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Press Complaints Commission

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: This is a matter for the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) as government have no involvement in making appointments to the PCC. Members of the PCC are appointed by an independent appointments commission, comprised predominantly of public members, including the chairman of the PCC, with only one member connected to the industry.

Prisons: Drugs

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: Prosecution information in relation to drug finds in prisons is not available, as the court data sets do not hold any background information in relation to where the offence took place.

Revenue and Customs: Approved Mileage Allowance

Lord Hanningfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: Details of the increase in retail prices for unleaded and diesel fuel between April 2002 and May 2008 are shown in the attached table.

Super unleadedPremium unleadedDiesel

% increase in nominal terms

38%

40%

44%

% increase in real terms

19%

21%

24%



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The Chancellor keeps the statutory tax-free mileage allowance rates under review and considers changes in the context of the Budget and Pre-Budget Report Statements.

Revenue and Customs: Dogs

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): Products of animal origin (POAO) detector dogs were introduced by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in 2002. Responsibility for POAO dogs was subsequently transferred to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs in 2003. POAO dogs are not trained specifically to detect bush meat, but will identify products of animal origin in general. There are currently nine POAO dogs in service at ports and airports throughout Great Britain.

Smoking

Lord Dykes asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The latest data on smoking prevalence are from 2006, showing that 22 per cent of persons aged 16 and over in both Great Britain and England smoke. These data were published in General Household Survey 2006: Smoking and Drinking Among Adults by the Office for National Statistics, Copies of the publication have already been placed in the Library.

In Agreement 18 of the Public Service Agreement Delivery, the department has a target to reduce adult smoking rates to 21 per cent or less by 2010. At the current trajectory, the department expects that this target will be achieved.

Telephones: Coin-operated Boxes

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (Baroness Vadera): The universal service obligation is administered by the Office of Communications (Ofcom), the independent regulator. Therefore the Government

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have no plans for coin-operated telephone boxes. The universal service obligation applies to BT and Kingston Communications (KCom).

Seventy per cent applies to all of BT and KCom's public call boxes in the UK.

Previously, BT/Kingston was required to provide at least one public call box within a site, save in certain limited circumstances. This was changed in 2006 to the current provision. In the statement that accompanied the amendment, Ofcom said that it would expect BT/Kingston to informally consult with the relevant unitary authority before removing a cash payment facility. Ofcom also said that it would expect BT/Kingston to enable the public to make:

freephone and reverse charge calls;card payment facilities, save in exceptional circumstances; anda call for the minimum existing fee using alternative payment methods.

Transport: Price Mechanism

Lord Bradshaw asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The Government's policy was set out by my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Transport in Towards a Sustainable Transport System, where she stated: “Fundamentally, we need to get the prices right to cover the environmental and congestion costs of transport, to encourage technological innovation, to promote behavioural change, and to be smart with our investment decisions”.

The transport planning process we set out in Towards a Sustainable Transport System will be further developed in a formal consultation in the autumn of this year, with firm proposals set out in spring 2009.

UN: Alliance of Civilizations

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bach: The UK is an active member of the Group of Friends of the Alliance of Civilisations. We warmly encourage all other countries to be associated with the alliance and its programmes and welcome the nomination of national co-ordinators to support its initiatives.



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Vaccination and Immunisation

Earl Howe asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The role of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is to advise the United Kingdom Secretaries of State on matters relating to communicable diseases, preventable and potentially preventable through immunisation. The Department of Health for England and equivalent departments in the devolved Administrations communicate with the NHS regarding JCVI recommendations. This is done through Chief Medical Officer letters and the book Immunisation against Infection Diseases (The Green Book). Copies of the green book have already been placed in the Library.

Earl Howe asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Darzi of Denham: The role of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is to advise the United Kingdom Secretaries of State on matters relating to communicable diseases, preventable and potentially preventable through immunisation. The Department of Health for England and equivalent departments in the devolved Administrations communicate with the National Health Service regarding JCVI recommendations.

Zimbabwe: Robert Mugabe

Viscount Waverley asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bach: The allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity faced by Jean-Pierre Bemba and the suffering witnessed in Zimbabwe are extremely serious. Jean-Pierre Bemba is in custody following an investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC) into crimes committed during armed conflict in the Central African

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Republic and the issue of a warrant for his arrest. There has been no such investigation into events in Zimbabwe, which is not a state party to the ICC.

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Neither do we wish to pre-empt a decision that is properly the prerogative of a successor Government in Zimbabwe.


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