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The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office & Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (Lord Jones of Birmingham): The latest official figures are for 2005 and show that across the UK approximately 2.5 million households were in fuel poverty, of which 2 million were vulnerable households.
In Budget 2008, the Government said they would like to see the amount energy suppliers spend on social programmes increase to at least £150 million a year over the period ahead. A new voluntary agreement has recently been signed individually with the six major energy suppliers to treble their individual investment on social programmes in the next three years, reaching £150 million by 2010-11. This will take spend to £100 million in 2008-09, £125 million in 2009-10 and £150 million in 2010-11.
How many United Kingdom scientific or other personnel will be directly involved in assisting the launch of the European Space Agency's satellite for the Earth Explorer Gravity field and Ocean Circulation mission. [HL3153]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): While there is both UK scientific and industrial involvement in the European Space Agency's (ESA's) Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) satellite, the Government are not aware of any UK-based personnel from UK-based organisations directly involved in assisting the forthcoming launch, now postponed until later this year.
What information they have received from the authorities in Spain about the extradition of Mr Farid Hilali in February; in particular, whether he has been or will be charged with an offence; and whether any proceedings in Spain will conform with the ruling of the House of Lords in his case. [HL3106]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): Mr Hilali, a Moroccan national, was extradited to Spain on 8 February, under the European arrest warrant (EAW) procedure. He was extradited in relation to charges of conspiracy to commit murder of persons in the US and of destroying, damaging or endangering the safety of aircraftcontrary to Section 2 of the Aviation Security Act 1982.
Once a person has been surrendered to another member state, their case is deemed to have been concluded as far as the UK is concerned. There is no obligation on the requesting member state to keep the UK informed of progress of proceedings against the surrendered person, just as there is no obligation on the UK to inform other member states of developments in proceedings against people surrendered to this country.
What representations they made to members of the European Parliament during the passage of Directive 2005/36/EC, as implemented by the Farriers' Qualification (European Recognition) Regulations 2008 (SI 2008/646); and how they voted in the Council of Ministers on this directive. [HL3244]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): In July 2002, at the start of the negotiation process, a formal written brief about the draft directive was circulated to UK members of the European Parliament. During the negotiation period
29 Apr 2008 : Column WA18
Further to his Written Answer of 22 April (WA 284), whether the Refreshment Department has a policy of sourcing ingredients from within the United Kingdom; and what priority when purchasing food is given to (a) supporting British agriculture; (b) animal welfare; and (c) food miles. [HL3214]
The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): The Refreshment Department has a policy of sourcing food ingredients where possible from within the United Kingdom. During the tender process for food supplies, suppliers are asked where possible that products are sourced from the United Kingdom. In the case of purchase of meat, game and poultry, animal welfare and food miles are taken into consideration during the pre-tender process.
Further to his Written Answer of 22 April (WA 284), what price is paid by the House of Lords Refreshment Department for English back bacon; what price is paid for its Dutch equivalent; and what is the price of a bacon sandwich, or other comparable bacon product, in each of the department's outlets. [HL3213]
The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): The price of Dutch rindless green back bacon is £4.35 per kilo and English rindless back bacon is £7.33 per kilo. The price of a bacon sandwich served in the River Restaurant is £1.50. The other outlets do not serve an equivalent product.
Further to his Written Answers of 3 and 22 April (WA 188 and WA 284), whether a similar price differential to that applying in the case of bacon applies to other British and Dutch pork products; and, if so, why only bacon is sourced from outside the United Kingdom. [HL3215]
The Chairman of Committees: British pork is more readily available than British bacon which leads to the prices being considerably more competitive, particularly when considering free range products. The supply of Dutch pork is rare in the United Kingdom as the majority of the hogs are specially bred for the production of bacon.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): The present boundary between Iran and Iraq was originally agreed in the Constantinople Protocol of 17 November 1913. A further treaty was agreed in 1937 which reaffirmed the boundary in the Shatt al-Arab as established by the Constantinople Protocol. On 6 March 1975 a joint communiqué was issued in Algiers by Iran and Iraq relative to the resolution of the problems of their common boundary as follows: to undertake the final demarcation of their land boundaries on the basis of the Constantinople Protocol of 1913; and to delimit their river boundary according to the thalweg (deep water channel) line. Following World War II, problems continued along the boundary and Iran was keen to establish the actual position of the thalweg in the Shatt al-Arab. This process became a Treaty Relating to the State Boundary and Good-Neighbourliness between Iran and Iraq with three protocols and their annexes and was signed in Baghdad on 13 June 1975. The protocol relating to the river boundary included an annex of four admiralty charts of the Shatt al-Arab containing co-ordinates of the thalweg boundary. The boundary as agreed in these treaties was effectively ignored by Iraq during the Iran/Iraq war, but was reinstated in 1990. The boundary as defined in the 1975 treaty is therefore the present ratified boundary between Iran and Iraq and is depicted on our charts and maps.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): The Government recently announced an allocation to the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) of £1.2 billion over the Comprehensive Spending Review period of 2008-09 to 2010-11. This represents an average increase of 5.4 per cent each year. It is for NERC to decide how to allocate this funding and, in February this year, NERC Council took a decision to invest in the development of a new National Centre for Earth Observation, from 1 April 2008. This builds on previous NERC investments in a suite of seven separate Earth Observation Centres of Excellence.
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Rooker on 31 March (WA 140) concerning remission for prisoners in Northern Ireland, what were the circumstances in which 6 per cent of prisoners were not released after 50 per cent remission in the years 2003 to 2007. [HL2995]
Lord Rooker: The 6 per cent figure comprises releases of life sentence prisoners, who are not eligible for 50 per cent remission, and other releases from prisons in Northern Ireland where 50 per cent remission was not applicable. The latter include prisoners released on appeal, fine defaulters who paid their fines in prison and a small number of miscellaneous cases.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): Advice to Ministers on responding to Parliamentary Questions is prepared by the relevant subject matter experts across the Ministry of Defence, both service personnel and civilians. Therefore this information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Lord Bassam of Brighton: The Department for Transport is working hard to ensure the provisions that will enable on-the-spot financial penalties to be issued to non-UK offenders will be introduced as soon as practicable. This is likely to mean spring 2009
29 Apr 2008 : Column WA21
Further to the answer by Lord Bassam of Brighton on 22 April, what penalties will be imposed on lorries in respect of: (a) on-the-spot fines, and (b) impounding of vehicles; and whether these penalties reflect the competitive advantage gained by the breaches of the law by lorry drivers. [HL3198]
In broad terms, non-UK-resident offenders will be required to pay a financial deposit on-the-spot which is equivalent to the level of fixed penalty for the offence, subject to a maximum of £300 where an offence is to be prosecuted in court. These penalty levels are consistent with the existing fixed penalty law and compatible with the average levels of relevant court fines.
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