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Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Treasury published the paper, UK Membership of the Single Currency: An Assessment of the Five Economic Tests, in October 1997. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has said we will make another assessment of the five economic tests early in the next Parliament.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Following extensive consultation and discussion, my honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Competition and Consumer Affairs has today announced the future organisation of the Gas and Electricity Consumers' Council. It will have a head office based in London. It will have offices in Glasgow serving Scotland, in Cardiff serving Wales, and further offices in Manchester, Birmingham, London, Newcastle and Bournemouth serving England.
The Minister for Science, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): As my right honourable friend the Minister for Trade will report at the OECD ministerial meeting, the Government are already able to comply with their relevant treaty obligations. My right honourable friend the Home Secretary set out, on 20 June, the Government's proposals for the reform of the law of corruption; these proposals take account, among other issues, of the UK's international obligations. The Government will look to introduce legislation as soon as a suitable opportunity arises.
Lord Sainsbury of Turville: According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the three car models which achieved the highest sales volume in 1999 were: the Ford Focus 1.6; Ford Fiesta 1.25; and Vauxhall Astra 1.6.
However, official ONS data on the index of motor vehicle purchasing costs indicates that prices for the sector as a whole fell by 5.1 per cent between May 1999 and April 2000 (which is equivalent to an annual rate of -5.5 per cent).
Lord Sainsbury of Turville: The Government do not intend to make any formal representations to the Commission at this stage. The Government believe it will be possible to agree the SPDs by December 2000. Officials meet their Commission counterparts regularly with a view to reaching agreement on the Single Programming Documents as soon as possible.
The Structural Funds Regulations contain provisions to ensure that commitments for both full Objective 2 and transitional areas are not lost because of any delay. All the programmes which were submitted by the end of April 2000 will be able to backdate funding of projects to the beginning of the year.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Sadly, all sections of society are suffering in the Sudan as a result of the ongoing civil war. There can be no doubt that Christians are among those who have been killed and suffered in other ways for much longer than the last two years. That is why this Government has given peace such a priority.
We keep in regular contact with the Churches in the Sudan, listen to their specific concerns and regularly take them up. We also gave our full support to the recent visit by the Archbishop of Canterbury to Khartoum and Juba.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): We are taking into account the variety of views expressed since the Royal Commission's report was published. Charging for care in later life is a useful contribution to this debate.
The Minister of State, Cabinet Office (Lord Falconer of Thoroton): The New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC) revises and updates its business plan at regular intervals. As sole shareholder, I see all board papers and was therefore privy to the revised business plan prepared in May which included the new visitor figure estimate.
Lord Falconer of Thoroton: Planned expenditure on the Single Intelligence Vote is being considered as part of the Government's Comprehensive Spending Review. Expenditure plans from 1999-2000 through to 2000-2001 were published at the end of that review alongside other public expenditure plans. Planned expenditure on the Single Intelligence Vote is being further considered as part of the 2000 Spending Review in the same way as the expenditure for all government departments. The outcome will be announced before the Summer Recess.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bassam of Brighton): The levels of fixed penalties for motoring offences were last raised in 1992. We conducted a public consultation on proposed increases last summer. The results of the consultation have been considered and the Government expect to be able to announce a decision very shortly.
Lord Bassam of Brighton: My honourable friend the Minister of State at the Home Office, Mr Clarke, is happy to be able to announce that the Government are establishing a review of Part I of the Sex Offenders Act 1997. Officials will shortly be setting up a small steering group which will direct the review and undertake a consultation process. Research to be
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