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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): Photographs in the British passport must be of the individual's full face facing straight ahead and with nothing obscuring the face. Head coverings worn for religious reasons may be accepted as long as they do not cover the face. However, the niqab is a veil which covers the face apart from the eyes and so a photograph of someone wearing a niqab would not meet the standards required for passport purposes.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many British passports are in circulation; how many passport holders hold more than one British passport; and how many also hold passports issued by other countries. [HL773]
Lord West of Spithead: The total number of British passports in circulation is estimated as some 52 million. However, information is not collated on the number of passport holders who hold an additional British or foreign issued passport. A British citizen who is a dual national may apply at any time to the authorities of the country concerned for a foreign passport whether or not they already hold a British passport.
To ask Her Majesty's Government where the police and prosecution records and court-related material regarding the murder of Patricia Curran are held; whether they are publicly accessible; and what evidence in the possession of the Police Service of Northern Ireland can still be forensically tested. [HL570]
Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: The retention and accessibility of this material is a matter for the relevant agencies. I would encourage the noble Lord to contact the Police Service of Northern Ireland, the Public Prosecution Service Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland Court Service and Forensic Science Northern Ireland.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord West of Spithead on 21 July (WA 301-2), whether the minister's officials have come to a conclusion as to whether changes to the UK Border Agency's Entry Clearance Guidance are required, in the context of polygamous marriages; and, if so, what is their view of that advice. [HL875]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): In my Written Answer of 30 November 2009 (WA8) to the noble Lord I referred to my letter, despatched on 24 November 2009, responding to him on this subject. Divorces of convenience are extremely rare, and after careful consideration we have decided that the relevant part of the current entry clearance guidance (SET 14.8) should be amended to read simply that any case where there is evidence that a divorce of convenience has occurred should be referred to ECO Support for consideration and advice. We believe that this advice is more proportionate and appropriate than the previous wording.
The Department for International Development (DfID) actively engages in supporting countries to address rapid population growth. Through our country offices as well as internationally we are working to
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In 2007, the UK committed to providing an additional £100 million over five years to the United Nations' Global Programme for Reproductive Health Commodity Security. This programme is providing direct support to Governments worldwide to help them address population growth and women's need for family planning.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): The Department for Work and Pensions has been designated the UK's National Implementing Body for the 2010 European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion, with responsibility for co-ordinating the UK's participation in the Year. The Year marks the end of the 10-year Lisbon Strategy on Jobs and Growth, which included the commitment by Heads of State to make a "decisive impact on the eradication of poverty" by 2010.
The department has published details of the UK National Programme for the 2010 European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion on its website at www.dwp.gov.uk/european-year-2010. A copy has been placed in the Library.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the effect of the offer for sale of King's Lynn station overspill car park by BRB (Residuary) Ltd for housing on the number of people using the rail service there. [HL849]
The Secretary of State for Transport (Lord Adonis): The Government have made no such assessment. The existing overspill car park which was sold by was sold by BRB (Residuary) Ltd on 15 December is currently protected for use as a car park by the lease that is in place with First Capital Connect. In addition, it is a regulated facility and any change of use would require the approval of the Office of Rail Regulation.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many spaces there are at King's Lynn station car park in the main and overflow areas; and what is the peak occupancy rate in each car park on each day of the week. [HL850]
Lord Adonis: There are 208 car park spaces at King's Lynn station. The Department for Transport does not hold information on occupancy levels in the level of detail requested. However, I understand from First Capital Connect that the average occupancy level is 68 per cent.
The Secretary of State for Transport (Lord Adonis): In the 2007 rail White Paper, Delivering a Sustainable Railway, the Government committed to setting an environmental target for the railway in control period 5 (2014-19). This is under development.
In addition, the Department for Transport has included environmental objectives in recent rail franchise specifications requiring operators to report on environmental performance and put in place measures to reduce environmental impacts.
The department is also working closely with rail stakeholders on a range of initiatives to improve rail's environmental efficiency, for example, through the rollout of regenerative braking on electric trains and trialling the use of biofuels in diesel trains.
The Secretary of State for Transport (Lord Adonis): The Department for Transport is currently in discussion with the British Railways Board (Residuary) Limited, Network Rail and Stagecoach South West Trains to establish what would be the most cost-effective way to integrate Waterloo International terminal into the domestic station that maximises benefits for the short, medium and long term.
The Secretary of State for Transport (Lord Adonis): While each franchise agreement is different, recent franchise agreements broadly require the franchise to make best use of the rolling stock identified in the franchise agreement, to minimise crowding.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether United Kingdom legislation contains provisions equivalent to those contained in the European Union regulation on rail passengers' rights and obligations (1371/2007). [HL914]
The Secretary of State for Transport (Lord Adonis): The core elements of the European Union regulation provide relatively little in the way of new protections which are not already provided by domestic legislation or by regulatory requirements within the rail industry. The non-core elements of the regulation largely provide protections which are ancillary to those in existing domestic legislation.
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they expect to have analysed the information gained from the consultation on the non-core provisions of the Rail Passengers' Rights and Obligations (Exemptions) Regulations 2009 (SI 2009/2970); and how that information will be made available to the House of Lords. [HL915]
Lord Adonis: SI 2009/2970 exempts domestic services from the non-core provisions of the European Union Regulation on Rail Passenger Rights and Obligations. I have given an assurance that the Government will take and implement decisions as early as practicable in 2010 on whether or not to continue with that exemption. These decisions will be based on appropriate assessments of the impacts of the measures on industry and passengers, informed by the responses to the recent consultation.
To ask Her Majesty's Government why there was a two-year delay between the adoption of the European Union regulation on rail passengers' rights and obligations (1371/2007) and the public consultation on the cost and benefit data associated with the non-core provisions. [HL916]
Lord Adonis: The Government invited representatives of the passenger train operators, who have expressed concern about the likely costs of implementation, to provide evidence to support their position. It appears that they found it difficult to assemble the necessary evidence, because it was not forthcoming until April 2009.
We concluded that their figures were not sufficiently substantiated or robust to enable us to take a sound decision about the extent of implementation. We therefore included a question about the costs and benefits in the recent consultation.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will place in the Library of the House reports on social development in the Republic of Ireland from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for the first six months of 2009. [HL620]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has not produced a specific report on social development in Ireland for the period in question.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many schools have had pupils referred to the Channel Project in (a) the United Kingdom, (b) each Government Office region, and (c) each local authority area. [HL585]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): Nationally, the Channel Project has received 228 referrals between April 2007 and December 2008. Channel works with a wide range
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Lord West of Spithead: Nationally, the Channel Project has received 228 referrals between April 2007 and December 2008. Channel works with a wide range of partners to support individuals identified as vulnerable to violent extremism. Any further level of detail is an operational matter at a local level. We would not release such information in order to protect partners locally.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): These are matters for Ofsted. HM Chief Inspector, Christine Gilbert, has written to the noble Baroness and copies of her replies have been placed in the Library.
Ofsted inspects maintained schools against a specific framework and evaluation schedule, and against grade descriptors for all graded judgments. Inspectors make a judgment about the effectiveness with which a school promotes community cohesion. Inspectors are asked to evaluate the extent to which the school has developed an understanding of the religious, ethnic and socio-economic characteristics of its community in a local,
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Ofsted inspection reports on independent schools assess whether or not the schools are meeting statutory standards. From time to time both Ofsted and the DCSF receive information from a range of sources that might indicate concerns about a school having links with some form of extremism, and the impact this could have on the standard of education provided within the school. In these circumstances the DCSF might commission Ofsted to undertake additional, targeted work to examine whether an independent school is continuing to meet the statutory standards.
Were the DCSF or Ofsted to receive information to indicate concerns about extremist influences impacting on the standard of education or well-being of pupils in any school, the DCSF could commission Ofsted to undertake an additional inspection.
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