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Lord Crickhowell asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Lord Bach: A record of the exchange of views with my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Defence referred to by the noble Lord that took place on 6 December 2004 was conveyed to the Chief of the General Staff's office the following day. I understand that he himself read it on 8 December.

In formulating advice to the Secretary of State on the future structure of the infantry, the Executive Committee of the Army Board (ECAB)—chaired by the Chief of the General Staff—initiated an exhaustive consultation process within the infantry and took very careful account of the views of each division of infantry, as expressed by its colonel commandant, on how the restructuring should be implemented. ECAB had in mind at all times the importance of maintaining so far as possible historic linkages and traditions.

Royal Fleet Auxiliary: Purchase of Ships

Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bach: The original contract with Swan Hunter for design and build of two LSD(A)s was valued at £148 million. This has since been increased to £232 million, with a further £3 million added to cover enhancements that have included aspects to ensure the vessels comply with the latest statutory safety requirements.

Contractual stage payments agreed by the Ministry of Defence and the contractor are commercially sensitive and I am withholding this information under Section 43 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

None of the cost over-runs covered by the recent contract amendment is attributable to fault by the MoD.

The contract amendment negotiations were conducted solely to ensure the best value for money for the taxpayer was achieved in the delivery of this important new capability.
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Sustainable Communities Plan

Lord Hanningfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (Lord Rooker): The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's policy for sustainable communities as set out in the communities plan, and more recently in our five year strategy Homes for All, is to concentrate additional housing growth in identified growth areas. We are working with other government departments, including the Department of Health and the Department for Education and Skills, to ensure that growth of communities is accompanied by the necessary infrastructure. Provision has been made across government to ensure that communities undergoing rapid population growth receive adequate funding. This includes £20 million per annum from 2004–05 to 2005–06 for primary care trusts in the growth areas and a new safety valve mechanism for education funding.

Local Authority Consultative Referendums: Use of Electoral Register

Lord Greaves asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has been advised that the Representation of the People (England and Wales) Regulations 2001 prevent local authorities using the full electoral register for the purpose of conducting a local referendum. However, while local authorities have the right to decide who is polled, we recognise the importance of local authorities being able to conduct such referendums on a full franchise, and we are considering how to achieve this while maintaining security of information on the full electoral register.

Works Councils

Lord Wedderburn of Charlton asked Her Majesty's Government:

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): The figure the noble Lord is referring to relates to European works councils. It does not mean that there is no other form of employee representation in the companies concerned. Moreover, new legislation implementing the EU directive on Information and Consultation will come into force on 6 April. This will give employees important new rights to be informed and consulted about significant developments in their workplace.

Rural Payments Agency

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Whitty): The Rural Payments Agency's (RPA) gross expenditure, which mainly relates to the common agricultural policy (CAP) scheme payments, is as shown in the table below:
2001–02 £ billion2002–03 £ billion2003–04 £ billion2004–05 £ billion2005–06 £ billion2006–07 £ billion
Gross expenditure2.

RPA is an executive agency of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and was formed on 16 October 2001 as the paying agency responsible for administering CAP schemes in England and certain other schemes throughout the UK.

The detail supporting financial year 2001–02, 2002–03 and 2003–04 can be found in RPA's accounts under House of Commons publication numbers HC 1197, HC 940 and HC 1009 respectively.

Figures for future years reflect the position shown in the 2004 Pre-Budget Report (CM 6408) published on 2 December 2004, particularly the annually managed expenditure reflected in table 16 of the report.

Sea Defences

Lord Fearn asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Lord Whitty: Defra has overall policy responsibility for flood and coastal erosion risk in England. The department funds most of the Environment Agency's activities in this area and provides grant aid on a project by project basis to the other flood and coastal defence operating authorities (local authorities and internal drainage boards) to support their investment in improvement works.

The Environment Agency is the principal authority responsible for managing sea defences in England, although some local authorities are also active in managing the risk from sea flooding and coastal erosion.

Most investment in projects to reduce risk of coastal erosion or flooding from the sea is to improve the protection offered by existing defences, most of which will have been in place for many years, with periodic improvement through major works in addition to regular maintenance.

The department is aware of the following coastal defences (to manage risk of flooding and/or erosion) which could be considered to be "new" rather than being improvements of existing defences:
Operating AuthorityProject
Barrow Borough CouncilBent Haw, Walney Island Emergency Works
Barrow Borough CouncilMarsh Street, Askam-In-Furness
Caradon District CouncilCawsand—Coastguard Cottages
Carrick District CouncilVeryan—The Nare Hotel
Christchurch Borough CouncilMudeford Quay—Reconstruction
Copeland Borough CouncilParton Coastal Defences
East Devon District CouncilSeaton Hole To Seaton—Rock Revetment
East Devon Distract CouncilSeaton West (Check House) Sea Wall
East Ridind of YorkshireEasington Beach Management
Environment Agency, South WestAppledore Tidal Defence Scheme
Environment Agency, South WestBideford Tidal Defences
Environment Agency, South WestBraunton Tidal Defence Scheme
Environment Agency, South WestHamworthy Sea Defences
Environment Agency, South WestLympstone Tidal Defence Scheme
Environment Agency, South WestMuddlebridge Tidal Defence Scheme
Environment Agency, South WestPoole Sea Defences—Phase 2— Town Quay West
Environment Agency. South WestPreston Sea Wall—Weymouth
Environment Agency, South WestWeymouth Harbour Tidal Defences
Environment Agency, South WestBrean
Environment Agency, South WestMinehead
Environment Agency, South WestWest Bay Sea Defences
Environment Agency, South WestSladesbridge Flood Defence Scheme
Isle of Wight CouncilCastle Cove, Ventnor
Isle of Wight CouncilCastle Haven, Niton Coast Protection Scheme
Kerrier District CouncilCadgwith—The Todden
North Cornwall District CouncilTrevone (West) Coast Protection
North Devon District CouncilBarnstaple Heanton Court Emergency Works
Poole Borough CouncilCanford Cliffs Coast Protection
Poole Borough CouncilEvening Hill Coast Protection— Poole—Dorset
Poole Borough CouncilSandbanks Coast Protection
Poole Borough CouncilSandbanks—Phase 2
Purbeck District CouncilKimmeridge Bay Sea Wall
Redcar and Cleveland CouncilCowbar Coastal Defences.
Teignbridge District CouncilTeignmouth—Emergency Works— Point Car Park
Wansbeck District CouncilAlcan Power Station, Lynemouth
Weymouth and Portland Borough CouncilNewtons Cove Coast Protection
West Dorset District Council Seatown Coast Protection
West Somerset District CouncilHelwell Bay—Doniford

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