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Office of Fair Trading: Milk and Cheese

Lord Taylor of Holbeach asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: The Government are committed to a strong competition regime and recognise the importance of competitive markets for driving growth, innovation and better value for consumers.

Fines, such as those levied by the OFT, are paid into the Consolidated Fund and are then allocated according to government spending priorities as part of the spending review process. The fines are therefore spent on providing services to the public. The Treasury's Comprehensive Spending Review and Pre-Budget Report (published in October 2007), available in the Library of the House and at _csr/pbr_csr07_index.cfm, provides details of how departments' budgets have been set for the next three years. The fines levied by the OFT are intended to be a punitive measure to deter anti-competitive behaviour and are not designed as a means of compensation. However, in general where consumers or businesses have suffered as a result of anti-competitive behaviour, they can seek redress for their losses through private action. The Government recognise that, in some instances, there may be barriers to redress and will be consulting shortly on measures to address this.

Revenue and Customs

Lord Campbell-Savours asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) does not comment on matters relating to individual taxpayers.

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Any request from an individual for their personal data would be dealt with in accordance with their rights under Section 7 of the Data Protection Act 1998.

Roads: Advertisements

Lord Harrison asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): Reports of new unauthorised advertisements beside motorways are sent by the Highways Agency to local planning authorities, which have the responsibility for enforcement against unlawful outdoor advertisements. The Government have, however, provided local planning authorities with a database which, since March 2007, enables them to share information on prosecutions and convictions for unauthorised advertisements and fly-posting.

Shipping: Stricken Vessels

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: When a ship is in need of assistance and there is the potential that a deterioration in its condition could result in pollution affecting the seas and coasts of two neighbouring states, then it is good practice for the authorities of both states to co-operate with one another in addressing the situation. The formal basis for this in respect of the UK and France is the Anglo-French Joint Maritime Contingency Plan (Mancheplan). In addition the UK, France and Ireland are contracting parties to the Bonn agreement. This agreement provides bilateral and multilateral co-operation with regards to pollution at sea.

In practice, the Secretary of State's representative for maritime salvage and intervention and the equivalent official or authority in the neighbouring state would work together to assess the condition of the ship and identify the most suitable place of refuge in the specific circumstances. In so doing, they would take account of all relevant factors, including the weather, the location of the ship, the type of threat posed by the ship and its cargo, the distance to potential places of refuge and factors specific to those potential places of refuge (such as available depth of water, alignment to the prevailing wind, proximity to populated areas). The choice of the most suitable

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place of refuge would be taken on these objective grounds, irrespective of which of the neighbouring countries in which the place of refuge was located.


Lord Taylor of Holbeach asked Her Majesty's Government:

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The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): The Forestry Commission is the lead department responsible for the protection of trees against oak processionary moth. In June 2007 it formed an outbreak management team comprising officials from Defra, Ealing and Richmond upon Thames Borough Councils, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and the Health Protection Agency, London. An action plan was agreed and implemented with immediate effect.

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