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What notice was given of the meeting held on 20 June by the senior president of tribunals with representatives of some ex-service organisations to discuss the future of the Pensions Appeal Tribunal; what written advice was given to Ministers as a result of the meeting; and what is the constitutional position of a senior judge taking such a step, having regard especially to the letters about the meeting sent to Sir Robert Carnwath by the Royal British Legion and to Lord Morris of Manchester by the National Gulf Veterans and Families Association. [HL4632]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): Following concerns raised by ex-servicemens organisations with the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice, Bridget Prentice MP, that they had not been consulted appropriately in relation to the proposed move of the Pensions Appeal Tribunal to a new, unified tribunal structure, the Minister suggested that it would be useful for them to discuss the move with the senior president of tribunals, Lord Justice Carnwath.
Lord Justice Carnwath agreed to the meeting, and a number of veterans organisations were subsequently contacted on 12 June by his office and invited to attend a meeting on 20 June. Representatives from the Royal British Legion; National Gulf Veterans and Families Association; War Widows Association of Great Britain; British Limbless Ex-Servicemens Association; British Nuclear Test Veterans Association; St Dunstans; and the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association attended the meeting.
Whether any research is being undertaken on other species in relation to bovine tuberculosis; and whether such research covers any link between badgers, the loss of hedgehogs and dwindling bee populations. [HL4824]
The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): Previous research undertaken by the Central Science Laboratory and Oxford University has shown that the only wild mammalian species which act as reservoirs of bovine tuberculosis, and thus are a risk to cattle, are badgers
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Quantitative risk assessments commissioned by Defra demonstrate that the risk of cattle infection from deer is only likely to be significant if the prevalence of TB infection in deer is high. The indication from research is that the prevalence of TB infection in deer is not high and is estimated to be generally less than 5 per cent. The ecology and behaviour of wild deer makes it unlikely that they would have any close direct contact with cattle.
Defra has commissioned a wild deer density and disease prevalence study to ensure that our evidence base is robust enough to allow the department to take decisions on possible future disease control measures for wild deer.
Previous research has shown that there was a rise in hedgehog populations in areas in which badgers were culled in the randomised badger culling trial. There is no current research identifying links between badgers, the loss of hedgehogs and dwindling bee populations.
Lord Bassam of Brighton: The national bus concession now allows off-peak travel on local buses throughout England. Local authorities in areas that border the devolved Administrations remain free to make their own arrangements to extend the concession to bus services that cross borders, at their own cost.
The Concessionary Bus Travel Act 2007 contains a power to introduce mutual recognition of concessionary bus passes across the UK. However, this would be a highly complex undertaking and not without cost and we have no immediate plans to implement it at this stage.
Further to the Written Statement by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 24 June (WS 9213) stating that a cross-departmental Criminal Justice Women's Unit has been established with a senior civil servant appointed to head up the unit, (a) what grade is the senior civil servant, and (b) whether the appointment is full time. [HL4690]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The senior civil servant appointed to head up the cross-departmental Criminal Justice Womens Unit is a deputy director, and the appointment is full time, reporting to a director with overall responsibility for women. The head of unit leads on managing and co-ordinating the work on women in the criminal justice system across all relevant departments.
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Rooker on 3 June (WA 47), how many legally qualified staff were employed and at what average cost in the Crown Prosecution Service in England in 200708. [HL4662]
Further to the Written Answers by Lord Darzi of Denham on 21 April (WA 234), 2 May (WA 10910), 19 June (WA 17778), 24 June (WA 227 and 1 July (WA 278) regarding the evidence available to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), to what extent the scientific consensus referred to was based (1) on personal opinions and (2) an objective analysis of all published data; and whether they will provide references for all scientific papers considered by the HFEA which demonstrate (a) the potential of currently licensed cytoplasmic hybrids to develop into a human being if implanted in a woman; and (b) the intrinsic lack of potential in any embryo cultured on a layer of feeder cells for more than 14 days, despite the ability of mouse embryos to develop contractions resembling a heart beat after cultivation in vitro. [HL4647]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): We have been advised by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) that the scientific consensus formed was largely based on an extensive review of published literature on the scientific context and biological issues surrounding the creation of human-animal embryos for research, including nuclear reprogramming, the interaction of the nuclear and mitochondrial genome and the mixing of human and animal mitochondria.
The literature review also analysed alternative avenues of research and alternative sources of stem cells. In addition, the HFEA consulted a small number of stakeholders on specific scientific questions concerned with human-animal embryos. Responses were gathered from the HFEA's Scientific and Clinical Advances
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No research has been published specifically on the potential of cytoplasmic hybrids to develop if implanted in a woman. This is because cytoplasmic hybrids cannot be transferred into a woman, as this activity is prohibited by the Reproductive Cloning Act 2001. The HFEA therefore did not consider any specific studies on this as part of their consultation. However, the HFEA did consider published literature on the development of cytoplasmic hybrid embryos in vitro and on the interaction between mitochondria and nuclear DNA. This included:Illmensee K, Levanduski M & Zavos P (2006) Evaluation of the embryonic preimplantation potential of human adult somatic cells via an embryo interspecies bioassay using bovine oocytes. Fertility and Sterility 85(Suppl 1): 1248-60;Chen Y et al. (2003) Embryonic stem cells generated by nuclear transfer of human somatic nuclei into rabbit oocytes. Cell Res. 13(4): 251-63;Chang K H et al.(2003) Blastocyst formation, karyotype, and mitochondrial DNA of interspecies embryos derived from nuclear transfer of human cord fibroblasts into enucleated bovine oocytes. Fertility and Sterility 80: 1380-87;Bowles E J, Campbell K & St. John J (2007) Chapter 10, Nuclear Transfer: Preservation of a Nuclear Genome at the Expense of Its Associated mtDNA. Genome(s) Current Topics in Developmental Biology 77: 251-90; andSt John & Lovell-Badge (2007) Human-animal cytoplasmic hybrid embryos, mitochondria, and an energetic debate Nature Cell Biology 9: 988-92.
No published data on the potential of embryos cultured on feeder cells beyond 14 days were considered. This is because embryos are not permitted to be cultured in vitro beyond 14 days. This issue was therefore not considered to be relevant to the consultation.
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Darzi of Denham on 1 July (WA 28) regarding Clause 4 of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, to what extent the quantitative criterion underlying that clause (whereby it has been stressed that animal DNA does not predominate in the resulting embryos) reflects the mixing of human sperm with eggs of Mesocricetus auratus, in light of what is known about the nuclear genome size (in base pairs) of each respective species and the total mass (in picograms) of mitochondrial DNA typically found in mammalian eggs. [HL4648]
Lord Darzi of Denham: Provision regarding the mixing of human gametes with the gametes of an animal for research purposes is provided for under new Section 4A(6)(b) of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act, as introduced by Clause 4 of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill (HFE). The hamster test is also provided for separately in
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How many executives and advisory non-departmental public bodies use employment agencies to find or shortlist candidates for vacancies; and what standards are required for acknowledging applications and informing applicants of the outcome. [HL4729]
Why the updated transmission entry capacity register, published on 7 July by National Grid plc, which looks seven years forward at the demand for grid access, appears to have no entries related to new nuclear build apart from those of British Energy plc. [HL4783]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (Baroness Vadera): It is for electricity generating companies to decide when to upgrade or build new transmission capacity and to make the appropriate arrangements with national grid. The published register only includes entries once an agreement has been entered into between the grid and the party concerned. It does not include details when an application has been made to the grid but not agreed.
Following the publication of Preventing Violent Extremism: A Strategy for Delivery (May 2008, Ref. 288113), whether they will issue new guidance to the police or Crown Prosecution Service on criminal prosecutions. [HL4544]
The Attorney-General (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): Following the development of a national strategy to enhance the prosecution of extremist radicalisers, led by the former Attorney-General, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) issued guidance on the prosecution of offences relating to violent extremism. The prosecution guidance was first issued in July 2007 and is kept under review. The guidance is available on the CPS website. The strategy was also underpinned by new working arrangements for the police and the CPS.
The Government have published detailed guidance to support those working to deliver all aspects of the strategy of preventing violent extremism, The Prevent Strategy: A Guide for Local Partners in England (May 2008. Ref: 288324). It acknowledges that action by the police and the CPS through the courts is an important part of the prevent strategy.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): A total of 140 Muslim organisations have successfully received funding in both rounds of the Faith Communities Capacity Building Fund. A list of all the successful groups granted funding in each round of the FCCBF is attached to annex A.
A comprehensive list of organisations granted funding is also available on the Community Development Fund website at: www.cdf.org.uk.
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