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21 May 2008 : Column WA189



21 May 2008 : Column WA189

Written Answers

Wednesday 21 May 2008

Airports: Heathrow

Baroness Stern asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): We are currently in the process of looking at the feasibility of creating separate short-term holding facilities at terminal 3 for women as recommended in the recent Independent Monitoring Board report.

Baroness Stern asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord West of Spithead: There is no national standard or policy regarding the use of telephones by detainees which would cover the short-term holding facilities at Heathrow Airport.

However, the IS91R (notice of reasons for detention) form which is issued to a detainee states:

Detainees are given access to telephone calls either via their own mobile phone (except for those with cameras, recording or internet facility), or via a payphone. Alternatively, if they are not able to use these, access to a free telephone call is provided.

Baroness Stern asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord West of Spithead: The information requested is not readily available and provision of a reply would be at disproportionate cost.

Armed Forces: Director of Service Prosecutions

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:



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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): The members of the panel which considered candidates for the Director of Service Prosecutions post were: Elizabeth McMeikan, Civil Service Commissioner; Sir Ian Andrews, Second Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Defence; General Sir Timothy Granville-Chapman, Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff; and Sir Ken McDonald, Director of Public Prosecutions.

Aviation: Refusal to Carry Passengers

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: BAA is not entitled to instruct airlines to refuse to carry passengers. Airlines within their own terms and conditions may refuse to carry passengers—for example, in circumstances where they have incorrect documentation, have been disruptive or have made hoax threats.

Bees

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): Defra's contingency reserve is for tackling emergencies such as major disease outbreaks or natural disasters.

The expectation is that funding for commissioned research specific to honey-bee health will be around the same level as in previous years. In addition to this, honey-bee health benefits from other Defra-funded research activities.

A Bee Health Research Funders' Forum has been created to discuss priorities. Defra, the National Bee Unit and the British Beekeepers' Association participate along with other interested parties. Research priorities are also addressed in the draft bee health strategy, which is currently available for public consultation.

British Citizenship

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:



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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): We now calculate the fees for immigration applications with a flexible charging model. This means we use a number of factors to determine the fees working within strict financial limits agreed with HM Treasury. We no longer set fees on a straightforward cost-recovery basis but flexibly to cover the full end-to-end cost of the immigration system and by taking into account the value of a successful application in terms of entitlements and benefits to the migrant.

Burma: Cyclone Nargis

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): Our ambassador in Rangoon wrote to Senior General Than Shwe, Prime Minister Thein Sein and other members of the Burmese Government to put the referendum process to one side and mobilise all efforts on the urgent relief effort following Cyclone Nargis.

It is incomprehensible in the current circumstances that the regime went ahead with the referendum on 10 May, with the intention to conduct the remaining part of the process on 24 May. The referendum and any subsequent process leading to the planned election in 2010 need to be inclusive, transparent and conducted in an environment where all political parties can participate without fear of intimidation.

Care Services: Children

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): We are holding discussions with potential specialist authorities over the care and support of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children. Such care and support will include measures to identify and meet the needs of those who may have been trafficked.

On the appointment of guardians, I refer the noble Lord to the Answer I gave on 14 November 2007 (Official Report, col. WA 19). The Government do not currently believe that there is a role for an independent rapporteur for trafficked children. We have in place an interdepartmental ministerial group on human trafficking

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supported by a stakeholder group of non-government organisations which meets Ministers on a regular basis.

Each provides opportunities for consultations on the Government's strategy for combating human trafficking. Key children's charities, and the Children's Commissioner, are represented on the NGO stakeholder group.

Care Services: Farming

Lord Dykes asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): The Government recognise the valuable work carried out by care farms and support the National Care Farming Initiative's plans to create a database of all care farming providers. I will be visiting a long established care farm, Highfields Happy Hens, on 22 May.

China: Submarine Base

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): I am aware of recent articles about construction at Sanya Naval Base on Hainan Island. An enhancement of the facilities on Hainan Island would not be at odds with China's published 2006 national defence White Paper, which states that its navy “aims at gradual extension of the strategic depth for offshore defensive operations and enhancing its capabilities in integrated maritime operations and nuclear counterattacks”. We routinely monitor Chinese military developments and consistently encourage it to maintain transparency and a responsible approach to military modernisation.

Climate Change

Lord Vinson asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: (a) Receipts from the climate change levy for the 2006-07 financial year were roughly £712 million. HM Revenue and Customs routinely publishes data on levy receipts in the climate change levy bulletin, which is available at www.uktradeinfo.com.



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(b) The levy is charged on energy supplied to business and the public sector; supplies of energy to domestic consumers, charities and non-business use are excluded from the levy, so costs are not borne by individual households.

(c) Expenditure by the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform on sustainable energy projects in 2007-08 was £29.6 million. Of this total, £26 million was capital grant expenditure.

Common Agricultural Policy: Single Farm Payment

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): There are eight payments outstanding for the 2005 single payment scheme (SPS) year and 42 outstanding for the 2006 SPS year.

The outstanding payments for these years relate to complex cases, mainly involving legal and probate issues.

Of the total estimated claimant population of 106,700, 91.7 per cent have received full SPS payment for the 2007 SPS year.

The RPA is working to finalise remaining payments as soon as possible.

Courts: Young Witnesses

The Earl of Dundee asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): Section 32 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 permitted child witnesses under the age of 14 years in the case of offences of violence or cruelty, and child witnesses under 17 years of age in sex-offence cases, to give evidence by way of live link, so that they can give evidence from outside the courtroom. The availability of live links was extended by the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999 to all witnesses who are under 17 years of age. The legislation includes presumptions that live links will be used for young witnesses, particularly in cases of sexual or violent offences.

There are now video-link rooms in all Crown Court centres and in 77 per cent of all magistrates’ courts. Her Majesty's Courts Service has allocated £2 million this financial year to upgrade equipment in the Crown Court and the magistrates’ courts and, where required, provide a small amount of new equipment in the Crown Court and magistrates’ courts.



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e-Borders

Baroness Hanham asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The “authority to carry” capability will be available over a phased period from October 2008, with a manual response process to inform carriers. A fully automated response to carriers is a future service under the e-Borders contract.

Baroness Hanham asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord West of Spithead: The e-Borders system already collects and uses a small sample of OPI which it has used to de-risk the main programme. From summer 2009 the e-Borders solution will begin the incremental capture of other passenger information (OPI), and by the end of December 2013 will be processing 100 million targeted/selected OPI passenger movements.

Baroness Hanham asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord West of Spithead: Heads of Border Operations within the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States sit on a five-country steering group. The group is committed to strengthening links between the participating countries and has held discussions on the various “authority to carry” schemes.

The “authority to carry” capability will be available from October 2008, with a manual response process to inform carriers. A fully automated response to carriers is a future service under the e-Borders contract.


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