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A national working group to include senior trades union representation has been established to relaunch and revitalise the KSF to ensure that all NHS staff paid under Agenda for Change have a yearly development review based on the KSF resulting in a personal development plan.

Health: Orphan Medicines

Earl Howe asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): Between March 2000 and December 2006 the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has published a total of 75 technology appraisals of pharmaceutical products, including reviews of existing appraisals. From this total, 15 appraisals covered one or more pharmaceutical products that have been awarded orphan drug status by the United States of America's Food and Drug Administration or the European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products, for the treatment of conditions affecting fewer than 200,000 persons in the USA or fewer than five per 10,000 persons in the European Union. Of these:

four appraisals recommended routine use within the licensed indications of the products being appraised (27 per cent);10 recommended the use of some but not necessarily all the drugs being appraised for use by specific patient groups (66 per cent); andone recommended use in the context of further research (7 per cent).

Of the remaining 60 technology appraisals:

19 appraisals recommended routine use within the licensed indications of the products being appraised (32 per cent);40 recommended the use of some but not necessarily all the drugs being appraised for use by specific patient groups (67 per cent); andone recommended use in the context of further research (one per cent).

Percentages are rounded to the nearest 1 per cent.

Health: Stem Cell Therapy

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 do not collect figures of the quantity of cord blood collected across the United Kingdom. However, the British Bone Marrow Registry also contains information about the number of units banked in Northern Ireland (189). Scotland is now planning to set up a cord blood bank but there is nothing in Wales so far. The NHS cord blood bank has collected more than 9,000 cord blood samples for

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clinical purposes since it started in 1996. Since 2005 it has collected 4,554 samples, of which 2,615 were banked, indicating that 42 per cent of collected samples were discarded. This is consistent with the rates in other countries and is caused by a variety of reasons such as small volume, incomplete information from the mother or bacterial contamination. The units that cannot be banked may be made available for research if the mother has given her consent.

There are no central records of patients who go abroad for cord blood transplantation. If National Health Service patients require a cord blood transplant which is not available in the NHS cord blood bank it can be imported from a suitable overseas bank for NHS treatment. The Government are aware that some UK patients travel abroad to undergo experimental or private procedures.

Houses of Parliament: Fair Trade Products

Lord Hoyle asked the Chairman of Committees:

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): The Commons Refreshment Department took the decision recently to cease the purchase of fair trade bananas. As a result, the Lords Refreshment Department will be unable to procure fair trade bananas from the Commons. The Lords Refreshment Department investigated alternative supply routes and identified a potential supplier. The supplier proposed purchasing terms that would have required the House to order a minimum of 18 to 19 kilogrammes of fair trade bananas per delivery. This is three times in excess of the House's daily needs and would have resulted in significant wastage. The supplier was also unable to guarantee consistent quality and a regular supply of bananas.

Based on this information, the department took the decision not to pursue the contract on the grounds that it would not prove cost-effective or meet the practical needs of the House. The department continues to support the sale of fair trade products in its outlets and will explore other supply routes for fair trade bananas that become available.

Houses of Parliament: Membership

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

The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Amos): I am not aware of any legal bar to membership of either House arising from non-resident status for United Kingdom tax purposes.



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However, the House of Lords Appointments Commission's criteria for nominations states that nominees should be resident in the UK for tax purposes.

Irish Language Bill

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: There was no commitment made at St Andrews to introduce legislation relating to Ulster Scots; consultation on whether Ulster Scots should be included in the Irish language legislation was therefore not considered appropriate.

Israel and Palestine: International Peace Centre

Baroness Tonge asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): We have made no recent representations to the Israeli Government about the demolition of this building.

Punitive house demolitions—the demolition of the homes of the families of suicide bombers and militants—were suspended on 17 February 2005. However, due to Israeli restrictions on the granting of housing permits to Palestinians in Jerusalem, Palestinians often build houses without obtaining permits. These homes are then demolished and heavy fines imposed. We are concerned about Israel's policy of house demolitions, especially in east Jerusalem, which leaves hundreds of Palestinians homeless each year and threatens to change the nature of some areas of the city. We have repeatedly raised our concerns with the Israeli authorities.

National Insurance

Lord Marlesford asked her Majesty’s Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): The information is not available.



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Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord McKenzie of Luton: There are approximately 16.5 million national insurance numbers held on the DWP customer information system which relate to deceased persons.

At present, national insurance numbers are not removed if someone dies. This is because a partner may make a claim for a contributory benefit, which is dependent on the contribution record of the deceased individual. This means that the number of accounts held on the system accrues as national insurance numbers are allocated each year.

The DWP receives notifications of death from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) for England and Wales, the general-registrar (Scotland) and the general-registrar (Northern Ireland) on a weekly basis. Dates of death are also received from next of kin in advance of notifications from registrars, particularly where social security benefits are in payment.

As part of the ONS modernisation programme, dates of death will be notified to DWP on a daily basis from March 2008.

Police: Northern Ireland

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:



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Lord Rooker: Since the creation of the Police Service of Northern Ireland there have been 11 completed recruitment exercises, which have generated in excess of 65,000 applications.

The number of non-Catholic recruits that are expected to be rejected as a result of the 50:50 provisions is 708. This figure is a projection based on the likely number of appointments to be made from each recruitment exercise up to and including the Campaign 11.

This figure represents 1.68 per cent of the total number of non-Catholic applicants.

Prisons: Personal Officers

The Earl of Listowel asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): HM Inspectorate of Prisons does not collate this information centrally in the way that the noble Earl requests.

Telephone Numbers: DfT

Lord Tyler asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The non-geographic telephone numbers in use in the Department for Transport and its agencies are as follows:

Number of Non-geographic telephone numbersServices accessed from eachRevenue received between Sept 2004 and Sept 2006Comments

DfT (Central)

2

Contacting duty press officers out of hours

Non-revenue generating

DfTCentral does not hold records and is therefore aware only of these two

DVLA

17

Public lines are to access information lines, automated self services, technical helpdesks and reporting unlicensed vehicles.

£3,733,000

14 are for public access, 3 for non-public access

DSA

6

All related to practical and theory driving test bookings

£1,819,000

HA

3

HA Information Line, Central Switchboard and Traffic England phone service.

All are non-revenue generating

MCA

1

MCA Infoline

Non-revenue generating

VCA

nil

VOSA

3

Public Hotline, Operator Licence Credit Card Payment Line and National Number

£122,000 from National Number. Other two are non-revenue generating

GCDA

nil



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Vietnam: Human Rights

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): We, with our EU partners, regularly raise human rights issues with the Vietnamese Government. The biannual EU-Vietnam Human Rights Dialogue, which was established in 2003, is the main forum for raising our concerns. The most recent dialogue was held on 20 December 2006.

The EU and other like-minded partners have lobbied the Vietnamese focusing on the recent actions against dissident groups and individual political activists in Vietnam on three separate occasions since the beginning of March.



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