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Royal Prerogative: Ministers of the Crown

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Lord Privy Seal (Lord Williams of Mostyn): The Government do not maintain a list of the public functions performed by Ministers otherwise than under statute. Given the range of government activity it would not be practicable to compile such a list; nor do the Government maintain a list based on any narrower definition of the prerogative. Such definitions are a matter of generalisation from the analysis of particular legal decisions.

The following are examples of public functions which are performed by Ministers, or by the Sovereign on the advice of Ministers, and which would generally be considered within a narrower definition of the prerogative: appointment and regulation of the Civil Service; commissioning of officers in the Armed Forces; exercise of the prerogative of mercy; issue and revocation of UK passports; granting of honours; making of treaties; declaration of war and peace; deployment of the Armed Forces; recognition of foreign states, and accreditation and reception of diplomats.

Suez Veterans: General Service Medal

Lord Campbell-Savours asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Lord Williams of Mostyn: Following a recommendation from the sub-committee chaired by Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank, we are pleased to announce that Suez veterans who served in the Canal Zone between 1951 and 1954 are to be awarded the General Service Medal.

In examining this case so long after the events, the Committee on the Grant of Honours, Decorations and Medals recognised that it had special features. Although it had been established that the Commander in Chief at the time made a request for a medal there was no conclusive evidence that the case was ever fully considered and a formal decision reached. Nor had the deployment been recognised by the award of any other campaign medal.

The detailed qualification criteria for the medal will be submitted to HM the Queen for approval in due course. Copies of the sub-committee's report are being placed in the Libraries of both Houses of Parliament.

Northern Ireland: Equality Agenda

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the equality agenda in Northern Ireland; who drafted it; who agreed it; and where may it be located.[HL2629]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The equality agenda in Northern Ireland flows from the Belfast agreement, which was negotiated and agreed by the majority of political parties in Northern Ireland and endorsed in referendums on both sides of the border.

Northern Ireland: Equality Officers

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many officials, of what rank and at what cost, are employed in each department in Northern Ireland and in the Northern Ireland Office, promoting equality.[HL2630]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: It is difficult to identify precisely the number of officials within the Northern Ireland Office and the Northern Ireland administration who have responsibility for promoting equality as it is a fundamental part of every civil servant's role to promote equality.

Within the Northern Ireland Office 10 officials are employed either wholly or mainly in the development and maintaining of equality policy. These include two Grade As, four Grade B1s, two Grade B2s and two Grade Cs and their total salary cost is approximately £281,654.00. In addition, a considerable number of other staff support operational divisions in the promotion of equality as part of their wider responsibilities. It is not possible to apportion a percentage of salary costs to attribute to this activity.

The 11 departments of the Northern Ireland administration have identified 110 officials who are employed either wholly or mainly in this role. They

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include four senior civil servants and 106 other grades. The salary cost of these officials is approximately £3.44 million.

Northern Ireland Departments: Underspend

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answers by the Lord Privy Seal on 11 March (WA 168) and 30 April (WA 102), why in the cases of the Departments of Agriculture and Rural Development, Culture, Arts and Leisure and Social Development and the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister was more underspend carried from 2001–02 into 2002–03 than was underspent in 2001–02.[HL2939]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The underspend figures included in WA 168 reflected actual expenditure for 2001–02, as determined by final outturn information for that year, collated in February 2003. However, the amount carried forward from 2001–02 into 2002-03, as detailed in WA 102, was (in accordance with Treasury's end year flexibility (EYF) scheme) based on an estimate of departmental spend in 2001–02 as determined by provisional outturn information in early summer 2002. Departmental expenditure figures can increase or decrease between provisional outturn and final outturn stages, and any such changes are taken into account in determining the final EYF claim.

As highlighted in WA 102 the remainder of the amount available for carry forward, based on actual departmental spend, will be drawn down in 2003–04, subject (as is always the case in respect of EYF) to agreement by the Treasury.

North/South Implementation Bodies

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Which proportions of the funding between Her Majesty's Government and the Government of the Irish Republic for the Cross-Border Implementation Service have been altered over the past four years; how and why; who took these decisions; and on what basis.[HL2662]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The proportionality of funding between the UK Government and the Irish Government for each of the North/South Implementation Bodies is determined on the basis of assessed benefit to each jurisdiction from their activities. The relevant contribution rates were initially determined at the time the bodies were established, and have been subject to annual review thereafter. The proportionality has been altered for two out of the six bodies over the past four years as a result of the ongoing review process, with all changes being subject to ministerial agreement in accordance with established procedures. Details are set out in the table below.

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Changes to Proportionality Funding of North/South Implementation Bodies from 2000 to 2003

North/South Implementation BodyYear% Split (North:South)
Foyle, Carlingford & Irish Lights Commission (FCILC)2000 2001 2002 200330:70 30:70 50:50 50:50
Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB)2000 2001 2002 200320:80 55:45 50:50 55:45

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How long North/South Implementation Bodies can continue to exist under the Belfast agreement without the existence of a Northern Ireland Assembly.[HL2888]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The bodies continue to exist in the expectation of the resumption of devolution in Northern Ireland and the restoration of the Assembly.

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is meant by the expression "not to introduce any new policies" in the area of Cross-Border Implementation Bodies in the statement of clarification by the two governments in response to certain concerns regarding the agreement of 19 November 2002.[HL2920]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: As indicated in the statement of clarification by the two governments in response to certain concerns regarding the agreement of 19 November 2002, the British and Irish Governments intended only to pursue the policies and actions already agreed in the North/South Ministerial Council.

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    On what date were the recommendations for the 2003–05 budgets for all the implementation bodies approved by the North/South Ministerial Council under the exchange of notes arrangement (Cm 5708).[HL2936]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Ministers approved the recommendations for the 2003–05 budgets under the exchange of notes arrangements on the dates shown in the table below.

Implementation BodyDate of Approval
Waterways Ireland24 February 2003
Trade & Business Development Body25 February 2003
Language Body26 February 2003
Food Safety Promotion Body27 February 2003
Special EU Programmes Body6 March 2003
FCILC11 March 2003

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Waterways Ireland

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Privy Seal on 29 April (WA 90), what are the detailed costs of Waterways Ireland for 2001 and 2002; and how much was spent in Northern Ireland.[HL2663]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Details are as follows:

2001N Ireland2002N Ireland
Public Relations£24,441*N/A£33,929*N/A

*Information on public relations spent in Nothern Ireland is not available as the waterways are generally promoted as a single entity network rather than on the basis of individual waterways.

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