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Lord Faulkner of Worcester asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: Railtrack's annual Network Management Statement contains detailed information about its plans for the development of the rail network. This includes information about stations and maintenance depots.

Therapeutic Genes Carried by Virus

Lord Lucas asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The risk of danger to the public from viruses used to carry therapeutic genes into cancer cells of patients is assessed very carefully by the Medicines Control Agency and the Gene Therapy Advisory Committee before permission to supply any gene therapy product for a clinical trial is given.

Any possible risks to health care workers or to the general public also have to be assessed under legislation covering health and safety at work.

Any application to carry out gene therapy must provide evidence to support the quality and safety of the product for the proposed clinical trial. As part of

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the evidence of quality, the applicant must show that the viruses to be used are modified to prevent them from replicating themselves as they do in nature and also show in very stringent experiments that they do not have the ability to replicate themselves. As part of the evidence of safety, the applicant must show from the results of laboratory tests that the gene or its product is not toxic.

The Gene Therapy Advisory Committee produces annual reports and these contain details of every study approved during the reporting year. Copies are available in the Library.

Norway, Switzerland and UK: Exports to EU

Lord Monson asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What percentage of the following countries' exports went to Continental European Union countries in each of the most recent five years for which statistics are available: (a) Norway, (b) Switzerland, (c) the United Kingdom.[HL4622]

The Minister for Science, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): The European Union (EU) share of Norwegian, Swiss and UK exports of goods are given in the following table.

The EU1 Percentage share of Norwegian, Swiss and UK exports of Goods 1994-98

NorwaySwitzerlandUK
199457.055.457.2
199557.556.357.1
199657.254.456.9
199756.553.955.1
199859.756.458.0

Note:

1EU countries less the UK.

Source:

OECD Series A.


Therapeutic Cloning

Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the remarks made by Lord Sainsbury of Turville at the fringe meeting on human cloning, held at the Labour Party Conference, and reported in the Sunday Times, represented his personal view or the Government's view; and whether his public support for cloning is compatible with an objective and impartial reassessment of the scientific and ethical issues involved.[HL4588]

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: I refer the noble Lord to the reply I gave to his Lordship on 1 November 1999, Official Report, col. WA 58.

10 Nov 1999 : Column WA173

Regional Trade Agreements

Lord Moynihan asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What action they will be initiating within the World Trade Organisation to ensure that targets for liberalisation within regional trade agreements are clear and unambiguous; and[HL4366]

    What action they will be initiating to ensure that measures taken within the World Trade Organisation for liberalisation of regional trade agreements do not adversely affect non-members, or the multilateral system.[HL4367]

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: The UK supports clarification of the rules governing regional trade agreements (RTAs) as an issue for the new Round of multilateral trade negotiations which we hope to see launched at the WTO Ministerial Conference in Seattle later this year. In order to achieve this, the UK has been making its support for clarification of the rules governing RTAs clear within the EU. A number of other WTO members, including Australia, Japan and Hong Kong, are also seeking to include this issue in the new Round. We therefore hope to see this issue feature on the agenda for the new Round.

Assuming that clarification of the rules governing RTAs does form part of the agenda for the new Round, the UK will certainly want to ensure that any changes bolster rather than undermine the multilateral system and do not adversely affect the position of those who are not members of particular RTAs; and we will be pressing the Commission to adopt a negotiating approach to that end.

Guernsey: Income Tax Law

Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they would seek to block any move by the States of Guernsey to repeal or amend Section 201 of the Income Tax (Guernsey) Law 1975.[HL4532]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bassam of Brighton): All primary legislation passed by the States of Guernsey requires the Assent of the Queen in Council, and any law submitted for Royal Assent is considered individually. I understand that the Guernsey authorities do not at present propose to repeal or amend Section 201 of the Income Tax (Guernsey) Law 1975.

Holocaust Remembrance Day

Baroness Cox asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will link with their proposed Holocaust Memorial day, other systematic

10 Nov 1999 : Column WA174

    massacres such as those in Armenia, the Gulag Archipelago, the Laogai and Cambodia.[HL4537]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The Government's consultation document stated that one aim of a Holocaust Remembrance Day is to reflect on recent atrocities, like these, that raise similar issues.

Police Officers: Service with Europol

Lord Harris of Greenwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Williams of Mostyn on 23 June (WA 88), what decision has now been reached following the discussions between the Home Office, the National Criminal Intelligence Service and the Association of Chief Police Officers on the status and pension arrangements of United Kingdom police officers who want to apply for service with Europol.[HL4558]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The Association of Chief Police Officers has agreed that police officers who leave their home force to serve with Europol may return to their force at the end of that period. Current regulations, however, do not allow officers to maintain membership of their Force or of the Police Pensions Scheme during their service with Europol. The Home Office is considering whether new provisions should be introduced to permit this in future.

Firearms Records: Impact Assessment

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When the Police National Computer Centre plans to start an impact assessment for the proposed central register, required under Section 39 of the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997, or persons who have applied for a firearm or shotgun certificate or to whom a firearm or shotgun certificate has been granted; when the impact assessment will be completed; and whether they will arrange for a summary of the conclusions from the assessment to be placed in the Library of the House.[HL4560]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: I understand that the Police Information Technology Organisation plan to begin work on the impact assessment in February next year, and to complete it in April; and that they are happy for a copy of the impact assessment to be placed in the Library.

General Pinochet

Lord Lamont of Lerwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have received an official request from the Government of Chile for the return of

10 Nov 1999 : Column WA175

    General Pinochet to Chile; whether they have replied; and, if so, on what date.[HL4583]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: Her Majesty's Government received representations from the Government of Chile on 14 October 1999 concerning the continued detention of Senator Pinochet in the United Kingdom pending the extradition proceedings currently in progress. Her Majesty's Government replied on 5 November 1999.

Fire Officer Deaths

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish asked Her Majesty's Government:

    For each of the last five years, how many fire officers' deaths were attributable to their fire service.[HL4579]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The information is given in the following table:

Deaths of fire brigade personnel in the United Kingdom on duty 1995 to 1999

YearDeaths1
19953
19965
19970
19983
19992
Total213

1 Defined as fatalities which occurred while on operational duty.

2 1 January 1995 to 9 November 1999.



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