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Millennium Dome: New Year's Eve Transport Arrangements

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

The Minister of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston): My colleague the Deputy Prime Minister last week held talks with key transport providers and the Mayor of London to discuss arrangements for the capital's New Year's Eve celebrations. Plans are being finalised and will have to reflect safety assessments carried out by London Underground, Railtrack, the train operating companies, the Metropolitan Police and the Greater London Authority. All the assessments have recommended early closure of some central London tube stations. However, stations around the edge of the safety zone will be open and those going to Greenwich will be able to use them.

The night buses will be free again this year.

Departmental Cars

Lord Hoyle asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): I refer the noble Lord to the answer given by the Minister of State, Cabinet Office (Lord Falconer QC) on 2 November, WA 120.

Lord Hoyle asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Cabinet Office (Lord Falconer of Thoroton): The majority of cars used by the Cabinet Office are leased from either approved leasing companies or the Government Car and Despatch Agency (GCDA). For details of the disposal of GCDA cars, I refer the noble Lord to the answer from the GCDA Chief Executive, Mr Nick Matheson, of 2 November 2000 (WA 120).

Lord Hoyle asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Lord Falconer of Thoroton: The Northern Ireland Office does not have a policy in relation to the disposal of government cars. The department has a general policy of leasing cars, from either the Government Car Despatch Agency, or approved leasing companies. The Cabinet Office will reply on behalf of the GCDA. Leasing companies are responsible for the disposal of their own cars.

UK/Ukraine International Road Transport Agreement

Lord Shore of Stepney asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why the recently published agreement on international road transport between the Government of the United Kingdom and the Government of the Ukraine signed on 13 December 1995, entered into force only on 10 June; and whether this agreement is affected by the Common Strategy Agreement between the European Union and the Ukraine, signed in December 1999.[HL4551]

Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: International road transport agreements enter fully into force only when both signatories have completed their respective domestic legislative procedures. For our part, these legislative procedures were completed in 1996. In February this year we received formal notification from the Ukrainian authorities that they had done likewise, at which point we were able to complete the ratification process. The agreement has, however, been applied informally since the date of signature and under its provisions we have been exchanging road haulage permits with the Ukraine for the past four years to the benefit of UK hauliers. Our bilateral agreement with the Ukraine is unaffected by the Common Strategy Agreement.

Army Base Repair Organisation Workshop, Sennybridge

Earl Attlee asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean on 31 October (WA 99), how many pieces of equipment have been outstanding for repair by or on behalf of the Army Base Repair Organisation's workshop at Sennybridge, as at 9 October, for between two and six months.[HL4524]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: As at 9 October, there was no equipment outstanding for repair for between two and six months at the ABRO workshop at Sennybridge.

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Millennium Dome: Sponsorship Payments

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

    Further to the Written Answer by Lord Falconer of Thoroton on 23 October (WA 1) that Tesco sponsorship of £500,000 due for payment to the Millennium Dome on 1 March had been withheld pending the resolution of certain issues and had not been paid over as at 23 October, why Mrs Janet Anderson, Minister for Tourism, stated on 4 July that "At 31st May, all contractual sponsorship payments had been made" (HC Deb, col. 194W).[HL4387]

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: Having received advice from the New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC) that the information they provided to me in July was incorrect, Mrs Janet Anderson, the Minister for Tourism, set the record straight by way of Written Answer (HC Deb, col. 384W). The Answer should have been: "All sponsor contracts are individually tailored for each sponsorship, including phasing of sponsorship payments. As at 1 March, under the terms of their sponsorship agreement, Tesco were due to pay £1.75 million plus VAT. Of that, £1 million (plus VAT) had been received on 12 May 2000, leaving a balance of £750,000. The contract with Boots was nearing finalisation and the company had paid amounts in advance of signature. The Boots contract has now been signed and all due payments have been made". Mrs Anderson apologised for this unfortunate, but unintentional, error. David James, Executive Chairman of NMEC, is initiating a full investigation as to how this error occurred.

NMEC: County Court Summonses

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

    How many County Court summonses had been issued against the New Millennium Experience Company as at:

    (a) 31 May;

    (b) 30 June;

    (c) 31 July;

    (d) 31 August; and

    (e) 30 September.[HL4174]

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: The New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC) has advised that, prior to June 2000, the company did not keep a central record of County Court summonses. On receipt, such summonses were dealt with by the individuals within NMEC's Finance Department whose responsibilities covered the supplier in question. Once the summonses were received and resolved, the papers were filed in the individual supplier file and not logged on to a central database. To identify those summonses manually could only be undertaken at disproportionate cost.

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A central record has been kept since 1 June and the summonses issued since then are as follows:

Number of claimsNumber of claims resolved
As at 30 June77
As at 31 July1515
As at 31 August99
As at 30 September66

Royal Ulster Constabulary: Trust Fund

Lord Rogan asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What plans they have to publish the report of the review of the proposal for a new police fund to assist the widows and families of Royal Ulster Constabulary officers murdered as a result of terrorism action.[HL4527]

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: As I announced in the House on 27 July prior to Second Reading, the Government asked Mr John Steele to carry out a review into the proposed fund. The Government received the report from John Steele on 27 October. It was published on 7 November 2000, and copies have been placed in the Library of both Houses. Copies are also being sent to all those parties with whom Mr Steele had meetings.

The Government are extremely grateful to Mr Steele for taking on this sensitive review of the recommendation (Recommendation 87) by the Independent Commission on Policing and for concluding his review so promptly. It welcomes his comprehensive and thorough report. The Government are undertaking a detailed assessment of each of the specific proposals and these will form the basis on which the Government take forward implementation of this very important Patten recommendation.

In particular, the Government agree that a new fund should be established covering in scope deaths and injuries caused directly by terrorist violence against members of the police in Northern Ireland. The fund would help seriously injured police officers, and retired officers and their families, as well as police widows.

The Government will establish a trust to administer the fund, on the basis proposed, as soon as possible.

The Government also accept the key recommendation that widows of police officers who were killed as a result of terrorist activity prior to 25 November 1982 should receive lump sum payments. They will look to see how these payments, along the lines proposed in Mr Steele's report, can be made without undue delay.

The Government have already implemented the related recommendation, Recommendation 88, that the Widows' Association should be given premises and a regular source of finance to run their organisation. The Widows' Association moved into new premises, and funding began, in September.

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