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To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Civil Aviation Authority's (CAA) Instrument Meteorological Conditions Rating will be available as an endorsement to the proposed European licence scheduled to replace the CAA Private Pilot Licence. [HL2673]
The Secretary of State for Transport (Lord Adonis): The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is now responsible for establishing the standards for pilot licensing in the European Union. EASA is currently reviewing proposals for private pilots ratings and will consult on revised draft rules later this year. The Civil Aviation Authority, with the support of government, continues to work to influence the development of European requirements with the aim of helping EASA meet its primary objective of ensuring a high uniform level of safety.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will withdraw and reissue their home-educated children with special educational needs (SEN) guidance letter of February 2010 with (a) appropriate annotations to the reference to powers which will come into being if the current Children, Schools and Families Bill is enacted; (b) provision being made for inter-agency consultation on the best interests of the child before a school attendance order is sought; and (c) spelling and grammatical errors and malapropisms corrected. [HL2165]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): The letter will not be withdrawn. Its purpose was to set out local authorities' existing duties for children with special educational needs (SEN) who are educated at home, taking account of the Lamb inquiry report into parental confidence in the SEN system. Following correspondence received from the Education Otherwise Disability Group the department will be sending out a clarification of paragraph 12 of the letter to local authorities.
To ask Her Majesty's Government who will decide whether the European Union Border Assistance Mission in Rafah can resume work at the crossing into Gaza; and what criteria will be used to make that decision. [HL2701]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): The protocol establishing the EU Border Assistance Mission in Rafah forms part of the annex to the 2005 Access and Movement Agreement which was signed by Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the United States. In practice any decision to redeploy the mission at the crossing point would require the agreement of those three parties and would also require no objection to be raised by the Egyptian Government.
Given the current security situation in the Gaza strip and the ongoing control of the Palestinian side of the crossing by the Hamas authorities, we do not expect any such redeployment in the immediate future. Internally, the decision to reactivate the mission will be made at the EU Political and Security Committee (PSC) by 27 member states. The PSC's decision would depend on the Mission's evaluation of the security situation and the status of the Rafah Crossing Point facilities, including the Liaison Office in Kerem Shalom.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many days there are between the close of nominations for parliamentary elections and (a) the last day for receipt of postal vote applications, and (b) polling day. [HL2722]
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many days there are between the close of nominations for elections to the European Parliament and (a) the last day for receipt of postal vote applications, and (b) polling day. [HL2723]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): At parliamentary elections, the last day both for the delivery of nomination papers and for the receipt of postal vote applications is the 11th working day before the date of the poll.
For elections to the European Parliament, the last day for the delivery of nomination papers and list of candidates of registered parties is the 19th working day before the date of the poll. This is eight working days prior to the last day for receipt of postal vote applications, which is the 11th working day before the date of the poll.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have received in relation to the Boundary Commission's proposal to remove the name "Moresk" in the new warding arrangements for Cornwall; how they will respond to those representations; and how they intend to proceed thereafter. [HL2461]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): We have received one representation from Matthew Taylor MP on behalf local Councillor Bert Briscoe. As we explained in response to that representation, such changes to electoral arrangements in local authorities (including ward name changes) are entirely the responsibility of the independent Electoral Commission (from 1 April 2010 the responsibility of the new Local Government Boundary Commission for England). There is no role for the Secretary of State in these matters.
However, provisions in the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 allow Cornwall Council to change the name "Moresk" although if the council were to seek to do this within five years of the order establishing the electoral arrangements the Local Government Boundary Commission would need to approve the change. I understand that such consent would not be unreasonably withheld.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): The Electoral Commission was established by the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000. That Act provided the commission with powers to require information or documents relating to income and expenditure from supervised individuals or organisations (as defined in that Act). These powers enable the commission to carry out its monitoring function of checking whether relevant restrictions have been complied with.
In addition to these powers, Schedule 1 to the Political Parties and Elections Act 2009 provides the commission with new powers to enable it to investigate certain suspected offences under the 2000 Act or certain other breaches of the regulatory rules set out in that Act. These include a power to require, through a court if necessary, the disclosure of documents for the purposes of an investigation. There is also a power to require individuals to attend at a specified time and place to answer oral questions put by the commission in connection with an investigation. It is a criminal offence for any person to fail, without reasonable excuse, to comply with any requirement from the commission to provide documents or attend an interview. It is intended that these powers will support the use of the new civil sanctioning powers of the commission which are given by Schedule 2 to the 2009 Act.
As set out in the Written Ministerial Statement of 24 November 2009 (Official Report, Commons, cols. 68WS-70WS), the Government's intention is that the Electoral Commission's new investigatory and civil sanctioning powers will be brought into force with effect from 1 July 2010.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what support they intend to give to the private sector promoters of the European supergrid for sustainable supplies of electricity without generating carbon emissions. [HL2567]
The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): Ministers from the UK, Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Denmark, Sweden, the Republic of Ireland and Norway have together launched the North Seas Offshore Grids Initiative, which commits the 10 countries to working together to develop offshore infrastructure in the North, Irish and Baltic Seas. In recognition of the fact that the complexity of the initiative calls for political support from governments, we intend to sign a Memorandum of Understanding later in the year, which will set out a strategic work plan.
Her Majesty's Government are also supporting the initiatives to develop concentrated solar power and wind energy in North Africa and the Middle East, for example the Mediterranean Solar Plan, being taken forward by France and the current Spanish presidency of the European Union. These involve strengthening the European grid and increasing links with the producer countries so that the renewable energy can be transported to Europe. In February, I spoke at a seminar organised by DESERTEC, an international network of scientists and engineers who promote investment in concentrated solar power in North Africa.
More generally, we are working with governments and regulators in other member states to put in place the regulatory framework to facilitate the cross-border grid investments which will be needed to transport low-carbon energy supplies across the European Union.
The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): Ofgem reports that power stations accredited under the UK's Renewables Obligation Orders used about 7.4 million litres of palm oil in the period April 2008 to March 2009. The Renewable Fuels Agency reports that 127 million litres of palm oil biodiesel were supplied under the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation in the UK in the period mid April 2008 to mid April 2009. We are not aware of any commercial use of B30K oil.
To ask Her Majesty's Government why the European Commission's General Report on the Activities of the European Union for 2009 devotes three sentences to "war, refugees and forgotten crises" and does not mention the war in Lebanon in 2006 or the blockade of Gaza by Israel. [HL2702]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): The report is the responsibility of the Commission and not of member states. However, it does include comment on the humanitarian situation in Gaza. And as an annual report it is unsurprising that it does not cover the Lebanon war in 2006.
In other sections the report draws attention to EU humanitarian funding (page 65) some of which is apportioned to both Gaza and Lebanon, and to the EU Election Observation Mission to Lebanon (page 63). The Foreign Affairs Council comments frequently on these issues, most recently on Gaza in its December conclusions.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the average purchase price, excluding value added tax, of a 500-sheet ream of white A4 80 gsm photocopier paper paid by the Independent Safeguarding Authority in the latest period for which figures are available; and how much it spent in total on all photocopier paper in the last year for which figures are available. [HL2355]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): The Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) is a non-departmental public body belonging to the Home Office, which it has done so since its creation. The Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) does not provide any support to the ISA for the purchasing of paper on their behalf.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made this year to the Government of Israel about their blockade of Gaza, in particular (a) the closing of the Keren Shalom crossing for two days per week, (b) the restriction of the Karni crossing to wheat movements only, (c) the closing of the Nahal Oz crossing since 1 January, (d) the reduction in heavy oil imports for Gaza Power Plant, (e) the decline in truckloads entering Gaza, and (f) the ending of all imports of glass since 17 February; and what responses they have received. [HL2646]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): Officials, including the ambassador, in Tel Aviv have continued to raise our concerns over access to Gaza with the Israeli
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Our understanding is that recent reductions in oil imports have mainly been due to problems surrounding the transfer of utility payments from the Gaza Electricity Distribution Company to the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah, which places the fuel orders. The Government of Israel recently agreed to allow a further shipment of glass into Gaza.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much the Department for International Development and its agencies spent on (a) public relations consultants, and (b) public affairs consultants, in each of the past three years; and for what purposes. [HL2450]
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and its agencies spent on (a) public relations consultants, and (b) public affairs consultants, in each of the last three years; and for what purposes. [HL2451]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Davies of Oldham): In Defra, public relations cover a wide range of activity which forms an important element of a broader communications mix. This can include advertising, direct marketing, live events and publications. Defra does not use public affairs consultants.
The table below shows public relations activity procured via Defra's Communications Directorate since FY 2006-07 using the COI public relations framework. Please note that we are unable to share the 09-10 figures at this time as they have yet to be fully audited.
|Financial year||PR agency||Campaign||Expenditure (£)|
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much the Department for Children, Schools and Families, its predecessors and its agencies spent on (a) public relations consultants, and (b) public affairs consultants, in each of the past three years; and for what purposes. [HL2498]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): The department uses public relations agencies for raising public awareness on specific issues. Public relations agencies are employed for specific communications tasks, most commonly working alongside our press office to provide campaign support in local, regional and specialist media. The department's expenditure on public relations for complete financial years, since its formation in June 2007, is outlined in the table below.
|Year||Total spend (£)|
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and its agencies spent on (a) public relations consultants, and (b) public affairs consultants, in each of the past three years; and for what purposes. [HL2499]
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