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Forecasts of housing benefit and council tax benefit expenditure are based on forecast changes in housing benefit caseload and average awards. The caseload forecasts are driven primarily by changes in the estimated recipient populations for other benefits to which entitlement to housing benefits is related. There are no direct assumptions made for changes in the take-up of housing benefits. If necessary, off-model caseload adjustments are used to reflect the impact on take-up of future policy changes.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): We are concerned by the lack of political progress in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). BiH's politicians need to reach agreement on police reform and achieve full co-operation with the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague so that BiH can sign its stabilisation and association agreement with the EU. Constitutional reform will also be necessary if BiH is to deliver effective governance for its citizens and carry out the reforms that the EU accession process will require. Over the past year, we regret that BiH's political leaders have not made more sustained efforts to work together constructively to move BiH closer towards the EU and NATO. We regularly express our concerns about the lack of political progress bilaterally, through the EU and in conjunction with the Office of the High Representative/EU Special Representative (EUSR). We welcome the recent appointment of Miroslav Lajcak as High Representative and EUSR.
The security situation in BiH has been stable for some time. Our concern over the current political situation does not give rise to concern over the security situation. Indeed, on the basis of clear military advice from the operation commander we, along with EU partners, decided to reduce the numbers of troops deployed in BiH from around 6,500 to around 2,500 earlier this year. This process is
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What assessment they have made of the independence, sovereignty and unity of Bosnia and Herzegovina; and whether they are making representations in bilateral or multilateral fora in this regard. [HL4761]
Lord Malloch-Brown: The UK recognised Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) as an independent state in 1992. BiH's constitutional arrangements and internal boundaries are those set out in the Dayton Accords which were concluded in Paris on 14 December 1995.
We remain firm in our support for the Dayton Accords: they are the basis of the peace and stability that BiH now enjoys. We regularly make this clear, both bilaterally and in multilateral fora. If the people of BiH wish to revisit their constitutional arrangements, this must be through a consensual process in accordance with constitutional procedures.
Under what circumstances, prior to 26 November 2006, it was possible to hold Nepalese nationality and British nationality simultaneously; what was the response of the Nepalese authorities when asked on 22 November 2006 whether this was possible under Nepalese laws; and what is the basis for the Government's presumption that a person who was issued with a Nepalese citizenship certificate, without having previously renounced his existing British citizenship, can hold both British and Nepalese nationality concurrently. [HL4616]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): We are not in a position to comment on another country's nationality laws. Under British nationality law, a British national is able to hold other nationalities concurrently with their British nationality. When an individual provides evidence that they have been recognised as a national of another country, this does not affect their entitlement to British nationality. Therefore, if an individual holds British overseas citizen status and a Nepalese certificate of citizenship, we have to assume that the individual is a dual national until the Nepalese authorities tell us otherwise.
Whether there is now, or has ever been, a Central Intelligence Agency detention centre at Diego Garcia in the British Indian Ocean Territory; and whether any terrorist suspects have been taken to Diego Garcia on rendition flights. [HL4833]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): The US authorities have repeatedly given us assurances that no terrorist suspects have been, or are being, held on Diego Garcia, or at any time have passed in transit through Diego Garcia or its territorial waters or airspace.
What forecasts they are able to make of gas-based generation of electricity by the years 2010 and 2020; and what percentage of United Kingdom households they expect to be heated by gas in these years.[HL4493]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence & Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (Lord Drayson): This Government do not make forecasts of future electricity supply. However, the most recent projections of energy and carbon emissions(1), including energy White Paper proposals, suggest that the proportion of gas used in electricity generation in the UK is projected to supply 35 per cent to 38 per cent by 2010 and between 44 per cent to 59 per cent by 2020. This range reflects the uncertainty, expressed in the energy White Paper(2), on policy delivery. With respect to UK households heated by gas, the assumption built into the domestic sector gas demand is approximately 80 per cent of homes in 2010 and 2020. The majority of these homes will have gas central heating and a small proportion will not.
Whether they will consider additional measures by way of a Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs promotional effort to persuade companies and other owners of large flat-roof premises to construct energy-saving roof gardens. [HL4791]
The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): The Government are committed to moving towards more sustainable low-carbon non-residential buildings which are more energy efficient, and we will continue to raise building standards to help achieve this. A key element of maximising the energy efficiency of buildings is ensuring that they are suitably insulated. Raising building standards will act as a further driver for improving insulation and green roofs offer one possible solution for delivering better insulated buildings.
Green roofs can also be a form of source control for attenuating the run-off of surface water (ie comprising one element of SUDS (sustainable drainage systems)). Defra is promoting the use of all
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Green roofs will generally not fall into this category and will normally be the responsibility of individual building owners. Defra, along with other government departments, has been promoting green roofs and other elements of source control (such as porous paving) as part of wider sustainable construction and will continue their active promotion.
What are the significant provisions of the draft constitution for Europe that they do not now expect to be included in the proposed European Union reform treaty based on the mandate of the current inter-governmental conference. [HL4769]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): The treaty establishing a constitution for Europe, on which the Government proposed a referendum, is now defunct. The mandate for a reform treaty agreed by the European Council states clearly:
As my right honourable friend the then Prime Minister (Tony Blair) set out in his Statement in another place on 25 June, the reform treaty will differ fundamentally from the constitutional treaty in both form and substance. Among other things, we have ensured that there is nothing in the mandate for the reform treaty which will require us to change our existing labour and social legislation. Our common law system and our police and judicial processes will be protected. Our independent foreign and defence policy will be maintained. Our tax and social security system will be protected.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): A measure that a member state has indicated it will veto is not normally put to a vote in the Council. The information requested by the noble Lord is therefore not available.
How many times, in the European Council of Ministers since the general election of 1997, a regulation or directive which must be decided by unanimity and which they supported has been blocked by another member state using its veto. [HL4675]
Whether there is any conflict between the aims announced in their Green Paper, The Governance of Britain (Cm 7170), and the United Kingdom's continued membership of the European Union, bearing in mind the quantity of British law which now originates in Brussels. [HL4749]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The Government's Green Paper, The Governance of Britain, is the first step in a national debate on further constitutional reform. It sets out the ways in which we can reinvigorate our democracy and make both the Executive and Parliament more accountable to the people.
What are the main features of the announced flood defence spending increase, including the full profile and timetable involved; and whether this announcement will form part of the Comprehensive Spending Review. [HL4752]
The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): No final decisions have been taken on the allocation of the £200 million increased spending in 2010-11. Following the Comprehensive Spending Review settlement, expected by the autumn, and a subsequent departmental allocations exercise, a separate prioritisation process will determine funding for individual flood risk management projects.
What is the average amount which National Health Service general dental services contractors have been asked to repay to their primary care trust (PCT), given (a) as a total, and (b) for each PCT. [HL4796]
Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: Providers of National Health Service dental services have contracts with primary care trusts (PCTs) that set out the agreed annual contract sum and the corresponding level of services to be provided over the course of the year. These annual service levels are expressed mainly in units of dental activity, which measure courses of treatment according to their relative complexity. Dental providers who under-deliver by up to 4 per cent may carry this forward and make up the activity in the following year. Where a provider has delivered less than 96 per cent of the agreed annual service level, it is at the PCT's discretion whether the undelivered activity is carried forward to the following year or an appropriate proportion of the annual contract sum is refunded to the PCT. This is a matter for PCTs to decide locally in the light of individual circumstances, and their decisions are not collected or held centrally.
Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: The new general dental services contract does not in itself apply to salaried primary dental care services. However, the accompanying move to local commissioning of dental services provides a significant new opportunity for primary care trusts (PCTs) to develop more integrated servicesacross the spectrum of general dental services, salaried primary dental care services and hospital servicesthat meet the needs of all patients including those with a need for special care.
The inclusion of salaried primary care dentists in PCTs' dental performers lists from July 2006 should further benefit patients through the introduction of common performance standards across primary care.
Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: In making net financial allocations to primary care trusts (PCTs) for National Health Service dental services, it is only possible to make indicative assumptions about the levels of income that will be raised from patient charges in each PCT area. The actual level of charge income will depend on a range of local factors, including the type of dental services commissioned and the relative proportion of treatments given to charge-paying patients and those exempt from charges.
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