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Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: My Lords, the legacy from existing stations falls to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and the Nuclear Liabilities
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The Lord Bishop of Liverpool: My Lords, with EDF becoming the principal provider of nuclear energy in this country, can the Minister guarantee that there will be safeguards, and that nuclear waste will not come from France to be buried in this country?
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: If I may say so, my Lords, that is a completely separate issue. The point about the EDF takeover of British Energy is that it will enable the development of new nuclear in the United Kingdom. I do not think that any of the agreements being discussed involve the transfer of waste.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: My Lords, like a number of other noble Lords, I expect, I find myself agreeing very strongly with what the noble Lord, Lord Renton of Mount Harry, said about the expansion of the nuclear industry in this country. I also agree very strongly indeed with what my noble friend Lord Tomlinson said about the lack of a two-way street. Do the Government have any intention of having a golden share in our nuclear industry in order to protect what will be a vital British national interest? Some of us feel a little uncomfortable about there not being equal access to markets in France.
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: No, my Lords, we do not think that a golden share is appropriate. We do think that we should continue to urge in Europe for liberalisation of the market and we do think that this proposed deal will bring many benefits to this country.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): My Lords, the Healthcare Commissions data show that 87 per cent of patients are able to get an appointment within two working days of requesting an appointment. We are taking action to drive further improvements in access with more than 50 per cent of GP surgeries now offering extended opening hours, PCT commissioning of 150 GP health centres which are open to any member of the public from 8 am to 8 pm seven days a week, and more than 100 new GP practices in our most poorly served communities.
Baroness Pitkeathley: My Lords, I thank my noble friend for that encouraging and positive response. How does he think that the additional funding for the NHS, which has been announced, will affect patients, particularly with regard to their access to general practitioner services?
Lord Darzi of Denham: My Lords, the Government have invested £250 million recurrently to deliver the new GP practices in health centres that I have mentioned. That investment is in addition to the funding that PCTs have already received from primary care services, so this is new money for new, additional services. Earlier this year, the Department of Health and the BMA also agreed, as part of a range of improvements to the GP contract, that £50 million will be invested in a new set of enhanced services covering all GP practices in England. It is designated to help and to embed best practice in quality of care. A further £50 million will be invested locally this year, in 2009 and in 2010 to improve the accessibility and responsiveness of GP services.
Baroness Tonge: My Lords, some people leading busy working lives do not necessarily want to see their GP within 48 hours, but would prefer to make an appointment a week or two ahead to fit in with, for example, their business travel abroad. Can the Minister assure the House that GPs who accommodate such patients, and do not require them to ring up on the day they get back to Heathrow, will not be penalised by primary care trusts for not achieving the 48-hour target?
Lord Darzi of Denham: My Lords, I have just made it clear that we are significantly enhancing and expanding the capacity of access to primary care in the investments I referred to. Certainly, with the extended services that I referred to and which are part of our negotiations with the BMA, we are currently achieving a rate of 51 per cent of GP practices offering extended hours to allow patients access to GPs out of hours. I have also made numerous references to GP health centres which will allow any patient access at any time between 8 am and 8 pm seven days a week without incurring penalties or the need to register. That access will be available in most areas of the country by the end of next year.
Lord Walton of Detchant: My Lords, does the Minister agree that the recent report from the Healthcare Commission demonstrates a substantial improvement in the general standard of care throughout the UK since the last report was prepared? In particular, will he congratulate the north-east region for coming out as one of the best, if not the very best, regions in the country? Turning to the question of GP hours, it is true that 50 per cent of practices are now offering extended hours. When we can hope that that will increase to 100 per cent?
Lord Darzi of Denham: My Lords, I could not agree more with the noble Lord and I, too, congratulate not just GP practices but also their leadership at the local level, including the north-east region where the enhanced services have had a tremendous impact on the quality of access. I also acknowledge the fact that at 51 per cent we are three months ahead of our anticipated
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Earl Howe: My Lords, one of the concerns raised by the BMA in this area is that the Government have insisted on GP practices offering a significantly higher number of routine appointments late in the evening or on Saturday mornings irrespective of whether there is a demand for them locally. Why will not the Government countenance the idea of extended hours being determined according to local circumstances and needs?
Lord Darzi of Denham: My Lords, the responses to 6 million questionnaires in our 2006 and 2007 surveys clearly indicated that the public and users have expressed a desire in having extended hours. This Government are committed to establishing those services and I have no doubt that, as we have achieved 51 per cent, the provision to cover the demand for them could be negotiated at the local level.
Baroness Masham of Ilton: My Lords, does the Minister realise that many people are concerned that some GPs are being bribed not to send patients to hospital? Does this not put extra stress on GPs and is it not dangerous in cases such as cancer?
Lord Darzi of Denham: My Lords, GPs are not bribed; they are paid to make appropriate referrals based on their clinical judgment to places where patients will receive the right treatment in the right place. We should acknowledge that the quality of primary care in this country is the envy of many. As we highlighted in the Primary and Community Care Strategy, we wish to help primary care colleagues in the next decade to shift more diagnostics into the community in order to broaden access to such diagnostic tests.
Lord Warner: My Lords, does my noble friend agree that the Government would make even further progress in their admirable record on improving access if they phased out as quickly as possible the minimum practice income guarantee so that the money could be used to improve our performance in this area?
Lord Darzi of Denham: My Lords, I am grateful to my noble friend for that intervention. That is a contractual negotiation which NHS employers are dealing with along with the BMA, and no doubt the two parties will come to a final conclusion in due course.
(a) the UN terrorism orders, or
(b) Part 2 of the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 (c. 24) (freezing orders).
(a) to give a direction under any of the UN terrorism orders, or
(b) to make a freezing order under Part 2 of the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 (c.24),
The noble Lord said: The purpose of Part 5 is to make express provision for circumstances where the basis for a designation, or any other decision of the Treasury regarding the freezing of a persons assets under the UN terrorism orders, is challenged in court proceedings, but where the reasons for the decision cannot be disclosed because disclosure would be contrary to the public interest and involve closed source material. The proposal is that closed source material relevant to the Treasurys decision would be considered at a closed hearing for which a special advocate, a security-vetted barrister, would represent the interests of the designated person.
The provisions will align the procedure for court proceedings relating to asset freezes with other similar national security proceduresfor example, control order reviews and appeals, appeals to the Special Immigration Appeals Commission or the Proscribed Organisations Appeal Commission. The Treasury aims to keep the special advocate provisions in the Bill as close to those other procedures as possible.
The amendments make one extension of scope and one procedural change. They extend the provision of Part 5 to cover freezing orders under Part 2 of the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001. This extension will ensure that challenges to asset freezes under the Act are subject to the same court procedure as applies to those made under the UN terrorism order. It will ensure that the court is able properly to review the reasons for the Treasurys decision, applying judicial review principles, even where the reasons for the decision, or part of those reasons, cannot be disclosed openly because they involve closed source material.
The amendments also seek to ensure that all decisions made under the ATCSA and the UN terrorism orders can be challenged under the Part 5 procedure
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The amendment is an improvement on the existing provision that lists the specific decisions to be taken by the Treasury, which has the potential to give rise to uncertainty where the decision challenged does not fall precisely into one of the categories listed. In practical terms, we do not see the amendment as widening the scope of the provisions. The amendments revoke the provisions in the current legislation relating to challenges while providing more coherent replacements. I commend the amendments to the Committee. I beg to move.
Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer: In so far as these are technical amendments which bring the legislation into line in the way described by the Minister, we shall not challenge them. I shall save my more substantial remarks for the question of what should fall within the scope of this when I move Amendment No. 105NZA, which concerns definition. As we are content with the definition of what the Minister is talking about, we have no argument with the amendments.
Lord Kingsland: As I understand it, the provisions currently in the Bill are to ensure that sensitive information used in the making of a UN terrorism order can be considered during an appeal. These amendments extend those provisions to cover Part 2 of the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001, which allows asset freezing in the case of detriment to the United Kingdom economy or to a UK national or resident. The Government presumably wish to align all procedures in the case of asset freezing, which seems to us to be sensible. For those reasons, we support the amendment.
(a) the Terrorism (United Nations Measures) Order 2001 (S.I. 2001/3365);
(b) the Al-Qaida and Taliban (United Nations Measures) Order 2002 (S.I. 2002/111);
(c) the Terrorism (United Nations Measures) Order 2006 (S.I. 2006/2657);
(d) the Al-Qaida and Taliban (United Nations Measures) Order 2006 (S.I. 2006/2952).
(a) adding other Orders in Council made under section 1 of the United Nations Act 1946 (c.45),
(b) providing that a reference to a specified Order in Council is to that order as amended by a further Order in Council (made after the passing of this Act), or
(c) removing an Order in Council.
105L: Clause 69, page 48, line 39, leave out to set aside an asset freezing decision and insert under section (Application to set aside asset freezing decision) or on a claim arising from any matter to which such an application relates.
In paragraph 11 of Schedule 3 to the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 (c. 24) (Treasurys duty to give reason why person is specified in freezing order), make the existing provision sub-paragraph (1) and after it insert
(5) For the purposes of this section, terrorism-related activity has the same meaning as defined in section 1(9) of the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 (meaning of involvement in terrorism-related activity).
The noble Baroness said: This amendment is aimed to probe exactly what is caught within the scope of the legislation that the Government are using to make the freezing orders. Laid before the House at the moment is also the Landsbanki Freezing Order 2008, which we may well debate later. For today, I want to take the Chamber back to the original legislation that the Government passed in order to progress the freezing of assets in cases of terrorism, which was of course the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001. That Act was passed in 2001 in a hurry as emergency legislation in response to the 11 September attack. As emergency legislation, that Bill was hardly debated in the Commons, as MPs have subsequently pointed out on several occasionsfor example, in the other place on 25 February 2004 at col. 312. David Blunketts explanation of the asset-freezing powers at the time, however, was quite clear:
The emergency legislation will build on the provisions of the Proceeds of Crime Bill to deal specifically with terrorist finance through monitoring and freezing the accounts of suspected terrorists.[Official Report, Commons, 15/10/01; col. 923.]
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