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Parthenon Sculptures

Lord Fearn asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Baroness Blackstone): The British Museum is the legal and rightful owner of the Parthenon Sculptures, not Her Majesty's Government.

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Benefits Agency: Compensation Recovery Unit

Earl Howe asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What future they plan for the Compensation Recovery Unit of the Benefits Agency on the assumption that the Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Bill passes into law.[HL2697]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Baroness Hollis of Heigham): If the Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Bill is passed into law, it is intended that the Compensation Recovery Unit (CRU), which is part of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), will recover National Health Service (NHS) charges on behalf of the Secretary of State for Health in accordance with the relevant sections of the Act.

Budget Report: Chart 5.1

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What sources provide a baseline for chart 5.1 of the Budget report (HC500), showing percentage given by decile as a result of children's measures taken by the Government; and how they determine where the deciles divide if they do not know how many people were on each income level below 40 per cent of average income.[HL2561]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Chart 5.1 was produced using HM Treasury's tax-benefit simulation model, based on Family Expenditure Survey data for 1998 to 2001, uprated to 2003–04 levels of prices and earnings. The baseline position for this chart reflects the system of taxes and benefits that was in place in 1997–98.

The income deciles are determined according to the distribution of household's equivalised net income before housing costs. The process of equivalisation takes account of variations in size and composition of households, using the McClements' before housing costs scale.

Households are then ranked and split into deciles according to levels of equivalised net income before housing costs. It is then possible to estimate the number of children living in households with equivalised incomes below 60 per cent of contemporary median income. It would also be possible to estimate the number of children in households with equivalised incomes below any other point in the distribution, including those below 40 per cent of average earnings.

Retail Prices Index Advisory Committee

Lord Lea of Crondall asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What plans they have for asking the Retail Prices Index Advisory Committee to consider issues of: (a) regional prices indices; and (b) alignment with European consumer price index methodology.[HL2567]

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Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Chancellor announced on 27th February that Chris Allsopp will undertake a review of regional information and the statistical framework needed to support the Government's key objective of promoting economic growth in all regions and reducing the persistent gap in growth rates between regions. The review will cover a full range of regional statistics, and price information is clearly an important part of this. Mr Allsopp will produce a first report by the time of this Autumn's Pre-Budget Report.

The Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP) is produced for all EU countries as a requirement under EU legislation. It is constructed to be internationally comparable, which requires a standardised methodology. Thus the HICP is defined and governed by the European Commission. This means that although it is produced in consultation with statistical agencies from member states, it is outside the direct control of national authorities.

Ionising Radiation

Lord Jenkin of Roding asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What estimates they have made of the savings that could be made in the nuclear generating industry if the current linear no-threshold model relating to ionising radiation were replaced by a threshold, hormetic, model as suggested in the article in Nature (Vol 421 pp 691/2).[HL2572]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): We have made no such estimates. The regulatory limits on effective dose for workers and the public set out in Directive 96/29/Euratom are based on the internationally accepted recommendations of the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP). The basis of the ICRP recommendations, which it is not envisaged will change, is to assume the linear no-threshold model.

Directors' Remuneration

Lord Wedderburn of Charlton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether their policy on rewards and benefits of company directors is represented by the speech of the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry of 25 April supporting "shareholders' entirely justified fury about excessive rewards to directors who have been responsible for corporate failure"; by the Welsh Secretary's view about the need to end "obscene levels of takeaways as a result of losing their jobs or misdirecting their companies"; or by the answer of the Lord Sainsbury of Turville accepting the view of the Lord Barnett that no legal meaning can be given to "excessive" and that "the answer to excessive rewards for failure depends on getting the contract right in the first place" (HL Deb, 11 March, cols. 1228/30). [HL2579]

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Lord Sainsbury of Turville: Directors' remuneration is a matter for companies and their shareholders. The Government have recently legislated to improve transparency, accountability and performance linkage for directors' pay in quoted companies. We will also consult on issues relating to directors' contracts shortly.

Badger and Bovine TB: Defra Consultation with BVA

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What consultation the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has had with

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    the British Veterinary Association about the profession's views on the rate of spread of badgers and bovine tuberculosis; and what further action they are considering. [HL2569]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Whitty): The British Veterinary Association is represented on the TB Forum, which brings together experts and stakeholders to consider measures to control bovine tuberculosis, and to express their views about the disease.

The TB Forum has already considered a range of policy options. Further discussion with key stakeholders, including the British Veterinary Association, will take place ahead of public consultation later this year.



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