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Further to the Written Answer by Lord Rooker on 3 April (WA 19394), why they have not made representations to the Government of the Republic of Ireland concerning their Offences Against the State Acts 1939-85, as required by the Belfast agreement. [HL3147]
Lord Rooker: Her Majesty's Government did not identify any issues that required representation in relation to the review conducted by the Irish Government of their Offences Against the States Acts 1939-85.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (Baroness Vadera): Business Link, a free service funded by the Government available online and locally throughout England, provides access to the information, advice and support needed to start, maintain and grow a business. Regional development agencies, responsible for the contract management of the service, continually monitor the performance of the Business Link service which includes the assessment of Business Link usage by rural/urban customers. Additionally, individual regional development agencies offer access to tailored business support relevant to their own area.
In March 2004, Supporting Rural Enterprises in England by the Rural Affairs Forum for England Business and Rural Enterprise Sub-Group was published by Defra at www.defra.gov.uk/rural/pdfs/rafe/meeting7/7_9supporting_rural_enterprise.pdf. This assessed access to business support for rural firms and made policy proposals in this area.
The Economic Impact Study of Business Link Local Service was published by BERR in 2007 at www.berr.gov.uk/about/economics-statistics/economics-directorate/page21981.html. Although this did not set out to assess access as such, it did include a special perspective.
The enterprise strategy, published alongside the Budget in March 2008, announced that a new Spatial Economics Research Centre would be established to investigate what drives differences in economic growth at various spatial levels.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): Section 82 is only likely to be used in exceptional circumstances where there is a proven need to incur expenditure ahead of Royal Assent, where it is clearly not possible to utilise paving legislation, where there is sufficient time to complete the whole process ahead of the date on which it is hoped to incur expenditure and where there is absolute confidence in the quality of the financial and other evidence to be put before the Select Committees.
How they will ensure that local authorities set aside sufficient funds for public care proceedings to take account of the rise in the proceedings' fees; and whether they will prevent local authorities from raising thresholds for intervention for children at risk. [HL3117]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Lord Adonis): The additional financial pressure for local authorities has been reflected in the local authority CSR07 spending settlement, and for the current financial year £36.6 million (England) has been added to the formula grant so that councils can meet the cost of the higher fees. The changes to the fee structure are part of the Government's intention to create a sustainable self-funding system for civil and family courts. The fees will ensure that the family courts are properly funded and should encourage cases to be managed efficiently and in line with the requirements of the public law outline and the revised volume 1 of court order guidance. The implementation of the public law outline will bring better case preparation by local authorities and improved case management. Local authorities have legal duties under the Children Act 1989 to take action to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in need in their area, including through the initiation of Section 31 care and supervision order court applications where necessary. We expect local authorities to continue to operate in accordance with the terms of the statutory guidance issued by the Secretary of State and to continue to fulfil their Children Act 1989 duties and functions.
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Goldsmith on 19 February 2007 (WA 175), whether they will identify the religion or belief of perpetrators as well as those of victims in the Racist Incident Monitoring Annual Report2007-08. [HL3091]
The Attorney-General (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) introduced the facility to record the religion or belief of defendants and victims in April 2007. Figures for the first year's data collection between April 2007 and March 2008 have yet to be audited and validated as suitable for publication; initial indications are that the police did not provide the CPS with the required information in a large number of cases.
The CPS will publish its first annual hate crime report covering the year 2007-08 by November 2008. This report will for the first time draw together performance information about all hate-crime prosecutions. It will replace the Racist IncidentMonitoring Annual Report.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The fourth, and final, research report on the crime reduction programme restorative justice pilots is expected to be published in June.
How they propose that the aim of improving the efficiency and effectiveness of nuclear development projects, including safety and pre-licensing, as agreed by the Prime Minister and President Sarkozy in March 2008, is to be achieved. [HL3096]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office & Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (Lord Jones of Birmingham): A number of measures are being implemented to take forward the agreement between the Prime Minister and President Sarkozy.
The Health and Safety Executive and the ASN (French nuclear regulator) will seek to share experience and technical findings from the safety/security assessment of the EPR design during generic design assessment and licensing. In addition they will look for opportunities for exchange of specialist staff both in terms of secondments and short-term attachments or visits.
This collaboration will help the regulators in meeting their challenging GDA completion targetsand thus give greater confidence that new nuclear power stations will be up and running in line with our energy targets.
How it is intended that the United Kingdom will work more closely with France on civil nuclear issues, and in particular how the regulators in the two countries will work closely together to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the nuclear design licensing process, as discussed by the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, John Hutton, and the French Energy Minister, Monsieur Borloo, on 27 March. [HL3097]
Lord Jones of Birmingham: We and the Health and Safety Executive continue to explore the opportunities for close working and information-sharing between the UK and the French regulators, in particular where both regulators are engaged in regulatory assessments of the same reactor designs.
Several measures are being taken to develop closer working between the UK and French regulators, including secondments between the two organisations and putting arrangements in place to facilitate the sharing of assessments and technical investigations.
Why the Prime Minister will not attend the fifth European Union-Latin America summit in Lima in May when the Heads of Government of France, Germany and Spain have announced that they will attend. [HL3246]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): My right honourable friend the Prime Minister is unfortunately unable to attend the EU-Latin America summit on 16 May due to pressing diary commitments. The UK has been at the forefront of efforts towards an ambitious and action-oriented summit, and continues to work hard to secure progress on its two themes: poverty reduction and climate change.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Lord Adonis): There is no evidence that the growth in population since the 1970s has been due to increases in family size. The average number of children born to women in the UK is less than two, which is considerably lower than in the 1960s.
The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): Having had a number of recent discussions with interested parties, Defra is considering a range of possible conservation measures, with a view to a wider consultation in due course.
What representations they have received about an underresourcing of expertise in NHS services dedicated to the particular conditions of people living with chronic pain; when the level of such expertise was last reviewed; and what consultation there has been between the Department of Health and the Chronic Pain Policy Coalition. [HL3125]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The department has received no specific representations about an underresourcing of expertise in National Health Service chronic pain services. However, in the last three years the department has received 24 letters on pain, mainly about individual cases, that broadly relate to underresourcing in this area. Four were letters of support for a 2007 Early Day Motion,Chronic Pain Policy Coalition Report and 5th Vital Sign Campaign, and mentioned lack of resources.
There has been no specific review of underresourcing of expertise in NHS chronic pain services. The last review of pain services was undertaken by the Clinical Standards Advisory Group in 1998. Its conclusions were published in its report, Services for Patients with Pain, in 2000.
Officials from the department met representatives of the Chronic Pain Policy Coalition on 11 April 2008 to explore opportunities for developing awareness of chronic pain with policy-makers and commissioners. In addition, the department has consulted associated groups such as the British Pain Society about the development of both an 18-week commissioning pathway for chronic pain and a section on chronic pain for the NHS Choices website.
Figures on fatalities due to cold homes or inadequate living conditions are not available from death registration data held by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). However, ONS does produce annual figures of excess winter mortality (EWM)2. The latest available data for excess winter mortality for England and Wales are provisional figures for 2006-07. In the winter period of 2006-07 (December to March) there were an estimated 23,900 more deaths in England and Wales compared to the average level in the non-winter period.
Further to the Answer by Lord Adonis on 20 March (Official Report, House of Lords, col. 362), whether they will arrange for the response of the chief inspector of Ofsted to Lord Morris of Manchester requested by Lord Adonis about bullying of and physical hurt to children with learning disabilities to be published in the Official Report. [HL3439]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Lord Adonis): I have arranged for Her Majesty's Chief Inspector's response to Lord Morris to be published in the Official Report and a copy of the letter to be placed in the Library of the House. The Government take the issue of bullying involving children with special educational needs and disabilities very seriously. We are currently considering how best to work with Ofsted in our continuing drive against such bullying.
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