Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

3 Apr 2000 : Column WA105

Written Answers

Monday, 3rd April 2000.

NHS Trusts: Composition

Lord Patten asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the maximum percentage of those serving on a National Health Service Trust from any one political party that is desirable.[HL1752]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The guidance issued by the Commissioner for Public Appointments makes clear that political activity, affiliation or balance should not be used as criteria for appointment to public bodies, except where there is a statutory requirement to that effect or in the limited instances where the nature of the public body makes it important that individual political parties are represented. Neither condition applies in relation to appointments to National Health Service trusts.

London Postal Districts: Industrial Disputes

Lord Harris of Greenwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many industrial disputes have occurred in the year 1999-2000 in each London postal district which have had any affect on the collection or distribution of mail.[HL1636]

The Minister for Science, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): I understand from the Post Office that during the calendar year 1999 there were 32 separate industrial disputes in the London postcode area which involved full working days lost. In addition, mail services were also seriously affected by employee restrictions on overtime in the SW6 and SW15 postal districts. A breakdown by numbers of industrial disputes which occurred during 1999 in each London postal district is as follows:

Postal DistrictNumber of disputes

3 Apr 2000 : Column WA106

Prion Research

Lord Lucas asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether prompt release of results is a condition of Medical Research Council grants for prion research[HL1613]

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: The MRC expect all grant holders to disseminate the results of their work promptly and dissemination plans must be detailed in research proposals. This is generally through publication in peer reviewed scientific journals.

In addition, the main organisations that fund research on Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSE) hold annual workshops where all current TSE grant holders present progress reports and preliminary findings. Such findings for particular studies may be made publicly available at an early stage, with the agreement of the investigators and the funders.

In circumstances regarding the release of sensitive information, the MRC may discuss the research outcome with relevant government departments prior to release, This is part of the normal process and would not be expected to delay release.

Moldova: OSCE Declaration

Baroness Lockwood asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What they are doing to ensure that the commitments agreed at the OSCE Istanbul Summit concerning Russian withdrawal from the Transdniestrian region of Moldova are met.[HL1818]

Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale: Her Majesty's Government fully support the OSCE Istanbul Declaration on Moldova, which called for complete withdrawal of Russian troops, armaments and ammunition from Moldovan territory by the end of 2002. Her Majesty's Government regularly emphasise the need to comply with this agreement in our discussions with the Russians, Moldovans and Ukrainians (the latter as guarantors of the peace). The declaration agreed to consider the establishment of a voluntary fund for international assistance to facilitate the withdrawal. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has contributed £100,000 to this fund from its ASSIST budget.

An international needs assessment mission to explore the removal and destruction of the ammunition and armaments is negotiating for access to Transdniestria. The UK is planning to contribute military experts to this mission.

3 Apr 2000 : Column WA107

Self-Employed National Insurance Contributions

The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many self-employed people will be subject to increased Class 4 National Insurance contributions from April 2000; and what the total value of this increase will be to the Treasury.[HL1595]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Reform of National Insurance for the 2.8 million self-employed includes a substantial reduction in the rate of Class 2 contributions. Taken together, the measures will mean that 0.9 million self-employed will pay less National Insurance contributions. The measures will mean that 0.9 million people with profits of less than £9,215 will actually pay less National Insurance Contributions and those 1.9 million with profits above that amount will pay more. The exchequer effects of changes are detailed in table A2.1 of the March 2000 Financial Statement and Budget Report.

The Euro and British Businesses

Lord Harrison asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What will be the positive and negative effects over the next decade on Britain's microbusiness (small and medium-sized enterprises 0-10) of the advent of the euro, whether or not the United Kingdom adopts the euro; and[HL1619]

    What will be the positive and negative effects over the next decade on Britain's small and medium-sized enterprises of the advent of the euro, whether or not Britain adopts the euro; and[HL1620]

    What will be the positive and negative effects over the next decade on Britain's vending and coin-operated industries of the advent of the euro, whether or not Britain adopts the euro; and [HL1621]

    What will be the positive and negative effects over the next decade on Britain's mortgage and insurance industries of the advent of the euro, whether or not the United Kingdom adopts the euro.[HL1622]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The launch of the euro in 11 European Union (EU) countries has implications for UK firms of all sizes across a number of business sectors. That is why the Government established the Euro Preparations Unit (EPU). Since its inception in December 1997, EPU has run a national business information campaign on the euro and published euro factsheets and case studies, which help small and medium sized enterprises in particular to take account of the euro now that it is a business reality. Further information can be found in the Treasury's regular euro progress reports, the most recent of which was published in November 1999. Copies of these reports are available in the Library of the House.

3 Apr 2000 : Column WA108

Football Foundation

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

    Whether the appointment of trustees and senior staff to the new Football Foundation will follow Nolan rules and be subject to public advertisement.[HL1626]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Discussions are continuing between the Football Association, FA Premier League, Sport England and DCMS on the creation of the Football Foundation. The foundation will not be a government body but an independent organisation for which the football authorities are seeking charitable status. As such, the foundation will not fall under the remit of the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments (OCPA).

It is currently envisaged that the Government and Sport England will each have the right to appoint a director to the board of the foundation. While this appointment by government is not subject to the full OCPA procedures, the Government will ensure that the underlying principles do apply; that is, the appointment will be made on the basis of merit against a role specification and from a field of candidates.

The appointment of the foundation's staff will be a matter for the foundation's board, once established, though it is anticipated that the existing staff of the Football Trust will transfer to the foundation on the winding up of the trust. These staff will be supplemented, as necessary, by open recruitment by the foundation, once established.

Public Trust Office

Lord Clement-Jones asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What progress the Lord Chancellor's Department has made in respect of the recent review of the Public Trust Office.[HL1631]

The Lord Chancellor (Lord Irvine of Lairg): I refer the noble Lord to the Written Answer I gave to the noble Lord, Lord Hoyle, on 8 February 2000, Official Report, column WA 83.

Rural Social Exclusion

Lord Patten asked Her Majesty's Government:

    On how many occasions since her appointment on 6 December 1999 as co-ordinator of Social Exclusion Unit Policies, Dr Mowlam has (a) chaired meetings on rural social exclusion; and (b) visited the countryside to see first-hand the problems of social exclusion.[HL1496]

The Minister of State, Cabinet Office (Lord Falconer of Thoroton): My right honourable friend the Minister for the Cabinet Office was asked in December 1997 by the Prime Minister to chair the Ministerial Network on

3 Apr 2000 : Column WA109

Social Exclusion. At this time the network was given a new remit to chase progress across government on implementation of past SEU reports on subjects such as rough sleeping and teenage pregnancy.

To date, my right honourable friend has chaired no meetings specifically on rural social exclusion. My right honourable friend has made visits to the countryside in the Duchy of Lancaster.

Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page