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Housing: Commonhold

Baroness Scott of Needham Market asked Her Majesty's Government:

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): On 11 June 2008, there were 14 commonholds. Eleven were registered without unit-holders, suggesting that they were registered by a developer. The remainder were registered with unit-holders indicating that the registration was a conversion to commonhold by existing owners.

The Government intend to publish a consultation paper later this year to find out why take-up is so low, and to identify any changes to the legislation that are necessary to increase it.

Law Commission: Recommendations

Lord Goodlad asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): In July 2006, the then DTI (now BERR) Minister, Ian McCartney, wrote to the Law Commission to say that the Government accepted in principle the Commission’s recommendations on unfair terms in contracts, subject to an evaluation of the impact of the reforms. This is now under way. BERR will be considering implementing the reforms as part of its broader review of consumer law.

Having considered the Law Commission's proposals in Legislating the Criminal Code, the Home Office published a consultation document in February 1998 that set out the Government's proposals in this area. Responsibility for the law in this area has now passed to the Ministry of Justice. At present, the Government are undertaking a review of the law on murder that will cover the partial defences of provocation and diminished responsibility, infanticide and complicity. The Government wish to progress the review of murder before undertaking any review of lesser offences of violence.

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Following the Law Commission's report, Company Security Interests, a power to amend the scheme for registration of charges, which could be used to implement some but not all of the report's recommendations, was included in the Companies Act 2006. This power will come into force in October 2009. The Government will give further consideration to bringing forward proposals for implementing measures under this power and to their response to the report overall.

The Government are analysing the impact of the Law Commission's recommendations in Terminations of Tenancies for Tenant Default, and hope to be able to respond by the end of the year.

The Government will implement the recommendations in Law Commission's reports, Third Parties-Rights Against Insurers and The Forfeiture Rule and the Law of Succession when Parliamentary time allows.

National Lottery

Lord Jones of Cheltenham asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: Any visitor to the UK, including citizens of the British Overseas Territories, can purchase National Lottery tickets from a lottery retailer; and would be entitled to claim any winnings, in accordance with the rules.

To be eligible to play the National Lottery by subscription or via the internet, an applicant is required to have (and maintain):

a UK or Isle of Man address, from which the application is made; anda UK or Isle of Man bank or building society account from which payment will be made.

Olympic Games 2012: Budget

Lord Jopling asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: I am not aware of any disciplinary issues being undertaken by professional accountancy bodies in this respect. The estimated cost of the Games at the time of our bid was based on the best advice and information available at that time from a range of building and finance professionals, and was signed off across government. Most of the difference between the bid estimate and the funding package that I announced in March 2007 is accounted for by subsequent decisions in relation to programme contingency, tax and security.

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Questions for Written Answer: Guidance to Civil Servants

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: I refer the noble Lord to the Answer given on 20 May 2008 (Official Report, col. WA 183).

Sexual Offences Act

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The Government believe that in the formulation of Section 15 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, the definition of each offence is precise.

The section is intended to protect children from adults who communicate with them through, for example, meetings, telephone conversations or the internet, and then arrange to meet them with the intention of committing a sexual offence against them, either at that meeting or subsequently. The offence is committed when the adult intentionally meets the child or travels with the intention of meeting the child intending to do anything to or in respect of the child which, if done, would involve the adult in the commission of a relevant offence. When Section 73 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 is implemented, the offence will also be committed if the child travels to meet the offender.

The evidence of the adult's intent to commit an offence may be drawn from the communications between the adult and the child before the meeting or may be drawn from other circumstances.

This is covered in more detail in the Explanatory Notes to the Act, which can be viewed on the website of the Office of Public Sector Information.

Sport: UK Deaf Sport

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Lord Davies of Oldham: No assessment has been made about the effect on UK Deaf Sport of UK Sport's decision to discontinue its annual grant.

Following London's successful bid to host the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, UK Sport was asked to produce a new investment framework in 2006 to focus on a programme of support for elite athletes to enable them to achieve ambitious medal goals for London 2012.

However, UK Sport's world-class performance programme does not discriminate against deaf athletes, with some having previously received support through the programme to compete at the highest level.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has consistently advised UK Deaf Sport to contact Sport England about alternative funding options, including a possible lottery application. Sport England has yet to receive such an application from UK Deaf Sport.

Sudan: Security Council Resolutions

Lord Rana asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): The Government are committed to enhancing the important role that women have to play in preventing and resolving conflicts and building sustainable peace. The UK was a driving force behind the adoption of UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325, which placed these issues firmly on the UN's agenda.

We promote the implementation of UNSCR 1325 throughout Sudan. In 2007, the UK contributed 60 per cent (US$590,701) of the total budget of the UN Common Humanitarian Fund, which includes support for civil society projects to prevent gender-based violence and to promote women's leadership in society.

Through the Department for International Development's governance programme, we provide training for the police, judiciary and prison officers to enable them to tackle gender-based violence more effectively and support local non-governmental organisations to run workshops and media campaigns on HIV/AIDS, reproductive health and gender-based violence. Our embassy in Khartoum has supported conflict mitigation and peacebuilding initiatives which have encouraged women to lead on reconciliation efforts.

In the UN, the UK supported the inclusion of language on UNSCR 1325 in Security Council resolutions relating to the UN peacekeeping missions in Sudan. For example, the following language was included in the most recent mandate for the UN mission in Sudan:

The UK also supports the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations' work to incorporate gender issues into all peacekeeping missions. Additionally, we raise gender-related issues through the EU-Sudan Dialogue on Human Rights.

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We continue to develop our national action plan on UNSCR 1325, to promote and support the crucial role that women have to play in delivering sustainable peace and security in conflict areas, including southern Sudan.

Sudan: War Crimes

Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): Following the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) attack on Omdurman, the Sudanese authorities have detained a number of Darfuris and non-Darfuris, and sought to retake villages in Darfur under the military control of JEM. We are in close touch with the Human Rights division of the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) and the UN-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), which have sent a UN fact-finding mission to these villages.

We have pressed the Government of Sudan to exercise restraint in their response to the JEM attack and follow due legal process for anyone arrested in connection with the attack. We will continue to raise any reported violations with the Government bilaterally and multilaterally, and remain in close contact with UNMIS and UNAMID.

Terrorism: Northern Ireland

Lord Maginnis of Drumglass asked Her Majesty's Government:

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): The Written Ministerial Statement on 10 June 2008 (Official Report, col. WS39) made clear that much detailed work would now be required to consider a number of issues relating to the military Chiefs of Staff recommendation that a new national award should be introduced for the families of those personnel who die on operations or as a result of terrorist action while on duty. This work will include: what the criteria for the award should be, how far it should go back and who will receive it. An implementation team is now working on these details and will include consideration of the points raised in their deliberations. I expect to be in a position to provide further details of the award later in the year.

Waste Management: Landfill

Lord Jones of Cheltenham asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): There is sufficient landfill capacity to meet current arisings. Future landfill capacity is difficult to predict. However, the Government provide a wide range of assistance and guidance to authorities on alternatives to landfill through the Waste Infrastructure Delivery Programme (WIDP) and the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP).

WIDP aims to accelerate the delivery of the major infrastructure investment required to treat residual waste without compromising efforts to minimise waste and increase recycling levels. It is felt that only a combination of these activities will allow England to dramatically reduce the amount of biodegradable municipal waste sent to landfill, and make a significant contribution to tackling climate change.

WIDP provides local authorities with high-quality, comprehensive support to ensure that the infrastructure requirement is met—including financial help through private finance initiative (PFI) credits (where appropriate), generic guidance and personal procurement support through the WIDP transactors.

WRAP's Recycling and Organics Technical Advisory Team (ROTATE) provides support and guidance to local authorities in England and Northern Ireland for reducing residual waste for disposal and increasing recycling and diversion from landfill. WRAP also has a range of toolkits and best practice guidance for local authorities.

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