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9 Feb 2009 : Column WA162

Aviation: Baggage

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Lord Adonis): The Department for Transport does not compile data on loss and damage to airline passenger baggage. Data on the number of complaints received about mishandled baggage (including lost and damaged baggage) are published by the Air Transport Users Council (AUC)—the UK's consumer watchdog for the aviation industry. The data are published each year in the AUC's annual report.

Aviation: Passengers

Questions

Asked by Lord Laird

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Lord Adonis): Passenger rights in respect of loss, damage or delay to baggage are protected by international legislation. Under the 1999 Montreal convention which came into force for the UK in June 2004, passengers or their representatives may bring proceedings in respect of loss, damage or delay to baggage in domestic courts provided the carrier concerned operates to the country concerned.

The convention was implemented in European Community law by Regulation EC 889/2002, which replicates the convention provisions for claiming compensation in respect of delayed, damaged or lost luggage.

Asked by Lord Laird



9 Feb 2009 : Column WA163

Lord Adonis: Data on casualties caused by aviation accidents are published annually in Transport Statistics Great Britain, which can be downloaded from the Department for Transport website.

The number of fatal and non fatal injuries to passengers on UK registered aircraft conducting commercial services (including helicopter and air taxi operations) for each year from 2002 to 2007 are as follows.

200220032004200520062007

Fatal

9

0

0

1

5

0

Non-fatal

3

1

3

0

2

1

The figures for 2008 are not yet available.

Bailiffs

Question

Asked by Lord Lucas

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): The investigation was paid for by the HMCS Resources Directorate. Recovery of the cost of the investigation has been sought from Drakes and its successor company. To date the recovery of the costs has not been successful since the sum claimed has been disputed. The amount of the claim is commercially sensitive, since negotiations are still in hand, and so cannot be disclosed.

The investigation was commissioned following a BBC “whistleblower” programme on the bailiff industry in September 2006.

Belfast Agreement

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: The operation of the North/South implementation bodies is a matter for the devolved authorities in Northern Ireland and the Irish Government.

Broadcasting: Audio Description

Question

Asked by Baroness Bonham-Carter of Yarnbury



9 Feb 2009 : Column WA164

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communications, Technology and Broadcasting (Lord Carter of Barnes): Media literacy is one of the key focus areas of the Government's Digital Britain interim report published last month, and a key priority in Ofcom's work plan for 2008-09. As part of its plan Ofcom will engage with advocacy groups for sections of society most likely to be excluded from the digital communications market including the Royal National Institute of the Blind.

Crime: Metal Theft

Question

Asked by Baroness Greengross

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The requested information is not available centrally.

The Home Office collects crime statistics for England and Wales only. From the recorded crime statistics collected, it is not possible to identify the number of thefts where metal was stolen. Such offences are recorded in the “other theft” classification and cannot be separately identified from other items stolen.

Criminal Records Bureau

Question

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): Further to my previous Written Answer of 20 January (WA 195-96), the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) plans to publish guidance to those inquiring about hosting child visitors in private homes on its website at www.crb.gov.uk.

This guidance will make it clear that there is currently no mandatory requirement for any household family members to undergo a CRB check. However, they would qualify for an enhanced disclosure if they are working in a position in which normal duties involved regularly caring for, training, supervising or being in sole charge of a person under the age of 18.

However, this position is expected to change in October 2009 with the introduction of the vetting and barring scheme operating under the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA). There is an intention that activities of the nature referred to will be regarded as a regulated activity and ISA registration will be a mandatory requirement for individuals undertaking this type of role.



9 Feb 2009 : Column WA165

Crown Prosecution Service

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

The Attorney-General (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): I refer the noble Lord to the Answer given on 27 January 2009 (Official Report, col. WA 35).

Government: 30-year Rule

Question

Asked by Lord Fowler

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): The report by the independent review team appointed by the Prime Minister to review the 30-year rule was published on Thursday 29 January 2009 by the 30-year rule review team. Copies are available in the Vote Office, Printed Paper Office and the Libraries of both Houses. The report is also available on the internet at www.30yearrulereview.org.uk.

Northern Ireland Office: Bonuses

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: The trade unions were consulted about the bonus schemes. The trade unions are not consulted about the payment of bonuses to members of staff.

Northern Ireland Office: Cost-saving

Question

Asked by Lord Laird



9 Feb 2009 : Column WA166

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: Details of efficiency gains delivered by the Northern Ireland Office across the SR04 period (from 2005-06 to 2007-08) are outlined in the NIO's autumn performance report 2008 which is published on the internet at www.nio.gov.uk.

To provide detail prior to this period would be possible only at disproportionate cost.

Northern Ireland Office: Staff

Questions

Asked by Lord Laird

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: Pay arrangements are delegated to individual government departments. Departments are required to meet central guidance laid down by Cabinet Office and HM Treasury which monitor and agree Home Civil Service departments' pay remits.

Asked by Lord Laird

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: The salary bill for the Northern Ireland Office, excluding its agencies and executive NDPBs, since 2001-02 is shown in the following table.

Financial YearSalary Costs (£'000s)

2001-02

29,532

2002-03

33,436

2003-04

36,355

2004-05

38,349

2005-06

42,639

2006-07

45,241

2007-08

51,636

These totals include wages and salaries, social security costs and other pension costs.

Northern Ireland Office: Staff Sickness

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: No staff employed within the Northern Ireland Office are entitled to take “stress leave” days.



9 Feb 2009 : Column WA167

Passports

Questions

Asked by Lord Marlesford

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): There are no plans to do so. Although applicants for British passports are asked for details of any other passport held at the time of application, any system of recording passports obtained or renewed during the validity of the UK passport would be costly and difficult to enforce where a person with dual nationality chose not to notify the acquisition of a passport in their other nationality.

Asked by Lord Marlesford

Lord West of Spithead: No. Electronic reading of passports does not reveal any additional information. However, it is very useful in checking individual names against watch lists and in the development of the e-borders system which will give additional capability to track movements where more than one passport is used.

Asked by Lord Marlesford

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): Citizens of Commonwealth countries, the Irish Republic and Gurkhas serving in the UK Armed Forces are permitted to hold non-British passports. Personnel with British nationality who are also dual nationals of another country may also hold a passport of the other country. Nationality and the right to enter the UK is established as part of the recruitment process. Personnel have an obligation at the recruitment stage to inform the recruiting office that they hold dual nationality status but, if they hold a British passport they are not normally required to reveal the country of origin of their non-British passport.

Asked by Lord Marlesford


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