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National Army Museum: Role North of Watford

Earl Attlee asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The National Army Museum operates no facilities north of Watford. However, it supports a number of museums north of Watford through its pastoral care role to regimental and corps museums and has actively assisted 11 museums through the loan of its collections. It has also helped 12 museums north of Watford with major re-display projects, with National Lottery funded work and with staff training.

Sierra Leone and Congo: Use of Reserve Forces

Lord Tomlinson asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they plan to call out members of the reserve forces to support UN operations in Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of Congo.[HL1509]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: A call-out order has been made under section 56 of the Reserve Forces Act 1996 to permit members of the reserve forces to be called out for service with the UN monitoring and observer forces in Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Only a small number are expected to be called out, as and when suitable posts arise, and all will be volunteers for this work.

Disability Benefit Take-up

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Given the current levels of take-up of disability benefits, what research they have undertaken into why disabled people do not claim the benefits to which they are entitled.[HL1264]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Social Security (Baroness Hollis of Heigham): There are numerous reasons why people with potential entitlement to disability benefits do not claim them. Contributory factors include a lack of knowledge about the benefit, an anxiety not to be seen as "disabled", or a reluctance, particularly among older people, to claim assistance for what they may see as less severe disabilities, which would attract lower rates of benefit, or simply as the normal results of ageing. At the same time around 26 per cent of claims for attendance allowance and 40 per cent of claims for disability living allowance are unsuccessful because the claimant does not satisfy the qualifying conditions. And many people who do make claims are dissatisfied with the decision and ask for it to be reconsidered.

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Against this background, our priorities are to look at ways of improving the information we provide about these benefits and to make it easier for people to supply us with the details we need to decide entitlement. We are also trying to develop clearer and more secure gateways so that it is easier for people to know whether they may be entitled. These initiatives have involved extensive and continuing discussions with disabled people and their representatives and with disability experts.

Greenwich Park: Car-parking Charges

Lord Harris of Greenwich: asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Which organisations were consulted before it was decided to introduce car-parking charges in Greenwich Park; and what is the estimated revenue in the financial year 2000-01.[HL1265]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Responsibility for the subject of this Question has been delegated to the Royal Parks Agency and I have asked it to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from the Head of Policy, Royal Parks Agency, Viviane Robertson, dated 14 March 2000.

In the absence of a Chief Executive, I have been asked by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport to reply to your Parliamentary question about the introduction of parking charges to Greenwich Park, which is an operational matter for which this Agency is responsible.

Our best estimate is that income would be £110,000, assuming that take-up is similar to that in Hyde Park. I attach a list of the organisations we consulted. List of those consulted about the introduction of parking charges to Greenwich Park

    Nick Raynsford MP

    London Borough of Greenwich

    London Borough of Lewisham

    English Heritage

    Friends of Greenwich Park

    Blackheath Society

    Greenwich Society

    Greenwich Development Agency

    World Heritage Site Co-ordinator, Maritime Greenwich

    National Maritime Museum

    Old Royal Observatory

    Greenwich University

    Greenwich Community Forum

    Greenwich Environment Forum

    Metropolitan Police

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IACS: Field Margins

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, under the integrated administration and control system (IACS) of the common agricultural policy, in cases where the width of the boundary between two fields exceeds 2 metres but does not exceed 4 metres the 2 metre distance is allowed for each field, or whether, where the boundary consists of a hedge and ditch and the field boundary under customary agricultural practice is regarded as the root of the hedge, the whole width of the boundary between the two fields has to be

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    deducted from the cropped area of the field bordered by the ditch.[HL1078]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Baroness Hayman): In cases where a boundary separates two fields claimed under IACS, the full Ordnance Survey area of both fields can be claimed as long as the width of the margin from each side of the boundary to the crop does not exceed 2 metres.

The issue of how the guidance on field margins should be applied in cases where a narrow ditch runs along the side of a hedge is currently under consideration by my officials in consultation with the European Commission.

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