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What consideration they have given to the Equality and Human Rights Commission's case for a new equality Act in its response to the Discrimination Law Review's conclusions and recommendations; and what action they will take. [HL293]
The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): We are considering the EHRC's response to the consultation on the equality Bill along with all of the other responses received to the consultation, of which there were more than 4,000. We intend to publish a formal government response in due course and remain committed to introducing a Bill during this Parliament.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): There have been 173 UK military fatalities resulting from operations in Iraq since hostilities began in March 2003. This information is published and updated regularly on the Ministry of Defence website at www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/FactSheets/OperationsFactsheets/OperationsInIraqBritishFatalities.htm.
The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): Proposals for parliamentary oversight arrangements for the national security strategy will be outlined when the strategy is published.
Lord Rooker: PSNI and An Garda Siochana co-operate to the fullest extent in the investigation of serious crime. This can include, where appropriate, interviews of potential witnesses in one jurisdiction by officers from the other jurisdiction. With the consent of the interviewee, local police and their counterparts, such interviews can take place in Northern Ireland.
What responses they have so far received to the recent consultation paper on education in HM Prison Holloway; and whether their proposals take sufficient account of women's needs for mental health, life skills, personal development, childcare and parenting. [HL382]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (Lord Triesman): The release, for consultation, of the document Developing the Offenders' Learning and Skills Service: The Prospectus in September 2007 generated more than 700 electronic individual responses at a series of nine regional consultation events run by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), with an additional 108 detailed formal consultation responses having been received separately. The document seeks views on developing the offender learning delivery arrangements in prison establishments and probation areas across England.
The development of the offender learning service will ensure the availability of provision focused on women's needs in terms of mental health, life skills, personal development, childcare and parenting. It recognises that an explicit focus upon employability and employment may often be less appropriate for women as compared with other cohorts of offenders.
Whether they intend that the majority of women remand prisoners in HM Prison Holloway will be excluded from education; whether 40 women in the First Stage Lifers Unit will have full access to education; and whether foreign national women will be able to benefit from English for Speakers of Other Languages education. [HL383]
It is our intention for this to continue. Women remand prisoners and those in the First Stage Lifers Unit will have full access to education, and foreign national women will be able to benefit from English for Speakers of Other Languages education.
What steps they are taking to ensure that the European Parliament's proposals to establish a European Rail Agency (A6-0350/2007) do not extend to those parts of the railways of Great Britain which are never likely to be interoperable.[HL284]
Lord Bassam of Brighton: The European Rail Agency became operational in 2005 under the European Rail Agency EC Regulation 881/2004. The proposals currently being discussed at the European Transport Council relate to amending the interoperability directives, the rail safety directive and the European Rail Agency.
Lord Bassam of Brighton: The invitation to tender for the supply of InterCity Express trains was published on Friday 16 November 2007. This was issued to three suppliers, which have been shortlisted to provide quotes for this work. I expect a final decision on an order for such trains to be made in early 2009.
What assessment they have made of transport and future energy supplies in light of the Scenarios for the Transport System and Energy Supply and their Potential Effects Project (STEP) report published
27 Nov 2007 : Column WA116
Lord Bassam of Brighton: We have made no specific assessment of the Scenarios for the Transport System and Energy Supply and their Potential Effects Project (STEP) report. However, we fully recognise the energy supply and environmental challenges that face the transport sector and the rest of the economy.
This was made clear in the Government's May 2007 energy White Paper, Meeting the Energy Challenge, which addressed the challenges of tackling climate change and ensuring secure, clean and affordable energy. It sets out a range of policies across the economy, including the transport sector, to save energy, develop cleaner energy, and secure reliable energy supplies.
The energy White Paper was informed by the Government's latest updated energy projections (UEPs), which cover a range of scenarios for energy prices, energy use and carbon dioxide emissions. The energy prices in each of the scenarios have been raised in recent years.
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