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Turkey: UK Diplomatic Visits to South-eastern Region

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Officials from the British Embassy in Ankara visited the capitals of the provinces of Van, Bitlis, Batman and Diyarbakir, and the towns and villages of Guzelsu, Tatvan, Gaydal, Hizan and Hasankeyf in south-eastern Turkey between 31 August and 6 September 1997. The next Embassy visit to the region is planned for December.

UN Human Rights Investigations: Access Refusals

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The information requested has been freely available from 1992 on the Internet System located in the House of Lords Library. Librarians can assist in accessing the documents. Gathering the information requested before 1992 would involve disproportionate cost.

OECD Agreement on Investment: Discussions with Developing Countries

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Clinton-Davis): Multilateral conferences on the MAI have been held with developing countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa, as well as

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at the OECD in Paris. Her Majesty's Government have also had informal discussions with representatives of many developing countries. Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Hong Kong and the Slovak Republic are observers at the MAI Negotiating Group.

Horses: Designation

Lord Rowallan asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will consider redesignating the horse as an agricultural animal.

The Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Lord Donoughue): We have no current plans to redesignate all horses as agricultural animals. Horses used primarily in agriculture are already so designated.

Industrial Tribunal Case 13528

Lord Vinson asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether Tribunal Case 13528 taken at Stratford SE1 in May 1997, where a small health shop owner was ordered to pay £2,000 damages for turning down a job applicant who was six months pregnant and unwilling to lift heavy loads, sets a precedent under the Sex Discrimination Act whereby a pregnant woman can sue a potential employer for refusing to engage her by reason of her incapacity from her pregnancy to do work; and

    Whether Tribunal Case 13528 taken at Stratford SE1 in May 1997 leaves any employer the right to deny a pregnant woman a job, even if her pregnancy precludes her from doing the work he is offering.

The Minister of State, Department for Education and Employment (Baroness Blackstone): The noble Lord will be aware that industrial tribunal findings do not set legal precedents. The Sex Discrimination Act 1975 made it unlawful to discriminate against a woman by refusing to employ her. Following clear case law from the European Court of Justice, this means that it is unlawful discrimination to refuse a woman employment on the ground of her pregnancy. However, Section 51 of the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 may provide a defence to a charge of unlawful discrimination if an act was necessary in order for that person to comply with a relevant statutory provision in the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (which requires employers to ensure the health, safety and welfare at work of their employees). Each case will need to be decided on its particular facts.

Lord Vinson asked Her Majesty's Government:

    In the event that Tribunal Case 13528, taken at Stratford SE1 in May 1997, complies with European law, whether they will reconsider exempting potential employers who employ less than five people from such provisions, and take the appropriate steps to seek such a change.

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Baroness Blackstone: It is not appropriate for me to comment on the decision of an industrial tribunal in any particular case. Section 6 of the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 used to contain an exemption for employers with less than five employees, but this exemption was repealed following a decision by the European Court of Justice in 1983 that held it to be in breach of the European Equal Treatment Directive. The Government have no plans for further changes.

Scottish Parliament and Capital Punishment

Lord Campbell of Croy asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will confirm the statement made by Lord Williams of Mostyn, subject to correction, on 30 July in the debate on the Devolution White Papers, that it would be possible for the proposed Scottish Parliament to reintroduce capital punishment in Scotland separately from the rest of the United Kingdom [H.L. Deb., col. 277].

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Scottish Office (Lord Sewel): Yes. It is envisaged that the Scottish Parliament would have power to re-introduce capital punishment in respect of devolved offences. This power remains subject to any international obligations which the UK may undertake in the future.

Lord Campbell of Croy asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, if capital punishment were to be introduced in Scotland, the First Minister in the proposed Scottish Parliament would have the option of interceding for the exercise of the Royal Prerogative of Mercy in individual cases, which was formerly open to Secretaries of State for Scotland.

Lord Sewel: It is envisaged that the role of the Secretary of State for Scotland in advising Her Majesty in respect of the exercise of the Royal Prerogative of Mercy in any individual case will pass to the First Minister on the establishment of the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Executive.

Cantray Steading: Accommodation for Disabled Young People

Lord Campbell of Croy asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is estimated to be the total cost to public finances, including subsidies to Scottish Homes, of the conversion and adaptation of the derelict farm buildings at Cantray Steading, Highland District, to provide accommodation for young disabled people; and how many young disabled people will be housed there on completion.

Lord Sewel: The total cost to public finances of the conversion at Cantray Steading is currently estimated to

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be £560,000. This includes grants to be paid by both Scottish Homes and Historic Scotland. The eventual cost will depend, however, on the precise amount of grant paid by Historic Scotland, which has not yet been finally determined.

The conversion will provide flatted accommodation for 15 young disabled people and a flat for support workers.

Queen Mary's University Hospital, Roehampton

Lord Gillmore of Thamesfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

    To what extent the fact both that local heath authorities are in deficit and local provider trusts are under strong financial pressure is responsible for proposals to withdraw services from Queen Mary's University Hospital, Roehampton; and whether additional financial provision, over and above that recently announced for the country as a whole, will be made for health services in London, and in south-west London in particular.

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Baroness Jay of Paddington): The financial pressures being felt locally are caused by a number of different factors, of which only some are related to service changes. To offset this, a bid has been made against the special assistance fund. A decision around special assistance funding has not yet been taken. Special assistance would be in addition to any general growth allocation received next year.

Lord Gillmore of Thamesfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, in the light of the recent closure of the Accident and Emergency Department and other services at Queen Mary's University Hospital, Roehampton; following the refusal of the Royal Colleges to renew accreditation of those departments for doctor training, steps will be taken to ensure that the Royal Colleges are publicly accountable for decisions which have a serious impact on the provision of medical services to the community.

Baroness Jay of Paddington: Queen Mary's University Hospital, Roehampton is a subject of the London Review. It will report to Ministers shortly.

The system of granting educational approval for training posts and programmes is designed to ensure quality in the training of doctors for the purposes of providing high quality patient care in the future.

Lord Gillmore of Thamesfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the proceeds of a sale of land at present occupied by the Richmond, Twickenham and Roehampton NHS Trust as a consequence of approval of the current public consultation document will be used for the provision of alternative community

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    healthcare services on the site of Queen Mary's University Hospital, Roehampton.

Baroness Jay of Paddington: Queen Mary's University Hospital, Roehampton, is a subject of the London Review. It will report to Ministers shortly.

Guardsmen Wright and Fisher

Lord Westbury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What advice has been conveyed to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland by the Life Sentence

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    Review Board with regard to Guardsmen Wright and Fisher, and when it is proposed to release them.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Northern Ireland Office (Lord Dubs): The review board's advice to the Secretary of State in these particular cases is strictly confidential and will not be disclosed. The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has decided that the cases of Guardsmen Wright and Fisher should be referred back to the review board in one year's time, i.e. in October 1998, when they will have served six years in custody. No date for release has therefore yet been fixed.



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