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Mrs Diana Mawdsley

Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: A letter dated 17 February from Mrs Diana Mawdsley, was received on 23 February and a reply was sent from our Consular Division on 29 February. A copy of the letter was faxed to Mr & Mrs Mawdsley on 1 March.

Mr James Mawdsley

Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Our Ambassador in Rangoon met Deputy Foreign Minister, Khin Maung Win on 1 March and requested the trial transcript. The Embassy sent a written reminder on 3 March. We will not know who was present at the trial until we receive the transcript.

The Ambassador also raised the issue of a public appeal hearing and the other conditions James wants met with the Deputy Foreign Minister during their meeting. The Minister took note and will inform the Embassy when a decision has been reached.

We will do everything we can to ensure that James receives legal representation if he chooses to appeal.

Yugoslavia: EU Sanctions Regime

Lord Shepherd asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The European Union's EcoFin Council on 28 February adopted a Common Position and Council Decision implementing changes to the EU sanctions regime on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia which had been agreed at the General Affairs Council on 14 February. Council Decision 2000/177/CFSP introduced, with immediate effect, a revised and expanded list of FRY citizens (representing an increase to a total of 794 names) against whom the EU visa ban applies, and Common

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Position 2000/176/CFSP suspended the EU flight ban on the FRY for a period of six months. The suspension of the flight ban will come into effect when the necessary amendments have been made to the relevant Council regulations. In parallel, we are working with our partners to tighten up the implementation of financial sanctions targeted against the regime.

Further to the Written Answer given by my honourable Friend the Member for Manchester Central--the then Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs--on 13 July 1999 (Official Report, cols. 141-142), the Government have decided to introduce a case by case approach to consideration of export licence applications for dual use goods to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, including Kosovo and Montenegro. There are humanitarian developmental and commercial reasons for doing so and it brings us into line with the practice of our major partners. Reconstruction in Kosovo is crucial to the province's development and the UK contribution to Kosovo could potentially be hindered without a change in practice. Applications will be considered consistent with the national export licensing criteria announced in July 1997 and those in the EU Code of Conduct on Arms Exports. We will not approve any dual use goods licence applications which could benefit the armed forces, internal security forces or similar entities of the authorities in Belgrade.

Asylum Seeking Children: Kent County Council Costs

Lord Elton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the debate on asylum seekers on 1 March, whether the cost arising in the current year to Kent County Council from unaccompanied minors seeking asylum, in excess of that provided for in central Government funding, was £1.7 million; and whether they propose to leave the council taxpayers of Kent to meet that cost.[HL1399]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): Local authority circular LAC (2000)2 dated 10 February invited LAs to submit claims under the 1999-2000 Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children's Special Grant by 29 February. The proposed terms of the grant allowed authorities to claim up to a maximum of £400 per week for each child aged 15 years and under, and a maximum of £200 per week for each child aged 16 or 17, less any Housing Benefit in payment, based on actual expenditure incurred in the provision of accommodation for the child to 28 January 2000 and estimated expenditure to 31 March 2000. Subsequently, Directors of Social Services were advised that the 12 LAs which provided for the greatest number of UASCs would be able to claim up to an additional £100 per week per child. On this basis, Kent has claimed £7.35 million, and has been advised that the claim will be met in full. An externally commissioned report submitted by Kent

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County Council to the Department in December indicated that the total costs incurred by the Council in looking after unaccompanied asylum seeking children was £8.1 million in this financial year.

It is a matter for Kent County Council to decide how to meet any costs outside the terms of the grant.

NHS Trusts: Transfer of Assets

Lord Lovell-Davis asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What financial arrangements are being made in respect of the National Health Service trusts dissolved on 1 April 1999, 1 May 1999 and 1 October 1999 and in connection with new National Health Service trusts established on those dates.[HL1507]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: Pursuant to the dissolution of 48 National Health Service trusts on 1 April 1999, 1 May 1999 and 1 October 1999, and their reconfiguration through the establishment of 23 new trusts on those dates, we propose to create originating capital for the new trusts equal to the net assets transferred to them and therefore to remit the outstanding debt of the dissolved trusts.

Those operations will involve no overall loss to the Exchequer. Her Majesty's Treasury has presented a minute to the House on 10 March giving particulars and circumstances of the proposed remission, which it has approved in principle. The dissolution of a further eight NHS trusts involved the transfer of their net assets to existing NHS trusts and so no significant remission of debt is required in these cases.

NHS Dental Service

Lord Colwyn asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What action is being taken to address the shortage of dentists working in the National Health Service.[HL1475]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: There were 17,746 dentists in the General Dental Service in England at 31st December 1999, a record high, and an increase of 480 when compared with the position 12 months earlier. From 1 April the remuneration of dentists will increase by 3.3 per cent, which is in line with the recommendation of the Doctors' and Dentists' Review Body (DDRB).

The DDRB also recommended an additional £20 million for general dental practitioners in Great Britain to reward them for past and present commitment to the National Health Service as well as to reflect their experience and the quality of service they provide. One of the aims of the new scheme will be to encourage dentists to stay within the NHS. Negotiations are presently taking place with the profession on how the new scheme will be implemented.

Lord Colwyn asked Her Majesty's Government:

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    When the proposed changes to the Dentists Act 1984 that affect the General Dental Council will take place; and what changes will be the first priority.[HL1477]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The General Dental Council has made wide-ranging proposals for strengthening the self-regulation of dentists, dental hygienists and therapists and bringing other professions complementary to dentistry within a regulatory framework. I will shortly be meeting the President and Registrar of the General Dental Council to discuss priorities and more precise timing.

Lord Colwyn asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What discussions they have had with the British Dental Association on how to implement the Review Body's recommendation to pay for National Health Service dentists for the extra time required to take part in (a) the Government's quality improvement initiative and (b) the General Dental Council's re-certification proposals.[HL1478]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: As yet, no mandatory requirements have placed additional demands upon dentists. As our plans for clinical governance develop, we will discuss with the profession what, if any, additional funding is required. When we know more about the detail of the General Dental Council's requirements for continuing professional development, we will discuss with the profession what postgraduate education allowance is fair to dentists committed to the National Health Service.

Water Fluoridation: Review

Lord Colwyn asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When the results of the scientific review of water fluoridation are to be published.[HL1479]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The NHS Centre for Reviews and Dissemination at the University of York is expected to provide its report to Ministers in the spring. It is intended that this report will be published shortly thereafter.

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