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Citizenship

Question

Asked by The Lord Bishop of Southwell and Nottingham



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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): The Citizenship Survey definition of formal volunteering is “Giving unpaid help through groups, clubs or organisations to benefit other people or the environment”. This definition encompasses those who have given unpaid help through any UK groups, clubs or organisations via the following activities: raising or handling money/taking part in sponsored events; leading the group/member of a committee; organising or helping run an activity or event; visiting people; befriending or mentoring people; giving advice/driving; representing; campaigning; other practical help (such as helping out at school); and any other help. It excludes giving money and activities related to job requirements.

Crime: Lethal Weapons

Question

Asked by Lord Tebbit

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): It is an offence to carry a lethal weapon in a public place without lawful authority or reasonable excuse which is determined according to the weapon in question and the particular legislation governing its use.

Crime: Organised Crime

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The seizure of assets that are the proceeds of crime is a key priority for the Government. Over £500 million of assets have been recovered since the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 came into force. We are giving the police and other bodies new powers in the Policing and Crime Bill to enable them to seize and detain property at the earliest opportunity, subject to judicial oversight, to prevent criminals trying to hide it or otherwise dispose of it in anticipation of a confiscation order. We are also giving the authorities powers to sell seized property to satisfy a confiscation order.

These new measures will help to further disrupt criminal activity and improve enforcement of confiscation orders.

Cyprus

Question

Asked by Lord Kilclooney



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The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): There are no government estimates of the number of Turkish or Greek troops in Cyprus and we have no means of independently estimating this number. There are currently some 3,400 UK Armed Forces personnel based in Cyprus. There is no mention of troop numbers in the Treaty of Guarantee.

Data Entry

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): Data entry is subject to a control framework comprising system-based validations and/or manual quality checks. Data quality is measured against targets or standards set for the system or application in question.

Defra uses a range of national and international agreed or recognised standards to record data in an appropriate way. The department does not have a complete central record of all of the standards being used. This could only be compiled at disproportionate cost.

Deen International

Question

Asked by Baroness Warsi

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): Deen International is a private organisation. Details of the date it was established and its board members can be obtained by contacting its office at R A Business Park, Charlotte Street, Dudley, West Midlands DY1 lTD.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is currently collaborating with Deen International on a pilot project with the working title “I am Muslim. I am British” (formerly “I am the West”), for which it has received £495,021 funding to date from the FCO. The aim of the “I am Muslim. I am British” pilot is to reduce the likelihood of radicalisation among young people in Pakistan by helping to dispel anti-western attitudes in vulnerable communities. This is being achieved through a series of poster campaigns using high-profile British Muslims, television and radio discussions, and “town hall” meetings in Peshawar, Mirpur and surrounding towns. It aims to stimulate a debate on life in the UK, demonstrating that UK

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society is not “anti-Islamic” and dispelling the misconceptions generated by the al-Qaeda narrative that the West is against Islam.

Energy

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): Our renewable energy policy supports solar power, anaerobic digestion and biofuels through a range of measures including capital grants, the renewables obligation and the renewable transport fuel obligation. The level of support for solar power and AD under the renewables obligation will be doubling from 1 April. We will be publishing our renewable energy strategy later this year, setting out our overall policy framework for driving up use of renewable technologies in the light of our 2020 targets and wider energy and climate change goals.

Energy: Nuclear Power

Question

Asked by Lord Marlesford

The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): We expect to include a list of suitable sites in the nuclear national policy statement (NPS). We expect to consult on a draft nuclear national policy statement, including this list, by autumn 2009. The Nuclear NPS will also be subject to parliamentary scrutiny.

Energy: Wind Farms

Question

Asked by Lord Dykes

The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The Crown Estate's round 3 of offshore wind farm leasing, launched in June 2008, will deliver up to 25 gigawatts

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of capacity. This is in addition to the 8 gigawatts already built or planned under rounds 1 and 2. Development within the proposed round 3 zones is subject to the outcome of DECC's ongoing offshore energy strategic environmental assessment (SEA). DECC is currently consulting on the SEA environmental report, which will inform the Secretary of State's decision on the implementation of the draft plan for up to 25 gigawatts of new capacity. This draft plan applies to English and Welsh territorial waters and the renewable energy zone (UK waters outside 12 nautical miles).

In February 2009, the Crown Estate announced it would offer exclusivity agreements to nine companies and consortia for 10 offshore wind sites within Scottish territorial waters, with a total capacity of almost 6.5 gigawatts. Development of the sites is subject to the Scottish Government's strategic environmental assessment (SEA) within Scottish territorial waters. The decision to undertake an SEA was formally announced by the Scottish Government on 23 January 2009.

Equality

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: Northern Ireland has its own separate jurisdiction on matters of equality and discrimination. It will be for the Northern Ireland Administration to determine how to take these issues forward in Northern Ireland.

Equality and Human Rights Commission

Question

Asked by Lord Ouseley

The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Royall of Blaisdon): The Equality and Human Rights Commission is in consultation with trade unions and staff on a proposal to reorganise its helpline service. In line with best practice, a full equality impact assessment is being carried out to inform the final decision to be taken later this year. At this point, no staff have been made redundant, nor has the commission issued any redundancy notices.



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EU: Economic Recovery Plan

Question

Asked by Lord Dykes

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): Following constructive discussions at the Committee of the Permanent Representatives (COREPER) and the General Affairs Council, the €5 billion package of energy and broadband infrastructure projects was agreed at the spring European Council on 19 and 20 March 2009. Agreement on this package represents a good outcome for the UK, as it includes around €265 million (£237 million) of additional investment for UK energy projects—electricity interconnection, offshore wind and carbon capture and storage—and for the provision of broadband infrastructure in rural areas.

The final list includes the following amounts for projects based in the UK:

€180 million for a carbon capture and storage (CCS) project;€40 million for an Aberdeen offshore wind testing centre;€165 million shared between 7 MS for North Sea Offshore Grid connections; and€110 million for a Wales-Ireland interconnection project.

The UK will also receive a share of €1.l billion of funding for broadband infrastructure in rural areas as part of a separate proposal channelled through common agricultural policy Pillar 2 (rural development).

EU: Rural Development

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): The most recent details on the annual allocations for rural development to member states are set out in Commission decision 14/2009 of 17 December 2008, copies of which have been laid in the Library of the House.

Details on the annual average at 1999 prices are not available. Allocations under the Rural Development Programme 2007-13 are provided by the Commission in 2004 prices and in current prices only.



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Member states' rural development programme allocations are not calculated on a simple percentage basis, but are constructed from a number of separate elements:

the original budget for the Rural Development Programme 2007-13 was agreed by the European Council in December 2005. The future financing text set out that, for the financial perspective 2007-13, the EU10 plus Bulgaria and Romania should receive a minimum €33 billion under the European agricultural fund for rural development (EAFRD)—ie, the fund for common agricultural policy (CAP) Pillar 2;a share of the remaining €18.91 billion for EAFRD was allocated to EU15 member states, largely on the basis of historic receipts, though some member states received additional allocations; andthe third element of the EAFRD budget was transfers from the structural funds part of the EU budget, reflecting the mainstreaming of leader and convergence funding (which replaced the Objective 1 programme) into rural development support. Allocations for this were determined by each member state after consultation with the Commission, drawing on the historical percentages of expenditure in these areas during the period 2000-06.

In addition, EU15 member states receive receipts arising from the compulsory modulation of direct payments under Pillar 1 of the CAP, which are distributed in accordance with the 2003 CAP reform agreement.

EU15 member states may also choose to apply voluntary modulation. In the case of those member states which do so (UK and Portugal), the receipts are allocated on the basis of the rates of voluntary modulation set by the member states.

Flooding

Question

Asked by Lord Colwyn

The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): Annexe B to the Government's response to Sir Michael Pitt's review of the 2007 floods sets out where additional funding will be provided to take forward particular recommendations. In addition to the details provided in the annexe:

The Secretary of State announced on 17 December 2008 that six local authorities would be the first to be funded by Defra to prepare surface water management plans. These are: Hull, Gloucestershire, Leeds, Warrington, Richmond upon Thames and West Berkshire, which will share £300,000. These and other English country and unitary authorities in the highest priority areas for surface water management will share a further

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£14.7 million over the next two years on top of other budgets already available to them. Further announcements will be made in due course.

No individual property owners have as yet received money to implement individual property resistance and resilience measures from the funding announced as part of the Government's response to the Pitt review. A total of £5 million for this purpose will be allocated via local authorities between now and March 2011. Applications from local authorities to receive a proportion of the first £2 million to be granted are due by 25 March 2009. The new grant scheme follows a £500,000 feasibility study completed in 2008.

Three projects in Somerset, North Yorkshire and Derbyshire will receive a total of £1 million from Defra to demonstrate how natural processes and land management techniques can help protect against flooding. The three successful projects are:

Holnicote Estate, near Minehead in Somerset—project managed by the National Trust;Pickering Beck and River Seven, near Pickering, North Yorkshire—project managed by Forest Research; andUpper Derwent Valley, Derbyshire—project managed by the Environment Agency.

Fluoridation

Question

Asked by Earl Baldwin of Bewdley

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): Southampton Primary Care Trust gave fuller details of the alternative measures it had tried to improve oral health in its presentation to the Board of South Central Strategic Health Authority on 26 February. They included promotion of healthy eating in nursery and school settings; promotion of drinking water in schools; distribution of free fluoride toothpaste and toothbrushes to 0-5 year-olds in priority areas; working with general practitioners and pharmacists to encourage the prescription and dispensing of sugar-free medicines; initiatives such as "Chuck Sweets off the Checkout"; training and resources for local dental teams to ensure correct health messages are given; promotion of use of fluoride varnish applications and fissure sealants and working with local healthcare professionals to promote oral health.

None of these measures proved successful in reducing inequalities in oral health.


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