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The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): We continue to monitor the situation with regard to all Palestinian prisoners. Most Palestinian prisoners have been tried by Israeli courts and have the right of appeal. However, we do have concerns about Palestinian prisoners who are being held in administrative detention. All Palestinian prisoners should have access to a fair trial and we call upon Israel to ensure
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Lord Malloch-Brown: We continue to monitor the situation with regard to all Palestinian prisoners. Most Palestinian prisoners have been tried by Israeli courts and have the right of appeal. However, we have concerns about Palestinian prisoners who are being held in administrative detention. All Palestinian prisoners should have access to a fair trial and we call on Israel to ensure that any actions are in accordance with international law. We will continue to raise our concerns with the Israeli authorities.
Lord Malloch-Brown: We do not have any plans to make representations to the Government of Israel on this issue. However, we continue to monitor the situation with regard to all Palestinian prisoners and will continue to raise any concerns with the Israeli authorities.
Most Palestinian prisoners have been tried by Israeli courts and have the right of appeal. However, we have concerns about Palestinian prisoners who are being held in administrative detention. All Palestinian prisoners should have access to a fair trial and we call on Israel to ensure that any actions are in accordance with international law. We will continue to raise our concerns with the Israeli authorities.
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Malloch-Brown on 26 March (WA 96), what representations they have made to the Government of Israel regarding reports that Defence Minister Ehud Barak approved the transfer of five further mobile homes into the Israeli settlement of Teneh Omarim. [HL2911]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): We are concerned by media reports that Israel plans to build in the settlement of Teneh Omarim. We have raised our concerns about recent reports with the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
My right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary has stated that the UK believes that all Israeli
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The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): My right honourable friend the Prime Minister holds regular discussions with President Bush on a range of issues and is due to travel to Washington this month. Both the UK and the US have made clear their support for the two-state solution. We believe that the process launched in Annapolis in November 2007 represents the best chance for progress since 2000.
Lord Malloch-Brown: We hold regular discussions with all UN Security Council members on resolutions tabled at the UN. The UN has an important role to play on the Israeli/Palestinian issue. We have made clear at the Security Council our belief that the UNs voice should be heard on this issue and the importance of a balanced approach.
What they expect to be the implications for Israel if further houses are built in the occupied West Bank or if new outposts are set up or extended contrary to the road map and the Annapolis and previous agreements. [HL2839]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): We have raised our concerns about recent reports regarding settlement activity with the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and stressed that we see this as unhelpful particularly when Israelis and Palestinians should be focusing on full implementation of their obligations under phase 1 of the road map, which includes freezing all settlement activity, including natural growth.
As my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary has recently stated, the UK believes that all Israeli settlements anywhere in the Occupied Palestinian Territories including the West Bank and East Jerusalem are illegal under international law. We believe that they are a serious impediment to a negotiated two-state solution.
What measures are in place to prevent abuse of the no-win no-fee system in employment law claims arising from (a) not informing claimants that their costs may be covered by a trade union; (b) charging unreasonable costs; and (c) the inclusion of unreasonable penalty clauses in retainer agreements. [HL2817]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The regulation of agreements between solicitors and their clients is a matter for the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). Under the SRA's code of conduct, solicitors are required to provide clients with the information necessary to make appropriate decisions about if, and how, their matter should proceed. Clients should also be given the best information possible about the likely costs and other charges both at the outset and, when appropriate, as the matter progresses. This would include information about any penalty charges in retainer agreements.
Solicitors must also discuss with clients how those costs will be paid for, in particular whether costs can be met through existing insurance or may be paid by someone else such as an employer/trade union. Where the code is not complied with the SRA can take regulatory action.
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Rooker on 25 March (WA 84), how many successful convictions have taken place in each year since 1970 in connection with the murder of police officers in Northern Ireland. [HL2830]
Lord Rooker: As indicated in my previous Answer (WA84), information recorded on convictions does not include details of the victim. Obtaining accurate statistics on the number of successful convictions in connection with the murder of police officers in Northern Ireland would, therefore, require a manual trawl of each case and could be carried out only at disproportionate cost.
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Davies of Oldham on 20 March (WA 65), whether the effect of the arrangements between Northern Rock plc, the Whinstone special purpose vehicles and the Granite special purpose vehicles is that any losses that arise in the Granite vehicles will eventually be borne by Northern Rock plc. [HL2813]
Lord Davies of Oldham: Northern Rock plc has no obligation to make good any losses to the Granite bondholders and the bondholders have no recourse to the assets on Northern Rock's own balance sheet. The Whinstone transactions do not affect that situation.
Lord Davies of Oldham: During the period of temporary public ownership, Northern Rock will be managed by its board on commercial principles. It is a matter for Northern Rock to release specific business updates or provide any required disclosures in its audited annual report and accounts. I refer the noble Lord to the Chancellor's Statement to the House of Commons on 18 March.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): At present, no specific timetable has been set for the evaluation on the Fit for Work scheme advocated in Dame Carol Black's recent report on the health and well-being of the working age population. The Government expect to respond to the issues raised in Dame Carol's review, including the Fit for Work scheme, in summer 2008.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): The Government have no plans to appoint a Minister with exclusive responsibility for occupational health. The Health, Work and Well-being Strategy is a cross-government initiative focused on improving the health of working age people, making workplaces healthier and helping more people with health conditions to find and keep work. Improving the availability and quality of occupational health services are key elements in the strategy's work programme. As an issue that closely affects both departments, ministerial responsibility for the strategy rests jointly with the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department of Health. Ivan Lewis, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health, and I lead this work, reporting to our respective Secretaries of State, who have both made
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What plans they have to improve levels of absence, sickness and disabilities sustained at work in government departments, the National Health Service, local government and other major public services. [HL2693]
Lord McKenzie of Luton: The Government are committed to improving the support they give to staff and to making public sector organisations exemplars of healthy workplaces, sickness absence management and occupational health practice. Considerable effort has been focused on this agenda in recent yearsin particular through the activity of the Ministerial Task Force on Health, Safety and Productivity and the Health, Work and Well-being Strategy.
As part of this work, plans to create a healthy and productive Civil Service were agreed last year. They include commitments to adopting a checklist on good practice for departmental boards, reviewing policies in light of this and for departments and agencies to publish quarterly performance reports. Arrangements are also being developed to share best practice across departments and agencies. This builds on specific activity already underway in individual departments.
A further example of work in progress includes a project to improve the health and well-being of NHS staff being piloted in three strategic health authorities. This work focuses on engaging staff and helping them choose how best to improve their health. Evidence has shown that engaged, healthy employees are less likely to be absent, be more fulfilled at work and more productive.
While good work is already happening across the public sector, we are committed to going further. We will be considering what more we need to do within the public sector as part of our response to Dame Carol Black's review of the health of the working age population.
What status the review of the health of Britain's working age population recently published by Dame Carol Black has in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland; and what discussions they have held with the appropriate Ministers in the devolved legislatures. [HL2691]
Lord McKenzie of Luton: On 17 March Dame Carol Black submitted to the Government her review of the health of the working age population, Working for a Healthier Tomorrow. The review was commissioned
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The Government welcome the review and will consider Dame Carol's findings carefully. Over the coming months we will study her recommendations and develop detailed proposals to make a real difference. It is our intention to publish a UK Government response later in the year.
The review's recommendations are also relevant to the Scottish Executive and Welsh Assembly Government. Both devolved Administrations were involved throughout the course of the review, have welcomed its publication and will be issuing separate responses to it. Building on the strong links established through the Health, Work and Well-being Strategy, we intend to work closely with Ministers and officials from Scotland and Wales on our responses to the review, ensuring a joined-up approach to the health of working age people across Great Britain.
Whether they expect to implement all the recommendations in the report of the House of Lords Select Committee on Economic Affairs Aspects of the Economics of an Ageing Population, published in November 2003; and if so, when. [HL2820]
Lord Davies of Oldham: The Select Committee on Economic Affairs published the Governments response to Aspects of the Economics of an Ageing Population on 5 July 2004, responding to the recommendations of the committee.
The committee's report, as well as other reports, have helped to inform the development of government policy to ensure the UK benefits from the opportunities of an ageing population while also meeting the challenges created. Opportunity Age, published in April 2005, sets out the Government's strategy for adapting to an ageing society. This continues to be taken forward, most recently through Public Service Agreement 17 (tackling poverty and promoting greater wellbeing in later life).
The Government announced their reforms to the pensions system in the Pensions White Paper, published in May 2006. These reforms, based on the recommendations of the Pensions Commission, will mean more people receiving a more generous basic state pension; the introduction of personal accounts and auto-enrolment into workplace pension schemes; and the extension of individuals' working lives by increasing the state pension age.
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