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Asked by Lord Lester of Herne Hill

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): This information is not held centrally and would incur disproportionate cost to obtain.

Government Departments: Websites


Asked by Lord Laird

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): The department's staff do not monitor any websites to track the source of remarks posted about Ministers.

Government: Consultation


Asked by Lord Berkeley

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Lord Young of Norwood Green): The code of practice on consultation recommends a formal consultation period of at least 12 weeks to help enhance the quality of the responses with consideration given to longer timescales where feasible and sensible. The code advises departments to always consider whether running a formal, written, public consultation is the best way of seeking views, especially when timing is tight to follow the 12-week recommendation.

Under specific circumstances such as, for example, when dealing with emergency measures or international, legally binding deadlines or when the consultation needs to fit into fixed timetables such as the budget cycle, the code urges departments to clearly explain in the consultation document the reasons for the shortened consultation period. Also, ministerial clearance should be sought for the shorter timeframe. In such circumstances, the code advises departments to consider the provision of additional means through which people can express their views.

Gulf War Illnesses


Asked by Lord Morris of Manchester

21 July 2009 : Column WA337

The Minister for International Defence and Security (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): The Government have seen an e-mail from the senior programme officer of the US Institute of Medicine (IOM). The e-mail explains that peer review of the United States Research Advisory Committee (RAC) report is not taking place. That is in line with the Government's understanding of the position.

Following my meeting with the noble Lord, Lord Morris, on 15 July, I instructed officials to hold further discussions with the US Department for Veterans Affairs and with the IOM. As a result, I can confirm that an IOM committee is conducting a study entitled Gulf War & Health (Health Effects of Serving in the Gulf War-Update 2009), in effect summarising and reporting on peer-reviewed scientific literature published since the IOM's last report in 2006. The RAC Report of Gulf War Veterans Illness falls within this timeframe.

The RAC report represents a body of work whose key findings are inconsistent with numerous previous studies on this subject by the US IOM. It is for this reason that the Department of Veterans Affairs asked the IOM committee to engage with the RAC and to consider the same scientific literature that the RAC used to come to its conclusions.

The IOM committee is expected to report in February 2010. The IOM is an independent scientific body, and the degree to which it will consider the findings of the RAC report remains uncertain at this stage. The British Government's position is that we will not comment on the RAC report until the IOM issues its own report.

Health: Botox


Asked by Lord Jopling

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The department stocks a botulism antitoxin produced by Novartis Vaccines to be used in case of incidences of botulism within the United Kingdom. There are currently 76 vials of antitoxin in central store and 111 vials held at various holding centres throughout the UK.

Health: Contaminated Blood Products


Asked by Lord Morris of Manchester

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The Macfarlane and Eileen Trusts have sent to departmental officials detailed commentaries on the Government's response to the report by Lord Archer. This material provides a helpful background to work now under way to implement the Government's response.

The Government note the Macfarlane Trust's analysis of its payments to infected beneficiaries. The Government's response to Lord Archer's report, given on 20 May explained that annual payments to infected beneficiaries will be £12,800.

The Government also note that the average payment by the Macfarlane Trust to widows and dependants in 2008-09 was £3,300. The trust's unaudited annual report and accounts for the year ended 31 March 2009 record that the trust made payments to 81 such beneficiaries in 2008-09. The trust's submission does not set out in detail the basis on which they estimate that this number might increase to 500.

Asked by Lord Jones

21 July 2009 : Column WA339

Lord Darzi of Denham: I announced on 20 May (WMS 121-122), in the Government's response to Lord Archer's report, that the Skipton Fund would continue to make payments to people infected with hepatitis C. At the same time, the Government committed to review the Skipton Fund in 2014, when the fund will have been in existence for 10 years.

Health: Dermatology


Asked by Baroness Masham of Ilton

Lord Darzi of Denham: In the White Paper, Pharmacy in England: Building on Strengths-Delivering the Future (Cm7341), we set out plans to work to ensure that the pharmacy undergraduate degree course and pre-registration training provides pharmacists with clinical competencies to deliver the services of the future. Since February 2009, we have been working with the Modernising Pharmacy Careers Programme Board to develop a new model for undergraduate and pre-registration training and proposals for improving pharmacist postgraduate training, including where this supports better patient access to more specialist services. The board, led by the Chief Pharmaceutical Officer, brings together wide-ranging pharmacy expertise and experience from schools of pharmacy, professional regulation, hospital and community pharmacy, research and the United Kingdom pharmaceutical industry.

Health: Henoch-Schönlein Purpura


Asked by Lord Bradley

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): Neither the department nor the Medical Research Council has directly funded research on Henoch-Schonlein Purpura during the past five years. In that time, a large part of the department's total expenditure on health research has been devolved to and managed by National Health Service organisations. Details of individual NHS-supported research projects, including a small number concerned with Henoch-Schonlein Purpura, are available on the archived national research register at:

Health: Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disease


Asked by Lord Dykes

21 July 2009 : Column WA340

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): Research into severe mental illness that advances clinical understanding of these conditions is welcomed and it is for individual National Health Service trusts and the British Medical Association to decide for themselves whether and how to follow up any research initiatives.

Higher Education: Admissions


Asked by Lord Baker of Dorking

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Lord Young of Norwood Green): The figures below show the last three years of available data on student numbers in English institutions. They refer to all places, including part-time (headcount), postgraduate and non-HEFCE fundable. They exclude non-EU domiciled students.

HE enrolments in English HEIs
UK and EU domiciled studentsTotal







We expect continued growth in these figures over the next two years. The Government have funded an additional 20,000 full-time equivalent places for core fundable students in the financial year 2008-09, and a further 10,000 in 2009-10. Core fundable students refer to those students who do not have an existing HE qualification at an equivalent or higher level, or where this is not the case are still eligible for teaching grant because of the nature of their course. Further information can be found in the 2009 HEFCE grant letter.

In addition to the growth above, we announced on 20 July that we would be providing financial support in 2009-10 for 10,000 extra students in science, technology, engineering and maths over the duration of their course in higher education.

Data on the 2008-09 student population will be published early in 2010, and on the 2009-10 population in 2011.

Higher Education: Expenditure


Asked by Lord Baker of Dorking

21 July 2009 : Column WA341

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Lord Young of Norwood Green): As the table below shows, in the last 10 years £1.955 billion of capital expenditure has been invested in the renewal and modernisation of sixth-form and further education colleges. We will invest an additional £757.6 million in 2009-10 and a further £448.l million in 2010-11. In the Budget, a planning assumption of funding of £300 million was set for 2011-12 to 2013-14.

FE Capital Funding (£million) 1





















2008-09 [Provisional]


Total FE capital


Higher Education: International Colleges

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