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Football World Cup

Mr. Nigel Jones: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what assessment she has made of the position under European competition law of the ticket allocation system for the 1998 Football World Cup; and if she will make a statement. [26265]

Mr. Nigel Griffiths: The investigatory body for European competition cases is the Competition Directorate of the European Commission (DGIV), which has the powers to gather the information necessary to assess a particular case, and to terminate infringements. It is to open parties which claim a legitimate interest in an alleged breach of the rules to make a formal complaint to the Commission. In addition DGIV, on being made aware of an alleged breach, may launch an investigation at its own initiative.

Press Conferences

Mr. Redwood: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if she will list those who are allowed to attend her Department's press conferences. [25825]

Mrs. Beckett [holding answer 28 January 1998]: It is the normal practice to invite only the media to DTI press conferences.

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Gas and Electricity Deregulation

Mr. Boswell: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what steps she has taken to ensure that the deadline for the introduction of a competitive market in domestic electricity supply of 1 April is met. [24324]

Mr. Battle [holding answer 21 January 1998]: This Government have made clear their full commitment to the successful delivery of supply competition in electricity. I have sought and obtained three reports from the Director General of Electricity Supply on the programme's progress and held meetings with industry chief executives. As a result companies are now committed having spent resources to ensuring that competition is a success and have agreed to licence modifications binding them to deliver their parts of their programme.

The Director General has now reported that market opening should commence in the middle of September 1998. However customers will benefit not only from the new price controls which are due to come into effect on 1 April 1998 but also from penalties which will take effect from the end of April.

Mr. Boswell: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what estimate she has made of the level of commercial losses to private sector firms arising from the delay in implementation of electricity deregulation; and if they will be compensated. [26181]

Mr. Battle: None. Customers including commercial customers will benefit from new price controls to take effect from 1 April 1998 and from penalties which the public electricity suppliers will incur after the end of that month.

Mr. Boswell: To ask the President of the Board of Trade if she intends to implement simultaneous and reciprocal deregulation of domestic gas and electricity supplies; and if she will make a statement. [26180]

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Mr. Battle: The proposed timetables for the deregulation of domestic gas and electricity supply markets have been published by OFGAS and OFFER respectively.

Anti-competitive Practices

Mr. Livingstone: To ask the President of the Board of Trade what assessment she has made of the impact of the Competition Bill [Lords] on the examination of anti-competitive practices within the newspaper industry. [24433]

Mr. Nigel Griffiths: The Competition Bill introduces general prohibitions against anti-competitive agreements and abuses of market dominance. These prohibitions will apply to the newspaper industry as to other sectors of the economy. Under the Bill it is the responsibility of the Director General of Fair Trading, the Competition Commission, and ultimately the courts, to examine whether particular behaviour is caught by the prohibitions. The purpose of the Bill is to set in place a new framework of law against which the competition effects of individual cases may be assessed by these bodies.

SCOTLAND

Prisoners (Drug Testing)

Mr. Beith: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the results of random mandatory drug testing of prisoners for April to June 1997 and July to September 1997, showing for each establishment the number of tests done, the number of prisoners testing positive for opiates and the number of prisoners testing positive for cannabis for the nine Scottish prisons at which willing anonymous salivary HIV/Hepatitis B surveillance studies were conducted during 1991 to 96. [25054]

Mr. McLeish: The information is as follows:

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April to June 1997 July to September 1997
PrisonTests doneOpiate positiveCannabis positiveTests doneOpiate positiveCannabis positive
Aberdeen64131960422
Barlinnie37644303683926
Cornton Vale46314942
Edinburgh22630912222262
Glenochil12530301252612
Glenochil YOI49145004
Low Moss11713231061425
Perth13519451401749
Polmont1531039146333

These figures include prisoners who tested positive for both opiates and cannabis in the one test.


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Nutrition Standards

Mr. Sarwar: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what plans the Government have for improving nutrition standards in Scotland. [25642]

Mr. Galbraith: "Eating for Health: A Diet Action Plan for Scotland" was published in July 1996. The Plan, which covers a 10 year period, makes 71 recommendations for action by those interests who most influence our diet--from those who produce, manufacture and retail food and food products through to central and

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local Government. Implementation of the Plan is now being taken forward in the Government's drive to improve Scotland's diet.

Long-term Care

Ms Drown: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what assessment he has made of the yearly cost to the NHS of meeting the nursing costs of long-term care. [25913]

Mr. Galbraith: The cost to the NHS in Scotland of nursing people in long-term care was £286.6 million in 1996-97.

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Medical Records

Mr. Swinney: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many representations he has received on extending patients' rights of access to medical records held by hospitals and general practitioners. [25678]

Mr. Galbraith: The Scottish Office Department of Health receives many inquiries from patients about rights of access under the provisions of the Access to Health Records Act 1990.

It is not possible to distinguish those which are concerned with extending rights of access, since a clear explanation of current rights usually satisfies the correspondent.

Mr. Swinney: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the rights of patients to gain access to medical records held by hospitals and general practitioners. [25679]

Mr. Galbraith: Under the provisions of the Access to Health Records Act 1990 individuals have the right to access personal health information in health records kept on manual files recorded after November 1991. The 1990 Act does not prevent access to records made before 1991 but it is for the relevant health professional to decide to allow access on an informal, voluntary basis. The Data Protection Act 1984 gives an individual the right of access to personal information in health records which are held on computer. With both of these Acts access can be denied or restricted only in certain specified circumstances such as where access to the information may cause serious physical or mental harm to the individual.

INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

EU Development and Assistance Programme

Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will take action during the United Kingdom Presidency to ensure that the EU development assistance programme procedures include full consultation with and participation of those involved throughout the project cycle. [25887]

Clare Short: Stakeholder participation and involvement in the planning and implementation of programmes is central to sustainable development. The European Commission's own internal project cycle management guidance stresses the importance of adequate stakeholder consultation and involvement in the project cycle, but continuing efforts are required to ensure this is always fully reflected in the design and implementation of projects and programmes. During the UK Presidency, we will continue to promote the greater use and development of adequate stakeholder participation through dialogue with Commission officials in Brussels and in delegations, and through our participation in the Commissions Management Committees. We have also seconded a Social Development adviser to work in the Commission to use his expertise to assist the Commission in this area.

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