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What assessment they have made of whether financial difficulties experienced by Russian businessmen with commercial interests in the United Kingdom will affect employment levels in the United Kingdom, if the Government of Russia do not offer them emergency aid. [HL6000]
The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): Russian investment in UK business is small relative to other economies investing in the UK. The effect of any financial difficulties experienced by Russian businessmen with commercial interests in the UK on the total level of employment would therefore be expected to be minimal.
What proportion of the central bid made to HM Treasury as part of the Government's 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review on behalf of the security and intelligence agencies is allocated to development of and ongoing expenditure on the Scope 1 and 2 projects. [HL5001]
Lord Patel of Bradford: It has been the longstanding practice of successive Governments not to publish budgetary data concerning the security and intelligence agencies below the level of the single intelligence account.
In respect of information requested concerning the costs associated with the SCOPE programme, I refer the noble Lord to the Answer given in the other place to the honourable Member for Lewes (Mr Baker) on the 6 November 2006 (Official Report, Commons, col. 862W).
Lord Patel of Bradford: We have informed our contractor for Phase 2 of SCOPE that a different approach to the delivery of those capabilities is needed. As a result we are seeking to discuss the implications with the contractor. The details are of course commercially confidential.
In respect of information requested concerning the costs associated with the SCOPE programme, I refer to the Answers given in the other place to the honourable Member for Lewes on 6 November 2006 (Official Report, Commons, col. 862W).
Further to the Written Answer by the Lord President (Baroness Royall of Blaisdon) on 29 October (WA 177) concerning the St Andrews agreement, whether the suggested date for the devolution of criminal justice and policing by May 2008 was an aspiration or an undertaking. [HL6051]
What steps they intend to take to ensure gender diversity on the United Nations Human Rights Committee in light of the all-male list of candidates elected by state parties on 4 September 2008 in New York. [HL5802]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): The UK considers that the primary criteria for candidates for the Human Rights Committee are the qualities set out in the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). These do not include a gender element. But as a matter of good practice, the UK does consider that achieving a gender balance in the committee's membership is good for the committee and its work. The UK was therefore disappointed that no female candidates were put forward in the ballot for the last election. The committee has five female members.
What is the extent of the escape and naturalisation of water primrose (Ludwigia species) in the United Kingdom; whether they have assessed the environmental risks from the spread of that plant; and whether they have issued advice on its sale and propagation and its eradication where it is naturalised. [HL5894]
The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): There are currently a small number of confirmed populations of water primrose, Ludwigia grandiflora, (a non-native invasive plant species) in Great Britain, which are believed to be small and manageable at present. A risk assessment of Ludwigia species has been carried out and will be published on the Non-native Species Secretariat website following peer review. It indicates a risk of major impacts and a moderate risk of spread. In line with the invasive non-native species framework strategy for Great Britain we recognise that a rapid response is therefore necessary to eradicate the species before it becomes established in Great Britain. This summer the Environment Agency began an eradication programme in partnership with land owners and Defra, which will continue into next year.
We have commissioned the production of identification sheets for invasive non-native species including one for water primrose. This will be published on the Non-Native Species Secretariat website shortly and promoted more widely in due course. A factsheet including management information is also available on the website.
Ludwigia species were amongst those proposed for addition to Schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and for a ban on sale order, both in the recent Defra and Welsh Assembly Government consultation and in the separate Scottish Executive consultation. No decisions have been made as yet.
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 21 October (WA 103), in the case of
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The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): Where it is necessary to employ a contractor to clear weeds, there is a small cost to the taxpayer. However, as far as possible we try to recover any costs from the occupier of the land against whom the notice is issued.
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