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Lord Clement-Jones asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: In July 2002, Food Standards Agency scientists reviewed the data available to the Committee on Safety of Medicines (CSM) and assessed the risks relating to food uses of Kava-kava. The agency sought advice from the Chairman of the Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COT) in the first instance, and then presented the risk assessment to the full committee. COT agreed with the CSM that consumption of Kava-kava is associated with liver toxicity and took the view that the evidence did not justify treating Kava-kava in foods differently from Kava-kava in medicines.

Abortion Clinics

Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: All independent sector places approved by the Secretary of State for Health to perform termination of pregnancy under Section 1(3)

13 Mar 2003 : Column WA202

of the Abortion Act 1967, as amended, are registered with the National Care Standards Commission (NCSC) as independent hospitals under the Care Standards Act 2000. These places are inspected a minimum of once a year by the NCSC, on behalf of the Secretary of State.

Each abortion clinic is inspected against the Private and Voluntary Health Care Regulations and the relevant national minimum standards. If any requirements or recommendations are identified, the clinic is required to implement an action plan. Monitoring and compliance visits will be undertaken by the NCSC to ensure those requirements are met.

Failure to comply with or maintain the standards required by the Secretary of State may result in enforcement action by the NCSC and withdrawal of approval to perform termination of pregnancy.

Deafblind Children

Lord Ashley of Stoke asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will estimate the number of deafblind children in England, giving the sources for the estimate and the number identified by their local authorities.[HL2037]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The Department of Health does not collect this information centrally. However, Sense estimates that there are between 2,500 and 4,000 deafblind children in the United Kingdom.

Deafblind Support

Lord Ashley of Stoke asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the current availability of people specifically trained to assist deafblind people in the United Kingdom; how this compares with the number available in 1997; and what steps they have taken to increase training places.[HL2039]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: Information on the numbers of people trained to assist deafblind people is not held centrally.

With support from the Department of Health and other funders, the Council for the Advancement of Communication with Deaf People (CACDP) created an infrastructure of trainers, assessors and materials for the delivery of training and assessments leading to the Level 2 award in deafblind support work. This award is accredited by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority and awarded by CACDP, while the training is offered by the key national organisations (Sense, Deafblind UK, Deafblind Scotland and The Royal National Institute for the Blind). Accreditation began part way through 2001.

In 2002 (the first full year) there were 287 candidates for accreditation (pass rate 86 per cent), with 22 trainers of trainers currently registered to deliver the training.

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Lord Chancellor's Salary

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

    Whether their jurisdiction for the link between the Lord Chancellor's salary and pension benefits and the salary and pension benefits of the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales depends upon the fact that the Lord Chancellor is the most senior judge and is entitled to sit in a judicial capacity; and, if not, what is the justification for maintaining the link in current circumstances.[HL1596]

The Lord Privy Seal (Lord Williams of Mostyn): The 1983 Review of Parliamentary Pay and Allowances (Cmnd. 8881-1) by the Top Salaries Review Body recommended that, in recognition of his pre-eminent position in the judiciary and his responsibilities as a whole, the Lord Chancellor's salary should be higher than that of the Lord Chief Justice. The Lord Chancellor's functions as head of the judiciary include, among other things, being President of the Supreme Court and having overall responsibility for the conduct of the judges and the lay magistracy. The recommendation was accepted by the Government and incorporated into the Ministerial and Other Pensions and Salaries Act 1991. This set the difference between the Lord Chancellor's salary and the Lord Chief Justice's at £2,000. The Ministerial and Other Salaries Order 1996 subsequently increased this to £2,500. The SSRB has been asked to review the remuneration of the office of Lord Chancellor.

Senior Appointments: Pension Entitlement

Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay asked Her Majesty's Government:

    For how long holders of each of the following offices have to serve to receive their maximum pension entitlement:

    (a) Lord Chief Justice;

    (b) High Court judge;

    (c) Cabinet Secretary;

    (d) Speaker of the House of Commons;

    (e) Prime Minister; and

    (f) Chancellor of the Exchequer.[HL1601]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: All of these offices have their pension arrangements set by legislation. The pension position of both the Lord Chief Justice and a High Court judge will depend on the date when they were appointed to the judiciary. Appointees prior to 31 March 1995 can reach maximum benefits after 15 years, while appointees on or after 31 March 1995 must serve for 20 years to reach maximum benefits.

The Cabinet Secretary, as a member of the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme, would be eligible for maximum benefits after 40 years service.

The Prime Minister and Speaker of the House of Commons both receive a full pension on leaving office as set out by statute.

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The Chancellor of the Exchequer is eligible to join the Parliamentary Contributory Pension Fund. Maximum benefits can be achieved after between 26.7 and 33.3 years, depending on date of joining the scheme and the contribution option chosen.

Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Which individuals whose pensions are paid from public funds become entitled to their maximum pension entitlement as soon as they are appointed.[HL1602]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Prime Minister, the Lord Chancellor and the Speaker of the House of Commons as set down by statute.

Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay asked Her Majesty's Government:

    For how long Lord Chancellors have been entitled to their full pension as soon as they are appointed.[HL1603]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Since 1832.

Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why the Lord Chancellor is entitled to a full pension as soon as he is appointed, in contrast to the Lord Chief Justice and the Cabinet Secretary, to whose salaries his salary is linked.[HL1605]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The pensions associated with the different offices are determined variously. Lord Chancellors have to retire from legal practice in order to take up office and do so on the contractual and statutory basis set out below. By convention they may not, on ceasing to be Lord Chancellor, resume legal practice regardless of how long they may have occupied the office and the pension therefore compensates for loss of future livelihood.

The Lord Chancellor's salary is linked to the salary of the Lord Chief Justice and not the Cabinet Secretary under Section 3 (1) of the Ministerial and other Pensions and Salaries Act 1991, as amended by Article 4 of the Ministerial and other Salaries Order 1996. Provision for the Lord Chancellor's pension and lump sum is made in the Lord Chancellor's Pension Act 1832, the Parliamentary and Other Pensions Act 1972, as amended by the Ministerial and other Pensions and Salaries Act 1991 and the Judicial Pensions Act 1981. The SSRB has been asked to look at the remuneration of the office of Lord Chancellor.

The Lord Chief Justice receives a pension under the terms of either the Judicial Pensions Act 1981 or the Judicial Pensions and Retirement Act 1993, depending on the date of appointment to the judiciary.

The Cabinet Secretary, as a serving civil servant, is eligible for membership of the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme, the rules of which are made under the provisions of the Superannuation Act 1972.

13 Mar 2003 : Column WA205

Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Privy Seal on 28 January 2003 (WA 12), whether they will update the Answer on the basis of the Lord Chancellor receiving a salary of either (a) £184,096 or (b) £202,736.[HL1606]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Lord Chancellor's pension entitlement is met out of the Consolidated Fund and is not provided for via a pension fund. The notional cost of securing a pension on the open market would, all else being equal, increase in proportion to the level of pension to be secured. Therefore, the notional fund of £2 million quoted previously (WA 142), and by reference to a salary of £180,045, would increase to approximately (a) £2.05 million when based on a salary of £184,096 and (b) £2.25 million when based on a salary of £202,736. The SSRB has been asked to review the remuneration of the office of Lord Chancellor.


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