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11 Mar 2002 : Column WA45

Written Answers

Monday, 11th March 2002.

Transexuality: Human Rights Court

Lord Carlile of Berriew asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What have been the costs to date of defending cases brought against the Government in the European Court of Human Rights by transsexual British people. [HL1984]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Amos): To date, the UK Government have never lost a case at the European Court of Human Rights on transsexuality. To calculate the legal costs of defending these cases, which would have been met by various government departments, would involve disproportionate cost.


Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Answer by Baroness Amos on 17 January (HL Deb, cols. 1177-80) whether they consider their growing trade links with the regime in Khartoum to be consistent with the continuing embargo on development assistance to Sudan. [HL2748]

Baroness Amos: There is no trade embargo on Sudan. Companies make their own decisions based on commercial factors. Neither is there an embargo on development assistance. We do not believe Sudan can make sustained progress towards reducing poverty without peace and political stability. However, there is an EU arms embargo on Sudan which the UK helped to initiate in 1994. We implement this rigorously and expect it to remain for as long as the civil war continues.

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is their reponse to continuing attacks by the military forces of the Sudan on unarmed civilians, including those receiving food and medical aid officially provided by the World Food Programme. [HL3128]

Baroness Amos: We have expressed our very serious concern about the attacks. We have asked the Sudanese Government for an urgent explanation and to make clear what steps they will be taking to avoid such incidents in the future.

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they consider that the European Union was wise to resume development aid to the Sudan after the United States had unsuccessfully asked the Sudanese Government to cease bombing targets in southern Sudan; and whether they will ask for all

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    such aid to be made conditional on a comprehensive ceasefire and the start of peace negotiations. [HL3129]

Baroness Amos: We are content with the European Union action because the proposed resumption is firmly linked to peaceful resolution of the civil war.

Retail Crime

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Lord Rooker on 28 November 2001 (WA 38) on retail crime, what representations they have had on the subject since the reply; and what developments there have been in regard to the funding of help for retailers to enhance the security of their premises. [HL2935]

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Rooker): My noble friend will recall that he wrote to me on 14 January forwarding representations he had received about the problems caused to retailers by the anti-social behaviour of groups of young people gathering outside their stores. I replied on 21 February detailing measures we are taking to address the serious problem of anti-social behaviour. There have also been continuing discussions and correspondence between Ministers and officials at the Home Office and retail representative and trade organisations about crime which impacts on retailers.

My right honourable friend the Minister of State at the Home Office with responsibility for crime reduction (Mr Denham) also announced, on 6 February, those schemes which have been allocated funding in the first year of the scheme to assist small retail businesses in deprived areas. These first year allocations, totalling £2.9 million, will provide direct assistance to over 2,700 businesses in England and Wales. It is hoped that thousands more businesses will benefit from funding of £5.8 million in each of the following two years.

Mobile Phones and Driving

Baroness Hayman asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Which police forces have undertaken specific campaigns to support the Highway Code guidance that drivers should not use mobile phones while driving. [HL2982]

Lord Rooker: Information about road safety campaigns conducted by individual police forces is not held centrally.

The Association of Chief Police Officers has made all police forces aware of the Government's THINK! road safety campaign and its associated website. Mobile phones and driving is part of this campaign and a new campaign on mobile phones and driving is planned for April. The Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions also produces a leaflet on the subject which is used by the police and others.

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Fingerprint Identification

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

    Further to the Written Answers by Lord Rooker on 25 February (WA 172–73), what are the objective criteria and prescribed verification procedures for fingerprint identification used in evidence in criminal trials.[HL3041]

Lord Rooker: To determine whether or not a crime scene mark and a fingerprint impression have been made by the same person, the fingerprint examiner must carry out a process of analysis, comparison and evaluation by determining whether in each impression friction ridge features are of a compatible type; they are in the same relative position to each other in the ridge structure; they are in the same sequence; there is sufficient quantative and qualitative detail in each in agreement; and there are any areas of apparent or real discrepancy. The examiner must address all these issues before declaring that both mark and impression have been made by the same person.

The next stage is verification. The examiner's conclusion must be verified independently by two other officers who must both be fingerprint experts. Any mark/impression identification notified to investigating officers and presented in court will have, and must have, been subject to the above procedures.

Animals in Scientific Procedures

Baroness Ludford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What contact they have had with the European Commission with regard to the preparations which the Commission is making to revise Directive 86/609/EEC, particularly with regard to the use of non-human primates in research. [HL3068]

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Lord Rooker: We have welcomed the Commission's intention to revise European Directive 86/609/EEC dealing with the protection of vertebrate animals used in scientific procedures. Home Office officials (representing the United Kingdom) attended the 19th meeting of National Competent Authorities on 29 November 2001 and offered some preliminary suggestions on possible amendments to the directive. Most of the suggestions are matters of updating or clarification and do not raise substantive issues of principle. Instead, they represent features of the United Kingdom system of controls that would make better provision for the protection of animals, and for a level playing field in economic terms if implemented at European level.

We believe that the directive could be enhanced both by changes to the text and also by guidance on the definition and interpretation of key terms. We have recommended that consideration should be given to strengthening the status of Annex II of Directive 86/609/EEC, dealing with the housing and care of laboratory animals, by making it clear that Annex II sets out the minimum standards required rather than simply providing guidelines. We have not at this stage made any specific reference to the use of non-human primates.

We will ensure that the United Kingdom plays a full part in the further work on the revision of the directive.


Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What the top rate of direct tax on personal incomes was in the United Kingdom for each year from 1970–71 to 2001–02; and whether they will publish these figures in the same form as those previously given in the Official Report of November 2000 (WA 149–150).

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: An updated verson of the table given in my reply to the noble Lord of 29 November (WA 149–150) is given below:

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Single, non-aged personal allowance for a man with childrenTaxable income above which the highest rate is chargedHighest rate of income tax chargedRetail Price IndexSingle, non-aged personal allowance for a man with no children at 2000–01 pricesTaxable income above which the highest rate is charged at 2000–01 prices
2001–024,53529,40040.00note 3note 3note 3


1. For 1970–71 to 1972–73 the highest rate shown is the standard rate of income tax plus the highest rate of surtax.

2. For 1973–74 to 1983–84, the highest rate charged includes investment income surcharge at 15 per cent, but this total rate would only apply if the taxpayer's income included investment income greater than the threshold for the highest rate of surcharge, which varied between £2,000 in 1973–74 and £7,100 in 1983–84.

3. RPI available only up to January 2002.

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11 Mar 2002 : Column WA49

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