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How many serving members of the Armed Forces occupy positions which (a) have in the past been occupied by civilians; (b) may alternatively be occupied by civilians; and (c) require no combat training. [HL5288]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): There are currently 318 posts across defence occupied by military personnel that have in the past been occupied by civilians.
The job specifications for posts in the Ministry of Defence are reviewed regularly and evolve to meet the department's operational need. Military personnel should only be required when there is a requirement for the application of personal military knowledge, expertise and judgment. There are some posts, called opportunity posts, that can be filled by someone from any branch or service of the Armed Forces and by civilians on a rotational basis. Opportunity posts have a limited time span after which they revert to civilian posts. Detail on the current number of opportunity posts is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
All serving members of the Armed Forces are required to undertake combat training because they are liable for deployment at any time. Nevertheless, there are some established posts undertaken by service personnel in which combat training is not a direct requirement of the job.
What consideration has been given to offering cash prizes for innovative ideas to solve tactical military requirements; and what changes to legislation would be required to provide such incentives for privately funded concepts.[HL5291]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): The Ministry of Defence is actively encouraging the nation's innovators to engage with the defence sector to deliver battle-winning technology for UK Armed Forces through initiatives such as the Centre for Defence Enterprise and the Grand Challenge. The guiding principle is to ensure value for money for the taxpayer while delivering departmental objectives. This is usually achieved by restricting payment to delivery of goods and services through contractual arrangements, but other methods of reward are possible including cash prizes.
What plans have been made for buying Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) beyond those currently in service; and what representations have been made by United Kingdom industry to supply UAVs which fulfil a similar role.[HL5289]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): All Reapers are being acquired under urgent operational requirement (UOR) arrangements to support operations. We currently have two Reaper UAVs available for operations with a
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UK industry understands that it could not offer a similar UAV to meet the immediate operation-specific requirement, but we are engaged closely with UK industry on our future requirements, for example through a joint investigation into the UK's military UAV capability requirement and how it should be delivered and through UAV technology demonstrator programmes such as Taranis and Mantis aimed at exploring the scope for affordable indigenous capability.
Lord Bassam of Brighton: The Government provide around £l billion a year of funding for the concessionary travel scheme. This includes an extra £212 million that was made available to local authorities for 2008-09, through a special grant, to fund the increased cost of the new statutory minimum bus concession. The funding allocation was approved following debate in the House of Commons on 25 March, and the allocation for each local authority in England for the next three years is published in the special grant report (No. 129).
The Government are confident that the extra funding is sufficient to meet the total cost to local authorities, as it is based on generous assumptions around fares, pass take-up, extra journeys and additional costs.
The Government are not party to negotiations between bus operators and local authorities regarding the amount of concessionary fare reimbursement paid to operators taking part in concessionary fares schemes.
Whether they intend to extend the Prime Minister's recent freer trade for Palestinians appeal to citizens of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus who, despite their support for various solutions including the 2004 Annan plan, have been subject to an embargo since 1974. [HL5115]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): The Government congratulate the two leaders in Cyprus for their decision, announced on 25 July, to start direct negotiations and for the progress they have made towards a reunified, indivisible Cyprus. The UK is fully committed to the establishment of a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation with political equality in Cyprus and stands ready to play its part in supporting the efforts of the two
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While the Government believe that only through a comprehensive solution can the isolation of the Turkish Cypriot community be fully lifted, the UK supports all measures which would promote trade between Turkish Cypriots and the rest of Europe, demonstrating the economic benefits for all Cypriots of a settlement. To this end, the Government will continue to work with the European Commission and presidency to find a mechanism to enable the Turkish Cypriots to trade with the EU on preferential terms.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office & Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (Lord Jones of Birmingham): Air source heat pumps can be an option for reducing carbon emissions from buildings, depending on the efficiency rating of the air source heat pump and the carbon intensity of the electricity it uses. At current prices they will generally be more expensive than conventional sources of heating, and their take-up will depend on future policy, as well as technology developments. The renewable energy strategy consultation published recently includes considerations of the role that microgeneration, including air source heat pumps, will play going forward and considers a range of possible initiatives such as financial or regulatory instruments. We will also be consulting on a low-carbon heat strategy later this year.
In spring 2009, we plan to outline the measures we will need to meet our share of the EU targets by 2020 but also to achieve our longer-term renewable and carbon targets. In this strategy we will look further at microgeneration as part of our renewable energy policy and in the context of the UK's wider energy generation mix.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): The Code for Sustainable Homes (the code) was introduced in April 2007 as the national sustainability standard for new homes. A code for sustainable buildings does not currently exist, and the
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Why, at a recent meeting of the European Union Energy Working Group, they proposed to change the text of the draft directive on renewable energy to remove the requirement to provide priority access for renewable energy to the national grid; and how such a change will increase the proportion of renewable energy.[HL5240]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office & Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (Lord Jones of Birmingham): The Government believe that priority access should remain an option for member states. In considering whether this is the right approach for our market, the issue is not simply whether we can connect more renewable generation but whether we can also maintain a reliable network and encourage essential investment in other generating technologies. Much variable renewable generation, such as from wind and wave power, requires a significant amount of responsive generation as back-up. We need to be sure that both are available. From the perspective of a renewable generator, knowing that a grid connection will be available when needed is likely to be more important than whether there is priority access over other technologies.
The recently published transmission access review (TAR) report (web address: www.berr.gov.uk/files/file46774.pdf) sets out a package of measures that, we believe, when taken together could remove or significantly reduce grid-related barriers to renewable and other forms of generation. These include short-term measures to connect more generators, enduring reform to grid access arrangements and acceleration of the way in which new grid infrastructure is planned and developed.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): Local authorities, in their capacity as employers, are considering the potential impact of the recent Court of Appeal judgment in Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council v Bainbridge & Ors. Communities and Local Government is monitoring developments with the local government employers.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): General practitioners are able to prescribe any licensed medicine on the National Health Service unless it is listed in Schedules 1 or 2 to the National Health Service (General Medical Services Contracts) (Prescription of Drugs etc.) Regulations 2004.
Which NHS trusts have used the Ultrasis computerised cognitive behavioural therapy system since the White Paper Our Care, Our Health, Our Say; and what is their assessment of its effectiveness as a primary care mental health system; and [HL5228]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): Information about which National Health Service (NHS) trusts have used a specific computerised cognitive behavioural therapy (cCBT) is not collected centrally.
The effectiveness of cCBT was assessed by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), which published guidance, Computerised cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Depression and Anxiety, in February 2004. NICE will consult on plans to review this in September 2008.
In October 2007, the Secretary of State announced investment rising to £173 million by 2011 for the delivery of the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies programme (IAPT). In spring 2008, the department issued guidance detailing the implementation of the IAPT programme and issued a separate tool kit for commissioners. Both of these describe the use of cCBT as an integral element of IAPT. The responsibility for the provision of all NHS services and treatments rests with primary care trusts (PCTs), and decisions about spending on treatments are made by each PCT.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): I refer the noble Baroness to the Written Answer I gave her on 22 July 2008 (Official Report, 22/7/08; col. WA 254).
How many new (a) categories, and (b) sub-categories there are in their consultation document, Proposed New Arrangements under Part IX of the Drug Tariff for the Provision of Stoma and Urology Applianceand Related Servicesin Primary Care.[HL5255]
The classification was determined by two panels: one to review urology appliances listed in Part IXA (catheter) and Part IXB and the other to review items listed in Part IXC. Membership consisted of healthcare professionals, and patient and industry association representatives. Their work was also subject to expert review by healthcare professionals who were either currently practising in the National Health Service or could provide proof of extensive professional experience.
Further to the Written Answer by Lord Darzi of Denham on 22 July (cols. WA 254255), (a) what estimate they have made of the cost of commissioning chromatographic fingerprinting tests for multi-ingredient herbal remedies; and (b) when Ministers last met representatives of the European Commission to discuss the impact of the traditional herbal medicines directive (2004/24/EC); and what was the outcome.[HL5309]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): In its regulatory impact assessment of the traditional herbal registration (THR) scheme, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) estimated that typically the overall costs of registering a product under the scheme, including the cost associated with chromatographic testing, could be several tens of thousand pounds. It was anticipated that this figure would vary widely according to specific circumstances, not least depending on whether companies already had systematic quality control systems in place. This assessment has not changed.
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