Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

Asked by Lord Taylor of Holbeach

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Davies of Oldham): The Legal and Strategic Human Resources group was formed on 1 April 2008, when it comprised 205 permanent staff, of which 114 were legal staff, 53 were in HR and 38 were employed in other areas.

The number of staff employed when Legal and HR were separate units was as follows:

LegalHRTotal

30 Jun 2004

162

244

406

31 Mar 2005

166

228

394

31 Mar 2006

159

209

368

31 Mar 2007

142

96

238

The significant reduction in the number of HR staff between 31 March 2006 and 31 March 2007 is due to the creation of the Shared Services Directorate to which many HR staff were transferred.

Information prior to 30 June 2004 is not available.

Hong Kong

Question

Asked by Lord Avebury

The Minister for Europe (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): All those members of staff at our Consulate-General in Hong Kong who are required to undertake nationality determinations as part of their job receive formal nationality training provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Housing: Energy Efficiency

Question

Asked by Lord Taylor of Holbeach

The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): We are committed to delivering our energy and carbon-saving objectives in a way that is fair and that enables all consumers, particularly the poorest and most vulnerable, to reap the benefits of the move to a low carbon economy. Our goal is for "whole house" packages of

2 July 2009 : Column WA89

measures, including all cost-effective energy-saving measures, plus renewable heat and electricity measures as appropriate, to have been made available to all homes by 2030. We are now analysing potential delivery models and taking into account responses to the Heat and Energy Saving Strategy consultation. The outcome of this analysis will be presented in the finalised strategy which we aim to publish by the end of the year.

Housing: Home Improvement Agencies

Question

Asked by Lord Taylor of Holbeach

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): In 2007-08, administering authorities spent £17.832 million of their funding allocated through the Supporting People programme on home improvement agencies. Out of this total £4.929 million was spent in predominate rural areas and £4.430 million was spent in significant rural areas. So overall administering authorities spent £9,359,120, 52 per cent of the total HIA spend on predominate rural or significant rural areas.

Human Rights

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Minister for Europe (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): The Government have no plans to monitor human rights in the Republic of Ireland.

Marine Environment: Gibraltar

Question

Asked by Lord Hoyle

The Minister for Europe (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): We remain deeply concerned about this issue and continue to examine Gibraltar's case in detail to determine what action to take. I will inform the noble Lord when a decision is made.



2 July 2009 : Column WA90

Nepal

Question

Asked by The Earl of Sandwich

The Minister for Europe (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): Nepal remains on the list of issues of which the UN Security Council is seized. The situation there, and the UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN), can be discussed at any time should the circumstances require.

The UN Security Council is kept informed of progress in the peace process in Nepal and the implementation of UNMIN's mandate by regular reports of the Secretary-General. The council reviews UNMIN's mandate, as well as any readjustments, on this basis. UNMIN's current mandate expires on 23 July 2009. As such, the Security Council will be discussing UNMIN this month.

Northern Ireland Office: Smoking

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: A total smoking ban was introduced in all Northern Ireland Office and NI departmental premises in Northern Ireland on 1 January 2005 and was extended to the London office in March 2005. Recruitment and advertising literature highlights the ban and there are a number of measures in place to encourage and assist smoking cessation.

Northern Ireland: Human Rights Commission

Questions

Asked by Lord Laird

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission was established by s.68 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 ("the Act") and its statutory functions are set out in s.69 of the Act. Building confidence is not specified as a function of the Commission.

However, the commission is a designated public authority subject to the requirements of s.75 of the Act to have due regard to "the need to promote equality of opportunity"and "the desirability of promoting good relations". To this end, the commission has developed

2 July 2009 : Column WA91

an approved Equality Scheme, prepares annual Equality Plans, and submits its Strategic Plans to full public consultation and Equality Impact Assessment. The commission is currently consulting on its draft Strategic Plan for 2009-11. Full information can be obtained directly from the commission or found on its website www.nihrc.org.

As set out in Schedule 7(5) to the Act, the commission reports annually to the Secretary of State on the performance of its functions during the year. Annual reports are available publicly and copies are placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Asked by Lord Laird

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland approved in full the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC) proposal to access £110,000 of external funding from Atlantic Philanthropies. The Secretary of State considered that the proposal was consistent with the statutory functions of the NIHRC and that the receipt of such funding would be consistent with the conditions set out in the NIHRC management statement. However, the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) suggested to the NIHRC that one of the proposed projects was likely to involve nugatory work and invited the NIHRC to submit an alternative project for consideration, within the scope of the total funding.

Copies of the NIO's letter confirming these details to the NIHRC will be placed in the Library of the House.

Offshore Financial Centres

Question

Asked by Lord Barnett

The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): The following offshore financial centres are British Overseas Territories: Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, and Turks and Caicos Islands. The following are Crown Dependencies: Guernsey, Jersey and Isle of Man.

Organophosphates

Question

Asked by The Countess of Mar



2 July 2009 : Column WA92

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Davies of Oldham): The Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COT) does not have a pharmacist as a member.

There are currently two pharmacists on the Veterinary Products Committee (VPC); one of these members also sits on the Medical and Scientific Panel (MSP), a sub-committee of the VPC.

None of the members of the Official Group on Organophosphates (OGOP) is a pharmacist.

Questions for Written Answer: Late Answers

Question

Asked by Lord Jopling

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Baroness Royall of Blaisdon): The Cabinet Office has no role in ensuring other departments answer Questions for Written Answer. The Questions referred to have now been answered.

Railways: Royal Train

Question

Asked by Lord Dykes

The Secretary of State for Transport (Lord Adonis): The 2008-09 fixed and running costs for the Royal Train were £0.8 million (2007-08: £0. 9 million). Fixed costs were £0.5 million (2007-08: £0.4 million) and running costs were £0.3 million (2007-08: £0.5 million). During the year there were 14 journeys (2007-08: 19), with an average distance of 696 miles per journey (2007-08: 755 miles). During these journeys a total of 19 nights were spent on the Royal Train (2007-08: 27 nights). Members of the Royal Family also made 46 journeys in 2008-09 by scheduled rail (2007-8: 43), with an average distance of 165 miles per journey (2007-08: 146 miles).

Taxation

Question

Asked by Lord Barnett



2 July 2009 : Column WA93

The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): Section 35 of the Finance Bill introduces measures to prevent individuals from forestalling behaviour, ahead of the restriction of higher rate pensions tax relief for those with incomes of £150,000 or over from 2011-12. These measures are designed to protect individuals making regular (defined as quarterly or more) contributions into their pension. The example provided by the CBI would not arise under these provisions since such increases in a final salary scheme would be treated as protected pension inputs.

Taxation: Duchy of Cornwall

Question

Asked by Lord Dykes

The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): The tax arrangements for the Duchy of Cornwall are set out in the Memorandum of Understanding on Royal Taxation, attached to the Report of the Royal Trustees published on 11 February 1993 (HC464).

Tourism

Question

Asked by Lord Steinberg

The Minister for Communications, Technology and Broadcasting (Lord Carter of Barnes): According to the 2008 provisional International Passenger Survey figures, the number of visitors to the UK from Israel was 162,000. Please note that all these figures are for visitors whose country of residence was Israel, the number of Israeli nationals visiting in 2008 was 147,000.


Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page