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The first criterion is, however, that, to be considered eligible, a qualification must have been accredited by interim Ofqual. Once established in statutory form, assuming Royal Assent of the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Bill, Ofqual will have an efficiency objective to ensure that regulated qualifications provide value for money. It would not be appropriate or necessary to ask JACQA to duplicate Ofqual's efficiency objective, but JACQA will need to consider whether according to the Section 96 criteria and in the context of the stated aims of the 14-19 qualifications strategy, public investment in a qualification represents good value for money.
Lord Brett: The Commons supports the preliminary report of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), which stated that the general election held in Botswana on 16 October 2009 was "credible, peaceful, free and fair".
The election process was overseen by observers from SADC, the African Union (AU), the SADC Parliamentary Forum and the Botswana Election Support Network. Various diplomatic missions, including our high commission, acted as local observers. Observers agreed that despite election procedures being initially slow, they were meticulously followed. The pre-election phase was characterised by a peaceful political atmosphere and all political parties were free to hold rallies and meetings without hindrance. The Independent Electoral Commission conducted its work in a transparent and professional manner.
The election in Botswana was significantly different from the 2008 Zimbabwean elections which did not meet African standards and did not reflect the will of the people, with widespread state-sponsored violence and intimidation. This view was made clear by African observers from SADC, the AU and the Pan-African Parliament.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the entitlement of Moroccans resident in Gibraltar to vote in Gibraltar elections is identical to that of Moroccans resident in the United Kingdom to vote in United Kingdom elections. [HL5787]
Lord Brett: Moroccans resident in Gibraltar are not entitled to vote in Gibraltar elections. This reflects the same position as Moroccans resident in the UK who similarly cannot vote in any UK elections.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answers by Lord Young of Norwood Green on 22 October (WA 89-90), which future projects involving provision of eggs to research in exchange for payment of in vitro fertilisation treatment costs are expected to benefit from a study of participants' experiences.[HL5976]
The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and Ministry of Defence (Lord Drayson): Since making the award for the research project "Improving the efficiency of human somatic cell nuclear transfer" to the University of Newcastle, the MRC has not funded further projects involving similar work. The MRC stated, when making this award, that it should not establish a precedent for other cases. In assessing any proposals to the MRC that may involve such research in future, the MRC's Council, and its Ethics, Regulation and Public Involvement Committee, will take account of the findings of the MRC-funded social science study as well as the outcomes of other high-quality work in this area.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answers by Lord Drayson on 5 May (WA 95-96) and by Lord Young of Norwood Green on 22 October (WA 89-90), how the views, values and experiences of other women who provide eggs for research will continue to be studied until April 2011 if the project to which their eggs will be donated is due to terminate towards the end of 2009. [HL5977]
Lord Drayson: The Medical Research Council (MRC) has recently agreed a one-year extension to the duration to the University of Newcastle for the research project
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To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answers by Lord Young of Norwood Green on 22 October (WA 89-90), whether it is standard practice for social science studies to be funded by the Medical Research Council instead of the Economic and Social Research Council; and how the social science study concerned can be demonstrated to be independent of research funded by the same body that takes place at the same university. [HL5978]
Lord Drayson: The Medical Research Council's charter states that the MRC may "promote and support, by any means, high-quality basic, strategic and applied research and related post-graduate training in the biomedical and other sciences, with the aim of maintaining and improving human health". The MRC does support social science where it is relevant to its mission.
The MRC-funded social science study, "An investigation of the experiences of potential in vitro fertilisation (IVF) donors in egg sharing for SCNT", was specifically commissioned by the MRC to learn from women's experiences in relation to the separately funded and separately managed research project and to inform future research involving egg donation and payment of IVF treatment costs. The findings of the social science study will also inform the MRC's assessment of future applications proposing similar or related work. The MRC considers that Dr Haimes and her team at the University of Newcastle are ideally placed to undertake this work, being highly respected in their field and having an understanding of the local environment. The MRC has impressed upon both research teams the requirement that they should be completely independent of each other with no principal investigators in common.
To ask Her Majesty's Government with reference to pages 73 to 75 and table 11.4 of the European Commission's impact assessment of the proposal for a directive on the indication by labelling and standard produce information of the consumption of energy and other resources by energy-related products (COM(2008) 778 final), whether the information on water heaters and street lighting is available in a form that allows United Kingdom government departments and local authorities to
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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Davies of Oldham): Defra does not hold information on water heaters and street lighting in a form which identifies the manufacturers and the model numbers of the products. However, the Defra "Buy Sustainable-Quick Wins" specifications include sustainable and environmental criteria across a wide range of commonly purchased products, including heaters and lighting. The minimum specifications are mandatory for all public authority procurement, through the energy labelling scheme. The Centre of Expertise in Sustainable Procurement is responsible for assuring and monitoring compliance by government departments.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress they have made in persuading the Government of Kenya to follow the latest recommendations of Kofi Annan, in support of those of the 2008 Waki Commission; and what direct assistance have they offered or provided. [HL5849]
Lord Brett: The UK is concerned at the lack of progress in implementing key recommendations of the 2008 Waki Commission. We are working closely with Kofi Annan, the EU and other partners to provide support for Kenya's reform process, as well as continuing to press the Kenyan Government for further action where necessary.
The UK continues to make strong representations to the Kenyan Government and parliamentarians to push for key reforms vital to Kenya's future stability. My right honourable friend the Prime Minister wrote to President Kibaki and Prime Minister Odinga on 9 April 2009 to relay our concern at slow progress on reform and to encourage them to intensify their efforts to deliver. Our high commissioner in Nairobi continues to do the same. Following the missed September deadline for reporting to the International Criminal Court on action to prosecute the perpetrators of the 2007 post-election violence, we have welcomed the Kenyan Government's invitation to Justice Ocampo to visit Kenya in early November, as suggested by Kofi Annan.
The UK is helping co-ordinate international assistance on constitutional reform in Kenya and encourages consensus-building on controversial areas. We have also provided expertise to Kenya's police reform task force which is expected to report shortly. We have provided financial support to Kenya's Interim Independent Elections Commission, and press for the body's independence and transparency. And we have been the leading donor to Kofi Annan's mediation office based in Nairobi, providing £1.4 million over two years.
Lord Davies of Oldham: Under the treaty of Lisbon, the European Union would have a new competence to carry out actions to "support, co-ordinate or supplement" the actions of member states. Harmonisation of national laws and regulations is explicitly excluded.
This could be a valuable opportunity for sports in the United Kingdom to benefit from EU funding programmes and the recognition of the special nature of sport, without damaging the key principles of subsidiarity and autonomy. We will continue to work closely with the sports to ensure that they are best placed to benefit from new programmes if the treaty is ratified.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether a warrant issued under regulation 7(5) of the Marketing of Fresh Horticultural Produce Regulations 2009 (SI 2009/1361) that is valid for three months can comply with the conditions for its granting under regulation 7(4). [HL5943]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Davies of Oldham): Most warrants will be executed shortly after they are issued, there may though be practical operational reasons why a warrant is executed later. In the event of later execution of a warrant, the person executing the warrant will be bound by the obligations under the Human Rights Act and in particular under Article 8, and also by the general obligations on a public authority to act properly. In executing the warrant, PACE Code B applies to non-police investigators as well as to the police, and provides safeguards relating to the conduct of the search, such as in relation to occupants.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what reply they have received from the Government of Morocco to their demands concerning the decision to withdraw
4 Nov 2009 : Column WA63
Lord Brett: On 23 September 2009 our embassy in Rabat received a written response from the Moroccan Government to a request for clarification of the events surrounding the Talk Together event in Oxford in August.
In their reply, the Moroccan Government said that the decision by the students from Casablanca not to take part in the event meant that the delegation as it stood lacked the necessary balance and was not representative of all sides to the dispute. The Moroccan authorities told us that, in these circumstances, they felt it would have been inappropriate for only students from Laayoune to participate.
The Government understand that the British Council did not directly fund this event. Talk Together received funding from the European Commission's Youth in Action programme, a programme the British Council is contracted to administer in the UK on behalf of the European Commission.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what further confidence-building measures they will consider in preparation for the forthcoming non-proliferation treaty review conference; and whether a reduction to fewer than 100 warheads or to two "weapon-loads" will be included in such consideration. [HL5852]
Lord Brett: The UK is working with the nuclear and non-nuclear weapons states alike to build confidence and consensus in the run up to the non-proliferation treaty review conference. The review conference is a
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The UK has taken a number of significant steps on disarmament in recent years and is committed to retaining only the absolute minimum credible nuclear deterrent capability; we regularly review the number of warheads in the UK stockpile in that light. My right honourable friend the Prime Minister announced on 24 September 2009 at the UN Security Council summit that the UK would review whether we could meet our minimum deterrent requirements with three next-generation nuclear armed submarines, rather than the existing four, provided this is consistent with credible and continuous deterrence.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Royall of Blaisdon on 10 February (WA 180), what is the outcome of the review of special allowances paid to staff of the Northern Ireland Office. [HL5934]
To ask Her Majesty's Government (a) how many paid staff in the Northern Ireland Office are seconded to trade unions and what facilities are made available to them; (b) in the latest year available, what is the number of days other staff spend on trade union activity or at conferences; and (c) what are the annual costs of trade union activity in the department. [HL5802]
Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: The Northern Ireland Office has one full-time member of staff seconded as a full-time trade union official for the Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance (NIPSA). This official is provided with full-time administrative support. The cost of running this office in 2008-09, including staff costs, was £65,669.09. Other members of staff throughout the department are allowed facility time on an ad-hoc basis representing NIPSA, First Division Association and the Public and Commercial Service Union. The department does not employ any other staff who work as trade union officials. Facility time for trade union members is managed by line managers and details are not available.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether European legislation allows firms with paramilitary links to undertake contracts within police stations in Northern Ireland and hindering that process would result in court proceedings, as suggested by Sir Hugh Orde in the Sunday World on 26 July. [HL5578]
Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: European directives on public procurement are implemented through the Public Contracts Regulations 2006. Part 4 of these regulations deals specifically with the criteria for rejection of economic operators and the circumstances where a contracting authority (public body) can reject economic operators who have put forward application for the provision of goods, services or works to a public body.
The regulation sets out the offences that if committed by an economic operator or its directors or any other person who has powers of representation, decision or control may give a contracting authority (public body) grounds to treat that economic operator as ineligible for selection to provide goods, services or works to a public body. The regulation as stated deals with convictions for certain criminal offences but does not extend to cover paramilitary links.
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