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Advisory Board on Family Law

Baroness Scotland of Asthal asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Lord Chancellor (Lord Irvine of Lairg): The Advisory Board on Family Law has today (27 May) published its second annual report and copies have been placed in the library of the House.

House of Lords Bill: Division 17 May

Lord Mayhew of Twysden asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Lord Chancellor: It would be invidious to name individual peers. I did not mean by "busloads" that buses were, literally, hired for the purpose. My meaning was that there was a co-ordinated effort to bring in Peers at a specific time in the evening not to take part in the Bill, but to vote on a procedural Motion to close down the House at about 11 pm, regardless of the wishes of Peers who had participated in the debate throughout the day to continue. I am sure that it was well understood that that was what I meant.

Magistrates: Appointments from Ethnic Minorities

Viscount Brentford asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Lord Chancellor: A survey of lay magistrates (excluding those in the Duchy of Lancaster) conducted in 1997 indicated that 4.1 per cent. classified themselves as belonging to an ethnic minority. In both 1997 and 1998 the percentage of appointments from the ethnic minorities was 6.5 per cent. There are two stipendiary magistrates from ethnic minorities (2.12 per cent.).

Judicial Studies Board

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

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The Lord Chancellor: The Judicial Studies Board has for many months been preparing a programme of human rights training for all full-time and part-time judges. Now that a date has been announced when the remaining provisions of the Act will come into force, it has been able to finalise the training timetable.

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will set a date in the near future to enable the Judicial Studies Board to carry out the programme of training in preparation for the coming into force of the Human Rights Act 1998.[HL2517]

The Lord Chancellor: The noble Lord, Lord Williams of Mostyn, announced on 18 May, Official Report, WA 23, that the Government plan to bring the remaining provisions of the Human Rights Act 1998 into force on Monday 2 October 2000. The Judicial Studies Board is therefore able to confirm that the main programme of human rights training for all the full and part-time judiciary will be delivered between January and July 2000.

Review of Prescribing, Supply and Administration of Medicines

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What timescale they envisage for implementing the proposals made in the Crown Report on the Review of Prescribing, Supply and Administration of Medicines.[HL2682]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Hayman): The final report of the Review of Prescribing, Supply and Administration of Medicines was issued for consultation and comment on 8 March. Comments have been requested by 7 June and we will be considering what action to take on the recommendations of Dr. Crown and her colleagues in the light of all of the comments received.

Dairy Herds and Tuberculosis: Guidance for Food Authorities

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have completed the guidance for food authorities on the action to be taken when it is found that cattle producing milk for cheese production are found to be tuberculin test reactors or show inconclusive results at testing; and, if so, whether they will place a copy in the Library of the House; or if not, when they expect completion.[HL2584]

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Baroness Hayman: A letter will be sent to food authorities shortly outlining action to be taken in the event of a dairy herd losing its officially tuberculosis free status. More detailed guidance is being prepared for food authorities on this subject and should be available shortly. A copy of the letter and the guidance will be placed in the Library.

Fluoridation of Water

Earl Baldwin of Bewdley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Baroness Hayman on 12 May (WA 147), whether they can give an assurance that the White Paper to which they refer will provide full answers to points (b) to (d) and to the final sentence in Question HL2320; and, if they cannot, whether they will now supply those answers.[HL2598]

Baroness Hayman: The White Paper will provide a broad policy statement. In the context of the noble Lord Jauncey's arguments as set out in pages 381, 382 and 384 of his Opinion we do not dissent from his Opinion about naturally occurring fluoride.

Health Expenditure and GDP

Lord Skelmersdale asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Baroness Hayman on 21 April (WA 160), what was the correct ratio of total United Kingdom health expenditure to gross domestic product in 1997-98.[HL2738]

Baroness Hayman: Further to my reply to the noble Lord on 21 April, column WA 160, the information requested is given in the table. This corrects the error that was given in a previous reply.

YearUnited Kingdom Expenditure as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product
1997-985.6%

RAF Hendon Museum: Graham White Hangar

Baroness Blatch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When a decision is expected to be made on the future of the Graham White aircraft hangar at Royal Air Force Hendon Museum following a public enquiry, the report of which was sent to the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions on 24 December 1998.[HL2681]

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Whitty): The Secretary of State will issue a decision shortly.

London Underground: Penalty Fares

The Earl of Clancarty asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What proportion of representations from members of the public received by the London Regional Passengers Committee concerning London Underground relate to penalty fares.[HL2567]

Lord Whitty: The London Regional Passengers Committee received a total of 927 representations from 1 April 1998 to 31 March 1999, in respect of London Underground. Eighty-two per cent. of these related to penalty fares.

EU Deliberate Release Directive

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether all members of the European Union are observing the provisions of the "deliberate release directive", 90/220/EEC; and, if not, whether they will encourage the European Union to ensure that this directive is properly observed and enforced.[HL2292]

Lord Whitty: The Deliberate Release Directive requires all Member States to ensure that there are measures to avoid adverse effects on human health and the environment, and the committee of competent authorities for the directive meets regularly to exchange information and experience on the implementation of the directive. This forum promotes harmonised implementation.

The appropriate control of the release and marketing of GMOs is decided on the basis of the environmental risk assessment. The lack of a common approach to risk assessment has been problematic in the implementation of the existing directive. The UK has consistently pressed for a common approach to help to ensure a thorough and harmonised appraisal of the risks that each GMO may pose to human health and the environment, and it has been an active participant in the competent authorities' meetings on this issue. The Commission has taken forward those discussions by incorporating the principles for risk assessment in its proposal for the amendment to the directive. Last December, EU Environment Ministers agreed to use the flexibility in the existing directive to implement without delay the principles for risk assessment and monitoring as agreed up till then by member states in the negotiations on the amendment. The UK has requested that the competent authorities exchange information at their next meeting on how these principles are being applied.

The enforcement of this directive is a matter for the European Commission. The UK, of course, fully supports accurate and effective implementation of all EC legislation.

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