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27 Mar 2001 : Column WA15

Written Answers

Tuesday, 27th March 2001.

Northern Ireland: Public Funding for Representation at Coroners' Inquests

Lord Mackenzie of Framwellgate asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What criteria they intend to use to assess applications for funding from the extra-statutory ex-gratia scheme established to provide representation for proceedings before coroners in exceptional inquests in Northern Ireland.[HL1445]

The Lord Chancellor (Lord Irvine of Lairg): I can advise the noble Lord that I will consider each application for funding from the extra-statutory scheme on its individual merits and in the round. In so doing I will have regard to:


    (a) whether the issues raised in the application fall outside the scope of a coroner's inquest;


    (b) whether the applicant would qualify financially for full civil legal aid in other circumstances;


    (c) whether an effective investigation of the death by the state is needed, and whether the inquest is the only way to conduct it;


    (d) whether the applicant has a sufficiently close relationship to the deceased to warrant funding;


    (e) whether an alternative to public funding is available;


    (f) whether the applicant needs representation in order to participate effectively in the inquest--for example, because there are unusually complex questions of law or fact, or evidential difficulties, or because of the level of representation of others who have an interest in or are involved in the inquest;


    (g) whether there is a significant wider public interest in representation being provided;


    (h) the views of the coroner, if expressed; and


    (i) any other matters which appear to be relevant to the individual circumstances of the case.

I am writing to interested parties to invite their views on the criteria.

The consultation exercise for these criteria will conclude on 30 June 2001. In the meantime and until I reach a conclusion on the final criteria to be adopted, I will apply the criteria set out above to any applications for funding from the extra-statutory fund.

Museums and Galleries: VAT Refund Scheme

Lord Freyberg asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is their estimate of the revenue which will be foregone by the Treasury as a result of the Budget

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    scheme to enable non-charging national museums to reclaim VAT; and how much revenue is currently foregone by the Treasury under the existing scheme whereby charging museums can reclaim.[HL1309]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The cost of the Government's VAT refund scheme for the main national museums and galleries is set out in Table A.11 of the 2001 Financial Statement and Budget Report.

Lord Freyberg asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How much revenue would be foregone by the Treasury, in relation to the scheme announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Budget to enable national museums to reclaim VAT, if non-charging university museums with designated collections were to be included as an additional sector to the scheme, including a breakdown of the relevant figures.[HL1310]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: No such estimates have been made.

Scottish Executive: Expenditure Allocation

Lord Barnett asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale on 8 March, whether the total expenditure allocated to Scotland of £15,047 million for 2000-01, and £16,231 million for 2001-02 took any account of the implementation of the Sutherland Report and the proposed increase in teachers' salaries above the level agreed for England; and what is the estimated cost of implementing these two items of expenditure.[HL1155]

Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale: The resources allocated to Scotland in the 2000 Spending Review were based on changes to the provision made for comparable programmes for England and Wales, as provided for in the Statement of Funding Policy. No additional resources have been provided to take account of the implementation in Scotland of the Sutherland Report or the recently agreed increase in teachers' salaries. Estimates of the costs of these measures are a matter for the Scottish Executive and the Scottish Parliament.

Foot and Mouth Disease: Valuation of Slaughtered Animals

Lord Hardy of Wath asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What action will be taken to speed up the arrangements for valuing animals that have to be slaughtered because of foot and mouth disease.[HL1423]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Baroness Hayman): An order has been made to change the valuation procedure for

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animals slaughtered for foot and mouth disease. This order gives farmers the option of payments at standard rates, or of having animals valued by a valuer. This is intended to help speed up the valuation process and so ensure that animals can be slaughtered as quickly as possible.

The standard rates of valuation are as follows:

£
Sheep
Breeding ewes (in lamb/lamb at foot)90
Cull/draft ewes32
Hoggets (male and female old season's lamb)55
New season's lamb60
Rams150
Pigs
Gilts190
Breeding Sows130
Cull sows80
Piglets on sow18
Stores: Breeding units (weaners)30
Stores: Finishing unit55
Boars520
Cattle
Clean cattle: Steers (under 30 months old)600
Clean cattle: heifers (under 30 months old)500
Clean cattle: young bulls (under 30 months old)580
Breeding cows1,100
Breeding heifers900
Breeding bulls1,000
Cull cattle (including clean cattle over 30 months old)325

Wythenshawe Hospital Heart Transplant Unit

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will respond to the "open letter" addressed to them by the editor of the Manchester Evening News on the future of Wythenshawe Hospital's Transplant Centre; and whether they can now disclose the approximate date by which the centre's future will be decided.[HL1306]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): We will reply to the letter. The Department of Health have given an undertaking to issue a discussion document on the future of the National Cardiothoracic Transplant Service as soon as we have all the relevant facts. The decision on the site of the fourth national cardiothoracic transplant centre will be announced once any comments have been considered.

National Cancer Research Institute

Baroness Crawley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will set up a national cancer research institute.[HL1420]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The NHS Cancer Plan of September 2000 said that the Director of NHS

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Research and Development and the National Cancer Director had been asked to work with all those involved in the funding and delivery of cancer research and to come forward with definitive proposals for a national cancer research institute. They have done so, and we have agreed their proposals.

The National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) is a partnership between all the United Kingdom Health Departments, the Medical Research Council, the Cancer Research Campaign, the Imperial Cancer Research Fund, the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, the Marie Curie Research Institute and the pharmaceutical industry. The greatest benefit for patients is likely to be achieved if all the main funders of cancer research work together to ensure the best use of research resources.

The NCRI will be established from 1 April. It will provide the focus for cancer research conducted across the UK, and provide strategic oversight of that research. It will take the lead in identifying where further research initiatives are indicated and are most likely to lead to progress. It will also co-ordinate research into cancer genetics in the UK.

But the NCRI will not be a single, large "bricks and mortar" facility. It will have a core staff of about six people, and total running costs of about £500,000 a year. All the partners have agreed to contribute. The details have to be worked out, but the Government are prepared to underwrite the costs in the first instance so that the NCRI can make progress without delay.

Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Response to Select Committee Report

Baroness Crawley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they will publish their response to the Science and Technology Committee 6th Report of session 2000-01 on Complementary and Alternative Medicine. [HL1421]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The Government's response to the Science and Technology Committee's 6th Report on Complementary and Alternative Medicine is published today and copies will be placed in the Library. The Government welcome the committee's report and believe its main recommendations will help protect the interests of patients and other consumers.

Kosovo, Serbia and Macedonia: Albanian Incursions

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What actions UNMIK and KFOR are taking to prevent violence and illegal incursions by armed Albanian extremists in the frontier districts of Kosovo, Serbia and Macedonia. [HL1139]

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): KFOR has stepped up its efforts to control the boundary between Kosovo and the rest of Serbia, and the border with Macedonia. A NATO representative helped broker the ceasefire between the FRY authorities and representatives of the armed groups in the Presevo Valley area of southern Serbia. Some Yugoslav Army forces have been allowed to return to one area of the Ground Safety Zone on the border with Macedonia, under the authority of the KFOR Commander. KFOR is taking a number of specific steps to help the Macedonian authorities. Urgent consideration is being given to further assistance, following the escalation in the Tetovo area.


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