Archive of ‘Written Answers’

Forced Marriage11.22.10

Lord Sheikh:

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what additional support they will give to victims of forced marriages.

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): There is a cross-government approach to tackle the issue of forced marriages. The Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) will shortly develop its new action plan for 2011-12 in consultation with other government departments and its voluntary sector partners.

If a person is at risk of forced marriage or has already been forced into marriage they can seek support from the Forced Marriage Unit (FMU), a joint Home Office and Foreign and Commonwealth Office unit; and by applying for a forced marriage civil protection order under the Forced Marriage (Civil Protection) Act 2007.

The FMU also provides funding to local projects, through its annual Domestic Programme Fund.

Archive for House of Lords, Written Answers

Health: Cousin Marriage11.22.10

Lord Sheikh:

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to raise awareness of the medical difficulties associated with cousin marriages.

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to initiate any dialogue with community leaders about the health risks of cousin marriages.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The department continues to support the work of the National Health Service in providing information to all couples at risk of genetic conditions to enable them to make informed choices.

As part of the complementary work to the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007, the department has published the Implementation Plan for Reducing Health Inequalities in Infant Mortality: A Good Practice Guide, a copy of which has been placed in the Library. The document provides details on how genetic screening and counselling services play an important part in this area. Specifically, it highlights the work of two projects funded by the department on how to provide appropriate genetic services and support to communities that practise cousin marriage.

The department supports the work of NHS initiatives among communities with a higher prevalence of cousin marriage on a number of important issues. This includes initiatives delivered through regional NHS genetic counselling services that work to raise awareness of the risks associated with cousin marriage.

Most couples in consanguineous relationships will have healthy children. Overall the risk of any given couple having a child with a severe genetic condition is still relatively small, estimated at 4 per cent for cousin marriages compared to 2 per cent for unrelated parents.

Archive for Health, House of Lords, Written Answers

Health: Cousin Marriage11.22.10

Lord Sheikh:

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they will take to give extra medical support to children born of parents from the same extended family.

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to encourage better relations between the medical profession and those groups within society among whom same-cousin marriages are prevalent.

Earl Howe: As with any situation where children need additional health care, an assessment should be made and based on clinical need commissioned by local National Health Service services.

The department has supported development of local services specifically dealing with consanguineous relationships. This includes initiatives delivered through regional NHS genetic counselling services that work to raise awareness of the risks associated with cousin marriage.

Most couples in consanguineous relationships will have healthy children. Overall the risk of any given couple having a child with a severe genetic condition is still relatively small, estimated at 4 per cent for cousin marriages compared to 2 per cent for unrelated parents.

Archive for Health, House of Lords, Written Answers

Olympic Games 201211.17.10

Lord Sheikh:

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what guidelines they will provide for event stewards ahead of the London 2012 Olympics.

Baroness Garden of Frognal: The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) is responsible for delivering the venue safety and security responsibilities of an event organiser, in accordance with current UK legislation and the Department for Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS) “Green Guide”-the Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds. For events not organised by LOCOG, all local authorities are required to follow guidelines on event stewarding as set out in the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) “Purple Guide” for event safety.

The Home Office, DCMS, HSE and local licensing authorities are working closely to ensure that event organisers are complying with the relevant legislation set for planning and delivering public events related to London 2012.

LOCOG is responsible for the volunteering programme for the Games, including stewarding roles. LOCOG is recruiting up to 70,000 “Games Makers”, each of whom will attend at least three days of training, including learning about the details of their role and seeing their Games-time venue.

LOCOG, the Home Office and education providers have also launched Bridging the Gap, an initiative to provide skilled security personnel for the London 2012 Games by training young people in stewarding, event management and security guarding with a recognised qualification and opportunities to work within the Games.

Archive for House of Lords, Olympics, Written Answers

Alcohol: Young People11.16.10

Lord Sheikh:

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what additional support they will give to the leisure security industry to tackle under-age drinking.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The Government take the issue of under-age drinking extremely seriously which is why we have committed to raising the fine for persistent sales to children to £20,000.

The Government have encouraged the leisure security industry to verify the age of an individual by using the proof of age standard scheme (PASS).

PASS is supported by the Home Office and the organisation has engaged extensively with the leisure security industry to ensure that door staff are aware of the scheme.

Archive for House of Lords, Written Answers

Olympic Games 201211.16.10

Lord Sheikh:

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what support they are giving to the leisure security industry to ensure that stewards are trained ahead of the London 2012 Olympics.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The Home Office has supported the provision of trained stewards for the London 2012 Games through “Bridging the Gap”: an initiative to train young people in stewarding, event management and security guarding with a recognised qualification and opportunities to work within the Games. The initiative has been funded jointly by the Home Office, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the London 2012 Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), working alongside the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) and further education establishments.

LOCOG’s planned Games-time workforce includes up to 100,000 short-term opportunities from third-party contractors, including in the field of security. LOCOG will ensure that contractors’ staff are appropriately trained and have the necessary skills.

Archive for Olympics, Written Answers

Niqabs10.19.10

Lord Sheikh:

To Ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their response to proposals for a ban on the niqab in the United Kingdom.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): The Government would oppose a change in the law as being out of keeping with our nation’s long-standing approach to religious tolerance. A ban on what citizens can wear in the street would be an attack on the British rights and values of freedom of speech, freedom to associate and freedom of worship.

Archive for House of Lords, Muslims, Written Answers

Niqabs10.14.10

Lord Sheikh:

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they have taken to ensure that women who choose to wear the niqab or burqa in public are not subject to discrimination.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): Women who chose to wear niqab or burqa are protected by the Equality Act 2010, the core provisions of which were commenced on 1 October, by the Government Equalities Office, carries forward previous legal protection from discrimination and harassment because of religion or belief, or lack of belief, in areas including employment, the provision of goods, facilities and services, education and the exercise of public functions.

Lord Sheikh:

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of how often women who wear the niqab or burqa are refused entry to public buildings.

Baroness Hanham: Such data are not recorded centrally by government; therefore no assessment has been made.

Lord Sheikh:

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to engage with religious and community leaders when considering the issue of women wearing the niqab or burqa in the United Kingdom.

Baroness Hanham: Government departments regularly meet representatives of all faith groups to discuss issues that concern them. The Government do not plan to discuss burqa and niqab issues specifically.

Archive for House of Lords, Muslims, Written Answers

Religious Tolerance10.14.10

Lord Sheikh:

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps will they take to maintain tolerance and respect for all religious beliefs in British society.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): Faith communities make a vital contribution to national life: guiding the moral outlook of many, inspiring great numbers of people to public service, providing succour to those in need.

Britain has a proud tradition of religious tolerance, within the law. The Government are committed to creating a strong and integrated society in which hatred and prejudice are not tolerated and in which all people are free to express their identity and live without fear of harassment and crime that targets them because of that identity.

The Government welcomes and supports the growth of dialogue and shared action between different religious groups. We want to help build effective, friendly working relationships between people of different faiths.

Inter Faith Week 2010, from 21 to 27 November, will be an important focus for inter faith activities. Despite tight spending pressures, we are able to make some funds available to support activities during the week.

We have also decided to continue with the Faiths in Action scheme-grants of up to £6,000 to support innovative local inter faith projects, including during Inter Faith Week. This Government have approved 179 projects totalling £995,000. Many of these have an emphasis on people from different backgrounds coming together to address local problems such as improving green spaces, as well as promoting tolerance and respect.

Archive for House of Lords, Written Answers

Airports: Security09.27.10

Lord Sheikh:

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, whether there are procedures for a person who wishes to complain about the behaviour of an officer searching persons at United Kingdom international airports to ensure that complaints are adequately dealt with when they are made.

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, whether a procedure is in place to deal with complaints about officers searching persons at United Kingdom international airports after the event and to ensure any appropriate action is taken.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The UK Border Agency (UKBA) complaints procedure (on the Agency’s internet site at http://www. ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/contact/makingacomplaint/) can be used to complain about the behaviour of a border force officer searching persons at UK international airports. The procedure applies whether the incident relates to a service the border force provided or was provided on the behalf of UKBA. It also applies where the matter relates to the conduct of border force staff or contractors working on the behalf of UKBA.

The complaint may be made at the point of contact with a border force officer who will aim to resolve the complaint; this may include referring the matter to a senior officer if this is deemed appropriate. Alternatively the customer, regardless of nationality, may ask to speak to a senior officer in order to make their complaint or seek resolution. A customer may choose to make their complaint after the event; though a complaint must be made within three months of the incident to which it refers.

The UK border force takes all complaints seriously. The receipt of all complaints is acknowledged in writing and the border force aims to provide a response to the customer within 20 days of receipt. If a customer does not think their complaint has been handled correctly they may ask for the handling to be reviewed. If the customer remains dissatisfied they can ask a UK MP to refer the matter to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. Additionally, customers in Scotland who remain dissatisfied can contact the Police Complaints Commissioner for Scotland. These escalation steps are “signposted” to customers in the letters they receive about their complaint. If the issue raised within the complaint is of a very serious nature the matter will be referred by UKBA to the Independent Police Complaints Commission for England & Wales.

The UK border force wants to learn from complaints and improve its service to customers wherever possible. The border force considers the complaints not only within the business area that received it but also at the UKBA level so that lessons are learned and good practice shared. For example, the border force may consider making adjustments to the process that led to the complaint, giving their staff extra training or, in serious cases, taking disciplinary action.

Archive for House of Lords, Written Answers

  • You Avatar
    Lord Sheikh is a Conservative Peer, businessman, academic and philanthropist. This is his website.

  • Recent Activity

  • Browse by Category