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Financial Assistance Scheme

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

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The provision of £400 million for the financial assistance scheme (FAS) has been funded by the Department for Work and Pensions. Government funding is fixed for the current spending review period up to and including 2007–08. As with all our spending plans, funding for the FAS will be reviewed in the next spending review, alongside other spending priorities.

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

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The estimate that up to 15,000 people may benefit from the financial assistance scheme (FAS) is based on the limited data that the trustees of affected pension schemes have been able to provide. In most cases they will not be able to provide the detailed information we need to assess the scale of individual losses until they are close to completing the winding up of each scheme. For many schemes this will take a number of years. Until such information is available it will not be possible to establish exactly how many members will be eligible for the FAS.

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

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The European Employment Directive (Council Directive 2000/78) outlaws discrimination on a number of grounds including age in relation to employment and vocational training. The age discrimination provision must be implemented by 2 December 2006. The directive does not apply to the financial assistance scheme since it does not apply to payments of any kind made by state schemes or similar, including state social security or social protection schemes.
 
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Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The provisions of the financial assistance scheme (FAS) are compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights. Ministers have made statements to this effect in relation to both the Pensions Act 2004 and certain subsequent FAS regulations. The convention does not require states to provide payments of any particular kind, and allows states a wide discretion when deciding their social and economic policy.

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

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The financial assistance scheme (FAS) is providing assistance to those scheme members who face the most significant losses, who were already at or within three years of their scheme's normal retirement age on 14 May 2004. We have based eligibility on the individual's proximity to their own scheme's normal retirement age, as opposed to state pension age, as their expectations for the occupational pension were based on that scheme's normal retirement age. Where a scheme's normal retirement age is above 65 it will, however, be treated as 65 for the purposes of the FAS.

All assistance payments will be made from age 65, or earlier where the payments are to qualifying members who are terminally ill.

Food from Britain

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Bach): The additional £2 million funding for Food from Britain will be spent on two annual programmes of activities focusing on trade development, consumer awareness and improving business competitiveness, in line with the strategy for quality regional food. All of these contribute to Defra's objective to promote a sustainable, competitive and safe food supply chain which meets consumers' requirements.
 
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Identity Cards: Department for Constitutional Affairs

Baroness Noakes asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): The Department for Constitution Affairs contributed to the Benefits Overview Document, which was published be the Identity Cards Programme in June 2005. The Department for Constitutional Affairs has in consultation with the Identity Cards Programme commenced work on calculating the costs of using the ID cards scheme to support the services, which it oversees. We cannot release estimated cost for using the ID card scheme as some elements may be required from the market. The estimates are therefore commercially sensitive and to release them may prejudice the procurement process and the department's ability to obtain value for money from potential suppliers.

The department is represented on the Ministerial Committee on Identity Cards, which oversees the work on benefits planning and realisation.

We believe that operational benefits will be realised through the use of ID cards particularly in areas where the identity of individuals will assist in the delivery of front line services.

Money Laundering Regulations

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord McKenzie of Luton: Information about the costs to the regulated sector of complying with the 2003 Money Laundering Regulations are contained in the regulatory impact assessment to the regulations, issued by the Treasury on 26 November 2003. This is available at www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/media/4B7/B5/fullriamlr03–80.pdf.

Sectoral guidance on anti-money laundering/counter terrorist finance is usually produced by industry bodies rather than the Government. However, HM Revenue and Customs is developing some guidance for money service businesses and high value dealers. A working draft of HMRC guidance is publicly available at www.hmrc.gov.uk and is likely to be developed further in the new year.
 
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National Parking Adjudication Service

Lord Biffen asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: The Road Traffic Act 1991, as subsequently amended by statutory instruments for application outside London, provides for a joint committee of local authorities with decriminalised parking enforcement power to be established. The joint committee is responsible for the funding arrangements, objectives, organisation and conduct of the National Parking Adjudication Service and its officials.


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