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Licensing: Live Music

Lord Clement-Jones asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: There was no delay. The DCMS has been developing options for consultation to exempt low impact (de minimis) licensing activities from the scope of the 2003 Act. The Government do not undertake amendments to primary legislation lightly, particularly in the case of legislation which was only brought fully into force within the past three years. As part of that work, we are considering exemptions for small and incidental live music events, taking into account the recommendations made by the Live Music Forum. Officials have had discussions with stakeholders, including the Musicians' Union, which aim to develop exemptions that can benefit live music without jeopardising the licensing objectives. We hope to publish a consultation document in the autumn, and subject to the outcome, to have the exemptions in place by spring 2009.

Modernising Scientific Careers

Earl Howe asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The proposals contained in the Modernising Scientific Careers leaflet were informed by discussions with stakeholders and had broad support. The proposals have been modified following the leaflet's publication and further feedback. We have ongoing discussions with a wide range of stakeholders including employers, education commissioners and higher education institutes. We are

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holding listening events in each strategic health authority for practitioners, as well as an open invitation to engage, in order to further refine the proposals. We expect to publish a next steps document later this year.

Northern Ireland Office

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: The percentage change for staff employed within the Northern Ireland Office over the last year is -0.14 per cent.

Prisoners: Remand

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: At 1 October, 39.7 per cent of prisoners held in prison in Northern Ireland were on remand.

Public Prosecution Service

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Attorney-General (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): The Public Prosecution Service keeps records of the times taken for cases to pass through various key stages in the prosecution process.

In order to reduce avoidable delay in the criminal justice system in Northern Ireland, Ministers commissioned the Criminal Justice Board to develop performance standards to be achieved by 31 March 2011. These were announced in June 2007 and comprise three of the five KPI targets contained in the Government's Justice for All public service agreement. These standards commenced with effect from 1 April 2008 and progress will be closely monitored over the course of the next three financial years by the multiagency delay action team (DAT) on behalf of the Criminal Justice Board and Ministers. These standards augment the DAT's existing programme of work: a multifaceted joint strategy designed to deliver justice more effectively and efficiently which is aimed at speeding and streamlining communications and transactions between police and prosecution and the courts, with the overall aim to try to remove avoidable and unnecessary delay in criminal case processing in Northern Ireland. While we have only relatively recently embarked on the formal three-year

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process towards the achievement of these performance standards, early indications on progress thus far are positive.

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: This is an operational matter for the Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland. I have asked him to reply to the noble Lord, and will arrange for a copy of the letter to be placed in the Official Report and the Library of the House.

Railways: Rolling Stock

Lord Bradshaw asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Lord Adonis): The initial presentation from National Express East Anglia to the Department for Transport on the subject of the provision of additional rolling stock took place in December 2007.

The timing of any deed of amendment to the franchise agreement is uncertain as it will depend on the progress of the commercial negotiations between the parties.

Lord Bradshaw asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Adonis: The initial presentation from TransPennine Express to the Department for Transport on the subject of the provision of additional rolling stock took place in January 2007.

The timing of any deed of amendment to the franchise agreement is uncertain as it will depend on the progress of the commercial negotiations between the parties.

Religious Tribunals

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

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): The awards of religious tribunals may be enforceable through the courts by virtue of the Arbitration Act 1996. This provides that where both parties agree to arbitration, the decision of the tribunal that

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they appoint will be enforceable by the civil courts if the requirements of the Arbitration Act are satisfied. If any decisions by these tribunals were illegal or contrary to public policy, they would not be enforceable.

St Andrews Agreement

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: Significant progress has been made on the implementation of the St Andrews agreement. Discussions between the Northern Ireland parties on those elements of the agreement which

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relate to the devolution of policing and justice continue. It is for the parties to agree how and when these powers will devolve. There are also important issues relating to areas already devolved which the Executive need to resolve. The Government regret that the Executive have not met since June. The Government urge the parties to agree a way forward which enables the Executive to resume regular meetings and enables devolution to be completed as soon as possible. The Government believe that there is no single issue that the parties cannot resolve through constructive dialogue, if they are willing to do so, and welcome recent statements by the First and Deputy First Ministers committing them to such dialogue. The Secretary of State assesses progress through his contacts and meetings with the party leaders and with the First and Deputy First Ministers. The Government remain committed to working with the parties to ensure the successful implementation of the St Andrews agreement.


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