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Written Answers

Tuesday, 6 December 2005.

Army Prosecuting Authority:Attorney-General

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Goldsmith: I have ministerial superintendence of both the Crown Prosecution Service and the three Service Prosecuting Authorities. In the case of the CPS, the role is statutory; in the case of the Service Prosecuting Authorities, it is non-statutory.

I have confidence that the service investigators, prosecutors and military courts deliver independent and impartial justice. Where an offence alleged to have been committed by a serviceman overseas is triable in either the court martial or the civilian courts here, it is ultimately for me to decide, as part of my constitutional and superintendence roles, whether the case should be dealt with in the military or the civilian system. Only exceptionally will such a case be dealt with in the civilian system. This may be because it is no longer possible to use the court martial jurisdiction or because the particular circumstances of a case indicate that the civilian courts are best placed to deal with it.

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Goldsmith: No such conflict has arisen as far as I am aware.
 
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Avian Flu: Insurance

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bach: Defra has not issued such guidance. The risks for which the industry can insure and whether individual companies choose to do so are commercial decisions for the respective parties.

Bathside Bay, Harwich

Lord Hanningfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: The report of the public inquiry into the proposed Bathside Bay container terminal development is under careful consideration, and an announcement will be made as soon as possible.

Belfast Education and Library Board

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: Appointments to all the education and library boards are regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments for Northern Ireland, and the members appointed in July 2005 were selected in accordance with legislative requirements and the code of practice laid down by the commissioner. The code of practice makes clear that appointments must be made on merit. To appoint on the basis of community background would have been unlawful.

Belfast Ulster-Scots Festival

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Lord Rooker: On 27 September 2005 the department received an application for funding from the chair of the Belfast Ulster-Scots Festival Organising Committee. This was forwarded to the Ulster-Scots Agency for consideration. The board of the agency agreed on 4 November 2005 to make an additional payment of £7,000 to the festival organising committee, to supplement its original offer of grant assistance for £4,990 made on 18 October 2005. Payment of this latter amount was made by the agency on 2 November 2005. Payment in respect of the additional amount was made by the agency on 28 November 2005.

Chinese Students

Lord Chan asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The requirement to register with the police once they have arrived in the United Kingdom is a condition of the entry clearance issued by the British Embassy. Chinese nationals are "relevant foreign nationals" for the purposes of Part 10 of the Immigration Rules. These state that a "relevant foreign national" aged 16 or over who is given limited leave to enter the United Kingdom for longer than six months should normally be required to register with the police unless he is given leave in one of the categories listed in paragraph 326(2) of the rules. Students are not one of the exempt categories. This is not a new requirement, nor is it confined to Chinese nationals.

Egypt: Copts

Lord Patten asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Triesman: The Government last made official representations about religious freedom issues in May 2005, when the British Embassy in Cairo made working-level representations to the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the case of Nevine Marcos, a Coptic Christian who had allegedly been kidnapped and forced to convert to Islam.

Fire Engines

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Baroness Andrews: FiReBuy Ltd has been given responsibility by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister for the national procurement of all fire vehicles for English fire and rescue services. It is proposing over the next two years to fund a research project to determine the optimum colours, conspicuity, visual and audible options for fire vehicles.

Information Security: Department for Transport

Lord Harris of Haringey asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: Responsibility for information security in the Department for Transport rests with the appropriate Minister for each of its business areas enabled by IT.


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