|Previous Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|
The specific information requested relates to the tax affairs of an individual or organisation and cannot be disclosed by virtue of Section 18(1) of the Commissioners for the Revenue and Customs Act 2005.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to propose that the European Union should establish a fund for voluntary peaceful community development in areas of tension and dispute, and for third-party mediation and conflict resolution. [HL401]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): We do not currently have any plans to propose that the European Union (EU) should establish a fund for voluntary peaceful community development in areas of tension and dispute, or for third-party mediation and conflict resolution.
We are supporting the Commission's plans to look at ways to strengthen EU mediation capacity. We are keen to ensure that the EU intervenes where it can add real value and avoid duplication. The EU is well placed to make a significant and positive contribution to supporting and conducting international mediation efforts and grounding these efforts in a wider EU and international political strategy.
The Minister for Trade and Investment (Lord Davies of Abersoch): The European Union (EU) has free trade agreements (FTA) with South Africa, Chile and
9 Dec 2009 : Column WA130
Currently, the EU is negotiating FTAs with: India; Ukraine; Libya; Central America (comprising Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Panama); Andean Nations (comprising Colombia and Peru); the Association of South-East Asian Nations (Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Burma and Cambodia); the Euro-Mediterranean countries (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Palestinian Authority, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey); Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay); Iran; Iraq and the Gulf Co-operation Council (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)).
Other agreements that include elements of free trade agreements include economic partnership, association agreements, stabilisation and association agreements and partnership and co-operation agreements.
The European Commission website provides information on all of the European Union's bilateral trade relations: http://ec.europa.eu/trade/creating- opportunities/bilateral-relations/index_en.htm
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): The treaty of Lisbon introduces 51 moves to qualified majority voting. Twenty of them will offer faster decision-making where the UK wants to see better systems in place, for example: aid to disaster zones; protecting British business ideas; strengthening the EU's research and innovation capability; liberalisation of the energy market. Sixteen of these either will not apply to the UK or will apply only if we choose to opt in; for example, in justice and home affairs. Fifteen of them will be purely procedural changes; for example, how we adjust the rules for technical implementing committees. All other areas where unanimity applied under the treaty of Nice will remain unchanged following entry into force of the treaty of Lisbon. I refer the noble Lord to the Answer given to PQ 207092 of January 2005.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, in order to preserve the marine floor and conserve marine stocks, they will set rules to limit scallopers to a maximum of 8 dredges per side and a maximum of 221 kw power in the zone 6 to 12 miles offshore. [HL377]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Davies of Oldham): We are considering the appropriate course of action on this issue in conjunction with the devolved Administrations. This may be to pursue a solution in EU legislation by seeking to extend the restriction which currently prevents any vessels over 221 kw from beam trawling in the 12 nautical miles zone around UK waters to scallop dredging. An alternative option would be to seek to agree bilateral agreements with other member states. Powers under the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 will enable restriction of fishing activities where this is appropriate for nature conservation purposes.
The Minister for International Defence and Security (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): The MoD does not directly procure food for its UK establishments. Food for the majority of service personnel working and living in UK units is provided under catering, retail and leisure (CRL) contracts and responsibility for sourcing the food rests with the CRL contractor. Food for UK civilian establishments is provided under multi-activity contracts and, again, responsibility for sourcing the food rests with the individual contractor. Data on the extent to which it is sourced locally are not held by the department.
Purple Foodservice Solutions Ltd (PFS) supplies food to the small number of UK military establishments that are not covered by the CRL contracts as well as to UK Armed Forces personnel serving on operations and some overseas exercises. A report on the proportion of domestically produced food used by government departments published in November 2008, covering the year from 1 April 2007 to 31 March 2008, shows that under the PFS contract the proportion of domestically produced food procured by MoD increased from 43 per cent in 2006-07 to 59 per cent in 2007-08. This report, and the first one covering 2006-07, can be accessed via the following link at www.defra.gov.uk/foodfarm/policy/publicsectorfood/documents/psfpi-datareport081125.pdf.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to draft a resolution for the United Nations Security Council about existing and additional Israeli settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, to recognise and give membership to Palestinian lands and to set dates for implementation. [HL405]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): The Government have no plans to draft such a UN Security Council resolution. We continue to support efforts to kick-start urgent negotiations which will lead to the creation of a viable Palestinian state alongside a secure Israel.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Taylor of Bolton on 26 November (WA 4) stating that HMS "Caroline" will remain in commission until the spring, how that answer relates to the proposed decommissioning to take place in December in Belfast. [HL452]
The Minister for International Defence and Security (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): My noble friend the Minister for Strategic Defence Acquisition Reform, Lord Drayson, informed the noble Lord on 12 November (Official Report, col. WA 216) that the trustees of the national museum of the Royal Navy have agreed to broker a heritage solution to the ship's future. This process will take some time, but we would hope to be in a position to announce the plans for the ship in the spring. In the mean time, the ship will remain in the commission of the Royal Navy.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): As of 7 December 2009 the Foreign and Commonwealth Office was aware of six British nationals being held hostage aboard.
Somali pirates have been holding two British nationals since October 2009. Of the five British nationals taken hostage by Asa'ib Ahl al-Haqq in Iraq in 2007, the bodies of three have been returned to the UK. Our embassy in Sana'a is investigating the kidnap of a British national who went missing in Yemen in June 2009. In October 2009 an individual with dual UK nationality was kidnapped in Sudan.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): The Government are committed to the creation of a reformed second Chamber with a democratic mandate. The Government's 2008 White Paper proposed that the reformed second Chamber should be either 80 per cent or 100 per cent elected through a system of direct elections in order to achieve a more accountable and representative second Chamber.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the Government of Iran and the United Nations regarding executions in Iran, particularly of members of the Kurdish community. [HL448]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): The UK's position on the death penalty is clear: we oppose it in all its forms. Alongside our EU partners we have recalled our long-standing opposition to capital punishment on at least 25 occasions this year.
Most recently, on 20 November 2009, the EU presidency summoned the Iranian ambassador in Stockholm to condemn a spate of executions, including that of Kurdish activist Ehsan Fattahian, and to express concern that a high number of Kurds with pending death sentences were facing imminent execution. The EU expressed regret at the execution of Fattahian, and pleaded for clemency for the others. Also on 20 November, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution on the human rights situation in Iran for the seventh consecutive year. This resolution, co-sponsored by the EU, condemns the increasing number of executions in Iran and sends a clear message of ongoing international concern at the human rights situation in Iran.
Alongside our EU and UN partners, the UK will continue to call on the Iranian authorities to abolish the death penalty and, in the mean time, to establish a moratorium on executions as urged by United Nations General Assembly resolutions 62/149 and 63/168.
The Minister for International Defence and Security (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): We take very seriously our responsibilities towards our civilian contractors and we greatly value the work done by them in supporting operations. However, collating comprehensive data on fatalities suffered by our contractors is very difficult
9 Dec 2009 : Column WA134
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): The Government have no plans to take such action. We are committed to achieving a negotiated solution in the Middle East. We believe that negotiations are the best way to bring about a just and lasting peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
We are clear that a final settlement should consist of a two-state solution based on 1967 borders; a democratic state of Israel, secure from attack, recognised by-and at peace with-all its neighbours; alongside a peaceful, democratic and territorially viable state of Palestine that accepts Israel as its friend and partner; with Jerusalem the capital for both, and a just and agreed settlement for refugees.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many library authorities comply with national standards for radio frequency identification and E4 libraries; and what measures they are taking to promote those standards. [HL253]
Lord Davies of Oldham: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport does not collect data on the number of library authorities that comply with the UK data model (ISO 28560¬2) for radio frequency identification (RFID) or on the number of library authorities accredited under the E4 scheme.
The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) is compiling an RFID guide for public libraries which will contain information on the new national standard and the benefits of its adoption. It also continues to support and sponsor the E4 accreditation scheme.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the annual cost of producing the Met Office's quarterly publication Barometer; how many copies are printed; and what is the objective of the publication. [HL292]
The Minister for International Defence and Security (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): The cost of producing Barometer in the past 12 months was £44,750. The Met Office prints 7,000 copies of each edition of the publication, which is also available on line at www.metoffice.gov.uk.
Barometer is the Met Office corporate magazine, aimed at informing and stimulating interest in weather and the natural environment and demonstrating the diverse range of services and activity in which the Met Office is involved. It is read globally and receives a broad range of positive feedback.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what were the destinations, purposes, costs and names of those in each official party of overseas visits on ministerial business undertaken by the Minister for the Olympics in (a) 2008, and (b) 2009 to date. [HL443]
Lord Davies of Oldham: This Government publishes an annual list of all ministerial travel costing over £500. The list includes a breakdown of travel by all Ministers and the global figure for the cost of ministerial travel includes the cost of staff accompanying Ministers. Detail of travel taken in the current year will be published as soon as it is ready after the end of the financial year. All ministerial travel is undertaken in accordance with the Ministerial Code.
|Next Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|