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15 Sept 2003 : Column WA153

Written Answers

Monday, 15th September 2003.

Judicial Appointments

Lord Tebbit asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether appointments to the Scottish judiciary by the Judicial Appointments Board have been of a higher quality than those appointed to the English and Welsh judiciary by the Lord Chancellor since 1997.[HL4288]

The Lord Chancellor (Lord Falconer of Thoroton): The Scottish Judicial Appointments Board began work in June 2002. The Government have made no such assessment; nor should they do so. Appointments are made on merit in each jurisdiction.

Lord Tebbit asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have identified a pool of potential judges of superior talent to those appointed since 1997 and who may have been unfairly overlooked.[HL4289]

The Lord Chancellor: No. The overriding principle is that judges are appointed on merit and that those appointed are the most able and suitable. However, it is important to be able to make appointments from the widest possible pool of applicants, and the judicial appointments process should seek to bring forward the most talented candidates for appointment from the diverse groups within our society. The creation of a Judicial Appointments Commission will provide a fresh opportunity to look at the ways in which the appointments process works.

British Council Trustees: Annual Report and Accounts

Baroness McIntosh of Hudnall asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will place in the Library of the House copies of the British Council trustees' annual report and accounts for 2002–2003.[HL4431]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): Copies of the British Council's trustees' annual report and accounts for the financial year ended 31 March 2003 will be placed today in the Library of the House. During the period the council received £151.5 million grant-in-aid from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

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Multi-agency Public Protection Arrangements: Annual Reportslynne

Lord Tomlinson asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they plan to publish the annual reports of the Multi-agency Public Protection Arrangements (the MAPPA).[HL4476]

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): I am pleased to announce the publication today of the second annual report of the Multi-agency Public Protection Arrangements (the MAPPA) of the 42 police and probation areas in England and Wales.

The MAPPA have made a significant difference to the way the police and probation services protect the public from the risks posed by sexual and other violent offenders. The MAPPA were established by the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 and introduced in April 2001. As a direct result there is now greater consistency and robustness in arrangements to manage these offenders and an increasing involvement of other agencies.

I am very pleased that the statutory arrangements we introduced are proving to be so effective. However, there is no room for complacency: to consolidate good practice we have included provision in the Criminal Justice Bill to formalise the involvement of other agencies in this very important area of public protection. I congratulate the police and probation services for their commitment and achievement in developing the MAPPA.

Each annual report contains the number of MAPPA offenders in that area. The total number has increased. As expected, some offenders remain within the MAPPA longer than a year, some for life or for as long as they present a serious risk of harm to the public. The total number of MAPPA offenders increased 12 per cent to 52,809, of which 21,413 are registered sex offenders.

For the first time annual reports contain information about the number of MAPPA offenders referred to the highest level of MAPPA activity—the multi-agency public protection panels (MAPPPs). Offenders are referred to a MAPPP because they present a particularly high risk or difficulties. In England and Wales 2,843 offenders (5 per cent of the total) were managed through referral to a MAPPP. Early indications are that the recidivism of offenders managed through MAPPPs is significantly reduced.

Public protection is one of this government's highest priorities and the excellent work the police and probation services have done to improve it through the MAPPA deserves to be widely acknowledged.

I have placed in the Library a copy of each area report together with other background information about the operation of the MAPPA.

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Iraq: Costs of Military Campaignlynne

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

    Further to the Written Answers by the Lord McIntosh of Haringey on 3 March (WA 82), (a) what has been the total public expenditure incurred by way of contribution towards the costs of armed intervention in Iraq and the subsequent occupation; and (b) what is their current estimate of the public expenditure that will be incurred to pay the costs of securing, policing and stabilising a new government in Iraq for whatever period such estimate has been made.[HL4180]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Bach): The Ministry of Defence identifies the costs of operations in terms of the net additional costs it has incurred. The costs which the department would have incurred had the operation not been undertaken—expenditure on wages and salaries or on conducting training exercises, for example—are deducted from the total costs of the operation.

Calculating all the costs of military action will take some time since they will include the cost of ammunition, bombs and guided weapons consumed in excess of peacetime levels and equipment destroyed and damaged. Excluding those costs, the latest estimate is that the net additional cost of operations in Iraq for 2002–03 is around £700 million—less than the £1 billion set aside at Spring Supplementary Estimates 2002–03.

Items in the £700 million estimate include costs for the procurement or modification of equipment under the heading of urgent operational requirements, increased maintenance and stock consumption, civil sea and air charter and provision of infrastructure in the theatre of operations. It is most likely that a comprehensive and robust figure for 2002–03 will be available only when the National Audit Office has approved the departmental resource accounts.

It is too early to estimate the costs (including those that might arise from my department's involvement in work towards stabilising a new government in Iraq) likely to arise in 2003–04. Once these are known, additional funding will be sought in the normal way through Supplementary Estimates.

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

    How much of the £3 billion set aside in the Budget on 9 April in a special reserve available to the Ministry of Defence for the conflict in Iraq has now been spent.[HL4318]

Lord Bach: The Ministry of Defence identifies the costs of operations in terms of the net additional costs it has incurred. The costs which the department would have incurred had the operation not been undertaken—expenditure on wages and salaries or on

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conducting training exercises, for example—are deducted from the total costs of operation.

Calculating all the costs of military action will take some time since they will include the cost of ammunition, bombs and guided weapons consumed in excess of peacetime levels and equipment destroyed and damaged. Excluding those costs, the latest estimate is that the net additional cost of operations in Iraq for 2002–03 is around £700 million. This is less than the £1 billion set aside at Spring Supplementary Estimates 2002–03, which is the only funding that has been voted by Parliament so far for operations in Iraq.

Items in the £700 million estimate include costs for the procurement or modification of equipment under the heading of urgent operational requirements, increased maintenance and stock consumption, civil sea and air charter and provision of infrastructure in the theatre of operations. It is most likely that a comprehensive and robust figure for 2002–03 will be available only when the National Audit Office has approved the departmental resource accounts.

It is too early to estimate the costs likely to arise in 2003–04. Once these are known, additional funding will be sought in the normal way through Supplementary Estimates. lynne

Planning Policy Statement: Rural Areas in England

Lord Brooke of Alverthorpe asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they plan to issue a new land use planning policy statement for rural areas in England.[HL4460]

The Minister of State, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (Lord Rooker): The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) is today publishing a draft, for public consultation, of a new planning policy statement (PPS) on Sustainable Development in Rural Areas in England. It is the Government's intention that the new PPS (PPS7) should, in due course, replace existing planning policy guidance note 7 (PPG7), The Countryside—Environmental Quality and Economic and Social Development) published February 1997).

The December 2001 planning Green Paper, Planning—delivering a fundamental change, announced that, as part of their proposals for reforming the planning system, the Government intended to review all their planning policy guidance to see whether it is needed; to seek greater clarity; and to remove from national policy guidance advice on practical implementation and policies which are better expressed at a regional or local level. In line with these proposals, the ODPM, in close consultation with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), carried out a review of PPG7. The conclusion of this review was that there remains a strong requirement for a distinct set of national planning policies that address the particular

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circumstances of rural areas and the wider countryside.

Consequently, a consultation draft of new PPS7 has been prepared, setting out key national planning policies for achieving thriving, sustainable rural communities, supporting development that meets the economic, social and recreational needs of all, and protecting the quality of the countryside and its landscapes. The PPS also recognises the importance of supporting a sustainable and diverse agricultural industry, and of the role of the tourism and leisure sectors in rural areas.When, in due course, they are issued in their final form, these policies will inform planning authorities, regional planning bodies and planning inspectors in carrying out their land use planning and development control responsibilities.

In the mean time, the Government are seeking views on draft PPS7 from a wide range of interested parties. The consultation period will run for 12 weeks, closing on 12 December 2003. Copies of the consultation document are being made available in the Libraries of both Houses.


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