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Parliamentary Website: Languages Other Than English

Lord Norton of Louth asked the Chairman of Committees:

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): A brief guide to the House of Lords is already available on the Internet in PDF format in Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Spanish and Welsh. There are no plans at present to make further material available in languages other than English.

London City Bond Prosecutions

Lord Haskel asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Attorney-General (Lord Goldsmith): Mr Justice Butterfield was asked last year by the Economic Secretary to the Treasury and by me to conduct a review arising out of the London City bond cases. I refer to my Answer to Lord Peston on 25 November 2002, which sets out Mr Justice Butterfield's terms of reference. We received his report in July 2003 and it was published in full on 15 July 2003. I refer to my Answer to Lord Barnett on 15 July 2003. The published report can be found on the Treasury website,– He made a number of important recommendations, many of which have already been implemented. The others are being considered by the Government.

Consideration of matters relating to Operation Boyne was included in the remit of Mr Justice Butterfield's review. At his request any analysis or comment on this matter by him was suspended to avoid prejudice to proceedings in this matter. As a

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result of developments on 6 November 2003, on behalf of the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, John Healey MP, and myself, I invited Mr Justice Butterfield to consider further the issues that arise from the case in the context of his earlier inquiry and he has agreed. His terms of reference will be:

    "In the light of the recommendations made in your review, published in July 2003, to consider the circumstances which led to the termination of Operation Boyne at Blackfriars Crown Court, and to advise whether additional or different recommendations need to be made."

Prisoners: Repatriation

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many sentenced persons were repatriated to England and Wales from other countries in each of the last three years.[HL4713]

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): In 2000, 20 prisoners were repatriated to England and Wales; in 2001, 36 prisoners; and in 2002, 41 prisoners.

Home Office Bills

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many Bills sponsored by the Home Office have been introduced into Parliament in the current Session; what is the total number of pages in those Bills when last reprinted; and how many were introduced in the following Sessions:

    (a) 2001–02;

    (b) 1996–97; and

    (c) 1995–96; and, in each case, what percentage of government Bills before Parliament in the Session in question this represents.[HL4891]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: There are currently five Home Office Bills which have been introduced during the current Session. The information requested is set out in the following tables.

Bill Latest Complete Bill PrintNumber of pages
Anti-social Behaviour Bill7 October 2003 As amended in Lords Committee66
Crime (International Co-operation) Bill(1)19 June 2003 As amended in Commons Standing Committee90
Criminal Justice Bill15 October 2003 As amended in Lords Committee408
Extradition Bill10 September 2003 As amended in Lords Grand Committee130
Sexual Offences Bill14 October 2003 As amended in Commons Standing Committee119

(1) The Commons amendments for consideration by the House of Lords have now also been printed.

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SessionNumber of Home Office-Sponsored BillsPercentage of Government-Sponsored Bills

Percentages rounded up or down to nearest whole number.

Civil Courts

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

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Filkin on 6 October (WA 9), what practical impact the Government's decision not to allocate funds to modernise the civil and family courts as part of the 2002 spending review will have on the way in which the components of the modernisation programme can be implemented and the time scale of that programme.[HL5022]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs (Lord Filkin): The investment available, £75 million, will still allow us to improve the speed and quality of work in the civil and family courts and reduce unnecessary delays caused by manual working practices. Customers will be able to communicate electronically with us. Already our money claim online service has grown to be the largest issuer of money claims in a single year.

We have a range of ambitious plans to use technology to reduce delay, increase access to justice, and improve efficiency in this spending period. We are constantly reviewing the strategy for modernisation as the plans for the unified administration of the courts emerge.

Although I am not yet in a position to make a formal announcement about individual modernisation projects, all our plans will go through a rigorous internal evaluation to ensure that they contribute to our public service agreements. We will also use the Office of Government Commerce's gateway review process where appropriate.

Legal Aid

Lord Ouseley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How policies aimed at helping poor families to climb out of social exclusion are affected by the lack of accessible legal aid.[HL5204]

Lord Filkin: The Community Legal Service (CLS) aims to improve access for all to good quality legal and advice services and underpins other government policies that promote social inclusion. In many areas local CLS providers have linked up with other government programmes to jointly help people to climb out of social exclusion. The exent to which the CLS has been successful in doing this will be measured by the second national periodic survey of legal need (which will be carried out in April 2004) and the local legal need telephone survey (the findings of which are expected in January 2004).

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My department continues to monitor closely the sufficiency of the supplier base and is satisfied that there is currently no widespread problem in providing adequate coverage of legal and advice services in England and Wales. Nor has there been any change in the scope of CLS service since the Access to Justice Act 1999 was implemented.

Children in Care: Imprisonment of Parents

Lord Hylton asked the Secretary of State for Education and Skills:

    What is the number of children taken into care in the past five years primarily because of the imprisonment of one or both parents.[HL5186]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State Department for Education and Skills (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): National statistical information concerning the reasons for children becoming looked after does not record the numbers of children who enter public care in England because of the imprisonment of one or both parents.

Food Supplements (England) Regulations 2003

Lord Clement-Jones asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What plans they have to compensate manufacturers and retailers for the cost of removing from shelves and destroying those safe and appropriately labelled products marketed in accordance with current government policy but which will become illegal in July 2005 under the provisions of the Food Supplements (England) Regulations on the basis that they contain ingredients missing from the list of permitted nutrients and nutrient sources.[HL5159]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Warner): The Food Supplements (England) Regulations 2003 make use of the derogation in Article 4 of the directive that allows member states to permit the continued marketing beyond 1 August 2005 of food supplements containing vitamins and minerals and their sources missing from the positive lists subject to the following conditions: that they were on the market when the directive came into force; that dossiers to support their addition to the positive lists have been submitted to the European Commission before 12 July 2005; and that the European Food Safety Authority has not given a negative opinion on such use.

The Government have no plans to compensate manufacturers or retailers for the costs of removing from sale any products that do not satisfy these conditions.

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Fresh Frozen Plasma

Lord Clement-Jones asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Warner on 8 September (WA 66), whether male donors means male "untransfused" donors; and[HL5160]

    What was the evidence that the switch to male (untransfused) donors would reduce the incidence of transfusion-related acute lung injury (as reported in the 2001–02 Serious Hazards of Transfusion Scheme report) and not lead to any new or increased levels of existing transfusion-related complications; and [HL5161]

    With regard to a switch to male (untransfused) donors, whether they can given an assurance that this significant change in policy will be piloted and validated before a national change takes place; and[HL5193]

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Warner on 8 September (WA 66) about the Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Blood and Tissue for Transplantation and given that single donor fresh frozen plasma is responsible for the majority of transfusion-related acute lung injury incidents, what evidence the committee considered in reaching its recommendations to use single donor plasma only; and[HL5194]

    Whether screening of donors' blood for human leukocyte antigens (HLA) antibodies, which cause transfusion-related acute lung injury, has been considered; if so, whether it is a viable, realistic and cost-effective option; and on what grounds nationwide screening has not been implemented; and[HL5195]

    Whether, bearing in mind that males are less likely to donate blood and more likely to have received a transfusion than females, the use of plasma sourced exclusively from male, previously untransfused, donors will provide enough fresh frozen plasma for the 70,000 patients who require it each year.[HL5196]

Lord Warner: The safety of blood and blood products used in the National Health Service is of paramount importance. Although most United Kingdom sourced fresh frozen plasma (FFP) is not virally inactivated, high levels of safety are achieved by using single unit, as opposed to pooled plasma, by screening out potential high-risk donors and by testing every unit of donated blood for the presence of infections such as HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C before it is released to hospitals. In addition, the National Blood Authority (NBA) is conducting an options appraisal of means to minimise the risk of transfusion-related acute lung injury from FFP. The NBA is currently looking at the practicalities of producing FFP from male donors, and a plan has been produced for implementation in the new year.

The decision taken to import single unit FFP sourced from the United States for young babies and

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children born after 1 January 1996 will provide additional protection to the most vulnerable group who will not have been exposed to BSE through the food chain. The NBA is involved in arranging for supplies of FFP from male donors for this group of patients. A commercially produced, pooled FFP product sourced from the United States is also available for the National Health Service to purchase.

The Government's Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Blood and Tissue for Transplantation (MSBT) will continue to review the risk of new emerging viruses such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) on the blood supply. There is no evidence at present that SARS can be transmitted by blood transfusion. The minutes of MSBT meetings will be published on the Department of Health website around the end of the year.

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