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Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Drayson on 27 February (WA 35), whether a Gulfstream aircraft used for the purpose of extraordinary rendition would be treated as a military or state aircraft or as a civil aircraft for the purpose of the arrangements made with the United States. [HL4360]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Drayson): The Government's position on "extraordinary rendition" has been set out by the Foreign Secretary on several occasions. It has been made clear to the US authorities that we expect them to seek permission to render detainees via UK territory and airspace (including overseas territories), and that we will grant permission only if we are satisfied that the rendition
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would accord with UK law and our international obligations. We are also clear that the US would not render a detainee through UK territory or airspace (including overseas territories) without our permission. In these circumstances, any administrative arrangements surrounding the aircraft itself would not be significant.
For the latest year for which figures are available, what assessment they have made of the amount of employee national insurance contributions which are not due on benefits in kind which are subject to employers' national insurance contributions; and [HL4226]
For the latest year for which figures are available, what assessment they have made of the number of employees who benefit from employee national insurance contributions not being levied on certain benefits in kind which are subject to employers' national insurance contributions. [HL4227]
Lord McKenzie of Luton: For the latest year available, 200304, it is estimated that replacing the class 1A national insurance contribution liability on benefits in kind with a class 1 liability paid by employers and employees would raise around £230 million. This estimate excludes any allowances for changes in behaviour.
The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Warner): It is not meaningful to compare the terms of the current General Dental Service (GDS) remuneration system and the new GDS contracts or Personal Dental Service (PDS) arrangements in tabular form. The current GDS is a complex combination of item-of-service and fixed payments. There are more than 400 fees, ranging from £7.30 for a clinical examination to £307.80 for a single orthodontic appliance. In addition, dentists are paid an amount for each patient registered with them.
The new GDS and PDS arrangements consist of contracts for a defined level of service between the dentist, a dental partnership or a provider of dental services and the commissioning primary care trust. Dentists will have a guaranteed annual contract sum, based on their National Health Service (NHS)
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earnings during a recent test period, and paid in 12 monthly instalments. In return, they will be expected to provide an agreed level of service over the course of a year, measured in terms of weighted courses of treatment. This will be at least 5 per cent below current GDS levels.
A committed NHS dentist currently earns on average around £80,000 per year, after practice expenses are taken into account, and can expect to earn at least this amount in 200607, with an uplift to 200607 prices.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Drayson): Guidance on employee share schemes in public-private partnerships is set out in the HM Treasury document Getting best value from trade sales and strategic partnerships, published in November 2000 and available on the Treasury website at www.hm-treasury.gov.uk./media/CC0/D8/tradesalesandstrategicpartnerships.pdf.
Lord Davies of Oldham: The Government announced on 26 January that the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) will be formally wound up later this year. The majority of the functions of the SRA have already been, or will shortly be, transferred to its successor bodies. After 31 March this year the sole remaining function of the SRA will be administration of the existing procedure for railway closures until the new guidance procedure for closures and minor network modifications is laid before Parliament. This will require only minimal staffing to remain within the SRA after 31 March. Once new guidance has been laid before the Westminster and Scottish Parliaments, responsibility for their administration will also transfer to the successor bodies of the SRA, at which point the authority will have no further continuing liabilities.
Lord Davies of Oldham: The Highways Agency intends to develop a scheme to install new variable message signs on both carriageways of the M11 between junctions 6 (M11/M25) and 8 (M11/A120 Stansted) in 200708.
This scheme includes provision for the erection of electronic warning signs on the northbound and southbound entry slip roads at junction 7 (Harlow). For any future incidents affecting the M11, these signs will be used to advise drivers that access to the motorway is temporarily suspended.
Later this month, the Highways Agency will be installing two new variable message signs on the northbound approach to M11 junction 13 (A428) to alert drivers to any congestion difficulties that may be occurring on the A14 trunk road.
In addition, the agency is developing plans to deploy mobile variable message signs on the M11 and other motorways and trunk roads to inform drivers and assist in the management of traffic during major incidents.
What has been the final destination for each vessel decommissioned from (a) the Royal Navy, and (b) the Royal Fleet Auxiliary since 1990; and, for those vessels scrapped, which firm was responsible and where each vessel was scrapped. [HL4068]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Drayson): The Disposal Services Agency's records over the period are not held centrally and the information could be provided only by the use of disproportionate time and effort.
Why the financial memorandum on grant-in-aid for royal travel of May 2002 was not reviewed after no more than three years as anticipated in the memorandum; and when the new memorandum will be published. [HL4238]
Lord Davies of Oldham: Work to review the financial memorandum is under way. However, it has been agreed that finalisation of the review should await Sir Peter Gershon's report, commissioned by the Cabinet Office, into the provision of air travel for the royal family and government Ministers. This will
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ensure that the revision can take account of any implications for royal travel. A copy of the revised memorandum will be placed in the Library.
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