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The ODA defines majority ownership as a business with at least 51 per cent ownership by a member of one of these groups. This is in line with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills definition.

There are also thousands of business opportunities in the supply chains, and while the ODA does not collect ownership details on this, it expects a number of contracts to be awarded to female, disabled and BAME-owned businesses.

Palace of Westminster: Cyclists

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The enforcement of cycling offences including cycling on footpaths and pavements in and round Westminster is an operational matter for the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service. The commissioner is best placed to decide on enforcement in the light of seriousness, conflicting demands on police time and resources, and local circumstances.

As with other offending, we would encourage individuals to inform the police of specific problems and of particularly dangerous behaviour so they can take appropriate action.



2 Nov 2009 : Column WA23

Pensions

Questions

Asked by Baroness Hollis of Heigham

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): The information requested is given in the table below:

Table showing the estimated number and proportion of men and women pensioners entitled to a full basic state pension in years 2020, 2030, 2040 and 2050
2020203020402050

Men with entitlement to a full basic state pension

Number

5,200,000

6,100,000

6,700,000

6,700,000

Percentage

Over 90%

Around 95%

Around 95%

Around 95%

Women with entitlement to a full basic state pension

Number

4,300,000

6,500,000

7,800,000

8,000,000

Percentage

Around two-thirds

Around 85%

Over 90%

Around 95%

Asked by Lord Harris of Haringey

The Minister for International Defence and Security (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): The Service Personnel and Veterans Agency administers the war pensions scheme. The external legal costs incurred by it in contesting war pension claims in each of the past five years are as follows:



2 Nov 2009 : Column WA24

2004-052005-062006-072007-082008-09Total

Admin

382,532

367,025

335,308

351,445

385,697

1,822,007

Legal

22,752

48,244

155,746

85,479

98,204

410,425

Total

405,284

415,269

491,054

436,924

483,901

2,232,432

Racism and Homophobia

Question

Asked by Lord Ouseley

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): Education and sport have a very important role to play in helping to tackle racial and homophobic hate propaganda. The Government's view is that there is no place for racism or homophobia in any aspect of our society, whether in the education system, the sporting world or the wider society.

Schools, sports partnerships, sports clubs and national governing bodies of sport are supported by the Youth Sport Trust and Sport England to help ensure that their programmes and provision are totally inclusive and free from all bias and prejudice in this respect.

For example, the terms and conditions for county sports partnerships require that they operate fair procedures in relation to any individuals and that they should not exclude anyone from participation on the grounds of race, religion, colour, sex (except where the programme relates to participants of one gender only, for example, women's football), occupation, disability or political persuasion.

The sports plans of national governing bodies (NGBs) of sport are scrutinised by Sport England's equality officers to ensure that there is appropriate reference and emphasis on equality. For example, NGBs are required to include an equality/inclusion statement in their constitution, by-laws or official handbook and must ensure equal access to participation.

More specifically, "Let's Kick Racism out of Football" and "Show Racism the Red Card" are two community programmes run by the Football Association and the Football Foundation which use the powerful image of football, clubs and players to tackle racism head on and to present an anti-racist message to young people and others.

In partnership with the Youth Sport Trust and Sport England, the Government have introduced two athlete mentor programmes. The Respect Athlete Mentor Programme (RAMP) and the Changing Lives Scheme each uses elite sports men and women as role models to engage with young people from disaffected backgrounds and to provide a positive influence. Athletes are selected from a wide range of contrasting backgrounds and demonstrate how they have had to overcome significant challenges such as bullying, dyslexia, exclusion or disability on their way to sporting success.



2 Nov 2009 : Column WA25

The British Council's International Inspirations programme is dedicated to improving cultural relations with other countries and is creating lasting opportunities for children and young people of all abilities in schools and communities across the world, particularly in developing countries. The programme encourages an international dimension in school development planning to raise whole school standards and achievement and explores issues such as cultural diversity, inclusion, religion, ethics, global communication and the Olympic and Paralympic values.

The national strategy for PE and sport was introduced in 2003 and has increased the percentage of 5 to 16 year-olds taking part in at least two hours' high-quality PE and sport each week from 62 per cent in 2003-04 to 90 per cent in 2007-08. We are building on this success and now want all 5 to 16 year-olds to have access to five hours of PE and sport per week whatever their ability or circumstances, with three hours for 16 to 19 year-olds. In delivering on our targets, the Government will continue to work to promote inclusion throughout the education and sporting worlds and will seek to ensure that we do not become complacent in this respect.

Railways: Rolling Stock

Question

Asked by Lord Bradshaw

The Secretary of State for Transport (Lord Adonis): Community rail partnerships have contributed to the development of local and rural rail. In the medium term, diesel trains will be released to community rail lines from lines which are electrified. In the mean time, shorter term solutions may be needed and we will work with train operators to minimise pressures.

Revenue and Customs: Closures

Question

Asked by Lord Taylor of Holbeach

The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): In December 2008 HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) announced its decision to vacate its office in Louth. The actual vacation date for the office is still to be set. A decision on the long-term location of the attached inquiry centre is also yet to be made but, as previously committed to, it will remain at or nearby its current location.



2 Nov 2009 : Column WA26

Announcements in December 2008 also confirmed that HMRC's Vancouver House office in Kings Lynn, where the inquiry centre is located, would be retained.

Sri Lanka

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): In the past few weeks there has been some progress on the return of internally displaced persons (IDPs); unconfirmed UN figures as of 26 October 2009 are that 32,000 people to date have been returned to their home areas, mainly to Jaffna, and 228,000 people remain in closed camps, mainly in Vavuniya. We are advocating at all levels with the Government of Sri Lanka freedom of movement for IDPs so that they can return to their areas of origin and be provided support when they return home. We are also encouraging the Government of Sri Lanka to co-operate constructively with the UN and other international humanitarian agencies. The monsoon season underlines the importance of progress on returns.

The European Commission published its report into its investigation of Sri Lanka's compliance with GSP + conventions on 19 October 2009. The report raises serious concerns about the human rights situation in Sri Lanka, which we share. The report is a precursor to the Commission's recommendation to EU member states on whether Sri Lanka should continue to benefit from the GSP+ trade preference scheme. We are clear that to do so Sri Lanka must respect its international human rights obligations under GSP+. We continue to urge the Government of Sri Lanka to engage with the Commission and to take immediate action to address the issues outlined in its report.

A sustainable political settlement will depend upon genuine reconciliation between all of Sri Lanka's communities. The Sri Lankan Government have made some progress, through for example opening up a dialogue between the President and the Tamil National Alliance, but more needs to be done in this regard in advance of any elections in Sri Lanka.

Implementation of the Government of Sri Lanka's own commitment to return the bulk of the IDPs to their homes by the end of the year will also be crucial for the long-term peace and stability of the country.



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St Helena: Airport

Question

Asked by Lord Jones of Cheltenham

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): The Government have no plans to monitor the elections. The 4 November 2009 elections are being organised according to the terms of the new St Helena constitution and the St Helena elections ordinance. The Government have every confidence in the St Helena Government to run free and fair elections.

As indicated in the consultation document on access options for St Helena, the Government intend to make their decision on that issue by the end of 2009.

Sudan

Question

Asked by The Earl of Sandwich

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): We have followed this case closely through our embassy and made representations to the Government of Sudan (GoS) during the 12th session of the UN Human Rights Council in September in Geneva. My honourable friend the Minister of State for International Development, Gareth Thomas, raised human rights issues with the Government of Sudan in Khartoum on 14 October 2009 and we continue to raise these issues with the GoS, including through the EU.


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