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House of Lords: Proposed Film

Lord Cocks of Hartcliffe asked the Chairman of Committees:

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The Chairman of Committees: The Filming and Broadcasting Steering Group considers proposals for films on their merits. The group seeks to determine whether any proposal which is made is a proposal to make a serious and balanced film, and whether the proposal comes from a reputable film maker with an established record of high quality film making.

Subject to the signing of a detailed agreement, the group has recently agreed to allow Wall to Wall Television to make a film about the House of Lords. The film will eventually be shown on Channel 4. If and when the agreement has been signed, Members of the House will be informed. The group accepted Wall to Wall's application because it filled the criteria set out in the paragraph above. The group makes no distinction between commercial and non-commercial documentary makers.

Appellate Committee Hearings: Photocopying and Fax Facilities

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked the Chairman of Committees:

    Whether the Administration and Works Sub-Committee will consider making photocopying and fax facilities available to parties, and their legal representatives, appearing before the Appellate Committees of the House, if necessary upon payment of a reasonable charge.[HL3239]

The Chairman of Committees: Free photocopying and fax facilities are already available to parties appearing before the Appeal and Appellate Committees.

These facilities are available at any time during an appeal, through the Library, should the party contact a doorkeeper. They are intended for emergency use, for the convenience of the committee rather than for the convenience of the parties. The Appellate Committee expects parties to attend with all their documents in readiness, as set out in practice direction 13.7.

Legal Aid in Cases of Public Importance

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Chancellor on 9 June (WA 157), whether any domestic remedies are available for individuals involved in complex cases of public importance who are unable to obtain other sources of representation and are not eligible for legal aid in proceedings in employment tribunals.[HL2993]

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The Lord Chancellor (Lord Irvine of Lairg): The Lord Chancellor has the power to make a direction under Section 4(4)(a) of the Legal Aid Act 1988 to give the Legal Aid Board the power to grant representation under Section 4(2)(b) of that Act for proceedings that are ordinarily outside the scope of legal aid. This power is used only in exceptional circumstances.

No. 2, Marsham Street

Lord Brougham and Vaux asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What plans they now have for the future of No. 2 Marsham Street.[HL3008]

The Minister of State, Cabinet Office, (Lord Falconer of Thoroton): Responsibility for this matter has been delegated under the terms of the Framework Document for Property Advisers to the Civil Estate. I have asked its Chief Executive, Mr. John Locke, to write to the noble Lord.

UN Peacekeeping Operations: Memorandum of Understanding

Lord Hacking asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they intend to sign the Memorandum of Understanding with the United Nations in relation to peacekeeping operations.[HL3334]

Lord Burlison: The Memorandum of Understanding with the UN will be signed in New York today. Our Ambassador to the UN and the UN Under-Secretary General for Peacekeeping will sign on behalf of the Government and the UN respectively. The MOU, which declares the UK forces potentially available for UN peacekeeping operations, reflects the priorities established in the Strategic Defence Review for improvements in our Armed Forces: a larger and better rapid reaction capability; additional strategic lift; and better logistics support. These capabilities are those most relevant to the UN and will enable the UK to make a more effective contribution to UN peacekeeping and humanitarian operations in future.

NATO Operations: Costs

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Gilbert on 19 May (WA 37), how "the costs associated with their own military activity in support of Kosovo-related operations" are to be calculated and by whom; and what proportion of the damage done in Serbia (including Kosovo) and in neighbouring countries (including those dependent on using the Danube) is each ally expected to cover in the course of reconstitution work.[HL2946]

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Lord Burlison: The costs associated with the UK's Kosovo-related military operations will be recorded by my department's financial systems in the normal way. These figures will form the basis of a claim on the Government's Contingency Reserve in due course. There are no fixed proportions on how much each ally is expected to contribute to the cost of reconstitution work in Kosovo; it is for each country to consider its own contribution. The European Union and the World Bank have been taking a lead, in close collaboration with other key partners, in assessing regional needs for reconstruction and recovery and co-ordinating the international response to the crisis. We are also embarking, with the European Commission, on the preparation of damage assessments and a reconstruction programme for Kosovo itself.

Depleted Uranium Use in Yugoslavia

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the United Kingdom representatives on the NATO Council approved the use of depleted uranium weapons against targets in Yugoslavia; what tonnage of depleted uranium was approved by the NATO Council; whether a record has been kept of where it was used that will allow later examination and clear-up; and whether it is supposed that the areas in question will be unsuitable for growing food until they have been cleared up.[HL2947]

Lord Burlison: The North Atlantic Council does not discuss the deployment of specific munitions by individual member states. Depleted uranium based ammunition has not been used by UK forces in Yugoslavia but Ministers have approved the deployment of depleted uranium tank ammunition to ensure that British troops have the most effective means of self protection, should it be required. The United States was the only member state to have confirmed that it used depleted uranium based munitions during the Kosovo air campaign. We are not in a position to comment either on the amount used or the records kept. The results of environmental monitoring around ranges where DU munitions have been tested do not show that decontamination would need to be carried out before crops can be grown.

NATO Air Campaign: Termination

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe's freedom to designate targets in ex-Yugoslavia has, in the light of the Security Council's recent resolution, now been withdrawn.[HL2988]

Lord Burlison: NATO Secretary General Javier Solana terminated the NATO air campaign on 20 June.

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Kosovo: UK Units' Flying Hours

Lord Hardy of Wath asked Her Majesty's Government:

    By what proportion have the flying hours of service aircraft involved in Kosovo operations exceeded those which would have been flown in normal circumstances.[HL3074]

Lord Burlison: The flying hours registered by UK units involved in operations against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia represent an estimated average increase of around 12 per cent. as compared with the hours flown by those units over the same period in 1998.

Kosovo: British Service Personnel Deployed

Lord Mackenzie of Framwellgate asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the total number of British forces committed to Kosovo operations.[HL3242]

Lord Burlison: As of 21 June, some 13,000 UK service personnel were deployed on Kosovo-related operations, as follows:

    Royal Navy: 880

    Army: 10,320 (7,300 in Kosovo, 2,900 in Former Yugoslavia Republic of Macedonia and 120 in Albania)

    RAF: 1,800 The RAF element of the UK contribution to Kosovo operations will be reduced to around 900 as a result of the decision announced yesterday to redeploy all 12 RAF Tornados from Solenzara in Corsica to RAF Bruggen, five VC10 tankers from Ancona in Italy to RAF Brize Norton and 10 Harrier GR7s from Gioia del Colle in Italy to RAF Wittering. Six GR7s will remain at Gioia del Colle, two Tristars at Ancona and up to three E-3Ds at Aviano in Italy. Nimrod R reconnaissance sorties will continue to be flown, albeit at a reduced frequency. The aircraft withdrawn to their home bases remain available for Kosovo operations if required.

Medicines Selected List Scheme: Exclusions

Baroness Goudie asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will set out the criteria to exclude products from the NHS prescription which the Secretary of State for Health has notified to the European Commission to comply with Article 7 of Council Directive 89/105 EEC (the Transparency Directive).[HL3344]

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Hayman): Since 1989, six criteria have been separately notified to the Commission. My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Health has advised the Commission of the full set which currently apply, which are:

First, under the Selected List Scheme, medicinal products in 17 therapeutic categories which are excluded from prescription on the grounds that, on expert advice, they had no clinical or therapeutic advantage over other, cheaper, drugs in the following categories:

    mild to moderate painkillers

    indigestion remedies


    cough and cold remedies



    benzodiazepine sedatives and tranquillisers

    antidiarrhoeal drugs

    drugs for allergic disorders

    hypnotics and anxiolytics

    appetite suppressants

    drugs for vaginal and vulval conditions


    drugs used in anaemia

    topical anti-rheumatics

    drugs acting on the ear and nose

    drugs acting on the skin

Second, products may be considered as "borderline substances" which are not truly medicinal products with clinical or therapeutic value and are excluded from National Health Service prescription on that ground.

Third, as well as being freely available on sale over the counter to the general public the cost to the NHS if the product(s) were to be supplied on prescription could not be justified at any price likely to be economic to the manufacturer and that the supply of the product is not considered a priority for the use of the limited resources available to the NHS.

Fourth, that products which nonetheless may meet a legitimate clinical or therapeutic need when properly prescribed are subject to misuse by drug misusers, and such misuse, or the manner in which the product is administered by drug misusers, gives rise to the risk of the physical or mental morbidity, and alternative products are available to meet all legitimate clinical or therapeutic needs.

Fifth, a medicinal product or a category of medicinal products may be excluded entirely from supply on NHS prescription. It may, alternatively, be excluded except in specified circumstances, or except in relation to specified conditions or categories of condition, or specified categories of patient. A medicinal product or a category of them may be so excluded where the forecast aggregate cost to the NHS of allowing the product (or category of products) to be supplied on NHS prescription, or to be supplied more widely than the permitted exceptions, could not be justified having

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regard to all the relevant circumstances including in particular: the Secretary of State for Health's duties pursuant to the NHS Act 1977 and the priorities for the expenditure of NHS resources.

Sixth, products which comprise an injection device prefilled with a drug may be excluded from supply on NHS prescription if the same drug is available and can be used more economically in a container which may be used in conjunction with a refillable injection device.

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