Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

13 Dec 2000 : Column WA17

Written Answers

Wednesday, 13th December 2000.

Eritrea: Diplomatic Representation

Lord Rea asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, and if so when, they will accord full diplomatic status to Eritrea and appoint an ambassador to Asmara.[HL44]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): Our diplomatic representation in Asmara is under review.

Lord Rea asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether it is anomalous for the United Kingdom to be represented in two countries which have been in conflict by an embassy situated in only one of those countries.[HL45]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: No.

Race Relations (Amendment) Act

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

    When they propose to bring the provisions of the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 into force.[HL46]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bassam of Brighton): The Race Relations (Amendment) Bill received Royal Assent on 30 November 2000. The Government attach great importance to the Act and its speedy and effective implementation. We have set a target date of April 2001 for the commencement of its provisions, including those outlawing race discrimination and those placing a general duty on public bodies listed in Schedule 1A to the Act to promote race equality.

Secondary legislation will be required to extend the application of the general duty to bodies not currently listed in Schedule 1A and to impose specific duties on listed public bodies to promote race equality. This legislation will follow public consultation.

13 Dec 2000 : Column WA18

Continence Pads: VAT

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Lord McIntosh of Haringey on 1 November (WA 101), what representations they have received from the Continence Foundation about VAT on continence pads; and what reply they are sending.[HL24]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Continence Foundation urged the Government to apply a reduced rate of 5 per cent VAT to incontinence products, pointing out that some people may find it is difficult to buy incontinence products at the zero rate. The Government have made clear that they do not consider that adding VAT at the 5 per cent rate to incontinence products is the right way to solve this problem and have asked Customs and Excise to explore other ways to help individuals to buy these products at the zero rate.

Primary Legislation: New Format

Baroness David asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When primary legislation will be printed in the new format agreed by both Houses in 1999.[HL137]

The Lord Privy Seal (Baroness Jay of Paddington): The new format is being introduced this Session, using new computer software which has had to be developed. The change will be staged to allow everyone involved to become accustomed to working in the new format and to minimise the risk of disruption should there turn out to be flaws in the software.

For the time being, Bills will continue to be introduced in the old format, apart from any Bill originating from the Tax Law Rewrite. Each Bill will be published in the new format in the second House, once it has completed its passage through the first.

So, Bills introduced in this House will be in the old format during their stages in this House; but Bills brought from the other place will be in the new format throughout our consideration of them. Similarly, the other place will deal with Bills introduced there in the old format but deal with Bills brought from this House in the new format.

All Acts passed after 1 January 2001 will be in the new format.

When we are fully confident that the new format and software are problem-free, it will be used for all Bills at all stages.

   Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page