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12 Dec 2007 : Column WA53



12 Dec 2007 : Column WA53

Written Answers

Wednesday 12 December 2007

Alcohol

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The Government keep the evidence on effective alcohol harm reduction strategies constantly under review.

We have published a comprehensive strategy to tackle the harms from excessive alcohol consumption—Safe. Sensible. Social. The Next Steps in the National Alcohol Strategy.

Our overall aims are to:

increase the number of people drinking within the Government's sensible drinking guidelines;reduce the number of men who are drinking more than 50 units a week and the number of women who are drinking more than 35 units or more than twice the sensible daily drinking guidelines on a regular basis;reduce the number of under-18s who drink and the amount of alcohol they consume;ensure the laws and licensing powers we have introduced to tackle alcohol-fuelled crime and disorder, to protect young people and bear down on irresponsibly managed premises are being used effectively; andshape an environment which actively encourages sensible drinking. This will be delivered through partnership working, by ensuring existing laws and powers are being used effectively, and by reviewing the effectiveness of existing powers in areas such as promotion and pricing.

We undertook in Safe. Sensible. Social. to commission an independent review of the relationship between alcohol price, promotion and harm. The review will cover advertising, price discounting and its promotion, and links between these and harms to young drinkers and other groups. It will take account of the study recently published by Ofcom and the Advertising Standards Authority on the impact of the stricter controls on alcohol advertising introduced in 2005. The independent review is expected to report findings in July 2008.

The impact of the Licensing Act 2003 is also being reviewed and the Government will look at the evidence.



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Armed Forces: Compensation

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): My honourable friend the Under-Secretary of State for Defence considered it appropriate to use a shorter consultation period as the proposal is a simple, beneficial change that we want to put in place as quickly as possible. The Royal British Legion asked for the consultation period to be extended and after careful consideration it was decided not to agree to its request. None of the other ex-service organisations consulted asked for an extension.

The principal vehicle for consultation in this instance was the Central Advisory Committee, a statutory body which advises MoD Ministers on war pension and compensation issues. The details of the proposal were also made widely available to members of the Armed Forces, who had an opportunity to comment. A range of comments on the proposal were received, including from the Royal British Legion, and these are being examined ahead of making changes to the secondary legislation. A summary of responses received will be placed on the MoD website early next year.

Armed Forces: War Pensions

Lord Addington asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): The Minister for Veterans had no role in the decision to reduce Mr TE Walker's war pension from 100 per cent to 40 per cent.

Following representations from the honourable Member for the City of York (Mr Bayley), about related matters, ministerial commitment was given on 31 July 2007 to look into the case in more detail. On

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5 September 2007 a response from the Minister for Veterans was sent to Mr Bayley. The letter promised a further update once officials had provided a more detailed note about the case specifics. It was during this review that it was established that the decision to reduce Mr Walker's war pension had been incorrect.

The Minister for Veterans was kept up to date on developments.

Barnett Formula

Lord Barnett asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: The Barnett formula gives the devolved Administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland a population-based share of changes in comparable spending of UK government departments and is a formula for allocating expenditure across the UK. The current allocation therefore mainly reflects the cumulative changes since the formula was introduced. Full details of the Barnett formula are published in the Treasury publication Funding the Scottish Parliament, National Assembly for Wales and Northern Ireland Assembly: A Statement of Funding Policy (October 2007).

Funding to the English regions is the responsibility of UK government departments. The latest data on identifiable spending in the regions and countries of the United Kingdom are published in Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses (Cm 7091).

Lord Barnett asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: The information is not available in the form requested. Tables 1.7, 1.8 and 1.10 of Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses (Cm 7091) show departmental annually managed expenditure by department and devolved Administrations. Table 9.17 shows total identifiable devolved and reserved spending for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland by programme, including spending on social protection, and by spending authority for the year 2005-06, the latest year for which data are available. Table 9.11 provides total identifiable per capita spending by programme for all four countries. Changes in devolved departmental expenditure limit spending is determined by the Barnett formula and DEL spending by departments and devolved Administrations is shown in Table 1.12.



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Children: Fostering

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Lord Adonis): The Children Act 2004 requires local authorities in England actively to promote awareness amongst their communities of the requirement to notify private fostering arrangements to the authority. The extent to which they are doing this is a factor which Ofsted takes into account when assessing the quality of local authority children's services. The nature of local communities will vary considerably from one local authority area to another, and it is therefore appropriate that it should be for local authorities to promote awareness, and determine the most effective service response, at a local level. We have published guidance for authorities, Promoting Awareness of Private Fostering Arrangements, on the DCSF website. There are no plans for central government to conduct annual campaigns to promote awareness.

These are devolved matters. While similar arrangements operate in Wales where the Children Act 2004 also applies, there are different arrangements for private fostering in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Cycling: Offences

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): A cyclist who passes a traffic light at red commits an offence under Section 36 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. The maximum penalty is a fine at level 3 (£1,000) or a fixed penalty of £30 may be offered. Enforcement of the offence is an operational matter for individual chief officers of police.

Demonstrations: Filming

Lord Monson asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): It is an operational matter for chief constables of the force area concerned, based on the individual circumstances of the situation, to determine whether action is required to respond to an offence or where they suspect an offence is about to be committed or to prevent a breach of the peace.



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Drug Tariff

Earl Howe asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The new product introduction mechanism will remain the same as the current process with the prescription pricing division of the NHS Business Services Authority.

As the proposed item classification structure is still subject to consultation, the department is unable to finalise the mechanism to keep any agreed Part IX Drug Tariff classification up to date. This will depend on how the classification may look once a decision has been reached.

It is envisaged that the relevant guidance and instructions will be provided at the appropriate time to ensure that future new items are accurately submitted for placement on the Drug Tariff.

Embryology

Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): I refer the noble Lord to the Written Answer given on Wednesday 5 December 2007, (Official Report, col. WA195-96), which stated that the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) does receive information on the number of eggs collected from a patient during a treatment cycle. However, the specific information he requested in his earlier question, on the frequency of more than 20 eggs being collected in a single treatment cycle, is not routinely collected by the HFEA.

As stated in the earlier answer, the 7th edition of the HFEA's code of practice, which came into effect on 5 July 2007, requires any occurrence that is inconsistent with routine patient care to be reported to the authority. HFEA expects an incident report from a licensed clinic whenever the clinic is made aware of a case of severe ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome resulting in prolonged hospitalisation.



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Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (Lord Triesman): It is too early to say what will be accomplished by reprogramming of differentiated human cells. The current scientific consensus is that all approaches should be pursued to provide the knowledge required to advance the field.

Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Triesman: I am collating the information requested. I will write to the noble Lord in due course and place a copy of this letter in the Library of both Houses.

Energy: Oil Prices

Earl Attlee asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office & Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (Lord Jones of Birmingham): The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform does not publish oil price forecasts. It publishes future oil, gas and coal price assumptions for the period till 2020, which are used in the department’s analytical work. In order to capture some of the uncertainty around future oil prices, three different scenarios are presented: a high, central and a low scenario.

The last set of future oil price assumptions was published alongside the energy White Paper in May 2007 and can be found in Annexe B of the document titled Updated Energy and Carbon Emissions Projections: the Energy White Paper which can be found using the following link: www.berr.gov.uk/files/file39580.pdf.



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The future oil price assumptions for the next five years outlined in this document are listed in the table below:

$/per barrel (2006 real prices)High scenarioCentral scenarioLow scenario

2008

68

60

46

2009

69

58

35

2010

70

57

25

2011

71

56

25

2012

72

54

25

Earl Attlee asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Jones of Birmingham: The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform does not publish oil price forecasts. It publishes oil, gas and coal price assumptions for the period till 2020, which are used in the department’s analytical work. We do not publish oil price assumptions beyond 2020, due to the increasing uncertainty over oil prices further into the future. In order to capture some of the uncertainty around future oil prices, three different scenarios are presented: a high, central and a low scenario.


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