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New Millennium Experience Company:Staff Numbers

Lord Luke asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: On both 31 December 1999 and 31 January 2000, the New Millennium Experience Company employed 2,077 people.

Millennium Dome: Catering Contracts

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

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: Sixteen catering and supply contracts have been awarded by the New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC) to contractors to operate in and around the Dome. All contracts have been let following competitive tender processes and all contracts are still in force. Each contractor will pay NMEC an agreed percentage of net sales as a concession fee, the precise details of which are commercially confidential while the contracts are current.

Millennium Dome: Defective Equipment

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

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: Each zone has, at some time or other, experienced defects of some nature in its operation. These defects range from overloading of electrical or computer systems to faulty light bulbs. These defects are being corrected by upgrading or replacement.

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Marriage Education

Lord Tebbit asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether it is their intention that the support to be given in schools to the institution of marriage will be confined to marriage between persons of the opposite sex, or whether it will be extended to other lasting relationships between persons of the opposite or same sex.[HL1041]

The Minister of State, Department for Education and Employment (Baroness Blackstone): My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Education and Employment has made clear his intention that sex and relationships education should be firmly rooted within the Personal, Social and Health Education framework for schools issued last November. That framework clearly states that when learning about developing good relationships and respecting the differences between people, pupils should be taught about the nature and importance of marriage for family life and bringing up children. Marriage is defined in English law as "the voluntary union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of others". The Government also recognises that there are strong and mutually supportive families and relationships outside marriage and that many unmarried couples remain together throughout their children's upbringing and raise their children as successfully as married parents.

NHS Hearing Aids

Lord Beaumont of Whitley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What steps they are taking to rectify the position outlined in Note 134 from the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology that the best model hearing aids "are not always available through the National Health Service".[HL1038]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): Note 134 is misleading in its use of the word "best". There is no one "best" hearing aid that can be supplied to hearing impaired people in general or to an individual. Each user has different requirements, preferences and circumstances which can change with time. The hearing aid user wants to be able to have the choice from a wide range of hearing aid models. The National Health Service has always made available cost efficient and beneficial hearing aids to its patients. It has always provided all kinds of hearing aid types which have been supplied by all the high quality world famous manufacturers.

However, technology is always advancing and a project will start in England later this year to trial digital hearing aids for NHS patients. This project will help to inform our plans to modernise hearing aid services. Detailed proposals for the scheme are being developed but we anticipate that the project will cover 20 hearing aid departments and that an estimated 20,000-30,000 patients will benefit from the scheme.

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The project is intended to lead to improvements for all NHS patients.

FV430 Series Armoured Vehicles

Earl Attlee asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When the FV430 range of armoured personnel carriers was first developed in its current form; and[HL1094]

    Whether the FV432 armoured ambulance can be penetrated by a .50" AP machine gun or sniper round; and[HL1095]

    For how much longer the FV430 range of armoured personnel carriers will remain in service; and[HL1096]

    What is the maximum road speed of the FV432 armoured ambulance; and how this compares with CVR(T) and the Warrior ranges of light armoured vehicles; and[HL1097]

    What is the mean distance between engine power pack failures for the FV430 range of armoured personnel carriers; and[HL1098]

    What type of radio is fitted to the FV432 armoured ambulance; and what is its maximum reliable range when mobile.[HL1099]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): The FV430 series completed development in the early 1960s, and entered service in 1964. On present plans the vehicles will be progressively replaced between 2006-2018 by the Future Command and Liaison Vehicle, the Multi-Role Armoured Vehicle, and the Armoured Battlegroup Support Vehicle. The reliability of the power pack varies with environmental conditions and terrain. The vehicles achieve some 3,500 miles between engine failures.

On the specific questions relating to the FV432--the armoured ambulance variant--the vehicle is fitted with the Clansman VRC 353 radio and the maximum road speed is 30 mph, which compares to 46.5 mph and 45 mph for the Warrior and CVR(T) variants respectively. Information regarding the vulnerability of the vehicle to certain types of munitions, and the operating range of the radio, is classified and, therefore, withheld in accordance with Exemption 1 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information, which relates to defence, security and international relations.

Military Exercises: Cancellations

Lord Vivian asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many sea, land and air training exercises have been cancelled or curtailed during 1999; and why these exercises could not take place or why the duration of the exercise was shortened.[HL947]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: A list of cancelled exercises and the reason for cancellation is

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set out in the tables. No exercises were curtailed or shortened. The lists do not include international exercises where UK forces were to have participated but which were either cancelled by other nations or there was reduced involvement but still UK participation.

RN Exercises--Cancelled 1999

1Open SpiritShip re-deployed to NATO Standing force (Mine Countermeasure Force North) to ensure that the ship originally allocated to MCM Force did not breach harmony guidelines following additional tasking.August 1999
2Sandy Coast 99*Ship allocated was involved in ordnance clearance operations in Adriatic under NATO auspices. The operation was extended which precluded her participation in Sandy Coast.September 1999
3Falcon Nut*Ship re-deployed with Amphibious Task Group to Mediterranean in order to achieve a more cohesive force package.October 1999
4FlotexIn Year Budget Management MeasureNovember 1999
5Cadence BrakeIn Year Budget Management MeasureNovember 1999
6Squadex 45/99The opportunity arose to operate with French carrier, which was considered to provide greater training benefits.

* UK unit allocated to NATO participated but there was no direct UK involvement.

Army Exercises--Cancelled 1999

1Arcade GuardKosovo OpsMarch 1999
2Cygnet SpearLack of Air Transport Fleet support (involved in Kosovo Ops)April 1999
3Lion Sun 4/99Kosovo OpsApril/May 1999
4Devils HatKosovo OpsMay 1999
5Cygnet VineLack of Air Transport Fleet support (involved in Kosovo Ops)May 1999
6Ardent GroundKosovo OpsMay 1999
7Lion Sun 7/99Kosovo OpsMay/June 1999
8Glow-worm/ RattlesnakeKosovo OpsJune 1999
9Courageous BatKosovo OpsJune 1999
10Comd Ops RecceKosovo OpsJune 1999
11Log Study PeriodKosovo OpsJune 1999
12Med Man 2/99No unit available*June/July 1999
13Lion Sun 8/99Kosovo OpsJune/July 1999
14Lion Sun 10/99Kosovo OpsJuly/August 1999
15Stoney Run/Mill RaceKosovo OpsMay/October 1999
16Larksong/FoxtrotKosovo OpsMay/October 1999
17Adventure ExchangeKosovo OpsSeptember/October 1999
18Lion Sun 14/99Kosovo OpsOctober/November 1999
19Arrcade FusionKosovo OpsOctober/November 1999
20Lion Sun 15/99Kosovo OpsNovember/December 1999

* The exercise was cancelled in the planning stages because a suitable unit could not be identified that had undertaken pre BATUS training on Challenger II.

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RAF Exercises--Cancelled 1999

1Brilliant FoilKosovo OpsApril 1999
2Distant ThunderKosovo OpsMay 1999
3TridenteKosovo OpsMay/June 1999
4Maple FlagKosovo OpsMay/June 1999
5JMC 99/2Kosovo OpsJune 1999
6Roving SandsKosovo OpsJune 1999
7Central EnterpriseKosovo OpsJune 1999
8Crown EagleKosovo OpsJune 1999
9TLP 99/4Kosovo OpsJune/July 1999
10NAMKosovo OpsSeptember 1999
11Ample TrainKosovo OpsSeptember 1999
12Western VortexKosovo OpsApril/October 1999

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