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Royal Mail: Pension Deficit

Lord Taylor of Warwick asked Her Majesty's Government

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: According to Royal Mail's annual report and accounts—2004–05, which can be viewed on its website ( the pension deficit of the company is £3.9 billion.

Royal Navy: Counter-narcotics Operations

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Drayson: The Atlantic Patrol Task (North) (APT(N)—a destroyer or, frigate) and a Wave Class Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) tanker provide a presence and support for the UK Overseas Territories in the region principally during the hurricane season.
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We have recently made clear that, in future, a destroyer or frigate will be tasked routinely to the region only during the higher-risk hurricane months (July to October), while the RFA Tanker will remain on station for the duration of the hurricane season (May to October). While on station these vessels contribute to the UK's counter narcotics effort in the Caribbean. Additional support to counter narcotics effort is provided by other Royal Navy assets on an opportunity basis.


Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: Following the incident at the thermal oxide reprocessing plant (Thorp) in April, British Nuclear Group set up a board of inquiry to investigate. British Nuclear Group has now published the report from the board of inquiry. The report highlights some issues to be addressed.

The Nuclear Installations Inspectorate (NII) is also conducting its own investigation and will report in due course. The Government will form a view in light of the report. All nuclear facilities, including those at Sellafield, operate within agreed and documented safety cases. These are rigorously regulated and approved by the NII.

SEUPB: Religious Balance of Staff

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton : The community background of the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) staff, as at l May 2005, is shown in the table.
LocationProtestantRoman CatholicNon-DeterminedTotal
Belfast and Omagh622432

The figures supplied for the composition of community background are for staff located within the Belfast and Omagh offices for which monitoring data are legally obliged to be held under fair employment legislation. No monitoring information is held for staff located within the Monaghan office.

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Ulster Scots Agency

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: I have nothing further to add to my Answer of 30 June 2005, Official Report col. WA50.

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: The budget allocated to the Ulster-Scots Agency for 2005 is considered sufficient to enable. it to meet the objectives and targets laid out in its approved corporate and annual business plans. The agency recently introduced a moratorium on new applications I am told to ensure that it did not exceed its approved annual budget,a requirement of financial probity which is shared by all publicly funded bodies. An application for additional inyear year funding has been received from the agency and is currently being considered by the two sponsoring departments.

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: The budget for the Ulster Scots Agency is determined in accordance with normal budgeting procedures on the basis of its business plan as set out in the North South Language Body financial memorandum. This includes consultation between the Ulster Scots Agency and its sponsor departments and with the finance departments north and south. Ministers agreed the 2005 budget on 31 March 2005.

Union of Democratic Miners: Compensation Scheme

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

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: A copy of the claims handling agreements with the claimants' solicitors (CHA) is available in the House of Commons Library.
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Separate CHAs exist for the UDM where the only significant difference is in relation to costs, which are lower in the UDM agreements.

The CHAs are extensive and detailed and there have been many meetings and substantial volumes of correspondence on the operation of the agreements over the past five-plus years since they were agreed.

United Kingdom Coastline

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bach: There is a wide range of government departments and agencies, as well as local authorities and other bodies that have varying levels of jurisdiction over different aspects of the regulation and management of coastal areas.

The Crown Estate generally owns the seabed out to the 12 mile territorial limit. It also owns around 55 per cent. of the foreshore (between mean high and mean low water), with the remainder in both public and private hands. Land adjacent to the foreshore is in the full range of public and private ownership as for any other part of the United Kingdom.

University Air Squadrons

Lord Garden asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Drayson: A review of University Air Squadrons (UAS) was conducted to look at the way in which essential light aircraft flying, including elementary flying training, air experience flying and flying for undergraduates, is delivered. An announcement is expected shortly and I will write to advise the noble Lord of the outcome.

US Gulf War Veterans

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Drayson: The Ministry for Defence is aware that the Institute of Medicine (IOM) is currently conducting a number of projects on 'Gulf War and
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Health' sponsored by the US Department of Veterans Affairs. Full information, on the projects is available on the IOM website

We understand that the projects take the form of literature reviews of scientific and medical research. MOD is not contributing to the reviews, but members of the public are able to attend open meetings of the IOM committees and can provide feedback via the IOM website.

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