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The Minister for International Defence and Security (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): Members of the volunteer reserve forces are able to maintain their details on the joint personnel administration (JPA) system or through unit administration staff. It is the responsibility of the individual reservist to ensure their personal details are up to date.
Members of the regular reserve, which consists of some 43,600 former members of the regular forces who have a liability for mobilisation, are required under service regulations to inform the Ministry of Defence of any changes in personal details, such as name, address or next of kin. The employment termination process allows the address to be stored on JPA. In addition, the Army and the Royal Navy use an annual reporting letter as a method of updating regular reservists contact details held on JPA. The RAF discontinued the annual reporting letter in 1999 which had no effect on its ability to mobilise the required number of reservists for operations in Iraq in 2003.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Statement by Baroness Crawley on 3 February (WS 9-10), what are the proposed arrangements for civil servants made compulsorily redundant when (a) aged under 50, and (b) aged over 50, in terms of any enhancement of pension and lump sum and the first date of payment of pension. [HL3066]
Baroness Crawley: The service-related lump sum redundancy payments under the new arrangements described in my Statement are payable irrespective of whether civil servants are under or over the age of 50
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The Attorney-General (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): When deciding whether or not to prosecute in cases of rape, the Crown Prosecution Service applies the full code test set out in the Code for Crown Prosecutors. This consists of two stages. First, there must be sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction. Secondly, a prosecution must be in the public interest.
There is no difference in the way that decisions to prosecute are made in rape cases as compared with any other case. The full code test must be met before any prosecution can be brought, regardless of the type of offence.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): The activities of the Department for Work and Pensions cover a very wide range of programmes and services. Information on all departmental pilots since 2005 is not collated centrally and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.
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To ask Her Majesty's Government how much the Department of Energy and Climate Change and its agencies has spent on (a) public relations consultants, and (b) public affairs consultants, since its inception; and for what purposes. [HL2497]
Lord Faulkner of Worcester: Between September 2008 and March 2009, DECC spent approximately £119,000 through public relations agencies on COI's rosters. In 2009-10, DECC has been invoiced to spend a total of approximately £90,000 on public relations. These figures include all PR expenditure incurred by the department on the Act On CO2 campaign, including media relations activity and PR for roadshows.
The Energy Saving Trust has hired the services of communication agencies to support the in-house communications team in reaching consumers across the UK. The Carbon Trust employs public relations consultants and public affairs consultants to enable it to deliver its mission of accelerating the move to a low-carbon economy by helping organisations to cut their emissions now and by developing the low carbon technologies, businesses and markets which will deliver emission reductions in future.
As private companies limited by guarantee, the details of how much the Carbon Trust and the Energy Saving Trust have spent on these purposes are a matter for their boards. The Energy Saving Trust has hired the services of communication agencies to support the in-house communications team in reaching consumers across the UK.
The Carbon Trust employs public relations consultants and public affairs consultants to enable it to deliver its mission of accelerating the move to a low-carbon economy by helping organisations to cut their emissions now and by developing the low carbon technologies, businesses and markets which will deliver emission reductions in future.
Baroness Crawley: Departments, agencies and relevant NDPBs are required to follow the Cabinet Office protocols on handling surplus staff situations. Employers unable to fill a vacancy internally (including consideration of their own surplus employees) must advertise the vacancy exclusively, for a minimum period of 10 working days, to the wider community of surplus civil servant/NDPB employees using the CSVacs vacancy handling system.
The protocols were agreed by the Cabinet Office and the general secretaries of the CCSU and endorsed by Permanent Secretaries, the Cabinet Secretary and Cabinet Office Ministers. Only in exceptional circumstances are departments granted dispensation to bypass the CSVacs process.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the effectiveness of the pilot project to improve justice in Orissa state, mentioned on page 22 of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Annual Report on Human Rights 2009. [HL3032]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): This pilot project is due to run until 31 March 2010. We will then assess its impact and consider appropriate follow-up action. We will also continue to monitor progress on delivery of access to justice for the victims of violence in Orissa.
Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead: The EU delegation identified cross-community peace-building initiatives and improving the capacity of victims' lawyers as important areas to address on the visit to Orissa from 2 to 5 February. The delegation, in which a member of our high commission participated, has reported the outcomes and recommendations arising from its visit to the EU which will now consider follow up. This issue was also raised with the Indian Government during discussions at the EU-India Human Rights Dialogue meeting on 25 March 2010.
The Government have also provided assistance to the Indian authorities to help address some of the underlying issues that contributed to the violence in 2008. The Department for International Development has allocated £10 million for community development in four districts of Orissa, including Kandhamal. These funds will help to increase incomes, reduce malnutrition and improve water and sanitation for more than 375,000 tribal men and women.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will encourage European Union partners to raise the issue of communal violence and its aftermath, including the anti-Christian attacks in Orissa in 2008, during the European Union-India human rights dialogue. [HL3037]
Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead: The issue of communal violence and its aftermath, including the attacks against Christians in Orissa in 2008, was discussed with the Indian Government at the EU-India Human Rights Dialogue meetings in February 2009 and March 2010.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will make representations to the government of India about implementing the recommendations of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in May 2007. [HL3030]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): Progress on human rights issues, including the UN conventions and recommendations of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination of May 2007 to which India is signatory, were discussed at the most recent EU-India Human Rights Dialogue meeting on 25 March as part of our ongoing dialogue with India. The existing UN processes, including the Universal Periodic Review, consider progress on human rights issues including UN recommendations and commitments.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will make representations to the Government of India about implementing the recommendations in the report of the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief following her mission to India, released on 26 January 2009. [HL3031]
Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead: The recommendations in the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief's report of 26 January 2009 were discussed during the most recent EU-India Human Rights Dialogue on 25 March 2010. We will continue to raise the issue of minority rights, including the right to freedom of religion and belief, with the appropriate Indian authorities as part of the ongoing EU-India Human Rights Dialogue. The existing UN processes, including the Universal Periodic Review, consider progress on human rights issues including UN recommendations and commitments.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): We are committed to making frequent representations to the Iranian authorities about their use of the death penalty. Our long-standing opposition to capital punishment, in all its forms and under all circumstances, is clear. We use every appropriate opportunity to raise these concerns with the Iranian authorities bilaterally and through the EU, calling on Iran to end its application of the death penalty. We did so on over 70 separate occasions last year, and will continue to do so.
On 20 November, the EU presidency summoned the Iranian ambassador in Stockholm to condemn a spate of executions, and plead for clemency in the case of 13 others of Kurdish origin, including Miss Jalaliyan, facing the same fate. The presidency noted there was credible information to suggest that the sentences appeared to be politically motivated. On 20 January, my honourable friend Ivan Lewis raised the cases directly with the Iranian ambassador, expressing concern at reports that they faced imminent execution. Mr Lewis reiterated our long-held concerns about the trials not meeting international standards, and urged the Iranian Government to show clemency.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the status of weapons containing white phosphorus, tungsten shrapnel or flechettes under international law; and whether their use in densely populated civilian areas is prohibited. [HL2992]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): White phosphorous, tungsten shrapnel and flechettes are not prohibited under international law when used appropriately. However, Protocol III of the UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons prohibits or restricts the use of incendiary weapons against civilian populations and the use of air-delivered incendiary weapons against military objectives located in areas where there is a concentration of civilians, for those countries (including the UK) who are signatories to the protocol.
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