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To ask Her Majesty's Government how many staff were in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs' unit responsible for genetically modified organisms in each year since 2000; and what was the annual budget for that unit in each year since 2000. [HL2794]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Davies of Oldham): The following table gives the information requested from 2003-04, based on the number of Defra staff working full-time on GM policy issues. Other Defra staff contribute some of their time to work on GM issues, but it would be difficult to apportion this accurately. Information for earlier years is not available.
|Year||Number of staff working full time on GM issues at the beginning of each financial year||Pay costs for staff working full time on GM issues (salary, ERNIC and employer's pension contribution)|
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many meetings have taken place between ministers and (a) representatives of the biotechnology industry and its trade organisations, and (b) representatives of non-governmental organisations and consumer groups, on matters relating to genetically modified crops and foods in the past five years. [HL2866]
Lord Davies of Oldham: Since the beginning of 2007, Defra Ministers have had five meetings with representatives of the biotechnology industry and three meetings with non-governmental organisations specifically about matters relating to genetically modified crops and foods. Information for earlier years is not available.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much they paid to settle claims by asylum seekers subjected to administrative detention for wrongful imprisonment,
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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The Home Office prepares its accounts in accordance with UK GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) adapted for the public sector in accordance with guidance issued by HM Treasury.
Lord Brett: We are concerned by the recent reports by Medecins Sans Frontieres and Physicians for Human Rights on the situation facing displaced Rohingyas in Bangladesh. We have raised the plight of the Rohingyas and their status with the Government of Bangladesh, both bilaterally and in concert with EU partners. Most recently, my honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development, Mike Foster, raised the importance of meeting the basic needs of the displaced Rohingyas in Bangladesh with the Bangladeshi State Minister for Environment and Forests on 17 March.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): Causes of incapacity are based on the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision, published by the World Health Organisation. To qualify for incapacity benefit/severe disablement allowance, claimants have to undertake a medical assessment of incapacity for work which is called the personal capability assessment. Therefore, the medical condition recorded on the incapacity benefit/severe disablement allowance claim form does not itself confer entitlement to incapacity benefits, so for example, the decision for a customer claiming benefit on the grounds of a mental and behavioural disorder would be based on their ability to carry out the range of activities in the personal capability assessment.
|The number of incapacity benefit/severe disablement allowance claimants with a main disabling condition as a mental or behavioural disorder as at August in each year since 2005-Great Britain and abroad.|
|Date||All cases||Mental and Behavioural disorders|
To ask Her Majesty's Government what announcements they have made since 1 January about the broadcasting of the Irish and Ulster Scots languages; and how any such announcements meet the requirements for equality and parity of esteem. [HL2828]
Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: On 1 February, the Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Irish Government that, among other things, ensures the widespread availability of the Irish language channel TG4 in Northern Ireland following the digital switchover. The Government see no inconsistency with obligations in respect of equality and parity of esteem.
To ask Her Majesty's Government following the report of the International Development Committee on DfID Assistance to Burmese Internally Displaced People and Refugees on the Thai-Burma Border (10th Report, session 2006-07), how much funding has been provided to community-based organisations on the Thai-Burma border to build schools, clinics and shelter in Burma. [HL2819]
Lord Brett: Since 2007, approximately £660,000 of funding from the Department for International Development (DfID) has been used by non-governmental
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Lord Brett: Election laws published by the Burmese regime in early March compound the iniquities of the 2008 constitution. The laws appear to force the National League for Democracy to expel Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners from the party, or disband and withdraw from the political process. The laws also require political parties to endorse a constitution imposed through a sham referendum and place severe restrictions on their ability to campaign. In view of these and other restrictions, planned elections cannot be free and fair. The military government appear intent on further marginalising the democratic opposition and Burma's many ethnic groups, when only a fully inclusive political process stands any chance of delivering stability and solving Burma's many problems.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they plan to hold with the City of London Corporation's Economic Development Office following its recent report on the financial needs of United Kingdom small and medium-sized enterprises. [HL3078]
The Minister for Trade and Investment (Lord Davies of Abersoch): The City of London's report provides a good summary of the financing landscape affecting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), including the funding escalator required for different stages of business growth. Government acknowledge the conclusions in the report and will continue to work with a wide range of stakeholders and partners, including the City of London, to support the financial needs of UK SMEs and to help address the issues that the report identifies.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much was paid by the Ministry of Defence and its agencies to (a) PricewaterhouseCoopers, (b) KPMG, (c) Deloitte, (d) Ernst & Young, (e) Grant Thornton, (f) BDO
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The Minister for International Defence and Security (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): The Ministry of Defence Financial Management Shared Service Centre (FMSSC) contracts database shows that payments have been made over the past five complete financial years to the companies listed in the following table. The amounts shown have been rounded to the nearest £1 million.
|Company||2004-05 (£m)||2005-06 (£m)||2006-07 (£m)||2007-08 (£m)||2008-09 (£m)|
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