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What is the United Kingdom's share of the cost of any annual benefit which accrues to Members of the European Parliament who charge for travel at a higher rate than that actually incurred; and what is the total of the benefit in question. [HL2329]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): In order to answer the noble Lords Question, officials would need to contact every Member of the European Parliament (MEP) and this would incur disproportionate cost.
After the 2009 European parliamentary elections, all new MEPs will be subject to the new MEP statute and MEPs re-elected will be able to opt into this system. The statute only allows MEPs to claim the actual cost of travel incurred. This agreement is an important reform in the EU and was a major success of the UK presidency in 2005.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): The Foreign and Commonwealth Office does not hold a record of estimates for the annual travel expenses against the European Commission budget. These expenses are contained within the total administration cost without separate budget lines. The Commission may hold this information.
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 30 January (WA 36), what action they have taken, or propose to take, to monitor the spending of the £17 million capital provision for dual X-ray absorptiometer (DXA) scanning equipment to ensure it is used for this purpose; and [HL2231]
What information they hold on the number, and geographical location, of primary care trusts in England which routinely offer dual X-ray absorptiometer (DXA) bone scans to women patients when they reach the age of 60. [HL2232]
The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The capital provision of £17 million to improve National Health Service capacity in dual X-ray absorptiometer (DXA) scanning provision has mainly been included in strategic health authorities' (SHA) strategic capital allocation and is not ring-fenced. The department does not monitor how SHA strategic capital is spent.
What estimate they have made of the size of the market share of suppliers based in the Channel Islands in the food supplements and herbal remedies mail order sector in 1996 and 2006 respectively; and [HL2244]
What powers are available to the Food Standards Agency to control the marketing by companies based in the Channel Islands to United Kingdom mainland consumers of food supplements containing ingredients which are banned for sale in the United Kingdom; and what steps they will take to address this issue. [HL2245]
The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): Information is not held centrally by government on the amount of food supplements and herbal remedies obtained by mail order from the Channel Islands. No estimate has been made on the size of the market share of suppliers based in the Channel Islands.
The Food Standards Agency has no powers to control the marketing by companies based in the Channel Islands to United Kingdom mainland consumers of food supplements containing ingredients which are banned for sale in the UK. Local authorities have responsibility and power within their areas in the UK for enforcing the requirements of food law. Local authorities would have the power to act only within the UK and not within the Channel Islands.
Whether they will make representations to the Governments of (a) Jersey, and (b) Guernsey to adopt European Union legislation governing the composition, presentation and marketing of food supplements and herbal remedies. [HL2314]
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The United Kingdom is working with the authorities in Jersey and Guernsey to determine the extent to which European Union (EU) legislation governing the composition, presentation and marketing of food supplements and herbal remedies applies. Both Jersey and Guernsey have undertaken to meet any EU obligations that arise.
One of Guernsey's objectives in updating its legislation is to prevent inappropriately marketed or illegal items being sold from Guernsey. Unlicensed products that make inappropriate medicinal claims cannot be legally imported into Jersey and in circumstances where the Jersey authorities have become aware of inappropriate product claims, they have assured us that steps have been taken to cease distribution of the product.
The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): Patients should only be asked to remove their hearing aid when the wearing of an aid may interfere with the treatment being carried out. The expectation should be that the aid is only to be removed when absolutely necessary and for the shortest period of time needed to ensure that effective communication with the patient can continue throughout the treatment.
What assessment they have made of the recently published consultation paper from the Government of Guernsey in relation to the regulation of medicines; whether they will respond to that consultation; and
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What resources the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency and the Food Standards Agency have available to deploy in relation to the export to United Kingdom mainland consumers of unlicensed medicines and illegal food supplements by companies based in the Channel Islands; and whether they have proposals to strengthen the level of enforcement action by those agencies. [HL2247]
The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), an executive agency of the department, is currently considering the consultation paper from the Government of Guernsey and no response has yet been made. The deadline for comments is 10 April 2007. The consultation will be used as part of the ongoing dialogue between the MHRA and the Guernsey authorities to control the marketing of illegal products.
The legislation administered by the MHRA does not apply to the Channel Islands. The islands have their own legislative assemblies. Reports of illegal medicinal products made to the MHRA are investigated by the Medicines Borderline Section and/or the Enforcement and Intelligence Unit depending on the type of offence. If the company is outside the MHRA's jurisdiction, it is referred to the relevant regulatory authority.
I am advised by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) that local authorities have responsibility for enforcing the requirements of food law and have resources to control all foods. The FSA does not maintain a central record of such resources.
Further to the Answer by Lord Drayson on 20 February (Official Report, col. 1006), whether applications can be made to HM Treasury for the cost of replacement aircraft in the case of losses caused by allied friendly fire as well as for those caused by enemy action. [HL2145]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Drayson): The MoD identifies the costs of operations in terms of the net additional costs it has incurred. Included in these costs is the damage and destruction of major items of equipment, such as aircraft, which are reviewed individually and are only replaced or repaired if there is a continuing and ongoing future requirement for them within the MoD plans. Operational costs are funded from the Treasury reserve and no distinction is made between the loss of assets due to enemy or friendly fire.
How United Kingdom forces will co-ordinate the detention of individuals with similar efforts by the Iraqi Security Forces after the closure of the divisional temporary detention facility at Shaibah logistics base; and whether any assessment has been made of the scope for using joint facilities. [HL2258]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Drayson): When the divisional temporary detention facility (DTDF) at Shaibah logistics base closes it will be replaced by a divisional internment facility at Basra air station. Iraqi security forces have been assisting in the detention of individuals since mid-December 2006. Their assistance has been predominantly in the provision of cordons and the securing of the area of operation. The Iraqis do not have the power to intern individuals, so are only able to conduct strike operations against criminals for prosecution in Iraqi courts. As they have no powers to intern, there is no scope for a joint internment facility.
What were the average and median ages of death of female and male doctors receiving pensions from the National Health Service in each of the past five years for which figures are available; and what were the comparable figures for other public sector employees and people receiving the basic state pension in the United Kingdom. [HL1965]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Truscott): The Government have not withdrawn services from post offices under European Union directive 2002/39/EC regarding the further opening to competition of community postal services.
Lord Bassam of Brighton: The Department for Transport is discussing with Northern Rail the options for additional units to increase capacity on the services which Northern Rail operates and the ways in which they might be funded.
Lord Bassam of Brighton: The projected growth in passenger numbers is still being evaluated as part of the preparation of the forthcoming high-level output specification and longer term rail strategy. The evaluation looks more widely at the growth on long distance routes between major cities, rather than at the growth on the former British Rail InterCity network. The forecast demand varies considerably by route. An annual passenger km growth rate of between 2.3 per cent and 3.2 per cent is currently forecast across the long distance network over the next 10 years.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education and Skills (Lord Adonis): In 2006, 579,113 pupils in maintained mainstream schools1 at the end of key stage 42 attempted one or more GCSEs.
Whether the contacts with Sky TV by Damien McBride on the question of discussions on the Autumn Statement were authorised in accordance with the guidance on government communications and in compliance with paragraph 13 and paragraph 4 sub-paragraph IX of the Code of Conduct for Special Advisers; and [HL2308]
Whether the departmental director of communications at HM Treasury was informed by Mr Damien McBride of his statement made to Sky TV on the Autumn Statement and in compliance with paragraph 13 of the Code of Conduct for Special Advisers; and [HL2309]
Whether the departmental director of communications at HM Treasury exercises day-to-day responsibility for the overall management of the press and publicity activities of all special advisers in HM Treasury, in compliance with paragraph 13 of the Code of Conduct for Special Advisers; and [HL2310]
Whether contacts between Mr Damien McBride and Sky TV on the question of potential interviewees on the Autumn Statement favoured or discriminated against particular individuals; and whether the contacts that took place were in compliance with paragraphs 12 and 13 of the Civil Service Code. [HL2311]
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