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Lord Crickhowell asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they will publish the recruitment statistics for the Welsh and Scottish regiments over the past 10 years. [HL1048]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Bach): Recruitment statistics down to regimental level are not routinely published. Therefore the current and historical Welsh and Scottish regiments recruitment data are not readily available in the format requested. This information will take some time to compile and verify.
24 Feb 2005 : Column WA228
I will provide the noble Lord with the information as soon as it is available.
Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:
What is their current best estimate of the in-service date for the two new aircraft carriers. [HL1077]
Lord Bach: Our target in-service dates for the two future aircraft carriers remain 2012 and 2015. But in-service dates will not be formally set until main gate investment decision.
24 Feb 2005 : Column WA229
Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:
Lord Bach: The joint combat aircraft (JCA) ISD noted for planning purposes in the initial tailored main gate was December 2012. The "tailored" main gate was an interim approval point for the system development and demonstration phase of the programme. Subsequently the schedule for introducing this aircraft into service has been extensively reviewed in the light of the time taken in the United States to resolve the well known weight growth problems incurred by the STOVL variant of the JSF aircraft. Planning assumptions are now based on a revised ISD of December 2014. A firm decision on the ISD does not have to be made before the UK purchases significant numbers of aircraft. Our first planned purchase is December 2008 and by this time, with aircraft design frozen and initial development flights complete, the JCA programme will have increased maturity to make informed decisions on in-service dates. This approach remains coherent with our intention to introduce the JCA progressively onto the future carriers. This progressive approach seeks to de-risk the integration of the various complex elements of the carrier strike capability.
Baroness Michie of Gallanach asked Her Majesty's Government:
Under what express provision of the statutory scheme for Royal Air Force boards of inquiry in force in 1994 senior reviewing officers could express their opinion on the findings of the members of the board of inquiry before whom evidence was laid; and under what provision they could substitute their own verdict on the facts for that of the board members. [HL1325]
Lord Bach: The Royal Air Force board of inquiry procedure is governed by statutory rules made under Section 135 of the Air Force Act and the Chapter 17 of the Queen's Regulations for the Royal Air Force. These procedures were, as at 1994, amplified and explained by Chapter 8 of Air Publication (AP) 3207The RAF Manual of Flight Safety, which itself is promulgated under the authority of the Defence Council in accordance with Section 2 of the Air Force (Constitution) Act 1917. Paragraphs 147 to 149 of that document make specific reference to the ability of higher authorities to disagree with recommendations and observations of the board of inquiry, and actions they should take if they do so. Boards of inquiry and reviewing officers do not reach "verdicts" as such.
24 Feb 2005 : Column WA230
Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:
What is their policy on disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 of entries in official ministerial diaries detailing the names of persons who attended meetings with Ministers and the dates of such meetings. [HL1196]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): All requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, including information relating to records of meetings are considered on a case-by-case basis. The Freedom of Information Act operates on the presumption that all information held by public authorities should be available, subject to the 23 exemptions of the Act. Whether or not information is exempt under the Act requires the exercise of judgment in each case. The majority of the exemptions also require that the public interest in releasing the information should be weighed against the public interest in withholding it. If the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in withholding it, the information must be disclosed. The assessment of the public interest has to be made in all the circumstances of the case, on a case-by-case basis as far as each request is concerned.
Lord Jopling asked Her Majesty's Government:
Further to the Written Answer by the Lord McIntosh of Haringey on 3 February (WA 62), whether, for the avoidance of misunderstanding, they will draw to the attention of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that differing criteria based on local guidelines were used in table 12.14, page 43, volume 3 of the London bid for the 2012 Olympic Games; and whether they will give an assurance that all debates and Questions together with Answers reported in Hansard referring to the 2012 Olympic Games will be forwarded as a routine form of information to the IOC. [HL1180]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Lord McIntosh of Haringey): A commission from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) visited London between 16 and 19 February to evaluate London's bid for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. During the visit the bid team discussed the detailed content of our candidate file, including security issues, with the evaluation commission. We will provide the IOC with whatever information it requests to help it make a full assessment of London's bid.
24 Feb 2005 : Column WA231
Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:
How many rural job centres were closed between 1997 and 2004; and whether any new centres were opened during this period. [HL1184]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Baroness Hollis of Heigham): The information requested is not available for the period before Jobcentre Plus was formed in April 2002.
Between April 2002 and December 2004 a total of 203 offices were closed nationally. Between October 2001 and December 2004 we opened a total of 542 new and refurbished offices to support delivery of the integrated Jobcentre Plus services.
Between one half to two-thirds of the 203 closures to December 2004 are either located in rural areas or serve a catchment area which includes rural communities. However, the areas previously served by these closed sites have benefited from investment in the new integrated Jobcentre Plus service, and more than 300 new and made-over sites could be considered rural or serving areas including rural populations.
Jobcentre Plus customers may now access the service through a greater choice of channels and it is no longer necessary to visit a jobcentre to find work. The entire job bank of around 400,000 local, national and international job vacancies are accessible through the Internet. Over the past year we have seen the number of hits on our jobsearch website increase by 40 per cent. A job vacancy service is also available over the telephone through Jobseeker Direct.
Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:
In the past five years, how many payments have been made to local authorities by central government to encourage them to initiate fraud proceedings against benefit recipients; how much those payments were in each case; and what are the total payments to each local authority. [HL1256]
Baroness Hollis of Heigham: The available information has been placed in the Library. Data are not available prior to 200102.
Baroness Miller of Hendon asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether the statement by the Lord Sainsbury of Turville on 26 January that "the major closedown of nuclear power stations begins in 2020" (Official Report, col. 1259) is consistent with the existing programme of nuclear power station closures that will result in only three nuclear power stations remaining open by 2020. [HL1257]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): I regret that my statement the noble Baroness refers to was misleading. The current estimated closure dates of the existing nuclear power stations are given in the table below. However, on current plans, around 30 per cent. of installed nuclear capacity will be operating after 2020 and these dates do not take account of further possible lifetime extensions for British Energy's AGR and PWR plants. Any decisions to seek extensions would be a matter for the company which would need to evaluate the safety, technical and economic cases, within the overall regulatory framework.
|Nuclear Power Station||Estimated closure date||Type of reactor||Installed capacity MW|
|Hinkley Point B||2011||AGR||1,220|
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