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9 Mar 1995 : Column WA29

Written Answers

Thursday 9th March 1995

Armenia and Northern Cyprus: NATO Policy

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they, or any other NATO member, have placed the blockade of Armenia and the occupation and settlement of Northern Cyprus by Turkey on the agenda of NATO; and if not, whether they will do so.

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Chalker of Wallasey): It would not be appropriate to do so.

We and other NATO members believe OSCE is the appropriate body to deal with the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, to which the blockade of Armenia is related. We fully support OSCE efforts and expect all blockades to be lifted as part of an overall peace settlement.

The Cyprus dispute is being addressed by the United Nations Secretary General, who is continuing his good offices mission, designed to secure a peaceful, just and lasting settlement. We are giving active support to his efforts.

NHS Doctors: Duty to Patients

Lord Molloy asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they agree with the view expressed by Mr. Roy Lilley, the Chairman of Homewood NHS Trust, in Healthcare Today in November 1994 that the first duty of an NHS doctor is not to his patients but to the organisation in which he works.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Cumberlege): The Government remain fully committed to the National Health Service and that means putting patients first.

Electoral Registers: Incompleteness

Baroness Gould of Potternewton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they accept the finding of the 1994 Report of the Office of Population, Censuses and Surveys that 3 million eligible voters are missing from the electoral register; and what efforts they are making to rectify the situation.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Blatch): No accurate estimate of the number of eligible people not on electoral registers is available, although the number of names recorded on parliamentary electoral registers in Great Britain in 1994 was 42,624,000, compared with an estimated resident population of eligible age of 44,780,000. To

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encourage people to register to vote, the Government runs television advertising campaigns and supports electoral registration officers by giving advice on best practice based on annual research.

Laser Weapons

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they intend to propose the banning of laser weapons, including those which are not intended for anti-personnel use but which might be so used.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Henley): We are considering proposals to add to the UN Weaponry Convention a new protocol covering the employment of lasers.


Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the value of land-mines exported from the United Kingdom in each of the last three years; and what were the profits on such exports.

Lord Henley: No landmines have been exported from the UK in the last three years.

Motorail and Sleeper Service to West Highlands

Lord Rankeillour asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the withdrawal of the sleeper and Motorail service between London and the West Highlands would lead to loss of amenity and to job losses in British Rail and in the West Highlands.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Transport (Viscount Goschen): No final decisions have yet been taken on the future of these services. The Franchising Director will be consulting the Rail Users' Consultative Committee for Scotland and the Scottish regional councils about services to be included in the passenger service requirement for the Scotrail franchise in the early summer. Any representations about loss of amenity or employment which would result from the withdrawal of these services can be made as part of that process.

Science Budget

Baroness Gould of Potternewton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the level of funding allocated from the Science Budget to priority initiatives, and on which programmes it was spent.

The Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Earl Howe): The

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Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster announced on 2 February 1995 the allocation, subject to parliamentary approval, of the Science Budget of £1,281.675 million for 1995–96. Details were set out in the paper Allocation of the Science Budget 1995–96, a copy of which was placed in the Library of the House.

To ensure that momentum is maintained with implementing the science, engineering and technology White Paper Realising Our Potential, the Government decided that some 5 per cent.—or £67 million—of the Science Budget should be targeted to priority initiatives aimed specifically at taking White Paper issues forward. This figure, which includes the funding necessary to continue the priority initiatives started in 1994–95, was allocated as follows:

Improved interaction with industry
Realising Our Potential Awards 21.55
Additional funding for LINK 3.00
Innovative Manufacturing Initiative 2.00
Industrial Quota CASE and collaborative studentships 1.45
Enhancement of underpinning strategic science
Chemistry 7.60
Physics, Mathematics and Medicine 2.40
Genome/immunology 9.55
Bioprocessing Innovation 1.00
Wealth-creating products from plants 1.00
Environmental diagnostics 1.00
Cognitive engineering 0.60
Funding for infrastructure grants 3.00
Increase in the Research Training Support Grant 1.04
Enhancement of people-related programmes
Royal Society programmes (including expansion of University Research Fellowships and launch of the Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship scheme) 1.50
Programmes run by the Royal Academy of Engineering (including industrial secondments, RAEng research chairs and expansion of the visiting professor scheme) 0.80
Additional funding for Public Understanding of Science, Engineering and Technology 0.25
Establishment of an International Subscriptions Reserve 8.00
Contingency for the establishment of the Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils 1.50
Total 67.24

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Baroness Gould of Potternewton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What proportion of the Science Budget is devoted to research into new technology designed to improve the lives of disabled people; and what proportion to the promotion of women in the fields of science, engineering and technology.

Earl Howe: The research councils are currently spending some 0.4 per cent. of the Science Budget—over £4.5 million—on research into new technology intended to improve the lives of disabled people. This is in addition to the money spent by the Department of Health, the European Union, healthcare industries, the UK drugs industry and medical charities.

It is not possible accurately to quantify the extent to which the Science Budget funds are devoted to the promotion of women in science, engineering and technology. However the research councils undertake a significant range of activities which are in part devoted to the promotion of women in these areas.

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