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The Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): Yes. The Government are committed to making sure that disabled people would continue to be served effectively if any new organisation dealing with discrimination were to be established.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): The Government are committed to the maintenance of a nationwide network of post offices. The formal requirement on Consignia, then the Post Office, of November 2000 to maintain the network and to prevent any avoidable closures of rural post offices remains in place initially until 2006. We have made available a £2 million fund to support volunteer and community initiatives to maintain or reopen post offices facilities in rural areas where traditional service would otherwise close. In addition, the Government are developing proposals for the rural network in the context of the Postal Services Commission's advice on the best way to channel financial assistance to the rural network.
Banking will be a central part of the strategy of Post Office Limited to move forward. Universal banking service, together with plans for expansion of network bankingthe provision of counter service for ordinary current accountsshould lead to a substantial increase in the range and volume of banking at post offices.
There are a number of techno-economic issues associated with the use of hydrogen as a fuel (particularly for transport applications) including storage, distribution, safety and consumer acceptance; these matters are under active consideration. This programme is one of several government initiatives of potential future benefit to the biomass sector.
Lord Sainsbury of Turville: The Enterprise Bill puts in place mechanisms to reform the financial regime of the Insolvency Service. As a result of these reforms, the fee structure will become simpler and more transparent, and in future the cost of case administration will be fully recovered through fees.
The Insolvency Service has been given additional funding over the next two years which will enable it to be ready to introduce the proposed reforms. It will be necessary to invest in both the infrastructure of the Insolvency Service and in the training of its staff so that it can continue delivering the levels of service its customers expect. The additional funding will allow this investment to take place.
Lord Sainsbury of Turville: In line with Insolvency Service policy for publishing material under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, internal guidance for staff relating to the administrative aspects of the Enterprise Bill's individual insolvency proposals will be published. However, guidance on enforcement matters, including the operation of the system for bankruptcy restrictions orders, will not be published.
Lord Sainsbury of Turville: The 2001 White Paper Productivity and EnterpriseInsolvency A Second Chance contained a draft regulatory impact assessment. A wide range of organisations responded to the White Paper, including representatives of the finance sector and consumer credit organisations, and their views helped inform the regulatory impact assessment for the Bill.
Lord Sainsbury of Turville: While formulating the individual insolvency proposals we looked at evidence from and reforms in a wide range of jurisdictions, including Scotland, Canada, the US, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, as well as other regimes in Europe.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Whitty): The Landfill (England and Wales) Regulations 2002 define biodegradable waste as any waste that is capable of undergoing anaerobic or aerobic decomposition, such as food or garden waste and paper and cardboard. "Hazardous waste" is defined as waste listed as hazardous in the list drawn up by the Commission in accordance with the procedure laid down in Article 18 of the Council Directive 75/442/EEC on the basis of Annexes I and II to the Hazardous Waste Directive. These wastes must have one or more of the properties listed in Annex III of that Directive.
Why they have not requested the National Blood Service to use a safer form of transfusion plasma to reduce the mortality and morbidity levels associated
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The Government's Advisory Committee on the Microbiological Safety of Blood and Tissue for Transplantation is continuing to consider the relative efficacy and risks of the different types of fresh frozen plasma (FFP) available.
United Kingdom FFP is already a very safe product. To minimise the risk from viruses, it is made only from previously tested blood donors. Since the year 2000, an additional test for hepatitis C has been added. As a result the risk from a unit of FFP is estimated to be one in 5 million for HIV and lower than one in 1 million for hepatitis C. Over 300,000 units of FFP are issued annually and it is only given in life-threatening situations to prevent or stop haemorrhage associated with abnormal blood clotting.
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: As an added precaution against the theoretical risk of variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, the Government announced on 15 August that fresh frozen plasma (FFP) for young children and babies will be imported from the United States. This FFP will be treated with methylene blue to reduce the risk of viral transmission still further for this most vulnerable group. This decision was made following advice from the Advisory Committee on Microbiological Safety of Blood and Tissues for Transplantation (MSBT) which is continuing to review the safety of FFP.
To cover the additional costs of methylene blue treatment of FFP for neonates and children born after 1 January 1996, the Department of Health's National Commissioning Group on Blood agreed that the National Blood Service could increase the charge made to National Health Service trusts for this product.
MSBT is continuing to keep this issue under review but there are currently no plans to allocate further funding for methylene blue treatment.
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