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To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the total cost of transport by air and car, including accompanying officials, involved in returning Binyam Mohamed to the United Kingdom; and what are the budgeted ongoing costs while he remains in the United Kingdom. [HL1678]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): An official from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and from our Embassy in Washington took part in Mr Mohamed's return to the UK. They were accompanied by a Metropolitan Police Service doctor and seven police officers to ensure the security of the flight and to comply with police procedures during the return. They travelled to the US, then by charter flight to Guantanamo Bay, before returning to the UK with Mr Mohamed. A private charter was necessary to ensure security
20 Apr 2009 : Column WA343
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): The Ministry of Defence was not represented at the symposium held in the House of Lords on 24 March. My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State and Minister for Veterans, Kevan Jones MP, received an invitation three days before the event took place but was already committed to another longstanding engagement overseas. My own Private Office did not receive an invitation.
Baroness Thornton: This information is not collected centrally. Using data for England and Wales held by the Office for National Statistics, the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit (NPEU) at the University of Oxford gives the following figures for the incidence of low birth weight (<2,500g at birth):
This information can be found at www.statistics. gov.uk/statbase/Product.asp?vlnk=5768.
Information provided by NPEU suggests it is difficult to accurately estimate the correlation between cerebral palsy and low birth weight. The overall incidence of cerebral palsy is about two per 1,000 live births. This would be equivalent in 2007 to about 1,520 children up to 16 years of age.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what additional help will be available to organisations and authorities to assist any increase in homelessness and rough sleeping as a result of the economic climate. [HL2774]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): We have allocated a total of £200 million to local authorities and voluntary organisations over the three years from 2008-09 to 2010-11 to support their strategies for tackling and preventing homelessness in their area. That includes rough sleeping.
In addition, a further £80 million capital funding has been allocated through our Places of Change programme to work in partnership with voluntary organisations to build on the success of improving hostels and day centres.
We also recently announced a £200 million mortgage rescue scheme to help vulnerable homeowners. The scheme is available to all local authorities and will aim to help up to 6,000 of the most vulnerable households avoid the trauma of repossession over the next two years. The scheme is now operational.
Data collected include the number of households accepted by local housing authorities as eligible for assistance, unintentionally homeless and in priority need, and therefore owed a main homelessness duty (to secure that suitable accommodation is available). These households are known as accepted households. If a settled home is not immediately available, the authority must secure temporary accommodation until a settled home becomes so.
Information on the numbers of households housed in temporary accommodation is reported quarterly by local authorities as at the last day of each quarter. The figure includes: those households which have been accepted as owed the main homelessness duty; those for which enquiries are pending; those being accommodated for a limited period because they have been found intentionally homeless and in priority need; those being accommodated pending possible referral to another authority, and those being accommodated pending the outcome of a local authority review or county court appeal.
The number of accepted households and households in temporary accommodation in London and in the rest of England can be found in tables 3 and 7 respectively of the quarterly Statutory Homelessness Statistical Release. This is available on the web and in the Library: http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/statistics/xls/1173159.xls
Information is also collected on the number of people who sleep roughthat is, those who are literally roofless on a single night. The 2008 English rough sleeper estimate was 483, of which 238 were in London. A further breakdown of this count and the count guidance are published and can be found at the following web address: http://www.communities.gov.uk/housing/homelessness/roughsleeping/.
Data collected include the number of households accepted by local housing authorities as eligible for assistance, unintentionally homeless and in priority need, and therefore owed a main homelessness duty (to secure that suitable accommodation is available). If a settled home is not immediately available, the authority must secure temporary accommodation until a settled home becomes so.
The above local authority data include counts of households for whom a main duty is ended during a quarter. Some of these may have found their own accommodation, but we cannot identify these cases specifically within the figures.
Lord Davies of Oldham: In 2008 there were (a) 12,560 hotels and (b) 350 hostels in the United Kingdom. (Figures taken from the Inter Departmental Business Register, UK Business: Activity, Size and Location 2008).
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by the Lord President (Baroness Royall of Blaisdon) on 17 March (WA 25), whether they will obtain from each government department information to enable them to hold information centrally on how many occasions and in what circumstances Ministers have refused to give evidence to parliamentary Select Committees during the past five years. [HL2485]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the regional housing pot allocations for 200910 for each housing authority that contains or is included in a housing market renewal pathfinder area; and what is the percentage change from their allocation in 200809; [HL2707]
To ask Her Majesty's Government which local authorities in the north-west have had cuts in their allocations of the regional housing pot for 200910; what is the reduction in each case, in monetary terms and as a percentage; and what is the latest ranking of each of those authorities amongst the 46 housing authorities in the region for the proportion of unfit dwellings; [HL2708]
To ask Her Majesty's Government which local authorities outside the north-west have been given a regional housing pot allocation for 200910 which is 90 per cent or less of their allocation in 200809; and what is the reduction in each case, in monetary terms and as a percentage; and [HL2710]
To ask Her Majesty's Government which Minister or Ministers are responsible for making the regional housing pot allocations to local authorities; and what is the role of the Ministers for the Regions in that regard. [HL2711]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): Information on the regional housing pot budget of £4 billion for 2009-10 is not available by local authority.
The regional housing pot consists of three separate programmes: the Homes and Communities Agency's National Affordable Housing programme, the Local Authority Decent Homes programme and the Private Sector Renewal and Regeneration programme.
The Affordable Housing programme element of the regional housing pot is allocated to registered social landlords and other affordable housing providers on the basis of competitive bidding and meeting criteria of value for money; quality; deliverability; and fit with national, regional and local priorities. Funding allocations for local authority decent homes and private sector renewal elements are made direct to local authorities based on recommendations from the regional assemblies and, in the case of London, the mayor.
The Minister for Housing and Planning is responsible for making decisions on allocations to each region of regional housing pot funding. The regional housing pot is distributed between each region formulaically, the formula being made up of indicators reflecting national policy objectives.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Malloch-Brown on 23 March (WA 9798) on human rights in foreign countries, in which countries they work with stakeholders to promote human rights. [HL2657]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) works with a wide range of stakeholders, including Governments, international institutions, non-governmental organisations and civil society, in countries around the world to promote human rights.
Our recently published annual report on human rights gives many examples of the work that we do on human rights in terms of the FCO's overall strategic objectives, our major thematic preoccupations and in the countries of most concern where human rights problems are frequent or endemic.
A copy of this report can be found online at www.fco.gov.uk/resources/en/pdf/pdf15/human-rights-2008.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Davies of Oldham on 13 March (WA 287), what is their assessment of the current level of human rights protection in the Republic of Ireland. [HL2729]
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Malloch-Brown on 18 March (WA 4546), why a list of cases in respect of which the United Kingdom has requested a referral to the European Court of Human Rights Grand Chamber is not available; what were the results of the 14 United Kingdom cases between 1 January 2004 and 10 March 2008; and what are the general criteria used when a decision to seek a referral is made. [HL2816]
In deciding whether to request a referral to the Grand Chamber, the Government consider each case on its merits and in the light of Article 43 of the convention, which provides for requests to be accepted if the case raises a serious question affecting the interpretation or application of the convention or its protocols, or a serious issue of general importance.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the UK Border Agency Case Resolution Directorate prioritises cases where a consent order is made in the High Court whereby the claimant agrees to withdraw an application for judicial review and the Secretary of State agrees to reconsider a claimant's case. [HL2623]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The Case Resolution Directorate processes cases in line with the four priorities announced by the Home Secretary in July 2006. A consent order will only agree to prioritise a case in line with those priorities and is dependent on an assessment of the individual facts of the case concerned.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people in each of the last five years have been denied entry into the United Kingdom on grounds of (a) national security, and (b) threat to public harmony. [HL2632]
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