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Lord Davies of Oldham: Under the Bank of England Act 1998, the Governor of the Bank of England is appointed for a period of five years. The governors current term of office expires on 30 June 2008. The timetable followed is established in line with this. The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced on 30 January 2008 that Her Majesty the Queen has appointed the governor for a further five-year term.
Whether they will place in the Library of the House a copy of the contract agreed with external suppliers to outsource the call centre element of the proposed information and guidance service to support the proposed Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission. [HL1625]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): No, it is not normal or common practice to place in the public domain detailed contracts due to commercial sensitivity.
What contracted financial liabilities have been agreed in anticipation of the implementation of the Child Support and Other Payments Bill; and what are the amount, nature and timing of those liabilities; and [HL1626]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): As my honourable friend, James Plaskitt, announced on 25 July, (Official Report, Commons, col. 87WS) and on 22 January, (Official Report, Commons, cols.48-49WS) urgent expenditure estimated at £300,000 has been met by repayable cash advances from the
4 Feb 2008 : Column WA150
If the Bill were to fall, the two Contingencies Fund advances would need to be repaid to the Treasury, and any expenditure incurred under them would be lost. If the Bill were to be substantially amended, any financial effects would depend on the nature of the amendments, and in particular whether they had a bearing on the areas covered by the two advances.
Whether they will place in the Library of the House updated figures for the operational improvement plan used by the Child Support Agency, including progress made to date under each of the original targets set out in the plan. [HL1627]
Lord McKenzie of Luton: Copies of the Child Support Agency quarterly summary of statistics are placed in the Library on publication. The latest figures were published on Wednesday 30 January and copies are available in the Library.
Whether they have any plans to seek power to incur expenditure under Section 82 of the Welfare Reform and Pensions Act 1999 to provide for information technology systems to be introduced as a result of the Child Maintenance and Other Payments Bill. [HL1628]
In light of Haslar Hospital no longer being required by the Ministry of Defence, what steps they are taking suitably to conserve the buildings and park on the site and satisfactorily effect the transition to new ownership. [HL1621]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): The Royal Haslar Hospital will remain an asset of the Ministry of Defence until December 2009. Prior to disposal, the department will engage with Gosport Borough Council, the local planning authority, with regard to its future use.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): It is already the case that probation areas require persons sentenced to unpaid work (the current name for community service) to undertake projects that involve clearing litter. Unpaid work must not replace paid employment.
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: A broad estimate of the number of hours of unpaid work (formerly community service) that are carried out by offenders on behalf of the community each year is given in the table below. The data are available only for the past three years and are estimated on the basis of the actual hours ordered and the rate of successful completions. All figures are gathered from large scale administrative systems which may be subject to input errors.
|Year||Estimated Hours Worked (millions)|
Whether they will place in the Library of the House a copy of the agreement with the Government of the Republic of Congo to allow the deployment of British forces for the possible evacuation of British citizens from the Democratic Republic of Congo; and on what assessment of the peace process in the Democratic Republic of Congo this agreement was reached. [HL1618]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): The agreement signed with the Republic of Congo on 22 January 2008 is intended to facilitate the evacuation of British nationals in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the event of a crisis. The UK entered into the agreement as a routine precaution. It forms part of the consular contingency plan of our embassy in Kinshasa and is not connected with efforts to end the conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
What arrangements are in place to warn the public in London in advance of demonstrations due to lead to road closures in central London; and who has responsibility for implementing such closures. [HL1620]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The Metropolitan Police Service authorises and implements road closures for demonstrations. The Metropolitan Police Service has a dedicated traffic team which liaises closely with transport-user partners to minimise the disruption that demonstrations create.
Details of forthcoming road closures are publicised through a number of channels including the Metropolitan Police Service website, local newspapers via Transport for London and dot-matrix signs on all major roads approaching London.
Whether, at the European Neighbourhood Policy meeting on 2324 January, they raised the issue of the legal bar by the Egyptian authorities against Baha'is obtaining identity cards; and, if so, with what result. [HL1616]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): On 23-24 January, the European Union and Egypt were scheduled to hold a meeting of the sub-committee on political dialogue and human rights, established under the European Neighbourhood Policy Action Plan.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Lord Adonis): Ministers will consider next steps on the proposed Youth Citizenship Commission in the light of Lord Goldsmiths Citizenship Review.
Whether they have considered the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights in cases of enforced disappearance in Turkey and Chechnya in Russia; and, if so, how those judgments will affect future policy towards and dialogue with these countries. [HL1537]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): The UK regularly considers progress in the Council of Europes Committee of Ministers on the implementation of judgments by the European Court of Human Rights against a number of states. The committee last did so in December 2007. The Government fully support the work of the European Court of Human Rights and full implementation of its judgments by Council of Europe member states.
In EU and bilateral human rights consultations with the Russian Government, the UK regularly raises its concerns over ongoing human rights violations, including cases of enforced disappearances in the North Caucasus region. We have consistently urged the Government of Turkey to pursue a comprehensive policy of reforms to ensure comprehensive alignment with EU standards and we will continue to do so.
It is important to stabilise the North Caucasus region. To this end, we have assisted development through our £1 million bilateral Global North Caucasus Education Initiative, the European Commissions €20 million technical aid to the Commonwealth of Independent States programme for the North Caucasus as well as by supporting specific projects through dedicated funds such as the Global Conflict Prevention Pool.
How many times European Union legislative institutions have altered legislation as a result of recommendations from Select Committees of either House of Parliament; and whether they will identify those occasions. [HL1234]
What is their assessment of the extent to which the Parliamentary European Union scrutiny committees can fulfil their purpose in scrutinising European Union legislation, with a view to possible amendment by the European institutions, bearing in mind that during 20042006 the Government overrode the scrutiny reserve 157 times in the House of Lords and 180 times in the House of Commons. [HL1235]
Lord Malloch-Brown: The Government are committed to working closely with the parliamentary European Union scrutiny committees of both Houses to ensure effective scrutiny of the numerous documents and legislation proposals deposited annually for scrutiny. The Government work hard to avoid using the provisions of the scrutiny reserve resolutions of both Houses in order to allow them to support agreement of instruments adopted by the Council of Ministers before our parliamentary scrutiny procedures have been fully completed in one or both Houses. The trend of overrides has been declining. There are few cases where Ministers take decisions on matters where the scrutiny committees have been unable to consider and express a view. Overrides usually reflect an accelerated pace of development in EU discussions which overtakes debate in Parliament. In those cases the Government will have received the views of the scrutiny committees at earlier stages in the process. In all cases Ministers explain in writing to the chair of the scrutiny committees why agreement was necessary.
Whether they will take steps to ensure that the granting of legal personality to the European Union by the reform treaty will not lead to British citizens speaking against the European Union being charged with xenophobia. [HL1523]
How many times European Union legislators have altered legislation as a result of recommendations from Select Committees of either House of Parliament in each of the years 2005, 2006 and 2007; and whether they will identify those occasions. [HL1389]
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