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Organophosphate Sheep Dip

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Lord Donoughue): We understand that the independent Institute of Occupational Medicine (IOM) will finalise its report within the next few weeks. This will then be submitted for urgent consideration by the Government's expert advisory committees. Our aim is to publish the results of all this work as soon as possible. I will write to the noble Countess as soon as the precise arrangements for publication of the report are clear.

Intervention Board Annual Report

Lord Cledwyn of Penrhos asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Donoughue: We are pleased to announce that copies of the document have been placed in the Libraries of the House.

Fraud: National Police Objectives

Lord Burton asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Burlison: We recognise the excellent work that the police do on fraud investigations but we have not included fraud as a specific objective for the police. All the key elements of policing are contained in the overarching aims and objectives for the police service developed by the Comprehensive Spending Review and announced in August 1998. These and the ministerial priorities reflect the Government's policies on crime and

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disorder and put the emphasis on crime reduction overall, which would include fraud. It is for individual police forces to target their resources where the need is greatest in their area and we would encourage them to continue to reflect fraud related work in their policing plans.

For their part the Government recognise that the investigation and prosecution of fraud can be complex and have asked the Law Commission to undertake work on the law on fraud and to make recommendations to improve the law. This report was published on 27 April 1999. In February 1998, the Government issued a consultation document inviting views on different methods of trial in complex fraud trials. The Government are currently considering the responses that were made.

I understand that the Association of Chief Police Officers has recently established an economic crime sub-committee to look in more detail at the investigation of fraud.

Human Rights Act 1998

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

    What factors they are taking into account in deciding when to bring fully into force the provisions of the Human Rights Act 1998.[HL2091]

Lord Burlison: The Government are taking all relevant factors into account. In particular, a great deal of training and preparation is required before the Act can be brought into force.

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

    Whether factors which they are taking into account in deciding when to bring the provisions of the Human Rights Act 1998 fully into force include the potential liability of government departments and other public authorities to pay damages for breaches of convention rights occurring once the Act is fully in force.[HL2093]

Lord Burlison: The Government are taking all relevant factors into account.

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

    Whether there are any United Kingdom laws or practices which they consider need to be changed before they bring the provisions of the Human Rights Act 1998 fully into force; and, if so, whether they will identify such laws or practices.[HL2092]

Lord Burlison: Departments are reviewing their legislation and procedures for compatibility with the convention rights. Individual departments are responsible for initiating any necessary action should convention points be identified. It is not possible at this stage to say what, if any, new legislation Parliament will be asked to consider.

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

    Whether they remain of the view, expressed when the Human Rights Bill 1998 was published, that, apart from an initial cost in training judges, magistrates and tribunal members to handle convention points, the other provisions of the Bill would have no significant financial effects.[HL2094]

Lord Burlison: The Government remain of the view expressed in the Explanatory and Financial Memorandum to the Human Rights Bill.

Criminal Record Certificates: Voluntary Organisations and Fees

Lord Hothfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether voluntary organisations will be required to pay for making use of the Criminal Records Bureau for England and Wales when checking adults volunteering to work with young people; and, if so, how much.[HL2111]

Lord Burlison: It will be for individuals, not organisations, to make applications to the Criminal Records Bureau for certificates to be issued under Part V of the Police Act 1997. They will pay a fee, the

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level of which has yet to be determined and which will be laid down by regulation to be made by the Secretary of State.

Organisations which countersign applications for criminal record certificates and enhanced criminal record certificates will pay a fee to register with the Criminal Records Bureau. This registration fee is currently estimated to be about £15 to £20.

Balkan Refugees

Lord Eames asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have plans to receive further displaced persons from the Balkans in addition to those in the first group; and, if so, what is the approximate number of refugees for whom provision has been made.[HL2131]

Lord Burlison: Yes. We agreed with our European Union (EU) partners that there would be no overall EU quota for refugees. We have always made it clear that the United Kingdom stands ready to receive some thousands of refugees from that region on criteria agreed with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Their policy is to relieve pressure on the camps and to give priority to the most vulnerable and those with family links in the United Kingdom.

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