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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): The detailed financial data and planning assumptions about the proposed content and timing of the equipment plan form part of internal advice to Ministers on the overall affordability of the defence programme and of individual projects at the time they come forward for approval.
Information is, however, routinely made available on a range of major equipment projects, which together form the substantial part of the department's forward equipment programme; for example, in support of the PAC's annual major projects report and the HCDC's annual inquiry into defence procurement.
What reply they are sending to the Royal British Legion's submission to them of 8 May that a significant part of the pay increase for the Armed Forces announced earlier this year is being taken back by the Treasury, making a negative impact on morale and perpetuating problems with recruitment and retention; and what action they are taking specifically to address the effects of the abolition of the 10p starting rate of income tax for service men and women affected by it. [HL3596]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): My right honourable friend the Under-Secretary of State for Defence has received a letter dated 8 May 2008 from the director-general of the Royal British Legion on the effects of the abolition of the 10p starting rate of income tax on service men and women. He will reply shortly.
In the mean time, I would refer the noble Lord to the announcement made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 13 May 2008 of an increase in the individual personal tax allowance by £600 to £6,035 for this financial year, benefiting all basic-rate taxpayers under 65. Around 22 million basic-rate taxpayers will gain an additional £120 this year, fully compensating 80 per cent of households that lose from the Budget 2007 reforms, including the vast majority of the regular Armed Forces.
Lord Davies of Oldham: The Treasury has received representations from the Moroccan Government regarding air passenger duty (APD). Treasury Ministers and officials have held a number of meetings with Moroccan Ministers and officials.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office and UK Trade and Industry have also received representations from the Moroccan Government regarding APD. The matter has been raised with a number of UK dignitaries who have visited Morocco.
Lord Davies of Oldham: The Exchequer Secretary, Angela Eagle, recently met the Moroccan Minister for Trade, Industry, and New Technologies. The Treasury keeps all taxes under review, and the Chancellor will consider the case for a change in the air passenger duty (APD) rate to Morocco, along with that for other tax rates, at Pre-Budget Report 2008.
The Treasury has recently ended a formal consultation on replacing APD with a per plane duty and can confirm that a formal response from the Moroccan Government has been received. This response is currently being considered, along with others, to assist in the development of the new per plane duty which will replace APD on 1 November 2009.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): Our embassy in La Paz has received one official visit this year from the UK. My honourable friend the Minister for the Middle East, Kim Howells, visited Bolivia from 12 to 14 May 2008. He was the first Foreign Office Minister to visit Bolivia since 1996.
My honourable friends visit to Bolivia provided a valuable opportunity for the Government to engage with the Government of Bolivia on a number of important issues ahead of the EU-Latin America and the Caribbean summit in Lima later that same week, which my honourable friend attended. A key objective of the visit was to help encourage the Government of Bolivia to view the summit as an opportunity for concrete progress on climate change and poverty reduction.
My honourable friend sought the views of the Government of Bolivia and the Opposition there on recent internal political events, including the autonomy referendum in the region of Santa Cruz. My honourable friend encouraged all parties to maintain constructive dialogue. My honourable friend also raised the Government's concerns about investment security and discussed options for effective co-operation with the Bolivian authorities against international crime, especially drug-trafficking, and in combating global warming.
Lord Malloch-Brown: Our ambassador in La Paz has received one UK parliamentarian this year. My honourable friend the Minister for the Middle East, Kim Howells, visited Bolivia from 12 to 14 May 2008. He stayed at the ambassador's official residence.
The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): The two tests currently used in Britain and other developed countries for the antemortem diagnosis of TB in cattle are the tuberculin skin test (the primary screening test) and the gamma interferon blood test (the ancillary test). Both tests have been subjected to extensive validation and research work published by British and foreign authors in international peer-reviewed journals over many years, and as a result, they have been officially recognised by the EU Commission and the OIE (International Animal Health Organisation).
The Government receive advice on the specific applications and performance of the tests in Britain from specialists within Defra (including the Veterinary Laboratory Agency (VLA)), independent experts and, previously, from the former Independent Scientific Group (ISG) on cattle TB. These advisers are all familiar with, and are regular contributors to,
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(a) when was the last time that Ministers and senior officials of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Department for International Development and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office discussed funding biodiversity in the British Overseas Territories; (b) what was decided; (c) when the next such meeting will take place; and (d) what the agenda for the next such meeting will contain. [HL3588]
The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): The last meeting of the Inter Departmental Ministerial Group on Biodiversity (IDMGb) was held in March 2007, when officials from Defra, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department for International Development and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) met to discuss gaps and obligations in the Government's conservation activities, and issues relating to the UK Overseas Territories. Officials from these bodies met again in December 2007 to discuss what should be elevated to the subsequent ministerial IDMGb meeting. Given that the last ministerial IDMGb agreed that a study into conservation priorities in the overseas territories should be carried out by the JNCC, this will certainly be one of the issues which will be discussed. The next meeting of the ministerial IDMGb is scheduled for the latter half of June 2008.
What assessment has been made in the past 12 months of the comparative power used in listening to the radio using (a) a mains-powered analogue set; (b) a mains-powered digital radio receiver; and (c) a television receiving digital radio. [HL3725]
The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): Current digital radios require more energy than their traditional analogue counterparts to process the signals they receive. Evidence from the Government's market transformation programme (MTP) suggests that on average, a digital radio requires around 8.5 watts to operate compared to the 2 watts needed for an analogue radio. While
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While the MTP has not carried out any tests to estimate the energy consumed by listening to digital radio via a television and set-top box receiver, the Energy Saving Trust (EST) fairly recently tested four televisions in this way. These tests indicated that listening to digital radio in this way required between 60 and 183 watts. The actual energy used varied according to the type of television, the screen size and whether the screen was on or the display was black. Black screen display is available only for BBC radio channels.
Screen blanking, which allows the selected radio station to be received in audio only, can reduce the energy consumption to around 25 watts. Although not yet widely available, we expect this technology to become more common in the near future.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Lord Adonis): The Department for Children, Schools and Families involved children and young people through the Time to Talk consultation process, which supported the development of the Children's Plan. The consultation encouraged children and young people to feed in their views through focus group discussions, deliberative events, video diaries in schools, leaflet and on-line surveys. A toolkit was also made available to help organisations and people working with children and young people run their own listening groups. All strands had questions specifically tailored to gather the views of young people.
Lord Adonis: Young people are fully involved in the review of sex and relationships education (SRE) delivery. Josh McTaggart, a member of the UK Youth Parliament is co-chairing the review with Jim Knight MP and two further members of the UK Youth Parliament are members of the review's steering group.
How many local authorities in England have an official specifically responsible for tackling sexual exploitation; how many of these posts are full time; and how many include a specific remit for tackling the sexual exploitation of children and young people; and [HL3722]
Lord Adonis: Information on officials based in local authorities with specific responsibility for tackling sexual exploitation is not collected. Local authorities (LAs) have specific duties that have a bearing on tackling sexual exploitation in general and in regard to safeguarding children and young people. Under the terms of Section 17 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 they must do all they reasonably can to prevent crime and disorder in the exercise of their functions. Section 47 of the Children Act 1989 requires LAs to make inquiries on whether action is needed to safeguard and promote the welfare of a child if the child is suspected of, or is likely to be, suffering significant harm. Under the terms of Section 11 of the Children Act 2004, LAs are also required to ensure that their functions are discharged with regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.
While there is research literature on young people who sexually abuse other children and young people, I am not aware of any research that has been undertaken specifically on the exploitation of children and young people by other children and young people.
The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): The Government's position on world population is detailed in the Department for International Development's policy paper on sexual and reproductive health and rights, which is available online.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The British Crime Survey (BCS) is considered to be the most reliable general indicator of trends in violent crime. The most recently published main BCS from 2006-07 indicates that between 1995 and 2006-07 there was a 59 per cent fall in respondents reporting incidents of domestic violence to the survey.
The increase in reports to the police can be attributed to the Government's co-ordinated approach to strengthen the criminal justice system response to domestic violence, whereby victims are encouraged to report incidents of domestic violence to the police. The figures which are collected as part of a statutory performance indicator under the police performance assessment framework are outlined in the attached table.
|Police Performance Assessment FrameworkSPI eight Data|
|Year||Number of reported Domestic Violence Incidents|
|* excludes data from one force.|
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