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Written Answers

Thursday, 27th January 2000.

International Conventions: Explanatory Memoranda

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

    Whether they will make available explanatory memoranda about international conventions awaiting ratification to the House in hard copy as well as on the Internet.[HL545]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): Explanatory Memoranda (EMs) are already available to the House in hard copy. The FCO sends two sets of a treaty command paper and its accompanying EM to the Clerk of the Parliaments on the day of laying. One of these sets is marked for the attention of the Printed Paper Office so that copies can be made for distribution to Peers.

Burma: Imprisonment of James Mawdsley

Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What representations they have made over the past month to the Burmese authorities about the continued imprisonment of James Mawdsley; and what news they have of his ability to receive and send letters.[HL638]

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The British Embassy secured a call on the Minister of Home Affairs for Mr David Mawdsley, James' father, to discuss James' case on 10 January. He was accompanied by HM Consul.

Only one in five of the letters that James has written has been cleared by the Burmese authorities. The Embassy has spoken to the prison authorities at each of its regular consular visits about this, and has now written formally to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to protest. It is awaiting a reply.

James has received over 150 letters and cards, which are shown to him by Embassy staff during consular visits. These are returned to him after they have been censored by the Burmese authorities.

Burma: Human Rights

Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What action they are taking to ensure that genocide charges are preferred against those members of the Burmese military responsible for the killing of civilians and the continued violation of their human rights.[HL639]

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Baroness Scotland of Asthal: We take every opportunity, for example through the EU Common Position, UN resolutions and the ILO, to make clear to the regime that the human rights situation in Burma is deplorable and they must take urgent steps to improve it. At present there is no international criminal tribunal with jurisdiction over Burma. The UK strongly supports the establishment of a permanent international criminal court which will have jurisdiction over genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Higher Education: Expenditure

Lord Baker of Dorking asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the public spending on higher education as a proportion of Gross Domestic Product from 1979-99; and what is the forecast for 2000 and 2001.[HL622]

The Minister of State, Department for Education and Employment (Baroness Blackstone): The proportion of GDP spent on higher education for each financial year is given in the following table. The spending figures are UK higher education spending, including the science budget. Figures for 2000-01 and 2001-02 are current spending plans. The proportions will vary depending upon the performance of the economy, which determines the level of GDP.

Funding for higher education in England will increase by 11% in real terms over the four years to 2001-02.


Sand Eels

Lord Hardy of Wath asked Her Majesty's Government:

    For what purposes sand eels are caught in European Waters.[HL565]

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The Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Baroness Hayman): The bulk of the sand eel catch is by the Danish fleet. The uses to which processed sand eels are put include animal and fish feedingstuffs and food ingredients. Other sand eels are caught for use as bait for recreational and other fisheries.

EU: Over-quota Fish Catches

Lord Hardy of Wath asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Which European Union member states have been recorded as taking greater catches of fish than have been agreed; and which species have been over-fished.[HL566]

Baroness Hayman: According to final catch data for 1998 made available to member states by the Commission, nine member states (Belgium, Denmark, Germany, France, Ireland, Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden and, United Kingdom) overfished one or more quota stocks for which they had a national allocation. These overfishes may not have resulted in an overfish of the EU Total Allowable Catch.

The stocks for which the EU Total Allowable Catch was exceeded are as follows:

CodIIId--Russian Federation waters Norwegian waters of the North Sea (South of 62 degrees N)
HerringIIIa--Skagerrak and Kattegat IIId--Polish waters
MackerelNorwegian waters of the North Sea (South of 62 degrees N), Faroese waters of ICES Vb IIa (EC zone), IIIa Skaggerak and Kattegat, IIIb, c, d (EC zone), North Sea
NephropsIIIa Skagerrak and Kattegat, IIIb, c, d (EC zone)
PlaiceVIId, e
SaitheNorwegian waters of the North Sea (South of 62 degrees N), IIa (EC zone), IIIa Skagerrak and Kattegat, IIIb, c, d (EC zone), North Sea
SpratsIIa (EC zone), North Sea (EC zone)
Blue WhitingVb (EC zone), VI, VII

Final catch data for 1999 are not yet available.

Health Authorities: Eligibility Criteria

Lord Clement-Jones asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What guidance they have given to health authorities as a result of the Coughlan case.[HL590]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): We have issued interim guidance. This requires health and local authorities, in consultation with each other and, where appropriate, involving primary care groups, to satisfy themselves that their continuing and community care policies and eligibility criteria and other relevant procedures are in line with the Court of

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Appeal judgment on the Coughlan case and existing guidance, and to take further legal advice where necessary. The interim guidance also states that where authorities revise eligibility criteria following any review, they should consider what action they need to take to reassess service users against the revised criteria [HSC 1999/180: LAC(99) 30].

Lord Clement-Jones asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, in the light of the recent survey by the Royal College of Nursing, they are satisfied that all health authorities are now complying with the decision in the Coughlan case.[HL591]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath : We have asked all the health authorities to review their eligibility criteria for continuing healthcare following the Coughlan judgment. We are continuing to monitor the situation.

Social Inclusion Action Plan

Baroness Anelay of St Johns asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord McIntosh of Haringey (WA 53), whether they will place in the Library of both Houses a copy of the new draft of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport social inclusion action plan.[HL517]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey : The new draft Social Inclusion Action Plan is a working document which will be changed and developed over the coming months; it is not intended for publication. I have, however, placed copies in the Libraries of the House. The department intends to publish, at the end of this year, a progress report on promoting social inclusion through sport and the arts.

Sports Tourism

Baroness Anelay of St Johns asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is their estimate of the revenue for the United Kingdom tourism industry generated by sports tourism.[HL519]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: There is currently no reliable economic information available on which to estimate the revenue generated by sports tourism. However, on 11 January, the British Tourist Authority launched their Sports Tourism Action Plan for Britain together with Janet Anderson, Minister for Tourism and Kate Hoey, Minister for Sport. One of the aims will be to better estimate the economic impact made by sports tourism in Britain. It will also identify ways for Britain to take advantage of the wealth of opportunity which is offered through sport.

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