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Inheritance Tax

Lord Rowallan asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Net receipts of inheritance tax together with the costs of collection for each financial year since 1990 are given below:

Net receipts(1) £ millionCost of collection(2) £ million
1990-911,26228.0
1991-921,29926.9
1992-931,21126.2
1993-941,33325.3
1994-951,41136.4
1995-961,51837.9
1996-971,55831.9

(1) Includes residual receipts from capital transfer tax and estate duty.

(2) Includes the cost of work done by the Shares Valuation Division of the Capital Taxes Office for other Inland Revenue purposes.


Surrender of Handguns: Compensation Arrangements

The Earl of Denbigh asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How long former handgun owners can expect to wait for compensation for loss of handguns and ancillary equipment under compensation schemes A, B and C; and whether this is in line with the Government's previous expectations.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): The average time to settle claims under options A and B is currently 13 weeks. Claims under option C, which require individual assessment of the evidence of value provided, are being deferred to allow faster processing of claims submitted under the first two options. Many option C claimants have also claimed under other options and so will receive a part payment of their claim first. This position is in accordance with our earlier expectations.

Surrender of Pistols: Compensation Arrangements

The Earl of Denbigh asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How long after the proposed ban on .22 pistols the hand-in period will last; and how soon people will receive compensation for loss of equipment and weapons.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: No decision about the implementation of the Firearms (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill will be taken until the draft compensation scheme has been laid before both Houses and approved. As more than 26,000 small-calibre pistols have already

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been handed in voluntarily it is unlikely that the hand-in period will need to be as long as three months, the time allowed for surrender of large-calibre handguns prohibited by the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997.

Health and Social Services Boards

Lord Alderdice asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What public expenditure savings would accrue from the establishment of a single management executive in the place of the current health and social services boards.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Northern Ireland Office (Lord Dubs): The Government are currently considering what changes should be made to existing health and social services organisations in order to abolish the internal market. No specific proposals for organisational change have yet been made, nor have there been any estimates made of the costs or benefits of any particular change.

Northern Ireland Students at Scottish Universities: Fees

Lord Eames asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have recently received representation relating to the payment of fees for students from Northern Ireland attending universities in Scotland; and what steps they will take to ensure that students from Northern Ireland are treated fairly in relation to the payment of those fees.

Lord Dubs: No.

Further discussions are taking place at ministerial level in relation to the issue.

Environmental Impact Assessment Directive

Baroness Hilton of Eggardon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What representations they have received regarding the implementation of Directive 97/11/EC on the assessment of certain public and private projects on the environment.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Baroness Hayman): A consultation paper was issued on 30 July setting out in broad terms the Government's proposals for implementing the amended Environmental Impact Assessment Directive (97/11/EC). To date, 170 responses have been received from business, government and environmental organisations in the UK, as well as members of the public. A list of the responses has been placed in the Library of the House. Copies of all the responses have also been placed in the department's library.

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Asylum Seekers' Support Costs

Lord Jenkin of Roding asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What response they have given to the Association of London Government's request for further help, discussed at a meeting on 5 November, over the 7,000 adults, 4,000 families and 450 unaccompanied children currently being supported by the London Boroughs.

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Baroness Jay of Paddington): The Department of Health is in regular contact with the Association of London Government and appreciates the financial and logistical burden facing local authorities as a direct result of the High Court and Court of Appeal rulings about asylum seekers. This is why three special grants will be made available to local authorities to contribute to the cost of accommodating asylum seekers in 1997-98. The local authority associations will be given the opportunity to comment on the terms of the grants which will be laid before Parliament.

The Department of Health maintains that community care legislation is not the appropriate way to be providing for the needs of adult asylum seekers and for that reason we are appealing to the House of Lords on this issue. At the same time the Government are carrying out a fundamental review of the asylum process, including the way asylum seekers are cared for, looking at all the possible options available.

X-Ray Mammography

Lord Ironside asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many X-ray mammography facilities are operated by the National Health Service; and where each of them is sited.

Baroness Jay of Paddington: This information is not held centrally. It is a matter for health authorities in partnership with trusts to decide how many X-ray mammography facilities to operate and where to site them, based on clinical need among the local population.

Lord Ironside asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will introduce legislation to require National Health Service X-ray mammography screening facilities to obtain a certificate of approval, to be prominently displayed and renewed at yearly intervals, covering equipment, procedures, methodology, film processing, operator and consultant qualifications, keeping of records and monitoring of screening plans for women in eligible age brackets and susceptible categories.

Baroness Jay of Paddington: There are no plans at present to introduce legislation to require National Health Service X-ray mammography screening facilities to obtain a certificate of approval.

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Lord Ironside asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many X-ray mammography facilities used in the National Health Service are certified as having ISO 9002 Quality Assurance Standard approval.

Baroness Jay of Paddington: This information is not held centrally. It is not a requirement of the National Health Service that X-ray mammography facilities are certified as having ISO 9002 Quality Assurance Standard approval.

Lord Ironside asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many different types of X-ray mammography equipment are used by the National Health Service and whether the National Health Service has now selected a preferred type of equipment which will improve image definition and reduce the radiation dose.

Baroness Jay of Paddington: This information is not held centrally. It is a matter for individual health authorities to decide what mammography equipment to use, taking account of the Department of Health's Revised Guidance for Health Authorities on Mammographic Equipment (STD 90/46). Further guidance on mammographic equipment is included in the Breast Screening Programme's Guidance notes on mammographic X-ray equipment: Selection, maintenance, suspension from use, and replacement. There is no preferred type of equipment so long as STD 90/46 is complied with, and the equipment is maintained and checked to standards set out in the above guidance.

Copies of the documents are available in the Library.

Fluoridation of Water

Earl Baldwin of Bewdley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they support and promote the fluoridation of the water supply; whether they agree with the previous government about the impossibility of listing fully the scientific publications underpinning the effectiveness and safety of fluoridation (5 March 1997, WA 138); and whether they consider it incumbent on them to justify a major public health initiative of this kind in scientific terms if requested; and

    What are the principal studies relied on for both effectiveness and safety of water fluoridation: which of these are randomised controlled trials; and whether they will place copies in the Library.

Baroness Jay of Paddington: Evaluation of the safety and efficacy of fluoridation of water supplies does not rest on the results of a few principal studies, but on the assessments of the very extensive relevant published scientific literature on the effects of fluoride (including human exposure to fluoride present naturally in drinking

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water), and on the results of more than half a century of fluoridation. We continue to monitor progress. Recent reviews, which contain lists or references, include:


    WHO Technical Report Series 846: Fluorides and oral health (World Health Organisation, Geneva, 1994). ISBN 92 4 120846 5.


    One in a Million: water fluoridation and dental public health (Public Health Alliance and British Fluoridation Society, 1995). ISBN, 1 873514 11 5.


    National Research Council: Health effects of ingested fluoride (National Academy Press, Washington DC, 1993). ISBN 0-309-04975-X.


    Environmental Health Criteria 36: Fluorine and fluorides (World Health Organisation, Geneva, 1984). ISBN 92 4 154096 6.

We are currently reviewing the fluoridation programme and will make an announcement when our review is complete.


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