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Aviation: Air Contamination

Lord Tyler asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The research is designed to capture any substance in cabin air. The Department for Transport is not aware that any other organisations have carried out air sampling during commercial flights and in particular during fume events.

Lord Tyler asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The work so far has been only to conduct functionality tests on equipment which might be capable of capturing substances released during fume incidents. The Aviation Health Working Group (AHWG) decided to appoint an independent project manager who had not been involved in the debate so far. Professor Helen Muir of Cranfield University was approved by several members of the AHWG as someone who could bring a fresh and independent oversight of the project along with knowledge of aircraft. Professor Muir's work on aviation safety is well known but she had not previously been involved with aviation health.

Lord Tyler asked Her Majesty's Government:



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Lord Bassam of Brighton: We have seen the document but consider it logical first to pursue our current research into what substances may be present in cabin air, and then to consider action on any substances found.

Crime: Retail Crime Survey

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): We welcome the Co-op's retail crime survey 2007 as an important contribution to the continuing joint efforts to tackle retail crime across the country.

We are considering how the recommendations in the report might be taken forward and shall continue to work with the Co-op and other retail organisations, through the National Retail Crime Steering Group and other partnership groups, to develop solutions to crime problems in the retail sector.

Cyprus: Currency

Lord Kilclooney asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: In appendix O to the treaty establishing the Republic of Cyprus, the UK Government agreed that “the currency of the Republic will be legal tender in the sovereign base areas”. From 1960 the sovereign base areas, including a large number of Cypriot citizens as well as the British military personnel who reside there, have used the Cyprus pound. The Republic of Cyprus replaced the Cyprus pound with the euro on 1 January 2008. At the same time the sovereign base areas adopted the euro as legal tender. The use of a currency in the sovereign base areas other than that circulating in the Republic of Cyprus would be impractical, and would run counter to our 1960 commitments.

Energy: Utilities Ownership

Lord Dykes asked Her Majesty's Government:



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Lord Bach: The Commission's proposals for the unbundling of transmission systems, alongside the rest of their liberalisation package, are currently being considered by the Energy Council and the European Parliament. The majority of member states support the Commission's measures.

However, some member states have expressed significant reservations about ownership unbundling and have said that they will suggest an alternative model in the next few weeks. We await these proposals, but share the Commission's view that any such model must include structural as well as regulatory measures to separate transmission from non-network activities. Structural measures are essential if all incentive for transmission-system operators to discriminate in favour of one or another market player is to be removed.

Food: Labelling

Lord Dykes asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): In March 2006 the Food Standards Agency made a commitment to independently review the impact of front-of-pack nutrition-labelling schemes in use in the United Kingdom. The Nutrition Strategy Steering Group has been consulted on the specification for the study, which is being managed by an independent expert panel. This project is due to report by the end of 2008.

Gulf War Illnesses

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): Professor Hooper wrote to Lord Drayson, then Minister for Defence Equipment and Support, on 24 September about the incidence of motor neurone disease among veterans of the 1990-91 Gulf conflict. My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence wrote to Professor Hooper on 7 January responding to his concerns on this and related issues. A copy of this letter was placed in the Library of the House. We are not aware of any other correspondence having been received from Professor Hooper by the Ministry of Defence since the 24 September letter.



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Health: Contaminated Blood Products

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): Department officials have received no information from officials representing the Japanese Government about the recent announcement to provide blanket relief to people infected with hepatitis C through contaminated blood products.

The Government have great sympathy for people infected with contaminated blood products following National Health Service treatment in the United Kingdom.

Health: Homeopathy

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): We can find no record of the document having been issued with the knowledge or approval of the department. The department has provided clarification and advice on the use of the National Health Service logo to those who originated the document.

Health: MMR Vaccine

Lord McColl of Dulwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The suggested link between measles, mumps and rubella and measles and rubella vaccines and autism has been thoroughly assessed by the Medicines and Healthcare

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Products Regulatory Agency, and its independent expert advisory committees. The available evidence does not support a causal association between measles-containing vaccines and the development of autism, so no regulatory action has been taken.

House of Lords: Dress Code

Lord Laird asked the Chairman of Committees:

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): I am not aware of any complaints regarding violation of the dress code. The House authorities have reminded staff of their role in advising Members and their guests of the agreed dress code in the Peers’ Dining Room, the Guest Dining Room, the Guest Room bar and the Barry Room. A reminder of the rules was also issued in the December edition of the Red Benches newsletter for Members. Ultimately, Members themselves are responsible for maintaining the dress standards.

House of Lords: Interior Courtyards

Lord Janner of Braunstone asked the Chairman of Committees:

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): The programme to clean the exterior of the Palace which began in 1981 entered its final phase in 1995 with the commencement of work to the internal courtyards. Cleaning has since been completed in four courtyards, including Speaker’s Court and Royal Court, the two largest courtyards. The next phase of work is planned to include Cloister Court, Star Chamber Court, Chancellor’s Court and State Officers’ Court.

Although it is desirable that the final phase should begin as soon as possible, the Parliamentary Estate Board is considering a number of competing work-project bids, including repair of the Palace roofs and modernisation of the Palace’s mechanical and electrical services. Commencement of the final phase of the stone-cleaning project may not necessarily be the highest priority.

Furthermore, a review has begun into the stone-cleaning programme to ensure that the methodology, scope and sequencing that have been employed so far remain the most effective and efficient. It will be necessary for this review to be completed, and its findings to be implemented, before the next phase of cleaning begins.



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Liverpool: European Capital of Culture

Lord Williams of Elvel asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: It is for the relevant train operators to deliver train services in accordance with their respective timetables. Merseytravel, the local passenger transport executive, has confirmed that it has held discussions with train operators and Network Rail as part of its transport planning for Liverpool’s year as European Capital of Culture.

Pensions

Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): As at May 2007 1,586,860 households receive pension credit payments greater than £30 per week. The average weekly payment for those in receipt of more than £30 per week is £72.83.

Source

DWP Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study 100 per cent data

Notes

1. Caseload figures are rounded to the nearest 10.2. Average weekly amounts are rounded to the nearest penny.3. Household recipients are those people who claim pension credit either for themselves only or on behalf of a household.

Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord McKenzie of Luton: The estimated cost of paying an additional £20 per week to all pensioners with some existing entitlement to basic state pension after deducting tax, but before taking into account additional savings from income-related benefits, is around £11.5 billion in 2008-09.

Notes

1. The estimate is presented net of tax reflecting that the estimated additional tax revenue has been deducted. The proportion of additional expenditure

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saved through increased tax revenue in 2008-09 has been estimated using the department's policy simulation model.2. There would also be additional savings from reduced income-related benefit payments. These have not been deducted from the estimated cost.3. The estimate refers to the cost of paying an additional £20 per week to all pensioners with some existing entitlement to basic state pension living in the United Kingdom and overseas.4. The estimate is consistent with mid-2006 GAD population projections.5. The estimate is in 2007-08 prices and has been rounded to the nearest £0.1 billion.

Post Office: Advertising Campaign

Lord Hanningfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bach: This is an operational matter for Post Office Ltd (POL). I have therefore asked Alan Cook, managing director of POL, to reply direct to the noble Lord. Copies of the letter will be placed in the Libraries of the House.


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