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Multiple Sclerosis

Lord Dubs asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): No formal assessments have been made regarding the effectiveness of physiotherapy and diet in helping multiple sclerosis sufferers. However, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence is currently commissioning guidelines on the management of multiple sclerosis. These clinical guidelines will cover all aspects of care.

The guidelines will be based on robust research evidence, and will consider issues of clinical and cost effectiveness. They will be issued in a form that is useful to clinicians and patients on a day-to-day basis.

Lord Dubs asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The Government are committed to improving services for all National Health Service patients, including those with multiple sclerosis. My right honourable friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer recently announced a four-year package of additional funding for the NHS, its biggest ever increase in resources. It is, however, for individual health authorities and primary care groups to plan and arrange the services available to people in their care.

Complex multiple sclerosis is included in the comprehensive list of specialised services in the Health Service Commissioning in the New NHS. This means that regional offices will need to give special consideration in the treatment and care of people with complex multiple sclerosis.

"Do Not Resuscitate" Instructions

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: Guidelines on Decisions Relating to Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation issued in

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a joint statement by the British Medical Association, the Royal College of Nursing and the Resuscitation Council (UK) advise that it would be appropriate to consider a "do not resuscitate" decision:

    where effective cardiopulmonary resuscitation is unlikely to be effective;

    where resuscitation is not in accord with the wishes of a mentally competent adult nor with a patient's valid advance directive; and

    where successful resuscitation is likely to be followed by a length and quality of life which would not be in the best interests of the patient to sustain. Information on the number of "do not resuscitate" decisions made in National Health Service hospitals is not centrally collected.

Women's Issues: 10 Downing Street Website Policy Discussions

Baroness Rendell of Babergh asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When the policy discussion on the Number 10 website on issues raised by the consultation conducted by the Women's Unit will be launched; how long it will run; and how the information will be treated once the consultation is over.[HL3121]

The Lord Privy Seal (Baroness Jay of Paddington): The Number 10 website will host a policy discussion, on the issues arising from the Listening to Women Consultation, which will open on 3 July and will last between four and five weeks. It will cover issues such as work-life balance; support from government for women's life choices; business start-ups; access to information and communications technology and the forthcoming parental leave and maternity review. A summary of the comments will be posted on the No. 10 website, along with a response statement from the Ministers for Women when the discussion period is over. The website address is

House of Lords Reform: Joint Committee

Lord Acton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they intend to propose the appointment of a Joint Committee of both Houses to consider the parliamentary aspects of reform of the House of Lords, as set out in the White Paper Modernising Parliament: Reforming the House of Lords (Cm 4183, January 1999).[HL3118]

Baroness Jay of Paddington: As my right honourable friend the President of the Council confirmed on 19 June, we aim to establish a Joint Committee of both Houses to consider the parliamentary implications of the Royal Commission on Reform of the House of Lords' proposals for the composition of the second chamber, which the Government have broadly accepted. We intend that it

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should begin work as soon as possible after the summer Recess. We are opening discussions through the usual channels in both Houses on the membership and precise terms of reference.

OSCE Parliamentary Assembly: UK Delegation

Lord Shepherd asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What changes there are in the composition of the United Kingdom Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe. [HL3119]

Baroness Jay of Paddington: The noble Lord, Lord Jopling, currently a substitute member, is to become a full representative, replacing the noble Viscount, Lord Montgomery of Alamein. The noble Earl, Lord Northesk, is to become a substitute member of the delegation.

GM Seed: Exclusion of Crops from Food Chain

Lord Swinfen asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What steps they are taking to ensure that all crops produced from the unauthorised sowing of genetically modified seed do not enter the food chain. [HL2719]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Baroness Hayman): Although the crop concerned has been approved for food use in Europe we have made it clear that the circumstances of these sowings mean that marketing of the crop would be illegal. We have worked with the EU to provide a satisfactory resolution to the Arable Area Payments aspects of this event and welcome the commitment of the company involved to provide adequate compensation. We will be taking appropriate monitoring and enforcement action in relation to these arrangements.

Under 10 Metre Fishing Fleet

Lord Rea asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What changes are proposed in the licensing and quota management arrangements for the under 10 metre fishing fleet; and whether they will report progress.[HL3122]

Baroness Hayman: Since May 1993, vessels of 10 metres and under in overall length engaged in fishing for profit have been required to hold a valid fishing vessel licence issued by one of the Fisheries Departments in the UK. The catches made by such vessels count against the UK's allocations of quota.

Last year, and in response to concerns about the scope for increased fishing effort, the Fisheries Departments invited comments on measures to

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improve the management of the under 10 metre fleet. More than 250 replies have been received from fishermen's organisations and individual fishermen. The majority of those commenting were opposed to further constraints being placed on this part of the industry such as a prohibition on weekend fishing, regional licensing or species specific licences.

Although the Fisheries Departments have been successful in limiting the closure of fisheries, this may not be possible in future if fishing effort expands. In recent years there has been a sharp increase in the construction of vessels between 9 and 10 metres. This trend prompted the departments to introduce monthly catch limits for North Sea nephrops last Autumn and to extend these arrangements to Area VII and West of Scotland nephrops for the year 2000.

It is the view of the Fisheries Departments that it would be prudent to adopt further measures to constrain future growth in fishing effort within the under 10 metre fleet. Consequently, from 1 January 2001, the licences of vessels between 8 and 10 metres will be ring fenced and it will not be possible from that date to aggregate licences from vessels under 8 metres on to vessels between 8 and 10 metres. From the same date, a limit of 70 vessel capacity units will apply to the aggregation of licences on to vessels below 8 metres. Additionally, the Licensing Review Working Group, comprising representatives from industry and Fisheries Departments, has been asked to consider whether any changes should be made in the capacity penalties applying to the transfer or aggregation of licences within the under 10 metre fleet.

The Fisheries Departments will continue to manage quota allocations for the under 10 metre fleet with the objective of providing fishing opportunities throughout the year. Quota allocations for the main stocks of interest to under 10 metre vessels have been underpinned for a number of years and in future any surplus that arises on these allocations will be utilised to acquire additional quota. Greater use will also be made of EU provisions on end year flexibility enabling quota to be borrowed from the following year and for certain stocks for any surplus to be banked. Where the quota available is not sufficient to provide for year-round fisheries, the Fisheries Departments will take action to close fisheries for limited periods or to impose monthly catch limits. Consideration will also be given to whether suitable arrangements might be possible that would enable producer organisations to manage quota in respect of under 10 metre vessels within their membership.

Red Tape and Bureaucracy Review: Implementation of Recommendations

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What progress has been made towards implementing the recommendations, made to the Government and accepted by the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food on 1 February, by the three working groups established to look into

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    red tape and bureaucracy; how many of these proposals which do not require approval from the European Union have been acted upon, and how many are outstanding; and how many of these proposals which require agreement by the European Union have been approved and acted upon, and how many are outstanding.[HL2925]

Baroness Hayman: On the 78 recommendations requiring action in the UK, 23 have been completed,

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progress has been made on 53, one has been rejected after further investigation and one is outstanding.

On the 26 now taken to Brussels, one has been completed, 11 have not been accepted by the Commission or have been noted for further discussion, progress has been made on 10 and four will be addressed in the context of new food hygiene laws.

The Government intend to publish action plans updated to set out detailed progress in July.

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