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4 Oct 2000 : Column WA217

Written Answers

Wednesday, 4th October 2000.

Trans-European Network: EU Funding

Baroness Warwick of Undercliffe asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What will be the United Kingdom's share of funds available in 2000 for priority projects and other schemes under the European Community's financing programme for the transport Trans-European Network (TEN).[HL4017]

The Minister of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston): Two priority projects in the United Kingdom will receive about £27.6 million from the EU TEN budget. Some £18.4 million will go towards the construction of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link and about £9.2 million will go towards the modernisation of the West Coast Main Line. The UK will also receive £0.6 million to support ground transport access improvements at Manchester Airport and studies on the upgrading of roads in Northern Ireland. The UK is expected to receive a further sum of around £3 million in support of participation in a number of multi-national TEN projects which have received awards this year.

NHS Signing System

Lord Walton of Detchant asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, in their opinion, the decision to impose a uniform style of wayfinding and signing systems throughout the National Health Service, as recommended by National Health Service Estates in 1999 and made mandatory in Identity and Stationery Guidelines (February 2000), represents value for money.[HL3816]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): National Health Service organisations are not required to change any existing signage to the new style unless that signage is coming up for renewal. The new style is being phased in, and is not being imposed as a mandatory change for design reasons only.

We anticipate that a single design style will generate savings as: design costs for signage are only incurred once rather than replicated by individual NHS organisations embarking on signage projects; and it offers the opportunity to benefit from economies of scale by negotiation of national contracts for signage production.

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NHS Resuscitation Policy

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether their policy with regard to the monitoring of "Do not resuscitate" notices in National Health Service hospitals has changed since the Written Answers by the Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 6 July (WA 156).[HL3828]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: As indicated in the reply given on 6 July (WA 156), the Department of Health has since published, on 5 September, a Health Service Circular Resuscitation Policy (HSC2000/028) which asks Chief Executives of National Health Service Trusts to regularly audit clinical practice in resuscitation decision-making and to report clinical audit outcomes in their annual clinical governance report. The circular also asks trust chief executives to ensure that a non-executive director of the trust is given designated responsibility on behalf of the trust board to ensure that a resuscitation policy is agreed, implemented, and regularly reviewed within the clinical governance framework.

The Secretary of State for Health has also asked the Commission for Health Improvement to pay particular attention to trusts' resuscitation decision-making processes during their reviews.

Millennium Dome: Funding

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

    Whether the Millennium Dome can be operated by the New Millennium Experience Company until 31 December without any further moneys being made available to it from the Millennium Commission after 27 July.[HL3781]

The Minister of State, Cabinet Office (Lord Falconer of Thoroton): You will be aware of the Millennium Commission's decision to provide a further grant of £47 million to the New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC). The decision was taken following an independent review of the financial situation commissioned from PricewaterhouseCoopers by NMEC. The resulting report estimated that a further £47 million was required to cover all creditors' needs of NMEC, including current liabilities, contingent liabilities and the anticipated costs of an orderly wind-down. Early closure of the Dome is not a cheaper option. It would have resulted in an additional £30-£40 million in costs on top of the latest additional grant by the Millennium Commission; up to 5,000 jobs, for people directly and indirectly employed at the Dome, could be lost; creditors would go unpaid; small businesses would suffer; and tens of thousand of visitors and many schools with pre-booked tickets would be disappointed. Whilst the recent news has been disappointing, the commission and the Government have taken the sensible approach.

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Whether all or part of the £47 million is used depends on the extent to which contingent liabilities crystallise, on actual wind-down costs and on achievement of the 4.5 million paying visitor volume target for the year.

Notting Hill Carnival: Loss of Police Property

Lord Tebbit asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will list the equipment stolen from or lost by the police in the course of policing the Notting Hill Carnival.[HL3807]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bassam of Brighton): I am advised by the Metropolitan Police that a full inventory of police property lost or stolen during the Notting Hill Carnival has yet to be completed, but it is known at this stage that the following items are missing:

    7 uniform Goretex jackets

    1 pair of gloves

    2 mobile phones

    1 police radio

    1 Crime Reporting Information System card

    1 civilian identification card

    1 uniform jumper

Armed Suspect: Police Procedure

Lord Tebbit asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether press reports are true that a senior police officer instructed other police officers to release and not search a man suspected of carrying a gun who was later searched and arrested by other police officers who found him in possession of a loaded pistol.[HL3805]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: No. I understand from the Commissioner that the facts of the matter are that the police received information at 5 p.m. on 28 August about a man who was thought to be armed, and set up an operation to get a detailed description of him. The man was then pursued and arrested at around midnight once the description had been made available. At no point in this process did any senior police officer issue an instruction to any other officer ordering them to release an individual suspected of carrying a firearm.

Customs and Excise Prosecutions

Lord Windlesham asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have yet reached a decision on whether the prosecutions currently conducted by the Solicitor's Office of HM Customs and Excise should continue to be conducted by that office or by some other body.[HL3844]

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The Attorney-General (Lord Williams of Mostyn): The review by His Honour John Gower QC and Sir Anthony Hammond QC concerning the conduct of Customs and Excise prosecutions is due to be completed by the end of October. The Government will carefully consider the recommendations made by the review and a summary of the Government's proposals for the future handling of such prosecutions will be laid before the House.

Crown Prosecution Service

Lord Windlesham asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why total expenditure on the Crown Prosecution Service, both in real terms and as a proportion of Gross Domestic Product, has declined every year since 1994-95; and what the effect has been on the performance of the service.[HL3839]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Funding for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is determined through the normal public expenditure process. Total expenditure by the CPS has increased in cash terms in each year since 1994-95, will increase in real terms in 2000-01 and will continue to do so over the spending review period until 2004.

Since 1994-95, the settlements for the CPS have been challenging. Performance against the CPS's timeliness indicators has been maintained by ensuring that scare resources have been directed to the immediate day to day business of prosecuting and by the continuing commitment and efforts of the CPS staff.

The SR 2000 settlement for the CPS was a good one and, as a result, the CPS's budget in 2003-04 will be 8 per cent higher in real terms than in 2000-01. The increase in funding will allow the CPS to improve its overall performance, introduce direct communication with witnesses and implement a modernisation programme that will result in increased investment in information technology and accommodation infrastructure.

Sure Start Maternity Grant

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they now have information on how many people have been refused a Sure Start Maternity Grant because they have not taken advice from an approved health professional.[HL3454]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Social Security (Baroness Hollis of Heigham): During the period April-August 2000, 68,615 applications for the Sure Start Maternity Grant were received; of these 12,477 claims were refused. This figure includes 3,864 applications which were disallowed because a health professional's certificate was either not submitted or was submitted in an incomplete state. We are confident that the vast majority of those initially refused for no certification go on to make further successful applications. We are conducting further research on this issue.

Five thousand, two hundred and seventy-six were refused because the applicant was not in receipt of a qualifying benefit; 1,937 were refused because the claim was made too early; 511 as the result of a maternity payment award being deducted from a Sure Start Maternity Grant award during the transitional period and 181 because their savings exceeded the permitted limit. These figures are in line with those of the previous year.

Child Support, Pensions and Social Security Act 2000: Government Actuary's Report

Baroness Castle of Blackburn asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have received the Government Actuary's Report under Section 36 of the Child Support, Pensions and Social Security Act 2000, and, if not, when they expect to receive it.[HL3821]

Baroness Hollis of Heigham: We have not received the Government Actuary's report. The Secretary of State for Social Security will consider the report once he receives it and he will lay it before Parliament in due course.

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