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Modernising Scientific Careers

Earl Howe asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): We expect to publish a next-steps document later this year. Consultation plans will be announced in due course.

Muslims

Lord Greaves asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): The Department for Communities and Local Government and the Department for Children, Schools and Families worked in partnership with the Muslim Youthwork Foundation and the National Youth Agency to establish the Young Muslims Advisory Group. The National Youth Agency placed a recruitment advert on their website, which was also sent to government offices, youth work organisations, and national and

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regional stakeholders from both the Department for Communities and Local Government and DCSF. Interested young people had two and a half weeks to apply, and 150 application forms were received.

These initial application forms were assessed by officials from the Department for Communities and Local Government and DCSF and staff from the Muslim Youthwork Foundation against previously agreed criteria, and the 40 strongest applicants were invited to attend a three-day residential assessment centre. At this they were assessed on skills such as listening, teamwork and leadership. Officials from Communities and Local Government and DCSF and staff from the Muslim Youthwork Foundation again assessed the applicants against previously agreed criteria, using these scores as a basis from which to choose the members of the group. These decisions were then put to Ministers in both Communities and Local Government and DCSF.

NHS: Discrimination

Lord Ouseley asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): Disciplinary and grievance issues are dealt with at a local level in line with local policies and procedures. The department would expect National Health Service organisations to adhere to best practice in human resources and to comply with legal requirements.

NHS Employers represents trusts in England on workforce issues and provides advice and guidance on a variety of employment matters.

The following link to their website refers to model policy guidance on bullying and harassment and includes reference to racial harassment: www.nhsemployers.org/practice/practice-906.cfm.

Northern Ireland: Human Rights Commission

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: All appointments to the commission are made under Section 68(3) of the Northern Ireland Act 1998, which states:

“In making appointments under this section, the Secretary of State shall as far as practicable secure that the Commissioners, as a group, are representative of the community in Northern Ireland”.

The Secretary of State has complied with this obligation.



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Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: The section of the Belfast agreement referred to by the noble Lord provides that, “the Irish Government will establish a Human Rights Commission with a mandate and remit equivalent to that within Northern Ireland”. There is no obligation in the Belfast agreement to effect a reduction in funding for the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission as a result of any changes to the funding levels of the Irish Human Rights Commission. No reduction to the budget of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission is planned.

Passports

Lord Roberts of Llandudno asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The total operating costs for the interview office network of 68 offices during the period from 1 August 2007 to 31 July 2008 was £24.7 million, which excludes the cost of depreciation of relevant set-up capital expenditure.

There are a number of central costs within the £24.7 million such as call centre appointments and IT maintenance which makes it impossible to give meaningful comprehensive monthly costs for each individual office.

This gives a notional overall unit cost of £114.05 over the period. However, many of the offices were still coming up to full capacity during the period in question and were not fully operational until later in the 2007 calendar year. The unit cost per interview for the network in July 2008 was £76.43.

Planning: Stansted Airport

Lord Bradshaw asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Lord Adonis): The issue of surface access to Stansted Airport was addressed in some detail in the planning inquiry which informed the Government's decision to grant permission for an increase in the number of flights and passengers there. The planning inspector considered matters such as the ability of the road network to accommodate the increased traffic that

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would arise from the expansion of the airport, and the adequacy and capacity of rail and coach access to the airport. In the light of his recommendations, the Government have attached a number of surface access-related obligations and conditions to the planning permission, the details of which are set out in the decision letter of 8 October. Copies of the decision letter and the planning inspector's report are available in the House Libraries.

As Lord Bassam of Brighton informed the House in a Written Ministerial Statement on 3 March 2008 (col. WS 92), the department is currently undertaking further work on the long-term road and rail capacity improvements that might be needed to take account of forecast population and employment growth in the East of England region as well as the potential expansion of Stansted Airport. We aim to report progress on this matter shortly.

Prisons: Northern Ireland

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): The latest year for which figures are available is 2007-08. I refer the noble Lord to my Answer of 15 October (Official Report, col. WA55). The overall average cost per prisoner per week in England and Wales in 2007-08 was £750. This excludes prisoners held in police and court cells under Operation Safeguard. The figure includes some estimation and is given to the nearest £50. Figures are not calculated separately for England and Wales. Expenditure met by other government departments (eg for health and education) is not included. The prisoner escort service is included.

Railways: Noise

Lord Bradshaw asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Lord Adonis): The European Commission estimates that fitting composite brake systems can reduce noise from freight wagons by up to eight decibels. A substantial number of UK freight wagons are already fitted with such systems.

European Union rules governing the construction of freight wagons, provided for in the Freight Wagon Technical Specifications for Interoperability, require the fitment of spark guards to all wagons including those fitted with composite brake systems where the

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floor of the wagon does not provide such protection. This reflects the widespread use of cast iron brake blocks in continental Europe. The Freight Wagon Technical Specification for Interoperability is currently being revised and the European Railway Agency has indicated that this issue could be addressed as part of that revision.

Railways: Northern Rail

Lord Bradshaw asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Lord Adonis): Discussions with Northern Rail are at a very early stage. Our current view is that they should conclude during 2010, although this is clearly subject to the progress of the commercial negotiations between the parties.

Railways: Rolling Stock

Lord Bradshaw asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Lord Adonis): It is the intention that 1,300 additional new rail vehicles will be delivered by the end of control period 4.

Roads: A55

Lord Roberts of Llandudno asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: Personal injury accidents reported to North Wales police on the A55 in the years requested are as follows:

YearNumber of Accidents

1990

153

1995

97

2000

112

2005

98

2007

107

Lord Roberts of Llandudno asked Her Majesty's Government:



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Lord Davies of Oldham: Fatalities reported to North Wales Police on the A55 in the years requested are as follows:

YearNumber of Fatalities

1990

6

1995

2

2000

3

2005

4

2007

7

Roads: Fatal Accidents

Lord Bradshaw asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Lord Adonis): Figures from 2007 show a decrease in road accident fatalities in the UK of 18 per cent from the 1994-98 average. While the UK remains among the very best performing EU countries for road death rates, our rate of improvement in reducing numbers of fatalities over the past 10 years has not been as strong as some other European countries.

The department intends to publish later this year a consultation on ways of improving compliance with key road safety laws, including drink-driving and speeding. The department is also developing a new road safety strategy for beyond 2010, when the current strategy expires, and this process has included discussions with other leading EU nations in the field of road safety.

Smart Meters

Lord Taylor of Holbeach asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The Government's intention is to take a decision by the end of the year on whether to roll out smart metering to domestic customers. Depending on the exact specification, smart meters could help facilitate the introduction of a wider range of tariffs by energy suppliers. However, if there is a positive decision to mandate smart metering for domestic customers, it will be for energy suppliers to take commercial decisions on the introduction of new tariffs for their customers.



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St Andrews Agreement

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: The St Andrews agreement states that it was the Government’s view that implementation of the agreement should be sufficient to build the community confidence necessary for the Assembly to request the devolution of criminal justice and policing by May 2008.


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