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Written Answers

Volume 692: debated on Friday 18 May 2007

Written Answers

Friday 18 May 2007

Democratic Republic of Congo: Mining

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they are providing support for the efforts of the Ministry of Mines in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to (a) enforce the Congolese mining code; (b) implement the extractive industries transparency initiative; and (c) establish a commission to review the terms of 60 existing international mining contracts. [HL3761]

We support the extractive industries transparency initiative (EITI) national committee in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which is charged with taking forward EITI implementation. We have offered to work with the DRC to provide political, technical and financial assistance in taking this initiative forward. The mining code was written and is being implemented with the assistance of the World Bank and is widely regarded as a useful framework. The Congolese Government have created a commission to review existing mining contracts, which is supported by the Carter Centre and with offers of help from the World Bank and the Belgian Government. It has not sought our assistance.

Foreign Affairs: Friendship Missions

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they have plans to send friendship missions to Arab countries in the coming months; and, if so, what message they will take. [HL3724]

Although the Foreign and Commonwealth Office does not describe any of its activity specifically as “friendship missions”, Ministers and officials regularly travel to a range of countries in the Arab world to develop our bilateral relations and support the delivery of UK objectives in the region.

In addition, the Government have supported a programme of visits by British Muslims to 23 countries with Muslim populations, with the aims of increasing mutual understanding across communities by sharing their experiences as Muslims in Britain today and of engaging in constructive dialogue and debate. This has included seven Arab countries since December 2005. The destinations for future visits have not yet been finalised.

Health: Incontinence Items

asked Her Majesty's Government:

How many patients will be affected by the proposed reduction in prices paid by the National Health Service for 36 per cent of stoma and incontinence items under Part IX of the Drug Tariff for the provision of such items; and [HL3692]

What representations they have received from major National Health Service suppliers to the proposed price reductions for 1,508 stoma and incontinence items under Part IX of the Drug Tariff for the provision of such items. [HL3693]

About 450,000 patients use appliances listed in Part IX of the Drug Tariff. In reviewing the arrangements for the provision of these appliances for primary care, the department’s stated objective is that maintaining and, where applicable, improving the quality of care is paramount. The proposals for service delivery will ensure that such patients will have greater choice of provider and that the same standard of service will be provided across England.

In responding to the consultation Arrangements for the Reimbursement Pricing of Stoma and Incontinence Appliances under Part IX of the Drug Tariff, the interests of suppliers to the National Health Service were represented by their trade body, the British Healthcare Trades Association. In addition, the department received representations from a few individual suppliers.

NHS: Asset Registers

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether the trusts which comprise the National Health Service are required to maintain an asset register, identifying and listing the value of all equipment purchased; and, if not, whether the National Health Service itself maintains a central asset register. [HL3736]

All National Health Service trusts are required to maintain an asset register that details the cost of purchased assets, the current valuation and other financial information.

Olympic Games 2012: Gypsies and Travellers

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by Lord Davies of Oldham on 16 April (WA 25), whether they will ask the London Borough of Newham to commission an investigation of the health issues for Gypsy families occupying the Clays Lane site by building operations related to the 2012 Olympic Games around the site; whether they will ask for a report on when it is expected that the proposed Major Road site for rehousing the people from Clays Lane will be ready; whether it is proposed to replace the recreational space at Major Road which would be lost as a result of the proposed use; and what was the outcome of legal proceedings in relation to the Major Road site. [HL3640]

A health impact assessment was conducted for part of the development at Stratford City, which predates the building planned for the 2012 Olympics. This was jointly commissioned by the London Borough of Newham and Newham Primary Care Trust. The assessment identified likely issues arising from the construction process and the actions required to mitigate them. An action plan was agreed as part of this process. A specific health impact assessment has not been commissioned for the works adjacent to Clays Lane at this time.

The Government Office for London and the Department for Communities and Local Government will remain in contact with the London Development Agency and London Borough of Newham on the timetable for completing the Major Road site.

Planning permission has been granted for a replacement community centre and children’s play space at Chandos Road. The London Development Agency has also committed to providing funding for the improvement of other existing local areas of open space and re-providing an equivalent area of open space in the legacy development.

A judicial review of the London Development Agency’s decision not to apply for planning permission for an alternative site at Chobham Farm was dismissed in March. A further challenge to the Olympic compulsory purchase order for the existing site at Clays Lane was dismissed on 3 May.

Schools: Educational Psychologists

asked Her Majesty's Government:

(a) How many students started training in September 2006 for the new three-year doctorate in educational psychology, which requires years two and three to be spent in a trainee placement with a local authority; and (b) how many local authority placement positions will be available for these students in September 2007. [HL3660]