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Baroness Thomas of Walliswood asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: My honourable friend Keith Hill, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the House of Commons, represented Her Majesty's Government at the Ministers' session of the World Road Congress in Kuala Lumpur. A Private Secretary accompanied him and the total cost for their flight and accommodation at the Congress, which took place between 3-5 October 1999, was £6,655.00. All travel complied with the requirements of the Ministerial Code and the Civil Service Management Code.

The World Road Association is the oldest international association involved with roads and transportation and its quadrennial Congress is the most important arena for shaping its policy direction and agenda for the four-year period. The Congress provided UK Agencies and exporters with an opportunity to further develop their contact networks and, in the Ministers' session, an appropriate international audience for the Minister to explain the new policy orientation for the Highways Agency and other UK road administrations arising from the Integrated Transport White Paper.

Northern Ireland: Integrated Education

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: My department has developed a strategic approach to the further development of integrated education in Northern Ireland, not only through the approval of new schools, where they are robust and viable, but by supporting the transformation of existing schools to integrated status. In November 1999, my department issued a comprehensive information pack on the transformation process to all schools in Northern Ireland to ensure that there is a proper understanding of the process. In addition, my department provides significant funds to the Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education to support its promotional and development work in the integrated sector, and has been the main contributor to the Integrated Education Fund, which assists the initial development costs of new schools. The growth of the integrated sector from 10 grant-aided schools with 2,000 pupils in 1989 to 43 schools with over 11,000 pupils in 1999 fully demonstrates my department's commitment to responding to parental demand for integrated education.

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Sure Start Programme

The Earl of Listowel asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many lone parents under the age of 25 are benefiting from the Sure Start programme during the first year of their child's life at present; and how many are anticipated to be doing so in (a) six months, (b) one year and (c) two years.[HL1937]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Social Security (Baroness Hollis of Heigham): Sure Start is a government programme for children under four and their parents. Its aim is to work with parents and children to promote the physical, intellectual and social development of pre-school children--particularly those who are disadvantaged--to enhance their chances of success. The programme is targeted on areas of disadvantage, typically with between 500 and 1,000 children under four, and will aim to provide services for all families in that area with children under four. A key target group of the population in these areas will be lone parents.

The Sure Start programme in England is being rolled out in stages, with the target to have 250 programmes operational by 2001-2002. The first 60 "trailblazer" areas were announced in January 1999 and most have now started to deliver services. A further 69 areas were announced in November 1999 and it is anticipated these will be up and running by the summer. It is hoped to announce a further round in the summer.

Information on how many lone parents are using Sure Start services is collected centrally, on a monthly basis, but this is not broken down by their age, nor that of their children. As the 60 trailblazer programmes are only just starting to deliver services, the information received so far does not give an accurate or reliable indication of the number of lone parents who are benefiting from Sure Start. As more Sure Start programmes start to deliver services, the overall number of lone parents benefiting from Sure Start will increase.

Northern Ireland Railway System

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the debate on Northern Ireland on 22 March (H.L. Deb., col. 357), why less public funding is spent on the railway system in the Province per head of the population than any other part of the United Kingdom; and what steps are being taken to redress the imbalance.[HL1981]

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: The railway system in Northern Ireland is smaller per head of population than that in Great Britain. Public expenditure priorities in Great Britain and Northern Ireland have also been different, with spending on transport being afforded a lower relative priority in Northern Ireland. The future level of funding for the

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railway system in Northern Ireland will be considered as part of the 2000 Spending Review.

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the debate on Northern Ireland on 22 March (H.L. Deb., col. 357) on what date the commencement of the relaying of the railway line between Belfast and Bangor will commence and whether European Union funding is available for the project.[HL1982]

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: European grant aid of £7.169 million is available for this project. However, when European grant aid was sought, the estimated cost of the project was £9.5 million. The Northern Ireland Transport Holding Company now estimate the cost to be £14.7 million so it has a shortfall in funding and this is delaying commencement of the project.

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the debate on Northern Ireland on 22 March (H.L. Deb., col. 357), whether Northern Ireland Railway (NIR) will be allowed to lease rolling stock in the same way as other railway companies in the United Kingdom.[HL1983]

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: The issue will be affected by decisions reached following the outcome of the work of the Task Force that is examining options for the future of railways in Northern Ireland. In principle, Northern Ireland Railways (NIR) would be permitted to lease trains if that is shown to be the most cost-effective option for replacing its rolling stock. However, unlike the other railway companies in the United Kingdom, NIR is publicly owned and consequently would normally have lower borrowing costs. This means that leasing is less likely to be cost effective for NIR than for other railway companies in the United Kingdom.

Belfast City Airport: Flight Limits

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, in the planning agreements of 1994 and 1997 for Belfast City Airport, an upper limit of flights or passengers per year was set; if so, what is the limit, how is it monitored, and what sanctions are imposed if it is exceeded.[HL2040]

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the Planning Service under its chief executive, Mr H S McKay. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter to Lord Laird from the Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Planning Service, Mr H S McKay, dated 18 April 2000.

I am replying to your recent Question about planning agreements for Belfast City Airport.

A planning agreement between the Department of the Environment and Belfast City Airport was signed on 1 April 1994. This agreement required that:

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    The airport did not accept more than 38,000 air transport movements in any period of 12 months at the aerodrome, and

    The airport did not permit operators using the aerodrome to offer for sale on scheduled flights more than 1,500,000 seats from the aerodrome in any period of 12 months.

A second agreement was signed on 22 January 1997 and required that:

    The airport does not accept more than 45,000 air transport movements in any period of 12 months at the aerodrome, and

    The airport does not permit operators using the aerodrome to offer for sale on scheduled flights more than 1,500,000 seats from the aerodrome in any period of 12 months.

By agreement with the department, Belfast City Airport voluntarily submits the required monitoring information to the Planning Service on a quarterly basis.

Non-compliance with the agreement would be a matter for appropriate legal action through the courts.

I do hope you find this useful.

European Community: History of UK Entry Negotiations

Lord Shore of Stepney asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the official report, written by Sir Con O'Neill, on the United Kingdom's failed negotiations for entry into the European Community in 1961-63 is available to scholars and others; and, if not, in which year they plan to make it available.[HL2023]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): Official reports on the failed negotiations for entry to the European Communities in 1961-63 were prepared by officials, led by Sir Pierson Dixon, on the UK Delegation to the negotiations and by the Treasury. These reports are available at the Public Record Office (PRO) in a Foreign Office file, FO 371/177369 and a Treasury file, T 267/14.

Sir Con O'Neill was not involved in the preparation of these reports. His own report on the successful negotiations in 1970-72 for UK entry to the European Community will be published later this year by FCO Historians. The original report will be placed in the PRO at the time of publication.

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