Although in-year costs for redundancy payments are recorded, such costs do not reflect the number of redundancies actually made in the same year. This is because redundancy costs, especially where the compensation takes the form of the early payment of pension, may be spread over a number of years. Consequently, the costs recorded in any one year may reflect in large part redundancy activity from earlier years.
Asked by Lord Higgins
The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): The most recent survey conducted by the Royal Mint found that its sample contained a £1 coin counterfeit rate of 2.52 per cent, or approximately £37 million.
The Royal Mint does not currently undertake regular surveys for other denominations. It is widely believed (by the Royal Mint, the Serious Organised Crime Agency and industry partners) that there is not a significant counterfeit issue with any other denominations.
The Royal Mint is working with banks, the Post Office, cash handling and sorting businesses, the police and the vending industry to remove counterfeit £1 coins from circulation before they reach the pockets of members of the public. Coin handling businesses, such as banks and the Post Office, handle over three billion £1 coins every year. They use high-speed, automated systems to process customer deposits and prepare coin for reissue. These automated systems are capable of detecting and withdrawing a significant number of counterfeit coins. All counterfeit coins detected from coin processing are sent to the Royal Mint for disposal.
The Royal Mint holds awareness seminars to educate the public and the coin handling industry on how to identify counterfeits, and has issued educational leaflets and posters.
The Royal Mint is also working with other validator and coin sorting manufacturers to help improve the counterfeit detection rate.
Asked by Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many (a) speeding fines, (b) London congestion charge fines, and (c) parking fines were incurred by the Government Car and Despatch Agency in each year since 1997; and what the value was of fines incurred in each category. [HL150]
The Secretary of State for Transport (Lord Adonis): The Government Car and Despatch Agency (GCDA) have paid the following fines:
|Year||Total Parking Fines||Congestion Charge Fines|
The agency has paid no speeding fines.
Parking restrictions within central London may make it impossible sometimes to deliver secure or sensitive documents to buildings or allow people with a high public profile to attend or leave buildings without putting themselves or secure documents at risk. In these cases GCDA will pay the fine and recharge these costs to the customer as appropriate.
Asked by Lord Moonie
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much compensation for death and injury has been paid to British troops and civilians over the past five years by the Government of Iraq for activities carried out in support of civilian authorities there. [HL285]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): We are not aware of any instances of the Government of Iraq paying compensation. The Ministry of Defence administers the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme, which provides benefits for illness, injury or death sustained by troops during the course of their duties on or after 6 April 2005. This scheme has replaced the War Pensions Scheme and Armed Forces Pension Scheme's 75 attributable benefits. Any civilians injured in the course of their employment in Iraq or the next of kin of those who have been killed should discuss the issue of compensation with their employer.
Asked by Baroness Neville-Jones
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether any (a) foreign intelligence agencies, and (b) foreign law enforcement agencies have authorised access to the National Identity Register; and whether they are considering granting such agencies access to it in future. [HL197]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): No foreign intelligence agencies or foreign law enforcement agencies will have direct access to information held on the National Identity Register, and there are no plans to grant such access.
Asked by The Archbishop of York
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead on 12 November (WA 223), what assessment they have made of whether the interim constitution of Nepal protects a citizen's right to “have or adopt a religion or belief of his choice” as outlined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; and, if not, whether they will urge the Government of Nepal to honour that obligation in their new constitution. [HL317]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): The UK strongly supports the right to freedom of religion or belief. We are disappointed that the interim constitution of Nepal does not guarantee a person's right to choose or change their religion. We will, however, urge the Government of Nepal to ensure that the new constitution provides this right. We are providing technical and financial assistance to the Constituent Assembly to assist it in the drafting of the new constitution. This includes raising its awareness of Nepal's obligations under international treaties such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to protect human rights, including the freedom of religion.
Asked by Lord Ahmed
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): Torture is prohibited under UK and international law and perpetrators can be prosecuted in the UK regardless of where the crime was committed. This is in accordance with the UK's obligations under the UN Convention Against Torture and enacted through Section 134 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988. Any decision to bring prosecutions against those accused of torture in Pakistan is a matter for the Crown Prosecution Service and requires the Attorney-General's consent.
Asked by Lord Taylor of Holbeach
To ask Her Majesty's Government why the inspection fees listed in Schedule 2 to the Plant Health (Import Inspection Fees) (England) (Amendment) Regulations (SI 2009/2053) have been raised for countries supplying dianthus and rosa; and why they have been reduced for countries supplying the listed fruit and vegetables. [HL332]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Davies of Oldham): The inspection fees listed in Schedule 2 to the Plant Health (Import Inspection Fees) (England) (Amendment) Regulations (SI 2009/2053) are set according to the level of checks required under the plant health directive (2000/29 EC) to provide assurance that the imported plants or plant produce are free from quarantine plant pests and diseases.
An annual review by the European Commission determines the trades eligible for levels of inspection below 100 per cent, based on records of inspections and interceptions over the previous three years. A working group held in June this year agreed the addition of one new trade, the removal of two trades, and changes to the levels of inspection on 11 trades to take account of new data on compliance. Member states reported an increase in the number of interceptions of quarantine pests and diseases associated with imports of dianthus from Israel and Kenya and roses from India, Uganda and Zambia, resulting in an increase in the level of inspection on those trades and a corresponding increase to the fees. Conversely, there was a reduction in the number of interceptions associated with some other trades (eg citrus fruit from Honduras and Israel) which resulted in a reduction in the level of inspection and fees for those trades.
These inspections are undertaken by the Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera), which supports the risk-based approach to such inspections adopted by the Commission.
Asked by The Duke of Montrose
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many functions of the Post Office in Scotland generate income for the Scottish Government and Scottish local authorities; what that income is; and how the costs of collection are accounted. [HL328]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Lord Young of Norwood Green): Post Office Limited provides both automated and manual transcash bill payment services through its nationwide network of branches and many local authorities use the Post Office to allow their customers to make payments such as council tax, rent payments and other miscellaneous payments. In Scotland, customers of all 32 local authorities can use the Post Office for specific bill payments—the income and costs for these services is commercially confidential information.
Asked by Lord Lester of Herne Hill
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): Data for 2008 was published in July 2009 in Offender Management Caseload Statistics on the MoJ website. (http://www.justice.gov.uk/publications /prisonandprobation.htm).
Data for 1999 was published in July 2000 in Prison Statistics England and Wales. A copy may be found at the following website: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/prischap6.html.
Both publications may also be found in House Libraries.
The religious composition of all prisoners in June 1999 and June 2008 is in the table below. Religion is self-declared.
The ethnic composition of all prisoners in June 1999 and June 2008 are in the tables below. Data on ethnicity of prisoners in 1999 was based on 1991 census categories. Since 2004, the categories in the 2001 census have been used. The figures are therefore not strictly comparable. Ethnicity is self-declared.