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To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 4 February (WA 122), whether they envisage an international free market in agricultural products, including the abolition of all tariffs on foodstuffs and a campaign supporting their policy against protectionism. [HL1615]
The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The World Trade Organisation's (WTO) Doha Development Agenda negotiations will serve as an important opportunity to further cut import tariffs for all WTO members, liberalising trade in agricultural products at a global level. The Government maintain their focus on achieving an ambitious, pro-development outcome to the negotiations at the earliest opportunity.
As I responded to my noble friend's previous Question on 4 February 2009 (Official Report, House of Lords, col. WA 122), the Government will also continue to seek radical reform of the common agricultural policy as we set out in our vision, which states that import tariffs for all farm sectors should be progressively aligned with the much lower level prevailing in other sectors of the economy.
The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): Defra has not funded specific research into permaculture in agriculture. However, Defra supports a wide range of research into more sustainable farming systems and reducing the environmental impacts from agriculture. Therefore organic farming projects and others which take a holistic view of farming share some principles with permaculture.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what financial penalties they would be exposed to if they were to withdraw from the A400M project; and what is the value of penalties payable by EADS in the event of a breach of contract. [HL1736]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): The arrangements for contract cancellation on the A400M programme are complex and are determined by the contract with the prime contractor that has been agreed between the involved partner nations. The precise contractual arrangements and costs that would apply should a decision be made to withdraw from the programme are commercially sensitive. Likewise, the contract lays down remedies available to partner nations in the event of a breach of the contract. The exact value of these remedies is also commercially sensitive.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what percentage of the costs of urgent operational requirements for the Ministry of Defence in each year since 200203 was spent with companies domiciled in (a) the United Kingdom; (b) the United States; (c) other European Union countries; and (d) the rest of the world. [HL1902]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): On 9 July 2008, the Government announced the suspension of enforced returns of non-Arab Darfuri asylum seekers to Sudan to await the outcome of the country guidance case by the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal. The case is now expected to be heard between May and July 2009.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The Asylum and Immigration Tribunal recently found that there is no barrier to us restarting enforced returns for failed asylum seekers to Zimbabwe. Since 2006 hundreds of Zimbabweans have voluntarily returned home. Those
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To ask Her Majesty's Government in view of the Bank of Scotland (Ireland) trading in the United Kingdom, whether any Government regulator investigated the appointment of chairmen to the bank; and, if so, which regulator; when; and what was the outcome. [HL1718]
The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): Bank of Scotland (Ireland) is a subsidiary of HBOS, and hence now of Lloyds Banking Group. It is an Irish business regulated primarily by the Irish financial regulator. Bank of Scotland (Ireland) has operations in the UK within Northern Ireland which operate as branches passported into the UK from Ireland, in accord with European legislation.
As part of the approvals process, the Financial Services Authority assesses the fitness and propriety of senior management exercising significant influence within the firms it regulates. In the case of subsidiaries, it is the responsibility of the home state regulator (in this case Ireland) to ensure the firm's senior management is fit and proper in line with directive requirements.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the European Union Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regulations are being communicated to small and medium-sized chemical companies. [HL1810]
The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): Between September 2007 and December 2008, Her Majesty's Government ran an awareness campaign to alert UK industry to REACH and the various obligations the regulation placed on companies. The focus of the campaign was specifically on small and medium-sized enterprises across all sectors of UK industry, as REACH has implications for more than just chemicals companies. A joint strategy was agreed between the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs as the policy lead, the Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, and the UK REACH Competent Authority provided by the Health and Safety Executive.
Information on REACH continues to be provided for businesses through online advertising, the competent authority's dedicated REACH website containing detailed information and advice, and its national REACH helpdesk which responds to individual enquiries from businesses.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Morgan of Drefelin on 12 February (WA 217), how they intend to monitor the effectiveness of the guidance on Safeguarding Children from Abuse Linked to a Belief in Spirit Possession, published in May 2007. [HL1571]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCBs) are responsible for developing policies and procedures for safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children in their area. We would expect LSCBs to have regard to practice guidance in doing so. LSCBs are also responsible for monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of what is done by the local authority and board partners, individually and collectively, to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and advising them on ways to improve.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): Under the Safeguarding Children
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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The chipping of goods programme was completed by the Home Office in October 2004. The programme provided compelling evidence of the commercial benefits to business of tagging technology, enabling tighter control of the supply chain and stock as well as reducing opportunities for crime. The use of electronic tags by industry and commerce has now become common, both in the supply chain and to provide in-store security for products.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many racially motivated crimes in England and Wales in each of the past five years (a) were recorded by the police, (b) resulted in a police caution, and (c) were prosecuted, broken down by police force. [HL1569]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The available information relates all racially or religiously aggravated offences recorded by the police. It is not possible separately to identify racially motivated offences from the recorded crime data collected by the Home Office.
The police data are based on the number of offences recorded in each financial year. Cautions and prosecutions data have been provided by the Office for Criminal Justice Reform and are based on the number of offenders. These data are published on a calendar year basis and are counts of persons by their principal offence. For these reasons the two datasets are not directly comparable.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): Details for the academic years 2004-05 and 2005-06 are given in the Chevening Programme annual report for each year. The reports are available at www.chevening.com/annual-reports.
Details for 2006-07 were given in a Written Answer to the honourable Member for Chelmsford West on 16 October 2007 (Official Report, col. 999W) and for 2007-08 in a Written Answer to the honourable Member for Havant on 2 June 2008 (Official Report, col. 699W). The final figures for 2008-09 are not yet available.
The Government believe that factors such as where someone lives, their vocation and their family background should not put someone at a disadvantage. We are presently in consultation with interested parties regarding the concept and design of a strategic duty on public bodies to address socioeconomic disadvantage. No decisions have yet been taken.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they intend to respond to the recent report Race at the Top published by Business in the Community, which stated that, since 2000, government-led race equality
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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): Increasing race equality is a government priority. On 24 February, we launched a wide-reaching consultation on improving opportunities for Black, Asian and minority ethnic people. Our discussion document, Tackling Race Inequalities, invites views on what the Government's future approach to promoting race equality should be. The document explicitly acknowledged the findings in the Race to the Top report that many Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups are under-represented in senior management positions. The discussion document can be found at www.communities.gov.uk/documents/communities/pdf/1155456.pdf.
The progress achieved in recent years against the Government's strategy for race equality and community cohesion, Improving Opportunity, Strengthening Society, is described in the three published progress reports, the most recent of which was also published by the Department for Communities and Local Government on 24 February. This can be found at www.communities. gov.uk/publications/communities/raceequalitythirdreport.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The Security Service is subject to and fully complies with the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA). If Professor Hobsbawm made a DPA subject access request to the Security Service and is dissatisfied with the response that he received, he may ask the service for an internal review of their response, complain to the independent Investigatory Powers Tribunal, or complain to the Information Commissioner.
Anyone can make a subject access request under the DPA to the Security Service. Without anticipating the outcome of any such application, the main statutory function of the service is protecting national security. In perhaps the great majority of cases, the service will need to rely on the DPA Section 28 exemption to avoid damage to national security. That will include use of the long established neither confirm nor deny approachan approach acknowledged by the National Security Panel of the Information Tribunal.
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