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29 Jun 2010 : Column 511Wcontinued
Chris Bryant: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 21 June 2010, Official Report, column 37W, on the European Parliament, what further steps he plans to take to raise the question of the European Parliament's seat in Strasbourg. 
Mr Lidington: I intend to build support amongst my counterparts across the EU where possible.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment his Department has made of the security situation in the Kyrgyz Republic, with particular reference to ethnic violence; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Jeremy Browne: We are deeply concerned by the recent events in Kyrgyzstan. The situation on the ground remains extremely fragile. The UK co-sponsored a resolution at the UN Human Rights Council on 18 June that called for a transparent investigation into the events of April and the recent inter-ethnic violence, and urged the Kyrgyz authorities to promote inter-ethnic reconciliation.
We and our EU partners have underlined the importance of pursuing the political process to build democratic institutions in Kyrgyzstan, notably through the referendum on a new constitution that took place on 27 June and through parliamentary elections later this year. This process represents the best chance to ensure peace,
institutional stability, open dialogue, rule of law and democracy for the people of Kyrgyzstan. We are pleased that the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe's Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights issued a positive initial assessment of the referendum. This represents an important step in the long path towards normalisation in Kyrgyzstan.
We shall continue to monitor developments closely.
Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 15 February 2010, Official Report, column 355W, on EU institutions, if he will discuss with the Secretary of State for Education proposals to increase the number of secondary school pupils studying for a modern European language GCSE. 
Mr Jeremy Browne: Both my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and I recognise the importance of school pupils learning foreign languages, including modern European languages. The Government have announced that there will be a review of the National Curriculum, including language learning. There will be an announcement concerning the detail of the review in due course.
Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 15 February 2010, Official Report, column 355W, on EU institutions, if he will discuss with the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills proposals to increase the modern European language skills of students in British universities. 
Mr Jeremy Browne: Both my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and I recognise the importance of students pursuing modern European language studies. It is important that higher education institutions offer the widest variety of good quality courses to students, including a range of modern European languages. The Government-funded "Routes into Languages" programme works to stimulate demand for language learning in every region of England.
Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to his Israeli counterpart on the cases of three British citizens on the Gaza aid flotilla who were taken into custody and whose UK passports have not been returned; and whether he has taken steps to seek to secure the return from the Israeli authorities of the possessions of other British citizens on that flotilla. 
Alistair Burt: I have raised these specific issues with Israel's ambassador to the UK. Our ambassador to Israel and other members of the British embassy in Tel Aviv have also raised the matter on a number of occasions with the Israeli authorities. It has also been raised by the EU presidency, on behalf of EU Heads of Mission, with the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
I can confirm we have received all three missing passports which will be returned to the holders. We, and the EU, have also been informed by the Israelis that all the personal belongings have now been sent to Turkey, to the organisers of the Flotilla Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief or Insani Yardim Vakfi (IHH). We understand that the Turkish authorities agree this to be correct. I explained this to the British nationals who I met on 17 June. We have also been informed by the Israeli authorities that the return of magnetic and media equipment is under consideration by the Israeli defence forces. We will continue to press for its return and availability for use in the inquiry, as required by those conducting it.
We have also asked exceptionally asked our consular staff in Istanbul to follow up with IHH who still hold over 300 pieces of unclaimed luggage, including watches, phones and cameras. Our consular staff have taken photos of everything that was seen in IHH's storage, which we will shortly be distributing to the British nationals involved so they can attempt to identify any property that is theirs.
David Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the implications of the election of the new president of Colombia for UK policy on combating drug trafficking and organised crime in South America. 
Mr Jeremy Browne: We have an excellent and successful working relationship with Colombia on tackling the cocaine trade and organised crime. We are confident that this will continue under president-elect, Juan Manuel Santos, who is committed to working with the UK and other international partners to combat this global threat.
Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his policy is on reform of the United Nations. 
Mr Bellingham: We need a strong UN to resolve and manage international challenges such as conflict prevention and resolution, proliferation of nuclear weapons, international terrorism and climate change. We shall work with other member states to modernise UN practices, to make the UN more effective and to strengthen its capacity to deliver where most needed. It also remains vital that the UN balances member states' demands for activity with sustainable budget levels.
The UN Security Council is the only global body that has the legitimacy and moral authority to respond to global threats to peace and security. It needs to become more representative of the modern world, but at the same time no less effective in taking necessary decisions to maintain international peace and security. We support permanent seats on a reformed Council for Japan, India, Germany, Brazil and African representation.
18. Mr Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to increase the level of participation in local public health programmes for young children funded by his Department. 
Anne Milton: The Government are reviewing all the public health programmes funded by the Department of Health.
We want to identify those programmes that are evidence based and making a real difference to the lives of young children, especially the most vulnerable or disadvantaged.
19. Bob Blackman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to merge primary care trust commissioning structures with local authorities; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Lansley: The Government intend to devolve day-to-day national health service commissioning to practice-led commissioners. We do not therefore plan to merge primary care trust commissioning structures with local authorities. We do intend to secure greater co-ordination of public health commissioning and health and social care joint working; this will engage the NHS with local authorities.
20. Mr Rob Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he plans to take to eradicate healthcare-acquired infections in NHS facilities. 
Mr Simon Burns: The revised NHS Operating Framework for 2010-11, published last week, made clear we have a zero-tolerance approach to avoidable infections. National health service organisations should deliver continuous improvement. We have already introduced weekly reporting for MRSA and C. difficile and are considering a widening of the mandatory surveillance system to cover other infections.
21. Roberta Blackman-Woods: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has for the healthy child programme; and if he will make a statement. 
Anne Milton: In the coalition agreement, we state our aim to promote public health and prevent ill health. We believe that this needs to start in pregnancy and continue throughout childhood and adolescence.
22. Duncan Hames: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his most recent assessment is of his Department's progress in the implementation of the national health service framework for long-term neurological conditions. 
Mr Burstow: We are currently considering the timing and scope of the Mid Point Review for this Framework, and will report to the House in due course.
23. Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on the methods for assessing patients with multiple sclerosis, myalgic encephalopathy, fibromyalgia and other fluctuating conditions for the purpose of work capability assessments. 
Mr Burstow: No discussion has taken place.
Our policies will ensure that disability or illness is not a barrier to work for those that can work, as well as providing appropriate support for those unable to do so as a result of their health condition.
24. Mr Mudie: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has received on the maximum target period of 18 weeks between GP referral and treatment; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Simon Burns: We have received a number of representations on the 18 weeks target. We believe the national health service must focus on securing improved health outcomes for patients rather than on process targets that do not lead to improvements in patient health, so, on 18 weeks, we have removed central performance management to empower clinicians and patients.
25. Robert Halfon: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to improve arrangements for mental health care of combat veterans; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Simon Burns: We are committed to providing veterans with effective mental health services. Six pilot schemes will assist veteran mental health planning from 2011-12.
The Prime Minister requested the hon. Member for South West Wiltshire (Dr Murrison) to review military health provision, including veteran mental health, and he expects to report in July.
£2 million funding was recently confirmed by the Secretary of State to work with our strategic partners to identify how to invest funding into NHS services to ensure the best treatment possible for veterans with mental health problems.
Jim Dowd: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether he plans to bring forward proposals for a (a) minimum unit pricing on alcohol products and (b) requirement for such products to carry health warning labels. 
Anne Milton: The Government have no plans to introduce a minimum unit price for alcohol. The Coalition programme for government includes commitments to ban the sale of alcohol below cost and to review alcohol taxation and pricing, to ensure it tackles binge drinking without unfairly penalising responsible drinkers, pubs, and important local industries. A public consultation on options for improving information on the labels of alcoholic drinks to support consumers to make healthier choices closed on 31 May. The responses will be analysed and we will make an announcement on our decision for a way forward in due course.
Diana R. Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will equalise the level of payments made by the Skipton Fund and the MacFarlane Trust for people infected by contaminated blood and blood products. 
Anne Milton: I refer the hon. Member to the written answer I gave the hon. Member for West Worcestershire (Harriett Baldwin) on 7 June 2010, Official Report, column 46W.
Jacob Rees-Mogg: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will instruct the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence to expedite its review of Lapatinib. 
Mr Simon Burns: The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) develops guidance based on a robust assessment of the available evidence and in wide consultation with stakeholders. NICE is an independent body and it would not be appropriate for Ministers to interfere in an ongoing NICE appraisal.
Mark Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his policy is on Recommendation 6(h) of Lord Archer's report on contaminated blood and blood products. 
Anne Milton: We are considering our response to a recent High Court judgment on the level of payments made to those affected by contaminated blood and blood products and will announce a decision in due course. In the meantime, ex-gratia payments will continue to be paid at current levels to those affected.
Kate Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent representations he has received on the Food Supplements Directive; and if he will make a statement. 
Anne Milton: Health Ministers have recently received representations in the form of parliamentary questions and correspondence on behalf of industry and consumers from Members of Parliament, and correspondence from industry, about the setting of maximum levels for vitamins and minerals in recommended daily doses of food supplements under the EU Food Supplements Directive.
Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment he has made of the (a) effectiveness and (b) value for money of total abstinence-based drugs treatment programmes compared with other forms of treatment; and what account he has taken of this assessment in determining the future funding of drugs treatment programmes by his Department; 
(2) what assessment he has made of the (a) effectiveness and (b) value for money of total abstinence-based drugs treatment programmes compared with other forms of treatment; and what account he has taken of this assessment in determining the future funding of drugs treatment programmes by his Department. 
Anne Milton: Our priority is to see drug misusers achieve abstinence and contribute productively to society.
In 2007, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) published "Technology Appraisals on methadone and buprenorphine"
and also NICE Clinical Guidelines on opiate detoxification
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