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Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: The Department of Trade and Industry is gathering information to enable a decision to be made on whether to launch an investigation into the allegations that have been made regarding the proposed biomass power plant at Newbridge-on-Wye. The scope of any investigation would be to consider whether the generator knowingly or recklessly made, "any statement which he knows to be false in a material particular." It would not be appropriate to make conclusions as to the completeness or truthfulness of answers given in advance of that decision or any such investigation.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): Following the municipal elections, responsibility for municipal affairs will be transferred to elected municipal councils. The UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) will oversee the councils and will have wide-ranging powers to take action against maladministration. This transfer of responsibilities to locally elected officials will require them to be accountable to the electorate. Our goal remains the participation of all communities in voter registration and municipal elections; we support UNMIK's efforts to encourage minorities to register. Our efforts are being frustrated by Milosevic's refusal to allow displaced Kosovo Serbs in Serbia to register. We are encouraging countries with lines to Belgrade to urge the authorities there to reverse their policy, in the Serbs' own interest.
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The statement I made to noble Lords was based on diplomatic reporting at the time. Both sides have indicated on several occasions their readiness to accept a negotiated solution. But this has not yet delivered a firm peace agreement. We continue to work for that.
The Minister of State, Cabinet Office (Lord Falconer of Thoroton): The Government in their manifesto promised that "in each area of policy a new and distinctive approach has been mapped out, one that differs from the old left and the Conservative right". This is what we have done.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): Data are available on both maternity care and ethnic group from the Hospital Episode Statistics in England. The latest available data for 1998-99, aggregated at health authority level to provide comparative information, have been placed in the Library.
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The National Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Surveillance Unit's eighth annual report has been published. Copies have been placed in the Library. The report documents the unit's findings in relation to sporadic, familial, iatrogenic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, and also variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease up to 31 December 1999.
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The National Health Service Executive collects data on the costs of clinical negligence claims, rather than the number or types of claims. It is therefore not possible to say how many claims were outstanding at the end of March for each of the years requested, or which relate to NHS dentistry. In relation to general dental practitioners, no information is collected on the number of claims, as claims are made against individual practitioners and not through the NHS.
The recent Court of Appeal judgment about the level of general damages in personal injury cases means that this element of awards in future cases will not be decided on the basis set out in that judgment. The judgment also applies to all current outstanding claims and so has meant an immediate increase in costs to the NHS. However, these increases are not as significant as would have been the case if the Court of Appeal had decided to accept the recommendations on general damages levels made in the Law Commission's Report (No. 257) on this issue.
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