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Written Answers

Volume 670: debated on Wednesday 2 March 2005

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Written Answers

Wednesday, 2 March 2005.

Ministerial Meetings: Mr Robert Bourne

asked Her Majesty's Government:On how many occasions in the past three years (a) the Prime Minister; (b) the Chancellor of the Exchequer; (c) any official from Number 10 Downing Street; or (d) any official from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, met Mr Robert Bourne; and for each occasion what was the purpose of the meeting. [HL1424]

The information requested is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Paramilitary Ceasefires

asked Her Majesty's Government:What is their definition of a paramilitary ceasefire. [HL1274]

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland continues to review the status of all paramilitary ceasefires and, in making his judgment under Section 3 (8) (b) of the Northern Ireland (Sentences) Act 1998 takes account of all relevant considerations, and in particular those set out in Section 3(9) of the Northern Ireland (Sentences) Act 1998. The Secretary of State makes a judgment in the round.

Afghanistan

asked Her Majesty's Government:What long-term national economic strategies they support for Afghanistan which already have the approval of international donors; and how these strategies will relate to the national drug control programme. [HL 1526]

Securing Afghanistan's Future (SAF), a Government of Afghanistan and International Community endorsed strategy published in March 2004, puts forward a programme of investments to lay the foundations for the sustained economic growth needed to support a financially sustainable state that is capable of undertaking social development and poverty reduction. All DfID interventions are consistent with SAF as well as the Government's national development framework (NDF).Within this, the Government have a number of national priority programmes, which have the endorsement of numerous donors and government including DfID, through significant funding. These include the National Emergency Employment Programme (NEEP), the National Solidarity Program (NSP) and the Micro Finance Investment Support Facility for Afghanistan (MISFA). NEEP targets interventions in rural productive assets, mainly roads, irrigation schemes, social infrastructure and water drinking supplies. The NSP is the Afghan Government's flagship programme for community empowerment, local self-governance, and socio-economic development in rural areas. MISFA is the Apex Institution that provides micro-credit to rural Afghan individuals and communities. These interventions are grounded within the National Drug Control Strategy (NDCS) and are the major component of Pillar II, Alternative Livelihoods.

asked Her Majesty's Government:How they will help Afghanistan to recapture its former agricultural export markets; over what timescale; and which products will be the focus of export-led economic growth. [HL1527]

The economy of Afghanistan has long been agriculture-based. The agriculture sector has traditionally been subsistence-orientated, and the growing of cereal crops (mainly wheat) has dominated. Other crops and vegetables, such as grapes, apricots and almonds, have the potential to be exported. The production of cereal products is inversely linked to the production of the poppy. For Afghanistan to become a self-sustainable economy by 2015, economic growth must be in the order of 9 per cent per annum. This will come not only from an expansion in agricultural production but also from other sectors of the economy.Within the agriculture sector this growth will come from technical progress in the production of cereals and rebuilding the livestock sector, which produces milk and meat. Other sources of growth should include in the industrial sector, transport and power, including road construction through general economic growth and demand. In addition, there is significant potential in oil, gas and mining. Afghanistan has significant deposits of a number of minerals. The Government also hope that as a result of private investment the manufacturing sector will expand. Financial services and tourism are expected to expand in the medium-term.DfID is supporting these sectors in a number of ways, by providing £3 million to support Research in Alternative Livelihoods Fund as well as targeted interventions with the Ministry of Mines (£4 million) to assist with the assessment and marketing of mineral deposits in Afghanistan. DfID is supporting the Ministry of Commerce (£4 million) in developing a private sector development strategy as well as targeted interventions such as access to credit and markets in rural areas and for specific agricultural products, as well as providing services for business development.

House Of Lords: Members' Handbook

asked the Chairman of Committees:How much the 2005 handbook on facilities and services for Members cost to produce, print and distribute. [HL 1546]

In addition to time spent by House of Lords staff, the identified costs of producing, printing and distributing the handbook were approximately £8,500.

Housing

asked Her Majesty's Government:Further to the reply by the Lord Bassam of Brighton on 21 February, what assessment they have made of the potential cost of disposal of hazardous material in developing the proposals for demolition of housing stock in their national housing strategy. [HL1418]

No assessment of the potential cost of disposal of hazardous material was made in developing the housing market renewal programme because such costs are an issue for local authorities and contractors. Some individual pathfinders made their own assessment of broad costs of demolition when developing their schemes, but this was not disaggregated into individual drivers. Generally such costs will vary according to the type of property concerned but they will not normally be large as most housing stock contains very little hazardous material.

asked Her Majesty's Government:Further to the reply by the Lord Bassam of Brighton on 21 February, what assessment they have made of the potential cost of disposal in landfill sites or elsewhere, in developing proposals for demolition of housing stock in view of their national housing strategy. [HL1419]

No assessment of the potential cost of disposal of material in landfill sites or elsewhere was made in developing the housing market renewal programme, because such costs are an issue for local authorities and contractors. Some individual pathfinders made their own assessment of broad costs of demolition when developing their schemes, but this was not disaggregated into individual drivers. Materials from demolition can often be reused or recycled, and that is incentivised by the charges made on landfill.

Legislation: Research Costs

  • (a) the Licensing Bill 2003;
  • (b) the Communications Bill 2003;
  • (c) the Horserace Betting and Olympic Lottery Bill 2004; and
  • (d) the Gambling Bill;
  • before each was introduced to Parliament. [HL1315]

    The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport
    (Lord McIntosh of Haringey)

    • Licensing Bill 2003: Nil
    • Communications Bill 2003: £45,000
    • Horserace Betting and Olympic Lottery Bill 2004: Nil
    • Gambling Bill: £34,753.
    These sums reflect the costs of externally commissioned research, where the work carried out related directly to understanding an aspect of the legislation. The costs do not include: consultation and research regularly carried out by officials; or reference to existing research/data sources, which has been used for understanding the key issues, but were not commissioned specifically for each piece of legislation.These are not discrete areas of work within the wider remit of the departmental resource dedicated to taking forward these Bills through Parliament. As such, it is not possible to provide an accurate estimate of the proportion of effort spent on them, and associated costs.

  • (a) the Licensing Bill 2003;
  • (b) the Communications Bill 2003;
  • (c) the Horserace Betting and Olympic Lottery Bill 2004; and
  • (d) the Gambling Bill;
  • during the period that each was considered in Parliament. [HL1316]

    • Licensing Bill: Nil
    • Communications Bill: Nil
    • Horserace Betting and Olympic Lottery Bill: Nil
    • Gambling Bill: £33,500.
    These sums reflect the costs of externally commissioned research, where the work carried out related directly to understanding an aspect of the legislation. The costs do not include: consultation and research regularly carried out by officials; or reference to existing research/data sources, which has been used for understanding the key issues, but were not commissioned specifically for each piece of legislation. These are not discrete areas of work within the wider remit of the departmental resource dedicated to taking forward these Bills through Parliament. As such, it is not possible to provide an accurate estimate of the proportion of effort spent on them, and associated costs.

    asked Her Majesty's Government:How much they have spent on research for:

  • (a) the Licensing Act 2003;
  • (b) the Communications Act 2003; and
  • (c) the Horserace Betting and Olympic Lottery Act 2004;
  • since Royal Assent. [HL1317]

    • Licensing Act: £152,252
    • Communications Act: Nil
    • Horserace Betting and Olympic Lottery Act: Nil
    • Gambling Act: Nil.
    These sums reflect the costs of externally commissioned research, where the work carried out related directly to understanding an aspect of the legislation. The costs do not include: consultation and research regularly carried out by officials; or reference to existing research/data sources, which has been used for understanding the key issues, but were not commissioned specifically for each piece of legislation.These are not discrete areas of work within the wider remit of the departmental resource dedicated to taking forward these Bills through Parliament. As such, it is not possible to provide an accurate estimate of the proportion of effort spent on them, and associated costs.

    Subtitling

    asked Her Majesty's Government:What are the obligations for subtitling programmes on all television channels; and to what extent these have been carried out since they were imposed. [HL1360]

    The detailed obligations for subtitling are set by Ofcom, within the framework established by the Communications Act 2003, and are set out in its code on television access services. I am arranging for copies of that code to be placed in the Libraries of both Houses. Monitoring of compliance with those obligations is also the responsibility of Ofcom and the code requires relevant broadcasters to submit quarterly returns covering quarters starting from 1 January 2005: the first quarterly returns are therefore not yet due.

    asked Her Majesty's Government:What representations they are making to the British Broadcasting Corporation about its parliamentary channel covering parliamentary proceedings not being subtitled. [HL1361]

    None, although we have stated in the Charter review Green Paper that the BBC should continue to promote the development of practical ways of increasing the enjoyment of all its publicly funded services by people with sensory impairments.Under the current BBC agreement, the corporation must observe the Ofcom code on television access services, subject to the exclusions set out in Section 303(8) of the Act. The audience share of BBC Parliament is well below the level set by Ofcom as the threshold at which access obligations arise. However, some of BBC Parliament's output is subtitled by the BBC on a voluntary basis. Major parliamentary occasions are also shown on other BBC channels which are subtitled.

    British Museum: Grant For Acquisitions

    asked Her Majesty's Government:What was the grant for acquisitions for the British Museum in each year since 1997, expressed in real terms. [HL1398]

    Grant in aid provision to the British Museum and to the other DCMS sponsored museums and galleries is not hypothecated. Each museum is free to apportion its grant in aid to acquisitions as it sees fit. Grant in aid supplements self-generated income.Information on the acquisitions spend of the British Museum and the other sponsored museums and galleries is published in the DCMS annual report, and may be obtained from the Library of the House. This includes spending of both self-generated income and grant in aid, and is not differentiated.

    asked Her Majesty's Government:What was the grant for acquisitions for the department of prints and drawings in the British Museum in each year since 1997, expressed in real terms. [HL1399]

    Grant in aid to the British Museum and to other DCMS-sponsored museums and galleries is not hypothecated, and it is for each NDPB to decide on the allocation of funding across its departments and budgets.

    Nhs Foundation Trusts: Accommodation For Patients

    asked Her Majesty's Government:Which National Health Service foundation trusts do not:

  • (a) provide single-sex sleeping accommodation for planned admissions;
  • (b) provide single-sex sleeping accommodation for non-planned admissions;
  • (c) provide separate bathroom and toilet facilities for men and women; and
  • (d) provide appropriate safe facilities for mentally-ill patients. [HL1147]
  • This information is not currently available. National Health Service foundation trusts (NHSFTs) are independent organisations. They are no longer accountable to Ministers or the Department of Health but to their local communities, primary care trusts, Monitor (the statutory name for which is the independent regulator of NHS Foundation Trusts) and Parliament.The Department of Health holds only that information about NHSFTs that Section 19(a) of the Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Act 2003 allows. This precludes the collection of operational data from NHSFTs unless specifically listed in Schedule 6 of the Terms of Authorisation (akin to a "licence" to operate) for NHSFTs.Compliance with single-sex accommodation objectives is included in Schedule 6. NHS trusts, including NHSFTs, are required to report compliance on an annual basis. Reports of compliance at 31 December 2004 are currently being collated and we will report on this at a later date.Nationally, at December 2003: 99 per cent of NHS trusts provided single-sex sleeping accommodation for planned admissions and have robust operational policies in place to protect patients' privacy and dignity; 99 per cent of NHS trusts met the additional criteria set to ensure the safety of patients who are mentally ill; and 97 per cent of NHS trusts provided properly segregated bathroom and toilet facilities for men and women.The small percentage of NHS trusts which have yet to achieve the objectives have hospital development works underway, whose completion will bring them to the required standard. These figures do not include NHSFTs, the first of which were established from 1 April 2004.NHS trusts are not required to report upon the provision of single-sex accommodation in relation to unplanned admissions. In such circumstances the use of mixed-sex accommodation may be unavoidable, as the need to provide urgent treatment or care will take precedence over the requirement to segregate men and women. This is regrettable. However, no hospital will turn a patient away because a bed appropriate to their gender is not immediately available.

    Alcohol Misuse

    asked Her Majesty's Government:What progress has been made towards ensuring that every hospital has a designated alcohol health worker since the publication of the Royal College of Physicians' report,

    Alcohol—can the NHS afford it, in February 2001. [HL1371]

    The National Treatment Agency for substance misuse and the Department of Health are currently developing models of care for alcohol misuse (MoCAM), which describes an optimum local framework for the commissioning and provision of treatment and interventions for adult alcohol misusers in England. The MoCAM development process has included taking account of relevant literature on treating alcohol misuse. There will be a public consultation on MoCAM this spring which will involve consulting on how local treatment should be configured and issues such as having alcohol health workers in hospitals.

    asked Her Majesty's Government:Why the model of care for alcohol misusers of the National Treatment Agency is considering pilot sites for designated alcohol health workers, given that information on the effectiveness of such workers is available. [HL1372]

    The National Treatment Agency models of care for alcohol misuse is not considering pilot sites for designated alcohol health workers.The Department of Health's alcohol harm reduction strategy is planning screening and brief interventions pilots, which are scheduled to begin in May 2005. The scope of these pilots is currently being decided.

    Nhs Trusts: Ethical Dimension Of Healthcare

    asked Her Majesty's Government:What action they are taking to ensure that National Health Service trusts recognise the ethical dimension of good governance in healthcare; and [HL1374]Whether the ethical dimension of health care is addressed in the appraisal procedures of staff in healthcare trusts; and [HL1375]What financial resources they have committed to underpin clinical ethics education among senior clinical staff. [HL 1376]

    We published Standards for Better Health in July 2004. Every English National Health Service body including NHS trusts is required to take these into account. The standards, among other things, require them to have systems in place to ensure that staff treat patients, their relatives and carers with dignity and respect; actively support employees to promote openness, honesty, probity, accountability; and challenge discrimination, promote equality and respect human rights.The standards make it clear that patients should receive effective treatment and care that takes into account their individual requirements and meets their physical, cultural, spiritual and psychological needs and preferences.We have also embedded the ethical dimension of healthcare in NHS appraisal procedures. The appraisal system for NHS doctors is structured around the General Medical Council's good medical practice guidance. This covers communication with patients, relationships with colleagues, health and probity. We are developing appraisal systems for other NHS health professional staff as part of the NHS Knowledge and Skills Framework.Post-registration training needs for NHS staff are decided against local NHS priorities, through appraisal and clinical governance processes. Training needs analyses are informed by local delivery plans and the needs of the service.

    Department For Transport: Expenditure On Air Travel

    asked Her Majesty's Government:How much was spent for departmental purposes by the Department for Transport on (a) domestic air travel; and (b) international air travel, in the past two years. [HL1214]

    The Department for Transport and its agencies spent £749,142 on domestic air travel, and £1,154,849 on international air travel in 2003–04, and £519,517 and £1,897,615 respectively in April to November 2004. These figures show the cost of flights booked through the department's main travel contract. Any flights booked by other means cannot be separated from general travel and subsistence costs, and the information could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

    London: Traffic Congestion

    asked Her Majesty's Government:How much they estimate the cost of traffic congestion to be for businesses in London, in the last year for which figures are available. [HL1217]

    The Government have made no such estimate. The main thrust of the department's policy is to assess options for reducing congestion and consider whether the benefits delivered exceed the costs.

    A3

    asked Her Majesty's Government:What is the present timetable for the construction of a road tunnel for the A3 at Hindhead. [HL1458]

    Further to the outcome of the Government's Spending Review 2004, it was announced on 1 December 2004 that the A3 Hindhead tunnel scheme has been classified as a scheme of regional importance to be progressed for future construction. The main works are currently programmed to start in the financial year 2008–09, subject to the availability of funds.

    asked Her Majesty's Government:Using current Highways Agency methodology, what is the best estimate of the annual cost of traffic delays that would be avoided by constructing a tunnel at Hindhead. [HL1461]

    The estimated annual savings in traffic delay costs that the tunnel scheme would bring in the previously assumed opening year of 2009 would be £10 million at 1998 prices.The traffic delay cost savings were calculated using the computer programme TUBA (Transport User Benefits Assessment) in accordance with standard procedures.

    asked Her Majesty's Government:What points of congestion there are on the A3 from the M25 to the M27/A27 other than at Hindhead. [HL1462]

    The only other major source of congestion on the A3 between the M25 and M27/A27 is at Guildford.

    asked Her Majesty's Government:How many deaths or serious injuries they estimate have been avoided by the construction of the grade separated junction on the A3 at Thursley near Hindhead. [HL1463]

    It was estimated that over a 30 year evaluation period the grade separated junction scheme on the A3 at Thursley would save about 145 accidents including 10 deaths and 45 seriously injured as a result of the associated gap closures of the central reserve.