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The interim OBR has set out its release policy, which is available on its website. This sets out that releases will be made in an orderly manner, to a regular schedule and in a way that promotes public confidence and gives equal access to information.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they took in response to signing United Nations General Assembly Resolution 50/13 of 7 November 1995 about observing the Olympic Truce and promoting "peace, dialogue and reconciliation in areas of conflict during and beyond the Olympic Games period".[HL1320]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they took in response to signing United Nations General Assembly Resolution 49/29 of 7 December 1994 about observing the Olympic Truce and promoting "peace, dialogue and reconciliation in areas of conflict during and beyond the Olympic Games period".[HL1321]
The Secretary of State has recently initiated a review of all DfID's aid programmes, including health and education, to ensure we achieve value for money and accelerate progress towards the millennium development goals.
As laid out in The Coalition: Our Programme for Action, DfID will prioritise increasing access to basic services, such as health and education, for the world's poorest people, and will continue to do this via methods that are proven to work.
Baroness Verma: The coalition programme for government states that the Government will stick to the rules laid down by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) about what spending counts as aid. We are working with the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) to develop clarification of its statistical reporting directives, particularly around expenditure on refugees, and will publish as soon as possible details of the adjustments required to our reporting.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Pope Benedict XVI will visit the UK at the invitation of Her Majesty the
26 July 2010 : Column WA297
The costs of the visit can be divided into two categories: policing costs, which will be met by the state from within existing policing budgets, and non-policing costs, which will be split between the Catholic Church and the Government. Planning and discussions on the visit are continuing but my noble friend Lord Patten, my right honourable friend the Prime Minister's Special Representative for the Papal Visit, has said he expects the non-policing costs falling to Government to be between £10 million and £12 million. The Catholic Bishops Conference will also be meeting costs which fall to them in relation to the pastoral events.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): Information on the budget requirements for police authorities in 2010-11 can be found on the websites below of the Department for Communities and Local Government for English police authorities and the Welsh Assembly Government for Welsh police authorities.http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/statistics/xls/1516661.xlshttp://www.statswales.wales.gov.uk/TableViewer/tableView.aspx?Reportld=3725 http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmhansrd/cm100610/wmstext/100610m0003.htm#10061032000021.
Lord Taylor of Holbeach: Population trends are just one of a range of factors departments consider when developing policy. The variation in population in different areas of the United Kingdom means that no single policy on population growth or decline would be appropriate.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether a criminal record, particularly for assault, is a bar to employment by private security companies on government contracts; and, if not, whether persons with such records are working as escorts (a) to and from prisons, (b) to and within detention centres, and (c) taking deportees to airports and on flights.[HL1061]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): A criminal record does not automatically result in a bar on employment of individuals by companies contracted by the UK Border Agency to provide escorting and custody services. However, applicants are expected to pass rigorous security checks before they can be accredited to work as either a detainee custody officer or a detainee escort officer. These checks include a review of previous convictions, with particular consideration given to:the severity of any conviction;the age of the applicant at the time of the offence;the time that has elapsed since the offence took place; andwhether there are single or multiple convictions.
Prospective and current detainee custody officers and detainee escort officers may have a criminal record that includes a conviction for assault. We do not keep centralised records of this information and could provide such detail only by examining individual records at disproportionate cost.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): Since 1 April 2008 police forces collect and return data centrally on victims of racist offences (VoRo), but these data have yet to be published due to concerns over their quality and comparability. data. Further joint guidance from the Ministry of Justice and the Association of Chief Police Officers was issued to all police forces to improve collection to meet this requirement in July 2009.
The intention is to publish these figures, either fully or in part, as part of the annual statistics on race and the criminal justice system report, which is scheduled for publication in the summer of 2011.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the cost of repainting the locomotives and rolling stock operated by government-owned East Coast trains; and why such work is necessary when they propose to re-let the franchises in 2012.[HL1606]
Earl Attlee: Rail vehicles have a long life; therefore periodic painting is necessary in accordance with a fixed maintenance cycle in order to protect the fabric of the vehicle and prolong its lifespan. The east coast main line company's vehicles are repainted only when this is demanded as part of the normal maintenance cycle of the vehicle.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many staff are employed in the Rural Payments Agency; how much they have paid to farmers in the past year; and how those figures compare with similar bodies in other European Union member states. [HL1210]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): At 31 March 2010 there were 3,265 full- time equivalent members of staff employed within the Rural Payments Agency (RPA).
Likewise, while each member state is required to publish details of payments made to individual beneficiaries, meaningful comparisons at both paying agency and member state level would also involve disproportionate cost.
However, for indicative purposes, total Commission reimbursement to member states on Pillar 1 and Pillar 2 schemes for the 2009 financial year (16 October 2008-15 October 2009) was approximately €51.8 billion.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): Working with the motorsport sector is one of the new ways in which the Ministry of Defence (MoD) is actively engaging with small and medium-sized enterprises to expand the science and technology supply base to defence. Such enterprises are a rich source of creativity and technical innovation and have already demonstrated they can provide rapid solutions to urgent defence requirements.
The motorsport industry, as with other hi-tech sectors, invests a huge amount of money in research and development. By building relationships with these companies, MoD gains access not only to proven technologies, but also the wealth of expertise that supports them. Through engagements of this kind, MoD seeks to continue to deliver the best equipment to our troops on the front line, increase value for money, and support British industry.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Taylor of Holbeach on 12 July (WA 112), whether they plan to amend Section 2(3) of the Superannuation Act 1972 as it relates to trade unions having to agree changes in Civil Service redundancy arrangements.[HL1426]
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Sassoon on 6 July (WA 44), what assessment they have made of the implications for demand in the economy of households in the bottom income decile having to pay indirect tax increases.[HL1245]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) set out its assessment of the overall impact of Budget measures, including an increase in the rate of VAT, on the economy in Annex C of Budget 2010 (HC 61).
In particular, for a change in the VAT rate rise, it published a short-run fiscal multiplier of 0.35; a VAT rise that yields additional receipts equal to 1 per cent of GDP is estimated to reduce the level of GDP by 0.35 per cent in the short run. A VAT rate rise would not be expected to lead to an immediate one-for-one fall in GDP, as households and firms adjust their savings to account for the measure.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): Yes. The Government have announced that they are conducting a review of six counterterrorism and security measures and pre-charge detention is part of that review. The fact that the power has not been used for some time will be one of the considerations.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what reasons the police and the Director of Public Prosecutions gave for stating the power to detain terrorist suspects without charge for 28 days remains necessary. [HL1438]
Baroness Neville-Jones: The police and Crown Prosecution Service consider that the arguments contained in the Explanatory Memorandum to the draft statutory instrument, prevention and Suppression of Terrorism-Terrorism Act 2008 (Disapplication of Section 25) Order 2010 remain valid. The Government agreed to renew the 28-day renewal order on a temporary basis for six months, while the review of counterterrorism powers considers the important issues involved.
Baroness Neville-Jones: The review of counterterrorism and security powers will include consideration of the use of the Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 stop and search powers and the related issue of the use of counterterrorism powers in relation to photography. As my right honourable friend the Home Secretary informed Parliament on 13 July, the Government will report back to Parliament on the outcome of the review after the Summer Recess.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Howell of Guildford on 7 July (WA 63), whether their practice of not commenting on ongoing legal cases in Turkey is applied to all ongoing legal cases in all countries. [HL1350]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the Government of Turkey about the imprisonment of children; whether there has been or will be a European Union common position on that subject, particularly on the grounds required under anti-terror laws for conviction; and whether they will call in the Turkish ambassador to the Court of St. James's to discuss it. [HL1473]
Lord Howell of Guildford: The current legal position of minors under the anti-terrorism law is unsatisfactory. Children should be treated appropriately in places of detention and during criminal trials. Our embassy in Ankara raised the imprisonment of children, in the context of proposed revisions to the anti-terror law, with their Turkish counterparts in June and strongly encouraged them to pass the draft law before the end of the current parliamentary term.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the number of Turkish citizens that would be entitled to live and work in the United Kingdom in the event of Turkey joining the European Union.[HL1490]
Lord Howell of Guildford: Towards the end of the Turkish EU accession negotiations the European Commission will conduct an assessment of the potential for migration between Turkey and the EU, and make recommendations for necessary controls. It does not make sense for the Commission to conduct this assessment now, because the negotiations are unlikely to near completion for some years. Meanwhile, the Turkish economy is growing strongly and Turkey is going through rapid change.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the consultation process undertaken by West Midlands Police prior to the recent introduction of automatic number plate recognition cameras in the Washwood Heath, Sparkbrook, Moseley and Kings Heath parts of Birmingham. [HL1445]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether any suspension of the use of automatic number plate recognition cameras in the Washwood Heath, Sparkbrook, Moseley and Kings Heath parts of Birmingham would include 72 covertly placed cameras. [HL1447]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The Government assess the consultation process to have been inadequate and West Midlands Police have themselves acknowledged the shortcomings of the original consultation procedure. They will now consult the public, ward members and senior officials from partner agencies in a full and in-depth public consultation into the implementation of project champion, which will take place later this summer.
In respect of the suspension of the use of the cameras and the consultation process, I refer the noble Lord to the public statement issued by West Midlands Police and Safer Birmingham Partnership on 5 July, and I will place a copy of the statement in the Library. It is also available on its website at: http://www.west-midlands.police.uk/latest-news/press-release.asp?id=1791.
In both the coalition agreement and the Queen's Speech, the Government have made a commitment to re-examine the balance between civil liberties and national security. This commitment includes the intention further to regulate CCTV. The Government have widened the review of CCTV to include ANPR and will be bringing forward proposals shortly.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): The Government have not had any discussions about canal closures due to water shortages and their impact on tourism with British Waterways (BW). This is an operational matter for British Waterways.
British Waterways has advised the Government of planned closures of parts of the Leeds and Liverpool canal due to severe drought. British Waterways is doing all it can to conserve water levels and will reopen the canal as soon as sufficient water supplies become available. In the mean time, it is contacting all affected customers and will do all it can to minimise the impact on them.
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