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Lord Warner: The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has a national mycology reference centre, at Bristol, and two HPA regional laboratories (at Manchester and Cardiff) which have a special interest and capabilities in mycology.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education and Skills (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): The Department for Education and Skills' Innovation Unit currently handles applications made under the powers to facilitate innovation set out in the Education Act 2002. Such applications have included proposals from schools to introduce innovative changes in the school day.
The Education Act 2002, Section 4, requires that if the governing body of a qualifying school, maintained by a local education authority, wishes to make an application for an order under the "Power to Innovate", they must consult that local education authority and such persons as appear to them to be appropriate. In doing so they must have regard to any guidance given by the Secretary of State which sets out advice for applicants on the issue of consultation.
Baroness Ashton of Upholland: The Swimming work strand within the national PE, School Sport and Club Links strategy, has taken forward all of the key recommendations made by the Swimming Advisory Group. An executive summary of the group's report and the Government's response was published on 17 October 2002 and a copy was placed in the House of Lords Library. We have:
I refer the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, to the Answer I gave him on 8 January 2004, (Official Report, col. WA 57) which gives the names and budgets of the PE and school sports programmes run jointly by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Department for Education and Skills.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Baroness Hollis of Heigham): The Financial Services Authority is currently consumer testing the simplified sales process for the new stakeholder product suite. The Government will decide on the level of the charge cap for the pension within the product suite when the results of the research are known, later this year.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Lord McIntosh of Haringey): The issue of horse passports by a VAT-registered business in return for payment is a service that would be subject to VAT.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: SkillsActive is the new Sector Skills Council for active leisure and learning whose role is to help connect organisations developing and offering qualifications to work in the sector with appropriate opportunities to attract funding for individual candidates. One of the early priorities for SkillsActive is to develop a co-ordinated strategy to access mainstream government funding opportunities that have the potential to support people development in sport and recreation, particularly in the area of coaching. At a local level, individuals are supported by county sports partnerships and local authorities to access funding, and scholarship opportunities are also available through Sport England's lottery programme.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The acting chair of UK Sport is presently in discussion with the director of Drug Free Sport about her future. For the time being, she remains on leave. As part of the acting chair's mandated responsibility to reform UK Sport, she is in regular dialogue with both the Minister and the Secretary of State, who have been kept fully informed of developments.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Council of UK Sport appointed PMP Consulting to review the Drug Free Sport Directorate following a competitive tendering process The cost of the report will be £29,800. A private report prepared for the former chief executive of UK Sport by the Canadian consultant Roger Jackson has been passed to the consultants.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Government, together with other stakeholders, are continuing discussion aimed at delivering a solution for the benefit of English Sport and local residents. However, subject to the resources available, it is for Sport England to determine how best to meet the objectives it has been set for English Sport and it is for the London Borough of Bromley together with the GLA to determine how best to meet the needs of its residents.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Unless general sanctions are in place in respect of individual states, decisions on overseas tours are sporting matters for national governing bodies and, where appropriate, for international sports federations. National governing bodies in the UK are fully aware that, in all such cases, the Government remain committed to providing advice and guidance on the safety and security of players, administrators and spectators, or on other issues on which governing bodies may seek guidance.
Lord Bassam of Brighton: The Government's aim is that there should be increased participation of disabled people in public appointments. Statistics on disabled people holding public appointments show that since 2001, when statistics were first collected, there has been an increase in the representation of disabled people on the boards of public bodies from at least 1.5 per cent in 2001, to at least 3.1 per cent in 2003.
Information abut the progress made by individual departments is provided in Delivering Diversity in Public Appointments 2003 published on 17 December 2003, copies of which have been placed in the Libraries of the House.
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