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Ministers' Interests: Disclosure

Baroness Wilcox asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Ministerial Code requires Ministers, on appointment to each new office, to provide their Permanent Secretary with a full list of all interests which might be thought to give rise to a conflict. The list should cover not only the Minister's personal interests but those of a spouse or partner, of children who are minors, of trusts of which the Minister or a spouse or partner is a trustee or beneficiary, or of closely associated persons.

Details of what interests ought to be included in such a declaration are set out in paragraph 115 of the Ministerial Code.

Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission: Pay Scheme

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Commissioners and staff of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission are not on a performance-related pay scheme. Non-departmental public bodies can agree their pay awards with sponsoring departments, so long as there is ministerial agreement and any pay increase is within the rate of inflation.

It is for other public bodies to decide for themselves whether they want to use the performance-related pay scheme.

Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission: Bill of Rights

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Lord Williams of Mostyn: Under the terms of the Belfast Agreement the Human Rights Commission was tasked with advising on the "scope for defining, in Westminster legislation, rights supplementary to those in the European Convention on Human Rights, to reflect the particular circumstances of Northern Ireland, drawing as appropriate on international instruments and experience." The publication of the consultation document Making a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland by the commission has provided a focus for the important and necessary debate that will help determine what is in that advice.

Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission: Funding of Individual Applicants

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission intends to reduce the funding of individual applicants contrary to the duty in Sections 69 (5) and 70 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998. [HL4126]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: This is a matter for the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission. The Chief Commissioner had been asked to write to the noble Lord. A copy of his letter will be placed in the Library.

Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission: Gender Balance of Employees

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the gender balance of the employees of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission; and whether this balance is consistent with domestic and European equality legislation. [HL4127]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: This is a matter for the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission. The Chief Commissioner has been asked to write to the noble Lord. A copy of his letter will be placed in the Library.

Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission: Attendance Record of Members

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will publish the attendance record of members of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission since the commission's inception.[HL4245]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: This is a matter for the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission. The Chief Commissioner has been asked to write to the noble Lord. A copy of his letter will be placed in the Library.

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Strangford Lough: Residential Development

Lord Kilclooney asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether it is possible to obtain planning approval for any residential developments along the coastline of Strangford Lough.[HL4044]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Any proposal for residential development along the coastline of Strangford Lough, as with all planning applications in Northern Ireland, will be determined on its individual planning merits, having regard to the regional development strategy for Northern Ireland, to the local development plan so far as it is relevant to the application, and to any other material considerations such as planning policy statements or published guidance documents.

Royal Prerogative

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

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Privy Seal on 11 June (WA 40) whether they will provide examples of public functions performed by Ministers of the Crown acting under the Royal Prerogative within a broad definition of the prerogative.[HL4178]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: A broad definition of the Royal Prerogative would be all the non-statutory powers of the Crown, not only those powers which are unique to the Crown. Public functions performed by Ministers of the Crown acting under the Royal Prerogative in this wider sense might include the exercise of powers to enter into contracts or to make ex gratia payments.

Northern Ireland: Single Equality Bill

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

    Whether work is progressing on a single Equality Bill for Northern Ireland.[HL4181]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: A single Equality Bill for Northern Ireland was a commitment of the devolved administration. Work to develop proposals for a Bill is continuing.

Northern Ireland Parades Commission: Cost

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How much to date the Northern Ireland Parades Commission has cost.[HL4200]

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Lord Williams of Mostyn: The total cost to the end of June 2003 of the Northern Ireland Parades Commission since its inception (March 1997) is £6,512,203.

List of Ministerial Responsibilities

Lord Hoyle asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they will publish the List of Ministerial Responsibilities 2003.[HL4232]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Minister for the Cabinet Office, Mr Douglas Alexander, announced the publication of the List of Ministerial Responsibilities on 17 July 2003. For the first time ever it has been published in both paper and electronic form. Copies have been placed in the Libraries of the House.

For the electronic version, the website can be accessed at http://www.knowledgenetwork.gov.uk/elmr/minister.nsf

Astoria Club Shooting

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will give details of prosecutions brought following the injuries of two men by gunshot at the Astoria Club, Charing Cross Road on 31 October 2001. [HL3989]

The Attorney-General (Lord Goldsmith): The shooting at the Astoria Club, Charing Cross Road took place on 1 November 2001, as a result of which two men suffered gunshot wounds. The incident was investigated by officers of the Metropolitan Police from Operation Trident. Unfortunately, due to a lack of co-operation from the victims and witnesses and a lack of any direct evidence, no suspects have been identified.

Montserrat

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What recent developments there have been following the volcanic eruption in Montserrat; and what further action has been or is being taken. [HL4055]

The Secretary of State for International Development (Baroness Amos): Serious volcanic ashing has affected much of the island, causing damage to infrastructure and harm to crops and the island ecosystem. We have set aside up to £1.5 million for immediate emergency purposes, including a major ash clearance operation that is now being co-ordinated by the Government of Montserrat. Since Saturday 19 July parts of the exclusion zone around the fringes of the Belham Valley have been opened during the daylight hours (6.00 am to 6.00 pm) for those owning property in those areas.

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We will continue to keep the situation under close review.

Malaria

Lord Chan asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What they are doing to improve the control of malaria and the treatment of infected children in Africa.[HL4192]

Baroness Amos: DfID remains strongly committed to meeting the Millennium Development Goal to halt and begin to reverse the incidence of malaria by 2015, recognising the importance of malaria, not just in terms of disease burden, but also the potential it has to undermine economic growth and human development.

Since 1998, DfID has provided in excess of £110 million to support malaria control activities globally and at country-level. This includes support to Roll Back Malaria, an international partnership to reduce competition and duplication of effort, develop technical consensus, increase political commitment and raise the profile of malaria.

This commitment to combating malaria has been recently reaffirmed by DfID's pledge to increase its commitment to the Global Fund to Fight Aids, TB and Malaria to 280 million US dollars. Successful implementation of existing Global Fund proposals will result in the annual number of treatments for resistant malaria in Africa increasing from 15,000 to 4 million and result in the purchase of 7.5 million insecticide-treated nets (ITN) over the next two years. These nets offer substantial protection against malaria. The proper use of insecticide-treated nets, combined with prompt treatment for malaria at community level, can reduce malaria transmission by as much as 60 per cent and the overall young child death rate by at least one-fifth.

DfID also provides support to the Medical Research Council (MRC); to the Malaria Consortium Resource Centre; and to initiatives to help find new low-cost malaria treatments. Malaria control activities at country-level are supported through DfID bilateral country programmes.

DfID is committed to supporting national governments and partners in order to ensure that effective drugs and commodities are accessible to the poor. We have committed over £1.5 billion, since 1997, to strengthen health systems to deliver vital drugs and health care treatment.


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