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The MRC is however funding a programme of research relating to the regulation of emotion and emotional information. The programme aims to address: how healthy people regulate and control their emotions; how these regulation processes might break down in various mental health problems such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), eating disorders and anger disorders; the ways in which people might learn to regulate their emotions better; and the brain regions involved in emotion regulation.

Armed Forces: Religions and Faiths

Question

Asked by Baroness Warsi

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): The Armed Forces encourage people from all faiths to practise their religious observances as far as operational and health and safety considerations allow. While religion and belief is treated as a private matter, the services place a great deal of importance on the spiritual development of their personnel. Commissioned Armed Forces chaplains are drawn from the main Christian denominations practised in the UK. The first MoD

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civilian chaplains to the Armed Forces from the Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and Sikh faith communities were appointed in October 2005. The services have had an honorary officiating chaplain from the Jewish faith under long-standing arrangements, and action is underway to recruit a Jewish civilian chaplain.

Armed Forces: Retirement

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): In 1998, it was discovered that a number of service invaliding pensions, paid to Army veterans, that should have been tax-free because they were attributable to service, had been taxed in error. All the identified errors have now been rectified.

Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs has paid back tax to all 1,320 pensioners affected by the incorrect taxing of invaliding pensions together with simple interest at the repayment supplement rate. It is not possible to provide a definitive reply of the interest rates used as a different repayment supplement rate or rates will have been paid to each individual according to when the overpayment occurred.

It was also agreed that compensation outside the normal six-year repayment period was to be paid by applying compound interest rates, using retail price index rates plus 2 per cent, to the tax wrongly deducted, net of the estimated repayment by the Inland Revenue.

Asylum Seekers

Questions

Asked by Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): We do not accept that there is currently any country in the world where it is unsafe for returns to take place on a blanket basis because of conflict or generalised violence. Instead, all cases are considered on their individual merits in accordance with our obligations under the refugee convention and the European Convention on Human Rights. Those identified by the decision-making process and the independent appeals process not to be in need

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of international protection are expected to leave the UK voluntarily. Failed asylum seekers can and do voluntarily return to all countries of the world. Those who do not leave voluntarily may have their return enforced.

We announced in September 2006 that we would be halting enforced returns to Zimbabwe and we are not currently enforcing the return of Zimbabwean nationals.

The Asylum and Immigration Tribunal recently found that there is no barrier to us re-starting enforced returns for failed asylum seekers to Zimbabwe. Since 2006 hundreds of Zimbabweans have voluntarily returned home. Those found not to be in need of protection and who have not left the UK voluntarily can expect to be returned.

Enforced returns of non-Arab Darfuris to Khartoum are currently suspended pending the outcome of an upcoming country guidance case expected to be heard in the summer.

Asked by Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer

Lord West of Spithead: The way that data on the costs of providing section four support are recorded does not enable the separate collation of the administrative costs of appraising entitlement to Section 4 support, as distinct from other costs such as consultancy, travel, office services and training.

Responsibility for running and funding the Asylum Support Tribunal which hears appeals by those refused asylum support or for whom asylum support is discontinued rests with the Ministry of Justice, not the Home Office. Appeals may relate to support under Sections 4 or 95 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.

The costs of printing Section 4 vouchers and administering and distributing those vouchers is included within the unit costs paid to accommodation providers under the UK Border Agency's target contracts. It is not an additional cost.

Bees

Question

Asked by Lord Moynihan

The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): This UK Biodiversity Action Plan priority list includes

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15 species of bee, of which eight species currently occur in England. Work is under way to promote the recovery of these species and their habitats through environmental stewardship and Woodland Grant Schemes. In addition, a project has just begun which aims to reintroduce Bombus subterraneus, which is currently extinct in the UK.

Belfast Agreement

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: The Belfast agreement addressed the concept of parity of esteem primarily within the context of Northern Ireland—in particular the references to the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland (paragraph 5(e) of the strand one chapter) and the consideration by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission of the scope for a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland (paragraph 4 of the chapter on rights, safeguards and equality of opportunity).

In addition, paragraph 1(v) of the chapter on constitutional issues of the Belfast agreement (which is reproduced at Article 1(v) of the agreement between the Government of the United Kingdom and the Government of Ireland) committed the two Governments to ensuring that:

Benefits: Disability Living Allowance

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): Benefits are awarded to people on the basis of them meeting the conditions of entitlement. People

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who are dependent on alcohol or drugs have to meet the same conditions of entitlement as any other claimant.

We have not conducted any research into the health consequences of awarding benefits to people who are dependent on alcohol or drugs. However, the measures included in the Welfare Reform Bill currently before Parliament are intended to support problem drug users to address their problems and to help them to return to work.

Bloody Sunday: Inquiry

Question

Asked by Baroness Wilcox

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: The average cost per month of the inquiry between April 2008 and December 2009 is approximately £373,000.

The total cost of the Bloody Sunday inquiry to December 2009 is £186 million. The inquiry's most recent estimate of the final cost is £190 million. This incorporates a reduction of approximately 20 per cent of the inquiry's remaining budget, due to a number of additional measures which have been agreed with the inquiry to minimise the remaining costs.

Business: Support

Question

Asked by Lord Chadlington

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform & Cabinet Office (Baroness Vadera): In January 2009 we announced a wide range of measures to support individuals and businesses in the current economic climate. Details can be found in the Real help now booklet, available at www.direct.gov.uk/en/campaigns/RealHelpNow/index.htm.

Business owners can additionally find information and support at www.businesslink.gov.uk/realhelp or by contacting the Business Link Helpline on 0845 6009006.

Businesses: Liquidation

Question

Asked by Lord Chadlington

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform & Cabinet Office (Baroness Vadera): The Insolvency Service does not hold information on business size and, therefore, cannot provide an estimate of the

23 Feb 2009 : Column WA10

numbers of small and medium-sized businesses that went into liquidation in 2008.

The total numbers of companies entering liquidation in 2008 have been published and are available on the Insolvency Service website at www.insolvency.gov.uk/otherinformation/statistics/insolv.htm.

Child Protection: Witchcraft

Question

Asked by Baroness Warsi

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): Information held by the Ministry of Justice cannot separately identify those cautions or prosecutions where the abuse of a minor was related to accusations of possession or witchcraft.

Children: Refuges

Question

Asked by Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): Communities and Local Government (CLG) does not record these figures for England. Housing is a devolved matter and as such this department does not hold information pertaining to Wales.

In 2003 the Government announced major investment in refuge provision in England in 2003-06. A total of £34 million capital was allocated and 511 units of accommodation were refurbished or newly built. More recently the Hostels Capital Improvement Programme (2005-07) funded six new and refurbished refuges at a cost of £4 million.

CLG has also recently commissioned new research that will identify the current housing options available to households at risk of domestic violence, and to assess whether this provision meets current need. It will involve establishing the extent and type of temporary and settled accommodation available for households at risk of domestic violence in England, including the provision of housing related support services delivered to both temporary and settled accommodation, and to households' own homes.

CLG provides essential revenue support for victims of domestic violence through the Supporting People programme—£64.5 million in 2007-08 up from £6l.6 million in 2006-07.



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Co-operation Ireland

Questions

Asked by Lord Laird

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: Liaison with the charitable and voluntary sectors in Northern Ireland is the responsibility of the Northern Ireland Administration, as is the funding of any such organisation.

As the Northern Ireland Office manages the interface between the UK Government and the Northern Ireland Administration, it was therefore the department best placed to provide an Answer to the earlier Question.

Correction to Commons Written Answer

Question

Asked by Lord Taylor of Holbeach

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): The table provided in the reply given to the honourable Member for Eastleigh on 14 January (Official Report, col. 772W) contained an error. For the years 2004 onwards, the row containing the total number of fires in England incorrectly included non-electrical sources of ignition. Figures relating to the individual causes of fire were correct however. A correct version of the table is provided below. We have arranged for the Official Report to be corrected and have issued a revised Answer to the honourable Member for Eastleigh.



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Table 1: Fires in buildings by source of ignition, England, 2003-2007P
Country and source of ignition20032004200520062007

England

84,802

79,500

75,983

72,451

67,882

Non electrical

69,576

63,454

60,221

56,671

52,637

Electrical

15,226

16,046

15,762

15,780

15,245

Cooking appliances

1,386

1,441

1,485

1,502

1,419

Electric space heater

140

136

126

155

190

Plugs

56

55

76

96

81

Sockets and switches

308

316

362

371

387

Leads to appliances

495

523

434

429

380

Wire and cable

3,276

3,761

3,729

3,914

3,713

Washing machine

1,075

1,028

992

910

815

Dishwasher

443

427

370

351

381

Refrigerator

628

687

633

559

565

Tumble and spin driers

853

1,021

999

886

1,005

Lighting

2,417

2,788

2,784

2,780

2,655

Blanket or bedwarmer

252

181

165

133

111

Television

425

524

455

419

438

Iron

60

39

77

85

100

AV, VDU or computer

246

271

243

247

232

Other electrical

3,166

2,848

2,832

2,943

2,773

P=Provisional—Data for 2007 are provisional and subject to change

Elections: County Councils


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