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To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the biocidal products directive (98/8/EC) on funeral practices in the United Kingdom, especially the embalming of bodies with formaldehyde prior to burial. [HL2892]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): No specific assessment has been made of the impact of the biocidal products directive on the use of formaldehyde in the embalming process or more generally on funeral practices in the United Kingdom. When the Biocidal Products Regulations 2001 were drafted to implement the biocidal products directive in Great Britain, a regulatory impact assessment was prepared by the Health and Safety Executive using the best available information. Compliance costs of the Biocidal Products Regulations for industry as a whole were estimated over and above those for existing national legislation, and industry was consulted.
Embalming and taxidermist fluids is one of 23 biocidal product types identified in the biocidal products directive. Formaldehyde (often as formalin, a solution of formaldehyde gas in water) is widely used as a disinfectant, preservative and for antifouling and vertebrate control. The embalming industry is, therefore, not alone in having to support active substances used in its products
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To ask Her Majesty's Government what financial contribution they have committed to the Cambridge guided busway project; what is its expected opening date; what is the estimated outturn cost; and whether they intend to contribute further funding to the project. [HL3036]
The Secretary of State for Transport (Lord Adonis): The Department for Transport's contribution has been capped at a maximum of £92.5 million. There is no intention to contribute further to this scheme. When approved in 2006 the scheme had an expected outturn cost of £116.3 million. I understand that Cambridgeshire County Council has recently indicated that the total may now fall between £140 million and £145 million.
The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): A business's place of registration may not always be a reliable indicator of where it does business. This is particularly true for larger businesses as while most businesses have one VAT registration, larger businesses may have more than one VAT registration.
Figures on the number of VAT registered entities operating in each region were published in the then Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform's publication Business Start-ups and Closures: VAT Registrations and De-registrations in 2007 and its associated tables, available at http://stats.berr.gov.uk/ed/vat/. This information is reproduced in the table below.
|VAT registration threshold at start of:|
|Number of VAT registered entities at start of:|
As this report is no longer compiled, recent figures for 2009 are available only at disproportionate cost. In January 2009 HMRC's figures show that there were 1,974,142 VAT registered traders in the UK; the VAT registration threshold was £67,000 at this time. Further information is available at https://www.uktradeinfo.com/index.cfm?task=bullvat.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what legislation authorises local authorities to map locations and residential areas containing Muslims, as provided in the Preventing Violent Extremism scheme National Indicator No 35; and what assessment they have made of the effect of such action on Muslims. [HL2911]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): National Indicator 35 or NI35 "Building resilience to violent extremism" is one of the 188 indicators that make up the national indicator set. All district and unitary local authorities in England are required to report against NI35 and some have agreed it as a
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The Communities Secretary has made clear that work on "Prevent" should be done in partnership with Muslim communities. Local authorities can do this only by knowing who their communities are. The measure around understanding and engagement of Muslim communities in NI35 is consistent with the statutory duties placed on local authorities to involve their communities in local decisions.
A new duty to involve came into force on 1 April 2009 as part of the Local Government Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 and includes an additional requirement on local authorities to ensure that people have greater opportunities to have their say. Statutory guidance, Creating Stronger and Prosperous Communities which supports the Act, was issued to local authorities in July 2008.
A copy of this guidance is available on the CLG website at http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications /localgovernment/strongsafeprosperous.
It is for local authorities themselves to make assessments about the impact of their work on local communities. We would expect them to listen to any concerns raised by their communities about any aspects of their work.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Bach on 5 February (WA 72), who are the members of the Independent Advisory Group to the cross-government hate crime programme "Race for Justice". [HL2984]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): The Race for Justice Advisory Group members are a broad range of community representatives who are all independent of any relevant government department or criminal justice agency. They are led by an independent chair, Professor John Grieve, and include academic experts, representatives of third-sector bodies, victims groups and people directly affected by hate crime. The group is self-selecting and has invited new members to join when it has felt it needed to broaden membership to respond to new challenges. Members of the group have expertise and involvement in all five strands of monitored hate crime, being disability, race, religion, sexual orientation and transgender.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Bach on 5 February (WA 72), whether they will publish the advice of the Independent Advisory Group to the cross-government hate crime programme "Race for Justice" given to assist the preparation of the new hate crime manual. [HL2985]
Lord Bach: In addition to the advice given to the "Race for Justice" programme, the Advisory Group took a decision to act as the standing Independent Advisory Group to the Hate Crime Portfolio Group of the Association of Chief Police Officers. It is this group that is developing the refreshed hate crime manual. Given that this document will be owned by the Association of Chief Police Officers, Her Majesty's Government do not intend to publish the advice received in the preparation of the document. The Association of Chief Police Officers has indicated that it intends to complete an equality impact assessment which will reflect the advice of the advisory group and all other consulted groups.
To ask Her Majesty's Government why a summary of the research findings on the cost of crime on public transport anticipated to be published in the autumn of 2009 has not been published; and when it will be published. [HL2967]
The Secretary of State for Transport (Lord Adonis): We had anticipated publishing a summary of the research findings on the cost of crime on public transport to tie in with an event specifically focusing on transport crime last autumn, which was subsequently postponed. The research findings will be published in due course.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the cost to public funds of the instructional videos that the Department for Transport commissioned on how Flip video camcorders should be used when filming Ministers; whether they will place those videos on the Department for Transport's website; and what other such videos have been commissioned in the past five years. [HL3034]
Lord Adonis: As a trial, a total of four small camcorders were acquired in 2009 and issued to selected communications directorate staff for the purposes of
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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): Section 1 of the Representation of the People Act 1985 provided for the first time that British citizens living overseas should be able to register to vote in parliamentary elections in the UK. That Act established the principle that a British citizen living abroad can only be registered within a fixed period of time. That period currently expires 15 years from the date on which the citizen in question was last resident in a parliamentary constituency in the United Kingdom and was included in the register for that constituency as a result.
Parliament decided to impose a time limit on the eligibility of overseas electors to vote in parliamentary elections, as it was thought that, during a lengthy period of absence from the UK, their connection with the UK is likely to diminish. Accordingly, it was considered that the ability of those electors to have a direct influence on our democratic processes by voting should also diminish.
The length of the period after which the right to vote lapses was initially set at five years but has subsequently been increased by statute to 20 years then, from 1 April 2002, reduced to 15 years. Each time a change has been has been made, Parliament has approved that change and confirmed its view that the basic principle of time-limiting overseas voting rights remains appropriate.
However, despite the general time limit described above, there are certain categories of person living abroad for a period longer than 15 years who are still entitled to vote. The categories of person are members of the Armed Forces; persons in Crown service posts; and persons working for the British Council. This exception also covers the spouses and civil partners of members of each of those categories. In the case of the Armed Forces, the right recognises the need for special arrangements that reflect the important nature of their service to the United Kingdom. Crown Servants are given this right because their service and loyalty to the Crown and State are considered to be directly comparable to that of a civil servant who lives and works in the United Kingdom.
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