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To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their response to the European Parliament report calling for an Integrated European Armed Force; and what assessment they have made of its compatibility with their opposition to the creation of a European army. [HL1724]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): Any decision over the use of UK Armed Forces remains with the Government. The UK's policy remains that there will be no standing European army, navy or air force. We have just one set of military forces and they belong to the UK, not to any international organisation, although that is often the framework in which they will be used. Any national contribution to EU-led crisis management operations is strictly voluntary and the UK has a veto over the launch of any EU-led operation. The European Parliament has no direct role in European military defence matters and this report is therefore a contribution to a debate rather than establishment of a new policy.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Davies of Oldham on 11 February (WA 191), how they and the quartet expect that smuggling into Gaza will be effectively prevented; and who is responsible for negotiating the full opening of all crossing-points. [HL1511]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): Egypt already works to prevent smuggling along its border with Gaza. The international community is seeking to work with Egypt and also to address routes used for arms trafficking.
Opening the crossings to legitimate trade is also a key part of tackling smuggling. There is no single person responsible for achieving this: we and international partners are all working to achieve it.
When assessing industry percentages to total production it is more appropriate to assess against total gross value added (GVA) than GDP. This is because GDP equals GVA plus unallocated taxes and subsidies such as VAT which are not able to be allocated to industry production.
In current (nominal) price terms for the calendar year 2008 total financial intermediation (which includes banking, insurance, pension funding and financial auxiliaries) is estimated to make up 8.5 per cent of total GVA. The banking industry only (SIC division 65) is estimated to make up 5.7 per cent of total GVA.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): Proposals for the statutory regulation of clinical physiologists will be resolved as part of a separate consultation, as outlined in The Future of the Healthcare Science Workforce Modernising Scientific Careers: The Next Steps: A Consultation, published in November 2008. A copy has already been placed in the Library.
The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): Since April 2008 the Cromwell Green entrance has been the main visitor entrance for the Palace of Westminster. Visitors are met there by a team of visitor assistants who are able to provide face-to-face help as required. Access issues remain constantly under review.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, in accordance with the duty imposed by Article 46 of the European Convention on Human Rights to abide by judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, they will introduce legislation to enable United Kingdom courts, below the level of the House of Lords, to depart from decisions of the
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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): No. This issue was carefully considered by the Judicial Committee of the House of Lords in the cases of Kay and others v London Borough of Lambeth and others and Leeds City Council v Price and others  UKHL 10 and in R (on the application of RJM) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions  UKHL 63. Their conclusion was that the doctrine of precedent should not be altered.
As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking how many economic migrants (a) entered, and (b) left, the United Kingdom in each of the past six months. (HL 1726)
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) uses the International Passenger Survey (IPS) to estimate flows of international migrants into and out of the United Kingdom. The IPS is a sample survey and cannot provide monthly estimates of migration. However ONS does provide annual estimates of migrants entering and leaving the UK for work-related reasons. The latest migration estimates, for 2007, show that 243,000 people entered the UK for work related reasons and 173,000 left.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The proposal to which the noble Lord refers will only apply to the UK if we opt in to it. We have until 20 May to decide whether to do this and are currently considering our options.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the International Court of Justice has ruled on the legality of Israeli settlements in Palestinian areas under international law; and, if not, whether they will request the United Nations Security Council to bring forward a case. [HL1777]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): The International Court of Justice expressed the following opinion in its Advisory Opinion on the Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory of 9 July 2004:
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the use of the phrase local service centres by local authorities to refer to villages is language authorised by the Government; and, if so, when it was introduced. [HL1879]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): The terminology used by a local authority in respect of its own areas and service delivery arrangements is entirely a matter for that local authority acting in accordance with its statutory powers and duties, including having regard to the code of recommended practice on local authority publicity.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): The UK does not have a mission in Madagascar which is covered by our High Commission in Port Louis. There is, however, a small British Interests Section in Antananarivo, which was
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To ask Her Majesty's Government on what local advice the recent decision was based to discourage United Kingdom citizens from visiting Madagascar; to what extent the decision was based on the incidence of riots and the deaths of citizens from gunfire other than in Antananarivo and Toliara; and whether there was evidence of those disturbances in the north of the country. [HL1740]
Lord Malloch-Brown: On 7 February 2009, following violent demonstrations that included the fatal shooting of 28 protesters in Antananarivo, we advised against all travel to Madagascar. As tensions eased following meetings between the two parties, we subsequently lowered the level of travel advice to advise against all but essential travel on 24 February 2009. Our decisions were based on reports from a range of sources across Madagascar, including reports from our honorary consuls in Antananarivo and Toamasima, the resident diplomatic community, the British Interests Section in Antananarivo, and a temporarily seconded member of staff based in Port Louis. We also followed reporting closely in the local media and made extensive use of an innovative wiki website through which British citizens in Madagascar could report what was happening on the ground in towns and cities across the country.
Almost all international travellers arrive and leave Madagascar via Antananarivo, which has, of course, been the focal point for the recent demonstrations between the Government of President Ravalomanana and former-Mayor of Antananarivo Andry Rajoelina's opposition. Although tourists were not specifically targeted, outbursts did occur in the vicinity of hotels and areas in which tourists could potentially be situated.
The safety of British Citizens travelling overseas is our overriding concern and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's travel advice is written with this in mind. The decision to advise against all or all but essential travel is not taken lightly and is ultimately made at ministerial level, with input from our overseas network and consular advisers using their expertise to take a global perspective on such crises. The political situation in Madagascar was highly volatile, with the opposition openly stating an intent to overthrow the Government, possibly through means of mass protests and seizures of government property. During periods of unrest such as these we review our travel advice at least once a day.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether certain employers have deducted income tax and national insurance from migrant and agency workers and retained the proceeds; if so, what evidence they have of such practice; and how many prosecutions there have been for such offences in recent years. [HL1679]
The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): HM Revenue and Customs does not generally keep data relating to the income tax and national insurance contributions deducted from migrant and agency workers and retained by the employer.
HM Revenue and Customs' specialist Labour Provider Units, which undertake compliance activity regarding gangmasters, does keep data relating to those gangmasters who have been subject to investigation. Since April 2006, the period for which data are readily available, the Labour Provider Units have concluded approximately 570 compliance settlements where there were failures to account correctly for income tax and national insurance contributions.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The National Extremism Tactical Co-ordination Unit (NETCU) is updating its website to ensure its content remains relevant. I understand that new sections will start appearing in March. NETCU recognise the inconvenience that the downtime of their website has caused to interested parties, but is keen to ensure that any new content meets the needs of all its stakeholders.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what documents or notices health providers are required to display at each of the premises where they provide NHS services; and who is responsible for monitoring those requirements. [HL1721]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): Health providers are required to display a variety of documents or notices at each of the premises where they provide National Health Service services. Some examples are set out below.
The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 covers general fire precautions and other fire safety duties needed to protect relevant persons, those being people in or around the premises. Healthcare providers are required to display signs that direct occupants to emergency exits, signs on fire doors that are required to be kept shut or kept locked, and notices that outline the action to be taken in the event of fire.
Health and safety legislation requires all United Kingdom employers to display a copy of the health and safety law notice at their workplace. This notice is designed to provide employees, and others in the premises, with information on safety legislation and list sources of further advice.
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