Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

Charges are generally not.suspended to deal with queues resulting from weight of traffic, because allowing free flow through the toll plazas will not necessarily result in less congestion on the crossing itself, due to the need to manage flow into the northbound tunnels, and, southbound, on to the network.

A review of the operation of the crossing is under way, looking at both possible ways to make better use of the existing infrastructure and examining options for additional crossing capacity. This is expected to be completed around the end of the year.

Disability Discrimination Act

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): The Government are giving careful consideration to the judgment in London Borough of Lewisham v Malcolm and any impact it may have on disability discrimination legislation.



15 July 2008 : Column WA137

This judgment does not alter the duty placed on service providers to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people, where it would otherwise be impossible or unreasonably difficult for a disabled person to access the service. For example, where it was reasonable to do so, a restaurant owner would have to make an adjustment to a policy of not allowing dogs into the restaurant to one that would allow disabled people with assistance dogs into the restaurant.

EU: Illegal Migration Directive

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): This directive aims to establish EU-wide rules and procedures on the return of all categories of illegal migrants. The United Kingdom has not opted in to this directive.

Under the proposed directive an illegal entrant may be detained for a period not exceeding six months, but only where it is judged that there is a risk of absconding, or the person avoids or hampers the return or the removal process. Member states may extend the six-month period for a further 12 months. The purpose of the six-month period, and its possible 12 months’ extension, is to facilitate the removal of illegally residing third-country nationals.

A re-entry ban may be imposed for a maximum of five years if a person was removed after failing to leave voluntarily. The ban may be for longer than the five years if the individual represents a serious threat to public safety. Member states which opted in have retained the right to waive, cancel or suspend such bans.

It is not designed to address demographic trends.

Fees

Lord Taylor of Holbeach asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: Collated information on the contents of all statutory instruments relating to fees is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Each department is responsible for setting its own fees and laying its own statutory instruments.



15 July 2008 : Column WA138

Treasury guidance, Managing Public Moneyit is available in the House Library or on the Treasury public website at http://managingpublicmoney. treasury.gov.uk/—provides guidance on how to calculate fees, including a list of the main features to be taken into account in measuring the annual cost of a service. So far as possible, the calculation should use actual costs, where they are known. The norm is to base the fee on full cost unless the primary legislation says otherwise. There are some exceptions to this, such as subsidised services, taxation, information services, discretionary services provided in competition with the private sector and levies.

Food: Healthy Diets

Lord Dykes asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The Government promote a healthy balanced diet consisting of plenty of fruit and vegetables and starchy foods, preferably wholegrains, and some protein-rich foods such as milk and dairy foods, meat, fish, eggs, beans and pulses. This diet includes foods containing wholegrains, antioxidants and folate and provides all the nutrients that most people need.

In addition, folate-rich foods and folic acid supplements are promoted to women of childbearing age, who are advised to take a supplement of 400 micrograms of folic acid before pregnancy and until the 12th week of pregnancy to help prevent neural tube defects in the newborn.

Lord Dykes asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Darzi of Denham: Following the Government's announcement of a new ambition to reverse the rising tide of obesity and of being overweight in the population by ensuring that all individuals are able to maintain a healthy weight, a new £372 million comprehensive cross-government strategy, Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives was launched in January this year. Copies of the strategy have already been placed in the Library.

One of the five themes of the strategy is promoting healthier food choices. Driving the ambition is a new dedicated cross-government obesity unit, which will continue to examine the best emerging evidence of what works, and how everyone in society can play their part.

Lord Dykes asked Her Majesty's Government:



15 July 2008 : Column WA139

Lord Darzi of Denham: Measurable improvements in health metrics among the general population are usually due to a range of interventions programmes, and other factors. It is therefore difficult to isolate that which is due to particular programmes. Furthermore, any such evidence is usually gathered through measurement exercises targeted at specific beneficiaries as part of a programme of monitoring and evaluation rather than interventions aimed at the population as a whole.

Choosing a Better Diet: A Food and Health Action Plan published in March 2005 (copies of the publication have already been placed in the Library) brought together, in one place, all the Government's commitments relating to improving food and nutrition as well as further activity across government to encourage healthier eating. It provided details on the action that needed to happen at national, regional and local level to improve people's health through diet and nutrition.

Direct progress has been made reducing incidence of poor health relating to diet. For example, we have seen increased consumption of fruit and vegetables from 23 per cent to 28 per cent among men and from 27 per cent to 32 per cent among women between 2004

15 July 2008 : Column WA140

and 2006, a reduction in salt consumption from 9.5 grams to 9 grams and a reduction among adults in the prevalence of hypertension from 32 per cent to 31 per cent among men and 30 per cent to 28 per cent among women.

Fuel Poverty

Lord Hanningfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office & Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (Lord Jones of Birmingham): The lowest level of aggregation available for fuel poverty is at government office region. The latest data, for 2005, is contained in the fuel poverty detailed tables published as an annex to the Fuel Poverty Strategy report (online at www.berr.gov.uk/energy/fuel-poverty/strategy/index .html). Table 29 holds the following details for 2005:

% Households in GroupNumber (1,000s) Households in GroupTotal Number of Households (1,000s)
Government Office RegionNot Fuel PoorFuel PoorNot Fuel PoorFuel Poor

North East

88.5

11.5

970

126

1,097

Yorkshire & Humber

92.0

8.0

1,956

169

2,125

North West

90.8

9.2

2,640

268

2,908

East Midlands

91.9

8.1

1,654

145

1,799

West Midlands

91.1

8.9

2,018

197

2,215

South West

91.7

8.3

2,001

181

2,183

East England

93.3

6.7

2,150

155

2,305

South East

95.1

4.9

3,250

169

3,418

London

96.1

3.9

2,965

120

3,085

Total

92.8

7.2

19,605

1,529

21,134


Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page