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Northern Ireland Office

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: On devolution of justice and policing, those staff and posts working on devolving areas will transfer to the Northern Ireland Executive. It is not possible to provide numbers until there is clarity about which functions will be requested by the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Passports

Lord Brougham and Vaux asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): A reminder system is not currently practicable and is unlikely to be so until the issue of passports is linked to the proposed national identity register, when it will be possible for passport address details to be kept up to date. Driving licence holders are required by law to notify the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency of any change of address, but there is at present no similar requirement on passport holders. Identity and Passport Service records therefore hold only the address given at the time a passport application was made and in many cases this will not be correct when the passport is due for renewal 10 years later.

People Trafficking

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:



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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The UK Border Agency welcomes the report and the positive findings around gender sensitivity and the case-owner model. The agency has already met the Asylum Aid and Poppy Project to discuss the action points and is currently working on the implementation of those actions that were agreed.

Planning: Appeals

Lord Taylor of Holbeach asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): There is sufficient scope under the existing recovery criteria to recover appeals which might set a precedent for developments elsewhere in the country, including under the criterion “proposals which raise important or novel issues of development control, and/or legal difficulties” or under the general provision that “there may on occasion be other cases which merit recovery because of the particular circumstances”.

Whether a particular appeal merits recovery depends on the facts of the case.

Planning: Eco-towns

Lord Taylor of Holbeach asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): The Government will shortly publish a sustainability appraisal together with the draft eco-towns planning policy statement for consultation. Copies of these documents will be placed in the House Library.

Police: Macpherson Report

Lord Ouseley asked Her Majesty's Government:



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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The police service has made substantial progress over the past nine years in increasing the proportion of minority ethnic officers and staff in its workforce. Currently, minority ethnic officers and staff together represent 5.6 per cent of the service.

The increase of minority ethnic officers to 4.1 per cent of warranted officers represents a doubling in representation since 1999. However, despite this progress, the service recognises that there is a lot more to do to achieve a truly representative service which is reflective of the communities it serves.

The policing Green Paper: Cm 7448 From the Neighbourhood to National: Policing Our Communities Together, http://police.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/policereform/Policing_Green.pdf, sets out a shift in the Government's approach to targets, setting out performance management generally. In future, there will be a single top-down numerical target for forces relating to public confidence. The emphasis will be on national support with greater local responsibility.

The Green Paper also sets out proposals to develop an equality, diversity and human rights strategy. The strategy will include local setting of equality standards. The aim of these standards, which are currently being developed by the National Policing Improvement Agency, will be to assist the service to continue to improve performance and mainstream activity on equality and diversity. The standards will be set within a framework which will support authorities and forces in setting equality standards locally with national oversight retained through a new, more robust HMIC inspection regime including a proposed 2010 workforce inspection which will scrutinise (among other issues) the equality standards.

The Government are currently consulting on whether the equality standards should include local employment targets such as for race and gender. This shift from national target-setting will provide for targets being agreed locally by police authorities in consultation with communities. This local approach would provide more local ownership and help reflect the needs of local, diverse communities.

Post Offices

Lord Taylor of Holbeach asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform & Cabinet Office (Baroness Vadera): The Department for Work and Pensions has lead responsibility for arranging the payments of pensions and benefits, and for procuring such services and suppliers as are necessary to ensure that these payments are made to all its customers. The DWP is therefore the lead

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contracting authority for the existing Post Office card account, and will be the lead contracting authority for the replacement Government card account which is currently the subject of a tender process. The department is responsible for Post Office network policy and also manages the Government's shareholder interests in Post Office Ltd. It plays no role in the procurement process for the Government card account.

Prisons: Mental Health

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): Prison healthcare was transferred on 1 April 2008 to the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety within the Northern Ireland Administration and is therefore a matter for them.

Privacy

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): The Government have no plans to legislate in this area. They believe that the balance to be struck between freedom of expression and the right to privacy is best left to the courts to determine on the basis of the individual circumstances of each case.

Railways: Class 442 Units

Lord Bradshaw asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Lord Adonis): In total there are 24 x 5 car class 442 units. Southern Railways leases 17 x 5 car units and 7 x 5 car class 442 units are off lease and currently stored at Eastleigh depot by Angel Trains.

Lord Bradshaw asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Adonis: This information is not held by the Department for Transport. However, it should be noted that this is normal business for a rolling stock company (ROSCO) which will identify opportunities to redeploy its trains on other parts of the network when they come off lease.



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Lord Bradshaw asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Adonis: This information is not held by the Department for Transport. However, we believe that the southern franchise will spend in the range of £10 million refurbishing the 17 units, which will operate between Victoria and Brighton stopping at Gatwick.

Lord Bradshaw asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Adonis: The class 442s are owned by Angel Trains and had come off lease from South West Trains, which decided not to keep them when it bid for their franchise replacement. Angel made an offer to lease the trains to Southern that had a requirement to extend some of their Gatwick Express trains to Brighton and needed more trains to operate the service which was accepted.

Railways: Franchises

Lord Bradshaw asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Lord Adonis): The Government do consider all possible methods of funding investments. The Department for Transport's approach is to ensure investments are appropriate to the organisation, offer value for money, are affordable and meet wider transport objectives.

Railways: Rolling Stock

Lord Bradshaw asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Lord Adonis): In the normal course of events the Department for Transport does not direct the hire or use of rolling stock fleets.

Railways: Time-keeping

Lord Bradshaw asked Her Majesty's Government:



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The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Lord Adonis): The public performance measure reports punctuality at trains' destinations. The lateness of a train during its whole journey contributes to lateness at its destination, and to this extent the experience of the travelling public is reflected in this measure.

Roads: A40

Lord Brougham and Vaux asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Lord Adonis): Responsibility for the A40, from central London to the London boundary, lies with the mayor and Transport for London. Questions on such operational matters as to when this project will be completed and whether the rest of this section of the A40 will be widened to three lanes should be directed to them. However, I note that Transport for London's published expected completion date for the project is summer 2009.

Transport: Heavy Goods Vehicles

Lord Taylor of Holbeach asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Lord Adonis): (a) No fee is charged when vehicles are checked at the roadside.

(b) If a defendant is convicted of an offence, the Vehicle and Operator Service Agency (VOSA) will apply to the court to allocate costs from the defendant. It is at the discretion of the courts whether they wish to do so, and they will take into account a range of factors including the defendant's ability to pay.

(c) No invoice is sent.

Turks and Caicos Islands

Lord Jones of Cheltenham asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Tunnicliffe: Technical experts were pre-deployed to the Turks and Caicos Islands in advance of Hurricane Ike. RFA “Wave Ruler” and HMS “Iron

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Duke” arrived shortly afterwards and helped organise the first distributions of food, water and shelter materials.

In financial terms the UK Government have so far provided £200,000 to help meet emergency needs. This includes £80,000 through the International Red Cross, £90,000 through the Pan American Health Organisation for urgent health and water supply needs, and £30,000 for the stock supplies of tarpaulins and water containers from the Royal Navy ships.

We are currently providing technical assistance to develop a longer-term recovery plan and will consider further financial assistance in the light of an independent socio-economic impact assessment currently being prepared by the United Nations.

Welfare Capitalism

Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: The Government's economic objective is to build a strong economy and fair society, where there is opportunity and security for all.


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