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To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to tackle corruption through measures to increase transparency in developing countries rich in natural resources, in particular in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda; and what steps they are taking to ensure that United Kingdom companies working in those countries publish details of payments made to the countries' Governments. [HL2738]
Lord Brett: In the Democratic Republic of the Congo we are working with the international community, particularly the World Bank, European Commission, International Monetary Fund and UNDP, to increase transparency in the DRC. We are supporting government institutions to develop a more efficient and transparent public financial management system, and are working to improve the quality of government audit and budgeting processes.
We continue to encourage British companies trading in natural resources from DRC to do so in a way which is socially, economically and environmentally responsible, and to adhere to the voluntary guidelines set out by the OECD. Our strategy for DRC places a strong emphasis on greater transparency and better management of the minerals sector, including in Eastern DRC. We are strong supporters of DRC efforts to fully implement the extractive industry transparency initiative (EITI). Together with the World Bank and the DRC Ministry of Mines we are currently developing a multi-year mining sector reform programme which aims to transform the way the sector is managed and ensure that the Government extends their control over all mining activities in DRC.
Baroness Kinnock, Minister for Africa, visited Uganda in February and raised the issue of transparency in the oil industry with the Foreign Minister and President Museveni stressing the importance of a transparent and responsible framework for the management of oil revenue and encouraging the Government to sign up to the EITI. She also discussed this with the EU head of mission in Kampala who agreed with the need for concerted efforts in this area.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): A search of archived records failed to trace any policy documents that led to the Distress for Rent Rules 1988. However, further research identified a public consultation paper entitled Consultation Paper on the Distress for Rent Rules 1983, dated March 1987 which was issued by the Lord Chancellor's Department and a copy of which has been placed in the Library of the House.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Drayson on 19 May 2009 (WA 290), how the statement in that Answer that the aim of the research at Newcastle funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) is to "develop a reproducible method of generating human embryonic stem cells following the transfer of the nucleus of an adult somatic cell into an oocyte" relates to the statement in the Written Answer by Lord Drayson
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The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and Ministry of Defence (Lord Drayson): As stated in the previous Answer of 5 May 2009 (WA95), the MRC has funded one project relating to human somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT). The award, held by the University of Newcastle, aims to improve the efficiency of SCNT in human oocytes. The project will not derive stem cells for use in the treatment of patients.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to implement the proposed alternative investment fund managers directive if it is agreed by qualified majority voting; and what assessment they have made of the impact of that proposed directive on the United Kingdom's financial and economic interests and level of unemployment. [HL2855]
The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): Once the European Council and the European Parliament achieve a consensus and the alternative investment fund manager directive is adopted, the Government are required to implement it under Articles 288 and 291 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. Failure to do so within the time allowed in the directive for its implementation would be a breach of EU law, entitling the EU Commission to bring infraction proceedings against the United Kingdom under Article 258 of the treaty.
The FSA commissioned an assessment of the effects of the proposals in the directive which can be found on its website at http://www.fsa.gov.uk/pubs/other/Impact_of_AIFM_Directive.pdf.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): As I said on 11 March, the Government have three months from the publication of the proposal to decide whether to opt into this proposal. The Government are still undertaking the process required before it is able to officially express an opinion on opt in. As soon as this process ends the House of Lords European Union Select Committee will be informed and I will ensure that the noble Lord is informed at the same time.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the European Union Council of Ministers has approved a visit by the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Baroness Ashton of Upholland, to Gaza; and, if so, when it will take place. [HL2703]
Lord Brett: Procedurally, approval of the European Union Council of Ministers is not required for the intended visit of High Representative Baroness Ashton to Gaza. Baroness Ashton visited Gaza on 18 March.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by the Minister for Health, Mr Kenneth Clarke, on 4 December 1984 (Official Report, Commons, col. 172-4W) regarding 15 grant-aided scientific studies of the side-effects of benzodiazepines, whether the results of those studies were published; if so, whether copies are available; and whether any further studies were supported after 1984. [HL2833]
The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and Ministry of Defence (Lord Drayson): The Medical Research Council (MRC) is one of the main agencies through which the Government support medical and clinical research. The MRC is an independent body which receives its grant-in-aid from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
The MRC does not hold comprehensive information on research papers relating to the 15 studies reported in the response given on 4 December 1984 (Official Report, Commons, col. 172-4W), and for other studies on the side effects of benzodiazepines funded until 1996. To obtain this information would require accessing and reviewing numerous hard copy documents and could therefore only be obtained at disproportionate cost.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): The target of the Teenage Pregnancy Strategy is to halve the under-18 conception rate by 2010, compared to the 1998 baseline rate. The latest available data (for 2008) show a reduction of 13.3 per cent since baseline.
We will not know what level of reduction we will have achieved against the target until February 2012, when the 2010 data are published. Progress to date is behind the required trajectory. Nevertheless, teenage pregnancy rates are at their lowest level for over 20 years.
|Table 1: Under-18 Conceptions for England: 1998-2008|
|Year||Under 18 conceptions||Under 18 conception rate*|
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much funding is provided annually to (a) the Department for Children, Schools and Families's Teenage Pregnancy Independent Advisory Group, and (b) the Department of Health's Teenage Pregnancy National Support Team. [HL2733]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will request the National Audit Office to investigate the formation, management and accounts of the Independent Networks Co-operative Association (INCA) and request accounts to be submitted for outstanding years; whether they will place such accounts in the Library of the House; what progress the Mutual Societies Permissions, Decisions and Reporting Division, Supervision Business Unit of the Financial Services Authority is making in investigating the organisation; how much money they have paid to the INCA each year; and which department paid the money. [HL2831]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Lord Young of Norwood Green): There are no plans for government to make these requests. In the Digital Britain Report, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills committed £150,000 to INCA over three years, to support the development of local and regional networks.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Lord Young of Norwood Green): 10.2 million adults, representing 21 per cent of the UK adult population, are estimated never to have used the internet according to the Office for National Statistics report The National Statistics Omnibus Survey published in August 2009. The information may be found at http://www.statistics.gov. uk/cci/nugget.asp?ID=8.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether a mentally ill patient who is judged incompetent to follow tribunal proceedings has an automatic right to free legal representation under Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights. [HL2900]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): Legal aid is available without reference to the client's financial resources for an
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Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights does not create an automatic right to civil legal aid. It may however require legal aid to be provided in certain circumstances, depending on the nature of the proceedings, and the capabilities of the client. The rules of the civil legal aid scheme aim to satisfy the requirements of Article 6, as demonstrated, for example, by the means-free provision available in mental health tribunal and Deprivation of Liberty proceedings, and by the potential for any client to apply for exceptional funding on human rights grounds.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they are collaborating with other Commonwealth countries and the Commonwealth Secretariat in establishing networks of marine protected areas, and in particular to help local fisheries in developing countries of the Commonwealth. [HL2765]
Lord Brett: The Department for International Development (DfID) has been supporting a number of Commonwealth institutions including the Commonwealth Foundation, the Commonwealth Policy Studies Unit and the Commonwealth Human Ecology Unit, in developing a Commonwealth strategy on fisheries. This strategy considers marine protected areas as future components of, rather than solutions to, more effective fisheries management. Previously DfID has also worked with Commonwealth Secretariat to examine trade and governance-related aspects of fisheries, including illegal unreported and unregulated fishing, and the impacts of fisheries access agreements on Commonwealth states.
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