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18 Oct 2000 : Column WA87

Written Answers

Wednesday, 18th October 2000.


Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the current involvement of the World Bank with Turkey; and how, in the light of its 1991 report The Challenge of Development and its 1997 framework for post-conflict reconstruction, it is approaching the following issues in Turkey: (a) demobilisation of conventional forces; (b) police training; (c) the needs of internally displaced people; (d) poverty reduction; and (e) the control of inflation.[HL3809]

Baroness Amos: We understand from the World Bank that its support to Turkey is focused on key structural and social reforms, in line with the bank's overall mission to reduce poverty and improve living standards. In conjunction with the IMF, the bank is supporting the Government of Turkey in implementing a three-year disinflation which aims to bring inflation below 10 per cent by the end of 2002 and restore economic growth. The World Bank is not involved in the demobilisation of conventional forces or in police training. It is not directly involved in meeting the needs of internally displaced people in Turkey. The bank provided substantial support to help Turkey deal with the aftermath of the Marmara earthquake. DfID does not have a bilateral programme in Turkey.


Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What action they are taking to encourage appropriate international agencies to increase their support for refugees and displaced people in and from the Chechen Republic before the advent of winter; and what financial resources they will make available to support this work.[HL3999]

Baroness Amos: DfID has so far disbursed £2.4 million of humanitarian assistance through the United Nations Agencies and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to help displaced people in the North Caucasus. We have recently committed a further £0.5 million to the ICRC for the coming winter, and expect to make further contributions to the UN Consolidated Appeal, which runs until 31 December 2000. I will be pleased to write to my noble friend with details of this contribution when it is finalised. This direct assistance is in addition to the UK's 16 per cent share of the activities of the European Commission Humanitarian Office.

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Child Poverty

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will publish a breakdown of how they arrived at their estimate that "based on a threshold of 60 per cent of median income, after housing costs, there will be a total of 1.2 million children in households lifted out of poverty as a result of measures announced this Parliament" (H.C. Deb., 8 June, col. 383W); and [HL4030]

    What changes in levels of employment have been assumed in the calculation that 1.2 million children will be lifted out of poverty; and[HL4031]

    What changes in levels of earnings have been assumed in the calculation that 1.2 million children will be lifted out of poverty; and[HL4032]

    What effect on child poverty has been attributed to each of their measures individually; and[HL4033]

    What part of the expected reduction of child poverty is attributed to parents entering work as a result of government measures; and how much effect is attributed to which measures; and[HL4034]

    In calculating reduction in child poverty through the effects of parents entering work, what allowance they have made for the effects of substitution.[HL4035]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The 1.2 million children lifted out of poverty is an estimate, using the Treasury's tax benefit simulation model, of the impact of the measures announced during this Parliament. It is not a forecast of the change in the number of children living in low income families over the Parliament.

The estimate encompasses the income effect of the measures, with one exception. A small adjustment has been made to allow for increases in employment amongst lone parents, which have already been seen since 1997. Other than this, for the purposes of this estimate, no account has been taken of the possible impact of the tax and benefit measures on earnings or employment.

The impact of each of the key measures on families' incomes is shown in Box 5.1 on page 86 of the March 2000 Economic and Fiscal Strategy Report. This shows that changes in the working families' tax credit and income-related benefits have the biggest impact in the lower deciles of the income distribution.

While it is not possible to break down the impact of the individual measures on child poverty, it is possible to provide some detail on the types of household affected. The estimates suggest that of the 1.2 million children lifted out of poverty, around one-third are in lone parent families and about two-thirds in families with someone in employment.

Ministry of Defence: University Careers Fairs

Lord Rogan asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Which universities in the United Kingdom refuse access to their facilities for Ministry of Defence-related activities.[HL3901]

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The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): Information on the broad range of Ministry of Defence-related activities is not held centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate cost. However, we are not aware of access being denied to personnel of the three Services' recruiting organisations who take part, with other would-be employers of high calibre staff, in careers fairs organised by the universities.

Chinook Helicopter Accident

Lord Jacobs asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they believe that the pilots in the Chinook crash in June 1994 were aware (a) that they were headed directly for the Mull at a height of about 400 feet and (b) that they needed to climb to a height of 2,400 feet if they were to overfly the Mull safely.[HL4052]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: At 0.95 nautical miles, or about 20 seconds before impact, the crew released the on-board navigational computer from its fix on the Mull of Kintyre. At that point the pilots knew how close to the Mull they were. At 15 to 18 seconds before impact, the aircraft's height was only 468 feet as recorded on the tactical air navigation system. The pilots would have seen the same information on their radar altimeter, but even so at that point the aircraft was still climbing only gently.

Evidence from the pilots' pre-flight planning shows they were fully aware of the safety altitude required for each leg of the route under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR). If the pilots' intention was to overfly the Mull through cloud, under IFR, they should have established flight at least 1,000 ft above the height of the Mull. This is why the Board of Inquiry concluded that the selection of an inappropriate rate of climb to overfly the Mull safely was the most probable cause of the accident.

Services Cotswold Centre

Baroness Park of Monmouth asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean on 21 March (WA 19) on the future of the Services Cotswold Centre, what is the present position; and, if the centre has been closed: (a) what alternative arrangements have been made; and (b) what savings were made as a result of the closure.[HL4056]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Her Majesty's Government reaffirm their high regard for the work of the Services Cotswold Centre on behalf of Army families. However, the centre remains under-utilised and is now the subject of an investment appraisal which will examine whether a solution exists which offers better value for money. This exercise should be complete by early December and will form the basis of a decision on the future of the centre by Her Majesty's Government. For the time being, the centre remains open and continues to provide temporary accommodation for Service families. I will write further to the noble Baroness once the position is clear, and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

Military Wrecks

Lord Onslow of Woking asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many of the 371 charted wrecks of HM ships in United Kingdom coastal waters are known or believed to contain human remains; and what steps are taken to protect such wrecks.[HL4102]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Officials are seeking to establish this information and a review of policy on wrecked military vessels is also being undertaken. I will write to the noble Lord when this work is complete, and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

Lord Onslow of Woking asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many wrecks of merchant ships co-opted into military service have been charted in United Kingdom waters; and how many of these are known or believed to contain human remains.[HL4103]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The information requested by the noble Lord is not held centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Civil Emergency Deployment of Armed Forces

Lord Mason of Barnsley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What criteria are used to call out the Armed Forces to protect property and persons and the security of the State; and whether the same criteria have been used in every instance since 1945.[HL3993]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bassam of Brighton): The Armed Forces carry out a wide range of activities in support of the community and the civil authorities, and provide help at times of civil emergency. In relation to the purposes described in the Question, they would be deployed in support of the civil authorities only where their aid was considered by the Government to be essential for the achievement of those purposes. Information on whether different criteria have been in operation at any time since 1945 is not readily available.

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