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How many development advisers have now been placed in the United Kingdom-led provincial reconstruction team (PRT) in Helmand province; and how many in other PRTs and the International Security Assistance Force as a whole.[HL6706]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Drayson): The UK-led provincial reconstruction team in Lashkar Gah, Helmand province, includes a development adviser provided by the Department for International Development and UK-funded advisers working in the fields of governance, police reform, and justice/rule of law. In addition, the PRT includes civilian personnel from Denmark and Estonia, and USAID, US Department for Agriculture and US State Department officials.
Additionally, the Department for International Development provides a development adviser to the headquarters of the International Security Assistance Force and is planning to deploy another to a multi-donor mission in Badakhshan.
What representations they have made to European Union member states regarding the European Marine Strategy and proposed accompanying directive; what was the nature of those representations; and whether they will make any correspondence on this issue available to the public.[HL6704]
The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): The marine strategy and proposed directive are being negotiated in Environment Council Working Party meetings1. While welcoming action to better protect Europe's seas, the UK has expressed concerns that the directive, as drafted, risks excessive cost and bureaucracy for little added protection for Europe's marine environment. My department has undertaken a consultation exercise on the proposed marine strategy directive and will publish its response shortly.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): The Office of the EU Special Representative was established in 2002, when the noble Lord, Lord Ashdown, arrived in Bosnia-Herzegovina and double-hatted as both the international community's High Representative and the first EU Special Representative.
What consideration they are giving to the findings and recommendations of Macmillan Cancer Supports report Cancer Costs for cancer patients to be exempt from hospital car-parking charges and for an urgent review of the financial assistance available to them; and what action they will be taking.[HL6509]
The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Warner): The Government value their strong and constructive relationship with Macmillan Cancer Support and will of course consider the recommendations in its report Cancer CostsThe Hidden Price of Getting Treatment.
Under the Department of Health's income- generation rules, NHS trusts are allowed to charge for car parking and are advised to assess the needs of all users of the hospital, including patients, visitors, staff, emergency vehicles and others, when operating car-parking schemes. Trusts are allowed to charge because the provision of car-parking facilities incurs a range of maintenance, security and staffing costs. If no charges were made, trusts would have to find these costs from elsewhere. Each trust is responsible for setting its own charges, but any profits must be used to improve health services.
What discussions they have had with the Governments of Colombia and Ecuador about the environmental and health effects on the rural population of the aerial spraying of herbicides on coca fields; and [HL6653]
What research they have commissioned on the effectiveness of aerial spraying as a method of reducing the volume of coca produced; and whether they have had discussions with other Governments about alternative methods.[HL6654]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): The UK provided £200,000 in 2003-04 to the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD) to co-fund an independent internal survey aimed at assessingthe environmental and human health effects of using glyphosate to eradicate coca crops in Colombia. The survey's findings were published in April 2005 and can be found at www.cicad.oas.org/Desarrollo_ Alternativo/ENG/Projects%20By%20Country/Colombia/OAS% 20Panel%20Report%20Final.pdf.
The UK is committed to assisting Governments in Latin America to tackle the production of and trade in illicit drugs. As such, we have regular discussions with all Governments in the region, including Colombia and Ecuador, and with other international partners about strategies for countering the activities of those involved in the illicit drugs trade. As part of that assistance, we have contributed £100,000 to the development of an alternative livelihood programme in Bolivia. The UK does not assist with aerial spraying and it has not therefore been necessary to discuss the environmental and health effects of aerial spraying with any Government in the region. We none the less recognise the right of the Colombian authorities to take whatever steps they deem necessary, as part of a wide range of activities, to counter the production of illicit drugs.
With reference to the single farm payments scheme, how many farmers (a) have not yet received any money; (b) have not yet received their full entitlement; (c) have been paid in full; (d) have not been paid in full, but had a historical payment record from 2004; and (e) have applied for a payment that is below €100.[HL6397]
Whether the investigative phase of the preparation for a Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs consultation on further access to the United Kingdom coastline has covered any of the issues encountered in the roll-out of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000; if so, what aspects have been examined and what incidence statistics compiled.[HL6671]
The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): Both Defra and the Countryside Agency have undertaken a review of their respective responsibilities for the implementation of the new right of access to open country and registered common land under Part 1 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000. The findings of the two reviews are being taken into account in developing the work on possible options to improve access to the English coast.
What role strategic health authorities and primary care trusts have in the follow-up treatment and care for victims of rape; and what training is given to doctors who have responsibility for the forensic examination in pelvic anatomy on how to approach this aspect of medical care.[HL6610]
The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Warner): Neither strategic health authorities (SHAs) nor primary care trusts (PCTs) have any direct responsibility for the follow-up treatment and care of victims of rape.
The role of PCTs is to commission services based on local assessments of need. It is their role to commission a comprehensive and equitable range of high-quality, responsive and efficient services, within allocated resources. PCTs operate within the framework of Department of Health policy; they are held to account for this by SHAs, not directly by the department.
However, a number of initiatives are taking place across Government to develop policy and improve practice for victims of rape and sexual assault. One of these is the national sexual violence and abuse stakeholder advisory group, chaired by Home Office Minister Mr Vernon Coaker and Department of Health Minister Ms Caroline Flint. In addition, a national sexual violence and abuse action plan is
10 July 2006 : Column WA87
The Department of Health has also been working closely with the Home Office to develop sexual assault referral centres (SARCs), and national service guidelines for developing sexual assault referral centres were published in October 2005. In addition, since 2003, £1.27 million from the Home Office Victims Fund has been spent on new and existing SARCs. SARCs operate in 14 locations in England and Wales, and six more are due to open in the forthcoming year.
The Victims of Violence and Abuse Prevention Programme, run jointly by the Department of Health and the National Institute for Mental Health in England, is working in partnership with the Home Office to develop national service guidelines.
There are no national standards for training of doctors providing medical examinations and aftercare following sexual assault. There is currently no United Kingdom qualification in sexual assault examination and aftercare.
The content and standard of postgraduate medical training is the responsibility of the Postgraduate Medical Education and Training Board, and the General Medical Council's education committee has the general function of promoting high standards of medical education. Both bodies have a vested interest in ensuring that doctors are equipped to deal with the problems they will encounter in practice, including forensic examination of victims of rape. It is not, however, practicable or desirable for the Government to prescribe the exact training that any individual doctor will receive.
However, courses are available for training doctors and nurses to carry out examinations following sexual assault; for example, those run by the London Havens and by St Mary's Hospital, Manchester. To become competent in this area of work, new doctors working in the London Havens:attend a two-day adult rape course;attend a two-day child sexual assault course;attend a one-day court training course;attend subsequent updates;shadow examinations conducted by experienced doctors; conduct their first few examinations under supervision, and have their statements checked by an experienced colleague.
The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): My department has funded the Energy Saving Trust since 1992, to promote the sustainable and efficient use of energy in the household sector. Our grant for the current financial year is £27 million. The trust is an independent, private company that plays an important role in helping the Government to meet their climate change targets. The trust runs programmes to promote energy saving in the home, including television advertisements, a network of 52 local advice centres and the endorsement of energy-saving products. The trust also provides information about grants and offers that are available to help implement energy-saving measures in homes. More information is available from the Energy Saving Trust website at www.est.org.uk/myhome/.
We need to raise levels of public understanding and change attitudes to climate change as a central part of the wider climate change programme. This is the focus for our climate change communication initiative, which was launched in December last year.
Defra has made funding of £12 million available for the whole initiative and, so far, £4.8 million has been allocated to 53 Climate Challenge Fund projects. These projects, from across England, will form part of an innovative new approach aimed at raising awareness at regional and local level of the urgent need to tackle climate change.
Under the climate change communications initiative the Government are providing additional support, including guidance for communicators, a website (www.climatechallenge.gov.uk), and free-to-use resources such as short film and radio advertisements.
As a further element of the initiative, earlier this year we ran a competition to choose nine young climate change champions, each from a different region of England. The winners, who were chosen in May, will spend a year spreading the word to their region about climate change and the role that young people can have in tackling it.
Whether the change between the draft and final new Civil Service Code whereby the expectation on special advisers to abide by the code has been removed means that such civil servants are, apart from political impartiality, not now required to demonstrate the same standards of integrity, honesty, objectivity and impartiality as other civil servants.[HL6677]
Lord Bassam of Brighton: The new Civil Service Code, published on Tuesday 6 June, makes no change to the duties and responsibilities of special advisers, which remain as set out in the Code of Conduct for Special Advisers.
Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Bassam of Brighton on 28 June (WA 161), whether and, if so, by what means it is possible for parliamentarians and the public to obtain information regarding (a) the number of assistants currently employed as special advisers to Ministers; (b) the government departments in which they are employed; and (c) the nature of their services.[HL6678]
Lord Bassam of Brighton: As set out in my Answer of Wednesday 28 June (Official Report, col. WA 161) the information requested is not held centrally. It is a matter for individual departments to determine the level of support to be provided to special advisers. The Government publish on an annual basis the names and overall cost of special advisers and the number in each pay band. Information for this financial year will be published shortly.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Drayson): At the end of September 2005, some 2,920 ex-service men who served in the first Gulf conflict were in receipt of a war disablement pension. Accurate information on the number and identities of veterans who claimed Gulf War syndrome could be obtained only by detailed examination of individual cases.
The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Warner): The Department of Health has provided a leaflet containing guidance on the prevention and treatment of head lice, which includes the option of using lotions as well as combing. The leaflet is available in the Library and on the department's website at www.dh.gov.uk/assetRoot/04/11/63/47/04116347.pdf.
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