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Lord Davies of Oldham: We have no plans to amalgamate UK Sport and Sport England. UK Sport is responsible for delivering success in high-performance sport and developing elite athletes, and Sport England is responsible for encouraging greater participation in community sport.
Lord Rooker: Information on the cost implications of implementing an Irish language Act is being compiled for the purposes of a consultation paper, which the Government plan to publish before Christmas.
Why recruitment advertisements were placed in the Belfast Telegraph on 17 November for the reorganised Water Service in Northern Ireland before the outcome of a current judicial review is known. [HL206]
You recently asked Her Majesty's Government a Parliamentary Question about why recruitment advertisements were placed in the Belfast Telegraph on 17 November for the reorganised Water Service in Northern Ireland before the outcome of a current judicial review was known (HL206). As this issue falls within my responsibility as chief executive of the Water Service, I have been asked to reply.
The outcome of the judicial review on the water reform legislation would have had no effect on the need for the posts advertised in the Belfast Telegraph on 17 November 2006. These posts are considered crucial to the delivery by the Water Service of the improved efficiency and cost reductions required under the water reform agenda. The successful applicants will assist the Water Service in providing a value-for-money service, which will ensure that charges to customers are kept to a minimum.
Lord Rooker: The legal costs to the Department for Regional Development arising as a result of the application for judicial review brought by the General Consumer Council for Northern Ireland have been estimated at £125,000.
How the figure of £85 million to £90 million which would be lost if the water charges reform in Northern Ireland is not implemented by next April (as outlined in a press release from the Department for Regional Development on 21 November) was calculated. [HL368]
Lord Rooker: The estimate of £85 million to £90 million which would be lost in 2007-08 was based on the latest available estimate of the revenue to be recovered directly from customers through the new charges.
Whether they propose to accept the advice of the Committee on the Preparation for Government in Northern Ireland to leave the issue of water charging to the Northern Ireland Assembly to be elected in March 2007. [HL369]
Lord Rooker: My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland wrote to the Committee on the Programme for Government on 28 November advising that he did not accept its recommendation for a deferral in the passage of the draft water and sewerage services legislation. He has advised the committee of the fundamental importance of water reform to the Governments ongoing radical programme of investment and reform of Northern Ireland's public services, and of the Governments intention to proceed with plans to introduce the new arrangements, including domestic water and sewerage charges, from 1 April 2007.
Whether they will reconsider proposals in the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Bill, relating to looted antiquities and Nazi-looted works of art, to ensure that they will not prevent the rightful owners of the works of art from recovering their stolen property if it is displayed in British institutions. [HL316]
Lord Davies of Oldham: The proposals in the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Bill granting protection to cultural objects on loan have now been introduced into the House of Lords and will be subject to the usual parliamentary scrutiny. The Government will listen very carefully to all points made in the debates on these provisions and will consider whether they will achieve an appropriate balance between the interests of British museums and galleries and the interests of claimants to stolen property.
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