Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

Taxation: Interest Rates


Asked by Lord Dubs

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.

Telephone Numbers


Asked by Lord Greaves

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): On 1 April 2005, the department prohibited the use of

20 Apr 2009 : Column WA372

premium rate (0870, 0871, and 09) numbers to contact local National Health Service healthcare services in England, on the basis of excessive cost to patients. This applied to NHS trusts, NHS dentists, NHS opticians and general practitioner practices, including out-of-hours service providers.

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.

The department has not issued any advice to trusts or other NHS organisations on the use of 0800 numbers.

Asked by Lord Greaves

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.



Asked by Baroness Warsi

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.

20 Apr 2009 : Column WA373

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.

Asked by Baroness Warsi

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.

Terrorism: Stop and Search


Asked by Lord Patel of Blackburn

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 publication—Statistics on Race in the Criminal Justice System 2007/08—will 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.



Asked by Lord Judd

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.

Treasury: Overseas Visits


Asked by Lord Ashcroft

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.



Asked by Lord Fearn

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.

20 Apr 2009 : Column WA375

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.

Asked by Lord Dykes

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.

The delivery plan for A Strategy for England's Trees, Woods and Forestry, developed jointly by Forestry Commission and Natural England, was published in December 2008.

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.



Asked by The Earl of Sandwich

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

20 Apr 2009 : Column WA376

domestic legislation. The Ugandan Parliament is expected to consider the draft Bill shortly. The framework for traditional justice is still evolving and consultations between the Government of Uganda and local communities are continuing. The Government are not currently providing any assistance to the special division of the Ugandan high court.

Universities: Fees


Asked by Lord King of West Bromwich

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.

Urban Waste Water Treatment


Asked by Lord Pearson of Rannoch

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.

Expenditure often meets multiple objectives; it is not possible to distinguish the expenditure needed to meet individual European directives.

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.

20 Apr 2009 : Column WA377

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.

Vehicles: Seize and Destroy Powers


Asked by Lord Laird

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.

There are no powers in either Northern Ireland or England for the police to seize and dispose of a vehicle which has no valid MoT certificate.

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.



Asked by Lord King of West Bromwich

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: asylum-stats.html.

Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page