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The regulations protect people from being treated less favourably because of their sexual orientation, but provide for some exceptions from the requirement for equal treatment. For example, religious organisations that fulfil certain criteria may restrict some of their activities on grounds of sexual orientation; services to meet special needs for education, training or welfare of people of a particular sexual orientation may be provided; and private clubs will be able to restrict the benefits of membership to people of a particular sexual orientation where this is the main object of the club.
Whether, following the implementation of the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007, it will be an offence for schools, religious bodies, doctors or other individuals to state
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Baroness Andrews: The Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007 will prohibit discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation in the provision of goods, facilities and services, education, the disposal and management of premises, and the exercise of public functions.
The regulations protect people from being treated less favourably because of their sexual orientation in the areas covered. The regulations will not impact on the ability of professionals to impart factual information, where this is based on evidence and is part of service provision. Nor should they affect the work of professionalsfor example, teachers or doctorsacting in accordance with existing statutory guidelines and professional codes of practice.
Whether, under the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007, it will be acceptable for an adoption agency to give preference to a couple of both sexes over a same-sex couple when considering the interests of the child. [HL2973]
Baroness Andrews: The decision on whether to place a child for adoption with particular prospective adopters is taken by the adoption panel of the local authority that is looking after the child. The paramount consideration in any decision on whether to place a child for adoption with particular prospective adopters is the welfare of the child throughout his or her life, taking account of the child's religious persuasion, racial origin and cultural and linguistic background.
On what grounds Baroness Scotland of Asthal stated on 15 March (Official Report, cols. 826-28) that the provision (Article 308) can be used only within the Communitys competence, bearing in mind that the European Unions communication on its programme Prevention, Preparedness and Consequence Management of Terrorism relies on Article 308 because there is no legal basis for the initiative in the treaty of Nice. [HL2795]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): Article 308 can be used only for the attainment of an objective attributed to the Community by member states in the treaty establishing the European Community (TEC). Civil protection is cited as a Community objective under Article 3(1)(u) of the TEC. During the course of negotiating the specific programme Prevention, Preparedness and Consequence Management of
16 Apr 2007 : Column WA15
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Triesman on 15 March (WA 151), whether Article 308 of the Treaty Establishing the European Community first appeared in the 1957 Treaty of Rome as Article 235; and, if so, what was its purpose at that time. [HL2927]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): Article 235 of the original Treaty of Rome is the same as Article 308 of the present treaty establishing the European Community. The European Court of Justice gave the following explanation of Article 235 in Opinion 2/94 of 28 March 1996 (paragraph 29): Article 235 is designed to fill the gap where no specific provisions of the Treaty confer on the Community institutions express or implied powers to act, if such powers appear nonetheless to be necessary to enable the Community to carry out its functions with a view to attaining one of the objectives laid down by the Treaty.
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Triesman on 15 March (WA 151), whether they will reveal which legal instruments passed since 2004 rely on Article 308 of the Treaty Establishing the European Community as their legal base. [HL2928]
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Falconer of Thoroton on 6 March (WA 33), what are the undertakings that have been provided by the Governments of Jersey and Guernsey that any European Union obligations concerning the composition, presentation and marketing of food supplements and herbal remedies will be met. [HL3101]
The Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs and Lord Chancellor (Lord Falconer of Thoroton): The undertakings to comply with EU obligations have been given through the chief executives office on behalf of the Governments of Jersey and Guernsey. Both Jersey and Guernsey have stated their intention to review relevant EU legislation and to meet any EU
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Further to the Written Answer by Lord Goldsmith on 27 March (WA 259), whether it is the law officers or their clients within the Executive who own the advice given by the law officers; and why it is for the law officers rather than the Executive to decide whether to consent to the disclosure of the law officers' advice to the Crown.[HL3076]
The Attorney-General (Lord Goldsmith): Legal advice given by the law officers is subject to legal professional privilege (LPP) like any other legal advice. It is for the client to decide whether to waive LPP. In addition, law officers' advice is subject to the requirement that the fact and content of the advice must not be disclosed outside government without their authority. This requirement is contained in the Ministerial Code, issued by the Prime Minister. It is of long standing and has applied under successive administrations.
With reference to the paper published by the Porton Down Group on their marmoset study of the health effects of exposure to pyridostigmine bromide, how the statistical analysis and display of its results can be reconciled with the group's discussion of them; and whether they will now make available to Gulf War veterans or their representatives, and place in the Library of the House, the actual data relevant to the amount of time the animals spent in (a) sleep; (b) rapid eye movement sleep; and (c) wakefulness over the 18 months of the study. [HL2994]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Drayson): As I indicated in my Answer of 5 March (Official Report, col. WA 8), the outputs of the Ministry of Defence's vaccines interactions research programme have been reported in detail in open literature publications. The interpretation of the study results was the subject of oversight from an independent panel of experts and veterans representatives, and the findings have been independently reviewed as part of the peer-reviewed publication process.
Data from the marmoset study relating to sleep were the subject of independent academic statistical analysis and the findings were released in the paper: Multiple Vaccine and Pyridostigmine Interactions Effects on EEG and sleep in the common marmoset
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Whether they have approved the methodology proposed in the review of regional spatial strategy regarding Gypsies and Travellers by regional planning bodies; and by what date they expect regional planning boards to have conducted these reviews and published the results. [HL2857]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): The research undertaken by a group of researchersled by the Centre for Urban and Regional Studies, University of Birminghamentitled Preparing Regional Spatial Strategy Reviews on Gypsies and Travellers by Regional Planning Bodies was part-funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government. It is intended as a useful tool to help regional planning bodies to determine regional pitch requirements at local authority level. While we would commend the methodology to regional assemblies in considering the allocation of pitch numbers, each will need to take into account the circumstances in its area in coming to final decisions.
Currently, all regions are undertaking preliminary work to review Gypsy and Traveller issues in their regions. In the east, south-east and south-west single-issue reviews of the regional spatial strategies are under way. In the East Midlands the current regional spatial strategy review already includes interim additional pitch requirements for each local authority. The east of England is the most advanced in its process, with publication of its Issues and Options consultation document due on 8 May. In the Yorkshire and Humber region, the issue of accommodation for Gypsies and Travellers was considered at the examination in public into the draft regional spatial strategy carried out in October and November 2006. The panel report is expected to be published shortly. The need for further assessment work by the regional planning body will be considered in the light of the panel report. Revisions in the remaining areas are expected to start within two years.
Whether they have made an assessment of potential changes to the model for dyspepsia/gastro-oesophageal management in primary care to achieve a more efficient use of all drug therapies indicated for dyspepsia. [HL3105]
The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): We have made no assessment of the potential changes to the model for dyspepsia/gastro-oesophageal management in primary care. It is the responsibility of local health bodies to review their existing practice for the management of people with these conditions to ensure the most efficient use of drug therapies in light of the most recent clinical guidance.
The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): Independent sector clinical assessment, treatment and support services will provide diagnostic tests, treatments and therapies as an alternative to traditional hospital outpatient services. They have been designed to improve services for patients by reducing waiting times by increasing National Health Service capacity for diagnostic tests and procedures and improving patient care by offering more one-stop diagnostic services with a fast return of results.
Whether they have any plans to collect information on the number and geographical location of primary care trusts routinely offering dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scans to either (a) women patients over 60 years of age, or (b) women patients over 60 assessed as being at risk of developing osteoporosis; and [HL3106]
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 7 March (WA 54), why they decided not to ringfence the capital provision of £17 million to improve National Health Service capacity in dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scanning provision. [HL3107]
The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The capital provision of £17 million to improve the National Health Service capacity for dual X-ray absorptiometry scanning was allocated via strategic capital because it was considered that strategic health authorities would be best placed to distribute this funding. Strategic capital allocations are not ringfenced.
The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): The Occupational Health and Welfare Service offers advice and practical support to Members and staff who wish to stop smoking. Individuals are provided with an information pack that includes an advice booklet on how to stop smoking, an action plan, and a confidential health form. A carbon monoxide breath test is offered to measure the level of carbon monoxide poisoning caused by the smoking of cigarettes. Individuals receive advice on products that may help them to stop smoking and are invited to attend weekly support sessions to monitor progress and to assist them in their efforts.
How many incidents of damage to immigration centres have occurred since December 2005; and whether they have been attributable in any way to any lack of reasonable care and attention given to detainees by the centres management and staff. [HL2832]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): Since December 2005, there have been two incidents of damage to immigration centres: Harmondsworth on 28 to 29 November 2006; and Campsfield House on 14 March 2007.
Mr Robert Whalley is currently carrying out an investigation into the disturbance at Harmondsworth immigration removal centre. This will establish the lessons to be learnt for the management of the immigration detainees and for the immigration detention estate. He is extending his investigation to cover the incident at Campsfield House.
Whether they will publish a list of the members of the employers task force that has been established to advise on the new points-based system of immigration control; and why no Chinese employers have been invited to participate in this body. [HL2617]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): The employers task force membership list will be published on the IND website together with the terms of reference as agreed with the employers task force.
Members represent both large and small employers, all of whom employ migrants and have an interest in working in partnership with the Home Office to shape migration policy. This is a representative body with interests in the migration system that are strategically important for boosting Britains economy.
No specific communities are represented on the task force, as the view was taken that their interests would be represented by task force members who are drawn from the wider business community. Membership is regularly reviewed and supplemented with bilateral and other meetings with other interested bodies.
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