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House of Commons
Session 2006 - 07
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Supplement to the House of Commons Votes and Proceedings
12 January 2007

SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

PETITION FROM MRS CAROLINE GIBBS AND OTHER CUSTOMERS OF CREATON POST OFFICE

18th December 2006

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

The Humble Petition of Mrs Caroline Gibbs and other customers of Creaton Post Office,

Sheweth

That the sub post office in Creaton, Northamptonshire provides a vital service to the local community, but that its future is threatened by uncertainty over the continuation of Her Majesty's Government's subsidy for rural post offices beyond 2008 and the abolition of the Post Office Card Account for 2010.

Wherefore your Petitioners pray that your Honourable House calls upon Her Majesty's Government to make an early announcement that it will continue its subsidy for rural post offices beyond 2008 and that it will reverse its announcement to abolish the Post Office Card Account in 2010.

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


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

PETITION FROM PARENTS OF CHILDRN ATTENDING MEDSTEAD CHURCH OF ENGLAND PRIMARY SCHOOL AND OTHERS

19th December 2006

To the House of Commons.

The Petition of parents of children attending Medstead Church of England Primary School and others,

Declares that our Provision for Deaf and Hearing Impaired (HI) Children at Medstead C of E (Controlled) Primary School is under threat of closure by Hampshire County Council. Parents of hearing children as well as parents of deaf and HI feel that the school is "a Centre of Excellence" for its deaf and HI children in a mainstream school system. There are many things deaf and HI children can get at Medstead School that are not found elsewhere, particularly inclusive provision of extracurricular activities - several after school sports, totally inclusive music and drama productions and the year 5 skiing trip to name a few examples as well as the Church, Brownies, Beavers and Cubs and other community activities which take place.

The Council also suggest that there is no pre-school provision in the area, yet Medstead Pre-School which is set within the grounds of the school already provides an excellent advice and communication support service for deaf and HI children and their families. This helps enormously in the transfer to Medstead Primary school, but because this is a charity and not council-run, provision is not recognised. Parents of Deaf and HI children continue to choose Medstead for their children ahead of other provision in the County. This is because they have weighed up the advantages and disadvantages of travelling long distances and keeping a group of friends locally or between primary with the benefits to their children's communication skills and confidence of attending Medstead Primary and have chosen the latter. The fact that this choice represents parents' priorities for their children should hold weight in the consideration of not closing down this excellent provision.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urge the Government to ensure that the Provision for Deaf and Hearing Impaired (HI) Children at Medstead C of E (Controlled) Primary School is not closed.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

PETITION FROM RESIDENTS OF HITCHIN AND HARPENDEN

19th December 2006

To the House of Commons.

The Petition of residents of Hitchin and Harpenden,

Declares that the Petitioners are concerned about the future of the NHS in Hertfordshire.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urge the Secretary of State for Health to:

reject any decision by Hertfordshire PCT to close all the beds at Harpenden Memorial Hospital without further consultation;

stand by the promise of a new Super-Hospital incorporating the Cancer Centre from Mount Vernon Hospital made by her predecessor, John Reid, on the 17th July 2004 in Welwyn;

reconsider plans to downgrade Hemel Hempstead and QEII Hospitals to little more than Cottage Hospitals, if no super-hospital is to be built at Hatfield;

guarantee the future of the existing facilities at St Albans Hospital;

explain where all the extra taxpayers' money has gone;

revise the funding allocation for Hertfordshire.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

PETITION FROM MEMBERS AND SUPPORTERS OF THE ALZHEIMER'S SOCIETY OF SELBY AND YORK

8th January 2007

To the House of Commons.

The Petition of members and supporters of the Alzheimer's Society of Selby and York

Declares that it is outraged by the decision of the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) to restrict NHS prescriptions for Alzheimer's Drugs. Those treatments are proven to provide real benefits to thousands of people at all stages of the disease and cost just 2.50 per person per day.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons calls upon the Secretary of State for Health to ensure that doctors continue to be able to prescribe treatments to patients who can benefit from them.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

PETITION FROM RESIDENTS OF USHAW MOOR AND SURROUNDING VILLAGES

8th January 2007

To the House of Commons.

The Petition of residents of Ushaw Moor and Surrounding villages

Declares that Oversteads House Sheltered Flats Complex is an asset to Ushaw Moor Village. It is currently under threat of redevelopment by Durham City Council.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to protect the complex from redevelopment for at least 30 years, or until residents are happy with the redevelopment proposals.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

PETITION FROM RESIDENTS OF BEXLEY AND NEIGHBOURING AREAS.

9th January 2007

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

The Humble Petition of residents of Bexley and neighbouring areas,

Sheweth

That Section 19B of the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 makes it unlawful for public authorities in carrying out any functions of the authority to do any act which constitutes discrimination.

However, Section 19C exempts courts and employment tribunals:

"Section 19C (1) Section 19B does not apply to—

(a)any judicial act (Whether done by a court, tribunal or other person): or

(b)any act done on the instructions, or on behalf of a person acting in a judicial capacity"

The exceptions undermine the intention of the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 and are not in keeping with the spirit of Articles 1, 2, 3, 7, 8 and 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948.

Wherefore your Petitioners pray that your Honourable House will urge the Home Secretary to introduce legislation to bring the judiciary and tribunals within the scope of Section 19B of the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000

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


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

PETITION FROM SKEGNESS HOTELIERS ASSOCIATION, SKEGNESS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND OTHERS

9th January 2007

To the House of Commons.

The Petition of Skegness Hoteliers Association, Skegness Chamber of Commerce and others

Declares that their concern that the Government may be introducing a new tax which would impact negatively on the holiday trade - generically known as the "Bed Tax". The petitioners consider that this potential new tax will be detrimental to the UK holiday industry, affecting hoteliers, other businesses in the tourist industry and holidaymakers alike.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Treasury to reject the proposal for this proposed tax.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

PETITION FROM SUPPORTERS OF JAMIL EL-BANNA

9th January 2007

To the House of Commons.

The Petition of supporters of Jamil el-Banna

Declares that they wish to see him returned to the UK from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, whereupon he should either face trial or be released.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs make representations to the Government of the United States of America on behalf of Jamil el-Banna for his return to the UK, and further that the Secretary of State reports to the House on the outcome of those representations.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

PETITION FROM COURTNEY'S CAMPAIGN

10th January 2007

To the House of Commons.

The Petition of Courtney's Campaign

Declares that Courtney Walker's face was changed beyond recognition by an unprovoked vicious attack by a Bull Mastiff Dog.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons legislate to amend the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 so that it can also be applied to a dog dangerously out of control on private property on which it is permitted to be, if that dog does injure a person when out of control.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.

SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

PETITION FROM THE SUPPORTERS OF THE KEEP SOUTH REDDISH RAILWAY STATION OPEN CAMPAIGN

10th January 2007

To the House of Commons.

The Petition of the supporters of the Keep South Reddish Railway Station Open campaign

Declares that the Network Rail North West Route Utilisation Strategy 2006 proposes the closure of South Reddish and Denton stations on the Stockport to Stalybridge railway line.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urge the Secretary of State for Transport to reject the proposal of Network Rail, in order to keep the stations and the Stockport to Stalybridge rail line open for passenger service,

And the Petitioners remain, etc.


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

Observations by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on the Petitions [27th November] from the residents of West Dorset for the maintenance of the Post Office Card Account and the rural post office network; [29th November] from the residents of Benfleet, Canvey Island and others against changes to the Post Office Card Account; and [18th December] from Mrs Caroline Gibbs and other customers of Creaton Post Office for the continuation of the subsidy for rural post offices and for the retention of the Post Office Card Account.

    People have signed this and similar petitions because they want to be able to use easy-to-operate accounts at the Post Office. They can do that now, and will be able to do so in the future.

    The current Post Office card account contract ends in March 2010 as it was always planned to do. The Government has decided that it will continue with a new account after 2010 which will include similar features to the Post Office card account. This will be available nationally and will be open to customers on the same basis as the Post Office card account is now.

    The Government remains committed to allowing people to access their pension and benefit in cash at the Post Office if they choose to do so, and there is a range of accounts which make that possible. We still believe that being paid into a bank or building society account is the best option for the vast majority of our customers, and around three in four of our customers are paid this way. It gives them more choice about where and when they get their money, enables them to make savings on some bills by paying by direct debit and get interest on balances on their accounts. Many of these accounts can be used at Post Offices, still generating income for Post Office Ltd, which is also introducing its own new accounts.

    Government recognises the Post Office network's important social and economic role, particularly in rural communities and deprived urban areas. That is why it has announced investment, subject to European state aid approval, of up to 1.7 billion until 2011, to support the national network and enable Post Office Ltd to modernise and rationalise the network to place it on a more stable footing.

19th December 2006


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

Observations by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on the Petition [29th November] from Coventry British Pensioners and Trade Union Association against the reform of widows' benefits for women who are widowed under the age of sixty.

    The Government consulted widely before introducing the current legislation. Its consultative document 'A new contract for welfare: Support in bereavement' was published in November 1998. The Welfare Reform and Pensions Act 1999 translated those plans into legislation.

    Age has always been considered to be a significant factor in support following bereavement. It provides a broad test of the ease with which widows, widowers and surviving civil partners can enter or re-enter the employment field to support themselves through work.

    Bereavement benefits are payable to men and women who satisfy the qualifying conditions. They provide fast, direct, financial help for immediate needs following bereavement. They provide help for widows, widowers and surviving civil partners alike. They provide financial support in the difficult early months following bereavement and provide longer-term help where the needs of children make self-support more difficult.

    Bereavement benefits ensure that help goes to those who need it most - on immediate needs and on children and families. It would not be right to assume a lifetime of dependency for younger widows, widowers and surviving civil partners - many of whom will already have regular employment. But equally, we recognise that people need breathing space to come to terms with the emotional and practical upheaval caused by the loss of their spouse or civil partner.

19th December 2006


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

Observations by the Secretary of State the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on the Petition [28th November] from the North Hertfordshire Free Tibet Support Group for measures to encourage dialogue between the Tibetan government in exile and the government of China.

    The UK Government is very concerned about the situation in Tibet and continues to monitor the situation closely. The UK regularly raises Tibet-related issues with the Chinese Government. My Right Hon. Friend the Prime Minister discussed human rights, including Tibet, with Chinese Premier Wen during the Premier's visit to London in September. I also raised human rights with Chinese Foreign Minister Li during this visit.

    My Hon. Friend, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ian McCartney MP wrote to the Chinese Ambassador in August about human rights abuses in China and his concerns on the restriction of religious practices in Tibet.

    We use our biannual UK-China Human Rights Dialogue to discuss human rights issues, including Tibet, in more detail. During the last round, held in Beijing in July 2006, we shared our concerns that Tibetan religious leaders do not fully enjoy the right to manage succession according to their own traditions. We also handed over a list of individual cases of concern, which included the names of Tibetan prisoners. We continue to monitor these cases.

    Our concerns about Tibet are also a matter of public record. Former Foreign Office Minister, Ian Pearson, spoke about our concerns during a parliamentary debate on human rights in China, in February. I have placed a copy of this speech in the House of Commons library.

    We regularly urge the Chinese Government to engage in serious negotiations with the Dalai Lama's representatives, without pre-conditions, to build a peaceful, sustainable and legitimate solution for Tibet. Talks between the two sides took place most recently in China in February. We and our EU partners welcomed the talks and noted that both sides confirmed their continued commitment to the dialogue process, while highlighting some fundamental differences in views and approach.

28th December 2006



 
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Revised 12 January 2007