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The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): The Government are currently undertaking a review of the UK's counterterrorist capability and resources, led by the Home Secretary, which will enable the delivery of a step change in the approach to tackling terrorism over the next decade.
Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Scotland of Asthal on 2 November (WA 74) (a) when the fixed penalty for ignoring weight restrictions imposed by local traffic regulation order was set at £30; and (b) why, bearing in mind that there is a fixed penalty procedures working group, this amount has not been raised in line with inflation. [HL74]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): (a) Contravention of a weight restriction imposed by a local traffic regulation order carries the standard fixed penalty for a non-endurable offence. This was increased from £20 to £30 on 1 November 2000.
In reviewing the level of fixed penalties, the group takes account of many different factors. Inflation is only one of these. Others include the importance of traffic control and road safety, the overall fixed penalty structure and effect of any changes in government policy, the level of court-imposed fines for the same offences, the impact on low-income groups, and the need to set penalties at levels that offenders will pay without contesting but which will also act as a deterrent. To date, the group has not considered that there is a sufficiently strong case to recommend to Ministers an increase in the fixed penalty level.
Whether they will press for a renewal in February 2007 of the current sanctions against official and personal travel first imposed on President Mugabe and 19 of his senior associates by the European Union in February 2002. [HL84]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): As I told the House on 19 October, targeted measures against 126 leading figures in the Zimbabwe Government must continue (Official Report, cols. 916-20). They place real and significant pressure on the regime. They have the support of the Zimbabwean political opposition and non-governmental organisations, and they send a firm message that the EU is concerned about human rights abuses. As Mugabe continues to ignore international calls for reform, instead punishing his people for voicing their concerns, we will continue to push for the targeted measures to be maintained.
Whether, in collaboration with their international partners, they will promote and support a resolution on Zimbabwe at the United Nations Human Rights Council to endorse the resolution passed by the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights during its 38th session in 2005. [HL85]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): The next session of the Human Rights Council (HRC) will focus on its institution-building agenda, working to make the council fully operational as quickly as possible, and we do not expect specific resolutions on country situations or thematic human rights issues at this session. But the Government take every opportunity to raise their concerns about the continued abuse of fundamental human rights by the Government of Zimbabwe. At our instigation, the EU presidency raised the issue of Zimbabwe at the
23 Nov 2006 : Column WA22
We welcomed the resolution by the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights and lobbied African partners to adopt it at the African Union summit in July. We will continue to review with partners appropriate fora to discuss Zimbabwe's dire human rights record.
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