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22 Nov 2007 : Column WA87



22 Nov 2007 : Column WA87

Written Answers

Thursday 22 November 2007

Armed Forces: TA

Earl Attlee asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): The table below shows the commissioning targets, course attendances figures and out-turn for Territorial Army direct entry junior officers for each of the past five years.

YearCommissioning targetAttendanceOut-turn

2003

210

188

169

2004

270

182

166

2005

270

81

75

2006

270

139

119

2007

270

156

148

Banking: Northern Rock

Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: This is a commercial matter between the Bank of England and Northern Rock.

Buses

Lord Bradshaw asked Her Majesty's Government:



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Lord Bassam of Brighton: From 1 April 2008, people aged 60 and over and eligible disabled people in England will be entitled to free off-peak local bus travel anywhere in England, not just within their local area as at present.

The Government are providing local authorities in England an extra £212 million/£217 million/£223 million for the next three years. This extra funding is based on generous assumptions about the probable cost impact of the new concession, including visitor “hotspots”. We are confident that this funding will be sufficient in aggregate.

The department is currently consulting on the formula basis for the distribution of the special grant; this closes on 23 November. It includes a number of different options for distributing the new funding, taking account of likely cost drivers including eligible residents and visitors.

The decision to use a special grant reflects both the views of local government and the challenges of deriving a formula distribution that matches the probable cost impact of the new concession. Existing funding will continue to be distributed through formula grant and we anticipate transferring this additional funding in the formula grant process at the beginning of the next three-year settlement period (2011-12). There was no significant support among local government to extract the existing funding for statutory concessions from the formula grant system.

China: Human Rights

The Earl of Sandwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: We regularly raise concerns about the human rights of the Uyghur population of Xinjiang with the Chinese Government. British officials did this most recently during a visit to Xinjiang in April. We will continue to urge the Chinese authorities to protect the legitimate rights of all ethnic and religious groups in Xinjiang, in line with international human rights standards, including at the UK-China Human Rights Dialogue. We record details of these representations in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's annual report on human rights and wider reports to Parliament.

Driving: Licences

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:



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Lord Bassam of Brighton: The estimated number of people licensed to drive motor vehicles in Great Britain in 2006 was 33.7 million. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) is unable to specify the additional number of licences revoked and to obtain this figure would be at a disproportionate cost to the taxpayer.

Finance: Debt

Lord Barnett asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: Financial Accounting Standards 157 on “Fair Value Measurements” is a US standard on how to measure fair value, and sets various disclosure requirements.

Level 3 assets or liabilities are those which are valued using unobservable inputs. This is distinct from assets or liabilities which are valued using prices from an active market (Level 1) or on the basis of inputs that are directly or indirectly largely observable from markets (Level 2). The disclosure requirements are greatest for Level 3.

Financial Accounting Standards 157 does not apply to UK banks as they report under the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) which does not require such precise disclosures. However, it will affect UK banks which are SEC registrants and required to produce reconciliations to US GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles).

The difference in disclosures will narrow in the future due to the implementation of a new international financial reporting standard on “Financial Instruments: Disclosures” which becomes mandatory for reporting from the 2007 annual accounts.

Government: Quangos

Lord Hanningfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: Information on total expenditure of public bodies is published annually by the Cabinet Office. Figures covering the period 2002-06 are available on the Civil Service website at www.civilservice.gov.uk/about/public/bodies.asp. Departments are in the process of collating information for 2007 and a summary will be published by the Cabinet Office in due course.



22 Nov 2007 : Column WA90

Green Belt

Lord Greaves asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): My remarks in the debate on the Address reflected the fact that green belt land is of very variable quality in environmental terms. This fact is acknowledged in government policy.

The Government have said repeatedly that they are committed to the principles of the green belt and that they have no plans to make fundamental changes to green belt planning policy.

Health: MRSA

Lord Campbell-Savours asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The department is not aware of any funding provided to Vaccine Research International for research into anti-methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus vaccines.

Housing

Lord Ouseley asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): Between 1997-98 and 2007-08, we will have delivered more than 400,000 new affordable homes. These new homes include both newly built housing, and those acquired and refurbished. Our recent housing Green Paper acknowledged the need to do more.

Estimates suggest that there is need for at least 40,000 new social rented properties per annum. The housing Green Paper sets out our target to provide 45,000 new social rented homes per annum by 2010-11, 50 per cent more than this year, 2007-08.

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Our goal is to go further in subsequent years to reach 50,000 new social homes per annum in the next spending review period.

Navy: Escort Vessels

Lord Addington asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): There is no definitive figure for the number of escorts required to support a carrier or amphibious task group. A number of variables determine the scale of commitment of escorts to a particular mission. These factors include the level of the threat, the type and scale of the operation and capabilities of the escorts. In the case of a coalition operation, there is the likelihood that escorts would be provided by a number of contributing nations.

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Our maritime forces are configured to be able to deliver simultaneously one carrier strike task group and one amphibious task group operating independently.

Neighbourhood Renewal Fund

Lord Greaves asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): The table below lists the six local authorities that did not qualify for neighbourhood renewal funding in the past two years, and sets out how much they are currently receiving.

Local AuthorityNRF Allocation 2005-06 (£)NRF Allocation2006-07 (£)NRF Allocation 2007-08 (£)

Allerdale

854,494

570,329

285,165

Ashfield

963,610

642,407

321,203

Hyndburn

1,293,636

862,424

431,212

Kerrier

1,610,488

1,073,659

536,829

Lincoln

400,000

266,667

133,333

Pendle

1,960,942

1,307,295

653,647


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