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Written Answers

Volume 597: debated on Tuesday 23 February 1999

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Written Answers

Tuesday, 23rd February 1999.

House Of Lords Reform

asked Her Majesty's Government:How many hereditary Peers by succession voted for reform of this House, and how many against, at the end of the debate on the White Paper covering an All-Party Agreement on 21 November 1968. [HL956]

In the division on the White Paper on 21 November 1968,251 Peers voted in favour of general proposals for reform being accepted. Of these, 128 were hereditary Peers by succession. Fifty-six voted against the Motion. Of these, 37 were hereditary Peers by succession.

asked Her Majesty's Government:How many days in each House of Parliament were spent in discussing the Parliament (No. 2) Bill, at Second Reading, Committee, Report and Third Reading stages, during the 1968–69 session. [HL957]

The Bill started in the House of Commons and, after one day on Second Reading and nine in Committee, did not proceed further. A statement was made and repeated in the Lords on 17 April 1969 that priority was to be given to other parliamentary legislation.

Export Promotion By Diplomatic Staff

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether their representatives abroad are expected to promote exports of harmful products such as cigarettes and small arms, as well as beneficial and useful ones. [HL922]

Representatives of Her Majesty's Government abroad assist UK companies in promoting the export of a range of legitimate goods and services from the UK. In light of the Government's recent White Paper on tobacco, guidelines will be sent to diplomatic posts restricting their involvement in he advertising and promotion of tobacco products. The export of controlled defence equipment, such as small arms, from the UK requires an export licence. Licence applications are assessed in line with the UK's national criteria and eh criteria in the EU Code of Conduct of Arms Exports. All diplomatic posts are aware of these criteria.

Personal Social Services Performance Assessment

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they will publish the performance assessment framework for personal social services promised in the White Paper

Modernising Health and Social Services. [HL1224]

The Department of Health has today published the consultation document, A New Approach to Social Services Performance, setting out the details of our proposals for a new performance assessment framework for social services and an associated set of 46 performance indicators. Copies will be placed in the Library.The framework and its indicators will help government, councils and local people to assess how well local social services are performing. Councils and government will be able to use the framework and the indicators to identify areas of possible good practice and areas where improvement is required.We are redefining and strengthening our approach to social services performance to improve the Department of Health's capacity to assess performance and to put in place the necessary structures to support best value in social services. The performance assessment framework is one part of this. We will build upon the success of the Social Services Inspectorate (SSI) inspection programme and the SSI/Audit Commission joint reviews and enhance the performance role of the Regional Offices of the SSI.

A New Approach to Social Services Performance describes these new arrangements and how they will help to ensure that best value is delivered in social services.

Farmed Salmon: Sea Lice Treatments

asked Her Majesty's Government:When they expect any or all of the treatments for sea lice in farmed salmon, Cypermethrin, Emamectin and Calicide, currently licensed for use in Norway, to be licensed for use in the United Kingdom. [HL1009]

The use of these treatments requires a prior approval of maximum residue limits (MRL) by the European Commission, a marketing authorisaion by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) and a discharge consent for use at each farm from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).Cypermethrin is expected to receive the first two of these forms of approval in the spring. SEPA has already issued a number of discharge consents, subject to the treatment receiving a marketing authorization from the VMD.

An MRL has been approved for Calicide and an application for a marketing authorisation is under consideration by the VMD. Further data are awaited from the manufacturer and it is possible that a decision on the application could be made by mid-summer. SEPA is currently assessing the effects of Calicide on the marine environment.

Emamectin is at a much less advanced stage of consideration at all three levels.

Bulgaria: Economic Monitoring

asked Her Majesty's Government:Further to the Answer by the Secretary of State for International Development on 19 November 1998 (HC Deb., col. 707), why her economic advisers do not monitor Bulgaria. [HL1112]

The Answer given by my right hon. friend on 19 November made clear that economic advisers monitor a number of countries which are not our major partners. This list included Eastern Europe, which of course includes Bulgaria.

Bilateral Aid Allocations

asked Her Majesty's Government:What are the cash plans allocations for 1998–99 bilateral aid on the following sector programmes; forestry; land development and irrigation; public administration; water and sanitation; and education. [HL1120]

We do not budget by sector, though retrospective analyses of bilateral expenditure and commitments by sector are published annually in Statistics on International Development. Our records show that so far in 1998–99 we have committed the following to major projects in particular sectors: forestry £13 million; land development and irrigation £64 million; public administration £124 million; water and sanitation £50 million; and education £54 million. The total of £305 million represents around 30 per cent. of all bilateral commitments made so far in 1998–99.

asked Her Majesty's Government:What bilateral funding they have planned for economic reform in 1998–99 in (a) Africa; (b) South East Asia; and (c) Central and Eastern Europe. [HL1123]

We do not budget by policy objective, though retrospective analyses of bilateral expenditure and commitments by policy objectives are published annually in Statistics on International Development. The following bilateral commitments have been made in support of major projects and programmes which target economic reform so far in 1998–99: Africa £187 million; Central and Eastern Europe £12 million; and South East Asia £6 million.

asked Her Majesty's Government:What percentage of United Kingdom bilateral aid has been allocated to good governance projects in (a) 1996–97; and (b) 1997–98; and what will be allocated in 1998–99. [HL1125]

Information on policy targeting is available from the Department for International Development's Policy Information Marker System (PIMS) for bilateral projects with a commitment value of £100,000 or more. PIMS covers around 70 per cent. of bilateral expenditure. The table below shows the percentage of such commitments where good government was a principal policy objective in the years specified. Note that on 1 April 1998, the definition of good government changed to exclude human rights, which are now covered separately in an extended definition which includes economic and social rights as well as civil and political rights. For comparability with the figures for the earlier years, the data for 1998–99 include all projects which targeted either good governance or human rights as a principal policy objective.

YearPolicy Objective (principal only)Percentage of PIMS commitments
1996–97Good government16
1997–98Good government9
1998–99*Good governance/human rights26
* Year to date.

Joint Force 2000

asked Her Majesty's Government:What further progress they have made on the development of the Joint Force 2000 initiative. [HL1225]

In October we announced that we would he forming the joint Royal Navy/Royal Air Force Harrier force to be known as Joint Force 2000. Since last October, work has continued on the organisational changes necessary to take forward the Joint Force 2000 initiative. We can confirm that the new Headquarters will form in RAF Strike Command on I April next year under the command of a Rear Admiral. This Headquarters will be located at RAF High Wycombe. He will have two subordinate force commanders, both of whom will be RAF Air Commodores, one of whom will command the combined Harrier force, Joint Force 2000, and the other the RAF's existing forces of Nimrod Maritime Patrol aircraft and Search and Rescue helicopters. As importantly, we have also decided, subject to a period of consultation with Trades Unions and other interested parties which begins today, that the RN's Sea Harrier force, currently based at RNAS Yeovilton, will join the RAF's Harrier force at RAF Cottesmore and RAF Wittering in 2003. We see the collocation of the existing Harrier fleets as realising significant operational benefits and as a practical and symbolic step toward the creation of a truly joint force. For the longer term, and when the Joint Force is re-equipped with the Future Carrier Borne Aircraft, we have identified RAF Cottesmore as its most suitable home. We are making real progress on the development and creation of Joint Force 2000 and we are doing it significantly earlier than originally anticipated. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the two Services concerned for their far-sighted and constructive attitude, which has made this possible.

Operation Desert Fox

International Herald Tribune on 22 December 1998, the United States and British air strikes demolished Iraq's "two main factories for producing parts for short-range missiles permitted by the United Nations"; if so, whether these demolitions were intended; and, if so, on what grounds they were justified. [HL996]

The objective of Operation Desert Fox was to reduce substantially Saddam's ability to threaten his neighbours, in particular by degrading his weapons of mass destruction capability, including control and delivery systems, and his wider military capability. Coalition aircraft attacked and severely damaged research and production facilities associated with the development of Iraqi ballistic missile systems. In addition, we attacked facilities associated with air defence missile systems to degrade Saddam's ability to threaten Coalition aircraft.


asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether British forces are giving military training to Iraq forces to topple the Iraqi Government, as alleged in the

Sunday Times of 24 January; and, if so, whether this is compatible with the Criminal Justice (Terrorism and Conspiracy) Act 1998. [HL997]

There is no truth to the allegation that British forces are engaged in training Iraqi opposition forces to topple the current Iraqi Government.

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether current United States and British military activity in and over Iraq remains "humanitarian" as recently stated by the Secretary of State for Defence, or is in aid of the policies as stated by the United States administration. [HL1000]

Our patrols of the Northern and Southern No-Fly-Zones in Iraq are an essential humanitarian task in support of UNSCR 688. They prevent Saddam from using his air force against Iraqi citizens in the north and south and monitoring the actions of his forces on the ground. The patrols also provide reassurance to Saddam's neighbours. This is consistent with US policy.