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British Nationality Applications Guidance

Baroness Turner of Camden asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: The Nationality Instructions contain guidance to staff on the handling of applications for British nationality and related matters. A version of these instructions has now been added to the Immigration and Nationality

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Directorate's website and hard copies are being placed in the Library. The instructions are being made available in accordance with the principles of openness in the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and in the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information. A small amount of material cannot be disclosed, either on the grounds of national security or because disclosure would impede the effective administration of the legislation. The material is subject to periodic review and revision.

Capita: Criminal Record Checks

Baroness Blatch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Who procured the contract with Capita for criminal record checks.[HL6263]

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: The chief executive of the Criminal Records Bureau, as the senior accountable officer, signed the contract with Capita to process criminal record checks. He was advised by his procurement team. This team consisted of CRB project managers and external project and legal advisers. In addition, the CRB consulted the Home Office Procurement Unit and Home Office legal advisers.

Baroness Blatch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Who agreed the specification for the contract with Capita to process criminal record checks.[HL6264]

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: The chief executive of the Criminal Record Bureau, as the senior accountable officer, issued the contract specification, on the advice of his procurement team. This team consisted of CRB project managers and external project and legal advisers. In addition, the CRB consulted the Home Office Procurement Unit and Home Office legal advisers.

Equality Regulations

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why they have not published the five sets of equality regulations or enabled them to be downloaded on 23 October, as envisaged by the Department for Work and Pensions in Equality and Diversity: The Way Ahead; and[HL6193]

    Whether they will extend the consultation period in relation to the equality regulations to take account of the delay in publishing them.[HL6194]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): All five sets of draft regulations (which relate to the prohibition of discrimination at work on grounds of sexual orientation, religion and belief, disability, race and gender) were published and available to be downloaded as advertised on the DTI website www.dti.gov.uk/er/equality, on the morning of 23 October. The document Equality and Diversity:

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The Way Ahead, which summarises the Government's proposals, was published at the same time.

Council for Science and Technology

Lord Pendry asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What arrangements have been made for carrying out a quinquennial review of the Council for Science and Technology.[HL6369]

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: The quinquennial review of the Council for Science and Technology was launched on 19 August. The Science and Technology Select Committee was informed in advance and sent copies of a consultation letter which was sent out to learned societies and other stakeholders such as Universities UK, the CBI and the Engineering Employers Federation. The consultation letter was also placed on the web (http://www.ost.gov.uk/policy/q–review.htm).

The first stage of the review, which addressed whether the CST is still needed, has recommended that it should continue in being but that steps must be taken to make it more effective. The Government have accepted this recommendation. The second stage of this review will look at how the CST might best be used in future.

The consultation will continue until 17 November.

Pig Swill Feeding Ban

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether any compensation will be paid to the 73 pig swill feeding farmers whose businesses were abruptly closed when the pig swill feeding ban was introduced.[HL6208]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Whitty): The Government do not consider that it is appropriate to compensate pig farmers for changes to the feed material available for their livestock following the introduction of the ban on swill feeding. However the Government are providing free business advice to those affected by the ban who have expressed an interest in receiving the advice.

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How they propose to dispose of catering waste and other food which would have previously gone into pig swill feed.[HL6209]

Lord Whitty: Before the ban on swill-feeding, only a small proportion (about 1.4 per cent) of catering waste from restaurants and other catering establishments was fed to pigs as swill. Since the ban on swill feeding the additional waste is currently disposed of to landfill or incineration, as is the case for the vast majority of catering waste.

The Government, however, take seriously their recycling targets and are moving towards reducing the

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amount of bio-degradeable waste sent to landfill. To that end we are currently drawing up legislation to allow the treatment of catering waste in composting and biogas plants. We intend to consult on the draft legislation shortly.

Chile: Avian Influenza

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have yet received the results of the nationwide serological survey of all Chilean poultry flocks of the presence of low pathogenic avian influenza; and, if so, what is the outcome; and[HL6246]

    Whether, should there be a positive identification of avian influenza virus following the nationwide survey of Chilean poultry flocks begun in August, they will immediately ban all imports of poultry and poultry products from Chile.[HL6247]

Lord Whitty: Following notification of high pathogenicity avian influenza in Chile in July 2002, the UK banned the importation of all poultry and hatching eggs and poultry products from Chile.

On the basis of a report submitted to the EU Commission of a nationwide serological survey carried out by the Chilean veterinary services in August 2002, the decision was taken by the EU Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health in October to authorise the import of poultry and poultry products from areas of Chile not affected by the disease. National measures have been amended to comply with Community provisions.

Government Industry Forum on Non-Food Uses of Crops

Lord Desai asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What progress the Government Industry Forum on Non-Food Uses of Crops has made.[HL6361]

Lord Whitty: Over the past year the forum has met six times and has been working on a number of studies of areas of potential development in the non-food crops sector. Examples include biopackaging, the use of natural fibres in composite materials, biosolvents and biolubricants. The forum has also considered generic issues which affect this sector. The forum published its first annual report in August 2002, which details its work and sets out its first series of recommendations to government. We are placing copies of the report in the Libraries of both Houses.

Primary Care Trusts

Baroness Noakes asked Her Majesty's Government:

    (a) which primary care trusts started the current financial year with an underlying shortfall; and (b) in each case what was the amount of the shortfall.[HL6331]

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): This information requested is not collected centrally. All primary care trusts are expected to live within their agreed resource and cash limits.

Baroness Noakes asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What amounts have been paid to primary care trusts by the National Health Service bank in respect of underlying shortfalls; and what additional amounts have been agreed to be paid during the current financial year; and[HL6332]

    What amounts the National Health Service bank has (a) advanced or (b) agreed to advance to National Health Service trusts in the current financial year; and[HL6333]

    What is the total amount that the National Health Service bank has (a) advanced or (b) agreed to advance to all National Health Service bodies in the current financial year; and[HL6334]

    What terms and conditions as to interest and repayment have been applied to any amounts which have been advanced by the National Health Service bank.[HL6335]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The shadow National Health Service bank has made available a total of £100 million to three strategic health authority areas: Avon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire (£45 million), Surrey and Sussex (£30 million), Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire (£25 million). The terms, conditions and amounts for individual health service bodies is still to be finalised by the strategic health authorities and is subject to delivery of agreed recovery plans.


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