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Baroness Hollis of Heigham: I understand that the noble Lord is accepting that Clause 153 should stand part, that we will be coming on to the amendments to Schedule 7, and that we will begin the next Committee sitting with opposition Amendment No. 216 onwards. Is that the noble Lord's intent, and that we will not have a substantive debate on the clause?
Lord Higgins: That seems the best way of proceeding. Amendment No. 216 and so forth are extremely important. If we were able to vote, that might well be involved. I cannot give a commitment,
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but many of the seemingly great number of amendments on page 2 of the selection list are government amendments. Perhaps we can therefore make reasonable progress if we proceed as the noble Baroness has suggested.
The Committee adjourned at nineteen minutes past seven o'clock.
The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Amos): My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development (Mr Gareth Thomas) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.
Following detailed engineering assessment and design work over the past 12 months or so, I have set aside a total of £1.9 million from DfID funds to repair and refurbish the Hill of Difficulty Road and the jetty/slipway in Pitcairn Island. Preparations are now in hand, with a view to expected commencement of the work in November of this year. In addition to this assistance, we will continue to provide medical and social welfare support for the island community.
Last week I published a strategy paper, Reducing Maternal Deaths, setting out the evidence on what is needed to reduce maternal deaths in developing countries. The paper complements our recent position paper on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, and DfID's target strategy papers on Better Health for Poor People and Realising Human Rights for Poor People.
There is an urgent need to make faster progress towards the fifth Millennium Development Goal of improving maternal health. Every year worldwide, more than 529,000 women die from complications in pregnancy and childbirth, all but 2,500 of them in developing countries. The UK is firmly committed to the target of reducing the maternal mortality ratio (the number of deaths per 100,000 live births) by three-quarters by 2015, from a 1990 baseline. The health of the mother is inextricably linked to the health of her newborn child.
The paper sets out four priorities for DfID: increasing awareness and commitment to action, supporting partner countries to improve access to services, addressing wider barriers to maternal health, especially improving the status and rights of women, and generating and using new knowledge.
DfID is already supporting work in all these areas but will increase those efforts and encourage partners to do likewise. The strategy includes a commitment to increase year-on-year investment in maternal health.
The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): The resolution of the House of 20 July 1994 provided for the limits of the subsistence and office cost allowances to be uprated annually on 1 August in line with the increase in the retail prices index over the previous 12 months to July.
Accordingly, the limits within which Lords may be reimbursed expenses incurred were increased with effect from 1 August 2004. The new limits are now as follows (the limits previously applicable are shown in brackets):
|Overnight subsistence||£132 (£128)|
|Day subsistence||£66 (£64)|
|Office costs||£55 (£53.50)|
|Office costs for non-sitting periods||£2,200 per year(£2,140 per year)|
The Attorney-General (Lord Goldsmith): As I indicated in my Written Statement to the House on 14 June (Official Report: cols. WS 2224) this case, which involves an alleged unlawful killing by shooting of an Iraqi citizen during the course of an arrest, was brought to my attention after charges were dismissed by the soldier's commanding officer. This meant the case could not be tried by court martial. I referred it to the CPS who asked the Metropolitan Police for assistance in collecting further evidence.
I can confirm that today the Metropolitan Police, on the advice of the CPS, charged Trooper Williams with the murder of Hassan Said on 3 August 2003 in Ad Dayr Iraq. Trooper Williams has been kept in custody to appear at Bow Street magistrates' court this afternoon.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): My honourable friend the Minister for Europe (Mr Denis MacShane) answered PQs 180074 and 180090 on 28 June (Official Report, Commons, cols. 129 W and 131 W respectively). Both PQs related to the Middle East peace process. The Questions and Answers given were as follows:
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate his department has made of the number of Israeli civilians killed since the beginning of the intifada in September 2000; and how many were under the age of 18.
Mr. MacShane: We estimate that 944 Israeli civilians have been killed since the beginning of the intifada in September 2000. This estimate is based on a variety of sources, including the UN, NGOs and the media. We do not hold figures for those killed under the age of 18 years.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate his department has made of the number of Palestinian civilians killed since September 2000; and how many were under 18.
Mr. MacShane: We estimate that 3,242 Palestinian civilians have been killed since the beginning of the intifada in September 2000. This estimate is based on a variety of sources, including the UN, NGOs and the media. We do not hold figures for those killed under the age of 18 years.
Since answering PQs 180074 and 180090 however, it has been brought to our attention by the British Embassy in Tel Aviv that the figures provided in these answers on 28 June were inaccurate. The figures given were for total deaths on each side rather than civilian deaths, so these figures would also include Israeli Defence Force soldiers, militants and suicide bombers as well as civilians.
I apologise for this error and would like to clarify that the figures initially given in the Answer of 28 June were for the total numbers of Israeli and Palestinian deaths rather than just civilian deaths. Figures for civilian deaths are not held centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.
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