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Written Answers

Wednesday, 2nd February 2000.

Community Legal Services

Lord Shepherd asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they intend to publish directions to the Legal Services Commission setting priorities for funding as part of the community legal services.[HL851]

The Lord Chancellor (Lord Irvine of Lairg): I wrote yesterday to Peter Birch CBE, chairman-designate of the Legal Services Commission, enclosing three directions about priorities for funding, the scope of the community legal services fund and particular budgets within the fund. Copies of these directions have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Inland Revenue 35

Lord Faulkner of Worcester asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the rationale behind Inland Revenue 35; and how much revenue will be raised through its implementation.[HL690]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: I refer the noble Lord to the Economic and Fiscal Strategy Report and Financial Statement and Budget Report published on March 1999 and the Inland Revenue press releases issued on 9 March and 23 September 1999.

Single Currency Membership

Lord Tebbit asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are the "big political issues" concerning entry into monetary union to which the Prime Minister referred in his interview on 16 January with Mr David Frost.[HL693]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Prime Minister, in his interview on 16 January, repeated the Government's position on membership of the single currency, as set out by the Chancellor on 27 October 1997.

Income Tax

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will estimate, in respect of the most recent year for which information is available, what the additional revenue from income tax would have been if the following rates of income tax on taxable income above the then higher rate threshold had applied: 40 per cent up to £100,000; 50 per cent from £100,000 to £500,000; 60 per cent from £500,000 to

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    £1,000,000; and 70 per cent above £1,000,000, assuming that all other parts of the tax system remained unchanged.[HL733]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: If higher rates of income tax were imposed at 50 per cent on taxable income between £100,000 and £500,000; 60 per cent on taxable incomes between £500,000 and £1,000,000; and 70 per cent on taxable incomes above £1,000,000, this would raise £3.1 billion in a full year.

This estimate is based on the 1997-98 Survey of Personal Incomes projected to 1999-2000 consistent with November 1999 Pre-Budget Report assumptions.

Special Advisers: Relationship withCivil Service

The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether Mr Alastair Campbell has, since May 1997, ever attended meetings on health policy or bilateral meetings between the Prime Minister and Secretaries of State for Health; and[HL598]

    Whether Mr Alastair Campbell has ever used executive powers given to him by Order in Council in May 1997 to issue directions to civil servants in the Department of Health about (a) policy or (b) publicity on the National Health Service; and[HL599]

    Whether Mr Jonathan Powell has ever used executive powers given to him by Order in Council in May 1997 to issue directions to civil servants in the Department of Health about (a) policy or (b) publicity on the National Health Service.[HL600]

The Minister of State, Cabinet Office (Lord Falconer of Thoroton): As special advisers appointed under Article 3(3) of the Civil Service Order in Council, Jonathan Powell and Alastair Campbell have the powers to issue directions to civil servants and have civil servants working for them. Internal advice between civil servants and details of attendance at internal meetings are not normally made public in line with exemption 2 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

Gypsies and Other Travelling People

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What action has been taken, or recommendations made, by the Social Exclusion Unit on gypsies and other travelling people.[HL430]

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: None. At this time the Social Exclusion Unit has made no specific recommendation for gypsies or travellers and has no present plans to do so.

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Legislation: Amendments to Bills

Baroness Hamwee asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will arrange that, when they table amendments to a Bill which, because of their number or their substance, would if agreed make substantial changes to the Bill, there is made available to the House a version of the Bill or relevant parts of the Bill as it would be if it were so amended.[HL587]

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: The Government cannot undertake to do so.

Task Forces

Lord Skelmersdale asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Answer by the Baroness Blackstone on 18 January, whether they will identify the Departmental Task Forces which have been wound up and replaced by non-departmental public bodies.[HL636]

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: My Answer to the noble Lord, Lord Roberts of Conwy, on 11 November 1999 (WA cols. 245-48) provided details of all task forces established since May 1997. The list included details of those task forces that have been wound up following completion of their work. In the case of two such task forces, work on a number of their recommendations is being taken forward by two executive non-departmental public bodies.

The Youth Justice Board for England and Wales was established in September 1998. It builds on the work of the Youth Justice Task Force.

The Disability Rights Commission, when it begins its work in April, will consider and take forward a number of the recommendations contained in the final report from the Disability Rights Task Force.

Human Rights Select Committee

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are the reasons for the delay in setting up a Select Committee on Human Rights as envisaged in the White Paper, Rights Brought Home; The Human Rights Bill (Cm 3782, October 1997).[HL443]

The Lord Privy Seal (Baroness Jay of Paddington): The timing for the Joint Committee's establishment is related to the date of implementation for the Human Rights Act. We announced on 18 May 1999 that the Human Rights Act will be implemented on 2 October 2000, somewhat later than had been thought, so as to allow time for judicial training and departmental preparations. The Government consider that the Joint Committee should be operational in advance of the Act coming into full effect. We hope to make an announcement about that shortly.

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Probation Service: Change of Name

Lord Hoyle asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the estimated cost of changing the name of the Probation Service to the "Community Punishment and Rehabilitation Service".[HL723]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office, (Lord Bassam of Brighton): The change of name is one of a number of changes involved in the Government's plans to create a unified service for England and Wales. These include structural changes which will involve the amalgamation of some area services and make all of them more accountable to my right honourable friend the Home Secretary. The cost of changing the name is expected to be minimal in this wider context.

Mike Tyson

Lord Tebbit asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What were the compassionate reasons which persuaded the Home Secretary to admit Mr Mike Tyson, who had been convicted of rape in the United States, to the United Kingdom.[HL724]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: There were no compassionate grounds in relation to Mr Tyson which affected the decision of my right honourable friend the Home Secretary to admit him to the United Kingdom. In reaching his decision one of the factors which weighed most heavily with him was the lack of consistency in the effect of the relevant Immigration Rule. My right honourable friend also considered the likely effect of cancellation of the fight on those who had already bought tickets and smaller enterprises and individuals who were probably least able to bear any losses.

My right honourable friend weighed these factors against the nature and seriousness of Mr Tyson's convictions and he decided on balance that the exceptional circumstances of this case were such that Mr Tyson should be granted entry solely for the purpose of participating in a sporting event. This decision was entirely in accordance with the Immigration Act 1971 and the Immigration Rules, which provide a residual discretion to allow entry in exceptional cases.

Lord Tebbit asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether any of the party accompanying Mr Mike Tyson have criminal records.[HL725]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The Immigration Service received information that a member of Mr Mike Tyson's entourage had a criminal record. This application and all other applications from Mr Tyson's entourage for leave to enter the United Kingdom were decided in accordance with the Immigration Rules and took account of all factors relevant to each individual case.

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