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Avebury and Stonehenge World Heritage Site

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Donoughue: When Environmentally Sensitive Areas were designated, other areas were given higher priority for the available funds. The Government have no plans at present to create new Environmentally Sensitive Areas.

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Donoughue: The Avebury and Stonehenge World Heritage Site became a priority area under the Countryside Stewardship Scheme for the 1998 application round.

House of Lords: Parked Cars

Lord Berkeley asked the Chairman of Committees:

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Boston of Faversham): Yes.

Cancer Charities

Lord Mason of Barnsley asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Baroness Jay of Paddington): The Government consider it vitally important to collaborate with cancer charities which play a key role in the overall organisation of research into the prevention, treatment and cure of cancer.

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A list of medical research cancer charities involved in raising monies and which are financially assisted by government departments is at Annex A.

The Department of Health also has a grant-aid scheme which contributes to the running costs of a large number of voluntary organisations under Section 64 of the Health Services and Public Health Act 1968. This scheme provides help for projects of potential national significance which take forward the department's policy objectives and priorities. Similar schemes are also run by the other United Kingdom health departments where, in addition to the above mentioned Act, grants to strengthen health promotion and disease prevention in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are available under Section 97 of the National Health Service Act 1977, Section 16B of the National Health Service (Scotland) Act 1978 and Article 71 of the Health and Personal Social Services NI Order 1972 respectively. A list of cancer charities is at Annex B. This list is not inclusive, as all Welsh health authorities contract with non-statutory organisations to provide cancer services. ANNEX A RESEARCH CHARITIES Imperial Cancer Research Fund Cancer Research Campaign Leukaemia Research Fund Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research Yorkshire Cancer Research Campaign Association For International Cancer Research North of England Cancer Research Campaign Marie Curie Research Institute Tenovus War On Cancer Breakthrough Breast Cancer Breast Cancer Campaign ANNEX B CANCER CHARITIES Macmillan Cancer Relief Marie Curie Cancer Care CancerLink National Cancer Alliance Women's Nationwide Cancer Control Campaign CancerBacup Breast Cancer Care Colon Cancer Concern Genesis (breast cancer with genetic cause) Hodgkins Disease and Lymphoma Association Cancer Support Centre (Wandsworth) CHAS (Children's Hospice) Scottish Partnership Agency Tenovus Children's Cancer Care

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Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they consider the word "customer" is appropriate when referring to patients in the NHS and passengers on public and private transport; and, if not, whether they will instruct government departments and agencies to cease the use of the word in such contexts.[HL2193]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Various terms are used to describe the users of public services, depending on the nature of the service in question. We do not intend to issue central guidance on this point as it is a matter for departments and agencies to consider in the light of their particular circumstances. What is important is that services are designed to meet the user's needs, that they are of a high quality, and that users are consulted on how services might be improved.

In the case of the NHS, the Department of Health promotes the term "users", as this encompasses both the patients and patients' carers whom they serve.

The Department of Transport, Environment and the Regions and the Office of Passenger Rail Franchising (OPRAF) both favour the term "passengers". But it is left to privatised transport providers to decide which term is most suitable for them.

Interest Rate Rise

Baroness Miller of Hendon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they approve of the increase in interest rates imposed by the Bank of England on 4 June.[HL2163]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Bank of England raised interest rates by a ¼ percentage point on 4 June. The Chancellor said in his Mansion House speech on 11 June that he does not comment on the month-to-month decisions of the Monetary Policy Committee. The Government are satisfied that the new arrangements for monetary policy will deliver long-term price stability, and prevent a return to the cycle of boom and bust.

Pay-TV: ITC Proposals

Viscount Astor asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What representations have Ministers at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport received from channel providers on the Independent Television Commission's (ITC's) proposals to abolish minimum carriage requirements and tiering obligations in the pay television retail market; how many responses altogether there have been to the ITC's consultation on unbundling in the pay television retail market; and whether they will place copies of these responses in the Library of the House.[HL2170]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Three channel providers have, by various representations, made known to Ministers their concerns about the implications of the Independent Television Commission's (ITC's) proposals on the pay-TV market. The commission has

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held three consultations during its investigation into channel bundling and I understand that there were 23 respondents to the first; 40 to the second and 33 to the third. In addition, commission officials have held meetings with a substantial number of interested parties. I understand that, as much of the information has been provided to the ITC in strict confidence, the commission has no plans to place the copies of the responses either in its own library or in the Library of the House.

Strategic Communications Unit

Baroness Miller of Hendon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord McIntosh of Haringey on 2 March (WA 129), how much has the Strategic Communications Unit expended from its inception to date; and[HL1661]

    What will be the estimated itemised cost in a full year of the Strategic Communication Unit.[HL1662]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Expenditure for the Strategic Communications Unit was £73,519 for the year 1997-98. It was set up in January 1998. Estimated expenditure for the unit in 1998-99 is expected to be in the region of £500,000. All costs are being met across Whitehall from within existing budgets.

Water Abstraction Licensing

Lord Cledwyn of Penrhos asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What changes they propose to make to the water abstraction licensing system in England and Wales.[HL2361]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Baroness Hayman): Together with the Welsh Office, the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions has prepared a consultation paper, setting out a wide range of proposals which will ensure that abstraction licensing and related arrangements in England and Wales provide full protection to the water environment while enabling fair and flexible measures for meeting properly managed demand for water resources. We shall place copies in the Library of the House tomorrow morning, coincident with the paper's publication.

Coalfields Task Force: Report

Lord Islwyn asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they intend to publish the Coalfields Task Force's report.[HL2362]

Baroness Hayman: We warmly welcome the publication today of the Coalfields Task Force's excellent report, Making the Difference: A New Start for England's Coalfield Communities. Copies of the report will be placed in the House Libraries.

Last year, we gave a commitment to help regenerate communities devastated by pit closures. We wanted to

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ensure that every option open to us was explored so that those communities could get the help and support that they need and deserve. That is why we set up the Coalfields Task Force last October, under the chairmanship of Paula Hay-Plumb. We want to thank Paula and her team for their hard work and dedication in producing their excellent report.

The task force's report is comprehensive in its approach. It includes many promising practical proposals. We want to ensure that our response is equally comprehensive, and that careful consideration is given to the detail of all the recommendations. We will give our initial response at the conference to be held at Ollerton Miners Welfare, North Nottinghamshire, on Monday 13 July. We will announce a detailed programme of action for the former coalfield communities in the autumn.

We all agree that we must redress the decline of our former coalfields communities. Government cannot do this alone. All partners--central and local government, the voluntary and private sectors, and the communities themselves--must make a firm long-term commitment if we are to make the difference.

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