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Question

Asked by Lord Laird

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: No. Following a routine inspection by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and clarification of the commissioners' status a payment was made by the department to HMRC to meet the department's liability in respect of tax and national insurance contributions from 1997-2005. The department cannot comment on individuals’ tax position but has no reason to believe that individual parades commissioners have not paid their respective individual tax and national insurance contributions for the same period.

Olympic Games 2012: Broadcasting

Question

Asked by Lord Inglewood

Lord Davies of Oldham: Yes, the 2012 Olympics will be shown on free-to-view television in the UK.

Olympic Games 2012: Soil and Waste Material

Question

Asked by Lord Berkeley



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Lord Davies of Oldham: Of a total 2.3 million cubic metres (m3) of material which will be excavated on the Olympic Park, it is anticipated that 920,000 m3 of this will be contaminated material in need of remediation. Based on current trends, it is anticipated that no more than 15 per cent (about 330,000 m3) of the total 2.3 million m3 of excavated material will go off-site as waste to landfills because it is contaminated material or non-treatable/geotechnically unsuitable material.

To date, no contaminated or non-contaminated soil and waste material has been removed by rail or water. The ODA has removed 80,000 m3 of hazardous, untreatable, and geotechnically unsuitable—but waste acceptance criteria (WAC) compliant—material by road, and 190,000 m3 of filter cake, including entrained water, by road.

Off-site disposal of some material is necessary because either it is not practical to reuse the material—non-treatable or geotechnically unsuitable for reuse—or because it is hazardous material which cannot remain on-site.

Olympic Games 2012: Equestrian Events

Question

Asked by Lord Inglewood

Lord Davies of Oldham: The London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) has publicly committed to minimising the impact of the equestrian events in Greenwich Park and to developing the course on the basis of an arboricultural (tree) assessment, submitted as part of town planning. The Royal Parks is responsible for trees in Greenwich Park and will be working with LOCOG to ensure that pruning that takes place on any tree is consistent with normal tree husbandry, whereby trees are managed to preserve the landscape, for conservation and for public safety.

Pensions

Question

Asked by Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay

The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): An accrued pension entitlement under an occupational pension scheme is a property right protected by the European Convention on Human Rights: it cannot be forfeited except in the public interest and in accordance with the law.



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Under Sections 92 to 94 of the Pensions Act 1995 an accrued pension entitlement pension generally cannot be forfeited, but this is subject to certain exceptions and the Act permits a public service pension scheme to withhold the whole or part of a pension in certain circumstances. These include where a member owes a debt to the employer or the pension scheme; where a member has been convicted of treason; where a member has been convicted of an offence under the Official Secrets Acts for which the person has been sentenced to a term of imprisonment totalling at least 10 years; or where a member has been convicted of an offence committed in connection with the member's employment where a Minister of the Crown has certified that the commission of the offence has been gravely injurious to the interests of the state or is liable to lead to a serious loss of confidence in the public service.

The precise terms in which individual public service pension schemes provide for forfeiture are matters for those responsible for the rules of the individual schemes.

Prisons: Population

Question

Asked by Lord Chadlington

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): The latest projections for the prison population were published on 18 September, in the Ministry of Justice statistics bulletin Prison Population Projections 2008-15. The projections estimate the demand for prison places for the next seven years in three different scenarios. Under these scenarios, the prison population (at the end of June) is projected to be:

YearHighMediumLow

2009

85,100

84,300

83,300

2010

88,100

86,400

84,400

2011

90,500

87,900

85,100

2012

92,100

88,700

85,000

2013

93,000

88,600

84,100

2014

94,200

89,000

83,600

2015

95,800

89,700

83,400

We are responding to expected rises in the prison population by pursuing an extensive building programme, which is designed to increase capacity in the prison estate to 96,000 places by 2014. We have also taken a

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number of measures, recommended by Lord Carter in his review of prisons and enacted in the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008, to ensure that the use of custody is better focused on those serious, dangerous and seriously persistent offenders for whom it is appropriate and necessary.

Railways: Wheelchair Users

Question

Asked by Baroness Northover

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Lord Adonis): Regulations covering the accessibility of all new rail vehicles have been in place since 1998. These specify a number of features to assist disabled people when accessing these vehicles, including the provision of boarding devices to facilitate access for wheelchair users.

There are currently over 4,750 regulated rail vehicles in service. All rail vehicles must be accessible by no later than 1 January 2020.

Transport: Heavy Goods Vehicles

Question

Asked by Lord Berkeley

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Lord Adonis): No UK studies have been undertaken. However, a study carried out on behalf of the European Union in preparation for the retro-fit legislation, A Cost/Benefit Analysis on Blind Spot Mirrors by the Jacobs Consultancy, indicated that earlier vehicle mirror systems may not be suitable for updating. Our contacts within the manufacturing and transport industries have also advised us that earlier vehicles were generally designed and constructed to save weight, so their design may not be able to cope with additional mirrors.


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