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Devolution: Forestry Responsibilities

Lord Lucas asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Lord Sewel: My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Scotland and other forestry Ministers are considering the treatment of forestry matters, both in Scotland and in the United Kingdom as a whole, in the context of the Government's proposals for a Scottish parliament. The Government's proposals will be set out in the forthcoming White Paper.

Mr. and Mrs. Kelly: Costs of Litigation

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What have been the costs to the Legal Aid Fund in Scotland for both parties in the case brought by Mr. James Kelly against his wife Mrs. Lynne Kelly on the termination of her pregnancy.

Lord Sewel: Mr. James Kelly and Mrs. Lynne Kelly were both granted legal aid under the special urgency provisions. As their respective solicitors have yet to submit their accounts for payment, it is not possible to provide the requested information.

Isle of Man: Detention of Child Offenders

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the minimum age at which children may lawfully be detained in adult prisons in the Isle of Man.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): Under Manx law, a child (that is a person of or over the age of 10 but under the age of 14) can be remanded to custody or sentenced to serve a term of custody, but only in exceptional circumstances. Section 9(2) of the Isle of Man Custody Act 1995 stipulates that no court shall impose custody on a child or young person unless the court is of the opinion that the circumstances are so exceptional that it would be inappropriate to deal with him by any other method.

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will take steps to ensure that separate secure accommodation is made available in the Isle of Man for the detention of child offenders.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The provision of prison accommodation in the Isle of Man is a matter for the Manx authorities. I understand that there is a secure juvenile unit for the detention of child offenders which is physically separated from the rest of the Isle of Man's prison and has a separate entrance and reception facility.

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Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they consider that the detention of child offenders in adult prisons in the Isle of Man is in conformity with the United Kingdom's obligations under international human rights law.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The issue does not arise. Child offenders are not so detained on the Isle of Man.

UK Fishing Vessels: Compliance with the Law

Lord Peston asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What measures they intend to introduce to ensure that United Kingdom registered fishing vessels comply with the law.

The Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Lord Donoughue): The Government propose to take a range of initiatives designed to ensure that all fishing vessels in the UK abide by the rules.

The Fisheries Departments will continue to give priority to fair and effective enforcement. In 1997-98 some £24 million will be spent on enforcement, including surface and aerial surveillance. We are determined to bear down on those who disregard the law. If fish stocks are to be conserved, fisheries regulations must be respected.

We have considered whether the existing conditions of fishing licences need to be strengthened to assist enforcement. A matter of particular concern is the practice of allegedly discarding, after inspection at sea but prior to landing, marketable fish which have been sorted, stowed on board and recorded in EC logbooks. This practice appears to be used to evade the proper operation of quotas and is inconsistent with the conservation of fish stocks. Subject to consultation with the Commission and our fishing industry, we propose to introduce as soon as possible a new licence condition which addresses this problem.

The Registrar General of Shipping and Seamen has powers to terminate a fishing vessel's registration if, taking into account any requirement of merchant shipping legislation relevant to its safety or that of its crew, he considers that it would be inappropriate for the vessel to remain registered. In the interests of safety, it is proposed that the Registrar General will serve notice of the intention to terminate the registration of any fishing vessel which fails to hold a valid safety certificate.

In addition, we shall be making arrangements for British Sea Fishery Officers to assist the Department of Transport by detaining in port fishing vessels which do not have valid fishing vessel safety certificates, as well as checking that fishing vessels are manned by crew holding the appropriate certificates, including UK Certificates of Equivalent Competency (CECs) in the case of foreign qualified crew.

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Finally, the Department of Transport and Fisheries Department has reviewed the requirements for masters and officers of larger fishing vessels to be competent in the use of English. It has been concluded that these provisions are adequate. Certificates of competency, including CECs, already require a sound knowledge of English. The more rigorous checking of officers' certificates will help to ensure that these requirements are properly complied with in the interests of safety.

No. 11 Downing Street: Charitable Events

Baroness Miller of Hendon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    On how many occasions between 9 April 1992 and 2 May 1997 facilities were provided at No. 11 Downing Street for charitable and other non-political good causes.

The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Simon of Highbury): Standard reception facilities have been provided at No. 11 for such functions on a number of occasions.

Friends Provident Investment Advertisement

Lord Lucas asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they consider the Friends Provident advertisement appearing on page B12 of the Daily Telegraph of 24 May 1997 might mislead readers as to the difference between "income" and "return of capital"; and whether they intend to take action to deter such advertisements.

Lord Simon of Highbury: Authorised investment businesses are subject to the rules of their regulators on the content and presentation of investment advertisements. The rules are intended to ensure that investors are not misled in any way. Whether or not a particular investment advertisement has been issued in breach of those rules is a matter for the regulator concerned, in this case the Personal Investment Authority.

Channel Tunnel Safety Authority: Annual Report

Lord Peston asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they expect the Channel Tunnel Safety Authority to publish its annual report for the year 1995-96.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Baroness Hayman): The Channel Tunnel Safety Authority has today published its eighth annual report, covering the period from 1 April 1995 to 31 March 1996. Copies of the report have been placed in the Library.

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Defence Diversification Agency

Lord Rea asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they intend to establish a defence diversification agency as outlined in a previous Labour Party manifesto, and if not, why not.

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Gilbert): The Government will be making proposals in due course on how best to give effect to their objectives in this area, including how best to harness the contribution of the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency to these objectives.

NHS Waiting List Cuts

Lord Lucas asked Her Majesty's Government:

    With reference to the pledge in the Labour Party manifesto to "cut NHS waiting lists", by what measure of "NHS waiting lists" they wish their performance of this pledge to be judged, and what are the latest available figures for that measure.

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Baroness Jay of Paddington): Our manifesto commitment is to treat an extra 100,000 patients through reducing bureaucracy.

We are also committed to ending waits for cancer surgery, especially breast cancer, and will be making £10 million available for breast cancer services in 1997-98. Health authorities will be reporting on improvements in speed of access to diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer twelve months after receiving their extra funds. In addition, we will be providing £5 million for paediatric intensive care. Early action on paediatric intensive care will be put in place this year.

Oaths of Allegiance

Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are the forms of words used in the oaths of allegiance taken by (a) Privy Counsellors and (b) European Commissioners.

The Lord Privy Seal (Lord Richard): The Oath of Allegiance taken by new Privy Counsellors reads as follows:

    "You do swear by Almighty God that you will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Her Heirs and Successors according to law. So help you God.". The declaration made by European Commissioners at the commencement of their term of office reads as follows:

    "Whereas, having been appointed to be a Member of the Commission of the European Communities by the Governments of the Member States of the European Communities, I do solemnly undertake:

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    to perform my duties in complete independence, in the general interest of the Communities;

    in carrying out my duties, neither to seek nor to take instructions from any Government or from any other body;

    to refrain from any action incompatible with my duties.

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I formally note the undertaking of each Member State to respect this principle and not to seek to influence Members of the Commission in the performance of their task.

I further undertake to respect, both during and after my term of office, the obligations arising therefrom, and in particular the duty to behave with integrity and discretion as regards the acceptance, after I have ceased to hold office, of certain appointments or benefits.".

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