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14 Jul 1998 : Column WA9

Written Answers

Tuesday, 14th July 1998.

Firearms Exports: Control Categories

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will subdivide the ML1 category used in the Export of Goods (Control) Order, so as to distinguish between firearms and other items.[HL2576]

The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Clinton-Davis): The export of firearms is controlled under three entries in the Export of Goods (Control) Order: armament or weapons with a calibre greater than 12.7mm (0.5 inches) are controlled under entry ML2; arms and automatic weapons with a calibre of 12.7mm or less are controlled under entry ML1; and other smooth bore weapons are controlled under PL5018. Entry ML1 is already subdivided into three heads and certain accessories are controlled under the fourth head; specially designed components for the listed arms and weapons are also controlled under this entry.

Low Pay Commission Report

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Since Mr. John Edmonds of the GMB Union has acknowledged that he had a copy of the Executive Summary of the Report of the Low Pay Commission prior to its official publication, what steps are being taken to investigate how he came by it.[HL2592]

Lord Clinton-Davis: The Government do not believe that any useful purpose would be served at this time by investigating whether, and if so how, Mr. John Edmonds obtained a copy of the Executive Summary of the Low Pay Commission's Report prior to its publication. There would be no effective means of establishing which particular copy of the report might have been leaked or by whom.

Baltic States: Chevening Budget

The Earl of Carlisle asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they are considering increasing the Chevening Budget to the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.[HL2474]

Lord Whitty: The Chevening Budget for the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania is subject to regular review. We have no plans at the present time to increase it.

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G8 Birmingham Summit: Cost Breakdown

Lord Palmer asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean on 23 June (WA 11), whether they will provide a breakdown of the £6.9 million spent by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on the G8 summit in Birmingham.[HL2495]

Lord Whitty: The latest forecast cost of the arrangements made by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is £6.7 million. This breaks down as:

£ million
Summit venue costs2.1
Hotel accommodation0.1
Security staff and equipment0.2
Media facilities3.5
Administrative and other costs0.9
Less sponsorship0.5

SSSIs: Loss, Damage or Destruction

Lord Hardy of Wath asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many incidents of loss, damage or destruction have occurred in Sites of Special Scientific Interest during the 1990s.[HL2631]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Baroness Hayman): Details of the number of incidents of loss, damage, or destruction are published in the annual reports produced by the respective country agencies, English Nature, Scottish Natural Heritage and the Countryside Council for Wales and, prior to 1991, by the Nature Conservancy Council, all of which are held in the Library of the House.

Such figures are not available for ASSIs in Northern Ireland.

Local Authority Rents

Lord Gordon of Strathblane asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are the implications for local authority rents of the figures announced today for expenditure on housing revenue account subsidy included in the total of annually managed expenditure.[HL2797]

Baroness Hayman: The provision for housing revenue account subsidy allows for a real increase in local authority rents of 1 per cent. next year and 2 per cent. in each of the following two years. The consequent increase in rental income net of increased rent rebates will be available for increased revenue expenditure on maintaining the stock. The detailed

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proposals for the determination of HRA subsidy for 1999-2000 and subsequent years will be subject to consultation in the usual way. Rent policy for the longer term remains under consideration within the welfare reform process.

Urban Development Corporations: Evaluations

Lord Gregson asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When the research on the impact of urban development corporations will be published.[HL2799]

Baroness Hayman: The results of two evaluations of Urban Development Corporations (UDCs) were published today, one examining the Performance and Good Practice Lessons of UDCs and the other the Impact of UDCs in Leeds, Bristol and Central Manchester. Copies of each report and summary of findings have been placed in the Library of the House. Our evaluation of the LDDC, Regenerating London Docklands was published in June. These reports, taken together, represent a comprehensive evaluation of the impacts of UDCs and set out good practice lessons for future regeneration agencies.

Drinking Water Inspectorate Annual Report

Baroness Nicol asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When the eighth Annual Report of the Drinking Water Inspectorate will be published.[HL2798]

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Baroness Hayman: The Drinking Water Inspectorate has published its eighth annual report today.

The inspectorate will also publish leaflets for consumers. One will summarise the main points of the report and the others will give brief details of the quality of drinking water supplied by each water company.

Copies of the report and leaflets will be placed in the Library of the House.

Side Effects of Organophosphates:Clinical Research

Lord Peyton of Yeovil asked Her Majesty's Government:

    In which institutions purely clinical researches are being carried out into the side effects of organophosphates upon human beings; and by whom they are being conducted.[HL2507]

The Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Lord Donoughue): The Government fund a substantial amount of work which addresses human exposure, toxicology and metabolism of organophosphate (OP) compounds. Details of current and recently completed projects in this area are set out below. The dividing line between purely clinical and other research is not always clearly defined but projects nine and 14 seek to correlate their findings with symptoms/effects and fall clearly into the clinical category.

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Table: Summary of Government funded R&D on OPs(1) relating to human exposure, toxicology and metabolism

Funding bodyResearch bodyTitleStart dateProjected end dateCost band (2)
HSEHealth & Safety Laboratories, Sheffield1. An in-vitro investigation of the relative inhibitory effects of OPs and carbamates towards pseudocholinesterase in human bloodAugust 1997February 1998E
2. Biological monitoring for OP exposure on fish farms (dichlorvos)January 1996March 1997D
3. Biological monitoring for propetamphosJanuary 1996March 1998D
4. Changes over time in the level of inhibition of red blood cell acetylcholinesterase activity after OP exposureOctober 1996July 1997E
5. Chlorpyrilos volunteer studyJuly 1995December 1996D
6. Human volunteer studies of dermal absorption of diazinon and propetamphosJanuary 1998December 2000C
7. Immunochemical method for monitoring the specific activity of plasma cholinesteraseJune 1997December 1997E
8. Measurement of the dermal exposure of small scale users of pesticides by fluroscence monitoringOctober 1994May 1997D
9. Neuropsychological study of orchard workers exposed to OP pesticidesSeptember 1996September 1998C
10. Non-cholinergic effects of OP exposureOctober 1995August 1997C
11. Monitoring for OP exposure in orchard spraying with chlorpyriphosJanuary 1994September 1997C
MOD/DERAUniversity of Birmingham12. The effects of acetylcholinesterases on the cellular mechanisms controlling the levels of acetylcholinesteraseMay 1997May 1999C
13. Neuropathy of anticholinesterasesOctober 1997September 1998E
MAFF/DH/HSEInstitute of Occupational Medicine, Edinburgh14. Epidemiological study to detect well defined chronic effects in humans of dipping sheep with OP productsNovember 1995April 1999A

(1) Official Group on OPs: Report to Ministers, MAFF Publications, Admail 6000, London, SW1A 2XX.

(2) Price banding A: £500,000 or more; B: £300,000-£499,999; C: £100,000-£299,999; D: £50,000-£99,999; E: up to £50,000.

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The Government will consider most carefully the need for further research arising from recommendations from their independent advisory committees and the Joint Working Party of the Royal College of Physicians and Psychiatrists. The Joint Working Party is expected to offer advice on the design of studies involving examination of individuals who attribute their ill-health to long term, low level exposure to organophosphates.

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