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24 Mar 2009 : Column WA107

Written Answers

Tuesday 24 March 2009



Asked by Baroness Masham of Ilton

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): One of the aims of the Government's Sexual Health and HIV Strategy for England is to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies. From 1 April 2009, the standard National Health Service contract will include the requirement that abortion service providers should provide advice, supply and fitting of the full range of methods of contraception for women undergoing abortion.

We have invested £26.8 million in 2008-09 to improve access to contraception to improve all women's knowledge of, and access to, the full range of contraception and help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies, abortion and repeat abortions. An extra £20.5 million will be invested during 2009-10 for this purpose, including £7 million for a contraceptive choices media campaign and a further £10 million to strategic health authorities for local action.

Asked by Baroness Masham of Ilton

Lord Darzi of Denham: This is a matter for the Scottish Government.

Armed Forces: Urgent Operational Requirements


Asked by Lord Moonie

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): The approval cost of urgent operational requirements (UOR) per year is shown in the table below:

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Financial YearApproval cost


£500 million


£180 million


£130 million


£260 million


£790 million


£1,550 million


£800 million

For FY2008-09, the figure given is the anticipated approval for the financial year, noting that the financial year is not yet complete.

UOR figures are collated as approvals rather than expenditure; the answer is therefore couched in those terms. We do not have robust information on previous UOR expenditure, because these figures have not been collated centrally.

UORs are normally funded from the reserve and not subject to repayment. There are however occasions when an urgent capability will also bring long-term benefit to the MoD, and it is therefore appropriate for the MoD to contribute to the cost of the UOR. Equally, existing funded programmes in the MoD's forward equipment plan may be brought forward for urgent operational reasons, and if reserve funding is provided to meet the urgent requirement, it may be subject to repayment.

Exact proportions of any cost-share will vary according to the particular projects and final costs and are not held centrally. An exact breakdown of costs to the MoD and the reserve for all UORs could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Asylum Seekers


Asked by Lord Hylton

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The majority of asylum applicants are not detained while their applications are under consideration. The decision as to whether or not to detain will be made on a case-by-case basis and a person will only go into the detained fast-track process where they meet the criteria set out in the published guidance manual which can be found on the following website at;_ Guidance/Detention/Guidance/DFT_DNSA_intake_ selection.doc.

A copy of this document will be placed in the Library of the House of Commons.

All case owners dealing with cases in the detained fast-track (DFT) process have been fully trained and give each case full and careful consideration. Each case refused asylum within the DFT process has the

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same avenue of appeal as for other asylum decisions. The Asylum and Immigration Tribunal upholds the case owner's decision in 97 per cent of the cases that go before it. The UK Border Agency is taking steps to further improve decision quality. The Quality Assurance Team quality assesses 10 per cent of asylum decisions, including those taken in the DFT process, per month. In addition to this, each DFT decision is reviewed by line managers or senior caseworkers.

Asylum Seekers: Congo


Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): Information on the number of asylum seekers, excluding dependants, from the Congo who were granted leave to remain in the United Kingdom between 2005 and 2007 is published annually in table 4.1 in the annual Home Office Statistical Bulletin—Asylum Statistics United Kingdom.

Statistics for 2008 are published in the table B of the supplementary web tables published with the Control of Immigration: Quarterly Statistical Summary—Fourth Quarter 2008. This table shows applications received for asylum in the UK (excluding dependants) and initial decisions broken down by country of nationality.

2007 and 2008 figures are provisional and may be subject to change. These publications are available from the Library of the House and from the Home Office Research, Development and Statistics Directorate website at

British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly


Asked by Lord Laird

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): The following information about grant in aid is drawn from the accounts of the British-Irish Inter-Parliamentary Body. These payments are made in the form of grant-in-aid payments from central government.


2002-03—no grant in aid received in order to allow the body to reduce its reserves;




2006-07—£180,000; and


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Crown Prosecution Service


Asked by Lord Tebbit

The Attorney-General (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) operates under the Civil Service Commissioners' recruitment code, which upholds the principles of recruitment on the basis of fair and open competition and selection on merit.

The CPS does not take into consideration gender, sexual orientation and ethnic origins in ensuring the most suitable candidate is appointed.

Equality: Race


Asked by Lord Laird

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): In our discussion paper Tackling Race Inequalities, to which I referred in my reply to the noble Lord Ouseley on 10 March (Official Report, col. WA 229), we use the term “Black, Asian and minority ethnic” to mean people from “visible” ethnic groups such as Black, South Asian and Chinese people and also Gypsies and Travellers. However, the Government are not prescriptive in their wider use of the term “minority ethnic” and use the terms “Black and minority ethnic”, “Black, Asian and minority ethnic”, “ethnic minority” and “minority ethnic” interchangeably.

G20: Conference


Asked by Lord Judd

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): We are keen to ensure that the voices of developing regions are heard at the London Summit of G20 leaders. That is why we invited Prime Minister Meles of Ethiopia as chair of the New Economic Partnership for African Development and Prime Minister Abhisit in his capacity as the chair of the Association of South East Asian Nations

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(ASEAN). Jean Ping, of the African Union (AU) Commission, and Dr Surin, the Secretary General of ASEAN, will also attend to further extend the representation from developing regions.

I attended the AU Summit at the end of January 2009 and the ASEAN summit at the end of February 2009 to seek views from African and Asian leaders directly. I have also held consultations at the UN with member states, the Secretariat and specialised agencies in New York and Geneva. And on 16 March 2009, my right honourable friend the Prime Minister hosted a discussion with African leaders in London.

We recognise the importance of protecting the poorest during the economic downturn. We will therefore be seeking action from the multilateral development banks to take immediate steps to help countries cope with the impact of the crisis on the poorest people.

Further, as well as seeking to ensure that fiscal support is available from the International Monetary Fund on an affordable, flexible basis, we need to agree the principles for governance reform of the international financial institutions to make them more effective and legitimate. Actions at the London G20 summit to stabilise the financial system and build foundations for sustaining and strengthening global growth are essential in order to achieve this. It will be more important to ensure that growth during the economic recovery helps the poor as well as helping more developed countries.

G20: Smoking


Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): Smoking booths will not be provided. The Government have no plans to amend the smokefree legislation.



Asked by Baroness Northover

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): I would like to reiterate what my honourable friend Bill Rammell said during the Foreign Affairs Committee evidence on 4 March 2009 that it has not been clear what equipment was

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used by the Israeli Defence Forces in Gaza. We have therefore been undertaking our own assessment based upon a variety of sources. The Amnesty International report is a helpful contributor to that. When that process is complete we will make the information available to Parliament.

Asked by Lord Dykes

Lord Malloch-Brown: According to the Human Rights Watch letter to Foreign Ministers of 16 March 2009, it has clearly stated that it has documented cases in which Hamas has fired rockets from very near populated homes or other civilian objects. The letter also states that launching rockets from within densely populated areas—thus making civilians in the vicinity vulnerable to counterattacks—violates the requirement to take all feasible precautions to protect civilians from harm.

Government Buildings: Security


Asked by Baroness Neville-Jones

Lord Patel of Bradford: The information requested is not held centrally and can only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Government Departments: Data Security


Asked by Baroness Neville-Jones

Lord Patel of Bradford: The reporting of data security breaches is the individual responsibility of government departments. Following the publication of the data handling report on 25 June 2008, there is a requirement on departments to report on information risk in their annual resource accounts and this includes reporting on data security incidents. The first such reports were published by departments following the end of the 2008-09 reporting year.

Comprehensive information on the numbers and nature of data security breaches by departments is not held centrally.

Copies of the data handling report are available in the Library.

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Government: Ministerial Visits


Asked by Lord Greaves

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): The information has been placed in the Library of the House.

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