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Iraq: Basra

Lord Dykes asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): We are working both with the multinational forces and the Iraqi authorities to clarify the circumstances of this incident. We expect to reach shared conclusions on any lessons to be drawn from it in due course.

Iraq: Foreigners

Lord Dykes asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): The Iraqi Government want to see all their neighbours, and other states in the region, making a positive contribution to security, reconciliation and economic development in Iraq. We fully support that

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and share the Iraqi Government's concern that some of her neighbours have not provided such unambiguous support in recent years.

We welcome the clear commitment made by all those attending the 10 March meeting in Baghdad to support Iraq's sovereignty, independence, national unity and territorial integrity. We welcome the agreement to establish three working groups, one of which will address border security, and to hold a follow-up meeting at ministerial level.

Israel and Palestine: Quartet

Lord Turnberg asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): As my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary said in another place on 20 March, “We welcome the formation of the Government of national unity and we hope to see them move clearly in the direction of respect for the Quartet principles. We will judge not only their platform, but their actions in that respect”. (Official Report, col. 676). As we have made clear, we have always been willing to work with a government based on the quartet (EU, US, UN and Russia) principles. Now is the time for Hamas to demonstrate a commitment to peace. All members of the national unity Government (NUG) should support Palestinian President Abbas in taking forward the peace process with Israel. We want to see the NUG reinforce and extend the ceasefire, and bring law and order to Palestinian streets. We also want to see them help the early release of the abducted Israeli soldier Corporal Shalit.

Manchester

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, dated 27 March 2007.

As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your recent Question about the contribution that Manchester makes to the growth and prosperity of

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the economy of the North West of England and how this compares to the contribution made by other parts of the region. (HL2749)

The Office for National Statistics publishes regional gross value added using official statistical geographies known as Nomenclature of Units for Territorial Statistics (NUTS)1. Greater Manchester is one such NUTS area and its statistics can be compared to the other North West areas: Cumbria, Cheshire, Lancashire and Merseyside.

The measure of economic growth used by the ONS is growth of gross value added (GVA). Table 1 shows GVA for the North West and for each NUTS2 area within the North West. The latest available estimates are for 2004. This table indicates the level of economic activity in Greater Manchester as compared to the other North West areas. Table 2 shows annual growth for 2003 and 2004 in GVA for the same areas.

Regional GVA figures are only produced at current prices and do not allow for changes in prices over time (inflation) or differences in regional price levels (purchasing power). They do not, therefore, show growth in real or volume terms.

The full range of published regional GVA estimates are available on the ONS website: www.statistics.gov.uk/statbase/Product.asp?vlnk=14650.

Table 1
North West Regional Gross Value Added1
2003 (£m)2004 (£m)

North West

96 828

102 366

Cumbria

6 047

6 440

Cheshire

17 361

18 183

Greater Manchester

38 109

40 457

Lancashire

19 215

20 285

Merseyside

16 096

17 001

1 GVA at current basic prices


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Table 2
North West Regional Gross Value Added1 Percentage Change
GVA percentage change20032004

North West

5.4%

5.7%

Cumbria

6.6%

6.5%

Cheshire

4.2%

4.7%

Greater Manchester

5.8%

6.2%

Lancashire

5.1%

5.6%

Merseyside

5.7%

5.6%

1. GVA at current basic prices.
Note: The percentage change in Table 2 does not take account of changes in population which can be seen in Table 1 of your previous question (HL2635).

Murder: Northern Ireland

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: Since 1969 there have been 976 murders of security forces personnel in Northern Ireland. These victims were murdered as a result of 782 distinct incidents of which 537 incidents remain “unsolved”.

PSNI is fully committed to obtaining convictions in each and every case.

Police: Northern Ireland

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: I have been informed by the PSNI that its call grading policy (which is currently under review) grades calls into four categories as follows:

emergency response;normal response;scheduled response; and no attendance

PSNI's policy in respect of a call in which no attendance is appropriate is defined as:

an attendance of an officer is not required and the incident can be concluded by the person taking the call or the incident should be dealt with by an outside agency.

Further guidance on such calls states that they are to be resolved by telephone, using a problem-solving approach appropriate to the callers needs. Where the scenario of a call relates to a minor crime report where no investigation is possible, no attendance is required.

The PSNI will therefore attend all crime scenes except where it relates to a minor crime report where no investigation is possible.



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Post Offices

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Truscott): The Government support Post Office Ltd's management in its efforts to develop its range of financial service products, building on the company's success in this area and the Government's investment, which included £500 million for the Horizon project to bring computer systems into every post office throughout the UK.

Sub-postmasters and mistresses are private business people, contracted as agents on behalf of Post Office Ltd, and as such are free to develop their associated retail business and to enter into contracts with anyone they choose as long as the products provided are not in direct competition with key Post Office products.

Questions for Written Answer

Lord Tebbit asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): We endeavour to answer all Parliamentary Questions as quickly as possible. The department received more than 10,000 Parliamentary Questions in 2006 and we have established processes in place to deal with them. We are seeking to improve continuously on our performance and have set up an internal review to look at our processes, information technology, management and training.

Railways: Eurostar Kent Coast Services

Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty's Government:



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Lord Bassam of Brighton: The decision to suspend services is an operational matter for Network Rail as the owner and operator of the national rail infrastructure. For a response to his Question, the noble Lord should contact Network Rail’s chief executive at the following address: John Armitt, Chief Executive, Network Rail, 40 Melton Street, London, NW1 2EE.

Railways: Intercity Services

Lord Cotter asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: On 1 April 2006 the separate First Great Western, First Great Western Link and Wessex Trains franchises were combined to form the new Greater Western franchise. The former First Great Western provided intercity train services.

Nationally, performance data are published at a franchise level and not broken down in a more disaggregated level as it is at this level that the train operating companies are monitored. In February 2007 (the latest data available) First Great Western’s performance was 83.4 per cent (measured in the moving annual average of the public performance measure). I am not aware of any plans by Network Rail to change the method by which it records train operating companies’ performance.


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