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Source: Annual Population Survey July 2005 to June 2006.

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

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

Letter from Karen Dunnell, National Statistician, to Lord Morris of Manchester, dated 22 March 2007.

As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your recent Question asking what is the difference in life expectancy between Manchester and the national average. (HL2639).

Life-expectancy figures are calculated as three-year rolling averages. The period life expectancy at birth1 in the Manchester local authority in 2003-052,3 (the latest period available) was four years less than the UK figure for males and three years less for females.

National Lottery: Awards for All

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has received a range of correspondence from the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) and other voluntary-sector organisations representing their views on this issue.

However, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport made an announcement on 15 March regarding the diversion of funding from the Big Lottery Fund to the Olympics. This confirmed the transfer of £425 million after 2009 from the Big Lottery Fund. No existing lottery project need be affected. The department has agreed with the Big Lottery Fund that resources for the voluntary sector will be protected and will continue to receive £2 billion from the Big Lottery Fund between now and 2012.

Pensioners: Housing Benefit

Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): Under our proposed pension reforms, more people will receive a more generous state pension, providing a solid foundation for private saving. The proportion of pensioners entitled to housing benefit is, therefore, expected to be reduced over time. Housing benefit will continue to provide important targeted support for those who would otherwise struggle to be in decent accommodation.

This would be true of any pension system. Under a flat-rate universal pension, set at the level of the guarantee credit and uprated by earnings, around 12 per cent of elderly benefit units would still be entitled to housing benefit in 2050.

Entitlement projections are shown in the table below. Long-term projections of entitlement to housing benefit such as these are subject to inevitable uncertainty, including future patterns of owner occupation, household formation and private saving. In particular, the assumptions behind the projections do not include potential increases in private saving due to the proposed policy of auto-enrolment into occupational pensions or personal accounts.



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Housing benefit entitlement: proportion of elderly benefit units
Entitlement

2005-06

21 per cent to 22 per cent

2012-13

18 per cent to 20 per cent

2020-21

16 per cent to 17 per cent

2030-31

14 per cent to 15 per cent

2040-41

14 per cent to 15 per cent

2050-51

15 per cent to 16 per cent

The projections are estimated by a different method from that used to obtain pension credit entitlement figures. The latter are taken from the DWP's dynamic microsimulation model Pensim2, which is particularly well suited to long-term projections of entitlement to income-related benefits. However, Pensim2 cannot currently be used to forecast entitlement to housing benefit. Entitlement to housing benefit has been derived using the policy simulation model, a robust but less complex model. Care should therefore be taken when interpreting these projections alongside those for pension credit.

Notes:

1. These projections assume that housing benefit policies as they stand at 2007-08, the end of the current planning period, continue indefinitely.

2. The projections also take into account the reforms to the state pension system proposed in the Pensions Bill, which will affect pensioner housing benefit entitlement: continued earnings uprating of the standard guarantee credit; the savings credit maximum uprated by earnings from 2008 and then by prices from 2015; earnings uprating of the basic state pension from 2012; and measures to improve coverage of state pensions described in the Pensions Bill introduced from 2010.

3. Estimates do not take into account the potential increases in private saving due to auto-enrolment or personal accounts.

4. Entitlement to housing benefit is as a result of being in rented accommodation and either having qualifying income below the relevant threshold or being “passported” as a result of entitlement to another benefit. In the case of pensioners, the guarantee element of pension credit offers automatic entitlement to housing benefit. Currently, around 84 per cent to 87 per cent of the elderly housing benefit-entitled population are also entitled to some element of pension credit.

5. Elderly cases are defined as single people over female state-pension age or couples where at least one partner is over female state-pension age.

6. Estimates cover all elderly cases in the private household population in Great Britain. The data source is the Family Resources Survey.

7. Entitlement figures are calibrated against caseloads in 2004-05 using the National Statistics publication Income Related Benefits—Estimates of Take-Up in 2004-2005.

8. Estimates of the numbers entitled are given as ranges in order to account for possible biases in estimates from data that are less than perfect. They also take account of the effects of sampling variation. It is assumed that the size of this range remains constant in future years relative to the changing proportion of eligible elderly households.



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Qualifications and Curriculum Authority

Lord Northbourne asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education and Skills (Lord Adonis): The information requested will be placed in the Libraries.

Railways: Automatic Train Protection

Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: I am not aware of any estimate of the costs associated with decommissioning British Rail’s automatic train protection system on the great western mainline network.

Rally Ireland

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has agreed in principle that the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) should join with Fáilte Ireland in part-sponsorship funding for the 2007 Rally Ireland event. The final amount will be subject to the approval of a fully costed business case.

The route of the rally has not been finalised. Therefore, the part of the event that will take place in County Fermanagh has not yet been determined.

Sport: Northern Ireland Stadiums

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: The Government have not been approached by the Irish Football Association (IFA) to provide funding for the repair of Windsor Park football ground. However, Ministers have recently agreed to a request from the IFA to discuss a number of issues relating to soccer, including the future of Windsor Park.



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Sudan: Darfur

Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): The African Union (AU) understands the operational constraints on the capacity of the AU Mission in Sudan (AMIS). It was at the forefront of international calls for the UN to play a more active role in peacekeeping in Darfur, which led to UN Security Council Resolution 1591. The UN is working with the AU to deploy a heavy support package, which will include logistics and other support functions and a full hybrid UN/AU force, which we want to be fully funded through the UN. Rwandan troops are a key troop contributor to AMIS and they are doing an excellent job. We want them to remain and become a key contributor to the AU/UN hybrid force.

The UK is one of the largest bilateral donors to AMIS, and is funding troop payments for AMIS through the AU. More broadly, we are working actively with other partners in trying to improve the AU's long-term planning and operational management capacity.

Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Triesman: The UN Human Rights Council (HRC) mission to Sudan issued a damning report on 12 March, confirming what we already knew about the grave human rights situation in Darfur. The Organisation of Islamic Conference, and some Asian states, said that the council should not discuss the report on procedural grounds because the mission had not gone to Sudan. In statements to the council, my right honourable friend the Minister of State for Trade, Investment and Foreign Affairs, Ian McCartney, and the UK Permanent Representative to the HRC have called on it to take effective action on Darfur and not become mired in procedural debates. We do not accept that the mission report is not valid, as the mission failed to go to Sudan. The Government of Sudan reneged on their commitment to co-operate with the mission and refused to grant visas to all members of the mission, so, rightly, none of the members went. The report is based on the assessments of

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UN humanitarian agencies, the African Union in Addis Ababa and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in eastern Chad. All of these organisations, which have large numbers of staff operating in Darfur and eastern Chad, continue to report an appalling human rights and humanitarian situation there. We will continue to press the HRC-to take forward the recommendations in the report.

Taiwan: Direct Flights

Lord Kilclooney asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: Flights between the UK and non-EU states operate under the terms of bilateral air services agreements. In addition, all non-EU airlines require the permission of the Secretary of State for Transport to operate in the UK in accordance with Article 138 of the Air Navigation Order 2005.

Her Majesty’s Government do not recognise Taiwan as a sovereign state and do not have an air services agreement with it. Air services between the UK and Taiwan are currently operated under the terms of an arrangement between the Taipei Airlines Association and British Airways plc. The Secretary of State has permitted China Airlines (Taiwan) and Eva Air to operate in the UK.

Under the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation, contracting states may designate airports for international air services. Two airports in Taiwan are recognised by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) for regular international services. Such designations are made by the People’s Republic of China, as Taiwan is not a member of the ICAO.

Waterways Ireland

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: There are no current proposals to reorganise the structure of Waterways Ireland. However, Waterways Ireland, with the approval of both the sponsoring departments, let a tender for a review of the organisational structure in Waterways Ireland, and the contract was awarded to Deloitte on 28 December 2006. The review is ongoing.



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Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: I understand from Waterways Ireland that the proposal to provide a replacement slipway in Bagenalstown is undergoing design. Whether the project will be carried out in-house or by contract has yet to be determined.

Selection of contractors is at all times carried out in accordance with the Waterways Ireland financial memorandum.



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