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Whether they are taking any action on the targeted advertising service offered by Phorm in the light of the questions about its legality under the Data Protection and Regulation of Investigatory Powers Acts. [HL2635]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (Baroness Vadera): The Office of the Information Commissioner made a statement on 3 March 2008 that it was in discussion with one company about the nature of its service and the way it uses information about ISP customers. My department will consider the continued relevance of the current safeguards and legislation in the light of the outcome of those discussions.
How much they have pledged, and contributed, towards the World Food Programme's current three-year relief and recovery operation in Afghanistan; and whether the amounts pledged take account of rising food prices. [HL2388]
Baroness Crawley: The Department for International Development recently approved £3 million of emergency humanitarian assistance for Afghanistan. DfID's contribution, along with other donors, will help the World Food Programme (WFP) to provide 43,000 tonnes of assorted commodities (ie, 35,000 tonnes of wheat, 4,200 tonnes of pulses, 2,800 tonnes of vegetable oil and 700 tonnes of iodized salt) in rural areas, and 46,000 tonnes of wheat in urban and semi-urban areas.
The price of wheat has increased between January 2007 and 2008 by a countrywide average of 58 per cent. The poor spend as much as 55 per cent of their income on food, predominantly wheat flour. Our response will help to mitigate the effect of this adverse impact.
The Government of Afghanistan have also taken immediate measures and are considering longer term mechanisms to address similar crises. The Government have also temporarily reduced the import tax on wheat and wheat flour. As part of the Afghanistan national development strategy they are developing a disaster preparedness and risk mitigation strategy.
Whether they will authorise the extraction of spinal columns from sheep by vacuum, as approved by the European Union, and in the light of the Food Standards Agency placing no restrictions on the import of sheep meat so processed from France and the finding of the Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee that the likelihood of BSE in sheep is near zero. [HL2968]
As regards the import of sheep meat from France, or any other member state, we have been advised that if unsplit carcasses of sheep over 12 months of age are received in the United Kingdom they are, in accordance with European Union regulations, randomly checked for presence of spinal cord. This verification process will involve splitting the carcasse.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): I am pleased to confirm that a revised edition of Growing in the CommunityA Good Practice Guide for the Management of Allotments was published on 13 March 2008 by the Local Government Association.
The revised guidance reflects the significant developments in the allotments movement since 2001. It contains a wealth of new examples of good practice, showing innovative uses of allotments benefiting all sections of the community. The guide explores current thinking on allotments, highlighting their importance in promoting health, community engagement and community cohesion.
What progress has been made in developing solutions to facilitate data exchange between Bowman and other NATO digitisation systems as part of the Ministry of Defences command and battlespace management capability release. [HL2834]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): Improvements to connectivity with NATO systems are being addressed as part of the planned uplift to the capability of the Bowman CIP system to BCIP 5, which is currently under way.
Baroness Taylor of Bolton: The Centre for Defence Enterprise (CDE) will be staffed by a team of initially three, based on site at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus, Oxfordshire. The team is part of the MoD Defence Technology and Innovation Centre, based at Shrivenham, which is itself part of the MoD Science Innovation Technology Top Level Budget area.
Baroness Taylor of Bolton: The Defence Science and Technology Laboratories (Dstl) is the MoD's primary source of internal scientific and technical advice and will play a key role in the Centre for Defence Enterprise activity. Dstl will support assessment of research proposals and work with proposers to maximise exploitation opportunities within defence.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): The issues surrounding so-called incapacitating biochemical weapons
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Whether they will place in the Library of the House an outline and timetable of the induction course for the new Director of Service Prosecutions; and whether the director will exercise any prosecutorial functions prior to completing this course. [HL2893]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): The full details and timings of Mr Houlder's induction programme will be finalised with him when he takes up his post as the first Director of Service Prosecutions (DSP) in May 2008. There are no plans to place a copy in the Library of the House. However, it is anticipated that the programme will include familiarisation with the service justice system and the service courts, engagement with the single service provost marshals and the Ministry of Defence Police, as well as meetings with Defence Ministers, the Attorney-General, the single service chiefs, the Permanent Secretary and the principal personnel officers of the single services. The DSP will also visit ships, establishments and air stations both at home and overseas to acquire a breadth of knowledge about the areas and the circumstances in which Armed Forces personnel live and operate. The programme will also include visits to operational theatres.
Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Taylor of Bolton on 31 March (WA 127), regarding the Future Rapid Effect System (FRES), what planning figure is the relevant integrated project team using for the numbers of each variant of the FRES. [HL2970]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): Work on detailed requirements is continuing. Current planning suggests that the FRES programme will provide a fleet of more than 3,000 vehicles, and that the utility vehicle will make up just over half the total fleet. However, fleet requirements for each FRES family will not be confirmed until the main investment decisions are taken. I am withholding further details on internal planning figures as they are subject to change as the requirement matures and their release would, or would be likely to, prejudice commercial interests.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): Of the UK Armed Forces, only the British Army formally sets out its understanding of The Military Covenant: Army Doctrine Publication, volume 5, chapter 1, 2000. The Government recognise their responsibility to value, respect and support all those who serve and have served in the Armed Forces. Important steps have been taken to ensure that the Government meet their responsibilities to uphold the military covenant including improvements in healthcare, compensation, accommodation and welfare.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Lord Adonis): The department is supportive of activities that help children and young people understand the role of the Armed Forces, and we are in discussions with the Ministry of Defence as to how we might increase access to cadet forces for pupils in state schools. However, it is for head teachers to determine whether to invite Armed Forces personnel to visit their schools.
What progress has been made in discussions with the Scottish Executive regarding the jurisdiction of and arrangements for inquiring into the deaths of Scottish-based service personnel killed on duty overseas. [HL2861]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): Contacts between the UK Government and the Scottish Executive continue on this sensitive and complex issue.
I refer the noble Lord to the Answer given by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice on 25 March 2008, (Official Report, column 53W) in another place to the right honourable Member for East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow (Mr Adam Ingram).
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 17 March (WA 23), by what process service and ex-service personnel were individually invited to respond to the proposals in the consultation paper Transforming Tribunals; and which organisations were invited to respond. [HL2819]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath):Transforming Tribunals was published on 28 November, both in hard copy and on the Ministry of Justice website. Publication was accompanied by a press release. The views of all those who deal with tribunals on the issues set out in the paper were invited. In respect of service and ex-service personnel, copies of the paper were sent directly to the Royal British Legion and Eastern War Pensions, which currently represent over 80 per cent of appellants in PAT cases.
In addition to their responses, and as stated in my reply of 17 March, a number of other service organisations have responded to the consultation, including the Royal Air Force Association, Combat Stress, the Army Benevolent Fund, the British Limbless Ex-Service Mens Association and the Confederation of British Service and Ex-Service Organisations. The Pensions Appeal Tribunal also made a detailed submission, which was the subject of Lord Morriss Question.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): The MoD has down selected, subject to commercial undertakings, the cannon developed by CTAi (an Anglo/French Joint Venture company between BAE Systems Land Systems and Nexter) for both Warrior and FRES Scout programmes, as it meets the lethality requirements of both systems, and a single common solution is more efficient and effective. The programme is still in the concept phase and work continues to determine
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