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Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Section 25 of the Police Act 1996 enables chief officers of police to provide special police services upon request and in return for payment at a rate set by the police authority.

I understand from the Commissioner that the majority of the costs to the Metropolitan Police associated with this exhibition arose from policing demonstrations that occurred outside the exhibition. Maintaining public order in such circumstances is a normal part of police business.

Terrorism Act 2000: Section 44

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The data collected on stops and searches made under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 is not automatically cross-referenced with the data held on arrests or on those charged. This information could only be collated and verified at disproportionate cost.

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Many forces run short-term localised operations for a variety of situations that are supported by Section 44 powers. Such operations can include protective security arrangements for events or VIPs, intelligence gathering operations or measures taken in response to intelligence and threat assessments.

To disclose detailed information on the times and locations of such operations could compromise their future effectiveness and provide information that could prove valuable to terrorists.

The threat from terrorist attack in the UK remains real, and it is important that the Government provide the necessary assistance to the law enforcement agencies to meet this threat. Section 44 powers play an important part in this process.

However, it is important to note that each police authorisation of the Section 44 stop-and-search powers is subject to a high level of scrutiny and screening throughout the whole process. This involves the National Joint Unit at the Metropolitan Police and officials at the Home Office before being authorised by the Minister him or her self. This scrutiny revolves around a careful assessment of the threat balanced against the assessment of the risk of any designated or whole force area.

Entry to United Kingdom: False Documents

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many persons have been convicted of entering or attempting to enter the United Kingdom using false or forged documents in the past five years; how many such persons have subsequently been granted refugee status or exceptional leave to remain; and how many cases for financial compensation are pending.[HL5263]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The information requested is not available.

Gibraltar: European Parliamentary Election

Lord Kilclooney asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the electors of Gibraltar will have the right to vote at the next election of the European Parliament in 2004.[HL5228]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs (Lord Filkin): Yes. Part 2 of the European Parliament (Representation) Act, which obtained Royal Assent in May 2003, sets out provisions to enable the people of Gibraltar to vote in the next European parliamentary elections.

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Pension Protection Fund

Lord Taylor of Warwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What protection employees will have against losing pension savings due to employers' insolvency in the period prior to the pension protection fund being launched in 2005.[HL5265]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Baroness Hollis of Heigham): Andrew Smith announced on 11 June that the Government will introduce a pension protection fund which will increase protection for employees who lose their pension savings due to employers' insolvency. The PPF will ensure that scheme members whose companies become insolvent after implementation can still count on receiving a substantial proportion of their pension and therefore have the secure retirement they were expecting.

The Government are also committed to amending the priority order so that when pension schemes are wound up in future, those members who have been in the scheme the longest, but have not yet retired, are more likely to receive the pension they were expecting. Draft regulations were published on 22 October 2003, which opened a six-week consultation period, ending on 3 December 2003.

However, it is the general principle of good legislation that it does not apply until it comes into force. Promising compensation for members whose companies go bust before the introduction of the protection measures would mean taking on unknown—and potentially very large—liabilities. With the prospect of guaranteed compensation, some employers might seek to abandon their pension liabilities, potentially further increasing the cost. This would be a potentially very large burden to place on the general taxpayer or any alternative source of funding.

Member protection is a government priority, and so these new protection measures will be introduced as soon as possible after the relevant legislation is in place.

Tax Credits: Overpayment

Lord Taylor of Warwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How the Inland Revenue intends to claw back money it overpaid under the child tax credit scheme.[HL5202]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Lord McIntosh of Haringey): The Inland Revenue encourages people to report changes in their circumstances or income during the year, so that their awards can be adjusted and the right amount of tax credit paid over the year.

When awards are adjusted, it may mean that tax credit payments are reduced because too much has been paid out already or that no further payments are

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made because the full amount of tax credits believed to be due has been paid out. To make sure that payments are not reduced to a level that would cause hardship, however, the Inland Revenue makes additional payments if that would be the case.

Overpayments identified when awards are finalised at the end of the year will, where possible, be recovered by reducing the following year's tax credit award. If there is no continuing tax credit award, the Inland Revenue may ask for direct payment or the amount owed can be recovered by adjusting a PAYE code.

The Inland Revenue will be publishing a code of practice on what happens when too much tax credit is paid. The code will also cover the circumstances in which the Inland Revenue will not seek to recover a debt, for example, in cases of hardship.

Licensing Act 2003: Regulations

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

    Whether they will include reference to the need to act proportionately in accordance with Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998 when regulating entertainment under the Licensing Act 2003 and giving guidance under Section 182 of that Act; and[HL5232]

    What they consider to be the obligations of local authorities in acting compatibly with the rights of live musicians under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights when regulating entertainment under the Licensing Act 2003.[HL5233]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Government will not regulate entertainment under the provisions of the Licensing Act 2003. Regulation of the use of premises for the provision of regulated entertainment under the Act is a function of the licensing authorities. The guidance which the Secretary of State will issue to licensing authorities under Section 182 of the Licensing Act 2003 and which those authorities must have regard to in discharging their functions under the Act will make clear that conditions attached to all premises licences, including those licences which permit regulated entertainment, must be necessary for the promotion of the licensing objectives and must represent a proportionate reaction to the level of risk which the proposed activities give rise to. The guidance will further make clear that the licensing conditions should be tailored to the characteristics and activities taking place at the premises concerned. It will stress the importance that the conditions are proportionate and that they recognise any significant differences between venues. No specific reference to the convention or the Human Rights Act 1998 is considered necessary.

Local authorities acting as licensing authorities must act compatibly with Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights when discharging their functions under the Licensing Act 2003 by virtue of

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their duties under Section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998. In carrying out their functions under the 2003 Act, the licensing authorities are not concerned with the licensing of individual expression, but are concerned with licensing the premises for the carrying on of the provision of regulated entertainment, such as the performance of live music. Accordingly, their actions in, for instance, attaching conditions to premises licences must be restricted to those which are necessary to promote the licensing objectives and should, therefore, be a proportionate response to the level of risk which the proposed activities give rise to, in this case the provision of regulated entertainment on premises.


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