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Lord Davies of Oldham: Neither the Department for Transport, the Health and Safety Executive nor Network Rail hold information about the likely costs involved in increasing level crossing barrier closing times to 1.5 minutes on the high-speed rail network.
The HSE advises that increasing barrier dwell times would result in increased delays to both rail and road traffic, with an increased risk that level-crossing users would attempt to "jump" level-crossing lights and barriers in order to avoid longer delays.
What action they will be taking to ensure that the agreement at the G8 summit to treat all those suffering from HIV/AIDS by 2010 is fulfilled by all those countries that are party to it; and whether they plan to increase United Kingdom funding for HIV/AIDS related projects. [HL1496]
Baroness Amos: The G8 leaders have declared their intention to aim for as close as possible universal access to AIDS treatment to all those who need it by 2010. Limited health systems capacity is a major
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constraint to achieving this. Without major improvements to existing health care services, it will not be possible to scale up good quality AIDS treatment and care, including access to anti-retroviral drugs. More effective services will help remove bottlenecks in drug production and supply. They will rely on more doctors and nurses being employed, establishing reliable and accountable supply chain management and reporting systems, better efforts to promote awareness and availability of services, non-governmental organisation (NGO) mobilisation to make treatment effective, and a massive scaling up of voluntary and provider-initiated HIV testing facilities so people can find out if they need treatment. The G8 leaders have committed to working with our partners in Africa to address these needs.
The G8 leaders have also committed to working with the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and other international bodies to establish the best way forward. We have asked the international bodies to develop and implement a package for HIV prevention, treatment and care, which will firmly embed action to secure universal access to treatment by 2010 within comprehensive AIDS programmes. To begin this process the UK will be bringing together our G8 partners, with international organisations including UNAIDS, the WHO and World Bank, with some representatives of African governments and civil society in September.
In September, there will also be other opportunities to take this forward, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank annual meetings where the expansion of health services, alongside supporting more effective AIDS programmes, is a key priority. On 5 and 6 September, the UK will host the Replenishment Conference for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, and at this time we will also receive feedback on the Global Task Team's work to intensify technical support to ensure the increased AIDS financing is used to best effect.
The UK Government has already committed to spend at least £1.5 billion to tackle HIV and AIDS over the next three years, and Hilary Benn, the Secretary of State for the Department for International Development, recently announced a doubling of funding to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria. The doubling, from £51 million for 2006 and £51 million for 2007 to £100 million for each of these 2 years, makes the UK the fourth largest donor to the Fund. The UK is already the second largest donor overall in the fight against AIDS.
In addition to the UK's direct investments in AIDS, DfID is already a major donor to the health sector, including through budget support, and we will be doing more. Our support in Uganda helped the Government end user fees for basic services, and we have invested £100 million in the Malawi health service. We will learn from these and other innovative approaches and take similar steps in the countries that want our help.
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Whether the spring departmental report 2005 of HM Revenue and Customs is satisfactory; and whether the Report gives the information which the Attorney General undertook to provide during the passage of the Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Act 2005. [HL1476]
Lord McKenzie of Luton: The HMRC spring departmental report 2005 fully satisfies all aspects of reporting requirements as defined by H M Treasury. The report is both forward and backward looking, sets out plans and information about performance and presents a clear picture of the department's aims, activities, functions, and performance. In addition the report outlines progress against all PSA targets, and clearly explains HMRC objectives, organisation and business processes.
The report also satisfies the reporting commitments given by Lord Goldsmith during the passage of the Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Bill by providing information on work preparatory to the integration, as well as future plans for HMRC's organisation and delivery plans. The further reporting commitments made by Lord Goldsmith will also be satisfied by future departmental reports over the rest of this financial year.
What goods or services H M Treasury purchased during 200405 from (a) Exchequer Partnership plc, (b) Partnerships UK plc and (c) Robson Associates, showing for each item of goods or services purchased the amount paid. [HL1475]
Lord Warner: I refer to the Answer given in the House of Commons on 14 July by the Financial Secretary (Mr Healey) to the honourable Member for Epsom and Ewell (Mr Grayling) (column 1168W), which records the totals paid including VAT to Exchequer Partnership plc, Partnerships UK plc and Robson Associates in 2004-05. In each case a list of every item of goods or services purchased could be assembled only at disproportionate cost.
Further to his Written Answer on 10 February (WA 128), whether there is now a date when the specimen of the medal issued for the 2004 Iraq operations supplied by the Army Medal Office for display in the Palace of Westminster medal collection will be displayed in the collection. [HL1514]
The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): The House of Commons medal collection is a matter for the authorities of the House of Commons, but I understand that the medal will be on display by the time both Houses return in October.
Which Committee of the House and which officers of the House are responsible for the award of cleaning contracts; and whether cleaners' wages and conditions form part of the negotiation of such contracts. [HL1509]
The Chairman of Committees: The House Committee exercises general oversight of financial matters relating to the House. Cleaning contracts, like other contracts, are usually awarded by boards on which staff from different departments sit as appropriate. In the case of the cleaning contract between Mitie and the two Houses of Parliament, negotiations were led by the House of Commons, and representatives from Black Rod's Office and the Refreshment Department sat on the board.
The House takes steps to ensure that those tendering for contracts operate in compliance with all relevant legislation; otherwise cleaners' wages and conditions are not a negotiated part of the contract.
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