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28 Apr 2008 : Column WA1

Written Answers

Monday 28 April 2008

Airports: Heathrow

The Earl of Listowel asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The UK Border Agency has agreed with the IMB secretariat that it will fund the post of clerk to the IMB at Heathrow Airport and the secretariat has agreed to undertake the recruitment process, which is due to start very soon

Bees

Baroness Thomas of Winchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): Defra is currently consulting on the draft strategy on protecting and improving the health of honeybees in England and Wales. The strategy lists as a priority activity that the Government and stakeholders will work to expand options for the effective management of varroa destructor and associated viruses, including authorisation of additional treatments and their sustainable use through integrated pest management.

European legislation governs the authorisation and marketing of veterinary medicines for all animal species including bees and we are not aware of any plans to review the regulatory status of medicinal products to control varroa. Within the EU framework, the minor use/minor species initiative is being developed to provide opportunities to improve the availability of medicines to species where the manufacturers currently view the market as being limited. The minor use/minor species initiative is long term and the UK will be working with other member states to improve the availability of veterinary medicines.

British Coal Compensation

Lord Lofthouse of Pontefract asked Her Majesty's Government:



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The Attorney-General (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): The SFO, together with South Yorkshire Police, is investigating allegations of serious and complex fraud in relation to the handling of claims brought under the DTI-administered Coal Health Compensation Scheme. The investigation began in July 2005 and is continuing. It would not be appropriate to give details of the ongoing investigation. It is not yet known when the investigation will be completed.

Civil Service

Lord Patten asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: The average age of civil servants employed by HM Treasury as at 31 March in each year since 2000 is as follows:

Year

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

Age

36

36

36

36

35

36

36

36

37

The information prior to 2000 is not available.

Lord Patten asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: The number of press officer posts in the Treasury has remained constant at 10 full-time equivalents. One of these posts is vacant at present. The detailed information requested relating to average ages could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Lord Patten asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: As at 31 March 2008, the number of civil servants employed by HM Treasury by length of service is as follows:

Employed for at leastNumber of staffPercentage of total staff

(a) 1 year

853

74%

(b) 3 years

578

50%

(c) 5 years

423

37%

(d) 7 years

331

29%

(e) 15+ years

201

17%



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Computer Systems: Home Office

Lord Harris of Haringey asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): It is not in the public interest or the UK's national security interest for departments to confirm whether they hold information about attacks against their IT systems. This would enable individuals to deduce how successful the UK is in detecting these attacks and so assist such persons in testing the effectiveness of the UK's IT defences.

Computer Systems: NIO

Lord Harris of Haringey asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: It is not in the interest of the UK's national security for the Northern Ireland Office to confirm whether information is held about attacks on its IT systems. This would enable individuals to deduce how successful the Northern Ireland Office is in detecting these attacks and so assist such persons in testing the effectiveness of the Northern Ireland Office's IT defences. This is not in the public interest.

Economy: Growth Forecasts

Lord Steinberg asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: The Government published their own latest economic forecasts in the Financial Statement and Budget Report (HC 388) on March 12. The International Monetary Fund's forecasts are a matter for it.



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Lord Steinberg asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: The UK economy grew by 3 per cent in 2007, the fastest rate of any G7 country, and the UK economy is expected to continue to grow, as set out in Financial Statement and Budget Report 2008 (HC 388) on 12 March. Latest official data, released on 25 April, show that GDP grew by 0.4 per cent in the first quarter of 2008, the 63rd consecutive quarter of growth and the longest unbroken expansion on record.

Electric Personal Assistive Mobility Devices

Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The Government have no plans to meet representatives of the Police Federation to discuss the introduction of electric personal assistive mobility devices for use by police forces. Therefore, no detailed assessment of the changes to current legislation necessary to permit such trials has been made.

Energy: Renewables

Lord Taylor of Holbeach asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): The Government are keen to encourage good-quality renewable energy applications in order to meet the twin challenges of responding to climate change and ensuring security of supply. Reflecting this, our new planning policy statement (PPS) on climate change expects planning authorities in England to provide a framework that promotes and encourages renewable energy.



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The PPS advises that applicants are not expected to demonstrate the overall need for renewable energy because new renewable energy projects offer crucial national benefits. Planning authorities are asked not to question the energy justification provided by the applicant for why a proposal must be sited in a particular location as this involves considerations of technical and commercial feasibility which are for the developer concerned. Planning authorities should address the environmental, social and economic impacts that arise from the proposed location of a renewable energy project.

EU: Applicant States

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): The guarantor powers of the Dayton agreement and the Peace Implementation Council (PIC) cannot directly intervene concerning Bosnia and Herzegovina's application to join the EU. A number of members of the PIC contact group are also EU member states and as such participate in all major decisions on Bosnia and Herzegovina's progress towards the EU.

Money

Lord Taylor of Warwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: On 2 April 2008, the Royal Mint publicly announced a redesign of all UK coinage from the 1 pence to the £1 coin by a British designer. This was following a public competition,

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which was launched in August 2005 and closed in November 2005. The competition received a record response with over 4,000 entries. Many of the current set of reverses were first introduced in April 1968. The last time that a set of reverses has lasted so long was in Queen Victoria's reign, when some coins displayed the same reverse for 50 years before being redesigned in 1887. The new designs take a traditional theme and treat it in an innovative and contemporary manner. The new coins will circulate alongside the almost 28 billion currently circulating coins, including more than 800 million 50p coins depicting Britannia.


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