Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

House of Lords: Mileage Allowance

Lord Trefgarne asked the Chairman of Committees:

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): The maximum allowance for members of the House for journeys by car or motorcycle was set by resolution of the House on 10 November 2004. Under that resolution, the allowance is payable at the rate which is applicable to the vehicle under subsection (2) of Section 230 of the Income Tax (Earnings and Pensions) Act 2003. The allowance is accordingly directly linked to a statutory scheme administered by HM Revenue and Customs and I am not, therefore, in a position to undertake a review of the current rate.

Iraq: Turkish Bombing

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): The Government do not intend to request a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) meeting to discuss any of the alleged air attacks by Turkey on the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) presence in Northern Iraq and has no information whether any aircraft or weapons

22 May 2008 : Column WA219

committed to NATO were used. Reports of the impact of the bombings vary widely and we have no reliable information on casualties, damage to properties or unexploded ordnance. We are aware that the US and Turkey are co-operating closely on operations issues concerning the activities of PKK terrorists in Northern Iraq. We have no firm information of any similar co-operation between Turkey and Iran, although we have seen media reporting suggesting co-operation.

Israel and Palestine

Lord Dykes asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): The ongoing talks between Palestinian President Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Olmert offer the best hope of progress for several years. These have been reinforced by some positive developments on the ground, including the removal of some Israeli roadblocks and improved security performance by the Palestinian Authority. However, as the quartet recognised at their 2 May meeting in London, there remains much to do. We welcome the quartet's continued support for the process.

Israel and Palestine: Gaza

Baroness Tonge asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): The UK has supported efforts by the EU and the UN to raise the issue of damage to internationally funded infrastructure in the West Bank and Gaza with the Israeli Government and, where appropriate, to seek compensation.

Israel: EU Membership

Baroness Northover asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): The Government have held no discussions with the Israeli Government about membership of the EU.

To our knowledge, Israel has expressed no immediate interest in joining the EU. But the EU

22 May 2008 : Column WA220

and Israel are looking to develop their relationship under existing instruments, namely the association agreement and the European neighbourhood policy.

Lebanon: Taif Conference

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): The UK remains deeply concerned by the recent violence in Lebanon. We fully support the recent efforts by the Arab League to bring all sides together for talks in Doha. We believe these talks are currently the best way for parties to work towards a long-term solution for Lebanon.

Licensing: Live Music

Lord Colwyn asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: The Government are currently considering options for possible de minimis exemptions under the Act, including certain live music events and the content of the future public consultation. We will take the noble Lord's suggestion into account in developing proposals for consultation in accordance with better regulation principles.

Local Government: Leisure Facilities

Lord Clement-Jones asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: The DCMS has not issued guidance to local authorities which opt to use a leisure trust model for the management of local leisure facilities. However, every local authority is under a statutory duty to establish an adequate and effective system of financial management and arrangements for the management of risk. The authority's chief finance officer also has duties to report to the council on proposed decisions or actions that would be unlawful or likely to cause a loss.



22 May 2008 : Column WA221

Lord Clement-Jones asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: The Government welcomed this important report, which highlighted the need for better, more strategic decision-making by local authorities on the procurement and management of leisure facilities. We want to help local authorities to revitalise their leisure facilities and to ensure that the right sports facilities are in the right places. Sport England has already developed a range of strategic planning tools to assist them. These include, among others: the active places database, which provides a comprehensive picture of sports facilities across the country; the national benchmarking service; a facilities planning model; and a sports facilities demand estimator. In addition, Sport England's facilities improvement service is working closely with local authorities to improve the quality of their sports facilities and service delivery.

On the specific recommendations:

where possible funding streams are being aligned and Sport England were successful in a bid for improvement partnership funding; andthe DCMS was not allocated PFI credits in CSR07 and will not therefore be supporting any leisure PFI projects but continues to work with councils which are currently procuring leisure facilities through PFI and with 4ps and regional centres of excellence on procurement guidance.

Pakistan: Religious Minorities

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) raised the rights of persons belonging to minority groups in Pakistan. Through the UPR, we welcomed Pakistan's recent decision to ratify the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and to sign the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention against Torture. We also asked how Pakistan plans to ensure the full implementation of these covenants to safeguard the rights of all citizens of Pakistan including non-Muslim minorities, by repealing laws that discriminate against them. In addition, we asked Pakistan's delegation to the UN Human Rights Council what practical and legislative plans the Government of Pakistan have to safeguard religious, social and cultural rights for minorities.



22 May 2008 : Column WA222

Prisons: Chaplains

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): Chaplains submit counterterrorist check clearance forms to the Prison Service, together with supporting documentation which is used to undertake a range of checks on identity, entitlement to work, references and criminal record. A baseline verification is then forwarded with the security questionnaire to MoJ's Corporate Security Branch for processing of the counterterrorist check. Details of those involved in these processes are not currently recorded on a central computer system, though documents and access to records is strictly controlled, and MoJ is reviewing arrangements for recording user access as part of our information assurance programme.

Questions for Written Answer: Guidance to Civil Servants

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: Cabinet Office guidance for civil servants on drafting Answers to Parliamentary Questions was published in February 2005. A copy of the guidance is in the Library of the House. It can also be found on the Cabinet Office website at www.cabinet office.gov.uk/propriety_and_ethics/civil_service/pq_guidance.aspx.

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): Cabinet Office guidance for civil servants on drafting Answers to Parliamentary Questions was published in February 2005. A copy of the guidance has been placed in the Library and it can also be found on the Cabinet Office website at www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/propriety_and_ethics/civil_service/pq_guidance.aspx.



22 May 2008 : Column WA223

The department also provides general guidance to staff on handling Parliamentary Questions and this is updated regularly.

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): Cabinet Office guidance for civil servants on drafting Answers to Parliamentary Questions was published in February 2005. A copy of the guidance is in the Library of the House. It can also be found on the Cabinet Office website at www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/propriety_and_ ethics/civil_service/pq_guid ance.aspx.

The Ministry of Justice's internal guidance for answering Questions for Written Answer was updated and issued on the departments intranet on 14 November 2007. I will send the noble Baroness a copy.

Questions for Written Answer: Late Answers

Lord Tebbit asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): The Government's reply to Question HL2904 was delayed due to an administrative error. I would like to apologise for the inconvenience caused by this delay.

Regulatory Bodies

Lord Soley asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (Baroness Vadera): Practice within regulatory bodies, in relation to complaints, varies. Whether it would be appropriate for a regulator to consider a complaint about a particular matter where that matter is the subject of separate ongoing legal proceedings will depend on the circumstances of each case.



22 May 2008 : Column WA224

UK Trade and Investment: Defence and Security Organisation

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office & Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (Lord Jones of Birmingham): The recruitment process is ongoing and we expect to be in a position to announce the appointment of the new head of UKTI DSO before the Summer Recess. The post was publicly advertised in accordance with the guidance set out by the Office of the Civil Service Commissioner.

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Jones of Birmingham: The job specification for the head of the UK Trade and Investment Defence and Security Organisation, was part of a 12-page information pack for applicants, a copy of which has been placed in the House Library for reference.


Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page