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Elections: Security of Ballots

Lord Norton of Louth asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The responsibility for storing electoral documents rests with locally appointed electoral registration officers upon receipt of the sealed bags of documents from the returning officer.

Under rule 57, Schedule 1 to the Representation of the People Act 1983, registration officers must ensure that there is no opportunity for any individual to identify how a specific elector has voted. In order to achieve this requirement, ballots are sealed up separately from other election documents. The documents are then stored in a secure place by the electoral registration officer.

As a further security measure, access to either the ballot papers or the list recording the elector number can only be gained by order of the House of Commons, the High Court or a county court. Circumstances in which such an order may be appropriate are where the result of an election has been legally challenged, or a relevant police authority has cause to investigate possible electoral malpractice.

Embryology

Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The department has been informed by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) that it has no view on the accuracy of Dr Susan Millns's judgment in the journal Res Publica in January 2003. This is Dr Millns's own assessment and opinion of Regulating Reproduction: Law, Technology and Autonomy. The HFEA considers that the book is an

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academic work that, among other things, does no more than discuss the arguments both for and against reproductive cloning.

On the question of the HFEA's consideration of research licence applications involving the creation of embryos by cell nuclear replacement, there is nothing further I can add to my previous Answer.

Employment

Baroness Hollis of Heigham asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (Baroness Vadera): The ONS's annual business inquiry (ABI) gives a split of the total number of employees by sex, full time/part time and firm size. It does not, however, cover all sectors. Financial intermediation (approximately 1 million employees) and public administration (around 5 million employees) are excluded.

Also, the firm size breakdown in the ABI has a maximum size band of over 250 employees.

Table 1 gives the total number of employees, split by gender, full time/part time and firm size based on the 2005 ABI.

Table 2 gives the number of employees by gender, full time/part time and firm size as a percentage of the total number of employees.

Table 1
MalesFemales
Full TimePart TimeFull TimePart TimeTotal Number of Employees

< 5 employees

1,014,703

212,052

382,187

531,320

2,140,716

5 to 50 Employees

2,281,440

393,470

1,034,544

1,058,622

4,767,941

50 to 250 employees

1,709,935

206,746

784,025

499,343

3,199,681

Over 250 employees

4,391,421

990,568

2,189,245

2,108,738

9,680,025

All Sizebands

9,397,499

1,802,836

4,390,001

4,198,023

19,788,362

Table 2
MalesFemales
Full TimePart TimeFull TimePart Time

< 5 employees

5.1%

1.1%

1.9%

2.7%

5 to 50 Employees

11.5%

2.0%

5.2%

5.3%

50 to 250 employees

8.6%

1.0%

4.0%

2.5%

Over 250 employees

22.2%

5.0%

11.1%

10.7%

All Sizebands

47.5%

9.1%

22.2%

21.2%



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Energy: Nuclear Material

Lord Vinson asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bach: The Government are aware that nuclear fuel, after use in a reactor, can be reprocessed to separate out reusable plutonium and uranium. The plutonium can then be turned into mixed oxide fuel for reuse in reactors.

We would consider any commercial proposals for new reprocessing but these would have to go through detailed approval processes, as with new reactor proposals. In the absence of any such proposals, the Government have concluded that any new nuclear power stations that might be built in the UK should proceed on the basis of a once-through cycle, with spent fuel disposed of as waste. We are not currently expecting any proposals to reprocess spent fuel from new nuclear power stations. Should such proposals come forward in the future, they would need to be considered on their own merits at the time and the Government would expect to consult on them.

EU: Food

Lord Willoughby de Broke asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): To date, no derogation has been secured. The Food Standards Agency continues to work closely with industry representatives and other stakeholders to try to find an acceptable solution to this issue. British meat industry representatives have also, very recently, made representations to the European Commission.

EU: Parliamentary Scrutiny

Lord Willoughby de Broke asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): I refer the noble Lord to the Answer I gave the noble Lord Vinson on 6 May 2008 (HL 2446).



22 May 2008 : Column WA214

European Communities (Finance) Act

Lord Burnett asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: Based on the European Commission's forecasts and assumptions, and using the financial perspective table agreed on 17 December 2005, Treasury estimates for the extra costs to the United Kingdom were set out in an Answer given in the House of Commons on 20 December 2005 and are as follows:

2007-08

£0.5 billion

2008-09

Zero

2009-10

£1.0 billion

2010-11 to 2012-13

£1.6 to £1.9 billion per year

Latest estimates of the UK net contribution to the EC Budget over the period 2007-08 to 2010-11 were included in table C9 of the Financial Statement and Budget Report (HC 388, page 194). Later financial year estimates for the United Kingdom's contributions to the EC Budget will be published in future pre-Budget Reports and Financial Statement and Budget Reports.

Food: Salt

Baroness Masham of Ilton asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The Food Standards Agency's (FSA's) activities on salt include both consumer awareness campaigns, and work with the food industry to reformulate products with lower salt levels. The 0.5 gram reduction in salt intakes that has been achieved so far as a result of this work is estimated to have resulted in 3,500 lives being saved annually. It is not possible to estimate the morbidity avoided specifically.

The total cost of the FSA's campaign (January 2004 to March 2008) has been £15,227,000. This includes all campaign costs such as advertising, production, research, marketing, public relations, web and partner grants.


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