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Where the level of patient charge income is below the indicative amount assumed in a PCT's allocation, this does not affect the level of services agreed under existing contracts. The new dental contracts that took effect from April 2006 set out the annual contract value and the corresponding level of services to be provided over the course of each year. PCTs cannot reduce these agreed contract values or service levels because patient charge income is below expected levels.
Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: The Government are fully committed to supporting the National Health Service in developing dental services for the longer term. The 2006 reforms established, for the first time,
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The department is supporting a wide-ranging programme to help PCTs develop dental services both now and in the longer term, including supporting PCTs in assessing local needs and developing commissioning strategies, building on additional investment of some £400 million in the last three years and a further £100 million programme of capital investment, spread over 2006-07 and 2007-08, in premises and equipment. To support continued growth in the NHS dental workforce, the department has also invested in a 25 per cent expansion in undergraduate dental education, with the first students from this expanded programme due to graduate and begin their NHS vocational training in 2009.
Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: Primary care trusts and local providers of National Health Service dental services are responsible for seeking to resolve any disputed elements of NHS contracts. If the parties cannot reach a local resolution, the dispute can be referred to the NHS Litigation Authority. The NHS primary care contracting team offers and provides support and advice on dispute resolution to those commissioners who request it.
Eighty-seven per cent of all those contracts originally signed in dispute have so far been resolved. Well over 99 per cent of the disputes so far resolved have ended in the dentist deciding to stay with the NHS.
Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: Guidance to primary care trusts on National Health Service orthodontic assessments and the index of orthodontic treatment need is set out in Strategic Commissioning of Primary Care Orthodontic Services, which is available at: www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/PublicationsPolicyAndGuidance/DH_4139176
What assessment they have made of the guidance from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence on the use of drugs to prevent osteoporotic fractures in postmenopausal women; and [HL4836]
What discussions they have had with the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence regarding the development of guidance on the use of drugs to prevent osteoporotic fractures in postmenopausal women. [HL4837]
Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: We have had no discussions with the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) regarding the development of guidance on the use of drugs to prevent osteoporotic fractures in postmenopausal women.
What discussions have taken place over the past six months with the Government of the United States about breaches by United Kingdom companies of United Nations sanctions legislation in relation to Iraq. [HL4835]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): In the past six months, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has been in regular contact with US counterparts about reported breaches by UK companies of UN sanctions in relation to Iraq. It would not be appropriate to go into the details of these discussions while the SFO is carrying out its investigations.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): The UK has been fully engaged in the UN status process for Kosovo. As part of the Contact Group (France, Germany, Italy, Russia, UK and US), we worked closely with UN Special Envoy Martti Ahtisaari during the 15 months of intensive negotiations he held between Belgrade and Pristina.
The UK fully supports the UN Special Envoy. His proposals, which provide for independence for Kosovo, supervised by the international community, hold out the prospect of a better future for all the peoples of
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The Special Envoy's proposals would finally give Kosovo clarity over its future, enabling the Balkan region to draw a line under the conflicts of the recent past and look forward to a future with a European and Euro-Atlantic perspective.
Lord Malloch-Brown: Intensive negotiations are ongoing in the UN Security Council in New York. We are working closely with our Security Council partners to find a way forward which would allow implementation of UN Special Envoy Ahtisaari's proposals on Kosovo's status. This is a sensitive issue for some Security Council members. We are working hard to address those sensitivities, patiently but persistently.
The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): Events such as Live Earth are a useful tool for raising global awareness of a global problem, and for inspiring action. Her Majesty's Government have no current plans to raise the subject of EU sponsorship for the Live Earth initiatives at a forthcoming meeting of European Union Ministers.
With which local authorities in England they have held discussions about setting up an elected executive model of governance (a) before the introduction of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Bill in the House of Commons; and (b) since the introduction of the Bill. [HL4619]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government
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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): In the Sub National Review of Economic Development and Regeneration, the Government have been assessing ways of strengthening the economic drivers in regions and cities and at local level, as well as the optimal geographical levels for governance and decision-making across all the English regions, including the north-west. This includes examining the governance arrangements at the regional and city regional levels.
The review, published on 17 July, examined the roles and responsibilities of different organisations at different spatial levelsincluding at the regional and city regional levels. Some of the changes will require primary legislation and therefore it is anticipated that reforms will be implemented over the next three years.
What legislative competences (a) have been transferred to the National Assembly for Wales; and (b) would be transferred to the Assembly were legislation currently before Parliament enacted in its current form, within each policy area since the Government of Wales Act 1998; and what legislative competencies within each policy area remain at Westminster. [HL4757]
Lord Evans of Temple Guiting: Schedule 5 to the Government of Wales Act 2006 outlines the legislative competence of the National Assembly for Wales. Schedule 5 was populated in field 5 education and training and field 9 health and health services as a result of the National Assembly for Wales (Legislative Competence) (Conversion of the Framework Power) Order 2007.
There are provisions in the further education Bill and the local government Bill, currently before Parliament, which will further enhance the legislative competence of the National Assembly. All other competences remain with Westminster.
What assessment they have made of the arborological and environmental results to date in the development of the National Forest; and whether they will consider further similar projects outside the present Midlands site with a higher woodland cover coefficient. [HL4788]
The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): Annual monitoring of the National Forest's progress is undertaken through the National Forest Company's (NFC) corporate plan and annual report. Headline achievements since the National Forest Company began work in 1995 include:over 7 million trees planted with woodland cover increased from 6 per cent to 17.5 per cent (5,875 hectares (ha)); 85 per cent of the trees planted are broad leaves;1,140 ha of existing woodlands have been brought back into management;in addition to areas planted with trees, a further 1,300 ha of habitats have been created or brought back into management;82 kilometres (km) of new hedgerows have been planted and 91 km of existing hedges have been brought back into management;two sites have been surveyed, between 1998 and 2006, for woodland birds and an increase has been found in woodland and woodland-edge species including song thrush, linnet, bullfinch, starling, willow and grasshopper warblers, green woodpecker, redpoll and dunnock. Survey work will continue in the future. The surveys were undertaken by the Leicestershire Ecological Records Centre;other biodiversity action plan species have seen an increase, including the return of otters to the rivers Trent and Mease; 194 field ponds managed/created to attract ruddy darter dragonfly; 103 new black poplar planting sites; and 102 new sites planted with bluebells; and 80 per cent of all new woodlands created have some form of public access and a further 8 per cent of sites have access planned.
The Government are not currently considering establishing a similar project elsewhere in the country, but the lessons learnt from the National Forest have informed the new Strategy for England's Trees, Woods and Forests.
Whether they have held recent discussion with the voluntary sector on the potential impact of diverting National Lottery funds presently flowing to charities, community groups and social enterprises to support the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. [HL4684]
Lord Davies of Oldham: The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport has sought the views of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), the Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA), the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action (NICVA), the Voluntary Arts Network (VAN), Heritage Link and the Central Council of Physical Recreation (CCPR), as part of the formal consultation on the draft statutory instrument enabling the diversion of funds to the Olympic budget. The consultation will end on 25 August.
On 15 March, the then Secretary of State (Tessa Jowell) announced an additional contribution to the Olympic Games of £675 million over the four years 2009 to 2012 alongside a sharing arrangement by which lottery good causes will benefit from the profits of land sales after the Games. £425 million will come from the Big Lottery Fund and the remaining £250 million will be split between other good causes. In addition, non-Olympic good causes may lose about 5 per cent of their income as a result of sales diversion from the new Games during the eight years from 2005 to 2013.
At the time of the announcement, the then Minister for Sport (Richard Caborn) met a number of representatives of the voluntary sector and this issue has been discussed at other meetings with Ministers.
Whether they will help Tom Cole of Sudbury, Suffolk, a multiple international medal-winning Down's syndrome swimmer, to have his case for participating in the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games reviewed; and, if so, what the outcome has been. [HL4756]
Lord Davies of Oldham: The decision on the participation of athletes with an intellectual disability in the Paralympic Games resides with the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). We understand that the IPC will review the eligibility criteria for athletes with learning disabilities after the 2008 Games in Beijing.
The Government are not, therefore, in a position to review individual cases. However, they are sympathetic to the case of people with learning disabilities participating in the Games, and have expressed this view in writing to the IPC, encouraging it to establish a rigorous and robust eligibility system as a matter of priority.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): The latest estimates for abolishing the frozen pension regulations for citizens who have retired abroad are in the table. They relate to the estimated additional cost that would be incurred in 2007-08 were frozen pensions to be uprated to their unfrozen level but without paying arrears.
|Source: Internal estimates using September 2006 retirement pension administrative data: 5 per cent sample|
|Note: Figures are rounded to the nearest £10 million|
By how much the increase in the National Insurance Fund exceeded the prospective cost of abolishing the frozen pensions regulations for citizens who have retired abroad, in each of the past 10 years for which estimates are available. [HL4677]
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