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To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to comply with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 that urges member states to ensure increased representation of women at all decision-making levels at the London conference on Afghanistan. [HL1518]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): At the London conference, the UK worked to ensure that respect for human rights, and in particular for the rights of women, was high on the agenda. We made sure that women's voices were heard at the conference. Foreign and Commonwealth Office Ministers attended a civil society event on 26 January 2010 which offered human rights activists an important opportunity to make statements, ask questions and lobby. Five Afghan women also attended the Prince of Wales' reception on 27 January 2010, where they used the opportunity to lobby President Karzai, Angela Merkel, Hillary Clinton, Richard Holbrooke as well as the Foreign Ministers of India, New Zealand, Australia, Germany, Norway, Afghanistan, Belgium, France, UK Ministers, and senior North Atlantic Treaty Organization officials. These events were followed by the presentation of a statement by Afghan women to the London conference itself, delivered by Arzo Qanih, one of the civil society representatives and spokesperson for the Afghan Women's Network. A written statement on behalf of Afghan women was also circulated to all conference participants.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many pilots in the Armed Forces flying (a) fast jets, (b) attack helicopters, and (c) transport helicopters, have been removed from flying duty due to failing eyesight in each year since 1999. [HL1791]
The Minister for International Defence and Security (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): This information is not recorded centrally by the three services and could only be provided by conducting a manual search of medical records at disproportionate cost.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have prepared a report under section 231 of the Banking Act 2009 for the period ending 30 September 2009; and, if so, when it was laid before Parliament. [HL1704]
The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): It is intended that the report under Section 231 of the Banking Act 2009 for the period ending 30 September 2009 will be laid before Parliament by the end of February.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the creation of the European Union External Action Service on the promotion of Her Majesty's foreign policy and the provision of assistance and protection to British citizens abroad. [HL1549]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): The Declarations accompanying the Treaty of Lisbon state that the treaty's provisions covering common foreign and security policy will not affect the existing legal basis, responsibilities and powers of each member state in relation to the formulation and conduct of its foreign policy and its national diplomatic service. However, the European Union External Action Service (EEAS) does present us with a real opportunity to improve the coherence and effectiveness of agreed EU action on the world stage and the Government will work with the High Representative towards this end.
Helping British nationals in difficulty overseas is a vital part of the work of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). FCO staff work 24 hours a day, all year round to provide high-quality help to the British public around the world. We welcome the support and close co-operation between the EU and member states.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the British Consulate-General in Hong Kong has approached the Consulate General of Nepal to inform it that in connection with applications for British citizenship, British Nationals (Overseas) with a connection to Hong Kong who were born in Nepal, have a parent who holds Nepalese citizenship or have lived in Nepal at any time for more than five years will be expected to submit personalised letters from the Nepalese authorities stating whether they hold Nepalese citizenship or nationality, whether they previously held Nepalese citizenship or nationality, and the date on which the person ceased to hold Nepalese citizenship or nationality and why; and, if not, whether they will write to the Nepalese Consulate General explaining the requirement for the letters and request it to issue such letters, and place a copy in the Library of the House together with any response received. [HL1644]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the British Consulate-General in Hong Kong has approached the Consulate General of Pakistan to inform it that in connection with applications for British citizenship, British Nationals (Overseas) with a connection to Hong Kong who were born in Pakistan, have a parent who holds Pakistani citizenship or have lived in Pakistan at any time for more than five years, will be expected to submit personalised letters from the Pakistani authorities stating whether they hold Pakistani citizenship or nationality, whether they previously held Pakistani citizenship or nationality, and the date on which the person ceased to hold Pakistani citizenship or nationality and why; and, if not, whether they will write to the Pakistani Consulate General explaining the requirement for the letters and request it to issue such letters, and place a copy in the Library of the House together with any response received. [HL1684]
Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead: The British Consulate-General in Hong Kong has approached the Pakistani High Commission on this issue. The Pakistani Consul has confirmed they have no objection to issuing these letters. There is no requirement for further correspondence.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): We do not hold records that would detail the political affiliation of teachers.
To ask Her Majesty's Government (a) what research and analysis they have conducted, and (b) what research and analysis by other organisations they are aware of, in regard to the effects on children of television product placement of (1) gambling products, (2) alcohol, (3) tobacco, and (4) foods high in fat, salt or sugar. [HL1766]
Lord Davies of Oldham: The Government have not conducted any research or analysis into the effects of television product placement on children. So far as the Government are aware, such independent research as there is on the effects of product placement contains little information about its potential impact on children.
UK television broadcasters are not currently allowed to include product placement in programmes they have made or had had made for them. This has been the position since commercial television began in the UK in the mid-1950s.
In 2008, the Government commissioned Professor David Buckingham to lead an assessment of the impact of the commercial world on children's well-being. That assessment-the report of which was published in December 2009-found that there is little conclusive evidence one way or the other about the impact of commercial messages on children.
To ask Her Majesty's Government why table 5.2 on page 138 of the Stern review on the Economics of Climate Change has been erased or altered in archive copies of the report on government websites without an acknowledgement that this has been done or a statement of the reasons for doing it. [HL1658]
The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): The change referred to was a typographical error which appeared in the original ring-bound version of the Stern review. The error did not have any implications for any other parts of the report such as the overall estimate of the cost and risks of climate change. When it was spotted, it was corrected in the electronic version of the report on the HM Treasury website and the subsequent version of the report published by Cambridge University Press. The change was also flagged in the "Frequently Asked Questions" (FAQs) document. This was available online before 9 December 2006, less than six weeks after launch on 30 October 2006. It is currently accessible at http://www.occ.gov.uk/activities/stern_papers/faq.pdf).
In specific terms, on page 139 of the original ring-bound version that was launched in October 2006, table 5.2 lists 1.3 per cent (0.6 per cent) for costs as per cent GDP for hurricanes in the USA. These figures should have been 0.13 per cent (0.06 per cent) as they were obtained from a paper by Nordhaus (2006). This was a typographic error. Indeed the text on page 130 of the ring-bound version in box 5.3 stated the correct figure: "Nordhaus (2006) shows that just a small increase in hurricane intensity (5-10 per cent), which several models predict will occur 2-3°C of warming globally, could alone double costs of storm damage to around 0.13 per cent GDP".
To ask Her Majesty's Government what criteria are used to identify neighbourhoods for inclusion in the Connecting Communities programme; and what consultations take place with (a) the local authority or authorities, (b) the local strategic partnership, (c) other local organisations and (d) other local contacts before identifying and announcing a neighbourhood for inclusion in the programme. [HL1599]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): Connecting Communities neighbourhoods have been identified by examining a range of data around cohesion, migration, deprivation and crime alongside softer intelligence informed by discussions with local authorities. Where to focus activity was a joint decision between each relevant local authority and central government. Before any announcement, local authorities, in consultation with partners and locally elected representatives, will have drawn up individual plans for each neighbourhood, focusing on giving people a bigger say in local issues, addressing specific local concerns and increasing access to local services and opportunities.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will introduce legislation enabling United Kingdom criminal courts to give direct effect to judgments of the European Court of Human Rights in cases of miscarriage of justice, having regard to Article 626-1 of the French Code of Criminal Procedure which enables French courts to reconsider criminal convictions. [HL1712]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): The Government currently have no plans to introduce such legislation. Any person whose Article 6 rights are the subject of a finding of a violation by the European Court of Human Rights can apply to the Criminal Cases Review Commission for the commission to refer the case to the Court of Appeal or, as appropriate, the Crown Court.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The UK's Government Computer Emergency Response Team (GovCertUK) and Combined Security Incident Response Team (CSIRTUK) provide response and analysis to the public sector and critical infrastructure providers respectively. The Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) and CESG (the national technical authority for information assurance) also provide advice and guidance on electronic attack/cyber attack to the critical national infrastructure and to government departments. Organisations such as the Ministry of Defence also run their own CERTs (Computer Emergency Response Teams).
The Cyber Security Operations Centre (CSOC) was set up in September 2009 with staff drawn from a range of government and other key stakeholders. It provides a hub for strategic analysis of developments in cyberspace, and improving the co-ordination of the UK's response to cyber incidents. CSOC's work will draw together a broad range of sources to enable a better understanding of the risks and opportunities of cyberspace, ensure information is coherently distributed to government, industry, international partners and the public, and help inform strategic decision-making.
The Office of Cyber Security (OCS) was set up at the same time as CSOC to provide coherence and strategic leadership across the Government's cybersecurity policy interests. This includes horizon scanning to consider impact of an evolving cyber landscape for the UK's cybersecurity, and working with partners across government to identify and implement the appropriate policy responses.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Carter of Barnes on 20 October 2008 (WA 76-7), what progress has been made to develop clay pigeon shooting for disabled people. [HL1748]
Lord Davies of Oldham: Sport England is currently in the process of working with the Clay Pigeon Shooting Association to implement the shooting whole sport plan. As part of their whole sport plan a number of interventions have been put in place to improve provision for disabled participants.
Shooting clubs have chosen six key target populations to focus their work upon to attract new participants to the sport and this includes disability groups. Targeted marketing and opportunities will aim to bring more participants into the sport from under-represented groups.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): In order to be eligible for a Home Access Grant, the learner must have their education funded by an English local authority or the Department for Children, Schools and Families. When a learner is withdrawn from, or is not enrolled in school, the family opts out of receiving the statutory funding towards that learner's education. As such, those who elect to educate their children at home will not be eligible to receive a Home Access Grant. Children who are educated at home for medical reasons, supported by their school or local authority, may be eligible for a Home Access Grant depending on other criteria such as income.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the treatment of Coptic Christians in Egypt; and whether they will make representations to the government of Egypt about recent attacks on Coptic Christians in Egypt as described in the United Kingdom Coptic Association's letter to the Prime Minister on 23 January. [HL1553]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): The United Kingdom Government condemn all instances of discrimination and persecution against individuals and groups because of their religion or belief. The protection of human rights, including freedom of religion, is a central component of Egypt's ongoing dialogue with the European Union. We raised the shooting in Naga Hammadi with the Egyptian Government at a senior level and received assurances of Egypt's commitment to protecting its Christian population. We welcome the Egyptian Government's pursuit and arrest of the perpetrators of the crime.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): The Government have consulted on the merits of moving election day to the weekend and whether it could be expected to support greater participation. The Government's response to the consultation will be published shortly. The responses reveal that there is a wide range of views on whether weekend voting would have a positive impact on turnout.
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