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18 Dec 2006 : Column WA231

Written Answers

Monday 18 December 2006

Armed Forces: Ammunition

Lord Tebbit asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Drayson): No. All ammunition is bought to NATO standards and is subject to stringent testing and quality procedures, both when it is bought and at periods through its service life.

Lord Tebbit asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Drayson: No. The MoD did purchase 0.5 calibre heavy machine gun ammunition from its Canadian allies in Afghanistan, in June this year to overcome a weapons system issue that has now been resolved. This issue did not relate to the quality of the ammunition, however.

In August 2006, 81 mm mortars were purchased from the US in order to meet an urgent re-supply need. There were sufficient stocks in theatre but, on this occasion, supply from a US base was quicker and safer in the circumstances.

Armed Forces: Eurofighter Typhoon

Lord Garden asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Drayson): I am withholding the details of the current financial position of the Eurofighter Typhoon programme as it is commercially sensitive. The Committee of Public Accounts, which is responsible for examination of public expenditure, is fully aware of the project’s financial position as it was reported to it by the department in its Major Projects Report 2006.



18 Dec 2006 : Column WA232

Armed Forces: Pensions

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Drayson): All claims received under the ex-gratia scheme have been considered and determined, with the exception of one case which is currently with the department’s second-tier decision making authority (the Discretionary Awards Appeals Panel).

Arms Trade: Al Yamamah

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): The Government are in frequent and regular contact with the Government of Saudi Arabia as part of the normal conduct of our close bilateral relationship across a wide range of issues of mutual concern.

In view of the ongoing nature of the Serious Fraud Office investigations, it would not be appropriate to comment further.

BBC: Governors

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Evans of Temple Guiting: The chairman and other governors of the BBC are appointed by the Queen by Order in Council made under the BBC's royal charter, which does not contain an explicit duty of confidentiality. The interpretation and application of the law is a matter for the courts, but the Government consider that the general principles of the law of confidentiality impose an enforceable duty on a person not to disclose to a third party, in circumstances which would be regarded in law as improper, any information which he had acquired in his former capacity as a governor and which is recognised in law as confidential information.



18 Dec 2006 : Column WA233

Children: Walking and Cycling

Lord Greaves asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: The table below gives the percentage of trips to and from school by children aged five to 10 years and 11 to 16 years in England for which the main mode was walking or cycling. Figures are taken from the National Travel Survey in 2005 and 1995-97, the earliest year for which comparable data are available.

Percentage of trips to and from school by main mode, 1995-97—2005, England
1995-97 2005
Main mode5-10 years11-16 years5-10 years11-16 years

Walk

53

41

50

43

Bicycle

-

2

1

2

Climate Change: Fuel Duty

Lord Dykes asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord McKenzie of Luton: The Chancellor announced in his Pre-Budget Report statement an inflation-based rise in fuel duty, of 1.25 pence per litre. This was implemented from midnight on 6 December. Inflation increases are already factored into government forecasts for global warming and pollution targets and therefore this increase does not impact on these. However, if rates had been frozen, we forecast that carbon emissions would have been 0.16MtC higher in 2010-11 (or 0.15MtC higher on average over the next five years).

Common Agricultural Policy: Single Farm Payment

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:



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The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): The information technology computer systems for administering the single payment scheme (SPS) were delivered as part of the RPA change programme. The primary focus of the programme from January 2004 through to completion in May 2006 was delivery of the SPS scheme and associated IT. The average number of permanent RPA staff engaged on the overall change programme during this period was 184.

The RPA contracted Accenture to develop the IT systems required under the change programme. This covers development, support and ongoing maintenance of the systems. The total cost of the Accenture contract is expected to be £55.04 million over seven years (the contract ends on 31 December 2009). We do not have a figure for the total number of consultants who have been deployed by Accenture on the contract to date.

Courts: Sharia Law

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): Sharia law has no jurisdiction in England and Wales. There are, however, a number of Sharia councils in England and Wales that, on a private basis where the parties consent, deal with the mediation and resolution of personal and contractual disputes. These councils are not part of the court system. In all cases, parties will always have recourse to the UK courts.

Crime: Incident in Worsley, Greater Manchester

Lord Monson asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): This is an operational matter for the Chief Constable of the Greater Manchester Police.

Crime: Mental Health

Baroness Barker asked Her Majesty's Government:



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The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Warner): The Government have commissioned the national confidential inquiry into suicide and homicide by people with mental illness to examine all incidences of suicide and homicide by people in contact with mental health services in the United Kingdom. The inquiry’s latest report covering England and Wales, which was published on 4 December 2006, shows no clear evidence of either a rise or a fall in the number of homicides by people with mental illness. The report is available in the library and can be downloaded from http://www.medicine.manchester.ac.uk/suicideprevention/nci/.

Lord Monson asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): The Question appears to relate to Home Office data collected from police forces and the

18 Dec 2006 : Column WA236

courts. The most recently available figures were published in table 2.06 of Violent Crime Overview, Homicide and Gun Crime 2004/05 (HOSB 02/06). As of 28 November 2005, there were 953 offences currently recorded as homicide in England and Wales during the financial year 2002-03.

In 42 of these cases the apparent circumstance of the offence was classed as being an

included in the above publication as “suspect mentally disturbed”. However, as only one circumstance can be recorded per case, these figures do not include all those homicides committed by a suspect with mental health problems.

The Home Office also publishes annual data about persons managed under Mental Health Act powers, including those convicted of homicide. Latest published figures are in Statistics of Mentally Disordered Offenders 2004 (HOSB 22/05). In 2004 there were 99 homicide convictions resulting in suspects being detained under Part III of the Mental Health Act 1983. These figures cannot, however, be broken down to show the method of killing.

Offences currently recorded as homicide1 by apparent circumstances2 and method of killing, England and Wales, 2002-03
Circumstance
MethodTotalSuspect mentally disturbed3Other circumstances

Sharp instrument

266

14

252

Blunt instrument

47

4

43

Hitting, kicking, etc

147

7

140

Strangulation4

64

5

59

Shooting5

75

0

75

Explosion

4

2

2

Burning

22

5

17

Drowning

6

0

6

Poison or drugs6

201

1

200

Motor vehicle7

21

0

21

Other

51

4

47

Not known

49

0

49

Total

953

42

911

1 As at 28 November 2005; figures are subject to revision as cases are dealt with by the police and by the courts or as further information becomes available.
2 In a very small number of cases the circumstances of a homicide could be classified into more than one category and an assessment been made of the principal circumstances.
3 Offences included here relate to circumstances considered to be “irrational act carried out by apparently insane or disturbed suspect”.
4 Includes asphyxiation.
5 Includes shooting by crossbow.
6 Includes 172 victims of Dr Harold Shipman.
7 Excludes death by careless/dangerous driving and aggravated vehicle taking.

Lord Monson asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The Question appears to relate to Home Office data collected from police forces and the courts and the most recently available figures were published in table 2.06 of Violent Crime Overview, Homicide and Gun Crime 2004/05 (HOSB 02/06). As of 28 November 2005, there were 953 offences currently recorded as homicide in England and Wales during the financial year 2002-03.


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