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Question

Asked by Lord Taylor of Holbeach



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Lord Tunnicliffe: Authorisations granted under the Groundwater Regulations 1998 will become valid permits for the purpose of the Groundwater Regulations 2009 when those regulations come into force. Such permits will be subject to review under Regulation 12 of the proposed groundwater regulations to ensure that there is compliance with conditions of the permits. Whether the permit conditions are being met or not, such permits could be amended where it is appropriate to do so, for example, to take account of the requirements of the water framework directive.

Asked by Lord Taylor of Holbeach

Lord Tunnicliffe: Regulation 17(2) of the draft groundwater regulations mirrors the existing provision at regulation 60(3) of the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2007. It is therefore consistent with both existing legislation and the proposed Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010. As with other authorisations, it is for an applicant to provide the requisite information and the cost would not be met by the Environment Agency. A notice served under regulation 17(2) may require any information to be provided where that requirement is reasonable.

Asked by Lord Taylor of Holbeach

Lord Tunnicliffe: The following classes of permits are subject to the existing (1998) Groundwater Regulations and will become valid permits for the purposes of the Groundwater Regulations 2009 when they come into force:

1) Consents to discharge to groundwater under the Water Resources Act 1991.2) Permits under Environmental Permitting Regulations 2007 where these may result in inputs to groundwater.3) Groundwater authorisations under the Groundwater Regulations 1998.

There are upwards of 20,000 such permits in total. The number of new applications and variations to such permits will fluctuate daily as they are submitted and processed according to statutory procedures. There is currently no significant backlog of applications. To provide an analysis of each outstanding permit broken down by region would require detailed searches of Environment Agency permitting databases which would incur disproportionate cost.



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Gulf War Illnesses

Question

Asked by Lord Morris of Manchester

The Minister for International Defence and Security (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): I have nothing further to add to the Answer I gave my noble friend on 21 July, (Official Report, cols WA 336-337).

Health: Dentistry

Question

Asked by Lord King of West Bromwich

Baroness Thornton: Information is not collected centrally on numbers of missed National Health Service (NHS) dental appointments. When the new contractual arrangements were introduced in 2006, NHS Primary Care Commissioning published guidance on how dental practices can apply good practice in managing appointments so as to minimise the number of patients failing to attend.

More recent guidance has been aimed at patients to ensure they understand the importance of keeping their dental appointments and following clinical advice to maintain their oral health. Guide to NHS dental services in England has been placed in the Library and is also available on the department's website at www.dh. gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/PublicationsPolicyAndGuidance/DH096614. This contains a section on patients' responsibilities.

Health: Prescriptions

Question

Asked by Lord Mawhinney

Baroness Thornton: Strategic health authorities do not differentiate between the funding of drug prescriptions in prisons and primary care trusts (PCTs). PCTs have been responsible for the funding of healthcare services provided in prison, including the cost of any medication, since April 2006.

Health: Prisons

Question

Asked by Lord Mawhinney

Baroness Thornton: Responsibility for maintaining prison healthcare facilities, including any new capital development, remains the responsibility of the Ministry of Justice (National Offender Management Service) following the completion of the transfer of commissioning responsibility for prison healthcare services to the National Healthcare Service in 2006. Non-fixed equipment (freestanding furniture and specialist medical equipment for example) is the responsibility of the local NHS primary care trusts (PCTs) in terms of maintenance, replacement and purchase of new items.

Details are set out in The National Partnership Agreement between the Department of Health and the Ministry of Justice (was Home Office) for the accountability and commissioning of health services for prisoners in public sector prisons in England, as updated in January 2007. A copy is available in the Library.

The department allocates funding to PCTs via strategic health authorities on the basis of the relative needs of their populations.

Health: Vaccines

Question

Asked by Baroness Cumberlege

Baroness Thornton: The Life Sciences Blueprint, published by the Office for Life Sciences on 14 July 2009, announced that the Government with the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) will introduce an innovation pass. Strict criteria will be developed to determine which innovative technologies qualify for the innovation pass. NICE will have a key role in developing and applying eligibility criteria for the pass. The pass will be piloted with a budget of £25 million in 2010-11. The pilot will be developed with input from industry, NICE and the National Health Service and will be the subject of consultation by November 2009.

The blueprint is available at: www.dius.gov.uk/ols



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HMRC: High Net Worth Unit

Question

Asked by Lord Newby

The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): HM Revenue and Customs High Net Worth Unit has been set up to deal specifically with the tax affairs of the UK's wealthiest individual taxpayers. Some of these individuals will be UK residents with non-domicile status, others will be non-residents who may have UK tax liabilities.

Asked by Lord Newby

The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) set up a High Net Worth Unit in April 2009. Currently it has 28 customer relationship teams; each with a manager. They will deal specifically with the tax affairs of the UK's wealthiest individual taxpayers. The unit's aim is to take an overall view of the tax affairs of these wealthy individuals and improve understanding of them. This will enable HMRC to communicate more effectively with them, influence their behaviours and provide a more robust evidence base for policy decisions and assessment of their liabilities. At this stage it is too early to accurately forecast the impact on tax receipts of the establishment of the unit.

Asked by Lord Newby

The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): HM Revenue and Customs High Net Worth Unit will deal with the UK's wealthiest individual taxpayers. The measure of wealth includes assets such as business interests, shareholdings and other investments and properties.

IPP Sentences

Question

Asked by Baroness Stern



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Asked by Baroness Stern

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the estimated number of indeterminate sentences for public protection that will be given in each of the calendar years 2009 to 2012. [HL5442]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): Indeterminate imprisonment or detention sentences for public protection (IPP) were introduced in the Criminal Justice Act 2003. The Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 introduced a number of changes to this sentence, including giving the courts a wider discretion in their use and providing for a minimum tariff of two years below which IPPs cannot be given, except where offenders have committed extremely serious crimes in the past. These changes will ensure that these sentences are better targeted on the most dangerous offenders.

IPPs (including the changes introduced in 2008) are modelled as part of the published prison population projections (published on the Ministry of Justice website, copies are in the House Libraries).

The modelling uses assumptions based on available data and the expert views of stakeholders. The most recent projections use the assumption that there will on average be 45 IPP prisoner receptions per month after the changes introduced by the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): As of 9 September 2009, 162 prisoners serving an indeterminate sentence for public protection were recorded as having a tariff of two years or less. This figure excludes those who have been released and who were subsequently recalled following the revocation of their licences. The average amount of time this group has been held in prison beyond the expiry of their tariff is 244 days.

The Ministry of Justice publishes projections of the future prison population. IPPs are modelled as part of the latest projections (published on the Ministry of Justice website, copies are in the House Libraries). The population of prisoners serving IPPs who are past their tariff is not separately modelled as part of the published prison population projections.

It is difficult to model the IPP population with great accuracy because of the recent changes made to the sentence in the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008. The population is estimated to rise to around 5,400 by around 2011 and to stay more or less level after that. However, small changes to the rates of receptions for such long sentences as IPPs have large impacts on the prison population, although the impacts will not be felt for many years.



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Iraq: Chilcot Inquiry

Question

Asked by Lord Lester of Herne Hill

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Baroness Royall of Blaisdon): It is too soon to know the full costs of the Iraq inquiry, though we anticipate that these will be comparable with previous similar inquiries. The final costs will be published in due course.

Met Office: Bonuses

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Minister for International Defence and Security (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): Met Office staff will be eligible to receive bonuses based on performance against specific targets agreed and monitored by the Met Office board, which are linked to the success of the Met Office at either individual, team or organisational level. Bonus payments are non-consolidated and represent part of Met Office staff remuneration which is at risk and needs to be re-earned each year.

NHS: Staff

Question

Asked by Lord Patten

Baroness Thornton: National Health Service patients do not have the right to know healthcare professionals' personal views on abortion and assisted suicide. However, healthcare professionals have to follow their professional bodies' standards on competence, ethics and conduct. In addition, the department's guidance Religion or belief: a practical guide for the NHS (2009) states that it is vital to ensure that the personal beliefs of healthcare staff do not adversely affect the care, or be allowed to influence any advice, given to patients. A copy of this guidance has been placed in the Library.

Northern Ireland: Human Rights Commission

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Royall of Blaisdon on 7 July (WA 143-4), whether they will ensure that the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission follows

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the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland's requirements and makes a determination of community background using the residuary method for the Commissioner who did not declare their community background. [HL5190]

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: Whilst the community background of members of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission is monitored, statutory monitoring requirements under the terms of the Fair Employment and Treatment (Northern Ireland) Order 1998 do not apply to appointments such as these.

How individuals see their own community background is a matter for themselves. Ensuring that the membership of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission is representative of the community is the responsibility of the Secretary of State.

Northern Ireland: Sectarian Attacks

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: As this is an operational matter for the Chief Constable, I have asked him to reply directly to the noble Lord, and will arrange for a copy of the letter to be placed in the Library of the House.


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