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Sustainable Development: UK Round Table Annual Report

The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:

Earl Ferrers: The Government have today formally published their response to the First Annual Report of the United Kingdom Round Table on Sustainable Development. Copies have been placed in the Library.

The Government are encouraged by the progress which the Round Table has made in its first year in exploring its method of working and in reviewing some major sectors of development.

The Government hope that their response to the Round Table's report will contribute to the continuing informed debate about reconciling economic development and environmental protection and enhancement.

Naval Training: Partnership Arrangement

Lord Geddes asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Minister of Defence (Earl Howe): As part of the Government's Competing For Quality and Private Finance Initiative, in December 1995 the Naval Recruiting and Training Agency (NRTA) selected Flagship Training (a consortium consisting of Vosper Thornycroft, GEC/Marconi and Procord) as its preferred partner in naval training.

Following a process of detailed negotiation between the NRTA and Flagship Training, I am pleased to announce that it has been decided to proceed with the implementation of the partnering arrangement. With the formal framework now in place, the NRTA and Flagship Training can begin to develop specific proposals in respect of NRTA shore training establishments. This process is expected to take around six months to complete and the proposals that emerge will be the subject of further consultation with departmental trades unions.

Civil Servants: Non-executive Directorships

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

Earl Howe: There is no specific requirement for civil servants to reveal to members of the public the

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non-executive directorships that they hold. However, each department provides guidance which normally requires civil servants to register such appointments with the department.

Tuberculosis: Reports

Lord Cadman asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the Interdepartmental Working Group on Tuberculosis have completed the reports they have been working on.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Cumberlege): Yes. Two reports of the Interdepartmental Working Group on Tuberculosis, entitled Recommendations for the prevention and control of tuberculosis at local level and Tuberculosis and homeless people have been released today. Copies have been placed in the Library.

BCG Immunisation

Viscount Ullswater asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have considered the advice they have received from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation on the future of the schools BCG immunisation programme.

Baroness Cumberlege: The Government have accepted fully the advice of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) that Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) should be routinely offered to all school children between the ages of 10 and 14. The advice we have received from the JCVI is in line with the current recommendation as set out in the Department of Health's memorandum Immunisation Against Infectious Disease, copies of which are available in the Library. We would therefore expect all health authorities to offer BCG immunisation routinely to school children.

Bioethics: Council of Europe Convention

Lord Ashbourne asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they endorse the objection made by the German Government to the new Council of Europe Convention on Bioethics, relating to the proposal for substituted consent contained in the Convention at Article 6, paragraph 2.

Baroness Cumberlege: The draft Council of Europe Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine has yet to be considered by the Committee of Ministers, who have the right to amend the text. The United Kingdom is satisfied with the present wording of Article 6, paragraph 2, which reflects the current UK legal position.

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Lord Ashbourne asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have received a copy of any petition against the new Council of Europe Convention on Bioethics; and if so, what is their response.

Baroness Cumberlege: There is no record of such a petition having been received.

The Infant Formula Industry: Guidance on Donations

The Earl of Clanwilliam asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they will issue guidance on the donation on informational or educational equipment or materials in accordance with Section 21(3) of the Infant Formula and Follow on Formula Regulations 1995.

Baroness Cumberlege: Draft guidance was issued for public consultation on 2nd July, copies of which have been placed in the Library. It contains:


    proposed good practice to help ensure that information provided on infant feeding is objective and consistent; and proposed guidelines and criteria on the donation of informational or educational materials by the infant formula industry.

Comments have been requested by 10th September 1996.

Scotland: Power to Hold Referenda

Lord Campbell of Croy asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What legislative provisions are currently in force which would enable a referendum on the constitution to be held in Scotland.

The Lord Privy Seal (Viscount Cranborne): None. Powers previously taken in 1975 and in 1978 to hold referenda have been repealed.

Parliamentary Pay: SSRB Report

Baroness Elles asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they plan to publish the report by the Senior Salaries Review Body into parliamentary pay and allowances.

Viscount Cranborne: The Government have now considered Report No. 38 from the Senior Salaries Review Body (SSRB) on parliamentary pay and allowances. The Government are grateful to the review body for undertaking this complex remit so promptly. The report is being published today as Command Paper 3330--and copies are available in the Printed Paper Office.

Following representations made during the Government's consultations with other parties on the report, the Government will table Motions to allow the

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House of Commons to consider whether it wishes to implement the recommendations of the report in full.

The Government themselves, however, are clear that the recommended increases for Members' and Ministers' pay are too high and that the Motions to give these effect should not be passed in current circumstances. They will therefore oppose these Motions and will table Motions to bring into effect an increase in the salary of a backbench Member from £34,085 to £35,018--that is, by 3 per cent. with effect from 1st July 1996, and for similar increases in the pay of Ministers and other office holders. The Government will also table motions to implement the report's recommendation that further increases should take effect from 1st April each year and should be linked to movements in senior Civil Service pay bands.

Sports Council: Services to Angling

Lord Mason of Barnsley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What organisations and persons have objected to the Sports Council's omission of angling from the list of activities that will receive the council's enhanced service.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of National Heritage (Lord Inglewood): The Sports Council has received 32 representations objecting to angling being omitted from its list of those activities which will receive an enhanced service. These include letters from eight branches of the Salmon and Trout Association, two branches of the Salmon and Trout Council, 15 individuals, including two angling instructors and two members of the House of Lords, the Chairman and a member of the National Federation of Sea Anglers, the secretariat to Angling Governing Bodies, Bristol Water, the Bewl Bridge Flyfishers' Club, the Association of Still Water Game Fishery Managers, and the Confederation of English Fly Fishers. The Secretariat to Angling Governing Bodies, the National Federation of Sea Anglers, two branches of the Salmon and Trout Association and one individual have also written to the Department of National Heritage.

Recombinant Factor VIII: VAT

Baroness Gardner of Parkes asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will classify recombinant Factor VIII (a synthetic replacement for a natural blood product, used in treating haemophilia, principally in children) as exempt from VAT.

The Minister of State, Department of Social Security (Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish): Items 6 and 7 of Group 7 of Schedule 9 to the Value Added Tax Act 1994 exempt human blood and substances derived from it. Recombinant Factor VIII, being synthetic and not derived from human blood, does not fall within this exemption and so is subject to VAT at the standard rate.

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