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Asked by Lord Taylor of Holbeach

The Secretary of State for Transport (Lord Adonis): The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) keeps prohibition rates under frequent review. The small decline in prohibition rates at Holyhead and on roadworthiness prohibitions at Liverpool in 2008-09 may indicate that VOSA operations are having a beneficial effect. However, the traffic prohibition rate at Liverpool continued to increase. We need longer term data in order to draw firmer conclusions. On the current information available I am content that the VOSA resources deployed at these ports are proportionate and appropriate.

UN: Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights


Asked by Lord Laird

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): The UK delegation to Geneva for the UK examination by the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights consisted of 21 officials from across Whitehall departments and the devolved Administrations. Of these, one official represented the Scottish Government and one official represented the Welsh Assembly Government.

The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights covers the full breadth of economic, social and cultural rights and includes provisions on areas such as employment, housing, healthcare, equality and non-discrimination, education and social security. These areas are the responsibility of a number of different government departments and, in relation to devolved or transferred matters, the devolved Administrations. The examination was over two days, with nine hours of examination by the committee.

The delegation comprised the following UK government officials:

Ministry of Justice: Constitution Director (Head of Delegation); Legal Director; four officials from the Human Rights Division; a press officer.Foreign and Commonwealth Office: the head of the Caribbean, Bermuda and Policy Team, and a desk officer from the Overseas Territories Directorate.Home Office: Regional Director (North East, Yorkshire and the Humber, UK Border Agency); Senior Human Rights and Devolution Adviser.Department for Business, Innovation and Skills: Director (Labour Law and Dispute Resolution, Employment Relations Directorate).Department for Work and Pensions: Deputy Director (Benefit Reform Division); Deputy Director (Area Initiatives and Communities, Welfare to Work).Government Equalities Office: Assistant Director (Strategy Directorate).Joint International Unit (Department for Children, School and Families and Department for Work and Pensions): Head of International Education Organisations and Strategies Team.Department of Health: Human Rights Lead (Equality and Human Rights Group).Department for Communities and Local Government: Specialist Adviser on Homelessness (Housing Delivery and Homelessness Directorate).

The UK delegation also included the following officials from the devolved Administrations:

Scottish Government: Head of EU and International Law Branch (Civil Law Division).Welsh Assembly Government: Community Involvement Manager.

The total costs of the visit are calculated at £18,900. This includes the costs for travel, accommodation, conference facilities and subsistence costs.

29 Jun 2009 : Column WA27

Some of those costs are based on exchange rates which have varied since the UK examination on 12 and 13 May 2009.



Asked by Lord Hylton

29 Jun 2009 : Column WA28

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Davies of Oldham): In the recent negotiation of the implementing rules for the new EU wine regime, the UK argued strongly that EU wine makers should have the flexibility to produce wine with a lower alcohol content. These negotiations concluded on 19 June and I am pleased that from 1 August 2009 the new rules will allow the use of new techniques to reduce the alcohol content of wine by up to 2 per cent, thus enabling EU wine makers to respond to consumer demand for reduced alcohol wine.

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