Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

Immigration Service: Race Relations Act 1976

Baroness Whitaker asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Filkin): We have today revoked the authorisation signed on 23 April 2001 by the then

11 Jun 2002 : Column WA28

Immigration Minister (Mrs Roche) which permits immigration officers to discriminate in the examination of passengers from certain specified ethnic or national groups. We have kept this authorisation under close review in the light of intelligence assessments from the Immigration Service. After a year's experience of operating the authorisations, the Immigration Service has found it sufficient to rely on the authorisation made on 27 March 2001 which permits it to prioritise certain passengers for additional examination on the basis of their nationality. We will keep under review the possible need for further authorisations permitting discrimination on grounds of ethnic or national origin where necessary in respect of specific targeted operations.

House Buying

Lord Mackie of Benshie asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have any plans to stop the practice of gazumping in relation to house buying in England.[HL4601]

The Minister of State, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (Lord Rooker): The Government believe the answer to problems such as gazumping lies in increasing transparency, certainty and speed in the home buying and selling process. That is why we are committed to making it easier for people buying and selling homes through the introduction of the seller's pack. The seller's pack will provide at the very start of the transaction process key information required to enable the transaction to proceed smoothly and quickly. This should reduce significantly the period between offer acceptance to exchange of contracts, thereby reducing the window of opportunity during which problems like gazumping can occur. The necessary legislation will be introduced as soon as parliamentary time allows.

Small Business Category

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the answer by Dawn Primarolo MP, Paymaster General on 22 April (HC Debs, col. 119), whether the inclusion of a company employing 350 people in the small business category is common to departments other than that of the Paymaster General; and what are the definitions of small business used by each department of state.[HL4613]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: There is no single definition of a small firm.

The Small Business Service website sets out some of the various definitions at

11 Jun 2002 : Column WA29

Illegal Distilling of Liquor

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Lord McIntosh of Haringey on 20 May (WA 76), what conclusions they draw from the fact that there have been only three convictions for illegal distilling of liquor in the past 10 years and none since 1996.[HL4485]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Customs is committed to tackling all aspects of spirits fraud, and deploys resources in this area on the basis of relative risks, by far the greatest of which currently relates to diversion fraud.

House of Lords Membership

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have received any representations from the Government of the Irish Republic to appoint any members of the current Irish Parliament to the House of Lords; and, if so, what was their response.[HL4389]

The Lord Chancellor (Lord Irvine of Lairg): Any recommendations for membership of your Lordships' House are strictly confidential.

Ballot Papers

Lord Greaves asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether records are kept of the numbers of pink (tendered) ballot papers at elections; and, if so, whether they intend to publish them for the local elections on 2 May.[HL4541]

The Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): This information is not collected.

Elections: Personation

Lord Greaves asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Lord Falconer of Thoroton on 22 May (WA 99) that the Government have ''no evidence to suggest that personation is a significant problem in England, Wales or Scotland,'' whether they have considered evidence from the local elections in Birmingham on 2 May and in particular the claims on the website relating to Washwood Heath and Small Heath Ward.[HL4542]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: I am aware that the police in Birmingham and elsewhere are conducting investigations in connection with the local elections on 2 May. Until those investigations are over and the outcome known it would not be appropriate for me to comment.

11 Jun 2002 : Column WA30

Lord Greaves asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will consider any proposals to require electors attending polling stations in England, Scotland and Wales to provide proof of their identity, in line with the requirements that are in force in Northern Ireland.[HL4543]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: There are no plans to extend the requirements for proof of identity when voting in Northern Ireland to the rest of the United Kingdom.

Territorial Army

Lord Redesdale asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many members of the Territorial Army have achieved their bounty in each of the last five training years; what were the Government's estimates for this five-year period; and what is their estimate for the current training year.[HL4547]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Bach): The number of Territorial members who have earned their bounty in each of the last five training years (TY) is as follows:

TY 1997–98TY 1998–99TY 1999–2000TY 2000–01TY 2001–02

(1) The drop reflects the reduction in strength of the TA following the SDR.

As no targets are set, the Government do not hold records that show the estimated figures for bounty earning. The bounty is used as a financial incentive to encourage members of the TA to achieve a minimum level of training.

Lord Redesdale asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many people are currently enlisted within the Territorial Army; and what are the occupational backgrounds of its members.[HL4548]

Lord Bach: As at 1 April 2002, the strength of the Territorial Army stood at 39,663 personnel, including those mobilised in support of operations. The occupational backgrounds of its members are too numerous to list but range from peers of the realm, through every grade of management and employee in the public and private sector, to the self-employed and unemployed.

Lord Redesdale asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are its target wastage and fit for role rates for members of the Territorial Army for the year 2002. [HL4549]

Lord Bach: For the year 2002, the expected rate for wastage is 25 per cent and target rate for fit for role is 60 per cent of the total TA strength. For the year 2001–02 the actual rates were 24 per cent wastage and 59.6 per cent fit for role.

11 Jun 2002 : Column WA31

Lord Redesdale asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many new recruits they estimated the Territorial Army would have for each of the past five years; how many new recruits there were for each of those years; how many they estimate for the year 2002; and how many there have been for the year 2002 so far. [HL4550]

Lord Bach: We do not hold records that show the estimated figures for new recruits into the Territorial Army for previous years; however, the estimate for 2002 is 7,750 for soldiers. A review of officer recruiting is currently being carried out which will review the estimate for potential officers. The number of new recruits for the last five calendar years and for this year so far is as follows:


(2) Reflects the impact of the Strategic Defence Review reductions.

(3) Figures as at 1 April 2002.

In addition, the spring recruiting campaign has just concluded and we should see the results of this campaign when the new figures come out later this year.

NHS Trusts: Level 3 EPRs

Baroness Noakes asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the target of 35 per cent of National Health Service trusts introducing level 3 electronic patient records by April 2002 will not be met; and whether they intend to take account to ensure that all NHS trusts introduce level 3 electronic patient records by the target date of 2005. [HL3566]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): A recent survey of progress towards level 3 EPRs presents a variable picture At present six trusts have complete hospital-wide EPR systems that meet the functionality described under level 3. However many more have some applications in place, for example results reporting and order communications. In addition, some trusts have implemented elements of EPR beyond level 3 with functionality around decision support and knowledge management of picture archiving and communications systems to support improved patient care.

That is why we are taking action by introducing a new national programme and implementation plan for IT in the NHS. This will significantly step up the pace of getting modern IT in place to support frontline patient care and also ensure that IT both drives change and gets the best from the extra resources the NHS is now getting.

11 Jun 2002 : Column WA32

The key points from the programme are: a new national IT programme director who will be responsible for the implementation of this programme; stringent national standards for data and IT in the NHS; an improved partnership with the IT industry and healthcare IT suppliers to increase the IT capacity for the NHS; a new procurement strategy to accelerate the impact of IT across the NHS; better central management which will include a ministerial task force chaired by Lord Hunt to ensure the advice and involvement of key healthcare professional and representative groups.

The intention has always been to have a first generation of electronic records in use across the NHS from 2005. This will be the starting point from which the NHS can begin to apply electronic records as a clinical tool in diagnosis, treatment, interventions and healthcare. By 2008, as indicated in Delivering the NHS Plan, we will expect to see all the advanced applications and functionality of electronic patient records in all PCTs and trusts.

Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page