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29 Oct 2008 : Column 1090W—continued

Interception Modernisation Programme

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate she has made of the cost of the interception modernisation programme. [228993]

Jacqui Smith: The objective of the Interception Modernisation Programme (IMP) is to maintain the UK’s lawful intercept and communications data capabilities in the changing communications environment. It is a cross-government programme, led by the Home Office, to ensure that our capability to lawfully intercept and exploit data when fighting crime and terrorism is not lost. It was established in response to the Prime Minister’s National Security remit in 2006.

Given the commercial and national security sensitivities, the precise costs of the programme cannot be disclosed. Further detail on budgetary estimates for the IMP will however become available once the public consultation process, which I announced on 15 October, commences in the new year.

Members: Correspondence

Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when she will answer the letter of 15 July 2008 from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton, with regard to Mr N. Ali. [224117]

Jacqui Smith [holding answer 12 September 2008]: I wrote to my right hon. Friend on 22 September 2008.

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Offensive Weapons: Schizophrenia

Mr. Hands: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people suffering from paranoid schizophrenia have been convicted of knife crimes in each of the last five years. [228953]

Mr. Alan Campbell: The data held centrally by the Ministry of Justice on court proceedings does not contain information about the circumstances behind each case, beyond the description provided in the statute under which prosecutions are brought. For example, it is not possible to separately identify those offenders convicted of knife crimes who were suffering from paranoid schizophrenia. As a result the information requested on court proceedings is not available.

Passports: Lost Property

Paul Holmes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many passports were lost by the Identity and Passport Service in transit to the passport holder in each year since 1997. [229308]

Meg Hillier: Losses of passports while in the delivery process to customers since 2001 are as follows:
















There are no figures available prior to 2001.

Prior to February 2004, Royal Mail first-class post was used for the delivery of passports. Since then, the Identity and Passport Service have used a secure courier service provided by Secure Mail Services for the dispatch of new passports and valid British passports submitted in support of passport applications. The introduction of Secure Delivery has seen losses reduce by over 80 per cent. Couriers are now equipped with hand-held GPS devices to improve on accuracy of delivery and losses are expected to reduce further.

All lost passports are entered on to our database of lost and stolen passports which is available to the UK Border Agency and Interpol.

Passports: Postal Services

Dr. Alasdair McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which of Royal Mail’s delivery options is used by her Department for the return of passports and visas to applicants; whether the option requires a signature on delivery; and how much compensation the option provides for lost items. [228974]

Meg Hillier: The Identity and Passport Service (IPS) do not use the Royal Mail for the delivery of British passports. New passports are returned to customers via a secure courier service, provided by Secure Mail Services. Mandatory customer signatures are required for around
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four per cent., of deliveries in areas of high risk. In all other cases, couriers are asked to obtain a signature where a customer is available. Currently this happens for around 45 per cent., of deliveries in non high risk areas.

Customer’s supporting documents are returned by Royal Mail second class post unless a valid British passport is to be returned, when Secure Delivery is used. IPS strongly recommends that customers choose Secure Delivery for the return of their documents at a cost of £3.00, and advises customers that IPS will not be liable for the loss of any documents despatched by second class post.

IPS will compensate customers to the cost of obtaining replacement documents where a loss is suffered through the use of Secure Delivery.

The UK Border Agency does not send visas to addresses in the UK and do not keep records of any documents that have been lost in the post overseas. Such information could be obtained only by examining individual visa applications and therefore at disproportionate cost.

Public Order Offences: Religion

Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prosecutions have been brought against persons or organisations engaging in religious proselytising on the grounds of threats to public order in each year since 1997. [230099]

Mr. Alan Campbell: The Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006 amended the Public Order Act 1986 to introduce the offence of incitement to religious hatred, to go alongside the existing incitement to racial hatred offence. It was implemented in October 2007 and there have been no prosecutions.


Bank Services

Hugh Robertson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) whether his Department has taken steps to protect commercial depositors in Kaupthing, Singer and Friedlander Limited; [227630]

(2) what steps the Government has taken following the collapse of Kaupthing, Singer and Friedlander Limited. [227631]

Ian Pearson [holding answer 16 October 2008] : I refer the hon. Member to the statement made by the Chancellor of 8 October 2008, Official Report, columns 279-80, and to the three press statements (101/08,102/08 and 103/08) published by the Treasury on 7 and 8 October. These are available on the Treasury website.

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will take steps to protect the money deposited by Naomi House with Kaupthing, Singer and Friedlander. [227882]

Ian Pearson [holding answer 17 October 2008]: The Government have put in place arrangements to ensure that all FSCS-eligible depositors in the Icelandic banks of Landsbanki, Heritable and Kaupthing, Singer and
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Friedlander will receive their money in full. If a charity is eligible to claim compensation from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, it will be entitled to benefit from these arrangements.

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what protection the Government is giving to depositors with savings in multiple deposit-taking institutions under a single Financial Services Authority registration. [231017]

Ian Pearson: The Financial Services Authority (FSA) is responsible for making the rules of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) and is considering whether the compensation scheme should continue to offer compensation on a per authorised entity basis or should move to a per brand or per account basis. If appropriate, the FSA will consult on specific proposals in due course.

Banks: Finance

Mr. Heald: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what assessment he has made of the standards of auditing of banks following the recent banking difficulties; [228649]

(2) what discussions the Chancellor has had with the accountancy profession about audit standards and quality in respect of the auditing of banks in the last three years; and what discussions he intends to have in the next 12 months. [228679]

Ian Pearson: The Department is responsible for the legal and policy framework for the regulation of auditing. The body responsible for regulation of auditing and the audit profession is the Financial Reporting Council. Through its subsidiary bodies, it sets UK audit standards, provides guidance on their application, reviews compliance and undertakes oversight and independent discipline of the auditing profession. As part of its responsibilities, the FRC independently monitors the quality of auditing for major public interest entities and, during the recent financial market turmoil, has been paying particular attention to the audits of financial institutions to ensure that the relevant standards are properly applied. The FRC reports publicly on its audit monitoring.

Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what regulations he has introduced to govern bank liquidity over the last five years. [230469]

Ian Pearson: This is a matter for the Financial Services Authority (FSA), which set a unified framework of systems and controls under which banks manage liquidity risks in 2004. The FSA is proposing to consult on a new liquidity risk management framework and new reporting requirements before the end of this year.

Banks: Pay

Adam Price: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will direct the Financial Services Authority to issue formal guidance or a code of conduct for the banking sector in respect of remuneration policy. [228802]

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Ian Pearson: On 13 October the Chief Executive of the Financial Services Authority wrote to the Chief Executives of the major banks and building societies, setting out the criteria for remuneration policies and practices which are properly aligned to sound risk management and controls.

Credit Unions

John Battle: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the Government is guaranteeing accounts held in credit unions; and if he will make a statement. [228283]

Ian Pearson: The Chancellor of the Exchequer has made it clear that he will do whatever it takes to protect depositors and to maintain financial stability.

Departmental Public Expenditure

David Simpson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much was spent on (a) new furnishings, (b) art and (c) new vehicles by his Department in each of the last three years. [213519]

Angela Eagle: The Treasury did not purchase any motor vehicles between 2005-06 and 2007-08. Details of the Department’s spending on furniture and equipment and antiques is shown in the note 11.1 in the relevant resource account for each year. Copies of the Treasury’s resource accounts are available on the Treasury’s website

HC 1344 covers 2005-06, HC 518 2006-07 and HC 539 2007-08.

Departmental Public Participation

Mrs. May: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many citizens’ juries his Department has held since 1 July 2007; what the cost was of each; what issues were discussed at each event; and how many (a) Ministers and (b) members of the public attended each event. [227478]

Angela Eagle: I understand that the Treasury has not held any citizens’ juries during the period concerned.

Departmental Training

Mr. Hands: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what personal training courses at public expense he has undertaken since his appointment. [230963]

Ian Pearson: None.


James Duddridge: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer to the right hon. Member for Horsham of 19 June 2008, Official Report, column 1187W, on Dorneywood: official hospitality, what use his Department has made of Dorneywood for official engagements in the last 12 months. [222034]

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Angela Eagle: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him the Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office, my hon. Friend the Member for West Bromwich, East (Mr. Watson) on 20 October 2008, Official Report, column 91W.

Financial Services: Regulation

Ann Winterton: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether financial services regulation is an exclusive competence of the European Union. [230845]

Ian Pearson: The regulation of financial services is an exclusive EU competence where the EU has adopted directives and regulations in the field and where there is general EU law that applies to financial firms, for example, the state aid rules. Member states can only legislate in the field covered by a directive (unless explicitly allowed to do so by the directive) in order to implement EU law, to provide further necessary detail or to ensure its proper enforcement, for example by adding sanctions for non-compliance.

Where permissible under a directive, a member state may go further than EU law. but only if it does not contradict EU law.

Some issues concerning regulation of financial services are not covered by EU competence, for example regulation of mortgage lending.

Government Securities

Mr. Hands: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the value was of (a) index linked and (b) conventional gilts auctioned by the Debt Management Office in each of the last 12 months. [230782]

Ian Pearson: The information requested is available in the monthly issuance report, which can be accessed on the DMO website at:

Personal Income

Mr. Meacher: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people earned over (a) £100,000 and (b) £250,000 respectively a year on the latest date for which figures are available; what percentage of the workforce each represents; and what estimate he has made of the additional revenue which would accrue to the Exchequer if (i) those earning £100,000 or more were taxed at (A) 50 per cent. and (B) 60 per cent. and (ii) if those earning £250,000 or more were taxed at (C) 60 per cent. and (D) 70 per cent. [229986]

Mr. Timms: The estimated numbers of UK taxpayers in 2008-09 with incomes in excess of the thresholds requested, and the proportion of taxpayers these represent, are in the table.


£100,000 £250,000

Number of taxpayers with income above the threshold



Percentage of taxpayers



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