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Asked by Lord Laird

Baroness Crawley: The Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme's income from contributions and transfer payments, and expenditure on pension benefits and transfers, are accounted for in the resource accounts for Cabinet Office: Civil Superannuation. The income receivable from contributions and transfer payments is shown in the combined revenue account. Information on benefits and transfer payments is shown in note 26, "Provision for pension liability". Copies of the resource accounts for the years up to and including 2007-08 can be found in the Library.

Police: Racism


Asked by Lord Ouseley

15 July 2009 : Column WA237

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): In November 2008, the then policing Minister published an assessment of minority ethnic recruitment, retention and progression across the police service, including the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), setting out a programme of positive action which is being taken forward by a ministerial-led group.

The Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA), like all police authorities, has a vital role in setting local strategic priorities in consultation with all communities and holding police forces to account for the service they deliver.

An additional duty proposed in the Policing and Crime Bill will ensure that communities' views on policing are representative, including of minority groups, and are at the core of police authorities' work. Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) will begin a programme of inspections of police authorities, including the MPA, in 2009 to assess in part how well they are engaging communities and ensuring that all local groups have access to policing services.

The equality standard for the police service will be rolled out to the police service later this year. This will help police forces to build on the considerable progress that has been made and increase their performance on equality and diversity. HMIC will undertake a major workforce inspection of all police forces, including the MPS, in 2010. This inspection-working for the public-will cover implementation of the equality standard.

Questions for Written Answer


Asked by Lord Laird

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Baroness Royall of Blaisdon): I refer the noble Lord to the Answer I gave on 17 June 2009 (Official Report, col. WA216) which also applies for the procedure for referring to government documents to answer parliamentary Questions.

Railways: Bridges


Asked by Lord Bradshaw

15 July 2009 : Column WA238

The Secretary of State for Transport (Lord Adonis): The European Community legislation requiring that principal routes in the UK used in international traffic should allow the use of heavier lorries does not specify that the maintenance and strengthening of bridges owned by rail infrastructure managers is to be paid for by those asset owners.

Railways: Eurostar


Asked by Lord Berkeley

The Secretary of State for Transport (Lord Adonis): The Government are taking steps to encourage competition on High Speed 1 from 2010 and to expand the number of European destinations available by rail from the UK. This was one of the principal objectives behind the recent financial restructuring of London and Continental Railways which the European Commission said would "benefit competition and users in view of the forthcoming liberalisation of international passenger transport by rail in 2010".

Following this financial restructuring, it is the Government's intention, in due course, to sell a long-term concession for High Speed 1. This will incentivise and maximise usage of the line, and encourage the concessionaire to help train operators develop new international services. It will be for the future operator of High Speed 1 to market the railway and to agree terms of access with international train operators. We understand that High Speed 1 has had some preliminary discussions with potential operators.

The Government's interest in Eurostar is aimed at ensuring that Eurostar can continue to offer attractive service to passengers whilst also being able to compete with expected new train operators on a level playing field in the future. This was also recognised by the Commission in its approval of this support.

High Speed 1 is not the only infrastructure to be used by cross-Channel high-speed trains. The Government maintain their support for the European Commission in promoting policies that ensure the regulatory arrangements and charging structures of the other infrastructure operators do not act as a barrier to competition on Eurostar routes.

Roads: A303


Asked by Lord Patten

15 July 2009 : Column WA239

The Secretary of State for Transport (Lord Adonis): Subject to the availability of funds within the Highways Agency's budget, the following stretches of the A303 trunk road are due to be resurfaced with "low noise" surfacing in the next three years:

Boscombe Down to Countess Roundabout (0.75 miles);

Winterbourne Stoke Improvements (0.31 miles);

Tintinhull Junction to Cartgate Roundabout (0.06 miles);

Willoughby Hedge (A350 Junction) to Mere (5 miles);

Deptford to Stockton Wood (3.1 miles); and

Hazlegrove Roundabout (0.25 miles).

Roads: Abnormal Loads


Asked by Earl Attlee

The Secretary of State for Transport (Lord Adonis): The Highways Agency has no plans to alter its arrangements for receipt of statutory abnormal load notifications.

Rural Communities: Taxis


Asked by Baroness Scott of Needham Market

The Secretary of State for Transport (Lord Adonis): The Government have not carried out research into the compulsory use of taximeters in rural areas. Responsibility for taxi licensing-including any decision on whether taximeters should be mandatory-rests with local licensing authorities.

Schools: Economy


Asked by Lord Jones of Cheltenham

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): I welcome the Audit Commission report Valuable Lessons: Improving Economy and Efficiency in Schools.

15 July 2009 : Column WA240

The department has already provided a range of tools to help schools make the most effective use of their resources including financial benchmarking, the strategic planning guide, the financial management standard in schools and the offer of a free one-day consultancy visit on improving value for money. The Education Procurement Centre is working with schools to carry out procurement health checks which help to identify where savings can be made. The e-procurement tool OPEN has been developed to help schools buy products online and compare prices of a range of suppliers.

The report supports our position on surplus school balances. It is sound financial management for schools to retain a small surplus from year to year, and revenue funding is intended to support the education of children in school now. It should not be necessary for it to be channelled into capital improvement projects given that separate and substantial capital funding has been made available.

Schools and authorities must work to reduce high balances over the next two years. If total revenue balances and the excessive balances held by individual schools do not reduce substantially by 2010-11, the Government will consult on further action from 2011-12 to bring the total down.

The department provides a reference document called A Guide to the Law for Schools Governors (the guide) to all schools and local authorities to inform them of the legal duties applicable to governing bodies of maintained schools. The guide includes information about the allocation of schools budgets and informs governors that there is a provision in the scheme for financing schools (the scheme) for the local authority to claw back excess surplus budgets. The scheme is issued by their local authority and sets out the financial relationship between the local authority and the maintained schools in their area. The scheme must include a mechanism on how the local authority will control excessive school balances, defined as greater than 5 per cent of the annual budget in secondary schools and 8 per cent in primary and special schools.

In accordance with paragraph 2(3) of Schedule 14 to the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 (the Act), the local authority must consult all the governing bodies and schools in its area if it proposes to make any revisions to the provision of its scheme.

Additionally we have commenced a survey of local authorities practice and experiences in clawing back and managing surplus balances, in partnership with the Local Government Association and the results of this survey will be used to inform possible further action or guidance.

Shipping: BVT Shipbuilders


Asked by Lord Lee of Trafford

15 July 2009 : Column WA241

The Minister for International Defence and Security (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): Consistent with the Defence Industrial Strategy (Cmnd 6697), the department has committed to work with its industrial partners, including BVT Surface Fleet Limited (BVT), to transform the maritime sector, maintain sovereign capability, and seek performance improvements to create a sustainable, world-class UK maritime sector.

The BVT terms of business agreement is planned to be a long-term-15-year-industrial partnership and in that context it is quite normal that provision should be made for redundancy costs to be met at customer expense in certain circumstances. However, there are no current plans to rationalise or reduce the number of BVT shipyards nor, in that context, are we aware of any plans by BVT to announce redundancies.



Asked by Lord Laird

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): Because of the dangers to the health of children from second-hand tobacco smoke people are urged to avoid smoking near children, especially in confined spaces such as cars. We have given a commitment to complete a review the smoke-free law in England after three years. The review will be carried out in 2010.

St Helena: Airport


Asked by Lord Jones of Cheltenham

Lord Brett: The deadline for responses to the public consultation regarding the proposed St Helena airport is 31 July.

To date the Department for International Development (DfID) has received 23 submissions by e-mail and 19 submissions by post.

Many respondents are communicating directly with the consultation facilitator rather than with DfID. We will not know how many responses the facilitator has received until she presents her report.



Asked by Lord Dykes

15 July 2009 : Column WA242

The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): The Government are committed to supporting all companies and individuals within the scope of UK tax who seek to pay their fair share, and to deterring and challenging those who do not through a comprehensive range of measures. This applies to the media business in the same way as to any other industry.

UK Border Agency: Staff


Asked by Baroness Neville-Jones

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The number of staff that the UK Border employed as at 30 March 2009 was 17,557 and, of those (a) 16,350 are in the United Kingdom: the number, (b) that are employed in each other country in which the agency operates is shown in the attached table.

CountryUK Border Agency employees

























Russian Federation


South Africa






United Arab Emirates


Total above specified Countries


Total overseas unspecified countries


Total overseas employees


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