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The Minister for International Defence and Security (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): Between the start of operations in October 2001 and 13 July 2009, there have been 184 fatalities suffered by British Forces personnel as result of operations in Afghanistan. Of these, 156 fatalities were as a result of hostile action.
Fatality and casualty statistics for UK military and civilian personnel in Afghanistan are updated fortnightly on the MoD website. The tables can be found at http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/FactSheets/OperationsFactsheets/OperationsInAfghanistan BritishCasualties.htm.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to Transport for London and BAA about the effect on the public of the partial closure of the escalator service at Heathrow Terminals 1-2-3 station. [HL5049]
The escalators at Heathrow Terminals 1-2-3 Underground station are the responsibility of London Underground and are currently being refurbished to ensure continued reliability and to reduce the risk of failure in future. Responsibility for London Underground was transferred from the department to the Mayor of London and Transport for London in 2003.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their response to motion 599 passed at the British Medical Association conference supporting the introduction of a minimum price for a unit of alcohol; and what calculation they have made of the impact on hospital admissions and the annual saving to the National Health Service of a minimum alcohol unit price of 50p. [HL4855]
Government will look to develop further evidence in this area with a view to identifying proposals for actions, which reduce irresponsible, harmful and or binge drinking without impacting unduly on the majority of responsible drinkers.
The department commissioned an independent review on the effects of alcohol pricing and promotion from the School of Health and Related Research at the University of Sheffield. The Part A report "Systematic review of the evidence" and Part B, "Modelling the potential impact of pricing and promotion policies for alcohol in England: Results from the Sheffield Alcohol Policy Model" were published in full in December 2008, and were placed in the Library.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many children of asylum seekers were detained at Dungavel immigration removal centre and for what length of time in (a) January to June 2007, (b) July to December 2007, (c) January to June 2008, (d) July to December 2008, and (e) January to June 2009. [HL4729]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The information requested on the number of children of asylum seekers detained at Dungavel immigration removal centre and the periods for which they are detained is not yet centrally collated. The information requested could be obtained only by the detailed examination of individual case records at disproportionate cost.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what proposals they have to ensure credit card companies explain in understandable language in a prominent position and in large type on their statements the details of any offer they are making to their clients. [HL4620]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Lord Young of Norwood Green): The new European directive on consumer credit requires lenders to present details of key features of prospective agreements in a standardised form and to provide adequate explanations. The directive must be implemented by June 2010 and the Government have been consulting on how we can adapt these requirements to ensure UK consumers are better informed about offers of credit.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they record the number of reported crimes relating to international property rental scams carried out over the internet; and, if so, how many have been reported in each of the past five years in (a) London, and (b) the United Kingdom. [HL5044]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): In terms of police recorded crime statistics collected by the Home Office, it would be the jurisdiction of the country where the rental property is located which would record the offences and thus no crime would be recorded in England and Wales. Currently, internet perpetrated fraud of this type is not a separate collection and thus there are no available statistics.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how statistics relating to the number of online scams, in particular international property rental scams carried out over the internet, reported to local police stations are collated to support a single or co-ordinated response to such crimes by specialist officers. [HL5046]
Lord West of Spithead: The collation of such reports would be a matter for each individual police force. More centrally trend information would go through the City of London police who lead on fraud matters.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the answer by Lord Drayson on 22 June (Official Report, House of Lords, col. 1342), how he will look further into the level of collection of blood cord in the United Kingdom; and what are the percentages of blood cord extracted from the umbilical cord and collected for research, cryopreservation or clinical treatment in the United Kingdom compared with each of the other European Union member states. [HL4527]
The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and Ministry of Defence (Lord Drayson): I refer the noble Lord to the Answer given by my noble friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health on 7 July 2009 (Official Report, col. WA 125).
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the commercial value of patents on the use of embryonic stem cells; to what extent opportunities for commercial use, rather than therapeutic potential, have influenced public policy; and whether the lack of patents and commercial use of adult stem cells has affected their ability to attract funding. [HL4558]
Lord Drayson: The Intellectual Property Office does not make assessments of the commercial value of an invention in its patent granting procedures, nor does it attempt to predict the commercial value of potential inventions when advising on policy proposals. UK law and practice on the patentability of inventions in relation to stem cells is based on the European directive 98/44/EC on the legal protection of biotechnological inventions which was implemented into UK patent law in 2000, and takes account of subsequent developments in case law.
The primary considerations of public sector bodies in determining whether particular proposals should receive funding in medical sciences are research excellence and importance to health. Where research can be categorised this has allowed adult stem cells to secure £24.7 million of funding versus £14.7 million for embryonic stem cell research in 2007-08, a ratio of greater than 60:40 (adult to embryonic). The UK National Stem Cell Network has recently reported patenting activity associated with both adult and embryonic stem cells.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Darzi of Denham on 29 June (WA 10-11), whether funding for induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells is recorded under adult stem cell funding alone, under embryonic stem cell funding alone, under funding for research with both adult stem cells and embryonic stem cells, or in a different category; and whether funding for umbilical cord blood stem cells is categorised under adult stem cell funding. [HL4834]
The MRC reports projects involving research for induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells and umbilical cord blood cells primarily under the category of adult stem cell research. Around 10 per cent of the MRC's spending on research involving stem cells (based on spend for 2007-08) includes research projects involving a range of approaches and techniques including both adult and embryonic stem cells. Spend on such projects is reported evenly across both of the categories.
BBSRC funding for iPS cells was recorded under either adult stem cell funding alone, or funding for research with both adult stem cells and embryonic stem cells, as appropriate. No iPS cell research was recorded under embryonic stem cell funding alone or any other category. BBSRC did not report any funding on umbilical cord blood stem cells.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Darzi of Denham on 7 July (WA 125-6), what are the respective levels of cord blood stored for clinical use in the United Kingdom and those countries studied in the report Cord Blood Banking in the UK-an international comparison of policy and practice. [HL4982]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The figures on the respective levels of cord blood stored for clinical use can be found in the report entitled Cord Blood Banking in the UK-An International Comparison of Policy and Practice, a copy of which has been placed in the Library.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answers by Baroness Royall of Blaisdon on 20 November 2008 (WA 224) and 17 December 2008 (WA 39), what discussions they had with the Equality and Human Rights Commission prior to stating in the answer that 13 non-permanent staff are employed by the commission. [HL4935]
The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Baroness Royall of Blaisdon): The Government Equalities Office asked the commission to provide the information requested for the previous Written Answers. The commission maintains that the information that 13 non-permanent staff are employed by the commission was correct as the individuals were on fixed-term contracts and therefore subject to the commission's terms and conditions and paid via payroll.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the status of the extradition of Mr Andrew Symeou under the European arrest warrant; and whether in his case the warrant is working as they envisaged at the time of its introduction. [HL4985]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): Mr Symeou applied for leave to appeal to the House of Lords, which was heard at the Administrative Court on 2 June. The court certified a point of law of general public importance, but refused Mr Symeou leave to appeal to the House of Lords. Mr Symeou has applied directly to the House of Lords for leave to appeal. As this case is still before the courts it would not be appropriate for me to comment further.
The European arrest warrant (EAW) has introduced a simpler mechanism for the surrender of persons within the EU. Given the number of people who now travel across borders of EU member states, it is essential to have an efficient and effective extradition system in place. The operation of the EAW is closely monitored by both member states and the European Union itself and we are confident that it is working effectively in the interests of justice and the victims of serious crimes.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress has been made in recruiting a new chair of the Food Standards Agency following the announcement that Dame Deidre Hutton is to relinquish that post in July; and whether that appointment will be subject to consultation with Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition and to pre-appointment scrutiny. [HL4723]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): My right honourable friend the Secretary of State invited the House of Commons Health Select Committee to scrutinise the preferred candidate, the right honourable Lord Rooker, prior to appointment. The committee invited Lord Rooker to give evidence on 6 July 2009, following which it recommended that the Secretary of State continue with the appointment. Lord Rooker was confirmed as the new chair of the Food Standards Agency on 13 July and will take up his position on 27 July 2009 for a period of four years.
The appointment has been run jointly with the devolved Administrations as required by the Food Standards Act. As is customary, there were no plans to consult with Her Majesty's Official Opposition outside of the pre-appointment scrutiny process
The process, run by the Appointments Commission, is regulated by the Commissioner for Public Appointments and has been conducted in accordance with the commissioner's Code of Practice for Public Appointments, involving an independent assessor at all stages, including the shortlist and interview panel.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The Government have no plans to introduce special food labelling for schoolchildren. They have developed a number of resources for use in schools to assist schoolchildren in learning about food labelling within the context of healthy eating. An example of one of the learning resources provided can be found at:
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many bonuses were awarded to senior staff in the Government Equalities Office and in the non-departmental public bodies it sponsors in (a) 2007, and (b) 2008; what was the value of the ten highest bonuses; and what process was used to determine the level of bonuses. [HL4811]
The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Baroness Royall of Blaisdon): Since its establishment on 12 October 2007 the Government Equalities Office has awarded four non-consolidated performance payments to its senior staff. The total cost of these payments was £30,000.
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