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Why the Motor Vehicles (Wearing of Seat Belts) (Amendment) Regulations 2005 provide that delivery drivers and their passengers are exempt "while on a journey which does not exceed 50 metres" when it is required that imperial measurements be officially used in all matters relating to vehicle traffic on public highways. [HL158]
Lord Davies of Oldham: The EU requirements for harmonisation of units of measurement are set out in Council Directive 80/181/EEC as amended. The directive requires member states to adopt metric units as the primary system of measurement for economic, public health, public safety or administrative purposes (including the making of legislation). Amendments made by Directive 89/617/EEC provide for the continuation in use for specific purposes of certain units, which for the UK include the mile and yard in the context of road traffic signs, until a date to be fixed by the member state concerned.
The Government's guidance issued by the Department for Trade and Industry in 1995 for public sector bodies advises the use of metric units for the conduct of all public sector business, except where the continuation in use of imperial units is specifically permitted. Distances in government publications and statutory instruments other than those relating to road traffic signs are generally expressed in metric units.
Lord Davies of Oldham: We will take account of the comments and recommendations made in the report, including those relating to the publication of statistics on representations in respect of penalty charges and their resolution, in drafting statutory guidance for parking enforcement authorities under Section 87 of the Traffic Management Act 2004.
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How many Gypsy and Irish Traveller children there are in primary and secondary education using the Pupil Level Annual Schools Census; and whether they will seek to improve the quality of the statistics through complementary information from the Traveller Education Service. [HL2]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education and Skills (Lord Filkin): The number of Gypsy/Roma and Travellers of Irish heritage children in primary and secondary education recorded on the Pupil Level Annual Schools Census in January 2004 is shown below:
|Education Phase||Gypsy/Roma||Travellers of Irish Heritage|
Further to the statement by the Lord Warner on 16 November (HL Deb, col. 1304) on public health, how they are going to protect school playing fields and to help more children to walk or cycle to school. [HL29]
Lord Filkin: Section 77 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 was introduced on 1 October 1998 to stop the indiscriminate sale of school playing fields that occurred in the 1980s and early to mid 1990s. Earlier this year, on 27 August, the Secretary of State for Education and Skills announced his intention to tighten up the criteria against which applications for consent to dispose of school playing fields are assessed.
sale proceeds must be used to improve outdoor sports facilities wherever possible, so that local authorities will have to provide first class outdoor facilities before introducing new indoor sports facilities; and
This Government are providing over £50 million this year and next to help support the development of school travel plans. These plans help to identify specific measures which could reduce the number of car journeys. They also promote and encourage more walking and cycling to school or the use of public transport for longer trips. If enacted as drafted, the School Transport Bill would require pilot authorities to consider the travel needs of all pupils and could result in improved walking and cycling infrastructure around schools.
Whether the Low Pay Unit takes into account the permanent benefit in kind given to workers by way of rent, council-tax, free accommodation and free meals when assessing their true level of remuneration. [HL98]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): At present only accommodation, up to the value of the offset, can count towards minimum wage pay. The daily accommodation offset is calculated at a rate of £3.75 (£26.25 a weeek) for each day that the employer makes the accommodation available.
The first report of the Low Pay Commission looked in detail at the question of benefits in kind but concluded that only accommmodation should be able to count towards minimum wage pay. The commission is presently working on its next report on the minimum
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wage, which should be submitted to the Government in February 2005. Its terms of reference allows it to address any matter connected with the minimum wage.
Who will carry out the independent review, commissioned by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs as part of the Rural Strategy 2004, of the role of the five statutory levy-funded organisations covering the various agricultural sectors; how much the review will cost; and whether the "Chairs' Group", set up as part of the Modernising Rural Delivery programme, will have any involvement in or influence over the review. [HL149]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Whitty): No decisions have yet been made on who will carry out the review. We estimate the total cost will be up to £250,000 including the cost of the departmental staff who will provide the reviewer's secretariat.
The "Chairs' Group" will not be involved in the review as it is concerned with the close working of organisations concerned with the creation of the new integrated agency, namely, the chairs of the Countryside Agency, English Nature, Forestry Commission and the Environment Agency and Defra's Director GeneralOperations & Service Delivery, together with a senior Defra official representing the Rural Development Service. However, the chairs of the levy boards will be consulted on the terms of reference for the review. Thereafter, it will be for the reviewer to invite views from stakeholders: and these stakeholders will certainly include the chairs of the levy bodies themselves. The weight given to those views will be a matter for the reviewer to consider.
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