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Session 2005 - 06
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Supplement to the House of Commons Votes and Proceedings
17 February 2006



14th February 2006

To the House of Commons.

The Petition of residents of Cumbria,

Declares that Cumbria Police should not be merged with a neighbouring police force, because a merger would lead to resources being lost to more urban areas in neighbouring counties.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urge the Government to stop plans to merge Cumbria Police force.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.



15th February 2006

To the Honourable the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled.

The Humble Petition of Rosemary Cecilia Spooner and staff, residents, carers and supporters of Orchard Lea Residential Care Home, Cullompton, Devon,


That the decision by Devon County Council to close Orchard Lea is opposed by the Petitioners.

Wherefore your Petitioners pray that your Honourable House will consider the impact of the Care Standards Act and the presumption of care in the community which fails to address the needs of the current residents of Orchard Lea or the future residential needs of elderly people, in the Cullompton area.

And your Petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray, &c.



15th February 2006

To the House of Commons.

The Petition of the Association of Directors of Public Health and 190 signatories from their membership,

Declares that the Association of Directors of Public Health and their member signatories believe that there should be a complete ban on smoking in public places and workplaces in England. A partial ban would permit deaths and occupational injuries due to second hand smoke to continue; it would be difficult to enforce and will increase health inequalities. Therefore, as serving Directors of Public Health, they urge parliament to adopt a total ban.

The Petitioners therefore support the enactment of the legislation necessary to afford people in England protection without exemptions, from the health hazards of second-hand tobacco smoke and urge the Commons to see that the Health Bill will not be weakened in that regard.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.



15th February 2006

To the House of Commons.

The Petition of the Health Service Journal and 1092 staff and managers in NHS organisations,

Declares that the Health Service Journal and signatories, as health professionals and managers working in the NHS, support the House of Commons in the enactment of legislation to eliminate tobacco smoke in all enclosed public places and work-places.

The Petitioners therefore support a comprehensive ban on second-hand tobacco smoke in enclosed public places and work-places, without which health inequalities in England will deepen, and urge the Commons to see that the Health Bill will not be weakened in that regard.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.


Observations by the Secretary of State for International Development on the Petition [19th January] from the Stop AIDS Campaign for better global provision of medicines against AIDS, TB and malaria.

    The Government agrees that treatment and care for people with AIDS needs to be available, accessible and affordable worldwide. This is essential to tackle HIV and AIDS, improve people's lives and protect the significant development gains of the last 20 years.

    The UK is working with country partners and the international community to support countries to increase their AIDS programmes, and to improve broader health, education and social welfare.

    In line with the G8 and Millennium Review Summit we are working with WHO, UNAIDS and other international bodies and bilateral donors to "develop and implement a package of HIV prevention, treatment and care, with the aim of as close to possible to universal access to treatment for those who need it, by 2010". The UK has agreed to co-chair with UNAIDS the Global Steering Committee to scaling up towards Universal Access (GSC) which is taking this work forward. The GSC will report to the UN General Assembly High Level meeting, 31st May-2nd June 2006.

    One issue the GSC will consider is whether World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules impede access to essential medicines in countries affected by AIDS. The WTO Trade Related aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement regulates the protection of intellectual property in all countries that have implemented it. As of 2005, all WTO member countries—developed and developing, with the exception of least developed countries (LDCs)—had to fully implement TRIPS. LDCs have until 2016 on TRIPS and health. TRIPS has a number of 'flexibilities' which allow countries to access cheap copies of patented medicines where necessary, for instance where they decide the price of the patented product is too expensive. One of these flexibilities is contained in an agreement reached in 2003, often referred to as the 30th August 2003 Decision, allowing developing countries with no pharmaceutical industry to import cheap copies of medicines from other countries (in line with the provisions of the agreement).

    This historic agreement, which the UK was active in negotiating, should help to support access to medicine in developing countries by strengthening the position of governments as they negotiate with the producers of patented medicines, or enabling them to source generics from elsewhere. Countries now need to change their domestic legislation to bring it in line with the Decision, so they can act as exporters or importers. At the end of 2005 the EU agreed a European-wide regulation that means companies in Europe could now produce medicines for export (in line with the provisions of the agreement), and WTO made the necessary final changes to the TRIPS agreement to ensure the 30th August 2003 Decision is a permanent part of TRIPS.

    It is important that developing countries are given the support they need to be able to use the Decision, and that the impact of TRIPS and the Decision itself, are monitored to understand their impact on access to medicines. The government has been funding several programmes to increase capacity to use TRIPS, including funding legal research on implementation, a TRIPS Resource Book and we are now exploring—in partnership with international organisations—provision of on-the-ground technical assistance to developing countries to help them make the most of TRIPS. We will continue to take this work forward.

    The UK made AIDS a centrepiece of the 2005 G8 and EU Presidencies, emphasising the importance of securing "more and better aid" for AIDS, securing commitments to scale up towards universal access to AIDS treatment, and to maintain momentum on HIV prevention. G8 leaders agreed that they would work to finance the fight against AIDS, including through the replenishment this year of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria (Global Fund). The UK hosted the Global Fund's replenishment conference in September 2005 and donors pledged US$ 3.7 billion for the two-year period 2006-2007. At the Conference, the UK doubled its funding to the Global Fund, to 200 million for 2006 and 2007. Our contribution amounted to some 8.4% of the total pledged to date. Overall the UK has now pledged 359m (US$ 640m) to the Global Fund over 7 years (2002-2008).

    This is a significant achievement which has enabled all existing Global Fund projects to continue. A follow-up Conference will be held in 2006 to secure additional pledges. Since the London Replenishment Conference for the Global Fund, the UK has called on other partners, in particular the private sector, to make greater contributions. This is crucial if the Global Fund is to widen its funding base and achieve the longer term sustainability it needs.

    At the same time as pushing for more resources to tackle AIDS, the UK has also been working to ensure that all the resources available are used in the most effective way. That is why we are pressing donors to give their funding in ways which support the efforts and priorities of governments, business, civil society and communities in the worst affected countries to overcome this epidemic. It is also why we have strongly supported the 'Three Ones' (one strategy, one co-ordinating body, one monitoring process) to achieve this. In March this year we convened a meeting called "Making the Money Work" to take action on the Three Ones and this established a Global Task Team (GTT) on improving AIDS coordination among multilateral development agencies. The recommendations should make a real impact on the ways AIDS finance is used by countries to reach people.

    The UK will continue to take a leading role in international efforts to tackle HIV and AIDS effectively.

9th February 2006


Observations by the Deputy Prime Minister on the Petitions [30th January and 1st February] from supporters of the Isitfair Council Tax protest campaign for a fair and equitable replacement for council tax.

    Accepts that above inflation increases in Council Tax do cause hardship to those on fixed incomes for whom council tax absorbs significant amounts of disposable income, but supports responsible control of Local Authority Expenditure and reasonable Council Tax increases. The Government reserves the right to cap excessive increases.

    Notes that proposed revaluation of domestic properties in England has subject to Parliament, been postponed, calls on Parliament to support that postponement, and notes that the Government has set up an Independent Inquiry, led by Sir Michael Lyons, to consider the detailed case for changes to the present system of local government funding and to make recommendations on any changes that are necessary and how to implement them. As part of his inquiry, Sir Michael is looking at how best to reform council tax to make it fairer and more sustainable. On 20th September the Government announced that it was extending the remit of the Sir Michael's Inquiry so that he could consider local government funding in the context of the wider functions of local government and its future role and, in the light of this, postponing the revaluation of council tax in England. Sir Michael is due to report by the end of this year.

    Sir Michael is aware of the sort of concerns that the IsItFair campaign and many others have expressed about how the current council tax system affects those on low and fixed incomes and the Government looks forward to receiving his recommendations.

    Requests that proposals for a workable fair local tax be forwarded and rejects the idea that local tax should be levied irrespective of wealth, including home ownership and supports a fair benefit system which takes into account both income and wealth.

15th February 2006

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Revised 17 February 2006