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Europol: Staff

Questions

Asked by Lord Dear



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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): There is a good representation of UK nationals working at Europol, with 42 people out of a current headcount of nearly 400. Of the 42 UK nationals working at Europol, 11 are from a UK law enforcement background. The Government are keen to encourage more law enforcement officers to apply for postings at Europol. However, under current regulations staff working at Europol have to be employed by the organisation and therefore to sign a contract of employment.

The effect of this is that when our law enforcement officials want to work at Europol for an extended period, of typically four years, and are successful at the recruitment competition, they have to negotiate a leave of absence from their police force or agency. As a result officers are no longer able to continue to pay into their pension fund while they are working at Europol. We are currently in discussion with Europol and the European Commission to try to work out a resolution to this problem.

Forced Marriage

Question

Asked by Lord Lester of Herne Hill

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): We continue to work with the Governments of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh to tackle forced marriage and encourage them to take steps to prevent forced marriages taking place. These discussions cover a range of options, from awareness-raising and outreach work to possible legal remedies. We continue to work closely with these governments to provide effective consular assistance to British nationals affected by forced marriage.

Genetically Modified Crops

Question

Asked by The Countess of Mar

The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The use of glyphosate (“Roundup”) is not limited to genetically modified (GM) crops. Moreover, although some existing GM crops are specifically meant to be grown in association with the use of glyphosate, other types are not.

Pesticides are extensively tested and subject to a rigorous evaluation process before being approved. Residues of pesticides in all crops are controlled by Maximum Residue Level (MRL) regulations and are checked against acceptable exposure levels.

The study mentioned does not provide new information that would require the existing risk assessment for glyphosate to be revised. Published literature on pesticides is monitored and the Government would investigate further when information becomes available that questions the validity of existing risk assessments. That is not the case with this study.

Government Departments: Cultural Diversity

Question

Asked by Lord Hanningfield

Lord Patel of Bradford: All government departments provide training on equality and diversity for their staff, whether through courses run by internal training organisations or attendance at externally run courses. Information on the costs involved is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Higher Education: Student Loans

Question

Asked by Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (Lord Young of Norwood Green): No. Government loans for tuition fees and living costs are not mandatory and eligible UK domiciled students may apply for tuition or maintenance loans as they wish. Student loans are affordable and designed to ensure that finance is not a barrier to higher education.



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Higher Education: Universities

Question

Asked by Lord Hanningfield

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (Lord Young of Norwood Green): The latest information is given in the table. The figures are taken from data collected by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) which are limited to students who apply to full-time undergraduate courses via the UCAS system. The figures do not therefore cover part-time students, nor those full-time students who apply directly to higher education institutions. It also does not cover students entering into postgraduate courses. Information on the type of school that these students attended is not available centrally.

The latest information on the previous school type of entrants was included in Performance Indicators in Higher Education. This showed that in 2006-07, 87.2 per cent of young entrants to full-time first degree courses at English HEIs came from state schools or colleges.

Accepted applicants to full-time undergraduate courses in 2008 as at 15 October

Total accepted applicants

451,871

Of which

Aged:

20 years and under

349,051

21-24

53,339

25 and over

49,481

From:

UK

400,314

EU

21,180

Non-EU overseas

30,377

Housing: Energy Efficiency

Question

Asked by Lord Taylor of Holbeach

The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): Warm Front is currently undergoing an installer retendering exercise. This fully competitive and open tendering process will chose which installers should be selected to work on the scheme using criteria including, but not limited to, price tendered; health and safety procedures;

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customer service and; financial probity. Following these processes, successful bidders will start working on the scheme from June 2009.

Human Rights

Questions

Asked by Lord Laird



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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): In view of the number and breadth of the Questions posed by the noble Lord, I shall reply to him once I have collated the information relevant to his Questions.

Question

Asked by Lord Lester of Herne Hill


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