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To ask Her Majesty's Government what provision is made for the diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis, including drug-resistant tuberculosis, amongst failed asylum seekers and those in detention centres. [HL3103]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Thornton): The diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis (TB) is free to all people, including failed asylum seekers and those in detention centres.
Detainees who have possible TB symptoms are investigated in line with standard NHS procedures, and treatment delivered is in line with the NHS clinical protocols, including for multi-drug resistant TB.
All detainees are seen by a nurse within two hours of arrival for health screening and are given an appointment to see a general practitioner (GP) within 24 hours. Where there are concerns, an appointment is made earlier. Thereafter, detainees can access healthcare on demand subject to a triage service similar to that found in a GP's surgery.
To ask Her Majesty's Government following proposals to reduce the number of members of the House of Lords, whether the Prime Minister will desist from nominating more Peers, except those formerly holding certain senior offices such as Head of the Civil Service and Chief of the Defence Staff. [HL3153]
The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Baroness Royall of Blaisdon): The position on the creation of new peerages remains as currently provided for until such time as Parliament decides differently.
The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): For access to the internet off the Parliamentary Estate, PICT currently provides broadband connectivity through a contract with Demon which uses BT to provide the connection lines to the BT exchange, with an average speed ranging from 2 to 8 Mb. The actual speed of the line for each user is dependent on the level of modernisation at the local BT exchange to which each user's service is attached, and also on the distance of the user from the BT exchange. PICT provides services across the United Kingdom and does not measure the capacity at each BT exchange used to connect its customers to broadband.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many travellers arriving in the United Kingdom in each of the last 12 months have been refused entry at the border; and how many of those have claimed asylum. [HL2957]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): Our records show almost 22,000 incidents of persons being refused entry to the UK at the border between 1 March 2009 and 28 February 2010. Of these, 425 claimed asylum. This is in addition to 29,000 incidents of persons who attempted to enter the UK illegally but were thwarted by officers at juxtaposed controls.
|Month||Total number of refusals at UK border||Number of which claimed asylum|
|* Data are management information and are from a live database. They have not been subject to the detailed checks required for National Statistics.|
Lord Brett: The Department for International Development (DfID) has not carried out an assessment of the attainment of the millennium development goals (MDGs) among Dalits and Adivasis in India. However, DfID recognises that tackling social exclusion is critical to achieving the MDGs in India. All our programmes there have a clear focus on supporting marginalised groups such as Dalits, Adivasis and Muslims, to gain greater access to development and economic
6 Apr 2010 : Column WA411
Evidence shows that our approach is making an impact: DfID support to the Government of India's Education for All programme has helped to increase the number of Dalit children in the school population. The proportion of Dalits amongst school children now exceeds their share in the overall population.
Lord Brett: The Department for International Development (DfID) evaluates the impact of all its programmes on a continuous basis. To date, our programme in Orissa has had some notable successes, including:supporting an additional 275,000 children from tribal districts to complete primary education;enabling 360,000 people to move out of poverty through improved watershed management;reducing the prices of essential drugs by 25 per cent through improved procurement practices; andsupporting reform of the commercial tax system, leading to 20 per cent year on year increases in tax collection since 2004-05.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The Crown Prosecution Service has informed me that a total of 75 people were charged with criminal offences arising out of the protests. Some 41 of those have pleaded guilty and been sentenced, of whom 22 have received custodial sentences by the Crown Court. Six further defendants have pleaded guilty and await sentence. Nine individuals have pleaded not guilty and await trial.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their most recent estimate of the cost to central Government of providing every council with top-up funding to mitigate for council taxpayers the effect of an expected rise of 2.5 per cent starting in 2011-12. [HL2266]
The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): It is estimated that it would cost £675 million in 2011-12 and £1,380 million from 2012-13 onwards for central Government to reimburse local authorities in England for the income forgone by not increasing their band D council tax by 2.5 per cent in each year.
Levels of council tax are determined annually by local authorities, not by the Government. Therefore, the council tax figures for 2010-11 used to support this costing are based on the arithmetic average of council tax increases over the past three years. These figures cover all authorities, police authorities and fire and rescue authorities in England. Responsibility for council tax and other local authority matters in Scotland and Wales rests with the Scottish Executive and the Welsh Assembly Government. The above calculation assumes that all authorities are compensated for lost revenue if freezing their council tax in 2011-12 and 2012-13, after taking any council tax base increases into consideration.
To ask Her Majesty's Government why the scrutiny reserve resolution was overridden on the proposed Council Decision extending restrictive measures against the leadership of the Transnistrian region of the Republic of Moldova; and what steps they are taking to avoid a repeat of those circumstances. [HL3186]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): The sanctions measures against the leadership of the Transnistrian region of the Republic of Moldova were due to expire on 27 February 2010. If the new Council decision was not adopted before then, the existing measures would have lapsed. The override arose due to an error by Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials who were unclear when the Scrutiny Committees would sit after the Recess in February.
The FCO takes its scrutiny commitments very seriously. It does everything it can to avoid an override and to keep the Scrutiny Committees informed on sanctions matters. The relevant teams within the FCO are therefore discussing what steps to take to prevent this error occurring again.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the risk to British citizens in Montserrat caused by the partial collapse of the dome and subsequent volcanic activity of the Soufrière Hills volcano; and what emergency contingency plans are in place. [HL3168]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): The Soufrière Hills volcano is monitored continuously at the Montserrat Volcano Observatory (MVO), which is permanently staffed by professional volcanologists. The MVO regularly assesses the hazard and risk posed by the volcano to the community of Montserrat. The director of the MVO provides advice to the Governor and the Government of Montserrat on the volcanic activity and decisions on appropriate responses are taken. The safety of the community is the top priority.
The current increased activity and accelerated dome growth began on 4 October 2009. This resulted in major pyroclastic events before Christmas 2009, which forced the night-time evacuation to the north of the island of those residents living in the zones closer to the volcano. Further large pyroclastic events followed on 8 January, 5 February and 11 February. Since the last event, volcanic activity has returned to relatively low levels. The evacuation order remained in place until 23 February 2010, when residents were allowed to return to their homes full time. The current Montserrat hazard level rating is 3, on a 1 to 5 scale where 1 is the lowest and 5 is the highest.
With support from the Department for International Development (DfID), Montserrat's National Disaster Response Advisory Committee, chaired jointly by the Governor and the Chief Minister, has commissioned an assessment of the pyroclastic flow and surge models in the occupied zones closest to the volcano to review current risk and hazard levels.
In addition, a disaster management capability review of Montserrat was carried out by Foreign and Commonwealth Office and DfID officials in November 2009, which examined Montserrat's state of preparedness and its plans for all disasters, including volcanic eruptions and hurricanes.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the intended stationing of a tender for nuclear-powered submarines in the British Indian Ocean Territory will involve the USS "Emory S. Land"; and, if so, whether they will examine the stationing of the vessel at the US naval base at La Maddalena/Sardinia in 2007 and the circumstances of its withdrawal and the closing down of that base. [HL1994]
The Minister for International Defence and Security (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): The UK and US are currently discussing the proposed stationing of the US submarine tender "Emory S. Land" to the British Indian Ocean Territory.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the effects exposure to organophosphates have upon mitochondrial function, in particular, to adenosine diphosphate to adenosine triphosphate re-conversion. [HL3087]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Thornton): The Health Protection Agency advises that no specific evaluation has been made. However, potential toxicological effects due to disruption of mitochondrial function would be identified from the standard package of toxicological tests required for the active ingredients of pesticides, including organophosphates.
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