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12 May 2006 : Column WA157

Written Answers

Friday, 12 May 2006.

Anti-social Behaviour: Loud Music

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: The Government have no plans to introduce a new offence that specifically outlaws the playing of loud music from open-windowed vehicles. Existing legislation already provides a range of options that enable police forces and local authorities to address this problem. Relevant legislation is as follows:

Police Reform Act 2002: local police forces may serve anti-social behaviour orders that can impose bans from certain roads, and there are even confiscation powers over vehicle owners in more serious cases.

The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986: Regulation 97 states that,

On-road enforcement is by the police.

Environmental Protection Act 1990: under Section 79, as amended by the Noise and Statutory Nuisance Act 1993, loud music from stationary vehicles may also be defined as a statutory nuisance. Environmental health officers, therefore, have powers to serve abatement notices during these incidents. Failure to comply can lead to fines and confiscation of equipment.

As set out in Chapter 7 of the Respect Action Plan, the Government are also considering how law enforcement methods for such offences can be improved.

Asylum Seekers: Gender Policy

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): All caseworkers in the Immigration and Nationality Directorate who are responsible for considering asylum claims are obliged to follow the asylum policy instruction on gender issues. I am satisfied that in most cases the guidance is being followed. I am aware of recent criticism by Asylum Aid that caseworkers do not always apply the gender guidelines correctly. The Home Office is carefully examining the Asylum Aid report and will
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make changes to the process if it is appropriate to do so. Home Office officials will meet Asylum Aid on 12 May to discuss the report.

Fuel: Red Diesel

Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord McKenzie of Luton: Following the 2004 Pre-Budget Report, the Government held extensive informal consultation with stakeholders which led to the publication at the Budget 2006 of the partial regulatory impact assessment (RIA) on the effects of ending the derogation and the decision to apply for renewal. The Government are continuing to discuss the issue with stakeholders with a view to informing the case that is put to the Commission.

House of Lords: Lord Speaker

Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay asked the Chairman of Committees:

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): The approval by Her Majesty the Queen of the choice of Lord Speaker will, out of courtesy to Her Majesty, be sought before the result is announced.


Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord McKenzie of Luton: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked to reply.

Letter to Lord Laird from the National Statistician, dated May 2006.

As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question to ask what the current average earnings are in each region of the United Kingdom. (HL5533)

Average earnings are estimated from the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE), and are provided for full-time employees on adult rates whose pay for the survey period was not affected by absence.
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This is the standard definition used for ASHE. The ASHE does not collect data on the self-employed and people who do unpaid work.

I attach a table showing average gross weekly earnings by government office region for the year 2005 for all full-time employees on adult rates. These statistics are already published on the National Statistics website at

The ASHE, carried out in April each year, is the most comprehensive source of earnings information in the United Kingdom. It is a one per cent sample of all employees who are members of pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) schemes.
Gross weekly(£) pay for full-time employee jobs1 by place of work

United Kingdom431517
Yorkshire and the
East Midlands407469
West Midlands403476
Northern Ireland387452

1 Employees on adult rates whose pay for the survey pay-period was not affected by absence.

Guide to quality: the coefficient of variation (CV) indicates the quality of a figure, the smaller the CV value the higher the quality.

The true value is likely to lie within +/- twice the CV eg: for an average of 200 with a CV of 5 per cent, we would expect the population average to be within the range 180 to 220.

All the figures on this table have a CV of less than 5 per cent.

The median replaces the mean as the headline statistic. The weighted mean is the sum of the weighted values divided by the sum of the weights. The median is the value below which 50 per cent. of employees fall. It is preferred over the mean for earnings data as it is influenced less by extreme values and because of the skewed distribution of earnings data.

Source: Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, Office for National Statistics.

NHS: Funding

Lord McColl of Dulwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Warner): In 2006-07, the priority will be to restore financial balance in the National Health Service. The
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purpose of strategic health authority (SHA) reserves is to act as a mechanism to help achieve this objective. SHAs have the responsibility to develop and implement a service and financial strategy for managing the financial position within their locality. They will develop this with primary care trusts (PCTs) and NHS trusts in their area. This will include creating local reserves to deal with local problems. The size of the reserves and the contribution from each PCT will vary according to local circumstances, but the underlying principle will be fairness. Where local reserves are established we expect:

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