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The Minister for International Defence and Security (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): There is evidence that elements of the Iranian regime provide arms and funding to the Taliban and other illegal armed groups in Afghanistan. This is contrary to the Iranian Government's own claims to want security and stability in the region and we will continue to raise this with the Iranian Government at appropriate opportunities.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the estimated saving resulting from the implementation of the Food Standards Agency's recommendations to ease the controls surrounding the treatment of cattle carcasses. [HL4661]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The estimated saving from implementation of the decision taken by the Food Standards Agency board on 12 May 2009 to move to more proportionate, risk-based supervision of official bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) controls for cattle aged over 30 months (OTM), is up to £3 million per annum once all measures have been implemented. The cost of all official BSE controls for OTM cattle is currently funded by the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs.
The changes which will deliver the saving will be implemented and monitored on a phased basis to verify that food business operators are compliant, that there is no loss of control and that the current high level of consumer protection is maintained.
The Minister for International Defence and Security (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): The Ministry of Defence no longer has responsibility for the Alderney breakwater. Responsibility including for maintenance matters for the area was transferred to the Home Office in 1950.
The Minister for International Defence and Security (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): The creation of medals is the prerogative of the Sovereign, taking advice from the inter-departmental, non-political, Committee on the Grant of Honours, Decorations and Medals (known as the HD Committee), on which the Armed Forces are represented. World War Two medals were instituted for periods of military service in specified geographic areas and did not relate to individual battles, operations or military commands. Those who served in Bomber Command during the Second World War could qualify for one of the stars instituted for campaign service, for example the 1939-45 Star, the much prized Aircrew Europe Star, or the France and Germany Star. The issue of awarding a medal specifically to those who served in Bomber Command was considered at the time by the senior military commanders and the HD Committee but it was concluded that this was not appropriate. The HD Committee has a policy not to revisit cases for service performed many years previously or where medals already exist for specified periods of service, both of which apply for service in Bomber Command.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord West of Spithead on 2 June (WA 64), whether, in the context of the status of the Association of Chief Police Officers, its relationship to Parliament and the fact that it is not subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000, they will consider nationalising it. [HL4239]
ACPO is an independent voluntary organisation whose members are chief officers from the forces in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It holds the status of a private company limited by guarantee, and as such, it is required to conform to the requirements of company law. Its affairs are governed by a Board of Directors, and are therefore outside the jurisdiction of the Home Office.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The Home Office publishes statistics on the total number of removals and voluntary departures from the UK by country of nationality and destination on a quarterly and annual basis. Published information for 2008 can be found in table one of the supplementary tables to the quarterly Control of Immigration: Quarterly statistical summary United Kingdom Q4 2008(http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfsO9/immig4O8supp.xls).
Published statistics on immigration and asylum are available from the Library of the House and from the Home Office Research, Development and Statistics Directorate web site at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration-asylum-stats.html.
The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): Bank charges are a matter for the regulatory authorities. The treatment of charges is set out in the Banking Code, which is monitored by the Banking Code Standards Board.
The Financial Services Authority will introduce a new conduct of business regime, covering all retail banking services within its remit on 1 November 2009. It will introduce a new principles-based framework and conduct rules. The Financial Services Authority will consult on areas where additional rules or guidance may be needed.
The Office of Fair Trading is pursuing a test case against a group of banks on the fairness of unarranged overdraft charging terms. It is also working with stakeholders to address the concerns identified in its market study into the operation of the market for personal current accounts. This, together with the resolution of the bank charges test case, will open the way to introduce transparent price structures and simpler mechanisms for switching from one provider to another.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will require the Legal Services Commission to review the system of payment for junior counsel's services in magistrates' courts, to ensure that they are remunerated fairly in proportion to the cases in which they appear. [HL4574]
Counsel rarely appear in the magistrates' courts on criminal matters, apart from in London where there is a history of the work being sub-contracted to barristers by solicitor firms. Payments to junior counsel in magistrates' court cases are a matter for counsel to agree with the instructing solicitor, who is also responsible for making the payment. Neither the LSC nor the Government determines the level of payment in these cases.
In exceptional cases, such as those involving a novel point of law, the court will recognise the need for representation by counsel. In such cases where counsel is assigned, counsel is entitled to be paid by the LSC, and is paid at rates determined by the LSC. The Government consider that these rates are fair.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): We anticipate the information requested will be available towards the end of the year and I will arrange for it to be published in the Official Report by means of a Written Ministerial Statement.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Malloch-Brown on 2 June (WA 70), what the procurement process was for the campaign by Deen International; and whether they will place a copy of the tender documents in the Library of the House. [HL4515]
The Minister for Europe (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): I refer the noble Baroness to the Answer my noble friend the Minister for Africa, Asia and the UN, Lord Malloch-Brown, gave on 14 May 2009 (Official Report, col. WA 237-8).
"I am Muslim I am British" was an initiative brought to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) by a community-based organisation, which the FCO decided to fund after careful consideration. Implementation was carried out through Deen International because the company offered a combination of quick mobilisation, accounting transparency and operational effectiveness, which is difficult to achieve with community-led organisations. A tender process was not necessary or appropriate against this background but, as my previous answer made clear, the FCO established management arrangements including a steering committee to ensure transparent and effective delivery. The project delivered a series of events in Pakistan from January to May 2009, on which we are about to receive a full external assessment.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the current levels of cord blood donation and the donation of umbilical cord in the United Kingdom; how many people with how many diseases have been treated with stem cells derived from cord blood; and what percentage of cord blood is collected for research, cryopreservation or clinical treatment; and what assessment they have made of United Kingdom storage rates vis-à-vis those in Greece, Spain and Portugal. [HL4505]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The NHS Cord Blood Bank has 13,382 units of cord blood stored for clinical use, all of which were cryopreserved. As of December 2008, NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) had collected a further 1,871 units for research. Of the units collected for research, 4.9 per cent. were cryopreserved for later use and 95.1 per cent were used fresh. The department has an agreed business plan with NHSBT to increase the number of cord blood units stored from the current level to 20,000 by 2013.
The NHS Cord Blood Bank has issued 260 units of cord blood for clinical transplantation. The following table shows the diseases these units have been used to treat by percentage of the total number issued:
|Disease||Percentage of total|
In 2008, as part of a review of the collection and use of umbilical cord blood, the department commissioned a study of current practice in the United Kingdom compared to that found in Canada, China, France, Japan, Spain and the United States. The study produced a report entitled Cord Blood Banking in the UK-an international comparison of policy and practice. A copy was placed in the Library in January 2009. No such comparison has been made for Greece and Portugal.
To ask Her Majesty's Government which diseases have been successfully treated in the United Kingdom with adult stem cells; and which diseases have been successfully treated with embryonic stem cells. [HL4557]
Lord Darzi of Denham: Over the past 60 or so years, numerous successful treatments involving adult stem cells have been developed, including bone marrow and umbilical cord blood transplantation for blood and immune system disorders, corneal transplantation for the victims of acid splashes to the eye and skin grafting for burns victims.
The isolation of human embryonic stem cells first took place in 1998 and their use for the treatment of unmet medical needs, such as Parkinson's disease, is still an aspiration. Progress is being made, but there are still uncertainties about stem cell biology that will only be addressed by considerable amounts of further laboratory and clinical research.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answers by Lord Darzi of Denham on 22 July 2008 (WA 244-5), 20 January 2009 (WA196-7) and 23 June 2009 (WA 266-7), how the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) was previously aware that 35 stem cell lines have been derived under HFEA licences and that no embryonic stem cell lines have yet been derived from cytoplasmic hybrids under HFEA licensed projects if it does not hold data on the number of stem cell lines derived from licensed research projects; whether the authority has a statutory obligation to destroy previously held data; and, if so, under which circumstances. [HL4654]
Lord Darzi of Denham: The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) is not statutorily obliged to hold data on the number of stem cell lines derived from HFEA licensed research projects and these data are not recorded on the authority's register. However, the HFEA has advised that centres licensed to derive stem cells from embryos may provide this information to the authority as part of their six-monthly progress reports or licence renewal applications.
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