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Antimicrobial Resistance

Lord Peston asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The Government's response to the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee's third report is laid before Parliament today. Copies are available in the Library.

We are pleased to announce that the response includes details of membership of the new Specialist Advisory Committee on Antimicrobial Resistance.

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Healthcare Provision: Number of Doctors in UK and France

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

    Further to the Written Answer by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath of 10 July (WA72), what is the number of doctors per capita in the United Kingdom, compared with the number of doctors per capita in France.[HL366]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: Figures published by the Organisation of Economic Corporation and Development show that the number of doctors per capita in the United Kingdom in 1998 was 1.7 per 1,000 head of population and that the number of doctors per capita in France was 3.0 per 1,000 head of population.

These figures should be interpreted with caution, as different countries calculate the figures in different ways. The UK figures include only those doctors working in the National Health Service. Most other countries include all doctors entitled to practise. Figures for France include all active doctors, including some doctors without a medical practice.

NHS Pensions Agency: Partial Contractorisation

Lord Acton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will make a statement on the outcome of the partial contractorisation of the NHS Pensions Agency, announced to both Houses on 6 March 2000.[HL582]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: I can announce that today a contract has been awarded to Envision, a consortium of Paymaster 1836 Ltd and Sema. The contract covers IT operations, information systems development, medical advisory services, estates management, pensioner administration and payroll and some support services currently carried out by the agency, including finance and general clerical support. In total the contract covers some 55 per cent of the agency's current running costs.

Generic Medicines

Lord Acton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they intend to publish their proposals for future supply and reimbursement of generic medicines for the National Health Service.[HL583]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The Government are today publishing a paper setting out proposals for the future supply and reimbursement of generic medicines for the National Health Service in the community, for discussion with interested parties. We are also today issuing a consultation document on a review of the present statutory maximum price scheme for generic medicines. Copies of the documents have been placed

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in the Libraries of both Houses. They are also available on the Internet at

Lone Parents on Income Support: Deductions

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What proportion of lone parents on income support are subject to deductions from their benefits; what is the average amount of these deductions; and what are the causes for which they are being paid.[HL382]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Baroness Hollis of Heigham): At February 2001, 57.6 per cent of income support lone parent cases had one or more deductions from their benefit. Information by number of cases, deduction type and amount is in the table.

Deductions from Income Support Payments to Lone Parents by Type and Average Weekly Amount, as at February 2001

Type of deductionNumber of cases (thousands)Average amount deducted (£ pw)Cases with a deduction as a percentage of all lone parents on Income Support
All types756.310.92.
Water and sewerage69.66.647.8
Mortgage Interest49.350.165.5
Other housing costs56.74.746.3
Community charge-- lower11.22.641.2
Community charge-- higher------
Council tax86.32.639.6
Fines recovery6.02.630.7
Social Fund recovery387.310.7043.3
Overpayment recovery64.95.447.3


1. "All types" total does not represent the number of cases with a deduction but the total number of deductions being made across all cases. Therefore this figure cannot be expressed as a percentage of the lone parent IS caseload.

2. Figures are based on a 5 per cent sample and are therefore subject to a degree of sampling error.

3. Lone parents are defined as single claimants aged under age 60, with dependents, where the claimant does not receive a disability premium.

4. Caseload figures are rounded to the nearest hundred and are expressed in thousands. Totals may not sum due to rounding.

5. "--" denotes nil or negligible.

6. "." denotes that the figure is not appropriate.

Source: Income Support Quarterly Statistical Enquiry, February 2001.

Foot and Mouth: Contiguous Cull Regime

Lord Willoughby de Broke asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many flocks and herds slaughtered out under the contiguous cull regime were blood-tested for foot and mouth; and what number of these proved positive.[HL251]

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Whitty): Information is not available on a flock or herd basis. However, the following table shows the number of contiguous premises that were tested and the numbers of cattle, sheep, pigs and goats that were slaughtered on those premises.

ResultNumber of Premises SampledCattle SlaughteredSheep SlaughteredPigs SlaughteredGoats Slaughtered
Awaiting result221,72616,487765

A negative test result does not necessarily mean that the premises were free from disease. For instance, positive results may not be produced from samples taken when the disease is in its later stages or from newly infected animals where antibodies have not yet developed.

Farm Business Advice Service

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What assessment they are making of the quality of advice on offer from the new farmers advice service; what waiting time farmers are experiencing between requesting advice and receiving advice; and whether this varies region by region.[HL269]

Lord Whitty: Advice under the Farm Business Advice Service (FBAS) is being delivered through the Business Link network and is subject to the same quality control measures as all Business Link branded services. These procedures include a review of action plans produced and feedback from farmers receiving the service. An external evaluation of the service is planned for early 2002.

As a result of the foot and mouth disease outbreak, visits to farms by FBAS advisers were put on hold in February. As the outbreak is being brought under control, visits to farms have resumed. This follows an assessment of the risks involved by the State Veterinary Service and the adoption of strict biosecurity measures by the advisers when they make a farm visit. This will inevitably mean that farmers in some regions will have to wait longer for the service to be delivered than in others. It is too early to tell how quickly we will be able to clear the backlog of farmers awaiting delivery of the service.

Endangered Species: Commercial Meat Trade

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

    Whether they will propose the introduction of measures by the governments of the other European

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    Union member states to combat the threat to endangered species caused by the trade in bushmeat. [HL277]

Lord Whitty: The Government have no plans to make such proposals. Endangered species affected by the bushmeat trade are already fully protected by their inclusion in the appendices of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). This is implemented in the European Union by Council Regulation (EC) No 338/97 and Commission Regulation (EC) No 939/97 and commercial trade in the meat of endangered species is strictly prohibited.

Deer Management

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they consider that there is a need to put deer management on a statutory basis in England and Wales.[HL303]

Lord Whitty: The Government have no plans to introduce further legislation controlling the management of deer. The Government consider that the Deer Act 1991 is adequate.

Foot and Mouth Disease Relief Charities: Match-funding

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the total amount of government match-funding given to the foot and mouth disease relief charities to date; and how this has been allocated to each charity.[HL317]

Lord Whitty: The Countryside Agency is implementing in England the Government's commitment to match donations from the public to help charities to alleviate hardship as a result of foot and mouth disease. Up until the 16 July it had made payments totalling £6,834,000 in respect of England. Further payments are being processed.

The breakdown of funding is as follows: Rural Stress Information £332,000; Cumbrian Community Foundation £91,843; the Hadfield Trust £127,000; the ARC Addington Fund £2,044,000; and the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution £4,240,000.

The match funding is allocated on a pound for pound basis and is dependent on the charity having raised £25,000 or more in public donations.

The agency has agreed to work in partnership with the Welsh Assembly to operate a scheme in Wales. Two payments totalling £1,051,398 have been made under this scheme: the £1,003,817 to the Addington Fund and £47,581 to the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution.

To date only one application has been received by the Scottish Executive. This is currently being processed. Further applications are expected before the closing date of 31 July.

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