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What use they have made of the information provided by ECPAT UK (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and the Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes) concerning the cases of 90 British individuals charged with abuse in foreign countries; and what is their assessment of the likelihood that this information will lead to convictions.[HL7311]
Lord Bassam of Brighton: From time to time, ECPAT UK has forwarded to the Home Office information, such as newspaper articles from publications overseas, which has helped to illustrate the scale and nature of sexual offending against children overseas by British tourists. That information is shared with the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP). CEOP does assist in the training of police officers overseas but the guilt or innocence of the suspects referred to in the articles is a matter for the courts in those countries. In addition, the FCO will inform CEOP of the arrest for serious crimes of British nationals abroad, including all sexual offences committed against children. Where the police here are aware that an individual has returned to the United Kingdom following a conviction or caution for a sexual offence overseas they are advised to apply for a notification order, which will make the returnee subject to the notification requirements of Part 2 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (commonly known as the sex offenders register).
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education and Skills (Lord Adonis): In 2002, the department published an update and work programme which represented a revised National Plan for Safeguarding Children from Commercial Exploitation. This issue remains a priority for Government, and we have taken forward a number of initiatives, including the creation of new offences in relation to sexual exploitation in the Sexual Offences Act 2003; the publication of a toolkit to help professionals tackle trafficking; the 2004 review of prostitution which resulted in the publication in January this year of a new co-ordinated prostitution strategy, one of the key objectives of which is the reduction of all forms of commercial sexual exploitation; the establishment in April of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre; publication of the new Working Together to Safeguard Children in April 2006, the main inter-agency guide to working together to safeguard and promote the welfare of children; and the establishment by April 2006 of Local Safeguarding Children Boards, which have a role in co-ordinating work to safeguard children from sexual exploitation in each local area. Our priority is to take forward the practical implementation of the policy changes outlined above.
What conclusions have been reached so far by the multi-agency group facilitated by the Home Office on sex tourism issues; whether its recommendations are being implemented; and whether the Department for International Development is involved.[HL7313]
Lord Bassam of Brighton: A multi-agency group was hosted by the Home Office to prepare for the introduction of foreign travel orders, civil orders which can be obtained to prevent the travel of those who pose a risk of serious sexual harm to a child or children overseas. After the introduction of those orders on 1 May 2004 the groupwhich included a representative from the Department for International Developmentmet periodically to discuss the wider issue of travelling sex offenders but it added little to work aimed at safeguarding children and was disbanded. The Home Office has, however, continued to work with others to ensure that children, wherever they may be in the world, are protected from sex offenders. A review of our policy and legislation towards travelling sex offenders was conducted earlier this year. That review sought the views of other government departments, law enforcement agencies and non-governement organisations such as ECPAT and we will be announcing our findings later in the year.
The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Amos): The no smoking ban is an operational matter for London Underground, which advises that it is satisfied with the level of compliance on its above ground stations.
How many stadia covered by the licensing provisions of the Safety at Sports Grounds Act 1975 have already introduced comprehensive bans on smoking, or intend to do so within the next 12 months.[HL7390]
The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Amos): The Safety at Sports Grounds Act 1975 requires sports grounds designated under the Act to hold a general safety certificate. There is no centrally held information identifying the numbers of stadia covered by the 1975 Act which have introduced smoking bans or intend doing so in the next 12 months. A sports ground safety certificate will include conditions designed to ensure spectator safety at that ground. Such conditions are determined by the relevant certifying local authority following consultation with a number of expert organisations including local police and fire authorities.
The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Warner): This information is not collected centrally. The annual National Health Service workforce census records the number of speech and language therapists by primary care trust and NHS trust. A table showing the number of speech and language therapists by PCT and trust in each of the past five years has been placed in the Library.
In relation to the direct taxes hotline and advertising campaign announced by HM Revenue and Customs on 28 February(a) what is the total gross cost to date of the hotline and website; (b) what is the estimated additional tax revenue; (c) how many individuals have called the hotline; (d) how many suspected tax evaders have been reported to the website; (e) how many inquiries and full investigations have been initiated as a result of information received through the hotline and website; (f) how many people have been prosecuted as a result of information received through the hotline and website; and (g) when the costs and benefits of the hotline will be reviewed.[HL7270]
Lord McKenzie of Luton: HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is committed to targeting tax evasion. Its tax evasion hotline was opened on 17 October 2005 taking calls on 0800 788 887 from 8 am to 8 pm Monday to Friday, and 8 am to 4 pm Saturday and Sunday, as well as receiving information through a variety of other means including a dedicated website, Freepost, Freefax and Textphone. HMRC also operates the Customs Confidential Helpline (0800 59 5000) to receive information about smuggling or any other suspicious activity.
From its launch to 31 August 2006, the tax evasion hotline received approximately 97,000 reports, including 87,047 calls from the public, around 3,000 letters and faxes, 5,200 e-mails and 1,900 referrals from Customs Confidential. Until inquiries have been completed, it is not possible to identify how many of these reports may relate to the same individuals, nor how many may have been received both in writing and by telephone, nor how many relate to tax evaders.
The tax evasion hotline has been developed as part of a package of new compliance measures for the then Inland Revenue announced in Budget 2004 (HC 301), along with the amount of funding and forecast additional revenues. HMRC reports progress on these measures in its annual and spring reports. HMRC also plans to publish a report on the costs and benefits of the tax evasion hotline in the future. The further detailed information requested is not currently available.
The number of full investigations that have been initiated and the number of prosecutions undertaken cannot be disclosed because of the operational sensitivity of information about this law enforcement activity.
Whether they will provide evidence of the advocacy of violence or crime in the case of each organisation to which the Terrorism Act 2000 (Proscribed Organisations) (Amendment) Order 2006 applies.[HL7063]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): The Government are aware of the work of Professor Pape. Academic work on terrorism is also one source of information for the work of the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC), which was created by the Government in 2003 as the UK's centre for the analysis and assessment of international terrorism.
The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Amos): The Government have made no assessment of the services available in Kings Lynn. As the noble Lord is aware, local bus services, in the majority of cases, are provided by commercial operators. On-road competition between services can lead to a better standard of service for all, both in the short and longer term. Any questions of anti-competitive practices by operators are a matter for the Office of Fair Trading.
The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Amos): None. Many bus operators offer reduced fares for young people and local authorities can offer concessionary bus travel to any individual or group. There are no plans at present to offer additional incentives.
The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Amos): The department does not have an explicit target for modal shift from road to heavy rail. However, rail is well placed to help deliver a range of wider departmental targets and objectives including those relating to tackling congestion on the road network, and reducing the impact of transport on the environment.
Next summer the Government will set out their plans for rail capacity and funding in their high level output specification and associated long-term rail strategy. These will build on the policiessuch as the freight grant schemesthat in the past 10 years have seen the number of passengers using the railway grow by 35 per cent, freight increase 46 per cent and rail improve its overall modal share.
The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Amos): No. It is for drivers of all classes of vehicle to take responsibility for ensuring that they do not follow navigation adviceelectronic or otherwisewhich would cause them to contravene the law.
Further to the Written Answers by the Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 18 May (WA 68) and 3 July (WA 24-25), whether, having received the report in question in draft in December 2005, they will publish it before the House rises for the Summer Recess; and whether they will place a copy on the Department for Work and Pensions' website.[HL7118]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The report is expected to be published in September. We have a requirement to ensure that our research findings are widely disseminated and, as with all our published reports, a copy of the report will be placed on the department's website.
What action they are taking to investigate the allegations of Japans illegal catches of southern bluefin tuna, which is listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources as critically endangered.[HL7309]
The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): The issue is being investigated by the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna (CCSBT). The United Kingdom is not a member of the CCSBT. However, we are actively involved in a global initiative to fight illegal fishing through work on the High Seas Task Force on Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported Fishing, which was chaired by my honourable friend, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Mr Ben Bradshaw). Other partners in the task force are members of the CCSBT.
Whether they have made representations to the Government of Turkey in respect of their recently amended anti-terrorism law that denies suspects access to their lawyers for the first 24 hours of detention.[HL7394]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): Amendments to the Turkish anti-terror law were passed by Parliament on 29 June. Article 9b of this amendment package allows for a terrorism suspect's right of access to a lawyer to be delayed by 24 hours with a court order. However, no statement may be taken during this period. Similar provisions exist in the law of several EU member states. We have not raised concerns over this article with the Turkish Government.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): The Government have repeatedly raised concerns with the Turkish Government regarding individuals in Turkey facing prosecution under Article 301 for the non-violent expression of opinion. Turkey's human rights record will continue to be closely scrutinised during the accession process and the EU has said that, if the Turkish Penal Code continues to be interpreted in a restrictive manner, then it may need to be amended in order to safeguard freedom of expression in Turkey. We will continue to monitor the application of Article 301 of the Turkish penal code.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): We have raised our concerns on a number of occasions in the past year with the Turkish Government on the issue of free speech, including the well known cases brought against Orhan Pamuk, Hrant Dink and Perihan Magden. I recently wrote to the Turkish ambassador in London underlining the need to ensure court decisions reflect Turkey's obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights.
Lord Rooker: Her Majesty's Government remain wholly committed to affording equal respect and recognition to the Irish and Ulster-Scots languages and cultures. The Ulster-Scots language currently has Part II status under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, while Irish has Part II and Part III status. Officials are working with representatives of the Ulster-Scots community to identify what steps might be involved in moving Ulster-Scots to Part III status. Any decision on whether to pursue that option will depend on the outcome of this work.
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