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The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 prohibits storage of gametes and creating, keeping or using embryos without a licence. This key principle has been retained by changes made by the 2008 Act. There are two exceptions to this that were set out in the 1991 regulations. The same two exceptions have been retained in the updated regulations. The regulations do not remove the requirement for a licence to create or use an embryo.

The first exception relates to the keeping of gametes or embryos in connection with an investigation or proceedings relating to an offence under the 1990 Act. This power to provide for such an exception is set out on the face of the 1990 Act. It refers only to gametes and embryos, not human admixed embryos, so there is no scope for the regulations to provide for this. If such circumstances arose, the human admixed embryos could be kept as evidence at a centre that had a storage licence. It does not alter the principle that no person may create, keep or use a human admixed embryo

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without a licence or mean that the HFEA would not investigate thoroughly any suspected offence under the 1990 Act.

Earlier this year the department consulted on four sets of regulations in connection with the implementation of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008. However, the department did not consider it necessary to specifically consult on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology (Special Exemption) Regulations 2009 as they do not represent a change in government policy. The changes made to these regulations were consequential to changes in the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008. There was extensive consultation, scrutiny and debate on the changes in the Bill leading to the 2008 Act, which these regulations reflect, during the passage of the Bill itself. However, we do regret that it was necessary to re-lay the draft special exemption regulations. We note the Merits Committee's acknowledgement that the department acted quickly to correct the draft regulations and we will look at any lessons learnt from the laying of these regulations.

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

Lord Darzi of Denham: The power under which the Human Fertilisation and Embryology (Special Exemption) Regulations 1991 and the draft Human Fertilisation and Embryology (Special Exemption) Regulations 2009 are made is set out in Section 43 of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990. This limits the scope of the regulations to make provision in relation to the keeping and examination of gametes and embryos, and not human admixed embryos. It is a criminal offence to keep a human admixed embryo without a licence. If it were necessary for the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority to keep a human admixed embryo in connection with a crime, it would need to be stored at a licensed premise.

Food: Supplements


Asked by Earl Howe

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): No specific levels for vitamins and minerals in food supplements have yet been proposed by the European Commission or discussed in Commission-led working group meetings with member states.

There are no plans to provide briefing material to United Kingdom (UK) Members of the European Parliament at this stage on progress in establishing maximum permitted levels for nutrients in food supplements under the provisions of Article 5 of the Food Supplements directive, or the procedures through which the Parliament will consider those figures.

In the absence of specific levels, it is not possible to assess the potential economic impact on United Kingdom specialist health food retailers and manufacturers of Article 5 of the Food Supplements Directive. No discussions have therefore taken place between officials of the Department of Health or Food Standards Agency with the Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry of the European Commission on this issue.

In the mean time, the Food Standards Agency continues to work with the food supplements industry to consider the potential impact of levels, when they are proposed, on UK businesses and consumer choice.

There are no plans to raise the issue of setting maximum permitted levels for vitamins and minerals in food supplements with the President-elect of the European Commission or to inform potential candidates for the post of European Commissioner for Health of the UK's position on this issue.

Government Departments: Advertising


Asked by Lord Tyler

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Baroness Crawley: This information is not collected centrally. Each government department, agency and NDPB is responsible for setting its own communications priorities and outputs, and each Secretary of State is responsible to Parliament.

Health: Obesity


Asked by Lord Dykes

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): There are no plans to place any contractual obligations on employers in respect of preventing employees from gaining weight. However, as part of the obesity strategy we are working with employers to encourage healthy eating and physical activity.

In addition, the Government's response to Dame Carol Black's review of the health of the working age population Improving Health and Work: Changing Lives, a copy of which has been placed in the Library, contains a number of initiatives to encourage employers to promote wellness among their staff and make health at work part of their core business model to help reduce obesity.

HMS "Caroline"


Asked by Lord Laird

The Minister for International Defence and Security (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): We are exploring with the National Museum of the Royal Navy whether it would be willing to assume responsibility for the ship, not as a commissioned warship but as a historically important example of naval power from World War I. This decision is dependent on the provision of National Lottery funding for the Royal Navy National Museum and is also determined by timescales set by the Belfast City Council. At this stage it would be premature to announce any decision. However, we should have a clearer idea about its plans in December 2009.

Jersey and Guernsey


Asked by Lord Wallace of Saltaire

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The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): The UK Government are constitutionally responsible for defence and international representations of all the Crown Dependencies, including the Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey. In accordance with the Jersey and Guernsey (Financial Provisions) Act 1947, the Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey occasionally surrender hereditary revenues of the Crown to the Consolidated Fund. Each payment must then be returned to Jersey and Guernsey within 10 working days. The last such payment from Jersey was for an amount of £225,000 in November 2008 and the last payment from Guernsey was an amount of £7,910,000 in February 2003.

The Isle of Man makes contributions in accordance with the Contribution Agreement 1994. The most recent contribution was £2,559,278.55, made in 2008.

Learning and Skills Council


Asked by Lord Teverson

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Lord Young of Norwood Green): The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) and its future successor body, the Skills Funding Agency, has an important role in responding to the skill needs of the nuclear industry over the coming years. The LSC is working closely with Cogent, the sector skills council responsible for the nuclear sector, to respond to skill needs identified by employers. LSC has also committed to £3.8 million development funding for establishing the National Skills Academy for Nuclear, which, with strong employer-backing, is active in developing and promoting skills and helping ensure the capacity to deliver skills across the nuclear sector. This includes the new Energus Centre in West Cumbria, with £3.5 million capital funding from LSC.

The Skills Academy is developing a number of important initiatives, including a community apprenticeship programme, which will support small and medium-sized firms in the supply chain which take on new and additional apprenticeships; and the nuclear skills passport, to promote mobility and demonstrate supply chain quality and capability.

The Skills Academy and Cogent are currently leading a detailed review of the future skills implications of the nuclear new build, supported by the Office for Nuclear Development (OND) within the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC), and by this department. This analysis will provide important data for the Government and their agencies, including the

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LSC and future Skills Funding Agency. It will also help drive the new Skills Academy's new five-year strategic plan of actions to be taken to ensure there is a suitably skilled, competent and safe workforce to meet these new challenges.

Legislation: Costs


Asked by Lord Patten

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Baroness Royall of Blaisdon): Government accounts are prepared on a departmental basis. The cost of preparing and introducing a Bill is typically borne by several departments and can be difficult to disaggregate from parallel work to develop and implement related government policy. The cost of any given Bill will depend on many different factors, such as, for example, the time spent by civil servants, including Parliamentary Counsel and Ministers across government on developing the Bill as well as associated running costs. As the Civil Service and Ministers do not, in general, work by reference to billable units of time, the collection and disaggregation of that information to make this possible would impose very significant additional burdens on all departments.

Licensing: Live Music


Asked by Lord Clement-Jones

The Minister for Communications, Technology and Broadcasting (Lord Carter of Barnes): The department has provided general advice to applicants on its website and detailed guidance to licensing authorities on the 2003 Act as it affects the provision of regulated entertainment. However, the Act has devolved responsibility for the administration of the licensing regime to individual authorities and it is for them to consider each application on its own merits. The Act does not draw a distinction between events which are put on for charity purposes and those which are not.

Although the 2003 Act requires schools and colleges to obtain a licence for regulated entertainment to which the public are invited, or for a private entertainment where a fee is charged with a view to profit, they are exempt from paying the licence fee if the event is provided by, located at and for the purpose of the school or college.

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Asked by Lord Clement-Jones

Lord Carter of Barnes: We do not hold this information. The statistical data collected by the department identify how many premises have permission, in the form of a premises licence or club premises certificate, to put on regulated entertainment, including live music. However, it is not known how many schools have obtained an appropriate permission to cover live performances of music and the provision of entertainment facilities, or indeed any other form of regulated entertainment such as a dance event or a play. In some cases, a school may decide to put on an event by giving a temporary event notice.

Although the Licensing Act 2003 requires schools and colleges to obtain a licence for regulated entertainment to which the public are invited, or for a private entertainment where a fee is charged with a view to profit, they are exempt from paying the licence fee if the event is provided by, located at and for the purpose of the school or college.

National Statistics


Asked by Lord Jones of Cheltenham

Baroness Crawley: The Government are committed to statistical reform and, through legislation, have created the UK Statistics Authority to take forward this reform.

The Government recognise the authority's notable achievements during its first year and look forward to its first annual report, detailing what it has achieved so far as well as what it intends to achieve in the coming year.

The Government have committed to assessing the impact of the new pre-release arrangements, a year after they have been in place. Government are also considering when and whether it is appropriate to review the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007, as is customary for all new primary legislation.

There is a key role for Parliament in scrutinising the work of the Statistics Authority and the Public Administration Select Committee has held several witness sessions already on official statistics. There are also regular debates in the House of Lords.

The Royal Statistical Society is a key stakeholder in statistical reform, playing a key role in the public debate on statistical issues. Government welcome the commitment made by the society to continue to play an active role in the debate over official statistics in their recent publication 2009 Vision for National Statistics.

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NHS: Admissions


Asked by Lord Warner

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): Information gathered from the Your Health, Your Care, Your Say process, and various studies, suggests that a significant proportion of hospital admissions could be avoidable with the right care and support in the community. The next-stage review has identified tackling this area as urgent, and the primary and community care strategy is now in place to start tackling this in a systematic way. Information on the proportion of patients inappropriately placed in hospital by strategic health authority is not held centrally.

Moving day-to-day care that would traditionally be provided in hospital settings into the community has been shown to provide an equally good service. And delivering high quality community services in conjunction with social care can ensure early discharge from hospital and prevent some admissions to hospital.

The transforming community services programme aims to improve community services to develop modern, personalised and responsive care of a consistently high standard and deliver improved health outcomes for communities. Through the world-class commissioning programme primary care trusts are commissioning an increasing number of community services closer to home, to increase well-being and prevent ill health.

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