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2 Feb 2006 : Column 697W—continued

Private Pensions

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps he is taking to alleviate the financial difficulties of pensioners in Northern Ireland who have private pensions on which they pay a significant proportion of tax. [47591]

Mr. Hanson: Almost half of United Kingdom pensioners pay no income tax. For those who do, the age-related personal allowances in 2006–07 for people aged between 65 and 74 will rise from £7,090 to £7,280, and for people aged 75 and over from £7,220 to £7,420. This means that no person aged 65 or over will pay tax on an income of less than £140 per week.

This Government has introduced a number of measures since 1997 to help pensioners enjoy a better standard of living, including higher state pensions, pension credit, winter fuel payments and age-related payments. In addition to helping the poorest pensioners, pension credit specifically targets extra money on those with modest savings or income, for example, from a private pension. As a result of these measures across the United Kingdom over £10 billion more will be spent on pensioners in 2006–07 than in 1997.

Search Warrants

Dr. McCrea: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many search warrants have been granted in each parliamentary constituency in Northern Ireland in the last 12 months. [48280]

Mr. Woodward: The Police Service of Northern Ireland do not hold this information on a central record. To obtain such details would require a manual trawl of records across all district command units and as such could only be provided at disproportionate cost.
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Troubles (Injuries/Deaths)

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many (a) police and military and (b) civilian (i) deaths, (ii) serious injuries related to the troubles have occurred in each (A) ward and (B) constituency in Northern Ireland since 1976, listed in descending order. [47997]

Mr. Woodward: PSNI has advised that it continues to research this material, which must be cross-referenced with Historical Inquiry Team records before final submission.

The statistics collated by the PSNI relate to deaths only and, as presented, do not currently differentiate between security forces and civilians. Moreover, they are presented as a Northern Ireland wide total and do not breakdown by District Command Unit (DCU) area. To have to break down by serious injury etc. now would require a manual trawl of records at disproportionate cost.

Valuation and Lands Agency

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to his answer of 2 December 2005, Official Report, column 838W, on the Valuation and Lands Agency, if he will place in the Library a copy of the updated Health and Safety in the Field Policy document to staff. [48038]

Angela E. Smith: Operation of the Health and Safety in the Field Policy has resulted in a number of amendments. These are being incorporated into a revised document, which will be available in March 2006. On issue a copy of this will be placed in the Library.

Waste Management Grant

Dr. McCrea: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what changes there have been to the level of waste management grant to district councils in Northern Ireland since January 2005; and whether grants are ring-fenced for capital expenditure. [48285]

Angela E. Smith: The waste management grant to district councils for 2004–05 was £10 million, with a further £10 million anticipated for closing the scheme in 2005–06.

Since January 2005, the overall level of the next, and final phase of support, has been reduced to £9 million. This grant will now be made available over two years in two tranches; £7 million in 2006–07 and £2 million in 2007–08, and restricted to capital projects only. The scheme will close in March 2008.


Crown Prosecution Service

Mr. Amess: To ask the Solicitor-General what advice his Department issues for members of the public wishing to make a complaint against the Crown Prosecution Service; and if he will make a statement. [48110]

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The Solicitor-General: The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) operates its own complaints procedure. This is outlined in the CPS complaints leaflet; copies of which are available in the House of Commons Library and on the CPS website (

If a member of the public contacts the Attorney General's Office to make a complaint about the CPS, they are directed to the CPS so that their complaint can be dealt with via the CPS's complaints procedure.

Where a complainant has exhausted the CPS's complaints procedure, they can have the handling of their complaint examined by the Correspondence Unit within the Attorney General's Office. The Unit does not undertake another review of the merit of the complaint itself, but will examine whether the CPS has handled the complaint in accordance with their established procedure.
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Mr. Amess: To ask the Solicitor-General (1) what assessment he has made of the complaints procedures for the Crown Prosecution Service; [48115]

(2) whether he plans to review the complaints procedures for the Crown Prosecution Service; and if he will make a statement. [48119]

The Solicitor-General: The Crown Prosecution Service manages its complaints procedure and reviews it at regular intervals. Officials indicate that the arrangements work satisfactorily.

Departmental Staff

Bob Spink: To ask the Solicitor-General how many disciplinary actions against civil servants employed in the Law Officers Departments (a) were commenced and (b) resulted in a sanction being applied in each of the last five years. [43503]

The Solicitor-General: The figures in relation to my Departments are shown in the following table.
Disciplinary action commenced
Treasury Solicitor's Department11562111461(16)
Crown Prosecution Service7231924273515917
Serious Fraud Office(17)(17)1073(17)(17)832
HM Crown Prosecution Service
Revenue and Customs Prosecutions
Office (RCPO)(19)

(16) Proceedings not completed.
(17) No systematic records were kept prior to 2003.
(18) Ongoing.
(19) Since its creation, on 18 April 2004, the RCPO has not commenced any disciplinary action against civil servants employed or taken action that has resulted in a sanction being applied.



Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether assets and units of 16 Air Assault Brigade will be made available for taking part in the US Operation Enduring Freedom. [46977]

John Reid [holding answer 31 January 2006]: United Kingdom forces deploying to Southern Afghanistan—including elements of 16 Air Assault Brigade—will carry out tasks identified by NATO to help build the capacity of the Afghan Government, maintain security, and help the Afghanis rebuild their economy and society; they will initially come under Coalition command until Transfer of Authority for Stage III of ISAF expansion to NATO. UK forces will continue to operate under UK targeting directives and UK Rules of Engagement. Throughout, the UK force will operate in pursuit of the ISAF objectives.

Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence under which North Atlantic Council Resolution United Kingdom forces have been deployed to Afghanistan since 2003. [47996]

John Reid: The international security assistance force (ISAF) operates under the authority of United Nations' Security Council resolutions (UNSCRs). The North Atlantic Council does not pass resolutions but its decisions have defined the support given by NATO to the ISAF. The first of these was taken on 17 October 2002. On 16 April 2003 the council agreed NATO should take command of the ISAF later that year, and on 1 December 2003, confirmed NATO should proceed with the progressive expansion of the ISAF.

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