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In what ways they support the efforts of businesses which are acting responsibly on green claims.[HL1643]
Lord Whitty: The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs commissions market surveys to assess the effectiveness of the Green Claims Code. We have commissioned two since its publication. The first, The Green Claims Code: is it working?, was carried out in 1999 by the National Consumer Council (available on the NCC's website at www.ncc.org.uk/pubs/green.htm). The second, A survey of environmental claims and declarations made on consumer products, was carried out in 2001 by Ecotec Research and Consulting (available on the department's website at www.defra.gov.uk/environment/consumerprod/accpe/research/index.htm).
The general findings are that only a small proportion of products in the market offer any form of environmental declaration. Where claims are actually made the quality varies considerably. The most recent survey indicated that about half met the standards in the code, but about 40 per cent did not and about 10 per cent were borderline.
There are regulatory and advisory measures which serve to deter bad practice in green claims. Legislation is available to deal with claims which are demonstrably false or misleading under the Control of Misleading Advertising Regulations 1988 and the Trade Descriptions Act 1968. No information is collected centrally about cases brought under this legislation. The Green Claims Code also advises on practice which should be avoided by those placing information on the market.
The Green Claims Code is also designed to help business make good green claims by giving advice on best practice. As well as issuing and promoting the code, we have published a consumer information leaflet (Hi I'm Green) which provides advice to the public on what claims to look out for and how to take up claims they think are unhelpful or misleading. Together the code and leaflet will increase consumer awareness about the standard of information they should expect and should start to demand from manufacturers and retailers; and will help consumers to identify which businesses are performing to a good standard.
What progress has been made in developing NHS Professionals as a bank of health professionals.[HL1541]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The extension of NHS Professionals has progressed rapidly to a very tight timescale and against a background of substantial structural change across the NHS. An NHS solution built on the NHS Professionals concept of managing in-house temporary staff consistently across health economies, underpinned by tight agency framework agreements, remains the goal. Fifty-five NHS trusts are making full use of NHS Professionals.
The Lord Privy Seal (Lord Williams of Mostyn): Discussions are under way between the Environment and Heritage Service of the Department of the Environment and the Water Service of the Department for Regional Development to agree the scope of the proposed urban pollution management study on the Connswater sewerage system. It is hoped to begin the study in the near future and it is expected to take up to two years to complete.
In the interim, the Water Service has improved the screening of storm discharges at the Sydenham pumping station by installing 6mm fine screens. This work should address the problem of sewage-related debris from the pumping station.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: The information requested, relating to allocations made by the two governments to the north/south implementation bodies in 2002 is set out in the table below. Funding is drawn down to meet authorised expenditure as required.
|Body||DOF/DFP agreed allocations in millions||NI Executive allocation millions||Irish Government allocation millions|
|Food Safety Promotion Board||8.40||4.96||2.52||1.49||5.88||3.47|
|Trade and Business Development Body||16.12||9.52||5.37||3.17||10.75||6.35|
|Special EU Programmes Body||2.96||1.75||1.48||0.87||1.48||0.87|
|Foyle, Carlingford and Irish Lights Commission||4.84||2.86||2.42||1.43||2.42||1.43|
The Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston): The Government refer members of the public to websites where these are considered to be the most comprehensive source of information on a particular topic. However, we also recognise that some people are unable to, or prefer not to, access the Internet and therefore offer information and advice of equal quality via alternative routes, including government offices, telephone help lines, publications and ceefax.
Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: The Cabinet Office currently has two contracts with Capita Business Services Ltd, which is part of the Capita Group. These are for fast stream recruitment support and for provision of Civil Service and judicial pensioner payroll and associated services.
Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: Subject to parliamentary approval of any necessary supplementary estimate, the Cabinet Office DEL will be increased by £16,549,000 from £261,159,000 to £277,708,000, the gross administration costs limit will be increased by £4,514,000 from £164,613,000 to £169,127,000 and the net administration costs limit will be decreased by £1,847,000 from £2,922,000 to £1,075,000. Within the DEL change, the impact on resources and capital are as set out in the following table:
|Resources £000||Capital £000|
The change in the resource element of the DEL arises from machinery of government transfers of £2,018,000 to other departments; a virement from capital of £4,000,000; additions from the Invest to Save budget of £280,000; and net transfers to other government departments of £140,000. The change in the capital element of the DEL arises from additions from the DEL reserve of £9,000,000; transfers from other departments of £6,087,000; a transfer to the security and intelligence agencies of £385,000; draw-down of capital end-year flexibility of £4,125,000; virement to resource of £4,000,000; and the difference of £400,000 between expenditure using proceeds from the sale of assets and the net book value of the assets.