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The Minister of State, Department for Education and Employment (Baroness Blackstone): The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a private company which administers the application process for and on behalf of higher education institutions. My department has no statutory powers in relation to UCAS, and we have no locus to intervene in its activities.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Hayman): Bioethical issues may arise from a wide range of contexts, including developments affecting man, animals, agriculture and the environment. Such issues may therefore be considered by any publicly appointed body in those fields when considering matters within the terms of reference of the body. Details of the main publicly appointed bodies whose terms of reference may include the examination of ethical issues are listed as follows.
The Advisory Committee on Genetic Testing was established in 1996 by United Kingdom health Ministers, to whom it reports. It is funded by UK health departments and serviced by the Department of Health.
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority was established in 1991 by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990. Members are appointed by UK health Ministers. The authority, and the executive which services it, is funded by the UK health departments; the authority reports to UK health Ministers.
The Human Genetics Advisory Commission was established in 1996 by UK health and industry Ministers, to whom it reports. It is funded by the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Health and serviced by a joint secretariat from those departments.
The UK Xenotransplantation Interim Regulatory Authority was established in 1997 by UK health Ministers, to whom it reports; it is funded by the UK health departments and serviced by the Department of Health.
In England, local research ethics committees established pursuant to guidance from the Department of Health in 1991 advise National Health Service bodies within their district. They are funded and serviced by district health authorities, to whom they report. Comparable arrangements exist in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
In England, multi-centre research ethics committees were established pursuant to Department of Health guidance in 1997. They are funded and serviced by the regional offices of the Department of Health and report to the Secretary of State for Health. Comparable arrangements exist in Scotland and Wales.
The Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes was originally established in 1981 and was reconstituted in 1988 by UK Health and Agriculture Ministers, to whom it reports. It is funded by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and serviced jointly by the department and the Department of Health.
The Animal (Scientific Procedures) Committee was established by the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. Members are appointed by, and report to, the Home Secretary. It is funded and serviced by the Home Office.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): In the case of John Murray v the United Kingdom, the European Court of Human Rights held that it was a breach of Article 6 of the Convention to deny the applicant access to legal advice in circumstances where inferences could be drawn from his silence during questioning. The Government have concluded that the only sure way to prevent a repetition of the circumstances which prevailed in the Murray case is to amend the relevant legislation and the Codes of Practice made under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, the Police and Criminal Evidence (Northern Ireland) Order 1989 and the Northern Ireland (Emergency Provisions) Act 1996, so as to prohibit the drawing of inferences from silence when a suspect is questioned at a police station while denied access to legal advice. The Government therefore intend to introduce the necessary legislation in the forthcoming Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Bill and this legislation will be extended to Northern Ireland by way of Negative Resolution Order in Council.
In the interim, the Government will take such steps as are possible, without legislation, to ensure that no one is put in the same position as arose in the Murray case. My right honourable and learned friend the Attorney General will shortly be issuing guidance to prosecutors and, in parallel, the Home Office and the Northern Ireland Office will shortly be issuing a circular to the
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): The department has received 54 responses to the White Paper on Strategic Export Controls. I am placing copies of the responses, except two for which complete confidentiality has been requested, in the Libraries of both Houses and in the Library of the Department. I have also arranged for copies of the responses to be made available on request from the Department's Export Control Organisation.
The Council considered three elements of the Single Market Action Plan, which aims to improve the operation of the Single Market. It discussed the rolling Joint Work Programme of the three Presidencies; Member States' progress towards implementation of the Single Market Action Plan; and mutual recognition. The Commission presented the latest Single Market Scoreboard, which showed that the number of directives not yet implemented in all member states had been cut from 26.7 per cent. last November to 14.9 per cent. currently and noted that at 15 October 40 actions out of 66 of the Single Market Action Plan had been completed. There was agreement that the Single Market Scoreboard should be regularly updated to help maintain progress in building the Internal Market. The Commission gave a progress report on its work on mutual recognition of national standards.
The Commission introduced an open debate on legislative simplification with a report on the simpler Legislation for the Internal Market (SLIM) initiative. The Council expressed general support for continuing SLIM and Business Test Panels, the Commission initiative aimed at improving consultation with business on the likely impact of selected legislative proposals.
The Commission presented reports on: the Expert Committee on Commercial Communications, which is addressing trade barriers in the field of advertising; public procurement; a proposal for a directive which aims to set noise limits for tyres; the Euro-Mediterranean partnership and the Single Market; the intervention mechanism aimed at removing obstacles to the free movement of goods; and Units of Measurement (Supplementary Indications), with the Commission announcing its intention to extend dual metric/imperial marking for a further 10 years.
The Council reached political agreement on a measure on cableways, which harmonises safety aspects of cableway installations, and on the fee arrangements structure for the European Medicine Evaluation Agency (by a qualified majority with UK and Germany maintaining scrutiny reserves).