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Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The European Commission published proposals for a Stability Pact (COM(96)496) to promote budgetary discipline in stage three of EMU on 16 October 1996. HM Treasury submitted an explanatory memorandum on 31 October 1996. The House of Lords Select Committee on the European Communities referred the explanatory memorandum to Sub-Committee A, which produced a report (2nd Report, Session 96/97) and debated it on 4 December 1996.
The Dublin European Council in December 1996 requested that the ECOFIN Council examine the Commission's proposals for Council regulations and prepare a resolution recording the commitments of the member states, the Commission and the Council to a strict and timely application of the treaty and the legal provisions on budgetary stability.
The European Commission adopted amended proposals for the two Council regulations on 19 March 1997 (COM(97)116 and (COM(97)117). At the Noordwijk Informal ECOFIN in April 1997, Finance Ministers reached political agreement on a revised version of the Commission package. HM Treasury submitted an explanatory memorandum on the revised package on 3 June 1997. The package was subsequently agreed, accepting some amendments by the European Parliament, by the ECOFIN Council on 9 June and by the European Council at Amsterdam on 17 June 1997.
The Minister of State, Department for Education and Employment (Baroness Blackstone): The shootings at Columbine High School are a tragic incident and our sympathies go out to the bereaved, the injured and their families.
Her Majesty's Government treat the issue of school security very seriously. We will consider carefully any lessons that might be learned from this incident when the investigations have been completed. Much excellent work has already been done on school security since the Cullen Report on the Dunblane tragedy and the report from the Government's Working Group on School Security were published in 1996. In direct response to the Dunblane incident and the recommendations in the working group's report,
Education authorities have an important responsibility for ensuring that their schools are safe and secure for staff and pupils. As well as having security strategies, they should ensure that risk assessments have been undertaken at individual schools to enable security needs to be identified and prioritised, especially in applying for or distributing school security funding.
We recognise however that it is difficult for authorities to guarantee school security under all circumstances and there are limits to what can sensibly be done to protect against the most extreme incidents. A proper balance must be struck between making schools secure and keeping them accessible. Schools have a valuable role to play at the heart of their communities, and education authorities should take appropriate measures to ensure reasonable security without turning schools into impenetrable fortresses.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Gilbert): The amount of low flying training carried out in the UK Low Flying System during 1998 was some 16 per cent. less than for 1997. This reduction was due in part to the number of aircraft and aircrew deployed on activities overseas. The distribution of low flying training across the UK has not changed significantly. We have today placed in the Library of the House a paper giving a detailed account of low flying training in the UK Low Flying System for 1998. Further copies can be obtained from the following address:
Individual university medical schools determine their own undergraduate medical curricula in the light of the recommendations from the General Medical Council's Education Committee, which has the statutory responsibility to determine the extent of knowledge and skill required for the granting of primary medical qualifications in the United Kingdom. The committee's most recent recommendations were published in the 1993 report Tomorrow's Doctors, copies of which are available in the Library.
For each year since 1990, what was the total number of fully qualified clinical toxicologists contracted to the National Health Service who were also employed by, or had consultancies with, other organisations; with which health authorities or NHS trusts they were contracted; and with which other organisations they were employed or contracted to.[HL2144]
(a) whether they will list the "key players in the industry" with which the British Railways Board was required to consult on the disposal of its land holdings before reporting to the Government (as referred to in the White Paper on Transport, July 1998, Cm 3950, paragraph 4.35);
(b) what are the criteria used by the board in deciding which sites would be appropriate for transport use;
(c) what forecast of rail passenger and freight traffic growth was used in establishing the criteria; and
(d) whether they will place in the Library of the House a copy of the board's report, including a list of all sites not already disposed of, divided into those considered by the board to be suitable for transport use and those not considered suitable.[HL2040]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Whitty): Further to my Written Answer of 12 April, I can advise as follows:
(a) the BR Board wrote to a large number of transport operators, local authority groups and other interested parties inviting their comments on the criteria to be used to determine which of their property holdings had transport potential;
(b) the board proposes that the assessment of transport potential should pay particular attention to: large sites available for intermodal/other freight terminals; land adjacent to existing passenger stations which might be used for improved access, interchange facilities and car parking; land already identified by transport operators and local
29 Apr 1999 : Column WA63
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