Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

Northern Ireland: Digital Television

Lord Kilclooney asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: No firm dates for switchover have been set, but Ofcom has suggested an indicative date of 2011 for the Ulster region. The final decision on timing is a matter for the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. The sequence is determined by technical factors and the order is generally expected to stay as advised by Ofcom.
 
22 Feb 2005 : Column WA191
 

In regions close to neighbouring countries, it is very important to co-ordinate with the relevant foreign authorities. This is routinely being done for the Republic of Ireland.

Discussions with Ulster TV on switchover issues are a matter for Ofcom.

Pesticide Incidents Appraisal Panel

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Baroness Hollis of Heigham): The objective of the Pesticide Incident Appraisal Panel and the principle of case assessment were set out in my Written Answer on 24 January 2005 (WA 141).

For the panel to accept a case as an ill health incident there needs to be a clearly defined incident, investigated by HSE (or a local authority), together with associated ill health. Each individual case is discussed by the panel, within the framework published in the annual Pesticide Incident Report, until there is consensus. Details of these discussions are not directly relevant to the panel objectives and not recorded.

The five investigations listed included the assessment of 10 individual cases. For eight of the individual cases the panel concluded that there was no discrete event linked to a specific pesticide exposure. For two of the individual cases the panel concluded that the alleged ill health was unrelated to any exposure and the two incidents involving these individuals were assessed as "unrelated".

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Hollis of Heigham: The objective of the Pesticide Incident Appraisal Panel and the principle of case assessment were set out in my Written Answer on 24 January 2005 (WA 141).

Individual cases will be categorised as "insufficient information" where there are no data properly to assess either the exposure or the ill health. This includes where there is no clear route of exposure, known documents or medical reports are unavailable and where symptoms are inadequately defined. Each
 
22 Feb 2005 : Column WA192
 
individual case is discussed by the panel, within the framework published in the annual Pesticide Incident Report, until there is consensus. Details of these discussions are not directly relevant to the panel objectives and not recorded.

Where, as in the case highlighted, incidents involve more than one person alleged to have been made ill, each individual case is assessed independently. Where the individuals receive a different assessment by the panel, the overall incident is classified according to the most serious individual assessment. It is categorisation of the incident that is of specific importance in enabling the panel to meet its primary objective and in this case the panel assessed the incident as "confirmed".

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Hollis of Heigham: The objective of the Pesticide Incident Appraisal Panel and the principle of case assessment were set out in my Written Answer on 24 January 2005 (WA 141).

Individual cases will be categorised as "insufficient information" where there are no data properly to assess either the exposure (including an unknown formulation, no clear route of exposure, or unavailability of known documents) or the ill health (including inadequately defined symptoms, and unavailability of known medical reports). Each individual case is discussed by the panel, within the framework published in the annual Pesticide Incident Report, until there is consensus. Details of these discussions are not directly relevant to the panel objectives and not recorded.

The panel assessment is dependent on the availability of relevant information. Where the panel has knowledge that such information exists it will make every effort to obtain it. In the case of the incident highlighted, the information described in the question—the soil samples and GP notes—was not brought before the panel for consideration.

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Hollis of Heigham: The HSE does not routinely record contraventions of regulations unless enforcement action has been taken. One prosecution covering two alleged contraventions of the Control of
 
22 Feb 2005 : Column WA193
 
Pesticides Regulations 1986 (as amended) is pending as a result of the incidents involving sulphuric acid investigated by HSE during the year 2003–04.

From April 2003 to March 2004, HSE investigated five incidents involving sulphuric acid used in agriculture where allegations of ill-health from exposure had been made. A further 11 incidents were investigated where sulphuric acid, used as a pesticide, had been involved in allegations of other types of harm.

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Hollis of Heigham: The primary school referred to in the Pesticide Incident Appraisal Panel incident 20/065/03 was Cellardyke Primary School, St Andrews Road, Anstruther, Fife. Since the alleged incident it has merged with Anstruther Primary School. The education authority is Fife Council.

Poverty

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Hollis of Heigham: Poverty is about more than low income; it also impacts on the way people live—their health, housing and the quality of their environment. The sixth annual "Opportunity for all" report (Cm 6239), published in September 2004, sets out the Government's strategy for tackling poverty and social exclusion and presents information on the indicators used to measure progress against this strategy.

Further information regarding low income is available in Households Below Average Income 1994/95-2002/03. Copies of the publication are available in the Library.

The most commonly used measure of "absolute" low income is the percentage of individuals living in households with incomes below 60 per cent of 1996–97 national median income—that is, an income level which has been held constant in real terms.
 
22 Feb 2005 : Column WA194
 

Information regarding numbers of working age adults in low income is in the table.

The number and proportion of working-age adults living in households with incomes below 60 per cent median held constant in real terms.
Before Housing CostAfter Housing Cost
Number (million)Percentage
Family
Expenditure
Survey
(UK)
Number (million)Percentage
19796.0196.722
19817.1227.724
19876.4197.422
1988–895.8176.519
1990–915.6176.620
1991–926.0187.221
1992–936.0187.422
1993–945.5166.920
1994–955.1156.720
1995–965.1156.820



Before Housing CostAfter Housing Cost
Number (million)Percentage
Family
Resources
Survey
(GB)
Number (million)Percentage
1994–955.3167.021
1995–965.0157.021
1996–974.9156.821
1997–984.7146.419
1998–994.4136.218
1999–004.1125.917
2000–013.8115.416
2001–023.3104.814
2002–033.3104.613




Notes:

1. Family Expenditure Survey (FES) figures are for the United Kingdom.


2. Family Resources Survey (FRS) figures are for Great Britain.


3. The reference period for FRS figures is single financial years. FES figures are single calendar years from 1979–87, two combined calendar years from 1998–89 to 1992–93 and two financial years combined from 1993–94 to 1995–96.


4. Income definitions differ slightly between the two series.


For all FRS years 1994–95 to 2002–03, the level of absolute low income was estimated as £166 per week for the before housing costs (BHC) measure, and £142 for the after housing costs (AHC) in average 2002-03 prices after adjustment for inflation, and was estimated using reported values from respondents to the 1996–97 FRS.


The estimated equivalent level for all FES years was £168 per week BHC, and £143 per week AHC, in 2002–03 prices, and was estimated using results reported from the 1995–96 and 1996–97 FES.


Over the period 1979 to 2002-03, the proportion of working-age adults experiencing low income using this measure was at its lowest in 2002–03 both BHC and AHC. The statement is true for other thresholds of median and mean income, with the exception of the 40 per cent mean threshold BHC, for which there was a slight, although not statistically significant, increase between 2001–02 and 2002–03. However low-income levels on this threshold remained lower in 2002–03 than in the mid to late nineties.







Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page