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Whether the Home Office's failure to answer Lord Avebury's Question for Written Answer (HL1365), due for answer by the end of January, was caused by the department mislaying the Question; and, if not, whether they will now explain the reasons for it remaining unanswered. [HL3423]
Whether any advice or instruction has been given to the Home Office to improve its performance in answering Parliamentary Questions for Written Answer within the 14-day period, bearing in mind that it is responsible for more outstanding Questions than any other department. [HL3467]
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Officials and Ministers in the department are informed daily by the relevant authorities of the House of those Questions that remain outstanding. In response to this ongoing performance information, the Permanent Secretary and the Minister of State for Police, Security and Community Safety continue to review the systems in place to ensure that the 14-day timeline is attained. In addition to twice weekly internal performance reports, the department has now implemented an internal performance table, which, it is anticipated, will address the unacceptable delays that can occur.
Lord Bassam of Brighton: The Government will continue to provide base funding for the Association of Community Rail Partnerships (ACoRP) during 2007-08. They will also continue to fund community rail lines and services via franchise arrangements and grants to Network Rail. Funding for local community rail partnerships is a local responsibility.
The Government sponsored an award in the 2006 Community Rail Awards. Since then, they have
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Whether particulars of drivers who are disqualified under the Road Traffic (New Drivers) Act 1995 are available to enforcement authorities; and whether records are available of those who are (a) disqualified, or (b) prosecuted. [HL3541]
Lord Bassam of Brighton: The records of all drivers are available to enforcement authorities at the roadside via the Police National Computer. These details would reflect the fact that a driving licence had been revoked.(a) The DVLA has statistics on the number of driving licences revoked since the Road Traffic (New Drivers) Act 1995 was implemented. These are available in categories of age and gender as are the numbers who have subsequently passed another test. (b) Revocation of a licence under the Road Traffic (New Drivers) Act 1995 does not require a prosecution. There are no records available relating to prosecutions of persons continuing to drive after revocation under the Act.
Lord Bassam of Brighton: The traffic officer service has been developed to enable the Highways Agency to take on a more proactive role in managing the strategic road network in England. The service has taken on a number of control-room and on-road functions traditionally undertaken by the police.
The role of traffic officers involves: managing incidents except where there is loss of life, injury or potential criminal activity, when they will support the police at the scene; setting signs and signals, and answering emergency roadside telephones; arranging the removal of damaged or broken down/abandoned vehicles in partnership with the police and removing debris and other obstructions from the carriageway.
Traffic officers do not have an enforcement role. This responsibility remains with the police. Both the Highways Agency and the police support this position. Traffic officers support the police where there are fatalities or suspected criminality at an incident. The traffic officers role is to manage traffic in the vicinity of an incident, and in doing this they may liaise with the police on matters of compliance with road traffic law.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): Sharia law has no jurisdiction in England and Wales. There are, however, a number of Sharia councils in England and Wales that, on a private basis where the parties consent, deal with the mediation and resolution of personal and contractual disputes. These councils are not part of the court system. In all cases, parties will always have recourse to the UK courts.
Whether the introduction of compulsory shipping lanes, running north to south and some 30 miles from the coast of Norway, has been endorsed by the International Maritime Organisation; and what is the Government's policy on this matter. [HL3489]
However, whereas the original Norwegian proposal was for one mandatory traffic separation scheme of 560 nautical miles between Vardø and Røst, I understand that Norway was invited to amend its proposal to eight smaller traffic separation schemes and seven recommended routes connecting them, and that this routeing measure was formally adopted by the IMO and is due to enter into force on 1 July 2007.
The Government recognise that, in the interests of safety of life at sea and protection of the marine environment, it is accepted practice and consistent with the international law of the sea for traffic routeing measures adopted by the IMO to be established which may extend beyond the limits of a states territorial sea into international waters.
Lord Rooker: The evaluation criteria used in the selection of the Maze/Long Kesh site were: acceptability to the three tenant sports; deliverability in terms of cost, timescale, planning, infrastructure and clearance; and potential economic benefits (revenue generation). These criteria were developed by the Strategic Investment Board (SIB) and the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) and were clearly laid out in the original site selection expressions of interest advertisement published in May 2004. SIB and DCAL are also responsible for judging the application of these criteria.
How many non-geographic telephone numbers are in use by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and its agencies; what services can be accessed by calling each of them; and what revenue has been received from them between September 2004 and September 2006. [HL3299]
The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): My department and our agencies have a number of non-geographical telephone numbers in use, provided by a variety of service providers, dependent on location. The current count equates to 28 made up of 0870, 0845 and 08459 prefixes, all of which provide helpline services to our customers. The department does not collect any revenue for their use.
How many non-geographic telephone numbers are in use by the Department for Work and Pensions and its agencies; what services can be accessed by calling each of them; and what revenue has been received from them between September 2004 and September 2006. [HL3264]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): Under arrangements with our telephony supplier, the DWP has 2,299 non-geographic telephone numbers in use for a variety of purposes.
The department delegates the administration and management of non-geographic telephone numbers to local management at operational level. The information on services linked to individual telephone numbers broken down by departmental units and its agencies is not available.
Obtaining the revenue information for the total period requested would incur disproportionate costs. However, figures for January to September 2006 are available: the revenue received amounted to £321,948, which was offset against DWP telephony costs.
What representations they are making to petrol companies in the light of allegations in recent press reports that some of their staff in the United Kingdom have been committing credit and debit card fraud in order to fund terrorism. [HL3441]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): The police are investigating all aspects of the allegations to which the noble Lord refers, and we would not wish to prejudge the outcome of those investigations by commenting at this stage.
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), also known as the Tamil Tigers, was proscribed by the then Home Secretary in 2001. There are a range of offences relating to this proscription, including to have or profess membership of the organisation, to raise funds for the organisation, to invite support for it, to organise or speak at a meeting whose purpose is to encourage support for it, and to wear or display clothing or articles likely to arouse suspicions that the wearer is a member or supporter of the organisation.
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), also known as the Tamil Tigers, was proscribed as an organisation concerned in terrorism by the then Home Secretary in 2001. The Terrorism Act 2000 contains a number of offences relating to the funding of terrorism (which includes funding for proscribed organisations). The investigation and prosecution of these offences is a matter for the police and the Crown Prosecution Service.
What estimates they have made of the extent of fraud by credit card cloning by persons working on behalf of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, particularly through petrol stations; and what additional measures they are considering to end this practice. [HL3506]
Why, in the publication Northern IrelandThe CS Lewis Story, the Northern Ireland Tourist Board referred to CS Lewis as being from an Irish background and not from an Ulster-Scots background. [HL3481]
Lord Rooker:Northern IrelandThe CS Lewis Story was developed and published in December 2005 to coincide with the release of the Disney/Walden Media film The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe.
An expert on CS Lewiss life and work was commissioned by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board to write copy for the publication. One of the opening lines of the publication is a direct quotation from CS Lewis in 1958, on being informed that his heavy breathing was causing problems with a radio broadcast recording session. The quotation is as follows:
The purpose of the inclusion of this direct quotation from CS Lewis was to highlight the fact that Lewis was not English, as is the common misconception among the general public, but in fact, in his own words, of an Irish background.
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Rooker on 25 April (WA 165) concerning genealogy as a Northern Ireland tourism attraction, what future
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The National Statistician has been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question about the average number of hours worked in the United Kingdom by people in employment who work more than 48 hours per week. I am replying in her absence. (HL3572)
The estimate of the average number of hours of people in employment who usually work more than 48 hours per week is 56.7 hours, for the three months ending December 2006. This estimate includes both paid and unpaid overtime and is not seasonally adjusted.
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