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The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department of Transport (Viscount Goschen): The Government minimise the risk of marine accidents through a wide range of policies and measures, including a rigorous regime of port state control inspections to ensure high safety standards for vessels entering all UK ports. The Marine Accident Investigation Branch are investigating the circumstances and cause of the grounding of the "Sea Empress", with the aim of improving the safety of life at sea and the avoidance of accidents at sea. If, during the course of the investigation, the inspector considers that he should make interim recommendations, he will do so.
Viscount Long: Government officials are in regular contact with the Probation Board, Extern and NIACRO on a range of issues, including resettlement and rehabilitation, relating to all offenders and those at risk of offending.
(a) one day's sickness; (b) one week's sickness;
(c) two weeks' sickness.
The Minister of State, Department of Social Security (Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish): Where a person's qualifying benefit comes to an end because of incapacity for work the 26 week qualifying period will be broken. However, from October payment of Jobseeker's Allowance will normally continue for up to two weeks where jobseekers are unable to be available for or actively seek work because they are sick. Consequently, from that date, anyone who satisfies the qualifying conditions for an extended payment of housing and council tax benefit will not be affected by short periods of sickness unless he chooses to claim an incapacity benefit.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Chalker of Wallasey): We have a comprehensive programme for action for ethnic minority staff. This aims to ensure equal access to recruitment, promotion, career development and training for ethnic minority officers, especially in grades where they are under represented. Our personnel procedures are monitored to ensure equal opportunities policies are implemented.
We are targeting our recruitment of ethnic minority graduates (our future senior grade potential) with an active recruitment programme. Ethnic minority officers speak at recruitment fairs, we advertise in publications aimed at ethnic minority readers and work closely with the Windsor Fellowship, holding two open days a year.
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