|Previous Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|
What representations they have made to the new Government of the Republic of Guinea and what assessment they have made of the effects of the recent dismissal of the Prime Minister on the internal stability of the country.[HL3851]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): Ahmed Tidiane Souare, the new Prime Minister of the Republic of Guinea, was invested on 23 May. Our ambassador in Conakry met Souare on 26 May with a group of other diplomatic missions represented in Guinea. We expect the Prime Minister to announce his ministerial team shortly. While civil society groups and the trade unions have indicated their concerns about the dismissal of former Prime Minister Kouyate, they have so far taken a measured approach. We are monitoring reports of continuing disturbances caused by elements of the military. We changed our travel advice on 29 May to advise against all but essential travel to Guinea.
What efforts are being made to help internally displaced people to find permanent dwellings in (a) Afghanistan, (b) Iraq, (c) Uganda, and (d) the Democratic Republic of Congo; and what measures they, the European Union and the Commonwealth are taking on this. [HL3429]
Baroness Crawley: The Department for International Development (DfID) supports humanitarian agencies and Governments to find durable solutions, be they
3 Jun 2008 : Column WA40
In Afghanistan, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees is working with the Government to assist IDPs who wish to return to their place of origin. Those who are unable or unwilling to return are being integrated into local communities where they are assisted in finding permanent dwellings. DfID has contributed £4 million to the International Committee for the Red Cross for IDPs and vulnerable groups.
In Iraq, the security situation does not yet allow for IDPs to return to their places of origin. In the mean time, humanitarian assistance is provided to IDPs in temporary dwellings. DfID has committed £9 million to the International Committee of the Red Cross and the World Food Programme to assist IDPs and other vulnerable groups.
In Uganda, DfID and other donors are in discussion with the Government on how best to support their peace, recovery and development plan for Northern Uganda, which includes assisting IDPs to return to their original communities or to relocate elsewhere. In 2007-08 DfID released £16.9 million to help IDPs meet basic needs and begin the process of return. The European Commission is providing £2 million this year to shelter projects in Northern Uganda.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Enlarged Returns Assistance Programme (ERAP), managed by UNICEF, is helping IDPs who wish to return to their places of origin with packages of assistance. DfID supports the ERAP through its contribution to the Common Humanitarian Fund for the DRC (£30 million in 2008). The EU humanitarian assistance to the DRC, worth €30 million in 2008, also funds the ERAP.
Baroness Crawley: The UK Government continue to urge both sides to refrain from violence. We call on all parties to respect international law. As with all conflict-affected areas where the Department for International Development (DfID) works, there is a risk of physical damage to DfID investments. We use risk mitigation measures where possible, but continue to provide assistance despite difficult conditions.
The UK Government have raised the specific case of the destruction of the Mu'qata at Nablus (location of DfID-funded project) twice with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). The UK embassy's defence section in Tel Aviv gained an undertaking from the IDF's chief of operations that none of the locations in which the UK had invested would be subject to IDF attacks. The destruction of the Mu'qata was the subject of a
3 Jun 2008 : Column WA41
Whether, in view of the serious violence and disorder that broke out in Manchester when a big screen showing the ITV broadcast of the UEFA cup failed on 14 May, it will review the exemption for broadcast entertainment in the Licensing Act 2003. [HL3715]
Lord Davies of Oldham: The screening in Manchester of the broadcast of the UEFA cup final in a public place on 14 May only took place with the consent of the local authority and under restrictions agreed with the police. It is therefore difficult to see what added control would have been available had the event been subject to the licensing controls under the Licensing Act 2003, or that such controls would have prevented the disorder that arose.
It remains the Government's position that big-screen television broadcasts in themselves do not cause disorder, but that it is the consumption of alcohol at such events that can lead to problems. Decisions on whether big-screen events should go ahead are the responsibility of the local authority in consultation with the local police, who are involved at an early stage, and event organisers. It is already possible under existing legislation to control consumption and drunkenness in public places. Under the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001, it is possible for a local authority to designate any area to which the public have access a place where alcohol may not be consumed. It is also an offence under the Licensing Act 1872 to be drunk in a public place. The Government are confident that the police and local authority in Manchester will ensure that safety and security arrangements provide a controlled environment at any future big-screen events.
Further to the reply by Baroness Vadera in Grand Committee on 6 March (GC 179) on motorsport, when they will respond to the questions raised, particularly those relating to Motorsport Development UK's performance and expenditure costs. [HL3581]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (Baroness Vadera): I wrote to the noble Lord on Friday 30 May to explain the delay in responding to his request during the motorsport debate on 6 March. I have sent the noble Lord a copy of the joint
3 Jun 2008 : Column WA42
I can confirm that arrangements have been made for me to meet the MDUK board on 18 June, and officials are in direct contact with the Motorsport Industry Association over future arrangements for me to meet the MIA, the world sports governing body (the Federation Internationale de l'AutomobileFIA) and the Formula 1 teams based in the UK.
Lord Rooker: The Northern Ireland Office takes absence very seriously and has robust policies and procedures in place to deal with inefficiency which results from poor attendance. The NIO has a target for 2008-09 of no more than 8.5 days lost per member of staff. The departmental board has agreed an action plan for 2008-09 to achieve that target. There will be more transparency of sick absence rates and more discussion about sick absence performance and trends through monthly updates from personnel services to all staff.
The health and safety of everyone in the department is of paramount importance; we have a duty of care to help prevent staff becoming ill and to support them when they are. The Northern Ireland Office already has a series of effective policies and procedures in place which help achieve these aims. These include a welfare service and an independent confidential counselling service that is available 24 hours a day. During 2008-09, the NIO will also arrange a series of well-being events for staff and a programme of health promotion is under way.
Lord Rooker: I refer the noble Lord to my Written Answers (Official Report, col. WA 171 of 5 February 2008 and Official Report, col. WA 158 of 3 March 2008) in which I stated that the post of chairman of the Bill of Rights Forum was not advertised.
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Rooker on 13 May (WA 129) concerning the appointment of the Northern Ireland Bill of Rights Forum, how many people, other than Chris Sidoti, whose CVs they did not have were considered for the post. [HL3738]
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Rooker on 5 February (WA 171) concerning the Northern Ireland Bill of Rights Forum and the appointment of its chairman, who drew up the selection criteria; and after what consultation. [HL3761]
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Rooker on 12 May (WA 114), how many of the murders of Ulster Defence Regiment and Royal Irish Regiment members have been successfully cleared up and how many people were convicted as a result of the work completed in the 15 of 203 cases. [HL3730]
Lord Rooker: The Historical Enquiries Team has two main objectivesfirst, to seek any new or remaining evidential opportunities, and, secondly, to answer the personal questions which families bring about the death of their loved one.
Of the 15 cases referred to in my written response to the noble Lord on 12 May, there have been no convictions; eight families have engaged with the Historical Enquiries Team and have had their questions answered.
What proposals there are to restructure the police service in County Down and reduce the number of police stations; whether any decisions have been taken and by whom; whether a consultation period was involved; who was consulted; and what is the timetable for such a restructure. [HL3398]
In addition, the district commander holds the view that Carryduff police station is not in a suitable location and is in a poor state of repair. A number of options are currently under consideration with a view to identifying an alternative facility in Carryduff Town.
There are no imminent plans to seek the closure of any other police stations within the PSNI C District, although future changes are likely in the longer term. PSNI will continue to ensure that the most effective and efficient policing service is provided to local communities commensurate with budgetary constraints and other necessary considerations.
Whether they intend to reduce the number of district policing partnerships so as to be coterminous with the proposed number of councils recently announced by the Minister of Environment in the Northern Ireland Assembly. [HL3775]
Lord Rooker: The legislation requires each district council to establish a district policing partnership. The Northern Ireland Office will work closely with the Department of the Environment and the Northern Ireland Policing Board to consider this requirement in light of the proposed arrangements and responsibilities envisaged for local government in Northern Ireland, as well as the important role of the DPPs at a local level.
|Next Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|