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The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Chalker of Wallasey): Vesting of Crown Agents under the provisions of the Crown Agents Act 1995 into the Crown Agents for Overseas Governments and Administrations Limited and the transfer of ownership of that company to the Crown Agents Foundation took place today.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: Whether or not to enter a derogation under Article 15 of the European Convention on Human Rights is a matter for Turkey. Any such a derogation might itself be subject to challenge for its compatibility in proceedings under the convention with Article 15 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: No; and if there were any suggestions that these organisations should change their policies as a result of the Helms-Burton or D'Amato Acts, the UK would strongly oppose this.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: Our policy on the future of NATO has been clearly set out in the Queen's Speech, in the Statement on the Defence Estimates, which is presented to Parliament annually, and in evidence presented to the Defence and Foreign Affairs Select Committees.
Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: We shall be giving our consent to publication. But it is for the Council of Europe to decide whether to proceed with publication after consulting the other interested parties.
Lord Lucas: The Meat Hygiene Service will be instructed to work to the performance targets which are set out in my reply earlier today to the honourable Member for Worcester (Mr. Luff). In working to these targets the Meat Hygiene Service will be giving effect to the comprehensive programme of action which my right honourable friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food announced on 12 March. Once this range of measures has been implemented, we would anticipate repeating, if possible before April 1998, the thorough audit of hygiene standards in each individual plant which was carried out in 1995-96. For this campaign on hygiene standards to succeed, it will be essential for the industry to give full co-operation both collectively, through the Industry Forum of the Meat Hygiene Service and the Government/Industry Group instituted by my honourable friend the Parliamentary Secretary, and in day-to-day operations in individual plants.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Cumberlege): Professor Ron de Witt has been appointed as Chairman and Mrs. Patricia Oakley has been appointed as a non-executive member of the English National Board for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting from
(a) what they propose to do about inequalities of treatment by local authorities of essentially similar cases; and
(b) how they intend to prevent destitution, mental illness and suicide attempts among people whose status is only slowly determined, some of whom may have already suffered torture and abuse.
Baroness Cumberlege: The Government's asylum policy aims to deter those entering this country for economic reasons. Those who come here genuinely to seek asylum and make that known on entry to the country have access to income support, income based jobseeker's allowance, housing benefit and council tax benefit where they have no other means of support while their asylum claim is under consideration. Individuals suffering mental health or other health problems have access to NHS and social care services while their application for asylum is being considered. As with all cases, it is for local decision what kinds of service are provided to meet an assessed need.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Earl Howe): The Coronation Oath is personal to Her Majesty. Members of Her Majesty's Government are not required on appointment to swear a ministerial equivalent of the Coronation Oath but they do of course take very seriously the moral duties and responsibilities associated with their position in that Government. Ministers would not advise Her Majesty to take any action which contradicted her Oath.
Earl Howe: NATO nations are presently considering a need for a theatre ballistic missile defence capability for deployed forces. Work will consider to what extent NATO's Air Command and Control System (ACCS) can contribute to Alliance capability in this area. The first ACCS level of capability includes software acquisition, installation and testing of a range of facilities in a number of operational sites. The costs for any potential NATO theatre missile defence capability are currently being assessed.
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