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5 Jan 2010 : Column WA60

Lord McKenzie of Luton: The notice to treat does not have to be served on the owner in person. There is no right to claim an extension in the event of illness or absence. Articles 26(2) and (3) of Schedule 1 do not contain provisions which enable the period of 21 days to be extended to take account of an owner's personal circumstances.

Asked by Lord Taylor of Holbeach

Lord McKenzie of Luton: The "relevant local planning authority" (defined in Section 173 of the Planning Act 2009) is responsible for enforcing the terms of an order granting development consent and this includes enforcing any requirements.

Asked by Lord Taylor of Holbeach

Lord McKenzie of Luton: These provisions are consistent with existing legislation. Article 23 of Schedule 2 is intended to ensure that the personal representative or relative of any deceased person, whose human remains are identifiable and might be disturbed by the proposed works, are made aware of the forthcoming development and can make arrangements for their removal.

Article 32 of that schedule relates to the material detriment of land affected by a notice to treat, such that the owner can serve on the undertaker a counter-notice that seeks to have the owner's whole interest in the land made subject to the proposed purchase. This is intended to address circumstances where a purchase subject to the original notice to treat would leave any remaining land held by the owner effectively unusable.

Israel

Question

Asked by Baroness Tonge



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The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): According to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, there have been 123 rockets and 70 mortar shells fired into Israel since the end of Operation Cast Lead (to 8 December 2009).

Israel and Palestine

Question

Asked by Lord Dykes

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): My right honourable friends the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary are in regular dialogue with their US counterparts on a wide range of issues, including the Middle East peace process.

We continue to remain committed to doing everything possible to achieve comprehensive peace in the Middle East, which includes supporting US efforts to launch a process.

Italy: British Embassy

Question

Asked by Lord Kilclooney

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): In Financial Year 2008/09, the annual cost of the British Embassy to Italy was £8,554,443, while the annual cost of the British Embassy to the Holy See was £551,965.

Kenya

Question

Asked by Lord Steel of Aikwood

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): The UK Government met a delegation from Kenya on 3 December, to discuss the matter raised. The UK Government are considering the points raised at the meeting, but as this matter is subject to legal proceedings it would not be appropriate to comment further.



5 Jan 2010 : Column WA62

Kosovo

Question

Asked by Baroness Whitaker

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): The Government believe it is unacceptable that Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian internally displaced families have lived in lead contaminated camps for so long. When Kosovo declared independence, the UN and its relevant agencies handed responsibility to the Government of Kosovo for closing lead-contaminated camps and finding a sustainable solution. The Kosovan Government and the international community in Kosovo, together with the communities living in the camps, are now finally close to agreeing a solution. Our priority is to ensure this runs as smoothly as possible.

The Government, together with the Kosovan company PTK, are funding testing by specialists from Aberystwyth University of air, soil and water in the planned relocation site, the Roma Mahalla, to ensure that it is safe for the community to be relocated there permanently. If the land is safe, construction of a total of 200 new houses will begin. This has been pledged by USAID (50 houses) and the European Commission Liaison Office in Kosovo (150 houses). If the land is not safe, correctional measures will be taken.

Legal Aid

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): The Northern Ireland Legal Services Commission has issued three legal aid certificates to Mrs Anne-Marie McCallion. Two of the certificates are in respect of judicial reviews, the third being in respect of a case before the Court of Appeal arising out of one of the judicial reviews.

To date, only one of the certificates in respect of a judicial review has been paid in full with a value of £9,996.33. In respect of the second judicial review the only bill submitted to date is for an interim payment which has been made in the sum of £1,901.50. As the commission has not received any information on the case before the Court of Appeal the legal aid costs are not known at this time.



5 Jan 2010 : Column WA63

Local Government

Question

Asked by Lord Rooker

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): Our Pre-Budget Report makes clear that measures to reduce duplication and inefficiency between different tiers of local government will contribute to the £11 billion a year of savings which, as announced in that report, will be delivered by 2012-13. However, we have no plans for further programmes of invitations under the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 to councils in two-tier areas to submit unitary proposals. We recognise that in some specific cases in the future there might be areas where circumstances are such as to warrant a focused and targeted invitation to councils concerned, and the 2007 Act allows for this.

Middle East

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): We support the conclusions of the EU Foreign Ministers' meeting chaired by the Swedish Presidency, which were agreed by all 27 Member States.

National DNA Database

Question

Asked by Baroness Neville-Jones

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The national DNA database (NDNAD) was established in 1995. From

5 Jan 2010 : Column WA64

1995 to 2005 it operated under the custodianship of the Forensic Science Service (FSS), then an executive agency of the Home Office. Following the vesting of the FSS as a government-owned company in December 2005, the custodianship of the NDNAD passed to the Home Office, although the FSS continued to operate and maintain the database under a contract with the Home Office.

Custodianship of the NDNAD passed from the Home Office to the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) when it was created in April 2007. All NDNAD operations and maintenance functions previously carried out under contract by the FSS have now been transferred to NPIA.

All NPIA employees who have had direct access to the NDNAD since NPIA took over custodianship of the database have received the appropriate security clearance.

Since the NPIA took over custodianship of the NDNAD, two individuals with direct access to the database have been subject to investigation. In both cases the result of the investigation was that no disciplinary action was necessary.

National Insurance

Question

Asked by Baroness Warsi

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): The Government do not issue temporary National Insurance numbers.

NHS: IT Strategy

Question

Asked by Lord Warner

Baroness Thornton: As at 16 December 2009, two acute trusts, one mental health trust, 152 general practitioner practices, and additionally three out-of-hours providers and two walk-in centres were using electronic summary care records delivered under the national programme for information technology. No community trusts were doing so.

Northern Ireland Office: Bonuses

Question

Asked by Lord Laird



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Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: Non-consolidated performance payments are made to staff in the Senior Civil Service in line with Cabinet Office Guidance and also to staff at Grades D2 to A in line with HM Treasury Guidance. These payments were made in the current year rewarding performance throughout the 2008-09 reporting year. Approximately 28 per cent of staff received non-consolidated performance payments, totalling £599,048.50. Approximately 26 per cent of staff received non-consolidated performance payments totalling £609,875.00* in 2008, to reward performance throughout the 2007-08 reporting year.

Under a separate scheme, special performance payments were awarded to staff in the year 2008-09. Approximately 49 per cent of staff received these payments, totalling £260,865. Approximately 40 per cent of staff received special performance payments totalling £227,349.48 in the year 2007-08.

* This figure does not include non-consolidated performance payments made by the Northern Ireland Prison Service to staff below Senior Civil Service.

Northern Ireland Office: Political Directorate

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: As in previous years, the Northern Ireland Office will continue to follow the advice received from Cabinet Office and HM Treasury in relation to whether non-consolidated performance payments should be made to staff in the Senior Civil Service or at Grades D2 to A.

Northern Ireland Office: Staff

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) is committed to equality of opportunity and to creating an environment where staff are treated with dignity and respect. The department has policies in place to protect staff from inappropriate behaviour, and has robust procedures for dealing with complaints of harassment and bullying, including victimisation resulting from having made such complaints.

The following table details the number of allegations of victimisation received from staff in the Northern Ireland Office in the past five years, for which records are held centrally.



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YearNumber of allegations received

2005

1

2006

0

2007

0

2008

0

2009

1

Northern Ireland Office: Taxis

Questions

Asked by Lord Laird

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: Much of the information available on the use of taxis constitutes personal data which if released would breach the first principle of the Data Protection Act 1998, namely the fair and lawful processing of personal data, and is therefore not available for release. However, the department will release information on the cost of invoiced taxi journeys.

Asked by Lord Laird

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: The Northern Ireland Office (NIO), including its arm's-length bodies and the Public Prosecution Service Northern Ireland but excluding its agencies and NDPBs, spent £34 on providing taxis for Ministers in the last 12 months.


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