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"Britain"/"British": Use in Fundraising

The Earl of Mar and Kellie asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Simon of Highbury): Use of "Britain" or "British" as a trade mark or business identifier would have to be considered in the context in which these terms are used or applied in relation to goods or services. For instance, the Trade Marks Act 1994 requires that use of a mark should not mislead or confuse the public as to the origin of the goods or services. In the event that an organisation using Britain or British to identify itself, but whose activities spread across only England, Wales and Northern Ireland, it would need to be demonstrated that absence of a locus in Scotland was misleading.

Firearms Legislation: Dr. Oliver's Draft

The Earl of Haddington asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Sewel: I am aware of no such claim by Dr. Oliver about the draft Firearms Act which he, and another chief constable, submitted on their own initiative to the Firearms Consultative Committee, of which they were both then members. The Committee is appointed by the Home Secretary but neither the Home Office nor the Scottish Office funded the production of the paper. The remaining information sought by the question is not available. It is open to all members of the Firearms Consultative Committee to submit papers

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on issues they consider relevant to the Committee's area of work. The contents of such papers and the manner of their production are matters for individual members.

Public Entertainments Licences (Drugs Misuse) Act 1997

Baroness Anelay of St. Johns asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they will implement the provisions of the Public Entertainments Licences (Drugs Misuse) Act 1997.[HL1032]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): Consultations on Home Office guidelines to local authorities on implementing the powers contained in this Act have now been completed. The final version of the guidelines will be published and the new powers then brought into effect shortly.

Abortion Liberalisation

Lord Braine of Wheatley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have given or plan to give instructions to parliamentary Counsel to ensure that any future legislation on criminal justice will be drafted in such a way as to prevent any amendment to liberalise the abortion laws from being in order.[HL1056]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: No.

Hillsborough Disaster

Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What account the Home Secretary and Lord Justice Stuart-Smith took, in deciding against a fresh inquiry into the Hillsborough tragedy, of missing video tapes, changed statements by police officers, conflicting medical evidence and complaints of lack of impartiality in the original coroner's process and in the granting of immunity from prosecution to police officers upon taking early retirement.[HL1031]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Lord Justice Stuart-Smith considered all the material evidence submitted to his scrutiny about the Hillsborough disaster. My right honourable friend the Home Secretary accepted his conclusion that there were no grounds for a fresh inquiry.

Chapter 2 of Lord Justice Stuart-Smith's report deals with the video evidence. He found that there was no new video evidence and the only missing video tapes were two tapes stolen on the day of the disaster, which remain missing. They were not police tapes and the judge was satisfied that they would not have shown anything significant.

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Lord Justice Stuart-Smith deals with the changed statements by police officers at Chapter 4 of his report. He concludes at paragraph 106 that allegations of irregularity and malpractice are not substantiated.

Lord Justice Stuart-Smith examined closely the evidence of Dr. Ed Walker and others relating to the treatment of victims of the disaster (Chapter 3 of the report). He found no grounds to suggest that the original inquests were flawed or that complaints of bias against the Coroner were justified.

No police officer was granted immunity from prosecution. The Director of Public Prosecutions considered a report following the disaster but concluded that no officer should face prosecution. On the direction of the Police Complaints Authority, disciplinary charges of neglect of duty were preferred against two officers. However, Chief Superintendent Duckenfield retired on ill-health grounds and, as he was no longer a serving officer, those proceedings could not be completed. The disciplinary charges against the second officer, Superintendent Murray, were dropped as the Police Complaints Authority considered that it would have been unfair to pursue what was, in essence, a joint charge against one officer only.

Defence Bills Agency

Lord Hardy of Wath asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will review the Defence Bills Agency.[HL1130]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Gilbert): The Defence Bills Agency, DBA, which was launched in 1995, is responsible for:
(a) paying and accounting for bills submitted by MoD's suppliers and contractors;
(b) raising invoices and pursuing moneys receivable for goods and services sold by MoD;
(c) maintaining accounting records for the MoD central ledger;
(d) providing accounting and management information on all these activities to MoD managers.
In accordance with the DBA's framework document, a periodic review of the agency is under way. The performance of the DBA since its launch will be evaluated and a review of the options for the best management of its functions will be undertaken. Comments and contributions from those with an interest in DBA and its work will be welcomed. They should be sent by 31 May 1998 to:
DBA Review Team
Room 60
Northumberland House
London WC2N 5BP
Telephone: 0171 218 6915.

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Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham

Lord Howell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    If, as proposed, a replacement hospital is built for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, at a capital cost of £200 million under the Private Finance Initiative, what would be the expected revenue costs on such a sum on an annual basis and how would these costs be met; whether they would affect the budgets of other Birmingham hospitals; and whether additional funds would be made available to help meet these revenue costs; and[HL1035]

    What would be the consequences for the ancillary staffs, especially clerical, catering, cleaning and medical ancillaries, of the building of a replacement hospital for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, under the Private Finance Initiative; and what guarantees such staff would have that, following the transfer of their employment to the new private investors who would own the hospital, their wages and conditions would be safeguarded; and[HL1036]

    What contractual obligations are in place to ensure the proper maintenance of any hospital built under the Private Finance Initiative to replace the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham; and whether the requirements of the hospital in this direction will always predominate.[HL1037]

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Baroness Jay of Paddington): Birmingham Health Authority has just completed a consultation exercise on the future of health services in the Birmingham area. After careful analysis of the results, the health authority may initiate further consultations on service changes. Until firm plans have been agreed, Ministers cannot comment on the future of individual hospitals in Birmingham.

Fluoride Intakes

Earl Baldwin of Bewdley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why the latest edition of Department of Health Report 41 on Dietary Reference Values for Food Energy and Nutrients for the United Kingdom (revised 1996), under 36.7 at p. 188, continues to quote 20-80 mg/d over 10-20 years as an excessive intake of fluoride leading to skeletal fluorosis, given that that figure was corrected by its original author in 1979 (Harold Hodge, in Continuing evaluation of the uses of fluoride, American Association for the Advancement of Science Symposium, Westview Press, 1979, p. 255) and given that the United States National Research Council's report, Health effects of ingested fluoride, cited in the Written Answer by the Baroness Jay of Paddington on 12 November 1997 (WA 35), gives on p. 59 the correct figure of 10-20 mg/d.[HL1012]

Baroness Jay of Paddington: All retrospective estimates of fluoride exposure in the decades preceding a diagnosis of clinical skeletal fluorosis are inevitably

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imprecise. Many reviews, including the World Health Organisation review cited in Report 41, conclude that crippling skeletal fluorosis is typically associated with intakes of 20-80 mg daily for 10-20 years. In the United Kingdom, only one instance of non-occupational skeletal fluorosis has been reported, in 1966, even though it has been estimated that consumers of exceptionally large quantities of tea may attain fluoride intakes of 12 mg daily.

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