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The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): Two car park spaces in Royal Court have been allocated for the use of the Lord Chancellor. This is to allow the Lord Chancellor, who, uniquely, is provided with a residence within the precincts of the House of Lords, to have space for one private car in addition to his official car, which needs to be able to wait in that area without blocking access for other Members or for commercial traffic.
The Attorney-General (Lord Goldsmith): The honourable Mr Justice Butterfield's report of the review of the current practices and procedures relating to disclosure, associated investigation techniques and case management in HM Customs and Excise was received by this office on 3 July for consideration. We hope to publish the findings before the House rises for the summer recess.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs (Lord Filkin): The Government are today publishing, as Cm 5875, a draft Gender Recognition Bill for pre-legislative scrutiny by the Joint Committee on Human Rights which will be introduced to Parliament as soon as parliamentary time allows. The draft Bill follows the ministerial Statement on 13 December 2002, announcing the Government's commitment to legislate to allow transsexual people who have taken decisive steps to live fully and permanently in the acquired gender to gain legal recognition in that gender.
Transsexual people, some of whom may have lived in their acquired gender for many years, are not treated as being of that gender in law. They do not have access to any of the rights or responsibilities confined to people of that gender. They are not able to change their birth certificates. They live in a state of limbo, between the gender in which they are living and the gender in which they were born; because that is how the law defines them. The Bill will mean that transsexual people will for the first time be afforded all the rights and responsibilities appropriate to that gender. It is fundamental to an inclusive society that individuals and groups be given the rights to which they are legitimately entitled and wherever possible be allowed to live their lives as they determine. The Bill will give transsexual people that right, from the date of recognition, to marry in their acquired gender and be given birth certificates that recognise the acquired gender. Transsexual people will be able to obtain benefits and state pension just like anyone else of that gender.
The Gender Recognition Bill will establish a gender recognition panel with the power to decide applications from transsexual people seeking legal recognition in their acquired gender. Transsexual people who seek legal recognition will have to provide evidence supporting their applications in accordance with prescribed legal and medical criteria. Legal recognition will follow from the issue of a gender recognition certificate by the gender recognition panel. Before issuing a certificate, the panel must be satisfied that the applicant has been diagnosed as having the medical condition gender dysphoria, has lived in the acquired gender throughout the preceding two years and intends to continue to live in the acquired gender.
It is fitting that it is the anniversary of the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights in Goodwin v UK and I v UK. The European Court found the UK to be in breach of its obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights to respect a person's privacy and family life and a person's right to marry. Under this Bill, the UK will meet its commitment to implement those rulings and to deliver its obligation to give transsexual people their convention rights.
Provision will need to be made across the United Kingdom to comply with the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights. The Bill as drafted covers England and Wales. Agreement has been gained with the Northern Ireland Office for provisions covering Northern Ireland to be added before the Bill begins its passage through Parliament, in the absence of restoration of the devolved institutions. The Scottish Executive wish to comply at the earliest opportunity with the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights and to achieve an integrated solution that
The Government look forward to receiving the report of the Joint Committee and I encourage people to submit evidence to the committee as it conducts pre-legislative scrutiny. The draft Bill, together with Explanatory Notes, has been published as a Command Paper. It is available via the website of the Department for Constitutional Affairs. Copies have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education and Skills (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) distributes research funding to institutions dependent on volume and quality, and teaching funding on student numbers and subject. As part of the overall funding arrangements, HEFCE has changed the weightings in its research funding algorithm, and provided extra funding to meet the extra costs universities face when recruiting students with less attainment. In making these changes HEFCE has ensured that no institution, including St George's Hospital Medical School, suffered a reduction in its grant.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Warner): The Department of Health's annual report for 2003, Cm 5904, has been published today. Copies have been placed in the Library.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Lord McIntosh of Haringey): The latest set of national population projections for the United Kingdom and constituent countries are the 'interim' 2001-based projections published in November 2002. These projections, the subject of the article in the spring 2003 edition of Population Trends, were carried out following the publication in September 2002 of the first results of the 2001 Census.
The next set of national population projections are scheduled to be published on 23 October 2003 and will take full account of the revised international migration estimates. These projections will be based on the estimated population at the middle of 2002. Mid-2002 population estimates at UK level are scheduled to be published on 7 August 2003.
Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government when was the most recent payment to the United States Government for either the First or Second World Wars; how much it was; when is the next payment expected; and how much is left to pay.[HL3790]
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: On First World War debt due to the United States Government, I refer the noble Lord to the Answers I gave to him on 17 July 2002 (col. WA 159), 30 July 2002 (col. WA 161) and 25 October 2002 (col. WA 1034).
On Second World War debt due to the United States Government, I refer the noble Lord to the Answer I gave to him on 27 May 2002 (col. WA 127) and 20 January 2003 (col. WA 73).
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