Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page


Asked by Lord Dykes

27 Jan 2010 : Column WA328

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Davies of Oldham): Many of our wildlife species and best habitat sites are already protected by legislation, and individuals should be free to manage wildlife within the law with government intervening only when necessary.

The Government provide funding (£2.9 billion) to farmers and land managers through agri-environment schemes under the Rural Development Programme for England for the effective environmental management of land to meet scheme objectives including conservation of wildlife (biodiversity).

Environmental stewardship, in particular entry level stewardship (which covers more than 5 million hectares), is the main delivery mechanism for promotion of farmland bird recovery, including as part of the campaign for the farmed environment to recapture the benefits of former set-aside. Higher-level stewardship is a major deliverer for achieving favourable condition of sites of special scientific interest (SSSIs).

Recommendations from a review of progress of environmental stewardship have been incorporated into the scheme in time for the first renewals of entry-level stewardship; more than 26,000 agreements expire in 2010-11. A new training and information programme to assist farmers in targeting options appropriately on their land and ensuring best environmental practice is due to commence in February.

Armed Forces: Health


Asked by Lord Astor of Hever

The Minister for International Defence and Security (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): I refer the noble Lord to the Answer given in the other place by my honourable friend the Minister for Veterans on 14 December 2009, (Official Report, Commons, col. 820W) in response to a Question by the honourable Member for Portsmouth South (Mr Hancock).

Armed Forces: Senior Staff


Asked by Lord Foulkes of Cumnock

The Minister for International Defence and Security (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): All officers that reach the ranks of Vice-Admiral, Lieutenant-General, Air Marshal and above have undertaken a number of challenging, demanding and varied roles both within an operational environment and in direct support of it.

27 Jan 2010 : Column WA329

In addition, all will have undertaken postgraduate training through the Defence Academy and will have attended the advanced staff course. Furthermore, many will have also attended the Royal College of Defence Studies, involving close engagement with current international issues. To determine which training each officer received would require a manual search of personal records incurring a disproportionate cost.

Asked by Lord Foulkes of Cumnock

Baroness Taylor of Bolton: Information on the number of Vice-Admirals, Lieutenant-Generals, Air Marshals and above for the years requested is not held as a management information system report. The following table has been reproduced from entries made in the Navy List, the Army List and the Air Force List for the respective years.

YearNo. of Officers
TotalNaval ServiceArmyRoyal Air Force


























Aviation: Air Traffic Control


Asked by Lord Fearn

The Secretary of State for Transport (Lord Adonis): On 8 December the Government published the Operational Efficiency Programme: Asset Portfolio.

The portfolio includes a section on NATS which notes that, in light of the impending expiry of the restrictions on the transfer of shares for NATS, it is appropriate for the Government to engage with other shareholders who are likely to consider the shareholding options available to them.

No decision has been made by the Government with regard to reducing their shareholding. Any options considered would be required to best meet the needs of the company and its workforce, as well as of shareholders.

Asked by Lord Fearn

27 Jan 2010 : Column WA330

Lord Adonis: The single European sky initiative was first launched in 1999 and is still in place. The first package of measures under the initiative has led to the separation of service provision from regulation to improve the interoperability of air traffic control equipment, as well as common approaches to the certification of service providers and to the charging of users in this field.

A second package of measures was agreed by the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament on 4 December 2009 to reinvigorate the initiative. This will see the introduction of a Europe-wide performance scheme to incentivise better air traffic management by 2012 and better co-ordinated management of the network. It also imposes a deadline of 2012 for the introduction of functional airspace blocs within which groups of EU member states will co-ordinate their air traffic management. The UK and Ireland have led the way in this area, concluding the first functional airspace bloc in July 2008.

SESAR (Single European Sky ATM Research) is the single European sky project to develop the technology needed to modernise air traffic management across Europe. It was launched on 12 July 2009 as a partnership between the European Commission, Eurocontrol (the intergovernmental organisation for air traffic control in Europe) and 15 industry partners, including NATS and a consortium that includes BAA amongst its membership.

Aviation: Security


Asked by Viscount Waverley

The Secretary of State for Transport (Lord Adonis): The security of flights inbound to the United Kingdom is subject to the principle of host state responsibility, under which each state is responsible for the security of flights departing from its territory. This is governed by international law as set down by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). The responsibility for aviation security at JFK is therefore a matter for the US.

UK aviation security officials visited JFK airport last year to observe the security afforded to UK airline operations. It would not be appropriate, for obvious reasons, to comment further on the security measures in place.

27 Jan 2010 : Column WA331

Banking: European Central Bank


Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): No. The European Central Bank will finance the cost of the new headquarters from its own funds.

Banking: Iceland


Asked by Lord Laird

The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): Under the EU banking consolidation directive, firms with permission in their home EEA states to perform deposit-taking activities may establish branches in the UK. However, in order to exercise this passport right, a firm must have satisfied the conditions set out in Schedule 3 to the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. These conditions include the requirement for the FSA to have received a consent notice from the firm's home regulator that it has given consent for the firm to establish a branch in the UK. Landsbanki satisfied these conditions and exercised its passport right to establish a branch in the UK, where it carried on deposit-taking business.

The EC deposit guarantee schemes directive (94/19/EC) sets the minimum terms on which depositors are protected throughout the European Union and European Economic Area (EEA). All EEA member states are required to ensure that the deposit guarantee schemes directive is adequately implemented in their territories.

Under the directive, depositors at branches in a host state are covered by the guarantee scheme of the home state. Depositors with the UK branch of Landsbanki were therefore eligible for compensation (for deposits up to €20,887) from Iceland's Depositors' and Investors' Guarantee Fund (DIGF).

Where a bank's home state scheme provides a lower limit of compensation than the UK FSCS, or the scope of protection is less than the FSCS's, the bank may choose to join the FSCS to top up the level of protection offered by the home state scheme.

Landsbanki chose to exercise this top-up option, meaning that depositors with the UK branch are protected to the FSCS limit per depositor and therefore may claim from the FSCS for the amount of their deposits above the DIGF limit to £50,000 (the FSCS limit).

27 Jan 2010 : Column WA332

Landsbanki, the Icelandic bank, is authorised and regulated by the financial services regulator in Iceland. Landsbanki's UK branch is subject to limited regulation by the UK Financial Services Authority (FSA).

On 8 October 2008 the FSA announced that the UK branch of Landsbanki was in default for the purposes of the FSCS. The Chancellor announced that all retail depositors with the UK branch of Landsbanki would receive their money in full. The Government's objectives in taking action in relation to the UK branch of Landsbanki were to maintain financial stability and to minimise the exposure of, and costs to, taxpayers.

In total, around £4.5 billion has been paid. It is estimated that this includes £2.35 billion compensation that the UK Government paid out to depositors on behalf of the Iceland Depositors' and Investors' Guarantee Fund (DIGF), £1.4 billion paid out by the FSCS for deposits above €20,887 and below £50,000, and £800 million paid out by the UK Government in respect of deposits above £50,000.

In guaranteeing UK retail depositors of the Icelandic banks, the Treasury acted under its common law powers. The statutory authority for the Treasury to incur this expenditure was provided by Section 228 of the Banking Act 2009 (retrospectively).

We expect that the FSCS and HM Treasury will make significant recoveries of the compensation paid to depositors through the winding up of Landsbanki. In relation to the compensation paid out on behalf of the DIGF, on 5 June 2009, the UK Government reached agreement with the Icelandic authorities on a process to ensure the UK is refunded. The terms of the loan arrangements are set out in my letter to the House of 13 January (WA 154). They include a state guarantee which, under Icelandic law, must be authorised by the Icelandic Parliament in order to take effect.

A Bill was passed in August to this effect but with a number of conditions introduced by the Icelandic Parliament. Following further negotiations, the loan agreement was amended to take account of these conditions. On 30 December, the Parliament in Iceland endorsed the loan arrangement and agreed a state guarantee. However, on 5 January 2010 the Icelandic President announced that he would not sign the Bill that the Parliament had approved, and instead proposed a referendum. A referendum has been scheduled for 6 March 2010.

The UK Government have received assurances from the Icelandic Government that they remain committed to meeting their legal obligations under EEA law and intend to repay the loan in full.

Banks: Taxes


Asked by Lord Dykes

27 Jan 2010 : Column WA333

The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): The United States has announced a levy to recoup $117 billion that it expects to lose from interventions under the troubled asset relief programme. We believe that UK losses from banking sector interventions will be minimal at worst. The need for a similar levy therefore does not apply. The UK is, however, leading a global debate on how to ensure that banks, not taxpayers, support the financial sector in respect of any future emergencies.

Benefits: Attendance Allowance


Asked by Lord Lipsey

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): £183 million was paid to new recipients of attendance allowance in 2008-09 who had not previously received the benefit in the past six years.

Bovine Tuberculosis


Asked by Baroness Byford

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Davies of Oldham): Compensation for cattle affected by bovine tuberculosis (TB) in England is determined each month, primarily using table valuations based on contemporaneous sales prices. The 47 different cattle categories are based on the animal's age, gender, type (dairy or beef), and status (pedigree or non-pedigree).

Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page