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Earl Howe: I understand that the comments made in the "York" report about the quality of the research were taken into account in these replies, but agree that an accurate summation of the report's findings would be to state that no clear association was found between water fluoridation and bone cancer.

Asked by Earl Baldwin of Bewdley

Earl Howe: The Report on Health and Human Subjects No. 41 was published in 1991, before the recommendations of the European Food Safety Authority published in 2006 and those of the American Food and Nutrition Board published in 1997. I am advised that these more recent recommendations better reflect the current expert view on the effects of fluoride.

G20

Questions

Asked by Lord Hylton

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): This will not be raised at the G20 which is a forum to discuss global economic stability. Human rights issues are raised in other settings.

Asked by Lord Hylton

Lord Howell of Guildford: This will not be raised at the G20 which is a forum to discuss global economic stability. Human rights issues are raised in other settings.

Government Regional Offices

Questions

Asked by Lord Greaves

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): The future of the regional government offices outside of London will be considered as part of the spending review.



23 Jun 2010 : Column WA189

Asked by Lord Greaves

Baroness Hanham: The Secretary of State has announced that government funding for regional local authority leaders' boards-which took over most of the functions and staff of the old regional assemblies-has been ended because we are abolishing their core function of drafting the regional strategy. This will produce an annual saving of £16 million.

The dismantling of these boards will see local authorities put firmly back in control of planning in their areas and will ensure that local people can hold their leaders to account.

Homelessness

Question

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): The Government have set up a new ministerial taskforce to tackle head-on the problem of homelessness and rough sleeping. Ministers from eight different departments across Whitehall are represented and its first meeting was on 16 June.

In addition, the Government actively support the mayor's London Delivery Board, which provides a cross-authority and cross-sector partnership to end rough sleeping in the capital. The board comprises homeless charities, the police, NHS London, DWP, MoJ, London Development Agency, Job Centre Plus, National Offender Management Service, local authorities and has a number of working groups including one for local authorities that is designed to promote and support cross-boundary working.

Homelessness: Helpline

Question

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): The Communities and Local Government department spends £2.7 million on the National Homelessness Advice Service (NHAS), which is a partnership between Shelter and Citizens Advice providing high-quality advice on homelessness

23 Jun 2010 : Column WA190

prevention through the network of participating citizens advice bureaux and other voluntary agencies across England.

NHAS has recently expanded its housing consultancy line and training service to all local authorities in England, which means housing options and homelessness staff now have access to a local call-rate charged housing advice line. The line is staffed by dedicated NHAS advisers who can help local authority workers to handle a wide range of housing advice queries across all housing tenures including advice on homelessness prevention.

Housing

Question

Asked by Lord Greaves

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): Data on the number of Empty Dwelling Management Orders in force are not collected. To date, 29 interim Empty Dwelling Management Orders (EDMO) have been approved by the Residential Property Tribunal Service. An interim EDMO lasts for an initial period of no more than 12 months. Local authorities do not need any further approval to make final Empty Dwelling Management Orders.

We are looking closely at the issue of empty homes and the full range of measures that might be taken to bring them back into use. We are examining the effectiveness of current enforcement powers available to local authorities, including Empty Dwelling Management Orders, and reviewing the civil liberty implications of Empty Dwelling Management Orders.

Local authorityNo. of Interim EDMOs Approved

Bolton Borough Council

1

Carlisle District Council

2

London Borough of Bromley

1

London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham

1

London Borough of Hounslow

1

London Borough of Lewisham

5

New Forest District Council

1

Norwich City Council

6

Peterborough City Council

2

South Gloucestershire Council

1

South Norfolk District Council

1

Southend-On-Sea Borough Council

2

South Oxfordshire District Council

1

South Tyneside Borough Council

1

Staffordshire Moorlands District Council

1

Swale Borough Council

1

Wychavon District Council

1

Total

29



23 Jun 2010 : Column WA191

Human Rights

Question

Asked by Lord Chidgey

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): In Rwanda our high commission in Kigali, which also has non-resident responsibility for Burundi, follows closely all aspects of human rights in those countries. This includes the treatment of human rights activists, and we regularly discuss these issues with both Rwanda and Burundi. In recent months, the local representatives for Human Rights Watch in both Rwanda and Burundi have been expelled, and we have raised these cases with the host Governments, both bilaterally and with our EU partners.

In Uganda our high commission in Kampala closely follows all aspects of the human rights situation, including gay and lesbian rights and the treatment of human rights activists, and regularly discusses these issues with the Ugandan Government.

Human rights activists continue to face intimidation, arbitrary arrest and violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). We follow cases of concern closely and press the Government of the DRC bilaterally and with our EU partners to meet its responsibilities for protecting human rights activists.

Our embassy in Kinshasa is implementing the EU guidelines on human rights defenders. With our EU partners in the DRC we met eight NGOs representing human rights defenders who have given their feedback on the EU human rights strategy. We have appointed a liaison officer and made their contact details available to local non-government organisations and civil society. The UN Organization Mission in DRC (MONUC) Protection Unit also provides protection services to those in danger including relocation and advice on personal security.

Internet: Broadband

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The Communications Consumer Panel's report brought together the information that was then available about the local broadband schemes that had been announced or were in operation. It was the result of conversations with stakeholders and a web-based review

23 Jun 2010 : Column WA192

of publicly available information. There is therefore no material or evidence beyond that cited in the report and, where possible, linked in the report to the relevant web source. The Communications Consumer Panel produced two versions of this report; the second was simply an updated version of the original. The Communications Consumer Panel does not have further updates in its workplan.

Marie Stopes International

Questions

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Marie Stopes International (MSI) does not use government funds to support its work on sexual and reproductive healthcare services in China. Departmental officials have regular discussions with MSI on a range of sexual health issues.

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

Earl Howe: The Government do not fund Marie Stopes International's work with the Chinese National Population and Family Planning Commission.

Mental Health

Questions

Asked by Lord Marlesford

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): There is no comprehensive data collection undertaken by the department with regard to the ethnicity or nationality of people detained under the Mental Health Act. Details for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are a matter for the respective devolved Administrations.

Asked by Lord Marlesford



23 Jun 2010 : Column WA193

Earl Howe: Section 86 of the Mental Health Act 1983 (the 1983 Act) empowers the Secretary of State to authorise the repatriation of certain in-patients detained in England or Wales who are neither British citizens nor Commonwealth citizens having the right of abode in the United Kingdom. Before doing so the Secretary of State must be satisfied that proper arrangements have been made for the patient's removal and for their care and treatment in the receiving country. The Secretary of State must also obtain the approval of the appropriate tribunal. In Wales, this function is transferred to the Welsh Ministers, except in relation to certain patients detained under Part 3 of the 1983 Act subject to special restrictions ("restricted patients"). Part 3 of the 1983 Act deals primarily with mentally disordered offenders.

Two patients were repatriated by the Secretary of State under Section 86 in 2007, and one in 2009. All three were restricted patients.

In addition to Section 86, some patients detained under Part 3 of the 1983 Act in England and Wales can be repatriated under the Repatriation of Prisoners Act 1984 (the 1984 Act), as a condition of a conditional discharge or by deportation. Nine restricted patients were deported in 2007, 11 in 2008 and 12 in 2009. To date, two have been deported in 2010. In 2008, one restricted patient was repatriated by means of conditional discharge. No patients have been repatriated under the 1984 Act in the past three years.


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