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The investigation of public order offences by the police and the training which underpins the exercise of police powers must be carried out in a way which does not conflict with the principles set out in the convention. The Human Rights Act itself and ultimately the courts provide a check if the police were to act in a non-compliant, discriminatory way.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform & Cabinet Office (Baroness Vadera): The Post Office will remain entirely owned by Government. The Government will judge the suitability of the potential partner in Royal Mail under the terms of the Bill we have published against a number of criteria, the most important of which are:the ability to add value to Royal Mail as a whole, including by assisting in the transformation of Royal Mail's letters business and the modernisation of the network; andthe price offered for a minority stake or partnership and the ability to finance the investment.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether any United Kingdom bank which they control or in which they have a shareholding has been asked to look at businesses in difficulty in any parliamentary constituency in which the sitting Member of Parliament has a majority fewer than 5,000. [HL1802]
The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): No UK bank has been asked to look at businesses in difficulty by reference to their location in any parliamentary constituency in which the sitting Member of Parliament has a majority fewer than 5,000.
UK Financial Investments (UKFI) has been set up to manage the Government's investments in financial institutions. These investments currently comprise holdings in RBS, holdings in the Lloyds Banking Group, and in due course, UKFI will manage the 100 per cent ownership of Northern Rock and Bradford & Bingley. Its overarching
25 Mar 2009 : Column WA149
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by the Lord President (Baroness Royall of Blaisdon) on 10 March (HL1612), who are the interested parties being consulted regarding the concept and design of a strategic duty on public bodies to address socio-economic disadvantage. [HL2106]
The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Royall of Blaisdon): My officials have been speaking to representatives from those public bodies who would be affected by this proposed duty, in addition to representatives from other public sector bodies, the private sector, the third sector, trade unions, and others.
The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): Progress on delivering the public service agreements (PSAs) is reported by departments to Parliament in the departmental annual reports (published in spring/summer) and the autumn performance reports.
Senior responsible owners are appointed for each PSA, and are responsible for monitoring and driving delivery of the PSA including internal reporting of progress. The Prime Minister's Delivery Unit also advises the Prime Minister and the Chancellor throughout the spending period.
To ask the Leader of the House further to her Written Answer on 4 March (WA 16970), what were the constraints which delayed the Answer to Lord Corbett of Castle Vale's Question of 3 December 2008 until 3 March, and that of Lord Hylton of 8 December 2008 until 11 February. [HL2093]
The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Royall of Blaisdon): I am not aware of the precise circumstances which caused the delays referred to, but have made it very clear to departments that I regard such delays as wholly unacceptable. I will continue to monitor
25 Mar 2009 : Column WA150
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): The Ministry of Justice collects data for England and Wales on prosecutions brought against parents under the Education Act 1996 for the offence under Section 444(1) of failing to secure their child's regular attendance at school; and for prosecutions under Section 444(1A), the aggravated offence of knowing that their child is failing to attend school regularly. It is possible, because of the way courts record data, that some data are collected under the more general heading of various offences under the Education Act 1996.
The information on the number of parents sentenced and given fines or immediate custodial sentences in the Greater Manchester area is detailed in the table below. The Ministry of Justice only collects information on prosecutions based on police force regions.
The department also collects and publishes data on penalty notices (fines) issued by local authorities in England to parents for not ensuring their child's regular attendance at school. The figures for the last three school academic years are detailed in the table below. Data are collected only at local authority level.
|Adults sentenced for child truanting offences (1) in the Greater Manchester Police Force Area, 2005-07
|School Academic YearPenalty Notices
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many small businesses closed in (a) each English region, (b) Scotland, (c) Wales and (d) Northern Ireland in (1) each quarter of 2008, and (2) the first two months of 2009. [HL2170]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform & Cabinet Office (Baroness Vadera): Official data relating to small business closures in 2008 and the first two months of 2009 are not yet available.
The Office for National Statistics is responsible for producing annual statistics on the number of small businesses opening and closing in the UK. This publication, Business Demography,is available on its website at www. statistics.gov.uk/StatBase/Product.asp?vlnk=15186.
The latest publication (released 28 November 2008) relates to business births and deaths in 2007. Data relating to 2008 will not be published until autumn 2009, and 2009 data will not be published until autumn 2010.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): Information on the number of people in the city of Manchester who have received support from the National Health Service to stop smoking in each of the past four years is not available in the format requested. However, information on the number of people setting a quit date and successfully quitting through the NHS Stop Smoking Services is available for Manchester primary care trust (PCT) in 2006-07 and 2007-08, and for Central Manchester, North Manchester and South Manchester PCTs in 2004-05, 2005-06 and 2006-07. The information is available from the following publications, which have already been placed in the Library.
Statistics on NHS Stop Smoking Services in England, April 2006 to March 2007. Information for Central Manchester, North Manchester and South Manchester PCTs (old breakdown) can be found in table 2.12 on page 19. Information for Manchester PCT (new breakdown) can be found in table 5.4 on page 65.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what proportion of British tax revenue goes to the European Union via United Kingdom contributions to the European Union budget; and what is the amount involved. [HL2384]
The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): There is no direct link between tax revenue and UK contributions to the EC Budget.
25 Mar 2009 : Column WA153
To ask Her Majesty's Government why the website of the British consulate-general in Hong Kong lists British Indian Ocean Territory as a country which British National (Overseas) passport holders can visit without a visa; and under what circumstances it is possible for a British National (Overseas) to visit the British Indian Ocean Territory. [HL2227]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): I thank the noble Lord for alerting us to the fact that the website of the British consulate-general in Hong Kong lists the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) as a country which British National (Overseas) passport holders can visit without a visa. This is incorrect. Following the judgment by the House of Lords on 22 October 2008, all visitors to the territory require a permit. The BIOT Administration have asked the British consulate-general to amend its list.
The BIOT Administration do allow private yachts to moor at certain sites in the outer atolls of Peros Banhos and Salomon. Each yacht has to apply for a permit in advance from the BIOT Administration. BIOT customs and immigration officials use the BIOT patrol vessel, the Pacific Marlin, to check such visitors.
The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): Data on personal debt at the total UK level are provided by the Bank of England. Total personal debt in the UK at the end of 2006 was £1.29 trillion, at the end of 2007 £1.41 trillion, and at the end of 2008 £1.46 trillion. No data are yet available for 2009. Data on average personal debt, or data broken down by countries or regions, are not available.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they intend to take to reduce the pollution of the waters of the River Fal in Cornwall; and whether they will investigate the causes of the continued apparent decline of its water quality. [HL2153]
The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The Environment Agency collects monthly samples of water from the River Fal Estuary in Cornwall to assess the quality of the water. These samples do not indicate that the estuary is polluted or that water quality is declining overall.
However, during heavy rainfall, run-off from fields which may contain slurry and from overloaded sewers can have localised and short-term impacts. The Environment Agency is therefore working with farmers to ensure that farm management plans are in place to prevent and minimise the degree of run-off to the estuary during heavy rain.
Significant investment by South West Water has also been made in the sewage systems which discharge into the estuary. Each main sewage works has full treatment facilities, which include the use of ultra violet disinfection in recognition of the potential impact of bacterial contamination on shellfish beds.
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