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In addition, DfID is providing £7 million in support of the New Partnership for African Development under the Partnership for African Fisheries. The aim is to ensure fisheries contribute sustainably to African economic growth and food security. Several countries receiving support under this initiative include Ghana and Sierra Leone.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to alter the Information Commissioner's powers to enable him to require newspapers to provide details of their legal protection against the use of confidential information. [HL2798]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): I understand the Question to be about the Government's plans, if any, to alter the Information Commissioner's powers to require
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There are no such plans at present. The Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) provides the Information Commissioner with the power to serve information notices, which require data controllers to provide such information as is necessary to determine compliance with the data protection principles. Where an information notice is served on a data controller who processes personal data for the special purposes of journalism, art or literature, the Information Commissioner must first consider whether the data in question might be processed for one or more of those special purposes, and hence whether a special information notice might be more appropriate. Information supplied under a special information notice should allow the Information Commissioner to determine whether information is indeed being processed for special purposes or not. Information processed for special purposes is exempt from certain requirements under the DPA.
Additionally, the DPA provides for the Information Commissioner to carry out a good practice assessment of any processing of personal data, with the data controller's consent, to assess compliance with the data protection principles. The Coroners and Justice Act 2009 introduced a new power for the Information Commissioner to serve an assessment notice on government departments which would allow him to enter their premises to assess compliance with the data protection principles without requiring their consent. The Act allows the Secretary of State to extend the assessment notice power to include additional categories of data controllers following a recommendation by the Information Commissioner, consultation with the Commissioner and with the relevant category of data controllers. Such a recommendation could include newspapers, however, an assessment notice would not permit the Information Commissioner to assess the processing of personal data for one or more of the special purposes.
Lord Davies of Oldham: The UK press is independent of state regulation. Newspapers are governed by the general law and the Press Complaints Commission's Code of Practice. The Government do not intend to introduce additional specific legislation to address this issue.
To ask Her Majesty's Government when the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) became aware of a car being on fire following the bombing at Newry Courthouse on 22 February; at what date
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Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: This is an operational matter for the chief constable. I have asked him to reply directly to the noble Lord, and a copy of his letter will be placed in the Library of the House.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether any information has been released following a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office relating to the visit of the Shadow Foreign Secretary, William Hague, to China in 2006; if so, to whom; and when. [HL2642]
Lord Brett: One Freedom of Information request has recently been received by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office relating to the visit of the Shadow Foreign Secretary, William Hague, to China in 2006. The request is currently being dealt with in accordance with standard FOI procedures, but no decisions have yet been made on the disclosure of any information that may be held.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether any information has been released following a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office relating to the visit of the Shadow Foreign Secretary, William Hague, to Cuba in March 2009; if so, to whom; and when. [HL2643]
Lord Brett: One Freedom of Information request has recently been received by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office relating to the visit of the Shadow Foreign Secretary, William Hague, to Cuba in 2009. The request is currently being dealt with in accordance with standard FOI procedures, but no decisions have yet been made on the disclosure of any information that may be held.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had in the last year with states of origin or transit about trafficked children and adults; and what the effects of those discussions have been on preventing trafficking and arresting traffickers. [HL2850]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The Government are committed to working with international partners to combat human trafficking. This includes source, transit and destination countries.
Discussions and co-operation with source and transit countries with the aim of reducing trafficking are on-going activities. Much of our international co-operation is facilitated through the EU and other regional European organisations, such as the OSCE. Beyond the EU, our efforts are routed primarily through engagement with the relevant UN bodies and also bilaterally through campaigns and liaison with regional organisations and individual countries, often working in conjunction with SOCA and other government departments such as DfID and the Foreign Office.
To ask Her Majesty's Government to whom the chief constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland makes a request for the support of the Armed Forces if he decides that the civilian authorities in Northern Ireland require it. [HL2694]
Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: All requests by the chief constable for military support to the civil authorities in Northern Ireland are made, through the Northern Ireland Office, to the Ministry of Defence.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what percentage of serving full-time regular officers in the Police Service of Northern Ireland are (a) Roman Catholics, (b) Protestants, and (c) followers of other religions. [HL2696]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what studies they have undertaken on the costs of constructing light rail transit systems in Great Britain compared with the rest of Europe; and what are the results of such studies. [HL3002]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the costs of ground works and foundations used in preparing for light rail transit systems in Great Britain compared with other European countries. [HL3004]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether proposals for light rail transit systems in Great Britain will require reconstructing affected utility services rather than diverting trains around any utility works; and whether they have compared the respective costs. [HL3005]
The Secretary of State for Transport (Lord Adonis): My department has not undertaken any specific studies on the costs of constructing light rail systems in Great Britain compared with the rest of Europe. However, the National Audit Office in its report titled Improving Public Transport in England through Light Rail published in April 2004 did consider European systems against those in operation in England.
There are crucial differences in urban geography which make light rail ideally suited to some French and German cities. Trams are most cost-effective in corridors of very heavy passenger demand. These can support frequent services and closely spaced stops, and generate high patronage per route kilometre. Broad avenues leading to French/German city centres make it relatively easy to accommodate street-running trams without conflict with motor traffic whilst narrower city centre streets have often been pedestrianised. Both these sorts of conditions are relatively rare in English cities. In addition population density in catchment areas of our existing tram systems tends to be much lower than in continental cities, with less frequent services and stops.
Any proposed light rail transit system that is seeking funding from the Department for Transport is assessed using the new approach to appraisal (NATA) process. The NATA process ensures that all impacts are considered when taking a decision about whether to fund a particular system. This includes an assessment of the impact on all transport users including light rail passengers. The NATA process uses the same approach to assessing benefits across all modes of transport.
With regards to utility services, utility companies, along with a number of other organisations, have a statutory right to place apparatus in the highway to enable them to fulfil a statutory duty, for instance the supply of energy or water. If a highway, bridge or transport authority is intending to carry out works in the highway that will affect apparatus, then it is only fair that the cost of moving that apparatus should be met by the organisation that requires the apparatus to be moved.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to engage in long-term reintegration projects for Rwandan refugees living in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and wishing to return to Rwanda. [HL2710]
Lord Brett: There are no plans for long-term reintegration projects specifically targeted at Rwandan refugees returning to Rwanda from the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Department for International Development (DfID) is committed to supporting the long-term development of Rwanda and provides £50 million in development assistance per annum. DfID funding is helping to improve education and health services and providing social protection for the very poor in Rwanda, services which will also benefit returning Rwandan citizens.
Lord Brett: In 2009 the UK provided £27 million to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). £19 million was core funding, which benefits all UNHCR operations, including in Rwanda where the Commission is assisting returning Rwandan civilians to reintegrate into society. We do not anticipate significant changes in the volume of our support to UNHCR, nor to the mechanisms through which this support is channelled.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what support they are providing to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (a) to monitor resettlement of Rwandan refugees beyond the two nights spent in transit camps in Rwanda, and (b) to help those refugees to reintegrate into Rwandan society. [HL2741]
Lord Brett: In 2009 the UK provided £27 million to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). £19 million was core funding, which benefits all UNHCR operations, including in Rwanda. UNHCR conducts regular monitoring visits to returned refugees in Rwanda. These visits are undertaken by both international and local staff, and focus on the provision of health, education and housing. Returnees are provided with three months' rations, household and farming implements and building materials.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the degree to which civilians and ex-combatants returning to Rwanda from eastern
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Lord Brett: The Rwanda Demobilisation and Reintegration Commission oversee the return of ex-combatants from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to Rwanda. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) assists returning refugees to reintegrate into Rwandan society. It is difficult to monitor the numbers of civilians and ex-combatants returning to DRC after reintegration in Rwanda, but these institutions assess that the number is not significant. They also advise that, due to improved identity controls, the numbers attempting return and reintegration a second time are negligible.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what proportion of girls are withdrawn from sex and relationship education in state schools in England; what proportion of girls in state schools in England became pregnant in the last five years for which records are available; and what proportion of them had withdrawn from sex and relationship education. [HL2674]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): There is no routine collection of data on the number of children (boys or girls) who have been withdrawn from sex and relationships education (SRE) by their parents. A one-off survey by Ofsted in 2002 reported that 0.04 per cent of pupils (four in 10,000) were withdrawn from SRE, but it did not include a gender breakdown.
Teenage pregnancy data are supplied by the Office for National Statistics and are derived by combining abortion notifications and birth registrations. Data are expressed as a rate per 1,000 females aged 15-17 and can be disaggregated to ward-level, but are not individualised as medical records are confidential. So even if data were available on children who had been withdrawn from SRE, it would not be possible to show whether or not they had conceived before age 18.
Teenage pregnancy rates for each year from 1998 (the baseline year for the Teenage Pregnancy Strategy) to 2008 (the latest year for which data are available) are shown in the table below. The under-18 conception rate has fallen by 13.3 per cent over this period.
|Table 1: Under-18 Conceptions for England: 1998-2008|
|Year||Under 18 conceptions||Under 18 conception rate*|
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