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Whether any official or Minister in the Home Office has offered written or oral advice to any executive of the company Phorm as to the legality of their targeted advertising software product; if so, what was the advice; in what circumstances was it given; and what was the justification for giving it. [HL3268]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The Home Office was asked by a number of parties, including Phorm's legal representative, for a view on the compatibility of targeted advertising services with the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000. It provided a guidance note for those parties.
The note is not, nor was it intended to be taken as, a definitive statement or interpretation of the law, which only a court can give. Nor was it intended for publication. However, a copy of that note has been published at http://cryptome.org/ho-phorm.pdf.
Working to protect the public, the Home Office is keen to help industry understand its legislative responsibilities, and to work with business in order to achieve a workable balance between commercial interests and public safety. In this way potential legal obligations can be taken into account in the conception of new products and services.
Whether, in the light of the fuel costs of incinerating dead sheep and the Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee report that the likelihood of BSE in sheep is near zero, they will press the European Union to consider the findings of the Scientific Steering Committee meeting of 16 January 2003 with a view to obtaining a derogation to enable fallen sheep to be disposed of by burial under site licence. [HL3656]
The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): No. Although the Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee has concluded that the prevalence of BSE infection in the UK sheep population is most likely to be zero or, if present, very low, the risk from scrapie and other diseases with on-farm burial remains. With regard to TSE infectivity in the environment, recent studies have suggested TSE-associated prion protein adheres to soil minerals and remains infectious, even after a number of years. Defra-funded scientific research investigating the persistence of TSE infectivity in the environment is ongoing and details can be found on the Defra website.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): Advice to police officers in combating hate crime is contained within the ACPO hate-crime manual, which was last published in 2005.
The Public Order Act 1986 does not contain specific homophobic aggravated offences although the Crime and Disorder Act 1999 does provide specific offences relating to some public order offences which are racially or religiously aggravated.
In October 2006 the then Attorney-General Lord Goldsmith launched the Race for Justice programme, which is led by the current Attorney-General, Baroness Scotland. This programme will improve the way we investigate and prosecute hate crime across the criminal justice system. Part of the activity is the revision of the Association of Chief Police Officers hate-crime manual, which is being led by the Association of Chief Police Officers hate-crime portfolio holder, Assistant Chief Constable Harris from the Police Service of Northern Ireland. The revised guidance is due to be published towards the end of this financial year.
Whether they will discuss with the Metropolitan Police delays in the investigation of the late reporting of financial contributions in connection with the election for the deputy leadership of the Labour Party; and [HL3421]
What has been the cost to date of the Metropolitan Police investigation of the late reporting of financial contributions in connection with the election for the deputy leadership of the Labour Party. [HL3422]
Lord Davies of Oldham: Total revenues received over the lifetime of the North Sea can be obtained from HM Revenue and Customs corporate tax statistics table 11.11, which is published on the HMRC website at www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/corporate_tax/table11-11.pdf.
Further to the Written Answers by Lord Malloch-Brown on 10 March (WA 200), 12 March (WA 231) and 6 May (WA 49-50), whether she will propose to the House that the sub-committees considering European Union matters be substantially reduced in number, or discontinued altogether. [HL3654]
The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): As with all other Select Committees, the number of sub-committees of the European Union Select Committee is a matter for the House, and not Her Majesty's Government. The Government welcome and value the serious scrutiny of EU legislative proposals currently carried out by the Select Committee.
Further to the Written Statement by Lord Davies of Oldham on 3 April (WS 123-25), which countries outside the European Union have come into the framework of the European Union savings directive; on what dates such agreements were reached; and with which countries the European Commission is in discussions with a view to bringing them into the framework of the directive. [HL3529]
Lord Davies of Oldham: The following countries and territories outside the European Union participate in the framework of the savings directive under agreements signed in 2005 when the directive came into operation: Andorra, Monaco, Liechtenstein, San Marino, Switzerland, Jersey, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands, Montserrat, Aruba and Netherlands Antilles. In October 2006 the Council of Ministers asked the Commission to open exploratory discussions with Hong Kong, Singapore and Macao as a first step in extending the framework to other important financial centres. Informal discussions have taken place with a number of other countries.
Why Article 12 (obstruction of officers) of the Sea Fishing (Prohibition on the Removal of Shark Fins) Order 2007 (SI 2007/2554) does not include provision for a term of imprisonment; and whether obstruction of government agents on land is a more serious offence than obstruction at sea or on land in relation to sea-going matters. [HL3526]
Coastal State penalties for violations of fisheries laws and regulations in the Exclusive Economic Zone may not include imprisonment, in the absence of agreements to the contrary by the States concerned, or any other form of Corporal Punishment.
Obstruction of British sea-fishery officers at sea or on land is treated very seriously. Where this amounts to assault or compromises safety at sea, offences will be prosecuted under the appropriate legislation.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The Government are working with industry leaders and other relevant stakeholders on a healthy food code of good practice, as set out in Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives: A Cross-government Strategy for England, published in January 2008. Copies of the strategy are available in the Library. The healthy food code of good practice makes clear that the Government will continue to work with industry on all areas of food promotionincluding point of saleto reduce children's exposure to promotion of foods high in fat, salt and sugar, and increase their exposure to the promotion of healthier options.
What sales of gold from the government reserves have been made since the beginning of 2005; and in respect of each sale, what was (a) the date, (b) the quantity, (c) the price in United States dollars, and (d) the proceeds in sterling; and [HL3533]
Monthly data on the physical stock of gold and its current value since 2005 are available on the Bank of England website at www.bankofengland.co.uk/statistics/reserves/index.htm.
The Government have not conducted an official gold sales programme since 2002. However, the physical stock of gold has changed reflecting a large number of small transactions, including sales of small amounts of gold sovereigns by the Royal Mint; and transaction costs incurred in gold lending and swaps.
Whether the conclusions of the 2005 consultation on the reimbursement of standard branded generic medicines have been taken into consideration during the current negotiations to agree a new pharmaceutical price regulation scheme; and [HL3577]
Whether current negotiations on a new pharmaceutical price regulation scheme will take account of savings made to the National Health Service by pharmaceutical companies over and above those required in the 2005 pharmaceutical price regulation scheme; and [HL3579]
How they intend to fulfil the commitment made in the interim response to the Office of Fair Trading report on the pharmaceutical price regulation scheme of delivering value for money from a new pharmaceutical price regulation scheme. [HL3580]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): Confidential negotiations on a successor to the current pharmaceutical price regulation scheme (PPRS) are currently taking place between the Government and the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry. The Government will publish details of any new voluntary scheme only after agreement has been reached.
In renegotiating the scheme, the Government are taking into account the following principles, which were set out in the interim government response to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) market study on PPRS:delivering value for money;encouraging and rewarding innovation;assisting the uptake of new medicines; andproviding stability, sustainability and predictability.
The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): I refer the noble and learned Lord to the Government's responses to the Public Administration Select Committee reports on Propriety and Honours: Interim Findings (fourth report of Session 2005-06) and Propriety and Peerages (second report of Session 2007-08). Copies of the responses (Cm 7374) have been laid before Parliament.
Further to the Written Answer by Lord West of Spithead on 12 May (HL3321), whether it conforms with their policy for certain failed asylum seekers to be kept in immigration detention for more than one year while the Home Office obtains emergency travel documents for them. [HL3564]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): Whilst there is no fixed time-limit on detention under Immigration Act powers, the UK Border Agency is keen to ensure that detention lasts for no longer than is necessary.
Individuals are detained only for as long as is reasonably necessary to achieve the purpose for which detention was authorised. What constitutes a reasonable length of detention will vary from case to case depending on the particular circumstances of each case. The actions of detained individuals, including failure to co-operate with redocumentation, may sometimes prolong their detention.
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