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9 Jul 2003 : Column WA39

Written Answers

Wednesday, 9th July 2003.

Questions for Written Answer

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many Written Answers published in the Official Report of the House of Lords since 1 January have required to be corrected in later Official Reports; and what steps have they taken to reduce such incidents.[HL3581]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: As far as I am aware there have been nine occasions since 1 January 2003 whereby the Official Report of the House of Lords has had to be corrected in later Official Reports. All government departments recognise the importance of ensuring that all Parliamentary Questions are answered accurately in accordance with the requirements of the Ministerial Code.

Northern Ireland Office: Cost of Government Publications

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the annual cost of all government publications in Northern Ireland; and in particular what was the cost of publishing Criminal Justice Review of Northern Ireland: Implementation Plan.[HL3631]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Within the Northern Ireland Office for the financial year 2002–03, the annual cost of government publications was £130,812.54. The cost for the publication of the Criminal Justice Review of Northern Ireland: Implementation Plan, which was published on 18 June 2003 was £16,985.00.

Within the Northern Ireland administration this information could only be obtained at a disproportionate cost.

Road Network: Emergency and Civil Protection Arrangements

Lord Jopling asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What plans they have to clear roads in and around major cities from motor vehicles disabled as a consequence of a nuclear explosion.[HL3125]

The Lord President of the Council (Lord Williams of Mostyn): Responsibility for maintaining, operating and improving local roads lies with local authorities. Local authorities, supported by the police and other emergency services, have tried and tested plans in place to maintain the local road network in a wide range of emergency situations as part of wider civil protection work. Similar arrangements apply for any motorway

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or trunk road. That said, the noble Lord is no doubt aware that motor vehicles would only be disabled in the way he suggests as the result of nuclear attack, and we currently believe that the likelihood of such an attack being launched against the UK is very low.

Hi-tech Crime

The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How they respond to the assessment of John Lyons, crime reduction co-ordinator with the National Hi-tech Crime Unit, that hi-tech crime and cyber crime are following the growth trend of Moore's Law—that is, doubling every 18 months; and what plans do they have in hand to address this.[HL3795]

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): There is limited reliable evidence about the level of the different forms of hi-tech crime. What trend information there is shows some growth, but certainly not of the rate of doubling every 18 months.

The Government are actively engaging with business, law enforcement and others to develop an understanding as to the current and likely future level of e-crime and the implications of this for law enforcement and others as part of the e-crime strategy.

Assets Recovery Agency: Business Plan

Baroness Gould of Potternewton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they plan to publish the Assets Recovery Agency business plan.[HL3917]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: We are pleased to announce that copies of the first annual business plan for the Assets Recovery Agency has been placed in the Library of this House. The plan has been prepared by the director of the agency and has been approved by the Home Secretary and the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

The plan is the first by the new agency and covers the financial year 2003–04, its first full year of operation. In accordance with the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, the plan includes a statement of the director's objectives for the financial year; performance targets; priorities; financial resources; and the proposed allocation of those resources.

We particularly welcome the emphasis on reducing crime through recovering criminal assets by working in partnership with other organisations. The plan also recognises the agency's important role in Northern Ireland and the need to work with partner agencies there.

The agency has a major role to play in recovering criminal assets and making sure that crime does not pay. The plan sets out how it will achieve this in 2003–04.

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North of England: Regional Investment

Lord Greaves asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the opportunity to gain "more investment" in the three regions in the North of England, as described by the Deputy Prime Minister in his Statement of 16 June (HC Deb, col. 23), includes an increased amount of investment by the Government.[HL3793]

The Minister of State, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (Lord Rooker): Chapter 5 of the White Paper, Your Region, Your Choice: Revitalising the English Regions (Cm 5511), sets out the funding arrangements for elected assemblies.

Elected regional assemblies will take responsibilities for programmes that are currently carried out at regional level and their funds will be calculated on the same basis as other regions.

Extra money will be available to reward elected assemblies which achieve or exceed targets agreed with central government. This money will not be taken from regions without an elected assembly.

UNHCR: UK Government Funding

Lord Lamont of Lerwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How much financial aid has been provided to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in each of the past five years.[HL3700]

The Secretary of State for International Development (Baroness Amos): The UK Government's contributions since 1998 are as follows:

YearTotal UK government contribution

All figures are in pounds sterling.

Indonesia: Emergency Aid in Aceh

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they and other humanitarian groups are able to provide emergency aid to 140,000 displaced people in 14 refugee camps in Aceh.[HL3705]

Baroness Amos: DfID is providing emergency humanitarian relief to displaced people in Aceh from grants to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). These grants total £2.75 million and are also available for humanitarian crises elsewhere in Indonesia and to support human rights protection work.

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Access to displaced people in Aceh remains a problem. UN agencies and NGOs are currently not permitted into camps. The UN is in discussion with the Government of Indonesia to secure adequate access.

Officials in DfID are in regular contact with humanitarian agencies and NGOs, and are ready to respond to additional needs should these arise.

Iraq: Medical Status of Service Personnel

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many of the British troops deployed in the recent conflict with Iraq have still undiagnosed illnesses.[HL3604]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Bach): The current medical status of all those who served on operations against Iraq is not held centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate cost. However, veterans of the recent deployment to Iraq who have any concerns about their health should visit their service medical officer or general practitioner who can refer them, if they wish, to the department's Gulf veterans' medical assessment programme. This will assess individuals and recommend treatment, as appropriate.

Defence Procurement Agency: Key Targets 2003–04

Lord Hogg of Cumbernauld asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What key targets have been set for the Defence Procurement Agency for financial year 2003–04.[HL3915]

Lord Bach: Five key targets have been set for the chief executive of the Defence Procurement Agency for the financial year 2003–04.

The first three key targets apply to projects covered by the major projects report which have passed their main gate approval. Key targets two and three are consistent with the goals set in the department's public service agreement (PSA). The fourth key target relates to improvements in DPA customer satisfaction and the fifth to the costs of running the agency. The key targets are:

    Key target 1: Key requirements compliance

    Predicted achievement of customers' core requirements 1 for projects: 98 per cent

    Key target 2: Average in-year in service date slippage

    Average in-year slippage of in service dates 2 compared with approval not to exceed 0.5 months

    Key target 3: Average in-year cost growth

    Average in-year cost variation 3 not to exceed 0 per cent

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    Key target 4: Customer survey satisfaction rating

    Customer satisfaction rating of 74 per cent

    Key target 5: Agency running costs

    No excess against DPA resource control totals.

    1 Around 10 core requirements per projects are agreed between the DPA and MoD headquarters, defining the essential characteristics of the equipment/capability

    2 Variation between in service date (ISD) approved at "Main Gate" (the major investment decision point) and currently predicted ISD

    3 Variation between costs approved at Main Gate and current predicted estimate

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