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Government Information: Access

Lord Spens asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Williams of Mostyn: We shall bring forward this Session a Bill stengthening individuals' existing right of access under the Data Protection Act 1984 in accordance with the European Community Data Protection Directive. This will include a right of access to certain manual records. The existing right for individuals to have inaccurate data about them corrected or erased will be preserved. We shall also publish shortly a White Paper setting out proposals for new freedom of information legislation.

Lord Spens asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The rules and regulations applying to access to manual records or paper files held by government departments are contained in the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information. Files are not normally made available by government

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departments to foreign governments, their officers or employees.

Computerised personal records are governed by the Data Protection Act 1984.

Curfew System for Children

Lord Lucas asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they intend to study the system of curfews for children in Germany; if so, when; and, if not, why not.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: We have no plans at present to study the curfew arrangements in Germany. Instead, the Government's priority is to continue with its evaluation of curfew orders with electronic monitoring as they currently operate in England and Wales. In addition, we are also pressing ahead with proposals to introduce a Child Protection Order. However, I hope to visit Germany in September and will be examining community sentences as part of my programme.

Immigration Act Detainees, Scotland

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What action they are taking to implement the recommendations of the Chief Inspector of Prisons for Scotland in his 1995 report concerning Immigration Act detainees (for example, those detained in HMP Greenock).

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The location of detainees within the Scottish prison system is under constant review. Discussions have taken place with the Scottish Prison Service to consider the provision of an immigration detention centre in Scotland, but it was found that, due to the relatively low numbers of persons held in Scottish prisons under sole immigration powers, it would be difficult to justify a custom built facility for Immigration Act detainees.

Official Secrets Act

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What steps they now propose to take to ensure that all those who are subject to lifelong duties under the Official Secrets Act continue to observe them, especially when they take up employment with foreign defence firms.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Official Secrets Act 1989 is designed to strike a balance between penalising individuals for disclosures of trivial information, and protecting information which might seriously damage the national interest. We have no plans to review its operation in relation to any particular category.

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Income-related Benefits

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to Lady Hollis of Heigham's remarks on 3 June (HL Deb., col 632) indicating that it would cost £1.9 billion to raise income-related benefits by £5 a head, how many people would need to come off benefit to render such an increase cost neutral.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Social Security (Baroness Hollis of Heigham): £1.9 billion is the cost of the current benefit entitlement of around 500,000 claimants. The Government have no plans to raise income-related benefits by £5 a week.

Education: Age Participation Rates

Lord Lucas asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What the "age participation rate for 1992" for the United Kingdom, published by the OECD in 1995 in Education at a Glance was; and what the age participation rate for the UK was, calculated on the same basis, at the most recent date for which data are available.

The Minister of State, Department for Education and Employment (Baroness Blackstone): The age participation rates for 1992 for the UK were 56.7 1 at age 17 and 33.6 1 at age 18. Figures on the same basis for, 1995, the latest year for which data are available, are 59.8 1 and 39.8 1 respectively. These figures refer to full-time enrolments. They are not comparable to the estimates for 1994 for the UK and other countries published in the 1996

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edition of Education at a Glance, as these include part-time enrolments. 1 per cent.

Water Fluoridation

Baroness Fisher of Rednal asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will arrange a meeting with the water companies to discuss the workings of the Water (Fluoridation) Act 1985.

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Baroness Jay of Paddington): The Water (Fluoridation) Act 1985 is incorporated in the 1991 Water Industry Act. We are currently looking at many aspects of public health policy, including water fluoridation, and will arrange meetings where appropriate.

Motorway Hard Shoulder Accidents

Lord Brougham and Vaux asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many road accidents have been reported involving stationary vehicles on motorway hard shoulders in each of the years 1989 to 1997; and how many people were (a) killed and (b) injured in these accidents.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Baroness Hayman): The latest available statistics are shown in the following tables. Road accident data for 1997 will not be available until 1998.

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Accidents and Casualties involving stationary vehicles on Motorway hard shoulder/lay-bys: Great Britain 1989--1996
Number of Accidents

Accident Severity19891990199119921993199419951996

Number of Casualties


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