in the new arrangements with effect from 2nd April 2001. Copies of the direction have been placed in the Library of the House.

    Devolution Guidance Notes

    asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether further and revised guidance has been offered to government departments on issues relating to devolution. [HL955]

    I have today placed in the Library of the House two further Devolution Guidance Notes which have recently been completed. DGN5—The Role of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Post-Devolution and DGN9—PostDevolution Primary Legislation Affecting Wales. These guidance notes will be made available on the Cabinet Office Internet site at

    National Missile Defence System

    asked Her Majesty's Government:What is their assessment of the arms control implications, including those for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty and the Non-Proliferation Treaty, of any micro-nuke interception element in a National Missile Defence System; and what they believe would be the impact of such an element on the defence and arms control policy of China. [HL826]

    The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office
    (Baroness Scotland of Asthal)

    We know of no proposals to use nuclear-armed interceptors as part of a National Missile Defence System.

    Subsidiarity And Repatriation Of Powers

    asked Her Majesty's Government:What competences have been returned to member states by the European Union since the principle of subsidiarity was introduced. [HL804]

    Subsidiarity is not about the repatriation of powers to Member States. Rather, it is about ensuring that where the Treaty already allows for action at both EU and member state level, the most appropriate level is chosen each time action is required.


    asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they will draw the attention of the Enlargement Commissioner of the European Union to the encouragement by Turkey of Mr Denktas not to engage in the sixth round of the Proximity Talks on Cyprus in late January in response to the invitation by the United Nations Secretary-General unless the "TRNC" is treated as having the same status as the Republic of Cyprus for the purpose of these discussions; and what is now their policy on the completion of the negotiations for the entry of Cyprus into the European Union in the light of this problem. [HL718]

    The European Commission takes a close interest in progress of the UN settlement process and refers to it in its reports on Cyprus.Government policy on Cyprus's entry into the European Union remains clear and unchanged: our objective is for Cyprus to enter the EU after a settlement, but we do not consider a settlement to be a pre-condition for accession. The Helsinki European Council endorsed this view and noted that the decision on Cyprus's accession would take account of all relevant factors.

    Overseas Estate: Sales And Purchases

    asked Her Majesty's Government:What assets of the overseas estate were either sold or purchased and for what prices in (a) 1998–99, (b) 1999–2000, and (c) so far in 2000–01; and what are their detailed plans for the next three years. [HL687]

    I attach details of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's estate sales and purchases for the financial years 1998–99 and 1999–2000.Over the next three financial years sales of property are planned in over 80 posts. To date, 20 posts have been earmarked for investment through purchase and/ or construction.It is our policy not to reveal commercially sensitive sales or purchase figures for individual properties. Neither are we able to reveal details of properties under consideration for asset recycling, in order to protect the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's interests in negotiations with third parties.

    FCO Estate Sales 1998–1999 and 1999–2000
    YearDescriptionsNet disposal proceeds (£s)
    1/4/1998 toHanslope Park surrounding land. UK 15A Chemin Rioeu. Geneva14,556,097
    31/3/1999UK 15A Chemin Rioeu. Geneva
    120 Golf Course Road, Port of Spain
    18 Ave. du Bouehet flat, Geneva
    66 Rue Mademoiselle flat, Paris
    15 Bennett Street, Ottawa
    120 Lansdowne Road, Ottawa
    110 Villa la Mancha, Pretoria
    50 Grand Montfleury flat, Geneva
    36 Gilfillan Street, Mbabane
    60 Boulevard dAnfa. Casablanca
    61 Scheveningsweg. The Hague
    Torre Prop, Sancho Calle. Bogota
    3 Norsveij, Copenhagen
    1 plus 4 Conway Court, Gaborone
    18 Place Bagatelle, Marseilles
    57B Roehagan, Oslo
    22/24 Whitehall, UK
    Calle Mercadillo 675, Quito
    20A Ave. du Bouehet flat. Geneva
    267 Route Nationale. Lille
    9 Norsveij, Copenhagen
    2 Glenageary Woods, Dublin
    Land and buildings at Gawcott, UK
    1/4/1999 toD1.5 Shazan Court. Kuala Lumpur Lojovagen 9, Stockholm29,779.385
    31/3/2000Lojovagen 9, Stockholm
    Lojovagen 57, Stockholm
    77 Friedrich Ebert Allee, Bonn
    2947 Courtland Road. Cleveland
    4 Allée de Grand Tulipier, Paris
    13 Schoch Street. Mbabane
    38 Yehuda Hanassi Street, Tel Aviv
    Anchusa Calle Tudela 4, Madrid
    Glencairn, Dublin
    Glencairn Stables, Dublin
    23 Chemin Desvallires, Paris
    8 Wendelstadstrasse, Bonn
    18A Ave. du Bouehet flat. Geneva
    18 Ave. du Bouehet flat, Geneva
    General Ludwig 4727, Santiago
    28 Winchester Ave., Sydney
    Rosedale 2 Garden Gap, Bridgetown
    35 Delaporte Pointe, Nassau

    FCO Estate Sales 1998 1999 ami 1999–2000



    Net disposal proceeds (£s)

    52 Protea Road, Johannesburg
    Calle 134 No. 11 76 Tower, Bogota
    Diego Almagro/Pedro Ponce, Quito
    House 3 Allot.91 Davetari, Port Moresby
    House 2 Allot.91 Davetari, Port Moresby
    Kerenyi Frigyes U 42, Budapest
    Land and Buildings at Poundon, UK
    Land and Buildings Creslow, UK
    1/4/2000Bonn: Fasenenstrasse 35
    Bonn: Residence Heisterbachstr
    Cairo: Zamalek House
    Cairo: Zamalek House
    Capetown: Pinewood Rd SAC013E
    Dar es Salaam: 6 Flats 8 Ocean Rd
    Geneva: Matutina
    Kuala Lumpur: Flat Shazan Court
    Lagos: 6 Glover Rd Hats
    Malaga: Old Consulate
    Nairobi: DS4 House
    Ottawa: 3 flats
    Paris: Rue le Sueur Garage
    Seville: CG Office
    Singapore: DHC house Ladyvale S1N005E
    London: Poundon Wireless Station Additional land

    Overseas Estate Purchases 1998–99 and 1999–2000



    Purchase costs

    Vienna: UKDEL Residence ASV244C
    1/4/98 to 31/3/99Guatemala: Office1,623,000
    Montevideo: Staff

    Overseas Estate Purchases 1998–99 and 1999–2000



    Purchase costs

    Seoul: Staff House
    1/4/99 to 31/3/2000Budapest: DHM House1,784,000
    Georgetown: Residence
    Gothenberg: Residence
    Ottawa: Staff
    Dublin: Residence (Deposit Only)

    Capital Purchase Programme FY2000–01

    Issued 15/02/2001

    All costs include provision for fees

    FY 2000–01


    Spend to 31/3/2000

    Spend to end Dec

    Contract signed

    No contract to date

    Alamty: 2 flats for Visa/Consular Office6060
    Antigua: Residence + fit out cost509445509
    Bucharest: Residence Pangratti 15(US$ 1.8 m) (£400k ingoings in Capital prog)1,2401,2121,240
    Dublin: Purchase New Residence (ingoing costs £2.9m in Works progs)6,6876375,6806,050
    Ottawa: Staff accom CAO171C777677
    Ottawa: Office access to car park105108105
    Port of Spain: DS9 house 16 Spanish Court137135137
    Santiago: SMS House La Fuente559559559
    Vilnius: Residence purchase (ingoings in Capital prog)340297340