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Central and South America: Street Children

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Amos: There is no internationally accepted estimate of the number of street children in Central and South America as there is neither an agreed definition nor evidence to support any figures that are quoted. Street children form a proportion of the 135 million people that live in poverty in Latin America (on less than 2 dollars per day). In Latin America, we know that some 2 million children are out of school at primary level, and 20 million at secondary level (UNESCO). Some of these will be street children.

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Amos: The Government have been providing support through our contribution to reducing poverty generally and through assistance to organisations working with street children, either directly or through our contribution to the work of the European Commission. Full details of direct assistance will be placed in the Library shortly.

There are no current plans to provide additional support directly to street children projects next year from DfID's Latin American programme.

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Amos: DfID will be focusing its reduced bilateral programme on working more closely with multilateral donors to enhance their effectiveness in tackling the poverty that leads to children living in the streets. Finance for initiatives to help street children directly will continue to be available from DfID's central funding for British NGOs.

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"Middle Income" Countries

Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is their definition of "middle-income countries"; and which countries in Central and South America and the Caribbean fall within that definition.[HL5565]

Baroness Amos: The definition is based on Gross National Income (GNI) per capita as calculated by the World Bank. The income ranges are revised annually. For the purposes of DfID expenditure for the years 2003–04 to 2005–06 middle-income countries will be those with a GNI per capita in 2001 of more than 745 dollars but less than 9,206 dollars. The following Latin American and Caribbean countries fall within this definition: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay and Venezuela.

House of Lords: Representation of Political Parties

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

    Whether they will ensure that the political appointments to membership of the House of Lords reflect the proportion of votes cast for the main political parties at the previous general election; and, if not, what criteria are to be used in recommending such political appointments to the Sovereign.[HL5567]

Baroness Amos: The Government have proposed that representation of the political parties in the House of Lords should have regard to the outcome of the previous general election. The Government are presently consulting on whether this should relate only to votes cast or whether some regard should also be given to the number of seats won by each party. The period for consultation closes on 12 December. The Government will, of course, welcome representations from members of both Houses.

Commission for Equality and Human Rights

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

    Whether the proposed Commission for Equality and Human Rights will be empowered to promote and secure human rights beyond those which are directly related to equality. [HL5426]

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs (Lord Filkin): The Commission for Equality and Human Rights will be empowered to promote human rights generally, and in relation to equality issues.

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

    Whether the proposed Commission for Equality and Human Rights will be empowered to promote and secure the rights and freedoms protected not only by the European Convention on Human Rights and the Human Rights Act 1998 but also by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the other treaties by which the United Kingdom is bound. [HL5427]

Lord Filkin: In my noble and learned Friend the Secretary of State and Lord Chancellor's Answer of 30 October (Official Report WA 54) to the Question from the noble Lord, Lord Haskel, he referred to a task force which will consider a wide range of matters that Government will reflect on in drawing up the White Paper. The scope for the proposed commission to take account of the UK's other international human rights treaty obligations is one such matter.

Supreme Court

Earl Attlee asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is their estimate of (a) the cost of establishing the proposed Supreme Court; and (b) the court's annual running costs.[HL5440]

Lord Filkin: Until the building to house the Supreme Court has been identified it is not possible to answer either part of the question. The Government hope to make a decision on the location of the Supreme Court in spring 2004.

Earl Attlee asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is their estimate of the number and cost of staff required to run the proposed Supreme Court efficiently.[HL5441]

Lord Filkin: Officials from my department have had a preliminary discussion with the Lords of Appeal in Ordinary about the number of staff required to support the court. No decision has been made on numbers as this may be influenced by the choice of building.

Earl Attlee asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many square feet of accommodation are envisaged for the proposed Supreme Court.[HL5442]

Lord Filkin: The draft statement of requirements for the building, which has been discussed with the Lords

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of Appeal in Ordinary, measures approximately 3,000 square metres (32,292 square feet).

Rent Rebates

Lord Campbell-Savours asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the total cost of rent rebates payable by local authorities to tenants in each local authority in the year 2002–03.[HL5572]

The Minister of State, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (Lord Rooker): Rent rebates totalling £4.1 billion were granted by local authorities in England in 2002–03 to tenants of dwellings in the Housing Revenue Accounts. A breakdown by local authority will be available in the Libraries of the House.

Nutrition

Lord Clement-Jones asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they plan to review policy on nutrition to establish the level of nutrient intake which achieves optimum health rather than simply avoiding diseases of nutritional deficiency.[HL5156]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Warner): Dietary reference values for nutrients form the basis of nutrient recommendations on dietary intakes and are used for assessing the adequacy of diets. These levels were set taking into account a variety of factors including levels of nutrients in the diet associated with the absence of nutritional disease. The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition is currently considering the need for a scientific review of dietary reference values in the context of its deliberations on the committee's forward work programme.

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What action is being taken by the Food Standards Agency to review its assessment of the role of high carbohydrate intakes in relation to obesity; and whether that action includes a referral of the issue to the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition.[HL5546]

Lord Warner: Current government advice on carbohydrate intake is based on recommendations from the Committee on Medical Aspects of Food Policy. This advice was supported by the recent Report of a Joint Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations/World Health Organisation Expert Consultation on Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases (2003).

The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition is currently considering the need for a scientific review of a number of issues which relate to obesity, as part of

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its deliberations on the committee's forward work programme.


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