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27 Jun 2005 : Column 1238W—continued

Raw Tobacco Market

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the Court of Auditors audit on the raw tobacco market, C41 OJ 17 Feb 05. [497]

Jim Knight: I have been asked to reply.
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The UK has long fought for the withdrawal of subsidy for the growing of tobacco and the lack of controls highlighted by the report of the Court of Auditors serves to reinforce this view. We are concerned at the failures by member states to apply the required controls and unsatisfactory monitoring by the Commission. While the reform of the tobacco regime agreed at the Luxembourg Council in April 2004 will result in full decoupling of the tobacco subsidy by 2010 we expect every effort to be made to ensure that the controls required by existing legislation are followed and, if necessary, corrective action taken. We will continue to take every opportunity to press the Commission for updates on the progress it is making to ensure member states are applying the required controls and on how it is addressing the issue of financial corrections.

Renewable Energy

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what measures are being taken to encourage the use of renewable energy in Middlesbrough, South and East Cleveland constituency. [5911]

Malcolm Wicks: The Government's primary support mechanism for renewable energy in the UK is the Renewables Obligation (RO). The RO requires electricity suppliers to obtain an annually increasing percentage of their electricity from renewable source. This is supported by over £500 million in spending on developing emerging renewables and low carbon technologies up to 2008.

Renew Tees Valley is responsible for planning and delivery of renewable energy projects in the Tees Valley including Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland and is tasked with creating jobs and encouraging inward investment using the medium of renewables and recycling.

Renew Tees Valley is part of the wider NE regional activity working in partnership with Government Office for the North East, ONE, and the North East Assembly under the auspices of the North East Energy Partnership (NEEP), which takes the lead role in the North East for promoting renewables and for encouraging energy efficiency activities.



Mr. Amess: To ask the Prime Minister what plans he has to visit Bermuda. [7144]

The Prime Minister: I have no current plans to do so.


Chris Grayling: To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the Government's response in Reform of the Honours System (Cm 6479) to Recommendation 10 of the Report by the House of Commons Public Administration Select Committee (HC 212–1). [5565]

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The Prime Minister: The Government's response to Recommendation 10 of the Report was put into effect in time for the recent Birthday Honours List.

Keith Vaz: To ask the Prime Minister how many of the Chairs of Specialist Committees he approved on 14 June as members of the Independent Honours Committee are (a) black and (b) Asian. [6448]

The Prime Minister: None. The process of selecting members of the Committees from those who applied is now under way. In making these appointments, the Cabinet Secretary will be taking into account the objective of creating a diverse membership.

Chris Grayling: To ask the Prime Minister what his policy is on scrutiny of propriety of awards of political honours in cases where a recipient has made a donation to a political party. [6066]

The Prime Minister: The fact of having made a political donation should not in itself exclude the award of an honour where the candidate's service or achievements justify one. The House of Lords Appointments Commission is given information, where relevant, about political donations made by candidates whom it considers. As for candidates assessed by the normal process, those for the most senior awards who have made recent political donations are drawn to the attention of the main honours assessment committee.

Chris Grayling: To ask the Prime Minister what assessment he has made of the minuted opinion of the Main Committee on honours that the Science and Technology Committee was unlikely to recommend Professor Colin Blakemore for an honour for his scientific work in view of his work on vivisection. [6065]

The Prime Minister: It has been the practice of successive Governments not to comment on allegedly leaked documents.

House of Lords

Chris Grayling: To ask the Prime Minister (1) whether it will be the responsibility of the House of Lords Appointments Commission to vet all nominations for honours, including those nominated by (a) the Prime Minister and (b) political parties, to ensure the highest standards of propriety; [5624]

(2) who, following the abolition of the Political Honours Scrutiny Committee, in the case of candidates put forward personally by the Prime Minister for honours, will review independently the tax status, business connections and other personal interests of those candidates, their families and friends in order to ensure the highest standard of propriety; and from what date their vetting work will begin. [5626]

The Prime Minister: The House of Lords Appointments Commission have agreed to my request that the Prime Minister of the day should refer to them any candidates for honours for political and public services put forward by leaders of political parties, and the names of Members of Parliament who are candidates for honours for services to Parliament. They have agreed to perform a similar service in respect of any candidates whose names are proposed by the Prime
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Minister of the day for an Honours List at a late stage, and who have not therefore been subject to the normal assessment and selection process.

Chris Grayling: To ask the Prime Minister what powers the House of Lords Appointments Commission has to vet appointments by the Prime Minister other than peerages. [6063]

The Prime Minister: None, other than those nominations for honours as described in the answer I gave to the hon. Gentleman today (5624 and 5626).

Chris Grayling: To ask the Prime Minister if he will make it his policy that the role of the House of Lords Appointments Commission is extended to consider whether the appointments of Ministers in the House of Lords by him conform to the highest standards of propriety. [6064]

The Prime Minister: No.

Nuisance Automated Phone Calls

John Hemming: To ask the Prime Minister pursuant to the Answer of 15 June 2005, Official Report, column 259, what steps the Government are taking to prevent nuisance automated phone calls. [7224]

The Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to the letter I sent him today. Copies of the letter have been placed in the Libraries of the House.

Prime Minister (Appointment)

Mr. Allen: To ask the Prime Minister pursuant to the answer of 16 June ref 3343, what time scale he would expect to be followed for the appointment of the Prime Minister. [7388]

The Prime Minister: I have nothing further to add to the answer I gave my hon. Friend on 16 June 2005, Official Report, column 577W.



19. Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what powers are available to (a)the police and (b) local authorities to deal with the illegal riding of micro-bikes. [6871]

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Mr. Andy Burnham: The police have a power under the Police Reform Act to seize any mechanically propelled vehicle which is being driven both in a careless and inconsiderate manner on-road, or off-road without lawful authority, and causing or likely to cause alarm, distress or annoyance to members of the public. If a micro-bike is ridden on the pavement, the police can deal with this as an offence under the Highways Act 1835. Where the rider is a child the police may choose instead to warn him and advise his parents as necessary.

Local authorities can make byelaws prohibiting the use of micro-bikes in particular areas and also have the power to seize vehicles causing a noise nuisance.

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