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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Davies of Oldham): The Meat (Official Controls Charges) (England) Regulations 2009 and similar regulations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, will change the system of charging for meat hygiene official controls in approved meat plants, including abattoirs, from 28 September 2009. Under the new charging arrangements abattoirs will be charged a percentage of the time costs of meat hygiene official controls carried out at their premises. The change will not increase charges for businesses if official control time remains unchanged and will provide an incentive for businesses to improve standards and compliance and to use official control resources as effectively as possible.
The Government will shortly be undertaking public consultation on proposals to amend the Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (England) Regulations 2008, which will include a proposal to require only slaughterhouses processing cattle requiring BSE testing to have an approved required method of operation (RMOP). As the age over which cattle must be tested for BSE was raised in January 2009, the effect would be that only abattoirs slaughtering cattle aged over 48 months, instead of the current 30 months, would require an approved RMOP. Similar consultation exercises will be held in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The European Commission published a proposal for a council regulation on the protection of animals at the time of killing, in September 2008. The proposed regulation will replace directive 93/119 on the protection of animals at the time of killing. The text of the proposed regulation has been under consideration since last autumn and political agreement was reached on a presidency compromise text at the Agriculture Council on 22 and 23 June.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord McKenzie of Luton on 1 June (WA 8), by what date deflation-proofing legislation would need to be commenced to enable any deflationary movement in the retail prices, Rossi and average earnings indices of September 2009 to be taken into account in the re-rating of public sector pensions; and what preparations they have made for any downrating. [HL4043]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): I refer the noble Lord to the Answer my noble friend Lord Patel of Bradford gave him on Tuesday 3 March (Official Report, col. WA141). The Government are committed to maintaining at least the current cash value of state pensions and the same would be applicable for public sector pensions. The existing legislation already allows for this.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by the then Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, on 29 April (Official Report, House of Commons, col. 1350W), what were the origins of the two individuals deprived of citizenship under Section 40(2) of the British Nationality Act 1981; why they were deprived of citizenship; and where they are currently residing. [HL4516]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether any British Overseas Territories contribute to (a) the United Kingdom's subscriptions to international organisations, and (b) the United Kingdom's bilateral and multilateral aid expenditure. [HL4717]
The Minister for Europe (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): The British Overseas Territories do not contribute to the UK's subscriptions to international organisations. Some territories make their own contributions to certain international organisations. For example, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Turks and Caicos Islands and St Helena pay their subscriptions to the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT).
None of the overseas territories contributes to the UK's bilateral and multilateral aid expenditure. Bermuda runs a small-scale aid programme to fund a number of projects chosen by Bermuda. Recent examples have been assistance to a South African township and to hurricane relief in the Caribbean.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how, in the event of the cessation of analogue radio broadcasting, analogue radios of no further use will be disposed of; and whether they will have to be dismantled into constituent components. [HL4431]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, in the event of the cessation of analogue radio broadcasting, the disposal of analogue radios of no further use will come under the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive; and, if so, who will have the duty to dispose of them. [HL4432]
The Minister for Trade and Investment (Lord Davies of Abersoch): Under the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations, householders can dispose of any WEEE, including analogue radios, either direct to distributors where they offer a take-back service on the purchase of a replacement product of equivalent use; or via local authority civic amenity sites which have been approved as designated collection facilities (DCFs).
Under the WEEE regulations, all producers of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) have obligations to finance the collection, treatment, reprocessing and environmentally sound disposal of all separately collected products when disposed of by the householder.
All separately collected WEEE must be passed to an authorised approved treatment facility (AATF) which is responsible for treating equipment to approved treatment standards as required by the regulations.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The Country of Origin Information (COI) Service will publish an updated COI report on the Democratic Republic of Congo by Friday 3 July 2009.
The revised report will be available on the Home Office website at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/country_reports.html. A copy will be placed in the House Library.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The UK Border Agency is committed to ensuring that we remove those foreign nationals who pose a risk of harm to our society. We are targeting the most harmful first and any non-EEA national who receives a custodial sentence of 12 months or more is now subject to automatic deportation proceedings. In addition any non-EEA national who goes to prison for serious drug and gun offences no matter how long their sentence, will face deportation action as well as those, no matter the type of crime, who have received several custodial sentences totalling 12 months or more. EEA nationals convicted of gun or drugs offences will face deportation action if they are sentenced to 12 months or more in prison.
The chief executive of the UK Border Agency has written to the Home Affairs Select Committee on a regular basis to provide all of the most robust and accurate information available on the detention and deportation of foreign national prisoners. Copies of her letters are available in the Library of the House.
The Secretary of State for Transport (Lord Adonis): No such assessment has been made. However, the Department for Transport has commissioned a research project looking at a range of road safety and cycling issues. A review of the evidence base on the effects of helmet wearing legislation, other interventions to increase helmet wearing, and helmet use statistics will also be examined. A report is due to be published later this year.
Cycle helmet wearing rate studies were undertaken in 1994, 1996, 1999, 2002, 2004 and 2006. The 2006 wearing rate survey, which was published in February
6 July 2009 : Column WA99
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord West of Spithead on 12 May (WA 186), how many international students are enrolled at colleges, schools and universities which have been refused a sponsor licence by the UK Border Agency. [HL4484]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The total number of international students who enrolled at colleges, schools and universities prior to 31/3/09, the date at which tier four of the points-based system commenced, who have subsequently been refused a sponsor licence by the UK Border Agency is around 3,940. Since 31 March 2009, none has been enrolled.
Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: The total costs for the 2009 European Election in Northern Ireland are not yet available. However the noble Lord may wish to be aware that the European Parliamentary Elections (Returning Officer's Charges) (Northern Ireland) Order 2009 specifies that the maximum amount that may be recovered by the returning officer in respect of this election is £2,401,538.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether there is a scientific consensus regarding when cells in culture that are not intended for human application would no longer contain original cells, as indicated by paragraph 62 of the Human Tissue Authority Code of Practice 9 (Research); if so, whether stem cell lines might be viewed as containing original cells according to their pattern of asymmetric cell divisions; if not, what sort of variation might be expected if the classification of original cells were left to individual judgment. [HL4503]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): There is no consensus about when cells in culture would no longer contain original cells. Cultured cells divide at different rates dependent on the cell type, local culture conditions, and in some cases the individual characteristics of the donor. As it is a matter for individual researchers to make a judgment, some variation in these decisions is to be expected, but the extent of any variation is unknown.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Darzi of Denham on 15 June (WA 172-3), what are the technical issues around the derivation and biological properties of iPS cells that must be resolved before proceeding to clinical application; why the same issues would not impede corresponding applications with embryonic stem cells derived via cell nuclear replacement; and what implications such technical issues hold for research in which stem cells are used to test drug candidates rather than intended for transplantation. [HL4504]
Lord Darzi of Denham: There have been numerous approaches to generate induced pluripotent stem cell lines, but there is currently no scientific consensus on the most effective, reliable and safest method for subsequent application of these cells in patients. Other issues, such as the biochemical and genetic stability of any given type of pluripotent stem cell, also remain poorly understood at present and, unless resolved by researchers, could restrict the potential of any given type of stem cell in both drug testing and transplantation. The Government will continue to support all forms of stem cell research.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answers by Lord Darzi of Denham on 29 September 2008 (WA 353-4) and 20 May 2009 (WA 317-18), why Dr Daniel Brison drew up a poster (co-authored by Dr Susan Kimber and Dr Maria Camarasa), which was presented to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority's Scientific and Clinical Advances Group, showing the technique of outgrowing embryos used at
6 July 2009 : Column WA101
Lord Darzi of Denham: The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority has advised that the derivation of stem cells from outgrown embryos was not taking place at St Mary's Hospital (also covering Manchester Fertility Services and the University of Manchester) at the time of the inspection on 26 September 2007. The pictures of such embryos, provided by Dr Daniel Brison, were from research carried out prior to 26 September 2007.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The Government welcome the European Commission's proposal for a regulation on the provision of food information to consumers. The proposal aims to consolidate general and nutrition labelling into a single text, updating existing labelling rules to reflect changes to the food market and consumer expectations over the past 30 years.
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