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House of Lords: Modes of Address

Earl Attlee asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Lord Privy Seal (Baroness Jay of Paddington): The rules are the same for Ministers as for other Members. However, the rules are sometimes complex and it should be recognised that Members of the House, including Ministers, may inadvertently err from the proper forms without intending to offend.

Public Libraries: Internet Access

The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale: The responsibility for public libraries in Scotland lies with the local authorities and it is therefore a matter for Glasgow City Council to consider what action is required. It is understood that Glasgow City Council has already taken steps to ensure that appropriate safeguards are in place to protect children from inappropriate material and Internet access has been resumed. The Government have made a commitment to all public libraries in the UK being online by the end of 2002 and resources of £120 million are being made available through the New Opportunities Fund to fund this. It will be for local authorities as library authorities to ensure that all necessary protections and safeguards are in place as they implement these plans.

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Sudanese Nationals Working in UK Engineering and Power Industries

Baroness Cox asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many personnel funded or sponsored (or both) by the Government of Sudan are working or studying in (a) the engineering industry, and (b) power-related industries in the United Kingdom; and whether there are any implications for national security. [HL862]

Lord Davies of Oldham: Information about personnel funded or sponsored by the Government of Sudan is not available. Since 1 January 1995, some 50 work permits have been granted to employers for Sudanese nationals to be employed or undertake work experience in the enginering or power-related industries. There are also 226 full-time and 85 part-time students from the Sudan currently studying in UK higher education institutions. All overseas nationals resident in the UK are expected to obey UK law.

Equal Employment and Occupational Treatment Directive

Lord Shore of Stepney asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will list those Directives agreed under Article 13 of the Treaty of European Union, and any Acts of Parliament amended by those Directives, that require the defendants in a civil action to prove their innocence of the charges of discrimination brought against them. [HL885]

Lord Davies of Oldham: The Directive establishing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of race or ethnic origin (2000/43/EC) and the Directive establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation (2000/78/EC) agreed under Article 13 of the Treaty of the European Union both include provisions relating to the burden of proof in cases (other than criminal proceedings) of alleged discrimination. These provisions do not mean that defendants will be required "to prove their innocence" in such cases. Instead they stipulate that, where a claimant is able to prove facts from which the Court or tribunal can properly infer that discrimination has occcured, it will be for the defendants to show that their actions did not contravene the law. This is a shift rather than a reversal of the burden of proof and largley represents what already happens in practice in the UK in sex and race discrimination cases, following the judgment from the House of Lords in Zafar v Glasgow City Council (1998 IRLR 36). The Directive requires this approach to be formalised as a rule of law in the Race Relations Act 1976 and in the new legislation needed to give effect to Directive 2000/78/EC.

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Free-to-air Digital TV Channels

Lord Cocks of Hartcliffe asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the Department for Culture, Media and Sport accepts that the Government's own targets for analogue switchover could be advanced through additional free-to-air digital channels from public service broadcasters.[HL1159]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Government's estimated timescale for digital switchover is 2006-2010 and the conditions that need to be met before the analogue signal will be switched off were announced in September 1999. One of the conditions is that 95 per cent of the population must have access to digital television before switchover is completed. As set out in my Answer to another Question from the noble Lord, we believe that the provision of high quality free-to-air digital services could affect the take-up of digital television, and therefore the speed at which this condition is met.

BBC Digital Television Service

Lord Cocks of Hartcliffe asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many meetings the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport has had with representatives from commercial broadcasting organisations to consider and hear representations in connection with the consultation for new BBC digital services.[HL1160]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My right honourable friend the Secretary of State has had two such meetings.

Lord Cocks of Hartcliffe asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport will make a decision regarding the BBC's proposed digital channels; and whether the Secretary of State is either obliged to, or is intending to, take account of any other political, commercial, or media considerations before reaching a final decision.[HL1161]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My right honourable friend the Secretary of State will reach a decision as soon as he has considered all the evidence. The issues he will take into account are set out in the department's guidelines for assessing BBC public service proposals which were published on 10 January. Copies were placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Resort Regeneration

Lord Harrison asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is their response to the English Tourist Council's report into the promotion of traditional

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    English tourist resorts as expressed in the recent report entitled Sea Changes.[HL1166]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Government welcome the English Tourism Council's (ETC) report on resort regeneration, Sea Changes--Creating World Class Resorts in England, which was published on 27 February. We will discuss with the ETC how best their recommendations for action by key national, regional and local organisations, can be taken forward.

Duty-free Sales

Lord Harrison asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What has been the effect on consumers, tourists and the tourism industry of the 1999 cessation of duty-free sales in the European Union and in the United Kingdom in particular.[HL1167]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: I am not aware that any substantive analysis or assessment has been made on the effect on consumers, tourists and the tourism industry following the cessation of duty-free sales in the European Union in July 1999. However, there is currently no direct evidence to suggest that the abolition of duty free sales has had an unfavourable impact on the tourism industry.

Trafficking in Persons

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will respond to the recommendations made in the report Stopping Traffic: Exploring the extent of, and responses to, Trafficking of Women for sexual exploitation in the UK by Liz Kelly and Linda Regan, published as Police Research Series Paper 125 by the Home Office.[HL867]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bassam of Brighton): The Government have noted the recommendations of the report Stopping Traffic. The Home Office is currently doing work on a number of fronts to tackle the problem of trafficking. The Home Office published a review of sexual offences, Setting the Boundaries, in July 2000, which recommends to the Government that a specific offence of trafficking for sexual exploitation be established--these recommendations have been the subject of consultation until the beginning of March. The Government are also currently negotiating a European Union Framework Decision on Trafficking in Human Beings, which would require harmonisation of member states' laws on trafficking. In parallel with this, the Protocol on Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children for Sexual Purposes, which supplements the United Nations Convention on Transnational Organised Crime, calls upon participating states to criminalise the trafficking of persons. The Government have strongly supported efforts to introduce an agreed international instrument

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which addresses this particularly offensive trade in human beings, and signed the Convention and its Protocols in November 2000.

A multi-agency task force has been established to improve the response to people smuggling and trafficking. Aims of this task force include ensuring that good intelligence is developed which leads to effective operational deployment against those organising trafficking, and creating a central database of information. There will be liaison with Europol and European partners.

The Immigration Service (IS) is also increasing its commitment to the National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS) by deploying additional staff at its headquarters within its Organised Immigration Crime Section (OICS) and its International Section and at its regional offices. In co-operation with NCIS, IS is expanding the number of Immigration Liaison Officers stationed abroad initially with new posts in central Europe and the Balkans. These officers will work with European Union colleagues and local law enforcement agencies to target trafficking and smuggling routes and the racketeers organising them.

We are also considering what needs to be done to create the circumstances in which a non-governmental organisation could be formed which would provide support and advice to the victims of trafficking.

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