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28 Jun 2010 : Column WA215

Written Answers

Monday 28 June 2010

Agriculture: Genetically Modified Crops

Question

Asked by The Countess of Mar

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.

Alston Healthcare

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Measures are in place to ensure the grants to Alston Healthcare are monitored.

Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants, etc) Act 2004

Question

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno



28 Jun 2010 : Column WA216

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): There are currently no plans to repeal Section 9 of the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants, etc.) Act 2004.

Aviation: Low Flying

Question

Asked by Lord Corbett of Castle Vale

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.

Bloody Sunday Inquiry

Questions

Asked by Lord Morrow

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.

Asked by Lord Tebbit

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.



28 Jun 2010 : Column WA217

Bolivia

Question

Asked by Lord Ashcroft

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/.

Figures for 2005-06 to 2008-09 are reproduced in the table below. Figures for 2009-10 will be published later this year.

Financial YearAmount (£)

2005-06

3,103,179

2006-07

3,610,375

2007-08

487.287

2008-09

1,283,367

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.

British Overseas Territories

Question

Asked by Lord Ashcroft

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/.



28 Jun 2010 : Column WA218

Figures for 2005-6 to 2008-9 are reproduced in the table below. Figures for 2009-10 will be published later this year.

£ 000s2005-062006-072007-082008-09

St Helena & Dependencies (including Tristan da Cunha)

13,564

15,692

17,550

35,738

Anguilla

895

127

Montserrat

12,617

15,556

17,164

16,276

Turks and Caicos Islands

357

149

178

1,000

Pitcairn

2,582

1,837

1,460

2,115

Gibraltar

2

1

Overseas Territories (Regional Programmes)

1,532

1,771

1,001

804

TOTAL

31,548

35,132 J

37,353

55,933

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.

Burma

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

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.

The original Ansewr inadvertently said 18 and 19 May.]

Chagos Islands

Questions

Asked by Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead



28 Jun 2010 : Column WA219

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.

Asked by Baroness Whitaker

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.

Children: Speech and Language

Question

Asked by Lord Ramsbotham

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.

Crime: Drink and Drug Driving

Question

Asked by Viscount Simon

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.

Court proceedings data for 2009 are planned to be published in the autumn, 2010.

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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