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How many prosecutions have been initiated by (a) the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency, and (b) the police against drivers found to be in breach of drivers' hours regulations while driving in Wales in 2005-06; and how many of these affect drivers from the Republic of Ireland. [HL2348]
Lord Bassam of Brighton: (a) The number of prosecutions initiated by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) against drivers found to be in breach of drivers' hours regulations while driving in Wales in 2005-06 is 488. VOSA does not record the nationality of drivers prosecuted.
(b) Available data for 2004 (latest available) and taken from the Court Proceedings Database held by the Office for Criminal Justice Reform show that there were 332 proceedings at magistrates' courts throughout Wales for failing to observe limits on hours of driving and duty or rest requirements. This is an offence under the Transport Act 1968 section 96(11)(a).
How the law is applied, in the case of first offences, to university students from overseas who have sought paid employment and worked longer hours than permitted by law; and whether they recommend the use of cautions and warnings. [HL1568]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): It is the responsibility of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate to frame and enforce the UK's immigration laws. The directorates instructions state that a student should not work for more than 20 hours per week during term time, except where the placement is a necessary part of their studies and is approved by their educational establishment.
Each case is considered on its own merits, taking into account the student's academic and attendance records. Where it is established that a student has been working in breach of their conditions, they may be subject to administrative removal. Formal cautions and warnings are not used.
What is the United Kingdom's share of the annual cost of the European Union's Anti-Fraud Office, OLAF; how many prosecutions it has launched since 1997; how many have been successful; and what sums have been recovered thereby. [HL2333]
Lord Davies of Oldham: The United Kingdom makes its contributions to the EC Budget as a whole and not to individual areas of expenditure within it. The estimated expenditure for OLAF in the 2007 EC Budget is €52 million (£35 million). After taking account of the abatement, the United Kingdom share of financing the 2007 EC Budget is estimated to be 12.49 per cent. If OLAF detects fraud, it passes these details to the relevant member state in order that they might take the necessary action through their own judicial processes. OLAF does not itself prosecute.
Further to the debate on 19 February (Official Report, col. 880), for which legal instruments Article 308 of the treaty establishing the European Community has been used as the legal base since 1997. [HL2277]
Article 308 requires, in order for it to be used as a legal base for action, that a proposal be necessary for the attainment of a Community objective and have unanimous support at the Council. The Government have given an undertaking that, where the Commission puts forward a legislative proposal citing Article 308 as its legal base, the Commission's justification of this choice of legal base and the Government's assessment of that choice will be provided to the scrutiny committees.
Further to the debate on 19 February (Official Report, col. 881), what are their criteria for accepting the use of Article 308 of the treaty establishing the European Community as the legal base for European Union legal instruments. [HL2278]
Lord Triesman: In assessing the legal base of proposals brought forward by the Commission, the Government apply criteria laid down by the Court of Justice in case law dating back to the 1980s and consider each proposal as a whole, in particular its aim and content. Article 308 requires that a proposal be necessary for the attainment of a Community objective and that the Council must act unanimously. The Government have given an undertaking that, where the Commission puts forward a legislative proposal citing Article 308 as its legal base, the Commission's justification of its choice of legal base and the Government's assessment of that choice will be provided to the scrutiny committees.
What is the total annual budget of the European Union; how much of this is identified by the European Union's Court of Auditors as being properly spent; and what is the United Kingdom's share of any shortfall. [HL2330]
Lord Davies of Oldham: The latest European Court of Auditors report concerns the EC Budget for 2005. Total expenditure for that year is shown as €104.835 billion (£71.663 billion). The European Court of Auditors cleared around 35 per cent of this expenditure. After taking account of the abatement, the United Kingdom's share of financing the 2005 EC Budget was 12.06 per cent.
Lord Davies of Oldham: The reporting of irregularities data to the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) is a matter for those departments responsible for the area concerned. The annexe to the 2005 Fight Against Fraud report (document 11660/06 ADD 1), available in the House Library, shows the irregularities reported by the United Kingdom in respect of agricultural expenditure (Annexe 4, page 65) and structural measures (Annexe 7, pages 68 and 69).
What is their response to the view expressed by Advocate-General Colomer in his advice to the European Court of Justice that golden shares held by Governments and related agencies in privatised public sector companies are a violation of the European Union rules on free movement of capital. [HL2299]
Special shares are permitted under EU law where they are required for public policy, public security or over-riding requirements of the general interest. The Government's aim is to ensure that the ownership of special shares is justifiable and that the terms of the special shares are proportionate. A number of special shares that could not be justified against the criteria of the court have been redeemed since 2003.
Whether they have made an estimate of (a) the change in the number of complaints likely to be made to the Information Commissioner as a result of the Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2007, if implemented; and (b) the effect of those complaints on the Information Commissioner's ability to deal with the existing backlog of complaints. [HL2127]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): The partial regulatory impact assessment published on 14 December 2006 as part of the consultation on the draft Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2007 recognises that in the immediate aftermath of the changes there will be an increase in the number of appeals against the application of the
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What powers are available to HM Revenue and Customs to prevent the marketing to United Kingdom mainland consumers of unlicensed medicinal products by companies based in the Channel Islands; and what steps they intend to take to address this issue. [HL2315]
Lord Davies of Oldham: HM Revenue and Customs has no powers to prevent the marketing of unlicensed medicinal products as described. Policy on medicines legislation is the responsibility of the Medicinal and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), but it does not have jurisdiction in the Channel Islands. The islands have their own legislative assemblies.
What assessment they have made of the revenues lost to HM Treasury as a result of (a) the VAT exemptions enjoyed by businesses based in the Channel Islands supplying unlicensed medicines to United Kingdom mainland consumers, and (b) the ability of such businesses to avoid United Kingdom corporation taxes. [HL2318]
What assessment they have made of the constitutional position of the Channel Islands; and what plans they have to ensure that the special position of the Channel Islands is not abused to provide a home for those marketing illegal and potentially dangerous products to the United Kingdom. [HL2319]
The Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs and Lord Chancellor (Lord Falconer of Thoroton): The Channel Islands are self-governing dependencies of the Crown. They have their own directly elected legislative assemblies, administrative, fiscal and legal systems, and their own courts of law. They do not form part of the United Kingdom, and UK
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The UK is working with the authorities in Jersey and Guernsey to determine the extent to which EU legislation governing the composition, presentation and marketing of food supplements and herbal remedies applies. Both Jersey and Guernsey have undertaken to meet any EU obligations that arise.
Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Scotland of Asthal on 15 January (WA124), how they propose to alter the test for deportation of European Economic Area nationals, when this is determined by Directive 2004/38/EC of 29 April 2004; and what provision in current legislation before Parliament addresses this matter. [HL2291]
When the form summarising the reasons for the detention of asylum seekers was last revised; what changes were made; and when it is due for further revision to take account of individual reasons. [HL2036]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): The notice to immigration detainees informing them of the reasons for their detention and bail rights (form IS91R) is revised from time to time as necessary. The last revision was in June 2006, when minor changes were made to reflect the fact that the notice could be issued by officials acting on behalf of the Secretary of State as well as immigration officers.
We are satisfied that the notice provides detainees with the necessary information about the statutory power under which they have been detained, the reasons for their detention and the factors that have been taken into account in reaching the decision to detain. We have no plans to revise the format of the notice.
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The Government have no plans to change the basis on which detention under Immigration Act powers is authorised or reviewed. Existing procedures, including access to the processes of judicial review and habeas corpus to challenge the lawfulness of detention, comply fully with the requirements of Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Whether they will propose to the European Union that a common database of information on source countries be established, so that asylum authorities in all member states operate on the basis of the best and most reliable information. [HL2256]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): The Government support the European Commissions proposal to undertake a feasibility study towards establishing a common portal that will enable all member states to share and access each other's databases of information. We will continue to work closely with EU colleagues on the compilation and assessment of country of origin information (COI). We will continue to collate our own COI, as appropriate to our needs, which is relevant, reliable, current, objective and obtained solely from sources that are, or can be made, available to asylum seekers and their representatives.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): The Government welcome the agreement signed on 21 February between India and Pakistan. This is an encouraging confidence-building measure and a positive step to reduce the risk of nuclear accidents.
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