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Lord Davies of Oldham: The Government have no plans to introduce a new offence that specifically outlaws the playing of loud music from open-windowed vehicles. Existing legislation already provides a range of options that enable police forces and local authorities to address this problem. Relevant legislation is as follows:
Police Reform Act 2002: local police forces may serve anti-social behaviour orders that can impose bans from certain roads, and there are even confiscation powers over vehicle owners in more serious cases.
Environmental Protection Act 1990: under Section 79, as amended by the Noise and Statutory Nuisance Act 1993, loud music from stationary vehicles may also be defined as a statutory nuisance. Environmental health officers, therefore, have powers to serve abatement notices during these incidents. Failure to comply can lead to fines and confiscation of equipment.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): All caseworkers in the Immigration and Nationality Directorate who are responsible for considering asylum claims are obliged to follow the asylum policy instruction on gender issues. I am satisfied that in most cases the guidance is being followed. I am aware of recent criticism by Asylum Aid that caseworkers do not always apply the gender guidelines correctly. The Home Office is carefully examining the Asylum Aid report and will
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make changes to the process if it is appropriate to do so. Home Office officials will meet Asylum Aid on 12 May to discuss the report.
What consultation they undertook, and with whom, before seeking a derogation from the European Commission to allow the continuing use of red diesel for recreational boat and yachting purposes. [HL5619]
Lord McKenzie of Luton: Following the 2004 Pre-Budget Report, the Government held extensive informal consultation with stakeholders which led to the publication at the Budget 2006 of the partial regulatory impact assessment (RIA) on the effects of ending the derogation and the decision to apply for renewal. The Government are continuing to discuss the issue with stakeholders with a view to informing the case that is put to the Commission.
Average earnings are estimated from the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE), and are provided for full-time employees on adult rates whose pay for the survey period was not affected by absence.
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This is the standard definition used for ASHE. The ASHE does not collect data on the self-employed and people who do unpaid work.
I attach a table showing average gross weekly earnings by government office region for the year 2005 for all full-time employees on adult rates. These statistics are already published on the National Statistics website at www.statistics.gov.uk/StatBase/Product.asp?vlnk=13101.
The ASHE, carried out in April each year, is the most comprehensive source of earnings information in the United Kingdom. It is a one per cent sample of all employees who are members of pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) schemes.
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Whether the 2.5 per cent levy on underspending National Health Service trusts, designed to support those trusts that have overspent, will impact more on trusts which serve mainly (a) urban, or (b) rural areas; and whether the levies will apply to all trusts that have broken even or made a profit. [HL5545]
The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Warner): In 2006-07, the priority will be to restore financial balance in the National Health Service. The
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purpose of strategic health authority (SHA) reserves is to act as a mechanism to help achieve this objective. SHAs have the responsibility to develop and implement a service and financial strategy for managing the financial position within their locality. They will develop this with primary care trusts (PCTs) and NHS trusts in their area. This will include creating local reserves to deal with local problems. The size of the reserves and the contribution from each PCT will vary according to local circumstances, but the underlying principle will be fairness. Where local reserves are established we expect:
SHAs to maintain the integrity of the allocations system with PCTs entitled to repayment of any contributions over a reasonable period not usually exceeding the three-year allocation cycle, unless otherwise locally agreed;
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