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Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: All strains and isolates of the smallpox virus are now located under the control of the World Health Organisation in two laboratoriesone in Russia and one in the United States. The World Health Organisation is responsible for any transfers and we have no reason to believe that there has been any breach of this arrangement.
The Minister of State, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (Lord Rooker): Government funding is provided for local authority highways maintenance through the formula grant distribution system. Grant is not ring-fenced for any particular service; spending decisions are a matter for local authorities.
The grant distribution formulae include one reflecting the relative costs of highway maintenance. The proposed new formula for 200304 includes a predicted gritting days indicator, which is an assessment of the average number of days where gritting is required for the authority. Data used for this assessment come from the Meteorological Office Open Road Index (MOORI). This is a retrospective forecast of the number of days on which gritting (or salting) would have been required at individual weather stations. The forecast is based on a number of variables, not just temperature. Further information can be found on the Internet at http://www.local.dtlr.gov.uk/finance/0304/grant.htm.
The proposed indicator was created using data from a number of weather stations that were chosen to represent the distribution of roads within the authorities' areas. Data from the stations were averaged to obtain a figure to represent the average annual number of days where gritting would have been predicted. This figure was used for the "predicted gritting days" indicator. A table showing the weather stations used for highways authorities in Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside and West Yorkshire has been placed in the House of Lords Library. A table showing weather stations used for all authorities in
Lord Rooker: A person who has been granted exceptional leave will be eligible to apply for further exceptional leave if they have not yet completed four years on this status or to apply for indefinite leave at the four-year point. While many applications for indefinite leave are successful, some will be refused, and while the individual will have a right of appeal against this decision, they will be expected to leave the country if their appeal is unsuccessful.
Persons granted exceptional leave to remain in the UK are eligible for housing benefit and eligible for local authority housing, and therefore have the means to secure a tenancy of accommodation in either the social or private rented sectors. Where such a tenancy is held, the rights of the tenant would not end as a consequence of the expiry of their leave to enter.
Persons who require leave to enter or remain in the UK and who do not have it are not eligible for local authority housing or assistance under the homelessness legislation but in certain circumstances may currently be eligible for local authority assistance under social services legislation. From 8 January 2003, under provisions in the Nationality Immigration and Asylum Act 2002, persons who require leave to enter or remain in the UK and who do not have it will not be eligible for local authority assistance other than assistance to enable them to leave the UK or, in certain circumstances, the provision of temporary accommodation to protect the welfare of a dependent child.
Participation by the United Kingdom in the single currency would entail the transfer of legal responsibility for monetary policy to the European Central Bank, as I pointed out in my response of 1 July 2002 (Official Report, col. WA 7), and would thus affect, inter alia, the powers of the Bank of England under the Bank of England Acts 1946 and 1998. Responsibility for the prudential supervision of banks and other financial instititions, within the framework established by the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, pursuant where appropriate to the relevant sectoral EC measures, would remain with the Financial Services Authority.
Whether they will consider extending Gift Aid to include works of art as recommended in part 1:56 of the 48th report of the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art.[HL914]
What measures they are taking to ensure that the changes to the future delivery of legal services proposed in their consultation paper In the public interest? do not reduce the current level of consumer protection but maintain and improve access to justice.[HL763]
The Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): The aim of the paper was to collect views and evidence to enable the Government to address the issues raised. The next step is to settle policy on those issues. In doing so, the Government will wish to gauge the impact of policy options on the market in legal services, consumers and the wider public interest.
The Government are committed to ensuring that the professions are properly subject to competition. In most cases, open and competitive markets are the best way to ensure that consumers get the best possible service, but the public interest in protecting consumers
The Equal Opportunities Commission, the Commission for Racial Equality and the Disability Rights Commission all exercise independent judgment in the discharge of their functions, including their enforcement powers. The Government consider that this independence is a fundamental feature of the way in which the commissions work.
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The Equal Opportunities Commission, the Commission for Racial Equality and the Disability Rights Commission all exercise independent judgment in the discharge of all their functions within the context of their statutory obligations and status as non-departmental public bodies. The Government consider that this independence is a fundamental feature of the way in which the commissions work.
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