Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

Late Payment

Baroness Greengross asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): The late payment legislation applies to contracts for the supply of goods and services where both parties are acting in the course of a business.

"Business", as defined by the legislation, includes the activities of central and local government and those of other public authorities. The term may also cover the activities of a voluntary organisation, although this would depend on the precise nature of the contractual relationship involved.

If a voluntary organisation is providing goods or services for the local authority, and earning payment for this, the "business" test may be satisfied. If, conversely, the voluntary organisation is in a position tantamount to that of a consumer, then the test is not likely to be satisfied, meaning the legislation will not apply to the transaction.

Ultimately, whether the legislation applies to the facts of an individual case is a matter for judicial determination. However, the Government strongly encourage all recipients of goods or services, whether public sector or not, to pay their bills on time.

Arms Brokers: Registration

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: The EU Council common position on the control of arms brokering, adopted on 23 June 2003, does not call for the registration of arms brokers. Article 4 suggests that member states "may" establish a register of arms brokers, but that "registration or authorisation to act as a broker would in any case not replace the requirement to obtain the necessary licence to written authorisation for each transaction." The Government are not making registration a pre-condition of obtaining an individual licence. Users of open general licences have to pre-register.

Measuring Equipment (Liquid Fuel and Lubricant) (Amendment) Regulations 2003

Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts asked Her Majesty's Government:

22 Oct 2003 : Column WA182

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: The draft regulations were subject to public consultation in January 2002. Some 70 organisations representing industry, enforcement and consumers were consulted and none suggested that the date was required. The final regulations reflect the wording of the consultation document.

If needed, the date on which an instrument was tested can be determined by requirements imposed by other legislation, for example, S.I. 1968 No 1615, the Weights and Measures (Prescribed Stamp) Regulations 1968, states that the stamp generally used by inspectors is required to have:

    "(ii) in close proximity to the said crown, a date mark consisting of numerals indicating the year and (if so desired) the month in which the equipment is stamped;"

Therefore, when the equipment is stamped, as a minimum the year date will be apparent, and it may be accompanied by the month. This combined with the inspector's identification mark, and the requirement in Section 11(6) of the Act, to keep a record of every test carried out by him, will allow complete traceability in the event of any dispute.

Iraq: Costs of Military Campaign and Reconstruction

Baroness Northover asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How much they plan to spend in Iraq in 2004; how much they have spent in 2003 so far; and whether they will provide a breakdown of expenditures in each of these years, including the proportion spent on military operations and the proportion spent on civil reconstruction.[HL4706]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Lord McIntosh of Haringey): As the Chancellor said in his 2003 Budget statement, "I can confirm that I have set aside £3 billion, in a special reserve available to the Ministry of Defence so that our troops continue to be properly equipped and given the resources that they deserve and have a right to expect." (House of Commons Official Report, 9 April 2003, col. 271).

It is too early to provide total costs of the military campaign in Iraq. However, the Ministry of Defence estimate for the preparatory phase, up to the point when military operations began, is around £700 million.

At the donors' conference on Iraq, in Madrid on 24 October, the UK will make a total financial commitment towards Iraq's reconstruction of £544 million for the three years from April 2003, including the funding that we have provided so far and our share of proposed European Community spending in Iraq.

22 Oct 2003 : Column WA183

£248 million is for humanitarian and reconstruction assistance already committed by DfID and other government departments, £9 million of which is our share of the EC commitment, and £296 million will be for the period up to March 2006, £29 million of which is our share of currently proposed EC spending.

Government Debt: EU Requirements

Lord Northbrook asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Under current government forecasts, at what level of debt would they be breaching the European Community requirements. [HL4715]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Budget 2003 projections, set out in Table 2.7 of the 2003 Economic and Fiscal Strategy Report (HC500), meet the EU treaty reference value for general government gross debt (60 per cent of GDP) throughout the projection period.

Wage Inflation: Health and Education

Lord Northbrook asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the level of wage inflation in the health and education areas of the public sector over each of the last three years compared with growth in total expenditure in those sectors. [HL4717]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Gross rates of pay for schoolteachers and health workers are published in the Office for National Statistics' streamlined analyses of the new earnings survey for 2000 to 2003.

Total managed expenditure by government on education and healthcare are published in HM Treasury's public expenditure statistical analyses 2003 (Table 3.5).

Both publications are available in the Library of the House and are accessible on the ONS and Treasury websites respectively.

State Pension: Arrangements with the Philippines

Baroness Greengross asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many United Kingdom state pensioners in receipt of the United Kingdom state pension live in the Philippines; and how many Filipino state pensioners live in the United Kingdom; and[HL4659]

    How many United Kingdom state pensioners living in the Philippines receive a frozen state pension; how many receive an annually uprated state pension; and whether they can estimate the annual cost of paying their state pensions; and[HL4660]

22 Oct 2003 : Column WA184

    When the social security reciprocal agreement with the Philippines providing for the annual uprating of the state pension was signed; and when it was implemented.[HL4661]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Baroness Hollis of Heigham): As at 4 January 2003, there were 680 people in receipt of UK state pension living in the Philippines. We do not have any information on the number of people in receipt of pensions from the Philippines living in the UK as there is no formal exchange of pension recipient information betweeen the UK and the Philippines.

Since 1 December 1989, all UK pensioners living in the Philippines benefit from the annual uprating of state pensions. We are unable to estimate the cost of paying these state pensions because the department now accounts for its administration and benefit expenditure by strategic objective, as set out in its public service agreements, and by individual requests for resources, as set out in the departmental estimates and accounts.

The social security reciprocal agreement between the UK and the Philippines was signed on 27 February 1985, but the agreement did not come into force until 1 December 1989.

Bovine Tuberculosis

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the cost of research programmes into the causes of bovine tuberculosis and into developing a suitable vaccine in the years 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 and up to July 2003.[HL4733]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Whitty): The following table shows the costs of the government research programme for the financial years 1998–99 to 2003–04.

Financial YearDefra-funded Bovine TB Research(1) £Vaccine-related Research £

(1) This does not include the costs of the randomised badger culling trial, TB99 and the road traffic accident survey work details as follows:

Table 2 RBCT, TB99, RTA & Associated Research Costs

Cost (£,000)

22 Oct 2003 : Column WA185

Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page