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Further to the Written Answer by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 22 May (WA 90), to what period of time the figures given for investment in stem cell research via the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Medical Research Council (MRC) related; what are the totals invested by the BBSRC and the MRC to date in (a) adult, and (b) human embryonic stem cell research; and who have been the main beneficiaries of this funding. [HL4076]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Truscott): The figures for investment in stem cell research via the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Medical Research Council (MRC) circulated in the Written Answer by Lord Hunt relate to the period from 2002-03 to 2005-06.
The total invested in stem cell research by BBSRC and MRC to date is £74.12 million. See table below for details of spend for adult and embryonic stem cell research, where this can be separately identified.
|2002-03 £ (m)||2003-04 £ (m)||2004-05 £ (m)||2005-06 £ (m)||Adult stem cell £(m)||Human embryonic stem cell £ (m)||Remarks|
Whether a home information pack will be required from 1 August when marketing a property described as having on the ground floor: a kitchen, a cloakroom and two reception rooms; and upstairs: three bedrooms, a family bathroom, a study and a large playroom, and used for these purposes. [HL4022]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): From 1 August, owners of properties with four or more bedrooms will be required to compile a home information pack if they market their property for sale. A four-bedroom dwelling is one that is marketed and sold as having four bedrooms.
Energy performance certificates and home information packs will be phased in starting with four-bedroom homes and larger properties, rolling out as quickly as possible to three-bedroom properties once sufficient energy inspectors are in place nationally and regionally to meet demand, taking into account market conditions.
In publishing the draft Human Tissue and Embryos Bill, what account they took of the recommendations of the Select Committee on the Draft Freedom of Information Bill (HL Paper 97, 1998-99) with regard to the need for adequate public consultation on Bills subject to pre-legislative scrutiny; and how consideration of the Bill is likely to meet the recommendation of the Joint Committee on the Draft Legal Services Bill (HL Paper 232-1, 2005-06) that such committees should allow sufficient time for adequate scrutiny of such Bills. [HL4211]
The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The draft Human Tissue and Embryos Bill was published on 17 May 2007. Its provisions were drawn up based on the White Paper Review of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act: Proposals for Revised Legislation (Including Establishment of the Regulatory Authority for Tissue and Embryos), published on 14 December 2006. The policy proposals in the White Paper represented the outcome of the Governments review of the law, which included a public consultation exercise that ran from 16 August to 25 November 2005. The review also took account of an extensive inquiry during 2004-05 by the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee and its report Human Reproductive Technologies and the Law.
The Bill has been published for pre-legislative scrutiny by a Joint Committee of both Houses, with the scrutiny process due to end on 25 July 2007 and a report due to be available in early August. The committee has published its call for evidence and is currently examining a range of witnesses. Representations from members of the public may be made to the committee. It is open to the committee to consider whether sufficient time has been made available for scrutiny.
Given the considerable public and parliamentary debate to date on the policy proposals that comprise the draft Bill, the Government decided not to undertake a further formal public consultation outwith the parliamentary pre-legislative scrutiny process. However, persons wishing to make representations to the department may do so; contact details are included in the draft Bill and on the departments website at www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/Publications Legislation/DH_074718.
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 7 June (WA 203-04), how their stated commitment to a ban on reproductive cloning is reflected in the Human Tissue and Embryos (Draft) Bill, particularly in light of the repeal of the Human Reproductive Cloning Act 2001, proposed on page 88 of the draft Bill, and proposal 22 on page 146 of the draft Bill, which indicates their intention to remove the restriction on reproductive cloning in order to encourage an increase in research licence applications; and [HL4252]
How regulations will automatically or necessarily preclude reproductive cloning given that the Human Tissue and Embryos (Draft) Bill will permit eggs or embryos to be placed in a woman, including those as described in Section 3ZA(5), which have had applied to them a process designed to prevent the transmission of mitochondrial disease; and [HL4254]
From whom they received representations suggesting that a change in the law relating to nuclear transfer might be warranted; and whether any such individuals or groups are currently engaged in or otherwise connected with research involving nuclear transfer. [HL4255]
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The Government are committed to a ban on human reproductive cloning and the draft Human Tissue and Embryos Bill does not permit human reproductive cloning. Clause 16(2) in the draft Bill allows only permitted embryos to be placed in a woman. An embryo is a permitted embryo if:it has been created by fertilisation of a permitted egg by a permitted sperm; and no nuclear or mitochondrial DNA of any cell of the embryo has been altered.
The draft Bill introduces a regulation-making power in new Section 3ZA(5) of the amended Act, which, if exercised, will allow an embryo that has had applied to it a process in circumstances prescribed by regulations designed to prevent the transmission of serious mitochondrial disease to be included within the category of permitted embryos. Regulations to allow this would be subject to affirmative resolution.
While retaining the ban on reproductive cloning by specifying only those embryos that can be placed in a woman, the draft Bill removes the prohibition on replacing the nucleus of a cell of an embryo with a nucleus of any person or embryo, or subsequent development of an embryo for research purposes only. Licences for the purposes of a project of
19 Jun 2007 : Column WA40
In 2005, the department undertook a public consultation on the review of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act. Responses were received from stakeholders including members of the scientific community and professional bodies. Among those that supported the removal of the prohibition on replacing the cell of an embryo with the nucleus from a cell of any person for research purposes only were the British Medical Association, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Association of Clinical Embryologists. These groups are not directly involved in cell nuclear replacement research but members represented by those groups could be.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): In his Statement to Parliament on 19 July 2006, the Home Secretary advised that there were a large number of electronic and paper records within the Immigration and Nationality Directorate, now the Border and Immigration Agency (BIA), relating to unresolved asylum cases. He said that we would aim to clear them in five years or less, and it is accordingly our intention to complete consideration of all current legacy cases by July 2011.
The chief executive of the BIA wrote to the Home Affairs Committee on 19 February this year with an update on the legacy programme. As part of her update, Lin Homer highlighted the task of ensuring that the quality of our information and related data is improved to a level that will allow accurate reports to be made about the number and nature of these cases. She confirmed that progress updates will be provided once we are able to provide reports in which Parliament and the wider public can have confidence. A copy of the letter is in the House Library.
What instructions they have given to staff of the Borders and Immigration Authority about the steps they should take to ensure that breastfeeding women who are detained under immigration and asylum legislation are reunited with their infants. [HL4177]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): There is no specific instruction to Border and Immigration Agency staff covering reuniting breastfeeding women with their infants. However, there are instructions concerning welfare considerations for family removals based on the principle of keeping families together wherever possible. As part of the family removals review, further consideration is being given to more detailed instructions to staff around breastfeeding issues.
What steps they have taken to ensure that, in evaluating asylum applications, case owners do not make a clinical judgment of their own in assessing claims about medical conditions but rely on the objective evidence before them and that, in assessing whether a case should remain within the detained fast track, case owners are aware that they should not contend that a medical report has no probative value; and whether they will incorporate this guidance into immigration instructions. [HL4120]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): The policy instruction, which all case owners must follow, clearly states that in considering a medical report they must avoid making clinical judgments. In addition, if they have concerns about medical aspects of a report prepared by the Medical Foundation, they should discuss those concerns with a senior caseworker, who must refer the matter to the foundation, in writing to the legal officer, before reaching a final decision on the asylum claim.
The relevant policy instruction can be found at: www.ind.homeoffice.gov.uk/documents/asylumpolicy instructions/apis/medicalfoundation.pdf?view=Binary.
There will be some circumstances in which objective medical evidence to support an allegation of torture in the past does not necessarily indicate that an asylum applicant needs our protection from future risk of harm. In these circumstances, the case owner will consider the medical report as one factor in assessing whether an applicant should be recognised as a refugee under the 1951 convention.
Whether they will discuss with other states that have been asked to resettle 200 people from the Temporary International Presence Facility (TIPF) in Iraq the equitable sharing of this humanitarian problem; and what information they have from the UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency, about the saving in cost from the closure of the TIPF. [HL4121]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Triesman): The Government have no plans to discuss the resettlement of people from the Temporary International Presence Facility in Iraq with other states. We have not been given information about any cost savings that may result from the closure of the facility.
Lord Rooker: The December 2006 consultation paper on Irish language legislation contained a financial impact assessment but concluded that it was difficult to estimate with any precision the cost of introducing Irish language legislation in Northern Ireland. Further consideration of the financial impact of the introduction of any legislation is a matter for the devolved Administration.
Lord Rooker: Lobby groups have been calling for Irish language legislation for a number of years. The UK Government signed the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages on 2 March 2000 and recognise Irish under Parts II and III of charter. Responsibility for taking forward legislation in this area is now a matter for the devolved Administration.
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