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As Dari is a mandated operational language, military Dari linguists with tested and current language skills are entitled to payments under the Defence Operational
6 Apr 2010 : Column WA381
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Thornton): We condemn any acts of disrespect towards any patients including military and members of the United Kingdom Armed Forces in general. However, for operational security reasons, it would be inappropriate to discuss the specific details of measures currently in place to protect military patients being treated by University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust at the Selly Oak and Queen Elizabeth hospitals.
Security, as at all hospitals, is kept under constant review at Selly Oak Hospital. Liaison arrangements are in place between the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, the hospital, Special Branch, and the local police.
Later this year, the new military ward will be in use at the new Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Edgbaston. Here military patients will typically be accommodated together in four-bedded rooms, which will further reduce the risk of abuse by civilian patients or visitors. All staff are appropriately trained and briefed in how to respond to such situations.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they are making to the Government of Bangladesh and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to address humanitarian issues in the camps for Rohingya refugees on the Bangladesh-Burma border. [HL2846]
Lord Brett: We have raised the plight of the Rohingyas and their status with the Government of Bangladesh, both bilaterally and in concert with EU partners. Most recently my right honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State raised the conditions of the Rohingyas in the camps with the Minister for the Environment and Forests during a meeting in London on 17 March. Officials from the British High Commission in Dhaka, including the High Commissioner, have visited the camps for displaced Rohingyas. Officials also held discussions with representatives from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees on 15 March in Dhaka.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the BBC Trust about the relative costs to licence fee payers of (a) BBC Radio 6, (b) BBC Asian Network, (c) BBC Radio 3 (television); and what assessment they have made of the contribution each station or channel makes to the BBC's public service broadcasting responsibilities. [HL3126]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Davies of Oldham): Neither I nor the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport has discussed these matters with the BBC Trust.
The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport met the Director-General of the BBC on 8 March, at which the director-general gave him a brief summary of the BBC's strategy review, which had been published on 2 March.
The Government have made no assessment of the kind suggested by my noble friend. The BBC Trust is now conducting a public consultation on the BBC's proposed strategy. Under the terms of the Royal Charter, the BBC Trust is responsible for securing the effective promotion of the BBC's public purposes and for holding the executive board to account for its performance in delivering the corporation's services and activities.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Royall of Blaisdon on 16 March (WA 151), what discussions they have had about funding to the Irish and Ulster-Scots communities since 1 January. [HL2980]
As part of the St Andrews agreement, the Government made a commitment to work with the Executive to support their work in these areas. The Government continue to have a range of discussions on how this can be done.
The Minister for International Defence and Security (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): The following table shows the number of British embassies and high commissions that have been without a defence attaché/adviser since 2005; the figures include attaché representation to the United Nations HQ in New York.
In addition to the countries where we have a resident defence attaché/adviser, 73 other countries or overseas territories are covered by non-resident attachés. The MoD keeps the attaché network under review to ensure that the most effective and efficient coverage is provided for UK security interests.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the breakdown of the £11 billion of efficiency savings announced in the 2010 Budget to be achieved by 2012-13, detailing each item forecast to save more than £25 million. [HL3181]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the cost of gaining authorisation of a critical substance under the European Union Regulation on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH); and whether there is a further cost on each occasion the substance is used. [HL3057]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Davies of Oldham): The fees for applications for an authorisation, or a subsequent review, are set out in Commission Regulation (EC) No 340/2008 on the fees and charges payable to the European Chemicals Agency. The agency is required to be self-financing through the fees and charges made for the services it provides. There is a standard authorisation base fee of €50,000 per application for a specific use of a substance. Where more than one substance is being included in an application the additional fee is reduced to €10,000 per substance. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) attract a scale of reduced fees. There is no additional cost applying to an authorised substance on each occasion that it is used.
A further cost to industry for an authorisation will be that of gathering the necessary data on the properties of the substance to support an application. The authorisation process has not yet reached the stage where companies need to put together application dossiers so it is impossible to quantify what this cost might be for any particular company applying for an authorisation.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): In England, the Childcare (Early Years Register) Regulations 2008 require any provider caring for children aged from birth up to five to register on the early years register and deliver the statutory framework for the early years foundation stage (EYFS), unless exempt. Under the framework, providers are required to provide access to outdoor play areas. Where access to outdoor play areas is not possible, outings should be planned and taken on a daily basis.
Crèches are exempt from registering on the early years register because they are designed to provide short-term care only. Therefore, there is no requirement on crèches to provide access to open space. Childcare provision in Wales is governed by the Welsh Assembly Government.
To ask Her Majesty's Government following the passage of the Cluster Munitions (Prohibitions) Bill, when all cluster bombs will be removed from the American bases at RAF Lakenheath, RAF Welford and Diego Garcia. [HL3110]
The Minister for International Defence and Security (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): I can confirm that the US has identified its cluster munitions on UK territory as exceeding its worldwide operational planning requirements. Therefore, these cluster munitions will be removed from sites in the UK in 2010 and from all UK territories by 2013, as announced on 8 December 2009 by Baroness Kinnock during the Cluster Munitions (Prohibitions) Bill Second Reading in the House of Lords (Official Report, col. 1020).
To ask Her Majesty's Government in which American military bases on British soil and in British overseas territories are cluster bombs held; and what verification arrangements they have made to ensure that those weapons are removed. [HL3111]
Baroness Taylor of Bolton: The United States stores various weapons in the UK. The US inventory of weapons is declared annually to the Ministry of Defence who ensure that all weapons are appropriately licensed and stored. It would be inappropriate to disclose the numbers, types and locations of such weapons. Therefore, I am withholding the detailed information as its disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice relations between the United Kingdom and the United States.
However, I can confirm that the US has identified its cluster munitions on UK territory as exceeding its worldwide operational planning requirements. Therefore, these cluster munitions will be removed from sites in the UK in 2010 and from all UK territories by 2013, as announced on 8 December 2009 by Baroness Kinnock during the Cluster Munitions (Prohibitions) Bill Second Reading in the House of Lords (Official Report, col. 1020).
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Davies of Oldham on 15 March (WA 118), what estimate the Rural Payments Agency has made of the cost to those farmers awaiting full payment of claims under the single payment scheme for 2007 and 2008 of the delay in making those payments; and whether the agency provides any funds towards those costs. [HL3090]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Davies of Oldham): The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) is not able to estimate costs incurred by individual farmers as they vary with each business.
Where a full payment under the single payment scheme cannot be made by the end of the payment window for a particular scheme year, a substantial interim payment is made in most cases. However, that is not always possible, particularly where the reasons for delay are outside of RPA's control such as probate.
The RPA makes interest payments, above a de minimis level of £50, for any sums paid after the end of the payment window. Interest is paid at the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) plus 1 per cent, calculated from 1 July.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Davies of Oldham on 15 March (WA 118), whether the 35 outstanding claims for 2007 include the 31 claims referred to in the footnote; whether the 92 claims for 2008 include the 67 claims referred to in the footnote; and, in either case, why the total for both years was given as 157. [HL3091]
Lord Davies of Oldham: In respect of the Written Answer by Lord Davies on 15 March (WA 118), the 35 outstanding single payment scheme (SPS) claims for the 2007 SPS scheme year include the 31 claims referred to in the footnote and the 92 claims for the 2008 SPS scheme year include the 67 claims referred to in the footnote.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Young of Norwood Green on 23 March (WA 275) concerning the funding of the community broadband network, whether they will place copies of the business cases supporting the funding in the Library of the House. [HL3130]
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Myners on 15 March (WA 120), whether they will publish the summary of key property types, with personal information that would contravene the Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Act 2005 redacted. [HL2974]
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Myners on 15 March (WA 120), whether a conservatory is considered by the Valuation Office Agency when assessing the value of a dwelling for a council tax valuation or revaluation; and what estimate the agency has made of the average increase in capital value of a dwelling as a consequence of the addition of a conservatory. [HL2975]
Lord Myners: The addition of a conservatory is likely to be value significant and would constitute a "material increase" under Section 24(10) of the Local Government Finance Act 1992. As such, it would not affect a council tax band unless and until a "relevant transaction" took place (and only then if it added sufficient value to put a property into a higher band).
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