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British Citizenship: Hong Kong and India

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): On 20 December, the Indian Minister of Home Affairs answered questions in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Indian central Parliament, concerning the position under Indian law of Indian minors who acquire British nationality. However, the answer directly contradicts previous statements made or authorised by the Indian Government, who hitherto have informed our
 
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consideration of applications for British citizenship under the 1997 Act, and failed to acknowledge the continuing dialogue between the British and Indian governments on this issue.

In the circumstances, it would be prudent to await a formal reply to our Note Verbale dated 20 April 2005 before implementing any changes here. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is pursuing this vigorously and, in view of the fact that the Indian Government have now made a statement in the Lok Sabha, we are hopeful that we will receive a response soon.

Channel Tunnel: Accidents

Lord Fearn asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: Four train accidents in the Channel Tunnel have been reported to the Health and Safety Executive under the Railways (Notice of Accidents) Order 1986 and the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences (RIDDOR) Regulations 1995 since the tunnel's opening in 1994. All these involved fire or smoke emissions on trains or on vehicles on-board shuttles, and include the serious fire on-board an HGV shuttle train on 18 November 1996.

Children and Young People: Northern Ireland

Lord Maginnis of Drumglass asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office (Lord Rooker): The final strategy will be launched in March 2006. A revised action plan which will set out what will be done across government for children and young people over the next three years, will be published in the first quarter of the 2006–07 financial year. The action plan will be reviewed and updated annually.

Department for Transport and BAA

Lord Hanningfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Lord Davies of Oldham: The Highways Agency has signed one scheme, under Section 278 of the Highways Act*, with BAA plc and has two prospective agreements to be signed early in 2006. They are:

* This provides for agreement to be made between a highway authority and the private sector for the latter to fund highway improvements from which they could derive special benefit.

Department for Transport: Air Transport White Paper

Lord Hanningfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: Minutes of all air transport White Paper external advisory group meetings are published on the Department for Transport's website at www.dft.gov.uk, and can be found by entering the term "external advisory group" into the website's search facility.

Department for Transport: Aviation Directorate

Lord Hanningfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: Since the department's formation in May 2002, the Aviation Directorate has spent £6.3 million on external (non-research) consultants. Yearly expenditure is as follows.
Year£ million
2002–031.3
2003–043.8
2004–050.9
2005–06 (April–December)0.3

Driving Age: Four-wheeled Motorised Vehicles

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: There are currently no plans to restrict or ban those under driving age from buying four-wheeled motorised vehicles. Existing law requires the users of powered vehicles on the public road to be appropriately licensed. Licensing involves age requirements.

Education: Northern Ireland Post-primary Provision

Lord Maginnis of Drumglass asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office (Lord Rooker): The remit of the Post-Primary Review Working Group required it to take account of the responses to the multi-stranded consultation on the Burns recommendations, including the diversity of views on academic selection. The advice from the group (the Costello report) was not published for consultation and responses were not therefore sought on its content.

Lord Maginnis of Drumglass asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: The Government do not define parents of schoolchildren as a single-interest group. Parents of schoolchildren who have written to the department, or who have responded to consultations on new post-primary arrangements, have expressed a range of views about different issues relating to the new post-primary arrangements. In developing new post-primary arrangements, the Government considered the range of views expressed by parents and other stakeholders.

Lord Maginnis of Drumglass asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Lord Rooker: Proposals for new arrangements for post-primary education will be developed locally by schools and school managing authorities working together, taking account of local needs and circumstances. Until proposals are developed, it is not possible to determine what changes will be involved in each locality and any associated costs.

Schools have been encouraged to carry out an audit of their existing provision against the requirements of the entitlement framework and to consider future provision in the context of what is available within the local area.

An allocation of £24.7 million has been made for the implementation of the new arrangements over the period 2005–06 to 2007–08, including work on developing the pupil profile, piloting arrangements for co-operation and collaboration among schools and between schools and the further education sector, and piloting the concept of specialist schools.

The pilots and any early proposals emerging will assist the Department of Education to estimate the costs beyond March 2008 and will be the subject of further consideration during the next spending review.


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