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5 May 2009 : Column WA87

Written Answers

Tuesday 5 May 2009

Armed Forces: Aircraft

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): I refer the noble Lord to the Written Ministerial Statement—“Israel: Update on UK Strategic Export Controls” made by my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary on 21 April 2009 (Official Report, col. 8WS).

We have received no reports that UK equipment or components, either directly or indirectly supplied to Israel, have been used in recent skirmishes along the Israel/Lebanon border. However, we are aware that Israeli aircraft do regularly fly over southern Lebanon in breach of UN Security Council Resolution 1701. These aircraft may have included UK-supplied components.

We are working with the new US Administration on a wide range of subjects, including strategic exports, and continue to engage them at all levels.

Armed Forces: Equipment

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): I refer the noble Lord to the Written Ministerial Statement—“Israel: Update on UK Strategic Export Controls” made by my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary on 21 April 2009 (Official Report, col. 8WS).

We have received no reports that UK equipment or components, either directly or indirectly supplied to Israel, have been used in recent skirmishes along the Israel/Lebanon border. However, we are aware that Israeli aircraft do regularly fly over southern Lebanon in breach of UN Security Council Resolution 1701. These aircraft may have included UK-supplied components.



5 May 2009 : Column WA88

I can also assure you that all available information about UK-supplied equipment being used by the Israeli defence forces during Operation Cast Lead, will be taken into account when we assess future applications. We are also reviewing extant licences to see whether these need to be re-considered in light of the change in circumstances and will report to the Committees on Arms Export Control.

Belize

Question

Asked by Lord Ashcroft

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): Belize's allocation from the European Development Fund (EDF) for 2008-13 includes €10 million for integrated rural development; €1.2 million for technical and material support for the national authorising officer of the Minister of Economic Development; with the remaining €0.6 million allocated to trade-related assistance, improvement of public expenditure and financial accountability and technical training on issues such as tax reform.

The €48.2 million that Belize, as a sugar protocol country, receives is allocated on an annual basis as follows (2006: €3 million, 2007: €6 million, 2008: €9 million, 2009: €13.l million, 2010: €17.1 million). There is no separate breakdown available for amounts allocated according to activity. These allocations are decided on a yearly basis in annual action plans.

Overall, activities aim to improve the efficiency of sugar cane production, processing and economic diversification, with a strong emphasis on developing rural infrastructure in sugar producing areas e.g. roads and bridges. The European Commission (EC) disburses, manages and monitors this funding. Monitoring takes place through regular visits from the supervising EC delegation based in Jamaica and regular reviews.

Belize and Guatemala

Question

Asked by Lord Ashcroft



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The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): During financial year 2008-09, a total of £517,000 was allocated from the tri-departmental conflict prevention pool to projects in Belize and Guatemala. These projects aimed to encourage confidence-building measures between the Governments of Belize and Guatemala to help them reach a settlement on their long-running territorial dispute, with a view eventually to referring the issue to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for resolution.

The breakdown of expenditure is as follows: £200,000 for the Organisation of American States (OAS) Belize/Guatemala: ICJ Legal Fees Fund; £125,000 support to the OAS office in the Adjacency Zone (in the Belize/ Guatemala border); £75,000 support for information and awareness raising campaigns in Belize; £90,000 for confidence-building measures; £27,000 for research projects.

Project bids were initially assessed against our conflict prevention strategy for the Americas and are monitored by our embassies in Belize and Guatemala and through the OAS, including through periodic progress and evaluation reports.

Buses

Question

Asked by Lord Dykes

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Lord Adonis): The Government are confident that the special grant paid to travel concession authorities (TCAs) for the all-England off-peak statutory bus travel concession is sufficient in total. Additional funding of £212 million was provided to TCAs in 2008-09, rising to £217 million in 2009-10, and £223 million in 2010-11, purely to cover the cost of extending the concession.

The formula used to distribute this extra funding was consulted on in detail and takes account of likely demand in areas such as coastal towns, urban centres and other places likely to experience an increase in bus journeys.

We are currently consulting on possible changes to how concessionary travel is administered. Any changes may provide an opportunity to consider how best to distribute the totality of funding.

Buses: Concessionary Fares

Question

Asked by Lord Bradshaw



5 May 2009 : Column WA90

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Lord Adonis): The Government are confident that sufficient funding is available, in total, for statutory concessionary travel. The majority of funding for concessionary travel is provided through the formula grant process. As concessionary travel is not separately identified within this block grant, it is not possible to identify how much individual authorities receive specifically for concessionary travel.

This year an additional £217 million will be provided to local authorities to cover the cost of the extension from free local travel to free England-wide travel. The formula used to distribute this extra funding was consulted on in detail and takes account of likely demand in areas such as coastal towns, urban centres and other places likely to experience an increase in bus journeys.

We are currently consulting on possible changes to how concessionary travel is administered and any changes may provide an opportunity to consider how best to distribute the totality of funding.

Business Support: Minorities

Question

Asked by Lord Ouseley

The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): The Government regard SMEs, including businesses run by women, black minority ethnic and disabled people, as a key engine of the economy and are committed to tackling barriers to their engagement in public procurement.

As announced in the 2009 Budget, the Government will introduce a series of reforms by the end of this year to improve access to government contracts for SMEs following the recommendations of the Glover committee. These include the measurement of SME spend, flagging SME-friendly contracts, guidance and tools for simplified pre-qualification procedures, and training for procurers and SMEs. A single, free of charge, opportunities portal will be delivered by December 2010.

Care Services: Older Adults and Disabled People

Question

Asked by Lord Morris of Manchester



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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The department has received a letter following the debate on 19 March and a reply was sent on 14 April 2009.

Children: Poverty

Question

Asked by Lord Ouseley

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): The Government remain committed to their target to eradicate child poverty by 2020 and are legislating shortly to enshrine this commitment in law.

Child poverty figures are obtained from the Households Below Average Income statistics, an annual Department for Work and Pensions publication. The last published statistics show that in 2006-07 600,000 children have been lifted out of relative poverty since 1998-99 and absolute poverty has been halved. The figures for 2007-08 are due to be published shortly.

Disabled People: Dropped Kerbs

Question

Asked by Baroness Thomas of Winchester

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Lord Adonis): The consultation proposed clarifying in law that traffic signs are not required for an enforcement authority to take action against vehicles parked in contravention at a dropped footway (etc) or double parked (etc).

Over three-quarters of responses were supportive and I am pleased to announce that my honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport has laid the statutory instrument in Parliament, which is due to come into force on 1 June 2009.

It is for enforcement authorities to decide whether to use this power and publicise any intention to do so.

Disabled People: Public Bodies

Question

Asked by Baroness Thomas of Winchester

Lord Patel of Bradford: The annual Cabinet Office publication Public Bodies provides information on the proportion of disabled people serving on the boards

5 May 2009 : Column WA92

of public bodies. Public Bodies 2008 reports that 5 per cent of those serving on the boards of public. bodies, as at 31 March 2008, were disabled. This is an increase from 3.3 per cent in 2002 when data on disability were first collated. Copies of Public Bodies are available from the Libraries of the House.

Drugs

Question

Asked by Lord Taylor of Warwick

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): The impact of family problems on young people's life-chances, including substance misuse, is well-evidenced. The Cabinet Office report Reaching Out: Think Family (www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/media/cabinetoffice/social_exclusion_task_force/assets/think_families/think_families_full_report.pdf) provides a summary of the most relevant research and identifies the links to government policy.

The Think Family programme led by the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) has built upon this research through an £80 million investment to improve local authority parenting and family support. This programme is closely linked to the Government's commitments in the National Drug Strategy (2008) to support young people and families affected by substance misuse, and to the DCSF's wider work to support young people at risk.

Electoral Register

Questions

Asked by Lord Greaves

Lord Patel of Bradford: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, National Statistician, to Lord Greaves, dated April 2009.

As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your Question asking how many electors in each constituency were registered anonymously in (a) 2007-08, and (b) 2008-09.(HL2946)

Table 1 shows the number of people who were registered anonymously by Government Office Region within England and Wales on 1 December 2007 and 1 December 2008. Due to small numbers, we are unable to supply anonymous electors by parliamentary constituency.



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The latest year for which electoral statistics are available is 2008.

The Office for National Statistics do not hold data on anonymous registration for Scotland, the legislation for anonymous registration is not yet enacted in Northern Ireland.

Table 1: Number of electors registered anonymously by Government Office Region in England and Wales 2007-08
Government Office Region2007 12008 2

England

304

506

North East

10

14

North West

16

31

Yorkshire and the Humber

75

52

East Midlands

26

76

West Midlands

20

42

East of England

50

60

London

38

73

South East

39

97

South West

30

61

Wales

6

23

1 Of the administering local authorities, 24 did not provide figures for those registered anonymously on 1 December 2007

2 Of the administering local authorities, 36 did not provide figures for those registered anonymously on 1 December 2008

Source: Office for National Statistics

Asked by Lord Greaves

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): The Office for National Statistics figures reveal that following the introduction of anonymous registration in Great Britain on 1 June 2007, 310 electors were anonymously registered as of 1 December 2007. As of 1 December 2008 the number of electors registered anonymously rose to 551. However, it is not known how many applications for anonymous registration were made to or rejected in these years by an electoral registration officer because this information is not collected centrally.

Embryology


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