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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): Following the publication of Building a Society for All Ages on 13 July 2009, a series of 19 consultation events were held across England in Wales between 9 September and 26 October. These events and other opportunities to get involved in the consultation were advertised in a number of ways:copies of Building a Society for All Ages were posted to 12,200 people and organisations;we advertised the consultation events on the www.hmq.gov.uk website;we worked with Age UK and the UK Advisory Forum on Ageing to promote the consultation events and to encourage as wide a range of people as possible to respond to the consultation either online or in writing;we published a discussion guide for those organisations that wanted to run their own consultation events and distributed 1960 copies of this; andwe invited people who had been involved in a series of discussion events that helped inform the development of the strategy to take part in the consultation.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): Yes we remain committed to the use of personal interviews for passport applicants as part of our efforts to identify fraudulent passport applications.
Identity interviews were added to the passport process primarily to address first-time application fraud through deterrence and fraud detection arising from a personal interview. In addition to the two instances of confirmed fraud mentioned in the Answer of 19 January 2010, Official Report col. WA 242, applications have also been withdrawn when customers are advised that an identity interview is required. From September 2007 to June 2009 which is the latest information available, 1,816 applications were withdrawn at this stage. Together this information underlines the usefulness of the interview as a deterrent to those attempting to make a fraudulent passport application.
Lord West of Spithead: Updated procedures and supporting systems for reporting lost, stolen and recovered UK passports were introduced in December 2003. Information relating to lost, stolen and recovered UK passports from the current system is therefore available for the last six years (from 2004) only.
The following table sets out the number of UK passports that have been recorded as lost, stolen or recovered since 2004. The category "Other" is used by the Identity and Passport Service predominantly when a passport is declared damaged or destroyed.
|Year||Totals||No. of Lost Passports||No. of Stolen Passports||Other|
The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and Ministry of Defence (Lord Drayson): The UK supports an EU patent system which delivers real benefits for business by reducing the cost of protecting innovation across Europe. One of the main costs of patenting in Europe is the cost of translations. The UK therefore supports a reduced language regime for the EU patent which will significantly cut patenting costs. An approach based on one international and one country of origin language does not relate to any formal proposal currently being discussed in the EU and has not been assessed by the government. However, we will judge all detailed proposals on their merits as they emerge.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many burglaries have been reported to the Police Service of Northern Ireland in each of the last eight quarters; how many burglaries involved breaking into the homes of older people when the occupants were present; and whether the current sentencing guidelines for burglaries are effective. [HL1760]
The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Baroness Royall of Blaisdon): The following table details the total number of burglaries that have been reported to the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) in each of the past eight quarters, including the number and percentage of burglaries where the victim/householder was over 65 years of age.
|Total number of burglaries, domestic burglaries and domestic burglaries where the victim/householder is Age 65+|
|Total Burglaries (Domestic and Non-Domestic)||Total Domestic Burglary||Total Domestic Burglary victim/Householder age 65+||% of Domestic Burglaries where Victim/Householder age 65+||% Domestic Burglaries where age of Victim/Householder unknown|
The Northern Ireland Court of Appeal delivers guideline judgments on sentencing practice to support sentencers in determining the most appropriate sentence and encourage consistency. Regard may also be given to published sentencing guidelines in England and Wales. The age and vulnerability of the victim is one of a number of aggravating factors which can be taken into account in determining the sentence in individual cases.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what meetings the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government have had about the backdating of business rates to 2005 for port-side operators. [HL1934]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): The review of ports by the Valuation Office Agency was to ensure that all individual business properties within and outside ports are rated fairly to ensure that the burden of contributions to funding local government is shared fairly amongst businesses around the country.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the Association of British Ports with regard to the repayment of rebates in business rates which they have received in respect of the business rates levied on port-side operators since 2005. [HL1935]
Lord McKenzie of Luton: The then Minister for Local Government John Healey met with representatives of Association of British Ports to discuss the impact of the Valuation Office Agency review of the rating of ports in February 2009.
The review of ports by the Valuation Office Agency was carried out in order to ensure that all individual business properties within, and outside, ports are rated fairly to distribute the burden of contributions to the funding of local government services is shared equitably between businesses around the country.
The Government have listened to the concerns of businesses with significant and unexpected backdated bills, including some within ports. It has legislated to enable such bills to be repaid over an unprecedented eight years rather than in a single instalment, helping affected businesses to manage the impact on their cash flows during the downturn by reducing the amount they are required to pay now by 87.5 per cent.
As at 8 October 2009, local authorities reported that ratepayers occupying 221 properties within ports had fully discharged their backdated liability and ratepayers occupying a further 200 business properties within ports had been granted a schedule of payments.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what advice they have issued to the Valuation Office Agency concerning the collection of arrears of backdated business rates from port-side operators as a result of the revaluation in 2005. [HL1938]
The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): None. The Valuation Office Agency is not responsible for the calculation or collection of business rate liabilities which is the responsibility of the local (billing) authority.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what measures they have taken to implement the recommendations in the White Paper Eliminating World Poverty: building our Common Future on security and access to justice. [HL1946]
The Department for International Development (DfID) is developing a number of new or expanded programmes to meet this commitment. We have already agreed multi-year programmes in the Democratic Republic of Congo (£60 million), Bangladesh (£37 million), Nigeria (£30 million), Sudan (£20 million), Nepal (£12 million) and Yemen (£7 million). We are also updating our programming guidance, based on the latest evidence and lessons learnt, to maximise the impact of this increased spending.
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