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For criminal legal aid, a different system is in place. From 2 October 2006, where the proceedings are in the magistrates' court, the defendant must satisfy a new means test. An individual is financially eligible for a representation order if his gross annual income, adjusted to take account of any partner or children, is £11,590 or less, and ineligible if it is £20,740 or more. Those applicants whose adjusted income falls within the two thresholds are subject to a more detailed assessment of their disposable income in order to determine their financial eligibility under the new

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scheme. Legal aid applications for defendants appearing before the Crown Court are not currently means-tested.

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Ashton of Upholland: The information is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

EU: Development Policy Funds

Lord Dykes asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Amos): The UK is on track to deliver on its official development assistance (ODA) commitments and reach 0.7 per cent GNI. The delivery of EU commitments will be formally monitored by the EU and by the OECD DAC. We are working with other partners to encourage all the EU member states to have plans in place to reach their respective aid volume targets. The General Affairs External Relations Council (GAERC) in May and the June European Council will provide opportunities to highlight the progress towards the 2010 target. We are working with civil society groups in the UK and internationally to create support for accountability to the EU processes and to create domestic pressure in member states. The UK will focus on the key aid deliverables such as education, health and aid for trade to encourage EU states to increase their ODA and reach the 0.7 per cent target.

Fishing: Drift Nets

Lord Kimball asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): The fishery at Strathy Point operates bag nets, not drift nets. Drift-net fishing has been unlawful in Scotland since 1962. However, the lease of the salmon fishery at Strathy expires in November 2007, and the Scottish Executive, who own the fishing rights at Strathy, have decided not to renew the lease.



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Immigration: New Asylum Model

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): Our targets are to conclude (grant or remove) within six months of application: 35 per cent of new asylum applications by April 2007; 40 per cent by December 2007; 60 per cent by December 2008; 75 per cent by December 2009; and 90 per cent by December 2011.

Immigration: Treatment of Claimants

Lord Roberts of Llandudno asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): We intend that the report will be published in the next few months.

Lord Roberts of Llandudno asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: We continue to explore ways to encourage unsuccessful asylum-seeking families to return home as we implement our new asylum model and new regional structures. Voluntary returns are preferable to enforced returns. However, if people do not leave voluntarily, we will seek to enforce their return.

Lord Roberts of Llandudno asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Information will be included in the Section 9 pilot evaluation report when it is published.

Lord Roberts of Llandudno asked Her Majesty's Government:



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Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Information will be included in the Section 9 pilot evaluation report when it is published.

Lord Roberts of Llandudno asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Information will be included in the evaluation report when it is published. The response of the immigration Minister (Liam Byrne) to Annette Brooke MP (PQ 108864, 11/12/06) estimated that 30 families had had their asylum support withdrawn under Schedule 3 to the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002.

Lord Roberts of Llandudno asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Yes. Sections 17 or 20 of the Children Act 1989 provide a legal framework for a local authority to support children if parents fail to take appropriate steps to leave the United Kingdom, and if necessary to avoid a breach of a person's European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) rights.

Lord Roberts of Llandudno asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The cohort of families on whom the Section 9 provision was tested had been unsuccessful in their asylum claims and had been found not to be in need of international protection. Were IND to be informed of any healthcare issues at the time of removal, these would be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Information Systems: DfID

Lord Harris of Haringey asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Amos): Malicious code has been identified on DfID computers on 10 different occasions in the last year, affecting one computer in each case. It took between 10 and 90 minutes to remove the programs concerned. In all cases, the users could sign on to another machine and continue working, so the impact on DfID's activities was low.

DfID does not publish information about penetration tests, on grounds of security.

DfID's management board has considered the corporate risk register on three occasions in the past year and has been satisfied that there are currently no information risks among DfID's top risks. Information risks are monitored at regular meetings of the appropriate board sub-committee.

Information Systems: Treasury

Lord Harris of Haringey asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: On no occasion in the last year have malicious programmes compromised Treasury computer systems. In the calendar year 2006, every information system was independently tested at least once. It would not be appropriate on grounds of security to publish the results. Information risk is considered by the Treasury's audit committee at quarterly intervals.

International Development: Azad Kashmir Earthquake

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Amos): DfID committed £54 million in rapid humanitarian relief, including on essential supplies for shelter, health, and water and sanitation for families affected by the earthquake. A further £70 million for reconstruction and rehabilitation has been committed. Most of this will be direct support for the highest priorities outlined by the Government of Pakistan, such as housing, social protection, health, education and livelihoods. DfID is supporting programmes through international organisations, including a disease early warning system (DEWS) to minimise the risks of any epidemics for earthquake-affected families, and work to strengthen social protection services for the most vulnerable families and individuals.

Precise figures are difficult to obtain in the post-disaster context, but estimates from the Government of Pakistan and international organisations are, for the earthquake areas as a whole, as follows:

(a) approximately 72,046 families (out of an anticipated total of 431,640) have now received the final tranche of compensation from the Government, which indicates that this number of people have completed or nearly completed the building of their homes;(b) according to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the UN, there are no accurate figures on the number of families sharing accommodation;(c) and (d) on the number living in temporary structures, IOM and the UN report that there are approximately 34,000 people currently residing in camps, either in tents or semi-permanent structures; and(e) IOM states that the number of people who have migrated from Pakistan-administered Kashmir is approximately 10 per cent of the 116,572 affected families.

This information is, to the best of our knowledge, an accurate assessment.

IRA

Lord Tebbit asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: The Independent Monitoring Commission’s 14th report is unequivocal and makes it clear that, while some of the structures remain in place, the Provisional IRA has abandoned terrorism and violence, and the deterioration of terrorist capability continues.



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Iraq: Airbridge

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Drayson): The Iraq airbridge is conducted by a combination of civilian charter and RAF air transport aircraft, with the RAF aircraft completing the final sector into Iraq. There has been disruption to both the charter and military sectors of the Iraq airbridge. Senior stakeholders drawn from MoD Headquarters, Permanent Joint Headquarters, Defence Supply Chain Operations and Movements and the front-line commands are actively engaged in making improvements to the airbridge.

Israel and Palestine: Abu Dis Boys School

Baroness Tonge asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): We are concerned about the impact of Israel's military operations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Israel, like all states, has the right to defend itself against terrorism. The UK condemns all forms of terrorism. However, Israel must ensure that its actions comply with international humanitarian law and minimise the impact on civilians. Our embassy in Tel Aviv regularly raises our concerns regarding the impact of military incursions in the West Bank with the Israeli Defence Forces.

We have not yet made a representation to the Government of Israel regarding events at the Abu Dis Boys School. Officials at our consulate-general in Jerusalem have arranged to visit the school in the coming weeks.

Legal Aid

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked Her Majesty's Government:



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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): The Legal Services Commission does not record cases; it records acts of assistance. These represent the various stages that a person may go through under legal aid, such as initial advice and assistance followed by representation in a civil court; this would score as two acts of assistance. Currently, around 38 per cent of acts of assistance are non-criminal. The amount spent on non-criminal legal aid (including immigration) and the proportion of total legal aid spend that this represented since 2000 are set out below:

Expenditure (£m)Proportion of total legal aid spend

2000-01

791

48%

2001-02

734

43%

2002-03

813

43%

2003-04

898

43%

2004-05

846

42%

2005-06

831

41%


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