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The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): My honourable friend the Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Nationality (Liam Byrne) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
On 11 October the Prime Minister announced that the policy on applications for naturalisation as a British citizen from members of the British Armed Forces was being reviewed (Official Report, col. 298). I am pleased to announce that the review is now complete.
In most cases the Secretary of State will now be prepared to exercise his discretion under the British Nationality Act 1981 to disregard absences from the United Kingdom occasioned by service in the British Armed Forces when considering whether the applicant is residentially qualified for naturalisation.
Serving members of the Brigade of Gurkhas will continue to be treated in accordance with our longstanding agreement with the Government of
22 Nov 2006 : Column WS54
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Margaret Beckett) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
Subject to parliamentary approval of any necessary supplementary estimate, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office departmental expenditure limit (DEL) will be increased by £62,281,000, from £1,816,520,000 to £1,878,801,000. The administration budget will be increased by £29,341,000, from £862,101,000 to £891,442,000. Within the DEL change, the impact on resources and capital is set out in the following table.
|Change £000||New DEL £000|
|*The total of administration budget and near-cash in resource DEL figures may well be greater than total resource DEL, due to the definitions overlapping.|
|**Capital DEL includes items treated as resource in estimates and accounts but which are treated as capital DEL in budgets.|
|***Depreciation, which forms part of resource DEL, is excluded from the total DEL, since capital DEL includes capital spending, and to include depreciation of those assets would lead to double counting.|
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): My right honourable friend the Minister for Housing and Planning has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
Today the Government are publishing the Thames Gateway interim plan. It is a statement of common purpose by the members of the Thames Gateway Strategic Partnership, which I chair as Minister for Housing and Planning. The interim plan sets out the opportunities and priorities for delivery over the next few years, including:economic and employment opportunities in the key transformational locations: Canary Wharf, Ebbsfleet Valley, the Olympic site/Stratford City and the gateway ports cluster, and in the town centres, aiming to create the conditions for 180,000 new jobs;housing to accommodate the regions growing workforce and improve conditions for current residents in 160,000 well designed new homes;environmental opportunity, through the creation of the Thames gateway parklands and new approaches to addressing climate change; and community opportunity, through investment in education and training, better quality public services and support for inclusive communities.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): My honourable friend the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Kim Howells) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
In his reply on 14 May 2002 to a Question from my honourable friend the Member for Conwy (Betty Williams), my honourable friend the then Minister for Europe (Denis MacShane) stated that details of the eradication programme, maps and a video relating to the 2002 Afghan opium poppy eradication programme would be placed in the House of Commons Library.
As my honourable friend the Member for Newport West (Paul Flynn) has pointed out, this information was not placed in the Library at the time. Having now concluded our search for all information relevant to the 2002 programme, I can confirm that we no longer hold the specific material originally referred to by Dr MacShane. I apologise that we are therefore unable to provide this to the House of Commons Library. We have, however, placed excerpts from official correspondence relating to the 2002 programme in the House of Commons Library. This information has been the subject of a separate freedom of information request.
The Government propose to introduce legislation in the 2007 Finance Bill to take effect from 22 November 2006, in response to disclosures of schemes which undermine the effectiveness of legislation enacted in the Finance Act 2006.
The legislation will prevent companies from exploiting a mismatch in definitions of ownership of a company or manipulating the balance-sheet value of assets to reduce or cancel the effect of the 2006 legislation.
Schedule 10 to the Finance Act 2006 targeted sales to loss-making groups of lessor companies that were about to become tax profitable. The sales turned an acceptable tax-timing advantage into an unacceptable permanent deferral of tax. The legislation gave a clear signal that this was not acceptable. The disclosures show that some groups are willing to enter into contrived schemes to side-step the 2006 legislation.
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