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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): We do not yet know the final cost of the G8 Birmingham Summit because we have not received all the bills. But we estimate the cost of the arrangements made by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to be £6.9 million.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The Commonwealth Institute has been allocated a grant in aid of £600,000 for this financial year. Until the comprehensive spending review is completed, I am unable to say anything specific about future funding for the Commonwealth Institute or for any other FCO supported organisation. Our goal is to put the institute on a firm financial footing. Officials are discussing a range of options with the institute.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Subject to Parliamentary approval of the necessary revised estimate, the cash limit for Class II, Vote 1 (overseas representation) will be reduced by £2,261,000 from £590,265,000 to £588,004,000. This reduction takes account of transfers of responsibility to the newly established Department for International Development (Class III, Vote 1). It also reflects the movement of the Wilton Park executive agency from a net running cost regime to a gross running cost regime. This does not change the overall cash limit.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Northern Ireland Office (Lord Dubs): There is no entitlement to free school meals in the independent sector. The provision of a school meals service, including decisions as to whether certain pupils may be offered free meals, is a matter for the school authorities.
Lord Dubs: By law, the special educational provision to be made for pupils with statements of special educational need is determined by Education and Library Boards. I am not aware of any such decision having been made by a board in respect of a pupil at Oakwood Integrated School. Where a parent is dissatisfied with a board's decision, there may be a right of appeal to the Special Educational Needs Tribunal.
Lord Dubs: Leaks are damaging to good government and no effort will be spared to discover who leaked this information. The Northern Ireland Office has been in touch with the Royal Ulster Constabulary about identifying the source of this latest leak. In the meantime the systems for the distribution and handling of documents within the Northern Ireland Office are presently under review.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Companies or other organisations which offer loans to consumers for amounts up to £25,000 generally require a licence issued under the Consumer Credit Act 1974. The Director General of Fair Trading is responsible for administering the consumer credit licensing system and maintains a public register of licence holders.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Banks' decisions on lending are a matter for their own commercial judgment. The Banking Code sets out the factors that are taken into account by the banks when considering whether or not to lend. The age of the applicant and the applicant's ability to repay are two of these factors.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Although the Government occasionally receive complaints from UK businesses about delays in obtaining refunds of VAT incurred on business purchases generally in other member states, they are not aware of any particular difficulties which UK hauliers are experiencing in relation to purchases of road fuel.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Yes. The survey provides invaluable information about the state of England's archaeological heritage, and the threats it faces. English Heritage has responded very positively by publishing a number of measures which it is committed to implement. The Government's Planning Policy Guidance Note on archaeology and planning (PPG 16) sets out a framework for addressing the threat to archaeology caused by development, which the survey highlighted. PPG 16, and the possible need for additional legislative and financial measures, will be kept under review in the light of continuing discussions with English Heritage and other relevant government departments.
The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Clinton-Davis): The Post Office's stamp programme for 1999 has been designed to celebrate the millennium; no special anniversaries will be commemorated. The Post Office recognises the importance of the Berlin airlift anniversary and plans to issue a special commemorative label with associated philatelic products to honour the event.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): Recruitment constraints within the Home Office have led to a temporary shortage of Presenting Officers which is now being actively addressed; the Central London Presenting Officer's Unit last month moved into new premises following the Immigration Appellate Authority's own move to Taylor House. This unfortunately led to some administrative problems in the handling of files, which have now largely been overcome; the decision on whether a case will be heard on the day that it is listed is a matter for the adjudicator.
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