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Council Tax: Ministerial Code

Lord Hanningfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Lord McKenzie of Luton: The Ministerial Code makes it clear that Ministers are personally responsible for deciding how to act and conduct themselves in the light of the code and for justifying their actions and conduct in Parliament.

The Cabinet Secretary has confirmed that for the future he has put in place procedures to ensure that Ministers who are allocated official residences are given clear guidance on dealing with their council tax liabilities as set out in the Answer given in the other place by my right honourable friend the Deputy Prime Minister to the honourable Member for Meriden on 12 January 2006 (Official Report, Commons, cols. 782–83W).
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DfT: Aviation Directorate

Lord Hanningfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: The information requested cannot be provided in the detail or format requested except at disproportionate cost. The attached table sets out a list of consultants used over the period together with details of annual costs for contracts over £25,000 in value and an indication of broad area of work.
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Consultancy contracts placed by Aviation Directorate since 2002-03—by value (£)Contracts above £25,000 in value

Consultant2002–032003–042004–052005–06Area of Work
AEA Technology05,84411,98018,935Air Transport White Paper
Arup0275,9133,4669,614Air Transport White Paper
Avia Solutions02,018,1429,0440Air Transport White Paper
Civil Aviation Authority 1358,728000
Credit Suisse0134,33900NATS PPP
Halcrow0447,97895,57284,679Air Transport White Paper
Manchester Airport00461,7750Air Transport White Paper &
MVA Ltd193,530000Aircraft Noise
National Air Traffic
Services (Enroute)186,820000Technical Advice
QinetiQ214,066000Aircraft Noise
RDC073,33685,00831,065Air Transport White Paper
Scott Wilson111,280181,229151,974165,481Air Transport White Paper & Emissions
Slaughter & May0500,6076,1780NATS PPP
Succession Planning Associates51,916101,16165,6750Recruitment of CAA Board
Contracts below £25,000 in value

1 Note: Some services provided by the Civil Aviation Authority classified as consultancy in 2002–03 but subsequently reclassified

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Electoral Commission

Lord Campbell-Savours asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): The Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 provides the rules regarding who may or may not become an Electoral Commissioner. Section 3(4) of that Act states that:

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The Electoral Commission is an independent body established by Parliament, and is therefore answerable to Parliament. The Speaker's Committee has responsibility for the oversight of the Electoral Commission's financial returns and budgetary plans.

Energy: Nuclear Power

Lord Corbett of Castle Vale 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 Government have made it clear that before we can contemplate a new generation of nuclear reactors, we must demonstrate to the public that the legacy of nuclear waste is being tackled. Under the managing radioactive waste safely (MRWS) programme, there is a clear strategy in place, and work is under way to tackle that legacy.

We have established the Nuclear Decommisioning Authority, which became effective in April this year. The NDA is setting a UK-wide strategy for more effective decommissioning and clean up of its sites.

The independent Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) is due to deliver its recommendations in July 2006. The UK Government and the devolved administrations will then decide policy and its means of delivery in the light of CoRWM's recommendations.

EU: Flag

Lord Dykes asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: The flag of the European Union is flown on Europe Day, 9 May, on all government buildings in England that have two or more flagpoles, provided it is flown alongside the union flag, with the union flag in a superior position. The number of flagpoles on government buildings is the responsibility of the individual departments. There are no plans at present to change this guidance.

Government Car and Despatch Agency

Lord Hanningfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: The Government Car and Despatch Agency is not exempt from the payment of fines and congestion charges and the information requested is as follows:
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YearFinesCongestion Charge PaidCongestion Charge Fines
2002-03Not available£2,760.00£40.00
2005-06 *£3,710.00£113,006.00£300.00

* year to date

These charges and penalties cover the entire GCDA fleet. In addition to ministerial cars, which represent approximately 35 per cent. of the entire fleet, the GCDA fleet includes vehicles which are provided by the Government Car Service to government departments, to Ministers and civil servants and all vehicles operated in London by the InterDespatch Service. The InterDespatch Service provides interdepartmental mail distribution to government offices. The majority of GCDA's work is conducted within the congestion charge zone.

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