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The department has no current plans to hold an inquiry into the alleged actions by Reckitt Benckiser Healthcare. We are unable to speculate as to whether any of the alleged actions by the company have discouraged generic manufacturers from bringing alternatives to the market. In the absence of a generic alternative to Gaviscon, other preparations are available to prescribers.
How many letters they have received since 6 September 2007 from (a) nurses, (b) other health professionals and (c) parliamentarians commenting on the proposed changes to Part IX of the Drug Tariff for the provision of stoma and incontinence appliances and related services to primary care. [HL2452]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The department has received over 830 letters from parliamentarians concerning Part IX of the Drug Tariff for the provision of stoma and incontinence appliances and related services to primary care since 6 September 2007. The department has also received over 1,500 letters and e-mails from members of the public on this issue since 6 September 2007. However, we can supply the number of these that were from nurses and other health professionals only at disproportionate cost.
Whether they have approved or reviewed the policy of the International Finance Corporation to assist small and medium-sized enterprises mainly through financial intermediaries with little monitoring. [HL2320]
Baroness Crawley: The Department for International Development endorses the International Finance Corporation's (IFC) policy change in 1999 to assist small and medium enterprises (SMEs) through increased investments in financial institutions that would make loans to firms. This approach encourages the development of financial markets, which is fundamental for economic growth in poor countries.
The IFC has a robust monitoring framework to assess the performance of the financial institutions it invests in. This includes an annual survey to assist their disbursement rates, risk exposure and portfolio performance. In addition, IFC provides technical assistance to these institutions to enhance their
19 Mar 2008 : Column WA48
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): The security situation in Iraq has improved over the last few months, but deaths by violent means continue to be difficult to gauge accurately or reliably. Estimates, drawn up by a variety of organisations, vary greatly. The Government's view remains that records of civilian deaths are best monitored by the Iraqi Government.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): Yes, the Minister of State for Employment and Welfare Reform has recently approved 21 closures in Devon, Cornwall, Dorset and Somerset and four in Cumbria, all of which have been subject to extensive local consultation. In addition, the Minister of State has recently agreed that local consultation can commence on the proposed closure of seven Jobcentre Plus offices in London.
Since its inception, Jobcentre Plus has continued to refocus and transform the way in which it delivers its services. It now provides access to a wide range of services by telephone through benefit delivery and contact centres and provides face-to-face access for customers through a network of modernised jobcentres.
These major transformation programmes have improved the quality and breadth of customer service as well as the environment in which it is delivered. They have enabled customers to access many services from the comfort of their own home and at a time convenient to them through the telephone or the internet. This has meant that jobcentres can focus more on working with people who need more support to move into work.
The changes have resulted in a reduction of the number of jobcentres across England and Wales because some sites were no longer required. All closures have been subject to consultation locally and arrangements have been put in place to maintain provision of the service. Any further closures in other parts of the country would follow a similar consultation and approvals process.
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Lord McKenzie of Luton: Benefit inquiries are dealt with over the telephone in benefit delivery centres. On average, Jobcentre Plus receives over 500,000 benefit inquiries per week. These calls are not monitored. Team leaders sit with staff to monitor the quality of the advice given to customers on a proportion of their calls.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): Currently applications to the Mental Health Review Tribunal are being listed for a hearing in line with timeframes set out under the Mental Health Act (Section 2 applications have a target of seven days from receipt; Section 3 applications have a target of six weeks from receipt; and other applications have a target of 16 weeks from receipt).
The Government will look to reduce the time before a patient's case is automatically referred to the Mental Health Review Tribunal when we feel that both hospitals and the Mental Health Review Tribunal are in a position where they will be able to meet reduced time limits within their available resources.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): The department seeks to drive out the best possible prices through effective competition and reference to market forces. In addition, MoD has proven mechanisms in place to investigate, challenge and negotiate the prices of prime contractors and subcontractors both before the contract is placed and after it has finished. MoD is constantly looking at new ways to improve its pricing strategy and is currently undertaking several initiatives to streamline the procurement process.
Lord Davies of Oldham: Northern Rock set up Granite as a separate company structure to raise finance for mortgage lending by Northern Rock. The commercial relationship between them reflects that. Other banks have set up similar securitisation arrangements.
Details of their relationship are publicly available in the full Granite prospectus on Northern Rock's website at http://companyinfor.northernrock.co.uk/treasury/securitisation/mortgages.asp.
Whether they will encourage and assist the production of films based on personal histories and illustrating the dangers of trafficking for women and children, intended for showing in the countries of origin. [HL2439]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): Preventing human trafficking through raising awareness of the dangers of trafficking among vulnerable groups is central to the UK's strategy. The UK action plan highlights a number of different ways in which awareness-raising work is undertaken in source countries.
The extent to which the UK Government can offer encouragement and assistance in the production of films based on personal histories will depend on a number of factors such as the proposed content, target audience, delivery method and intended impact.
How many cases were referred by the Secretary of State to the Parole Board under (a) Section 32(4)(a) and (b) Section 32(4)(b) of the Crime (Sentences) Act 1997 in each of the years 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007. [HL2231]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The table below provides a breakdown of life sentence prisoners recalled to custody under the provisions of Section 32 of the Crime (Sentences) Act 1997.
|Number of life prisoners recalled|
|Year||Section 32(1)||Section 32(2)|
All prisoners recalled under the provisions of Section 32(2) have their cases referred to the Parole Board under the provisions of Section 32(4)(b). We do not hold reliable central data relating to the number of referrals to the Parole Board in respect of prisoners recalled under Section 32(1) and Section 32(2) who subsequently make representations pursuant to Section 32(4)(a); to provide such information would require a manual trawl of individual case files and this would incur disproportionate cost.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The agreement between HM Prison Service and the Youth Justice Board to accommodate category A status young people in Woodhill has now ceased.
While the aim of the review will be to keep young people within establishments set aside for under-18s, in exceptional circumstances there is likely to be a need to use high-security prisons, including Woodhill.
Lord Bassam of Brighton: While the successful bidder provided a catering plan as part of its franchise bid, catering is provided at the train operators discretion and is not a contractual obligation in the franchise agreement. The Governments role in the monitoring of the franchise agreement is to ensure that the train operator delivers its contractual commitments.
Whether they will arrange for the Highways Agency to take steps to ensure that those responsible for litter clearance on the A11 trunk road between the M11 and the A14 fulfil their obligations. [HL2523]
Lord Bassam of Brighton: Under Section 86(9) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (code of practice on litter and refuse), responsibility for keeping all-purpose trunk roads free from litter falls to the local district and borough councils. On the A11 between the M11 and the A14, South Cambridgeshire and East Cambridgeshire District Councils are responsible for the collection of litter.
The Highways Agency monitors the cleanliness of its network and, where it considers that the standards set by the Environmental Protection Act are not being met, contacts the relevant local authority asking for action to be taken to cleanse the area of accumulated rubbish. On safety grounds, any material that is a hazard to traffic is removed directly by the Highways Agency as a matter of priority.
In which languages other than English it is possible to take GCSE examinations; and how many entrants there have been for examinations in each language in the last three years for which figures are available. [HL2360]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Lord Adonis): GCSE examinations are available in the following languages: Arabic, Bengali, Dutch, Chinese, French, German, Gujarati, modern Greek, modern Hebrew, Irish (short course), Italian, Japanese, Spanish, Panjabi, Persian, Portuguese, Polish, Russian, Turkish, Urdu, Latin and ancient Greek.
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