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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Northern Ireland Office (Lord Dubs): It was following evidence of PIRA involvement in the murder of Charles Bennett that the previous Secretary of State announced her intention to review the state of the PIRA cease-fire. She concluded on balance that she did not believe they were not observing a complete and unequivocal cease-fire.
Lord Dubs: Police officers and their families are eligible for compensation under the Northern Ireland Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme on the same basis as any individual who has been the victim of a violent offence. The recent report to the Government following the Review of Criminal Injuries Compensation acknowledges that, overall, the scheme may well be one of the most generous and comprehensive available in any country, including in the comparison other countries with experience of terrorism.
However, in exchanges with victims from a police background, the review also learnt that progressive improvements over time in police pension and welfare arrangements have greatly reduced the extent to which these individuals and their families had to rely on criminal injuries compensation as a principal means of support.
In addition to the normal entitlements of the RUC Pensions Regulations, police officers injured through violent crime as a direct result of membership of the RUC may receive an injury pension based on the degree of disablement. Spouses of police officers killed under similar circumstances also receive special pension payments under the current regulations. A number of police welfare organisations provide support and help to injured officers and bereaved families through grants and other areas of assistance.
The report of the Independent Commission on Policing for Northern Ireland recommends that a further substantial fund should be set up to help injured police officers, injured retired officers and their families, as well as police widows. In addition, the report recommends help and funding to the Widows Association to run their organisation.
Lord Dubs: The information requested is not available for the period 1998-99. However during the calendar year 1997 there were a total of eight convictions for the offence of Importing Controlled Drugs (Offence Code = 4801001) under Section 3 of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bassam of Brighton): The Guardian article referred to is based on a leaked report produced by Financial Times Management Consultants on behalf of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND). The consultants were commissioned to carry out a "pre-assessment audit" of IND's preparedeness
Lord Bassam of Brighton: At the end of September 1999 a total of 975 asylum applications lodged prior to July 1993 awaited an initial decision. For asylum applications lodged between July 1993 and December 1995, a total of 13,405 asylum applications awaited an initial decision.
Lord Bassam of Brighton: The arrangements for the nominating authorities and religious consultative services are non-statutory. The role of the nominating authorities is likely to change as a result of a review of the appointment procedures for visiting ministers being conducted in consultation with the nominating authorities. The Prison Service has been working with members of the nominating authorities to formalise and define their advisory role, and it has been agreed that the title "religious consultative services" more accurately reflects this role. The procedures for assessing the religious competence of visiting ministers before appointment will be considered as part of the review of appointment procedures.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Baroness Hayman): The World Trade Organisation Agreement on Agriculture was agreed in 1994 as part of the Uruguay Round. Its provisions, are binding on all WTO members and, as with other WTO rules, any alleged breaches can be challenged under the terms of the WTO's Dispute Settlement Understanding.
Baroness Hayman: A case involving the circumstances referred to by the noble Lord would need to be considered carefully by the appropriate MAFF Regional Service Centre (RSC). There would be no impact on a farmer's IACS claim as long as any discrepancy between two measurements of the same field fell within the margins of error for the type of measuring method employed.
The sanctions that can be applied to claims, which take the form either of reductions in payments or of administrative penalties, are laid down in the EU IACS legislation. If farmers wish to seek redress against sanctions, they may appeal directly to their RSC to senior officials or through their Member of Parliament to Ministers, or apply for a judicial review of the Ministry's decision. If they feel that their case has not been properly administered, they can ask their MP to raise it with the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration.
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