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Gulf War Illnesses


Asked by Lord Roberts of Conwy

The Minister for International Defence and Security (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): The noble Lord, Lord Tyler, has not forwarded the letters he referred to during his supplementary question to the MoD on 27 April (Official Report, cols. 8-10). Without further details or copies of the letters it is not possible for the MoD to comment any further. There is no requirement to amend the parliamentary record because our position remains as set out in the Answer I gave on 20 May (Official Report, col. WA 323).

Health: Skin


Asked by Baroness Masham of Ilton

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The Government are taking forward a range of work relevant to the recommendations in the report. For example:

the implementation of the Improving Outcomes Guidance on skin cancer will mean that most surgery will be carried out only by those who have received approved training and specialist skin cancer multi-disciplinary teams should play a lead role in training and teaching other health professionals about skin cancer;the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence is planning to provide guidelines on skin cancer prevention later this year; andthe Cancer Reform Strategy (2007) also made commitments to increase the funding available for awareness programmes. The Department of Health and the National Cancer Action Team has a range of work under way to promote skin cancer prevention and awareness, including the funding of the CRUK SunSmart campaign and pilot projects at local level.

Asked by Baroness Masham of Ilton

Lord Darzi of Denham: United Kingdom figures are not collected centrally. However, a table outlining the number of staff within the dermatology speciality in England (only) has been placed in the Library. We do not collect the data on overseas consultant dermatologists that would allow us to make a comparison.

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Asked by Baroness Masham of Ilton

Lord Darzi of Denham: It is the responsibility of employers, in co-operation with their staff, to ensure all professions are trained to the appropriate standard, including the diagnosis of skin conditions. Courses external to the employers' organisations are available and organisations will provide training internally. The department does not keep a record of all training available.

Asked by Baroness Masham of Ilton

Lord Darzi of Denham: The content of curriculum and quality and standard of training for medical professions and nurses is not the responsibility of the department but the responsibility of the appropriate professional regulatory body.

However, the department is committed to working with the professional regulatory bodies, royal colleges and others to promote high standards of education and training to ensure that students, doctors and nurses are equipped with the up to date knowledge, skills and attitudes essential for professional practice.

We set out in the White Paper, Pharmacy in England: Building on Strengths-Delivering the Future, our Plans to Review Current Arrangements for Pharmacist Undergraduate Education and pre-registration to ensure that future pharmacists have the required clinical skills and experience to equip them to deliver services. Work on developing a future curriculum is not at the stage to support discussion on services, including dermatology.

HMS “Poseidon”


Asked by Lord Astor of Hever

The Minister for International Defence and Security (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): The Ministry of Defence has recently been notified of information on the official website of the Shanghai Salvage Bureau, which states that HMS “Poseidon” was salvaged by Chinese authorities in 1972, although there is no mention of the remains of her crew.

We take matters concerning United Kingdom military maritime graves extremely seriously and are investigating this matter closely. Further details have been requested

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from the Chinese authorities. When that response is received, the Ministry of Defence will determine what further steps need to be taken.

Houses of Parliament: Select Committees


Asked by Lord Lester of Herne Hill

Baroness Crawley: There are no plans to do so.



Asked by Lord Greaves

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): The department is making a continuous assessment of the success of EDMOs through its regular contact with local authorities and the Empty Homes Agency. Altogether 24 interim EDMOs have been approved by the Residential Property Tribunal Service (RPTS) and nearly half of these were approved in the past 12 months, compared with none in 2006 when the legislation first came into effect. We believe these figures show that the legislation is taking effect.

Immigration: Oakington Removal Centre


Asked by The Earl of Sandwich

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The Chief Inspector of Prisons' report into Oakington immigration removal centre was published in December 2008 and contained 111 recommendations. Of these, 89 were fully accepted by the UK Border Agency, and a further 13 were accepted in principle or in part. Action has been completed to implement 60 of the recommendations and progress is being made against the outstanding 42. We expect the majority will be completed by the end of the calendar year.

There are no plans to expand Oakington prior to its closure.

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National Policy Statements


Asked by Lord Greaves

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Baroness Royall of Blaisdon): I have today laid a Written Ministerial Statement before the House setting out the proposed scrutiny arrangements for national policy statements in the Lords.

Northern Ireland: Security


Asked by Lord Laird

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: As the most recent report of the Independent Monitoring Commission confirms, the threat from dissident republican activity remains consistently more serious than at any other time in the past five years.

Nuclear Weapons: Trident


Asked by Lord Judd

The Minister for International Defence and Security (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): I refer the noble Lord to the Answer my right honourable friend the Defence Secretary gave in another place on 22 June 2009 (Official Report, col. 628W) to the honourable Member for Islington North (Mr Corbyn).

Police: Northern Ireland


Asked by Lord Laird

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: That is an operational matter for the chief constable. I have asked him to reply directly to the noble Lord, and a copy of his letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

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Asked by Lord Dykes

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Lord Young of Norwood Green): Post Office Ltd currently plays a vital role providing access to financial services through its national network of around 11,500 branches. It already offers an extensive range of financial services products including savings, insurance, mortgages, credit cards, and more than 1,600 free-to-use cash machines providing further access to cash across the network.

We are keen for Post Office Ltd to increase its financial services offering using its unrivalled network to put a wider range of services within reasonable reach of the whole UK population.



Asked by Baroness Finlay of Llandaff

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): The Government have no plans to cut prison medical services. We have invested £201.4 million for 2009-10. This has been supplemented by the National Offender Management Service which has invested £7.6 million year to date. Together these allocations form the baseline for offender healthcare funding. As with wider PCT allocations, these funds are subject to local commissioning and service provision.

For 2010-11 the department plans to invest £206.8 million, which represents a 2.7 per cent uplift on the current financial year.

Work is currently under way to ensure the department's investment in offender health is mainstreamed to form part of PCT baseline allocations from 2011 onwards.

Prisons: Education


Asked by Lord Quirk

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): Prison educational programmes are funded from two government departments, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Department for Children, Schools and Families. Between these two departments there is no intention

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to reduce the funding for the provision of prison educational programmes during 2009-10. There are also no current plans to reduce prison education programmes in future years.

Prisons: Northern Ireland


Asked by Lord Laird

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: The Northern Ireland Prison Service currently has a capital works building budget of approximately £60 million over the three years (April 2008 to March 2011) covered by CSR07. The Prisons Minister announced in December 2007 plans to provide 400 extra places by March 2011.

Capital funding beyond 2011 will be the subject of the next spending review. In preparation, plans are currently being developed for:

the replacement of Magilligan Prison with a new 800-place male prison for which construction is due to start in 2012;the relocation of the prison training facilities from Millisle to the new joint college at Desertcreat; andprovision for women prisoners in Northern Ireland.

Prisons: Officers


Asked by The Earl of Listowel

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): Since September 2007, all newly recruited prison officers are required to complete a level 3 national vocational qualification (NVQ) in custodial care within a maximum of 18 months of joining the service. Therefore, all prison officers recruited since September 2007 will have achieved this qualification on reaching 24 months, and 36 months, employment. Currently, 96 per cent of prison officers of 12 months employment have achieved a level 3 NVQ in custodial care.

Territorial Army


Asked by Lord Astor of Hever

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The Minister for International Defence and Security (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): Soldiers of the Territorial Army (TA) who are serving in additional duties commitments (ADC), full-time reserve service (FTRS) or non-regular permanent staff (NRPS) posts may be eligible for financial support in the form of compensation for losing their posts. However, this is assessed on a case-by-case basis and financial amounts will vary.

TA soldiers who are undertaking only man training days, under Sections 22 and 27 of the Reserve Forces Act 1996, do not receive financial support.

ADC and FTRS do not have a generic redundancy scheme in place. Rather, if an individual is made redundant, a personal redundancy package would be calculated by the Government Actuary's Department.

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