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Railways: RIDDOR

Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: I am not aware of any estimate of the cost to the railway industry of compliance with the Reporting of Injuries Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR).

Sudan: Darfur

Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:



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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): The situation in Darfur remains appalling. There are continued attacks on civilians, peacekeepers and the humanitarian agencies. The arms embargo on Darfur continues to be violated. No side is making a serious effort to find a peaceful settlement to the conflict and President Bashir has gone back on his Government's commitments at Addis Ababa, in particular with regard to the UN support package for the African Union Mission in Sudan.

We believe that the UN Security Council should impose further measures on those responsible for violating UN Security Council Resolution 1591 and we will be taking this forward with our Security Council partners in the coming days.

Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Triesman: No reliable figures exist for the total number of persons who have died or been injured across Darfur as a result of the conflict there. However, a frequently quoted, and plausible, figure for the number of deaths is 200,000.

The UN estimates that there are currently 2,060,000 displaced people in Darfur and a further 220,000 living as refugees in neighbouring Chad.

Every death, injury, displacement or rape in Sudan is a tragedy. That is why we are pressing the Government of Sudan and the rebel groups to stop the fighting, to agree to the deployment of the UN-African Union hybrid force in Darfur, to commit to and implement the Darfur peace agreement, and to ensure full humanitarian access for the UN and non-governmental organisations in Darfur.

Sudan: International Criminal Court

Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): The Government welcome the fact that the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor's investigation has got to the point at which he is able to ask for the issuing of summonses against two individuals. It is now for the ICC judges to decide whether to approve this request.

The UK has made clear to the Government of Sudan that, as required by UN Security Council Resolution 1593, they must co-operate fully with the ICC in any action the court decides to take. We will monitor the actions of the Government of Sudan extremely carefully. My right honourable friend the

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Minister of State for Trade, Investment and Foreign Affairs, Ian McCartney, made this point to the Sudanese Justice Minister when they met in Geneva on 13 March.

Taxation: VAT Carousel Fraud

Lord Steinberg asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: Unfortunately the requested information cannot be disclosed as to do so would undermine the measures introduced by HM Revenue and Customs to counter Missing Trader Intra-Community fraud and as such prejudice the assessment and collection of tax.

Lord Steinberg asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: HMRC has a duty to protect tax revenues and does so through a multi-faceted strategy using a range of interventions. The investigation of MTIC fraud is directed on the basis of perceived risk and not limited by specific products or sectors. Although the majority of all MTIC fraud seen so far has been perpetrated using mobile phones and computer chips, a wide range of other goods have been, and continue to be, used.

Ongoing prosecutions, resulting from HMRC's criminal investigations, involve some £2.5 billion of VAT. However, this figure is dynamic and changes as further evidence comes to light, and new cases are adopted and current ones completed.

Lord Steinberg asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: MTIC fraud is an attack on the taxation system and, as such, is an assigned matter to HM Revenue and Customs. However, the police have conducted investigations that touch on MTIC fraud—for example, into money laundering—and have worked with HM Revenue and Customs in support of their investigations. HM Revenue and Customs also works closely with the Serious Organised Crime Agency.

Details of the investigations and prosecutions conducted each year by HM Revenue and Customs are published in the departmental annual report and, prior to the creation of HM Revenue and Customs, were published each year in the annual reports of both the Inland Revenue and HM Customs and Excise.

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Copies of the annual reports are available in the Library of the House. Where the specific information requested is not published, it is not collated in that format.

Transport: Heavy Goods Vehicles

Lord Bradshaw asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The UNECE Regulation 48 amendment was adopted in March 2006. Work on a public consultation document and regulatory impact assessment is underway and instructions about draft amendments to the Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations are currently in hand. Statutory consultation, once issued, will be open for three months. The amending instrument will then need to be approved by Parliament.

The current timetable of work will ensure that, pending parliamentary approval, regulations are ready to enter into force from 10 October 2009, the earliest date we are permitted to refuse to register heavy vehicles not fitted with reflective tape.


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