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Lord Birt

Lord Hanningfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Lord McIntosh of Haringey): No such discussion has taken place.
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Lord Hanningfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: No information is held centrally on individual assignments for which government departments have contracted with McKinsey & Company.

Electricity Regulations: Definition of "Working Days"

Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): The Interpretation Act 1978 provides that where a term is defined in the parent or enabling act (in this case the Electricity Act 1989) unless the contrary intention appears it will have the same meaning in subordinate legislation.

Therefore it is not necessary to define the term in the Electricity (Applications for Licences, Modification of an Area and Extensions and Restrictions of Licences) Regulations unless we intended for it to have a different meaning from the Act.

Electricity and Gas Regulations: Transitional Provisions

Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: The implications of the transitional provisions are that any applications that were made under previous regulations and were being processed when these regulations came into force would be deemed to be valid under the new regulations.

In previous cases where we have produced amended regulations we have said that the applicant will need to provide any additional information required under the new regulations or something to state that no further information is required.
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However, in this case, as there were no changes to the regulations that would affect outstanding applications (as the only change was the introduction of interconnector provisions), this was not necessary; therefore outstanding applications were automatically valid under this provision.

Computer Malware

The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: The Symantec research referred to by the noble Lord supports my department's assessment that there is a challenge to raise awareness among home users on how to use the Internet safely and the sensible precautions they can take.

The DTI is actively engaged in a wide range of activities aimed primarily at business users and the DTI information security website provides best practice guidance for businesses. My officials also regularly work with other government departments, law enforcement agencies and business in promoting awareness and best practice to all users. Current projects include developing warning, advice and reporting points (WARPS) to support user communities and promoting ITsafe (a government website and alert service, providing users and small businesses with help to protect computers and other devices from malicious attacks). In the near future, Project Endurance, a collaborative project involving industry, law enforcement agencies and government departments such as the Cabinet Office, the Home Office and the DTI, will focus on awareness raising and crime prevention for home users.

Of course, educating users is only one solution and there is work to be done in preventing the development and distribution of malicious software. UK law enforcement agencies continue to seek to detect and prosecute individuals in the UK involved in the creation and dissemination of this software, and where appropriate pass on details of such activity to counterparts in other jurisdictions. This is a global issue and my officials continue to work with industry, agencies and other governments in developing ways in which to minimise the impact of computer malware.

Easter Act 1928

Lord Norton of Louth asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Lord Sainsbury of Turville: We have no plans to amend the Easter Act 1928. It remains on the statute book but the Act requires that before a draft order is laid before Parliament "regard shall be had to any opinion officially expressed by any Church or other Christian body".

At this time, the Churches have not expressed a desire or willingness to move to a fixed Easter.

Export Credits Guarantee Department:Anti-corruption Controls

Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: The Export Credits Guarantee Department's (ECGD's) anti-bribery and corruption procedures are among the most robust in use by any of the world's leading export credit agencies.

On 18 March 2005, ECGD launched a consultation on changes to its anti-bribery and corruption procedures introduced in December 2004. The consultation document can be found on its website at

The consultation will close on 18 June 2005. ECGD will then consider all the representations it has received and thereafter the Government's response to the consultation will be issued.


Lord Pendry asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Warner): Community-acquired methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) usually refers to cases of MRSA isolated from previously healthy people without any obvious risk factors such as admission to hospital. The Health
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Protection Agency's (HPA) staphylococcal reference laboratory has confirmed 100 cases over the past three years—an extremely small proportion of the isolates they receive (0.005 per cent). The Specialist Advisory Committee on Antimicrobial Resistance and the HPA are monitoring reports of CA-MRSA and recommend continued vigilance, but that there is no immediate cause for concern.

Reporting systems do not collect information on where infections are acquired so it is not possible to provide figures on how many people have acquired MRSA from gymnasia and health clubs.

Through our monitoring of MRSA we are aware of only one case where a patient with community-acquired MRSA died. We do not know whether this contributed to the death or the source of the infection.

Countryside Agency: The State of the Countryside 2004

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Whitty): A total of 3,100 copies of the Countryside Agency's The State of the Countryside Report 2004 were printed. The total cost of the publication was £60,000. The cover price is £10. To date (March 2005) the agency has received £2,620 from sales and 400 copies remain in stock. The balance comprises copies which have been distributed free of charge, mainly to stakeholders and other government departments, to provide an up-to-date picture of rural issues.

Rail Fatality Management Group: Prevention of Suicides Guidelines

Lord Patten asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: Although this recently-formed group had originally intended to publish guidelines by the end of March, the group is now reassessing its work programme and has not yet agreed revised timings for meeting its objectives.

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