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Rural Economies and Communities Research

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Whitty): The additional £0.5 million per year has been allocated to the research budget of the Rural Economies and Communities Directorate (RECD). The priorities for research are outlined in the draft RECD Research Strategy for 2003–06 which was also published on 7 April (available at http://www.defra.gov. uk/science/S–IS/Strategy–03–06/Directorate–HTML/RECD. asp). A detailed work programme is being developed with a timetable for delivery, and projects are let on a rolling basis. The work programme includes projects on statistics, rural productivity, and access to services such as health, education and transport. As projects are let within the RECD programme, they are listed on the Defra website at http://www2.defra.gov.uk/research/project–data/projects.asp?M=KWS&V=RE0&SCOPE =0. Results will be made available on the same website as each project is completed.

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Euro: Treasury Studies

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

    Whether they consider that the publication, at this stage, of HM Treasury's concluded technical studies of the costs and benefits of United Kingdom entry into the eurozone would inhibit internal discussion within the Government; if so, what are their reasons for this view; and, if not, whether they will publish the studies forthwith so as to give the public access to government information.[HL2940]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Parliament has been explicitly informed through the Budget Statement, in statements to the Treasury Select Committee and in answers to Treasury Questions that the studies will be published alongside the assessment at the time of the Government's statement to Parliament on the euro on 9 June. Exemptions 2, 6 and 10 under the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information apply to this request for information.

Royal National Throat Nose and Ear Hospital

Lord Clement-Jones asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the current status of the bid by the Royal National Throat Nose and Ear Hospital with the Royal Free Trust for new hospital development.[HL2628]

Baroness Andrews: We can confirm that the Royal National Throat Nose and Ear Hospital within the Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust is one of the elements of the London Chain which is part of the national procurement exercise for independent sector diagnosis and treatment centres.

The procurement exercise is on-going and invitations to negotiate for the London Chain were issued to a shortlist of independent providers at the beginning of April. The elements of the London Chain are intended to be operational by March 2005, or earlier if the independent sector can deliver accordingly.

Iraq

Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are the latest estimates of financial costs to the United Kingdom for the most recent war in Iraq; and what are the latest estimates of the financial resources so far specifically earmarked by the United Kingdom for humanitarian relief, reconstruction and political rehabilitation of Iraq.[HL2753]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: It would be premature to make an estimate of the final costs of the recent military campaign in Iraq but we expect any such costs

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to be covered by the £3 billion special reserve announced by the Chancellor in the Budget.

In March the Government set aside £240 million for humanitarian assistance in Iraq. A further £60 million was set aside by the Chancellor in the Budget to support the work of the UN on the reconstruction and development of Iraq.

Non-residential Property

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

    What percentage by value of new leases granted on non-residential property will be in disadvantaged areas after 1 December 2003; and[HL2925]

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord McIntosh of Haringey on 12 May (WA 22–24), how the cost of exempting disadvantaged areas from stamp duty on the grant of new leases on non-residential property can be included in the overall estimate if it is not separately identifiable; and[HL2926]

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord McIntosh of Haringey on 12 May (WA 22–24), what was the "previous yield transaction data" on which estimates of the annual cost to the Exchequer of the abolition of stamp duty on non-residential property purchases in disadvantaged areas were based; how many such transactions there were; over what period; and what were the average and total values of relief given; and[HL2927]

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord McIntosh of Haringey on 12 May (WA 22–24), what has been the capital value of new non-residential properties developed in each of the last three years for which figures are available in the fifty wards listed.[HL2928]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: I regret that a reliable estimate cannot be given for the percentage by value of new leases which will be granted on non-residential property in disadvantaged areas after 1 December 2003.

The estimate of abolishing stamp duty on non-residential property in disadvantaged areas was made on an aggregate basis. Within this total, the amount

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attributable to new leases is too small a component to be estimated reliably.

Stamp duty relief data for disadvantaged areas was used to calculate the percentage of yield attributable to these areas as a percentage of the yield for the United Kingdom as a whole while UK transaction data formed the basis for future projections of stamp duty. The data then available and the latest data, on non-residential transactions receiving relief are as follows:

Commercial Transactions in disadvantaged wards receiving relief

Number of claimsAmount of relief given (£)Average relief per claim (£)
End November 2001 to end January 2003 758749,010990
End January 2003 to end April 2003 3548,433,50023,820

Data on the capital value of new non-residential properties developed by ward are not available.


European Convention on Human Rights: Breaches

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

    Further to the Written Answer by the Baroness Scotland of Asthal on 1 May (WA 120) whether they consider that legislation is necessary to give effect to decisions of the European Court of Human Rights where a breach by the United Kingdom of the European Convention on Human Rights relates not to a provision of incompatible domestic legislation but to an incompatible rule of common law.[HL2726]

The Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): Legislation is not usually necessary when a rule of common law is found by the European Court of Human Rights to be incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights, because the common law can be corrected by UK judges in the light of the judgment of the European Court. Under Section 6 of the Human Rights Act, a court or tribunal is bound to act compatibly with the convention rights unless prevented by primary legislation.



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