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The Lord Chancellor (Lord Irvine of Lairg): Since the Government have not yet been persuaded of the case for creating a new supreme court, no estimate of the potential cost of providing a building, whether the building was newly built, or a refurbished or existing property, or a leased property, to accommodate such an institution has been made.
An estimate of the potential cost of a new building for the Appellate Committee would require a detailed investigation of the requirements, but it is clear that a new building, of high architectural merit, in the heart of London, would be very costly. The Government's priority has to be the modernisation of the criminal, civil and family courts to improve the delivery of court services across the country as a whole.
The Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): On 10 April 2002 the Government published a consultation document Making Decisions: Helping People who have Difficulty Deciding for Themselves. This seeks views on a series of leaflets which provide help and guidance for adults who due to mental incapacity need support to make decisions and also for those involved in caring for them. The leaflets give information on a range of topics involving decision-making. These include an explanation of the current legal position with regard to the making of advance directives which can be used to
As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your question concerning whether Her Majesty's Government agree with the statement made by Ms Anna Diamantopoulou Commissioner for Social Affairs of the European Union, that "Europe needs a higher birth rate if it is to avoid economic and social problems"; and if so, whether this is consistent with their current policy on measures likely to reduce the birth rate. [HL4743]
The UK policy on population was presented to the UN Conference on Population in Mexico in 1984 and Population and Development in Cairo in 1994. The following statement was presented and remains the official UK policy.
'The United Kingdom government does not pursue a population policy in the sense of actively trying to influence the overall size of the population, its age-structure, or the components of change except in the field of immigration. Nor has it expressed a view about the size of population, or the age-structure, that would be desirable for the United Kingdom. Its primary concern is for the well-being of the population, although it continually monitors demographic trends and developments. The current level of births has not been the cause of general anxiety. The prevailing view is that decisions about fertility and childbearing are for people themselves to make, but that it is proper for government to provide individuals with the information and the means necessary to make their decisions effective. To this end, the government provides assistance with family planning as part of the National Health Service. The 'ageing' of the population does raise social and economic issues. However, it is believed that these will prove manageable; and also, to a degree, that society will adapt'.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Government are satisfied that Clause 88 in the Finance Bill is not incompatible with the Human Right Convention or EU law generally. The Government do not believe the reserve powers provided by the clause breach any of the articles of the Human Rights Convention or any aspect of EU law.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Adoption of the tax package by ECOFIN is dependent on sufficient reassurances being obtained from the United States of America, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Andorra and San Marino that they will adopt equivalent measures to those which member states propose on the taxation of savings.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Government support the principle agreed by the Helsinki European Council on 10 to 11 December 1999 that all citizens resident in a member state of the European Union should pay tax due to all their savings income. Tax evasion puts an unfair burden on honest taxpayers. And the development and liberalisation of financial markets cannot deliver all their benefits if savers' decisions are affected by the possibility of evading tax, instead of being taken in the light of a comparison
It was against this background that discussions took place with interests in the City of London. The discussions showed clear support for the Government's initiative in proposing automatic exchange of information on savings income to combat tax evasion.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Clause 88 concerns the UK tax liability of UK residents companies. It gives the UK the reserve power to introduce regulations in the UK to protect the UK tax base. The Government hope that it will not be necessary to exercise the reserve power. If in the future the Government felt that it was necessary to exercise the power, they would explain the reasons for reaching that decision, and the regulations would be subject to parliamentary approval under the affirmative resolution procedure. The clause does not affect the constitutional arrangements with the Channel Islands.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: I have made a statement under Section 19(1)(a) of the Human Rights Act 1998 that, in my view, the provisions of the Consolidated Fund (Appropriation) (No. 2) Bill are compatible with the convention rights. A copy of the statement has been placed in the Library of the House.
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