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Special Advisers

Lord Roberts of Conwy asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Cabinet Office (Lord Falconer of Thoroton): At 19 October, there were 65 Special Advisers in post. In addition, the Secretary of State for Education and Employment (Mr Blunkett) has appointed Professor Michael Barber as the Standards and Effectiveness Adviser. The Minister for the Cabinet Office (Mrs Mowlam) has appointed Mr Keith Hellawell as the UK Anti-Drugs Co-ordinator and Mr Michael Trace as his Deputy. The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr Brown) has appointed Mr Chris Wales, Mr Paul Gregg and Ms Shinti Vadera as members of the Council of Economic Advisers. All are employed on Special Adviser terms. The estimated paybill for Special Advisers in 1999/2000 is £3.9 million. All civil servants, including Special Advisers, are accountable to Ministers.

Holocaust Remembrance Day

Lord Brookman asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bassam of Brighton): We issued a consultation paper on 18 October. Copies have been placed in the Library.

Freedom of Information Bill: Consultation

Lord Shepherd asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My right honourable friend the Home Secretary has placed copies in the

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Library today, where they will be held for six months. My right honourable friend the Home Secretary intends to announce tomorrow the changes to the draft Freedom of Information Bill which arise from the Government's response to the consultation exercise and pre-legislative scrutiny.

LD50 Test

Lord Lea of Crondall asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What progress has been made on abolishing the “Lethal Dose 50" (LD50) test used in animal experimentation.[HL4361]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: We will vary, or revoke, any licence which authorises the use of the LD50 test (as defined by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Guideline 401) and which was issued since 5 September 1998. On this date, amendments to the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 came into effect.

We have accepted legal advice that Section 5(5) of the Act as amended, does not allow licensing of the LD50 test for the purpose of meeting international regulatory requirements. The general principle is that a test will be licensed only where there is no scientifically valid and reasonably practicable and accepted alternative.

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In accord with this principle, we will also review all authorities to use the LD50 test in licences issued before September 1998.

Abnormal Load Escort Duties

The Earl of Denbigh asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many police man hours are spent on escort duties for abnormal loads on motorways. [HL4193]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The information requested is not available centrally.

Home Office Minister: Unanswered Letter

Lord Stoddart of Swindon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they intend to reply to a letter sent by the Lord Stoddart of Swindon to Mr Paul Boateng (then Minister of State at the Home Office) on 14 May (reminder sent 13 July); if so, when; and, if not, why not.[HL4169]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: I apologise for the fact that a reply was not sent to the letter of 14 May. This was entirely due to an administrative error. I will now arrange for a reply to be sent straightaway.

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