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The Minister for Science, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): There will not be a national holiday to celebrate Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother's 100th birthday. It was decided that it would not be appropriate to proclaim a further bank holiday following so soon after the Millennium bank holiday and with proposals being considered for a bank holiday to mark the Queen's Golden Jubilee in 2002.
The Lord Chancellor (Lord Irvine of Lairg): The final report of the Civil Justice Reform Group will be published on 16th June with a consultation period until the end of September. Copies will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
The Lord Privy Seal (Baroness Jay of Paddington): In its Second Report (8 May 2000, HL Paper 62) the Liaison Committee noted the Government's proposal to establish, before the Human Rights Act 1998 comes into force in October this year, a Joint Committee on Human Rights. Preliminary consultations on setting up a Joint Committee on Human Rights are now taking place within the usual channels. The House will, of course, have the opportunity to debate the proposed Standing Orders in due course, and I will ensure that adequate notice of any such debate is given on the Order Paper. The Government will propose very broad terms of reference for the Committee.
Baroness Jay of Paddington: The mechanisms for dealing with potential and perceived conflicts of interest for members of the Committee on Standards in Public Life are set out in the Committee's code of practice. Copies of the code can be obtained from the Committee or downloaded from its website at www.public-standards.gov.uk. Copies have also been deposited in the Library of the House.
Baroness Jay of Paddington: Information on internal deliberation, whose disclosure would harm the frankness and candour of discussion, is exempt from disclosure under the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Central IT Unit of the Cabinet Office has investigated the feasibility of answering written parliamentary questions electronically and the Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA) has been developing a detailed operating system. CCTA is now working towards the implementation of the system and will be providing a report to the Library and Computers Sub-Committee of the House in June.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Government is aiming to introduce, from 1 November, free television licences for all people aged 75 or over. We decided to introduce free licences for older pensioners because, as a group, they are more likely to be reliant on television as their window on the world. People aged 75 or over, who do not have a television set, will not receive a cash payment since the purpose of the concession is to assist access to television and not to provide a cash benefit.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: On 22 May the Millennium Commission considered an application for additional grant totalling £38.6 million from the New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC). Whilst the Commission had serious reservations about providing further grant, they concluded that it would be foolish to withdraw support when the best of the year for visitor attractions is yet to come. They also felt that the value of the Dome as the centrepiece of the nation's millennium celebrations should be recognised and continued. The potential costs to the public sector arising from immediate closure, along with the economic impact on employment and tourism, were other factors taken into account.
In light of this, the Commission announced that a further grant of £29 million, subject to stringent conditions, would be made available to NMEC. The Commission's decision was taken after an independent review of the NMEC's financial systems and business
Despite lower than predicted visitor numbers, the Dome is the most popular and highly rated paid visitor attraction in the UK, with a wide range of educational benefits. NMEC is also running a national programme of events and activities across the UK. In addition, the largest derelict site in southern England has been regenerated and the foundations have been laid for a lasting legacy providing jobs and homes for thousands of people.
In line with the commitment made by the previous administration that any additional Lottery funds required to support the Dome should not be at the expense of the Millennium Commission's wider programme of work, the Government confirmed that Lottery money would, if necessary, be made available to the Commission to ensure that its wider programme does not suffer.
Whether an operator running at 44 tonnes under the Construction and Use Regulations is required to notify any highway or bridge authority of his intention to use the A14 near Huntingdon.[HL2563]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Whitty): This is an operational matter for the Highways Agency and I have asked the chief executive of the Highways Agency, Mr Peter Nutt, to write to the noble Earl.
44 tonnes under the Construction and Use Regulations. You also wish to know whether operators of such vehicles are required to notify any highway or bridge authority of their intention to use the A14 near Huntingdon.
"All bridges on the A14 near Huntingdon are currently rated for 44 tonnes provided the vehicle is within the Construction and Use Regulations. Under these regulations, there are no notification requirements for vehicles running at 44 tonnes on the A14 near Huntingdon."
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