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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): The Prison Service is committed to ensuring that women in prison have access to the same standards of breast and cervical cancer screening as are available to women in the community. Almost all establishments holding women prisoners provide a cervical cancer screening service, and a number also have arrangements in place with the NHS for breast screening. Progress is being made to achieve full coverage and equivalent standard of screening to the NHS, and to maintain continuity with NHS screening programmes in the community. A new health care standard, planned to be published by March 1999, will set out the arrangements for achieving this.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Government are aware of Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons' concern to see continued improvements to prison regimes, and of the pressures facing the Prison Service. Already, my right honourable friend the Home Secretary has provided an additional £112 million in 1998-99 to increase capacity and support regime activities.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: Her Majesty's Government are fully committed to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention on Forced and Compulsory Labour. We do not consider that we are in contravention of the Convention because there are sufficient safeguards governing prisoners working in contracted out establishments to ensure compliance with the convention.
Furthermore, we believe that the ILO's recommendations could have the perverse effect of reducing prison workshop activity. This would have an adverse effect on the Government's and Prison Service's commitment to the provision of constructive regimes and the rehabilitation of prisoners.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: I understand that, at the end of June, 997 cases were awaiting detailed review by the Criminal Cases Review Commission, and 281 cases were subject to detailed review and investigation. Between April 1997 and March 1998, the average length of time taken to reach a decision on cases (other than those which the commission determined did not meet the eligibility criteria laid down by the Criminal Appeal Act 1995) was 122 days. As with any caseworking operation, there are likely always to be some cases which, following initial consideration, will be awaiting detailed review.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Baroness Hayman): Today my right honourable friend the Deputy Prime Minister will be announcing the Government's initial response to the Coalfields Task Force Report at the Coalfields Conference at Ollerton Miners' Welfare in North Nottinghamshire.
|Location||February 1996 to January 1997||March 1997 to February 1998|
|Lower Richmond Road||18||25|
|Putney Bridge Road||14||22|
|Putney High Street||22||28|
|Upper Richmond Road (west)||13||16|
Baroness Hayman: Following the lengthy delays caused by the protracted criminal prosecutions brought in connection with this tragic accident, the Marine Accident Investigation Branch report into the loss of "Pescado" is now being prepared for publication within four to six weeks.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Government have no plans to propose to UNESCO that a system should be developed to designate World Heritage objects. The United Kingdom already has export controls to ensure that objects of national importance can be saved for the nation, while taking account of the rights of owners. We also have in place a system which permits pre-eminent objects to be offered to the Government in lieu of inheritance tax thus ensuring that such objects remain in this country. Other countries are free to introduce such measures to protect their national heritage and many already have.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Social Security (Baroness Hollis of Heigham): The Government want to develop an active family policy which links children's rights and parents' responsibilities. An active family policy requires that child support works effectively with other legislation which affects the family--in particular the Children Acts and the Family Law Acts.
This department has been working with the Lord Chancellor's Department to ensure that information about child support is given to separating couples during the information meeting pilots required under the Family Law Act. We also want to make sure that child support contributes to mediation and negotiations on care for the children between parents who are separated. At its best the child support service should allow separating parents to sort out their financial arrangements quickly and efficiently. This is why we propose a radically simpler assessment process and focus on a first-class service for all parents. This simplicity and transparency will contribute to an active family policy and will sit well with the mediation system under the Family Law Act.
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