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11 Jun 2003 : Column WA29

Written Answers

Wednesday, 11th June 2003.

Insider Dealing Prosecutions

Lord Phillips of Sudbury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many prosecutions for insider dealing have been brought by the Special (sic) Fraud Office or any other government agency in the past five calendar years; and how many have resulted in conviction.[HL2785]

The Attorney-General (Lord Goldsmith): The Serious Fraud Office has commenced one prosecution against four defendants for an offence of conspiracy to commit an offence under Section 52 Criminal Justice Act 1993, namely insider dealing.

The defendants were charged in December last year with this offence. The case has been sent to the Crown Court but a date has yet to be fixed for trial.

In addition, the CPS does not hold central records about this type of offence and the information could only be obtained at disproportionate cost. However, the CPS Casework Directorate has indicated that it is handling one current case involving five defendants charged with a variety of offences connected with the insider dealing provisions. The case is in its early stages at the Crown Court.

Immigration: Medical Examinations

Lord Ackner asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether asylum seekers and those seeking to emigrate to the United Kingdom are subject to compulsory medical examinations; and, if not, why not.[HL3102]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Filkin): Under the Immigration Act 1971, immigration officers are able to refer persons seeking leave to enter the United Kingdom, including those seeking asylum, to medical inspectors at ports of entry. Paragraph 36 of the Immigration Rules (HC 395) sets out the circumstances in which immigration officers may refer an individual to a medical inspector for examination.

Current policy is to refer for medical examination any persons who mention health or medical treatment as a reason for their visit, or who appear not to be in good mental or physical health, or who intend to remain in the United Kingdom for more than six months and come from an area of the world which is high risk for tuberculosis. In addition, the Immigration Rules state that those seeking leave to enter the United Kingdom for more than six months should normally be referred.

People applying abroad for entry clearance to the United Kingdom are not subject to mandatory

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medical inspections, but the entry clearance officer has the same discretion as an immigration officer to refer applicants for entry clearance for medical examination.

In addition, asylum seekers attending the induction centre at Dover are given basic health screening, which includes full medical history and tuberculosis screening and referral (as appropriate). We will extend this process as we develop a network of induction centres. However, there are currently no powers to require all asylum seekers to undergo health screening.

In response to public concerns about the incidence of infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, TB and hepatitis B and C among immigrants, the Government are currently undertaking a comprehensive review of imported infections and immigration.

Work Permits: IT Sector

The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What consideration they are giving to the possibility of imposing greater restriction on the grant of work permits in the information technology sector, in light of estimates that more than 50,000 information technology professionals are currently out of work in the United Kingdom. [HL3119]

Lord Filkin: There are published criteria governing the issue of work permits, which are applied to all work permit applications irrespective of the sector in question. These criteria are designed to safeguard the interests of the resident labour force while meeting the need of employers to recruit workers with the skills that they need. All applications are checked to ensure that the requirements of the work permit arrangements are met and Work Permits (UK) may also conduct post-issue checks to establish that the work permit arrangements are complied with. The criteria of the work permit arrangements are kept under regular review by Work Permits (UK).

However, Work Permits (UK) does seek to ensure that operation of the work permit arrangements, and, in particular, the list of those occupations which should not be subject to a resident labour search requirement, reflects labour market conditions in specific sectors. Work Permits (UK) works closely with IT Industry bodies, trade unions and other government departments, which are represented on its Information Technology Communications and Electronics Sector Panel, to review the availability of suitably qualified IT workers in the resident labour market. On the advice of this panel, IT occupations were removed from Work Permit (UK)'s shortage occupation list in September 2002.

G8 Summit: Government's Objectives

Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

    With particular reference to NePAD (the New Partnership for Africa's Development), what their

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    specific objectives are at the G8 Summit with reference to each of the following (a) the battle against AIDS; (b) the elimination of polio; and (c) the rights and welfare of children. [HL3110]

The Secretary of State for International Development (Baroness Amos): The G8 Summit took place between 1 and 3 June in Evian. One area of discussion was progress on the G8 Africa Action Plan, which sets out G8 countries' support for NePAD.

In global terms, the fight against AIDS was taken forward in two ways: on undertaking by the G8 to resolve the outstanding issues in the negotiations on intellectual property rights and public health before the World Trade Organisation Ministerial Conference in September and increased funding for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria (the UK announced a further 80 million dollars for 2006–08), along with a call to improve its effectiveness.

Similarly, at a global level, the G8 renewed their commitment to eradicating polio.

The issues of the rights and welfare of children were not specifically discussed at Evian.

DfID: Secondments

Lord Fearn asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many Department for International Development staff have been deployed in Iraq, Kuwait, Jordan and Iran to monitor and access humanitarian needs and to liaise with United Nations agencies. [HL3166]

Baroness Amos: DfID currently has six advisers working with the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in Baghdad on humanitarian assistance and liaison between CPA and Iraqi administrators, the United Nations and other humanitarian agencies in Iraq. In Basra, five DfID staff are liaising with humanitarian agencies and the UK military, two secondees are working for UN agencies, and three humanitarian advisers are seconded to the UK military. Five DfID secondees are working for UN agencies in Amman, Jordan. DfID does not currently have any staff in Kuwait or Iran.

Armed Forces: Medical Reservists

Lord Vivian asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they agree with press reports that morale among the Armed Forces reservists medical personnel is low; and, if so, what action is in hand to prevent resignations within this group. [HL2861]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Bach): We are very grateful for the contribution our medical reservists have made in the support of military action against Iraq. Senior officers in the Defence Medical Services have met medical personnel returning from the Gulf region to thank them personally for their contribution and, if

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necessary, explain decisions that have been taken that affect them and listen to any concerns they may have had. Personnel returning from the Gulf have indicated that morale is generally high. Reports from theatre indicate that as future plans have now been clarified, and individuals know their part in them and when they are due to return to the United Kingdom, those remaining on deployment are now generally content.

33 Field Hospital

Lord Vivian asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why 33 Field Hospital in Iraq was replaced by reservist medical personnel two days prior to the onset of hostilities; why it was sent to a transit camp; and what duties 33 Field Hospital carried out during the Iraq conflict. [HL2864]

Lord Bach: 33 Field Hospital was intended to be the first United Kingdom field hospital to deploy to the Gulf, as at the time it was the field hospital held at the highest level of preparedness. Its equipment, however, was prevented from leaving port by Greenpeace protestors. A 25-bed element of 22 Field Hospital, a regular unit, was flown to theatre as a stopgap to offset the delayed arrival of 33 Field Hospital. Once in theatre, 33 Field Hospital deployed and prepared an operational field hospital within the UK concentration area in northern Kuwait. As the UK force built in size, additional medical units were required; 34 Field Hospital, a regular unit but with significant reservist augmentation, followed by 202 Field Hospital (Volunteers), a Territorial Army unit. The latter subsequently took over from 33 Field Hospital in situ. This enabled 33 Field Hospital to act as a flexible reserve, a task for which it was better suited than the other field hospitals.

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