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The rent-a-room scheme provides that income under £4,250 from the letting of furnished residential accommodation in an individual's main or only home is not charged to income tax. If the income exceeds this threshold, the individual may choose whether to pay tax on the amount in excess of £4,250 or the actual profit they derive from letting out the accommodation.

Teachers: Offences

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): The operation of disciplinary procedures in schools, including the handling of accusations involving teachers, is a matter for local determination. Accordingly the information requested about offences, including accusations that may subsequently turn out to be false, is not routinely held centrally.

In 2007 the Department for Children, Schools and Families carried out a review of allegations against staff working with children and young people across the whole of the children's workforce. 128 local authorities provided data on 3,099 allegations where action was concluded in the period 1 April 2007 to 30 September 2007. 2.8 per cent of these concluded allegations were judged to be malicious and 13.4 per cent were judged to be unfounded. Local authorities were asked to record allegations in all categories that applied, so it is possible that some allegations may have been counted in both of the above categories.



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Telecommunications: Security

Question

Asked by Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The figures for the number of interception warrants issued for each of the last five years are shown in the attached table. These are taken from the Interception of Communications Commissioner's annual reports and do not distinguish between telephone intercepts and other communications. On the basis of these figures we do not anticipate any significant changes to the number of warrants issued over the next five years.

PeriodIssued by Home SecretaryIssued by Scottish Executive

1 January 2008 to31 December 2008

1508

204

1 January 2007 to31 December 2007

1881

145

11 April 2006 to December 2006

1333

102

1 January 2005 to31 March 2006

2243

164

1 January 2004 to31 December 2004

1849

124

Terrorism

Question

Asked by Baroness Neville-Jones

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The Home Office does not currently compile aggregate statistics regarding the nationality of those convicted for terrorism offences. However, the Home Office does collate statistics on the number of terrorism arrests, charges and convictions and these are included in a bulletin published for the first time on 13 May 2009 (Statistics on Terrorism Arrests and Outcomes Great Britain 11 September 2001 to 31 March 2008). The first edition of the bulletin is available at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs09/hosb0409.pdf.

The second issue of the bulletin was published on 26 November 2009 and is available via the link below at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs09/hosb1809.pdf.

Asked by Baroness Neville-Jones



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Lord West of Spithead: The Home Office does not currently compile aggregate statistics regarding the nationality of those convicted for terrorism offences. However, the Home Office collates statistics on the number of terrorism arrests included in a bulletin published for the first time on 13 May 2009 (Statistics on Terrorism Arrests and Outcomes Great Britain 11 September 2001 to 31 March 2008). The first edition of the bulletin is available at http://www.homeoffice .gov.uk/rds/pdfs09/hosb0409.pdf.

The second issue of the bulletin was published on 26 November 2009 and is available via the link below at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs09/hosb1809.pdf.

Asked by Baroness Neville-Jones

Lord West of Spithead: The Home Office does not currently compile aggregate statistics regarding the nationality of those convicted for terrorism offences. However, the Home Office collates statistics on the number of terrorism arrests included in a bulletin published for the first time on 13 May 2009 (Statistics on Terrorism Arrests and Outcomes Great Britain 11 September 2001 to 31 March 2008). The first edition of the bulletin is available at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs09/hosb0409.pdf.

The second issue of the bulletin was published on 26 November 2009 and is available via the link below at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs09/hosbl809.pdf.

Terrorism: Hizb-ut-Tahrir

Question

Asked by Lord Pearson of Rannoch

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): In a speech on 5 August 2005, the then Prime Minister stated an intention to proscribe Hizb-ut-Tahrir (HuT). Proscription is a tough but necessary power to tackle terrorism. Decisions on proscription must be proportionate and based on evidence that an organisation is concerned in terrorism as defined in the Terrorism Act 2000. When HuT was considered for proscription, it was not judged to meet the statutory test contained in the 2000 Act. No further evidence has emerged since which would meet that test.

Hizb-ut-Tahrir, along with other organisations which cause us concern, is kept under continuous review. As and when new material comes to light it is considered and the organisation reassessed as part of that process.



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Asked by Lord Pearson of Rannoch

Lord West of Spithead: We have no record of any member of the Senior Civil Service in the Home Office having declared membership of Hizb-ut-Tahrir.

Visas

Question

Asked by Baroness Scott of Needham Market

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): In some countries the UK Border Agency accepts visa applications at British diplomatic missions or visa application centres operated by our commercial partners, who pass the applications to a regional decision-making centre in another country. There are also countries where the UK Border Agency has no facilities to accept visa applications. It is not clear to which the noble Lady is referring. I would be happy to provide the information upon clarification.

Waste Management: Brofiscin Quarry

Question

Asked by The Countess of Mar

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Davies of Oldham): Since October 2008, as part of a planned programme over at least three years, the Environment Agency has been undertaking a series of remediation assessment actions at Brofiscin Quarry. It has completed a water balance survey for the quarry and a monitored natural attenuation feasibility study for contaminated groundwater beneath it. The monitoring data collected demonstrate that natural processes occurring in the groundwater are continuing to break down the contaminants.

The Environment Agency has concluded its investigations to identify those it believes responsible for remediation at Brofiscin Quarry. It has held discussions with those identified in order to secure funding for voluntary remediation actions. Discussions are ongoing and the Environment Agency is keen to reach an agreement without the need for expensive litigation.



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Water Management

Question

Asked by Lord Dykes

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Davies of Oldham): The Environment Agency is the competent authority for the water framework directive in England and Wales. It has worked with a wide range of interested parties in the river basin management process to ensure the delivery of an improved water environment.

Three formal consultations have been held in the river basin planning process. These were in December 2006, July 2007, and December 2008.

The Environment Agency has also set up liaison panels for each river basin district and national panels for England and Wales. The panels provide a forum for codeliverers and stakeholders, including environmental groups and riparian owners, to discuss and influence the development of the river basin management plans and assist with implementation.

Delivery of the plans will require the ongoing involvement of a range of groups. The Environment Agency will investigate new ways of working with these groups to ensure that the water environment is improved.

Women: Discrimination

Questions

Asked by Lord Lester of Herne Hill

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): The UK remains fully committed to the protection and promotion of all human rights, including the rights of women. We are strong supporters of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and its committee. The UK last presented its report on our implementation of the convention to the committee in 2008.



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The UK promotes gender equality and women's rights through our membership of the Human Rights Council; our current membership of the Commission for the Status of Women; our promotion of women's rights bilaterally and through international organisations; and our support for the creation of a new composite UN gender entity for women.

The UK has a clear policy in relation to UN appointments which is focused on promoting open, transparent and merit-based selection that attracts as broad a representation as possible. It may sometimes be the case that the best candidate for the job may not be a UK national.

When assessing whether to field a candidate for upcoming vacancies within the treaty-monitoring bodies of the UN international human rights treaties, and the other human rights bodies of the UN, to which we are eligible to nominate candidates, the UK takes into account a range of factors, including: the impact that

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a UK incumbent can have on UK priorities; the current number of UK experts on these bodies; the balance of bodies on which we wish to be represented; whether there are other candidates standing who can represent UK interests; and the resources and political capital available with which to run election campaigns. We prioritise our election bids to stand the best chance of success to those bodies identified on these criteria. Elections are frequently contested by a large number of candidates from a wide range of countries.

For 2010, Patrick Thornberry will be the UK candidate for CERD (Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination). The UK will also be standing for the ACABQ (Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions). The UK has to date not put forward a candidate for the CEDAW committee. However, we do not rule out our fielding a candidate in the future. The appointment of the Under Secretary-General to head the new UN Gender Entity will be made by the UN Secretary-General, and not by election.


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