|Previous Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Some securities are quoted on the Stock Exchange but others are not quoted. Many of the securities holdings are bonds which are redeemable from specified dates. It is not possible therefore to give the information requested.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: It is not appropriate to release information about specific holdings of securities as that would reveal confidential information supplied by taxpayers. Exemption 15 (Statutory and other restrictions) of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information applies. Securities are generally held against payment of a tax debt and are returned to the taxpayer when the debt is paid. If the debt is not paid the Inland Revenue can dispose of the assets.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Securities are held by the Inland Revenue against payment of a tax debt and are returned to the taxpayer when the debt is paid. If the debt is not paid the Inland Revenue seeks specialist advice on disposal of the assets.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: In certain circumstances securities may occasionally be accepted as security for a tax debtperhaps because the taxpayer is unable to offer other assets as security instead. The Inland Revenue also accepts securities where tax due from overseas cannot be released directly to the UK because of exchange controls. Other securities can be issued by debtor companies under statutory provision.
The Lord Chancellor (Lord Irvine of Lairg): Yes, my department is presently undertaking a comprehensive revision of Human Rights Act 1998: Guidance for Departments which was issued by the Cabinet Office in February 2000. The new edition will take account of all significant developments. It will include the amended guidance relating to explanatory notes on Bills.
This amended guidance states that explanatory notes on Bills should describe the most significant convention issues thought to arise on a Bill, together with the Minister's conclusions on compatibility; amended guidance draws attention to the fact that the explanatory notes are published by Parliament and should thus be neutral in tone.
In the meantime, the amended guidance about explanatory notes on Bills has been made available by my department through LION (Legal Information Online Network), the website for Government lawyers, and is also available on the Human Rights Unit's website. In addition, we have reminded officials about the amended guidance, using the network of nominated departmental human rights contacts.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Falconer of Thoroton): Information reported to the Home Office shows that six persons were sentenced under Section 111 of the Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 (previously Section 4 of the Crime (Sentences) Act 1997) in England and Wales for a third offence of burglary by the end of 2001.
An offender has to have committed an offence, been apprehended, prosecuted and convicted, on three separate occasions since 1 December 1999 to be subject to the mandatory sentence. Given that a custodial sentence for the first or second offence since December 1999 is likely in many cases it will take some time before significant numbers of offenders who qualify for the mandatory sentence appear before the courts.
The Minister for Trade (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): The UK continues to give full support to the UN efforts to secure, by 28 February, a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement on the basis of the UN Secretary-General's revised proposals of 10 December. This would allow both sides of the island to hold referenda in time for a reunited Cyprus to sign the Treaty of Accession with the European Union on 16 April. Our preference remains for a reunited Cyprus to accede to the EU, which would be in the best interests of all Cypriots, of Greece and Turkey, of Europe and the region as a whole.
We maintain a high level of political engagement with the UN-led process. For example, when my right honourable friends the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary met Turkish Ministers at the Copenhagen European Council in December and when my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Defence visited Ankara on 8 January. The UK Special Representative for Cyprus, the noble Lord, Lord Hannay, will visit Athens, Ankara and Nicosia in the next two weeks in order to help facilitate negotiations.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Commissioner de Palacio responded to the letter of my honourable friend the Minister for Europe on 20 November 2002. The reply referred to previous correspondence between the UK's Permanent Representative to the EU and the Commission (copies of which have already been placed in the Libraries of the House).
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: My right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary raised this issue with the Russian Foreign Minister in late December, seeking an extension to the OSCE Assistance Group's mandate, including its responsibilities to monitor the human rights and humanitarian situation in Chechnya. The UK have also supported sustained EU pressure to agree a mandate for the assistance group that would be acceptable both to Russia and other members of the OSCE. We are disappointed that, thus far, it has not been possible to achieve this.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: I have today placed in the Library copies of the statement made to the United Nations Security Council on 27 January by Dr Blix of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) and Dr El Baradei of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Taken together, these statements are damning and disturbing. They show beyond doubt that the Iraqi regime is responding to Resolution 1441 not with active co-operation but with a consistent pattern of concealment and deceit.
|Next Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|