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8 Oct 2007 : Column WA1

Written Answers

Monday 8 October 2007

Palace of Westminster: Power Supply

Lord Colwyn asked the Chairman of Committees:

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): During the week commencing 13 August the back-up supply cable to 7 Old Palace Yard was damaged by the contractor working on the road outside. At this time the cable was not being used as the mains supply was intact. Before the cable could be repaired the contractor damaged the main supply cable. The damage cut all power to Old Palace Yard. This cable was repaired later that same evening by EDF Energy (the main electricity supplier). The back-up cable was replaced during the first weekend of September.

The cost of repairs to the back-up cable was approximately £7,000 plus VAT.

The Palace of Westminster visitor ticket office lost approximately £2,000 in revenue during the period of the power cut due to the inability to process credit card payments.

This was the only instance of loss of power supply during the Summer Recess up to 10 September. Should there be a further loss of power during the coming month I will provide additional information.


Lord Renfrew of Kaimsthorn asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has not received a full copy of the report relating to the collection of Aramaic incantation bowls. I understand that University College, London, returned the bowls to the Schøyen Collection.

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Armed Forces: War Pensioners

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): War pensioners, including recipients of awards under the Armed Forces compensation scheme, are entitled to National Health Service priority examination and treatment for conditions accepted as due to service. Priority is primarily a function of clinical need and is determined by the clinician in charge, subject only to emergency and other urgent cases.

Regular reminders about priority treatment for war pensioners are circulated by the health services to senior NHS managers who are tasked to ensure that relevant clinical staff are aware.

The Ministry of Defence and its Veterans Agency receive feedback from individual war pensioners and ex-service organisations on the delivery of priority treatment. Where necessary, the department takes up individual cases with the relevant health authority.

Ghana: Cocoa Production

Baroness Northover asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): We are concerned by the findings of the Ghana Ministry of Manpower, Youth and Employment's pilot labour survey in cocoa production and are committed to tackling the problem of child labour in the developing world. We have raised the issue with the Ghanaian Government, most recently in May and through workshops in social protection in September.

The Government of Ghana passed the Children's Act 1988, which prohibits child labour, especially the engagement of children in hazardous and exploitative work. They are working with the International Labour Organisation on a programme for the elimination of child labour since 2000. The pilot labour survey demonstrates the Government's willingness constantly to monitor and review the

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situation. Additionally, the Ghanaian Government have encouraged more children into school by making education free. The Government are contributing £100 million over 10 years towards the education sector in Ghana.

The Government are also supporting the Government of Ghana to put in place a new social security system, which will target the poorest households—those where children are being forced to work. If these households are guaranteed a minimum level of income, children should no longer need to work.

The Government and the Government of Ghana have both been in dialogue with chocolate manufacturers to encourage these companies to help Ghana tackle the issue of child labour through collaborative efforts. There is an official agreement, between governments of countries involved in cocoa production and companies producing chocolate, known as the Harkin-Engel Protocol (2001). This protocol commits all parties to addressing the worst forms of child labour and forced adult labour in the supply chain of the cocoa industry. As a result, the major international chocolate companies have been supporting some of the Government of Ghana's child labour eradication programmes—including part funding the pilot labour survey, encouraging school attendance and setting up more schools near cocoa plants.

Northern Ireland: Captain Nairac

Lord Tebbit asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: The murder of Robert Nairac is one of a number of cases that is currently under review by the historic inquiries team. If evidence is uncovered which would support a prosecution then a report will be forwarded to the Public Prosecution Service.

Northern Ireland: Extradition Requests

Lord Tebbit asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Lord Rooker: It is normal government policy neither to confirm nor deny whether an extradition request has been, or is in the process of being, made in relation to any particular individual. Although the subject of this particular question is the number of requests, and not whether a request has been made in relation to a specific individual, the terms of the question are sufficiently narrow that an answer could lead to the possibility of an inference being made in respect of specific individuals. The Government therefore consider that to respond to the question would breach the spirit of the policy and that the disclosure of this information would therefore be likely to prejudice the administration of justice.

Police: Northern Ireland

Lord Maginnis of Drumglass asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: The total expenditure incurred by the Office of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland for 2006-07 was £8,514,150; the budget allocation for the office of the Police Ombudsman for 2007-08 is £9.076 million. The permanent staff complement for the office in 2006-07 was 128. In addition, 13 staff were employed on historic inquiries related work.

Lord Maginnis of Drumglass asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: The Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland has published three investigative reports in 2006-07; no criminal charges have been brought against police officers as a result of those reports. Further research reports have been published by the Office of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland during this period and can be found on its website.

The PSNI has advised that 42 police officers have been convicted of criminal offences during 2006-07.

Lord Maginnis of Drumglass asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Lord Rooker: The PSNI has advised that 227 police officers have been convicted of criminal offences since the establishment of the Office of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland until 31 March 2007.

The information relating to the offence and punishment for each of these offences could be provided only at a disproportionate cost.

Lord Maginnis of Drumglass asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: The Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland was established on 6 November 2000. The information requested is set out in the following table.

RegularFull-time reservePart-time reserveTotal

December 2000





December 2001





December 2002





December 2003





December 2004





December 2005





December 2006





September 2007





Source: PSNI

Lord Maginnis of Drumglass asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Lord Rooker: The Police Ombudsman has advised that one member of staff is currently suspended from duty and five members of staff have been dismissed. This is broken down as follows:

2001—One member of staff dismissed;

2003—Two members of staff dismissed;

2006—One member of staff dismissed; and

2007—One member of staff dismissed.

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