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To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have had discussions with Channel 4 about its acceptance of television advertisements for abortion services; and whether they will make representations to Ofcom about barring television advertisements for abortion services.[HL19]
Lord Shutt of Greetland: Under the existing broadcast advertising rules non-commercial providers of post-conception advice services are permitted to advertise on television in the UK. There has been no change to the advertising code or the law in this regard.
Broadcast advertising is strictly controlled by the Advertising Standards Authority working in a co- regulatory partnership with Ofcom. This regulatory regime is independent of Government and sets the standards for all television advertising. It is the responsibility of Ofcom's licensees, the commercial TV channels and radio stations, to observe the statutory codes on advertising standards and practice.
If, in exceptional circumstances, the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport was persuaded that the rules in this area were not strong enough, there are, ultimately, powers under the Communications Act to direct Ofcom on the descriptions of advertisements that should not be included in programme services.
To ask Her Majesty's Government why only 16 per cent of new asylum applications will get early access to legal advice from October; and whether they have considered applying the results of the Solihull pilot project more widely.[HL66]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): Legal help is currently available to all eligible asylum seekers from the outset of their claim. UKBA and LSC are working with key asylum partners and plan to test the 2007 Solihull pilot principles of an enhanced legal service across an entire UKBA region.
The process aims to improve the quality of initial asylum decision-making by front-loading the system and achieving cultural change in the asylum determination process on the part of the decision maker and adviser.
Earl Attlee: The Civil Aviation Authority's Safety Regulation Group has a safety risk management process (SRMP) for UK air operations that monitors safety performance and establishes safety strategies and takes any necessary actions accordingly. The risk analysis process looks at the overall system as opposed to specific areas and is used to identify the most significant safety risks for UK aviation.
The most recent analysis was conducted in 2009, volcanic ash was not identified as an area requiring additional work as the existing international guidance was considered sufficient to ensure the safety of air operations.
This process is described in paragraph 1.9 of the CAA Safety Plan 2009-11: www.caa.co.uk/docs/33/CAP786.pdf.
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they plan to start re-testing incapacity benefit claimants with the work capability assessment before moving them to replacement benefits; whether they will take into account the most recent work capability assessment the claimant has had; and whether they plan to re-test any claimant of the employment and support allowance.[HL60]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): Employment and support allowance was introduced in October 2008 and existing incapacity benefits continued in payment. The current plans are to begin the reassessment of cases receiving the old style incapacity benefits in October 2010 with a small trial to test and learn from the process, with the national reassessment programme planned to run from spring 2011 to March 2014. The key tool to support reassessment is the work capability assessment which is carried out by a healthcare professional and delivers an assessment of the extent to which a claimant is capable of work. We are aware that some people need much more support to manage their conditions and get help to find work and moving them to employment and support allowance is the best way to do that. We know this is a big undertaking and are working on plans to make the change happen as smoothly as possible for all customers. We also plan to evaluate how employment and support allowance is working in order to ensure that it meets its objective of helping people back to work.
Earl Attlee: There are a number of initiatives under way at present, aimed at improving cycle safety. These include promoting bikeability cycle training; promoting the Highway Code and safe road use, including use of protective equipment such as high visibility clothing and cycle helmets; providing more safe cycle routes; guidance to local authorities on the design of safer road infrastructure, including effective cycle-specific measures as well as more general measures that benefit all road users such as 20 mph zones and better traffic management; improvements to motor vehicle driver testing and training; and new measures on lorry mirrors to improve the visibility of cyclists and pedestrians. The measures on lorry mirrors should be of particular benefit to women who are over-represented in fatal cycle incidents involving lorries in London. All this is against a background of encouraging more people to cycle while minimising the risks of cycling.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): We announced on 7 June that the development of the three academic diplomas will stop immediately. This means that the Diploma in Languages and International Communication will not be introduced in September 2011.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): The Government have committed to push for the EU to demonstrate leadership in tackling international climate change, including by supporting an increase in the EU emission reduction target to 30 per cent by 2020.
We do not yet know the details of how EU-wide efforts to move to 30 per cent would be shared across member states but we recognise for the UK it would
8 Jun 2010 : Column WA34
The Climate Change Act requires that the Government obtain and take into account the advice of the Committee on Climate Change before amending the level of targets or carbon budgets, and amendments are subject to parliamentary approval (affirmative procedure).
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the forecast increase in the number of those classified as being in fuel poverty due to electricity cost increases from increasing expenditure on renewable energy infrastructure and payments under the feed-in tariff scheme due to Government and European Union carbon reduction targets.[HL166]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): The latest projections indicate that fuel poverty in England is likely to rise to around 4.6 million households in 2009. The projections are based on known changes in prices, and conservative estimates of income change and energy efficiency improvements in the housing stock. Projections for 2010 will be published on 14 October, which will be based on known aggregated price increases and will not be able to identify the change in fuel poverty with any specific measure.
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they intend to implement the terms of the Aarhus Convention that non-governmental organisations and individuals should not encounter prohibitive costs in bringing individual cases challenging environmental damage.[HL123]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): The UK ratified the Aarhus convention in February 2005 and submitted an implementation report to the Aarhus Secretariat in 2008 detailing the measures taken to comply with it. This includes measures to comply with Article 9(4) which provides that procedures to provide access to justice are "fair, equitable, timely and not prohibitively expensive".
The issue of compliance with Article 9(4) has been raised in cases before the Aarhus Convention Compliance Committee, and the European Commission has raised concerns about the expense of the procedures available in the UK for providing access to justice in the context of the public participation directive (which implements some of the requirements of the Aarhus convention in the EU). The Government are considering their response to the Commission's concerns.
Lord Sassoon: The Government are committed to maintaining London and the wider UK's status as a leading centre for providing financial and related services, and will factor this objective into all negotiations with EU and international partners. The UK's financial services sector is important to the UK and as part of a wider European and global sector. It is therefore necessary to ensure the right regulatory framework in order that the sector's full potential for the UK can be realised.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether their proposal to require referendums before any further European Union treaty amendments are agreed includes treaties for the admission of new countries to the European Union.[HL46]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The referendum lock is not intended to catch all treaty amendments. It depends on whether the treaty includes the transfer of further powers or competences from the UK to the EU. Accession treaties would not be subject to a referendum as they do not involve such transfers.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the status of the proposed European Public Prosecutor; and whether United Kingdom citizens may be extradited to stand trial in other European Union member states under its powers, or under those of the European arrest warrant.[HL30]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The Government do not support the creation of a European Public Prosecutor (EPP) and have made it clear that they would not participate in its establishment.
The Government are giving careful consideration to the UK's current extradition arrangements worldwide-including the European arrest warrant (EAW)-to ensure they operate effectively and in the interests of justice. A range of options are being considered and the Government will make an announcement in due course.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many chickens have been imported from (a) European Union, and (b) non-European Union, countries in the past three years; which five countries exported the largest amounts in the last year; and what welfare standards are required in European Union and non-European Union countries before import is permissible.[HL9]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): The tables below provide details of the imports into the UK of live chickens from EU countries and non-EU countries for the period 2007 to 2009 and the five countries from which the UK imported live chickens in 2009 as recorded in the Official Overseas Trade Statistics for EU countries and the European Commission's Trade Control and Expert System (TRACES) database for non-EU countries.
World Trade Organisation rules do not allow us to ban imports on the grounds of the welfare standards applying in third countries. Within the EU there is a well established principle in Community law of the free movement of goods. Council Directive 2007/43/EC sets down minimum welfare standards for meat chicken production within member states.
|UK imports of live chickens from EU countries, 2007-09|
|Number of chickens|
|Country of dispatch||2007||2008||2009|
|UK imports of live chickens from non- EU countries, 2007-09|
|Number of chickens|
|Country of dispatch||2007||2008||2009|
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