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Lord Tunnicliffe: Current assessment indicates that, given the complexity of many cases being investigated and HETs 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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Further to the Written Answer by Lord Rooker on 14 July 2008 (WA 125) concerning political donations, whether the difference in treatment between Irish citizens and British citizens living in the Republic of Ireland is compatible with the principle of parity of esteem specified in the Belfast agreement of 1998. [HL5041]
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.
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 departments 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.
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.
What consultations they held with the prison chaplaincy about the effect on chaplaincy meetings of the standardised core day before saying that the proposal would have no impact on the key things that go on in establishments to tackle reoffending. [HL4917]
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.
Further to her Written Answer on 17 December 2007 (WA 107) concerning the length of time taken to answer Parliamentary Questions, what was the outcome of her discussion with ministerial colleagues on this issue. [HL4340]
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.
Further to her Answer on 10 June (Official Report, col. 840), how many of the 10 Questions for Written Answer to the Home Office which have been awaiting a reply for a month or more on 26 June come within
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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 departments performance on Questions for Written Answer.
Whether any proposals have been made concerning the possible connection of the Blackpool tram system with the mainline railway between Blackpool South and Preston; and, if so, what is their reaction to such a scheme. [HL5029]
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.
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.
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Bassam of Brighton on 10 July (WA 100), whether the high-speed trains of the German and French railways could access the High Speed 1 link between London and the Channel Tunnel; and whether any regulatory obstacles to such operation are solely the responsibility of Eurotunnel and the French and British safety authorities. [HL5030]
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.
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.
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Bassam of Brighton on 10 July (WA 100), and in the light of growing rail traffic, what steps they will take to remove the barriers to financial approval of the procurement of new rolling stock faced by train operating companies as a result of the length of most railway franchises. [HL5031]
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.
Lord Tunnicliffe: The UK takes all allegations of misconduct by UN and other peacekeepers extremely seriously and we welcome Save the Childrens report highlighting this grave issue. We support any efforts to protect refugees, particularly the most vulnerablewomen and childrenfrom 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 UNs 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 UNs commitment to zero tolerance concerning abuse by peacekeeepers.
Whether, in the light of reports of the use made by local authorities of powers under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, they will review the legislation and consider whether its use for purposes other than national security should be subject to judicial consent and review. [HL4429]
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.
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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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.
What was the average daily volume of traffic between junctions 8 and 8A of the M11 motorway, and the number of vehicles entering or exiting the motorway at those junctions, in each of the last 10 years. [HL4930]
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:
|Year||J8A Southbound entering M11||J8A Northbound exiting M11|
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