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To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Malloch-Brown on 5 May (WA 102) concerning their assessment of human rights in other countries, what was meant by our missions overseas regularly report on a variety of issues, including human rights, where appropriate; who decides whether a country is appropriate; and on what basis. [HL3414]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): British diplomatic missions overseasincluding high commissions, embassies and consulatesreport events, activities and other information relevant to our policy goals back to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), and to other government departments. Reporting on human rights issues can be requested directly by the FCO or other government departments. Examples include when preparing the FCO's annual human rights report, assessing whether or not to grant an export licence, or taking forward work to eradicate torture or promote freedom of expression globally. In addition posts use their own judgment in reporting significant developments and providing analysis relevant to policy priorities.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The identity card will contain a number of visual security features that can be verified by those businesses without access to a biometric reader, in order to confirm that the card presented is genuine. Guidance on these features will be made available at the appropriate time to businesses and employers.
Lord West of Spithead: ID card specific costs remain unchanged as set out in the response to PQ HL3449. Similarly, the fee to an individual also remains unchanged. In 2009 and 2010, the ID card will be issued to volunteers at a charge of £30, in line with ministerial commitments. The charging strategy beyond 2010 has not yet been agreed.
Lord West of Spithead: The rollout of the National Identity Service and proposals for the introduction of identity cards are described in the National Identity Service Delivery Update 2009 published on 6 May 2009. A copy of this document is available in the Library of the House and may be found at www.ips.gov.uk/identity/downloads/Doc_D_percent20IPS delivery_report_8.pdf. The Identity Cards Act 2006 sets out the statutory basis for the introduction of identity cards and the detailed arrangements, such as the information on the card, the application process and the fee to be charged, will be set out in secondary legislation under the Identity Cards Act.
Lord West of Spithead: All contracts for the National Identity Service contain provisions for termination. Termination provisions are based on Office of Government Commerce guidance and include terms for ending a contract in the case of poor performance or where a decision is made to terminate early (for convenience). In the case of termination for convenience where 12 to 18 months notice is given a supplier may recover costs incurred and those associated with terminating the contract. Where less than 12 to 18 months notice is given, in addition to costs incurred, anticipated profit lost as a result of the decision to terminate may be claimed.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what has justified the increase in costs of the development of ID cards; and what changes have been made in the terms of contracts which have been entered into. [HL3449]
Lord West of Spithead: The ID card specific costs in the last cost report were £1,190 million for the time period of October 2008 to October 2018 in 2008-09 prices. In this cost report the cost is £1,310 million for the time period of April 2009 to April 2019 in 2009-10 prices.
The contracts just awarded in April 2009 for application and enrolment and the National Biometric Identity Service have not increased these total costs. The contracts for passport design and production and card design and production will be awarded later in 2009.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): We have expressed our concerns regarding the Baha'i community in Iran on several occasions to the Iranian Government and, alongside our EU partners, continue to express our firm opposition to all forms of discrimination and oppression. Most recently my right honourable friend Bill Rammell, Minister for the Middle East, issued a statement on 16 February 2009, backed by an EU statement on 17 February 2009, expressing our concern about the seven imprisoned leaders and calling for the Iranian Government to allow independent observation of the judicial proceedings.
The Iranian authorities are reluctant to engage with the international community, and refuse to receive formal representations on human rights issues from the EU. In this context we believe the most significant impact we can have is by ensuring that international attention remains focused on the human rights environment in Iran. We will continue to urge Iran to put an end to persecution of religious minorities and respect the right to freedom of religion and belief as described in Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a state party.
Lord Malloch-Brown: The use of short-term detention in Iran is particularly fluid and difficult to monitor, therefore it is difficult to accurately determine the number of Baha'is imprisoned in Iran since 2000. However, Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials are in close contact with the National Spiritual Association of the Baha' is of the UK, who have provided information dating back to 2004.
Whilst we have received reports of members of the Baha'i community being killed or executed since 2000, we cannot directly attribute those deaths to the fact that they were Baha'is. The last documented killing of a Baha'i in Iran dates back to July 1998, with the execution of Mr. Rúhullah Rawhani.
The persecution of individuals based solely on the grounds of their religion or beliefs is wholly unacceptable, and alongside our EU partners we have repeatedly expressed our firm opposition to all forms of discrimination and oppression. We will continue to urge Iran to respect and protect its religious minorities and free all prisoners held due to their faith or religious practice.
Lord Malloch-Brown: We have expressed our concerns regarding the Baha'i community in Iran on several occasions to the Iranian Government and, alongside our EU partners, called for the seven imprisoned leaders to be given a fair trial with independent observers. However, the Iranian authorities are reluctant to engage with the international community, and refuse to receive formal representations on human rights issues from the EU.
In this context we believe the most significant impact we can have is by ensuring that international attention remains focused on the human rights environment in Iran. We will continue to urge Iran to put an end to persecution of religious minorities and respect the right to freedom of religion and belief as described in Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a state party.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): Both the UK and the US have been clear, in public and in private, on the need to pursue a two-state solution in the Middle East. The UK will continue to work alongside the US and other parties to help achieve this objective, which we regard as a priority. My right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary reinforced our commitment during his intervention at the UN on 11 May 2009.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): The Government have not made representations to any country on the compatibility of Sharia with human rights law. However, the UK makes frequent representations to countries that violate human rights law whatever legal system they have.
The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): On 19 January, the Government announced measures designed to reinforce the stability of the financial system and support lending in the economy, benefiting individuals and businesses. These build on measures announced on 8 October last year.
Although UK building societies only have a 20 per cent share of the mortgage market, the sector has traditionally had a strong role in providing mortgages and savings products. The Government are keen to support the sector and the 3 million adult members buying their homes this way.
The Government will put forward further proposals in a forthcoming paper to strengthen the mutuals sector. This will include actions relating to the development and design of capital instruments and the potential for shared services between mutuals.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, having regard to the report of the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) on Haringey Council's child protection services shortly before the death of Baby P, any action will be taken regarding Ofsted. [HL3591]
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Davies of Oldham on 23 April (WA 412) that the Government Olympic Executive (GOE) is the only body overseeing the entire Olympic project, what is the role of the London Organising Committee of the Olympics in staging the 2012 Games, given the GOE's specific focus on staging. [HL3367]
Lord Davies of Oldham: The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) is responsible for preparing and staging the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. To deliver the whole range of services required to host the Games, LOCOG works with a number of partner organisations, including the Government.
The team focused on staging within the Government Olympic Executive is responsible for ensuring the effective and efficient delivery of the government guarantees given to the IOC as part of the London 2012 bid, which outline the public services that need to be delivered for the Games. These include, for example, provision of public sector-owned venues, provision of broadcasting spectrum and guidance on the importation of goods and visas. The team also leads on planning across government on, for example, national operations during the Games and international dignitary visits.
The staging team also leads on carrying out the appropriate assurance of LOCOG's work, reporting to the Minister for the Olympics and the DCMS accounting office in relation to the Government's guarantee to the IOC to act as the ultimate financial guarantor should there be any shortfall in the LOCOG budget.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether their 2009 Budget projections assume that up-rating the basic state pension by reference to earnings will commence in 201213 or 201314; and, if not, what the impact on public sector net borrowing and net debt would be if up-rating commenced in either of those years. [HL3196]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the economic forecasts in the 2009 Budget show that the introduction of earnings up-rating of the basic state pension is affordable in 201213; and, if not, what improvement in the forecast would be required to achieve affordability. [HL3197]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the fiscal position shown in the forecasts in the 2009 Budget show that the fiscal position will allow the introduction of earnings up-rating of the basic state pension in 201213; and, if not, what improvement in the fiscal position would be required. [HL3198]
The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): The Government have committed to relink the uprating of the basic state pension to earnings. Their objective, subject to affordability and the fiscal position, is to do this in 2012, but in any event by the end of the next Parliament at the latest.
The 2009 Budget set out the Government's overall assumption for public sector current expenditure (PSCE) for the three-year period beyond 2010-11 in table C4. Departmental budgets, and announcements on their content, will not be set for this period until the time of the next spending review. The Government have committed to making a statement on the precise date
18 May 2009 : Column WA268
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether police officers are required to keep a notebook or tape recording of questioning of a suspect before and after an arrest; whether such records are expected to be made available to any person wishing to make a claim against the police; in how many cases involving the Metropolitan Police in the past two years requests for such evidence have been refused due to it being mislaid; and what disciplinary action has been taken against police officers for failure to retain such records in a safe manner. [HL2991]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The code of practice on the statutory power of arrest by police officers (PACE Code G) issued under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) 1984 requires that the arresting officer must record in his pocket book or by other methods of recording information about the nature and circumstances leading to the arrest; the reason or reasons why arrest was necessary; the giving of the caution; and anything said by the person at the time of arrest. Such a record should be made at the time of the arrest unless impracticable to do so. If not made at the time, the record should then be completed as soon as possible thereafter.
PACE Code E on the audio recording of interviews with suspects requires that audio recording must be used at police stations for any interview with a person cautioned for an indictable offence. At the end of the interview, the suspect must be handed a notice which explains how the audio recording will be used; the arrangements for access to it; and that, if the person is charged or informed that they will be prosecuted, a copy of the audio recording will be supplied.
PACE Code of Practice C for the detention, treatment and questioning of persons by police officers provides that a solicitor or appropriate adult must be permitted to consult the custody record as soon as practicable on arrival at the police station and any other time when the person is detained. A copy of the custody record must be made available if requested by a solicitor or appropriate adult after a person leaves police detention. This entitlement lasts for 12 months after release. The detainee and appropriate adult or legal representative shall be permitted to inspect the original custody record after the detainee has left police detention.
The Metropolitan Police advise that they do not hold a central record of instances where requests for evidence made by persons wishing to make a claim against the force has been refused due it being mislaid.
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