Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

“Communications data” and “communications” are defined in the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000. The Government are satisfied that they can distinguish between communications data and the content of the communications.

Access to communications data is achieved through the provisions in the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 and the relevant statutory code of practice.

The Government have been working with service providers to ensure that they have systems in place that will store the data using common handover interfaces that meet the ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute) standard to ensure the data are delivered effectively and efficiently when a lawful requirement to disclose the data has been made.

Asked by Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer

Lord West of Spithead: The implementation group for the Data Retention (EC Directive) Regulation 2009 will be consulted on the work of the Interception Modernisation Programme.

Asked by Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer

20 Apr 2009 : Column WA324

Lord West of Spithead: In relation to the acquisition and disclosure of communications data, the meaning of traffic data is set out in Section 21(4)(a) and 21(6) of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000. This includes data identifying a file or program by reference to the apparatus in which it is stored. Traffic data also include data identifying or purporting to identify any location to or from which a communication is or may be transmitted.

Debt: United States


Asked by Lord Laird

The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): The Answer to this Question can be obtained only at disproportionate cost. The specific details of the loans would have to be located from the files (dating back more than 80 years) held in the Public Records Office.

Department for International Development: DEL


Asked by Baroness Northover

The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): The Comprehensive Spending Review 2007 established the Stabilisation Aid Fund to support the design and delivery of UK civilian activities, including quick impact projects, in insecure environments. This fund took over responsibilities for programmes in Iraq and Afghanistan previously discharged from the Conflict Prevention Pools.

With the establishment of the fund, overall funding for conflict prevention activities over the CSR period will have increased significantly from £139 million in 2007-08 to £229 million in 2010-11.


Conflict Prevention Pool





Stabilisation Aid Fund










20 Apr 2009 : Column WA325

Driving: Learners


Asked by The Earl of Dundee

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Lord Adonis): The public were able to respond through postal services and via an online form to the Learning to Drive consultation. The public were also able to attend and provide feedback through 13 regional stakeholder events held in England, Scotland and Wales.

Young people were one of the Driving Standards Agency's (DSA's) key target audiences during the Learning to Drive consultation. In addition, DSA's Young People's Forum, which held a number of consultation workshops in colleges and universities around the country, encouraged them to participate in the consultation. Some 61 per cent of the 6,857 completed questionnaires were submitted by young people.

Asked by The Earl of Dundee

Lord Adonis: A total of 6,857 completed questionnaires were received in response to the Learning to Drive consultation paper. In addition, we also received feedback from around 1,400 people who attended 13 regional stakeholder events in England, Scotland and Wales, and Driving Standards Agency business customer conferences in Plymouth, Newcastle and Harrogate.

The responses to the consultation are being analysed by age, driver experience and profession. We shall publish our decisions and report on the consultation shortly.

Asked by The Earl of Dundee

Lord Adonis: The Driving Standards Agency has worked with the Scottish Qualifications Authority through a Qualification Development Board. The board includes key stakeholders such as senior police officers, road safety officers, educationalists and representatives of sector skills councils. Discussions on the qualification included: its content; its level of qualification and credit frameworks; ways of maximising its availability

20 Apr 2009 : Column WA326

and attractiveness to a range of institutions and to young people in general; and arrangements for a managed rollout.

Asked by The Earl of Dundee

Lord Adonis: In Scotland three colleges, three schools, one young offender institution and one private company have committed to delivering the qualification.

In England one college and two schools have committed to delivery and three county council road safety departments have expressed a strong interest in being involved in the next stage of development. As awareness of the qualification increases, we are expecting further expressions of interest.

Asked by The Earl of Dundee

Lord Adonis: As part of a managed and quality-controlled rollout, the qualification has initially been introduced at a limited number of centres, including schools, in England and Scotland.

The Driving Standards Agency intends to draw on the course management and quality control information provided by the awarding bodies to evaluate the effectiveness of the qualification.

This has been developed as a voluntary qualification and there are no current plans to make it compulsory.

Drugs: Clonazepam


Asked by Lord Acton

Baroness Thornton: Clonazepam belongs to the class of medicines known as benzodiazepines. When benzodiazepines were introduced into the market in the United Kingdom there was not a formal system of medicines regulation. In 1971 after implementation of the Medicines Act 1968, all medicines were given a licence of right, and these licences were reviewed over time by the Committee on Review of Medicines (CRM) and granted a reviewed licence if they met the requirements of safety, efficacy and quality.

Clonazepam, which is used for the treatment of epilepsy in infants, children and adults, was granted a product licence of right on 13 June 1974.

20 Apr 2009 : Column WA327

As with all medicines authorised in the UK, the safety of clonazepam has been kept under close and continuous scrutiny by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) using a wide variety of data sources. These include spontaneous adverse drug data from the UK and worldwide, clinical trials and epidemiological studies, worldwide published medical literature, data from the manufacturer and information from worldwide regulatory authorities.

The MHRA captures data on potential side effects associated with medicines through its Yellow Card scheme. Doctors, dentists, coroners, pharmacists, nurses and patients can report suspected side effects to the MHRA through the Yellow Card scheme. A total of 174 spontaneous case reports have been received detailing 382 reactions suspected to be associated with the use of clonazepam in the UK. The most commonly reported suspected adverse reactions include aggression (14 reports), somnolence (12), mania (9), ataxia (8) and epilepsy (8). All of these adverse reactions, or the symptoms commonly used to describe these conditions, are included in the product information for clonazepam.

Information to aid the safe use of clonazepam is provided in the product information which consists of the summary of product characteristics for healthcare professionals and the patient information leaflet. These are available on the internet at

Additional prescribing advice is provided in the British National Formulary, which is sent to all doctors within the National Health Service.

Drugs: Khat


Asked by Baroness Warsi

Baroness Thornton: In March 2005 the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) was asked by the then Home Office Minister Caroline Flint to assess the extent of the harm posed by khat use in the United Kingdom, to the individual, their communities and to society as a whole.

The ACMD reported in January 2006 and continues to monitor the situation in relation to khat through its technical committee.

Advice on khat is available through the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse and FRANK.

Education: Home Schooling


Asked by Lord Lucas

20 Apr 2009 : Column WA328

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): The department and local authorities are making information about ContactPoint available to young people and their parents/carers using a range of methods, for example, direct mailing to households, leaflet distribution, publications on websites and through the media. Activity has been taking place across England for some time and will increase over the coming months. A range of materials, which includes information about shielding, is widely available. More detailed information is available on the department’s website: uk/contactpoint.

Elephant Ivory


Asked by Lord James of Blackheath

The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): Imports of elephant ivory into the UK are subject to stringent licensing controls under European Union legislation. This legislation implements the requirements of the 1973 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) to control the trade in endangered species. Animal Health, an agency of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) issues import and export permits and these are subject to customs verification checks at UK points of entry and exit. Mammoth ivory is not subject to CITES controls.

The targeting and detection of illegal ivory imports is one of the top CITES priorities of the UK Border Agency (UKBA). Where ivory items without valid permits are detected, which includes netsukes made from elephant ivory, they will be seized.

Should UKBA be unable to determine the animal origin of the ivory netsuke, it is placed under customs detention, and further identification by specialists such as the Natural History Museum or by forensic testing experts, is carried out. If the determination is that the ivory is mammoth ivory, it will be released from detention and may be imported subject to any other controls and payment of any customs charges. However, should it be confirmed that the netsuke item is from elephant ivory, it will be seized by UKBA, and if appropriate, the case may be referred to the Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office to consider prosecution action.



Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

The Minister of State, Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (Lord Drayson): The Medical Research Council (MRC) does not employ criteria to determine the proportion of funding spent on different fields of stem cell research but supports competitive science which has the potential to move the field forward and to harness the potential of stem cells to treat human disease.

The MRC is not currently supporting any research relating to alternative medicine.

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

Lord Drayson: The MRC does not hold information on the total number of research publications worldwide on induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) or embryo-derived stem cells. To secure this information would require a detailed analysis of many hundreds of journals, and the costs would therefore be disproportionate.

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

Baroness Thornton: The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority has advised me that 15 of the 34 inspection reports currently published on its website discuss the time period for culturing embryos. None of the reports reveal a breach of the 14-day limit.

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page