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To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they had with the Government of France regarding the establishment of the immigration centre in northern France, particularly about expectations of the illegal immigrants who would be housed in it. [HL846]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The situation in Calais has been the subject of discussion between Ministers at several bilateral meetings. There is also regular contact between officials on the provision of services to illegal migrants in northern France. The opening and administration of shelters remains a matter for the French authorities. Alongside the French authorities, we remain firmly opposed to any accommodation centre that would attract illegal immigrants and the traffickers who prey on them.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether all issues raised in the first annual report of the independent monitoring board on the short-term holding facilities at Heathrow Airport in April 2008 have been addressed. [HL649]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The IMB annual report highlighted 11 main issues of concern about the management and operation of the short-term holding facilities at Heathrow Airport. All of these issues have been addressed or are in the process of being so by the UK Border Agency or Group Four Securicor (G4S), who manage the facilities under contract to the agency.
23 Feb 2009 : Column WA20
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the constitution and purpose of the Joint Economic Commission for the North West; how often it meets; who its members are and how they were appointed; what is its budget; and how it is serviced and funded. [HL1391]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): The Joint Economic Commission (JEC) is set up on a time limited basis to meet as often as required to:assess and monitor the performance of the NW economy;agree actions to address the challenges facing the region and to ensure that the north-west economy emerges from the current downturn stronger than before; andenable the regional Minister to ensure that decisions of the National Economic Council (NEC) can be implemented and that information on impacts in the NW can be fed back to the NEC.
The secretariat is provided jointly by Government Office North West and the North West Development
23 Feb 2009 : Column WA21
The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Lord Adonis): It is for the Mayor of London to review the performance of Transport for London during the recent snowfall and to look at its relationship with London's boroughs over their response to clearing the road network of snow. Beyond this the London Regional Resilience Forum, on which the Mayor is the deputy chair, will be considering the extent to which lessons can be learnt from the response to the recent snow in London.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many officials have been involved in the preparation of the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Bill; and what they estimate to be the cost of preparing the Bill up to the date of its First Reading in the House. [HL1420]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): A team of four policy officials and two lawyers worked full-time preparing the Bill from July 2008 until introduction in December. The cost of this team for this period is estimated at £108,000. In addition, a significant number of officials have been involved on a range of policy issues, including specialists as part of their regular job functions. Cost estimates for their time are not estimated or collected.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): Local involvement networks (LINks) have been established to seek and capture the views and experiences of all
23 Feb 2009 : Column WA22
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have for the future of the Old War Office Building; and whether they are considering (a) disposal to the private sector, or (b) conversion for private use. [HL1544]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): The Ministry of Defence plans to vacate the old War Office building by the end of 2010, and for it to become fully surplus to requirements by 2013. Options for the building's future are currently being developed, and will include potential commercial sale and public sector re-use.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): £2.3 billion was the budget agreed under the Comprehensive Spending Review for the first three years of a programme that was always expected to take at least 10 years to deliver in full. In its latest report on the programme, published on 16 May 2008, the National Audit Office made it clear that there have been no cost increases on the original contracts and that the increase in the eventual total cost from an estimated £12.4 billion in 2006 to £12.7 billions in 2008 was attributable to the procurement of additional systems and services. Of this total, some £3.5 billion has been spent to date, as suppliers are paid only when systems have been successfully deployed and are working satisfactorily.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Statement by Lord Darzi of Denham on 26 January (WS 25), whether the revised weighted
23 Feb 2009 : Column WA23
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Statement by Lord Darzi of Denham on 26 January (WS 25), why the revised weighted capitation target per weighted head reflects a change from a range of £1,402 to £1,896 per head to a range of £1,535 to £1,595; and why 64 out of 153 primary care trusts have a revised capitation target of £1,535. [HL1348]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The Written Statement on 26 January (WS 2-5) included revised weighted capitation target figures per weighted head for primary care trusts (PCTs). The revision was required because of an administrative error in the preparation of the Answer to a Parliamentary Question on 12 January (Official Report, col. 178W). It was not due to the completion of the review of the Advisory Committee on Resource Allocation. PCT allocations for 2009 to 2010 and 2010 to 2011 based on the new weighted capitation formula recommended by the Advisory Committee on Resource Allocation were announced on 8 December (WS 34-44).
The weighted capitation formula determines PCTs' target allocations based on the weighted needs of each PCT'S population. Weighted needs reflect the need for healthcare due to age and additional need over and above that due to age. The measure weighted capitation target per weighted head gives a very similar figure for each PCT to the average for England. This is because each PCT's weighted need is included in both their weighted target and weighted population. The alternative measure of weighted capitation target per unweighted head gives a wider range across PCTs, reflecting PCTs' populations' relative needs for healthcare services.
To ask Her Majesty's Government from which budget the North West Regional Strategy branding work RS2010 and brand guidelines were produced; who was commissioned to produce it; and what it cost. [HL1390]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): The Regional Strategy (RS2010) branding, RS 2010 logo and RS2010 guidelines were produced in-house by NWDA marketing staff. All costs for producing this piece of work came from within existing staff budgets (no additional staff were employed for this work).
Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Shaun Woodward) regularly attends a wide range of private and public events and meetings in Northern Ireland consistent with the role of Secretary of State following devolution.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer Baroness Royall of Blaisdon on 3 February (WA 111) concerning the Northern Ireland Parades Commission, why a request for information was not passed to the commission for reply. [HL1369]
Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: I refer the noble Lord to the Answer I gave on 29 January 2009 (Official Report, col. WA 78), which makes clear that, where questions are of an operational nature, noble Lords will be referred to the public body concerned.
The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): In total, 4,135,144 items of post were received by the Houses of Parliament in 2008. The House of Lords received an estimated 15 per cent of this number, or approximately 620,271 items. These figures do not include parcels, courier items or internal mail.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): There are currently 24,883 places of meeting for religious worship which have been registered by the Registrar General for the solemnisation of marriages under Section 41 of the Marriage Act 1949. This number is broken down by denomination as follows:
Other Christian bodies includes those who describe themselves as Christian but do not designate themselves further. Examples of Other include Assemblies of God, Latter Day Saints, Seventh Day Adventist, Greek Orthodox and Pentecostal.
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