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Lord Bassam of Brighton: No. Immigration officers have been provided with new powers of arrest, search and seizure under the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. We are currently piloting a scheme under which specially trained immigration officers are tracing and effecting the arrest of immigration offenders without the assistance of the police. This will deliver improved effectiveness and, while the Immigration Service will always need the co-operation of the police, will reduce our dependency on them. We intend to extend the scheme on completion of the pilot. Involving a third agency would nullify any such gains.
Lord Bassam of Brighton: No. We are giving each asylum seeker a voucher exchangeable for £10 cash and the goods vouchers given will be in small denominations. We would expect this to allow voucher payments to be rounded up to the amount required, rather than vouchers being proffered in excess of the value of the goods purchased.
Lord Bassam of Brighton: We are currently studying the report by the National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux in which this recommendation features, and will make known our response in due course.
The Minister of State, Cabinet Office (Lord Falconer of Thoroton): M & C Saatchi were appointed by the New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC) in August 1997 to develop an integrated communications campaign, including creative development, media planning and sales promotion in support of the Millennium Experience and its associated national programme. Their appointment followed a competitive process, through OJEC. As stated in the OJEC advertisement, the estimated total value of the contract is up to £16 million. NMEC has contracted no other advertisers.
Design contracts for exhibit zones, entered into by NMEC, were also subject to OJEC procedures in August 1997. The total value of these contracts is about £17.1 million (excluding VAT), subject to normal resolution procedures.
Lord Falconer of Thoroton: All contracts awarded by the New Millennium Experience Company to advertisers and designers were granted after a process of competitive tendering. The advertising contract with M & C Saatchi is still in place. The designers have completed their services under the agreements. The contracts are still in place in the sense that NMEC either owns the products of their services or is licensed to use them.
Whether they believe that there would be a reduction in levels of child poverty if all child support reduced benefit directions were not implemented until confirmed by an appeal tribunal.[HL1289]
More than 80 per cent of parents with care who applied for income support in the last year were happy to co-operate with the Child Support Agency. This means that there are now far fewer reduced benefit directions imposed and that the Child Support Agency is able to pursue regular maintenance for more children.
Over 1 million more children stand to gain from our proposed child support reforms, including 600,000 in the poorest families on income support who will see the benefit of maintenance for the first time through the introduction of a child maintenance premium.
Baroness Hollis of Heigham: Monitoring of child support reduced benefit directions by ethnic origin is not carried out. The information requested is therefore not available. However, should any parents with care have difficulty in understanding the good cause procedures because English is not their first language, interpreters can be made available.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Baroness Hayman): Sheep under four years of age will not have consumed meat and bonemeal, as this has been banned from ruminant feed since July 1988, and all animal feed since March 1996. Sheep identification is a requirement of EU law, in particular that sheep are eartagged or tattooed before leaving the holding of birth with a mark which identifies the animal's holding of birth. The Government are currently considering proposals to implement this requirement. The costs of any such move must be balanced against the value of lost
Baroness Hayman: There is at present no legal definition of Indian or Pakistani Basmati rice in the UK, although there is an industry code of practice, which lays down a general specification. However, in the light of technical developments which provide new ways of distinguishing one variety of long grain rice from another, the code may need to be updated. We will continue to work with the industry to ensure that all parties responsible for the trade in Basmati rice are involved and that consumers are not misled.
Baroness Hayman: According to the IACS Regulations, farmers can claim arable area payments on fields which are fully utilised according to customary agricultural practice. Guidance from the European Commission, endorsed by the European Court of Auditors, indicates that payments can be claimed on the full Ordnance Survey of area of a field as long as the field margins do not exceed two metres in width. The regulations also provide that, where a field is not fully utilised, only the cropped area can be claimed. This means that, where part or all of a field margin exceeds two metres, the full width of that part of the margin has to be deducted from the area claimed.
In view of the concerns that have been expressed about the implications for the environment of reducing the width of field margins, my officials are in discussion with the European Commission on what can be considered as traditional agricultural practice.
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