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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): The decision on when to transfer responsibility for security in each of Iraq's 18 provinces is taken jointly by the Multi-National Force - Iraq (MNF-I) and the Government of Iraq, on the basis of monthly provincial security transition assessments (PSTAs). Transition readiness assessments are a part of the PSTAs and are carried out for individual services such as the Iraqi Army or police, rather than for provinces as a whole.
The PSTAs are reviewed by the combined Iraqi and coalition Joint Committee to Transfer Security Responsibility, before a final decision on whether a province is ready to transfer to Iraqi security control is taken at the Iraqi Ministerial Council for National Security.
The criteria used in the assessments are: first, the capabilities of the Iraqi security forces; secondly, the threat level; thirdly, the Iraqi governance capacity, and, fourthly, the capabilities of MNF-I to re-intervene at the request of the Iraqis. To date, three Iraqi provinces have met the criteria necessary for the transfer of security: Muthanna; Dhi Qar; and Najaf.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): That is a matter for the Israeli Government to raise with the European Commission should they wish to do so.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): Legal aid is available for civil or criminal proceedings in England and Wales without reference to nationality or residence. It is for the courts to determine whether it is appropriate for proceedings to take place in this jurisdiction, taking into account the location of the events concerned.
The Legal Services Commission has no powers to fund cases that relate to the laws of countries other than England and Wales, unless issues that arise from a case affect the law of England and Wales. Legal aid is not available for foreign nationals who face criminal proceedings in respect of alleged offences committed abroad. This policy is consistent with other EU member countries.
The Lord Chancellor has the power to specify that cases involving the application of laws outside England and Wales may be funded if they relate to obligations imposed on the UK by international agreements.
Lord Davies of Oldham: Copies of the Independent Licensing Fees Review Panel's final report were placed in the Libraries on 25 January. We are assessing the implications of all the panel's detailed conclusions and recommendations and will provide a response shortly. Before reaching a final decision about implementing any changes to the fees regime and related issues, we will undertake a full public consultation so that licence payers, local authorities and the public can help to inform future policy.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): The term green mortgage is taken by the Government to refer to an evolving range of lending packages that may have different outcomes but that share the ultimate objective of reducing the negative impact on the environment.
Baroness Andrews: This is a developing market in which there are currently a small range of lending packages that aim to reduce the negative impact on the environment available. The Government are working with the industry to promote the development of innovative solutions in this field.
Baroness Andrews: The Government are keen to investigate the development of green mortgages in partnership with the industry. Ultimately it will be for the industry to decide exactly what solutions it decides to offer in this field.
Further to the comments by Lord Davies of Oldham on 5 December 2006 (Official Report, col. 1054) that the Government expect all rolling stock to be fitted with toilet retention tanks by 2020, whether the decision of First Great Western not to do so during the current refurbishment of its high-speed train stock will mean that this target will be missed. [HL2218]
Lord Bassam of Brighton: The decision not to fit retention tanks is in line with the 2020 deadline, as the current refurbishment of the First Great Western high-speed train stock is intended to provide a life extension of 10 years to support the current franchise services until the introduction into service of the Inter-City Express fleet before 2020.
A procurement announcement for the Inter-City Express will be made in March this year, and it is anticipated that all First Great Western high-speed trains will have been replaced before 2020 with new rolling stock that includes retention tanks.
The refurbishment programme for the First Great Western high-speed train rolling stock is intended to provide a 10-year life extension to support services during the current franchise until the introduction of their replacement, the Inter-City Express. Work to fit toilet retention tanks to the existing rolling stock would require increased train weight and major structural modifications that cannot be justified as part of this life extension programme.
Lord Bassam of Brighton: Modern high-speed trains such as Pendolinos, Adelantes, Voyagers and Meridians were built with retention tanks. Those train operators that utilise older British Rail designed, diesel-powered trains with Mark III coaches have not fitted toilet retention tanks, pending their replacement by new modern trains before 2020 as part of the Inter-City Express programme.
Lord Bassam of Brighton: The code of practice was adopted for new rolling stock only and was not intended to be applied retrospectively. In future, new trains and trains undergoing major refurbishment will require retention toilets in order to comply with European standards (TSIstechnical standards for interoperability). These European standards include the definition of major.
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Davies of Oldham on 22 February (WA 276), in what forum Ministers are personally accountable to Parliament for the disciplining of special advisers; and whether they will set out the procedure, process and timetable for the disciplining of such advisers; and [HL2306]
Lord Davies of Oldham: National Lottery funding is distributed to athletes in two ways. Indirectly, they receive the benefit of the substantial investment made by UK Sport in the world-class performance programmes of sporting national governing bodies (NGBs) to support their training and competition needs.
Lottery money is also distributed directly to athletes via UK Sport's athlete personal awards (APAs). In 2006 APA payments totalled £6,768,282, with 769 individual athletes receiving support during the year. Podium APA payments were made to 506 athletes and development APA payments to 263 athletes.
Given the number of athletes who received an APA, it is not possible to say how much each athlete received. By way of illustration, the annual average total of an APA is £6,783 at development level and £16,300 at podium level. However, as athletes are selected for and removed from the APA system by the NGBs at different times throughout the year, not all athletes received APAs for a full calendar year.
|Total Payments||Total Athletes Supported||Podium Athletes||Development Athletes|
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