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3 Feb 2003 : Column WA1

Written Answers

Monday, 3rd February 2003.


The Earl of Sandwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What support they have given to education in southern Sudan during each of the past five years; and what form this took.[HL1169]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Amos): This financial year we have committed £220,000 to support scholarships programmes in Sudan, particularly for women, and £300,000 to UNICEF for schools rehabilitation and teacher training in the Nuba mountains. We are also planning a significant intervention in the education sector in government and SPLM/A controlled conflict affected areas. We have committed £303,263 support for education initiatives for displaced people through the joint funding scheme since May 1998.

Queen's Counsel

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

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Chancellor on 7 January (WA 167), why direct and personal answerability by the Lord Chancellor to Parliament is considered appropriate and necessary for decisions regarding the appointment of Queen's Counsel.[HL1042]

The Lord Chancellor (Lord Irvine of Lairg): In my Written Answer of 7 January to which the noble Lord refers I stated that I am directly and personally answerable to Parliament for the systems and policies relating to the award of Queen's Counsel. I may therefore be questioned in Parliament on these, as distinct from decisions whether to advise Her Majesty to award Silk in individual cases.

Constitutional propriety dictates that Her Majesty should be able to rely on the advice of a Minister in the exercise of Her Royal Prerogative. That includes appointments to the rank of Queen's Counsel. I am the appropriate Minister in this case. My responsibilities include policy on the regulation of the legal professions and the safeguarding of the public interest in the provision of legal services: the award of Silk assists in this since Silk is a quality mark for the consumer.

3 Feb 2003 : Column WA2

Clinical Negligence Claims

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they agree with the figures published by the Legal Services Commission which show that successful claims in publicly funded clinical negligence cases have fallen to 24 per cent; and how this will impact on the claims for compensation from people with haemophilia who have been infected by hepatitis C by contaminated National Health Service blood products.[HL1135]

The Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): Public funding has two distinct roles in clinical negligence claims: to investigate which potential claims are worth pursuing and to support those which are. Clinical negligence claims tend to be complex and investigation is needed to ascertain the merits of taking a case forward. More than half of all cases are not funded to proceed beyond the investigative stage. In 2001–02, 27 per cent of all cases that received some funding from the Legal Services Commission (LSC) were utimately successful in litigation. However, of cases which were allowed to proceed beyond the initial investigative stage, 57 per cent were successful. At all stages the case is subject to a merits test and the applicant to a means test.

Success rates for publicly funded cases have no impact on other, ongoing claims for compensation; each application is considered on an individual basis. The LSC may discharge a funding certificate at any point when it has evidence that funding is no longer justified on ground of either means or merits.

Gulf War: US and UK Contribution

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they required the United States to pay for support, help and use of facilities as a result of the Gulf War in the 1990s.[HL1037]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Bach): The United Kingdom did not require the United States to pay for support or make any direct financial payment to the UK during the Gulf conflict. The UK's contribution to the Gulf conflict was part of an international coalition force. As part of that international coalition force, coalition partners pooled resources and equipment and were able to share capabilities and facilities. This meant that the US, along with other coalition partners, loaned to the UK a certain amount of equipment. According to records held by the Ministry of Defence, the US loaned communications equipment, a number of high mobility load carriers and logistic support to UK Armed Forces.

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Pilots in the Armed Forces

Lord Vivian asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the current shortfall of pilots in the Army, the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy.[HL1266]

Lord Bach: In the Royal Navy, the overall shortfall of trained pilots is currently 46 (9 per cent). This, however, includes staff and administrative posts; the shortfall in the front line is less than 5 per cent. Pilots in the Army are in manning balance at present, while in the Royal Air Force, the current shortfall of junior officer pilots is 106 (7.1 per cent) of the requirement.

Northern Ireland: Property Valuation Procedures involving Public Servants

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the valuation process to assess the market value for a residence in Cultra in North Down which they sold to a former senior civil servant in the Anglo-Irish Secretariat who is now involved with the Boundary Commission; and whether the full normal procedures were adhered to.[HL952]

The Lord Privy Seal (Lord Williams of Mostyn): The process followed was that the average of two valuations was used to assess the sale price. One of the valuations was provided on the prospective buyer's behalf and the other by surveyors acting for the Northern Ireland Office. The full normal procedures in place at that time were adhered to.

Police Service of Northern Ireland: Recruitment

Lord Rogan asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many applications were received from (a) Roman Catholics and (b) non-Roman Catholics for each recruitment competition to the Police Service of Northern Ireland.[HL964]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Numbers of Roman Catholics and non-Roman Catholics who have applied to join the Police Service of Northern Ireland to date are as follows:

Total ApplicantsRoman Catholic applicants (rounded to nearest %)non-Roman Catholic applicants (rounded to nearest %)
Competition 1751935%65%
Competition 2489039%61%
Competition 3467435%65%
Competition 4432735%65%

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Lord Rogan asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many successful applications were accepted from (a) Roman Catholics and (b) non-Roman Catholics for each recruitment competition to the Police Service of Northern Ireland.[HL965]

Lord Williams of Mostyn:

Roman Catholics appointedNon-Roman Catholics appointed
Competition 1153152
Competition 29894 to date
Competition 359 to date57 to date

In relation to Competition 1, the final non-Catholic to be offered an appointment withdrew a few days prior to taking up post. The competition had by this time been closed, and it was not therefore possible to offer the appointment to another candidate.

Further appointments are anticipated from Competitions 2 and 3. No appointments have been made as yet from Competition 4.

Lord Rogan asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many (a) Roman Catholic and (b) non-Roman Catholic recruits to the Police Service of Northern Ireland have successfully completed all elements of the training course.[HL966]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Three hundred and eighty-one student officers have graduated to date into the Police Service of Northern Ireland; 192 graduates are considered as coming from the Roman Catholic community, and 189 are not.

Northern Ireland Film and Television Commission

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to a Written Answer by the Lord Privy Seal on 7 January (WA168), whether they will list all the feature films which the Northern Ireland Film and Television Commission has assisted since its creation.[HL989]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Arts Council of Northern Ireland, through its Lottery fund, was the main funder of films in NI until March 2002, when the NI Film and Television Commission (NIFTC) was delegated responsibility for Lottery film funding. NIFTC has provided information on both its own investments and those of the Arts Council for Northern Ireland since 1997. The following films have been assisted:


    "All For Love"

    "Divorcing Jack"

    "Titanic Town"

    "Sunset Heights"

    "With or Without You"

    "Mad About Mambo"

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    "A Love Divided"

    "Wild About Harry"

    "Eureka Street"

    "Hotel Splendide"


    "The Most Fertile Man in Ireland"

    "H3" (a.k.a. "No Distant Heroes")

    "An Everlasting Piece"



    "Straight to Video"

    "The Honeymooners"

    "Made of Jam"

    "Blind Flight".

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