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Tuffin Ferraby and Taylor: Palace of Westminster Survey

Lord Cocks of Hartcliffe asked the Chairman of Committees:

The Chairman of Committees: Following competitive tendering, Tuffin Ferraby and Taylor were appointed in the summer of 2000 by the Parliamentary Works Directorate to carry out septennial condition surveys of the Palace. The cost of the commission is £69,460. There are no additional expenses. The work will take three to four surveyors and their assistants four months.

Lord Cocks of Hartcliffe asked the Chairman of Committees:

The Chairman of Committees: They have been told to answer any questions from Members as fully as possible.

Lord Cocks of Hartcliffe asked the Chairman of Committees:

The Chairman of Committees: This is the first commission for the Parliamentary Works Directorate carried out by Tuffin Ferraby and Taylor.

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Lord Cocks of Hartcliffe asked the Chairman of Committees:

    When it is anticipated the report of Tuffin Ferraby and Taylor will be completed; to whom it will be submitted; and when it will be available to Members of the House of Lords. [HL4193]

The Chairman of Committees: The results of the survey will be submitted to the Director of Parliamentary Works in phases between October 2000 and the new year for the use of the Works Directorate in preparing the 10-year rolling programme.

Lorry Drivers' Hours

Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether a self-employed lorry driver who spent four hours loading his lorry and then nine hours driving (with a mid-shift break) would:


    (a) be operating within the drivers' hours regulations; and


    (b) if exempt from the Working Time Directive be capable of driving a heavy goods vehicle safely at the end of a 13-hour shift.[HL4214]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Whitty): A self-employed driver of a lorry over 3.5 tonnes would be subject to the European Union drivers' hours rules. Under these rules, a driver would normally be allowed to drive up to nine hours a day but this can be increased to 10 hours twice a week. Drivers are also required to take a daily rest of normally 11 hours but this can be reduced to nine hours not more than three times a week. The effect of this is to limit the driver's working day--driving plus other work--to a maximum of 13 hours or 15 hours three times a week. But a driver working a 15-hour day would be required to compensate for the reduction in his daily rest period by taking an equivalent period of rest before the end of the following week.

Train Drivers' Hours

Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether a train driver would be permitted under current regulations to drive for 13 hours with only a mid-shift break.[HL4215]

The Minister of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston): The Railway (Safety Critical Work) Regulations 1994 require train operating companies (TOCs) to ensure that train drivers do not work for such a period that could cause fatigue and put safety at risk. Any changes to existing limits on working times would require a risk assessment to be carried out by the train operating company. The Health and Safety Executive also makes routine inspections to ensure TOCs' compliance with the regulations.

23 Oct 2000 : Column WA11

A Railtrack Group Standard specifies the following limits:


    (a) no more than 12 hours to be worked per turn of duty;


    (b) no more than 72 hours to be worked per calendar week (Sunday to Saturday);


    (c) a minimum rest period of 12 hours between booking off from a turn of duty to booking on for the next turn. This may be reduced to eight hours at the weekly shift changeover, in case of staff working a shift pattern which rotates or alternates on a weekly basis;


    (d) no more than 13 turns of duty to be worked in any 14-day period.

Multi-ethnic Britain: Runnymede Trust Report

Baroness Uddin asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How they will respond to the recommendations of the Parekh Report on the future of multi-ethnic Britain.[HL4141]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bassam of Brighton): On 11 October 2000, my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department launched the report of the Runnymede Trust's Commission on the Future of Multi-ethnic Britain. He said that he welcomed all contributions to the debate about how we promote race equality in this country and many of the recommendations made by the commission; that he was disappointed that the commission appeared grudging in its recognition of what the Government had achieved already; and that he disagreed with the commission's views on Britishness. Specific recommendations addressed to the Government are being considered, and a more detailed response will be given in due course.

Life Sentence Prisoner Releases on Licence

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many life sentence prisoners were considered for release on licence since the beginning of 2000; and whether they will publish a table showing the applications determined; the number of prisoners among those applications claiming to be innocent and not innocent respectively; and the proportion of each group who were successful in their application.[HL4195]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The principal consideration in the release of life sentence prisoners whose tariffs have expired is whether the risk of reoffending and of harm to the public has been reduced to an acceptably low level. Denial of guilt is one element relevant to the assessment of risk but it is not a bar to release. Life sentence prisoners who continue to maintain their innocence can be and have been released on licence.

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A separate record of those who maintain their innocence is not held on computer and the information requested is therefore not readily available.

Immigration Appeals Tribunal and Human Rights

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

    Whether, and if so how, the Immigration Appeals Tribunal and adjudicators were warned by the Home Office that they would not be empowered to protect the human rights of asylum seekers and would-be immigrants in appeals relating to decisions taken before 2 October. [HL4169]

Lord Bassam Brighton: A draft of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 (Commencement No. 6, Transitional and Consequential Provisions) Order 2000 was sent to the deputy president of the tribunal, who responded on 3 August. The draft made it plain that Section 65 of the 1999 Act was not retrospective. After the order was made, it was given to and discussed informally with two senior members of the tribunal as well as Non Governmental Organisation representatives at an Immigration and Nationality Directorate workshop on 17 September.

It is a matter for the immigration Appeals Authority as to how information is distributed to individual members of the judiciary.

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

    Whether they will ensure that those who come before the adjudicators of the Immigration Appeal Tribunal, and are prevented by the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 (Commencement No. 6, Transitional and Consequential Provisions) Order 2000 from raising human rights relating to decisions taken before 2 October, are informed by the Home Office of their right to raise human rights issues when a decision is made to remove them. [HL4170]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: If someone who has appealed against a decision taken before 2 October believes that his removal would be in breach of his human rights the onus is for them to say so--as would be the case if they wished to claim asylum. They should not wait until the arrangements have been made for their departure. If a human rights claim is made and refused, the applicant will be made aware of his or her appeal rights under the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.

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

    Whether the opportunity to raise human rights objections to removal will apply to certified appeals under paragraph 5 of Schedule 2 to the Asylum and

23 Oct 2000 : Column WA13

    Immigration Appeals Act 1993 where the adjudicator upholds the certificate, so as to prevent the unsuccessful appellant's summary removal without consideration of human rights objections.[HL4171]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: Yes. The opportunity to raise human rights objections to removal is not affected by the provisions of paragraph 5 of Schedule 2 to the Asylum and Immigration Appeals Act 1993.


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