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17 Jun 2009 : Column WA207



17 Jun 2009 : Column WA207

Written Answers

Wednesday 17 June 2009

Afghanistan

Question

Asked by Lord Morris of Aberavon



17 Jun 2009 : Column WA208

The Minister for International Defence and Security (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): MoD identifies the costs of operations in terms of the net additional costs it has incurred. The costs that would have been incurred regardless of the operation taking place, such as wages and salaries, are not included. Savings on activities that have not occurred because of the operation—such as training exercises—are taken into account in arriving at the net figures.

The total annual costs of operations in Afghanistan since 2001 are set out below:

2001-022002-032003-042004-052005-062006-072007-082008-09*Total to Date*

Resource Costs (£M)

187

236

36

58

148

560

1,071

1,656

3,952

Capital Costs (£M)

34

75

10

9

51

178

433

967

1,757

Total (£M)

221

311

46

67

199

738

1,504

2,623

5,709

Our forecast cost for operations for 2009-10 will be published in main estimates shortly.

Benefits: Uprating

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): My right honourable friend the Minister for Pensions and the Ageing Society provided an estimate of the costs of uprating DWP social security benefits at the appropriate rates in 2009-10 on 12 February 2009 (House of Commons, Official Report, col. 1545).

The Government do not hold detailed costings for indexation in respect of the full range of public sector pension schemes, but the overall cost of the 5 per cent uprating in 2009-10 has been estimated at around one and a quarter billion pounds.

Community Empowerment, Housing and Economic Regeneration

Questions

Asked by Baroness Hamwee

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): Government can promote changes in the policies and practices of external bodies through a variety of means, such as legislation, the provision of funding information or guidance, by piloting initiatives, and by spreading best practice. The assessment of the best means in any circumstances is carried out on a case by case basis.

Asked by Baroness Hamwee

Lord McKenzie of Luton: Most of the proposals for change in the White Paper Communities in Control do not require legislation. For those where legislation is required, the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Bill, which is currently before Parliament, contains the major provisions, including a number added since introduction.

Given the stage of the parliamentary cycle, we have decided to concentrate our energy on this, and not to publish a Draft Community Empowerment Bill, which would have contained only a few more minor proposals.

Substantial progress has been made since Communities in Control was published. We published a “Communities Progress Report” on 1 June. Copies are in the Libraries of the House.

Asked by Baroness Hamwee

Lord McKenzie of Luton: The Government have no current plans for legislation to implement proposals in the White Paper Communities in Control, beyond those provisions in the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Bill, currently before Parliament.

Cycling

Question

Asked by Lord Berkeley

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The Home Office has included the implementation of the cycle-to-work scheme in its business plan for 2009-10 and is committed to its implementation.

Equality and Human Rights Commission

Question

Asked by Lord Lester of Herne Hill

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Baroness Royall of Blaisdon): As required by the Cabinet Office and the Office for the Commissioner for Public Appointments, commissioner performance appraisals have been carried out to provide the necessary evidence for considering any reappointments. The chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission completed annual appraisals for the commissioners, assessing their performance against their own objectives and the key objectives of the commission.

Food: Labelling

Question

Asked by Lord Dykes

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): Future consultations on front of pack (FoP) labelling will take account of the independent research published on 6 May 2009, which found that a FoP label that included the words “high, medium and low”, traffic light colour coding and percentage of guideline daily

17 Jun 2009 : Column WA210

amount (per cent. GDA) was most effective in terms of consumer comprehension and enabling consumers to assess the healthiness of a product. The published report is available at www.food.gov.uk/news/newsarchive/ 2009/may/pmp.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Department for International Development

Question

Asked by The Earl of Sandwich

Lord Brett: Since the start of the Comprehensive Spending Round 07 period, Department for International Development (DfID) missions in Brasilia, Georgetown, Harare, Kampala and Lilongwe have co-located with Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) posts. The FCO is currently co-located with DfID in a total of 28 overseas sites, and are working with DfID on 10 further co-location projects.

Each co-location proposal is assessed on the basis of a cost benefits analysis carried out between DfID and the FCO. This considers both financial and non financial elements with a focus on achieving best value for the Government. Ongoing assessment of joint missions will take place as part of annual budget planning exercises.

Gurkhas

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): We believe that there are approximately 36,000 former Gurkhas who retired before 1 July 1997. Of these we estimate that approximately 3,500 are already resident in the United Kingdom and the remaining 32,500 are living overseas.

Health: Clinical Diagnoses

Question

Asked by Lord Morris of Manchester

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): Clinical diagnosis is a matter for clinicians. We would not normally expect a dispute over diagnosis to arise. Should this happen we would expect roles and

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responsibilities to be clarified at a local level. This would not, therefore, be an appropriate issue for a national data collection and it is not possible to make an estimate of costs.

Homeless People

Question

Asked by Lord Ouseley

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): Over the three years until 2011, the Government are investing more than £220 million through local authorities and voluntary sector organisations to tackle homelessness. This includes a range of specialist provision for people sleeping rough. The £80 million Places of Change programme is transforming hostels to help rough sleepers rebuild their lives.

Our new strategy “No One Left Out” signals our intent to work with partners to end rough sleeping by 2012. This builds on the considerable success over the past decade substantially to reduce rough sleeping.

Homelessness: Rough Sleepers

Question

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): Annual rough sleeping figures for London are based on local authority street counts and estimates where street counts did not take place. Number of rough sleepers in London:

2000—546;

2005—221;

2007—248; and

2008—238.

Houses of Parliament: Select Committees

Question

Asked by Lord Lester of Herne Hill

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Baroness Royall of Blaisdon): There have been no such occasions.

Housing

Questions

Asked by Lord Burnett

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): The latest statistics on house building starts and completions for England were published in the Communities and Local Government statistics release of 21 May 2009 and accompanying live tables. The web links are shown below:

link to house building statistics release:

www.communities.gov.uk/publications/corporate/statistics/housebuildingq12009.

link to house building live tables:


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