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Back to the Hansard trawling

There was not a lot there yesterday, bar the DPRK 'luxury goods' question, but today looks more promising.

Anyway, the senior house first, for a change:

"Lord Warner - To ask Her Majesty's Government how many offences of (a) murder, (b) rape, (c) other sexual offences, and (d) other violent offences were committed in (1) 1976—77, (2) 1986—87, (3) 1996—97, and (4) 2006—07"

The resulting data for recorded crime is heavily caveated with regard to changed reporting standards and so forth, but stand by to be shocked. Maybe:

And to think that there are some dreadful cynics who do not believe that the crime rate is under control.

Sticking with crime, Lord Roberts of Llandudno doesn't like subways, by the look of things:

Lord Roberts of Llandudno To ask Her Majesty's Government how many criminal offences are recorded as having been committed in underpasses in London in (a) 1995, (b) 2000, (c) 2005, (d) 2006, (e) 2007, and (f) 2008.

Alas the question could not be answered as the data has not been collected.

Lord Lester of Herne Hill is concerned about gender pay gaps at the Treasury:

Lord Lester of Herne Hill To ask Her Majesty's Government whether there is a gender pay gap in HM Treasury; if so, what is the percentage difference; and what are the reasons for the difference.


The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): The Treasury does not have a significant gender pay gap when the salaries of men and women doing a similar role are compared.

And the figures look like this, with XX chromosome types better off than XY types in three civil service categories, with women never averaging less than 97% of average male departmental mean salary, but topping out at 107% in SCS2, whatever that is.

Were the boot on the other foot, one imagines that Myners would have been liberal with the scattering of pious bromides. I decided against a truncated scale, even though that would have made for a more exciting chart.

Another Lord has a good question:

Lord Stoddart of Swindon To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the daily allowance of €298 available to United Kingdom Members of the European Parliament for attending the European Parliament is taxable; and, if so, whether United Kingdom tax rates are levied.
The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): Following the judgment in the 1981 European Court of Justice judgment in the case of Lord Bruce of Donington v Eric Gordon Aspden, the daily subsistence allowance for Members of European Parliament (MEPs) is payable without deduction of tax at source. UK MEPs are not required to declare payment of the allowance on their UK tax returns.

Alright for some...

A rather good aside from Lord Adonis:

Lord Adonis: My Lords, first, I thank the noble Lord for his kind opening remarks. When I was introduced into the House four years ago, somebody was heard to mutter, “My God, it’s child labour”. I hope that I have grown up a little since then, although I note that I am among only 18 per cent of the House not eligible for a free bus pass.

And from the other place, we have a definitive list of what's hot and what's not, aviation wise:

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) required and (b) actual number of pilots for each aircraft type in the RAF is.

There are shortfalls for the C130J Hercules, the VC10, the Tristar, the C17A, HS125, Tornado GR4 (surprising, that), Nimrod MR2 (Maybe because it would be pretty embarassing to say 'Je suis le pilote d'un avion emmerdeux' to Francophone colleagues), Sentinel R1, E3D, Dominie, Tucano, Merlin, Hawk, Puma, Chinook, Squirrel, Sea King, King Air and The Reaper (Grim or otherwise). On the other hand, there is a waiting list for the Typhoon and the Tornado F3, inter alia. Fancy.

Sticking with Defence, John Hutton's taste in papers and periodicals has been revealed:

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what (a) newspapers and (b) periodicals are delivered to the private office of each Minister in his Department; and at what cost in the latest period for which figures are available.

In among the newspapers ordered in March (hence the reference to Hutton, not Ainsworth) lurk The Economist, The Specatator, Private Eye and the New Statesman. But neither Flight International nor Soldier of Fortune, inter alia.

Stupid question of the day:

Norman Baker: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport pursuant to the answer of 20 April 2009, Official Report, column 396W, on transport: Royal Family, if he will specify that (a) scheduled flights and (b) timetabled railway services should be used for journeys by members of the Royal Family funded from his Department's budget.

My Republican proclivities notwithstanding, I do not think that it is reasonable to expect Her Maj and the more recognisable Saxe-Coburg-Gotha Battenbergs to fight through the hoi polloi at Victoria and whichever are the nearest stations to Balmoral and Sandringham.

Which is roughly what the response was:

Paul Clark [holding answer 12 June 2009]: Decisions on air and rail travel arrangements for Members of the Royal Family are taken by the Royal Travel Office and Royal Household on a case-by-case basis as they must be judged on consideration of safety and security requirements, obtaining the best value for money, time-efficiency, the visit requirements, the avoidance of disruption to the public, the environment, and the appropriateness for the visit in question.

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