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To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will create a memorial for those military and police personnel killed in the Republic of Ireland between 1916 and 1923; whether they will ascertain their names and dates of death and publish a memorial list for relatives to consult; and whether they have discussed with the Government of the Republic of Ireland whether any of them are commemorated in the Irish National War Memorial Gardens at Islandbridge in Dublin.[HL9535]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): I refer the noble Lord to the response I gave on 14 December (Official Report, col. WA 154). In terms of the commemoration of service personnel, other than the official commemoration to mark an individual's final resting place, it has been a long-standing policy of successive UK Governments that the cost of erecting memorials and associated projects is not usually met from public funds but from private donations or public subscription.
The Police Roll of Honour Trust charity maintains the National Roll of Honour of fallen police officers which records the names and deaths of police personnel killed in what is now the Republic of Ireland between 1916 and 1923. Full details of the police officers' deaths are contained on the roll, which is published on the trust website-www.policememorial.org.uk-and is free for relatives to consult. The trust is currently working with other police organisations to create a new police officers' memorial to be located in the National Memorial Arboretum, on which the names of all police officers killed on duty will be carved in stone. No discussions regarding the Irish National War Memorial Gardens have taken place with the Government of the Republic of Ireland.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): There are approximately 6,300 personnel employed at Her Majesty's Naval Base (HMNB) Clyde. This includes service personnel, Ministry of Defence civilian personnel and contractors. Many more people and companies provide support to the activities at the base and thereby generate economic benefits to the Scottish economy. However, the department
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Lord Astor of Hever: The three principal Royal Air Force bases in Scotland are RAF Kinloss, RAF Lossiemouth, and RAF Leuchars. Together, they employ approximately 4,150 service personnel and 900 civilian personnel. Many more people and companies support the activities at the bases and thereby generate economic benefits to the Scottish economy. The department does not collect data on the economic benefits deriving from the activities of the bases, and such information could only be gathered at disproportionate cost.
As part of the ongoing estate and basing review, however, the Ministry of Defence has received and taken note of the submissions from the Moray Task Force on the local impacts of RAF Lossiemouth and RAF Kinloss, and from the Leuchars community campaign on the impacts in Fife of RAF Leuchars.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are making representations to the Government of the United States concerning the alleged refusal of due process over claims of abduction, false imprisonment and torture in the cases of Binyam Mohamed, Maher Arar and Khaled el-Masri. [HL9554]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Government made representations to the United States of America Government seeking the release to the UK from Guantanamo Bay of British nationals, and, exceptionally, former legal UK residents, including Binyam Mohamed. However, it would not be appropriate to make representations regarding the judicial decisions made in the cases named in this Question.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We are concerned by the resignation of 18 members of the Bahraini parliament. We urge the Bahraini Government to create
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To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will undertake a review of the effectiveness of the governance of the Bank of England and the performance of the court; and, if so, whether this process should be conducted by an independent party.[HL9600]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Treasury Select Committee is currently carrying out an inquiry into the accountability of the Bank of England, including the role of its court. The Government await the findings of the committee's work.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether UK Financial Investments have made representations to Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland to claw back past bonuses and benefits paid to executive directors in view of the fact that profits were substantially overstated as a result of the mis-selling of payment protection insurance. [HL9601]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The banks, in which the Government are a shareholder, are managed on an arm's-length and commercial basis by UK Financial Investments (UKFI). UKFI engages with the banks, as a shareholder, on their approach to remuneration. Both the Lloyds Banking Group and the Royal Bank of Scotland have awarded deferred share-based bonuses to their executive directors and used stringent deferral and clawback conditions throughout their banks.
Should the remuneration committee of either bank conclude there may be reason to claw back awards, UKFI will work with the company on the outcome of that process as an active and engaged shareholder to ensure that remuneration rewards long-term sustainable performance and does not incentivise excessive risk-taking.
Lord Sassoon: The banks, in which the Government are a shareholder, are managed on an arm's-length and commercial basis by UK Financial Investments (UKFI). UKFI votes all its voting shares wherever it is eligible to do so.
UKFI has disclosed on its website that it voted in favour of all resolutions at the annual general meeting of Lloyds Banking Group on 18 May 2011, including the resolution on the director's remuneration report for the year ended 31 December 2010.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The capital of the European Central Bank (ECB) comes from the national central banks (NCBs) of all EU member states, including from the Bank of England.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the terms of reference, projected budget and source of funding for the review by Sir David Walker and Mr Bill Knight into the review on the collapse of Royal Bank of Scotland carried out by PricewaterhouseCoopers and of the review of that review by the Financial Services Authority; and whether Sir David Walker and Mr Bill Knight will have access to the report and working papers of PricewaterhouseCoopers.[HL9604]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): On 25 May, the chairman of the Treasury Select Committee (TSC) announced the terms of reference for the independent review of the report by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) into the failure of the Royal Bank of Scotland.
The FSA will take all reasonable steps to ensure that the review team has access to such documents and persons as it considers necessary to undertake this review. The FSA will provide the reviewers with reasonable resources and bear the cost of employing such advisers as the reviewers may require and any other incidental expenses. Remuneration of the review team is a matter for the TSC.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Secretary of State for Wales is required by statute to obtain the agreement of the Welsh Assembly Government before making a recommendation for the appointment to the BBC Trust of the ordinary member who will hold the Welsh post, similar to
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There is no statutory requirement to obtain the agreement of the Welsh Government before making a recommendation for the appointment to the BBC Trust of the ordinary member who will hold the post of trust member for Wales.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The Army does not own any donkeys. It does, however keep one mule and two pack ponies at the Defence Animal Centre in Melton Mowbray which are used for a pack animal course to ensure that some personnel know how to pack an animal in the event that there is ever a requirement to do so.
The department takes very seriously its duty of care towards the animals which serve alongside its service personnel. All animals owned and used by the Ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces are subject to United Kingdom animal welfare regulations.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what amounts of government debt have been written off or rescheduled for each of (a) Tunisia, and (b) Egypt, since January 2011 both by them and multilaterally; and in both cases, what new grants or loans have been made and accepted in the same period either by them or multilaterally.[HL9555]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The UK has not provided debt relief to Tunisia or Egypt since January 2011 or participated in any new grants or loans to them since January 2011.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Foreign and Commonwealth Office's (FCO) travel advice for Tunisia, which can be read in full at http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/travel-advice-by-country/middle-east-north-africa/Tunisia, advises against all but essential travel to areas of Tunisia within 40 kilometres of the border with Libya; there are no travel restrictions in the travel advice for other areas of Tunisia, including the main tourist resorts.
The FCO's travel advice for Egypt, which can be read in full at http://www.fco.gov/uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/travel-advice-by-country/middle-east-north-africa/Egypt, contains no travel restrictions.
We review travel advice following any incident that might affect Britons travelling or living in the country affected; in a crisis it can be updated several times a day. We also routinely review all the travel advice on a monthly basis. It is revised and reissued at least every three months.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): There is no legal requirement in the EU treaties for EU member states to be parties to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), and therefore no legal requirement in the EU treaties for them to adhere to all the articles of the ECHR, to the extent that those articles do not also separately form general principles of EU law. Indeed, EU member states have at times derogated from some of the articles of the ECHR and have not been subject to infraction proceedings under EU law for doing so. Similarly, it is a matter for each of the 47 contracting parties to the ECHR to decide for itself whether to ratify the optional protocols to the ECHR, though all those contracting parties that are also EU member states have ratified Protocols 1 and 6.
However, the EU treaties are clear that any state wishing to become a member of the EU must be committed to promoting the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities (Article 2 TEU).
For current EU member states, Article 6(3) of the Treaty on European Union provides that fundamental rights, as guaranteed by the ECHR and as they result from the constitutional traditions common to the member states, constitute general principles of EU law. In addition, the Charter of Fundamental Rights has the same legal value as the EU treaties and brings together a number of existing rights and principles, including those enunciated in the ECHR. In practice, therefore, membership of the EU (for applicants and current member states alike) requires adherence to the ECHR, when acting within the scope of EU law.
Furthermore, where the European Council determines the existence of a serious and persistent breach by a member state of the values in Article 2 TEU, the procedures in Article 7 TEU may apply for a decision on suspension of rights deriving from the application of the treaties to that member state. The values referred to in Article 2 TEU include respect for human rights.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the plans by the European Commission to spend £225 million in 2012 on communication; and whether the expenditure has been discussed and approved by the European Council.[HL9563]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Funding levels for the EU to communicate its work publicly, as for all other EU activities, will be decided within the negotiations on the EU 2012 Budget.
Within these negotiations, the Government aim to achieve a 2012 EU budget far below what the Commission has proposed, including by cutting wasteful, low added-value EU expenditure and tackling chronic overbudgeting.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they support the conclusion of the Pittsburgh G20 meeting that the head of the International Monetary Fund "should be appointed by an open, transparent and merit-based process"; how this will be evidenced in the current appointment process; and whether any United Kingdom candidates qualify for support under this process and criteria.[HL9524]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The UK continues to support the G20 commitment to open, transparent and merit-based selection of the heads and senior leadership of international financial institutions, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
On 20 May, the IMF executive board set out a selection process to appoint the fund's next managing director: http://www.imf.org/external/np/sec/pr/2011/pr11191.htm.
The international community needs a strong IMF as an anchor of global economic stability and prosperity. That is why the UK believes it is important to support the strongest candidate for the next managing director, irrespective of nationality. On the basis of merit, the UK believes that Christine Lagarde is the outstanding candidate. She has shown real international leadership as chair of the G20 Finance Ministers this year and has been a strong advocate for countries tackling high budget deficits and living within their means.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the delivery of fuel to Gaza for the commercial market; and what discussions they have had with the Government of Israel regarding this.[HL9551]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We are clear that the situation in Gaza is both a tragedy and unsustainable. Working closely with the EU and quartet, we will continue to call on Israel to ease restrictions on access and enable a return to economic normality.
At present, only cooking gas is imported through the Kerem Shalom crossing which is supplied for the commercial sector; all other forms of fuel are imported through the tunnels. We are clear that more needs to be done, including on easing restrictions on exports, construction material imports and the movement of people.
We were encouraged by the Israeli Government's decision to facilitate exports out of Gaza, without which there is little hope of any semblance of normality returning to the lives of Gazans. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development have had talks with Israel about the type and level of exports they hope to achieve in 2011. It is important that this now translates into real changes on the ground.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Taylor of Holbeach on 11 May (WA 210), why, in the light of their emphasis on the role of the voluntary and community sector, inter alia in the context of the Big Society, they have "no plans to commission further reports" on central government funding of the sector beyond the year 2007-08.[HL9425]
Lord Taylor of Holbeach: The Government are committed to increasing transparency in all areas of public spending and as such have considered the most efficient way to report on central government spending to the voluntary and community sector.
Going forward, this information will be collated and reported through departmental business plans across central government departments. Initial baseline levels of spend to the sector in 2009-10 are reported in the updated business plans, published in May 2011.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): In accordance with the Ministry of Defence's disposal policy a competition is currently being held to sell HMS "Ark Royal" for use by a private commercial enterprise or for recycling. Bids will be received in the coming weeks and following tender evaluations, it is hoped to select a preferred bidder by the autumn and award a contract by the end of the year.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the estimated capital and annual running costs for the identity assurance system being introduced to identify users of government websites; what are its purposes; whether it will make use of national insurance numbers; and how it would address benefit and tax fraud.[HL9532]
Lord Taylor of Holbeach: The purpose of identity (ID) assurance is to provide people with a secure log-in to access digital public services. Details of the design have not been decided, including how the national insurance number might or might not be used. The programme is working across departments to ensure that the design contributes to reducing online fraud and costs overall.
An indication of the capital and annual running costs will not be clear until the initial design is agreed in October 2011. However, overall the programme will reduce costs for government by helping to put more services online.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the judgment in Iran to blind Majid Movahedi; and what representations have they made to the Government of Iran on the matter. [HL9553]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The sentence of blinding is barbaric and breaches international human rights norms. We have made this clear publicly, and have called on the Iranian authorities to commute the sentence and to cease the practice of corporal and capital punishment.
However, a list, provided by the London Strategic Health Authority, of London hospitals, which would fit either one or both of these criteria, can be found in the following table. The noble Lord may wish to contact the chair of NHS London, who will be happy to respond to further questions in relation to hospital refurbishment and major building works in London.
|London Sector||Trust Name||Organisation Type||Foundation Status||Site Name|
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have reviewed the effectiveness and efficiency of the Office of the European High Representative; and whether this office has contributed to a reduction in the costs of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. [HL9522]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The high representative's office has played an important part in orchestrating EU responses to Iran's nuclear programme, and to political unrest in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The office oversaw the opening of an EU office in Benghazi, and played a helpful role co-ordinating the EU's response to the Pakistan floods. The EAS has not contributed to a reduction in the costs of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, as the role of the EAS is to supplement and complement, not replace national diplomatic services. As a result of lobbying by the UK, the council decision establishing the EAS committed the service to achieving budget neutrality over the long term.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We believe the priority is a return to negotiations. We are pressing both the Israelis and the Palestinians to return to the table further to President Obama's speech of 19 May 2011, making clear that negotiations should be on the basis of 1967 borders with swaps.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Taylor of Holbeach on 23 May (WA 373), how many people employed in the public sector, having contracted with the state to lay down their lives if necessary in its service, died in service in each of the past 10 years.[HL9527]
Lord Taylor of Holbeach: The number of military personnel in the UK regular Armed Forces who died in service during each of the past 10 years is published on the Defence Analytical Services and Advice (DASA) website at www.dasa.mod.uk.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to review and improve security for United Kingdom embassy staff in Sana'a, following the recent surrounding of the United Kingdom ambassador and the besieging of the embassy of the United States by protestors.[HL9611]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Ensuring the safety of our staff is our utmost priority. We constantly keep under review the security situation in Sana'a, and take steps as the situation requires. The siege of the United Arab Emirates ambassador's residence on 22 May was disgraceful. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, my honourable friend the Member for North East Bedfordshire (Mr Burt), made a public statement on 24 May condemning the Yemeni Government's failure to ensure the protection of diplomats and diplomatic missions, while calling also on all sides to exercise restraint. The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, the right honourable Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), also announced on 26 May the temporary withdrawal of a further four members of staff because of heightened security concerns.
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