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Written Answers

Volume 717: debated on Monday 8 February 2010

Written Answers

Monday 8 February 2010

Abortion Act 1967 and Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the (a) reference numbers, and (b) titles of the (1) statutory instruments, (2) departmental circulars, and (3) other documents distributed since 1990 by the Department of Health direct to (i) primary care trusts, and (ii) strategic health authorities, about the Abortion Act 1967 and the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990; whether they will place in the Library of the House a copy of each document; what action was required in respect of each; and what documents in those categories the Secretary of State for Health plans to circulate in the next 12 months. [HL1685]

Since 2002, when primary care trusts (PCTs) and strategic health authorities (SHAs) came into existence, PCTs and SHAs have been given access to the following statutory instruments, letters and documents about the provisions of the Abortion Act 1967. These set out the Government's policy, recommended good practice and refer to the legal position on abortion in relation to services:

Abortion Act 1967

Statutory instruments (SI):

S.I. 2002/ 887 The Abortion (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2002, a copy of which has already been placed in the Library.

Departmental circulars:

Letter from the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) about changes to the abortion notification form (2002), a copy of which has been placed in the Library; and

Letter from the CMO following the publication of his report An Investigation into the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (SPAS) Response to Requests for Late Abortions (2005), a copy of which has been placed in the Library.

Other documents:

The National Strategy for Sexual Health and HIV Implementation Action Plan (2002), a copy of which has been placed in the Library;

Conscious Sedation in Termination of Pregnancy: Report of the Department of Health Expert Group (2002), a copy of which has been placed in the Library;

Effective Commissioning of Sexual Health and HIV Services, A Sexual Health and HIV Commissioning Toolkit for Primary Care Trusts and Local Authorities (2003), a copy of which has already been placed in the Library;

Government Response to the Health Select Committee's Third Report of Session 2002-03 on Sexual Health (2003), a copy of which has been placed in the Library;

An Investigation into the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) Response to Requests for Late Abortions, A report by the Chief Medical Officer (2005), a copy of which has been placed in the Library;

Government Response to the Report from the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee on the Scientific Developments Relating to the Abortion Act 1967 (2007), a copy of which has been placed in the Library;

Evaluation of Early Medical Abortion (EMA) Pilot Sites (2008), a copy of which has been placed in the Library;

Moving forward: Progress and prioritiesworking together for high-quality sexual health (2009), a copy of which has been placed in the Library;

Equality Impact Assessment for National Sexual Health Policy (2010), a copy of which has been placed in the Library; and

Mandated Specification for Termination of Pregnancy Services (part of Guidance on the Standard NHS Contract for Acute Services and Community Services 2010/11) (2010), a copy of which has been placed in the Library.

Documents funded by the Department of Health:

The Care of Women Requesting Induced Abortion, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) (2004), a copy of which has already been placed in the Library; and

Recommended Standards for Sexual Health Services, Medical Foundation for Aids and Sexual Health (2005), a copy of which has already been placed in the Library.

We will be issuing the sexual health commissioning framework in due course, which will include good practice guidance on commissioning contraception and abortion services.

Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990

SIs implementing the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990, or departmental circulars and other documents specifically about the 1990 Act, have not been distributed directly to PCTs or SHAs and none are expected to be distributed within the next 12 months.

The national regulator, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), ensures that establishments licensed under the 1990 Act, in both the NHS and the independent sector, are aware of the legislative requirements and provides guidance on compliance and good practice.

Armed Forces: Army Cadet Force

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the benefits of the Army Cadet Force to communities. [HL1719]

The Army Cadet Force contributes to communities in a variety of ways. The main benefit is citizenship training for young people, who learn the core values of self discipline, respect for others and team work.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the recent reduction in expenditure on the Army Cadet Force on (a) their youth policy, (b) their youth projects, and (c) recruitment to the armed forces. [HL1720]

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the effect on instructor retention of the recent reduction in expenditure on the Army Cadet Force, and any consequent reduction in instructors' paid training days and annual and weekend camps. [HL1721]

There is no evidence to suggest that significant numbers of instructors have left the Army Cadet Force because of the temporary restrictions on activity levels this year, although the Army is continuing to monitor the situation.

Being an organisation run by volunteers, there is always a high turnover of adult instructors', but numbers have been growing steadily in recent years.

In the same way, cadet activity levels have continued, albeit in some areas at a reduced rate. The majority of annual camps will not have been affected, as they occur over the summer. On this basis we believe the impact on youth policies and projects of these restrictions has been minimal.

Banking: Iceland

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how much money was lost by retail investors when Landsbanki Guernsey failed; how much remains unreturned to such investors by Kaupthing Singer and Friedlander (Isle of Man); how much was transferred by Kaupthing Singer and Friedlander (Isle of Man) to Kaupthing UK in the period shortly before it was put into administration; and whether they will take steps to have that amount returned if it was improperly transferred. [HL1763]

Oversight of Landsbanki Guernsey and Kaupthing, Singer and Friedlander Isle of Man (KSF IoM) is the responsibility of the Guernsey Financial Supervision Commission and the Isle of Man's Financial Supervision Commission, respectively. Accordingly, arrangements for depositors in banks in the Isle of Man and Guernsey are a matter for the Governments of the Isle of Man and Guernsey.

Landsbanki Guernsey

On 26 November 2008 the States of Guernsey approved the immediate creation of a depositor compensation scheme for Guernsey.

However, this scheme does not have retrospective effect and therefore does not apply to the depositors of Landsbanki Guernsey. Instead, as that institution has been placed in administration, the depositors are creditors and will be treated in accordance with normal administration procedures. It appears that the administrator has already made a part payment to the depositors. Any further payments are a matter for Landsbanki Guernsey's administrators.

KSF IoM

As KSF IoM participated in the Isle of Man's depositors compensation scheme (DCS) and has been placed into liquidation, depositors with KSF IoM may be eligible for payouts from the DCS.

KSF IoM had deposits with its sister company KSF UK at the time of KSF UK entering into administration. Under UK insolvency law, KSF IoM ranks like any other creditor in the administration of KSF UK. As part of the administration process, as is usual, a moratorium is in place on the enforcement by creditors of claims against KSF UK. Creditors of KSF UK will be treated in accordance with the administration procedures and may receive a payment from the administrator in the normal way.

Buses

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to make local authorities aware of the benefits for service, quality and passengers of the bus service agreement established in Oxford between the bus operators and the local authority under the Local Transport Act 2008. [HL1772]

The Government welcome the plans to enhance bus services in Oxford city centre. The proposals show how much can be achieved through collaborative working between local authorities and bus operators, and by making best use of the powers in the Local Transport Act 2008.

My colleague, the Minister of State, recently spoke at a conference on this very topic, which my department co-sponsored with the Local Government Association, the Passenger Transport Executive Group and the Confederation of Passenger Transport, and at which Oxfordshire County Council gave a presentation on its plans. The objective of the event was to promote initiatives of this kind.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, before a quality contract for the provision of bus services is launched, all parties need to show that an effort has been made to make a quality partnership work. [HL1773]

The Local Transport Act provides a range of tools for local authorities to improve the standard of bus services, for the benefit of passengers. We encourage them to consider all options available, and in many cases voluntary and quality partnership schemes will secure the desired improvements. However, quality contract schemes are now a realistic additional option, and it is for local authorities to assess what approach will work best in their areas.

Climate Change

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government to which bodies they provide funding for matters relating to climate change; how much was provided to each such body in the last year for which figures are available; and which departments provided the funding to each body. [HL1485]

As requested, the 2008-09 figure for HMG funding to the Carbon Trust was £89 million.

The 2008-09 figure for HMG resource funding to the Energy Saving Trust was £35.491 million. The EST was also allocated £l million to fund three technological field trials.

This would have been funded by Defra, then DECC in light of the machinery of government changes which occurred during that year.

Community Cohesion

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how much money has been (a) allocated, and (b) committed, to community cohesion projects in 2010–11. [HL1501]

£17 million has been committed to local authorities for community cohesion work through the area-based grant.

A further £5 million has been allocated to tackling racist intolerance. An announcement on how this additional money will be distributed will be made in due course; and on 21 January the Secretary of State announced an additional £20 million funding for the Connecting Communities Programme in 2010-11.

Crime: Suspicious Activity Reports

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government which local authorities have accredited financial investigators with access to the Elmer database of the Serious and Organised Crime Agency through terminals housed in local police units; and what records are kept of the use to which such access is put. [HL1662]

The Serious Organised Crime Agency has partnership agreements in place with three local authorities allowing accredited financial investigators access to Elmer through terminals housed in local police units. These are the London Borough of Tower Hamlets Trading Standards Service and London Illegal Money Lending Team, Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council and Glasgow City Council.

Records are kept of the use of Elmer database, including records of all SARs that are viewed, downloaded or printed by a specific user. Records are also kept of all search requests that are made by a user of the database.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what professional qualifications are required of accredited financial investigators employed by local authorities before they are given access to the Elmer database of the Serious and Organised Crime Agency; how such investigators are security checked; and what restrictions are placed on the use that such investigators can make of their access rights. [HL1663]

Staff in end user organisations are required to pass the accredited financial investigators' training awarded by the National Policing Improvement Agency before they are given access to the Elmer database. All end users of Elmer are security checked according to the recruitment and security policy of their individual employer. Access to Elmer is given through SOCA's UK Financial Intelligence Unit's MoneyWeb intranet-based reporting system.

It is governed by a formal partnership agreement between SOCA and the end user. Financial investigators' access rights are also governed by legislation: the Criminal Procedure Investigation Act 1996, as amended by Part 5 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, and the relevant sections of the Human Rights Act 1998, the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Data Protection Act 1998; and protocols set out in Home Office Circular 53/2005.

SOCA reserves the right to exclude the end user from access to Elmer in the event of a confirmed breach of the partnership agreement.

Embryology

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Thornton on 19 January (WA 224–5), when the Newcastle Fertility Centre began providing information to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority on (a) the number of failed-to-fertilise eggs donated for use under licence R0152, and (b) the number used in the project. [HL1520]

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answers by Baroness Thornton on 5 January (WA 24–5) and 19 January (WA 224–5), whether oocytes that a researcher deems to be unsuitable would be erased from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority's records of total oocyte usage. [HL1521]

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has advised that in respect of failed-to-fertilise eggs used under research licence R1052, it has nothing further to add to the information given in my Written Answer of 19 January (WA 224-5).

The HFEA has also advised that it does not hold records on its register that could be amended in this way.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what percentage of treatment centres licensed by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) have installed IVF Witness; and what percentage of them did so in response to recommendations in HFEA inspection reports or instructions relayed by a licensing committee of the authority. [HL1634]

To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the number and nature of licence conditions or other sanctions used by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) in response to incidents uncovered by HFEA inspections or reported directly by licensed centres that had not been brought to light by media attention; and what were the number and nature of sanctions used against licensed centres following coverage of incidents in the media. [HL1635]

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many employees of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) have been suspended or charged with misconduct as described in the HFEA's document on Discipline Policy since it was issued in January 2007. [HL1636]

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many employees of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) have been suspected of fraud or corruption according to information available to the HFEA director of resources or the assistant director. [HL1637]

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many individuals wishing to make an important disclosure have approached the chief executive of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), as described in the HFEA's document on Public Interest Disclosure; and what was the outcome of any such disclosures. [HL1638]

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has advised that it does not hold a record of the particular witnessing system used in each licensed centre.

Information on the sanctions imposed by HFEA licence committees in response to adverse incidents is recorded in individual licence committee minutes and investigation reports. Specific information about the number and nature of licence conditions or other sanctions in response to incidents not brought to light by media attention, and the number and nature of sanctions following media coverage of incidents, could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

The HFEA has advised that since its document on discipline policy was issued in January 2007, no employees have been suspended from duty and there have been five cases of misconduct. In accordance with information collected since October 2007, none of its employees has been suspected of fraud or corruption. The HFEA has also advised that the interim chief executive has not been approached by anyone wishing to make a disclosure, as described in its document on Public Interest Disclosure produced in September 2006.

Energy: Wind Generation

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assumptions they are making about the working life of (a) land-based wind turbines, and (b) sea-level wind turbines, in their cost estimates of providing electricity from wind power. [HL1548]

The cost estimates made by the Government for onshore and offshore wind generally assume a working life of 20 years. This is used as an average figure, around which there will be a range and which itself is uncertain. Longer working lives may be achieved through a more intensive operations and maintenance programme.

Energy: Wind Turbines

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what proposals they have (a) to ensure that sufficient electricity will be generated when wind turbines are not operating, and (b) to absorb excess power from wind turbines during periods of low electricity demand. [HL1551]

The effects of wind intermittency will increasingly be mitigated through a range of options. These include:

the geographical dispersion of wind farms across the country, including a potentially huge upscaling of our offshore capacity following the recent Crown Estate announcement on round 3 offshore wind zones;

the increasing deployment of predictable forms of renewable energy, such as biomass;

the availability of a spinning reserve (the electricity system always has more generating capacity available than the expected demand—known as spinning reserve—as no electricity generator, whether conventional or renewable, is 100 per cent reliable);

the increasing use of energy storage;

greater demand-side management;

we are also exploring a number of other ways in which to manage the deployment of increasing amounts of variable wind power in the future. These include greater levels of interconnection to mainland Europe; and

energy storage and other forms of flexible supply and demand are likely to have a very significant role to play in our future low carbon electricity network, particularly in facilitating the integration of intermittent renewable technologies.

We are currently looking at what our energy pathways to 2050 may be, as indicated in our recently published low carbon transition plan, and the outcome of this work will help us define the role for energy storage within our future low carbon electricity network.

Equality Bill

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what would be the estimated cost of making provision in the Equality Bill for partially sighted people so they are not disadvantaged by failures to make adjustments for disabled persons. [HL1694]

The reasonable adjustment duty in the Equality Bill requires employers, those providing services and exercising public functions to make reasonable adjustments when disabled people are placed at a substantial disadvantage. The duty applies in respect of all disabled people including people with sensory impairments who are at a substantial disadvantage when accessing information.

This is not a new duty, having been introduced incrementally between 1996 and 2004, and is carried forward from the Disability Discrimination Act with one substantive change. The Equality Bill introduces a common threshold of “substantial disadvantage” for the duty; this is the threshold which currently applies in the employment provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act. The threshold which currently applies in respect of services and public functions is higher.

The impact assessment for the Equality Bill, copies of which are available in the Library, includes the costs of new policy or changes to policy. It does not cost existing polices being imported into the Bill. Accordingly it costs the introduction of the lower “substantial disadvantage” threshold. The costs, which are aggregated and are not broken down by type of impairment, are estimated in the range of £2 million to £6 million per year.

EU: Non-compliance

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what will be their response to any proposal from the European Parliament to remove the power of member states to veto decisions of the new European Union financial regulators where they would impact on member states' fiscal autonomy. [HL1866]

The Government have been very clear that no decisions by the new European supervisory authorities should impinge on the fiscal responsibilities of the UK. The Government will oppose any proposal of the European Parliament that seeks to undermine this principle.

Finance: Savings

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to raise the savings ratio in the United Kingdom. [HL1594]

The gross household saving ratio is currently 8.6 per cent (2009Q3), up from an average of 4.4 per cent between 2000-06. Estimates of the saving ratio can be revised quite heavily as new data on income and spending become available. The pace and extent of the adjustment currently reported are therefore subject to uncertainty. However, it seems clear that a significant adjustment is underway.

The Government's savings strategy focuses on developing a range of savings opportunities suitable for each life stage, and providing incentives for saving through the tax and benefit system. In support of this, the Government have introduced ISAs and the Child Trust Fund, and will introduce the Saving Gateway in 2010 to encourage saving amongst working-age people on lower incomes. Private pension reform will enable and encourage more people to build up a private pension income.

Fire and Rescue Service

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what disciplinary action has been taken at the Fire Service College due to the college's not having carried out a fire risk assessment under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (SI 2005/1541) at the time of last year's fire. [HL1508]

Gaza

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the health of children in Gaza. [HL1536]

UN agencies and non-governmental organisations have published a number of reports on the health of children in Gaza. According to these reports. infant mortality rates in Gaza have stagnated in the past few years, following a long period of sustained decreases. There are high levels of diarrhoeal disease and anaemia among young children. Children's diets have deteriorated due to restrictions on imports, leading to growing levels of acute and chronic malnutrition. At the same time, an increase in overweight children has been recorded, due to reductions in the quality of available food and lack of physical activity. The trauma and stress experienced during last winter's conflict also appear to have resulted in increasing mental health problems in children.

Government Departments: Consultancy Services

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how much was paid by departments and their agencies to (a) PricewaterhouseCoopers, (b) KPMG, (c) Deloitte, (d) Ernst & Young, (e) Grant Thornton, (f) BDO Stoy Hayward, (g) Baker Tilly, (h) Smith & Williamson, (i) Tenon Group, (j) PKF, (k) McKinsey and Company, and (l) Accenture in each of the past five years for which information is available. [HL1707]

Health: Cancer

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many patients saw a cancer specialist within two weeks of diagnosis in (a) the north west, (b) Greater Manchester, and (c) the City of Manchester in the latest year for which figures are available. [HL1601]

The following table shows the number of patients seeing a cancer specialist within two weeks of diagnosis at National Health Service trusts in the Greater Manchester and the north-west strategic health authority area.

Patients Seeing a Cancer Specialist within Two Weeks of Diagnosis (number and percentage compliance)

2008-09 Q3

2008-09 Q4

2009/10 Q1

2009/10 Q2

Number

as %

Number

as %

Number

as %

Number

as %

North West Strategic Health Authority

26,478

99.9%

26,858

96.5%

28,623

95.2%

30,598

94.8%

Trusts in the Greater Manchester area

The Christie NHS Foundation Trust

1

100.0%

*

*

1

100.0%

*

*

University Hospital of South Manchester NHS Foundation Trust

870

99.8%

882

98.5%

1087

97.1%

1047

96.8%

Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust

788

100.0%

781

98.9%

832

98.7%

902

97.4%

Trafford Healthcare NHS Trust

273

100.0%

303

97.4%

309

96.9%

306

97.5%

Royal Bolton Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

925

100.0%

1001

98.9%

1000

99.2%

1075

98.5%

Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

923

100.0%

855

98.1%

873

96.4%

1073

96.1

Wrightington, Wigan & Leigh NHS Foundation Trust

811

100.0%

946

99.2%

897

99.4%

980

99.4%

Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust

*

*

21

100.0%

*

*

*

*

Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

325

100.0%

461

98.3%

476

93.7%

437

94.0%

Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust

2,065

99.9%

2275

96.3%

2217

95.1%

2236

93.2%

Stockport NHS Foundation Trust

1,280

100.0%

1368

97.9%

1574

97.5%

1509

96.9%

Other trusts in the North West

Wirral University Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

1,265

99.9%

784

96.9%

1334

95.2%

1619

94.2%

St Helens & Knowsley Hospitals NHS Trust

1,237

99.9%

1194

95.7%

1403

98.5%

1235

95.9%

Liverpool Heart and Chest NHS Foundation Trust

74

100.0%

41

100.0%

99

100.0%

96

100.0%

Alder Hey Children's NHS Foundation Trust

*

*

1

100.0%

*

*

*

*

Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

714

100.0%

659

94.5%

494

94.6%

843

91.1

Aintree University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

1,302

99.8%

1332

95.1%

1397

94.0%

1228

94.0%

Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology NHS Foundation Trust

*

*

*

*

1

100.0%

*

*

Liverpool Women's NHS Foundation Trust

274

100.0%

313

96.3%

304

93.8%

338

92.3%

The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust

18

100.0%

3

100.0%

9

100.0%

20

100.0%

East Cheshire NHS Trust

753

100.0%

780

98.1%

881

97.5%

863

98.3%

Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

1,127

99.9%

1067

98.3%

743

95.4%

1267

96.7%

North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust

1,688

99.9%

1542

96.4%

1661

91.2%

1599

91.7%

Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust

1,842

99.7%

2100

93.7%

2048

89.9%

2314

89.9%

University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust

1,082

99.9%

1675

95.1%

1749

98.9%

1828

98.9%

Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust

1,154

99.9%

770

94.7%

1231

92.4%

1323

92.5%

Warrington and Halton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

1,113

100.0%

1093

96.4%

1085

93.7%

1070

95.1%

Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

1,523

100.0%

1537

95.8%

1684

94.6%

1695

95.0%

Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

1,427

100.0%

1511

96.1%

1601

93.0%

1737

93.0%

East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust

1,624

99.6%

1563

96.8%

1633

95.2%

1958

95.0%

England

185,924

99.8%

181,038

94.5%

208,265

94.1%

216,177

94.4%

Source: Department of Health Notes:

1. * indicates that there were no urgent referrals to that trust in that quarter—trusts where there were no urgent referrals during the year are not shown

2. Not all of the information requested is available in the exact form requested as the figures are on provider rather than commissioner basis.

3. Aggregate figures for North West Strategic Health Authority are shown and for the individual trusts in the region which are the basis for the aggregate, including those in the Manchester area.

4. Data are available on a quarterly basis—figures for the four most recent quarter are shown (September-December 2008, January-March 2009, April-June 2009, July-September 2009).

Health: Contaminated Blood Products

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government when the PRISM trial to confirm the safety of P-Capt filtered red cells is scheduled to be completed. [HL1589]

There are two arms to the prion filtered red cells in surgery and multi-transfused patients (PRISM) trial—one control arm (patients receiving standard red cells) and one filter arm (patients receiving prion filtered red cells). Patients in both arms of the trial are followed up for six months in case of late complications, especially formation of antibodies to red cells which might affect future transfusions. This means that although it is anticipated that recruitment to the filter arm will be complete in 2010, follow up will continue to mid-2011. It may be clear at that point that the filters do not cause unexpected complications. As a comparison, a similar number of patients in the control arm are also being followed up. This will complete in 2011, with follow up until 2012.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what safety studies have been published relating to the progress of the PRISM trial. [HL1590]

Since the prion filtered red cells in surgery and multi-transfused patients (PRISM) study is still ongoing, there are no publications related to it as yet. The Irish Blood Service has presented an abstract on its clinical experience with prion filtered red cells at the American Society for Haematology in December 2009.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many persons have been transfused with prion filtered red cells as part of the PRISM trial; and how many units of prion filtered red cells have been transfused in the United Kingdom as part of the PRISM trial. [HL1591]

As of the end of December 2009, 107 patients in England and Scotland have received 320 units of prion filtered red cells as part of the prion filtered red cells in surgery and multi-transfused patients (PRISM) study.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many safety trials have been carried out internationally on the P-Capt filter. [HL1592]

Other than the ongoing prion filtered red cells in surgery and multi-transfused patients (PRISM) study, we are aware of two other studies that have assessed the safety of red cells filtered using the P-Capt filter:

a small study conducted by the manufacturer in healthy volunteers where the subjects received one unit of prion filtered red cells; and

a study of 20 patients conducted in Ireland where patients were specifically followed up for evidence of adverse events. The Irish Blood Service has now transfused around a further 180 units of red cells filtered using the P-Capt filter, but these patients have not been specifically followed up.

As far as we are aware, the PRISM study is the only controlled clinical study of red cells filtered using the P-Capt filter that is currently recruiting patients.

Health: Disciplinary Hearings

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, in addition to doctors and dentists, other health professionals are entitled to legal representation in disciplinary hearings involving serious allegations as a consequence of the judgment in Kulkarni v Milton Keynes Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. [HL1654]

The Kulkarni case related to the application by Milton Keynes Hospital NHS Foundation Trust of Maintaining High Professional Standards (MHPS). MHPS is a disciplinary framework, which applies only to National Health Service employed doctors and dentists in England. The Court of Appeal found that MHPS gave a contractual right to legal representation at a disciplinary hearing. The decision therefore applies to all NHS employed doctors and dentists.

Health: Medicines

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what procedures are used to assess the safety of medical devices. [HL1588]

In order to place a medical device on the European Union market a manufacturer must meet the relevant safety, quality and performance requirements laid down in the European Community medical devices directives. These have been transposed into United Kingdom law by the Medical Devices Regulations 2002. All but the very lowest risk classified devices require their conformity to be assessed by third party certification organisations (called notified bodies) designated by member states as being competent to undertake this function.

Health: Ophthalmology

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will issue guidance to health authorities stating that patients with eye treatment appointments should be issued appointment letters in large print. [HL1693]

The Hospital Eye Service guidance issued to National Health Service trusts in November 2006 included the recommendation that all literature (including appointment cards and letters) should conform to the guidelines issued by the Royal National Institute of Blind People. This includes the recommendation that font size should be 14 point as a minimum.

The Hospital Eye Service guidance has been placed in the Library.

Health: Republic of Ireland

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Thornton on 20 January (WA 264), how NHS staff find out whether someone seeking scheduled medical treatment in the United Kingdom is an Irish citizen; what criteria or documents they use to confirm that someone is an Irish citizen; and which parts of the National Health Service have the facility to record E112 forms submitted by Irish citizens electronically. [HL1532]

It is for each member state to establish entitlement before issuing an E112. It would therefore be for the Irish authorities to establish eligibility in such circumstances. E112 forms are recorded via the overseas visitor treatment portal, which is a secure web based system available to all authorised National Health Service staff in acute and mental health trusts.

Higher Education: Overseas Students

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government which body inspects private colleges listed as student visa sponsors on the UK Border Agency tier 4 register; what percentage of colleges inspected have been suspended; for what reasons; and when they expect every accredited college to have been inspected. [HL1652]

Education providers subject to public reviews (state schools, universities etc) do not require accreditation to enable them to apply for a sponsor licence.

Private higher education institutions must hold valid accreditation from one of the following bodies before they can successfully apply for a licence:

Ofsted;

Accreditation UK—a British Council scheme that offers an accreditation service for English language schools;

the British Accreditation Council (BAC), which offers a more general accreditation service to cover a wide range of different education providers and their courses;

the Accreditation Service for International Colleges (ASIC), which also offers a general accreditation service to cover a wide range of different educational establishments and their courses;

the Accreditation Body for Language Services Ltd which offers accreditation for English Language schools; and

the Church of England—Ministry Division, which offers a quality assurance and accreditation service for institutions offering training for Christian ministry in the participating churches.

As of 1 February 2010, tier 4 sponsor licences for 7 per cent of education providers had been suspended pending further investigation. We are unable to disclose the reasons for suspension as investigations are ongoing.

The UK Border Agency has visited every educational establishment holding a tier 4 licence. These visits are part of a continuous rolling programme and a large proportion will be visited again within then next 12 months.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many overseas students whose sponsor had its licence (a) revoked, and (b) suspended, have studied in the United Kingdom since April 2009. [HL1681]

Between 1 April and 31 December 2009, 1,530* students were studying at a college whose licence was subsequently revoked, and 27,715* were studying at a college whose licence was subsequently suspended.

Colleges whose tier 4 sponsor is suspended are not able to issue a visa letter or confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) to new students. UKBA will also suspend consideration of any in-country applications for students to move to that college. Student, who are not involved in the reason why the sponsors licence was revoked have their stay in the UK limited to 60 days to enable them to apply for permission to stay with another approved education provider, if they wish to remain in the UK. They also have the option voluntarily to depart the UK during this time.

* The figures quoted are provisional and have been rounded to the nearest five. They are derived from local management information and are not provided under national statistics protocols.

House of Lords: Food Disposal

Question

Asked by

To ask the Chairman of Committees whether unused food and beverages which reach their consume-by date before being used for meals in the House of Lords are offered to charities for distribution to those in need. [HL1747]

No. Stock is carefully controlled so as to minimise waste. Packaged goods which reach their use-by date are thrown away rather than distributed to charities as under food labelling regulations they are considered a risk to health and the House of Lords would remain liable for any food poisoning which might result after consumption. Fruit and vegetables which are reaching the end of their shelf life are, wherever possible, used as an ingredient in the preparation of other dishes for immediate consumption.

Houses of Parliament: Easter Recess

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will propose the dates of the Easter parliamentary recess. [HL1547]

The timing of the Easter Recess will depend on the progress of business. An announcement will he made in due course. The Government hope to be able to give both Houses as much notice as possible of the dates of the Recess.

Improvised Explosive Devices

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they are having with other Governments to share research on combating improvised explosive devices. [HL1480]

The Ministry of Defence regularly exchanges information on work and research with its allies to the mutual benefit of all parties. Discussing such topics is part of continuing successful coalition operations.

Iraq

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many Christian and Mandaean refugees from Iraq (a) have requested, and (b) are awaiting a decision on, indefinite leave to remain; and whether they plan to permit those applicants to work or study at university while awaiting a decision. [HL1519]

The applications of Christian and Mandaean asylum seekers from Iraq are not reported on by the UK Border Agency and information on them could be obtained only at a disproportionate cost through the examination of individual case files.

Recognised refugees have access to the labour market but it is not our policy to allow asylum seekers to work. The only exception is asylum seekers who have been waiting 12 months for a decision where this delay cannot be attributed to them. Allowing asylum seekers to work in these circumstances is in accordance with the EC directive on the reception of asylum seekers. Asylum seekers can attend university or college courses but they generally have to pay overseas fees while their asylum claim is outstanding.

Irish Language: Broadcasting

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government on what date and at what time the Memorandum of Understanding between them and the Government of the Republic of Ireland on Irish Language Broadcasting was signed; by which Ministers; and at what time on what date the corresponding press release was issued. [HL1803]

A Memorandum of Understanding on Digital Television, which provides a framework for continuing co-operation on broadcasting issues on the island of Ireland, was signed by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Eamon Ryan TD, on Monday 1 February, at approximately 3.30 pm. A press release was issued subsequent to the signing, at 3.40 pm.

The MoU is intended to ensure a smooth transition to digital terrestrial television; ensure the widespread availability of TG4 (the Irish language channel) in Northern Ireland; and facilitate the widespread availability of BBC services in Ireland and of RTE services in Northern Ireland.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are required by the Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of the Republic of Ireland on Irish language broadcasting to postpone the switch-off of public service broadcasting analogue services in Northern Ireland until an equivalent digital terrestrial television service exists in the Republic; if so, whether that will have any effect on the switch-off date in the rest of the United Kingdom; and whether they have estimated the additional cost of each possible year of postponement. [HL1898]

The MoU does not require the UK Government to postpone the digital switchover programme in the UK to bring it into line with the plans of the Government of Ireland. Rather it provides that the two Governments should co-operate to ensure a smooth transition to digital switchover. In addition, it provides that the two Governments will co-operate to ensure the widespread availability of TG4 (the Irish language channel) in Northern Ireland and facilitate the widespread availability of BBC services in Ireland and of RTE services in Northern Ireland.

Olympic and Paralympic Games

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what forecast they have made about the number of possible asylum applications from overseas nationals involved in the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012. [HL1622]

No forecasts have been made regarding asylum applications made by overseas nationals involved in the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012.

Olympic and Paralympic Games: Visas

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people involved in the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012 will not be required to apply for a visa for the Games. [HL1623]

A visa waiver will operate for a limited number of the accredited Games family who would, under normal circumstances, require a visa before travelling.

This group is expected to be the athletes themselves, coaches and support personnel, International and National Olympic and Paralympic Committee members, accredited media and a small number of representatives from high-level global sponsors. Excluding nationals from the EEA, current estimates are that there will be about 40,000 accredited foreign nationals entering the United Kingdom.

Of these just over half are expected to be nationals of countries who would normally require a visa to enter the United Kingdom or other persons coming for reasons that would normally require some form of entry clearance. In these circumstances the Olympic or Paralympic accreditation card will act as evidence that an entry clearance is not required.

Olympic Games 2012

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what objectives they have for the legacy of the 2012 Olympics in Cornwall, Devon and Somerset. [HL1037]

The Government's Olympic legacy ambitions for the UK are to change a generation of young people through sport and to transform East London.

The Government and the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) established the Nations and Regions Group to ensure UK-wide engagement and to maximise the legacy for London 2012. This group works directly with representatives from each of the nations and English regions to maximise the sporting, commercial, cultural and other benefits of the 2012 Games. Some examples of how the south-west of England, and in particular Cornwall, Devon and Somerset, is benefiting from the Games are given below.

The London 2012 Games has created significant new opportunities for UK businesses, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) has awarded direct contracts to 15 suppliers registered in Cornwall, Devon and Somerset, out of a total of 49 for the south-west region. The ODA has recently published a map showing that many suppliers are winning work both directly with the ODA and within the supply chains of its contractors. Details of these are available in the business section of the London 2012 website at www.london2012.com/get-involved/business-network/oda-suppliers/index.php.

More than 5,500 south-west businesses have now registered on CompeteFor, the electronic brokerage service which enables businesses to compete for Games-related contract opportunities. Businesses can find out about Games-related contracts on CompeteFor, the electronic brokerage service which is designed to open up London 2012's supply chains further than any other Games previously.

The ambition is to make the UK a world-leading sporting nation and increase active participation in sports. In Somerset, Team Somerset 500 was devised by Somerset County Council in 2009 to create a longer-term endowment fund to encourage wider participation in sport and healthier lifestyles beyond 2012. The club aims to recruit 500 local businesses and investors to pledge at least £500 per year each in the run-up to the London 2012 Games to support talented young athletes and to encourage active involvement in sport across the county.

In the south-west, there are 61 facilities included in the Pre-Games Training Camp Guide which are available to teams from the UK and overseas to use. The British Paralympic Team has signed an agreement to train at Bath University, which is one of those venues.

In terms of the social legacy, £1.61 million has been awarded to the south-west from the Legacy Trust for programmes to inspire and engage young people in their diverse communities to participate in cultural work and sporting activity. The London 2012 Inspire programme, which officially recognises outstanding non-commercial projects and events which have been inspired by the Games, is helping to bring the benefits of the Games to every part of the UK. There are 19 Inspire marked projects in the south-west, including two in Devon and two in Somerset.

Involving children and young people in the excitement and inspiration of the Games is also a priority. Get Set, LOCOG's education programme for London 2012, has more than 700 schools registered in the south-west so far.

In Somerset Playing for Success, a partnership between the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF), local authorities and a broad range of sports (18 in total), supports the Olympic legacy aims. Through Playing for Success, the DCSF and partners are establishing study support centres within sports clubs' grounds and sporting venues. The centres open out of school hours and mainly cater for 10 to 14 year-olds who are at risk of underachieving, using the stimulus of sport to motivate them.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether all pedestrians and vehicles entering the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games venues will be screened for chemical materials that could be used in any attack. [HL1812]

The search and screening of people, vehicles and materials entering Olympic and Paralympic venues will be an integral part of the protective security approach at these sites. The screening regime is being developed to provide an appropriate level of assurance that items that pose a threat to the Games will be detected on entry, based on risk assessment. As part of this, appropriate consideration is being given to the ability to screen for chemical materials.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government which minister is co-ordinating the multi-agency plans for responding to and managing any chemical incident during the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. [HL1813]

The Home Secretary and Minister for Olympic Security will oversee the delivery of the Olympic Safety and Security Strategy, working in conjunction with the Minister for the Olympics, and other ministerial colleagues as required depending on the nature of any potential incident.

Personal Care at Home Bill

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will publish before 30 April a White Paper on the long-term reform of adult social care, following the Green Paper published in July 2009. [HL1905]

We are currently analysing the responses to the Green Paper, Shaping the Future of Care Together. These responses will inform a White Paper to be published this year.

Police: Protection

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how much is spent on providing police protection for retired foreign politicians resident in the United Kingdom. [HL1624]

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they pay for police protection for non-United Kingdom nationals when they are travelling overseas. [HL1625]

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many foreign nationals resident in the United Kingdom receive police protection. [HL1626]

It is long established Home Office policy not to comment on protective security arrangements and their related costs for any individuals or groups. The noble Baroness will appreciate that disclosure of such information could compromise the integrity of those arrangements and affect the security of the individuals concerned.

Prisoners: Education

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government following the announcement of possible redundancies at Manchester College, the main provider of offender learning contracts, what action they will take to ensure the provision of education for prisoners to avoid re-offending; and what provision has been made to ensure that voluntary organisations can continue to deliver prisoner education. [HL1697]

Manchester College won a number of the Offender Learning and Skills Service (OLASS) contracts awarded by the Learning and Skills Council in summer 2009. Taking up those responsibilities involved the college in significant staff transfer activity, but it continues to deliver its contractual responsibilities.

The Learning and Skills Council works closely with the National Offender Management Service to monitor the delivery by each of the eight OLASS providers to ensure there is no break in provision of the service in establishments.

There is a long tradition of third sector organisations being involved in delivering services in support of prison education. Organisations such as the Prisoners' Education Trust and Women in Prison continue to have important roles, and the Learning and Skills Council's OLASS contractors deliver part of their requirement through subcontracting arrangements with voluntary and community providers. An example of this type of delivery is Family Man, delivered through a subcontract between Safe Ground and Manchester College.

Questions for Written Answer

Questions

Asked by

To ask the Leader of the House whether she will ask the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills whether, when placing material in the Library of the House in response to a Parliamentary Question, they will supply a copy of the material to the noble Lord who tabled the Question. [HL1687]

It is the practice of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills always to provide the noble Lord concerned with a copy of any documents placed in the Library of the House in response to a Parliamentary Question.

Asked by

To ask the Leader of the House whether she will ask the Department of Health whether, when placing material in the Library of the House in response to a Parliamentary Question, they will supply a copy of the material to the noble Lord who tabled the Question. [HL1688]

It is the practice of the Department of Health always to provide the noble Lord concerned with a copy of any documents placed in the Library of the House in response to a Parliamentary Question.

Railways: Passenger Compensation

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to review the operation of delay/repay compensation to rail passengers with a view to facilitating the use of vouchers issued with internet and machine payments. [HL1822]

The operation of delay/repay compensation is a matter for the train operators that use this system.

When train operators introduce the new compensation system they are expected to do so in a way that enables passengers to utilise the vouchers issued using technology where appropriate.

Retail Markets

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Working Group on Traditional Retail Markets has met; if so, who attended; what were the main decisions taken; and when it is next due to meet. [HL1486]

The first meeting of the Working Group on Traditional Retail Markets was held on 1 December 2009 and was attended by the right honourable Rosie Winterton MP, CLG Minister for Local Government and Minister for Regional Economic Development and Co-ordination at BIS, CLG officials, senior officials from BIS, DCMS, Defra, DH, DWP, the Food Standards Agency, and the Local Government Association's markets champion, Councillor Dave Goddard. The Retail Markets Alliance co-ordinated markets industry representation at the meeting. Representatives from Country Markets and a social enterprise market also attended.

At the meeting the working group agreed:

to publish the terms of reference for the group on the newly created webpage for markets on the CLG departmental website: http://www.communities.gov. uk/citiesandregions/regeneration/approachretail markets/

to meet up three times a year and report on progress to the right honourable Rosie Winterton MP, CLG minister with responsibility for markets, and Jim Fitzpatrick MP, Minister for Food at BIS after the second meeting of the working group in the spring;

to set up ad hoc project groups for specific work strands;

to develop a good practice guide that will be directed both to markets managers and the market traders representatives in markets to share good practice and ideas of good market management and finance, and;

to develop skills and encourage new market traders in market business start up and develop entrepreneurship skills for existing traders.

The working group has since agreed to set up a further project group to look at market management models.

The next meeting of the working group will be held in March 2010.

Roads: Trunk Roads

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will work with the Scottish Government to review the quality of the trunk roads between Edinburgh and Newcastle and Carlisle. [HL1759]

This Government maintain close liaison with the Scottish Government on a wide range of cross-border transport issues, including trunk roads. Ministers meet on a regular basis with ministerial counterparts within the devolved Administration to discuss areas of mutual interest. In addition, officials from the Department for Transport, and Government Office for the North East also meet regularly with officials from the Scottish Executive to discuss cross-border transport improvements.

Security: Personal Protection

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how much is spent on providing personal security protection for (a) Mr Tony Blair, (b) Sir John Major, and (c) Baroness Thatcher. [HL1740]

It is long established government policy not to comment on protective security arrangements and their related costs for any individuals or groups. The noble Baroness will appreciate that disclosure of such information could compromise the integrity of those arrangements and affect the security of the individuals concerned.

Snow: Clearance

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will issue new advice about clearing snow and ice from paths and other areas in front of premises belonging to (a) householders, (b) shopkeepers, (c) schools, and (d) other public services. [HL1270]

There is no legal restriction preventing members of the public clearing the snow and ice on the highway outside their properties. Such action by citizens does not remove the duty placed on the highway authority by Section 41 of the Highways Act 1980 “to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that safe passage along a highway is not endangered by snow or ice”.

With regard to the clearing of snow and ice from private property, the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has worked with the Health and Safety Executive to provide advice, which is published on the DCLG website at http://www.communities.gov.uk/news/corporate/1431227.

Taxation

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will seek the consent of Parliament before voting in favour of a common tax base for business in the Council of the European Union. [HL1550]

The European Commission has not, as yet, published a new proposal for a common base for business tax. If the Commission does publish such a proposal it will be subject to the normal parliamentary scrutiny process in which the European Union Committee and the European Scrutiny Committee will have the opportunity to examine the proposal in detail.

The Government are committed to the principle of effective scrutiny of European legislation and have given Parliament an undertaking that Ministers will not agree to proposals in the Council of Ministers without due parliamentary scrutiny, except in circumstances where the national interest would be damaged by delaying agreement until scrutiny by the committees has been completed.

Taxation: Africa

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what measures they are taking to dissuade African nations from developing tax haven industries. [HL1733]

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking with the international community to dissuade African nations from developing tax haven industries. [HL1837]

The UK has taken a consistently strong stance on tackling tax havens in international fora, as demonstrated by the leading role the Government took in pressing for G20 agreement on tackling tax havens last year.

The Government have also strongly supported international efforts to ensure that developing countries benefit from improvements in tax transparency and exchange of information, which is a vital step in tackling tax havens and discouraging their activity. This includes supporting multilateral instruments for tax information exchange, pressing for greater involvement of developing countries in the global forum on tax transparency, and supporting tax capacity building initiatives in developing countries.

Taxation: Non-domiciled Residents

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will break down by country of domicile the number of individual taxpayers who are registered with Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs as non-domiciled in the United Kingdom. [HL965]

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many taxpayers who are registered with Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs as non-domiciled in the United Kingdom have their domicile as (a) Belize, and (b) the Turks and Caicos Islands. [HL966]

The information requested is not available, as taxpayers are not required to register their country of domicile with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Visas

Question

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many and what percentage of student visa applications received and issued in the past three years have been to (a) private colleges accredited by private accreditation services approved by the UK Border Agency, and (b) universities and colleges in the public sector. [HL1531]