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10 Sep 2007 : Column 2008W—continued

Pakistan: Blasphemy

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what further representations has he made in the case of Younis Masih who was sentenced to death in Pakistan for blasphemy. [154824]

Meg Munn: Together with our EU partners, we most recently raised our concerns over the number of blasphemy cases and convictions—including the case of Younis Masih—with the Government of Pakistan in late June 2007. We also expressed our hope that the Government of Pakistan would take appropriate measures to protect effectively the rights of all minorities. The UK's opposition to the death penalty in all circumstances is well known.

Palestinians: Entry Clearances

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs for what reason members of the Palestinian under-19 football team were refused visas to travel to the UK. [155058]

Meg Munn: The members of the Palestinian under-19 football team were refused entry clearance to the UK for the reasons stated on their refusal notices. Under the terms of the Data Protection Act 1998 UKvisas is unable to disclose details of individual applications.

In reaching these decisions the entry clearance officers (ECOs) at our consulate-general in Jerusalem considered the applicants' circumstances and reasons for visiting the UK. An entry clearance manager reviewed the ECOs' decisions and was satisfied that they were in accordance with the immigration rules.

Sudan: Embassies

Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking to acquire a suitable property for British embassy staff to live and work from in Juba. [154904]

Meg Munn: We want to upgrade the living and office accommodation of the British representation in Juba as soon as possible. Despite the difficulties of finding a suitable property in Juba, our embassy in Khartoum is actively pursuing options to secure improved accommodation.

Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs following the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, if he will (a) create a consulate general and (b) increase the numbers of British embassy staff in Juba, southern Sudan. [155041]

Meg Munn: We have no plans to establish a consulate in Juba, but we are currently reassessing our representational needs in southern Sudan and will keep the level of staffing and the status of our representation there under review.


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Yuan Weijing

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make representations to the Chinese government over the detention of the Chinese justice campaigner, Yuan Weijing. [154906]

Meg Munn: My noble Friend the Minister with responsibility for Africa, Asia and the UN, Lord Malloch-Brown, raised immediate concern for the well-being of Yuan Weijing when he met Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui during his visit to Beijing on 28-30 August. We continue to monitor this case.

Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform

Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform pursuant to the answer of 18 July 2007, Official Report, column 357W, what the reasons are for the reduction in funding for the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service in recent years. [152221]

Mr. Timms: BERR provided the level of funding required for ACAS to achieve its objectives. The annual budget was supplemented by Investment Funding of £15.2 million for efficiency savings for the three years from 2005-06 and Capital Funding of £1.2 million for 2005-06, £1.0 million for 2006-07, and £1.0 million for 2007-08.

David Maclean: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what steps his Department plans to take to offset the loss of trade for independent human resources advisers if the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service is enlarged to provide free dispute resolution services to small and medium-sized enterprises as outlined in the Success at Work consultation document; and if he will make a statement. [153439]

Mr. Timms: At present ACAS has a statutory duty in certain circumstances to provide conciliation services for employment disputes before they become tribunal claims. The Government have recently consulted on whether ACAS should be given more capacity to provide such services. The Government will publish its response to the consultation in the autumn. That response will take into account the potential impact on independent advisers of any expansion of ACAS's activity in this area.

Bank Services: Fees and Charges

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform whether he plans (a) to regulate and (b) to assess the viability of the regulation of penalty bank charges by legislative means. [152904]


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Mr. Timms [holding answer 26 July 2007]: The OFT is already investigating the fairness of charges on current accounts under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations, and is also carrying out a market study into current account pricing. The Government have no plans at present to introduce further regulation given the current OFT work. It will be for the OFT to take or recommend any action in the light of its findings.

Chemicals: Health Hazards

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what research his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the presence of harmful chemicals in household items; and if he will make a statement. [151746]

Mr. Thomas: The Department has not commissioned or evaluated any specific research on the presence of harmful chemicals in household items.

The safety of products containing chemicals is governed by the Chemicals (Hazard Information and Packaging for Supply) Regulations 2002, which is administered by the Health and Safety Executive. These regulations require that manufacturers identify the dangers of products containing chemicals and package them safely. If hazardous, the product must be labelled with warning symbols indicating the dangers and with phrases explaining the dangers and how to use the product safely.

The Department administers the General Product Safety Regulations 2005, which implement the EC general product safety directive (2001/95/EC). These regulations apply to all consumer products that are not covered (and to the same extent) by specific safety legislation. The regulations require that manufacturers ensure that products present the minimum risk compatible with the product's use and that they are accompanied by appropriate warnings and instructions for use.

Chemicals: Regulation

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what plans he has to introduce legislation to control the use of chemicals in household products; and if he will make a statement. [153748]

Mr. Thomas: The safety of household products containing chemicals is governed by the Chemicals (Hazard Information and Packaging for Supply) Regulations 2002, which is administered by the Health and Safety Executive. These regulations require that manufacturers identify the dangers of products containing chemicals, classify them under an EC-wide classification system and package them safely. If the product contains hazardous chemicals it must be labelled with the appropriate warning symbols indicating the hazards and with phrases explaining the dangers and how to use the product safely.

In those cases where correct labelling and packaging of products is insufficient to reduce the risks adequately, restrictions on the marketing and use of dangerous chemicals used in household products are
10 Sep 2007 : Column 2011W
introduced under European Directive 76/769/EEC and its amendments. The Department has put in place legislation implementing a number of these directives which has had the effect of restricting or prohibiting the marketing and use of approximately 1,000 chemicals, or groups of chemicals, in household products.

The Department also administers the General Product Safety Regulations 2005, which implement the EC General Product Safety Directive (2001/95/EC). These regulations apply to all consumer products that are not covered (and to the same extent) by specific safety legislation. The regulations require that manufacturers ensure that products present the minimum risk compatible with the product's use and that they are accompanied by appropriate warnings and instructions for use.

Conditions of Employment

Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform which elements of the 2004 Warwick Agreement have been implemented by the Government. [153527]

Mr. McFadden: The final report of Labour's National Policy Forum in July 2004 formed part of the May 2005 general election manifesto. The Government remain committed to fulfilling their manifesto over the course of this Parliament.

Departments: Air Conditioning

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how much was spent by his Department and its agencies on the hire of mobile air conditioning units in each of the last five years. [151935]

Mr. Thomas: I am unable to answer the question in respect of the Department's HQ Estate as the information is not held in an easily retrievable format and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

The agencies spent £3,700 on hiring mobile air conditioning units in 2006, but nothing in the four previous years

Departments: Catering

Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what percentage of (a) beef, (b) sheep meat, (c) pork and (d) dairy products used in his Department in the most recent period for which figures are available were imported products. [150795]

Mr. Thomas: The information requested is as follows:


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Imported ( percentage )

Meat and poultry

Poultry meat

0

Beef and veal

0

Mutton and lamb

0

Pork

0

Diary

Whole eggs (i.e. in shells)

0

Fresh milk (e.g. whole, semi skimmed, skimmed)

0

Cheese

5


Departments: Flowers

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how much was spent by his Department on flowers in the last 12 months. [153131]

Mr. Thomas: The Department has spent £675 on flowers in the last 12 months.

Departments: Industrial Disputes

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform whether his Department's employment dispute resolution procedures involve a mediation stage. [150861]

Mr. McFadden: The Department's employment dispute resolution procedures involve a voluntary mediation stage.

Departments: Information Officers

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many press officers are employed by his Department. [153135]

Mr. Thomas: 12 press officers are employed by the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform and two press officers are employed by UK Trade and Investment.

Departments: Legislation

Mr. Clegg: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what legislative provisions introduced by his Department's predecessor since 1997 have not yet been brought into force. [149562]

Mr. Thomas: The information is in the following table:


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10 Sep 2007 : Column 2014W
Act Provisions not yet in force

Competition Act 1998

Section l(a)

Employment Rights (Dispute Resolution) Act 1998

Section 4

Petroleum Act 1998

Schedule 4 paras 8, 10, 11, 13, 34 and 40

Employment Relations Act 1999

Schedule 7, para 4(6)

Schedule 9, Parts 1 and 8

Electronic Communications Act 2000

Sections 1 to 6

Postal Services Act 2000

Schedule 9 of section 80 of the Post Office Act 1969 in so far as it extends to the Bailiwick of Guernsey

Utilities Act 2000

Section 20(7)

Section 75

Employment Act 2002

Section 28(4)

Section 30(1),(2) and (4)

Section 44

Communications Act 2003

Sections 272 to 274

Section 299(1)

Sections 299(3) and 299(4)

Section 300

Section 401

Section 409

Schedule 6 (which has been repealed)

Schedule 12, paras 5 and 6

Schedule 17, para 133(2)

Energy Act 2004

Section 89 (for the purposes of defining "relevant place" (other than where that term is used in section 93), "generate", "system" and "premises" in the Electricity Act 1989)

Sections 90 to 92

Section 139

Section 140(1)

Section 180

Schedule 23, Part 2, para 1, 3

Consumer Credit Act 2006

Section 5(1) to (4), (7) and (10)

Section 3 for remaining purposes

Section 4 for remaining purposes

Section 23

Section 26

Section 27

Section 28 for remaining purposes

Sections 29 to 33

Section 34

Section 35 for remaining purposes

Section 36 for remaining purposes

Sections 37 to 58

Section 62

Section 64

Section 69(1) insofar as it relates to paras 18 to 28 of Schedule 3

Section 70 for remaining purposes

Schedule 1, paras 1 to 10 and 12 to 16

Schedule 3, paras 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 and 26 to 28

Schedule 4 for remaining purposes

Work and Families Act 2006

Sections 3 to 10

Section 11(2) and (3)

Schedule 1

Paras 1 to 5, 10 to 15, 16(2), 17 to 20, 22, 24 to 30, 35 to 61

Companies Act 2006

Some of the provisions of the Companies Act 2006 are already in force but the majority are not. Each of the provisions remaining to be brought into force is scheduled to be brought into force on one of the following dates: 1 October 2007, 6 April 2008 or 1 October 2008.

Consumers, Estate Agents and Redress Act 2007

Whole Act except sections 60 to 62 and 65 to 67.


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