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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): Many of the actions in the UK action plan have been completed or are ongoing and in the process of implementation. As implementation progresses the plan will be updated and revised. The interdepartmental ministerial group on human trafficking meets quarterly to monitor implementation of the action plan and updates on
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The work currently under way to implement the Council of Europe Convention on action against trafficking in human beings is a major part of the UK action plan and to this end we have tabled an amendment to the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill at House of Lords Report stage in order to ensure we can ratify the convention by the end of the year.
Lord West of Spithead: The Government have implemented all of the voluntary best practice recommendations made by the International Air Transport Association/Control Authority Working Group (IATA/CAWG) report of May 2007 that relate to control authorities apart from a legislative measure which remains under consideration.
Whether they received advanced notification that the President of the Republic of Ireland would announce policy concerning the transfer of policing and justice to the Northern Ireland Assembly; and if so, why the announcement was made by the president; and who briefed the president. [HL2753]
Lord Rooker: The UK Government did not receive advance notification of the president's response to a journalist's question. The president's comment reflected earlier public statements by the Taoiseach and is therefore a restatement of the Irish Government's position. Arrangements for briefing the president are, of course, a matter for the Irish authorities.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): For a polygamous marriage to be considered valid in the UK, the parties must be domiciled in a country where polygamous marriage is permitted, and must have entered into the marriage in that country. Provided the parties follow the necessary requirements under the law of the country in question, the marriage would be recognised in England and Wales. The law is drafted thus because the Government have no desire forcibly to sever relationships that have been lawfully contracted in other jurisdictions. This should not, however, be construed as government approval of polygamous marriage. The Government do not support polygamous marriage and support the law that prohibits parties from contracting polygamous marriages in this jurisdiction.
Further to the Written Answer by Lord West of Spithead on 26 March (WA 89), what was the reason for the 18-week delay in answering Baroness Valentine's Question; and whether they will arrange for the contents of the substantive reply to be published in the Official Report. [HL2874]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): While every effort is made to respond to Written Questions tabled by noble Lords within the deadlines set it is not always possible to do so and I am sorry that this has happened in relation to this Question.
Staffing requirements for all ports, including Heathrow, are calculated using a workforce planning methodology which takes into account information provided by port operators on scheduling, predicted passenger loads and nationalities, and estimates of transaction times. Staff are also re-deployed according to where the risk is highest.
We have carried out a critical review of how our resources are deployed in order to achieve better value for money and identify efficiencies. This has ensured that warranted staff are deployed only on operational work and that non operational work is undertaken by non-warranted officers.
Since March 2005 we have significantly increased the number of operational grades deployed nationallyby 35 per cent, in fact. This comprises inspectors, chief immigration officers, immigration officers and assistant immigration officers. The number of staff employed at specific ports will vary from day to day. Likewise, there are seasonal variations in line with passenger pressures and peak holiday periods.
BIA is committed to increasing the use of automated technology to facilitate passengers through arrivals controls without compromising border security. An example is the IRIS immigration recognition system (IRIS). IRIS enrolment stations and gates are available at all four Heathrow terminals and to both Gatwick terminals. Two gates will be available at the new Heathrow terminal 5. As at 7 March, 181,460 people had enrolled on IRIS and 909,028 crossings had taken place.
A snapshot of operational grades at Heathrow on 1 January 2006 and 16 October 2007 shows figures of 849 and 829 immigration officers respectively. Recruitment is ongoing to further increase this number, with a total of 385 additional operational staff being recruited across Border Control.
The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): The school milk subsidy scheme is made available to all children between the ages of five and 11 in primary and nursery schools in participating local authorities throughout the UK. In the 2006-07 school year there were 195 claimants; 189 of these were local education authorities, three were schools and the remaining three were private schemes.
|(1) Includes drivers of cars, motorcycles, LGVs, HGVs and other motor vehicles excluding buses or coaches|
|(2) All deaths in reported personal injury road accidents|
The percentage of road deaths per 1 billion vehicle kilometres involving 17 to 20 year-old drivers is identical to the overall percentage shown in the table. However, on average between 2002 and 2006 an estimated 20 car drivers aged 17 to 20 were killed in road accidents for each billion vehicle kilometres driven by those aged 17 to 20. The equivalent figure for car drivers of all ages was three fatalities per billion vehicle kilometres. The fatality rate for young drivers is therefore around seven times higher than for drivers of all ages. Information is not available for single years.
The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): Canals in England are used for a broad range of activities, ranging from tourism to freight and water supply. The majority are, however, used predominantly for leisure and tourist activities such as boating, walking, cycling and angling and make an important contribution to tourism in England.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) takes its role of providing consular support to British nationals overseas seriously and their safety is our top priority. As with many other British diplomatic missions across the world, our embassy in Harare holds a civil contingency plan. The Zimbabwe contingency plan focuses on assisting the departure of British nationals from Zimbabwe by non-military means and is reviewed and updated on a regular basis. At present, we do not anticipate an assisted departure or evacuation, but we will continue to monitor the situation and adjust our plans accordingly.
The FCO travel advice for Zimbabwe is under constant review. We are currently advising against all but essential travel to the whole country. We are also
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