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Government: Cabinet Meetings

Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay asked Her Majesty's Government:



6 May 2008 : Column WA52

The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): It is established practice not to disclose information relating to the proceedings of Cabinet, including average duration of meetings. It is generally not disclosed as to do so could harm the frankness and candour of internal discussion.

Health: Alzheimer's

Lord Taylor of Warwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): Both the department and the Medical Research Council (MRC) support research into Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. Annual expenditure figures are shown in the following table.

Expenditure on dementia research (£millions)
YearDepartmentMedical Research CouncilTotal

1997-98

0.4

5.5

5.9

1998-99

3.2

6

9.2

1999-2000

1

7.2

8.2

2000-01

4.7

8.2

12.9

2001-02

2.9

6.6

9.5

2002-03

1.6

6.6

8.2

2003-04

1.1

7.4

8.5

2004-05

19

6.2

25.2

2005-06

18.3

6

24.3

2006-07

22.8

Not yet available

-

The departmental figures for the years from 1997-98 to 2003-04 relate to national research programme expenditure. They do not include the part of the research and development allocations made annually at that time to National Health Service providers and spent on dementia research. That information was not collected prior to 2004-05.

The MRC is one of the main agencies through which the Government support biomedical research. The MRC is an independent body funded by the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills.

Health: Medical Devices and Medicinal Products Directive

Lord Walton of Detchant asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): There are no current plans to amend either the medical devices or the medicinal products directives in order to clarify the status of some borderline products. The definition of a medicinal product in the Community code relating to medicinal products, the directive on medicinal products, was only recently clarified with regard to the borderline with medical devices and other legislation in an amendment to the medicinal products directive which came into force in 2005. The medical devices directive was only recently amended in September of 2007 when the legislators considered that there was no need to further clarify the borderline with medicinal products.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency which is responsible for the regulation of medicinal products and medical devices in the UK, is aware of differences between the regulation of laxative preparations within Europe and has been actively seeking to have these discussed at a European level and included within relevant publications to enable a consistent interpretation between member states.

Housing

Lord Burnett asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): The number of new build starts for England are tabulated below:

Jan to March of each yearTotal Starts

1997

39,877

1998

38,149

1999

39,269

2000

36,404

2001

38,819

2002

40,511

2003

42,458

2004

40,400

2005

48,177

2006

43,655

Source: New build completions from P2 returns submitted by local authorities and the National House Building Council (NHBC)


6 May 2008 : Column WA54

Immigration: Detention

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): Following a change in the system in which information is collected, statistics on all persons detained under sole Immigration Act powers by length of detention are not available after September 2006. Information on minors has only been made available through the examination of individual cases, which would only be possible for adult detainees at disproportionate cost.

Details of the length that children have been held in detention have continued to be published in the quarterly web-based asylum statistics bulletin in table 13.

The UK Border Agency is committed to ensuring its published data are of the highest standards. A robust method for the collection and production of statistics on length of detention is being formulated and data will be published when the agency is satisfied the quality meets its standards.

Published statistics on immigration and asylum are available from the Library of the House and from the Home Office Research, Development and Statistics Directorate website at www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration1.html.

Israel and Palestine: Physicians for Human Rights

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): We greatly appreciate the work of humanitarian organisations working in the Gaza Strip. We have received a written report from Physicians for Human Rights-Israel on the situation in Gaza. I understand that Physicians for Human Rights-Israel gave a presentation to various officials in the Department for International Development on 28 April. Unfortunately I am not in a position to comment on correspondence between the quartet, its representative, and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel.

Marine Environment: Bay of Biscay

Lord Dykes asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): In 2006, the UK, Ireland, France and Spain made a joint submission to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, regarding the continental shelf area beyond 200 nautical miles in the Bay of Biscay, as provided for by Article 76 of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. The submission is currently under examination by the commission. The process is in its final stages and the results of the commission's deliberations are expected in the next six to 12 months. Officials from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, together with scientists from the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, assisted by the UK Hydrographic Office, are engaged in researching and presenting this submission to the commission.

This process does not form part of any other scientific programme.

Northern Ireland Office

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: As part of the NIO's CSR07 settlement the department had its administration budget reduced by 5 per cent year on year. This equated to administration cuts of £-2 million, £-4 million, and £-6 million across 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11 respectively, and this will result in a reduction in staffing levels to live within the reduced administrative baselines.

The money saved has been re-allocated to additional front-line service delivery programmes in criminal justice and policing. This additional funding for service delivery areas could lead to an increased staffing requirement within those areas which may mean there is no overall reduction in the staffing numbers.


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