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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.

Media: Newspapers

Questions

Asked by Lord Dykes

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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newspapers to provide him with details of legal advice they have received about their potential use of confidential information.

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.

Asked by Lord Dykes

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.

Northern Ireland: Car Bombs

Question

Asked by Lord Kilclooney

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.

Opposition: Shadow Ministerial Visits

Questions

Asked by Lord Ashcroft

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.

Asked by Lord Ashcroft

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.

People Trafficking

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton



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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.

Police: Northern Ireland

Questions

Asked by Lord Kilclooney

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.

Asked by Lord Kilclooney

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: As at 1 March 2010, the composition within full-time regular officers in the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) is:

27.99 per cent Catholic;

69.70 per cent Protestant; and

2.31 per cent not determined.

Railways: Light Rail

Questions

Asked by Lord Bradshaw



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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.

Promoters of light rail systems will factor in any costs associated with utility diversions into the total estimated scheme costs.



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Rwanda

Questions

Asked by Lord Chidgey

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.

Asked by Lord Chidgey

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.

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

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.

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

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.

Schools: Sex and Relationship Education

Question

Asked by Lord Lucas

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.



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Table 1: Under-18 Conceptions for England: 1998-2008
YearUnder 18 conceptionsUnder 18 conception rate*

1998

41,089

46.6

1999

39,247

44.8

2000

38,699

43.6

2001

38,461

42.5

2002

39,350

42.7

2003

39,553

42.2

2004

39,593

41.6

2005

39,804

41.3

2006

39,170

40.6

2007

40,366

41.7

2008

**38,750

**40.4

Source: Office for National Statistics and Teenage Pregnancy Unit, 2010

* per thousand females aged 15-17

** 2008 data are provisional

Thailand: Prisoners


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