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To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with governments in East Africa about the marginalisation of pastoralist communities and their vulnerability to food insecurity.[HL11079]
Baroness Verma: During my recent trip to Kenya, I encouraged the Government to invest more in long-term food security in the arid lands. The Department for International Development (DfID) has seconded a staff member into the Ministry for the Development of Northern Kenya and Other Arid Lands to support efforts better to address food security among pastoralist communities. DfID is investing in a range of other activities (for example, social protection, livestock insurance, and community planning on the impact of climate change) to address the marginalisation of pastoralists in Kenya. We are also working with the authorities in Somaliland to increase business opportunities around the marketing and export of livestock. In Ethiopia, DfID is encouraging the Government there to scale-up the delivery of basic services to pastoralist communities. The UK-supported Productive Safety Nets Programme is operational in pastoral areas of Ethiopia and aims to find long-term and sustainable solutions to food insecurity.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the total cost of the referendum on the alternative vote, including costs incurred by local authorities, central Government and the Electoral Commission. [HL10270]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The final figure for the conduct of the referendum will be known only once all accounts from regional counting officers and counting officers for the conduct of the poll have been received and settled. No direct costs will be incurred by local authorities as costs will be met centrally from the Consolidated Fund. We estimate that combining the referendum on the voting system with local elections and other polls on 5 May will have resulted in savings being made by central and local government.
The Electoral Commission also incurred costs in running the poll. It is wholly independent of government and is accountable to Parliament through the Speaker's Committee of the House of Commons. A member of
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Baroness Verma: A World Food Programme report (June 2011) found that 54 per cent of the population of Gaza is food insecure, with an additional 12 per cent of the population vulnerable to food insecurity. Israeli restrictions severely limit imports and exports, as well as the movement of people in and out of Gaza, and access to agricultural land and fishing waters. Although the June 2010 changes to the closure regime have allowed more food to enter Gaza, the economic problems caused by the restrictions mean that food insecurity levels are nearly identical to those prior to the changes. Three-quarters of the Gaza population continue to depend on humanitarian food assistance.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what guidance they issue to government departments regarding the payment of suppliers; what is the average time within which departments pay their suppliers; which departments on average pay suppliers within the shortest time frame, and how many weeks credit on average this represents; and which departments pay their suppliers within the longest time frame, and how many weeks credit on average this represents. [HL10986]
Lord Taylor of Holbeach: On 19 July 2011, Francis Maude, the Minister for the Cabinet Office, restated the Government's commitment to pay 80 per cent of undisputed invoices within five days. The Government are asking their suppliers to pay sub-contractors in 30 days or less. This reaffirmed the commitments made on 1 November in a package of announcements designed to open government procurement to SMEs.
There is no central collation of departments' payment performance, although some departments publish this information on their own websites. Where suppliers are not paid promptly they can ask the Cabinet Office's mystery shopper service to investigate.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their response to the report from Christian Aid Locked Out: Palestinian Refugees and the Key to Peace of June 2011, and in particular to its comments on statelessness and the right to work.[HL10833]
Baroness Verma: The UK Government recognise the critical importance of a just, fair and realistic solution to the issue of Palestinian refugees as part of a two-state solution reached through negotiations, which will give the Palestinian people the state that they need and deserve, and the Israeli people long-term security and peace.
As the report highlights, the right to work is of particular concern for Palestinian refugees living in Lebanon. The UK welcomes the recent legislation passed by the Lebanese Parliament to allow Palestinians to work, but urges Lebanon to increase Palestinian access to work, education, healthcare and social welfare. The UK ambassador to Lebanon met with Prime Minister Miqati in June 2011 and pressed the new Lebanese Government to take further steps to improve the living conditions and civil rights of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.
The UK supports Palestinian refugees across the region through our funding to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). In 2010-11 we provided £27 million to UNRWA's core budget to provide essential services, such as education and health services, to Palestinian refugees.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what percentage of Metropolitan Police officers were on leave (a) on each day in the week of 1 August, (b) on Monday 8 August, and (c) on Tuesday 9 August 2011; and what was the average percentage of officers on leave during 2010.[HL11528]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Browning): The funding settlement for the police is challenging but manageable. By the end of the spending review period, the police will still have the resources to do their important work.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, and to what extent, they funded the Confidential Hazardous Incident Reporting Programme in (a) 2005, (b) 2006, (c) 2007, (d) 2008, (e) 2009, and (f) 2010. [HL11502]
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To ask Her Majesty's Government whether any progress has been made on finding additional sources of revenue to fund the eLORAN radio navigation system; if so, to what value and from which sources; and whether they will place a breakdown of the funding structure in the Library of the House. [HL11504]
Earl Attlee: The accounts of the General Lighthouse Fund provide the total costs associated with the General Lighthouse Authorities' Research and Radionavigation Directorate which leads UK research into eLORAN. The accounts also show the income streams that fund all the activities of the General Lighthouse Authorities and are placed in the Libraries of the House.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with European Union member states about whether large heavy goods vehicles (megatrucks) will be permitted to use British roads; and, if so, what has been the outcome of those discussions. [HL11523]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether a risk assessment will be made of the implications of allowing large heavy goods vehicles (megatrucks) to use British roads; and, if so, whether that risk assessment will apply equivalent criteria of acceptability to those applicable to rail transport.[HL11524]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what impact large heavy goods vehicles (megatrucks) would have on the secondary road network, and on surface roundabouts and other features which were not designed with megatrucks in mind.[HL11525]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what would be the impact of allowing the use of heavy goods vehicles (megatrucks) in the United Kingdom on (a) the respective shares of freight carried by road and rail transport; and (b) carbon emissions from the transport sector.[HL11526]
The impacts of allowing the use of megatrucks in the UK can be found in the report published on the Department for Transport's website entitled Longer and/or Longer and Heavier Goods Vehicles-A Study of the Effects if they were to be Permitted in the UK.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what research into road haulage they have commissioned, or are aware of, which takes into account road maintenance conditions, the incidence of overloading and poor weight distribution, speeding, and the average mechanical conditions of vehicles.[HL11527]
Earl Attlee: The Government have not commissioned, and are not aware of, any research which addresses the specific combination of issues listed in the Question. Research commissioned by the Department for Transport is published on its website at http://www.dft.gov.uk/publications/.
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