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Lord Rooker: My right honourable friend the Secretary of State has regular meetings with political parties, local politicians, the Minister of State, internal and external stakeholders and his officials.
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Rooker on 6 February (WA 188) concerning appointments by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what was the purpose of the meeting on 10 December 2007 with Chris Sidoti; what was discussed and agreed; and whether they will place detailed minutes in the Library of the House. [HL1918]
Lord Rooker: The meeting that took place on 10 December 2007 was an introductory meeting between the Secretary of State and Chris Sidoti. The purpose of the meeting was for Chris Sidoti to be introduced to the Secretary of State and to update him on the work of the forum.
How much funding has been allocated to each region in England for the regional housing pot for (a) 2007-08, and (b) 2009-09; and what are the reasons for any increases or decreases in funding between those years. [HL1613]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): In 2007-08 the regional housing pot budget was £2,707 million. A total of £3,163 million has been made available to the English regions for 2008-09.
|Region||2007-08 (£m)||2008-09 (£m)|
The increases across the board are possible due to the very generous uplift in Communities and Local Governments funding received on the outcome of the Comprehensive Spending Review 2007, which underlines government commitment to tackling difficulties faced by those unable to afford a home. The detailed distribution of funding between the regions is based on objective analysis of relative needs for funding to support affordable housing, local authority decent homes and private sector regeneration.
On what date the appeal submission in the name of Nino Trollope in the case of a visa application by Anna Zurabishvili of Georgia was responded to by the entry clearance officer at the British embassy in Tbilisi, Georgia. [HL1607]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): Unfortunately, the entry clearance officer (ECO) at our embassy in Tbilisi has never received the appeal, lodged with the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal (AIT), against the decision of 31 May 2007 refusing Ms Zurabishvilis application for a visit visa. The ECO therefore had to review the decision without sight of the grounds of appeal and any additional evidence that the appellant may have submitted. The ECO decided that the refusal should stand. The ECOs appeal statement was dispatched to the AIT by diplomatic bag on 22 November 2007, which meant that it would be received before the deadline of 12 December 2007. The ECO received the immigration judges determination allowing the appeal on 28 January and the visa was issued the next day.
How many persons who have been granted temporary residence in the United Kingdom are currently recorded on the case information database and the United Kingdom visa database respectively; and, in each case, how many have current leave to be in the United Kingdom and how many have leave which has expired. [HL1665]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): Applications for temporary leave are recorded on the case information database and on the United Kingdom visa database but an
19 Feb 2008 : Column WA41
Statistics on grants and refusals of extensions of leave to remain in the United Kingdom by category and nationality are published in an annual report, Control of Immigration Statistics United Kingdom 2006(Command Paper 7197), obtainable from the House of Commons Library or accessible through the following link: www.official-documents.gov.uk/document/cm7l/7197/7197.asp.
Whether, in the light of comments he made on 25 January, they have raised the issue of incitement to violence with the President of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf; and, if not, whether they intend to raise this matter with him or the Pakistani High Commissioner in the near future. [HL1882]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): We have urged the Government of Pakistan to ensure that the media is free to report on the current political situation without restriction. My right honourable friend the Prime Minister reiterated this when he met President Musharraf during his recent visit. We have pressed for measures in the context of elections, including action to ensure that journalists are able to make public statements before the declaration of election results and to ensure that all media outlets are free to cover all aspects of the elections. We continue to monitor the situation closely, including through the EU Election Observer Mission, which will be reporting on the conduct of the elections.
What is their response to CRA International's analysis Commercial insurance commission disclosure: Market Failure Analysis and high level Cost Benefit Analysis, commissioned by the Financial Services Authority. [HL1896]
Lord Davies of Oldham: None. This is a matter for the Financial Services Authority (FSA). The FSA commissioned the CRA analysis Commercial insurance commission disclosure: Market Failure Analysis and high level Cost Benefit Analysis as a part of its ongoing review of appropriate commission disclosure on insurance
19 Feb 2008 : Column WA42
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): Matters relating to the environment in Iraq are the responsibility of the Government of Iraq. However, the UK has worked, and will continue to work, closely with scientific and humanitarian organisations and with the international community to respond to any requests for assistance from the Iraqi authorities.
The Ministry of Defence is aware that most reports on radioactivity in Iraq relate to the past use of depleted uranium munitions in that country. Our scientists have found that many reports on the subject on the world wide web and in media articles conflict with what is in the published scientific literature. It also conflicts with what is in the reports of independent and internationally respected organisations, such as the United Nations Environment Programme, the World Health Organisation and the Royal Society. Most recently, a paper published in the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology concluded that veterans and civilians who did not occupy DU-contaminated vehicles are unlikely to have internalized quantities of DU significantly in excess of normal internalization of natural uranium from the environment. This reflects the international scientific consensus that neither the level of DU in the environment nor the risk to the health of civilians in Iraq is significant.
Whether they have made representations to the Government of Malaysia about the ways in which the internal security law is applied; whether generally accepted Commonwealth standards are being observed in that country; and, if not, whether they will seek opportunities for discussing these issues. [HL1708]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has recently raised its concerns with the Malaysian authorities about the use of the Internal Security Act. We are also discussing the issue with our EU partners and have raised the issue with the Commonwealth Secretariat. The EU has previously expressed concern to the Malaysian Government about the use of the Internal Security Act.
Whether they will ensure that the Missing Persons Bureau, due to operate from 1 April, will develop mechanisms to liaise with the United Kingdom Human Trafficking Centre and the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre. [HL1778]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): Responsibility for the work of the Missing Persons Bureau will transfer to the NPIA on 1 April 2008. As part of the preparatory process, contact has taken place between officials from my department and a wide variety of agencies, including the United Kingdom Human Trafficking Centre and the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre. Further meetings and discussions are also planned.
A strong, collaborative working environment involving all the relevant organisations with an interest in these areas is considered vital if we are to achieve our aim of helping to protect the most vulnerable people in our society.
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Rooker on 5 February (WA 172) concerning Northern Ireland Office expenditure on entertainment, how much has been spent each year on hospitality since 1997-98. [HL1885]
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