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Session 2005 - 06
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Supplement to the House of Commons Votes and Proceedings
21 July 2006

SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

PETITION FROM RESIDENTS OF SOUTH BEDFORDSHIRE

13th July 2006

To the House of Commons.

The Petition of residents of South Bedfordshire.

Declares that the overwhelming majority of local residents wish to preserve the three-tier system of lower, middle and upper schools in Bedfordshire.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urge the Secretary of State for Education and Skills to keep the three-tier school system in Bedfordshire.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

PETITION FROM RESPECT FOR ANIMALS AND CITIZENS OPPOSED TO THE BRUTAL SLAUGHTER OF SEAL PUPS BY CANADA

13th July 2006

To the House of Commons.

The Petition of Respect for Animals, a seal protection organisation, and citizens opposed to the brutal slaughter of seal pups by Canada,

Declares that the slaughter of nearly 1 million seals (almost all under three months of age) over the last three years by Canada is a cruel outrage. The Petitioners further declare that they are appalled by the cruelty of the hunt. They note that a team of independent veterinarians who observed the Canadian seal hunt in 2001 found that 42 per cent. of the seals examined were likely conscious when skinned; are concerned that the current level of killing is unsustainable for the harp seal population; and that trade data shows that thousands of seal skins were imported into the UK between 1995 and 2003. The Petitioners further declare that the US banned imports of all seal products in 1972 and that Belgium, the Netherlands and Italy currently have initiatives to ban such trade.

The Petitioners therefore request that as a matter of urgency the House of Commons pass legislation to prohibit the import of all seal products into the UK.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

PETITION FROM RESIDENTS OF FILEY, NORTH YORKSHIRE

17th July 2006

To the House of Commons.

The Petition of Residents of Filey, North Yorkshire

Declares that proposals by the Yorkshire Strategic Health Authority to review service provision at Scarborough Hospital, together with the Department of Health's instruction to the Scarborough and North East Yorkshire NHS Trust to repay all debt in the current year is unacceptable and will lead to a significant cut in the acute mental services provided by Scarborough Hospital and the likelihood that patients will have to travel to York and further afield for the treatment they need.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Secretary of State for Health to intervene to protect services at Scarborough Hospital and increase funding to levels enjoyed by other Trusts and which more adequately reflect the above average elderly population, the number of visitors treated and the importance of maintaining in such a large rural area the Community Hospitals served by the Trust in Malton, Whitby and Bridlington.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

PETITION FROM THE ASHMERE AVENUE, OAKWAY AND SCOTTS LANE ACTION GROUP

17th July 2006

To the House of Commons.

The Petition of the Ashmere Avenue, Oakway and Scotts Lane Action Group

Declares that the designation of back gardens as the equivalent of brownfield sites allows such backland locations to be used for housing development which is out of character with the surrounding area.

The Petitioners therefore request that the Hose of Commons support the Private Members Bill of Mr Greg Clark in order to protect private back gardens from housing development which is out of character with the area.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

PETITION FROM CITIZENS OF BUCKINGHAMSHIRE AND OTHERS

18th July 2006

To the House of Commons.

The Petition of Citizens of Buckinghamshire and others.

Declares that for any community to be "sustainable", the plans for its expansion must be supported by adequate improvements to the local infrastructure and environment, including improvements to the public transport, the road and rail network and health and education services.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urge the Deputy Prime Minister to provide reassurance that sufficient funding will be made available to implement the infrastructure improvements to support the growth planned for the Vale.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

PETITION FROM USERS OF POST OFFICES IN THE LUDLOW AREA

18th July 2006

To the House of Commons.

The Petition of users of the following Post Offices: All Stretton, Alveley, Aston on Clun, Aston Munslow, Beguildy, Bent Lont, Bishops Castle, Bridgnorth, Bromfield, Bucknell, Chirbury, Church Stretton, Claverley, Clee Hill, Cleobury Mortimer, Cleobury North, Clun, Craven Arms, Ditton Priors, East Hamlet, Ludlow, Garden Village, Highley, Highley, Knowbury, Ludlow, Lydbury North, Much Wenlock, Newcastle, Norton, Oreton, Sydney Cottage Drive, Bridgnorth, The Hobbins, Wentnor, Worfield and Worthen,

Declares that the Petitioners are concerned by the threat posed to their local post office from withdrawal of the Post Office Card Account in 2010.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons make the Department of Work and Pensions aware of the Petitioners' concerns and urge the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to reconsider the withdrawal of Post Office Card Accounts.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

PETITION FROM ANTHONY LUCAS, ANNE MARTIN AND OTHERS

19th July 2006

To the House of Commons.

The Petition of Anthony Lucas, Anne Martin and others,

Declares that the closure of the closure of the Department for Transport/Driving Standards Agency driving test centre at Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, making King's Lynn 'multi-purpose Test Centre' the designated centre, will further disadvantage people living in rural areas (Fenland and parts of Norfolk), heighten the risk of road traffic accidents, increase road congestion, further damage the environment and significantly increase the annoyance for business and residents in King's Lynn and adjoining villages caused by learner drivers, as a direct result of government policy.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons shall urge the Secretary of State for Transport to take such measures as are within their powers to prevent the closure of the Department for Transport/Driving Standards Agency driving test centre at Wisbech.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

PETITION FROM BHASVIC LIGHTS ACTION GROUP

19th July 2006

To the House of Commons.

The Petition of BHASVIC Lights Action Group

Declares that there is a need for a traffic free phase at the junction of the Old Shoreham Road and Dyke Road in Hove, East Sussex, in the interests of the safety of the thousand or more pedestrians who use the junction each day.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urge the Government to take action to encourage the local council to undertake the adaptation of this crossing to facilitate the passage of pedestrians, and not prioritise ease of traffic flow over the safety of pedestrians.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

PETITION FROM CITIZENS OF THE UNITED KINGDOM

19th July 2006

To the Honourable the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled.

The Humble Petition of citizens of the United Kingdom,

Sheweth that:

1.Wildlife crime is unacceptably high, and has strong links to other serious and organised crime;

2.Wildlife crime is not recorded and valuable intelligence on criminal activity is lost;

3.There should be dedicated policing, working in partnership with concerned individuals and groups, to protect wildlife and to stamp out illegal trade in protected species.

Wherefore your Petitioners prays that your honourable House will urge the Government to ensure that:

1.judicial sentences reflect the serious nature of all wildlife crime and that sentencing protects wildlife and punishes and deters the criminal;

2.all wildlife crime is entered into a nationwide database that enables the sharing of information;

3.all police forces appoint a full-time wildlife officer to police wildlife crime

And your Petitioners, as in duty bound will ever pray etc.


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

PETITION FROM LONDON RESIDENTS

19th July 2006

To the House of Commons.

The Petition of London residents.

Declares that many overland rail stations in London are not properly staffed at night.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urge the Government to ensure that all overland rail stations are property staffed during the whole of their hours of operation after dark.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

PETITION FROM RESIDENTS OF HALTON, CHESHIRE AND OTHERS

19th July 2006

To the House of Commons.

The Petition of Residents of Halton, Cheshire and others.

Declares that North Cheshire Hospitals Trust are proposing to transfer all in-patient activity from Halton General Hospital that will result in 5 wards being transferred from Halton General Hospital to Warrington General Hospital and these proposals are causing great concern to the people of Runcorn.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urge the Government to ensure North Cheshire Hospital Trust retains in-patient admission to Halton General Hospital.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

PETITION FROM ROBERT SEARS AND OTHERS

19th July 2006

To the House of Commons.

The Petition of Cllr. Robert Michael Charles Sears and others.

Declares that the phasing out of the Post Office card account will result in the closure of many more rural sub Post Offices. The loss of village shops, many of which also act as sub Post Offices and Post Offices is very detrimental to the sustainability of local communities and the resulting need for adequate transport to and from towns large enough to support a Post Office, is not being met.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons shall urge the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to take such measures as are within their powers to support village sub Post Offices and shops and to prevent any further avoidable closures.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

PETITION FROM SUPPORTERS OF A UNIFIED BLUE BADGE PARKING SCHEME

19th July 2006

To the House of Commons.

The Petition of Supporters of a unified Blue Badge parking scheme.

Declares that the existing Blue Badge scheme has too many exemptions and variations making it difficult for disabled drivers to know the validity of their Badge when parking in certain parts of the country.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons vote to introduce a unified Blue Badge disabled parking scheme that covers the whole of England and Wales.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

Observations by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on the Petition [14th June] from residents of Milton Keynes against the erection of a telecommunications tower at Fingle Drive, Stonebridge, Milton Keynes.

    The Planning Policy Guidance Note 8 'Telecommunications' sets out the national planning policy on this issue.

    The Government's policy is to facilitate the growth of new and existing telecommunications systems whilst keeping the environmental impact to a minimum. The Government also has responsibility for protecting public health.

    The aim of telecommunications policy is to ensure that people have a choice as to who provides their telecommunications service, a wider range of services from which to choose and equitable access to the latest technologies as they become available.

    Whilst local planning authorities are encouraged to respond positively to telecommunications development proposals, they should take account of the advice on the protection of urban and rural areas in other planning policy guidance notes.

    Local planning authorities (in this case Milton Keynes Council) have been given the responsibility for the day to day planning control in their area which this mast would come under.

    Given that the consideration of the erection of this telecommunications mast could be a matter that may potentially come before the First Secretary of State, via any appeal, I trust that you can appreciate that it would not be appropriate to comment directly on your petition.

13th July 2006


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

Observations by the Secretary of State for International Development on the Petition [8th June] from residents of Bishop Auckland constituency and others for the passage of the International Development (Reporting and Transparency) Bill.

    The Government agrees that the campaign for global justice on trade, aid and debt must continue in 2006, and beyond.

    As the Prime Minister said in his speech "A Year after Gleneagles", on Monday 26th June, the G8 achieved at Gleneagles, in July 2005, "more than all but those with the most rose-tinted spectacles, thought was possible. These issues were not high up the political agenda, in the UK, let alone internationally. Now they are. That was in no small part down to the efforts of millions of people mobilized by the Make Poverty History campaign and Live8. But just because these issues are at the top of the agenda now, it doesn't mean they couldn't easily slip down again. I will do everything I can to ensure they don't".

    The achievements at Gleneagles represented a milestone. The G8 agreed with African leaders to implement over fifty of the detailed recommendations of the Commission for Africa. As well as agreeing to cancel debts and double aid for Africa, there were commitments on peace-keeping, on AIDS treatment, on free healthcare and primary education, on improving infrastructure and encouraging investment.

    The main disappointment at Gleneagles was that there was not more progress on trade. Leaders all agreed that we needed a good outcome for developing countries from the Doha Round, but the negotiations are not reflecting this. The coming month will represent a critical stage in delivering on that agreement.

    At Gleneagles, the G8 agreed to double aid for Africa and increase total aid for all developing countries by $50bn a year, from $80bn in 2004 to $130bn by 2010. In 2005, aid increased to over $105bn—over half way to the 2010 target.

    DFID increased its bilateral aid to Africa by 22% last year, to over £1 billion for the first time ever. The UK has increased aid by 140% in real terms since 1997.

    The UK has agreed to provide £8.5bn over the next ten years to fund long-term education plans. DFID's budget for education will more than double to over £1 billion a year by 2010. 20 African countries are working on ambitious long-term strategies to get all children into school by 2015. Our funding will help them to implement these.

    Thanks to its debt relief package, Nigeria is now developing poverty reduction programmes that will be funded from the annual savings of at least US$1 billion. These savings could be used to employ an extra 120,000 teachers and send 3.5 million children to school.

    In addition, the G8 agreed to cancel 100% of the multilateral debts of the Highly Indebted Poor Countries. 19 countries—including 15 African countries—are already in the process of benefiting and a further 24 (18 African) countries could benefit once they have pledged to use the resources released by debt relief to help poor people.

    The G8 agreed to aim to provide universal treatment for all AIDS sufferers by 2010. The UN has now agreed that every developing country should produce a plan for delivering on this promise as well as providing access to prevention, care and other forms of support, and that no good plan should go unfunded.

    Very real progress has been made in the last 12 months, which will make a positive difference to people's lives, but more needs to be done.

    The Government has published a new White Paper—"Eliminating World Poverty: Making Governance Work For The Poor"—which sets out what we need to do in the next ten years to ensure that we deliver on Gleneagles and get Africa back on track to meet the Millennium Development Goals.

    The Africa Progress Panel has been established by the Prime Minister to ensure that the promises to Africa are kept. It will encourage and measure progress against the commitments made to and by Africa at G8 and UN Summits—notably Gleneagles—towards the achievement of the Millennium Development goals, and will maintain the international political profile of Africa achieved in 2005. This will complement other monitoring mechanisms, including the Africa Partnership Forum and the civil society 'African Monitor'.

    The Government has provided regular updates to Parliament since last December on progress against G8 commitments, through the 'Gleneagles Implementation Plan for Africa'. In addition, the Government has published a booklet—"G8 Gleneagles: One Year On: Turning Talk into Action"—that highlights twelve areas, from aid and debt cancellation to fighting disease and promoting business, in which the commitments of the G8 are being followed through.

    The proposed International Development (Reporting and Transparency) Bill is also an important part of this process. Government is committed to transparency in the use of public resources to achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. If this Bill becomes law it will require the Secretary of State for International Development to report annually to Parliament indicating how Government resources allocated to international development have been spent. It will enhance Parliamentary scrutiny of government in delivering on our pledges to help the poorer countries and peoples of this world.

    Also, through Parliament, it will ultimately make government more accountable to the people. It was the efforts of Make Poverty History campaigners that helped ensure that an unprecedented level of attention was focused on international development in 2005. The annual reports that will result from this Bill should build on the strong public support for international development already engendered by such initiatives as the Make Poverty History campaign.

    The Bill also provides a powerful model for other countries—developed and developing—to follow. It provides a clear example of how the democratic process can be advanced by ensuring that Parliaments, on behalf of the peoples they represent, have the ability to examine and influence the development policies and programmes of their countries and, in turn, hold their governments to account.

    One of the key elements of this Bill is that it establishes, for the first time in UK law, the importance of a target date to achieve the UN target of 0.7% of Gross National Income to be devoted to official development assistance, by requiring the Secretary of State to report on the UK's progress towards this target. It is vital that all donor countries meet this important international target, and this Government is committed to do so, at the latest, by 2013. UK official development assistance is already planned to rise from 0.26% of GNI in 1997 to 0.47% in 2007-2008.

    The provisions of this Bill will enable the progress towards making poverty history and achieving the Millennium Development Goals to be set out and scrutinised.

    The Government particularly welcomes the fact that the Bill highlights the importance of policy coherence across government departments in pursuing these objectives.

    As well as the obligation to deliver on our promises to the poor, the Bill rightly acknowledges an obligation to our own taxpayers to demonstrate that our aid is effective and well-targeted and will truly help those fighting for a more just tomorrow.

    Given the right circumstances, development works, and the provisions of this Bill will help demonstrate that things can, and indeed have, changed for the better. But all this depends, ultimately, on the ability of individual partner governments to be able to deliver on poverty reduction for their people.

    The commitments made in 2005 were predicated on a commitment to better governance in partner countries. This Bill highlights the need for there to be greater transparency in the provision of aid within partner countries and in the way it is used. Government plays an active role in this process, both generally, through funding, support to capacity building and diplomatic engagement, and specifically, through more targeted ways to support national strategies to fight corruption as well as preventive measures.

    But the best people to promote good governance and help fight corruption are those who live in the countries concerned, and who are most affected by failings in governance. That is why it is hoped that this Bill will be taken as a model for such governments to engage with their peoples and Parliaments and be held to account.

    Government has consistently supported the Bill and hopes that it will pass through its remaining stages in the Lords before the Parliamentary session closes, and then become an Act of Parliament.

18th July 2006


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

Observations by the Secretary of State for the Home Office on the Petition [16th June] from residents of Greenwich, Bexley and neighbouring areas for a review and strengthening of the law concerning the possession and use of knives.

    I take knife offences extremely seriously. There are a number of measures currently being considered by the Houses of Parliament as part of the Violent Crime Reduction Bill which will tighten legislation in this area. These include:

    •raising the age at which someone can be sold a knife from 16 to 18;

    •creating a new offence of using someone to mind a weapon; and

    •providing powers to head teachers to search pupils for knives.

    I also announced on 19th June that I am giving serous consideration to suggestions that the maximum sentence for possessing an article with a blade or point in a public place should be increased. The current maximum sentence for this offence is two years' imprisonment.

    From 24th May to 30th June we ran a national knife amnesty in conjunction with ACPO. According to figures supplied by the police, this resulted in over 89,000 items being handed in. Taking knives and other sharp instruments off the streets by way of an amnesty forms just one part of the work to tackle knife crime, which also includes tough enforcement such as stop and search, test purchasing and the use of search arches, together with education and prevention programmes to ensure that young people understand the dangers of carrying knives.

19th July 2006



 
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Revised 21 July 2006