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Menwith Hill: SBIRS

Baroness Williams of Crosby asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): We have received no request for the use of RAF Menwith Hill in the context of the proposed US national missile defence system.

Her Majesty's Government granted permission in March 1997 for the European relay ground station of the US-based infra-red system (SBIRS) to be sited at RAF Menwith Hill. SBIRS is regarded as necessary irrespective of any decision the US may take on deployment of a national missile defence system.

BMW and Rover

Lord Shore of Stepney asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister for Science, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): The annual loss figures referred to by the Secretary of State in his statement were for Rover Group. Under the BMW accounting system these (losses) were £158 million in 1995; £119 million in 1996; £92 million in 1997; £642 million in 1998; and £750 million in 1999.

Ethnic Minorities: Treaty of Amsterdam

Baroness Whitaker asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Education and Employment (Baroness Blackstone): There are no common EU targets relating to ethnic minorities.

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However, progress towards achieving equality of opportunity features throughout the UK Action Plan, as well as references to specific initiatives to promote further integration of ethnic minorities into the labour market.

Millennium Volunteers

Baroness Blatch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Where the offices of Millennium Volunteers are located; and how many staff are employed in the company; and[HL1680]

    Who is the chairman of the Millennium Volunteers; and what is the salary and period of tenure of this post; and[HL1713]

    What is the annual budget of Millennium Volunteers; what were the start-up costs of the company; to whom is it accountable; and how it will be evaluated.[HL1681]

Baroness Blackstone: Millennium Volunteers is run by a unit within the Department for Education and Employment. The unit is based in Sheffield and currently has a staff of 18. No chairman has therefore been appointed for Millennium Volunteers.

The budget allocated to the Millennium Volunteers Programme in England is £47.75 million for the period 1998 to March 2002. The Government are accountable to Parliament for its expenditure. An evaluation of some early demonstration projects has already taken place and further evaluation is planned for later this year.

Quigley Report

Lord Varley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will announce their response to the report of the Quigley Committee.[HL1790]

Baroness Blackstone: My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Education and Employment established a committee under the chairmanship of Sir George Quigley in December 1998, as required by Section 25(4) of the Teaching and Higher Education Act 1998, to review fee support for students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland in the fourth year of first degree courses at Scottish institutions. The report is laid today before Parliament and placed in the National Assembly for Wales and the Scottish Parliament.

We welcome the report and congratulate Sir George and the other members of the committee on their thorough examination of all the relevant issues. The Government accept the recommendations addressed to them set out in the report. The Scottish Executive has accepted that it should meet the net costs of the tuition fees of students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland in their fourth year in Scottish universities.

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The Government will discuss with the executive the precise mechanism for paying those fees and the impact on student support. We expect this to come into effect for students who enter the first year of their courses in September 2001.

Dental Treatment: Deaths Associated with Anaesthesia

Lord Colwyn asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many deaths were associated with an anaesthetic for a dental procedure in each year from 1970; and how many of those deaths in each year were associated with:

    (a) a dental practitioner working alone;

    (b) two dental practitioners working together;

    (c) a dental practitioner and an anaesthetist;

    (d) a dental practitioner and a general medical practitioner.[HL1668]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): Information is not available to answer (a), (b), (c) and (d) of the noble Lord's question before 1991 and data since then are not complete, as this information is not routinely collected. There were three deaths in 1999 which have been associated with general anaesthesia for dental treatment. However, inquests into these cases have yet to be held and in one case legal proceedings are pending.

Our records show that there have been the following numbers of deaths associated with general anaesthesia for dental treatment since 1970:


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For the years from 1991 the incomplete information we have shows that deaths were associated with:

Dental practitioner aloneTwo dental practitionersDental practitioner and an anaesthetistDental practitioner and a general medical practitioner

Prescribing Rights

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the Medicines Control Agency Consultation Document of 13 March relates only to patient group protocols or addresses also the Crown Report of 1997 giving certain groups of independent health professionals independent prescribing rights.[HL1704]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The consultation letter of 13 March is concerned only with patient group directions (formerly known as group protocols).


Lord Lucas asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they intend, in conjunction with the devolved authorities, to eradicate scrapie from the United Kingdom.[HL1657]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Baroness Hayman): In its report on research and surveillance on TSEs and sheep published in April 1999, the Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee (SEAC) recommended that a programme for the long-term control and eradication of scrapie should be drawn up in consultation with the Scrapie Information Group--a joint initiative of industry, veterinary and government experts who have a day-to-day involvement in the surveillance and control of scrapie. This group, which includes representatives of the devolved administrations, has held a number of deliberations on this subject and has scheduled further discussions during 2000. The development of long-term control and eradication strategies will be an ongoing process that will require close communication with the group and the devolved administrations.

In the meantime, although scrapie has been present in the national flock for over 250 years without a confirmed link with human illness, we have a range of precautionary health controls in place introduced after advice from the Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee (SEAC). These comprise the

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destruction of specified risk materials (whole heads, excluding the tongue, and spleen from all sheep and goats and spinal cord and tonsils of older sheep) and compulsory slaughter, with compensation, of any sheep or goats suspected of having a scrapie-like illness that cannot be ruled out as something else.

Lord Lucas asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What action they intend to take as a result of the studies on the heat resistance of hamster-adapted scrapie agent report in Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 10. 1073/pnas.050566797, Paul Brown et al.[HL1658]

Baroness Hayman: The Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee (SEAC) monitors all relevant scientific publications. Members will evaluate the findings reported in this publication at their next meeting and recommend action if they feel it is necessary. It may be, however, that further details will be required from the author before a definitive conclusion can be reached.

Welsh Beaches

Lord Carlile of Berriew asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What steps they are supporting to ensure the cleanliness of Welsh beaches and their improved safety for holidaymakers visiting Wales in 2000.[HL1650]

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Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: EC Directive 76/160/EEC requires member states to identify bathing waters. Once identified, bathing waters must be sampled regularly to show that they meet the bacteriological standards prescribed in the annex to the directive. In Wales sampling is undertaken by the Environment Agency on behalf of the National Assembly for Wales, whose responsibility this is.

Northern Ireland and the Euro

Lord Harrison asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What will be the positive and negative effects over the next decade on Northern Ireland, which shares a common border with the Republic of Ireland, of the advent of the euro, whether or not the United Kingdom adopts the euro. [HL1544]

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: The implications for Northern Ireland of the advent of the euro are the same as those for the UK as a whole. However, due to Northern Ireland's land border and trading patterns with the Republic of Ireland, some of these may be more pronounced or immediate. Since July 1998 the Northern Ireland Euro Preparations Forum has been actively involved in promoting awareness and providing support to the business community in Northen Ireland. The message is that local companies should assess the balance of competitive threats and opportunities, after discussing the euro situation with their customers and suppliers, and should then devise strategies to implement the necessary changes.

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