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Anyone who has previously acquired a national insurance number but no longer has the right to live, work or study in the UK does not have access to the benefits system and the use of a national insurance number in isolation is not sufficient to obtain benefits. Similarly, a national insurance number is not sufficient to demonstrate an entitlement to work.

Palace of Westminster: Rodents


Asked by Lord Elton

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): The possible use of cats, respectable or otherwise, to control the rodent population in the Palace of Westminster has been considered and rejected on a number of practical grounds. For example, the cats would ingest mouse poison when eating poisoned mice; there would be nothing to keep them in the areas

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where they are most needed, or to stop them walking on desks in offices and on tables in restaurants and bars; they can carry fleas and other parasites; and many people are allergic to cat hair. However, the Administration is taking a wide range of other control measures such as significantly increasing the number of bait boxes and traps, sealing mouse access points and intensifying the cleaning regime to minimise the presence of crumbs in the bars and food outlets. The age, construction and location of the Palace of Westminster are such that it will never be possible to eradicate mice entirely, but all appropriate measures are being taken to minimise the numbers.

Pharmacy Order 2010


Asked by Lord Rosser

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Thornton): Article 10(1) of the Pharmacy Order 2010 (the Order) permits an inspector to enter any registered pharmacy or other premises at any reasonable hour without notice or a warrant. This right of entry is restricted and inspectors may enter premises only in order to:

enforce the standards required to be met by pharmacy owners and superintendent pharmacists in connection with carrying on a retail pharmacy business at a registered pharmacy;assist the council in its investigation of matter relating to fitness to practise of registrants; enforce provisions within the order with respect to offences relating to the Register; and enforce any other provisions of the order and of rules made under the order.

Article 10(2) of the order provides that an inspector should give 24 hours' notice of the intended entry into premises that are, or form part of, a private dwelling house. This is not intended to give an inspector a power to enter such premises without consent or by force.

Article 10(3) of the order covers the position when entry has been refused, in which case an inspector must apply for a warrant. The possibility of refusal of entry without a warrant is specifically catered for in Article 10 of the order, which provides alternative

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measures that the inspector will be required to employ in order to exercise their functions. This involves obtaining a warrant.

It is not the intention that the obstruction offences in Article 12 of the order should apply where entry with 24 hours' notice has been refused. The possibility of a refusal is specifically catered for in Article 10 of the order, which provides alternative measures that the inspectors will be required to employ in order to exercise their functions. This involves obtaining a warrant. Once an inspector has obtained a warrant, they should not be obstructed from exercising their functions.

Article 12 of the Order is therefore intended to apply where, for example, an individual obstructs an inspector in the execution of a warrant or obstructs the inspector in the course of exercising the inspector's functions once entry has been gained to the premises with or without a warrant.



Asked by Lord Taylor of Holbeach

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Davies of Oldham): Current policy in relation to best and most versatile land is set out in Planning Policy Statement 7 (Sustainable Development in Rural Areas). As stated in the soil strategy Safeguarding our Soils, published on 24 September 2009, Defra and CLG are reviewing the effectiveness of existing planning policy to protect important soils and whether there is a need to update it.

Police: Northern Ireland


Asked by Lord Maginnis of Drumglass

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: The fundamental principle that the police are impartial and free from political control is enshrined in legislation and was underlined in the 1998 Good Friday agreement and reinforced by the 1999 Report of the Independent Commission on Policing in Northern Ireland (the Patten report). The concept of the operational responsibility of the Chief Constable was highlighted in the Patten report and in

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Northern Ireland is effected through the role of the Policing Board; it is entirely consistent with his operational independence. The agreement at Hillsborough Castle does not, therefore, change the status of the Chief Constable.

Policing arrangements in Northern Ireland have worked well and continue to work well; the high level of public confidence in policing is evidence of this. The latest figures show confidence standing at 79.6 per cent.

Prisons: Gypsies and Travellers


Asked by Baroness Whitaker

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): The ethnicity of parties involved in a reported incident is not collected centrally. This information will not often be collected locally with reports submitted not always identifying parties involved in an alleged incident.

While ethnicity data is not always collected, information that is reported will be regularly scrutinised locally. This would include any issues regarding the victimisation of a particular group such as Gypsy, Traveller and Roma prisoners. We don't request that this information is reported centrally and to collate these data would require examination of every individual report submitted.

Rural Development Programme


Asked by Lord Taylor of Holbeach

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Davies of Oldham): The previous answer given on 9 November 2009 at column 2W of the House of Commons Official Report reported the amount spent under Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) business support projects (as defined under Solutions for Business) and the number of beneficiaries in the years 2007-08 and 2008-09. It is not possible to derive the average grant to individual beneficiaries from these figures because multiple businesses can benefit from a single project supported through the RDPE. For example, a training provider, as the recipient of a grant award from the Programme, can provide assistance to a large number of businesses.

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The grants awarded in 2007-08 related to payments to legacy projects approved under the England Rural Development Programme (ERDP), the predecessor to the current RDPE. Grants awarded in 2008-09 related to payments made to a combination of legacy ERDP projects and the first projects to be supported through the RDPE, which commenced only in January 2008.

Largely because of the late start to the programme, the total amount of grant awarded in 2008-09 was lower than in 2007-08. Nevertheless, the number of businesses that benefited from the programme increased.

Asked by Lord Taylor of Holbeach

Lord Davies of Oldham: Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) are the delivery bodies responsible for delivering the socio-economic measures of the Rural Development Programme for England. All project applications are subject to rigorous appraisal processes based on guidance from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and approved by the Office of Project and Programme Advice and Training.

The time taken to appraise projects reflects the size and complexity of the project proposal. The normal interval between an application being made to the RDAs and a grant being awarded varies between regions, and often depends on the amount of grant being sought by the applicant. The interval between application and any grant award is normally four weeks to three months, but can take longer in exceptional circumstances.

South Caucasus


Asked by Lord Hylton

Lord Brett: The Government have worked with a number of British non-governmental organisations on conflict prevention and resolution in the South Caucasus in recent years, including International Alert, Conciliation Resources and the Institute for War and Peace Reporting. Lessons specific to the South Caucasus conflict environment have included:

domestic civil society in the South Caucasus remains weak in some areas. There is a need to work with project partners to try to build up the strength and role of civil society;

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a coalition of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), including where international organisations partner local ones, can often be more powerful than NGOs working in isolation, as shown by the work of the Consortium Initiative on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict;monitoring and evaluation of projects is important not just for accountability and to gauge progress against objectives, but to maintain flexibility in the South Caucasus region in response to changes in the conflict environment;the importance of achieving government and elite buy-in; and of leveraging the support of other major donors. Georgia in particular saw huge international aid flows in the aftermath of the Georgia-Russia war and donor coordination remains important to avoid duplication and gaps;economic incentives can transcend administrative and political boundaries, as evidenced by International Alert's project, Economy and Conflict. This project builds consensus by identifying constituencies of people who have a stake in the peace process;working through British NGOs can be valuable. The Government benefit significantly from the established long-term links and trust that these organisations build up with local actors across conflict divides, and consequently are able to achieve more in a shorter timeframe than would otherwise be possible. It is important, however, to ensure that objectives are regularly reviewed and projects remain relevant to the Government's priorities and the needs of the local environment; andsupport to the South Caucasus media infrastructure can help to challenge entrenched stereotypes of "the enemy" and tackle the information isolation problem inherent in many communities in the region. It has also been valuable to fund work that fosters grassroots research and debate, building capacity among local think-tank organisations.



Asked by Lord Hylton

Lord Brett: The European Union-Turkey Civic Commission (EUTCC) is a non-official body that monitors the implementation by Turkey of European human rights standards. The EUTCC would expect Turkey to scrutinise its recommendations carefully but, due to the body's unofficial status, the Turkish authorities are under no obligation to act upon the recommendations. We continue to encourage Turkey to meet EU standards in the areas of human rights and democracy as part of the EU accession process.

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Asked by Lord Hylton

Lord Brett: We have not made any direct representations to the Turkish authorities about Mr Erbey. We are following the case closely along with EU partners and are in regular contact with the Human Rights Association.

Asked by Lord Hylton

Lord Brett: The UK Government are aware that a number of minors are being held in adult jails in Turkey. While we have not made specific representations about Berivan's case, we have made representations to the Turkish authorities about protecting children's rights, most recently in September 2009. We also supported the European Commission's Annual Progress Report on Turkey, published in October 2009, which raised serious concerns about the juvenile justice system. The Turkish authorities have undertaken to improve the pre-trial condition of minors and to make more extensive use of the probation system.

Veterinary Medicine Regulations 2009


Asked by Lord Taylor of Holbeach

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Davies of Oldham): If an application is made using the procedure for a pharmacologically equivalent medicinal product, then the time limits referred to in paragraph 11-and, if appropriate, paragraph 12-of Schedule 1 to the Veterinary Medicine Regulations 2009 (SI 2009/2297) will apply.

These time limits are set in Article 13 of European Directive 2001/82/EC (as amended).

If products are pharmacologically equivalent then this means that their safety and efficacy in the target species should in effect be the same and therefore the pharmacologically equivalent product should not have any clinical benefits over the existing product.

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If a company generates the complete quality, safety and efficacy data for a veterinary medicine, they may apply at any time for a marketing authorisation under paragraph 2 of Schedule 1.

Asked by Lord Taylor of Holbeach

Lord Davies of Oldham: Paragraph 11 is applicable for any reference product that is cited as the basis of the pharmacologically equivalent application. All products that have a marketing authorisation within the European Union which complies with European Directive 2001/82/EC (as amended) are potentially eligible to be cited as the reference medicinal product as part of an application for a pharmacologically equivalent product.

The controls on the manufacturing of authorised veterinary medicinal products mean that they can be made anywhere in the world. The reference product is not required to be authorised in the UK but it does need to be authorised somewhere in the EU.

Veterinary Medicines Regulations 2009


Asked by Lord Taylor of Holbeach

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Davies of Oldham): The fees in Schedule 7 to the Veterinary Medicines Regulations are reviewed annually and any proposed changes are subject to a full 12-week stakeholder consultation. The consultation documents include an impact assessment explaining why changes are proposed and the estimated impact that this will have on the business sectors paying the fees. Consultees are invited to comment specifically on the financial impact of the proposed changes.

The fees are required to enable the Veterinary Medicines Directorate to meet its cost-recovery target and the VMD's accounts are audited annually by the NAO.

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