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5 Mar 2012 : Column WA391



5 Mar 2012 : Column WA391

Written Answers

Monday 5 March 2012

Abortion

Questions

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The allegations of sex-selection abortions are being taken very seriously by the department. All abortions must meet the requirements of the Abortion Act 1967. The department has written to the relevant police forces and the General Medical Council which is undertaking investigations. The Care Quality Commission is undertaking a review and the Nursing and Midwifery Council has also been informed. Officials are also investigating the specific hospitals and clinics against which allegations have been made. On 23 February, the Chief Medical Officer wrote to all private sector and independent clinics, National Health Service organisations and medical directors to remind them of their duties and responsibilities in relation to the Abortion Act. A copy of this letter has been placed in the Library.

There are no plans to audit all the HSA4 forms that have been submitted to the Chief Medical Officer but appropriate checks will be made against relevant forms as part of the ongoing investigation.

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

Earl Howe: This information is not collected centrally.



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Agriculture: Eggs

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): Throughout the latter part of 2011, the Commission repeatedly stated at meetings held in Brussels that an intra-community trade ban was not legally possible. This was raised by the Commission at the meeting of the Agriculture Council in October and subsequent meetings of the Minister's Sherpa held with Defra officials. Commissioner Dalli also wrote to my right honourable friend the Minister of State on 10 January 2012 and confirmed once again that unilateral measures adopted by member states at borders would not be tolerated.

The UK Government's policy is to comply with the law and we have explained that we agree with the Commission's view that a unilateral ban would be unlawful.

Under Article 258 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, if the Commission considers that a member state has failed to fulfil an obligation under the treaties, it shall deliver a reasoned opinion on the matter after giving the state concerned the opportunity to submit its observations. If the state concerned does not comply with the opinion within the period laid down by the Commission (usually two months), the latter may bring the matter before the Court of Justice of the European Union. The timing for a matter to be brought before the Court will depend on many factors, including the seriousness of the breach and the complexity of the case.

Commonwealth

Question

Asked by Lord Ashcroft

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): I refer the noble Lord to the answer I gave on 10 November 2011 [HL 13195]. Countries other than South Sudan have expressed an interest informally in joining the Commonwealth, or in a closer association with accredited bodies of the Commonwealth, but have made no public commitment.



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Firearms: Home Office Firearms Forms Working Group

Question

Asked by Lord Tebbit

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): This is an informal working group which first met in November 2006 to consider what might be done to simplify the application forms for the grant or renewal of a firearm and/or shotgun certificate and the variation of a firearm certificate.

Firearms: Licensing

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): No.

Israel and Palestine

Question

Asked by Baroness Tonge

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The document that the noble Baroness refers to is an internal report by the European Union Heads of Mission in Jerusalem and Ramallah, which is under consideration in Brussels. It is government policy not to comment on leaked documents.

Migrant Workers: Romanians and Bulgarians

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): Estimates based on the Annual Population Survey suggest that the Bulgarian and Romanian-born population resident in the United Kingdom increased from 34,000 in 2006 to 132,000 in 2010, the last year for which Annual Population Survey statistics are currently available. The number of national insurance number registrations for Bulgarian and Romanian nationals between January 2007 and September 2011 was 168,360.

It would not be sensible for the Government to predict numbers of arrivals after 2013 given that other member states will also have to lift their existing restrictions at that point, but the Government will assess the possible impact on public services of any potential changes in migration levels from Bulgaria and Romania.

Police: Ethnic Minorities

Question

Asked by Lord Condon

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): Equality and diversity in policing are vitally important. To fight crime successfully, the law needs to be applied even-handedly and with real understanding of the needs of all our communities. Progress has been made on equality and diversity in policing: satisfaction and confidence figures are now the same for black and minority ethnic (BME) communities as they are for white communities, more women and members of ethnic minorities have joined the service, and we have a strong legal framework that supports equality. However, it is essential that more and faster progress is made.

The tables show police service strength of officers, PCSO and Specials the volume change over the past five years.

All data have been taken from Police Service Strength-Home Office Statistical Bulletins available at:http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk.

Table 1: Minority Ethnic Police Officer Strength (FTE)
Number of minority ethnic police officers in post*Total number of police officers in postMinority ethnic officers as a proportion of all officers

2009-10

6,642

143,734

4.6%

2010-11

6,615

139,110

4.8%

* Figures do not include central service secondments



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Table 2: Minority Ethnic Police Community Support Officer Strength (FTE)
Number of minority Ethnic PCSOs in postTotal number of PCSOsMinority ethnic PCSOs as a proportion of all PCSOs

2009-10

1,869

16,918

11.0%

2010-11

1,686

15,820

10.7%

Roads: Pedestrians

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

Earl Attlee: A footway (often referred to as a pavement) is defined in the Highways Act 1980 as:

UK Trade and Investment

Questions

Asked by Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne

The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint): The Strategy Task Force announced in UKTI's five-year strategy is called the Strategic Advisory Group and met for the first time in November, 2011.

The group meets quarterly to provide high-level advice to the Minister for Trade and Investment, and the chief executive officers of UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) and UK Export Finance (UKEF), on critical issues facing UK businesses and on the delivery of the Government's trade and investment strategy.

The group provides a forum to debate the concerns and priorities facing business in relation to international trade and investment. To facilitate an open and fruitful dialogue, discussions are informal and participants give their views on a personal rather than a corporate basis. Members do not receive any remuneration.

Meetings are chaired by the Minister for Trade and Investment. The chief executive officers of UKTI and UKEF also attend the meetings.

Current Members

Angela Ahrendts, CEO, Burberry.

Lucy Neville-Rolfe, CMG, executive director (Corporate and Legal Affairs), Tesco Plc.



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Sir Richard Lambert, Chancellor of the University of Warwick and former director-general of the Confederation of British Industry.

John Rishton, CEO, Rolls-Royce.

Ian Davis, former long time senior partner and director at management consultancy McKinsey and Company.

Malcolm Brinded, CBE, executive director for Upstream International and executive board member of Royal Dutch Shell plc and a non-executive director of Network Rail.

Alan Parker, founder and chairman of Brunswick Group LLP.

Sir Kevin Tebbit, KCB CMG, former Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Defence and former director of the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).

Professor Malcolm Grant, CBE, is a barrister, environmental lawyer, academic and public servant. He took up the post of president and provost, the principal academic and administrative officer of UCL, in 2003.

Sir Michael Bear, former Lord Mayor of the City of London (Nov 2010-Nov 2011).

Tidjane Thiam, group chief executive of Prudential plc, of Prudential Corporation Asia Limited and AIA Group Limited.

Sir John Sorrell, CBE, founder Newell and Sorrell, and former chair of the Design Council and the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE).

Asked by Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne

Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint: The Strategy Task Force announced in UKTI's five-year strategy is called the Strategic Advisory Group and met for the first time in November, 2011.

The group meets quarterly to provide high level advice to the Minister for Trade and Investment, and the chief executive officers of UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) and UK Export Finance (UKEF), on critical issues facing UK businesses and on the delivery of the Government's trade and investment strategy.

The group has not been commissioned to deliver a report.

Asked by Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne

Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint: UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) has no plans to establish a commission for trade with a similar remit to the Independent Commission for Aid Impact established by DfID.

The relatively small budget of UKTI, in comparison with that of DfID, dictates that the costs of an independent commission would be disproportionately large for UKTI to bear.

Evaluation of the impact and value for money of UKTI trade services is carried out by a range of high-quality independent research organisations. The procedures for conducting this evaluation research include independent peer review by academic experts. Evaluation results can be found at www.ukti.gov.uk/uktihome/aboutukti/ourperformance.



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Asked by Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne

Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint: UKTI provides annual grant funding to the China-Britain Business Council and UK-India Business Council to assist UK companies in doing or seeking to do business in China and India. In 2010-11 UKTI agreed grants of £1.89 million for the China-Britain Business Council and £1 million for the UK-India Business Council.

The UK ASEAN Business Council has only just been established and we have yet to agree a budget and programme plan.


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