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Written Answers

Volume 401: debated on Friday 14 March 2003

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Written Answers To Questions

Friday 14 March 2003

Culture, Media And Sport

National Lottery

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many lottery awards there were to organisations in the City of York constituency in each year since 1997; and what the average number of awards per constituency was in each year. [102648]

According to the National Lottery Awards Database, which is based upon the information provided by the Lottery distributers, the total number of Lottery awards made to the City of York, and the average number of awards per constituency made each year since 1997 is set out in the table:

Calendar yearCity of York constituencyAverage number of awards per constituency
19972721.3
19981613
19993130.5
20003736.8
20014830.2
20023237.1

>Regional Cultural Consortiums

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the administrative costs of each regional cultural consortium were in each year since 1999–2000. [102682]

The information required is in the table.

Regional cultural consortium1999–200012000–012001–022002–032
Eastern38826,35831,62137,884
East
Midlands85734,36615,92718,063
North East1,35541,85532,41536,614
North
West23021,99542,89036,503
South East96820,22936,92940,915
South West4,82333,60922,04334,061
West
Midlands1,61331,0896,09729,457
Yorkshire82929,80017,32638,344
1 The Regional Cultural Consortiums were established in October 1999
2 Expenditure calculated to 31 December 2002
The Consortiums have also received support from staff based within the Government Offices in the regions.

The Regional Development Agencies and the various regional cultural agencies have all been encouraged to help with funding and other means of support.

The Consortiums use their resources to promote joint working by regional partners and to implement the Regional Cultural Strategies so that cultural and sporting interests make a significant contribution to economic development, regeneration and social inclusion in each region.

Sporting Events

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make it her policy that adoption of a code of practice on ethical trading on the lines of that developed for the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games should be a necessary precondition for Government endorsements of any bid to stage a major sporting event; and if she will make a statement. [101918]

The Government will make a clear assessment of the costs and benefits of hosting the biggest (mega) events such as the Olympic Games and Football's World cup prior to bidding.It is not policy to adopt a code of practice for ethical trading as a precondition to bid to stage a mega event. However any organisation set up to bid for or stage a mega event will be expected to follow the good practice learned from previous events such as the staging of the Commonwealth Games 2002.

Defence

Aircraft Carriers

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence where the savings will be made in the Ministry of Defence's budget to fund the new aircraft carriers; and if he will make a statement. [102613]

The new aircraft carriers have been an integral part of the Ministry of Defence's future spending plans since the Strategic Defence Review. There is thus no requirement to find any savings to accommodate this longstanding key capability.

Cluster Bombs

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many cluster bombs are stockpiled by the Ministry of Defence, broken down by type. [102358]

Stockholdings of cluster bombs are held at an authorised war reserve stock figure. Details of the precise numbers of weapons could provide a potential adversary with information that could undermine our defence capabilities. I am therefore withholding this information in accordance with Exemption 1 (Defence, Security and International Relations) of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which types of cluster munitions the UK armed forces possess. [102359]

The United Kingdom armed forces possess the following types of cluster munitions; the multiple lunch rocket system (MLRS), Shell 155 mm HE L20A1 extended range bomblet shell (ERBS), Shell 155 mm HE M483A1 and the BL755.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the use by the RAF of cluster munitions. [102360]

Cluster bombs are one of a range of weapons systems available to the RAF, and are a legal weapon that fulfils a legitimate military role that cannot be performed by other means. Where the RAF has used cluster bombs, it has done so in a manner that is fully consistent with our obligations under international law.

Crisis Management

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what medium-term plans there are to give the EU military staff a planning capability for crisis-management operations; and if he will make a statement. [102677]

European Union member states agreed at Nice in 2000 that the EU Military staff would carry out strategic planning tasks, including

"military aspects of strategic advance planning"
for crisis management operations. This covers high-level consideration of options to support political/military decision-making, including particularly planning activities up to the point when the EU approves a military option. As part of the assured access to NATO planning capabilities agreed last year, the EU may call on NATO planning support for these activities.More detailed operational planning is not in the terms of reference of the EU Military staff. It was agreed at Nice that NATO's planning bodies will carry out operational planning for EU-led operations with recourse to NATO assets and capabilities. Operational planning for other operations would be carried out in existing European national and multinational headquarters, such as our own Permanent Joint Headquarters.There are no plans to change these arrangements.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether geographic limits will be set to politico-military action by the EU for crisis-management purposes; and if he will make a statement. [102788]

Currently there are no geographical limits set for crisis management operations which the European Union might conduct as part of the European Security and Defence Policy, although in practice distance would be one of a large number of factors which would determine whether or not an operation could be undertaken. I do not expect this to change.

Cruise Missiles

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what authority the UK Government have given the US Government to load cruise missiles on to B-52 bombers at RAF Gloucestershire; and for what purpose. [102419]

The use by United States Visiting Forces of United Kingdom bases is a matter for joint decision by HM Government and the US Government at the appropriate time. The deployment of the B-52s to RAF Fairford was part of our continuing contingency preparations and did not represent a decision to take military action.I am withholding the information requested in accordance with Exemption 1 (Defence, security and international relations) of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.

Defence Equipment

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list, by company, the outstanding value of offset obligations imposed and accepted in respect of defence equipment supplied from overseas to the UK. [102077]

I am withholding details of Industrial Participation (offset) obligations by company in accordance with Exemption 13 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information. The total value of extant IP obligations is £5.4 billion of which £2.3 billion remains to be completed.

Defence Export Services Organisation

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the benefits of privatising the Defence Export Services Organisation; and if he will make a statement. [102579]

The future of the Defence Export Services Organisation (DESO) was considered as part of the Strategic Defence Review in 1998. At that time a number of options were assessed, including privatisation, but it was concluded that the value of DESO support for defence exports stem from its being an integrated part of MOD and, hence, Government.

Freedom Of Information

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his policy is on releasing information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 relating to unpublished papers concerning the Scott Report and Mr. Gerald James. [100713]

[holding answer 13 March 2003]: It is Ministry of Defence policy to comply with the Freedom of Information Act 2000 once it enters into force. Requests for personal data will continue to be handled in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998, as amended by the Freedom of Information Act.

Eu Military Capabilities

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will make a statement on progress with implementing the Headline Goal to give the European Union the means of carrying out the full range of Petersberg missions; and if he will make a statement; [102674](2) what measures are planned to overcome the budgetary problems affecting achievement of the Helsinki goals; and if he will make a statement; [102678]

(3) what assessment has been made of shortfalls in the military capabilities of the EU member states; what assessment he has made of the prospects for overcoming them; and if he will make a statement. [102675]

The Helsinki Headline Goal has been broken down into 144 capability targets, of which 104 had been met following the Capabilities Improvement Conference in November 2001. Of the 40 shortfalls about half may be resolved by improved management of existing forces. For the rest, a European Capability Action Plan (ECAP) was launched after the conference, comprising multinational panels tasked with suggesting possible solutions.Steady progress has been made with implementing ECAP. The panels are in the process of issuing their final reports. Panel suggestions will be taken forward by Member States on a voluntary basis, with steps being taken to establish "Project Groups" to take these solutions forward. Decisions on defence budgets and priorities within them are matters for individual member states.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what measures have been taken to incorporate the fight against international terrorism within the range of European Security and Defence Policy missions; and if he will make a statement. [102672]

The European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) seeks to enable the European Union to deal with the full range of conflict prevention and crisis management missions defined in the Treaty, the "Petersberg Tasks". These missions (humanitarian and rescue tasks, peacekeeping tasks and tasks of combat forces in crisis management, including peacemaking) already give ESDP considerable scope to assist in the fight against international terrorism. Further work was commissioned, building on the Declaration of the Seville European Council concerning the contribution of the European Union's Common Foreign and Security Policy, including ESDP, in the fight against terrorism. This includes strengthening arrangements for sharing intelligence, and developing common threat evaluations. We are also supporting, in the framework of the Convention on the Future of Europe and elsewhere, proposals to allow a member state to call on the resources, including military, of other EU members, for civil protection tasks, following a terrorist attack.

Iraq

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many extra body bags his Department has ordered as part of contingency planning for any war against Iraq; how many his Department holds in stock; and if he will make a statement. [101920]

The Department undertakes routine purchasing of body bags to maintain stock levels. The most recent order, to replenish stocks and provide for contingency requirements, was for a total of 4,040 bags. Deliveries have commenced.The Ministry of Defence does not hold a centralised data on the holding of body bags, most of which are held at unit level, with a reserve held by the Defence Storage Distribution Agency and this information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he has received a copy of the pages of the Riegle report published by the US Senate on 25 May 1994, which lists the materials exported to Iraq which could contribute to a biological warfare programme; and if he will seek to establish from the USA what threat these materials provide to troops engaged in warfare with Iraq. [101400]

[holding answer 6 March 2003]: The Ministry of Defence is aware of the Riegle report. We remain concerned that Iraq continues with efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction, as set out in the dossier "Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction" published by the Government last September.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what information he has received about the amount of (a) bacillus anthracis, (b) clostridium botulinum, (c) histoplasma capsulatum, (d) brucella melitensis and (e) clostridium perfingens which have been exported from the USA to Iraq; and if he will make a statement. [101401]

[holding answer 6 March 2003]: We share information with allies and believe we have a good understanding of the potential threat that may derive from the biological materials, knowledge and technology known to be available to Iraq.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the consequences will be for troops operating in the Iraq area of the Iraq Atomic Energy Commission's possession of (a) E-coli, (b) genetic materials and (c) human and bacterial DNA. [101402]

[holding answer 6 March 2003]: The United Kingdom believes that the possession by Iraq of E-coli, genetic materials or human and bacterial DNA poses less of a hazard than their continuing efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction, as set out in the dossier "Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction" published by the Government last September.

Jaguar Aircraft

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Jaguar combat aircraft (a) have been produced under licence in India and (b) are contracted to be produced under licence in India. [102045]

I am withholding the information requested in accordance with Exemptions lb, 3 and 14 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information that relate to information whose disclosure would harm the conduct of international relations or affairs, to commercial confidences of a third party, and to information given in confidence.

Mines

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps the Government has taken to ensure that contracts for overseas work awarded by the US to (a) British private military companies and (b) UK-based subsidiaries of US companies do not include the handling, storage and maintenance of anti-personnel mine stockpiles. [101296]

The Landmines Act 1998 prohibits certain conduct, including using or possessing an antipersonnel mine, or participating in the acquisition or transfer of an anti-personnel mine, or assisting, encouraging or inducing such conduct. These offences apply to conduct in the United Kingdom and to conduct by United Kingdom nationals elsewhere. Any indication of illegal activity would be a matter for the law enforcement agencies.

Ministerial Directions

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library ministerial directions issued by his Department since 1997. [98816]

Ordnance

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how much ordnance was disposed of in the UK in (a) 2000–01, (b) 2001–02 and (c) 2002–03; [98298](2) what procedure is used by the MOD to dispose of old ordnance; and where it is disposed of. [98297]

Out of shelf life ordnance, or that for which no market can be found, is destroyed by the Ministry of Defence under a contract with QinetiQ. Any base materials (i.e. brass cartridge cases) are sold for recycling.Disposal by sale of surplus ordnance is the responsibility of the Ministry of Defence's Disposal Services Agency (DSA). That which is not sold overseas on a Government to Government basis (or gifted to Jordan under the Al Hussein Project) is disposed of within the United Kingdom or overseas by sale to properly licensed concerns through DSA's Marketing Agreement with Royal Ordnance PLC (now BAE systems).Ordnance destroyed is as follows:

2000:

  • 17,265,342 round of small arms ammunition .22 to 30mm, grenades and mortar bombs.
  • 102,156 rounds of large calibre e.g. 105mm to 155mm, 4.5 inch ammunition.
  • 159,995 Explosive Ordnance Disposal Arisings.

2001:

  • 5,470,802 rounds of small arms ammunition .22 to 30mm, grenades and mortar bombs.
  • 60,978 rounds of large calibre e.g. 105mm to 155mm, 4.5 inch ammunition.
  • 392,930 Explosive Ordnance Disposal Arisings.

2002:

  • 1,212,124 rounds of small arms ammunition .22 to 30mm, grenades and mortar bombs.
  • 241,861 rounds of large calibre e.g. 105mm to 155mm, 4.5 inch ammunition.
  • 127,851 Explosive Ordnance Disposal Arisings.

The quantities of ordnance sold via Royal Ordnance PLC are as follows:

2000:

  • 7,114,866 rounds of small arms ammunition.

2001:

  • 1,228,970 rounds of small arms ammunition.

2002:

  • 686,998 rounds of small arms ammunition.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what redundant (a) weapons and (b) munitions have been sold since 1997; and to whom. [97288]

[holding answer 11 February 2003] : Surplus weapons and mtutitions sold in the last five years are listed as follows:

1998–99

Weapons: Nil

Munitions:

9,599,691 rounds to licensed companies—via Royal Ordnance PLC (now BAE SYSTEMS)

1999–2000

Weapons:

Light Gun—Royal Ordnance PLC

SLRs associated leaning equipment, magazines—FCO (for subsequent gifting to Sierra Leone as part of a wider assistance package)

Munitions:

30,626,813 rounds to licensed companies—via Royal Ordnance PLC

AIM Sidewinder Missiles—MOD Oman

1,999,931 rounds— FCO (for subsequent gifting to Sierra Leone as part of a wider assistance package)

2000–01

Weapons: Nil

Munitions:

Exocet missiles and homing heads—Aerospatiale France

Stingray Warheads—BAE SYSTEMS

Stingray Torpedoes—Norway

10,970,167 rounds to licensed companies—Via Royal Ordnance Plc

2001–02

Weapons: Nil

Munitions:

Mk46 Torpedoes—Raytheon Naval and Marine 8,738,5149 rounds to licensed companies—Systems via Royal Ordnance Plc

2002–03

Weapons: Nil

Munitions:

30 mm Aden Ammunition—BAE SYSTEMS

13,621,235 rounds to licensed companies—via Royal Ordnance Plc

Note:

Rounds referred to above were all either 7.62 mm, 5.56 mm or 0.303 mm ammunition.

Minesweepers

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the disposal of minesweeper Pagham. [99782]

The ex-HMS Pagham was formally gifted by the Ministry of Defence to the Stranraer Sea Cadet Unit on 1 May 1999 having been on loan to the unit since 1978. This decision was made in light of an assessment of the likely receipts from the sale of the vessel on the open market and other relevant factors, including the expenditure incurred by the Stranraer unit on maintaining and improving the vessel during the loan period. Other forms of disposal were not considered to be cost effective. The MOD no longer has any responsibility for the vessel.

Skynet 5

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the Skynet 5 Project. [101595]

Negotiations leading to deal closure on the Skynet 5 PFI programme are nearing completion. We expect contract award to take place shortly.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle System

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the operational, technical and political benefits are to the UK of acquiring the planned unmanned aerial vehicle system; and if he will make a statement on the system's inter-operability with that of the Israeli Army. [101213]

The general benefits of the Watchkeeper system, to which I assume my hon. Friend refers, comprising Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, their sensor packages and associated exploitation facilities, were outlined in my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence's written statement to the House on 7 February 2003, Official Report, columns 21 -22 WS. We expect to select a single successful Watchkeeper contractor by mid-2004. On interoperability, I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Aldershot (Mr. Howarth) on 24 February 2003, Official Report, column 312W. This indicated that our primary focus is on interoperability with NATO allies.

Water And Food Rations (Gulf)

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the water and food rations for armed service personnel operating in the Gulf region. [100861]

Land and Air Forces in Theatre are provided with a fresh cooked breakfast and evening meal each day and the United States supplied MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) for lunch. Meals are cooked by military chefs, from field kitchens. Bottled water is supplied through reliable sources within the region, providing six litres of water per person per day. Personnel undertaking training outside the main operating bases are provided with 24 hour Operational Ration Packs. The Naval Forces have sufficient stock embarked to be self-supporting, with resupply available from Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships.

Deputy Prime Minister

Cabinet Committees

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list Cabinet Committee meetings he has chaired in the last 12 months. [101818]

I refer my hon. Friend to the Written Ministerial Statement given on 6 February by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on Cabinet Committees. Official Report, column 19WS.

Local Government Finance

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister which local authorities in Devon have suffered a cut in real terms in central government funding on the basis of the new burdens principle; and if he will define the proposals and initiatives within the principle. [102042]

The Local Government Finance Settlement 2003–04 provides all authorities in Devon with an above inflation increase in formula grant. Three authorities in fact receive increases above 10 per cent. Where the Government have provided additional funds to those announced in SR2002 for specific new burdens, such as an extra £21.53 million for the End of Life Vehicles Directive, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has adjusted the 2002–03 baseline to enable a like for like comparison. This means that the above inflation grant increases we have guaranteed to all councils are over and above the extra money councils will be receiving for new burdensThe Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is committed to the new burdens principle which requires Government Departments to fully fund the extra costs on councils of any new initiative for which they are responsible. We looked with local government in the context of the Spending Review 2002 at the new burdens to be imposed on local government, along with the pressures on council expenditure and the scope for efficiency savings. This year's Settlement takes into account the outcome of that work and is reflected in the general grant increases over the next three years of 5.8 per cent., 4.9 per cent., and 6.9 per cent.In addition, there were a number of new burdens on local authorities which could not be finalised at the time of the Spending Review. The following transfers were added to the Local Government Finance Settlement 2003–04:

  • Teachers' Pensions £585.908 million
  • Concessionary fares £50 million
  • End of Life Vehicles Directive £21.530 million
  • Enterprise Bill £4.306 million
  • Animal Feedstuffs £2.5 million

Revenue consequence of Supplementary Credit Approvals for detrunked roads £1.444 million.

Rate Support Grant

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how much the rate support grant was in (a) Essex County Council and (b) Braintree District Council in each year from 1990 to 2002. [102727]

The amounts of revenue support grant paid to Essex County Council and to Braintree District Council in each financial year from 1990–91 to 2002–03 are given in the table.

Revenue support grant paid to Essex County Council and Braintree District
£ million
Essex County CouncilBraintree District Council
1990–91114.6
1991–92113.5
1992–9330.7
1993–94386.22.9
1995–95442.73.8
1995–962395.33.6
1996–97388.53.0
1997–98406.43.3
1998–993331.02.9
1999–2000339.72.8
2000–01332.12.6
2001–02375.33.0
2002–03348.52.5
1 Between 1990–91 and 1992–93, all revenue support grant for shire areas was paid direct to the collection funds of district councils amounts for individual authorities were not separately identified.
2 Responsibility for policing transferred from Essex County Council to Essex Police Authority on 1 April 1995.
3 The area covered by Essex County Council was reduced on 1 April 1998, when Southend and Thurrock became unitary authorities

Note:

Figures are not necessarily comparable between years due to changes in function and responsibility. The main changes are listed.

Revenue support grant was not the only general grant paid to each authority by central Government during the period shown in the table. Other grants paid include redistributed non-domestic rates.

Residential Care (Funding)

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the transfer of funding between social services departments when one department chooses to place residents into residential care in the area of another. [100540]

I have been asked to reply.In England, a council should provide social services to those who are assessed under section 47of the NHS and Community Care Act 1990 as needing such care services and are considered to be ordinarily resident within that council's area, in accordance with Local Authority Circular 93(7), a copy of which is available in the Library. Once a council has accepted responsibility for a service user, that council should provide and fund the appropriate services whether that service be provided within that council's boundary or outside. There is therefore no requirement to transfer funds between social services departments when one council chooses to place an individual in the area of another council.

Education And Skills

Free Fruit Schemes

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what recent communication he has had with the organisers of free fruit schemes for schools; [99740](2) what plans he has to increase the take-up of free fruit schemes in British schools; [99739](3) how many schools in the United Kingdom are participating in free fruit schemes. [99741]

I have been asked to reply.The Government have made a commitment to introduce a National School Fruit Scheme for four to six-year-olds across England from 2004. The scheme is being introduced through large scale region wide pilots in 2002–03 and 2003–04 with funding from the New Opportunities Fund. The scheme has been introduced in the West Midlands and London and is currently being introduced across the North West.The scheme is voluntary for schools but our aim is to encourage all eligible schools to take part. The total number of schools currently participating is currently 4,411; around 88 per cent. of those eligible. This means that around 600,000 children are receiving free fruit each school day.The total number of participating schools will increase as the scheme is expanded to new regions. In regions where the scheme has already been introduced, regional five-a-day co-ordinators and school fruit area co-ordinators are working with regional and local colleagues in health and education to encourage take up of the scheme by all eligible schools. The Department of Health has regular communication with the five a day and school fruit co-ordinators.There are a number of locally funded projects which provide free fruit to schoolchildren outside the scope of the National School Fruit Scheme in England, although there is no information held centrally on how many schools or children are participating in such schemes.As health is a devolved matter the Department of Health has responsibility for England only. However, officials have regular contact with their counterparts working on similar schemes in the devolved Administrations.

Environment

Fish (Pain)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent research she has evaluated concerning whether fish feel pain; and if she will make a statement. [100360]

The maintenance of high standards of welfare for all animals including fish is a priority for DEFRA. The FAWC Report on the Welfare of Farmed Fish which was published in September 1996 considered the applicability of the term pain to fish. Since this report was published we are aware of further research on this topic.Projects have been conducted at centres of expertise in the Roslin Institute in Scotland as well as in the University of Edinburgh. We are aware of the recent report by the Fisheries Society of the British Isles on Fish Welfare published in 2002 as well as reports from Canadian sources on this important topic of pain in fish.While such research suggest fish do not experience pain in the same way as species such as mammals, further detailed research is required before a definitive position can be taken.

Foodstuffs (Labelling/Standards)

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many (a) labelling and (b) standards schemes there are relating to the nature and production of foodstuffs in the UK; and what the requirements are for each. [102440]

[Holding answer 13 March 2003]: I have been asked to reply.The Government does not collate information on the number of labelling and standards schemes relating to the nature and production of foodstuffs in the United Kingdom. These schemes fall into two general categories: those based on European legislation (such as that on organic food production), and those more commonly referred to as food assurance schemes, which are largely voluntary.Food assurance schemes generally set out certain production standards in areas such as food safety and hygiene, environmental protection, animal welfare and inspections. An independent review of 18 of the main assurance schemes (including those covered by the British Farm Standard denoted by its "red tractor" logo) was carried out for the Food Standards Agency and published in July last year. It contains detailed descriptions of those schemes. Copies of the review will be placed in the Library.

Gm Crops

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of two separate GM public debates running concurrently; and if she will make a statement. [100865]

The Government are sponsoring a public debate on GM issues, which was announced last July, that encompasses a range of different activities. As part of that process, the Food Standards Agency announced that it would be conducting a series of events to independently evaluate consumers' views on the acceptability of GM food and how this relates to consumer choice. These activities will be a contribution to the wider public debate.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what measures she is taking to ensure the Scottish Executive is involved in the (a) public debate and (b) approval process for GM crops. [101258]

The Scottish Executive is fully involved in and is contributing to the funding of the Public Debate on GM issues, which is being managed at arms' length from Government by an independent Steering Board. The Steering Board are keeping the Scottish Executive fully informed of their progress.Decisions to authorise or not the commercial importation or cultivation of any GM crop will be taken, on a case-by-case basis, by European Union (EU) Member States collectively working with the European Commission in the context of EU Directive 2001/18. In preparing the UK's opinion the Government will seek the views of the Devolved Administrations on all applications.

Meat Imports

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many cases of specified risk material have been detected in meat imports into the UK from the EU over the past year. [100580]

I have been asked to reply.Since 1 January 2002, there have been 33 cases where specified risk material has been found in imported meat. Each case has been reported to the veterinary authorities of the Member State of origin for appropriate action to be taken. Of these breaches, one consignment came from France, one from the Netherlands, four from the Republic of Ireland, 11 from Germany and 14 from Spain.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what measures she plans to take with regard to meat imports contaminated with specified risk materials. [100581]

I have been asked to reply.On the instructions of the Food Standards Agency (FSA), the Meat Hygiene Service continues to check at licensed premises every notified consignment of imported carcases beef for any presence of specified risk material (SRM). When SRM is found, the carcases affected are destroyed. The authorities of the exporting country and the European Commission are also informed.Further to this, the Chairman of the FSA has discussed the issue with the relevant European Commissioner (Commissioner Byrne). The United Kingdom has also instigated discussions at the European Union Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health and at the EU Beef Management Committee. UK officials have also had profitable discussions at technical level with officials from the Member States concerned.

Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

Democratic Republic Of The Congo

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions the Baroness Amos had on (a) the peace process in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, (b) the Kimberley diamonds process and (c) conflict prevention measures in the region during her recent visit to Africa; and if he will make a statement. [101800]

During her recent visit to Guinea, Cameroon and Angola, my noble Friend Baroness Amos discussed a range of issues including regional peace and security.Discussions did not include the DRC or the Kimberley Process certification scheme for rough diamonds. But Baroness Amos is in regular contact with the key African players and other members of the international community on both issues.

Eurobank

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the cost is to UK public funds of the resignation of the Attorney-General of the Cayman Islands. [103127]

There has been no cost to UK public funds arising from his departure from office.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to meet the Leader of Government Business of the Cayman Islands Government to discuss the collapse of the Eurobank case; and if he will make a statement. [103128]

My noble Friend Baroness Amos last met the Leader of Government Business during her visit to the Cayman Islands on 16ߝ17 February. She remains in regular touch with him.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what changes he plans in the appointment of law officers to overseas territories as a result of (a) the collapse of the Eurobank case and (b) the subsequent resignation of the Attorney-General to the Cayman Islands. [103129]

None. However procedures may be re-examined as part of the constitutional review process now under way in most Overseas Territories following up the commitment made in the 1999 White Paper "Britain and the Overseas Territories: Partnership for Progress and Prosperity". Our position remains that it is fundamentally important to protect the independence and impartiality of law officers and the judiciary in the Overseas Territories.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans he has to review security matters relating to overseas territories as a result of the collapse of the Eurobank case in the Cayman Islands; and if he will make a statement. [103130]

Human Rights

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment his Department has made of the human rights situations in (a) Uzbekistan, (b) Turkmenistan, (c) Kyrgmenistan, (d) Algeria, (e) Jordan, (f) Qatar and (g) Pakistan. [101619]

[holding answer of 10 March 2003]: Human rights are at the heart of foreign policy and as such are integrated into policy-making at all levels. The FCO is therefore continually considering the human rights issues in all countries alongside other political, economic and security issues. However the human rights situations in the countries raised are as follows:Uzbekistan:We remain deeply concerned by reports of human right abuses in Uzbekistan. We recognise that the Uzbek Government has made small concessions in addressing the situation, including co-operating with the UN Special Rapporteur for Torture. However, Uzbekistan needs to do much more. We would like to see reform of the criminal justice system, as well as wider recognition of independent human rights groups, religious groups and political parties. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, my hon Friend the Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. O'Brien), raised human rights concerns with the Uzbek Ambassador in London on 10 February. We shall continue to press for tangible improvements in Uzbekistan's human rights record. We are also thinking together with the EU how best to handle the human rights situation in Uzbekistan at the next session of the Commission on Human Rights starting in March.

Turkmenistan:

We are greatly concerned at the recent developments in Turkmenistan following the reported assassination attempt on President Niyazov last November. We encouraged the EU to make a statement calling on the Turkmen authorities to comply with Turkmenistan's human rights obligations under international law. The EU is also considering how best to handle the human rights situation at the next session of the Commission on Human Rights.

Through the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) we have sought to establish a fact-finding mission to Turkmenistan to investigate all matters relating to the conduct of the investigations, including detentions, arrests and allegations of torture, as well as the trials, convictions and sentencing procedures. Turkmenistan has however refused to admit any mission of this kind. The OSCE has asked the Turkmen authorities to reconsider. We will continue to monitor the situation closely.

Kyrgyzstan:

We recognise efforts made by the Kyrgyz Government to improve its human rights situation and to bring about political reform. Positive developments include a presidential decree on 8 January 2003 extending a moratorium on the use of the death penalty. We are however still concerned by cases of harassment of independent media and unofficial Muslim groups. We shall continue to help Kyrgyzstan make improvements, in line with its international obligations and commitments.

Algeria:

We regularly raise our concerns about human rights violations in Algeria with the Algerian Government. We continue to urge the Algerian Government to fully comply with all its obligations under international human rights law, including the investigation of human rights violations, and to allow visits by the UN special rapporteurs on the question of torture and on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions. The UK with EU partners has also raised its concerns about a number of cases of human rights abuses with the Algerian authorities. The Algerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has offered information on some of these cases, but both we and our EU partners will continue to press for full answers.

Jordan:

We welcome the decision by the Jordanian Government to hold general elections in June 2003 (elections were previously postponed from autumn 2002). This decision represents the opportunity for people to exercise their democratic right to vote. We will encourage the Government to hold a free and fair electoral process. We have some concerns about the human rights situation in Jordan including the treatment of religious minorities, honour killings, and freedom of expression. Toujan al-Faisal was a former member of the Jordanian Parliament who was arrested in 2002 in connection with her public criticism of the Government's policies. We welcomed her release following a Royal Pardon in July 2002. We will continue to raise each human rights case as appropriate with the Jordanian Government or in conjunction with EU Partners.

Qatar:

Qatar has a good human rights record for a conservative Islamic society with an autocratic system of government. The social and political system is comparatively tolerant and increasingly open. The Amir has the right basic instincts towards human rights issues but recognises that change which could damage the fabric of his tribal people must be handled carefully and will take time. The Amir is encouraging women to play an active part in all walks of life; he has introduced his first steps towards democratic reform; the press exercises some self censorship; freedom of worship is tolerated provided it is discreet; there are plans to build Qatar's first churches; work continues on codifying sharia and civil law but Qataris are still to some extent associated in the Western mind with their Wahabi cousins in Saudi Arabia. Death sentences have been carried out but are extremely rare. There are, however general issues regarding the treatment of third country nationals and minors working in Qatar.

Pakistan:

The UK Government welcomed President Musharraf's speech of 12 January 2002 in which he condemned all forms of sectarianism and religious hatred and made the case for a moderate and tolerant Islam. We hope the new government will look carefully at human rights violations in Pakistan. The UK and EU are particularly concerned by sectarian and terrorist violence that has resulted in the deaths of a number of Christians across Pakistan, most recently the vicious attack on 25 December 2002.

We have concerns about the abuse of the blasphemy laws and are seriously concerned about the imposition of the death penalty for blasphemy. The UK government opposes the death penalty in all circumstances. Women's rights issues remain a concern. We hope the new government will keep to the pledge of the out-going government to review the Hudood ordinances on Islamic punishments. We are particularly concerned by so-called "honour" crimes against women, forced marriages, domestic violence, kidnap and rate. We believe much can be done to promote women's rights within the existing Islamic legal framework.

Israel

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Israeli Government concerning (a) the resettlement of Bedouin in the Negev and (b) the provision of services to Bedouin in the Negev; and if he will make a statement. [101584]

The Israeli Cabinet will soon vote on a proposal to relocate 70,000 Bedu from the Negev to seven existing settlement areas. I have asked our Embassy in Tel Aviv to raise concerns about the treatment of the Bedu with the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We continue to monitor developments closely.Our Ambassador in Tel Aviv visited the Bedu Regional Council of the Unrecognised Villages on 18 February as part of our Embassy's continuing dialogue with them. In 2002, our Embassy in Tel Aviv completed a successful advocacy-training programme for Bedu leaders and will shortly fund the construction of an 'environmental' medical centre for several unrecognised villages. The Regional Council has warmly welcomed our interest in, and support for, the Bedu's plight.

North Korea

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the nuclear programmes in (a) Iran and (b) North Korea; and if he will make a statement. [101822]

There has been concern about the nuclear ambitions of both Iran and North Korea for sometime. The IAEA Director-General has recently returned from a fact finding mission to Iran. We await his report to the IAEA Board of Governors.On North Korea's programme I refer the hon. Member to the answer given him by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Mr. Rammell) today UIN 101823.We continue to monitor closely developments in both countries.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the threat posed to the United Kingdom by North Korea's nuclear programmes. [101823]

We assess that North Korea has the technical capacity to manufacture nuclear weapons, and that the volume of plutonium it has diverted from its nuclear programme would be sufficient to make one or

two weapons. We also believe that North Korea could flight test a missile with the potential to reach Europe within weeks of a decision to do so. Once such a missile was flight-tested, it would take several years to deploy the missile operationally.

Assessment of threat is based on both capability and intent. We currently have no evidence of North Korean intent to target the UK.

We deplore North Korea's recent actions, including the expulsion of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) monitors from Yongbyon, and the stated intention to withdraw from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Sudan

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Government of Sudar on the clearances of villages in the oil field area of Southern Sudan. [101586]

We are in regular contact with the Government of Sudan. The US-led Civilian Protection Monitoring Team (CPMT) has investigated alleged attacks against civilians in Western Upper Nile as part of their normal mandate. At the request of Lt-Gen. Sumbeiywo the CPMT has also investigated alleged violations of the Memorandum of Understanding on cessation of hostilities which was signed at Machakos on 15 October 2002 and extended on 18 November 2002.On 4 February the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) signed an addendum which aims to strengthen the MoU. It contains many new and welcome initiatives, including the establishment of a Verification Monitoring Team to investigate alleged violations of the MoU by the Government of Sudan and the SPLM/A, to build confidence between the parries and make more unlikely the sorts of outbreaks of fighting which we have seen recently in Western Upper Nile. We are ready to contribute personnel and resources to this operation.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many UK nationals are employed in the southern oil fields of Sudan. [101587]

We cannot state with certainty how many UK nationals are in Sudan. UK nationals are not obliged to register at the British Embassy in Khartoum. Of those who have registered 26 state that they work in the oil industry in south Sudan.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had on the progress of peace negotiations in Sudan. [101590]

The UK role in supporting the peace process is performed jointly by the FCO and DFID. The UK Special Representative for Sudan, Alan Goulty, leads the UK observer delegation at the peace talks. We continually carry out intensive consultations at ministerial and official level with the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army in support of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) peace process. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary most recently met the Sudanese Foreign Minister at UNGA in September 2002.

United Nations Security Council

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his definition is of the phrase material breach as used in United Nations Security Council Resolutions. [101991]

As my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary said in the House on 7 November 2002, Official Report, column. 437,

"material breach is a term of art familiar in international law"

and

"means something significant, some behaviour or pattern of behaviour that is serious".

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the Government means by the term serious consequences used in the draft resolution on Iraq presented by it, the United States and Spain to the United Nations Security Council on 24th February. [102076]

As the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office my hon. Friend the Member for North Warwickshire (Mr. O'Brien) stated on 4 March in a written reply to a question from my hon. Friend the Member for Morley and Bothwell (Mr. Challen), Official Report, column 915W, the Council has warned Iraq that it will face serious consequences as a result of its continued violation of its obligations. As the Government have made clear, that means consequences up to and including the use of force.

Zimbabwe

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what applications (a) Mr. Robert Mugabe and (b) other Zimbabweans subject to the EU travel ban have made to visit Europe in the next three months; and if he will make a statement. [101780]

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the members of the Commonwealth troika on Zimbabwe; what assessment he has made of Zimbabwe's position in the Commonwealth following these discussions; and if he will make a statement. [101820]

We have a regular dialogue with Presidents Mbeki and Obasanjo and Prime Minister Howard about the situation in Zimbabwe. The political, economic and humanitarian situation has further deteriorated since Zimbabwe's suspension from the Commonwealth Councils on 18 March 2002. Zimbabwe has made no progress towards meeting the principles of good governance as set out in the Commonwealth's Harare declaration. On that basis, we see no justification for lifting its current suspension from the Commonwealth Councils.

Health

Avian Flu

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what implications for human health avian influenza has. [102366]

Avian influenza viruses very occasionally infect humans. However, this is a very rare event. An outbreak of avian influenza (strain H5N1) in Hong Kong in 1997 resulted in the death of six people. There was no evidence of human to human spread. In Europe there have been several cases of avian flu without any human consequences. The United Kingdom has plans in place to deal with a pandemic situation should the need arise.

Dietary Advice

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of the Government's five-a-day programme for schools is sourced from British fruit and vegetables. [102547]

[holding answer 12 March 2003]: Under the National School Fruit Scheme, which is part of the five a day programme, apples, pears, bananas and satsumas are provided free to children aged four to six. Since the beginning of the current school year, approximately 63 per cent., of apples and 73 per cent., of pears have been of United Kingdom origin.The Department is working with a range of partners to maximise the opportunities for UK growers to supply to the scheme, including expanding the range of produce provided to include other types of fruit and vegetables.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action is being taken to encourage low income groups to increase their consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables. [97324]

The Government's Five-a-day programme, a NHS Plan commitment, aims to increase access to, and availability and consumption of, fruit and vegetables particularly in low-income groups. Following successful piloting by the Department of Health, the New Opportunities Fund is providing £10 million over the next two years to support 66 local community initiatives led by primary care trusts (PCTs) based in the most deprived areas of England. Evaluation of the initial Department of Health Five-a-day community pilots showed that those who ate less than five a day at baseline increased their intakes by one portion over the course of the study.The Five-a-day communications programme will provide clear and consistent messages about Five-a-day, including the benefits of eating at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables each day and portion sizes. Work is also in progress with different organisations from across industry, including retailers, producers and caterers, as well as across government and with other agencies, to improve people's access to fruit and vegetables.Fully operational by 2004. the National School Fruit Scheme will entitle every child aged four to six in infant schools to a free piece of fruit each school day, as part of a national strategy to improve the diet of children. In addition, local initiatives to increase fruit and vegetable consumption in low-income groups may be found through health action zones, sure start, healthy living centres and other PCTs.

Oldchurch Hospital

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many complaints have been received about Oldchurch Hospital in the London Borough of Havering in each of the last 10 years. [101981]

The Department does not routinely collect statistics on the number of complaints received about hospitals. We do receive letters from hon. Members and from the public in respect of complaints about the National Health Service. However, NHS complaints are best dealt with at local level through the NHS complaints procedure. Therefore, letters received by the Department are transferred to the relevant NHS trust where appropriate.In the last four years Ministers have received directly the following numbers of letters of complaint about Oldchurch Hospital.

YearNumber of Letters
200056
200165
200223
200315
Information on previous years could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on accident and emergency services at Oldchurch Hospital in the London Borough of Havering. [101984]

Improving patients' experience of emergency care is essential. In light of this, "Reforming Emergency Care" was launched in October 2001, supported by £118 million investment. It sets a longterm programme of reform supported by extra investment and new capacity to address one of the public's key concerns about the national health service-waiting in accident and emergency (A&E).The NHS Plan set the target to reduce by 2004, the maximum time any patient spends in A&E from arrival, transfer or discharge to four hours. Barking and Havering Hospital NHS Trust is continuing to work toward achieving this target.

Joint Working

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to combine the skills of health visitors and social workers. [102109]

The Department is investing funds from the new human resources development strategy specific grant to support pilot sites to encourage and facilitate joint working across traditional professional roles. We are working in partnership with employers, across service boundaries, to develop new types of workers at different levels of expertise.

Our aim is to consider how social care provision can be improved through new ways of delivering services that make the best use of staff skills and have the needs of the service user as their focus.

Chorley Hospital

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what budget provision has been made for the employment of agency (a) doctors, (b) nurses and (c) other staff at Chorley Hospital for the next financial year. [101816]

There is no specific budget set aside for agency staff at the Lancashire Teaching Hospitals National Health Service Trust.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many agency staff have been employed at Chorley Hospital (a) as doctors, (b) as nurses and (c) in other capacities in each of the last three years. [101413]

The information available is shown in the tables.

Doctors employed at Chorley Hospital since March 2000
Number
1 March 2000 to 28 February 200183
1 March 2001 to 28 February 2002149
1 March 2002 to 28 February 2003187

Note:

The figures are shown as employment episodes. The length of each employment episode varies from a 1 day/night cover to very occasional periods of several months.

Nurses employed at Chorley Hospital since March 2000

Number

1 March 2000 to 28 February 2001No records kept
1 March 2001 to 28 February 20022,831
1 March 2002 to 28 February 20034,280

Note:

The figures shown are for the number of shifts agency nurses have worked. Data is only collected in this manner.

Other staff employed at Chorley Hospital since March 2000

Number

1 March 2000 to 28 February 2001No records kept
1 March 2001 to 28 February 20024
1 March 2002 to 28 February 200313

Note:

Other staff comprises of staff in the allied health professions and includes physiotherapists, radiographers and occupational therapists. The figures are shown as whole time equivalents.

Source:

Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

In all three categories, and particularly medical staff, the increase of the number of posts is due to major expansion of services since 2001.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many mental health beds are available at Chorley hospital; and how many were available in each of the last 30 years. [102545]

Information on bed numbers is collected at national health service trust level and not by individual hospital site.

From 1996–97 bed information for each NHS trust is available from the Department of Health website http://www.doh.gov.uk/hospitalactivity/

Alcohol-Related Illness

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent international studies his Department has conducted into the effects of alcohol-related illnesses and deaths on countries' economies. [101068]

The Department of Health has conducted no recent international studies on the effects of alcohol-related illnesses and deaths on countries' economies. However, the Cabinet Office strategy unit have looked at the strategies in a number of different countries as part of their work on developing the national alcohol harm reduction strategy.

Audiology

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much has been spent to date on audiology modernisation (a) in phase I and (b) in phase II; how much is allocated for completion of the national programme; and how much of the total will (i) be offset by PCT expenditure and (ii) be raised by public/private partnership arrangements. [98675]

The Government invested £10.75 million on the first wave of the modernising hearing aid services project and a further £20 million on the second wave. A further £94 million has been allocated to ensure that a modernised service is rolled out to all national health service hearing aid services in England by April 2005. Primary care trusts are expected to contribute 25 per cent. of any additional revenue costs that are incurred through modernisation.Involving private hearing aid dispensers in providing NHS digital hearing aids has been tested out in two areas of the country. The trial has been very successful. On this basis, the plans for national roll-out of digital hearing aids will include developing public/private partnerships to boost NHS capacity, and to improve access for patients by providing a service "on the High Street" rather than in the hospital.

Bed Blocking

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department is taking to tackle bed blocking in York and North Yorkshire. [95202]

The Department of Health has been proactive in a number of areas to help improve the problems arising from delays in patients being discharged from hospitals in York and North Yorkshire.In 2002— funding of £2.3 million has been available to local authorities in North Yorkshire, through the Building Care Capacity Grant to reduce delay in discharging people from hospital.The change agent team has also been engaged to assist the City of York, York Health Services NHS Trust, and the Selby & York Primary Care Trust to review and devise a more strategic approach to ensuring effective patient care, assessment and placement.

Funding has also been made available to the York and North Yorkshire Councils under the Innovations Fund to help with the assessment processes and intermediate care.

The Community Care (Delayed Discharges) Bill will also help tackle the problem by making councils responsible for meeting the costs to the national health service of delayed discharges where the councils' interventions could prevent the delay.

Care Homes

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has received from the London Borough of Havering regarding funding for care homes; and what his response has been. [101977]

I am not aware of any recent representations from the London Borough of Havering regarding funding for care homes.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to his Answer of 25 February 2003, Official Report, column 514W, to the hon. Member for East Worthing and Shoreham, on the Care Standards Act 2000, if he will place copies of the consultation in the Library. [101799]

A copy of the analysis of the responses to the consultation document on amended standards for care homes for older people and adults (18–65) has been placed in the Library.

Children's Servies

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the extent of parental responsibility to register children with (a) local GPs and (b) other health professionals. [98342]

[holding answer 24 February 2003]: At present patients register with a general practitioner to receive general medical services or with a personal medical services (PMS) pilot provider to receive PMS. In either case the service is provided by a GP or by another health care professional as appropriate. Patients do not, however, register separately with such other health care professionals.A registration application may be made on behalf of a child by either parent, or in the absence of parents, the guardian or other adult person who has the care of the child. Registration is not compulsory but the Government encourage everyone to do so for the benefit of the child, the family and the wider community.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the provision of sustainable funding for children's hospices. [102544]

The funding of hospices is a matter for local discussion and agreement and must be based on local health needs assessment. It is therefore important that hospices engage as much as possible with the health service. The package of care provided should be discussed with the local primary care trust, which is responsible for deciding which health services the local population requires, and ensuring the provision of these services.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what account the: Children's National Services Framework is taking of multi-disciplinary, multi-agency working. [102103]

Developing work from the external working groups working on the national service framework for children, young people and maternity services has emphasised the need for multi-disciplinary multi-agency working. This is likely to be reflected in the final document.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many children under six have been removed from (a) GP lists and (b) primary care trusts in each year since 1998; and what the reasons were for the removal; [99182](2) how many children under six are receiving only immediate and necessary treatment from GPs or primary care trusts. [99181]

A patient may register with a general practitioner to receive general medical services (CMS) or with a personal medical services (PMS) pilot provider to receive PMS. Patients do not register with a primary care trust (PCT) to receive National Health Service treatment unless that PCT is itself a PMS pilot provider.Registration is not compulsory but the Government encourages everyone to do so for their own benefit and for that of the wider community. No data are, however, held on the number of people who are not registered with a GP or PMS pilot provider. It is not necessary to register with a GP to receive emergency or immediately necessary treatment and GPs are required to provide this to anyone who needs it at the time they need it.Although the Department collects information on the number of patients removed from lists, data are not collected or held on the ages of the patients concerned nor on the reasons for their removal, other than whether there was an act or threat of violence.

Correspondence

To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he will reply to the letter from the hon. Member for Warrington, North concerning Mrs. Gwatkin of Warrington dated 29 October 2002. [96405]

[holding answer 7 February 2003]: A reply was sent to the hon. Member on 26 February.

Disabled Children

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will make a statement on the External Working Group o a disabled children with special reference to children with palliative care needs; [102542](2) if he will make a statement on the task group to review the needs of children with severe disabilities and complex life-limiting, or terminal conditions. [102543]

The external working group developing national service framework (NSF) standards for the ill child, which includes those with long term conditions, and the external working group on disabled children's services, are by joint working arrangements considering the particular needs of children with complex life-limiting conditions and those who require palliative care.Themes that are emerging so far, and likely to be covered, include the need for greater flexibility in service delivery and for multidisciplinary and multi-agency partnership working.The "Children's NSF—Emerging Findings" document, to be issued shortly, will give an overview of the areas that are likely to be included in the final NSF.

Drugs

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many registered drug addicts there were in the (a) Leeds, West constituency and (b) the city of Leeds in each year since 1995; and if he will make a statement. [96969](2) how many registered drug addicts there are in the

(a) Leeds, West constituency and (b) the city of Leeds; how many registered drug addicts in the (i) Leeds, West constituency and (ii) the city of Leeds are receiving (a) rehabilitation and (B) other forms of drug treatment; and if he will make a statement. [96970]

The Information is not available in the form requested.Following the closure of the Home Office Addicts Index in 1997, the regional drug misuse databases (RDMDs) were the main source of information on people presenting to drug treatment services with a drug problem.A one off exercise was carried out to estimate the number of drug users in England in contact with drug treatment agencies in 2000–01. Around 2,105 individuals were reported to be in contact with drug treatment agencies in Leeds health authority in 2000–01.Information on the numbers of users reported as presenting to drug treatment services for treatment in the Leeds HA is given in the table.

Number of users reported as presenting for treatment for drug misuse in Leeds health authority during the six months periods ending 30 September 1996 to 31 March 2001
Six month period endingNumber
September 1996664
March 1997653
September 1997498
March 1998536
September 1998927
March 1999895
September 1999816
March 2000910
September 2000746
March 2001787

Sources:

The Department of Health series of Statistical Bulletins "Statistics from the Regional Drug Misuse Databases". Bulletins for the six months ending March 1998 onwards are available at http:// www.doh.gov.uk/public/work public health.html

The number of drug misusers in Leeds HA receiving rehabilitation and other forms of treatment in 2000–;01 is shown in the table. In addition, drugs misusers usually resident in Leeds may be attending rehabilitation centres (or other forms of treatment) outside the area.

Number of drug misusers in treatment in Leeds HA by type of agency, 2000–01

Agency Type

Number

Community: Specialist services1,713
Community : General Practitioners289
Structured Day programmes219
Resident rehabilitation19
Others85
Total2,105

Notes:

  • 1. In the case of residential rehabilitation, places are often purchased at a residential centre that may be outside the drug misusers area of residence. In practice some local authority social services departments agree to fund long distance placements with the agreement of the drug misuser so he/she can be removed from the area where they are involved in drug using. This means that in theory drug misusers resident in Leeds may be receiving treatment in rehabilitation centres elsewhere in England.
  • 2. Following NHS reorganisation in 2002, Leeds health authority became part of West
    Yorkshire Strategic health authority.
  • 3. Data from the Leeds Drug Action Team shows investment and attendance as 201 additional structured day programmes and 19 placements in residential rehabilitation.
  • Source:

    Department of Health Statistical Bulletin—"Statistics from the Regional Drug Misuse Databases on drug misusers in treatment in England, 2000/01" http://www.doh.gov.uk/public/sbQ133.htm

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will commission research into opioid substitution therapy. [101578]

    The National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse (NTA) is aware that there is well-developed research evidence into the use of opioid substitution therapy—particularly into the effectiveness of oral methadone maintenance treatment. An important part of the NTA role is to support high quality evidence based practice. It is recognised that some findings from the evidence base are not fully implemented and the NTA has built a variety of mechanisms to support the implementation of key research findings into to practice, including briefings, training, commissioning guidance and increasingly performance management systems. The NTA is also working with the Department of Health to develop dissemination of the findings of its current drug treatment research programme. The NTA has recently published a briefing on the advice of its expert group on prescribing, which includes a brief review of the evidence base for opioid treatment.Copies have been placed in the Library.The NTA will commission new research in line with the outcome of its current priority setting exercise that is awaiting approval by the NTA Board in March. Research bodies will be invited to submit tenders in line with these priorities.

    Food Supplements

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he is making to the European Food Standards Agency about ingredients formerly used in foods in the UK but not included in the annexes of the Food Supplement Directive as available for use in the manufacture of food supplements. [102617]

    Lists of permitted vitamins and minerals and their sources in the Annexes to the Food Supplements Directive remain open pending safety assessments of additional substances by the European Union Scientific Committee on Food (SCF) or its successor in the European Food Safety Authority. The Food Standards Agency has written to the European Commission with the aim of facilitating a meeting between United Kingdom stakeholders and representatives of the SCF to discuss the technical content of such dossiers.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) whether he will propose an amendment to the EU Food Supplements Directive to permit the sale in the UK of products not listed in the Directive but recognised by the competent UK authorities as safe and which are already on the market in the UK; [102619](2) what

    (a) representations he has received from and (b) discussions he has held with the Food Standards Agency about the EU Food Directive; and if he will incorporate the Agency's views in proposals he makes for the revision of the Directive. [102618]

    The Government have no plans to seek an amendment to the European Union Food Supplements Directive. They have already secured provisions which enable member states to allow the continued sale of products which do not comply with the compositional requirements up to 31 December 2009, provided certain criteria are met.

    Foundation Trusts

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on the legal status of foundation trusts. [102176]

    Our proposals for national health service foundation trusts are set out in "A Guide to NHS Foundation Trusts". Subject to parliamentary approval NHS foundation trusts will be established under provisions to be included in the Health & Social Care (Community Health & Standards) Bill, which was published on 13 March.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what will happen to a foundation hospital if it fails to meet its liabilities. [102179]

    The Independent Regulator would be able to intervene at national health service foundation trusts if it fails to meet its liabilities. The policy is explained in paragraphs 3.34 to 3.38 of "A Guide to NHS Foundation Trusts". The provisions that apply if an NHS foundation trust fails to meet its liabilities are set out in the Health & Social Care (Community Health & Standards) Bill.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what plans he has to allow primary care trusts to become foundation institutions; [102177](2) what plans ha has to expand the provision of foundation status beyond the acute healthcare sector. [102174]

    The policy for applications for national health service foundation trust status is set out in 7.3 of "A Guide to NHS Foundation Trusts".

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health how non-executive directors will be appointed to foundation hospital boards. [102181]

    Non-executive directors will be elected by members of the Board of Governors of the national health service foundation trust. Details of the policy are set out in paragraph 2.33 and 2.34 of "A Guide to NHS Foundation Trusts".

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether trusts applying for foundation status will be obliged to have consulted other acute trusts in their local area before being granted foundation status. [102209]

    The principles for local consultation by National Health Service foundation trust second stage applicants is set out in paragraph 7.11 of "A Guide to NHS Foundation Trusts".

    Illegal Meat Imports

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what arrangements he has with the Home Office, Customs and Excise and DEFRA (a) to prevent and (b) to detect illegally imported meat entering the UK. [102163]

    The Food Standards Agency works closely with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Her Majesty's Customs and Excise on issues concerning the illegal import of meat and is assisting these departments as part of a cross-government action plan to improve enforcement and control of illegal imports. The FSA does not have arrangements currently with the Home Office in this area of work.

    International Nurses Advice Line

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to his answer of 4 March 2003, ref 99682, on the international nurses advice line, if he will break down the calls by the type of caller's query or problem; in how many cases caller's information has been passed to his Department at the caller's request; where callers heard about the advice line; how many repeat callers there were to the line; what the outcome was of problem resolution; and whether calls are recorded. [102562]

    The types of queries and problems made by callers to the international nurses advice line are not recorded. Issues that cannot be resolved by the call operators are directed to the Department of Health. To date 15 cases have been forwarded to the Department of Health for further assistance and were dealt with either by direct contact with the caller or by putting the caller in contact with the appropriate nursing association. Callers, when asked by operators, had heard of the advice line through various media and these included leaflets, posters and press articles, and through word of mouth.Data indicate that there have been three repeat callers to the advice line since its operation. The calls are not recorded but are monitored.

    Inventures

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the former Runwell Hospital site in Wickford, Essex has been included in the bulk sale of properties in the Inventures disposal; what (a) price and (b) terms will be secured by its sale; whether it will be sold with planning permission; and how much has been spent on the (i) maintenance and (ii) refurbishment of the site in the last three years. [102152]

    [holding answer 10 March 2003]: This hospital has been included in the portfolios of properties that will form the basis of the proposed real estate partnership with the private sector. Miller/Bank of Scotland have been chosen as preferred partner.The price and other terms of the sale are commercially confidential. A planning application for alternative uses has been submitted which Miller/Bank of Scotland will pursue.The hospital is not expected to close until 2006–7. In the past three years £1.5 million has been spent upgrading wards to meet fire regulations. A further £1.4 million has been invested in securing a safe and appropriate environment for staff and patients until the site is no longer needed for National Health Service use.

    Local Government Grant Formulae

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to his Answer of 5 February 2003, Official Report, column 314W, on local government grant formulae, what response he has made to the concerns raised by the Association of London Government in its report "The 2003–04 Local Government Finance Settlement" about the children's formula used in the local government grant formula. [101290]

    I wrote to Sir Robin Wales on 24 February responding to the points raised by the Association of London Government on the 2003–04 Local Government Finance Settlement.The current formulae were reviewed openly with local government and there was a public consultation last summer.

    Long-Term Care

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will place in the Library a copy of letter E.814/00–01, referred to in paragraph 21 of the report by the Health Service Ombudsman on NHS funding for long term care. [99383]

    A copy of the letter E.814/00–01 referred to in paragraph 21 of the Health Service Ombudsman's report on National Health Service funding for long term care has been placed in the Library.

    Looked-After Children

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his policy is on looked after children attending (a) private and (b) public boarding schools; and if he will make a statement. [99379]

    I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Education and Skills on 12 March 2003, Official Report, col. 297W.

    Nhs Managers

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many managers recruited from the private sector since 1998 have left the NHS; and if he will make a statement; [101885](2) how many private sector managers have been recruited since 1998

    (a) to run central NHS facilities and (b) to work in primary care trusts; and if he will make a statement. [101884]

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research his Department has commissioned into the cost of managers to the NHS. [102520]

    The Department of Health has not commissioned any research into the cost of managers to the national health service.

    Mental Health

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what specific financial provision he has made for increase in demand for specialist mental health services following forthcoming military action in the Gulf. [101083]

    [holding answer 6 March 2003]: There are no funds specifically earmarked for the provision of additional specialist mental health services following any military action in the Gulf.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a further statement on the performance rating system in the mental healthcare sector. [102178]

    In July 2002, mental health trusts received an indicative rating on their performance during 2001–02. Later this year, the Commission for Health Improvement will publish full performance ratings for mental health trusts based on their performance during 2002–03.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many adolescent mental health patients have been accommodated in adult mental wards in NHS establishments in the last 12 months; and what percentage of the total number treated this represents. [96059]

    The following data are taken from the Mental Health Service and Financial Framework Report, 2001–02 outturn, the latest available. There were 64,920 occupied bed days (OBDs) for patients under age 18 on adult psychiatric wards during 2001–02. This represents 36 per cent. of the total number of hospital OBDs (180,642) for that age group on both child and adolescent and adult wards during that year. 82 per cent. of the OBDs of under 18 year olds on adult wards, that is 53,243 out of 64,920, represented patients in the 16-18 age range; only 18 per cent. 11,677, represented those under age 16.

    Mri Scans

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the waiting time is for an MRI scan at (a) Airedale NHS Trust and (b) Burnley Healthcare NHS Trust. [101207]

    Multiple Sclerosis

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress is being made on increasing the availability of beta interferon for MS sufferers in Sutton. [101513]

    Sutton and Merton Primary Care Trust (PCT) has implemented the risk-sharing scheme for drugs for patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). All eligible patients are being fully funded. These services are being provided to MS patients in Sutton and Cheam at Atkinson Morley Hospital, which is part of St. George's Healthcare National Health Service Trust.

    Muscular Dystrophy

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will make a statement on his plans to increase the funding spent on research into (a) the treatment and (b) the causes of muscular dystrophy; and if he will make a statement; [100968](2) what estimate he has made of the amount of Government funding in 2002–03 for research into

    (a) the treatment and (b) the causes of muscular dystrophy; and if he will make a statement. [100966]

    The main agency through which the Government supports medical and clinical research is the Medical Research Council (MRC). The MRC is an independent body, which receives its grant-in-aid from the Office of Science and Technology. In 2001–02, the MRC spent an estimated 2 million on muscular dystrophy research. This was an increase on the estimated £1.1 million spent in 2000–01. Figures for 2002–03 are not yet available.

    National Institute For Clinical Excellence

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the effect on NHS funding of a growing list of NICE approved treatments. [101577]

    I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Oxford West and Abingdon (Dr. Evan Harris) on 12 February 2003, Official Report, column 824W. The cost of implementing appraisal guidance issued by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence has been taken into account in the funding provided to the national health service.

    Neurology

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what actions he is taking to reduce waiting lists for neurologists; and if he will make a statement. [100106]

    The Government are reducing maximum waiting times. As part of the NHS Plan, the maximum waiting time for a first outpatient appointment will fall each year from over six months, down to five, four and finally three months by 2005. The Government's eventual objective is to reduce the maximum wait for any stage of treatment to three months. Provided that the Government can recruit the extra staff, and the National Health Service makes the necessary reforms, the Government hopes to achieve this objective by the end of 2008.Manpower has been recognised as key to the successful delivery of the NHS Plan and the national service frameworks (NSF). The long term conditions care group workforce team has been set up to support workforce development in the fields of diabetes, renal and long-term conditions. Its aim is to help deliver a multidisciplinary and integrated health and social care workforce to support service improvement.With regard to neurology, the care group makes recommendations on workforce numbers across the specialty including doctors and nurses. Recommendations are also made on changes in service delivery models to facilitate the best use of all staff.Between September 1997 and March 2002, consultant numbers in neurology increased by 34 per cent.. During the same period, consultant numbers in neurosurgery increased by 21 per cent..We are developing a national service framework for long-term conditions, which will have a particular focus on neurological conditions. It is scheduled for publication in 2004, and implementation from 2005. The NSF will help to drive up standards and improve the quality of, and access to, care for people with neurological conditions.

    Nhs Funding

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health which NHS bodies have received direct funding from the Regional Office and how much was paid to each NHS body, broken down by Directorate of Health and Social Care, in each of the last three years. [100711]

    [holding answer 5 March 2003]: Disclosure of these amounts can be analysed, along with other sources of income, in the income note of a national health service body's accounts. NHS accounts are published locally and are available from the individual NHS body.

    Nhs Trusts

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the annual performance rating system for NHS trusts (a) is independent from the Government and (b) takes into account hospital specialisation; and if he will make a statement. [102175]

    The Commission for Health Improvement is the independent regulator of national health service performance and is responsible for developing indicators and publishing NHS performance ratings. Ministers continue to select key targets and the priority areas to be covered. In July 2002, specialist NHS trusts received their first performance rating based on performance during 2001–02.

    Nursing And Midwifery Council

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what new requirements for entry to the Nursing and Midwifery Council Register have been agreed for implementation by 2005 by health visitor members of the NMC since April 2002. [102102]

    It is for the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) to propose, and the Privy Council to determine the requirements for entry to the register. The NMC, which comprises equal numbers of nurse, midwife and health visitor members, is considering in consultation with the professions tile parts of the future register and standards required for entry to those.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of respondents to the public consultation on the Nursing and Midwifery Council Register supported direct entry to the proposed third part of the register. [102099]

    The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) is an independent statutory body and is required to consult on its proposals for a new register. The NMC has not published a response to its consultation.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the proposed third part of the Nursing and Midwifery Council Register will allow direct entry for community public healthcare professionals. [102100]

    The Nursing and Midwifery Council has powers to regulate only the professions of nursing and midwifery.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the Nursing and Midwifery Council supports the proposals to expand the third part of the NMC register to include nurses and midwives who work as specialists in community and public health. [102101]

    The Nursing and Midwifery Council is the body responsible for making proposals in respect of the parts of the register.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will approve a non direct entry proposal for the proposed third part of the NMC Register only as an interim measure until the children's workforce planning group has reported its findings. [102104]

    The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) has powers to regulate only the professions of nursing and midwifery. A proposal for a non-direct entry third part of the NMC register will be considered and if appropriate, approved by the Privy Council.The NMC will want to consider the implications for the register of any report by the children's workforce planning group when that report is available.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will amend the Nursing and Midwifery Order 2001 to allow a three part register that is equitable across the three groups regulated by the Nursing and Midwifery Council. [102105]

    No. The Order allows, if the Council propose it and the Privy Council agree it, for there to be a three part register that is equitable across the three groups regulated by the Nursing and Midwifery Council, each part with a designated title indicative of different qualifications and different kinds of educational training.

    Obesity

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to introduce a National Standards Framework to tackle obesity. [100546]

    The Government are not considering a national standards framework (NSF) for obesity. However, action to address obesity is being taken forward through the NSF for coronary heart disease and older people. Action to reduce obesity will be necessary to meet Standard 1 of the NSF for diabetes.Following publication of the Government's strategy for sustainable farming and food, the Department of Health is leading on developing a food and health action plan. This will pull together all of the issues on diet and nutrition, which is of direct relevance to the prevention and management of obesity, and promote action at national, regional and local levels.Current guidance available to contribute to tackling obesity includes guidance issued by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence on the anti-obesity drugs orlistat and sibutramine, and surgery and a national quality assurance framework for exercise referral systems to promote physical activity. The evidenced-based Five-a-day handbook will support staff in primary care trusts and other organisations to establish community-wide initiatives to increase fruit and vegetable consumption, and the Health Development Agency is providing a report setting out the evidence base for the prevention and treatment of overweight people and obesity, and the maintenance of weight loss. Evidence from the local exercise action pilots will also provide guidance for increasing physical activity levels.

    Older People (Drug Treatment)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the change from traditional to atypical antipsychotics drugs to treat older people in (a) care homes and (b) hospitals; what assessment he has made of possible over-medication of people using antipsychotic drugs; and if he will make a statement. [99380]

    Information about the prescribing of antipsychotic drugs is only available in relation to prescriptions dispensed in the community. It is estimated that, in 2001, just under 40 per cent, of antipsychotics dispensed to older people were atypicals, while in April-September 2002 this proportion is estimated to have increased to just over a half. There are likely to be a number of reasons for the move to atypicals. One is that clinicians believe they are better tolerated by patients than traditional antipsychotices. The Government is aware of concern about the possible overuse of antipsychotic drugs for older people A number of steps should help ensure their appropriate use—in particular, implementation of the medicines management supplement of the older people's national service framework and the requirements in the care homes national minimum standards.

    Parliamentary Questions

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the hon. Member for East Worthing and Shoreham will receive answers to his questions refs (a) 89928, (b) 92551 and (c) 92538. [100502]

    I refer the hon. Member to the replies that my right hon. Friend the Minister of State gave on 26 February 2003, Official Report, column 636W and on 28 February 2003, Official Report, column 779W. I also refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave him on 12 March 2003, Official Report, column 338–39W.

    Patient Choice

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health who will determine whether a patient in Greater Manchester waiting six months for (a) orthopaedic treatment, (b) ENT treatment or (c) general surgery is eligible to choose an alternative hospital. [99107]

    Approval has recently been given by the Department of Health to the establishment of a national health service based "CHOICE" pilot scheme. In Greater Manchester, this is to be based around the Greater Manchester Surgical Centre at Trafford General Hospital. When fully up and running in October 2003, the pilot proposes that any patient registered with a general practitioner in Greater Manchester who has been waiting over six months in the specialties of general surgery, ear, nose and throat and orthopaedics for set of procedures will be eligible to choose an alternative treatment centre.

    Practice Lists (Child Removal)

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures he has taken to prevent GP practices removing children not immunised against MMR from their practice list. [99179]

    General practitioners should not remove patients from their lists in these circumstances. The General Medical Council has issued guidance—"Duties of a Doctor— Good Medical Practice", which makes it clear that patients should not be removed because of the financial impact of their care or treatment on the practice.The Department fully supports that advice. The proposed new general medical services contract which was announced on 21 February is intended not only to provide for a consistently high quality service to patients but also to avoid perverse incentives such as any which might encourage removal of patients from practice lists other than for good reason.

    Smoking

    To a ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent research his Department has undertaken into the major health effects of passive smoking in (a) adults, with particular reference to pregnant women and (b) children, with particular reference to babies aged between eight and 12 weeks. [97575]

    The independent Scientific Committee on Tobacco and Health concluded in its 1998 Report that:

    Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke is a cause of lung cancer and, in those with long-term exposure, the increased risk is in the order of 20–30 per cent.
    Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke is a cause of ischaemic heart diseases and if current published estimates of magnitude of relative risk are validated, such exposures represents a substantial public hazard.
    Smoking in the presence of infants and children is a cause of serious respiratory illness and asthmatic attacks
    Sudden infant death syndrome, the main cause of post-neonatal death in the first year of life, is associated with exposure to environmental tobacco smoke. The association is judged to be one of cause and effect.
    Middle ear disease in children is linked with parental smoking and this association is likely to be causal.

    The independent Scientific Committee on Tobacco and Health subsequently re-iterated this view in its 2001 Annual Report. The statement can be found on the following websites:

    www.doh.gov.uk/scoth/index.htm
    http://www.archive.official-documents.co.uk/document/doh/tobacco/report.htrn

    No further recent research has been commissioned by the Department into the health effects of passive smoking.

    To ask the Secretary of State for Health what research he has commissioned on the effects of passive smoking in the workplace; and if he will make a statement. [98492]

    The independent Scientific Committee on Tobacco and Health concluded in its 1998 Report that:

    Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke is a cause of lung cancer and, in those with long term exposure, the increased risk is in the order of 20–30 per cent.

    Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke is a cause of ischaemic heart diseases and if current published estimates of magnitude of relative risk are validated, such exposures represents a substantial public hazard

    The independent Scientific Committee on Tobacco and Health subsequently re-iterated this view in its 2001 Annual Report. The statement can be found on the following websites: