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Police: Northern Ireland

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Tunnicliffe: Current assessment indicates that, given the complexity of many cases being investigated and HET’s commitment to ensure families receive as much information as possible, it is unlikely the work will be completed within the original timescale. The chief constable has already indicated his commitment to the process beyond this point. However, a definite decision on the way forward will be best taken after the forthcoming report from the Consultative Group

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on the Past and the recent NIAC report. As funding of HET is in addition to the main policing budget, the backlog of work is having minimal impact on police operations.

Political Parties: Funding

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Crawley: Paragraph 1(v) of the Belfast agreement sets out the principles on which the power of the sovereign Government with jurisdiction in Northern Ireland shall be exercised, including the principle of parity of esteem for the identity, ethos and aspirations of both communities in Northern Ireland.

The rules on donations to UK political parties by individuals living in Northern Ireland are entirely consistent with this principle; it is open to any individual on the electoral register in Northern Ireland (or elsewhere in the UK) to make such a donation.

British citizens living in Ireland are subject to the same rules on political donations to UK political parties as British citizens living anywhere else outside the UK.

Prisoners: Database

Baroness Quin asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): I am pleased to say that the database to which I referred in my earlier Answer is now operational for casework purposes within the department’s public protection unit. Much of the material contained in the public protection unit database (PPUD) has been migrated from other file and IT sources. Measures were taken to quality-assure that information but, as with any large-scale recording system with multiple users, the new system remains subject to possible inaccuracies as a result of data entry errors. According to PPUD, as at 31 May 2008, 3,431 prisoners sentenced to life or to an indeterminate sentence of imprisonment for public protection were being held beyond their tariff expiry date, out a total sentenced population of 11,236 such prisoners.

Prisons: Cells

Lord Ramsbotham asked Her Majesty’s Government:



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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): Prison cells are certified as prisoner accommodation in accordance with Section 14 of the Prison Service Act 1952 and Prison Service Order (PSO) 1900. This requires prisoner accommodation and capacities to be certified in accordance with defined standards.

Prisons: Chaplains

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty’s Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): In preparation for the implementation of the standardised core day, a project co-ordinator was appointed to liaise with relevant departments to provide guidance and deal with any concerns raised. On 16 January 2008 the co-ordinator attended a meeting with area chaplains; on 9 April he attended the chaplaincy national conference and facilitated two workshops.

The chaplaincy department was invited to various seminars to consider the post-implementation data collation. Further to this, the co-ordinator liaised at a local level between the chaplaincy and governors when required. Issues raised as a result of discussions were collated and a series of Q&A guidance notes were circulated throughout the Prison Service. A further meeting has been arranged with area chaplains in September 2008 to obtain feedback.

Questions for Written Answer: Late Answers

Lord Laird asked the Leader of the House:

The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): I regularly discuss this matter with ministerial colleagues and I have recently written to all Cabinet colleagues emphasising the importance of answering Questions for Written Answer within the 14-day deadline. My office also regularly reminds departments of the importance of responding to Questions within the deadline and registers concern with the relevant department every time an Answer becomes overdue.

Lord Jopling asked the Leader of the House:

Baroness Ashton of Upholland: Records show that 14 Questions on immigration issues were overdue for answer on 30 June. My office is working closely with the Home Office to improve the department’s performance on Questions for Written Answer.

Railways: Blackpool Trams

Lord Bradshaw asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: Neither the Department for Transport nor Network Rail has received a formal proposal concerning the possible connection of the Blackpool tram system with the mainline railway between Blackpool South and Preston.

We are, however, aware that a bid for European funding was submitted by ReBlackpool, the urban regeneration company, in May 2008 under the Interreg 4B programme for a train-tram study to explore the viabilities of running a train-tram on the South Fylde line.

Railways: CCTV

Lord Hanningfield asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The Department for Transport does not collect this type of information. Following a national review led by the Home Office, the National Policing Improvement Agency is leading on a national CCTV strategy programme aimed at, among other things, setting national standards. This work should lead to changes when equipment is renewed, rather than a campaign programme of change. Representatives from the department are members of the steering group alongside colleagues from other government departments and the police service.

Railways: High Speed 1

Lord Bradshaw asked Her Majesty's Government:



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Lord Bassam of Brighton: My previous Answer confirmed that High Speed 1 is available to any train operator that satisfies the requirements of the HS1 network statement. Network Rail (CTRL) Limited, as the infrastructure manager, under the ROGS regulations, manages the network statement on behalf of HS1. The network statement informs train operators of the rolling stock that can be used and sets out the safety requirements and the regulations to be complied with.

Network Rail (CTRL) Limited has the responsibility on High Speed 1 to manage applications from train operators that wish to access the railway. The infrastructure managers of Eurotunnel and the French rail network have the same responsibilities on their respective networks.

Railways: Procurement

Lord Bradshaw asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: Procurement of the 1,300 vehicles will be undertaken by the train operating companies, following negotiations which are currently in hand, and announcements will be made in due course. Three hundred and seventeen vehicles have already been ordered.

Railways: Rolling Stock

Lord Bradshaw asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The Department for Transport continues to work with train operators to procure additional vehicles to deliver the additional high level output specification capacity. More than 5,000 vehicles have been delivered into service in the past 12 years. The train operator enters into an operating lease with the financier for the period of its franchise, and this has not proved to be a barrier to funding of rail vehicles, as the financier takes the longer-term view.

Refugees: Sexual Violence

Baroness Northover asked Her Majesty’s Government:



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Lord Tunnicliffe: The UK takes all allegations of misconduct by UN and other peacekeepers extremely seriously and we welcome Save the Children’s report highlighting this grave issue. We support any efforts to protect refugees, particularly the most vulnerable—women and children—from instances of abuse.

It remains the case that the vast majority of UN staff live up to the highest standards of behaviour, while carrying out important work in difficult circumstances. But, where they do not live up to their mandate, we support the implementation of the UN’s “zero tolerance” policy concerning instances of abuse.

The Secretary of State for International Development raised this issue with the UN Secretary-General on 16 June. We are expecting a Security Council discussion on UN Resolution 1325 (Women, peace and security) in October. We will also be pushing for a Security Council presidential statement reinforcing the UN’s commitment to zero tolerance concerning abuse by peacekeeepers.

Regulation of Investigatory Powers

Lord Stoddart of Swindon asked Her Majesty’s Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 requires that the use of a number of different covert investigatory techniques by public authorities is authorised only when it is necessary and proportionate with regard to human rights.

The Act established an oversight regime, which includes independent inspection and scrutiny of public authority use of the powers by specially appointed commissioners, each of whom have held high judicial office.

The commissioners report annually to the Prime Minister on the results of their inspections and their reports are published. The Act also established a tribunal, drawn from the judiciary and legal profession, to investigate complaints. The Government are satisfied with the independent review mechanisms in place for the use of covert investigatory powers by public authorities.

Research: Cyber Infrastructure

Lord Dykes asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) provides

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opportunities for funding for cyber-infrastructure research through its Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) programme, which will be investing £225 million in new research grants in the period 2008-09 to 2010-11, and through the Digital Economy programme, which will be investing £83 million in new research grants in 2008-09 to 2010-11.

The Technology Strategy Board is currently developing a UK technology strategy in the areas of “Information and Communication Technologies”, and “Electronics, Photonics and Electrical Systems”. Funding will also be provided to stimulate business research and innovation focused on addressing key societal challenges such as “Intelligent Transport Systems and Services”, “Assisted Living” and “Low Impact Buildings”, which could provide opportunities for funding cyber-infrastructure research where appropriate. Funding in these areas will be approximately £40 million per annum.

DIUS investments in space technologies, while not directed at cyber-infrastructure, may in the future and in some cases find a use in related applications.

Roads: M11

Lord Hanningfield asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: There are no fixed counters on the short section of M11 motorway between junctions 8 and 8A or on most of the slip roads for these two junctions. The only data available from counters are those for the slip roads to/from the improved A120 at J8A since their completion in 2003, which are as follows:

YearJ8A Southbound entering M11J8A Northbound exiting M11

ADT

ADT

2003

8,713

9,184

2004

14,164

13,557

2005

16,114

15,437

2006

17,319

16,505

2007

18,363

17,504


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