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2 Dec 2009 : Column WA46

Government Equalities Office


Asked by Lord Tebbit

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Baroness Royall of Blaisdon): The Government Equalities Office was established in 2007 to tackle discrimination and to help create a more equitable society for all the men, women and children who live within it.

However, the Government recognise that the nature of discrimination is that specific groups experience disadvantage based upon their innate characteristics. Despite comprising over half of the United Kingdom's population, women are one such group.

For example, the overall gender pay gap comparing all female employees' median pay with all male employees' median pay is 22.0 per cent, the part-time gender pay gap comparing part-time women with full-time men is 39.4 per cent. This is one of the reasons why there is a Minister for Women and Equalities within the Government Office for Equalities.

There is no proposal to introduce a Minister for Men and Equalities.

Health: Botox


Asked by Lord Jopling

Baroness Thornton: The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) monitors the internet for medicines and active pharmaceutical ingredients that are being offered for sale or supply. Where the agency determines that supply and advertising is illegal and where patient safety is compromised it will take appropriate action.

European Union manufacturers of licensed products containing botulinum toxin that are imported into the United Kingdom are inspected by the relevant regulatory authorities in the countries of origin. An aspect of inspection is to ensure that sterilisation processes are

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effective and fully validated. Third country manufacturers are inspected by the relevant supervisory authority, when arrangements for sterilisation are also reviewed. A condition applied to the importation of unlicensed products is that they are manufactured under appropriate standards of good manufacturing practice by the holder of an appropriate manufacturing licence.

Manufacturers are required to show beyond that specified in the marketing authorisation for therapeutic effects. These controls aim to ensure that imports of unsterilised botulinum toxin are not imported and give rise to outbreaks of botulism

Health: Hydration


Asked by Lord Patten

Baroness Thornton: The recording of discussions between a doctor and patient is a matter of professional practice. Guidance issued by the General Medical Council says:

"You must ensure that decisions are properly documented, including the relevant clinical findings; details of discussions with the patient, health care team, or others involved in decision making; details of treatment given with any agreed review dates; and outcomes of treatment or other significant factors which may affect future care. You should record the decision at the time of, or soon after, the events described. The record should be legible, clear, accurate and unambiguous, for example avoiding abbreviations or other terminology that may cause confusion to those providing care. You must ensure that the records are appropriately accessible to the patient, team members and others involved in providing care to patients".

Health: MRSA


Asked by Lord Hylton

Baroness Thornton: The majority of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections are due to healthcare-associated strains. However, given experience in the Netherlands and elsewhere, the Health Protection Agency asks diagnostic laboratories to send it unusual isolates from people with a farming association for further investigation. No cases of the pig-related strain ST398 have been reported in England. The Advisory Committee on Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infections continue to keep developments in relation to human and animal strains of MRSA under review.

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Health: Myasthenia Gravis


Asked by Baroness Tonge

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): Disability living allowance provides an important contribution towards the extra costs faced by severely disabled people who claim before the age of 65 years. Once awarded, disability living allowance may continue in payment after the age of 65, if the entitlement conditions continue to be met.

People who become disabled after the age of 65 can claim attendance allowance. Unlike disability living allowance, attendance allowance does not contain a mobility component. However, recipients of attendance allowance are able to use their benefit in whatever way that best suits their needs and priorities, including helping to meet any mobility costs.

The Government believe that the benefit arrangements in place for disabled people are both fair and sensible. Disability living allowance aims to focus additional help on people who are severely disabled early, or relatively early, in life and as a result face limited opportunities to work, earn, and save compared with non-disabled people.

There are no plans to extend entitlement to disability living allowance to those who claim for help at age 65 and over.

Higher Education: Funding


Asked by Baroness Garden of Frognal

The Minister for Trade and Investment (Lord Davies of Abersoch): Government funding for each of the organisations over the past four financial years is set out in the table below.

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OrganisationFunding in Financial Year (£000s)(a)

(a) Institute for Learning





(b) UK Commission for Employment and Skills





(c) Foundation Degree forward





(d) National Institute for Adult and Continuing Education










We are not aware of any direct funding to the 157 Group.



Asked by Baroness Warsi

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The immigration status of those foreign nationals convicted of human trafficking is varied. However, should a non-British citizen be convicted of a criminal offence carrying a sentence of 12 months or more, they are liable to automatic deportation from the UK.

A deportation order invalidates any leave that such a person has been granted.



Asked by Baroness Scott of Needham Market

Lord Davies of Oldham: Over the next two months the Department for Culture, Media and Sport will undertake a consultation on the future of the public library service in England. We published our consultation paper on 1 December and I will arrange for a copy to be placed in the Libraries of both Houses. The department will consider the findings of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Libraries, Literacy and Information Management Report as part of that process and publish a policy statement in the spring.

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Money: Advice


Asked by Lord Kirkwood of Kirkhope

The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): The Government are testing the Thoresen review's blueprint for a generic financial advice or 'money guidance' service through a large-scale pilot or pathfinder in the north-west and north-east of England. Launched in April, it is on track to meet its target to reach over 500,000 people by March 2010, through the Moneymadeclear website, helpline and face-to-face services provided by a wide range of local partners.

Interim evaluation findings from the pathfinder indicate that the money guidance service can be effective. The money guidance service will therefore be rolled out nationally from spring 2010.

The Moneymadeclear website and helpline are already available to people anywhere in the UK. Promotion of the service across the UK is expected to begin from spring 2010. The introduction of face-to-face money guidance sessions across the UK is likely to be phased over a number of years.

Money: Supply


Asked by Lord Higgins

The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): The Bank of England collects and publishes statistics on both narrow and broad money. The full Bank of England dataset runs to many pages and can be found at:

National DNA Database


Asked by Baroness Neville-Jones

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): Direct access to information on the National DNA database is restricted to around 35 designated personnel working for the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA). Police forces do not have access to the information on the NDNAD, but receive reports from the NDNAD Delivery Unit of matches between DNA taken from crime scenes and that taken from individuals.

Security measures are applied to the NDNAD to prevent unauthorised access, whether by a foreign intelligence agency or anyone else. These measures are in accordance with HM Government policy and guidance.

Assessments with regard to the intent and capability of foreign intelligence services to access the fingerprint database are a standard part of the risk assessment and security accreditation process conducted in accordance with HM Government information assurance policy. This assessment is reviewed on an annual basis.

Asked by Lord Moonie

Lord West of Spithead: A DNA sample is biological material containing cells with a person's DNA, whereas a DNA profile is a numerical sequence stored on the National DNA database (NDNAD), which is an IT system. DNA samples can be split into two categories. Subject samples are taken from an arrested person (or in some cases from a volunteer), usually by means of a swab which picks up cells from the inside of the cheek. Crime scene samples are retrieved from material at crime scenes, for example blood, semen or saliva. Both types of sample are collected by the police and sent to an accredited forensic supplier for analysis to produce a DNA profile. The profile is then loaded onto the NDNAD where it can be compared with the other profiles held on the database. The original physical sample is retained by the forensic supplier in a secure environment. When a match occurs between profiles held on the NDNAD the relevant police force is informed.

The costs of obtaining, analysing and storing DNA samples fall to individual police forces. They vary depending on the contractual relationship between the police force and the forensic supplier, which is commercially confidential.

The NDNAD is operated by the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA). Capital investment plans for the NDNAD can be broadly separated into maintenance and development. Maintenance costs equate to approximately £200,000 per annum and relate to the in year costs of replacing equipment that has either failed or reached the end of its lifespan. Development costs are determined firstly by the prioritised development requirements of the NDNAD strategy board, and secondly by the available capital funds within the NPIA and their relative prioritisation across the development requirements of the police service as

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a whole. The NPIA is currently in the process of business planning around budget requirements over the next one to three years. Until this process is complete, precise capital expenditure plans for NDNAD development are not available.

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