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Written Answers

Monday, 8th March 1999.

Security Cameras

The Marquess of Ailesbury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether a security camera which requires a tape has other appreciable running costs apart from the costs of the tape.[HL1338]

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): The running costs associated with security cameras will be determined by the operational requirement for the cameras. In addition to routine maintenance and repair and a power supply, security cameras may require a range of additional facilities which will have implications for running costs. Examples include infra-red lighting systems for night vision, cabling or other transmission systems to transmit the signal in either analogue or digital form to a monitoring station and facilities to record and retrieve images. Signal transmission and monitoring tend to be major components of running costs for most closed circuit television systems.

Genetically Modified Animals

Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many genetically modified animals have been produced in the United Kingdom each year since 1995; whether records are kept of these animals; how many of the animals contain human genetic code; and what steps they are taking to ensure that labelling of products containing cross-species human genetic material are labelled accordingly.[HL1307]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The production and breeding of genetically modified animals in the United Kingdom falls within the definition of a regulated procedure under the terms of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 and must, therefore, be authorised by a project licence issued under the terms of Section 5 of that Act. Project licence holders must keep detailed records of procedures performed and animals produced.

Project licence holders are required to submit annually to the Home Office specified details of all animals used in regulated procedures. This information is collated and published each year. Since the definition of a regulated procedure includes the production of genetically modified animals, these figures must (subject to the caveats set out below) equate to the number of genetically modified animals produced in the United Kingdom.

The relevant annual statistics for both Great Britain and Northern Ireland show that the total numbers of genetically modified animals used in scientific procedures in each year since 1995 are as given in

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column (a) below. Figures for 1998 are currently being collated.

The figures in column (a) below do not include harmful mutants but they do include genetically modified animals imported into the United Kingdom. Column (b) gives estimates of the numbers of imported, genetically modified animals used in scientific procedures in the United Kingdom. Exact figures cannot be given as licence holders are required only to submit details of the source for those animals listed in Schedule 2 to the 1986 Act.


It is also possible that genetically modified animals produced in one year but used in other scientific procedures the following year will be included in the statistics for the year in which they were used rather than the year in which they were bred.

Records of whether the animals contain human genetic code are not kept centrally but do form part of the records to be kept by individual project licence holders.

I will have to write to the noble Lord regarding the issue of labelling. I will need to consult with those departments responsible for the labelling of different types of products.

Channel Islands and Isle of Man: UK Powers

Lord Barnett asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Williams of Mostyn on 17 February (WA 78), under which specific paragraph between paragraphs 1497 and 1513 of Cmnd 5460 they would be justified in implementing anti-tax avoidance measures in relation to the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man; and whether the last sentence of paragraph 1513 would apply in such circumstances; and whether they would have "the right in the last resort to legislate for the Islands".[HL1301]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Royal Commission on the Constitution took the view that it was not practicable to define an area of domestic affairs in which the autonomy of the Channel Islands and Isle of Man should be absolute (Cmnd 5460, paragraph 1499). Any exercise of the United Kingdom's paramount powers would be considered in the light of paragraphs 1499 to 1513 as a whole; the relevance of particular passages would depend upon the specific circumstances obtaining.

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Scottish Prisons: Disinfecting Tablets

The Earl of Haddington asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will place in the Library of the House copies of all reports and research which have been commissioned for or by them into the availability of sterilising tablets for prisoners in Scottish prisons; how many tablets, of what dosage and chemical make up, have been issued in each of the last nine years to each of Her Majesty's prisons; and whether they will also place in the Library copies of each prison authority's dispensing records.[HL1272]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Scottish Prison Service has not commissioned research into the availability of disinfecting tablets. Disinfecting tablets for prisoners have been available in Scottish prisons since December 1993. Prior to January 1997, disinfecting tablets were purchased locally, and no central records are available. After that date, the numbers purchased centrally were:

    January to March 1997178,944 tablets

    April 1997 to March 1998683,520 tablets

    April 1998 to February 1999807,936 tablets

Disinfecting tablets were introduced in Prison Service establishments in England and Wales for a brief period in 1995 but were withdrawn following safety concerns. Disinfecting tablets were reintroduced on a limited pilot basis in 1998.

A pilot scheme has been operating between July 1998 and February 1999 at 11 selected prisons and is the subject of an evaluation by an independent academic team from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. In the course of the pilot, approximately 285,000 tablets were purchased.

Disinfecting tablets are not available in prisons in Northern Ireland.

The active ingredient in the disinfecting tablets issued in prisons in Scotland and in England and Wales is sodium di-chloroisocyanurate, used as a solution by

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dissolving one or more tablets in half a mug of cold water according to guidance given by the respective manufacturers, which is reflected in information given to prisoners.

There are no dispensing records as disinfecting tablets are not a pharmaceutical product requiring a prescription.

Salah Idris

Lord McNair asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they intend to ban Mr. Salah Idris from the United Kingdom.[HL1318]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: No. A foreign national may be excluded from the United Kingdom if his presence here is deemed not to be conducive to the public good, as being in the interests of national security or of the relations between the United Kingdom and any other country or for other reasons of a political nature. My right honourable friend the Home Secretary is not at present aware of any information to suggest that he should exercise his personal power to exclude Mr. Idris from the United Kingdom.

Prison Inmates: HIV, AIDS and Hepatitis

The Earl of Haddington asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many cases of (a) HIV; (b) AIDS; and (c) each type of hepatitis have been detected in how many inmates in each prison in the United Kingdom in each of the last 10 years.[HL1273]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Information is not readily available in the form requested. The information given in the tables has been collected from a number of databases held centrally based on returns from prison establishments. The tables show new cases reported for each year. Figures are not available for Scotland as these are not held centrally.

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Prisoners with HIV, AIDS and Hepatitis
England and Wales

Acute Hepatitis A3111131421191579--
Acute Hepatitis B105562222375366674698
Chronic Hepatitis B242134161919093109135115148
Acute Hepatitis C------------102214135103
Chronic Hepatitis C--------------329625813
AIDS------ ------------13

(1) Total of known HIV+ inmates at 31 March.

(2) Total number of HIV tests which were positive.

Information on cases of acute hepatitis A is no longer collected.

Northern Ireland (not including Belfast Prison which closed in April 1996)

Hepatitis B0000000001
Hepatitis C0000001133

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