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The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): It is not possible to provide an exact figure of British citizens at risk from unrest in Nigeria. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) working with the Ministry of Defence and the in-country team, closely monitors the political and security situation in Nigeria, and keeps the risk to British citizens from unrest under constant review. This ongoing process includes reviewing contingency plans by our posts in Lagos and Abuja, maintaining contact with our community liaison officer network as well as other diplomatic missions, and ensuring FCO travel advice is updated to ensure British citizens have the most up-to-date information on the present situation. We also encourage British citizens to register with our LOCATE service through the FCO website (https://www.locate.fco.gov.uk/locateportal/).
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): There are no longer any licensed pesticides or veterinary medicinal products in the UK containing the chemical tetrachlorvinphos. Laboratory tests on bacteria and human cells have given evidence that it may present a genotoxic hazard.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had in the past five years with the governments of Australia, Canada, the Falkland Islands, New Zealand and South Africa about reciprocal arrangements for the payment and uprating of pensions and other social security benefits; and what progress has been made. [HL2994]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): In the past five years Ministers have had four meetings with Australian Ministers and officials at which the issue of not uprating UK state pensions to
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To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the costs incurred by the Personal Accounts Delivery Authority in setting up the National Employment Savings Trust (NEST) and personal accounts will be transferred to NEST; and, if so, how much will be transferred; and how and when NEST will pay for it. [HL2934]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): NEST will be self-financing in the long term, meaning that any loan finance provided by Government to fund the costs of establishment, including those costs incurred by the Personal Accounts Delivery Authority (PADA), will be repaid from members' charge revenues. This will ensure the scheme is delivered at nil overall cost to taxpayers.
Up to the end of February 2010, PADA had received £37 million of loan funding and is expected to receive a further £24 million up to its wind-up on 5 July 2010. All loan funding advanced to PADA is based on evidence of need.
The loan liability owed by the Personal Accounts Delivery Authority (PADA) will, on its wind-up, be transferred to the NEST Corporation, which will then be responsible for repaying the loan along with any further money it borrows from Government in connection with its activities to establish the scheme.
The period in which the loan to NEST Corporation will be repaid will ultimately depend on a variety of factors, including the final costs of NEST and the size and nature of its membership. We anticipate that the total loan period, including the years in which NEST borrows from the Government and the subsequent repayments, will last in the region of 20 years.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): The responses to the consultation on the draft Planning Policy Statement (PPS) 15 supported the unified approach to the historic environment but raised concerns about some aspects of the draft. They gave a clear steer as to how these should be addressed. With the help of informal discussions and stakeholder feedback both during and after the consultation exercise we were able to propose changes to the draft which were tested with key practitioner and conservation interests. Once we were satisfied that the draft had been revised in a way that fully met the concerns raised during consultation, a final version was published as PPS 5 on 23 March.
The Government's formal response to the consultation, identifying the main issues raised and how they were addressed, was included in the summary of consultation responses published alongside the new PPS, which can be found on my Department's website at http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/planningandbuilding/pps 15summaryresponses.
To ask Her Majesty's Government with reference to the paper deposited in the Library of the House on 1 April 2009 (DEP2009-1056), whether they will publish an updated chart with the (a) pre-review, and (b) post-review, (1) total rateable values, and (2) number of hereditaments, for port and non-port companies, broken down by port across England and Wales, according to the most recent records held by the Valuation Office Agency. [HL2972]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the estimated cost to (a) local authorities, (b) the Valuation Office Agency, and (c) the Exchequer, of administering and enforcing the new arrangements for business rates on firms in ports, including the cost of the deferment scheme. [HL2976]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): No estimate of the cost to local authorities, the Valuation Office Agency and the Exchequer has been made for administering and enforcing arrangements for business rates on firms in ports, as the addition of new properties to the ratings list is part and parcel of the ongoing rating system.
The cost of the schedule of payments scheme to the Exchequer is set out in the impact assessment accompanying the Non-Domestic Rating (Collection and Enforcement) (Local Lists) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2009 (SI 204). It estimates the cost of the scheme as being revenue neutral for local authorities
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The schedule of payments scheme was implemented as a result of the Government having listened to the concerns of businesses with significant and unexpected backdated bills, including some businesses within ports. The scheme enables 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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Adonis on 22 March (WA 266), what was the cost of employing consultants and other advisers in connection with (a) the case presented to the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) in 2006, (b) the responses to the ORR's consultation documents, (c) the presentation of information for the Competition Commission's investigation, and (d) responding to the Commission's questions and consultation documents. [HL3143]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with One North East about the suitability of Newton Aycliffe as a location for the manufacture of Intercity Express Programme trains by Agility Trains. [HL3124]
The Secretary of State for Transport (Lord Adonis): Selection of the site of the Intercity Express Programme manufacturing facility is a matter for Hitachi, which would build the trains on behalf of the Agility Trains consortium. This decision is not being guided, influenced or overseen by the Department for Transport.
There have been no discussions between the Department for Transport and One North East about the suitability of Newton Aycliffe or any other location for the manufacture of Intercity Express Programme trains.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead on 15 March (WA 113), whether they intend to make representations about religious freedoms to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. [HL2982]
ASEAN has recently established the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) to promote human rights in the region. The AICHR commissioners are still drafting the first five-year work plan. It is not yet clear whether religious freedoms will be included in the body's mandate, but if so, this would provide opportunities to discuss religious freedom in a regional context.
We, along with our EU partners, raise human rights concerns, including those around religious freedoms, bilaterally with ASEAN member states. Where there are specific concerns, particularly on the treatment of religious minorities, we have raised them in bilateral discussions.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Morgan of Drefelin on 9 March (WA 55), how many students at maintained secondary schools were entered for A-Levels in 1999 in (a) history, (b) French, (c) German, and (d) Spanish. [HL2835]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): Of those students at the end of key stage 5 in maintained secondary schools1 in 1999:18,818 entered history A-Level;8,760 entered French A-Level;4,638 entered German A-Level; and1,852 entered Spanish A-Level.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Morgan of Drefelin on 9 March (WA 55), how many students at maintained secondary schools were entered for A-Levels in 2009 in (a) history, (b) French, (c) German, and (d) Spanish. [HL2836]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): Information on the number of pupils aged 16 to 18 at state-funded secondary schools in 1999 and 2009 is shown in the table.
|State-Funded Secondary Schools (1)|
|Number of pupils aged 16 to 18 (2)|
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are making representations to the Government of Syria about the alleged killing of three young persons and the wounding of nine others by security forces during Newroz celebrations in the town of al-Raqqa. [HL3043]
The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): The Government continue to engage in the international debate on the subject of financial transaction taxes, following the Prime Minister's speech to G20 Finance Ministers at St Andrews in November, where he raised the issue of a new social contract between banks and society, and called for a global plan to make the financial sector contribute in recognition of the cost to taxpayers of government interventions in the sector. The International Monetary Fund has been commissioned by the G20 to produce a report on these issues. The Government look forward to seeing the results of this work later on this year.
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