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What proportion of individuals currently suffering from hypertension would be likely to see a clinically significant improvement in their blood
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Lord Darzi of Denham: No such estimate has been made by the Government. The number of lives saved annually by reducing average population intakes to 6 grams has, however, been estimated to be around 20,200.
Whether all strategic health authorities met the objectives in the service level agreements attached to the multi-professional education and training levy for 200708; and, if not, what action is being taken with those that did not meet the objectives. [HL3456]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The National Identity Register will hold the identity details of all UK residents aged 16 and above issued with an identity card. However, further primary legislation would be needed before everyone could be required to have an identity card.
Lord West of Spithead: It is intended that biometric information, including fingerprints and a photographic image of the holder, will be recorded for all United Kingdom identity cards from the date of issue.
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Malloch-Brown on 1 April (WA 158) to Question HL 2094 tabled on 22 February, when they now expect to write with a substantive Answer and place a copy of the letter in the Library of the House. [HL3482]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): Further to my Written Answer of 1 April (Official Report, col. WA158). I apologise for the delay in responding. The original Answer given by Baroness Symons to the noble Lord's Question in January 2004 was based on thorough file and registry searches, this being the nonnal process for establishing answers of this kind. However, we are unfortunately unable to establish the precise chain of advice and documentation that lay behind this specific Answer. As a result, we are tightening up our record-keeping procedures.
What action they are taking through the quartet to persuade the Government of Israel (a) to allow fuel and essential supplies into Gaza; (b) to allow humanitarian access for food, water and basic health care; and (c) to enable the authorities to repair public service infrastructure and prevent raw sewage from flowing into the Mediterranean. [HL3692]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): We remain deeply concerned about the humanitarian situation in Gaza. This was addressed at a series of high-level international meetings in London on 2 May involving
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The UK gave nearly £29 million in humanitarian assistance throughout 2007-08, including through European Commission funding mechanisms, to meet urgent basic needs. The Department for International Development is also funding a UN team to ensure access for humanitarian supplies and personnel.
What is the current status of the agreement on movement and access between the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority of 2005; and whether they will press for its full implementation in Gaza and the West Bank. [HL3706]
Lord Malloch-Brown: My right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary spoke to Israeli Defence Minister Barak on 2 April to follow up his announcements on movement and access, and to press for rapid implementation. We have continued to urge all parties to ensure normal operations are restored at Gaza's border crossings and to ensure that the supply of essentials, such as food, medicine and fuel, are maintained.
Lord Malloch-Brown: The quartet's representative remains actively engaged on this and other issues related to the Middle East peace process. The humanitarian situation in Gaza was discussed at a series of high-level meetings in London on 2 May involving Palestinian Prime Minster Fayyad, Israeli Foreign Minister Livni, representatives of the EU and others. Following the meetings, the quartet called for continued emergency and humanitarian assistance.
My right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary and his EU counterparts are also fully engaged. The EU General Affairs and External Relations Council monitors the situation closely. The EU continues to play a vital role in supporting the quartet and remains the largest single donor to the Palestinian Authority, having committed some $650 million during 2008.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): We welcome the Ivorian Government's decision to hold presidential elections on 30 November 2008, with the agreement of all the major Ivorian political parties. This is a tight deadline which can be met only through a concerted effort from both Ivorian and international institutions. The UN Operation in Cote d'Ivoire has a mandate to certify the election process. Its most recent report on 15 April, which can be found at www.un.org/Docs/sc/sgrep08.htm, indicated that while there was a political consensus on holding elections there was still much work to be done. It also noted the elections would bear serious risks if they were not conducted in a transparent, free and credible manner.
The Federation of Students of Cote d'Ivoire (FESCI) is the focus for a report on human rights abuses published by Human Rights Watch in May 2008. The report focuses on the past role of FESCI as a political mob for hire. In December 2007 FESCI elected a new leadership team who have tried to refocus the work of the students union on educational matters rather than national politics. There has been a considerable reduction in the cases of abuse and intimidation by students on the wider population since the appointment of the new FESCI president. There does, however, remain a risk that politicians will attempt to mobilise FESCI support during the electoral process.
(a) which statutory responsibilities have been devolved to and remain with local government since 1997; (b) what current expenditure is required to be met by local government; and (c) what contributions they make towards these responsibilities. [HL3749]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): Local authorities have a wide range of statutory responsibilities including for planning, transport, the local environment, education, social services, housing and recreational and cultural needs. There is no centrally held list of functions or responsibilities that have been devolved to local authorities since 1997. This information could not be provided except at disproportionate cost.
Local authorities are responsible for setting their own budgets and spending priorities. However, certain services are allocated ring-fenced funding
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Lord Davies of Oldham: This is a matter for the Charity Commission, as the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales. The chief executive of the Charity Commission will write to the noble Lord and a copy of his reply will be placed in the Library.
What steps an employee can take to sue for defamation of character if information provided in the National Staff Dismissal Register is inaccurate and results in a job offer being withdrawn; and [HL3663]
The Home Office, between 2004 and 2007, provided more than £1 million of funding to the group to set up and maintain 120 business crime reduction partnerships in towns and cities across England and Wales. All Home Office funding ceased in March 2007.
The Home Office has not been consulted about the setting up of the National Staff Dismissal Register and will not be involved in any way in its operation. It will be for AABC to ensure that the register complies with all relevant legislation.
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Rooker on 12 May (WA 112) concerning the Office of Government Commerce, what part environmental issues play in allocating contracts; and how it is demonstrated and monitored. [HL3803]
Lord Davies of Oldham: Relevant environmental issues can be considered throughout the procurement process: in defining and specifying what to buy, selecting suppliers to bid and awarding the contract. The OGC and Defra have published a Joint Note on Environmental Issues in Purchasing, explaining in detail how to do this.
Departments provide information on the environmental aspects of their procurement activities in their annual returns to the Sustainable Development Commission and in their published sustainable development action plans. The Government are now establishing a centre for expertise in sustainable procurement (CESP) within the OGC. The CESP will assist departments in addressing environmental issues in both procurement and operations and will monitor their progress.
Lord Davies of Oldham: All public procurers are required to seek value for money (VFM), normally through fair and open competition. Authorities must also comply with their legal obligations under the EU procurement rules and adhere to the EU treaty principles. Equality in the context of the Question refers to the principle that all suppliers be treated equally; ie opening supply opportunities to all, regardless of their status and reducing barriers to their participation in public procurement.
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