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The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Lord Adonis): At the conclusion of the last spending round the Secretary of State agreed a generous long term funding settlement with the Mayor of London worth some £40 billion over the period to 2017. It is now for the mayor, working with the resources available to him, to identify funding priorities for Londons transport network.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether (a) members of the public, and (b) police officers, are prohibited from using mobile phones while riding a horse on a public highway; and, if so, what are the penalties for the offence. [HL3474]
The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Lord Adonis): Members of the public and police officers are not prohibited from using a mobile phone while riding a horse on a public highway, so there are no penalties.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 (PIDA) gives full protection of the law to staff who whistleblow in the public interest and the penalties for those who penalise staff for doing so are potentially very severe. The department has therefore, in light of the Act, made it clear that every National Health Service trust should have in place local policies and procedures that comply with the Act. Decisions on professional registration are made by independent regulatory bodies, not the Government, but we would expect them to make their decisions cognisant of a national context that encourages whistleblowing.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): Since establishing diplomatic relations with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) in 2000, the UK has followed a policy of carefully targeted critical engagement. Although not a party to them, we have supported the work of the Six Party Talks towards early denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula. We have also worked with partners to identify ways to counter the underlying threat to regional stability in North East Asia. We have taken action to challenge human rights abuses in the DPRK and to explore ways to improve the flow of information in and out of the country on these issues. Our main aim is to work for positive change in the DPRK by exposing its citizens to external thinking and alternative models of economic and social organisation.
We have expressed our strong condemnation of the satellite launch by the DPRK on 5 April. We have used our diplomatic relationship to urge the DPRK to abide by its international obligations, particularly those set out in UNSCR 1718, to refrain from further provocation, and to return to the Six Party Talks.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they monitor the use of their funding for the "I am the West" project; and what safeguards are in place to ensure that funding is not wasted or abused by the private company set up for the project. [HL3106]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is currently supporting Deen International to deliver a pilot project with the working title I am Muslim. I am British (formerly I am the West) for which it has received £659,436.17 funding to date from the FCO.
I am Muslim. I am British is not an FCO campaign. It is a community-led initiative that was proposed to
14 May 2009 : Column WA238
This process is supported by a steering committee which receives regular updates on the project's implementation and agrees overall strategy. The steering committee provides a mechanism for the FCO to manage funding and ensure transparent and timely delivery.
The initiative is delivered through a private company because it combines operational effectiveness, quick mobilisation and accounting transparency, which can otherwise be hard to achieve with community-led organisations.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will call on the Government of Poland to fulfil, without delay, its obligation recognised by the OSCE, the European Parliament and the European Convention on Human Rights to make some restitution of the private property in its territory that was confiscated by Nazi and Communist regimes. [HL3333]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): Our Embassy in Warsaw regularly lobbies the Polish Government to improve the law in the area of property restitution on behalf of all British citizens with claims. We understand that a draft law on restitution is being discussed by the Polish Council of Ministers and is expected to go to parliament later this year. We will continue to lobby for its swift adoption where opportunities arise with appropriate interlocutors.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): High Down recruited to sufficient levels in March 2009 to enable prison officer detached duty staff from other prisons to cease. Under the conditional supplementary hours (CSH) scheme High Down offers 222 hours each week to those who wish to work extra hours for pay. Staff can also work extra hours and take time off in lieu. The CSH is funded by 5.7 unfilled current vacancies based on a staffing level of 280.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): Since April 2006, commissioning responsibility for prison health services has been fully devolved to the National Health Service.
Primary care trusts work with prisons to assess the healthcare needs of their population, including their offender population, and develop services to meet those needs. It is the responsibility of the local partnership board to ensure that these are of an equivalent quality and range to that which the general public receives from the National Health Service.
HM Prison Full Sutton presently has 13 men on its palliative care list. The palliative care list is made up of those who have been given a terminal diagnosis and a prognosis life span shorter than 18 months.
HM Prison Full Sutton has been working very hard over the past year to ensure that the care that it offers to this group of men is of equivalence to that of the National Health Service. It now has a palliative care clinic, where all of the clients have a care plan taking the wishes of the individual into account with regard to their care at end of life.
There has been some negotiation with the local hospice which will offer 24-hour care before the expected time of death. However, the majority of the men on the palliative care list wish to have their end of life care provided by the healthcare staff in the prison.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Adonis on 1 April (WA 239), whether they have received representations from enquirers about the Rochester Bridge Trust; and, if so, whether they will publish the related documents. [HL3179]
The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Lord Adonis): Two Members of Parliament have written to the Department for Transport in connection with the agreement reached between Rochester Bridge Trust and Medway Council regarding the sale of the Medway Tunnel. I have placed copies of that correspondence in the Libraries of the House.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they will make to the government of Saudi Arabia about the compatibility of women's human and civic rights in that country with United Nations law. [HL3262]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): The UK urges all countries to uphold their international human rights obligations. Saudi Arabia has signed and ratified the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). In February 2009 the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia was reviewed by the UN in Geneva. One of the UKs recommendations to Saudi Arabia was to abolish its practice of guardianship for women, which severely inhibits their freedom. The UK will continue to encourage the Government of Saudi Arabia to implement fully all provisions of this and other human rights conventions to which they are party.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Adonis on 12 January (WA 126) which said there are no legal or constitutional reasons why they could not withdraw from the 1985 agreement on the funding of the Commissioners of Irish Lights, whether they will cease such payments from the General Lighthouse Fund in the same manner as they ceased funding by the Department of Health for health care for Irish pensioners under an agreement made between the two Governments in 1971. [HL3399]
The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Lord Adonis): Her Majesty's Government will continue to sanction expenditure from the General Lighthouse Fund in accordance with the 1985 agreement, to fund the Commissioners of Irish Lights while negotiations continue between the two Governments to put new funding arrangements in place.
The UK has not ceased to make payments to Ireland under a long-standing bilateral healthcare agreement. During discussion between the Department of Health and the Department of Work and Pensions officials and their Irish counterparts, it has been agreed that as a result of new evidence, the payments that the UK makes will reduce in future years.
Lord Patel of Bradford: The Civil Contingencies Secretariat has co-ordinated cross-government activity in support of the Department of Health as the lead UK government department for the swine flu outbreak. The National Security Secretariat has provided the facilities from which the collective cross-government response has been co-ordinated along with the necessary technical support.
Lord Patel of Bradford: The use of 0800, 084, 087 and all other number ranges is currently a matter for individual departments and non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs). However, the Cabinet Office is developing guidance on the use of these numbering ranges. This guidance will be issued in mid-2009.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the total sum of money collected relating to the suspected financing of terrorism through the suspicious activity reports regime (a) since it was created, and (b) in the past 12 months.[HL3123]
Suspicious activity reports (SARs) make a contribution to a range of outcomes including asset recovery but also harm reduction, the building of intelligence on criminals and terrorists, and criminal convictions. In relation to terrorism, the information contained in SARs has been used to assist in the prevention of further terrorist activity, through being linked to ongoing inquiries, and regularly adds valuable new information.
The Serious Organised Crime Agency's (SOCA) SARs annual report 2007-08 provides more information on cash seizures and other interventions arising from SARs. This can be found on the SOCA website at ww.soca.gov.uk.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what has been the operational cost of the suspicious activity reports regime to the Government (a) since it was created, including capital establishment costs, and (b) in the past 12 months.[HL3124]
Lord West of Spithead: Suspicious activity reports (SARs) are submitted to the UK Financial Intelligence Unit (UKFIU) of the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA). Approximately £21,983,000 has been spent by SOCA on the operation of the UKFIU since April 2006, when it assumed responsibility for it. This figure includes IT development work.
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