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5 Jun 2007 : Column WA181

Written Answers

Tuesday 5 June 2007

Aggregate

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

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): Approximately 30 per cent of marine aggregates are for export. In 2006, 24.29 million tonnes (mt) of aggregate were dredged, 6.7mt (28 per cent) of which were exported.

Armed Forces: Casualty Reporting

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Drayson): The operating procedures for casualty reporting are extremely robust. However, they are continually reviewed to ensure that where appropriate best practice is applied in order they remain relevant to the requirements of the services and the needs of the next of kin.

Armed Forces: Medical Services

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Drayson): A contract for this works project was awarded by the University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHBFT) in late April. Work started on 14 May and progress has been monitored by UHBFT and staff at the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine. I am advised that the project will be completed shortly. The main change to the configuration of the ward will be the partitioning off of two six-bedded bays and two isolation rooms. Military patients will be nursed together in that part of the ward when it is clinically appropriate to do so.

Armed Forces: Personnel

Lord Steinberg asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Drayson): The Ministry of Defence intends to make good personnel shortfalls where they exist, but has no plans to increase the overall requirement for Armed Forces personnel.

Banks

Lord Smith of Leigh asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: The Government have put in place a regulatory framework for the financial services sector which ensures appropriate prudential and conduct of business regulation of financial services firms by the independent Financial Services Authority. Consumers also have a statutory right to take complaints against individual firms to the independent Financial Ombudsman Service.

The FSA's overall retail strategy is to “help retail consumers achieve a fair deal”. The FSA is seeking to deliver this strategy through its “Treating Customers Fairly” initiative (TCF). Through TCF, the FSA intends to deliver a retail marketplace where consumers can be confident that they are dealing with firms where the fair treatment of customers is central to the corporate culture.

The banking industry also has its own voluntary code—the Banking Code—which sets out standards of good practice for banks and building societies in the UK. A triennial review of the Banking Code is currently underway and the independent reviewer is due to announce his recommendations shortly following extensive consultation with stakeholders.

Census: British Kashmiris

Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne 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 Dennis Roberts, Director of Registration and Corporate Services, to Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, dated 5 June 2007, in the absence of the National Statistician.

The National Statistician has been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking what steps have been taken to clarify the ethnic identity of British Kashmiris in the next census. I am replying in her absence. (HL3960)

We are aware of requests from several different stakeholders for Kashmiri to be identified as an ethnic group in the 2011 census, and this is one of a range of issues that the Office for National Statistics (ONS) is considering as part of our process of consultation and question development.

The ONS has carried out recent consultation on requirements for information on ethnicity and identity, and we are currently considering all the responses to this consultation. The relevant documents are available on the National Statistics website at www.statistics.gov.uk/census200l/cn_155.asp.

Space constraints mean that there are limits to the number of questions and tick-boxes that can be accommodated in the 2011 census. In particular, it will not be possible to have separate tick-boxes for all ethnic groups; however, space will be provided for people to write in their ethnic group if they consider it is not covered by the specific tick-boxes.

A White Paper setting out the Government's proposals, including the wording of any questions about ethnicity and identity, is scheduled to be published in 2008. However it will not be possible to confirm what questions and response categories are to be included in the 2011 census until the consultation and question testing programme is complete and formal approval is given by Parliament in 2010.

Courts: Interpretation and Translation

Baroness Thomas of Winchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): The routine collection of data relating to interpretation and translation services at court is being considered by Her Majesty's Courts Service as part of wider work on interpreting and translation in the criminal justice system, being led by the Office for Criminal Justice Reform.

Baroness Thomas of Winchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Ashton of Upholland: The national agreement on arrangements for the use of interpreters, translators and language service professionals in investigations and proceedings within the criminal justice system, revised in January 2007, and also the terms and conditions for individuals providing face-to-face interpreting services at court, introduced in February 2007, are available to the public via the HMCS website. These documents give detailed information on the procedures adopted by Her Majesty's Courts Service for the provision and payment of interpretation and translation services used in court.

Baroness Thomas of Winchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Ashton of Upholland: In January this year, the Office for Criminal Justice Reform issued revised guidance on arrangements for the use of interpreters and translators in the criminal justice system, aimed at ensuring that only suitably qualified interpreters and translators are used in criminal proceedings. The guidance stipulates that every interpreter working in courts and police stations should be registered on one of the recommended registers; that is, the National Register of Public Service Interpreters (NRPSI) or the Council for the Advancement of Communication with Deaf People (CACDP). We believe that NRPSI continues to represent an appropriate standard for interpreting in criminal proceedings. I have placed a copy of the guidance in the Library.

Crime: Prison Officers

Earl Attlee asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice (Lord Falconer of Thoroton): Two prison officers from HM Prison Bullingdon have been convicted of separate offences in connection with their duties. The first of these was convicted and sentenced in December 2005 to two years’ imprisonment for conspiracy to supply cannabis. The second was convicted and sentenced in September 2006 to six years’ imprisonment for possession of controlled drugs with intent to supply.

Elections: Postal Votes

Lord Roberts of Llandudno asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): There are currently no plans to amend the timetable for either local or national elections. However, we will wish to consider, in the light of the Electoral Commission's reports on the recent elections and discussions with stakeholders, whether there may be sufficient justification to extend the timetable for the administration of elections in the future.

Gambling: Casinos

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: Ministers have no set timetable for an announcement.

Iraq and Afghanistan: Military Casualties

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Drayson): The numbers of casualties classified as very seriously injured/wounded or seriously injured/wounded (battle and non-battle injuries) are specifically set out in the reported casualty figures for Afghanistan and Iraq and can be viewed on the MoD website at www.mod.uk. The number of casualties caused by disease and non-battle injury (DNBI) classified as very seriously ill/injured/wounded and seriously ill/injured/wounded are also collected and included in the totals for field hospital admissions. No types of illness are excluded.

These figures are published at pages:

www.mod.uk/NR/rdonlyres/C23C58D0-E574-4AA3-8BA3-464B6285DCF6/0/OpHerrickCasualtyTables.pdfforAfghanistan; and www.mod.uk/NR/rdonlyres/CE1302FF-C47C-4F83-B616-2FF9645A2FB2/0/OpTelicCasualtyTables.pdfforIraq.

Local Government: Council Tax

Lord Palmer asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): The distribution of formula grant to local authorities in England takes account of the circumstances of each authority's area and its relative ability to pay council tax, expressed in terms of the council tax base. The calculation of a council's tax base does take account of exempt student properties. Other things being equal, the smaller the council tax base of a council's area, the larger its formula grant. This effect is modified, however, by the application of grant “floors”; that is, a guaranteed minimum percentage increase in grant each year on a like-for-like basis.

Passports

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): The number of confirmed losses as a result of (a), non-delivery, whereby the British passports have been cancelled, is 728 for the period February 2006 to January 2007. At this time, the Identity and Passport Service cannot report up to the end of April 2007 in relation to (a).

During the 12 month period up to and including April 2007, the number of British passports cancelled due to (b), loss by holder, and (c), theft from holder, is 246,422 and 42,335 respectively.

The IPS cannot report on the length of time between reported loss or theft and cancellation, without reference to each individual record.

Pensions: British Overseas Territories

Lord Jones of Cheltenham asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): Our records do not differentiate British citizens from other citizens in receipt of a UK state pension.

The latest available information is in the table below.

Anguilla

153

Ascension Island

2

British Antarctic Territory

0

British Indian Ocean Territory

0

British Virgin Islands

46

Cayman Islands

119

Falkland Islands and Dependencies (South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands)

46

Montserrat

133

Pitcairn Island

0

St Helena

79

Tristan da Cunha

0

Turk & Caicos Islands

21

Source: Pensions Strategy Computer System, February 2007

Lord Jones of Cheltenham asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord McKenzie of Luton: The UK state pension is not uprated for those living in the following British Overseas Territories; Anguilla, British Antarctic Territory, British Indian Ocean Territory, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Montserrat, Pitcairn Island, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands, St Helena and Dependencies (Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha) and Turk and Caicos Islands, but it is uprated for those living in Bermuda, Gibraltar and the sovereign base areas on Cyprus.

Lord Jones of Cheltenham asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord McKenzie of Luton: The cost of uprating the UK state pension for recipients residing in the British Overseas Territories would be just under £500,000 for 2007-08 on the assumption that the frozen pension is brought up to the current value and then uprated.


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