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Written Answers

Volume 622: debated on Wednesday 28 February 2001

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

Written Answers

Wednesday, 28th February 2001.

Committee On Standards In Public Life

asked Her Majesty's Government:When they expect to announce new appointments to the Committee on Standards in Public Life. [HL994]

I am pleased to announce that the Prime Minister has appointed Sir Nigel Wicks GCB CVO CBE as the new chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life in succession to Lord Neill of Bladen QC, with effect from 1 March 2001.In addition, the Prime Minister has appointed two new members to the Committee: Rabbi Julia Neuberger and Rita Donaghy OBE. They are appointed in succession to Sir William Utting and Sir Clifford Boulton. All three appointments are for three years in the first instance, with the possibility of renewal. All three appointments were made fully in line with the Guidance of the Commissioner on Public Appointments.The Government are very grateful to Lord Neill, Sir William and Sir Clifford for their work on the Committee and for the significant contribution they have made to standards in public life.

Hinduja Foundation And The Millennium Dome

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether any Minister at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has discussed with Mr Keith Vaz the financial contribution of the Hinduja brothers to the Millennium Dome; and [HL666]Whether the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has ever received representations on behalf of the Hinduja brothers from the Prime Minister's Special Envoy, Lord Levy; and [HL667]Whether any Minister at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has discussed the financial contribution of the Hinduja brothers to the Millennium Dome with the sole shareholder of the New Millennium Experience Company. [HL671]

Ministers at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport have not received representations from, nor had discussions with, Lord Levy, the sole shareholder or the Minister for Europe, about the Hinduja Foundation and its support for the Faith zone in the Millennium Dome.

Digital Terrestrial Tv: Subtitling

asked Her Majesty's Government:On what basis the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in its January report on the review of the statutory requirements for the provision of subtitling, signing and audio-description stated that "there are doubts about the feasibility of 100 per cent provision" of subtitling on digital terrestrial television channels, given the BBC's commitment to subtitle 100 per cent of its own digital terrestrial television output by the 10th anniversary of the start of the service and the rapid development of voice recognition technology for subtitling. [HL816]

We need to strike the right balance between practicability and benefit. During the consultation exercise that preceded the Government's recent announcement of the review, concerns were expressed, including by the Independent Television Commission (ITC), that 100 per cent subtitling on digital terrestrial television (DTT) was not a feasible target. It would be extremely difficult and expensive to subtitle all live programmes, late-running programmes and late-delivered material, such as promotions between programmes. There is also a danger that the financial costs to the smaller channels might result in them leaving the DTT platform. The 80 per cent target is challenging but achievable and is in line with the analogue target for 2004. We will, however, keep the target under review, and if an increase beyond 80 per cent is deemed achievable in the future, we will consider raising the target.

Overseas Tourism To Uk

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they are concerned at the 6 per cent fall in the number of overseas tourism in Britain between November 1999 and November 2000; how far this reduction is attributable to the strength of the pound sterling; and what they will do to help the British Tourist Authority reverse this deficit. [HL828]

By contrast with the November figures, overseas visits to the UK in December 2000 compared with December 1999 are estimated to have increased by 8 per cent. However, the Government do not accept that such year-on-year comparisons of one month's figures are sufficient to establish trends. Whole-year statistics are more significant, and these indicate that overseas visits to the UK in 2000 are virtually the same as for 1999, while earnings from overseas visitors to the UK over the same period are up by 2 per cent.Ministers would like to congratulate the British Tourist Authority in particular for contributing to an increase of 5 per cent in visits to the UK from North America in 2000 over the previous year, and of 4 per cent from other long-haul destinations.

Church Buildings: Vat On Repairs

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they have yet been granted permission by European Union authorities to reduce VAT on repairs to churches. [HL882]

I refer the noble Lord to the Answer I gave to Lord Geddes on 13 February (Hansard, col. 141).


asked Her Majesty's Government:What they are doing through international channels and direct contacts with neighbouring African states to halt the Zimbabwe Government's la test attack on the judiciary. [HL763]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office
(Baroness Scotland of Asthal)

My honourable friend the Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Brian Wilson, called in the Zimbabwe High Commissioner on 19 February to express serious concern about the Government of Zimbabwe's harassment of, and pressure on, the judiciary and the media, including the recent unacceptable treatment of the BBC correspondent in Harare. In addition, my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary agreed with the Commonwealth Secretary-General on 21 February on the importance of sending a Commonwealth team to Zimbabwe, to report back to the meeting of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group on 19–20 March.

Death Penalty: British Nationals Overseas

asked Her Majesty's Government:At what stage they consider it appropriate to make representations against the use of the death penalty in cases of British nationals being tried overseas. [HL949]

Our overriding objective is to avoid the execution of British nationals. We will now express our opposition to the death penalty and its use on a British national at whatever stage and level is judged appropriate from the moment when the imposition of a death sentence on a British national becomes a possibility. Our previous policy was to make these representations only when the judicial process had been exhausted.We have already taken action under the new policy in the case of Krishna Maharaj. I have written to the Florida State Attorney setting out the UK's opposition to the death penalty and requesting that the death sentence not be pursued in his case.

Iraq: Export Of Controlled Goods

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether any goods subject to strategic export controls have recently been approved for export to Iraq. [HL950]

Following consultation with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Ministry of Defence, the Department of Trade and Industry recently approved a licence to export computer equipment, including 10 Fujitsu Siemens Scenic ED-1170A computers and 2 Fujitsu Siemens Lifebook C-6545 Notebook computers, controlled under the Dual Use Items (Export Control) Regulations 2000, to Iraq for use by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in its humanitarian activities. The export of these goods to Iraq has been approved by the UN Sanctions Committee.

European Union: Forthcoming Council Business

asked Her Majesty's Government:What is the forthcoming business in the Council of the European Union for March; and what are the major European Union events for the period between 31 March and August 2001. [HL952]

Please see the following list.To date we have received the detailed agendas for the following Council meetings in March:

March 8, Brussels, Environment Council

  • 1. Directive on type-approval of 2 and 3-wheeled motor vehicles (common position)
  • 2. 6th Environment Action Programme (policy debate, public)
  • 3. Integration of environmental aspects into other policy areas, strategy for sustainable development (information from Presidency and Commission)
  • 4. World summit on sustainable development, 2002 (presentation by Commission, information by Presidency)
  • 5. White Paper on chemicals strategy (policy debate)
  • 6. Climate change (council conclusions, preparation for COP6)
  • 7. Commission Communication on bathing water policy (exchange of views)
  • 8. Commission Green Paper on integrated product policy (presentation)
  • 9. Presidency reports on state of play on:
    • —Directive on public access to information
    • —Directive on public participation
    • —Directive on waste electrical and electronic equipment, and draft directive on restriction of use of hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment
    • —Decision on the list of priority substances for water policy
    • —Directive on recreational craft
    • —Directive on non-road mobile machinery (auto-oils)
    • —Recommendation on integrated coastal zone management
  • 10. (possibly) Commission proposals on labelling and traceability of GMOs (Commission presentation)
  • 11. AOB, including a request from the Netherlands for information on measures to reduce emissions of VOCs, in line with the Council minutes statements in June 2000.
  • March 12, Brussels, Internal Market/Consumer Affairs/Tourism Council

  • 1. The Cardiff economic reform process—Internal Market aspects
    • Council conclusions
  • 2. The European Council in Stockholm, 23–24 March—Internal Market aspects
    • Policy debate
  • 3. Commission strategy for removing barriers to trade in services
    • Orientation debate
  • 4. Commission strategy for better lawmaking—simplification of legislation
    • Presentation by the Commission
  • 5. Strategy for integration of environmental protection and sustainable development into Internal Market policy
    • Information by the Presidency
  • 6. (poss.) Parallel imports/Exhaustion of trademark rights
    • Orientation debate
  • 7. Community patent
    • Orientation debate/Progress report
  • 8. (poss.) Community design
    • Adoption
  • 9. (poss.) European company statute
    • Adoption
  • 10. (poss.) Strategy for customs union
    • Resolution
  • 11. Public procurement
    • Orientation debate
  • 12. eEurope action plan
    • Progress report
    • Exchange of views
  • 13. (poss.) White Paper on chemicals strategy—internal market and consumer aspects
    • Presentation by the Commission
  • 14. Food law and establishing the European food authority
    • Orientation debate
  • 15. Proposal on food supplements
    • Political agreement/Common position
  • 16. Distance marketing of consumer financial services
    • Political agreement

    Other business

    March 1–3, Uppsala, Informal Research and Education Council

    March 6, Brussels, Employment and Social Affairs Council

    March 12, Brussels, ECOFIN Council

    March 15–16, Brussels, Justice and Home Affairs Council

    March 19, Brussels, Agriculture Council

    March 19–20, Brussels, General Affairs Council

    March 21, Brussels—Fisheries Council

    March 23–24, Stockholm, European council

    March 31-April 1, Brussels, Informal Meeting of Ministers of the Environment

    No agendas for the above are available at present.

    The following are the principal events in the EU between 1 April and August 2001 (certain relevant events are also included: the list is based on the information available at the date of issue.)





    5–6BrusselsTransport/Telecommunications Council
    8–10BrusselsGeneral Affairs Council
    8–10BrusselsAgriculture Council (Informal)
    24–25BrusselsAgriculture Council


    7BrusselsECOFIN Council
    7BrusselsEmployment and Social Council (possible)
    14–15BrusselsGeneral Affairs Council
    14–15BrusselsIndustry and Energy Council
    22–23BrusselsAgriculture Council
    28–29BrusselsJustice and Home Affairs Council
    28BrusselsEducation and Youth Council
    31BrusselsDevelopment Council
    31BrusselsHealth Council


    5BrusselsECOFIN Council
    5BrusselsInternal market/Consumer Council
    7–8BrusselsEnvironment Council
    11–12BrusselsGeneral Affairs Council
    11–12BrusselsAccession Ministerial Conference
    11BrusselsEmployment/Social Affairs Council
    15–16GothenburgEuropean Council
    18BrusselsFisheries Council (possible)
    19–20BrusselsAgriculture Council
    19BrusselsECOFIN Council (possible)
    21BrusselsCulture Council
    25–26BrusselsGeneral Affairs Council
    26BrusselsResearch Council




    27–28BrusselsTransport/Telecommunications Council


    6–7BrusselsInformal Employment and Social Affairs Council
    10BrusselsECOF1N Council
    13–14BrusselsRegional Territories Council (Informal)'?
    16–17BrusselsGeneral Affairs Council
    20BrusselsBudget Council
    23–24BrusselsAgriculture Council


    There are no European Councils scheduled for August

    Hong Kong And The Sino-British Joint Declaration

    asked Her Majesty's Government:When they will publish the next report to Parliament on Hong Kong and the Sino-British Joint Declaration. [HL953]

    The eighth report in this series, covering the period July-December 2000, was published today and copies have been placed in the Libraries of the House. A copy of the report is also available on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website ( The report includes a foreword by my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary. I commend the report to the House.

    Eu And Ec Treaties: Articles Subject To Unanimity

    asked Her Majesty's Government:If the proposed Treaty of Nice is ratified, which articles in the Consolidated Treaty on European Union and the Consolidated Treaty establishing the European Community will still be subject to the national veto. [HL806]

    The following table sets out this information.Unless otherwise stated, all articles are from the Treaty establishing the European Community:

    Treaty articles which will remain subject to unanimity in the EU and EC treaties following ratification of the Treaty of Nice
    Article 7.1 (TEU)Sanctions clause
    Article 17.1 (TEU)European Council decisions on "common defence" and EU/WEU integration
    Article 23.1 (TEU)Foreign policy and defence decisions (Title V TEU)
    Article 28.3 (TEU)Operational expenditure under CFSP
    Article 24 (TEU)Conclusion of international agreements
    Article 38 (TEU)covering issues for which unanimity is required for the adoption of internal decisions (except implementation of joint actions or common positions)

    Treaty articles which will remain subject to unanimity in the EU and EC treaties following ratification of the Treaty of Nice


    Article 34.2 (TEU)Provisions on police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters (Title VI TEU)
    Article 41.3 (TEU)Operational expenditure for Title VI TEU
    Article 42 (TEU)Decision to move police and judicial co-operation in criminal matters to Title IV TEC
    Article 44.2 (TEU)Enhanced Co-operation under CFSP. QMV with an emergency brake (unanimity)
    Article 48 (TEU)Treaty Change
    Article 49 (TEU)Accession of new member states
    Article 13Action against discrimination (except incentive measures)
    Article 18.3Provisions on passports, identity cards, residence permits; provisions on social security or social protection
    Article 19Arrangements for non-nationals to vote in EP and municipal elections
    Article 22Additional rights of EU citizenship
    Article 42Social security for migrant workers
    Article 47.2Particular principles on the free movement of professionals
    Article 57.2Derogation from liberalisation of capital movements
    Article 67.1 and 2Action under Title IV (visas, asylum, immigration and other policies related to the free movement of persons). 67.2 provides for a move to QMV after five years (if the Council so decides by unanimity). Article 67.5 and the Protocol and Declaration on Article 67 mean some moves to QMV will happen sooner: on entry into force of the Treaty of Nice (Article 65 with the exception of aspects relating to family law); from May 2004 automatically (Article 66); after framework legislation, defining common rules and basic principles, has been agreed by unanimity (Articles 63(1)(a), (b). (c), (d) and 63(2)(a)); and following a Council decision after May 2004 (Articles 62(2)(a), 62(3) and 63(3)(b)).
    Article 71.2Transport policy
    Article 72Approval for derogations from transport rules in favour of a member state's own carriers
    Article 88.2Derogation for state aid rules in "exceptional circumstances"
    Article 93Indirect taxation
    Article 94Approximation of laws affecting internal market
    Article 104.14Replacement of excessive deficits protocol
    Article 105.6Tasks of the European Central Bank
    Article 107.5Amendments (on a proposal from the Commission) to the statute of the ECB
    Article 111.1Decisions concerning the ERM
    Article 112.2(b)Appointment of the ECB's Executive Board
    Article 117.1 and 7Transitional Provisions on the European Monetary Institute (EMI)
    Article 123.5Institutional provisions relating to EMU
    Article 133.5 and 6Specified exceptions to QMV for negotiation and conclusion of international agreements on trade in some services and commercial aspects of intellectual property
    Article 133.7Extension of Common Commercial Policy to other aspects of international negotiations and agreements on intellectual property
    Article 137.2Particular social provisions governed by
    Article 139.2unanimity
    Article 151.5Culture
    Article 161Rules governing structural and cohesion fund tasks, objectives and organisation (until 2007, or until agreement on the next financial perspective, whichever is the later)
    Article 175.2Exceptions to QMV for environmental provisions

    Treaty articles which will remain subject to unanimity in the EU and EC treaties following ratification of the Treaty of Nice


    Article 181aEconomic, financial and technical cooperation with third countries for association agreements (see Article 310) and agreements with accession candidates
    Article 186Rules and procedures for association of the
    Article 187overseas countries and territories with the Community
    Article 190.4Uniform electoral procedure for European Parliament
    Article 190.5Taxation provisions of the statute for Members of the European Parliament
    Article 202Comitology rules
    Article 203Order of Presidency
    Article 213.1Altering number of Commissioners
    Article 215Council Decision not to fill a vacancy in the Commission College
    Article 222Increasing number of ECJ Advocates General
    Article 223Appointment of ECJ judges and Advocates
    Article 224General, and CFI judges
    Article 225aCreation of judicial panels and appointment of members of the panels
    Article 229aConferring jurisdiction on the ECJ for disputes concerning Community industrial property rights
    Article 245Amendment to ECJ statute
    Article 250.1Amendment of a Commission proposal
    Article 251.3Accepting EP amendments rejected by the Commission in the co-decision procedure
    Article 252 (c, d and e)Second reading of co-operation procedure
    Article 269Community finances—own resources
    Article 279.1Financial Regulations (until 1 January 2007)
    Article 279.2Community's own resources
    Article 289Seats of institutions
    Article 290Community language regime
    Article 296.2Derogation for trade in arms
    Article 300.2/5/6Conclusion of international agreements covering areas where unanimity applies internally/association agreements (see Article 310)
    Article 304Co-operation with OECD
    Article 308Old Article 235 (residual legal base)
    Article 309Sanctions clause

    London Underground: Grant

    asked Her Majesty's Government:How much provision they have made for grants to London Transport to support investment in the Underground from April 2001, pending completion of public private partnership contracts. [HL908]

    The Minister of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions
    (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston)

    Last summer's spending review provided grant of £104 million for London Transport for the financial year from April 2001. The review recognised that additional grant might be necessary, but, given the need to maintain commercial confidentiality during PPP negotiations, agreed that this could be the subject of a later claim on the central Reserve. The Government are currently considering what additional resources to make available in respect of London Underground.

    London Rail Schemes: Co-Ordination

    asked Her Majesty's Government:What arrangements are being made to set up a high level body comprising the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, the Strategic Rail Authority and Transport for London to co-ordinate future development of the rail system serving London. [HL909]

    Last November, I agreed some high-level arrangements with the Mayor and Sir Alastair Morton to ensure a co-ordinated approach to the development and taking forward of rail schemes in London. Meetings at official level between my department, the Government Office for London, the Strategic Rail Authority, and Transport for London are currently taking place. On the basis of their work, I expect to meet with the mayor, Bob Kiley and Sir Alastair Morton in early March.

    Variant Cjd

    asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they will update the table showing deaths from new vCJD, published in the

    Official Report—of 27 March 2000 ( W A55 and 56). [HL572]

    The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health
    (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath)

    An updated table is provided as follows. It includes information relating to known deaths from variant Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease (vCJD) up to 2 February 2001. It supersedes the data provided on 27 March 2000, and contains some corrections.

    Tabel 1: Variant CJD cases in the United Kingdom, by month and year of death, dale of onset of symptoms and date \CJD was confirmed
    Date of deathDate of onset of symptomsDate vCJD confirmed
    May 1995Jun 1994Sep 1995
    Nov 1995Jan 1995Jan 1996
    Nov 1995Dec 1994Jan 1996
    Jan 1996Feb 1994Jan 1996
    Jan 1996Jul 1994Jan 1996
    Feb 1996Mar 1995Mar 1996
    Feb 1996Jan 1995Mar 1996
    Feb 1996Aug 1994Feb 1996
    May 1996Aug 1995Mar 1996
    Jun 1996Jan 1995Apr 1996
    Jun 1996Jan 1994July 1996
    Sep 1996July 1995Sep 1996
    Nov 1996Dec 1995*
    Feb 1997Dec 1995June 1997
    Feb 1997Dec 1994July 1997
    Mar 1997Oct 1995May 1997
    Mar 1997Mar 1996Feb 1997
    May 1997Mar 1996June 1997
    May 1997Mar 1994Sep 1995
    Jun 1997Jan 1996Jun 1997
    July 1997Nov 1996Oct 1997
    Oct 1997Oct 1996Nov 1997

    Tabel 1: Variant CJD cases in the United Kingdom, by month and year of death, dale of onset of symptoms and date vCJD was confirmed

    Date of death

    Dale of onset of symptoms

    Date vCJD confirmed

    Dec 1997Jan 1996Sep 1996
    Jan 1998Feb 1997Mar 1998
    Mar 1998Sep 1995May 1998
    Apr 1998Mar 1996Jun 1998
    May 1998May 1996May 1998
    Aug 1998Jul 1997Oct 1998
    Aug 1998Jul 1997Oct 1998
    Oct 1998Nov 1997Oct 1998
    Oct 1998May 1996Nov 1998
    Oct 1998Nov 1997Nov 1998
    Oct 1998Jul 1997Nov 1998
    Oct 1998Oct 1997Dec 1998
    Nov 1998Nov 1997Feb 1999
    Nov 1998Apr 1998Feb 1999
    Nov 1998Mar 1998


    Dec 1998Dec 1996


    Dec 1998Aug 1997Oct 1999
    Dec 1998May 1998Feb 1999
    Dec 1998Dec 1997Mar 1999
    Jan 1999Feb 1998Feb 1999
    Feb 1999Dec 1997Sep 1999
    Feb 1999Oct 1997Jun 1999
    Feb 1999Dec 1997May 1999
    May 1999Jan 1998Mar 2000
    Jul 1999May 1998Jul 1999
    Aug 1999Jan 1999Aug 1999
    Aug 1999Jun 1998Nov 1999
    Sep 1999Dec 1998Sep 1999
    Oct 1999July 1998Dec 1999
    Oct 1999Mar 1999Sep 2000
    Oct 1999Jul 1998Jan 2000
    Nov 1999May 1998Dec 1999
    Nov 1999Feb 1999Aug 2000
    Dec 1999Jun 1999May 2000
    Jan 2000Apr 1999Jan 2000
    Feb 2000Apr 1999Apr 2000
    Feb 2000Jun 1998Jun 2000
    Mar 2000Sep 1998May 2000
    Mar 2000Sep 1998Apr 2000
    Mar 2000May 1999Jun 2000
    Apr 2000Feb 1998


    Apr 2000May 1999Aug 2000
    Apr 2000Apr 1999Aug 2000
    May 2000May 1999


    May 2000Apr 1999Jun 2000
    May 2000Jul 1998Aug 2000
    Jun 2000Jul 1999+
    June 2000Mar 1997Jun 2000
    Jul 2000Mar 1999Aug 2000
    Jul 2000Aug 1999Sep 2000
    Jul 2000Oct 1998Sep 2000
    Aug 2000Jan 2000Oct 2000
    Aug 2000Jun 1999Aug 2000
    Aug 2000Jul 1999Nov 2000
    Aug 2000Oct 1999Oct 2000
    Sep 2000Dec 1999+
    Sep 2000Oct 1999Oct 2000
    Sep 2000Nov 1999


    Oct 2000Dec 1999Oct 2000
    Oct 2000Jul 1998Dec 2000
    Nov 2000Dec 1999+
    Nov 2000Mar 2000Jan 2001
    Jan 2001Nov 1998


    Jan 2001Aug 2000+

    * Cases not confirmed neucopathologically and therefore classed as "probable vCJD'

    + Cases who have died with post mortem result awaited

    Table 2: vCJD cases in the UK by age at death

    Age at death

    Number of Cases


    asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether the detailed research that is undertaken on the life and habits of victims of new variant CJD has included, or will from now include, a record of whether or not they have been blood donors. [HL594]

    The standard questionnaire used by National Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Surveillance Unit staff, when obtaining information about patients, includes a question on whether the patient has ever been a blood donor, and also asks for the dates) and place(s) of any donation(s).

    Contraception And Advice Services For Young People

    asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they will revise the Department of Health

    Best Practice Guidance on Effective Contraception and Advice Services for Young People, dated November 2000, making clear what they mean by "informed choices", and whether such choices include abstaining from sexual intercourse. [HL866]

    The Government neither condone nor encourage under-age sex. The national media campaign we have initiated as part of our broader strategy to tackle teenage pregnancy encourages young people to take control of their lives and not to be pressurised into having sex.The new guidance on sex and relationship education issued by the Department for Education and Employment in July 2000 emphasises the importance of learning the reasons for delaying sexual activity, and the benefits to be gained from such delay.However much we may disapprove, we must recognise that a minority of young people do become sexually active before they are 16. Research suggests that only half of these young people use contraception the first time they have sex. That is why improving access to contraception and advice services is central to our strategy to tackle teenage pregnancy.Research with young people has identified nonjudgmental staff as a key feature of a service they would trust and access. The best practice guidance on the provision of effective contraception and advice services for young people, taken together

    with Health Circular (86)1/HC(FP)(86)1/LAC(86)3

    Family Planning Services for Young People (copies of which are available in the Library), provides a responsible framework to ensure that young people are protected from unnecessary harm, consistent with the House of Lords judgment in the case of Gillick v West Norfolk and Wisbech Area Health Authority in 1985. This judgment made clear that health professionals are justified in giving advice and treatment provided they are satisfied after discussion with a young person under 16 that, amongst other things, the young person would be very likely to begin, or to continue having, sexual intercourse with or without contraceptive treatment.

    Organic Produce

    asked Her Majesty's Government:Further to the Written Answer by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 12 February (

    WA 11), if there is no universally applicable method of distinguishing organic food from that conventionally produced, (a) whether there is any difference in nutrition or benefit to health between organic and conventional produce; and (b) how the Food Standards Agency authenticates organic produce. [HL871]

    The Food Standards Agency considers that there is not enough information available at present to be able to say that organic foods are significantly different in terms of their safety or nutritional content from those produced conventionally. What matters is the nutrient content and overall balance of the diet as a whole, rather than the composition of individual foods.Administration of the certification scheme for organic food lies with the United Kingdom Register of Organic Food Standards. Enforcement of the regulations dealing with organic products lies with local authorities. The agency's role is to set standards of enforcement and to assist enforcement authorities in their task. The agency has commissioned research to find a method which would indicate whether vegetables meet some of the standards required in organic production.

    Ex-Miners' Assessment For Compensation

    asked Her Majesty's Government:Further to the oral Answer on 13 February, how many of the 134,000 ex-miners suffering from dust related diseases are still awaiting assessment. [HL744]

    The Minister for Science, Department of Trade and Industry
    (Lord Sainsbury of Turville)

    To date, IRISC, the department's claims handlers, have registered over 135,500 claims and more are coming in each week. Of these, 66,000 claimants have undergone lung function tests, the first stage of the Medical Assessment Process, MAP, and a further 14,000 have been invited to make appointments. To date, around 11,500 claimants have undergone the full MAP assessment, with a further 4,300 appointments made. Currently, 31,500 individual payments have been made, amounting to £117.7 million.

    Sub-Post Office Closures

    asked Her Majesty's Government:How many sub-post offices have closed in the past three years, 1998, 1999 and 2000; and, of those closures in the year 2000, how many have closed in the second half of that year. [HL756]

    I understand from the Post Office that the numbers of sub-post office closures, were as follows:

    • Year ending March 1998: 238
    • Year ending March 1999: 232
    • Year ending March 2000: 382
    In the year to March 2001, closures of sub-post offices in the nine months to December 2000 were 434, of which 135 were in the October-December quarter.

    Adsl Roll-Out

    asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether the roll-out so far of Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) installations by British Telecom has provided adequate opportunity for all Internet Service Providers to compete fairly in the market. [HL803]

    BT was required by OFTEL to make available its wholesale ADSL products to all service providers, including its own service provider business, on the same terms and conditions. OFTEL monitors BT's ADSL roll-out closely to ensure that BT does not engage in anticompetitive behaviour in breach of its licence or the Competition Act. OFTEL investigates carefully any allegations of anti-competitive behaviour and will take enforcement action where appropriate. Already over 40 service providers are marketing ADSL products in competition with BT.

    Copyright: Draft Directive

    asked Her Majesty's Government:In relation to Article 6.4.4 of the 16 September Common Position Statement on the proposed Copyright and Information Society Directive, whether member states can intervene to prevent technical blocks being used (a) to deprive disabled people of the right to copy on-line material to put it into accessible format; and (b) to prevent the public from exercising lawful exceptions in the on-line environment; and, if so, why. [HL833]

    Article 6.4.4 of the Common Position on the draft copyright directive applies only in the case of material made available to the public on agreed contractual terms by means of interactive "on-demand" services. A new recital (52a) recently approved by the European Parliament at its second reading of the directive is intended to clarify the limited scope of this provision. The Government have indicated their readiness to accept this amendment to the Common Position, which also makes clear that other forms of online use of material remain subject to the safeguards in the first and second subparagraphs of Article 6.4 for member states to be able to act to ensure that users can benefit from the exceptions in question. The European Parliament's amendments to the draft directive will now be considered by the EU Council of Ministers.

    Postage Costs

    asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether, in the interests of small businesses and communication within the European Union, they have any intention to seek to reverse the differential pricing introduced by the Post Office between the first class inland rate (27 pence) and the cost of 36 pence to send a letter or postcard of up to 20 grams to the rest of Europe (including the Republic of Ireland [HL926]

    The Government have no plans to request changes in the price of mail services. This is a matter for the Post Office and, from 26 March, the regulator, the Postal Services Commission, to decide.

    Council For The Central Laboratory Of The Research Councils

    asked Her Majesty's Government:When the outcome of the First Stage of the Quinquennial Review of the Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils will be announced; and what are the principal recommendations for the future governance and organisation of CCLRC. [HL983]

    I am today able to announce the outcome of the First Stage of the Quinquennial Review of the Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils.Reviews of Non-Departmental Public Bodies (NDPBs) are a key part of our programme to modernise government. The Government are committed to achieving better public services that are of higher quality and are more responsive to the needs of the people who use them. Regular NDPB reviews are an important element in ensuring that we have in place the right structures to deliver the Government's agenda effectively and to provide a strong focus on improving future performance.

    The terms of reference of the review required the First Stage to examine the role, composition and funding mechanisms for CCLRC, by reference to its Charter and mission, its past performance, recent CCLRC-instigated studies on future vision and funding, current best practice for NDPBs and its contribution to the work of other research councils. The review was further required to consider all relevant options for the future of the council, including abolition, continued N DPB status, rationalisation, privatisation or strategic contracting out.

    The review has been conducted in accordance with the latest Cabinet Office guidance (published on 31 January 2000) and has included consultation with members of council, the executive and CCLRC's customers and key stakeholders. The review board, chaired by Sir Peter Williams, met on six occasions, including visits to the Rutherford Appleton and Daresbury laboratories.

    The principal recommendation is that the relationship of the Research Councils and CCLRC as customer and supplier has proved to be sub-optimal and should be changed to a strategic ownership model, in which CCLRC is brought under the joint ownership of the grant awarding research councils. To facilitate this change, CCLRC should be reconstituted, as soon as practicable, as a limited company, to provide a similar governance structure to existing research council institutes.

    This model ensures a clear commitment by the research councils to meet the planned funding needs of CCLRC based on scrutiny of strategic and operating plans, and should provide efficiency savings. Within this framework, CCLRC should seek to fulfil a more strategic role in the provision of access to leading edge, large-scale facilities for UK researchers. investment in new facilities should be based on long term requirements agreed by all the different research communities.

    Stage two of the review will now examine the issues associated with the implementation of the strategic ownership model, addressing in particular the implications for the status of CCLRC and its accountability to Ministers and Parliament. Stage two will also examine how the strategic role can be implemented, such that it is not compromised by CCLRC's role as a facilities operator.

    I warmly welcome these recommendations and offer my thanks to Sir Peter Williams and the rest of the review board.

    Special Educational Needs And Disability Legislation: Implementation Support

    asked Her Majesty's Government:What estimate has been made of the numbers of extra teachers and extra teacher assistants trained in special educational needs skills who will be needed to implement the provisions of the Special Educational Needs and Disability Bill in each of the years 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004. [HL855]

    The Minister of State, Department for Education and Employment
    (Baroness Blackstone)

    The Explanatory Notes that were published when the Special Educational Needs and Disability Bill received its First Reading in the House of Lords on 6 December gave an estimate of the effect of the Bill on public sector finances, including the effect on public service manpower (paragraph 141). The Government also published, last year, a Regulatory Impact Assessment of the effect of the Bill on the private and voluntary sectors.We are making significant resources available to support implementation of the Bill. In support of the planning duty, we are making available £220 million between 2001 and 2004 to help schools widen access to premises and the curriculum for pupils with SEN and disabilities.We are also supporting implementation by providing significant—record—levels of financial support for the training and professional development of teachers and other staff working with pupils with special educational needs. Under the Standards Fund 2000–01, we are supporting expenditure of £26 million on SEN training and development—an increase from £21 million in 1999–2000. In 2001–02 we envisage that £30 million of the overall SEN Standards Fund allocation (£82 million) will be spent on SEN training. LEAs will be free to spend more.In the Green Paper

    Teachers: meeting the challenge of change we set ourselves an ambitious target of recruiting the equivalent of an additional 20,000 teaching assistants between April 1999 and March 2002. Over that period, around £350 million is being made available for recruitment and training of the newly recruited teaching assistants working in schools in England, and also to support further training opportunities for more experienced assistants. This of course includes teaching assistants who, under various titles, specialise in working with children with SEN.


    asked Her Majesty's Government:What future levels of development assistance they intend to provide to Montserrat. [HL984]

    We have informed the Government of Montserrat (GoM) that approximate future levels of assistance will be as follows:

    These amounts include both budgetary aid and development assistance. The 2001–02 figure is firm, subject to parliamentary approval. Figures for subsequent years are for planning purposes and are subject to the normal processes of resource allocation and review in the light of changing circumstances.By the end of March 2001, DFID will have provided over £135 million to Montserrat since the onset of volcanic activity in 1995. A substantial amount of work has been completed during this period, with much of the essential economic and social infrastructure now in place in the previously underdeveloped north of the island.DFID's assistance to Montserrat in the next five years will focus on building the capacity of GoM to deliver effective and efficient public services, with a reduced requirement for significant external budgetary assistance.

    Regulatory Toxicology And Safety Evaluation Studies: Guidance

    asked Her Majesty's Government:What progress they have made in the preparation of guidance on the conduct of regulatory toxicology and safety evaluation studies. [HL995]

    We have today published guidance on the conduct of regulatory toxicology and safety evaluation studies and a copy has been placed in the Library.The guidance has been prepared by the Home Office working with the British Toxicology Society, the British Society of Toxicological Pathologists and the Department of Health and takes account of consultation with the scientific community and animal welfare and animal protection groups.Copies of the guidance will be issued shortly to all establishments licensed under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, and it will also be available on the Home Office website.The guidance will not impact significantly on the numbers of animals used, but will ensure that all possible refinement strategies are considered in the design of these studies.

    Immigration Detainees: Random Mandatory Drug Testing

    asked Her Majesty's Government:What changes they intend to make to the random mandatory drug testing programme for immigration detainees. [HL996]

    Immigration detainees rarely test positive for drugs. As a result, from 1 April 2001 detainees held at Her Majesty's Prison Haslar and within discrete units at Her Majesty's Prisons Lindholme and Rochester will no longer be subject to the random mandatory drug testing programme.

    Other security measures to prevent the smuggling and misuse of drugs will remain unchanged. These new arrangements will not apply to detainees dispersed more widely across the prison estate and who therefore have regular contact with prisoners. The policy will be reviewed at three and six-months intervals to ensure that the low level of drug abuse in these establishments continues.

    Terrorism Act 2000: Proscribed Organisations

    asked Her Majesty's Government:What additional terrorist organisations they intend to proscribe, following the coming into force of the Terrorism Act 2000. [HL997]

    My right honourable friend the Home Secretary has today laid a draft order, under Section 123(4)(a) of the Terrorism Act, recommending to Parliament that the following organisations be added to the list of proscribed organisations in Schedule 2 to the Act:

    • Al-Qa'ida
    • Egyptian Islamic Jihad
    • Al-Gama' at al-Islamiya
    • Armed Islamic Group (Groupe Islamique Armée) (GIA)
    • Salafist Group for Call and Combat (Groupe Salafiste pour la Prediction et le Combat) (GSPC)
    • Babbar Khalsa
    • International Sikh Youth Federation
    • Harakat Mujahideen
    • Jaish e Mohammed
    • Lashkar e Tayyaba
    • Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)
    • Hizballah External Security Organisation
    • Hamas-Izz al-Din al-Qassem Brigades
    • Palestinian Islamic Jihad—Shaqaqi
    • Abu Nidal Organisation
    • Islamic Army of Aden
    • Mujaheddin e Khalq
    • Kurdistan Workers' Party (Partiya Karkeren Kurdistan) (PKK)
    • Revolutionary Peoples' Liberation Party—Front (Devrimci Halk Kurtulus Partisi—Cephesi) (DHKP-C)
    • Basque Homeland and Liberty (Euskadi to Askatasuna) (ETA)
    • 17 November Revolutionary Organisation (N 17)
    Under Section 3(3)(a) of the Act, my right honourable friend the Home Secretary may by order add an organisation to Schedule 2 where he believes that it is concerned in terrorism, as defined in Section 1 of the Act. He is entirely satisfied that the organisations named above are "concerned in terrorism" as set out in Section 3(5) of the Act, and has, after careful consideration, decided to exercise his discretion to proscribe them. The draft order is subject to the affirmative resolution procedure. There will therefore be a debate in both Houses on his recommendations. If approved by Parliament, the proscriptions will take effect on the day after my right honourable friend the Home Secretary signs the order. To assist consideration by both Houses, we have placed in the Libraries, the Vote Office, and the Printed Paper Office, copies of a Note setting out a brief summary in respect of each organisation named in the draft order.The Act provides for an appeal process. After the order comes into force, it will be open for any of the organisations so proscribed, or any person affected by their proscription, to make application to me for deproscription. If that application is refused, the Act provides for an appeal to a new independent tribunal, the Proscribed Organisations Appeal Commission, established by the Terrorism Act.