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Lord Whitty: We will be discussing with the Government of Zambia whether we are able to establish a partnership with them on the basis outlined in the White Paper on International Development as a foundation for future aid commitments. We will continue to consult with our EU partners on this basis.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Social Security (Baroness Hollis of Heigham): Awards of Disability Living Allowance and Attendance Allowance are made "for life" where the disabled person is likely to continue to satisfy the qualifying criteria for that award. That does not mean that they will. A person's needs may increase if their condition deteriorates or their needs may decrease as they adapt to a disability or their condition improves.
The Government considers that the law dealing with the review of awards is clear. The Social Security Administration Act 1992 sets out, at section 30(2), the grounds for reviewing awards of Disability Living Allowance and Attendance Allowance. Section 32(4)(b) of the same Act, as amended by section 17(2) of the Social Security Administration (Fraud) Act 1997, makes it clear that section 30(2) can also be applied to awards that have been made for life.
Baroness Hollis of Heigham: As stated in our manifesto, the Government are committed to retaining SERPS as an option for those who wish to remain in it. This includes new entrants to the labour force.
The Minister of State, Department of Health (Baroness Jay of Paddington): We are satisfied that the actions taken to protect the public from any health risk, however small, from possible exposure to bovine spongiform encephalopathy are justified. In the light of the advice from the Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee (SEAC) and the Chief Medical Officer, we decided that we could not risk public health by allowing a tissue in which infectivity had been found to remain in the human food chain.
Many factors need to be taken into account when assessing the appropriate measures to address risks to public health associated with different products or activities. We are satisfied that our response to the public health risks in smoking and eating beef is appropriate in both cases.
Baroness Jay of Paddington: No health concerns have been identified in respect of current exposures of the general population of the United Kingdom to fluoride. Concentrations in drinking water supplies are subject to a statutory maximum of 1.5 milligrams per litre. Furthermore, when the naturally-occurring fluoride concentration is supplemented by fluoridation, it is a statutory requirement to maintain the concentration in supply at 1 milligram per litre so far as is reasonably practical. Dental fluorosis, which is mentioned in the section of the World Health Organisation report quoted, is accepted as a purely cosmetic problem for which there are satisfactory dental remedies.
Baroness Jay of Paddington: Schemes proposed in the last five years have been in areas with high levels of tooth decay in which naturally occurring levels of fluoride in the water supply are low and it may be assumed that the use by residents of topical applications of fluoride is also low. If artificial fluoridation were introduced to an area, the health authority would mount a publicity campaign advising people of the situations in which they no longer needed topical fluoride.
Baroness Jay of Paddington: The Government are currently considering the ways of increasing the openness and transparency of the Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COT), as well as other expert advisory committees. As these arrangements have not been finalised it is not possible to say when they will be implemented.
The Government have every confidence in the rigour with which the COT reviewed the Vitamin B6 data and in the robustness of the recommendations it made. We have no intention to ask the COT to review its advice.
Baroness Jay of Paddington: It is impossible to estimate the number of people who regularly take any dose of Vitamin B6 since it is sold over the counter. Therefore, it is not possible to assess the resource implication for the National Health Service if the number of people seeking higher doses of Vitamin B6 were to consult their general medical practitioner.
Baroness Jay of Paddington: There is no information available on deaths recorded in England and Wales solely attributable to taking Vitamin B6 supplements. There is no universally acceptable figure available on the number of alcohol-related deaths because of the difficulty in defining the term alcohol-related.
However, the Health Education Authority made estimates in 1988 and 1995 that in the United Kingdom at least 110,000 and 120,000 people died, respectively, as a result of their smoking. No estimates are available for 1987, 1989 to 1994, 1996 or 1997.
Baroness Jay of Paddington: The Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment has not had occasion to identify the lowest dose of water at which clinical symptoms of toxicity would occur in humans. Therefore it is not possible to make calculations equivalent to those used in its consideration of Vitamin B6.
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