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Sir Teddy Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reason was given by the Syrian Government to justify their refusal to provide documents requested by the Government during the Lockerbie trial; and if he will make a statement. [144770]

Mr. Battle: The Syrian authorities, in their reply to the letter of request sent by the Scottish Court in the Netherlands, stressed that, in their opinion, they should not have been asked the question in the first place and would therefore prefer not to have to send a formal reply.

The Lord Advocate, therefore, informed the court on 8 January that it was unlikely that the court would get a formal response, certainly not within any short time scale, and that any formal response would undoubtedly be negative.


HMS Invincible

Mr. Quentin Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what manpower reductions are necessary to the crew of HMS Invincible during 2001 so that HMS Ark Royal can be brought up to a full complement. [144404]

Mr. Spellar: The crew of HMS Invincible will be reduced to reflect the ship's programme of a phased reduction in readiness leading to her refit commencing in late 2001. Overall, the current crew level of around 640 (excluding the embarked Air Group) will reduce to about 120 in refit. Some of the manpower released will be transferred to HMS Ark Royal as part of the Navy's overall manpower management plan.

Air Fleets

Mr. Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the fleet size is of (a) Tornado GR1, (b) Tornado GR4, (c) Tornado F3, (d) Harrier, (e) Jaguar, (f) Nimrod, (g) Sentry, (h) Tristar, (i) Puma, (j) Sea King,

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(k) Chinook and (l) Merlin; how many were (i) allocated to front-line units, (ii) fully serviceable, (iii) unserviceable 1 line, (iv) unserviceable 2 line, (v) unserviceable 3/4 line, (vi) on trials, (vii) held in reserve use and (viii) undergoing upgrade on 12 December; what percentage of the fleet size this represents for each category; and if he will make a statement. [143191]

Mr. Spellar [holding answer 10 January 2001]: I will write to the right hon. and learned Member and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

Her Majesty's Golden Jubilee

Mr. Rapson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he was consulted on the programme to celebrate Her Majesty's Golden Jubilee; and for what reason a Fleet Review will not take place. [144838]

Dr. Moonie: I have been kept fully informed about the development of plans for the armed forces to celebrate Her Majesty's Golden Jubilee.

It has been agreed with Buckingham Palace that in view of the demands of a very full royal programme during Golden Jubilee year, the Queen will make a single visit to the armed forces which will reflect their role in the 21st century, emphasising the importance of the Joint Service co-operation that exists between the three Services. In view of this, it was decided that single Service events, including a Fleet Review for the Royal Navy, would not be appropriate. Contrary to reports in the press, the decision had nothing to do with budgetary constraints.


Judges' Lodgings

Mr. Baker: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, pursuant to the answer of 13 December 2000, Official Report, column 167W, regarding lodgings for judges, for how many days cars were hired for the Lewes lodging during (a) 1997-98, (b) 1998-99 and (c) 1999-2000. [144707]

Jane Kennedy: Cars were hired for the Lewes lodgings as follows:



Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what regulations govern the wearing of personal identification, full uniform and regalia of the RUC; and what are the disciplinary procedures in the event of non-compliance. [142276]

Mr. Ingram: Guidance on both aspects is contained within the Royal Ulster Constabulary (Conduct) Regulations 2000 (SR 2000/315).

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Police Oversight Commissioner

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the annual budget is for the Police Oversight Commissioner; if he will break down the costs into the main budget heads; and what representations he has received regarding the moneys allocated for this purpose. [142319]

Mr. Ingram: The Government have been in discussion with Mr. Constantine, the Oversight Commissioner, regarding the resources he requires. Mr. Constantine identified costs for the work of the Commission, and I have set aside £739,000 for this financial year and £737,000 for the 2001-02 financial year. The figures are broken down as follows:

Year one--June 2000-March 2001
Establishment Costs149
General Office Expenditure48
Commissioner's Costs91
Staff and Associated Costs451
Year one total739
Year two--2001-02
General Office Expenditure61
Commissioner's Costs91
Staff and Associated Costs585
Year two total737

Costs for the 2002-03 financial year have yet to be finalised.

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Benefit Payments

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what the percentage of benefit payments were found to be accurate in each benefits area directorate for (i) 1979-80, (ii) 1996-97 and (iii) the most recent period for which figures are available. [143104]

Angela Eagle: The administration of benefits is a matter for Alexis Cleveland, the Chief Executive of the Benefits Agency. She will write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Alexis Cleveland to Mr. Paul Burstow, dated 10 January 2001:

Table 1: Percentage of benefit payments found to be accurate

National figures
Retirement pension93.2095.29
Incapacity benefit91.5794.63
Income Support80.8086.79
Jobseekers Allowance87.1089.38

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Table 2: Percentage benefit accuracy across benefits agency area directorates

Income Support (IS) Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) Short Term Benefits (STB) Long Term Benefits (LTB)
Area Directorate (AD)1996-971999-20001996-971999-20001996-971999-20001996-971999-2000
1. East London and Anglia76.0784.32--86.5287.5792.6694.7992.22
2. Chilterns76.2282.20--86.13--94.7391.6385.58
3. London, South77.2585.79--86.7287.7994.1889.1794.71
4. West Country80.0886.26--91.6390.9194.8694.1594.38
5. Mercia81.5787.66--80.23--94.9598.4496.30
6. West Midlands86.1784.95--91.4490.8495.1492.5092.78
7. Wales85.1488.21--90.8991.1894.9392.7694.83
8. North West Coast80.6987.99--89.5290.9194.1093.3697.88
9. Greater Manchester81.6986.67--90.5190.6795.6394.3096.13
10. Yorkshire81.4987.08--88.0290.3593.8493.3095.95
11. Tyne Tees84.2390.50--88.8593.3796.4994.4396.32
12. West of Scotland83.9790.28--92.1693.3695.1092.4692.09
13. East of Scotland84.8292.88--93.2192.8494.7092.2193.60


1. Short Term Benefits (STB) incorporates results for Incapacity Benefit, Severe Disablement allowance and Maternity Allowance. STB results in 1996-97 were based on a re-performance of local checks. Where there are no entries in the columns this designates that a check by the Quality support teams was not undertaken in that Area Directorate in that year.

2. Long Term Benefits (LTB) consists of Retirement Pension and Widows Benefit.

3. Jobseekers Allowance was introduced in October 1996 and Quality Support checks were undertaken to provide a national result.

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