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Ulster Scots Language and Culture: Support

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Williams of Mostyn: There are no plans specifically to form connections with Scotland to

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support the Ulster Scots community but the board is examining ways to further deepen the links with education providers in other jurisdictions including Scotland.

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What plans the Northern Ireland Department of Education has to facilitate the promotion of Ulster-Scots language, culture and identity.[HL3672]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Scope already exists within the statutory curriculum for schools to introduce aspects of Ulster-Scots language, literature and culture as part of the Cultural Heritage and Education for Mutual Understanding cross-curricular themes, and resource material is available from the Ulster-Scots Heritage Council.

Legal Services Ombudsman: Annual Report 2002–03

Lord Clarke of Hampstead asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When the annual report for 2002–03 of the Legal Services Ombudsman will be published. [HL3857]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs (Lord Filkin): The Legal Services Ombudsman has today published the 12th annual report, and copies have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Social Housing: Evictions

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What were the numbers of evictions from social housing in each of the past three years.[HL3605]

The Minister of State, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (Lord Rooker): At the moment, centrally collected statistics give only the volume of possession orders made and suspended. In the last three year this was:

Possession actions by social landords Actions orders made entered and suspended

EnteredSuspended
2000147,51996,284
2001150,563100,643
2002151,16298,583

A possession order, suspended possession order and even a warrant for eviction may not be acted upon so this does not represent the actual number of evictions. Information on the actual number of evictions is not collected centrally, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.


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Regional Assemblies: Referendums

Lord Greaves asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether it is the case, as stated in the Boundary Committee for England news release of 17 June, that "If electors vote for a regional assembly next year, new unitary authorities will replace the existing two levels of local government in Cheshire, Cumbria and Lancashire", or whether the Secretary of State will still be able to decide not to go ahead with a regional assembly if the vote is affected by factors such as low turn-out, or different parts of the region voting clearly in different ways.[HL3794]

Lord Rooker: The Government intend that changes to local government would only be implemented if an elected assembly is established.

The referendums on whether to establish an assembly will be advisory, as were the referendums in Scotland, Wales and London. Our expectation is that we will establish an assembly where there is a "yes" vote in a referendum. But we will assess the results of each referendum before deciding to do so.

Sudan: Embargo on Sales of Dual-use Equipment

Baroness Cox asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why the deployment of Alenia Marconi radar-tracking equipment to Sudan was allowed in view of the embargo on the sale of dual-use equipment to Sudan until peace has been brokered.[HL3562]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): The air traffic control system had no military or dual-use rating and did not require an export licence. In any event, the contract has not yet gone ahead.

Race Relations Act 1976 (Amendment) Regulations 2003

Lord Ouseley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What representations were made by the Commission for Racial Equality about the deficiencies in the Race Relations Act 1976 (Amendment) Regulations 2003; and what were the responses thereto.[HL3433]

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): The Commission for Racial Equality made a written submission in response to the Government's consultation on draft regulations to implement the EC Article 13 Race Directive and elements of the EC Article 13 Employment Directive. The Commission's submission can be viewed on its website at www.cre.gov.uk. The Commission raised a large number of issues relating to the Government's proposals for implementing the directives—including the Government's use of secondary legislation instead of primary to implement the directive. The

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Government have already made known their reasons for the use of primary legislation. Home Office officials also met Commission officials during the consultation period.

Lord Ouseley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What were the issues arising from the extensive public consultations on the Race Relations Act 1976 (Amendment) Regulations 2003; and what were the reasons for rejecting any suggestions made by the public and organisations in responses thereto. [HL3434]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The Government received 630 responses to their consultation on draft regulations to implement the EC Article 13 Race Directive and elements of the EC Article 13 Employment Directive. Although not all of these responses raised issues in respect of the draft race regulations, a significant number did. The issues raised covered the full range of amendments to the Race Relations Act 1976 encompassed by the regulations, as well as questions about the Government's implementation policy generally.

The aim of the consultation exercise was to elicit constructive views on the draft regulations in order to help to ensure that they properly implement the directives. Changes were made to three specific race issues—seamen recruited abroad, charities and small dwellings—as a result of suggestions made during the consultation process. These changes were reflected in the draft regulations. Where suggestions were rejected, they were rejected on the basis that they were inappropriate, that they did not add to the existing implementation strategy, or that they went back over issues where the Government had reached a decision.

Bail: Electronic Monitoring

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they consider that electronic tagging could help to reduce the numbers of those remanded in custody pending trial. [HL3587]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Electronic monitoring on bail is currently available for defendants aged between 12 and 16 years. It is also available for 17 year-olds in the 10 street crime areas. We plan to roll it out for all 17 year-olds across the country in early 2004.

Electronic monitoring on bail for adults has been identified as a potential way of easing pressure on the prison population as well as reducing absconding on bail. We are considering whether to conduct a feasibility study on how effective this would be, together with the cost implications.

War Crimes Investigations: NHS Records

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have authorised police inquiries into Ukrainian former members of the German SS

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    who may be in Britain; and whether, and on what grounds, the National Health Service has any right or duty to release medical records in respect of such persons without consent. [HL3630]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The Metropolitan Police have a remit to investigate any allegation of war crimes. The police are conducting an ongoing investigation into the activities of the 14th Waffen S.S. (Galicia) Division. The Government are fully committed to bringing war criminals to justice, and fully co-operate with and support the Metropolitan Police.

If medical information identifies, or may identify, an individual, the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998 must be met. The Act outlines information that must not be shared or disclosed without the patient's consent, unless there is robust public interest justification or a statutory basis to do so, including a court order. The police are not using National Health Service records of alleged members of the 14th Waffen SS as part of their investigation.

House of Lords: Monitoring of Members' Communications

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Baroness Scotland of Asthal on 25 June (WA 24) concerning the monitoring of Members' communications, what is the "Wilson Doctrine"; and whether it covers Members of the House of Lords.[HL3669]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: I have nothing further to add to the answers given by my right honourable friend the Prime Minister in another place on 7 May 2003 (Official Report, col. 734W) and 30 April 2003 (Official Report, col. 292W) in response to Questions by the honourable Member for Thurrock and 19 December 2001 (Official Report, col. 367W) in response to a Question by the honourable Member for Lewes.


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