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Lord Bassam of Brighton: The Government believe that rights under Article 14 attach to the right to a fair trial and not to a certain sort of trial. This does not affect the Government's determination to ensure that criminal justice legislation does not discriminate on the grounds of race or ethnic origin.
Lord Bassam of Brighton: The change of name is one of a number of changes involved in the Government's plans for creating a unified service for England and Wales. These include structural changes which will involve the amalgamation of some area services and will make all of them more accountable for my right honourable friend the Home Secretary. The cost of changing the name is of itself expected to be minimal in this wider context.
Lord Bassam of Brighton: The interim report of the University of Derby's research project into religious discrimination was published on 31 January. Copies are available in the Library or from the research project's website at www.multifaithnet.org.
The interim report is useful in beginning to develop a better understanding of the complex issues around religious discrimination. We hope it will inform the debate in advance of the publication of the research project's full findings, due this autumn.
It is important to remember that this is an interim report only (based on a literature review and consultation with relevant organisations); it does not yet include any information from the research project's own data collection, which is continuing. The final report will inform the development of policy in this important and sensitive area.
The Minister for Science, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry announced on 3 February that he and my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport propose to publish a White Paper later this year setting out the Government's proposals for reform of communications legislation. This will include proposals for changing both the Telecommunications and Broadcasting Acts as a basis for legislation when parliamentary time allows.
Lord Sainsbury of Turville: Information available within the department shows that there has been a steady increase in the number of UK companies with websites over the past three years. DTI research indicates that 150,000 SMEs had websites in spring 1997. This figure rose to 175,000 in spring 1998; and 450,000 in spring 1999.
Lord Sainsbury of Turville: The Government have today published preliminary drafts of the social and environmental guidance to the energy and telecoms regulators provided for under Clauses 9, 13 and 90 of the Utilities Bill. Copies of these drafts have been placed in the Libraries of the House.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Whitty): All beacon councils provided evidence during the selection process that they were addressing the need to modernise their political management structures.
Lord Whitty: The powers available to the Government under the Environment Act 1995 are to protect "important" hedgerows. The Hedgerows Regulations 1997 define an important hedgerow as one that has existed for 30 years or more and satisfies at least one of the criteria listed in the regulations. The Government are considering whether the criteria should be revised as part of their review of the regulations.
Lord Whitty: The protection afforded to hedgerows by local enclosure Acts and awards may still be enforceable through the courts, depending on the terms of the relevant Act and the particular circumstances of the case.
Lord Whitty: A start will be made in 2000-01 on 13 of the 37 schemes in the targeted programme of improvements announced in A New Deal for Trunk Roads in England--six more than previously planned. The acceleration of six schemes by bringing their starts forward from 2001-02 reflects our commitment to modernising the country's transport system. All the schemes in the targeted programme were assessed using the new approach to appraisal against our criteria of safety, environmental impact, economy, accessibility and integration.
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