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17 Jun 2008 : Column WA141



17 Jun 2008 : Column WA141

Written Answers

Tuesday 17 June 2008

British Citizenship

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The set fee is payable by all applicants for naturalisation and does not vary in any circumstances.

British Coal Compensation

Lord Lofthouse of Pontefract asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bach: The Government do not have full details of the claimants' funding of the trial. However, one of the lead cases was represented by Thompsons solicitors in the north-east of England.

I understand that Durham NUM, now Durham Miners Association, has agreed to refund fees paid to it in relation to coal health compensation claims on request.

Lord Lofthouse of Pontefract asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bach: Solicitors' earnings are outside of the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform's remit. Under the schemes solicitors are paid for their work on an agreed tariff. The number of claims each solicitor handles is outside the Government's control as each claimant chooses their representative. The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory

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Reform negotiated the tariff for the work required to progress claims based on the anticipated volume of claims at the time and the processes involved in handling the claims. The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform continues to challenge fees perceived as unreasonable and has achieved actual savings of around £100 million as a result.

The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform and the Ministry of Justice are providing support to the Legal Complaints Service (LCS) and the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA), which are able to investigate solicitors’ conduct.

Buses

Lord Bradshaw asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: Appeals to the Secretary of State for Transport about concessionary fares schemes are considered on a case-by-case basis taking account of local circumstances and the information provided. The Department for Transport does not publish the reasons for individual decisions as this would not be appropriate. These are communicated to the interested parties and it is a matter for them as to how the decisions should be publicised.

The department looks to reflect experience gained from previous rounds of appeals in the guidance provided on reimbursement. The latest guidance was published in January 2008 and this is due to be updated to reflect more recent evidence and experience. The department also intends to issue summary information on the more generic points from the 2007-08 appeal round in the form of a “lessons learned” document. This will be made available to the department’s Concessionary Fares Working Group, which has representatives from all tiers of local authorities as well as the bus industry.

Development: Rights and Accountability

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bach: Both Anglo American and RAID (Rights and Accountability in Development) commented on the draft final statement before publication and their comments were taken into account. No further comments have been received from Anglo American plc since the statement was published.



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Energy: Fossil Fuel Prices

Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bach: The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform uses assumptions for fossil fuel prices in its CO2 emissions projections modelling and other analytical work. The assumptions are presented in the form of four illustrative scenarios for different levels of energy prices (low, central, high and high-high scenarios). These illustrative scenarios are meant to capture the uncertainty around the outturn of future fossil fuel prices and are in line with other industry analysts' projections. It is understandable that those analysts who project or forecast prices to hit $200/bbl or more get more publicity than those who project a reduction in prices; however, there is no consensus about the likely future path of oil prices among industry experts.

Therefore, our approach is to use a wide range, which includes a scenario of continued high oil prices at $150/bbl.

The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform does not recommend the use of any particular scenario, but recommends all policies are tested against all of these scenarios.

Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bach: The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform uses assumptions for fossil fuel prices in its CO2 emissions projections modelling and other analytical work. These assumptions are meant to capture not short-term volatility in oil prices but long-term fundamentals (demand and supply constraints in oil markets), and are in line with other industry analysts' projections.

There is no consensus about the likely future path of oil prices among industry experts. Therefore, our approach is to use a wide range, which includes the scenario of continued high oil prices at $150/bbl, to test the robustness of our policies against these prices.

In the long term, oil prices will be determined by the costs of marginal production and the cost of alternative sources of transport energy; various analysts put these costs in the range of $50 to $90/bbl of oil.



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It is true that with current high prices, these price assumptions will need to be kept under review. We have proposed biannual reviews during periods of high volatility.

Energy: Meters

Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bach: In August 2007 the Government consulted on the proposal on real-time displays set out in the 2007 energy White Paper. The Government response to the consultation was published in April 2008 and this stated that a voluntary agreement with energy suppliers on the distribution of real-time display devices would be sought; we are currently in the process of negotiating this agreement.

European Court of Human Rights: Judges

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): The conditions of service of judges of the European Court of Human Rights are set out in Committee of Ministers Resolution 2004(50) on the status and conditions of service of judges of the European Court of Human Rights. The resolution refers to the payment of an all-inclusive annual salary to judges in equal monthly instalments in advance. The annual remuneration is adjusted in accordance with any adjustments made to salaries of Council of Europe staff of Grade A7 based in France. Additional remuneration is paid on a pro-rata basis to the president of the court, the vice-presidents and the presidents of sections. Judges are required to arrange for insurance cover in respect of healthcare and for their pension at their own expense.

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Malloch-Brown: Article 25 of the European Convention of Human Rights provides that: “The court shall have a registry, the functions and organisation of which shall be laid down in the rules of court. The court shall be assisted by legal secretaries”. The role of

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the registry is to provide legal and administrative support to the court in the exercise of its judicial functions. According to the court's website there are currently about 600 staff members of the registry, 235 of whom are lawyers. The registry's lawyers are divided into 31 case-processing divisions. They prepare files and analytical notes for the judges and correspond with the parties on procedural matters, but are not assigned as legal secretaries to individual judges.

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Malloch-Brown: The Committee of Ministers took into account the Parliamentary Assembly's opinion 248 (2004) when preparing the 2005 budget. There should be direct dialogue between the European Court of Human Rights and the Secretary-General on options for a social protection scheme for judges in the course of setting the Council of Europe budget for 2009. The Committee of Ministers will need to approve any new expenditure.

Freedom of Information

Lord Hanningfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The Department for Transport does not hold information on estimated costs of responding to individual requests. Complying with the Freedom of Information Act does not require compilation of such estimates.

Lord Hanningfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): My department does not hold information on estimated costs of responding to individual requests. Complying with the Freedom of Information Act does not require compilation of such estimates.



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Immigration: Homelessness

Lord Roberts of Llandudno asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): Housing and homelessness are devolved matters and this department therefore holds statistics for England only.

English local authorities that conduct rough-sleeper counts collect information on any individuals sleeping rough who do not have recourse to public funds. These will include nationals of the Eastern European states that acceded to the European Union in 2004 and 2007.

The following local authorities reported Eastern European rough sleepers as part of their street count in 2007:

Local authorityReported number of rough sleepersof which, Eastern Europeans

Westminster

112

20

City of London

45

5

Lambeth

15

3

Redbridge

5

2

Reading

15

8

Peterborough

13

2


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