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13 Mar 2007 : Column WA101

Written Answers

Tuesday 13 March 2007

Afghanistan: Peacekeeping

The Earl of Sandwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Drayson): From the start of operations in southern Afghanistan, the Government have made it clear that our overriding aim is to deliver reconstruction and development. All military activity seeks to support this aim. That message is delivered at every level in Afghanistan, whether on diplomatic channels, through troops on the ground or by interlocutors with provincial government, NGOs and the citizens of the country.

Alcohol

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): A range of literature has been produced in support of the Government's current Know Your Limits alcohol awareness campaign for young people under 25. This includes leaflets and posters, which are available for order from the department publications orderline, by phone, fax or via the dedicated campaign website at www.knowyourlimits.gov.uk. The literature has been promoted widely across National Health Service health promotion networks and other dedicated stakeholder networks; demand has been very high so far.

The need for material relating to a wider population will be considered as part of work on the review of the cross-government alcohol strategy.

Alcohol: Children

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:



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The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): Regular alcohol misuse enforcement campaigns led by the Home Office, in partnership with local trading standards departments, have targeted irresponsible retailers who sell alcohol to under-18s. They have demonstrated that enforcement can be effective. The Government also work with the alcohol industry to encourage it to fulfil its responsibilities and to carry out commitments not to sell alcohol to under-18s in industry codes of practice.

Protecting young people from alcohol misuse and educating children and their parents about the harms that alcohol may cause will be significant issues in the review of the Government’s alcohol strategy during 2007.

Armed Forces: Individual Harmony Guidelines

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Drayson): I refer the noble Lord to the Answer I gave him on 18 September 2006 (Official Report, col. WA 9). In all cases, the measures take some time to have a measurable effect on average rates of individual harmony breaches, although they have direct benefits for particular individuals; therefore, there has not yet been a significant change to the position since October 2006.

Armed Forces: South African Servicemen

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Drayson): The most recently available data for the number of South Africans serving in each of the services are shown in the following table.

Number of South Africans

Naval Service

60

Army

795

RAF

10

Naval Service data are at 6 October 2006.

Army data are at 1 January 2007.

RAF data are at 6 March 2006.

Figures for Naval Service and RAF do not include UK/South African dual nationals. The Army figure includes personnel whose first nationality is shown as South African.



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Figures are for UK regular forces and therefore include nursing services and exclude full-time reserve service personnel, Gurkhas, the home service battalions of the Royal Irish Regiment and mobilised reservists. They include trained and untrained personnel.

British Coal Compensation

Lord Lofthouse of Pontefract asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Truscott): Complaints to the Law Society are confidential, and it would be inappropriate for me to divulge this information. When individual cases are referred to the department they are considered and, if appropriate, passed to the Law Society.

Lord Lofthouse of Pontefract asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Truscott: The Solicitors Regulation Authority has collected data from firms of solicitors which it has investigated. However, it is reliant on being informed of these practices; therefore, it is unlikely that an accurate total could ever be calculated.

Lord Lofthouse of Pontefract asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Truscott: No such assessment has been made. Going forward, consumer protection in this area has been enhanced by the Compensation Act 2006.

Lord Lofthouse of Pontefract asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Truscott: Following the decision in Myatt, all outstanding noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) costs claims have been reviewed. In many cases the department has compromised the claimants’ solicitors’ costs, which should have removed any impediment to the claimants receiving their damages. However in other cases the department has concluded that there remains an issue as to the reasonableness of the costs being claimed. Those cases are being progressed through the courts in the usual way.

Where a claimant has had his costs settled but has had moneys withheld by his solicitor, and he is dissatisfied with his solicitor’s conduct, he should either seek independent legal advice or refer the matter to the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Lord Lofthouse of Pontefract asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Truscott: The department and the Legal Complaints Service (LCS) are working together to find the best way to publicise the work that the LCS is undertaking on this issue. However, the Data Protection Act prevents the department passing claimants' details to the LCS.

Care Services

Lord Hanningfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The information requested is not collected centrally.



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Care Services: Funding

Lord Hanningfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): Representations will have been received across government from a number of groups, but this information is not held centrally.

The Government have provided significant investment in local services, including social care, since taking office. The total government grant has increased by 39 per cent in real terms since 1997.

We are working with local government to identify future pressures on local authorities and the ways in which they can be mitigated as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review 2007.

Climate Change

Lord Dykes asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Truscott): The British Antarctic Survey (BAS), a wholly owned research centre of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), is the major UK research contributor to International Polar Year (IPY) 2007-08. BAS is involved in 25 per cent of the 170 endorsed IPY science projects. In addition, all the data emerging from the BAS core research programme “Global Science in the Antarctic Context” (2005-10) can be mapped on to the science framework of the polar year. The BAS programme is explicitly addressing major concerns highlighted in the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports, such as ozone depletion, shrinking ice sheets and future sea-level changes. BAS scientists are major contributors to relevant chapters of IPCC reports and are expert reviewers.

Consultants: Defra

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 department does not record centrally the number of consultants engaged for each of the years 2001 to 2006. The information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

The guiding criterion has been, and remains, value for money from the use of consultants where it is appropriate and necessary to utilise them as an alternative to building in-house capacity in supporting the department's strategies and objectives, together with front-line service delivery.

Energy: Microgeneration

Lord Beaumont of Whitley asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Truscott): The Energy Saving Trust undertook a study on behalf of the DTI, Potential for Microgeneration: Study and Analysis, that examines possible scenarios for microgeneration uptake up to 2050. The long-term focus of the study means that the figures it provides are for 2030 and 2050 rather than for five years’ time.

We will be undertaking research this year, jointly with representatives of the microgeneration industry and other interested stakeholders, to build on the EST study and look at the potential contribution that microgeneration technologies could make to our energy needs.

Lord Beaumont of Whitley asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): My officials sent all English planning authorities a copy of the Written Ministerial Statement of 8 June 2006 on planning policy statement 22 (PPS22), which encouraged them to take account fully of the positive approach to renewables that it sets out. In doing so they emphasised that the Government expected authorities that had not yet taken steps to include such policies in their plans to do so at the next available opportunity. Government Offices are active in their regions in encouraging regional planning bodies and planning authorities to bring forward regional spatial strategies and local development documents in line with national policies.



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All inspectors who will examine development plan documents have had the Statement drawn to their attention and been made aware of the importance placed by government on the use of renewable energy. An inspector will check that the planning authority has prepared a development plan document legally and test whether it is sound. In doing so, the inspector will consider whether the document is consistent with national planning policy. After the examination, the inspector will produce a report, with recommendations that will be binding on the authority. Where necessary, the report will set out precise recommendations on how the document must be changed.


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