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Gosford Castle: Disposal

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) remains the castle's current legal owner. The terms and conditions under which Gosford Castle is to be disposed of by DARD will be subject to negotiation of a legal agreement with the successful bidder—the Boyd Partnership and Lagan Developments Limited—for the restoration and development of the castle. The successful bidder had to satisfy conditions with regard to financial ability to purchase and carry out restoration work and that the proposed development had to be sympathetic to the existing uses of the forest park.

DARD granted the latter a short-term licence up to 11 January 2003 for the purpose of carrying out a survey of the building and to effect minor but essential repairs. The survey work will identify a schedule of repair work for agreement with DARD and for inclusion in the agreement for disposal.

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Williams of Mostyn: It is intended that some land surrounding the castle will be included in the disposal and the question of new building works outside the castle is a matter for the developer.

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However, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development would not object to such in principle, subject to normal planning and building controls.

London Congestion Charge: Payment Arrangements in Palace of Westminster

Lord Stoddart of Swindon asked the Chairman of Committees:

    What arrangements there will be for payment of the London congestion charge to be made within the precincts of the Palace of Westminster.[HL1198]

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): Transport for London has now agreed to supply a self-service machine for payment of the congestion charge within the Palace of Westminster. The machine will be installed near the House of Commons' cash machines, and is likely to be available from the end of March. Congestion charging will start on 17 February, and in the interim the nearest self-service machine will be at the entrance to the Abingdon Green car park. Other methods of payment include:

    online at;

    by telephone on 0845 900 1234;

    by mobile phone text message, having registered online or by telephone;

    at a range of petrol stations and retail outlets.

Conduct of Departmental Business

Baroness Blatch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What guidelines apply to interventions in administrative procedures within Whitehall by ministerial offices, special advisers and press officers.[HL1299]

The Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston): All departmental business is conducted in accordance with the requirements of the Ministerial Code, the Civil Service Code, the Code of Conduct for Special Advisers, Guidance on the Work of the Government Information Service and the GICS Handbook, copies of which are in the Library of the House.

Police Authority Grants

Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they intend to publish the allocations of grant for police authorities in England and Wales.[HL1456]

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Falconer of Thoroton): We have today placed in the Library a copy of the Police Grant Report (England and Wales) 2003–04 (HC 270). The report sets out our

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determination for 2003–04 of the aggregate amount of grants that we propose to pay under section 46(2) of the Police Act 1996 and the amount to be paid to each police authority and to the Greater London Authority for the Metropolitan Police Authority.

Allocations for each police authority for financial years 2002–03 and 2003–04 are set out in the table.

Police Authority2002–03 Allocation(1, 4) 2003–04 Allocation(1) % Change
English Shire forces
Avon & Somerset152.4157.13.1%
Devon & Cornwall156.7161.53.0%
North Yorkshire68.370.43.0%
Thames Valley199.8205.93.0%
West Mercia101.3104.43.0%
English Metropolitan forces
Greater Manchester362.8380.84.9%
South Yorkshire164.2172.35.0%
West Midlands368.3386.54.9%
West Yorkshire275.8289.44.9%
London forces
GLA—all functions(5)1,926.82,022.14.9%
City of London(2)29.832.59.1%
English Total6,668.86,957.24.3%
Welsh forces
North Wales(3)
South Wales(3)158.3163.03.0%
Welsh total343.0355.23.6%


1. Rounded to the nearest £100,000. Grant as calculated under the Local Government Finance Report (England) and Local Government Finance Report (Wales). This includes the Metropolitan Police special payment, and the effects of floors and ceilings.

2. Figures for the City are Police Grant only.

3. Figures for Welsh authorities for 2002–03 are reduced due to the appropriate amount of the £266,000 council tax penalty to the Treasury.

4. The figures above do not include the special payments for transitional costs associated with changes to the boundaries of the Metropolitan Police District from 1 April 2000.

5. The overall increase for GLA is 4.9 per cent. This includes provision for Metropolitan Police and other funded services.

6. "Floor" and "ceiling" increases of 3 per cent. and 4.9 per cent. respectively have been applied. There are minor variations arising from inclusion of capital charges.

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Decontamination Guidance

Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What guidance has been published for the emergency services and other responding agencies on the decontamination of people exposed to chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear substances or material.[HL1457]

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: The Strategic National Guidance on the Decontamination of People Exposed to Chemical, Biological, Radiological or Nuclear Substances or Material, for use by the emergency services and other responders, has today been placed on the Home Office website ( and United Kingdom Resilience website ( The guidance may be downloaded from those sites and we are also placing a copy in the Library.

The guidance will be updated periodically and these updates will be available on the Home Office and United Kingdom Resilience websites.

Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews

Lord Faulkner of Worcester asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will draw to the attention of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews requirement 4.7 of the United Kingdom Sports Council's guidelines for the recognition of governing bodies concerning equal opportunities.[HL1216]

The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Baroness Blackstone): The Sports Councils deal with applications seeking recognition as United Kingdom or home country governing bodies. Their requirements relating to equal opportunities apply only to these bodies which seek such recognition. However, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews is the International Governing Body for Golf (with the exception of the United States of America) and as such the sports councils have no

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authority over it. The R&A has not applied for recognition to any of the sports councils.

The content of paragraph 4.7 relating to equal opportunities policy in Sport England's Guidelines for the Recognition of English Governing Bodies does not apply.

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