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20 Nov 2007 : Column WA51



20 Nov 2007 : Column WA51

Written Answers

Tuesday 20 November 2007

The Answer printed on Monday 19 November 2007 was attributed to the wrong Member. The correct version appears below.

House of Lords: Cost of Works

Lord Greaves: asked the Chairman of Committees:

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): The main road outside the Palace was closed during the Summer Recess to enable Westminster City Council to undertake essential repairs to the road surface. The House Committee took the decision in June that this scheduled road closure should be used as an opportunity to move the Corus barriers further from the Palace as envisaged under phase 2 of the Corus security programme. Further work was undertaken during the five days immediately after State Opening to replace the temporary installation with the final barriers.

The cost of the surface repair work was met by Westminster City Council. The road layout works and provision of components for the Corus barriers were undertaken by the parliamentary estate at a cost of £835,395. Further costs may arise due to additional requirements such as extra signage. The arrangements made in the area for the State Opening of Parliament, including the removal and reinstatement of the barriers, cost £70,100.

Afghanistan: Taliban

The Earl of Sandwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): Hearts and minds are at the core of the ISAF mission in Afghanistan, and providing a tangible improvement to the lives of ordinary Afghans is crucial to the success of the mission. The UK presence in Afghanistan makes a vital contribution by bringing together military and civilian experts to help to create the local security environment necessary for economic progress and by helping to fund and promote sustainable development. Overall, the security situation in Afghanistan is stable, although it is fragile in places, and there remains a threat from suicide attacks and local ambushes.



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Armed Forces: Healthcare

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): The readily available data cover admissions to NHS hospital beds occupied by service personnel recovering from injuries sustained on military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. High-dependency beds are typically used for cardiological, neurological and burns critical care.

As at 5 November, there were no high-dependency NHS hospital beds occupied by service personnel recovering from injuries sustained in Afghanistan or Iraq. Over the past 18 months, admissions to such beds have never exceeded 10 in a single month. Where patient numbers are low, in order to preserve patient confidentiality we do not confirm numbers below five. On a quarterly basis, the figures over the period were as follows:

MonthNumber of admissions

May to June 2006

Fewer than five

Quarter 3 2006

11

Quarter 4 2006

16

Quarter 1 2007

Fewer than five

Quarter 2 2007

18

Quarter 3 2007

16

Quarter 4 2007 (up to 5 November)

Fewer than five

Armed Forces: War Pensions

Lord Roberts of Conwy asked Her Majesty’s Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): The Service Personnel and Veterans Agency strives to ensure that all decisions made are in accordance with the rules of the scheme and in accordance with the evidence. Any cases where a reduction in assessment is proposed is now subject to further check to confirm that the new decision is in line with the rules and evidence before the reduction is implemented.



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Arms Trade

Lord Judd asked Her Majesty’s Government:

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office & Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (Lord Jones of Birmingham): My right honourable friend the Prime Minister announced in his Lord Mayor’s banquet speech on 12 November 2007 the Government’s willingness to extend export laws to control brokering and trafficking of small arms and potentially other weapons.

This announcement follows a review of the current export control legislation launched on 18 June 2007. The review included a public consultation that specifically sought the views of respondents on a range of change options, including in relation to the trade (trafficking and brokering) controls. The public consultation closed on 30 September. The Government are currently considering the detailed comments received and will issue their initial response to the review by 31 December.

Buses

Lord Hanningfield asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: From April 2006, older and eligible disabled people have been guaranteed free off-peak local bus travel within their local authority area. The Government provided an extra £350 million in 2006-07 and a further £367.5 million in 2007-08 to fund the extra costs to local authorities. This funding was provided via the formula grant system in line with the wishes of local government to have greater freedom and flexibilities in how they use their funding.

The Government are providing local authorities in England with an extra £212 million next year, which is based on generous assumptions about the probable cost impact of the new national concession. This funding will be provided by special grant reflecting the views of local government. The Department for Transport is currently consulting on the formula basis for distributing the special grant; the consultation closes on 23 November. In addition, we have announced that we will be providing local authorities with approximately £30 million for the issuing of the national pass.



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The Government are confident that the extra funding being provided is sufficient to cover the total additional costs to local authorities of this improvement in the statutory minimum. Any discretionary local enhancements, such as peak bus travel, are funded from an authority’s own resources.

It is for local authorities to implement affordable local schemes taking account of their statutory obligations and their assessment of local circumstances and need.

The policy on concessionary fares is a devolved issue and the different approaches taken in Scotland and Wales reflect very different circumstances from those that pertain to England. In England there is no single “scheme” but a statutory minimum concession, which local authorities can enhance if they so wish. This is consistent with the views expressed by local government during discussions over implementation of the national concession.

The Concessionary Bus Travel Act 2007 includes powers to change the way in which the national bus concession is administered in the future. However, there are no plans at present to centralise the arrangements.

Community Cohesion

Lord Ouseley asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): Government departments themselves monitor the impact of the actions that they take in pursuit of their statutory duty to promote good relations between persons of different racial groups. The Civil Service Diversity Champions Network, which consists of board-level members from each government department, oversees progress against the Civil Service 10-point plan, which includes the requirement to embed equality and diversity into all aspects of their work. The Equality and Human Rights Commission has responsibility for assessing compliance with the public sector duties.

Cultural Olympiad

Lord Addington asked Her Majesty’s Government:



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Lord Davies of Oldham: The terms of reference of the Culture and Creativity Advisory Forum are to:

ensure that proposals put forward to maximise the benefits and legacy of the Games for the cultural and creative sectors, both in London and more widely, are aligned with the overall vision for the cultural and creative aspects of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games;act as advocates for the participation of the cultural and creative sectors in the programme for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, promoting the benefits and legacy for the sectors of their participation and the contribution which the sectors can make to the wider programme;support co-ordination of the efforts of key strategic and delivery agencies and institutions in the cultural and creative sectors to contribute to the delivery of the programme for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games from the start of the build-up in 2008 to the conclusion of the Games;support co-ordination of the efforts of key strategic and delivery agencies and institutions in the cultural and creative sectors to contribute to the realisation of the wider benefits and legacy of the Games;act as a conduit for the cultural and creative sectors to engage the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on issues of concern and to resolve conflicts;advise the DCMS on its overall delivery plan for the culture sub-objective for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games; and act as a sounding board for issues relevant to culture raised by those taking forward delivery of other sub-objectives.

The Culture and Creativity Advisory Forum was set up to provide advice to the Government and LOCOG on the development of the Cultural Olympiad programme and on how to ensure a cultural legacy for the whole country.

No specific consultations have been held by the Culture and Creativity Advisory Forum with organisers of previous Cultural Olympiads. However, the membership includes individuals with experience of organising large-scale cultural programmes.

The Cultural Olympiad is an informal working title given to the cultural programme of the 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games and therefore there is no need to include it in the name of the Culture and Creativity Advisory Forum.

Lord Addington asked Her Majesty’s Government:



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Lord Davies of Oldham: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is working with the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) and with a number of our non-departmental public bodies to deliver a range of projects as part of the Cultural Olympiad, with the vision that the programme will celebrate London and the UK welcoming the world, will inspire and involve young people and will generate a positive legacy. A successful Cultural Olympiad will be one in which that vision is delivered. We are working with LOCOG to ensure that each project or the framework for projects is best established to meet each element of the vision.

Baroness Bonham-Carter of Yarnbury asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: The Cultural Olympiad will be delivered and funded in partnership with a range of public and private organisations.

We are working with a number of partners to make the most of the unique opportunities that the Games present. The London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) is co-ordinating a number of projects in partnership with a variety of organisations that will run projects and events at various times between 2008 and 2012 as part of Cultural Olympiad.

This includes the projects with the working titles 2012 Sounds!, the International Exhibitions Programme and the International Shakespeare Festival.

LOCOG, working closely with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, is also working in partnership with a number of bodies to develop the vision, scope and detailed business plan for each of these projects, including a consideration of costs and options for funding.

There is scope for other organisations to get involved in major projects as they develop. Once LOCOG and partner organisations have completed

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the current business planning, they will be in a position to update the cultural sector and highlight additional opportunities. The latest update on the development of the major projects can be found on the London 2012 website at www.london2012.com.

Baroness Bonham-Carter of Yarnbury asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: The Cultural Olympiad will include a range of projects designed to inspire and involve young people, artists and communities in all the nations and regions.


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