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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): I refer the noble Lord to the Answer given to the honourable Member for Harborough on Monday 7 July (Official Report, col. 1355W). A copy of the background dataset has been placed in the Library, which outlines the socio-economic make-up of the sample.

Police: Northern Ireland

Lord Tebbit asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: The previous Written Answer provided to the Lord Maginnis of Drumglass was referring to those engaged on an ongoing basis in terrorism or criminality, rather than to those with a past conviction for any offence.

Population Growth

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Tunnicliffe: Rapid population growth is making it harder for some countries to achieve the millennium development goals (MDGs) and escape poverty. It is estimated that 99 per cent of this growth will take place in developing countries, particularly in those countries where poverty is most extreme. Experience shows that a range of activities combine to give people choices. These include; improving health, education and livelihoods; promoting gender equality and the rights of women; and ensuring access to sexual and reproductive health information, services and supplies. Evidence shows that when people are free to choose when and how often to have children, they tend to have smaller families.

The Department for International Development (DfID) is providing £100 million to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) over the five year period to 2013 to increase access to reproductive health commodities, including male and female condoms. DfID is also supporting the supply of contraceptives directly with several developing countries, including, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Kenya and Cambodia.

Prisons: Northern Ireland

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): A person who fails to comply with the terms of a decree or money judgment made by any court in Northern Ireland can ultimately be committed to prison by the court as a result of that failure.

The court will take into account a range of factors including the debtor's ability to pay. In addition, the legislation governing such proceedings provide a wide range of debt recovery payment options including, for example, time to pay, payment by instalments or an

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attachment of earnings order. An order for committal would generally be regarded as a measure of last resort.

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bach: The ratio of prisoners to officers is 1.13 to one in Northern Ireland and three to one in England.

There are differences in the classification of prison officers between the two jurisdictions. In England, for public sector prisons, officers are classified as prison officers, senior officers and principal officer. For private prisons they are classified as prison custody officers and senior custody officers. In Northern Ireland, prison officers are classified as main grade officers, night custody officers, operational support grades and night patrol officers.

Questions for Written Answer

Lord Jopling asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Patel of Bradford: Ministers take seriously their responsibilities to Parliament and aim to respond to Parliamentary Questions on time wherever possible. The nature of some Parliamentary Questions requires consultation with other parts of Government which inevitably takes time. The Summer Recess has also been a factor. However, I can assure the noble Lord that the Cabinet Office is working to answer the outstanding Questions as quickly as possible.

Railways: Electrification

Lord Bradshaw asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Lord Adonis): The Department for Transport has been working closely with the rail industry to examine the case for extending the electrified network.

St Helena

Lord Jones of Cheltenham asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Lord Tunnicliffe: The Secretary of State for International Development expects to make a decision shortly. As with all government projects of this size, an announcement will be made after final approval by HM Treasury.


Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): We did not seek to facilitate any meeting between President Hu Jintao and the Dalai Lama. However, my right honourable friend the Prime Minister raised the situation in Tibet when he met President Hu at the G8 summit.

Since then the Prime Minister has raised Tibet in discussions with President Hu and Premier Wen in August, and again with Premier Wen in New York in September.

Transport: Overseas Lorries

Lord Taylor of Holbeach asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Lord Adonis): It is the responsibility of highway authorities to identify the appropriate locations for this non-prescribed traffic sign, and apply to the Department for Transport for authorisation for its use. The department does not provide funding for these traffic signs; the cost will be met by the highway authority.

Any residents affected by heavy goods vehicles using an unsuitable route would need to contact the appropriate highway authority since only they can erect these traffic signs.

Turkey: Leyla Zana

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

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The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): We are aware of the recent criminal charges brought against Leyla Zana in the High Court of Diyarbakir. We have not seen independent verification of what she has allegedly said so cannot comment on the substance of the cases. However, we have consistently stressed to the Turkish Government that legitimate non-violent expression of views should not be prosecuted, but that we utterly condemn all acts of terrorism.

UN: Convention on Discrimination

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): The United Kingdom was examined on its 5th and 6th reports to the UN

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Committee on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women on 10 July this year. Following this examination, the committee published a set of draft observations which welcomed the UK's adoption of a number of legislative, judicial and administrative measures aimed at promoting gender equality and eliminating discrimination. This document also outlines a number of recommendations. The Government welcome the committee's document.

In accordance with the recommendations made at paragraph 12 of the committee's concluding observations, the Government Equalities Office has disseminated the committee's draft concluding observations to all relevant ministries and is currently drafting an action plan to take forward the recommendations made in the draft report. The Government Equalities Office will implement the plan working with other government departments and the devolved Administrations.

The Government recognise the difficulties that women who are victims of violence and have no recourse to public funds face. We have been working both within the statutory and voluntary sectors to find ways to support women who are victims of violence in line with the recommendations made in paragraphs 47 and 48.

The no recourse to public funds policy is part of a general immigration rule that ensures entitlement to services such as housing and other payments are accessible and that they benefit claimants within the Immigration Rules. The Government have no plans to abolish the no recourse to public funds rule.

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