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Wheeled Free-range Egg Production Units: Planning Consent

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

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The Minister of State, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (Lord Rooker): There have not been any such changes made to planning legislation or national planning guidance. I believe the article to which the noble Baroness refers may have included comments on the outcome of a planning appeal. The planning inspector would have reached his decision on that appeal on the basis of the particular facts of the case before him and by applying current planning policies and guidance, in accordance with existing legislation.

Bellwin Grant

Lord Howie of Troon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What amounts for each year since 1997 have been claimed by each health authority under the Bellwin scheme.[HL2915]

Lord Rooker: Bellwin grant is paid under the authority of section 155(4) of the Local Government and Housing Act 1989. Health authorities do not qualify since they are not included in the list of eligible authorities.

Lord Howie of Troon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the present arrangement in the Bellwin scheme where a claim can be made after a percentage of budget is to be changed; and what change is to be made; and[HL2917]

    What changes to the Bellwin scheme, as recently announced by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, are proposed to the way in which sums can be claimed under the scheme.[HL2916]

Lord Rooker: Before qualifying for Bellwin grant in any year an authority must have spent 0.2 per cent of its budget on activities that would be eligible for grant: 0.2 per cent of budget is referred to as "the Bellwin threshold". There is no proposal to change this provision of the scheme. However in the past, because of delays in the process of notifying authority budgets to the department the threshold was calculated using a proxy arrangement whereby the previous year's budget was uprated by the average increase in standard spending assessment for the following year. Since the standard spending assessment is no longer part of the local government finance arrangements we have waited until we had details of authorities' budgets and then calculated the threshold on the basis of 0.2 per cent of the actual budget. In accordance with normal arrangements officials consulted all authorities before promulgating the thresholds for 2003–04.

Iraq: Assets of Saddam Hussein

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What information they have on the amounts and whereabouts of moneys reported to have been

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    deposited in banks outside Iraq by or on behalf of Saddam Hussein and his family; and whether any action is open to them to facilitate the repatriation of these funds to the people of Iraq.[HL2840]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Chancellor of the Exchequer has made clear that the Government are committed to taking the necessary steps to ensure that the assets of Saddam Hussein and his associates are used for the benefit and welfare of the Iraqi people.

Working closely with coalition partners, a number of government departments and agencies continue to track reports of moneys deposited outside Iraq by or on behalf of Saddam Hussein and his family. If such assets were found, they would be frozen under UN sanctions legislation.

In contributing to the drafting of a new United Nations Security Council Resolution, the Government have ensured that the assets of the former regime will be placed in the Development Fund for Iraq.

Armed Forces Reservists

Lord Vivian asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What information is being given to employers of Reservists serving in Iraq regarding their return to the United Kingdom and subsequent demobilisation.[HL2865]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Bach): Employers are advised, at the time a Reservist is called out, that they can expect their employee to be absent for a period of between six and eight months. This is obviously subject to operational requirements. Where possible, the reserve forces' and cadets' associations (RFCAs), in concert with the regional chains of command, keep local employers of Reservists informed of the details.

Service Personnel: Matthews Judgment

Lord Clement-Jones asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What the impact will be of Matthews-v-The Ministry of Defence judgment given by the House of Lords on 13 February on those who contracted serious illness before 1987 in government service; and whether they have any plans to alter the impact of the Crown Proceedings Act 1947 in light of the Matthews case.[HL2954]

Lord Bach: The judgment handed down by the House of Lords on 13 February in respect of the case of Matthews-v-The Ministry of Defence confirms that service personnel who suffer illness or injury prior to 15 May 1987 are prevented by law from receiving compensation from the Ministry of Defence by virtue of Section 10 of the Crown Proceedings Act 1947.

The Government have no plans to introduce legislation to allow service personnel suffering illness

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or injury before 15 May 1987 to receive common law compensation. When Parliament debated the repeal of Section 10, the question of retrospection was considered. The view then, as it is now, was that there was no logical point at which to draw a line, short of covering all types of injury going back to 1947, and this would create more examples of unfairness and injustice.

St Paul's Cathedral

Lord Fearn asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What help has been given to St Paul's Cathedral through heritage and lottery funding towards its present restoration costs.[HL2851]

The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Baroness Blackstone): St Paul's Cathedral has made an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund which is currently under consideration.

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English Heritage gave about £1.2 million between 1991 and 1998 to repairs to the cathedral and for conservation and archival work. English Heritage is not contributing to the costs of the present restoration work which is mostly interior and exterior cleaning, the costs of which are being met by private donations.

British Film Industry: Government Funding

Lord Fearn asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What grant has been given to the British Film Industry during each of the past four years and the current year to date.[HL2852]

Baroness Blackstone: The following table gives details of government funding for film. In addition to direct government funding, the Film Council has distributed Lottery funding for film since April 2000. Prior to this, the Arts Council distributed lottery funding for film.

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(£ millions)

Grant receiving body1999–20002000–012001–022002–032003–present
Scottish Screen2.
Northern Ireland Film and Television Commission*0.570.490.360.3
British Film Institute16.91
British Screen Finance2.0
British Film Commission0.85
European Co-Production Fund2.0
National Film and Television School2.
Film Council0.521.820.924.15.3

Notes on table

The Film Council became operational in April 2000. Prior to that, the Arts Council for England distributed grant-in-aid funding for film. In 1999–2000, it allocated £9.6 million for visual arts including film. The Film Council now funds the British Film Institute from the grant-in-aid it receives from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. The British Film Commission is now part of the Film Council. British Screen Finance and the European Co-Production Fund have been absorbed into the Film Council.

*This refers to money received solely from the Department for Enterprise, Trade and Industry, and includes operating support to the Film and Television Commission.

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Olympics 2012

Lord Jopling asked Her Majesty's Government:

    In the event that London secures the 2012 Olympic Games, what surcharge is proposed for London residents, to pay part of the costs of the Games, for each band of local taxation; and what total sum will be paid in each case over the period when the charge is levied.[HL2970]

Baroness Blackstone: Government and the Mayor have agreed a funding package of up to £2.375 billion to help meet the costs of staging an Olympics in London in 2012. The London council tax payer would contribute up to a maximum of £625 million towards this amount.

This would be funding raised from an additional £20 a year or 38p a week on council tax for a band D property—69 per cent of households in London are in bands D and below. This is approximately 2 per cent of the average band D bill being paid in London in 2003–04.

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The yearly amounts at different council tax bands are:

    Band A £13.33

    Band B £15.56

    Band C £17.78

    Band D £20.00

    Band E £24.44

    Band F £28.89

    Band G £33.33

    Band H £40.00

On the current tax base this would raise £56 million a year.

The first payment would not be until 2006–07 financial year when it is known whether London has won the right to stage the 2012 Olympics or not. The duration and total cost of the charge per household would depend on the overall cost of the Games.

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