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Written Answers

Thursday 3 May 2007

Animal Welfare: Fur Imports

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Truscott): The Government examined the case on cat and dog fur and concluded that the way in which these animals were treated to obtain their fur was unacceptable. We successfully called for EU-wide action as this will be more effective than national legislation.

The UK strongly supported the European Commission's animal welfare action plan published in 2006. The ban on the import, export and sale of cat and dog fur was one of the first measures announced under it. We are currently working to ensure that the proposed legislation will be effective in line with the Government's Better Regulation Agenda.

Within the WTO DDA agricultural negotiations, “non-trade concerns” are recognised. This could include animal welfare provisions, but there has as yet been little discussion on this. However, the UK continues to work on this issue in other fora. The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) that has traditionally set guidelines on animal health has agreed its first ever codes on animal welfare.

Arts: Northern Ireland

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: In the 2002 Comprehensive Spending Review the Arts Council received an increase in its baseline of £3.5 million. In addition to this, capital funding of £4 million and £15.5 million was allocated for arts infrastructure projects in the Comprehensive Spending Reviews 2002 and 2004 respectively.

Bovine Tuberculosis

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): The single intradermal comparative cervical tuberculin (SICCT) test, commonly known as the tuberculin “skin test”, is the primary screening test for TB in cattle in Great Britain and other parts of the European Union (EU). The skin test, which is used throughout the world to screen cattle, other animals and people for TB, is the internationally accepted standard for surveillance for infection with mycobacterium bovis and is considered the best screening test currently available for detecting TB in live animals.

No diagnostic test is 100 per cent accurate, but the current skin test is effective. Published research from studies around the world shows that skin testing will detect approximately 80 per cent of all infected cattle (at standard interpretation). This is known as the test's sensitivity. Occasionally, reactions to the tuberculin test can be caused by exposure to other mycobacteria; when the skin test is applied to cattle without TB, there is a one in a 1,000 chance that a non-infected animal will be wrongly classified as a reactor. This is known as the test's false positive rate. An alternative way of defining this is to say that the skin test has a specificity1 of 99.9 per cent.

In October 2006, the Government extended the use of the gamma interferon blood test, alongside the skin test (as permitted by EU legislation), to improve the sensitivity of the testing regime for controlling disease in infected herds by identifying more infected animals more quickly. It is being applied mainly in herds disclosing TB infection in low-risk areas to help ensure infection does not become established in cattle or wildlife. It will also continue to be available for use as a disease control tool in areas of higher incidence. In line with recommendations from the scientific community, Defra continues to fund further research into improved diagnostics for bovine TB.

The cost to government of cattle testing in Great Britain for 2004-05 was £36.4 million and for 2005-06 it was £36.7 million. These costs include: tuberculin costs, arranging, assessing and monitoring tests, conducting investigations of incident herds and meeting the costs of private vets—local veterinary inspectors—who carry out most of the TB testing work. The cost to government of surveillance activity by the Veterinary Laboratories Agency, which includes tuberculin costs, was £4.9 million in 2004-05 and £7.5 million in 2005-06. We cannot provide an estimate of “indirect costs”, which are difficult to define, although we certainly acknowledge that the farming industry also incurs costs to support the TB testing programme.

Compensation paid for TB reactors and contact animals compulsorily slaughtered across Great Britain in the past four years is shown in the table below. Figures include salvage money received by the Government for those carcasses permitted to go into the food chain or eligible for the Over Thirty Months Scheme.

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Compensation paid (£ million)





1 Specificity is the ability of a test correctly to identify non-infected animals identified as negative (the higher the specificity the lower the probability of false positives). Sensitivity is the proportion of infected animals detected as positive (the higher the sensitivity the lower the probability of false negatives).No diagnostic test, including the tuberculin test, is totally accurate, ie 100 per cent sensitive and 100 per cent specific, as there is a trade-off between these two properties.

Chevening Scholarships

Viscount Montgomery of Alamein asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): There are a number of reasons for the decline in the number of Chevening scholarships awarded since 2003-04. The introduction of the Chevening Fellowship scheme in 2004-05 changed the focus of the overall programme and diverted funds from the scholarship scheme. A rationalisation of sponsorship schemes has led to a decrease in numbers of scholars and co-sponsorship funding as schemes that no longer meet objectives have fallen away. Inflation has also raised the costs of the programme as a whole. A new director of Chevening Sponsorship has recently been appointed to seek new partners for co-sponsorship of scholarships.

Children and Young People: Discipline

Lord Ouseley asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education and Skills (Lord Adonis): The department commissioned a review of What Works in Parenting Support? A Review of the International Evidence in 20041. This report has been very influential in both policy and practice. The report notes that intervention with parents by various professionals can be successful. The department has commissioned further research to look in more depth at parental support.

As part of the Government's reforms of the children's workforce, the common core of skills and knowledge has been developed and in conjunction with national bodies, is being incorporated into national occupational standards. The common core specifies the skills and knowledge that all those who

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come into regular contact with children, young people and families should have. The common core was consulted on extensively and parenting groups were involved in its development. Social workers must also sign up to a code of practice that sets out how they work with service users. This means that those working with parents and children are required to respect their rights and promote their independence while also protecting from harm.

Climate Change

Lord Leach of Fairford asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education and Skills (Lord Adonis): The Government are planning to distribute a climate change pack to secondary schools in England, which will include a copy of the film “An Inconvenient Truth” among other resources. Online teacher guidance accompanying the pack will remind teachers about the duties contained in Sections 406 and 407 of the Education Act 1996, which require a balanced presentation of political issues.

Democratic Republic of Congo: Human Rights

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): The Government have followed Marie Therese Nlandu's case closely from the start. Over the past five months, we made several representations to the Congolese Government, including to President Kabila himself. In December 2006, we and European partners raised our concerns that Mme Nlandu's human rights, particularly her access to legal representation, were not being respected. Subsequently Mme Nlandu was granted access to a lawyer. Our most recent representations were in April. President Kabila promised to look into the case and on 30 April 2007, Marie Therese Nlandu was acquitted, along with her co-accused.

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Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Evans of Temple Guiting: The Representation of the People Act 1983 provides that those entitled to register and vote in elections to the United Kingdom Parliament are:

British citizens;citizens of Commonwealth countries who are lawfully resident in the UK; and resident citizens of the Republic of Ireland.

Family Resources Survey

Baroness Miller of Hendon asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): The total cost of the Family Resources Survey was £3.7 million in 2005-06 and £3.8 million in 2006-07.

The survey sample aims to cover private households across the whole of the United Kingdom. The original sample chosen for 2005-06 consisted of 50,000 addresses. In total, 28,000 households participated fully with the survey. All members of each participating household were interviewed either in person or by proxy. This represented 64,000 individuals of all ages.

The consortium of the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) provides training to its interviewers and refresher training. The training is usually in the form of a one-day event consisting of presentations and a run through the interview questions in the computer-assisted personal interview. Each interviewer, either from the ONS or NatCen, uses their own approach on the doorstep to secure an interview and use their own purpose leaflets. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) supplies a purpose leaflet and has a page on its website for those asked to take part in the survey, which provides useful further information.

Results of the survey were published on the DWP website on 27 March 2007.

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Gambling: Internet

Lord Steinberg asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: No internet gambling companies have notified the Government or the Gambling Commission that they intend to move their operations from one country to another.

Health: Continuing Care

Lord Hanningfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The information requested is not held centrally. It is the responsibility of primary care trusts in conjunction with stakeholders to commission services to meet the needs of the communities that they serve.

Health: Cord Blood

Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The Government are supporting the NHS cord blood bank with approximately £10 million which involves collection from Barnet General, Northwick Park and Luton and Dunstable Hospitals and soon Watford General Hospital. Comprehensive information about cord blood banking, and its clinical use, is provided to inform mothers at these hospitals. These hospitals have been selected as they are in areas of greater ethnic diversity. Approximately 40 per cent of

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samples are collected from black and minority-ethnic mothers thus improving the coverage of the NHS cord blood bank.

The Government are also supportive of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, which has provided advice and guidance to professionals and mothers about private cord blood collection. In particular, the Government endorse the advice to National Health Service trusts to consider local policy around private and other cord blood banking, and in particular to maximise the safety of the mother and baby. For this reason, the NHS cord blood bank employs additional staff to undertake cord blood collection in order not to burden the local midwife with additional responsibilities.

The Government have also noted the recommendation of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists to consider the future funding infrastructure for cord blood banking in light of future developments.

Health: Knowledge and Skills Framework

Lord MacKenzie of Culkein asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): National Health Service organisations are required to monitor implementation of the knowledge and skills framework (KSF) as part of the Agenda for Change agreement. Data are reported to the NHS Staff Council quarterly.

Funding for training is included as part of the baseline allocation to strategic health authorities (SHAs). How it is utilised is for individual SHAs to determine against their workforce planning strategies.

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