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Faith Communities: Grants for Social or Welfare Projects

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The Government recognise the important contribution made to society by faith communities and have recently announced a £3 million funding programme to support them. The Government are also acting on the recommendations of the Working Together report on improving government's engagement and co-operation with faith communities.

The Government do not routinely hold records about the religious affiliation of organisations to which they have given grants for social and welfare projects. To obtain this information would result in a disproportionate cost.

Criminal Proceedings: Use of Intercept Material

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

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Surveillance does not involve the same sorts of sensitive capabilities and techniques as interception. Exposure of capability in the case of interception is potentially much more damaging because targets can more easily avoid interception by changing the way in which they choose to communicate.

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

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Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Legal regimes in a range of overseas countries were considered. The review found that the United Kingdom could not simply transplant the evidential regimes of other countries because our legal system is very different, being both adversarial and subject to ECHR considerations. No other country examined had a statutory basis for intelligence agencies to assist law enforcement agencies as is the case in the United Kingdom. The review underlined the importance and value of the unparalleled co-operation between the United Kingdom's intelligence and law enforcement agencies but noted that this would be at risk, in a way that did not apply to the same extent to overseas jurisdictions, if there was a possibility that sensitive capabilities and techniques might be exposed.

Anti-terrorism: Warrants to Search Premises

Baroness Kennedy of The Shaws asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The information requested is not held centrally. Warrants to search premises as part of criminal or anti-terrorist operations and investigations are applied for by, and issued to, individual police forces.

Iraq: Security Measures for UK Forces

Lord Dykes asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Bach): We continuously review the security measures for our troops in Iraq, in order to be able to minimise the risk to our forces. However, I cannot comment on these measures for reasons of operational security.

Iraq: UK Force Levels

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bach: United Kingdom force levels are constantly under review. Planned levels on 30 June and 31 December 2005 will be determined by the prevailing security conditions and the capacity of the Iraqi Security Forces to take responsibility for the security of Iraq.
 
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Pensions Appeal Tribunal for England and Wales

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bach: There was no intended criticism of the Pensions Appeal Tribunal which is a fully independent part of the decision-making process for the war pensions scheme. Nor were the examples given meant to be seen as cases of abuse of the war pensions scheme. As I made clear to the House, there is no dispute that the claimants were suffering from a medical condition, nor is the department questioning the entitlement which they enjoy under the war pensions scheme. My point was to illustrate the types of cases where the connection between an individual's service and their illness or death might be tenuous but could result in an award under the scheme because of its particular test of proof. I proposed that, for the future, entitlement should not be justifiable in such cases in an up-to-date scheme and that the money available should be more effectively focused on the more severely disabled due to service who are poorly provided for under existing arrangements. I remain of this view which in no way casts doubt on the hard work or the judgment of the President of the Pensions Appeal Tribunal for England and Wales or his tribunal colleagues, who are applying the war pensions scheme.

Baroness Park of Monmouth asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bach: The examples quoted on 2 November 2004 were chosen to show the sort of decisions that could arise under the rules of the war pensions scheme which the Government consider are not appropriate to a modern compensation scheme. There was no criticism of the appeal decisions taken by the pensions appeal tribunals on the basis of these rules and therefore no reason to contact the presidents of the pensions appeal tribunals or their offices.

Welsh Regiments

Lord Crickhowell asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Lord Bach: The process of re-structuring the infantry has been worked through by the Army, consulting with the divisions and regiments concerned. Colonels of individual regiments have been directly involved via the colonels commandants of the divisions of infantry. Proposals were submitted to the Executive Committee of the Army Board (ECAB) on a divisional basis by the relevant colonel commandant.

In making this decision ECAB took advice from the colonel commandant of the Prince of Wales's Division as the representative of the regiments concerned and concluded that in line with that recommendation, the new regiment should be called The Royal Welsh and that its two battalions should be called 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh (The Royal Welch Fusiliers) and 2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh (The Royal Regiment of Wales).

With regards to the approach adopted for the Scottish division, in light of our intent to create genuinely large regiments and maximise the benefits thereof in the post arms plot era, ECAB carefully considered whether there were specific circumstances that were unique to the division. The conclusion reached was that the bold move direct to the largest single cap badge (and single tartan) regiment of five battalions warranted the retention of the antecedent names foremost. It was also felt that given the very different nature and large geographical spread of the existing regiments from Scotland, this would help maintain the best possible recruitment in light of such radical change.

It remains the case, notwithstanding the representations referred to by the noble Lord, that the Scottish division was the only one to propose placing the antecedent names foremost during the consultation and decision making process, which informed ECAB's recommendation to the Secretary of State and his subsequent announcement on 16 December. The remarks by the Chief of the General Staff to the Defence Select Committee of the other place on 12 January merely reflect that.


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