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The regulations protect people from being treated less favourably because of their sexual orientation, but provide for some exceptions from the requirement for equal treatment. For example, religious organisations that fulfil certain criteria may restrict some of their activities on grounds of sexual orientation; services to meet special needs for education, training or welfare of people of a particular sexual orientation may be provided; and private clubs will be able to restrict the benefits of membership to people of a particular sexual orientation where this is the main object of the club.

Lord Monson asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Andrews: The Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007 will prohibit discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation in the provision of goods, facilities and services, education, the disposal and management of premises, and the exercise of public functions.

The regulations protect people from being treated less favourably because of their sexual orientation in the areas covered. The regulations will not impact on the ability of professionals to impart factual information, where this is based on evidence and is part of service provision. Nor should they affect the work of professionals—for example, teachers or doctors—acting in accordance with existing statutory guidelines and professional codes of practice.

Lord Blackwell asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Andrews: The decision on whether to place a child for adoption with particular prospective adopters is taken by the adoption panel of the local authority that is looking after the child. The paramount consideration in any decision on whether to place a child for adoption with particular prospective adopters is the welfare of the child throughout his or her life, taking account of the child's religious persuasion, racial origin and cultural and linguistic background.

EU: Article 308

Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty’s Government:

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): Article 308 can be used only for the attainment of an objective attributed to the Community by member states in the treaty establishing the European Community (TEC). Civil protection is cited as a Community objective under Article 3(1)(u) of the TEC. During the course of negotiating the specific programme “Prevention, Preparedness and Consequence Management of

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Terrorism and other Security-related Risks”, the UK secured a number of amendments to ensure that the programme was linked to Community competence in this area.

Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): Article 235 of the original Treaty of Rome is the same as Article 308 of the present treaty establishing the European Community. The European Court of Justice gave the following explanation of Article 235 in Opinion 2/94 of 28 March 1996 (paragraph 29): “Article 235 is designed to fill the gap where no specific provisions of the Treaty confer on the Community institutions express or implied powers to act, if such powers appear nonetheless to be necessary to enable the Community to carry out its functions with a view to attaining one of the objectives laid down by the Treaty”.

Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Triesman: A list of legal instruments passed since 2004 which rely on Article 308 will be placed in the Library of the House.

Health: Food Supplements and Herbal Remedies

Earl Howe asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs and Lord Chancellor (Lord Falconer of Thoroton): The undertakings to comply with EU obligations have been given through the chief executive’s office on behalf of the Governments of Jersey and Guernsey. Both Jersey and Guernsey have stated their intention to review relevant EU legislation and to meet any EU

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obligations that arise, and Guernsey is in the process of updating its legislation in relation to medicinal products.

Government: Law Officers' Advice

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Attorney-General (Lord Goldsmith): Legal advice given by the law officers is subject to legal professional privilege (LPP) like any other legal advice. It is for the client to decide whether to waive LPP. In addition, law officers' advice is subject to the requirement that the fact and content of the advice must not be disclosed outside government without their authority. This requirement is contained in the Ministerial Code, issued by the Prime Minister. It is of long standing and has applied under successive administrations.

Gulf War Illnesses

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Drayson): As I indicated in my Answer of 5 March (Official Report, col. WA 8), the outputs of the Ministry of Defence's vaccines interactions research programme have been reported in detail in open literature publications. The interpretation of the study results was the subject of oversight from an independent panel of experts and veterans representatives, and the findings have been independently reviewed as part of the peer-reviewed publication process.

Data from the marmoset study relating to sleep were the subject of independent academic statistical analysis and the findings were released in the paper: Multiple Vaccine and Pyridostigmine Interactions Effects on EEG and sleep in the common marmoset

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published in Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior (2006 Jun; 84(2): 282-93). The Ministry of Defence is committed to openness in issues relating to Gulf veterans' illnesses and, while release of raw data alone would not be comprehensible without support from the research team, a previous offer that the team could present the findings of the marmoset study to the Royal British Legion's Gulf War Group including an explanation of the nature and interpretation of the underlying data remains open.

Gypsies and Travellers

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): The research undertaken by a group of researchers—led by the Centre for Urban and Regional Studies, University of Birmingham—entitled Preparing Regional Spatial Strategy Reviews on Gypsies and Travellers by Regional Planning Bodies was part-funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government. It is intended as a useful tool to help regional planning bodies to determine regional pitch requirements at local authority level. While we would commend the methodology to regional assemblies in considering the allocation of pitch numbers, each will need to take into account the circumstances in its area in coming to final decisions.

Currently, all regions are undertaking preliminary work to review Gypsy and Traveller issues in their regions. In the east, south-east and south-west single-issue reviews of the regional spatial strategies are under way. In the East Midlands the current regional spatial strategy review already includes interim additional pitch requirements for each local authority. The east of England is the most advanced in its process, with publication of its Issues and Options consultation document due on 8 May. In the Yorkshire and Humber region, the issue of accommodation for Gypsies and Travellers was considered at the examination in public into the draft regional spatial strategy carried out in October and November 2006. The panel report is expected to be published shortly. The need for further assessment work by the regional planning body will be considered in the light of the panel report. Revisions in the remaining areas are expected to start within two years.

Health: Dyspepsia

Lord Rea asked Her Majesty's Government:

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The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): We have made no assessment of the potential changes to the model for dyspepsia/gastro-oesophageal management in primary care. It is the responsibility of local health bodies to review their existing practice for the management of people with these conditions to ensure the most efficient use of drug therapies in light of the most recent clinical guidance.

Health: Independent Clinical Assessment Treatment Centres

Baroness Gould of Potternewton asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): Independent sector clinical assessment, treatment and support services will provide diagnostic tests, treatments and therapies as an alternative to traditional hospital outpatient services. They have been designed to improve services for patients by reducing waiting times by increasing National Health Service capacity for diagnostic tests and procedures and improving patient care by offering more one-stop diagnostic services with a fast return of results.

Health: Osteoporosis

Baroness Quin asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The capital provision of £17 million to improve the National Health Service capacity for dual X-ray absorptiometry scanning was allocated via strategic capital because it was considered that strategic health authorities would be best placed to distribute this funding. Strategic capital allocations are not ringfenced.

We have no plans to collect information on those primary care trusts that routinely offer dual energy X-ray absorptiometry scans.

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House of Lords: Smoking

Lord Faulkner of Worcester asked the Chairman of Committees:

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): The Occupational Health and Welfare Service offers advice and practical support to Members and staff who wish to stop smoking. Individuals are provided with an information pack that includes an advice booklet on how to stop smoking, an action plan, and a confidential health form. A carbon monoxide breath test is offered to measure the level of carbon monoxide poisoning caused by the smoking of cigarettes. Individuals receive advice on products that may help them to stop smoking and are invited to attend weekly support sessions to monitor progress and to assist them in their efforts.

Immigration: Detention Centres

Lord Ouseley asked Her Majesty’s Government:

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): Since December 2005, there have been two incidents of damage to immigration centres: Harmondsworth on 28 to 29 November 2006; and Campsfield House on 14 March 2007.

Mr Robert Whalley is currently carrying out an investigation into the disturbance at Harmondsworth immigration removal centre. This will establish the lessons to be learnt for the management of the immigration detainees and for the immigration detention estate. He is extending his investigation to cover the incident at Campsfield House.

Immigration: Electronic Tags

Lord Greaves asked Her Majesty’s Government:

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): The use of tagging in an asylum context focuses on cases where there is a higher risk of non-compliance. The circumstances are:

asylum seekers who have previously claimed in another country;where there is no further right of appeal or where the right of appeal may be exercised only from abroad;

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those who make late and opportunistic claims to asylum; andthose who are not documented or who express a reluctance to comply with the documentation process.

Lord Greaves asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: There are currently 480 asylum seekers required to wear a tag in England and Wales.

Immigration: Points-based System

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty’s Government:

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): The employers’ task force membership list will be published on the IND website together with the terms of reference as agreed with the employers’ task force.

Members represent both large and small employers, all of whom employ migrants and have an interest in working in partnership with the Home Office to shape migration policy. This is a representative body with interests in the migration system that are strategically important for boosting Britain’s economy.

No specific communities are represented on the task force, as the view was taken that their interests would be represented by task force members who are drawn from the wider business community. Membership is regularly reviewed and supplemented with bilateral and other meetings with other interested bodies.

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