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Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The questions were devised by UfI (University for Industry) together with experts from the Advisory Board for Naturalisation and Integration. All the questions are based on information contained in the handbook Life in the United Kingdom: A journey to Citizenship.
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When the Home Office intends to reply to questions on the level of enforcement of the law in respect of cycling on pavements raised with it by the spokesman on transport matters in the House of Lords, the Lord Davies of Oldham, following representations he received from the Lord Stoddart of Swindon on 31 March relating to danger to pedestrians. [HL2226]
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The noble Lord's concerns were raised in correspondence which unfortunately appears not to have been copied to the Home Office. Cycling on the pavement is an offence under Section 72 of the Highways Act 1835. Its enforcement is an operational matter for the police. Individual chief officers of police are best placed to decide on the level of priority given to this offence in the light of its perceived seriousness, other demands on police time and resources, and local circumstances. To help the police with enforcement we introduced the option of a £30 fixed penalty notice for cycling inconsiderately or irresponsibly on the pavement. We have also made it possible for community support officers (CSOs) and persons accredited under the Police Reform Act, a swell as police officers, to issue such notices. Particular local problems can be identified by local crime and disorder reduction partnerships and addressed in their strategies. As with other offending, we would encourage members of the public to inform the police of specific problems and of particularly dangerous behaviour to help them target their responses effectively. The cycling infrastructure and environment are currently under improvement as part of the national cycling strategy. We expect this improvement to reduce the incentive to cycle on the pavement for reasons of safety and convenience. Since the introduction of the fixed penalty notice in 1999, when one person was killed, no other person has been killed in such an accident between 2000 and 2003 and the total number of casualties has declined from 87 in 1999 to 51 in 2003.
Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Triesman on 18 October (WA 115) which stated that "the Constitutional Treaty will be ratified in the United Kingdom only after a referendum", whether the use of the verb "will" rather than the conditional form "would" is a grammatical error or an indication of the strength of the Government's view that the treaty should be ratified. [HL2234]
Lord Triesman: The Government have on a number of occasions called on Israel to accede to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as a non-nuclear weapon state and also to the Chemical Weapons Convention, and will continue to do so. We take appropriate opportunities to discuss all aspects of non-proliferation with representatives of the Israeli Government.
We deplore all civilian casualties, especially children, which have resulted from this conflict. We call on the Palestinian Authority to prevent acts of violence originating in the occupied territories. We recognise Israel's right to defend itself from acts of violence, but call upon the Israeli Government to act with restraint and in accordance with international law.
Lord Triesman: We regularly raise our concerns with the Israeli Government about their activities in the occupied territories and the need for Israel to comply with international law, especially on the questions of settlements and the routing of the barrier, stressing that both are contrary to international law.
Whether, in cases where an appeal against the award of a licence under the Licensing Act 2003 has been granted by the magistrates' court, the court has power to award costs against the licensee. [HL1953]
Lord Davies of Oldham: In any appeal, the courts have the power to award costs as they see fit. That would include the award of costs against the licensee, if the licensee were party to the appeal.
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Why the Department for Culture, Media and Sport's helpline is for licensees only, and not for other groups such as residents' associations, police officers, and local authority officials who may need to ask questions about the Licensing Act 2003. [HL2219]
Lord Davies of Oldham: The licensing helpline was set up for the specific purpose of advising licence holders, at a time when the numbers of applications for conversions of existing licences was very low. It was part of a joint strategy by the Government and the Local Government Association to promote and encourage applications.
The Civic Trust has issued a guide to the Licensing Act 2003 for local residents and residents' associations. The Government have issued guidance for police forces and guidance for local authorities under Section 182 of the 2003 Act which was approved by both Houses of Parliament.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): This matter is the responsibility of the Office of Communications (Ofcom), as the independent regulator for the communications sector. Ofcom derives its main powers and duties directly from statute rather than by delegation from the Secretary of State.
It is accountable to Parliament in its own right. We have asked the chief executive of Ofcom to respond directly to the noble Lord and to send us a copy of his response. Copies of the chief executive's letter will also be placed in the Libraries of the House.
Whether they will seek to reach such reciprocal agreements to end the practice of freezing state pensions for retired British citizens living in British Overseas Territories; and, if so, with whom they would need to negotiate such agreements. [HL2207]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): We have no plans to enter into reciprocal agreements with any of the British Overseas Territories.
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