|Previous Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|
A memorandum by the National Audit Office for the Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee (Department for Work and Pensions: Information Technology Programmes, November 2008) provides a full account of the department's current IT investment.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidelines on chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis are to be reviewed; and, if so, when. [HL3075]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence will consider in August 2010 whether there is a need to review its clinical guideline on chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the answers by Baroness Thornton on 5 March (Official Report, House of Lords, cols. 84446), what representations they have received from Mrs Harriet Bullock of Reydon, Suffolk, the widow of a haemophilia patient fatally infected with hepatitis C by contaminated NHS products, about those answers. [HL2493]
To ask Her Majesty's Government why on 20 April the Metropolitan Police prevented vehicles entering Parliament Square; for how long this action continued; whether it hindered access to Parliament by Members of both Houses; whether the parliamentary authorities were consulted in advance; whether police or military helicopters flew over Parliament Square and, if so, (a) why, (b) for how long, and (c) at what height; and what was the cost of operations relating to protests in Parliament Square on 20 April and previous days. [HL2976]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The Government are committed to protecting and facilitating the right to peaceful protest. Police tactics and decisions on policing protests are matters for the independent judgment of chief officers of police. The policing of demonstrations around Parliament is an operational matter for the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by the Lord President (Baroness Royall of Blaisdon) on 20 April (WA 346), on how many occasions and in what circumstances Ministers of the Ministry of Defence have refused to give evidence to Parliamentary Select Committees during the past five years. [HL2984]
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by the Lord President (Baroness Royall of Blaisdon) on 20 April (WA 346), on how many occasions and in what circumstances Ministers of the Department for Children, Schools and Families have refused to give evidence to Parliamentary Select Committees during the past five years. [HL2986]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): According to our records, no Ministers at the Department for Children, Schools and Families have refused to give evidence to parliamentary Select Committees.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by the Lord President (Baroness Royall of Blaisdon) on 20 April (WA 346), on how many occasions and in what circumstances Ministers of the Department for Work and Pensions have refused to give evidence to Parliamentary Select Committees during the past five years.[HL3136]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): There have been no circumstances during the past five years in which a Minister from the Department for Work and Pensions has refused an invitation from a parliamentary Select Committee to attend oral evidence.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Malloch-Brown on 20 April (WA 348) concerning human rights issues in the Republic of Ireland, for what countries they make an assessment of human rights protection; and how those countries are selected. [HL3046]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): Our missions overseas regularly report on a variety of issues, including on human rights, where appropriate. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office's 2008 annual report on human rights highlighted 21 countries of concern, but this is not an exhaustive survey of countries' records on human rights. Nor is it a league table of countries we consider the worst offenders.
For further information the report can be found at www.fco.gov.uk/resources/en/pdf/pdf15/human-rights-2008.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the statement of 15 February by the Prosecutor General of Iran, Ayatollah Dorri-Najafabadi, that it is the declared intention of the Iranian authorities to confront and destroy the leadership of the country's Baha'i community; what information they have about the whereabouts and health of the seven Baha'i leaders imprisoned in Iran; and whether they have made representations asking for a trial date to be set and for the presence of independent observers at the trial.[HL3135]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): We have serious concerns about ongoing discrimination against Baha'is in Iran. The statement of 15 February 2009 is a worrying indictment of the precarious nature of their community
5 May 2009 : Column WA103
We have received reports that the seven Baha'i leaders are in good health. However, we are extremely concerned by their prolonged detention and have called repeatedly for the Iranian Government to release them. My honourable friend the Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Bill Rammell, issued a Statement on 16 February 2009, backed by an EU statement on 17 February 2009, calling for the Iranian Government to guarantee a fair trial and allow independent observation of judicial proceedings.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many members of Her Majesty's armed forces on military duties in Iraq have been issued with Nerve Agent Pre-treatment Sets (pyridostigmine bromide) since the beginning of 2003; how many are recorded as having taken the tablets; under what circumstances they were taken; and what action has been taken to assess the effects of the medication. [HL2558]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): During the first three months of Operation TELIC (January-March 2003), nerve agent pre-treatment sets (NAPS) tablets were issued to Armed Forces personnel in single strips of 21 tablets. The recommended dosage rate is one pyridostigmine bromide (30mg) tablet every eight hours i.e. three per day. Thus, a single strip contains a week's supply.
|Month||Strips supplied||Total tablets|
NAPS tablets were issued to personnel by their commanders, and self-administered on command. Operational commanders were given the authority to decide when troops should start and stop taking NAPS in order that the use of the countermeasure could be adapted to meet the threat situation at the time.
Due to the policy of self-administration of NAPS tablets, as opposed to administration by a medical officer, no records of their administration are kept. All service personnel receive training on the importance of taking NAPS in theatre and instructions for the use of NAPS are well publicised to command and medical staff.
The use of NAPS on Operation TELIC ceased in April 2003. The effects of the medication have been assessed through routine epidemiology and theatre reporting systems. In addition, MoD sponsored a research programme into the possible health effects of the combination of vaccines and tablets which were given to troops at the time of the 1990-91 Gulf conflict to protect them against the threat of biological and chemical warfare. The overwhelming evidence from the programme is that the NAPS that were offered to UK forces at the time of the 1990-91 Gulf conflict would not have had adverse health effects. The tablets issued on Op TELIC were the same as those used in the Gulf in 1990-91.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they consider the United Kingdom Permanent Representation to the European Union to have been negligent in failing to make the Government aware that the government of Spain had put forward a site in British Gibraltar territorial waters for designation under the Habitats Directive (92/43EEC) as an environmentally sensitive site under Spanish responsibility. [HL2950]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): As I stated in my Answer of 1 April 2009 (Official Report, col. WA243), the European Commission adopted Decision 2009/05/EC on 12 December 2008, adopting a second updated list of sites of community importance under the Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC).
When the sites were put forward, the UK was asked by the Commission to verify those sites which the UK had submitted (as were other member states asked to verify only their own submissions). In our view the designation procedures were deficient and there was a lack of transparency and effective consultation involved.
The UK is deeply concerned that Spain should seek to designate an area of British Gibraltar territorial waters and that this designation should have been approved. We have already made representations to both the European Commission and Spain on this matter and will continue to do so in order to redress this issue. In the mean time, we have placed on record that the UK does not recognise the validity of the Spanish designation.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the 19 April election result in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and whether there is any link between that result and promises made by the United Kingdom government and by
5 May 2009 : Column WA105
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): There are likely to have been a wide number of factors influencing the electorate. Our primary focus must be on the settlement negotiations. The UK remains a firm supporter of steps to bring Turkish Cypriots closer to Europe through trade liberalisation and financial aid. We do not expect these elections to have an impact on the settlement process. Mr Talat is still the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community and therefore the negotiator. The talks continue to make good progress. Mr Eroglu has undertaken to support the process, which is an important indicator of his position.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord McKenzie of Luton on 25 March (WA 146), which benefits and pensions are inflation-proofed; which price index governs increases; which month's index is used to determine increases; on what date increases are applied; and by what date in 2009-10 it would be necessary to have deflation-proofing legislation in force to enable a fall in prices to be taken account of in such payments. [HL2814]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): The Department for Work and Pensions is required to review all social security benefits each year to ensure they have retained their value in relation to prices (or, for the standard minimum guarantee in pension credit, earnings). Generally the contributory benefits are increased in line with the retail prices index and the income related benefits increased by the Rossi index which is the retail prices index with the housing elements removed.
The retail prices index and Rossi index for September and the average earnings index (whole economy, including bonuses seasonally adjusted) May to July are generally used to uprate benefits from the following April. The new rates broadly come into force from the first payday on or after the first Monday of the new financial year.
Lord McKenzie of Luton: The Government believe that the programme of workplace visits initiated by the Pensions Advisory Service can have a part to play in raising awareness of the importance of retirement planning and that such visits should continue.
DWP is working with the pensions industry, employers and the third sector to ensure information on pensions is available to those planning their retirement, drawing on a range of research including lessons learnt from the Pension Education Fund.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): As at 31 March 2009 there were records on the national DNA database relating to an estimated 4,859,934 individuals included by all police forces, of which an estimated 4,561,201 were from English and Welsh forces.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what use they make of private military companies in operations in countries where United Kingdom forces are deployed; and what is the chain of command in respect to the use of such companies. [HL3101]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): The Foreign and Commonwealth Office currently uses five private military and security companies (PMSCs) in both Iraq and Afghanistan to fulfil a number of roles including close protection, static guarding, police mentoring and intelligence analysis. Our current contracts provide a rigorous framework to ensure the highest standards of conduct from the PMSCs we contract. The chain of command is through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London and embassy officials on the ground in both countries.
|Next Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|