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What assessment they have made of the recent request by the Government of Afghanistan to the United Nations World Food Programme to increase its food aid from the previously planned 180,000 to 215,000 tonnes in 2008. [HL1355]
The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the Government of Afghanistan (GoA) launched a joint appeal for $81.3 million on 24 January in response to rising food prices. Staple food prices in Afghanistan have been increasing since November 2006 as part of a global trend. DfID is currently evaluating the UNAMA and GoA proposal and we will consider how best to respond.
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Rooker on 10 December 2007 (WA 1), whether the results of the research into inherited traits affecting susceptibility to bovine tuberculosis in cattle will be made available to the dairy industry at an early stage. [HL1485]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): All the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) grant-holders are expected to promote the dissemination of the results of their research, normally through publications in appropriate scientific journals. In addition, the council has recently introduced a data-sharing policy, under which research data generated as a result of BBSRC funding are expected to be made available to the scientific community in a timely and responsible manner to inform subsequent research by others. Holders of grants that pre-date this policy are encouraged to adopt its principles.
How many Bolivian nationals have applied for British citizenship in the last two years; of those, how many applications were (a) accepted, and (b) refused; and on what grounds they were refused. [HL1530]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): There have been 125 applications for British citizenship from Bolivian nationals
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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The Border and Immigration Agency already has an effective asylum support regime in place which ensures that no child of an asylum seeker need be living in poverty.
Whether they have made, been associated with or are considering any representations to the Czech Republic about the use of cage beds in care homes there for children and young people with severe disabilities. [HL1419]
The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): The UK has not made representations to authorities in the Czech Republic about the use of caged beds. Our embassy in Prague has worked closely with the Czech authorities to help exchange best practice with UK counterparts on restraint techniques in care facilities, which we believe contributed to the Czech decision to re-examine their use. The embassy continues to monitor the situation.
In January 2007, the Czech Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs tightened legislation on the use of caged and netted beds, resulting in the use of caged beds only in exceptional cases and as a last resort (where the patient's or others' lives or health are in danger), only on a doctor's recommendation, on the notification of a legal representative and/or guardian, and for as short a period as possible. In July 2004, the
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Further to the Written Answer by Lord West of Spithead on 12 December 2007 (Official Report, col. WA 56), how many individuals working for the media have been arrested since 1997 for obstruction or public order offences while covering public meetings, rallies or demonstrations; and how many have been convicted for such offences. [HL1579]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The Ministry of Justice informs us that arrest and conviction data cannot be separated by the profession of the defendant.
The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): As of the end of December 2007, there were 1,723 home civil servants (HCS) serving in the Department for International Development (DfID), and a further 857 locally engaged staff (known as staff appointed in country or SAIC) working in our network of over 50 offices overseas. SAIC are employed on local terms and conditions of service.
What representations they have received from African, Caribbean and Pacific countries unable to meet the deadline to agree economic partnership agreements or regional partnerships with the European Union; and what responses they have given.[HL1493]
The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): Only Nigeria, which chose not to sign an economic partnership agreement (EPA), has contacted the European Commission and European
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Dr Chambas, president of the Economic Commission of West African States (ECOWAS), asked Gareth Thomas for the UK's support in this request. The UK has made clear that we would support any African, Caribbean or Pacific (ACP) country's request for GSP Plus if the country fulfilled the criteria for being granted this preferential trading regime.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The Electoral Commission is a body wholly independent of the Government. The commission reports directly to Parliament, including through the Speaker's Committee. A member of the Speaker's Committee responds to questions about the operation of the Electoral Commission in the House of Commons.
The Electoral Commission resource accounts are in the public domain. They can be accessed at www. electoralcommission.org.uk/about-us/annualreport.cfm.
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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): Between 2004-05 and 2006-07 the Youth Justice Board funded five youth offending teams (YOTs)Gateshead, Newham, Southwark, Staffordshire and Swansea, to pilot family group conferencing as part of their youth inclusion and support panel (YISP) provision. Grants of up to £225,000 per YOT were made available over the three-year period. From 2007-08 no additional funding was made available for family group conference schemes as YOTs had the option of investing in family group conferences as part of a YISP by using their overall YJB prevention grant. Currently, total YJB prevention funding to YOTs in England and Wales amounts to £34 million per year. The Government have also announced ongoing funding of £18 million over 2008-11 to fund family intervention projects which work intensively with whole families. Some of the projects use family group conferencing as a way of assessing the strengths and support needs of the families they work with.
In the case of the Home Office, how many (a) voluntary and (b) compulsory redundancies have been taken to date as a result of the Gershon review; what is the total departmental bill for each type of redundancy; and what is the natural wastage during the Gershon period to date for the department. [HL1015]
The ParliamentaryUnder-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): It has not been possible to extract the number of redundancies or associated costs that have occurred in the Home Office as a direct result of the Gershon review without incurring a disproportionate cost.
The wastage rate data is only available for the Home Office Headquarters and the Border and Immigration Agency; it is not available for the Criminal Records Bureau and the Identity and Passport Service.
The wastage rate has been calculated by dividing the number of permanent staff retiring and resigning by the average number of staff. Before August 2004 a different HR database was in use and it has not been possible to extract this information without incurring a disproportionate cost.
What is the estimated cost of the proposed temporary House of Lords accommodation at 14 Tothill Street (a) in total, including works and revenue costs; and (b) netted against the ordinary running costs of 1 Millbank if no changes were made. [HL1472]
The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): The House Committee agreed on 17 April 2007 that work should be undertaken to redesign 1 Millbank to standards envisaged for the final design in 2015 when the incorporation of 5-7 Great College Street would be possible. The Committee further agreed that it would be necessary to decant the occupants of 2 Millbank during this first phase of refurbishment work.
The House Committee agreed on 4 December 2007 to adopt the final sketch plan for works to 1 and 2 Millbank at a cost of £29,298,158; and to undertake additional works at the same time to maintain the roof of the Island Site and the external facade of 1 Millbank and the internal redecoration of 2 Millbank at an additional cost of £2,532,750. The project costs were compiled on the basis of works to be undertaken to the site as a whole. It is not possible therefore to provide a breakdown of costs for the portion comprising 2 Millbank.
The rental cost of 14 Tothill Street to the House of Lords will be £1,633,437 per annum including VAT. The House will pay rates of £178,734 per annum. The design brief for the fit-out has yet to be finalised and the associated costs cannot therefore be established at this stage. All costs will require the approval of the House Committee before fit-out work can be undertaken.
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