|Previous Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The UK Government do not consider that they are required to consult the European Commission before controlling mephedrone under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.
The technical standards directive is not designed to cover action by member states to control dangerous drugs and consequently no consultation with the Commission is necessary prior to laying a draft order before Parliament to control mephedrone under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many of the least developed African, Caribbean and Pacific countries have signed regional economic partnership agreements; which of those countries have not signed such agreements; and what assistance they are providing to countries in both those categories during their negotiations with the European Union. [HL3184]
Lord Brett: So far, the Caribbean is the only region to have signed a regional economic partnership agreement (EPA). This region includes one least developed country (LDC), Haiti. Three other LDCs (Lesotho, Mozambique and Madagascar) have signed interim EPAs, and six more LDCs (Comoros, Zambia, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda) have indicated their intention to sign interim EPAs. The following LDCs across the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) region have not signed an EPA: Angola, Chad, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sao Tome e Principe and Equatorial Guinea; Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Tuvalu and Vanuatu; Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia; Malawi, Somalia and Sudan; Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.
The Department for International Development's (DfID) assistance is not linked to signing of EPAs. However, DfID provides significant support through Aid for Trade to help ACP countries, as well as other developing countries, to improve trade and to help them integrate further into regional and global markets.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the Government of Egypt about the assault on the Anglican clergyman,
7 Apr 2010 : Column WA433
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): We are aware of the case of Pastor Mahrous Karam. We have not made specific recommendations to the Government of Egypt on this case, but will continue to monitor the situation closely.
The Government actively raise concerns on freedom of religion and belief with the Egyptian Government. In January, we raised the fatal shooting at Naga Hammadi. In February, during the UN's Human Rights Council's Universal Periodic Review of Egypt, we noted the recent rise in inter-religious tensions and encouraged further efforts to reduce and prevent discrimination. In March, during the third meeting of the EU-Egypt Sub-Committee on Human Rights and Democracy, the EU enquired into the Egyptian Government's intentions to address ongoing concerns and reports of discrimination of persons belonging to religious minorities.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Drayson on 23 March (WA 277-8), what is the objective of improving the efficiency of human somatic cell nuclear transfer; and whether funds provided by the Medical Research Council to obtain additional women's eggs for human cloning may be used towards the derivation of clinical grade human embryonic stem cell lines for use in cell therapies or improving the outcome of infertility treatments. [HL3196]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Lord Young of Norwood Green): The MRC-funded research project to which the noble Lord refers is not being conducted under clinical grade conditions. However, knowledge derived from the project, which aims to improve the efficiency of the technique of human somatic cell nuclear transfer, may inform the development of stem cell lines for therapy and the improvement of fertility treatment in future.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord Darzi of Denham on 23 March 2009 (WA 92), how the use in laboratory research of patient-specific embryonic stem cells derived by human cloning differs from the use of patient-specific pluripotent cell lines described in the journals Cell (volume 134, issue 5, pp 877-86 and volume 136, issue 5, pp 964-77), Nature (volume 457, issue 7227, pp 277-80 and volume 461, issue 7262, pp 402-06) and Science (volume 321, issue 5893, pp 1218-21). [HL3197]
Lord Young of Norwood Green: There are a number of different approaches to deriving stem cell lines that can be used in the study of disease in laboratory-based research, these include somatic cell nuclear transfer and the derivation of induced pluripotent stem cell (iPS) lines from patients. It is known that cells derived using different approaches have different features, for instance iPS cells divide more slowly than embryonic stem cells. There are many groups working to identify these differences and to develop iPS cells that are more like embryonic stem cells. However, both of the approaches cited by the noble Lord continue to be valuable in research studies of disease phenotype.
The Medical Research Council (MRC) has not made any detailed assessment of the work described in the published papers cited, however these papers indicate the continued rapid development of the iPS field and its continued promise following the development of disease-specific and patient-specific cells.
However, it is not evident at present which area of stem cell research may deliver the most effective treatments for particular conditions and more research is needed on all types of stem cells to determine which routes should be pursued in the development of cell-based therapies. The MRC therefore supports research into all approaches to harness the potential of stem cells to understand human disease and develop effective treatments.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead on 8 December 2009 (WA 110), why the scrutiny reserve resolution was overridden on the proposed Council Decision approving the appointment of Vygaudas Usackas as the European Union Special Representative to Afghanistan; and what steps they are taking to avoid a repeat of those circumstances. [HL3185]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): The role of the European Union Special Representative (EUSR) for Afghanistan is important in focusing the EU effort, ensuring that it dovetails with the work of other bilateral and multilateral partners. The Government continue to believe in the importance of our work in Afghanistan and in the benefits of continued international co-ordination.
I deeply regret that, on this occasion, my honourable friend, Chris Bryant, had to agree to the Council decision approving the appointment of Vygaudas Usackas as the EUSR to Afghanistan before it had cleared the Scrutiny Committee. The failure to allow the committee to fully scrutinise this decision came about due to an administrative oversight. Chris Bryant has spoken to those responsible to ensure this will not happen again.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the average purchase price, excluding value added tax, of a 500-sheet ream of white A4 80 gsm photocopier paper paid by each regional development agency in the latest period for which figures are available; and how much they spent in total on all photocopier paper in the last year for which figures are available. [HL2395]
The Minister for Trade and Investment (Lord Davies of Abersoch): The regional development agencies are committed to achieving value for money in procurement and use of office supplies. Each RDA uses recycled paper in their printers and photocopiers in accordance with the network's commitment to sustainability.
Prices of paper are influenced by specification in terms of paper quality, the distance of the supplier to the RDA's office (which impacts on carbon footprint, logistics and storage costs), the policy on the use of local suppliers, the environmental specification and the use of collaborative contracts with other public sector customers.
|RDA||Total spent on all photocopier/printer paper in the 2008-09||Average purchase price (exc. VAT), of a 500-sheet ream of white A4 80 gsm photocopier/printer paper in 2008-09|
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many aspartame-sensitive participants have been recruited to the current Food Standards Agency study of anecdotal complaints relating to aspartame; and when the study will be completed. [HL3027]
To ask Her Majesty's Government when the Food Standards Agency expects to report its interim findings from the study being conducted of anecdotal complaints relating to aspartame; and what progress is being made. [HL3029]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Thornton): The study is not investigating anecdotal complaints relating to aspartame, but is aiming to collect validated information from individuals who believe aspartame adversely affects them. This information has not previously been systematically collected under trial conditions.
The basis for funding this study was the need to gather information on the adverse effects individuals relate to the consumption of aspartame in a safe and controlled environment. This will enable a robust analysis of this evidence, which is not possible to do with the unverified case report data available at present.
To date, 48 individuals who believe that they are sensitive to aspartame have volunteered to participate in the Food Standards Agency-funded study. An age and sex matched control is recruited for each aspartame-sensitive volunteer who takes part in the study.
The aspartame study is due to report early in 2011. This is reliant upon the volunteers attending the clinic and participating in the study. If those who have already volunteered do so it should be feasible to recruit the remaining participants and complete within this timeframe.
There will be no interim report of findings from this study. Due to the nature of the study, a double blind placebo controlled study, it is not possible to review the study outcomes until the target number of volunteers have participated in the trial, as this would result in the research team being aware of which product the participants are consuming (placebo or control) and may influence how they treat them.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): The UK is represented in the Middle East quartet through its membership of the European Union. We welcome the
7 Apr 2010 : Column WA437
To ask Her Majesty's Government why there was a downwards revision of £4.3 billion in public sector net borrowing for January as published in the Office for National Statistics' February revision of central government current expenditure; which departments reduced their expenditure or increased their income (or both); and by how much each department reduced its expenditure or increased its income (or both). [HL3162]
As Director General of the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking why there was a downwards revision of £4.3 billion in public sector net borrowing for January as published in the Office for National Statistics' February revision of central government current expenditure; which departments reduced their expenditure or increased their income (or both); and by how much each department reduced its expenditure or increased its income (or both). [HL3162]
Revisions to previous months' data for the public sector finances are not unusual, particularly for the most recent periods, reflecting their provisional status. The monthly data are also volatile and it can be misleading to read too much into them.
The single biggest contributor to the revision of the January 2010 data, accounting for £3.2 billion of the total, was central government current expenditure. There were a number of factors contributing to this, including the availability of better estimates from government departments. Earlier months in the current financial year were also revised, leaving the year to date total broadly unchanged.
A breakdown of revisions by government department is not available. A significant part of the revision is due to technical changes, which are not subdivided by department, to some of the components that make up central government current expenditure.
|Next Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|