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State Pension Uprating for British Subjects Resident in former Yugoslavia

Ear Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Hollis of Heigham: The 1958 reciprocal social security agreement between the UK and the former People's Republic of Yugoslavia provided for each country's retirement and widow's pensions to be paid in the other without restriction. At the time the

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social security arrangement between the UK and Canada came into force, on 1 January 1960, Canadian Old Age Security Pension was not payable to former Canadian residents living outside that country. There was, therefore, no scope for reciprocity on the payment of pensions to persons moving between Canada and the UK at that time.

Transfusion-related Acute Lung Injury

Lord Clement-Jones asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the risk of transfusion-related acute lung injury from blood transfusion has been given a lower priority to date than the theoretical risk from vCJD; and why no action to protect patients against the risk of transfusion-related acute lung injury has been taken.[HL24]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The risk of transfusion-related lung injury (TRALI) is being looked at by the National Blood Service (NBS) as a high priority. Consideration is now being given to sourcing United States fresh frozen plasma for neonates and children born after 1 January 1996 from male donors who are at a much lower risk of having the antibodies responsible for many cases of TRALI. The NBS has further safety measures planned, which include reviewing the processing methods for donation to try to remove more plasma from red cell units for transfusion. The NBS is also conducting an option appraisal of means to minimise the risk of TRALI.

Passive Smoking

Viscount Simon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is their definition of a tobacco-smoke-free workplace, given that passive or involuntary smoke inhalation can trigger asthma attacks, and[HL148]

    Whether they have any plans to introduce a public awareness campaign on the dangers of passive smoking; and[HL149]

    When people with asthma can expect to be protected from passive smoking at work; and[HL150]

    Whether they have any plans to require tobacco manufacturers to provide additional health warnings on cigarette packets about the dangers of passive smoking, including asthma.[HL151]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: A smoke-free workplace is a workplace where smoking is not permitted. We encourage all employers to introduce smoke-free workplaces. We recognise that this is not always going to be possible and encourage in these circumstances other measures to be taken to reduce people's exposure to smoke.

This year the Department of Health is funding local tobacco control alliances across England to carry out projects in close co-operation with local employers to tackle passive smoking and to increase the number of

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smoke-free environments. These projects vary in nature from the production of smoke-free guides to pubs and restaurants to the provision of advice and support to managers wishing to introduce policies. We hope that many will be suitable for national application.

The Secretary of State for Health will make and lay before Parliament shortly regulations to transpose into UK law the EU Directive on the manufacture, presentation and sale of tobacco products. These regulations will require tobacco products to carry larger and starker health warnings on both the front and back of the packet. A list of warnings to be displayed on cigarette packets has been agreed at Community level and the warnings will be rotated regularly from a list of approved warnings. The dangers of passive smoking are highlighted in the new warnings, which include "Smoking seriously harms you and others around you" and "Protect children: don't make them breathe your smoke". Article 11 of the directive requires the European Commission to produce a report on the application of this directive by no later than 31 December 2004. The Government consider that the wording of health warnings may be reviewed in the context of this report.

Human Fertilisation and Embroyology Authority

Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they plan to commission an independent review of the work of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority in the light of, among other things, the report from the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee earlier this year and the disclosures in the Sunday Telegraph on 10 November by embryologist Dr Sammy Lee.[HL206]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: There are no plans at present to commission an independent review of the work of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA). However, the Government believe it is essential that the HFEA is a strong and effective regulator and recognise that the authority faces an increasingly difficult task as greater numbers of people undergo fertility treatment and the available technology develops rapidly. The safety of patients and quality assurance of the treatment they receive must not be compromised by these challenges.

The Government have therefore announced, in their response to the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee report Developments in Human Genetics and Embryology published on Monday 25 November 2002, that they are supporting the authority to introduce a range of measures that will bolster the authority's regulatory procedures. These will provide greater quality assurance for patients undergoing fertility treatment. In order to introduce these measures, the authority's annual funding will increase from just over £2 million to £5.5 million.

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Assisted Reproductive Technologies

Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 7 November (WA 144) for exactly how long the Department of Health has known about dangers inherent in in vitro fertilisation and other assisted reproductive technologies.[HL210]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: As with all medical procedures, in vitro fertilisation and other assisted reproductive technologies have never been completely without risk. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) works with clinics to ensure that all known risks are minimised and patients made aware of any potential risks involved in the procedures they are undergoing before they give their informed consent to treatment. The HFEA also monitors developments in the field of human reproduction, including research to follow up children born through these technologies, in order to identify any new risks as they emerge.

In April 2002, the HFEA and the Medical Research Council considered the issue of the possible health effects of IVF. As a result of this they established a working group to review current knowledge of in vitro fertilisation and its possible health effects. The group will advise on what further research may be necessary and how this might best be carried out. It is expected to report in 2003.

Tourism Related Industries: Employment

Lord Fearn asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What were the total employment figures in the first quarter of 2001 and the first quarter of 2002 in tourism related industries in (a) England and (b) Great Britain.[HL204]

The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Baroness Blackstone): Total employment in tourism related industries in the first quarter of 2001 and the first quarter of 2002 for (a) England and (b) Great Britain are shown in the following table.

Total employment(1) in tourism-related industries(2)

EnglandGreat Britain
March 20011,770,0002,068,000
March 20021,772,0002,056,000

(1) Includes employee jobs and self-employment jobs.

(2) defined to be the following standard industrial classification groups: 55.1, 55.2, 55.3, 55.4, 63.3, 92.5, 92.6, 92.7.

Licensing Authorities

Baroness Buscombe asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will list the number of members of each local authority in England and Wales falling

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    within the definition of a licensing authority in Clause 3(1) of the Licensing Bill, indicating in each case how many members of the authority are members of an executive established under Part II of the Local Government Act 2000.[HL251]

Baroness Blackstone: The information sought is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Radio Ownership Scheme

Lord Rea asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they expect to deposit a draft order setting out arrangements for the new radio ownership scheme.[HL401]

Baroness Blackstone: My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport has today deposited a copy of the draft order and accompanying Explanatory Memorandum in the Libraries of both Houses. Copies have also been sent to the Radio Authority, the Independent Television Commission (ITC) and the Commercial Radio Companies Association. We welcome comments from anyone with an interest.

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