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(b) The addition of a protocol to the EC Treaty enabling member states to take appropriate action to regulate quota-hopping in the common fisheries policy. The details of this are set out more fully in a Written Answer today from my honourable friend Mr. Tony Baldry, the Member for Banbury, in another place;
(f) The addition of a Protocol to the EC Treaty which will place a formal legal obligation on Community institutions to give full regard to considerations of animal welfare in the exercise of their powers on agriculture, transport, research and the single market. This is set out more fully in a Written Answer of today's date from my honourable friend in another place, the Member for Tiverton.
The Minister of State, Department of Social Security (Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish): The administration of the Child Support Agency is a matter for the Chief Executive, Miss Ann Chant. She will write to the noble Lord.
Agency officials are currently assessing the findings of a review of its information systems strategy. This review examined our likely needs for the routine replacement and/or further enhancements of existing computer systems. Whatever we decide must be consistent and compatible with the Department of Social Security's corporate strategy for information systems.
The Minister of State, Department for Education and Employment (Lord Henley): There are no initial teacher training courses specialising in the training of teachers of children with special educational needs. All initial training courses should, however, give students a basic introduction to identifying and providing for children with SEN.
The Government's policy is that specialist training to teach children with SEN should be undertaken by qualified teachers who have gained experience in a mainstream school. Teachers of classes consisting wholly or mainly of visually--or hearing impaired children are required to gain an additional approved qualification. There is a wide range of training courses available for teachers of children with other special educational needs, some of which lead to a qualification. Information about these courses is not collected centrally.
The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Fraser of Carmyllie): The Government's response, A New Strategy for the UK Microbial Culture Collections was published on Friday 19th July.
A Culture Collections Advisory Group managed by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, is to be set up to help implement the new strategy. The Office of Science and Technology will provide £1.34 million over three years to help co-ordinate the activities of the collections and to encourage the use of modern molecular technologies.
Lord Fraser of Carmyllie: The Gas Act 1995 provided the regulatory framework for the introduction of competition in the domestic supply of gas. Competition allows consumers to choose the mix of price and service that best meet their requirements. However, the Secretary of State was responsible for determining the standard conditions of the licences of gas suppliers and public gas transporters, which provide certain standards; responsibility for enforcing the licences lies with the DGGS.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Earl Howe): The Government are committed to the Joint Rapid Deployment Force, which will become operational on 1st August. Our amphibious capability will play a key role in that force: the Royal Marines' ability to mount amphibious operations is critically dependent on the Landing Platform Docks, currently HMS "Fearless" and HMS "Intrepid". Both vessels have given long and distinguished service, including in the Falklands campaign, but will soon be approaching the end of their operational lives. I am pleased, therefore, to be able to announce that a contract has today been placed with GEC Marine to design and build two replacement ships at the VSEL shipyard at Barrow-in-Furness. The new LPDs will be called HMS "Albion" and HMS "Bulwark". They displace 13,000 tonnes, have a maximum speed of 18 knots and have a crew of just over 320. They can carry up to 650 troops, a range of vehicles, including tanks, and eight landing craft. They also have a flight deck that can accommodate two EH101 helicopters or one Chinook. They are expected to enter service early in the next decade. This order will be warmly welcomed by the Royal Navy and will also be good news for Barrow and for the many sub-contractors throughout the UK providing weapons systems, marine equipments and other components for the ships. The order, worth more than £450 million to GEC Marine and its sub-contractors, will help to sustain some 2,000 jobs in the UK.
What steps they have taken to bring the contents of the Civil Service Code to the attention of members of the public; and whether they will take further such steps; and, if not, why not.
The code is primarily a document for internal use within the Civil Service. However, at the time of its introduction it was publicised in Written Answers in both Houses [30th October, HoL WA146 and HoC col. 10], and in press notices issued by Cabinet Office (OPS). It is freely available on request to members of the public.
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