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To ask Her Majesty's Government why, in the light of the effect of insertional mutagenesis which takes place during genetic transformation of between 1 per cent and 4 per cent of the genes of the host genome on its function, the Food Standards Agency, the European Food Standards Agency and other regulators base their safety assessment on substantial equivalence.[HL556]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes (ACNFP) considered the issue of insertional mutagenesis in 2007. The committee agreed that genetically modified (GM) plants may contain DNA changes at loci other than the insertion site but pointed out that similar changes occur in plants that have not been subject to techniques of genetic modification.
The ACNFP also noted that these changes are taken into account in the safety assessment of GM plants, as carried out by the European Food Safety Authority. These assessments are not based solely on substantial equivalence of the GM plant with its non-GM counterpart and they include the assessment of intended and unintended effects, whether resulting from the inserted transgene or from other unintended genetic changes.
To ask Her Majesty's Government which air forces, other than the Royal Air Force, are allowed to carry out low-flying training in United Kingdom air space; how many nations have done so; and what charges are levied for the use of those facilities.[HL677]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The Ministry of Defence does not charge foreign air forces to use the UK Low Flying System, but permits them to do so on the basis of reciprocal agreements. The nations that have used the UK Low Flying System are Australia, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and USA.
Lord Shutt of Greetland: I refer the noble Lord to the Statement made by the Leader of the House, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Strathclyde) on 15 June 2010, Official Report, columns 908-912.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, following the publication of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry, they will hold a public inquiry to establish the identities of those who ordered, organised and financed the terrorist attack on The Grand Hotel, Brighton, in October 1984.[HL561]
Lord Shutt of Greetland: The Government have no plans to hold a public inquiry in relation to the terrorist attack on The Grand Hotel, Brighton, in October 1984. As the Noble Lord will be aware, there was a police investigation following the attack and one man was subsequently convicted of offences relating to the bombing.
Baroness Verma: Details of total UK development spending in Bolivia are published annually in Statistics on International Development, which is available in the House Library and on the Department for International Development's (DfID's) website at: http://www.dfid.gov.uk/About-DFID/Finance-and-performance/Aid-Statistics/Statistics-on-International-Development-2009/.
|Financial Year||Amount (£)|
This aid is concentrated on reducing poverty and inequality in line with the international community's commitment to help achieve the millennium development goals (MDGs) by 2015. Specific focus areas included helping the poorest and most excluded participate in and benefit from economic growth and good governance.
The Government have commissioned a review of the DfID Bilateral Aid Programme to ensure that we target UK aid where it is needed most and will make the most significant impact on poverty reduction. The review will consider which countries should receive British aid, how much they should receive and which countries should stop receiving British aid. Any savings generated will be redirected to more effective programmes in other poor countries.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much was given in aid to each of the British Overseas Territories in each of the last five years; and whether there are plans to increase the priority of the territories in the Department for International Development's budget.[HL433]
Baroness Verma: Details of aid provided to the British Overseas Territories by the Department for International Development (DfID) are published annually in Statistics onInternational Development, which is available in the Library and on the DFID website at: http://www.dfid.gov.uk/About-DFID/Finance-and-performance/Aid-Statistics/Statistics-on-International-Development-2009/.
In the coming months DfID will be reviewing its aid programme to determine how we can achieve better value for money for the taxpayer and fulfil our obligation to the citizens of UK Overseas Territories. Allocation of funding to UK Overseas Territories will be determined as part of the review.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their response to the conclusion of the United Nations Human Rights Council's Working Group on Arbitrary Detention that Aung San Suu Kyi is being held in violation of international law.[HL601]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Government endorse the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention's recent observation that the ongoing detention of Aung San Suu Kyi is illegal and in violation of international human rights law. On 18 and 19 June 2010, my right honourable friends the Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary and the Minister of State responsible for South-East Asia called on the military regime to end Aung San Suu Kyi's incarceration. The Government will continue to raise the plight of Burma's political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi, through the EU, with Burma's neighbours, and we will highlight the issue in the UN Security Council and UN's human rights bodies.
To ask Her Majesty's Government , in light of the article in the Times on 22 April, what assessment they have made of the independence of the 2002 Phase 2B Feasibility Study on resettlement of the Chagos Islanders; and whether they intend to commission a new study.[HL464]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): There was an open tender process for the feasibility study and it was conducted by outside experts who won the bid. The report was drafted by the project team, checked by the project manager and approved by the project director, all of whom were independent of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. We, therefore, consider that the report was independent. There are no plans to commission a new study.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, in view of the article in the Times on 22 April quoting one of the expert consultants involved expressing doubts about the validity of the 2002 Phase 2B Feasibility Study, on which the previous Government's case against the application of the Chagos Islanders to the European Court of Human Rights was partly based, they will withdraw from the case and settle out of court as previously suggested by the Court.[HL548]
Lord Howell of Guildford: We have no doubts about the validity of the 2002 Phase 2B Feasibility study which was conducted by a number of independent outside experts who won the open tender for the project. The report was drafted by the project team, checked by the project manager and approved by the project director. While the report concluded that short-term resettlement for limited numbers on a subsistence basis is possible, it also emphasised that any long-term resettlement would be precarious and costly. The outer islands, which have been uninhabited for nearly 40 years, are low-lying and lack all basic facilities and infrastructure. The cost of infrastructure and public services could become a heavy ongoing contingent liability for the UK taxpayer.
The European Court of Human Rights routinely asks parties to give their views on the suitability of cases for friendly settlements. On 15 January 2010, the Registrar of the European Court of Human Rights was advised that the case brought by the Chagos Islanders was not considered suitable for friendly settlement as proposed by the applicants.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what support will be provided in 2010-11 and 2011-12 for parents to help identify communication disabilities; and
28 Jun 2010 : Column WA220
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): We will reform the school system so that children with special educational needs and disabilities, including children with speech, language and communication needs, get the best possible support. We will improve diagnostic assessment for schoolchildren, prevent the unnecessary closure of special schools, and remove the bias towards inclusion. Decisions on funding for existing policies and programmes are being reviewed. The Government have announced that there will be a spending review reporting in the autumn to determine public spending for 2011 onwards.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many (a) arrests, (b) prosecutions, and (c) convictions, of (1) men, and (2) women, there were for the offences of driving after consuming alcohol or taking drugs in each police force area in each year since 2000. [HL621]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The number of males and females proceeded against at magistrates' courts and found guilty at all courts for driving after consuming alcohol or taking drugs, by sex and police force area, from 2000 to 2008 (latest available) are shown as follows in tables 1 and 2.
The arrests collection held by the Home Office covers arrests for recorded crime (notifiable offences) only, broken down at a main offence group level, covering categories such as violence against the person and robbery. Information on summary motoring offences including those of driving after consuming alcohol or taking drugs are non-notifiable and as a result are not covered by the collection.
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