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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): We do not seek a perfect Afghanistan but one that is able to maintain its own security and prevent the return of al-Qaeda. To do this, the international community and the Afghans are protecting the civilian population from the insurgents; building up the Afghan National Security Force's capability to enable the International Security Assistance Force to transfer security responsibility to its control as soon as it is ready; and supporting more effective Afghan government at the local and national level.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): Public sector bodies are free to build skills and apprenticeships requirements into their procurement exercises, where consistent with government procurement policy and EU treaty principles of openness, non-discrimination and proportionality. Decisions on the inclusion of such requirements have to be taken on a case-by-case basis.
Following the comprehensive spending review on 20 October and the announcement of significant reductions in public spending in a number of areas, the Government are reviewing their overall approach to procurement. BIS is working with the Cabinet Office to consider how the Government's skills and apprenticeships objectives fit within the broader procurement strategy.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): Partner nations are in intensive negotiations with Airbus Military about an amended contract for the A400M military transport aircraft. A key element of this amended agreement-which we expect to be concluded later this year-will be the number of aircraft to be delivered and, as these international discussions are ongoing, I would not wish to risk prejudicing the outcome by providing a running commentary. While we cannot comment on other nations, I can, however, say that the United Kingdom now expects to receive no fewer than 22 A400M aircraft.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many countries with which the United Kingdom has defence interoperability (a) currently use, or (b) have announced that they are planning to use, C17s and C130s for their airlift requirements.[HL3017]
Lord Astor of Hever: The C17 is in service in the USA, Australia, Canada, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. In addition, a pool of three C17 aircraft is used by NATO as part of the strategic airlift concept. The C130 is in service with many countries, including Italy, Canada, the USA, Norway, Denmark and Australia.
With regard to other nations' plans to use C17 and C130, this information is not held centrally and it would be inappropriate to speculate on what may be private commercial deals between US companies and foreign Governments, to which the UK is not a party.
To ask Her Majesty's Government for what length of time they envisage the Royal Air Force having to operate a three-aircraft transport fleet as a result of their replacing the C130 with the A400M.[HL3191]
Lord Astor of Hever: As a result of the strategic defence and security review, it is anticipated that the Royal Air Force will simultaneously use C17, C130J and A400M aircraft from 2015, as the A400M comes into service, until 2022, when the C130J is planned to leave service.
Lord Astor of Hever: The Ministry of Defence is currently in the invitation-to-negotiate stage prior to placing a contract to meet the training requirements for ground staff and aircrew to use the A400M, in order to achieve best value for money. Costs are not yet available and provision of our estimates would prejudice commercial interests.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are playing any role in attempting to generate export sales of the A400M aircraft (a) to NATO countries, (b) to non-NATO countries that are members of the European Union, and (c) to countries that are members of neither NATO nor the European Union.[HL3346]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): Yes. United Kingdom Trade and Investment, Defence and Security Organisation (UKTI DSO) is actively supporting industry to generate export A400M aircraft. Opportunities exist in NATO countries, EU countries and elsewhere.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): Currently 28 Tornado GR4 aircraft are capable of operating in Afghanistan. A further 17 are scheduled for upgrades to enable them to meet the theatre entry standard. The 15 Harrier GR9 aircraft that have returned from Afghanistan would require refitting of equipment to be made ready for operations.
Lord Astor of Hever: One hundred and two maintainers were required to support the eight Tornado GR4 aircraft deployed on Operation Herrick between June 2009 and August 2010. In August 2010, the number of GR4 aircraft deployed on Operation Herrick increased to 10, with a resulting increase in the number of maintainers from 102 to 122. The number of GR4 aircraft is planned to reduce to eight by the end of November. Eighty-six maintainers were required to support the eight Harrier aircraft deployed on Operation Herrick between September 2005 and July 2009. In July 2009, the UK withdrew its Harrier aircraft from Afghanistan. In addition, GR4 aircraft in Afghanistan are currently providing approximately 12 per cent more flying hours per aircraft per month than were provided by the Harriers, which makes a like-for-like comparison between numbers of maintainers required by the two aircraft types difficult.
Lord Astor of Hever: The most operationally relevant measure is flying hours delivered per aircraft per month. On that basis, Tornado GR4s in Afghanistan are providing approximately 12 per cent more flying hours per aircraft per month than were provided by Harrier.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much has been spent on the Harrier GR9 force to ensure that it can meet Operation Herrick requirements and run until 2021 without any further significant investment.[HL3142]
Prior to the strategic defence and security review, the Harrier's planned out-of-service date was 2018 and no funding was allocated for running the aircraft to 2021. An extension of service by three years would clearly require additional funding.
The Prime Minister was clear in his announcement on 19 October 2010 (Official Report, cols. 797-801) that none of the decisions taken in the strategic defence and security review would impact on the level of support provided to UK forces operating in Afghanistan.
Lord Astor of Hever: In July 2008, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) placed a contract with the Aircraft Carrier Alliance for the manufacture of two Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers following detailed negotiations between industry and MoD teams.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): We will maintain our ability to act alone where we cannot expect to act as part of an alliance. The future force structure will comprise a high-readiness force that will allow us to react rapidly to crises. This force is held principally to allow us to respond to scenarios in which we act alone to protect our national security interests-for example, to conduct hostage rescue or counterterrorism operations. The force includes a balanced range of highly capable land, air and maritime capabilities in line with our defence planning assumptions.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consultation exercises they carried out before proposing to merge No. 3 Welsh Wing and No. 1 Welsh Wing of the Air Cadets; and what further consultation measures they intend to carry out before carrying out such a merger.[HL3274]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will revise their plans to merge No. 3 Welsh Wing and No. 1 Welsh Wing of the Air Cadets if the reactions of volunteers, cadets and cadets' parents are predominantly against such a merger.[HL3275]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what impact they expect a merger between No. 3 Welsh Wing and No. 1 Welsh Wing of the Air Cadets to have on (a) cadet subscription fees, and (b) the total amount which it will cost to be a cadet, including any change in cadets' total travel costs.[HL3277]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what impact they expect a merger between No. 3 Welsh Wing and No. 1 Welsh Wing of the Air Cadets to have on (a) the travel costs incurred by volunteers, and (b) the total number of people volunteering with the Air Cadets in the affected areas.[HL3278]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what impact they expect a merger between No. 3 Welsh Wing and No. 1 Welsh Wing of the Air Cadets to have on (a) the total amount of money each squadron will have to raise each year, and (b) the number of volunteer hours each squadron will require throughout the year.[HL3371]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the extra demands which a merger between No. 3 Welsh Wing and No. 1 Welsh Wing of the Air Cadets will place on the parents of cadets.[HL3372]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what measures they intend to put in place to ensure that the proposed merger of No. 3 Welsh Wing and No. 1 Welsh Wing of the Air Cadets does not, directly or indirectly, place financial burdens on air cadets which will (a) cause current cadets to leave the Air Cadets, and (b) deter potential cadets from joining the Air Cadets.[HL3373]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what measures they intend to take to preserve the cultural identity of No. 3 Welsh Wing of the Air Cadets if it is to be merged with No. 1 Welsh Wing of the Air Cadets.[HL3374]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what impact they expect a merger between No. 3 Welsh Wing and No. 1 Welsh Wing of the Air Cadets to have, and what measures they intend to take to mitigate any anticipated adverse impact, on the opportunities provided to cadets to represent their Wings (a) at sport, (b) in International Air Cadets Exchange Schemes, (c) at overseas camps, and (d) on specialist training courses, such as parachute training courses. [HL3375]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The Air Cadet Organisation (ACO) is currently reviewing a number of options aimed at streamlining its organisation but no decision has been taken relating to a possible reorganisation of the ACO wings based in Wales. This review is due to be completed shortly and I will write to the noble Lord when decisions have been made.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the statutory guidance to be issued following their consultation on the Autism Act 2009 will require Directors of Adult Social Services in every local authority to appoint a lead individual with responsibility for ensuring access to assessments and for commissioning services for adults with autism.[HL3291]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the statutory guidance to be issued following their consultation on the Autism Act 2009 will require each local area to establish a pathway to diagnosis by 2013.[HL3292]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the statutory guidance to be issued following their consultation on the Autism Act 2009 will require local authorities to ensure that all staff carrying out an assessment on an individual with autism have had appropriate autism awareness training.[HL3293]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the statutory guidance to be issued following their consultation on the Autism Act 2009 will require local authorities and NHS bodies to have regard to any quality standards on autism produced by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.[HL3294]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The national consultation on the statutory guidance closed on 22 October 2010. We are currently in the process of analysing the response, which will inform the further development of the statutory guidance. Ministers will then consider a revised draft and take final decisions on content. We would not wish, nor would it be appropriate, to anticipate this process.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The green investment bank (GIB) will focus on mobilising capital into a wide range of green infrastructure and the deployment of late stage technologies. There are currently no plans for it to take a wider role in lending to small and medium-sized enterprises, but this remains subject to further review and market testing.
In regards to the level of risk, the GIB will have an explicit mandate to tackle risk that the market currently cannot adequately finance. It will look to catalyse further private sector investment and facilitate the entrance of new types of investor into green infrastructure, so that the impact on the finance gap for low carbon investment is many times the scale of the public contribution.
To ask Her Majesty's Government , further to the Written Answer by Baroness Wilcox on 28 October (HL2878), whether the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills keeps a record of the external projects it funds; and, if so, which of those external projects relate to entrepreneurship and enterprise. [HL3408]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills keeps records of all external projects it funds, including any external projects relating to entrepreneurship and enterprise. However, these cover a wide range of activities across the department and the relevant financial information
4 Nov 2010 : Column WA432
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Wilcox on 28 October (HL2878), what plans the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has for funding external projects relating to entrepreneurship and enterprise over the next five years.[HL3409]
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Wilcox on 28 October (HL2878), what arrangements the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has in place for co-ordinating the activities of other government departments in relation to entrepreneurship and enterprise.[HL3410]
Baroness Wilcox: My department's new small business economic forum provides an opportunity for small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) and their representatives to provide independent views to Ministers on economic policy relevant to small business. It encourages a co-ordinated approach to SME issues, including entrepreneurship and enterprise, across government.
The department will also pay close attention to any recommendations in this area made by my noble friend Lord Young of Graffham in the review which the Prime Minister announced on 1 November, in which he asks him to consider how Government might be more small and medium-sized business and start-up friendly. Lord Young will report in spring 2011.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the extent to which registration of dental practices with the Care Quality Commission will duplicate regulatory and advisory functions performed by other bodies.[HL3081]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): In October 2009, the department undertook and published an impact assessment of regulation of primary medical and dental care providers under the Health and Social Care Act
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The current regulatory arrangements for primary care focus mainly on the competence of the individual professional. Care Quality Commission registration will actively monitor providers' compliance against registration requirements, focusing on the way in which organisations are managed and the way in which their systems work. For example, organisations must meet requirements around cleanliness and infection control, medicines management, premises and equipment. These safety issues, as well as a number of other registration requirements, are not covered in full by other regulatory bodies.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to utilise the 25 dental reference officers recently made redundant by the NHS Business Services Authority in the regulation of dental practices by the Care Quality Commission.[HL3082]
Earl Howe: It is a matter for the Care Quality Commission, as the independent regulator of health and social care, to determine whether dental reference officers have a role to play in the regulation of dental practices.
Earl Howe: In October 2009, the department undertook and published an impact assessment of regulation of primary medical and dental care providers under the Health and Social Care Act (2008), a copy of which has already been placed in the Library. The impact assessment considered the cost and benefits of primary care registration.
The setting of registration fees is a matter for the Care Quality Commission (CQC), as the independent regulator of health and social care. It is a standard principle that organisations that are regulated should meet the cost of regulation. It is therefore appropriate that all providers that are required to register with the CQC pay a fee for registration. The CQC charges fees in relation to the costs associated with regulating different providers. The CQC is currently consulting on the fees, which will apply from April 2011 onwards. The fees that CQC wishes to set must be approved by the Secretary of State.
Earl Howe: In October 2009, the department undertook and published an impact assessment of regulation of primary medical and dental care providers under the Health and Social Care Act (2008), a copy of which
4 Nov 2010 : Column WA434
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they keep records of examples of good practice in the areas of conflict prevention, post-war rehabilitation, demilitarisation, justice and arms control in which local communities are involved.[HL3165]
Baroness Verma: The Department for International Development (DfID) routinely collects project-level examples of good practice through, for example, annual reviews and project evaluations, which are used to inform programme design and policy. This includes lessons on conflict prevention, post-war rehabilitation, demilitarisation, justice and arms control in which local communities are involved. For example, a recent review of community policing in Sudan produced valuable lessons in these areas.
The Stabilisation Unit holds the mandate for cross-government lessons on conflict issues, which includes maintaining records of best practice relating to conflict and stabilisation. In addition to producing and disseminating lessons products, the SU is currently developing a lessons repository to systematically capture, store and disseminate lessons using a cross-government web platform.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): We are conducting an assessment of sentencing policy to ensure that it is effective in deterring crime, protecting the public, punishing offenders and cutting reoffending. No decisions have yet been taken on reform.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, in light of the commitment made in 2008 to introduce end-use controls on torture and death penalty equipment, what assessment they have made of the supply of sodium thiopental by a British company to the state of Arizona for use in executions.[HL3400]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): Sodium thiopental is a medicine and its primary use is as an anaesthetic. It is not subject to export control as it does not appear on the EU or UK strategic control lists and does not appear in the annexes to the EU Council Regulation 1236/2005 (the so-called torture regulation). There is no suggestion at present that a UK company has acted unlawfully in this case.
In 2008 we made a commitment to seek an EU-wide end-use control on equipment which could be used for the purpose of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Following a resolution of the European Parliament on 17 June 2010 the Commission has indicated that it will bring forward a proposal to amend the torture regulation by the end of this year. However, end-use controls only work on the basis of prior knowledge of the ultimate end-use of a specific export. In this case the Government did not have any prior knowledge of the end-use, and the manufacturer of the drug has stated that it does not have information on the specific end-users either. It is therefore unlikely that we could have prevented its export under an end-use control.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government are creating the conditions that enable UK businesses to be successful and prioritising the projects that will support a sustainable, balanced, private sector-led recovery. The Government's approach is based on:creating macroeconomic and financial stability, so that interest rates stay low and businesses have the certainty that they need to plan ahead;helping markets to work more effectively, to encourage innovation and the efficient allocation of resources;ensuring that Government are efficient and focused in their own activities, so as to prioritise high-value spending and to reduce the burden of tax and regulation on the private sector; andensuring that everyone in the UK has access to the opportunities that they need to fulfil their potential.
The Budget announced measures to give businesses more freedom and help to restore the UK's competitiveness by reducing regulation and tax rates-including a reduction in the main rate of corporation tax and increasing the threshold for employer national insurance contributions (NICs) by £21 a week above indexation.
By taking decisive action to tackle the deficit, the spending review will put public spending on a sustainable footing, helping to keep long-term interest rates low
4 Nov 2010 : Column WA436
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to introduce an accelerated process to cover the drawing up of collaborative agreements between the Environment Agency and non-commercial researchers.[HL3397]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): There are no plans for an accelerated process for the drawing up of collaborative agreements between the Environment Agency and non-commercial researchers, but the agency is keeping the process under review.
To ask Her Majesty's Government where and when water fluoridation was first introduced in the United Kingdom; whether water fluoridation is continuing in that location; what is the decayed, missing, filled (DMF) rate for this area; and how this compares with non-fluoridated areas.[HL3098]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Following three small-scale pilot schemes undertaken over the period 1955 to 1962 in Watford, Kilmarnock and part of Anglesey, the first substantive fluoridation scheme in the United Kingdom was started by Birmingham City Council in 1964, covering most of Birmingham and some adjacent areas. The scheme continues in operation, serving a population of over a million people, and is now part of a much wider fluoridation coverage in the West Midlands, the most extensively fluoridated area of England.
In the 2007-08 NHS epidemiological survey of dental health of five year-old children, the average number of decayed, missing and filled teeth (DMFT) for the City of Birmingham was 1.35. Children in the City of Manchester, in the same Office for National Statistics local authority cluster group as Birmingham, but which does not have fluoridated water, had an average DMFT of 2.39. This compares to a national average for England of 1.11 DMFT.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The Government have no plans to extend the remit of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority to additional sectors.
We are committed to effective, risk-based enforcement of the law by the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate which is responsible for regulating employment agencies and employment businesses operating in sectors not covered by the Gangmasters Licensing Authority.
Baroness Verma: The Department for International Development (DfID) is closely monitoring the outbreak of cholera in Haiti. There are no plans to increase aid to Haiti at this time. The international response, in support of the Government of Haiti, has been swift and effective and the rate of infection is currently decreasing. The threat of further spread remains, however, and we stand ready to provide additional assistance should it become necessary.
The UK continues to support Haiti through our contribution to multilateral agencies such as the UN and the World Bank. Our share of their programmes is more than £95 million this year. DfID allocated £20 million in emergency support after the earthquake, which provided more than 380,000 people with food, shelter, clean water and healthcare, including disease surveillance. This assistance helped to ensure that the cholera outbreak was identified and responded to promptly.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The announcements made in the spending review recognise that science and research are critical to long-term economic growth. Despite pressure on public spending, funding for science and research programmes has been protected in cash terms at £4.6 billion per annum,
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The Medical Research Council (MRC) is one of the main agencies through which the Government support medical and clinical research, including diabetes research. The MRC is a non-departmental public body which receives its grant-in-aid from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. In keeping with the Haldane principle, prioritisation of an individual research council's spending within its allocation is not a decision for Ministers. The MRC will make decisions on its priorities once its allocation is clear.
The MRC funds a broad portfolio of diabetes research amounting to £28.1 million in 2008-09 and supports underpinning research which aims to improve understanding, prevention and treatment. Examples of recent MRC activities relating to diabetes research include the renewal of funding for the MRC epidemiology unit in Cambridge. Research at the unit includes the study of the genetic, developmental and environmental determinants of obesity, type 2 diabetes and related metabolic disorders and contributes to the prevention of these disorders.
The MRC is also working with the Indian Council of Medical Research on a joint initiative to support collaborative research on chronic non-communicable diseases, including cardiovascular disease, stroke, COPD and diabetes. The MRC has allocated up to £4 million to this call for proposals as part of a wider programme of MRC activities as a member of the Global Alliance for Chronic Disease. Current members of the alliance include biomedical research funders in the USA, Canada, Australia, China and South Africa.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 22 October (WA 209), whether patients who are non-European Union nationals are required to state their nationality as part of the standard registration process with a general practitioner in primary medical services; if not, how claims are made for healthcare costs of their treatment; and what are the procedures for requiring nationals of European Union countries to show their European health insurance card when registering with a general practitioner.[HL3251]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Patients are not required to declare their nationality when they register with a primary medical care contractor, nor are nationals of European Union countries required to show their European health insurance card when registering with a primary medical care contractor. This means that very few claims for primary medical care are made using the procedures under the European health insurance scheme.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many National Health Service prescriptions were issued from January 2008 to date for the following products: (a) Full Marks Liquid, (b) Full Marks Solution, (c) Derbac-M, (d) Lyclear Crème Rinse, (e) Lyclear Spray Away, (f) Lyclear Nitlotion, (g) Bug Buster
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Information on the number of prescription items written in the United Kingdom and dispensed in the community in England, for the products listed, and the net ingredient cost, is shown in the following tables. Figures are provided by quarter, starting with the quarter ending March 2008 through to the most recent available quarter, ending June 2010.
|Number of prescription items written in the UK and dispensed in the community in England|
5. For (h) Nitty Gritty, there was no such product listed within PCA, but we have given figures for products listed as "Nitty Gritty NitFree Comb" and "Nitty Gritty Head Lice Repellent", which do appear.
|Net ingredient cost (NIC) of prescription items written in the UK and dispensed in the community in England (£'s)|
6. For (h) Nitty Gritty, there was no such product listed within PCA, but we have given figures for products listed as "Nitty Gritty NitFree Comb" and "Nitty Gritty Head Lice Repellent", which do appear.
Earl Howe: Reports of suspected adverse drug reactions (ADRs) are collected by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and Commission for Human Medicines (CHM) through the spontaneous reporting scheme; the yellow card scheme. Approximately 25,000 reports of ADRs are reported to the MHRA/CHM through this scheme each year. The scheme collects ADR reports from across the whole United Kingdom and includes all medicines, including those from prescriptions, over-the-counter or general retail sales. Reports are also received for herbal medicines and other unlicensed medicines.
During the time period 1 January 2000 to 28 October 2010, the MHRA has received a total of 101 UK spontaneous suspected ADR reports associated with the drug substances dimeticone, malathion, phenothrin, permethrin, triethanolamine and carbaryl which are medicinal products for use in the treatment of head lice. It should be noted that these medicines are parasiticidal preparations and are therefore also used for the treatment of other conditions including scabies and crab lice. Information on the indication for use of a medicine is not always provided by the reporter on the original yellow card. Furthermore information on how the medicine was obtained such as by prescription or over-the-counter from pharmacies is not held on our ADR database.
It is important to note that a report of an adverse drug reaction does not necessarily mean that it was caused by the drug. Many factors have to be taken into account in assessing causal relationships including temporal association, the possible contribution of concomitant medication and the underlying disease being treated.
Products for treatment of head lice are also licensed as medical devices according to their mechanism of action. Adverse incident reports for medical devices are received from healthcare professionals and members of the public. A search of the adverse incident database over the time period 1 January 2000 to 28 October 2010 identified 12 adverse incident reports associated with head lice treatments. Many of these head lice treatments are available over-the-counter at pharmacies. It is not possible to identify from these 12 adverse incident reports if they were prescribed by the National Health Service.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The Independent Review of Higher Education Funding and Student Finance, led by Lord Browne, has now delivered its recommendations to the Government. We welcome this report, which makes important recommendations about the structure and level of graduate contributions, including a proposal to abolish the cap on university tuition fees. We will consider the arguments before reaching a final conclusion. The Government recognise the concerns that uncapped fees would put off some applicants.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to carry out an assessment of the impact on women of Lord Browne of Madingley's report on higher education; and when they plan to publish such an assessment.[HL3056]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): Lord Browne conducted the Independent Review of Higher Education Funding and Student Finance, whose report was published on 12 October. The Government have accepted the broad thrust of the recommendations and will undertake a full impact assessment, including an equality impact assessment, when we put formal proposals to Parliament for amending the legislation that underpins fees and student support. The Government will undertake a further impact assessment of any wider changes proposed as a result of a HE White Paper reviewing the framework for HE and this will be published alongside the White Paper in the winter.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Government are committed to extending the greater rollout of personal budgets to give people and their carers more control and purchasing power. We will consider how to embed personalisation in the new legal framework following the Law Commission's report next year-for instance, in new statutory principles to underpin the law, and through an entitlement for support to be offered as a personal budget or direct payment.
The vision for adult social care, to be published shortly, will provide further detail on the rollout of personal budgets. To support the Government's vision, the social care consortium (made up of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, the Local Government Association, the Department of Health and other social care organisations) is publishing a partnership agreement, focusing on the delivery of personalisation.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, for each of the past five years for which figures are available, how much funding is provided by the Department for International Development for (a) conflict prevention, and (b) post-conflict reconstruction. [HL3052]
Baroness Verma: Over recent years, the Department for International Development (DfID) has increased its aid to fragile and conflict-affected countries. Addressing conflict and fragility is crucial to the success of the UK's development efforts and DfID is committed to expanding its support still further. DfID's approach in fragile states is to tackle a wide range of underlying
4 Nov 2010 : Column WA444
DfID's expenditure through country programmes in fragile and conflict countries in each of the past five years was reported in Statistics on International Development, which is available on the DfID website and in the Library. The total was £1.135 billion in 2005-06; £1.108 billion in 2006-07; £1.218 billion in 2007-08; £1.497 billion in 2008-09; and £1.581 billion in 2009-10. DfID has allocated £1.7 billion to be spent through its country programmes in fragile and conflict countries in 2010-11 and final outturn figures will be published next year.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Wilcox on 19 October (WA 160-1), how much they pay annually to universities and other higher education institutions to cover employer superannuation contributions. [HL3076]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): In general, there is no specific allocation to institutions to cover these costs, because they are covered by institutions through their block grant and other income. However, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) does allocate funds to cover the pension costs of some NHS staff working in medical schools. In 2010-11, this amounted to £6 million.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many times the Inter-Departmental Ministerial Group on Trafficking has met since May 2010; and whether it has considered disappearances from local authority care of children thought to have been trafficked. [HL3066]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The Government recognise the importance of monitoring the progress of anti-trafficking efforts in the UK and compliance with our international obligations.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the estimated cost of diverting prisoners with mental illness to NHS facilities and how the cost will be apportioned between the Ministry of Justice and the Department of Health.[HL3038]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): All prisoners whose mental illness meets the criteria for detention under Sections 47 or 48 of the Mental Health Act 1983 are transferred to National Health Service secure services. In 2009-10, just over 1,200 prison transfers were completed*. This number has remained relatively stable for the past five years.
The Government committed in their spending review to look at options to invest in mental health liaison services at police stations and courts. These services intervene at an earlier stage to divert offenders with mental health problems away from the justice system and into appropriate treatment, either as an in-patient or in the community. Officials are working via the cross-government health and criminal justice programme to take this forward, including a detailed assessment of the outcomes and potential costs of such services.
Funding and commissioning responsibility for prison healthcare has been fully devolved to NHS primary care trusts since 2006 and forms part of core NHS funding. As with other NHS allocations, these funds are subject to local commissioning and service provision. Since 2007-08, an additional £4.2 million has been invested annually in the further development of mental health services within local HM Prison Service (HMPS) establishments, with £1.5 million of this for tier 3 child and adolescent mental health services within the HMPS young people estate. The department does not hold information on the cost of in-patient treatment for prisoners. However, reference costs indicate that an NHS medium secure bed costs £481 per day. The majority of transfers are to medium secure care.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The Government are aware of approximately 250 claims in the domestic courts relating to the general election this year. The Government have made an
4 Nov 2010 : Column WA446
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the risk of social conflict arising from both perceived and actual discriminatory effects of public expenditure reductions, particularly where no equality impact assessments are made with regard to groups of disadvantaged people.[HL2811]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): No assessment has been made. In carrying out their duties Government must have regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination and promote equality of opportunity. This does not have to be a full equalities impact assessment, but does have to demonstrate that the equalities impact of a change in policy and any mitigating actions have been considered.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The announcements made in the spending review recognise that science and research are critical to long-term economic growth. Despite pressure on public spending, funding for science and research programmes has been protected in cash terms at £4.6 billion per annum, ring-fenced for the four years of the spending review. In the coming months, decisions on broad allocations will be made between research councils, HEFCE and the national academies. I cannot pre-empt future decisions on these allocations.
The Medical Research Council (MRC) is one of the main agencies through which the Government support medical and clinical research, including cancer research. The MRC is a non-departmental public body which receives its grant in aid from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. In keeping with the Haldane principle, prioritisation of an individual research council's spending within its allocation is not a decision for Ministers. The MRC will make decisions on its priorities once its allocation is clear.
The MRC spends approximately £105 million (2009 data) on cancer and research relevant to cancer, including strategic partnerships such as the MRC/CR-UK University of Oxford Gray Institute for Radiation Oncology and Biology.
Baroness Rawlings: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is responsible for the maintenance of both the occupied and unoccupied royal palaces in England. The property services section of the royal household is responsible for the day to day maintenance of the occupied palaces, and at March 2009 it estimated that the projected shortfall in essential works if its grant in aid remained the same over the next 10 years would be £40 million at today's prices. The property services allocation was announced on 20 October and it will be £15 million in 2011-12 and thereafter the costs of maintenance will be met out of the sovereign support grant.
The unoccupied palaces are managed on the Secretary of State's behalf by Historic Royal Palaces (HRP). HRP is an independent charity that receives no funding from the Government or the Crown so generates its own resources from visitors, members, donors, volunteers and sponsors. Within the next three years (its strategic plan period) HRP currently intends to spend on average £6 million a year on planned maintenance and improvement works across all of the five palaces in its care as part of a long-term plan developed from detailed assessments of their condition.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether Sir Philip Green has been given the opportunity to examine their banking arrangements and those of agencies and non-departmental public bodies and, if so, which organisations have had their banking arrangements examined.[HL2908]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether Sir Philip Green has been given the opportunity to examine property leases held by the Government and those of agencies and non-departmental public bodies and, if so, which organisations have had their banking arrangements examined.[HL2963]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): We will provide over £200 million for a network of elite technology and innovation centres over the next four years. The overall network of centres will be established and overseen by the Technology Strategy Board and will be based on the model proposed by Hermann Hauser and James Dyson to commercialise new and emerging technologies in areas where there are large global market opportunities and a critical mass of UK capability to take advantage. The Technology Strategy Board will work with industry, stakeholders and wider government to identify the priority areas and governance structure for the elite network of technology and innovation centres by April 2011.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they will ensure that the proposed Technology and Innovation Centres build on the work of the technology centres established by the previous government; and how they will make use of the projects and collaborations set up by regional development agencies between universities, government research agencies and businesses.[HL3151]
Baroness Wilcox: The network of technology and innovation centres will be established and overseen by the Technology Strategy Board and will comprise of existing RDA-funded centres which are excellent and a limited number of new centres.
The Technology Strategy Board have been working in close collaboration with the RDAs, and the RDAs have exceeded their target of £180 million of aligned spend with the Technology Strategy Board over the current CSR period. The Technology Strategy Board is therefore well placed to decide how the proposed TICs make use of existing RDA projects and activities.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The Government are clear that inward investment and
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For example, the Government's new approach to tax policy-making, the aim to create for companies greater predictability and certainty in their perception of the UK's taxation system and a drive towards greater simplicity through the creation of an independent Office of Tax Simplification are important steps in restoring the UK's international competitiveness.
At the CBI conference, the Prime Minister highlighted a range of measures that will keep the UK as the destination of choice in attracting foreign investment, including that we will, within five years, have cut corporation tax from 28 per cent to 24 per cent, the lowest CT rate in the G20. We are also cutting the small business profits rate and will be waiving national insurance contributions for new businesses in most areas of the country. Education reforms and new apprenticeships will have started to expand the UK's skills base while our new one-in, one-out rule for regulation will have stopped the rise of domestic red tape.
The Prime Minister also launched the UK's first ever national infrastructure plan, setting out the infrastructure that Britain needs and how we will unlock some £200 billion-worth of public and private sector investment over the next five years to deliver it.
A key deliverer of the Government's drive to encourage foreign investment is UK Trade & Investment, the UK's national trade and investment promotion agency. UKTI leads on attracting high-quality, high-value investment to the UK.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what financial contribution to "start-up funds" will be made by the United Kingdom to the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, known as UN Women.[HL3267]
Baroness Verma: The UK Government strongly support the establishment of the new United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, known as UN Women. This represents an important opportunity to raise the profile of gender in the UN system, close gaps in delivery at country level and make a real difference to the lives of people on the ground.
The Department for International Development (DfID) is reviewing funding to all multilateral agencies as part of the ongoing multilateral aid review. A decision on funding for UN Women will be made when the multilateral aid review concludes in January next year.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the potential use of the Waverley criteria in relation to ensuring that marketable ideas originating from research work at United Kingdom universities are developed within the United Kingdom.[HL3154]
Baroness Rawlings: No such assessment has been made and at present there are no plans to review the criteria or their operation. The Waverley criteria are designed to determine whether a cultural object, which is the subject of an export licence, is of national importance and should therefore remain in the country for the enjoyment of the public.
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