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Proscribed or Racist Organisations: CRE Investigations

Lord Ouseley asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: A list of the organisations proscribed by law was set out in my right honourable friend the Home Secretary's Written Answer of 8 December 2003 (col. 238W) in another place.

The Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) is empowered to carry out formal investigations (FIs) under Section 48 of the Race Relations Act 1976. There are two types of FI:

    "belief" or named—which looks into a named organisation or named organisations.

In order to carry out an investigation into a particular organisation or particular organisations, the CRE must believe (and have some ground to sustain that belief) that the organisation or organisations in question have committed acts made unlawful under the RRA. The CRE has not carried out any FIs into a proscribed organisation.

It is not likely that the CRE would seek to investigate a proscribed organisation, though the activities of such an organisation could be a matter for the criminal justice agencies.

There is no central list of "racist" organisations. It is not therefore possible to comment on whether any investigations have been carried out in this area.

The Human Rights Act 1998 does not contain any investigatory powers.

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Irish Republican Incidents

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many incidents have occurred in (a) Northern Ireland and (b) Great Britain, which they consider are the responsibility of (i) the Real IRA; (ii) the Continuity IRA; (iii) the Provisional IRA; and (iv) other republican groups in each of the years since 1993.[HL364]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The table details the number of incidents occurring in Great Britain since 1993 that are considered the responsibility of republican groups. Incidents include bomb attacks (including letter bombs), finds of improvised explosive devices, arrests, shooting incidents and hoaxes. Incidents in Ireland are matter for the Northern Ireland Office.

Great Britain

YearIrish Republican Incidents

Russia: Mutual Visa Arrangements with UK

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they are negotiating improvements in mutual visa arrangements with Russia.[HL421]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: We are not engaged in any negotiations with Russia with a view to concluding an agreement to improve mutual visa arrangements.

Afghan Failed Asylum Seekers: Repatriation

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they are compelling Afghan asylum seekers who no longer have any right of appeal to return to Afghanistan; and whether any exception is made for those of Sikh or Hindu origin.[HL425]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Our preferred option for repatriating unsuccessful Afghan asylum seekers is by assisted voluntary return. However for those who do not leave voluntarily—including those of Sikh or Hindu origin—appropriate enforcement action will be considered. In April 2003 we began enforcing the return to Afghanistan of those who have exhausted their appeal rights and have been found not to be in need of international protection. Returns are only enforced to those areas of Afghanistan with adequate security and infrastructure.

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Best Value Performance Plans: Audit Arrangements

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will legislate to remove the statutory requirement for Best Value performance plans of parish councils to be audited following the Audit Commission report on minimising the burden of strategic regulation; and whether the "lighter touch" audits will be reduced so that they are lower in total cost over three years than the triennial audit which they replaced.[HL539]

The Minister of State, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (Lord Rooker): The Government are keen to explore opportunities to minimise any burden that may be associated with the audit of the Best Value performance plans prepared by the 41 Best Value town and parish councils. We intend to discuss the detailed implications of this proposal with the Audit Commission shortly. Each Best Value town and parish council receives a grant of £30,000 per annum towards the cost of auditing their performance plans and carrying out other Best Value requirements.

Regarding the non-statutory triennial audit in respect of other parish councils, we understand that the commission does not hold details of individual councils that participated in the scheme, hence it is not possible to make a direct comparison with current audit costs. However, overall, the external audit fees for all parish councils have reduced from £2.4 million in 2001 to £1.4 million in 2002.

Gulf War 1990–91: Vaccines

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the difference in the level of protection against inhaled anthrax provided to veterans of the 1990–91 Gulf conflict for those who received the first anthrax-pertussis injection only, as compared to those who received the first and second, and as compared to those who received the first, the second and the third. [HL519]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Bach): No studies of the efficacy of United Kingdom anthrax vaccine against inhalation anthrax have been undertaken in humans. Animal studies with the UK vaccine suggest that although a single immunisation will induce a response, optimum protective immunity is achieved by administering booster doses. Most vaccines require several doses to achieve and maintain protective immunity and the anthrax vaccine is not expected to be different. In 1991, anthrax vaccine and pertussis vaccine were co-administered, rather than being combined and given in one injection. In February 1991, the decision was taken to drop pertussis from the anti-biological warfare programme.

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United Kingdom Devolved Administrations

Lord Kilclooney asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the population of (a) Scotland; (b) Wales; (c) Northern Ireland; and how many Members are elected to each of their devolved parliamentary institutions.[HL513]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs (Lord Filkin): The population of Scotland is 5,062,011; Wales 2,903,085; and Northern Ireland 1,687,267. These figures are taken from the 2001 census.

Scotland has 129 MSPs of which 73 are constituency members and 56 list members; Wales has 60 AMs of which 40 are constituency members and 20 list members; and Northern Ireland has 108 members, six from each of the 18 constituencies.

The size of the membership of each of the devolved administrations reflects the responsibilities of the respective institutions, not just the size of the population.

The electoral arrangements for each of the devolved administrations are set out respectively in the Scotland Act 1998, the Northern Ireland Act 1998 and the Government of Wales Act 1998.

Housing Benefit: Allerdale Borough Council

Lord Campbell-Savours asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What has been the cost of housing benefit paid to tenants of (a) housing associations; (b) local authorities; and (c) private landlords in each of the last three years in the Allerdale Borough Council area of Cumbria.[HL391]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Baroness Hollis of Heigham): The information is in the table.

Estimate of housing benefit expenditure of Allerdale Borough Council

Rent allowance paid to tenants of housing associationsRent allowance paid to tenants of private landlordsTotal housing benefit expenditure
£ millions£ millions£ millions


Subsidy returns from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.


1. Expenditure is in £ million shown to the nearest £0.1 million.

2. Allerdale recorded rent rebate (housing benefit (HB) paid to local authority (LA) tenants) expenditure of £6,396 in 2000–01, £2,538 in 2001–02, and an estimated rent rebate expenditure of £2,586 in 2002–03.

3. Total rent allowance expenditure (HB paid to non-LA tenants) information for 2002–03 is taken from "initial final" audited subsidy returns provided to ODPM by the local authority. This total is subject to revision in the "final" audited subsidy return.

4. A split in rent allowance expenditure by tenancy type is not provided on the subsidy returns from the local authority. However, the split of expenditure on tenants of registered social landlords (housing associations) and private landlords has been estimated using quarterly administrative data, which provide average award and caseload information by tenancy type.

6 Jan 2004 : Column WA37

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