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Financial Services Authority: Greycoat

Lord James of Blackheath asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Lord Davies of Oldham: As this is a matter for the FSA, I have requested that it replies to the noble Lord.

Galileo Project

Lord Dykes asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): EU Ministers agreed at the October Transport Council to take an integrated decision by the end of the year, in the appropriate council formation, on the Commission's proposals for the deployment of Galileo through public procurement. Subsequently, at the Budget Council on 23 November, the Economic and Financial Affairs Council reached political agreement on the financing of Galileo until 2013 and the Transport Council on 29-30 November agreed conclusions defining the general principles covering governance and public sector procurement for the programme and placed a €3.4 billion cap on the programme’s costs in this financial perspective.

Further discussion at official level on the draft regulation to implement the Transport Council decisions will now take place before the regulation is brought forward for adoption next year.

Great Yarmouth

Lord Berkeley 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 development of the port at Great Yarmouth consists of the construction of an outer harbour. The capital cost of the scheme, which is currently under way, is expected to be £54 million. This comprises £40 million for maritime access works —breakwaters and port entrance structures—and construction costs of port user infrastructure—quaysides, berths—of £14 million.

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Public funding of £8.6 million (East of England Development Agency), £4.6 million (European Regional Development Fund), £3.1 million (Norfolk County Council) will part-fund the maritime access works, with Great Yarmouth Borough Council providing support in kind through lease of land valued at £1.6 million. The private sector developer, International Port Holdings, will meet the balance of the cost. The port user infrastructure is being funded entirely by the private sector developer. The risk of cost overrun on both the maritime access and the commercial port infrastructure works will be borne by the private developer.

As part of the project appraisal, Partnerships UK, one of the consultants advising on the project, recommended to EEDA that, in order to demonstrate the likely viability of the project, its funding of the outer harbour development should be subject to revenue commitments from a ferry operator being secured and the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry made this a condition of his consent to EEDA to fund the project. The Minister for Regions, acting on behalf of the Secretary of State, subsequently waived this condition, being satisfied with EEDA's judgment that the plans of the preferred developer were viable without such revenue guarantees. The private sector port developer will carry the risk of any revenue shortfall. The European Commission decided that the public funding for the maritime access works did not constitute state aid. At present no road or rail improvements are considered necessary in connection with this development.

Health: Audiology

Baroness Tonge asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): Funding for audiology services is provided through the general allocations to National Health Service trusts and primary care trusts. It is the responsibility of local health organisations to allocate resources to audiology services based on their knowledge of the needs of their local population and the resources available.

Strategic health authorities have assured the department that they can achieve necessary reductions in audiology waiting times by improving existing NHS services and with procurement from the independent sector where required.

Health: Consultants

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): Providers must accept referrals directly from referring clinicians in primary and secondary care. However, referral methods are determined by local health service bodies and may include a variety of referral processes. The care and resource utilisation guidance published by the department in December 2006 provides advice and techniques on how health service bodies should manage referrals to ensure that patients are given the best possible care. The techniques are owned and agreed by clinicians, working in partnership across primary and secondary care, to deliver integrated, well-designed services. The guidance is available in the Library and at the department's website at;chk=iJxRrx.

Health: NICE Guidance

Lord Jones of Cheltenham asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): We understand that the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has procedures in place for ensuring that the authors of work undertaken for NICE declare any potential conflicts of interest, including previous public statements or opinions resulting from their previously published opinions on the clinical and cost effectiveness of relevant technologies. NICE's conflict of interest policy is available at DealingwithConflictsofInterest.pdf

Health: Patient Satisfaction

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The General Practitioner Patient Survey is a national survey of patients' experiences of access to their general practitioner services. The survey has been

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developed with and is run by the independent research company, Ipsos MORI. Survey results are used to trigger payments primary care trusts (PCTs) make to general practitioner (GP) practices when they achieve national access standards. From these data, PCTs have developed with local practices action plans to deliver improvements in access to care in GP services in those areas with the poorest reported satisfaction. For the first time these data are available to patients which can help inform decisions on choice on registration with GP practices and how their own practice performs compared with other practices, locally or nationally.

General practices are also free to administer their own local surveys under the voluntary quality and outcomes framework, which attracts rewards for actions to improve the patient experience. Rewards are not linked directly to reported patients views and there is no standardisation over how those surveys are conducted nor is the information collected necessarily available to patients to enable comparisons on practice performance.

We are currently in negotiations with the General Practitioners Committee of the British Medical Association how surveys in general practice can be improved and rationalised while continuing to support the National Health Service to improve performance on access to services and ensure better responsiveness of practices to local patients needs, preferences and choices.

Houses of Parliament: Visitors Entrance

Lord Foulkes of Cumnock asked the Chairman of Committees:

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): The forecasted cost of the visitor reception building is £11.2 million split 60:40 between the Commons and Lords. It is expected that the building will be opened in early 2008.

Immigration: Detention

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): All detainees are given information at the point of initial detention on how to contact the Immigration Advisory Service and the Refugee Legal Centre for advice. It is also the case that detainees must be advised of their right to legal representation and how they can obtain such representation, within 24 hours of their arrival at an immigration removal centre.

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The Legal Services Commission (LSC) has undertaken a successful pilot of regular advice surgeries in immigration removal centres (IRCs) to help ensure that detainees can gain easy and prompt access to legal advice. These surgeries are open to all detainees. The LSC is now in the process of tendering for advice services in IRCs as a permanent part of legal aid services.

This advice provision complements the fast track duty rota advice scheme that operates in Harmondsworth, Oakington and Yarl’s Wood. This service offers all asylum seekers access to a duty representative for advice and assistance in relation to their asylum claim.

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord West of Spithead: It is sometimes necessary to transfer detainees and this is because of the need to maintain the most effective use of available space. For example it may be necessary to transfer a person to a facility near an airport for the purpose of removal. In such circumstances, it remains possible for detainees to maintain contact with their legal representatives and this may be by fax, phone or letter.

Healthcare is provided at every immigration removal centre and information about detainees’ medical needs will transfer with them. Detainees are medically screened within two hours of their arrival at a removal centre and are required to be seen by a doctor within 24 hours of arrival.

Where a detainee has an outside hospital appointment every effort is made to ensure that a transfer does not take place until after the date of the appointment.

Immigration: Pregnant Women

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): On the 4 December 2007 there were seven women held in immigration detention whose pregnancy had been brought to the attention of the centres. Women are not routinely given pregnancy tests, so it is not possible to confirm this figure, and there is no pressure on detainees to disclose information related to pregnancy.

The majority of those held in the immigration detention estate are detained for the purposes of administrative removal or deportation. The figures provided do not constitute part of National Statistics as they are based on management information. This information has not been quality assured under National Statistics protocols; it should be treated as provisional and is subject to change.

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Immigration: Zimbabwe

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): We are not removing Zimbabwean women to Malawi.

We take very seriously the health of everyone in detention and monitor anyone refusing food very closely.

Under the Data Protection Act, the Border and Immigration Agency cannot share details of any individual in relation either to removal or to a claim of refusal to consume food.

Israel and Palestine: Students

Baroness Tonge asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): We raised the issue of university students with the Israeli embassy in London on 15 October. On the same day, the EU presidency also raised this issue with the Israeli Government. We are discussing with our EU colleagues the situation of a number of EU and non-EU nationals, including those who are registered with universities overseas, whose movement and access into and out of Gaza is currently restricted.

My right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary also raised our concerns about movement and access with the Israeli Government during his recent visit to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories from 17 to 19 November. We hope that the continuing dialogue between Israeli Prime Minister Olmert and Palestinian President Abbas, and the Annapolis conference held on 27 November will lead to early improvement on movement and access.

Israel and Palestine: West Bank

Baroness Tonge asked Her Majesty's Government:

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The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): The Government are in regular contact with the US, Palestinian and Israeli Governments on a number of issues concerned with advancing the Middle East peace process, including settlements. Our embassy in Tel Aviv raised the issue of settlements and outposts with the Israeli Ministry of Defence on 29 November. Our consulate-general in Jerusalem discussed the issue of settlements with the Palestinians on 4 December and our embassy in Washington also discussed this issue with the US State Department on 5 December.

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