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Written Answers

Tuesday, 17th October 2000.

Kosovo: Educational Facilities

Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What action they are taking, together with other governments and international organisations, to ensure that adequate educational facilities and schooling are available for all children of school age in Kosovo, including those of ethnic minority groups such as the Roma, Ashkalia and Serbs.[HL3800]

Baroness Amos: During the Kosovo crisis DFID contributed £2.5 million to UNICEF partly to support education in the Balkans, including for minorities. Our bilateral programme focuses on capacity building in areas including social welfare and social benefits, public administration, revenue collection, media and electoral activities. This support is intended to benefit all ethnic communities. We are not providing bilateral support in the field of education.

Macedonia: Aid

Lord McColl of Dulwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether any of the £5.8 million promised by the Prime Minister to the former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia last year has been given and how much has been committed.[HL4013]

Baroness Amos: There has been no significant change to the situation described in my reply of 12 July to the noble Lord's earlier Question (Official Report, col. WA 29).

Bosnian Refugees

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What information they have about the numbers of refugees and displaced persons wishing to return to their homes in Bosnia; how many have been able to return since the Dayton Agreement of 1995; and, if they are able to divide the total as between the two political entities in Bosnia-Herzegovina, how many have returned to each.[HL4019]

Baroness Amos: According to the United Nations, there remain more than 1 million Bosnian refugees and displaced persons, the majority of whom would like to return to their homes. Some 682,000 refugees and displaced persons have returned to Bosnia and Herzegovina since the Dayton Peace Agreement of 1995, of which 556,000 returned to the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and 126,000 to Republika Srpska.

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Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they accept the need for greater external funding for basic housing for displaced people throughout Bosnia; and, if so, whether they will seek international funds for this purpose with a view to reducing long-term military and security costs.[HL4020]

Baroness Amos: The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees assesses housing needs for displaced people and then co-ordinates and directs donors to provide rapid and flexible funding to meet those needs. We are contributing to refugee return through a programme implemented by the Multi National Division South West of SFOR (the international military presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina) that provides minimum community infrastructure and support to small businesses in areas of return.

Sudan: Education

The Earl of Sandwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What plans they have to increase their present commitment to primary and secondary education in southern Sudan.[HL4049]

Baroness Amos: Our present commitment to Sudan relates solely to humanitarian need. Bilateral aid was suspended in 1991. We have given no support for primary and secondary education since then.

Firearms: Central Register

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When work started on the establishment of a central register, as required under Section 39 of the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997 which came into force on 1 October 1997, of persons who have applied for a firearm or shotgun certificate or to whom a firearm or shotgun certificate has been granted; and whether they will estimate the total cost of the work and the date on which the central register will be in operation.[HL4069]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bassam of Brighton): Work on the establishment of the central register began in October 1998 with the establishment of a project team to produce a user requirement. Development work will start in November. The date on which it will come into operation is currently being re-assessed because project timescales may be affected by concurrent work on the development of the DNA database. The impact assessment completed earlier this year estimated that the project would require some 1,400 person days to complete and would also require additional disk capacity costing £50,000. The Government remain committed to the development of the register, as required by the 1997 Act.

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Smoking-related Illnesses in the Workforce

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they can estimate the number of days lost to the workforce through smoking-related illnesses per year.[HL3899]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked to reply.

Letter from the National Statistician and Registrar General, Len Cook, dated 17 October 2000.

As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your recent question about the number of days lost to the workforce through smoking-related illnesses per year.

Estimates on the number of days lost through smoking-related illnesses are not available.

The Labour Force Survey (LFS) is National Statistics' major source of labour market data on individuals. It does not ask questions on smoking-related illnesses. It can provide information on the number of days employees were unable to work in the week that they were surveyed. However, as this number of days can also include some when the respondent would not normally work, no accurate estimate of the total number of working days lost in a year can be calculated. No other official source can provide the information requested.

Retired People: Numbers

Lord Shore of Stepney asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the estimated total number of people, of men over 65 and women over 60 separately, in the United Kingdom over the age of retirement at the latest available date; what were the comparable figures in each decade since 1940; and what is the estimated number in each future decade to the year 2050.[HL4000]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked to reply.

Letter from the National Statistician and Registrar General, Len Cook, dated 17 October 2000.

As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your question about the estimated total number of people in the United Kingdom over the age of retirement.

The attached table shows the estimated total numbers of men and women in the United Kingdom over the age of retirement from 1931 to 1999. These figures have been supplied by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The projected figures for men and women from 2001-2050 have been supplied by the Government Actuary's Department (GAD). These projected

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figures are from the 1998-based national population projections.

Between 2010 and 2020, state retirement age will change from 65 years for men and 60 years for women, to 65 years for both sexes (Pensions Act 1995, Chapter 26 Pt II, Section 126 Schedule 4), The table shows the historic and projected numbers of females aged over 60 and aged over 65, and for any given year the number of females over the official retirement age.

United Kingdom--Estimates of the Population of State Retirement Age (thousands)

Men 65+Women 60+(Women of state retirement age)Women Aged 65+
1931(1)1,4702,950(2,950)1,947
1951(1)2,2474,580(4,580)3,218
1961(2)2,3855,362(5,362)3,824
1971(2)2,8416,282(6,282)4,567
1981(2)3,3276,708(6,708)5,149
1991(2)3,6396,963(6,963)5,465
1999(2)3,8456,908(6,908)5,448
2001(3)3,9116,889(6,889)5,431
2011(3)4,5137,636(7,401)5,694
2021(3)5,5628,659(6,648)6,648
2031(3)6,83010,086(7,923)7,923
2041(3)7,38910,255(8,470)8,470
2050(3)7,22610,316(8,330)8,330

(1) Population enumerated at the census. There was no census in 1941.

(2) Estimated mid-year population.

(3) 1998-based national population projections.

(4) Between 2010 and 2020, state retirement age will change from 65 years for men and 60 years for women, to 65 years for both sexes.

Source: Population Estimates Unit, ONS Annual Abstract of Statistics 1999 edition, Government Actuary's Department.

Crown Copyright 2000.


Vehicle Inspectorate: Retained Fees and Law Enforcement

Lord Bradshaw asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they propose to use hypothecated funds raised from road transport operator licence fees and court awards of costs towards the better enforcement of the law.[HL4073]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Since April 1999 the Vehicle Inspectorate has been allowed to retain receipts from the licensing of heavy goods and public service vehicle operators in order to finance the inspectorate's general enforcement activity in this area. Any excess receipts are surrendered to the Consolidated Fund; they cannot be diverted to other forms of expenditure.

The Treasury allows departments to retain receipts and net them off against related spending only where specific criteria are met. In December 1998 the Treasury issued a press release announcing two sets of criteria against which requests from departments to retain receipts from licences/levies or fines/penalties to offset against enforcement costs could be assessed. The spending against which retained receipts must be set is

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tightly defined and generally limited to activities directly related to those generating the receipts.


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