Digital Subscriber Line
The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:
What plans they have to ensure that pricing of digital subscriber line (DSL) does not act as an obstacle to its take-up.[HL1171]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): The Office of Telecommunications (Oftel) monitors the market to ensure that BT complies with its legal obligations under the Competition Act and the
20 Nov 2001 : Column WA135
terms of its licence. In addition, local loop unbundling enables competing operators and service providers
to create their own DSL products. The Minister for
e-Commerce has challenged industry to reduce its costs and consumer prices further. The cost of wholesale ADSL has fallen in 2001.
Lord Monson asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they will consult other European countries, both inside and outside the European Union, with a view to securing an agreement that summer time should henceforth start on the third or fourth Sunday in March each year rather than the last Sunday as at present, so as to ensure that summer time always prevails during the Easter holiday period.[HL1320]
Lord Sainsbury of Turville: The Government have no plans to consult other European countries about the present start and end dates of summer time.
People's Panel Report
Lord Corbett of Castle Vale asked Her Majesty's Government:
By what date they have asked the Office for National Statistics for the report on the first three years' operation of the People's Panel; and by what date they will publish it. [HL1293]
The Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston): The report will be completed in December and published in January 2002.
Northern Ireland Police Service: Recruitment
Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they will place in the Library of the House copies of the standard letters sent to (a) successful and (b) unsuccessful applicants at the first stage of recruitment to the Royal Ulster Constabulary; and to (c) successful and unsuccessful qualified applicants.[HL970]
The Lord Privy Seal (Lord Williams of Mostyn): Copies of the standard letters issued to candidates at various stages of the competition will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses as requested.
Lord Kilclooney asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether police officers in Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland can transfer to the new Police Service of Northern Ireland; what oath they take on transfer to the new police service; and what oaths they had previously taken in Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland.[HL1052]
20 Nov 2001 : Column WA136
Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Government's updated implementation plan published in August 2001 gives the Government's position on lateral entry to the Police Service of Northern Ireland.
Any police officer joining the Police Service of Northern Ireland is required to make the declaration set out in Section 38 of the Police Act (Northern Ireland) 2000.
Schedule 4 to the Police Act 1996 sets out the declaration that every police officer must take on appointment in England and Wales. Regulation 10 of the Police (Scotland) Regulations, made under the Police (Scotland) Act 1967, sets out the declaration that every police officer must take on appointment in Scotland.
I understand that in the Republic of Ireland officers make a declaration as follows:
"I. . . do solemnly and sincerely before God declare and affirm and my word and honour pledge that I will be faithful to the utmost of my ability in my employment by the Government of Ireland in the office of Garda in the Garda Siochana, and that I will render good and true service and obedience to Ireland and its constitution and government as by law established, without favour or affection, fear, malice, or ill-will, and that I will see and cause the peace to be kept and preserved, and that I will prevent to the best of my power all offences against the same, and that while I shall continue to hold the said office, I will to the best of my knowledge discharge all the duties thereof faithfully according to law, and that I do not belong, and that I will not while I hold the said office, join, belong, or subscribe to any Political Society whatsoever, or to any Secret Society whatsoever.
Lord Rogan asked Her Majesty's Government:
Why advertisements for the Police Service of Northern Ireland are being shown in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland but not in other regions of the United Kingdom.[HL1140]
Lord Williams of Mostyn: Advertising in Great Britain has been reduced following the first recruitment competition, on the basis of a cost-benefit analysis carried out by the independent recruitment agent. However, advertisements have been placed in a number of specialist publications which are available in Great Britain and on a satellite television channel. Details are also available on the Police Service of Northern Ireland website.
Lord Rogan asked Her Majesty's Government:
Why recruitment to the Police Service of Northern Ireland is on the basis of 50/50 Catholic/Protestant and not proportionality of the population.[HL1141]
Lord Williams of Mostyn: Recruitment to the Police Service of Northern Ireland is being carried out on the basis of 50 per cent Catholic, 50 per cent non-Catholic. The Independent Commission on Policing in Northern Ireland recommended a 50:50 recruitment profile because this broadly reflects the breakdown of the population in the normal age range for recruitment.
20 Nov 2001 : Column WA137
Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission: Bill of Rights
Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they will publish the letter from the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland to the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission of 24 March in which the Secretary of State requested advice as required by Section 69(7) of the Northern Ireland Act 1998.[HL1093]
When their view, reported on page 14 of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission's document Making a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland (September 2001), namely that the issue was the scope of a bill of rights, was expressed; by whom; and whether the commission will publish the full text of the communication.[HL1136]
Lord Williams of Mostyn: The then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Dr Mowlam, wrote to Professor Dickson, Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, on 24 March 1999, formally requesting the advice referred to in paragraph 4 of the relevant section of the Good Friday agreement. A copy of the letter has been placed in the Library.
Task Forces and Advisory Groups
Lord Dubs asked Her Majesty's Government:
What task forces, ad hoc advisory groups and reviews established since 20 May 1997 were in existence between 1 April 2000 and 31 March 2001. [HL1427]
Lord Williams of Mostyn: This information has today been placed in the Libraries of both Houses in the form of an annual report; a copy is also being placed in the Vote Office. Future reports will be published annually.
20 Nov 2001 : Column WA138
Task forces, advisory groups and reviews provide independent, expert advice to government on a wide range of issues. These are an effective means of securing high quality advice on matters of real public concern and they seek to operate in as open and transparent a way as possible. While they are not a new phenomenon, it is only since 1997 that detailed information on them has been public.
Performance and Innovation Unit Report
Baroness Thornton asked Her Majesty's Government:
When the Performance and Innovation Unit will publish its report on resource productivity. [HL1439]
Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Performance and Innovation Unit's report Resource productivity: making more with less to government is being published today. The Prime Minister has welcomed the report which will make an important contribution to delivering our goal of sustainable development. The report focuses on how to meet our objectives on economic growth without unacceptable environmental impacts.
Key areas identified in the report for further action include government procurement; a new approach to sustainable development and resource productivity in small businesses; targeted support for resource productive innovation; and an assessment of long-term indicative targets.
The Right Honourable Michael Meacher MP, Minister of State for the Environment, will lead on taking forward the implementation and dissemination of the report in collaboration with colleagues on the ENV(G) Cabinet sub-committee.
Copies have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses. It is also available on the Cabinet Office website at www.cabinet-office.gov.uk/innovation.