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Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Work co-ordinated by the National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB), together with other published studies, indicates that even the most powerful radiobiological techniques for estimating historic radiation exposure in individuals are of doubtful use in the case of nuclear test veterans.
It must also be remembered that two independent epidemiological studies into the health of British nuclear test veterans, funded by the Ministry of Defence, concluded that participation in the UK's atmospheric nuclear test programme has had no detectable effect on participants' expectation of life or on their risk of developing cancer or other fatal diseases. We are also funding research into the incidence of Multiple Myeloma and other cancers among nuclear test veterans, the results of which should be available later this year. I therefore do not believe that there is a case in making screening facilities available to them.
The Minister for Science, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): Current regulatory controls on unsolicited direct marketing communications are based on the telecoms data protection directive (Directive 97/66/EC). Under the UK implementing regulations for this, the Telecommunications (Data Protection and Privacy) Regulations 1999, unsolicited non-automated telephone calls for direct marketing purposes may not be made to individual subscribers who have indicated that they do not wish to receive them (automated calls are prohibited without prior consent). There are similar rules on direct marketing faxes to corporate subscribers but individuals have the dual right both to register not to receive such faxes and not to receive such faxes unless they have consented.
There is some debate over the application of the current rules to e-mail and text messages and the Government welcome the Commission's proposal to clarify the position. The new draft directive (COM(2000)385), which covers e-mail and all other electronic communications, is not expected to come forward to the Council for negotiation before April. The Government plan to issue a consultation paper in the spring on the UK's response to the draft directive.
Lord Sainsbury of Turville: No. The Telecommunications (Lawful Business Practice) (Interception of Communications) Regulations 2000 establish the circumstances where a business can intercept communications without infringing the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000. This does not affect, and was never intended to affect, the application of the Data Protection Act 1998, which ensures, among other things, that personal data is not collected, used or otherwise processed where there is no business or other legal obligation to do so or vital interests to be protected.
Lord Sainsbury of Turville: The Government are not aware of any Human Rights Act 1998 implications arising from their auction of third generation mobile spectrum licences, nor of any breach of a duty of care in the conduct of the auction which could give rise to legal action against the Government.
The Minister of State, Department for Education and Employment (Baroness Blackstone): Yes, the Secretary of State's article in the Observer of 14 January set out government policy. It considered some of the different ways we are working to increase the employment rates of disadvantaged groups. We want to ensure the difficulties stopping people moving into work are tackled effectively. At the same time we want to identify and deal with the minority of people who refuse to accept their responsibilities.
Baroness Blackstone: We have in place a comprehensive macro-evaluation of the New Deal, which includes an analysis of the net numbers of people moving into work. Independent evaluation conducted by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research published last year considered whether there was evidence that 18 to 24 year-olds were being taken on instead of older workers and concluded that there was little sign of substitution. The same report found that long-term youth unemployment would be twice as high without New Deal and the economy is richer by £500 million a year because of New Deal.
Baroness Blackstone: In December 2000, 8\5 per cent of all claimant unemployed people in the UK were in the 27 constituencies where the unemployment rate was above 10 per cent and 17 per cent were in the 62 constituencies where the unemployment rate was above 8 per cent.
There are new jobs coming up all the time, either in neighbouring areas which may be centres of employment opportunity or, indeed, in the constituencies themselves. The Government's welfare to work policies aim to match jobless people with these jobs.
Baroness Blackstone: There is a discussion of the view that there is a finite number of jobs, or the "lump of labour fallacy" as it is known, in Unemployment by Layard, Richard; Nickell, Stephen, and Jackman, Richard (1991), Oxford: Oxford University Press.
The noble Earl might also be interested in a more recent paper From Restart to New Deal in the United Kingdom by William Wells that was presented to an OECD conference on the public employment service in Prague in July 2000 (publication forthcoming).
Baroness Blackstone: Our intention to make full employment a reality rests both on plans to reduce the number of workless people by helping them to get and keep a job and maintaining the economic stability which gives businesses the confidence to expand and create more jobs. The Government's ambition is to achieve a higher percentage of people in employment than ever before.
Our plans involve reducing the number of workless people, both unemployed and economically inactive, by bringing those who are at a disadvantage back into the active labour force and from there into a job.
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