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Iraq: Airbridge

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:



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The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Drayson): The C-130J Hercules are deployed on Operation TELIC for intra-theatre transport. Civilian charter aircraft fly the strategic airbridge to theatre and link with the Hercules, which complete the final leg of the airbridge into Iraq. All C-130J Hercules deployed in this role are fitted with defensive measures.

The Tristar are used for the airbridge to Afghanistan but are not used as part of the airbridge to Iraq. Work continues on the fitting of defensive measures to aircraft in the Tristar fleet. The majority of the RAF Tristars are now fitted with defensive measures. All Tristars that fly the Afghanistan airbridge are fitted with defensive measures.

Iraq: Withdrawal

Lord Dykes asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Drayson): The UK is currently in Iraq at the request of the democratically elected Government of Iraq as authorised by United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1723. We remain committed to assisting the Iraqi Government and people in building a stable and secure nation for the future.

Military commanders in theatre and at the Permanent Joint Headquarters in the UK keep the operational situation and intelligence picture in theatre under constant review. Intelligence and operational information feeds the planning process, which takes into account current and predicted trends.

In the event that conditions on the ground required a withdrawal, there are contingencies available to military commanders. These include the use of the theatre reserve force and the ability to reassign assets as required.

Litigation

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

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): There is no provision for any costs in either civil or family cases brought in the public interest to be met out of central funds (the

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DCA budget which covers costs awarded to non-legally aided defendants who are acquitted in criminal cases).

Funding may be available from the CLS fund (legal aid) in judicial review cases. This is subject to tests of means and merits. The existence of a wider public interest in the outcome is a factor considered in the merits test.

The costs of the judge and the court in civil and family cases are generally covered by fee income. This is calculated on average cost across civil and family business as a whole and there are no specific fees or fee concessions for public interest cases.

In 2005-06, court fees across civil and family represented 79 per cent of the total cost. The remaining part of the cost not covered by fees is met by the general taxpayer as part of the resource budget of DCA. The taxpayer's contribution is made up of potential fee income forgone under the system of exemptions and remissions, and fees that are currently set well below full-cost levels.

Manchester

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education and Skills (Lord Adonis): In the 2005 Annual Population Survey, 22.1 per cent of working-age residents in Manchester had no qualifications. The table below shows how this compares with wider geographical areas:

Geographical areaProportion of working-age residents with no qualifications

Manchester1

22.1 per cent

Greater Manchester2

17.8 per cent

North-west3

17.0 per cent

England

14.1 per cent

1. Local education authority
2. Learning and Skills Council area
3. Government Office region

Olympic Games 2012: English Regions

Lord Luke asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: The Secretary of State's statement to the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee on 21 November 2006 that investment will

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be made by the regions as a result of the 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games referred to the plan that each region is currently pulling together to prioritise how they intend to maximise the benefits of the 2012 Games for their businesses and communities and to ensure that the Games deliver a lasting social, environmental, economic and health legacy.

A nations and regions group, chaired by Charles Allen, brings together representatives from every region and nation to drive forward work in this area.

Olympic Games: Special Purpose Vehicles

Lord Luke asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: There has been no such “vehicle” created for the sport of boxing. Funding is currently channelled through the Amateur Boxing Association of England (ABAE) and it is planned that this will be the formal route once final agreement between the British body and the ABAE has been reached. To support investment into the GB performance programme within the ABAE, UK Sport, the Government's lead agency for high-performance sport, has created a performance management group, the membership of which includes Sir Clive Woodward, director of elite performance at the British Olympic Association.

UK Sport has created a temporary subsidiary body to administer and manage its investment into the sport of basketball. This was necessary as two competing governing bodies were unable to determine which had jurisdiction of the British team. The decision to create the body—now known as British Performance Basketball (BPB)—was taken by the UK Sport board at its November 2006 meeting. Both governing bodies consented to the establishment of BPB. It is understood by all parties that this is a temporary solution and that responsibility will transfer back to the appropriately recognised British governing body when the issues within the sport have been resolved.

The British Olympic Association was consulted on this issue throughout the process, including ahead of the November UK Sport board meeting. However the decision to create a temporary subsidiary body lay with the UK Sport board.

Olympic Games: Winter 2010

Lord Luke asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: A total of £6 million of UK Sport's total world-class pathway programme investment has been allocated to fund and support our winter Olympic and Paralympic ambitions through to Vancouver 2010. This investment is separate from the investment announced to support summer Olympic and Paralympic sport through to 2012. In addition, between 30 and 40 TASS scholarships of up to £10,000 each are currently being finalised with winter sport athletes for the year 2007-08.

Pay

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: The information requested falls within the responsibilities of the National Statistician, who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, National Statistician, to Lord Laird, dated 19 March 2007.

As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question to ask what the current average wage is in (a) Northern Ireland, and (b) the United Kingdom. (HL2600)

Average earnings are estimated from the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) and are provided for full-time employees on adult rates whose pay for the survey period was not affected by absence. This is the standard definition used for the ASHE. The ASHE does not collect data on the self-employed and people who do unpaid work.

I attach tables showing average gross weekly earnings for 2006 for all full-time employees on adult rates. These statistics are already published on the National Statistics website at: www.statistics.gov.uk/StatBase/Product.asp?vlnk=13101.

The ASHE, carried out in April of each year, is the most comprehensive source of earnings information in the United Kingdom. It is a 1 per cent sample of all employees who are members of pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) schemes.



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Gross weekly (£) pay for full-time employee jobsa by place of work
MedianMean

United Kingdom

447

537

Northern Ireland

405

472

a Employees on adult rates whose pay for the survey pay period was not affected by absence.
Guide to quality:
The coefficient of variation (CV) indicates the quality of a figure; the smaller the CV value, the higher the quality.
The true value is likely to lie within +/- twice the CV—e.g. for an average of 200 with a CV of 5 per cent, we would expect the population average to be within the range 180 to 220.
All the figures on this table have a CV of less than 5 per cent.
The median replaces the mean as the headline statistic. The weighted mean is the sum of the weighted values divided by the sum of the weights. The median is the value below which 50 per cent of employees fall. It is preferred over the mean for earnings data as it is influenced less by extreme values and because of the skewed distribution of earnings data.
Source: Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, Office for National Statistics.

Schools: Reading and Writing

Lord Bilimoria asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education and Skills (Lord Adonis): In England, attainment at the end of key stage 2 is measured by national curriculum tests. These tests are a measure of achievement against the precise attainment targets of the national curriculum rather than any generalised concept of ability in any of the subject areas. The national curriculum standards have been designed so that most pupils will progress by approximately one level every two years. By the end of key stage 2, pupils are expected to achieve level 4 in the core subjects of English, mathematics and science. Assessment in English covers both reading and writing.

In 2006, a total of 594,100 pupils were eligible for assessment in English at the end of key stage 2. Of these pupils, 122,800 (21 per cent) did not reach the target level 4. This includes 4,300 pupils absent from the test and 500 pupils unable to access the test.

Assessment in Wales is a matter for the Welsh Assembly.

Solicitors: Conditional Fee Agreements

Lord Lofthouse of Pontefract asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): The conditional fee agreements (CFAs) regime was reviewed in 2004. This resulted in the changes introduced on 1 November 2005, when the regulations governing CFAs were revoked and the professional rules of conduct and client care code, which solicitors must comply with, were amended by the Law Society.

The professional rules require solicitors to act in the best interest of their clients including informing them about any interest that solicitors may have in

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recommending insurance. The current rule on receipts of commission by third parties requires solicitors to disclose to their clients any commission received of more than £20, which they may retain only with their client’s agreement. Any solicitor who does not comply with the rules could face disciplinary action.

Sport: Medicine

Lord Luke asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: UK Sport's sports science and sports medicine fast-track practitioners programme is a partnership with the national governing bodies of sport, with the remit to improve the delivery of key sports science and sports medicine services to high-performance athletes. It aims to develop a pool of elite practitioners, ensuring that we have a sufficient number as we move towards 2012 and beyond.

Two UK Sport employees co-ordinate the programme as part of their wider responsibilities. There are also a further eight course tutors drawn from various partner organisations, including the British Olympic Association and the British Paralympic Association. Of the tutors, one is qualified to doctorate level.

The budget for the programme in 2006-07 is £380,000.

Lord Luke asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: UK Sport has not received any requests from Olympic governing bodies to establish the range of programmes mentioned. Rather, the provision by UK Sport of these programmes was contained within UK Sport's successful submission for funding to provide high-performance support to Olympic and Paralympic governing bodies in the build-up to London 2012.


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