Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page


21 Mar 1997 : Column WA125

Written Answers

Friday, 21st March 1997.

The Crown Agents

Lord Skelmersdale asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the transfer of Crown Agents to the Crown Agents Foundation has not been completed.

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Chalker of Wallasey): Vesting of Crown Agents under the provisions of the Crown Agents Act 1995 into the Crown Agents for Overseas Governments and Administrations Limited and the transfer of ownership of that company to the Crown Agents Foundation took place today.

Global Environment Facility: Annual Report

Lord Ullswater asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have received copies of the Second Annual Report of the Global Environment Facility and, if so, whether they will arrange for a copy to be placed in the Library of the House.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: Copies of the Second Annual Report of the Global Environment Facility have recently been received. A copy has been placed in the Library of the House.

Cyprus: European Court of Human Rights Judgment

Lord Stallard asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, as a guarantor of the Cyprus Treaty of 1960, they have discussed with their co-guarantors, Greece and Turkey, how the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights of 18 December 1996 in the case of Loizidou v Turkey may be expeditiously implemented.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: It is not our practice to comment on judgments of the European Court of Human Rights.

Turkey: Detention of Suspects

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether Turkey has entered a derogation in respect of the 10-day detention period in the provinces where a State of Emergency has been declared; and, if not,

21 Mar 1997 : Column WA126

    whether and how this matter will be brought to the attention of the Government of Turkey.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: Whether or not to enter a derogation under Article 15 of the European Convention on Human Rights is a matter for Turkey. Any such a derogation might itself be subject to challenge for its compatibility in proceedings under the convention with Article 15 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

World Bank and US Extraterritorial Legislation

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the World Bank and associated organisations which the United Kingdom is a member are acting in accordance with the Helms Burton and D'Amato Acts which make claims for extraterritorial jurisdiction for the United States of America.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: No; and if there were any suggestions that these organisations should change their policies as a result of the Helms-Burton or D'Amato Acts, the UK would strongly oppose this.

NATO: UK Policy

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why they have not explained their views on the future of NATO as an expanded alliance to either House except in response to Back-Benchers' initiatives, if, as stated by Lord Chesham, "no issue has a higher priority in Britain's foreign policy than NATO's future" (HL Deb, 14 March, col 638).

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: Our policy on the future of NATO has been clearly set out in the Queen's Speech, in the Statement on the Defence Estimates, which is presented to Parliament annually, and in evidence presented to the Defence and Foreign Affairs Select Committees.

International Agreements

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the difference between international agreements which are legally binding, and those which are politically binding.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The essential difference lies in the intentions of the parties, as evidenced inter alia by the form, wording and context of the agreement.

21 Mar 1997 : Column WA127

EC Human Rights Commission: Greece v. UK

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answers by Baroness Chalker of Wallasey on 16 May 1996 (HL Deb, WA 63), 11 June 1996 (HL Deb, WA 163), 11 November 1996 (HL Deb, WA 79) and 30 January 1997 (HL Deb, WA 106) whether they will give their consent to the publication of the report of the findings of the European Commission of Human Rights of 26 September 1958 in Application No 176/56 Greece v. United Kingdom.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: We shall be giving our consent to publication. But it is for the Council of Europe to decide whether to proceed with publication after consulting the other interested parties.

Meat Hygiene Service: Performance Targets

Lord Dilhorne asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How they plan to take forward the action plan on meat hygiene which was referred to in the statement repeated by Lord Lucas on 12 March (cols. 327-330).

Lord Lucas: The Meat Hygiene Service will be instructed to work to the performance targets which are set out in my reply earlier today to the honourable Member for Worcester (Mr. Luff). In working to these targets the Meat Hygiene Service will be giving effect to the comprehensive programme of action which my right honourable friend the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food announced on 12 March. Once this range of measures has been implemented, we would anticipate repeating, if possible before April 1998, the thorough audit of hygiene standards in each individual plant which was carried out in 1995-96. For this campaign on hygiene standards to succeed, it will be essential for the industry to give full co-operation both collectively, through the Industry Forum of the Meat Hygiene Service and the Government/Industry Group instituted by my honourable friend the Parliamentary Secretary, and in day-to-day operations in individual plants.

English National Board for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting

Lord Bruntisfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they will appoint a chairman and members to the English National Board for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting (ENB).

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Cumberlege): Professor Ron de Witt has been appointed as Chairman and Mrs. Patricia Oakley has been appointed as a non-executive member of the English National Board for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting from

21 Mar 1997 : Column WA128

1 April 1997 for a four-year term. In addition, Miss Pam Charlwood and Professor Jeff Thompson have been re-appointed for a further four-year term.

Asylum Seekers: Social Security Benefits

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have examined the consequences of their refusal of social security to asylum-seekers whose applications have not yet been determined; and in particular;

    (a) what they propose to do about inequalities of treatment by local authorities of essentially similar cases; and

    (b) how they intend to prevent destitution, mental illness and suicide attempts among people whose status is only slowly determined, some of whom may have already suffered torture and abuse.

Baroness Cumberlege: The Government's asylum policy aims to deter those entering this country for economic reasons. Those who come here genuinely to seek asylum and make that known on entry to the country have access to income support, income based jobseeker's allowance, housing benefit and council tax benefit where they have no other means of support while their asylum claim is under consideration. Individuals suffering mental health or other health problems have access to NHS and social care services while their application for asylum is being considered. As with all cases, it is for local decision what kinds of service are provided to meet an assessed need.

Coronation Oath

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they consider that they are bound by the Queen's Coronation Oath.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Earl Howe): The Coronation Oath is personal to Her Majesty. Members of Her Majesty's Government are not required on appointment to swear a ministerial equivalent of the Coronation Oath but they do of course take very seriously the moral duties and responsibilities associated with their position in that Government. Ministers would not advise Her Majesty to take any action which contradicted her Oath.

Theatre Ballistic Missile Defence

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether an operational requirement for a theatre missile defence capability in NATO has been identified; whether NATO's Air Command and Control System intends to develop such a capability; what is the "ACCS level one phase", concerning which NATO is reported to have issued a request for proposals to industry in December 1996; and whether

21 Mar 1997 : Column WA129

    the costs of these developments have been presented to the parliaments of NATO's European members.

Earl Howe: NATO nations are presently considering a need for a theatre ballistic missile defence capability for deployed forces. Work will consider to what extent NATO's Air Command and Control System (ACCS) can contribute to Alliance capability in this area. The first ACCS level of capability includes software acquisition, installation and testing of a range of facilities in a number of operational sites. The costs for any potential NATO theatre missile defence capability are currently being assessed.


Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page