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Written Answers

Tuesday, 17 January 2006.

Roads: A14

Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham : The number of people killed or seriously injured on the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon over the period 1 October 2002 to 30 September 2005 is set out in the table below. Using the methodology set out in the Department of Transport publication Highways Economics Note No. 1 2004 valuation of the benefits of prevention of road accidents and casualties, the estimated cost of these accidents in terms of human life is further quantified.
No. of Fatal Accidents3
No. of Serious Accidents48
No. of Fatal Casualties4Cost of Fatal Casualties*£5,537,748
No. of Serious Casualties53Cost of Serious Casualties*£8,245,316

* Average value of prevention per casualty by severity and element of cost and based on the figures in the table below.

Lost output
Medical and ambulance
Human costs £Total

The department does not currently have a published method for measuring the cost of traffic delays caused by accidents and incidents. However, the department is developing a computer program called INCA (incident cost benefit assessment) that can be used to assess the delays and journey time variability associated with incidents and accidents.

Avian Flu

Lord Steinberg asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Bach): The Government are closely following international developments in the spread of the disease and taking action proportionate to the risks. As a temporary measure, all wild bird imports into the EU have been banned. There are also restrictions on gatherings of birds.
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New surveillance arrangements on certain species of migratory water birds are now in place. We have also issued advice on how to improve biosecurity—encouraging bird keepers to feed and water their birds indoors to minimise contact with wild bird populations. We will continue to play a leading role in international initiatives to co-ordinate action.

British Citizenship: Status Letters

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): Immigration and Nationality Directorate officials have written to the applicant advising him to refer his claim through the British Consul-General in Hong Kong. This is the correct procedure for dealing with applications and inquiries regarding British nationality made by people living abroad. This ensures that proper checks are carried out. If his claim to British overseas citizenship is accepted then he will be issued with a status letter.

Civil Service: Reduction of Posts

Lord Taylor of Warwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord McKenzie of Luton: The most recent estimate of Civil Service numbers from ONS is 567,000 (for the third quarter of 2005). At no time in 2005 does ONS record the number of civil servants to have been 519,000. The ONS figure for the first quarter of 2005 is 562,000. As set out in the PBR, the Government have achieved a reduction in Civil Service posts of 31,085 (including 5,771 relocations to front-line delivery) since the start of the 2004 spending review period. For a variety of reasons relating to machinery of government changes and definitional issues, the PBR figures cannot be compared directly to the ONS series.

Armed Forces: Eurofighter Typhoon

Lord Garden asked Her Majesty's Government:

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Drayson): The Eurofighter Typhoon financial figures concerned will remain commercially confidential until their release will no longer be prejudicial to the UK's interests.

Extraordinary Rendition Flights

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

Lord Davies of Oldham: The Government believe that their application and interpretation of the Chicago convention is entirely compatible with their other international obligations. The convention is not used to shield from scrutiny acts that would be unlawful under the terms of other international conventions and, for example, does not prevent investigation of aircraft by the police, immigration or customs services, should this be considered necessary.

Gulf War Illnesses

Lord Craig of Radley asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Drayson): The principal issue raised by veterans claiming Gulf War syndrome before the Martin decision was that it should be recognised as a discrete medical condition. There was, and remains, no scientific basis for doing this and this was confirmed in the Pensions Appeal Tribunal decision. The proposal to use Gulf War syndrome in a
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broader sense as an "umbrella term" is a new one. We have recognised the need to bring an element of closure for those who have sought some acknowledgement that their ill health is connected to their Gulf service. For this reason we have welcomed the decision that Gulf War syndrome should now be used as an umbrella term covering any recognised medical condition caused by service and connected to the 1990–91 Gulf War.

Indian Citizenship

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): We have not received any such correspondence. Our discussions with the Indian Government in 1997–98 culminated in the issuing by them of two press releases. There is no other correspondence from the Indian authorities on the subject. The two press releases have already been placed in the Library of the House in response to the noble Lord's earlier Questions on the subject.

Inheritance Tax: Property Prices

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord McKenzie of Luton: If house prices had remained constant in real terms from the end of 2000–01 (ie, if they had risen in line with inflation), then it is estimated that the effects on inheritance tax yield and taxpayer numbers would be as shown in the tables below. The yield and taxpaying numbers for 2005–06 are those estimated at the time of the Pre-Budget Report.
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Inheritance Tax

Option 1: House prices constant in real terms since 2000–01
Yield (£m)2,3812,3682,5212,9303,320
Change in Yield (£m)
Option 1-50-200-400-600-800
Taxpayer Numbers22,50025,00030,50034,00034,500
Change in Numbers2001–022002–032003–042004–052005–06
Option 1-1,000-3,000-6,000-10,000-12,000

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