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To ask Her Majesty's Government why there is within the Government Equalities Office a Minister for Women and Equalities; and whether they propose to introduce a Minister for Men and Equalities. [HL77]
The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Baroness Royall of Blaisdon): The Government Equalities Office was established in 2007 to tackle discrimination and to help create a more equitable society for all the men, women and children who live within it.
However, the Government recognise that the nature of discrimination is that specific groups experience disadvantage based upon their innate characteristics. Despite comprising over half of the United Kingdom's population, women are one such group.
For example, the overall gender pay gap comparing all female employees' median pay with all male employees' median pay is 22.0 per cent, the part-time gender pay gap comparing part-time women with full-time men is 39.4 per cent. This is one of the reasons why there is a Minister for Women and Equalities within the Government Office for Equalities.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Thornton on 5 October (WA 440), what steps they are taking to ensure that imports into the United Kingdom of unsterilised botulinum toxins do not give rise to outbreaks of botulism. [HL60]
Baroness Thornton: The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) monitors the internet for medicines and active pharmaceutical ingredients that are being offered for sale or supply. Where the agency determines that supply and advertising is illegal and where patient safety is compromised it will take appropriate action.
European Union manufacturers of licensed products containing botulinum toxin that are imported into the United Kingdom are inspected by the relevant regulatory authorities in the countries of origin. An aspect of inspection is to ensure that sterilisation processes are
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Manufacturers are required to show beyond that specified in the marketing authorisation for therapeutic effects. These controls aim to ensure that imports of unsterilised botulinum toxin are not imported and give rise to outbreaks of botulism
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Thornton on 3 November (WA 46), how patients can prove that they requested that artificial hydration or nutrition was not withdrawn in the absence of a written record. [HL156]
"You must ensure that decisions are properly documented, including the relevant clinical findings; details of discussions with the patient, health care team, or others involved in decision making; details of treatment given with any agreed review dates; and outcomes of treatment or other significant factors which may affect future care. You should record the decision at the time of, or soon after, the events described. The record should be legible, clear, accurate and unambiguous, for example avoiding abbreviations or other terminology that may cause confusion to those providing care. You must ensure that the records are appropriately accessible to the patient, team members and others involved in providing care to patients".
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of any connection between animal and human strains of MRSA; and whether they will consider the experience of the Netherlands in that matter. [HL360]
Baroness Thornton: The majority of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections are due to healthcare-associated strains. However, given experience in the Netherlands and elsewhere, the Health Protection Agency asks diagnostic laboratories to send it unusual isolates from people with a farming association for further investigation. No cases of the pig-related strain ST398 have been reported in England. The Advisory Committee on Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infections continue to keep developments in relation to human and animal strains of MRSA under review.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): Disability living allowance provides an important contribution towards the extra costs faced by severely disabled people who claim before the age of 65 years. Once awarded, disability living allowance may continue in payment after the age of 65, if the entitlement conditions continue to be met.
People who become disabled after the age of 65 can claim attendance allowance. Unlike disability living allowance, attendance allowance does not contain a mobility component. However, recipients of attendance allowance are able to use their benefit in whatever way that best suits their needs and priorities, including helping to meet any mobility costs.
The Government believe that the benefit arrangements in place for disabled people are both fair and sensible. Disability living allowance aims to focus additional help on people who are severely disabled early, or relatively early, in life and as a result face limited opportunities to work, earn, and save compared with non-disabled people.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much funding they have provided to (a) the Institute for Learning, (b) the United Kingdom Commission for Employment and Skills, (c) Foundation Degree Forward, (d) the National Institute for Adult and Continuing Education, (e) the 157 Group, and (f) BECTA, in each of the last four years for which figures are available. [HL42]
|Organisation||Funding in Financial Year (£000s)(a)|
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord West of Spithead on 7 July (WA 137), what is the current immigration status of the people who were convicted under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 and the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants, etc.) Act 2004. [HL171]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The immigration status of those foreign nationals convicted of human trafficking is varied. However, should a non-British citizen be convicted of a criminal offence carrying a sentence of 12 months or more, they are liable to automatic deportation from the UK.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what response they will make to the recent findings of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Libraries, Literacy and Information Management about the leadership of libraries. [HL252]
Lord Davies of Oldham: Over the next two months the Department for Culture, Media and Sport will undertake a consultation on the future of the public library service in England. We published our consultation paper on 1 December and I will arrange for a copy to be placed in the Libraries of both Houses. The department will consider the findings of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Libraries, Literacy and Information Management Report as part of that process and publish a policy statement in the spring.
The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): The Government are testing the Thoresen review's blueprint for a generic financial advice or 'money guidance' service through a large-scale pilot or pathfinder in the north-west and north-east of England. Launched in April, it is on track to meet its target to reach over 500,000 people by March 2010, through the Moneymadeclear website, helpline and face-to-face services provided by a wide range of local partners.
The Moneymadeclear website and helpline are already available to people anywhere in the UK. Promotion of the service across the UK is expected to begin from spring 2010. The introduction of face-to-face money guidance sessions across the UK is likely to be phased over a number of years.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the figures for the narrow and broad money supplies, and the percentage change in them, for each of the last six months for which figures are available. [HL31]
The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): The Bank of England collects and publishes statistics on both narrow and broad money. The full Bank of England dataset runs to many pages and can be found at:
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the possibility that (a) foreign intelligence agencies or (b) foreign law enforcement agencies might gain unauthorised access to the United Kingdom's DNA and fingerprint databases; and whether they have made an assessment of whether such agencies have the capabilities and intent to gain unauthorised access now or in the future. [HL136]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): Direct access to information on the National DNA database is restricted to around 35 designated personnel working for the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA). Police forces do not have access to the information on the NDNAD, but receive reports from the NDNAD Delivery Unit of matches between DNA taken from crime scenes and that taken from individuals.
Security measures are applied to the NDNAD to prevent unauthorised access, whether by a foreign intelligence agency or anyone else. These measures are in accordance with HM Government policy and guidance.
Assessments with regard to the intent and capability of foreign intelligence services to access the fingerprint database are a standard part of the risk assessment and security accreditation process conducted in accordance with HM Government information assurance policy. This assessment is reviewed on an annual basis.
Lord West of Spithead: A DNA sample is biological material containing cells with a person's DNA, whereas a DNA profile is a numerical sequence stored on the National DNA database (NDNAD), which is an IT system. DNA samples can be split into two categories. Subject samples are taken from an arrested person (or in some cases from a volunteer), usually by means of a swab which picks up cells from the inside of the cheek. Crime scene samples are retrieved from material at crime scenes, for example blood, semen or saliva. Both types of sample are collected by the police and sent to an accredited forensic supplier for analysis to produce a DNA profile. The profile is then loaded onto the NDNAD where it can be compared with the other profiles held on the database. The original physical sample is retained by the forensic supplier in a secure environment. When a match occurs between profiles held on the NDNAD the relevant police force is informed.
The costs of obtaining, analysing and storing DNA samples fall to individual police forces. They vary depending on the contractual relationship between the police force and the forensic supplier, which is commercially confidential.
The NDNAD is operated by the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA). Capital investment plans for the NDNAD can be broadly separated into maintenance and development. Maintenance costs equate to approximately £200,000 per annum and relate to the in year costs of replacing equipment that has either failed or reached the end of its lifespan. Development costs are determined firstly by the prioritised development requirements of the NDNAD strategy board, and secondly by the available capital funds within the NPIA and their relative prioritisation across the development requirements of the police service as
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