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25 Oct 2006 : Column WA237

Written Answers

Wednesday 25 October 2006

Afghanistan: Apache Helicopters

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Drayson): There is no shortfall of spare parts for Apache helicopters in Afghanistan. The current Apache helicopter deployment to Afghanistan is our top priority. Over the timescale of the current operational deployment to Afghanistan, there has been a 4 per cent reduction in UK flying days due to the unavailability of spare parts. There has been no effect on the availability of weapons systems for UK training and there is no requirement for Apache to be available for other theatres of operation.

The budget for Apache for the financial year beginning April 2006 has been increased by £9.1 million, and an additional £1 million has been committed on urgent operational requirements. I am not releasing information on the flying hours for the eight Apache aircraft deployed to Afghanistan as to do so would prejudice the security of our Armed Forces.

Compensation: Train Operating Companies

Lord Hanningfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: Any compensation payments between Network Rail or (previously) Railtrack and train operating companies are a matter for the parties in question.

The Strategic Rail Authority made payments of £15.65 million in the calendar year 2003 and £7.63 million in 2004 under its discretionary power to reimburse train operating companies (TOCs) for loss of revenue due to industrial disputes. The department has made payments of £107,135 in 2006 for similar purposes. The information for each individual TOC is commercially confidential.

Compensation: Treasury

Lord Hanningfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord McKenzie of Luton: The Treasury's records show the following amounts of damages or compensation were paid to former employees as ex gratia payments in connection with the termination of their employment in the past 10 financial years 1996-97 to 2005-06.

YearAmount £

1996-97

500

1997-98

-

1998-99

-

1999-2000

8,389

2000-01

-

2001-02

-

2002-03

30,000

2003-04

-

2004-05

-

2005-06

-

Consultation: Northern Ireland

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: Equality-related consultations arising from Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 did not begin to take place in departments until after equality schemes approved by the Equality Commission were in place, around mid-2001. Between 2001-02 and 2005-06 in the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure there were nine equality-related consultations undertaken. (Listed in table below with number of responses received for each).

For each consultation we consult groups and individuals who have requested that they be included in our Section 75 consultation list (a copy of which has been placed in the Library), which was established as part of our equality scheme for these purposes. This list is updated continuously, but at least every year. Backdated lists are not kept.

In addition to equality-related consultations, the department consults key stakeholders as part of good policy-making practices generally, and because one must consult on legislation even where no adverse equality impacts have been identified.

With regard to the noble Lord's second Question, the information on what extent and what form consultation responses addressed equality of opportunity issues could only be obtained at disproportionate cost. However, for every equality-related consultation issued, policy makers record to whom consultations were issued, who responded and what was said. A summary of consultation responses received is published (usually on the department's website). All of this information is publicly available.

It is difficult to identify specific changes that have occurred to a policy as a result of consultation alone. This is because, when equality is mainstreamed effectively into decision-making throughout the policy development cycle—through, for example, pre-consultation or informal consultation—there will be no negative equality impacts evident.

ConsultationYearNumber of Responses

EQIA on the provision of a Public Angling Estate & Water Recreation Facilities

2003

28

Policy Proposal on new legislation for Safety at Sports Grounds in Northern Ireland (included EQIA and Initial RIA)

2004

11

Irish Language Broadcast Fund

2004

14

EQIA of Guidance on the UK Government commitments in respect of Irish and Ulster-Scots

2004

27

PRONI Archives and Marketing Policy

2004

28

Unlocking Creativity—A Creative Region

2004

51

Libraries: A Framework for Change

2005

1,100

Consultation on the draft Safety of Sports Grounds (NI) Order and Explanatory Memorandum

2005

Nil

Community Festivals Fund

2006

16

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: The Department of Education has carried out a total of 26 consultations since 1999, seven of which have resulted in equality impact assessments being carried out. They are:

Review of the Northern Ireland Curriculum and its Assessment—2002;Promotion through the Youth Service of the Personal and Social Development of Young People—2003;Implementation of National Qualifications Framework in Schools—2005;School Building—2005;Recovery of Capital Grant from Schools—2005;Change to Common Funding Formula—2006; and Proposals for a Revised Core Syllabus for Religious Education—2006.

A current list of all people and organisations consulted in line with the department's statutory equality duty has also been placed in the Library. The information requested regarding the responses of groups consulted is not readily available in the form requested and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

It is difficult to identify specific changes that have occurred to a policy as a result of consultation alone. This is because when equality is mainstreamed effectively into decision-making throughout the policy development cycle—through, for example, having advisory fora, pre-consultation or informal consultation—there will be no negative equality impacts evident.

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: Since the launch of its equality scheme on 8 February 2001, the Department of Environment has carried out 19 consultation exercises as part of the EQIA process. These are listed in Table A.


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