|Previous Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|
Baroness Hayman: We are laying regulations today that will amend the procedures for importing cars and light goods vehicles that have not been built (type approved) to British or European standards. The new measures, which modify those already in place, will ensure that safety and environmental standards appropriate for use in Britain are met.
The Lord Chancellor (Lord Irvine of Lairg): The Government are committed to finding the most effective ways of supporting marriage. In particular, we recognise the need to ensure that couples are properly prepared to take on the responsibilities of marriage. A one-year programme of marriage support pilot projects, funded by my department, has recently been completed. Three of the 13 projects included marriage preparation.
As I announced on 20 March, I intend to set up an independent review of my department's funding of marriage support and research services. The review will draw on the results of the pilot programme, and will report before the end of 1998.
The Lord Chancellor: In 1996-97, the Government spent £60 million on advice and assistance in the areas normally referred to as "social welfare law"--housing, debt, welfare benefits, immigration and employment. This represented 72 per cent. of total non-Family civil expenditure under the Legal Aid Green Form Scheme. Despite this expenditure, and the efforts of many volunteers and lawyers working pro bono, we recognise that need in this area is not adequately met. This recognition underlies our commitment to develop a Community Legal Service. The details of our proposals to fulfil this commitment, including refocusing legal aid expenditure where appropriate, will be the subject of public consultation at the beginning of next year.
Baroness Hollis of Heigham: Our policy is to accept applications for a national insurance number from people who are either actively seeking work or who have found employment. Staff in local offices who deal with such applications receive appropriate training and have ready access to written guidance.
In deciding what information or evidence a claimant needs to produce, due regard is always given to the circumstances of the person in question. It is rare for a person who already has a national insurance number (NINO) to be unable to supply sufficient information to enable their NINO account to be traced and confirmed.
Even if a NINO is not held, it is not necessarily the case that supporting documentary evidence would be required. In particular, if a person had left their home through domestic distress it would not be appropriate to ask for corroborative evidence to which they had no access. Additional information would be sought, which could then be corroborated with records held by the department or other agencies.