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Telephone Preference Service:Political Parties

Lord Greaves asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs (Lord Filkin): Yes. Under the Telecommunications (Data Protection and Privacy) Regulations 1999 (SI 1999/2093), a political party or an elected representative telephoning an elector for his or her support or a donation is required to ensure that any numbers that are on the Telephone Preference Service list are not called, unless the elected representative or political party has the elector's prior consent to do so. In addition, the elected representative or political party would need to ensure that anyone who had previously told the caller that they did not wish to hear from the elected representative or political party again was not called again, irrespective of whether that elector's number appears on the Telephone Preference Service list. The regulations do not affect an elected representative's ability to telephone their constituents about other matters, such as to give information relating to an inquiry.

Income-Contingent Student Loans

Baroness Sharp of Guildford asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education and Skills (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): The annual cost to government of income-contingent student loans in the first three years after the introduction of variable fees will depend on the following factors: the number of students entering higher education institutions (HEIs) in those three years; the level of fees charged by each HEI; and the proportion of students who choose to take out loans to cover the cost of their fees, and the value of such loans. Further details will be available in the regulatory impact assessment which will be published shortly.

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Condoms

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have studied the United States' National Institutes for Health 2001 report on the effectiveness of condoms in preventing sexually transmitted diseases; and, if so, whether as a result they have revised what is taught to people under 18 (both in schools and elsewhere) about the effectiveness of condoms.[HL5333]

Baroness Ashton of Upholland: We have considered the United States' National Institutes for Health 2001 report alongside other evidence relating to the effectiveness of condoms in preventing sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

There is strong evidence that, when used correctly and consistently, condoms decrease the risk of HIV transmission 1 c 2 . The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in the USA support the view that condoms are highly effective in preventing transmission of other STIs 3 including gonorrhoea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis.

While the only sure way to avoid sexual transmission of HIV may be to abstain from sexual intercourse, we have to accept the reality that this approach is not a lifestyle option that all individuals will be prepared to choose. This is why the promotion of correct and consistent condom use remains high on the public health agenda and is consistent with our National Strategy for Sexual Health and HIV.


    1 Condom Effectiveness In Reducing Heterosexual HIV Transmission [Cochrane Review]. The Cochrane Library, Issue 4, 2002. Oxford.


    2 Scientific Evidence On Condom Effectiveness For Sexually Transmitted Disease [Std] Prevention. The National Institute Of Allergy And Infectious Diseases, National Institute Of Health, Department Of Health And Human Services. July 20, 2001.


    3 Fact Sheet For Public Health Personnel. Male Latex Condoms And Sexually Transmitted Diseases. December 2, 2002 [Accessed At Http://Thebody.Com/Cdc/Condoms–Std.Html].

Sex Education

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they encourage primary and secondary schools to consult their parent-teacher associations as to the content of sex education and related teaching.[HL5335]

Baroness Ashton of Upholland: The responsibility for determining the content of sex education and related teaching rests with governing bodies and head teachers. Our sex and relationship education (SRE) guidance, published in July 2000, clearly states that governing bodies and head teachers should consult parents in developing their SRE policy to ensure that the views of parents and the community are reflected. All schools must have an SRE policy, which is made available to parents and to Ofsted for inspection.

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Star Awards

Baroness Blatch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What funding has been set aside for "Star Awards for the Learning and Skills Sector" announced on 4 November.[HL5379]

Baroness Ashton of Upholland: The department has set aside some £1.2 million over the next two years.

Vitamin B6

Lord Clement-Jones asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many patients have been treated for peripheral neuropathy as a result of vitamin B6 intake in each of the past 10 years.[HL5158]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Warner): The information requested is not collected centrally. The Food Standards Agency publishes advice about the use of vitamin B6 on their website at http://www.food. gov.uk.

Food Supplements Directive

Earl Howe asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What information they have about the attendance at and progress made at the meeting held on 23 October between the Food Standards Agency and a number of stakeholder organisations to discuss their concerns about the Food Supplements Directive.[HL5200]

Lord Warner: The meeting was requested by the noble Lord, Lord Feldman, who attended with Mr David Tredinnick, Member of Parliament, and representatives of five groups representing consumer or industry interests. Lord Feldman and his colleagues described their concerns about the Food Supplements Directive. Representatives from the Food Standards Agency described the outcome of the meeting between industry representatives and the European Food Safety Authority to discuss dossier content for nutrient sources to be added to the lists in the Food Supplements Directive. The agency also confirmed its commitment to arguing for a safety-based approach to regulation of food supplements.

Milk

Lord Stewartby asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether liquid milk sold by retailers as "British" has to be produced from cows in the United Kingdom; and whether labelling requirements for the origin of liquid milk are being adhered to by the retail trade. [HL5227]

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Lord Warner: There is no legislation requiring the declaration of country of origin on liquid milk sold at retail. However, if such information is provided it should not be false or misleading. The Food Standards Agency's advice is that milk sold as "British" must be produced from cows in the United Kingdom. The agency is not aware of any specific problems with misleading labelling of country of origin of liquid milk by the retail trade.

Prescription Charges

Lord Turnberg asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the income from National Health Service prescription charges for each of the years 2000, 2001 and 2002; and what costs were incurred by the National Health Service in recovering these charges. [HL5388]

Lord Warner: The available information is given in the table.

YearIncome from Charges (England) (£ millions)
2000–01389
2001–02408
2002–03423

More than 85 per cent of total charge income is collected by community pharmacists and dispensing doctors as part of the dispensing of medicines. There is no separately identifiable element of their remuneration attributable to the charge collection function. The sale of prepayment certificates, which accounts for the remainder of the income, was the responsibility of health authorities until October 2002, and the cost was not identifiable separately. The function is now centralised at the Prescription Pricing Authority, and the estimated annual cost is around £1.5 million.


Baku-Tiblisi-Ceyhan Pipeline

Baroness Uddin asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether a decision will be made on United Kingdom participation in the Baku-Tiblisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline before an assessment has been conducted as to the project's compliance with World Bank safeguard policies, both on paper and in project implementation.[HL5245]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): The project sponsors, led by BP, have approached the Export Credits Guarantee Department (ECGD) regarding cover for the supply of UK goods and services, and for UK investments related to the project. In considering whether to provide ECGD cover, the project's compliance with the relevant World Bank safeguard policies will be a material factor. No final decision on this project has yet been made.

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ECGD cover would be given to any exporters and investors involved in this project only if the department were satisfied that the relevant environmental, social and human rights impacts had been properly addressed, and that the financial and project risks were acceptable.

Other export credit agencies, together with the International Finance Corporation and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, are also considering providing support for the project.


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