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Written Answers

Wednesday, 3rd March 1999.


Lord McNair asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will list (a) all the non-governmental organisations, British and foreign, that have received funding from them for work and projects in Sudan annually since 1990; (b) those non-governmental organisations, British and foreign, that unsuccessfully applied for funding from them since 1990; and (c) non- governmental organisation work and projects in Sudan funded by European Community development and humanitarian assistance funds since 1990.[HL1248]

Baroness Amos: I will arrange for copies of the information requested to be placed in the Library of the House. However, on part (b) information from August 1996 only is available and (c) only information from April 1995-April 1997 is readily available.


Lord Eames asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether sufficient attention has been given to seeking a solution to the current impasse in the Drumcree situation, bearing in mind the forthcoming "marching season" in Northern Ireland.[HL1065]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Northern Ireland Office (Lord Dubs): My right honourable friend the Prime Minister met the Orange Order in November and, more recently, a delegation from the Garvaghy Road Residents' Coalition. The Government are continuing their efforts to foster communication between both parties because they believe that agreement is still possible if goodwill exists.

Scotland: Emergency Services in the Islands

Lord Mackay of Arbrecknish asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What steps they propose to take to provide emergency ferries for doctors, ambulances and fire-fighters to and from the smaller Scottish islands in the light of Caledonian MacBrayne being forced to withdraw these services as a result of the European Union Working Time Directive.[HL1164]

The Minister of State, Scottish Office (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston): The EU Working Time Directive does not apply at present in the maritime sector and therefore has no impact on Caledonian MacBrayne's emergency ferry services to the islands. It is the Merchant Shipping Regulations 1993 which affect

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ferry operators Caledonian MacBrayne's ability to provide emergency ferry services to these islands. The regulations require ferry operators providing local passenger services, to provide crews with at least eight hours' unbroken rest in any 24-hour period. This is a safety measure designed to benefit passengers and crew alike. The effect of this is that Caledonian MacBrayne with their existing crewing complements are unable to provide emergency sailings at certain times outwith their published timetable for the transportation of doctors and medical emergency cases to and from the islands and maintain the published schedule of sailings. Responsibility for the provision of general medical services for the people on the islands rests with the Area Health Boards. The Scottish Ambulance Service NHS Trust's Helicopter Emergency Medical Service will continue to respond to emergency medical calls and urgent calls from general practitioners so as to meet the emergency and urgent medical needs of island residents at all times. In the event of a major incident occurring on the islands which necessitates the transportation of Police or Fire Service vehicles, CalMac will provide a vessel even at the possible expense of subsequent scheduled services.

Scotland: Secondary School Teachers

Lord Selkirk of Douglas asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the total number of secondary school teachers in Scotland in each year since 1992.[HL1081]

Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: The number of full-time equivalent teachers in secondary schools in Scotland for each year since 1992-93 is set out in the table below. From 1 July, this will be a matter for the Scottish Parliament.


Wakefield District: Government Initiatives

Lord Lofthouse of Pontefract asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What they have achieved since May 1997 in the Wakefield District Council area of West Yorkshire in the fields of (a) economic growth and (b) social services.[HL1165]

The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Simon of Highbury): Since May 1997, the Government have demonstrated a significant level of commitment to the regeneration of Wakefield. A total of 51 offers of regional selective assistance, worth £4.7 million, have been awarded to businesses in the Wakefield district, which will result in the creation of 619 jobs and safeguarding of 1,306 jobs.

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More than £9 million has been invested in youth and adult training delivered by Training and Enterprise Councils (TECs). This has resulted in young people up to 24 years old achieving more than 1,357 National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) and nearly 800 adult trainees finding jobs.

Wakefield Jobcentre has so far placed 97 people into employment with the help of New Deal. Of these, 15 were people with disabilities and four had been out of work for more than two years. In addition, 177 people have taken up other New Deal options, with more than half entering full time education. The Employment Service has established good links with local employers, a number of whom have agreed to fill vacancies solely through New Deal.

Approximately £7.7 million has been allocated to Action Plans in Wakefield under the 1997-99 Structural Funds Objective 2 Programme, under which the Action Plan partnerships are now bringing forward projects. Projects approved since May 1997 are expected to create over 1,000 new jobs, assist over 1,000 businesses and lever in an additional £20.1 million of private sector investment in the district.

In 1997, a total of £4.1 million was offered as part of Round 4 of the single regeneration budget (SRB) in Wakefield. Under existing SRB programmes, £4.4 million has been paid since May 1997, resulting in 54 new business start-ups, 53 entries to self-employment, almost 700 jobs created, and almost 2,300 trainees qualified.

The Government have received the report from the Coalfields Task Force and have responded positively to all its recommendations. In particular, they have announced the establishment of a Coalfields Enterprise Fund and the establishment of the Coalfields Regeneration Trust. In addition, the Government have made additional funding available through the housing investment programme to those local authorities within the coalfield areas. These measures will of course impact on Wakefield.

Finally, the Government intervened directly to save the National Coalmining Museum for England, based at Caphouse Colliery, Wakefield, from closure following a combination of privatisation and local government reorganisation which removed its means of support. Funding of around £770,000 in 1999-2000 will allow the museum to continue to make a considerable contribution to the local economy both as a direct employer and more widely through tourism. It enables young people to understand the human story, scale and importance of coalmining in the nation's history.

Peers' Speaking Record

Lord Acton asked the Chairman of Committees:

    Further to his Written Answer on 22 February (WA102-103), how many of the 222 hereditary peers who attended at least one-third of sitting days in the 1997-98 Session of Parliament did not speak in the Chamber or in Grand Committee during that Session; and[HL1227]

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    Further to his Written Answer on 22 February (WA102-103), how many of the

    (a) 15 Labour;

    (b) 129 Conservative;

    (c) 16 Liberal Democrat;

    (d) 60 Cross-Bench; and

    (e) 2 other hereditary Peers who attended at least one-third of the sitting days in the 1997-98 Session of Parliament did not speak in the Chamber or in Grand Committee during that Session.[HL1228]

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Boston of Faversham): In the 1997-98 Session,

    (a) none of the 15 Labour;

    (b) 24 of the 129 Conservative;

    (c) 2 of the 16 Liberal Democrat;

    (d) 10 of the 60 Cross-Bench; and

    (e) none of the 2 other hereditary Peers who attended at least one-third of the sitting days did not speak in the Chamber or in Grand Committee during that Session. Thus, in total, 36 of the 222 hereditary peers who attended at least one-third of the sitting days did not speak. (Source: House of Lords Library).

M.25: Litter Clearance

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Who has responsibility for ensuring that litter is cleared from the verges of the M.25 between Junctions 28 and 30; whether they are satisfied with the cleanliness of this section of the motorway; and, if not, how they propose to deal with the situation.[HL1247]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Whitty): In accordance with the Environmental Protection Act 1990, the Highways Agency is responsible for ensuring that litter is cleared from verges of the M.25 between Junctions 28 and 30. The clearing operation is carried out by the agency's term maintenance contractor, Tarmac, under the supervision of the agency's managing agent, W. S. Atkins.

We are aware that litter is a particular problem on some areas of the network. The agency has recently increased the frequency of its litter scavenging operations along the M.25/A.282 and M.20. Just before Christmas, Tarmac had six crews employed on clearing litter along these routes. You will be pleased to know that a further two crews of three men each are currently out on the M.25. This scavenging operation has been in progress since 17 February.

It is a sad fact that some people regard the verges, embankments and cutting slope of our motorways and other roads as a convenient, cheap and readily available tip and despite efforts, rubbish reappears almost as quickly as it is cleared up. I hope you will appreciate that unfortunately there is a limit to how often sites can be revisited for the sole purpose of clearing litter.

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Lottery Spending: Research

Lord Cocks of Hartcliffe asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the Director General of the Office of the National Lottery was consulted when Camelot decided to cease publishing the amount of money each social class spends on the National Lottery, in total and per capita.[HL1010]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Camelot are not required by their licence to track or publish this information. However the last edition of Camelot's pamphlet Lottery Briefing included the results of research into average spending by social class.

The Director General of the Office of the National Lottery, as part of his duty to protect the interests of players, supports a continuing programme of social research. The published results of this research include details of average spend by socio-economic group.

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Food Standards Agency Levy

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What action they intend to take in response to the estimate that it will cost the Co-operative Movement collectively £250,000 a year, compared with the £50,000 its multiple competitors will have to pay, if the proposal in the draft bill for a Food Standards Agency to impose an annual levy of £90 on all food outlets becomes law.[HL937]

The Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Lord Donoughue): Public consultation on the Government's proposals for a levy on certain food premises ends on 24 March. We will announce how we intend to take forward the proposals once all the responses to consultation have been carefully considered.

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