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To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have been provided with the recent assessment by the Government of the United States of the security risk posed by Mr Binyam Mohamed; and, if so, whether they took it into account in their assessment of the risk Mr Binyam Mohamed would pose to national security when returned to the United Kingdom. [HL1748]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they (a) have taken, and (b) will take, to ensure the safety and security of the public following the return of Mr Binyam Mohamed to the United Kingdom. [HL1749]
Lord West of Spithead: The decision to request the release and return of Mr Mohamed was taken in light of work by the US Government to reduce the number of those detained at Guantanamo with the aim of closing the facility and our wish to offer practical and concrete support to those efforts. I cannot comment on individual cases but, as my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs made clear in his public statement of the 23 of February: In reaching this decision we have paid full consideration to the need to maintain national security and the Government's overriding responsibilities in this regard.
Lord West of Spithead: We do not discuss the immigration status of individuals. However, as with any foreign national, consideration will be given as to whether their presence in the United Kingdom is conducive to the public good and, as always, all appropriate steps will be taken to protect national security.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they reconcile the fact that British nationals who are not British citizens do not have a right to enter the United Kingdom with the right of nationals to enter their country of nationality, set out in Article 3 of protocol four to the European Convention on Human Rights. [HL1300]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): Only persons with the right of abode in the UK under Section 2 of the Immigration Act 1971, being British citizens and certain Commonwealth citizens, are free to enter and remain in the UK without being subject to immigration control.
British nationals without the right of abode do not enjoy a right as set out in the Protocol four of the European Convention on Human Rights. This is because the UK has signed but not ratified Article 3 of Protocol 4 to the European Convention on Human Rights. The
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British nationals continue to be admitted freely to the United Kingdom on production of a United Kingdom passport issued in the United Kingdom and Islands or the Republic of Ireland prior to 1 January 1973, unless their passport has been endorsed to show that they are subject to immigration control. British nationals may also naturalise or register as a British citizen under the British Nationality Act 1981 and therefore acquire the right of abode in the UK under the Immigration Act 1971.
Lord West of Spithead: Her Majesty's Government are obliged under the European Convention on Human Rights Article 41 (just satisfaction) to pay compensation awarded by the European Court of Human Rights. Failure to pay the full amount of any such compensation, without good reason, would be a breach of our obligations under the convention.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communications, Technology and Broadcasting (Lord Carter of Barnes): The UK has one of the most competitive broadband markets in Europe as a result of both infrastructure competition and, where appropriate, competition through regulatory intervention. Under Digital Britain, we will be looking to establish a government-led strategy group to assess the necessary demand side, supply-side and regulatory measures to underpin existing market-led investment plans, and to remove barriers to the timely rollout, beyond those declared plans, to maximise market-led coverage of Next Generation broadband.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communications, Technology and Broadcasting (Lord Carter of Barnes): The Government believe that the choice of security technologies is a matter for the companies concerned. Advice made available to those companies has emphasised the importance of good risk management and the selection of appropriate controls. Clearly, cryptography has an important role to play and public key cryptography has an increasing role to play in the authentication of parties in high value transactions.
The Government have passed legislation that enables the use of these technologies. The Electronic Communications Act of 2000 is part of the legislative framework, along with the Electronic Signatures Regulations and the E-Commerce Regulations (both 2002), intended to support electronic communications and transactions.
The Act led to the creation of tScheme (www.tScheme.org.uk) which is the independent, industry-led, self-regulatory scheme set up to create strict assessment criteria, against which it will approve trust services. BERR actively participates in the work of tScheme, particularly its efforts to promote wider take up.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will (a) amend the Policing and Crime Bill so that the new regulation of lap dancing and other sexual encounter venues is mandatory for local authorities; and (b) remove the exemption from that regulation for venues hosting lap dancing less frequently than once a month. [HL1645]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The Government are confident that the provisions in the Policing and Crime Bill to reclassify lap-dancing clubs as sex-encounter venues will give local communities the necessary powers to control the number and location of lap-dancing clubs.
However, in the light of concerns raised during the Committee stage in the House of Commons regarding the exemption and optional nature of the provisions, the Government have agreed to look into these issues further and are currently considering whether any amendments are required.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will break down, in near cash terms, the figures in the tables in note 24, Notes to the Statement of Operating Costs by Departmental Aim and Objectives, of the Ministry of Defence's annual report and accounts 200708. [HL1734]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): The expenditure in the notes requested is expressed in total resource costs terms. Near-cash expenditure is not separately identified in the final resource accounts or the centrally held supporting records and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will make provision for pharmacy contractors to appeal against pharmaceutical needs assessments carried out by primary care trusts as set out in the Health Bill; and, if so, what form such an appeal process will take. [HL1785]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether provision will be made for an appeal process where (a) a primary care trust has failed to identify a service need in its pharmaceutical needs assessment (PNA), or (b) a primary care trust decides that a particular pharmacy application will not meet the need for services as set out in its PNA; and, if so, what form such an appeal process will take. [HL1786]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the future role of the NHS Litigation Authority with regard to provisions in the Health Bill relating to pharmaceutical needs assessments. [HL1787]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what mandatory parameters primary care trusts will be obliged to take into account when determining their pharmaceutical needs assessments as set out in the Health Bill. [HL1788]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): We do not consider it appropriate to award specific appeal rights to specific parties in respect of the pharmaceutical needs assessments (PNAs) carried out by primary care trusts (PCTs). Instead, the Health Bill proposes that regulations will set out specific matters to which a PCT must adhere when formulating its assessment. Such matters must include the information to be contained in these assessments and may, in particular, make provision requiring consultation with specified persons about specified matters, the manner in which an assessment is to be made and matters to which a PCT must have regard when making an assessment. Consequently, we do not consider that PCTs will usually fail to identify service needs in their assessments since the Bill already contains powers to enable the regulations to make particular provision as to the pharmaceutical services to which their assessment must relate and to consult as required.
If a PCT subsequently failed to identify a service need, did not adequately address how such needs were already being met locally or otherwise did not comply with the requirements of the relevant regulations then we would expect the PCT or strategic health authority to identify this and for the PCT to take appropriate action to correct the failure.
The Health Bill contains provisions to enable the Secretary of State for Health to set out in regulations the circumstances in which a PCT must make a new assessment. It would also be open to an aggrieved person to challenge the adequacy of a PCT's assessment of pharmaceutical needs through the courts by means of a judicial review application.
We would expect the regulations to set out the rights for parties to appeal decisions of PCTs not to grant pharmaceutical applications using the existing powers in the National Health Service Act 2006 and to follow the procedures currently used in such cases. The NHS litigation authority is constituted to hear appeals of such decisions and its procedures are well established so we anticipate that it will continue to hear appeals when the new test is brought into effect. Where the NHS litigation authority considers that the PCT's assessment of local pharmaceutical needs did not comply with prescribed requirements and that, as a result of this, the PCT would have been unable to undertake a proper assessment of whether or not to grant the application, then it would be open to it to make such a finding. In such a circumstance, the PCT would need to review its PNA and reconsider the application accordingly.
Further information about the likely content of regulations relating to PNAs is given in the Explanatory Notes and supplementary information on secondary legislation accompanying the Health Bill. In summary, the regulations must set out the minimum information requirements which each assessment must contain and the procedures for publication and undertaking a new assessment. For example, the regulations might stipulate that a PNA must contain information on the demography of the people in its area and any seasonal trends or variations, as well as longer-term population projections and age profiles. They might also stipulate, for example, that PCTs must undertake a new assessment where important new health data, trends in disease or evidence of the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of certain types of service emerge.
The regulations might also include the kinds of pharmaceutical services which the PNA must relate to, for example, the provision of certain services such as reviews of patient medication and clinical support for patients starting medication to treat a long-term condition.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answers by Baroness Royall of Blaisdon on 6 February (WA 15657) and 9 February (WA 168),
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To ask Her Majesty's Government how many petitions HM Treasury has received in 200708 and 200809; what steps they have taken to publicise them; and, if they have not taken any such steps, whether they will put the text of the petitions received and the number of signatures in the Library of the House. [HL1497]
The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): Information is not kept centrally and could only be obtained at disproportionate costs. There are no arrangements for generally publicising petitions.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many petitions the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs received in (a) 2007 and (b) 2008; what steps the department has taken to publicise them; and whether they will put the text of the petitions received and the number of signatures in the Library of the House. [HL1547]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what procedures the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has for receiving, acknowledging, dealing with and responding to petitions that it receives from members of the public. [HL1550]
The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The ASK Defra section of the Defra website uses the No. 10 e-petitions system. Defra e-petitions are sent to the No. 10 website where they are logged and responded to. Open and closed petitions and the Government response can be viewed on the No. 10 website.
Defra does not hold central records of petitions received on paper. Petitions are received either by the relevant Minister or by policy units, as part of stakeholder engagement. The petition organiser will receive a response.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many petitions the Home Office received in (a) 2007 and (b) 2008; what steps the department has taken to publicise them; and whether they will place the text of the petitions received and the number of signatures in the Library of the House. [HL1624]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The Home Office does not maintain central records of the number of petitions received, and the information requested could only be obtained at disproportionate cost. No arrangements are made to publicise the information contained in them, and there are currently no plans to place details of petitions received in the Library of the House.
Lord West of Spithead: No special arrangements exist for receiving petitions from members of the public. All petitions received in the Home Office are acknowledged. Following receipt they are allocated to the policy unit best able to deal with the subject matter of the petition. They would normally reply direct to the petition organiser within 20 working days.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many petitions the Ministry of Justice received in (a) 2007 and (b) 2008; what steps the Ministry has taken to publicise them; and whether they will place the text of the petitions received and the number of signatures in the Library of the House. [HL1789]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): The Ministry of Justice does not record the number of petitions it receives separately from other correspondence. There are no plans at present to either publicise the petitions it receives or to place copies in the Library of the House.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what procedures the Ministry of Justice has for receiving, acknowledging, dealing with and responding to petitions that it receives from members of the public. [HL1790]
Lord Bach: Petitions may be delivered to the headquarters building of the Ministry of Justice or sent there by post. Correspondence is recorded on the department's management system, assigned to the most appropriate officials and monitored to ensure that a detailed response is sent within 15 working days.
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