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To ask Her Majesty's Government what rate of interest is charged by HM Revenue and Customs when taxpayers owe it money; and what rate of interest is paid when HM Revenue and Customs owes money to taxpayers. [HL2479]
The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): HMRC charges and pays interest on a number of taxes and these rates are published on the HMRC website. For Income Tax, Corporation Tax and VAT (the main taxes) the present rates of interest are 2.5 per cent for late payment of tax and 0 per cent for repayment of tax.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): On 1 April 2005, the department prohibited the use of
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This did not include 084 numbers (which were not considered to be premium rate at the time). However, the department has written to NHS trusts on several separate occasions since to highlight concerns about the cost to patients of calling 084 numbers, and to reiterate that patients should not be required to pay more than the equivalent cost of dialling a geographic number to contact the NHS.
The department has recently undertaken a public consultation exercise on the use of 084 numbers in the NHS. That consultation ended on 31 March and any action taken as a result of the outcome of the consultation will be announced in due course.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what instructions or advice are given to Government Offices for the Regions, regional development agencies and regional leaders' boards on the use of 0800, 084 and 087 telephone numbers. [HL2572]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): The Department for Communities and Local Government has not issued guidance on the use of 0800, 084 and 087 telephone numbers to local authorities.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many organisations have been proscribed under terrorism legislation in each of the last eight years which (a) are for all practical purposes the same as a proscribed organisation, and (b) are proscribed organisations operating under a different name. [HL2579]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): In accordance with Section 3(6)(a) of the Terrorism Act 2000 (inserted by the Terrorism Act 2006), where the Secretary of State believes that a proscribed organisation listed in Schedule 2 is operating wholly or partly under another name, she may make an order, providing that name is to be treated as another name for the proscribed organisation. The effect of such an order is that the Act has effect as if the organisation were listed in Schedule 2 under both names.
The power in Section 3(6)(a) has been exercised on two occasions. On 14 July 2006, an order came into force which provided that the names "Kongra Gele Kurdistan" and "KADEK" will be treated as other names for the Kurdistan Workers' Party (Partiya Karkeren Kurdistan) (PKK). On 11 March 2009, an order was laid before Parliament providing that the name "Jama'at ud Da'wa" is to be treated as another name for Lashkar e Tayyaba (LeT). This order is due to come into force today.
The related power in Section 3(6)(b) permits the Secretary of State to provide that a name not specified in Schedule 2 is to be treated as another name for a proscribed organisation where she believes the other name is for all practical purposes the same as the proscibed organisation. The power in Section 3(6)(b) has yet to be exercised.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many activists from organisations proscribed under terrorism legislation have been (a) arrested, (b) charged, and (c) convicted, for offences under that legislation in each year since its introduction. [HL2809]
Lord West of Spithead: Details of those charged and convicted under Sections 11 to 13 of the Terrorism Act 2000 will be contained in the Home Office Statistical Bulletin on Terrorism Arrests and Outcomes (Great Britain), 11 September 2001 to 31 March 2008, due to be published in due course. Details of terrorist arrests under Section 41 of the Terrorism Act 2000 or under other legislation will also be contained in the bulletin. However, the arrest figures do not include details of the specific offences of which an individual is suspected.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): It is not part of the stop and search procedure for the police to ask for an individual's religion, so no information on the number of Muslims stopped and searched is available.
An Official Statistics publicationStatistics on Race in the Criminal Justice System 2007/08will be published on Thursday 30 April. This will include a 16+1 ethnicity breakdown, where numbers for people who self-define as Indian, Bangladeshi and Pakistani will be shown. This will be the first time that this level of detail will be published; former publications gave only police-officer-defined ethnic appearance, commonly know as 4+1.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking with European Union Governments, the Government of the United States, Commonwealth
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The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): The Government unreservedly condemn the use of torture. Our policy is not to participate in, encourage or condone the use of torture for any purpose. We are determined that when allegations of torture are made, they must be taken seriously and investigated as appropriate. This position is well known to our key partners.
We take very seriously the need to ensure the welfare of any prisoners captured by our forces, in accordance with international law. For this reason, we have in place various arrangements to ensure their proper treatment. Some of these arrangements involve co-operation with international partners. We maintain an ongoing dialogue with them in respect of these issues. Were we to receive credible information suggesting torture or mistreatment had occurred in respect of prisoners taken by our forces, we would take action, where appropriate in concert with partners, to address such allegations and to review safeguards.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether any HM Treasury officials have visited any country or overseas dependent territory bordering the Caribbean (including the Bahamas, Bermuda and Turks and Caicos Islands) in the past six months; and, if so, on what dates and for what purposes. [HL2450]
The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): The Treasury's accounting system does not hold travel information by destination and the information could only be provided at disproportionate cost.
The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): Natural England is a member of the Sefton Coast Partnership which has recently approved the Sefton Coast Nature Conservation Strategy.
The strategy has a set of principles which will inform future management of the coast. There is specific mention of fragmentation as an issue for the Sefton coast and the remedy for this will include some tree removal.
Early in 2008, Natural England released a statement of how it will proceed with future management of tree cover, though no current plans exist for this work. When Natural England begins to develop ideas for the future management, it will consult the public and other stakeholders and ensure its plans conform with the above strategy, as well as to the Sefton Coast Woodlands Forest Plan; a 20-year plan to diversify the habitat within the area.
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The Government's policy on trees is set out in A Strategy for England's Trees, Woods and Forests. Ensuring effective use of public investment is one of the four principles underlying the strategy. This means:focusing government investment in trees, woods and forest where the market does not provide the range and quality of public benefits identified in the strategy;ensuring that the benefits provided by public investment are shared by all sections of the community and offer value for money; andworking to the strengths of the private sector, non- government organisations and public landowners and choosing the most appropriate delivery mechanisms and partners.
We have no proposals to introduce a nationwide tree planting programme. However, the delivery plan includes agreeing with partners (including local authorities and non-government organisations) new priority areas and places in each region where new tree planting and woodland creation should be targeted, based on the public benefits they will provide.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the ability of the Ugandan courts and traditional systems of justice to try the Lords Resistance Army commanders in respect of whom warrants have been issued by the International Criminal Court; and what assistance they are giving to those courts. [HL2839]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): A special division of the Ugandan high court was established in 2008 to try individuals charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity. The Government of Uganda have also prepared draft legislation to incorporate the Rome Statute into
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The Minister of State, Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (Lord Drayson): Questions about tuition fees will be a matter for the independent review, which we promised in 2004 would look at the first three years of the new arrangements that were introduced in 2006. The first three years of the variable fee regime will not be concluded until the autumn.
Decisions about the future funding of higher education require a prior view about what universities need to achieve in future. That is why ahead of the independent review, the Government have been leading a wide-ranging debate about the future of higher education. We intend to publish our framework for the future development of HE in the summer.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what has been the total cost in real terms to the United Kingdom since 1973 of complying with the urban waste water treatment, bathing and drinking water directives. [HL2565]
The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): Water supply and sewerage services are devolved matters, so this Answer is only for England and Wales, which use the same regulatory frameworks. The Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive was adopted by the Council of the European Communities in May 1991; its implementation would not have incurred any expenditure prior to this date.
Since privatisation in 1989, the water industry has invested around £75 billion (at 2007-08 prices) in water and wastewater services, asset maintenance, environmental improvements, and securing supply and service improvements. This is an average annual capital investment in the water industry of more than £4 billion over the past 18 years.
Around £28 billion (at 2007-08 prices) of the capital investment which has taken place since privatisation is directly related to sewerage service and water quality improvements including those driven by EC directives.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what powers are available to the police in Northern Ireland and England to seize and destroy vehicles where the driver or keeper has paid no road tax, has no valid MOT certificate or valid driving licence, or is disqualified from driving. [HL2815]
The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Lord Adonis): Devolved Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) powers for wheel clamping, removal and disposal of unlicensed vehicles are available to police forces and local authorities under the Vehicle Excise Duty (Immobilisation, Removal and Disposal of Vehicles) Regulations 1997 (as amended). These enforcement powers are available, on application to DVLA, to police forces in both Northern Ireland and England.
For vehicles being driven by a person without a valid driving licence in England, powers under the Road Traffic Act 1988 (as amended) are available. Specifically, Section 165 of the Act provides powers for the police to wheel clamp, seize and dispose of vehicles being driven by an unlicensed driver. No such powers currently exist for police in Northern Ireland.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The available data for 2003 to 2007 are given in the attached table. Data for 2008 are scheduled for publication in August 2009.
Statistics on nationals from the Indian subcontinent admitted to the United Kingdom for a probationary period as husbands, wives or for marriage are published in tables 2.3, 2.4 and 2.6 in the Home Office statistical bulletin Control of Immigration: Statistics United Kingdom, 2007. This publication and future publications may be obtained from the Library of the House and from the Home Office Research, Development and Statistics website: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration- asylum-stats.html.
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