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7 Jun 2007 : Column WA201

Written Answers

Thursday 7 June 2007

Book Aid International

Baroness Quin asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Amos): The Department for International Development (DfID) undertook an independent review of the work of Book Aid International (BAI) in 2006. The review recognised the valuable role of BAI in helping Governments in sub-Saharan Africa to develop library and information services.

Baroness Quin asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Amos: Funding is available to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) such as Book Aid International (BAI) through DfID's civil society challenge fund and partnership programme agreements. Although it is recognised that there is strong competition among NGOs for the resources available, BAI has been encouraged to apply for funding under these schemes.

Border and Immigration Agency

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): The Border and Immigration Agency's approach to gender issues is set out in its three-strand equality scheme, which came into effect on 30 April 2007.

The scheme sets out specific outcomes which must be achieved, and these will be monitored internally. The agency will also collect data to ascertain whether and where avoidable disadvantage occurs as a result of its practices on the grounds of gender. Improvements to current practice will be made when these are identified as necessary, though it is not possible at present to be specific.

The progress of the scheme will be reported annually, and the report published, which will ensure transparency.

Climate Change

Lord Dykes asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): According to the fourth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, deforestation is responsible for the emission of about 5.9 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) each year, which represents about 18 per cent of global anthropogenic CO2 emissions. These data highlight the importance of reducing deforestation as part of the global effort to combat climate change.

Developing countries can help to tackle climate change by hosting clean development mechanism projects. Unfortunately, the current scope of the Kyoto Protocol does not allow accreditation of projects that seek to avoid deforestation because of the risk that the deforestation would simply be displaced rather than prevented. However, the UK is working through international negotiations to find a solution that would allow the crediting of projects that aim to avoid deforestation.

Coral

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

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): In 2006, the latest period for which figures are available, some 44,118 pieces of live coral were imported into the UK from outside the European Union. None was recorded as dead. Similarly, 73,907 kilograms of dead coral were imported. Most trade enters via the London airports.

All applications to import hard corals and the one soft coral listed in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) require the relevant scientific authority to be able to say that,

Economy: Infrastructure Asset Base

Lord Dykes asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: Public sector net investment (PSNI) includes all public spending on capital after accounting for the depreciation of the asset base. In real terms, PSNI is now at its highest point since 1976-77, increasing from 0.4 per cent of GDP in 2000 to an expected level of 21/4 per cent of GDP in the forthcoming spending review.

Much of this increased investment has been focused on those areas with large amounts of infrastructure in order to address backlogs from previous underinvestment. Between 2001-02 and 2007-08 central government capital expenditure on:

transport has more than trebled, from £1.5 billion to £5 billion;education has more than doubled, from £1 billion to £2.2 billion;science and technology has more than doubled, from £280 million to £610 million; andenvironmental protection has more than trebled, from £360 million to £1.1 billion.

In addition to increasing public sector investment, the recent planning White Paper outlines new procedures to eliminate barriers or disincentives for private sector investment in infrastructure.

First, Ministers will issue national policy statements about the infrastructure that the country needs for the next 10 to 25 years. Secondly, we are replacing the sometimes overlapping “consent regimes” for major infrastructure projects with a single system. This will provide a clearer and more accessible application process than at present. Thirdly, we propose to create a new, independent infrastructure planning commission to oversee the planning inquiry process on specific major developments and take the final decisions on whether they should go ahead.

These new procedures, set out in the White Paper, and the increase of investment over the past decade will help the public and private sectors to ensure that infrastructure is adequately maintained and expanded over future years to meet the country's social and economic needs.

Embryology

Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The Government are committed to a ban on reproductive cloning, and nothing in the draft Human Tissue and Embryos Bill is intended to permit it. Provisions in the draft Bill, however, supersede the Human Reproductive Cloning Act 2001, which was introduced to prevent reproductive cloning. In updating the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990, the draft Bill now prohibits reproductive cloning so the Human Reproductive Cloning Act 2001 is accordingly repealed.

The Bill has been published in draft for pre-legislative scrutiny by a parliamentary committee. Clause 16(5) introduces new Section 3ZA into the 1990 Act and defines which eggs and embryos can be placed in a woman. Only permitted eggs and embryos can be used in treatment. This excludes embryos created by reproductive cloning techniques.

New Section 3ZA(5) allows for regulations to include, in the category of permitted eggs and/or embryos, those which have had applied to them in prescribed circumstances a prescribed process designed to prevent the transmission of serious mitochondrial disease. Any such regulations would be subject to affirmative resolution in both Houses.

Food: Advertising

Baroness Buscombe asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The cost of the 12-month Thompson Intermedia contract is £334,117.01.

Health: Contaminated Blood Products

Lord Roberts of Conwy asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): Officials met members of the inquiry team on 25 April 2007 to discuss what information the department may be able to provide to the inquiry. We have also made available a recently completed document, Review of Documentation Relating to the Safety of Blood Products 1970-1985 (non-A, non-B Hepatitis), and the supporting references. These documents have been placed in the Library.

Health: Cord Blood

Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): To support the clinical need, the number of cord blood donations required in the bank is finite: around 20,000 is the long-term target. Further collection sites will be added if it is necessary to achieve the target stock. All established quality standards and procedures used at the Cord Blood Bank comply with the requirements of the European Union Tissue and Cells Directive (EUTCD). So far, £1 million of the allocated funding has been spent. Separate information is not collected on what percentage of this spend is on the requirements of the EUTCD.

NHS Blood and Transplant is developing strategic and business plans for the funding and development of the British bone marrow registry and the Cord Blood Bank beyond 2009. These are due to be submitted to the department this autumn.

Health: Infected Blood-clotting Products

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The Review of Documentation Relating to the Safety of Blood Products 1970-1985 (non-A, non-B Hepatitis) was issued on 22 May, together with referenced documents. The referenced documents made available include the internal audit report carried out by the department in 2000. These documents have been placed in the Library and made available to the independent public inquiry.

Health: Kidney Disease

Baroness Golding asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The National Service Framework for Renal Services (Renal NSF) sets out the steps the National Health Service can take to support the delivery of the standards and markers of good practice. Part one of the NSF says that all stakeholders will need to draw upon National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines and appraisals. Part two highlights, as a marker of good practice, implementation of the forthcoming, as it was at the time of publication, NICE guideline on the treatment of anaemia in chronic kidney disease. This guidance was published in September 2006. The NHS has to implement the NSF, but it is up to the NHS locally to decide how to do this.

Baroness Golding asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The increase in the number of people with chronic kidney disease is likely to be due to a number of factors: better diagnosis by general practitioners since the inclusion of chronic kidney disease (CKD) in the quality and outcomes framework, an ageing population and an increase in other illnesses, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, which can be associated with CKD.

Baroness Golding asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: Implementation of the department's research strategy Best Research for Best Health will result in an expansion of our research programmes and in significant new funding opportunities for health research. In particular, the Hammersmith, St Mary's and Imperial College Biomedical Research Centre, formed this year, proposes to undertake research on renal medicine and transplantation, for which a five-year centrally funded budget of some £6.2 million has been approved. Other biomedical research centres will undertake research on kidney disease and transplantation as part of broader-based research themes.

Health: Separate-sex Wards

Lord Naseby asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): No National Health Service trusts have been given funds to establish single-sex wards. A number of trusts have been receiving support from strategic health authorities (SHA) to help eliminate mixed-sex accommodation, but that does not extend to financial support.

Each SHA published a position statement on 10 May 2007.

Immigration: Deportation

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): The average cost of an asylum appeal before the tribunal where the Home Office is represented by a Home Office presenting officer is £2,237. The average cost where the Home Office is represented by Treasury counsel is £3,288. There is no difference between the average cost of a deportation appeal hearing and that of an asylum appeal hearing.

The figures represent an average of all asylum hearings before the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal for the past financial year, including the costs incurred by the tribunal and the average cost for providing a presenting officer or Treasury counsel.


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