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Written Answers

Volume 706: debated on Thursday 22 January 2009

Written Answers

Thursday 22 January 2009

Anti-social Behaviour Act

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the age, sex and ethnic origin of children taken home under Section 30 of the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 in each police authority in the past five years. [HL751]

Armed Forces: Aircraft

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress is being made on the HELIX programme to upgrade aircraft electronic surveillance. [HL515]

The HELIX programme is in the assessment phase, and we are considering options to meet the requirement. This work will inform our decision, which is expected in early 2009.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government when the ASTOR surveillance system will be available for operational deployment. [HL516]

ASTOR was declared to be in service in November 2008, and has undertaken a short operational deployment during which the capability was assessed. It will now build up to full operating capability, expected to be reached in 2011.

Asked by

Airbus Military has announced a series of delays in the development and production of the challenging A400M programme, and has recently indicated that first deliveries to customer nations will be three years after the achievement of first flight of the A400M prototype. Airbus has indicated that first flight will occur no earlier than the second half of 2009, and has also announced a slowdown in its production plans. Early A400M production aircraft will be delivered to some of our partner nations and therefore the first UK delivery would occur at least six months after Airbus delivers the first A400M. This suggests that initial UK deliveries cannot start before 2013.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what measures they will take to ensure that the Royal Air Force will have adequate air refuelling capacity until the A400M enters service. [HL555]

Air-to-air refuelling capacity is provided by the RAF's VC-10 and Tri-Star fleets, which will be replaced by the Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (Airbus 330-200) from 2011 when they begin to enter service. We keep our requirements under review, but we currently have no requirement for A400M to provide air-to-air refuelling.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the expected extra cost of maintaining adequate air-to-air refuelling capacity caused by the late delivery of A400M aircraft. [HL556]

Air-to-air re-fuelling capacity is provided by the RAF's VC-10 and Tri-Star fleet, which will be replaced by the Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (Airbus 330-200) from 2011 when they begin to enter service. There is no requirement for the A400M to provide air-to-air refuelling and therefore no expected extra cost.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government for what reason, other than cost, did they specify that the A400M air tankers should be delivered without flight refuelling capacity. [HL557]

There was no capability requirement for the A400M to have the capacity to provide or receive flight refuelling, and this remains the case. Air-to-air refuelling is provided by VC-10s and Tri-Stars, which will be replaced by the Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft from 2011 when they begin to enter service. We retain the scope to provide a refuelling capability from the A400M in future, should we determine that additional capacity is required. Because of its long range the A400M does not require the capability to be re-fuelled in flight itself.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government when they expect the A400M aircraft to start to come into service with the Royal Air Force; and when they expect the full number of those aircraft to be fully operational. [HL576]

Airbus Military has announced a series of delays in the development and production of the challenging A400M programme, and has recently indicated that first deliveries to customer nations will be three years after the achievement of first flight of the A400M prototype. Airbus has indicated that first flight will occur no earlier than the second half of 2009, and has also announced a slowdown in its production plans. Early A400M production aircraft will be delivered to some of our partner nations and therefore the first UK delivery would occur at least six months after Airbus delivers the first A400M. This suggests initial UK deliveries cannot start until 2013.

The UK has ordered 25 A400M aircraft, with the last delivery expected to occur five years after the first UK delivery. The aircraft are intended to be operational from first delivery, with its full capabilities being incrementally introduced as part of the planned development programme.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government to what extent they retain control over United Kingdom participation in the programme for the A400M aircraft; and to what extent they have assigned such responsibility to the Organisation for Joint Armament Co-operation (OCCAR). [HL577]

Partner nations have agreed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and contract for the A400M programme. The MoU describes the governance mechanisms for the programme and how decision making is facilitated between nations.

The Organisation for Joint Armament Co-operation (OCCAR) was established by France, Germany, Italy and the UK with the primary aim of providing improved management of co-operative defence equipment programmes. OCCAR management processes and procedures have been developed in conjunction with the founder nations, and follow international best practice. The A400M partner nations jointly agreed the high level objectives for the programme and the boundaries within which the OCCAR executive administration (EA) will operate. The working parameters are set out in the mandate which assigns the responsibility for managing the programme to OCCAR. Under this mandate, the director of OCCAR-EA is directly accountable to the A400M programme board, on which the nations are represented by their national armaments directors, for the delivery of this programme.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what life extension programmes are under way for each class of C130 aircraft; and what updates are under consideration. [HL688]

A wing refurbishment programme is currently being undertaken on a number of Hercules C-130K aircraft as part of a fatigue life extension programme.

Following the recent announcement of delays by Airbus Military in the A400M programme, extension to the life of the Hercules C-130K is under consideration, alongside a number of other options, as a contingency to mitigate any potential capability gaps that may arise.

There are no life extension programmes currently under way or planned for the Hercules C-130J.

Benefits

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what welfare benefits are available to failed asylum seekers and their families. [HL584]

Under the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 failed asylum seekers and their families are not permitted to access the mainstream system of welfare benefits.

Support can be given to failed asylum seekers with dependent children under the age of 18 years to avoid destitution by the UK Border Agency under Section 95 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.

If a minor dependant is born, or becomes part of the household, after the appeal rights of the principal applicant are exhausted, support may be provided to the family under Section 4 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, provided the principal applicant meets the qualifying criteria for this form of support.

Children: Overseas Visitors

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what procedures need to be followed by pupils of non-European Union schools and youth organisations to enable them to enter the United Kingdom. [HL580]

Information about the procedure for children and study is available on the UKBA website at www@ukba.gov.uk. In summary however, there is no specific provision under the Immigration Rules for pupils of non-European Union schools or youth organisations to come to the United Kingdom to attend a state-maintained school.

Where the child's primary reason for coming to the UK is for education, the Immigration Rules do not permit access to state education. Children under 18 who wish to come to the UK to undertake a period of study for more than six months must fully satisfy, and enter under, the main student rules. Children under 16 may only qualify on this basis if they have been accepted for studies at an independent fee-paying school which meets the requirements of the Education Act 1944.

There is, however, currently a concession outside the Immigration Rules which permits non-EEA students aged under 18 to attend a state-maintained school for up to a year as part of an organised exchange. Provided appropriate arrangements have been made, and all the criteria met, leave may be granted outside the Immigration Rules for the duration of the exchange, up to a maximum of 12 months.

It should be noted that the existing student provisions will be deleted at the end of March when we introduce the student tier, tier 4, of the points-based system for migrants. The policy for tier 4 is still under consideration and full details of the tier 4 arrangements will be published as soon as they have been finalised.

Criminal Records Bureau

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how an enhanced Criminal Records Bureau check differs from an ordinary check. [HL656]

The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) offers two different types of checks, standard and enhanced. Standard checks are primarily for posts that involve working with children or vulnerable adults. They may also be issued for people entering certain professions, such as members of the legal and accountancy professions. Standard checks contain the following:

convictions, cautions, reprimands and warnings held in England and Wales on the Police National Computer (PNC) most of the relevant convictions in Scotland and Northern Ireland may also be included.

If the position applied for does involve working with children or vulnerable adults, the standard check may, depending on the specific nature of the duties to be undertaken, also contain:

information from the Protection of Children Act list (PoCA);

information from the Protection of Vulnerable Adults list (PoVA); and

information held by the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) under Section 142 of the Education Act 2002 of those considered unsuitable for, or banned from, working with children.

Enhanced checks are for posts involving a far greater degree of contact with children or vulnerable adults. In general, the type of work will involve regularly caring for, supervising, training or being in sole charge of such people. Examples include a teacher, scout or guide leader. Enhanced checks are also issued for certain statutory purposes such as gaming and lottery licences.

Enhanced checks contain the same information as standard checks but with the addition of any locally held police force information considered relevant to the job role, by chief police officer(s).

Disabled People: Employment

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government why there has been no increase in the proportion of disabled working-age adults in employment; and what action they propose regarding that situation. [HL363]

The employment rate for disabled people has been on an upward trend over the past 10 years, increasing by nine percentage points to the current level of 48 per cent.

We believe it is better to fund support to help people work than to fund a life on benefits. From 27 October 2008 we replaced incapacity benefits for new customers with the employment and support allowance, which focuses on what people can do, as well as what they cannot. To underpin this new more work-focused system, since April 2008, Pathways to Work has been available to everyone on incapacity benefits in Great Britain. Around £1 billion is being invested in Pathways to Work between 2008 and 2011 to provide the support disabled people need to return to work. In addition, we have announced our intention to double the Access to Work budget.

Since coming to power the Government have also significantly extended and improved the protection provided by the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, including in the areas of employment and occupation.

Fishing: Accidents

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of how many fishermen fatalities could have been avoided between 1992 and 2006 if all fishing vessels were required to carry emergency positioning beacons. [HL721]

The emergency positioning indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) plays a vital role in alerting the search and rescue authorities in cases where it is not possible to send an effective mayday alert, enabling a prompt and targeted search response. However, survival also depends on many other factors such as availability and use of lifejackets and liferafts, injuries sustained by crew, susceptibility to cold shock, weather conditions, and distance offshore, among others. For these reasons it is not possible to assess how many fishermen's fatalities could have been avoided if all fishing vessels were required to carry emergency positioning beacons.

Fishing: Vessels

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the principal differences between the requirements of the small fishing vessel code and the workboat code; and what is the reason for each such difference. [HL719]

Each code is a balanced set of requirements aimed at the risks faced by the vessels. Differences in requirements also occur as fishing codes use length as a measure of risk whereas the workboat code uses distance from a safe haven as the measure.

The principal differences between codes cover stability, liferafts and construction.

Workboats need a stability assessment, the form of which varies depending on the vessel's area of operation and carriage of passengers.

New fishing vessels of 12-15 metres must be constructed in accordance with the stability requirements contained in Merchant Shipping Notice 1770—the code of practice for the construction and use of 15 metres length overall to less than 24 metres registered length fishing vessels. Other small fishing vessels are not required to have a stability assessment.

Workboats and fishing vessels of 12-15 metres are required to carry liferafts for the number of persons on board. Other small fishing vessels are recommended to carry liferafts.

It should be noted that the workboat code applies only to workboats operating at sea. Workboats of under 12.2 metres in length on inshore waters (categorised waters) are not required to carry liferafts. Many fishing vessels of under 12 metres fish in such inshore or inland waters.

In many respects the construction requirements placed on small fishing vessels, particularly in the area of construction to the seafish construction rules, are higher than those placed on workboats.

Gulf War: NAPS Tablets

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Bach on 9 October 2003 (WA 67–78), whether the Committee on the Safety of Medicines (CSM) was consulted or at any time involved in the decision not to include any restriction on co-administration in the instructions for the use of the nerve agent pre-treatment sets (NAPS) tablets, each containing pyridostigmine bromide, used for troops deployed to the 1990–91 Gulf conflict; and whether they will now ask the CSM's successor, the Commission on Human Medicine, to review that decision further to the findings of the congressionallymandated United States Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War veterans' illnesses published on 17 November 2008. [HL530]

Details about the medical countermeasures used to protect British forces against nerve agents during the 1990-91 Gulf conflict were set out in the MoD document Background to the Use of Medical Countermeasures to Protect British Forces during the Gulf War (Operation GRANBY) published in October 1997, which is available in the Library of the House. The document sets out the background to the chemical and biological threats at the time and what the UK Government did to protect British forces. In relation to the use of nerve agent pre-treatment sets (NAPS) tablets and the Committee on Safety of Medicines, it is necessary to research our records on the issue further prior to providing my noble friend with a substantive reply. I will write to my noble friend when I am in a position to do so and place a copy of my letter in the Library of the House.

Immigration: Children

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the greatest number of days that any child has been detained in an immigration removal centre in each of the past five years. [HL233]

The attached table shows the greatest number of days that any child has been detained in an immigration removal centre as shown in local management information. All children were detained as part of a family unit.

Year(1 April—30 March)

Number of days detained

2004

163

2005

137

2006

190

2007

140

2008 (year to date)

95

Please note that full data are not available for 2004.

Length of detention may include time spent by a mother and her child in one of the Prison Service's mother and baby units following completion of a prison sentence and pending transfer into the UK Border Agency's estate.

The detention of families with children is kept to the minimum period and is subject to frequent and rigorous reviews, including ministerial authority for families detained for over 28 days. The majority of families are detained for far shorter periods than the exceptional cases shown above, with many removed or released within seven days.

The figures provided do not constitute part of national statistics as they are based on management information. This information has not been quality assured under national statistics protocols and should therefore be treated as provisional.

Interception of Communications

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many requests for warrants authorising the interception of communications were (a) approved, or (b) refused by the Home Secretary or the Lord Chancellor in 2008. [HL661]

The only figures that are made public are those published in the Interception of Communications Commissioner's annual report. Figures for 2008 are not yet available, but will be published when the commissioner's 2008 report is laid before Parliament.

Iraq: Women

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what are their plans for extending support for the role of women in civil society in Iraq. [HL469]

The UK supports a wide range of organisations and projects to develop the role of women in civil society in Iraq, including supporting the Iraqi Ministry of Human Rights and Women. As part of this, the Department for International Development's (DfID) focus remains on the most vulnerable women through humanitarian contributions to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), International Organisation for Migration (IoM), UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).

The Iraqi constitution includes provisions protecting the rights of women. The UK Government will continue to work with the Iraqi authorities to ensure these rights are protected. Officials at our embassy in Baghdad, the FCO and the right honourable Ann Clwyd MP, the PM's special envoy for human rights in Iraq, regularly raise women's rights with the Iraqi Government at all levels.

Gaza

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what response was given to the Middle East quartet's envoy, Tony Blair, when he discussed access to Gaza for humanitarian supplies with the Israeli Minister for Defence on 17 December 2008. [HL524]

The UK Government were not privy to the discussion the quartet representative, Tony Blair, had with Israeli Defence Minister Barak on 17 December. However, Mr Blair's office has informed us that he was given assurances that humanitarian supplies would be allowed into the Gaza Strip.

In light of the devastating situation in Gaza, the quartet representative Tony Blair continues to raise the urgent needs of Gaza's civilian population at all levels within the Government of Israel.

Local Government: Standards Committee

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what procedures are in place for the collection and publication of statistics relating to complaints to and decisions by local authority standards committees. [HL606]

The Standards Board for England collects information about local authority standards committees in England from monitoring officers on a quarterly basis. This information includes details on the number of complaints to and decisions made by standards committees. It is collected via an online questionnaire, and the Standards Board publishes a summary of the information received on its website.

Media: Newspapers

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are empowered to intervene in any purchase of a national daily newspaper by a sovereign wealth fund. [HL174]

The Enterprise Act 2002 provides the Secretary of State with a power to intervene in any merger, irrespective of the identity of the acquirer, if he considers that a public interest consideration specified under Section 58 of that Act is relevant. Among the public interest considerations currently specified are considerations relating to the need for accurate presentation of news and free expression of opinion in newspapers and to the need for a sufficient plurality of views in newspapers.

Disabled People: Motability

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will relax the system for down payments for vehicles under the Motability scheme in the present economic situation. [HL520]

Motability is an independent charitable company and is responsible for the administration of the Motability scheme. The pricing policy is therefore determined by Motability and not the Government. Motability has advised that the scheme currently offers over 200 models of car that do not require a down payment.

Olympic Games 2012: Safety and Security

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government which public bodies have a role in providing security for the 2012 Olympics in London. [HL547]

The principal role in providing security for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in London rests with the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), though other police services such as the City of London Police and the British Transport Police (BTP) will also have an important role to play.

Other police forces will have a role in security for Olympic venues outside London. In addition, organisations such as the Security Service, the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) and the UK Border Agency (UKBA) have a role in security as part of their wider duties. The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) is responsible for construction of venues and infrastructure, which will include security elements.

A wider section of other public bodies are involved in security preparations for the Games at a local and national level. Private organisations such as the London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) and private security firms also have an important role to play in overall security arrangements.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government which departments, agencies, public bodies and other organisations participate in or contribute to the Olympic safety and security programme. [HL614]

A wide range of organisations contribute to the safety and security programme for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The following list, which is not exhaustive, sets out the principal stakeholders for this programme:

Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO);

Association of Police Authorities (APA);

British Red Cross;

British Telecom;

British Transport Police (BTP);

British Transport Police Authority;

Cabinet Office;

Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI);

City of London Police;

City of London Police Committee;

Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG);

Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS—including the Government Olympic Executive—GOE);

Department for Health (DoH) the wider National Health Service (NHS) and the Health Protection Agency;

Department for Transport (DfT), including the Transport Security and Contingencies Team (Transec)

Equalities and Human Rights Commission;

Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO);

Greater London Authority (GLA) and London councils;

Government Office for London (GO—London);

Government Office for Science (GOS);

Health & Safety Executive (HSE);

HM Courts Service;

Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC);

The Home Office, including the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB), Home Office Scientific Development Branch (HOSDB), Identity and Passport Service (IPS);

National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA), Security Industry Authority (SIA);

Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) and United Kingdom Border Agency (UKBA),

International Olympic Committee (IOC);

London Ambulance Service and ambulance services at other venues;

London Boroughs;

London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) and UK and international sports organisations;

London Criminal Justice Board;

London Fire Brigade and fire and rescue services at other venues;

Maritime & Coastguard Agency;

Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) and Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA);

Ministry of Defence (MoD);

Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and related criminal justice agencies;

National Grid;

Office of the Chief Scientific Officer;

Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA);

Other Home Office police forces, including those responsible for policing at specific venues, such as Dorset, Essex, Greater Manchester, Hertfordshire, Northumbria, South Wales, Thames Valley Police and West Midlands, or related facilities (Kent, Surrey and Sussex);

Port of London Authority (POLA);

Private companies and trade associations, including the British Security Industry Association (BSIA);

Security Service;

Strathclyde Police;

Transport for London (TfL);

Transport operators (railways, ports and airports); and

HM Treasury, including the Office of Government Commerce (OGC).

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government which department and Minister have overall responsibility for the Olympic safety and security programme. [HL615]

The Secretary of State for the Home Department and the Home Office have overall responsibility for the Olympic safety and security programme.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government when the design phase of the Olympic Safety and Security Programme will be completed. [HL682]

The main design component of the Olympic safety and security programme will be completed once a final Olympic safety and security strategy and supporting documentation has been presented to the Cabinet Sub-committee on National Security, International Relations and Development (Protective Security & Resilience) in February 2009.

The long-term nature and complexity of the Olympic safety and security programme is such that there will continue to be elements of security design throughout its lifetime, which is normal and expected for this type of programme.

Overseas Aid: Southern Africa

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what total allocation for 2008 or financial year 2007–08 they made to each of the Southern African Development Community countries for development aid; and how much of that relates to humanitarian and poverty relief programmes. [HL564]

Details on DfID bilateral expenditure to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries in 2007-08 are available in the DfID publication Statistics on International Development 2008. This publication is available in the Library or online at www.dfid.gov.uk. Relevant figures are reproduced in the table below.

DfID Bilateral Expenditure in SADC Countries, 2007-08, £ thousands

Of which:

Country

Total DfID Bilateral Expenditure

Humanitarian Assistance

Other Poverty Reduction Activities

Angola

4,322

956

3,366

Botswana

28

-

28

Congo, Dem Rep

82,711

46,156

36,555

Lesotho

3,908

-

3,908

Madagascar

1,477

851

626

Malawi

69,616

1,946

67,670

Mauritius

16

-

16

Mozambique

67,580

183

67,397

Namibia

418

50

368

Seychelles

7

-

7

South Africa

27,300

74

27,226

Swaziland

2,170

2,152

17

Tanzania

122,824

460

122,364

Zambia

41,660

1,462

40,198

Zimbabwe

43,266

17,987

25,279

DfID also provides core contributions to a range of multilateral organisations which work in the southern Africa region. Data are not yet available on DfID's imputed share of multilateral official development assistance (ODA) in 2007-08 but the table below contains relevant information for 2006-07.

Imputed DfID Share of Multilateral ODA to SADC Countries, 2006/07, £ thousands

Country

Imputed DfID Share of Multilateral ODA

Angola

4,484

Botswana

843

Congo, Dem Rep

27,840

Lesotho

5,848

Madagascar

23,341

Malawi

31,155

Mauritius

2,910

Mozambique

25,716

Namibia

460

Seychelles

486

South Africa

11,138

Swaziland

2,748

Tanzania

56,475

Zambia

23,353

Zimbabwe

6,145

Pakistan: Blasphemy Laws

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to encourage the authorities in Pakistan to provide protection for lawyers and others facing death threats or intimidation for defending individuals accused of breaching the blasphemy laws. [HL156]

We are concerned about the reports of threats or intimidation faced by lawyers who defend those charged under blasphemy legislation. We fund a range of programme and project work that aims to enhance civil society's capacity to act as advocates and promote human rights in Pakistan. Through the EU, we are working on a number of initiatives to ensure protection for human rights defenders, including lawyers. We are also committed to supporting the Government of Pakistan in building a prosperous and stable society and in applying the rule of law for the benefit of all.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to encourage the authorities in Pakistan to provide protection for prisoners accused under the blasphemy laws who are at risk of attack in prison. [HL175]

We have not directly raised the protection of prisoners accused under blasphemy legislation with the Government of Pakistan. However, our close working relationship with Pakistan includes co-operation on judicial issues and sharing expertise on good practice. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Ministry of Justice are in the process of hosting a visit to the UK by senior Pakistani government officials. While the primary focus of the visit will be on prisoner transfer matters, the visit will also share UK training practice with prison authorities in Pakistan. Such exchanges are an opportunity to improve prison standards for all prisoners in Pakistan in accordance with international human rights standards.

Officials in London and Islamabad regularly meet with representatives of civil society and human rights organisations to monitor the treatment of minorities and inform our policy more widely. For example, our high commission in Islamabad recently met the Bishop of Lahore's chaplain for prisoners.

We will continue to encourage Pakistan to fulfil commitments under the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). We have welcomed Pakistan's decision to ratify the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and to sign the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as the Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. We look forward to early implementation of these instruments, which we believe should safeguard the rights of minorities in Pakistan.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the Government of Pakistan about ensuring that the laws concerning evidence in blasphemy cases are comparable with international standards. [HL243]

To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the Government of Pakistan regarding ensuring fair trials in blasphemy cases. [HL244]

With our EU partners, we regularly raise our concerns over the situation of religious minorities in Pakistan including the application of the blasphemy laws and the need to reform or repeal discriminatory legislation. Officials in London and Islamabad regularly meet representatives of civil society and human rights organisations to monitor the treatment of minorities and inform our policy more widely. The UN Human Rights Council undertook a universal periodic review of Pakistan's human rights record in May. The UK participated in this dialogue and obtained a commitment from the Pakistani delegation that checks would be introduced to regulate investigations into allegations of blasphemy and apostasy.

Our high commission in Islamabad is also supporting programme and project work to enhance civil society's capacity to act as advocates for human rights, improve access to justice and promote human rights in Pakistan.

Police: National Black Police Association

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord West of Spithead on 25 November (WA 332), what representations they are making to the Black Police Association to ensure that the Association's stance on recruitment to the Metropolitan Police furthers the aims and objectives of the police service. [HL418]

My honourable friend the Minister of State for Policing, Crime and Security, Vernon Coaker, has met with the National Black Police Association (NBPA), as part of his assessment of minority-ethnic recruitment, retention and progression in the police service. The assessment together with an ambitious action plan was published on 20 November 2008. Although no representation has been made on this particular issue, we will continue to work with the NBPA to take forward the action plan and through this to promote equality and diversity in the police.

Police: Flanagan Review

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many of the recommendations made by Sir Ronnie Flanagan's review of policing have been implemented; and which ones they were. [HL644]

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many of the recommendations made by Sir Ronnie Flanagan's review of policing have not been implemented; and which ones they were. [HL645]

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many of the recommendations made by Sir Ronnie Flanagan's review of policing require primary legislation to be implemented. [HL646]

All the recommendations from Sir Ronnie Flanagan's independent review of policing in England and Wales have been addressed and there has been significant progress in implementing the recommendations made in both his interim and final reports. Of the 59 recommendations made by Sir Ronnie Flanagan (covering both his reports), 19 have already been implemented and we are making progress against the remaining recommendations. Annexe A includes a full list of those recommendations implemented and a list of those remaining.

None of Sir Ronnie Flanagan's recommendations required any changes to primary legislation.

Annexe A

The 19 recommendations which have already been implemented:

Interim 1

Interim 2

Interim 3

Interim 5

Interim 7

Interim 8

Interim 9

Interim 10

Interim 11

Interim 12

Interim 13

Interim 14

Interim 16

Interim 18

Interim 23

Interim 26

Final 6

Final 30

Final 32

Recommendations still being implemented:

Interim 4

Interim 6

Interim 15

Interim 17

Interim 19

Interim 20

Interim 21

Interim 22

Interim 24

Interim 25

Final 1

Final 2

Final 3

Final 4

Final 5

Final 7

Final 8

Final 9

Final 10

Final 11

Final 12

Final 13

Final 14

Final 15

Final 16

Final 17

Final 18

Final 19

Final 20

Final 21

Final 22

Final 23

Final 24

Final 25

Final 26

Final 27

Final 28

Final 29

Final 31

Final 33

Scrap Metal

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many prosecutions there have been in the last two years for contravention of the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 1964; and what penalties were awarded. [HL663]

Data showing the number of defendants proceeded against, found guilty, sentenced and the penalties imposed under the 1964 Scrap Metal Dealers Act in England and Wales for 2006 and 2007 (latest published) are in the attached table. Data for Northern Ireland are held by the Northern Ireland Office and data for Scotland are held by the Scottish Executive.

The statistics relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offence for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences the principal offence is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe.

Number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates' courts, found guilty at all courts and the penalties imposed for offences under the 1964 Scrap Metal Dealers Act, England and Wales, 2006 to 2007(1)(2)

Sentences imposed

Year

Proceeded against

Found guilty

Sentenced

Given a conditional discharge

Fined

2006

5

1

1

1

-

2007

5

5

5

1

4

(1) The statistics relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences the principal offence is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe.

(2) Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.

Source: Evidence and Analysis Unit—Office for Criminal Justice Reform

Ref: IOS 037-09

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government which police forces have metal theft as a priority in their policing plans for the current year and for 2009–10. [HL665]

Each policing plan is developed by its force and its authority; there are no central records of each authority's local policing priorities.

Shipping: Licences

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the passenger-carrying boat, the Irish-registered MV True Light, has been awarded a licence by the maritime authorities in the United Kingdom; if not, whether it was refused; if so, when; and for what reason. [HL600]

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has never awarded an operating certificate to the Irish-registered MV “True Light”.

When the MV “True Light” applied for a certificate in May 2008 the inspection and certification process by the MCA was stopped when it became clear that the Irish authorities were not prepared to issue an Irish operating certificate for the ship.

The Irish-registered ship requires dual certification to operate in UK territorial waters.

Surveillance

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord West of Spithead on 15 October 2008 (WA 56), whether the review of those public authorities that had access to covert investigatory powers has been completed; if so, whether they will publish the full results; and what action has been or will be taken upon them. [HL631]

My right honourable friend the Home Secretary announced on 16 December that the Government would consult on a number of changes proposed to the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA), including which public authorities can use RIPA powers.

The consultation is planned for early this year and the outcome of the consultation will be made public.

Telecommunications: Security

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord West of Spithead on 8 December 2008 (Official Report, House of Lords, col. 145), what the difference is between “intrusive or directed purposes” in electronic surveillance. [HL758]

The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 sets out the relevant legal definitions. Essentially, directed surveillance is covert surveillance of individuals while in a public place for the purposes of a specific investigation or operation in a way that is likely to obtain private information about a person. Intrusive surveillance is covert surveillance which takes place in a private residence or vehicle where individuals would have a higher expectation of privacy.

Terrorism

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government who is in overall charge of anti-terrorist activities by the intelligence services, police and other public bodies in relation to the protection of the public between 2009 and the 2012 Olympics in London. [HL546]

My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department is responsible for policing and counterterrorism at a national level, including the safety and security of London and of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Worker Registration Scheme

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the charge to individuals from other European Union countries for registration under the Worker Registration Scheme. [HL583]

The charge to individuals from other European Union countries for registration under the Worker Registration Scheme is £90. This charge applies only to the individual's first application; subsequent applications are free from charge.

Working Time Directive

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what effect ending the United Kingdom's opt-out from the Working Time Directive would have on the working hours of people employed in essential services, including doctors, nurses and ambulance staff. [HL445]

In relation specifically to doctors, nurses and ambulance staff, we anticipate that the impact of ending the opt-out would be low as it is not widely used in these fields. However, the opt-out is used widely across the economy with over 3 million employees in the UK choosing to work longer hours. Its loss to the economy as a whole would therefore be a major blow and so the Government remain committed to fight for the continuation of this important flexibility.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to implement the decision of the European Parliament to end the United Kingdom's opt-out from the Working Time Directive. [HL446]

The UK is one of 14 member states that enables workers to opt out of the maximum 48-hour working week, should they wish to do so. This flexibility is used widely across the economy.

The Government remain determined to fight for the retention of this important flexibility, which benefits employers and employees alike. The European Parliament's vote is to be regretted, but it is very far from the end of the matter. A large majority of member states share the UK's view that there can be no question of accepting the amendments proposed by the European Parliament, and we will continue to defend the opt-out in the process of conciliation between the Council and Parliament that will now follow.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to members of the European Parliament about the proposal to end the United Kingdom's opt-out from the Working Time Directive; and what representations they have made about the possible effect on farmers and those who are content to work longer hours. [HL763]

The UK is one of 14 member states that enable workers to opt out of the maximum 48-hour working week, should they wish to do so. This flexibility is used by over 3 million employees in the UK across many sectors (including agriculture) who choose to work longer hours. Loss of this opt-out would therefore cost the UK billions of pounds both in costs to industry and in lost earnings.

The Government made numerous representations to Members of the European Parliament as well as to other member states in the run-up to the European Parliament's Second Reading vote in December.

The Government remain committed to fight for the continuation of this important flexibility and will be calling on the European Council to reject the damaging amendments on the working time common position adopted by the European Parliament.