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Benefit Sanctions

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Hollis of Heigham: Research that we have conducted into the effects of the imposition of

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sanctions found that overall sanctions do not have a detrimental effect on jobsearch activity. Although success in obtaining work was not covered by the research, it was found that in many cases receiving a sanction resulted in increased effort in actively seeking work.

A copy of the report Saunders, T, Stone, V & Candy S (2001): The Impact of the 26 week Sanctioning Regime. Employment Service Report ESR 100 which deals with the effects of the sanctioning regime has been placed in the Library.

Ministry of Defence: Questions for Written Answer

Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why they have not yet answered Questions for Written Answer HL2807, HL2808, HL2809 and HL2810, tabled on 9 May; and when they expect to be able to do so.[HL3545]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Bach): I have replied to the noble Lord today. I regret the delay in replying, which was due to continuing operational commitments. Rebo

Iraq: United States Internment Facilities

Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Where the United States internment facility or facilities in Iraq are situated; and how many prisoners are detained in each.[HL2807]

Lord Bach: The locations of the United States internment facilities and the number of prisoners detained there are matters for the United States.

Iraq: Prisoners Captured by British Forces

Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many prisoners in total have been captured by British forces in Iraq and transferred to a United States internment facility; and, of that total, how many have been citizens of:

    (a) Iraq

    (b) the United Kingdom

    (c) the United States

    (d) other countries.[HL2808]

Lord Bach: The United Kingdom has transferred all of its prisoners of war to United States internment facilities. As of 26 June 2003, the number of prisoners who had been captured was some 4,000. None was a citizen of the UK or US; 28 were nationals from countries other than Iraq.

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Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether all prisoners captured by British forces in Iraq are, in their view, prisoners of war.[HL2809]

Lord Bach: All individuals captured or detained by United Kingdom forces in the Gulf are afforded an appropriate status in accordance with the Geneva Convention. Not every individual detained is classified as a prisoner of war.

Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether any prisoners held in Iraq are considered to be "enemy combatants" rather than prisoners of war.[HL2810]

Lord Bach: The Geneva Conventions of 1949 recognise the term "combatant". Any prisoner captured during an armed conflict whose status is deemed to be that of a "combatant", would be entitled to be treated as a prisoner of war.

Eurofighter Typhoon

Lord Jones asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When the Eurofighter Typhoon is expected to be accepted for introduction into service with the Royal Air Force.[HL3683]

Lord Bach: We are delighted to announce that type acceptance of the Typhoon aircraft took place today. This is a significant milestone that triggers the process of accepting individual aircraft into service with the Royal Air Force and the air forces of our collaborative partners: Germany, Italy and Spain.

Delivery to the Royal Air Force, which also represents the achievement of the in-service date for this important programme, will signal the beginning of the introduction to service process. Following a very short period in which the safety limitations of initial flying will be confirmed, flying activities will begin with work-up training for BAE Systems instructors. Final confirmatory assessment by Royal Air Force test pilots will follow, after which operational test and evaluation and pilot conversion training will commence.

The Royal Air Force aircraft will be operated from BAE Systems' facility at Warton for an initial period of some 18 months. This will enable the operators to make best use of the facilities and technical expertise available there before the aircraft transfer to RAF Coningsby, which will be the first operating base to be home to the Typhoon.

Type acceptance is an important landmark in this complex programme that will lead to a capability to deploy on operations in the second half of this decade. The many people involved in industry and the services, both here and overseas, can be justly proud of what they have so far achieved. The House can be assured of our continued commitment to ensuring that the Royal Air Force is equipped with a world-class

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weapon system that will enable it to achieve air superiority well into the future. Rebo

Food Supplements

Earl Howe asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What recent meetings Ministers have had with representatives of the Health Food Manufacturers' Association to discuss the Food Supplements Directive; what issues were discussed at any such meetings; and what action they intend to take as a result; and[HL3373]

    Whether it remains their policy that food supplements should not be banned if they are safe and appropriately labelled; and whether they will identify the precise actions they intend to take to ensure that their policy objectives for the regulation of food supplements are met within the European Union regulatory framework; and[HL3378]

    Whether they have plans for officials of the Department of Health or the Food Standards Agency to meet the European Commission and the European Food Safety Authority to discuss any problems for United Kingdom industry of the omission from Annex 1 and Annex 2 of the Food Supplements Directive of many of the nutrients currently permitted for use in the United Kingdom.[HL3377]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Warner): Most recently, the then Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Public Health) at the Department of Health (Ms Hazel Blears) met representatives of the Health Food Manufacturers' Association to discuss the Food Supplements Directive on 9 June 2003. Issues covered in discussion fell under four main headings: nutrients and nutrient sources missing from Annex I and II in the Food Supplements Directive and requirements for safety dossiers; the recently-published report of the Expert Group on Vitamins and Minerals and advice on safe upper levels therein; future setting of maximum permitted levels of vitamins and minerals in food supplements at European Union level; and plans for future action on chromium picolinate.

The Government are firmly committed to the view that, in the interests of consumer choice, the law should allow food supplements that are safe and properly labelled to be freely marketed.

The Government, represented by the Food Standards Agency, are pressing the European Food Safety Authority for an urgent, substantive meeting with relevant parties to discuss dossier requirements; the objectives of such a meeting would include outlining the problems faced by the United Kingdom food supplements industry resulting from the omission of nutrients and nutrient sources from the annexes in the Food Supplements Directive, finding out whether dossier requirements could be simplified and discussing to what extent there is crossover with dossiers required for other directives.

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Further, to ensure that the Government's policy objectives for regulation of food supplements in the European Union are met, the Government continue to press their view that the setting of maximum limits for nutrients in food supplements should be based on thorough risk assessment and set at levels which protect public health, but which neither unnecessarily limit consumer choice nor unduly restrict trade. The Government continue to press this view strongly in Brussels at every opportunity.

Earl Howe asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Which minerals currently permitted for sale in the United Kingdom are omitted from the list of nutrients permitted for use in food supplements under the provisions of Annex 1 of the Food Supplements Directive. [HL3374]

Lord Warner: Food supplements, like other foods, are not required to demonstrate their efficacy before marketing, nor are they subject to prior approval unless they are genetically modified or are "novel". Therefore, the Food Standards Agency does not hold detailed information about food supplements on the United Kingdom market.

According to information provided by industry, Annex I of the Food Supplements Directive currently omits six minerals (boron, nickel, silicon, cobalt, tin, vanadium) currently used in food supplements on the UK market. John B

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