|Previous Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|
Lord Bassam of Brighton: We are not aware of any proposals for a new airport on the Dungeness peninsular. However, we are aware of two planning applications in regard to Lydd airport. It would be prejudicial for Ministers, who have a quasi-judicial role in the planning process, to comment on matters in regard to Lydd airport that are subject to a planning application and may come before a planning inquiry.
The Government's policy on airport expansion remains as set out in the 2003 White Paper The Future of Air Transport and as confirmed in the 2006 Progress Report. In the run-up to the 2003 White Paper the Government considered at length a large number of options for additional airport capacity across the UK, several of which were then subject to public consultation. In the south-east, support is given to a new runway at Stansted Airport, followed by one at Heathrow Airport subject to meeting strict local environmental conditions.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): United States Visiting Force (USVF) personnel are subject to United Kingdom laws both within or outside military bases in the United Kingdom made available to the USVF.
The service authorities for the USVF member alleged to have committed an offence and the United Kingdom authorities agree under which jurisdiction criminal charges are dealt with, in accordance with the provisions of the NATO Status of Forces Agreement of 1951.
Baroness Taylor of Bolton: The Visiting Forces Act 1952 (the Act) was passed to incorporate the provisions of the NATO Status of Forces Agreement 1951 into United Kingdom law. There has been no need to review the Act since 1952 nor are there any plans to review it in the foreseeable future.
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Davies of Oldham on 22 April (HL3015), (a) what is the legal source of Arts Council England's duty or power to require information about the sexuality of members of the management committees, boards, governing bodies and councils of theatre organisations, and (b) whether this requirement is compatible with the right to respect for private life, guaranteed by Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights[HL3175]
Lord Davies of Oldham: There is nothing in law that prevents Arts Council England (ACE) from collecting this information for statistical or monitoring purposes and ACE considers that this data-gathering is compliant with Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Organisations are asked to state the breakdown by sexual orientation of their governing body. If they do not have this information or do not want to answer, they can tick the Don't know box.
Lord Bassam of Brighton: The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) investigation has identified that when the aircraft was at a height of approximately 700 feet, an increase power demand was received at both engine control units. Despite the correct operation of all engine control functions and sufficient fuel on board the aircraft, the engines did not respond.
The focus of the investigation continues to be the fuel system both in the aircraft and on the engines. Under the direction of the AAIB, extensive and challenging full engine testing continues at Rolls-Royce, Derby and some equally, if not more so, challenging fuel system testing is ongoing at Boeing, Seattle, USA.
Fuel experts and statisticians are also involved in the investigation, reviewing and analysing many thousands of data points recorded on the Boeing 777 fleet of
8 May 2008 : Column WA83
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): There are no plans to close the British Army Training Support Unit Belize (BATSUB). There is an ongoing review of the best way of delivering overseas training for light force battlegroups, including the role played by BATSUB. This may lead to changes in the type of training undertaken, but we expect that overall activity levels will remain broadly similar.
Whether they will allow the Falkland Islands Museum in Stanley and other similar organisations in the British Overseas Territories to qualify for lottery funding in order to improve tourist facilities. [HL3253]
Lord Davies of Oldham: Lottery grants are awarded independent of the Government by Lottery distributors. Each Lottery distributor has a geographical area for which it is responsible and we have no plans to change these areas.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (Baroness Vadera): State aid rules require that a market impact assessment is completed
8 May 2008 : Column WA84
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Davies of Oldham on 1 October 2007 (WA 242), what is the estimated total number of children who would have been in poverty in the United Kingdom, according to the European standard of less than 60 per cent of the median household income, in 2007 and 2008 (estimate), if the level of child benefit had been raised, in relation to the 1997 level (a) by 25 per cent. (b) by 33 per cent, and (c) by 50 per cent more than the rise equivalent to the rise in earnings; and what would have been the cost (1) in billions of pounds, and (2) as a percentage of gross domestic product, including and not including estimated savings accruing from consequential reduced costs in other family and child allowances. [HL3190]
Lord Davies of Oldham: Child benefit for the first child has increased by 70 per cent since 1997-98, corresponding to an increase of 13 percentage points above the rise in earnings and the Government are committed to increasing it from £18.10 to £20 by April 2009. Expenditure on child benefit has increased from £7,340 million in 1997-98 to a projected £10,950 million in 2008-09, a rise of £3,610 million.
Significant increases in support for low-income families with children, including increased child benefit, have helped to lift 600,000 children out of relative poverty since 1997, following a doubling in the previous decades. The Government have committed to halve child poverty by 2010-11 and to eradicate it by 2020.
The Government are committed to providing financial support based on the principle of progressive universalism. Child benefit underpins this approach, providing financial support to all families, but the Government also believe that more targeted support is needed to help those on the lowest incomes.
Estimates of costs of increasing the level of child benefit in relation to its 1997 level, (a) by 25 per cent, (b) by 33 per cent and (c) by 50 per cent more than the rise in earnings are set out in the table below, in £billion and as a percentage of GDP. Estimated costs are additional to what the Government have already spent in child benefit since 1997.
|Cost of increasing child benefit|
|Earnings +25%||Earnings +33%||Earnings +50%|
Trying to model changes to the rate of child benefit on the level of children in poverty involves considerable uncertainty and is sensitive to factors such as sampling errors, the precise definition of household income, income equivalisation scales and other modelling choices. It is estimated that the same increases in child benefit in relation to its 1997 level, (a) by 25 per cent, (b) by 33 per cent and (c) by 50 per cent more than the rise in earnings may reduce the number of children living in households with income below 60 per cent of median income by (a) 100-150,000, (b) 150-200,000 and (c) 250-300,000.
The increase in child benefit since 1997-98 was derived using the average earnings index (AEI), and scaling AEI growth each year by either 25 per cent, 33 per cent and 50 per cent. Estimates were derived using 2005-06 Family Resources Survey data and are on a before housing costs basis, using OECD equivalisation factors.
The Government will continue to pursue a multi-faceted strategy to tackle child poverty, as set out in Ending Child Poverty: everybody's business (March 2008). This is based on financial support for families, work for those who can, tackling material deprivation and improving life chances for poor children.
Whether the United Kingdom is facing particular problems from the rise in world sea level, especially in low-lying and heavily populated areas, as outlined in the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's fourth assessment report. [HL3296]
The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): Rising sea levels is an issue that affects many coastal areas both in the UK and around the world. The fourth assessment report (AR4) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that world sea levels could rise by 0.18m to 0.59m (relative to 1980 to 1999) by the end of the 21st century, as a result of global warming. These estimates do not include future changes in ice dynamics, which could increase the contribution of ice sheets to sea level rise over the 21st century. The AR4 identified low-lying islands in the Pacific and flood plain deltas like Bangladesh as particularly vulnerable regions.
|Next Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|