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World Bank

3.28 pm

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty’s Government:

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The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Amos): My Lords, no. President Wolfowitz confirmed at the bank’s spring meetings that improving reproductive health is absolutely crucial to development and will remain an integral part of the bank’s new health strategy. We emphasise the great importance that the United Kingdom attaches to reproductive health, including family planning, and to the bank’s support for this in its country assistance strategies. We will continue to press the bank on the critical issue of sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Lord Avebury: My Lords, has the Minister seen reports of the leaked e-mails from the World Bank official alleging that, on the orders of the managing director, Mr Daboub, all references to family planning were deleted from the Madagascar country assistance programme? Has she seen reports in the newspapers that other programmes in the region have been tampered with and that the World Bank’s strategic programme, which was presented at a meeting last weekend, has been watered down as regards family planning and contraception?

Baroness Amos: My Lords, we have seen those reports and have been lobbied by a number of our NGOs on this matter. That is precisely why the issue was raised with Mr Daboub himself, not only by the Permanent Secretary of the Department for International Development but also by my colleague Hilary Benn when he attended the spring meetings last weekend. We were assured that sexual and reproductive health remains a key plank in the bank’s strategy. We will of course continue to ensure that that remains the case.

Baroness Trumpington: My Lords, the Question specifically mentioned Madagascar. Am I right in thinking that our embassy there is closing, or has closed? If so, who is representing our interests?

Baroness Amos: My Lords, if I remember rightly, Madagascar is now being covered by our high commission in Mauritius with a local office in Madagascar.

Lord Lea of Crondall: My Lords, I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, in asking this Question. I speak as chair of the All-Party Group on Madagascar. On a recent delegation, we were very impressed by the Madagascar action plan, which includes the provision that the fertility rate—the number of children per family—is, according to the plan, falling from 5.4 as of 2005 to between three and four in 2012. Given that such reductions are absolutely indispensable to give a country such as Madagascar any chance of meeting the millennium development goals, would my noble friend note that the Madagascar action plan is very welcome and needs all the international support that can be given to it? The signs that the World Bank is not giving full support are very regrettable, and I hope that the Government will reinforce the message that Hilary Benn and others have given to the World Bank.

Baroness Amos: My Lords, the Madagascar country assistance plan was approved by the World Bank board on 3 April. It has two pillars: the first is to promote investment and growth in rural and urban

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areas and the second is to improve access and quality of services, including health. The plan states that, in relation to health, the strategy will help the Government to make further progress on reducing child and maternal mortality by offering access to reproductive services, reducing child malnutrition, improving the availability of clean water and sanitation services, and so on.

Lord Bilimoria: My Lords, the World Bank and the IMF are institutions that were founded over 50 years ago and were suitable for the landscape in the world at that time. Today there are serious concerns about the appropriateness of the World Bank and the IMF, let alone the president of the World Bank’s partner’s salary. What are the Government doing to initiate and encourage urgently needed reform of the World Bank and the IMF to make them appropriate for today’s world?

Baroness Amos: My Lords, the noble Lord may know that we have been at the forefront in pushing for reform at the World Bank and the IMF. He may wish to look at the speech given by my right honourable friend Hilary Benn on 12 April. He talked about the three major issues that need to frame the World Bank’s long-term strategy. He said that it needed to look at its structure, how it helped its members and how it would tackle issues regarding climate change and natural resource depletion.

Baroness Tonge: My Lords, I hope that all noble Lords, and indeed the Minister, have read the report, Return of the Population Growth Factor, by the All-Party Group on Population, Development and Reproductive Health. It states clearly, as the noble Lord, Lord Lea, said, that we shall not achieve millennium development goals unless we meet the family planning need all over the world.

Noble Lords: Question!

Baroness Tonge: My Lords, it is extremely worrying, therefore, that the Minister has not really answered this question. Is she not concerned that people in the World Bank are using religious reasons to cut programmes, just as the American Government have done with UNFPA programmes? It is a very serious matter. What representations on this issue will she make to those people?

Baroness Amos: My Lords, I can represent the facts, which are as follows. In a World Bank statement on 15 April, the managing director who is under discussion this afternoon said that he recognised,

We raised the issue with the president of the World Bank, and he has assured my right honourable friend the Secretary of State that these issues remain central to the work of the bank. We will continue to monitor that. The noble Baroness should be well aware of this Government’s commitment to those issues and to meeting the target on reproductive health by 2015. We have put considerable resources into this issue. I cannot deal with speculation in the newspapers; my job is to deal with the facts as they stand.

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Baroness Rawlings: My Lords, Madagascar has so far escaped the worst of the AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa, but the figures show that sufferers are disproportionately female: there are three times as many young female sufferers as male sufferers. In such a situation, does the Minister agree that contraception and family planning have a vital role to play in combating the disease?

Baroness Amos: Yes, my Lords, I do. I also think that putting gender equality issues at the centre of the development agenda in Madagascar is critical.

International Tribunals (Sierra Leone) Bill [HL]

3.36 pm

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: My Lords, on behalf of my noble friend Lord Triesman, I beg to introduce a Bill to confer power to make provision in relation to the Special Court for Sierra Leone corresponding to that made in relation to the International Criminal Court by Sections 42 to 48 of the International Criminal Court Act 2001. I beg to move that the Bill be now read a first time.

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Bill read a first time, and ordered to be printed.

Serious Crime Bill [HL]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My Lords, on behalf of my noble friend Lady Scotland of Asthal, I beg to move the Motion standing in her name on the Order Paper.

Moved, that the amendments for the Report stage be marshalled and considered in the following order:

Clauses 1 to 4,

Schedule 1,Clauses 5 to 35,Schedule 2,Clauses 36 to 44,Schedule 3,Clauses 45 to 48,Schedule 4,Clauses 49 to 56,Schedule 5,Clauses 57 to 65,Schedule 6,Clause 66 ,Schedules 7 and 8,Clauses 67 to 69,Schedule 9,Clauses 70 and 71,Schedule 10,Clauses 72 to 75,Schedule 11,Clauses 76 to 78,Schedule 12,Clause 79,Schedule 13,Clauses 80 to 82.—(Lord Bassam of Brighton.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

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Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Bill

Lord Rooker: My Lords, I beg to move the Motion standing in my name on the Order Paper.

Moved, that the amendments for the Report stage be marshalled and considered in the following order:

Clauses 1 to 8,

Schedule 1,Clause 9,Schedule 2,Clauses 10 to 23,Schedule 3,Clauses 24 to 37,Schedule 4,Clauses 38 to 42,Schedule 5,Clauses 43 to 46,Schedule 6,Clauses 47 and 48,Schedule 7,Clauses 49 to 52. —(Lord Rooker.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

Greater London Authority Bill

Baroness Morgan of Drefelin: My Lords, on behalf of my noble friend Lady Andrews, I beg to move the Motion standing in her name on the Order Paper.

Moved, that it be an instruction to the Grand Committee to which the Greater London Authority Bill has been committed that they consider the Bill in the following order:

Clauses 1 to 4,

Schedule 1,Clauses 5 to 54,Schedule 2,Clauses 55 and 56. —(Baroness Morgan of Drefelin.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

Corruption Bill [HL]

Baroness Williams of Crosby: My Lords, I understand that no amendments have been set down to this Bill and that no noble Lord has indicated a wish to move a manuscript amendment or to speak in Committee. Therefore, unless any noble Lord objects, on behalf of my noble friend Lord Chidgey, I beg to move that the order of commitment be discharged.

Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.

Legal Services Bill [HL]

3.39 pm

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): My Lords, on behalf of my noble and learned friend Lord Falconer of Thoroton, I beg to move that the Bill be now further considered on Report.

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Moved accordingly, and, on Question, Motion agreed to.

Clause 7 [Supplementary powers]:

Lord Campbell of Alloway moved Amendment No. 39:

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I am reported as having moved this amendment at the end of the first day on Report, but I did not do so. For clarification, I would like to put the record straight. It is reported at col. 109 that the noble Baroness, Lady Ashton, moved one of my amendments, on judicial review, but she did not. It was reported that the amendment that she moved, which was my amendment, was approved. It was not. It is important that I should clarify the situation. I opened on the judicial review amendment and not on the amendment to leave out Clause 7.

It was getting late and I am not sure what happened, but the Minister spoke to both amendments. I am very glad that she did, because it will save a lot of time today. I accept much of what she said. What she said on the judicial review amendment, which I totally accept, was that she had taken good legal advice and that there was a risk of,

The problem was with the inclusion of the word “administrative” in relation to decisions. If the noble Baroness is prepared at Third Reading to move the amendment without the word “administrative”, I will be delighted. If she does not wish to do so, I shall do so myself.

The noble Baroness said that Clause 7 was,

and that leaving it out,

Then she said:

In view of what she said, I should be content to propose at Third Reading merely to add a qualification to Clause 7. As drafted, it states:

I would add the qualification, “which are in effect ancillary to the performance of its principal regulatory functions”. That disposes of that.

I have one last point. It is said that the clause is in standard form. However, it is far too widely drafted. If it has been picked out of the pigeonhole of the draftsman’s formal amendments, it should not be carried into this Bill without qualification. I beg to move.

The Lord Speaker (Baroness Hayman): My Lords, it might assist the House if I report that I understand that, in relation to the amendments to which the noble Lord referred at the beginning of his speech, Hansard incorrectly reported that Amendment No. 38 had been agreed to. In fact, Amendment No. 39 was not moved and a correction to that effect appeared yesterday. I hope that that is helpful.

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3.45 pm

Baroness Ashton of Upholland: My Lords, I am very grateful to the noble Baroness the Lord Speaker for indicating the correction that has been made in Hansard. The noble Lord, having moved Amendment No. 38, withdrew it. On the issue of judicial review, as the noble Lord will remember from Monday, he was keen to look at my words to consider carefully whether I had done enough in his view to deal with the matter by indicating that of course judicial review would be available, as it would be with other public bodies of this kind. He is of course at liberty to then decide what he wishes to do.

The noble Lord is also correct to say that the amendment to leave out Clause 7, Amendment No. 39, was grouped with Amendment No. 38, and I indeed replied to it. As he rightly says, it was late in the evening. I am afraid that I assumed that, in speaking to Amendment No. 38, he wished me to respond to both Amendments Nos. 38 and 39, as he did not degroup the amendment but left it where it was.

Clause 7 is essential. As I said, it is a “standard” clause—that is the word that I used. I cited a number of instances where it appears and I hope that the noble Lord will accept that it in no way enables the board to act beyond the parameters of its powers but, rather, gives it within those powers the flexibility that it will need to decide on things such as information technology and staffing. For the benefit of today’s debate, I hope that the noble Lord will be able to withdraw his amendment and to reflect on the matter further.

Lord Campbell of Alloway: My Lords, I am very much obliged to the noble Baroness. Of course I will withdraw the amendment, but I do not accept that the clause can stand without qualification, as I suggested, taking the words from the speech of the noble Baroness. I merely say that to avoid misunderstanding. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 8 [The Consumer Panel]:

Lord Hunt of Wirral moved Amendment No. 40:

(c) qualified but non-practising solicitors who, in their professional capacity, use or purchase services provided by persons who are authorised persons in relation to activities which are reserved legal activities.”

The noble Lord said: My Lords, Clause 8 establishes the Consumer Panel. It is vital that on the Consumer Panel, to be established and maintained by the Legal Services Board, there should be a fair degree of representation. Paragraphs (a) and (b) of subsection (4) mention a number of interests and persons. Amendments Nos. 40 and 41 are intended to ensure that representatives of corporate consumers are included on the Consumer Panel. I move Amendment No. 40—I am very grateful to my noble friends Lord Campbell of Alloway and Lord Kingsland for their support—to ensure that regulation is targeted at the specific needs of different situations, rather than operated through a “one size fits all” approach. The regulatory arrangements in respect of the provision of services to lay persons and small businesses may well differ substantially and fundamentally

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from those that are appropriate for corporate consumers of legal services, where there is less likely to be an inequality of knowledge between the client and the lawyer.

To achieve its aim, the amendment would guarantee that the Consumer Panel included the full range of consumers of legal services. The prohibition elsewhere in the Bill on any authorised person being a member of the Consumer Panel would undermine efforts to ensure that corporate consumers are represented. In practice, the vast majority of corporate users of legal services instruct law firms through their in-house legal departments. The expertise and knowledge of what corporate consumers require from the law firms that they instruct rests primarily with those in-house legal teams. We in the Joint Select Committee heard evidence from sizeable sections of those in-house legal departments. One lawyer who spoke to us was in charge of an in-house legal team of 500 lawyers, who regularly purchased legal services from outside law firms.

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