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27 Nov 2000 : Column WA101

Written Answers

Monday, 27th November 2000.

Zimbabwean Land Redistribution Programme

The Duke of Montrose asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, if the United Nations Development Programme plan for land redistribution in Zimbabwe is implemented, the finance provided by the international community and the United Kingdom, when used as compensation to those being dispossessed, will be paid in Zimbabwean currency or in external hard currency. [HL4713]

Baroness Amos: The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is discussing with the Government of Zimbabwe the conditions for a land resettlement programme which development agencies might be willing to support. Her Majesty's Government has made clear since 1997 that it would support land reform that was transparent, designed to improve the life of the poor, complied with the rule of law and was part of a responsible economic policy focused on the reduction of poverty.

International Development Targets: Monitoring

The Earl of Sandwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How they monitor progress towards the international development targets year on year, both bilaterally and multilaterally; and where they publish the results. [HL4517]

Baroness Amos: Responsibility for monitoring progress towards the International Development Targets (IDTs) lies with the World Bank, which collates relevant data from the other international agencies and publishes them annually in World Development Indicators. The Department for International Development reproduces these data for each IDT by country in its annual publication Statistics on International Development. The next edition will be published in December 2000.

There is widespread agreement in the international community, including the United Nations, the World Bank and the OECD's Development Assistance Committee, on the uses of a core set of some 21 indicators to monitor progress towards the IDTs. In many countries, statistical capacity to collect the necessary data is weak. DFID and others are providing support to strengthen national statistical services.

Monitoring annual progress is not possible in all circumstances as in some cases data are collected only every few years. For example, data on the proportion of a nation's population subsisting on less than

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US$1.00 per day are collected only every third year. Estimates of maternal mortality rates are mostly based on surveys which collect data on maternal deaths over several previous years, and in some cases the previous 10 or 12 years.

DFID's Public Service Agreement (PSA) provides a framework for monitoring the contribution of DFID's activities towards achievement of specific IDTs. Progress against PSA objectives is reported in DFID's annual departmental report.

BSE and Variant CJD: Epidemiological Research

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How much funding has been allocated to research into the hypothetical link between BSE or vCJD and exposure to (a) organophosphates (OPs), either as warble fly dressing alone or in combination with grain or other feed that has been dressed with OPs, or with OP or synthetic pyrethroid insecticides; (b) vaccines or injectibles where bovine material has been used in the manufacturing process; (c) other environmental factors; and (d) any combination of these factors. [HL4702]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Baroness Hayman): Total spend by Her Majesty's Government on these three research areas are: (a) the Department of Health provided £30,000 to study occupational risks which included an assessment of the risks of exposure to OPs. The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food has spent £2 million on research to investigate the epidemiology of BSE and vCJD. The study of BSE epidemiology has not indicated that there is a link with exposure to OPs. MAFF has also invited a leading proponent of the link between exposure to OPs and BSE to submit a proposal to investigate this theory; (b) no research has been funded by the DH or MAFF into vaccines or injectibles where bovine material has been used. Again epidemiological studies have failed to implicate biologicals or pharmaceuticals in the epidemiology of BSE; (c) the persistence of BSE in the environment (soil) is being funded by MAFF at a total cost of £2.3 million and the possible role of bacteria in feed and the environment in triggering BSE is being studied at a total cost of £230,000 to MAFF.

Newly Laid Rail: Faults

Lord Roberts of Conwy asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What proportion of the rails currently being replaced by Railtrack were laid down in the last five years. [HL4609]

The Minister of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston): Railtrack have advised that on information currently available, approximately

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11 per cent of the rail identified as having "gauge corner cracking" is five years old or less.

Rail Operating Companies: Efficiency Comparisons

Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How the quality and reliability of public service in the privatised railways compare with the nationalised railways which preceded them. [HL4697]

Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: Before the recent problems with broken rails and flood damage, in general, the performance of the privatised train operating companies exceeded that of the nationalised British Rail. Overall punctuality has increased from 89.5 per cent in 1995-96 to 91.9 per cent in 1999-2000. Reliability has remained constant at 98.8 per cent. Since 1995-96, there has also been a 24 per cent increase in passenger journeys and there are 1,463 more trains running daily in the winter 2000 timetable compared with British Rail's winter 1995 timetable.

Children's Fund

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What proportion of the resources of the Children's Fund, amounting to £450 million over three years, will be allocated to Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales respectively; and who will administer such resources in those jurisdictions. [HL4633]

The Minister of State, Department for Education and Employment (Baroness Blackstone): The Children's Fund, announced in the Spending Review 2000, will support activity in England only. It is a matter for the Northern Ireland Assembly, the National Assembly for Wales and the Scottish Parliament to decide whether and how to establish their own Children's Fund within their overall provision.

Television Licence Concession Scheme

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

    Further to the Written Answer by Lord McIntosh of Haringey on 15 November (WA 35), when they will publish the Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Social Security, the Department for Social Development and the BBC regarding the administration of free television licences of people aged 75 and over. [HL4710]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Social Security (Baroness Hollis of Heigham): We are currently finalising the report. It will be published as soon as possible following its completion.

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Pension Investment Comparisons

Lord Blackwell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is their estimate of the annual sum that would need to be invested during the remaining normal working lifetime of men and women aged (a) 16, (b) 20, (c) 25 and (d) 30 to accumulate a capital sum on retirement that would secure the equivalent income from investments as is promised by the basic state pension after taking account of the recent announcements on increased payment levels, and assuming future uplifts in line with inflation.[HL4662]

Baroness Hollis of Heigham: Estimates of the annual amounts that would need to be invested in order to generate a private pension equivalent to the basic state pension are in the table below.


Source: Government Actuary's Department


1. All figures are rounded to the nearest £10.

2. The figures quoted are £ a year, in year 2000 money terms, and these amounts are assumed to increase in line with increases in prices.

Lord Blackwell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is their estimate of the total annual funding in £ billion that would be required if all working men and women aged under 30 made an annual pension investment sufficient to accumulate a capital sum on retirement that would secure the equivalent income from investments as is promised by the basic state pension after taking account of recent announcements on increased payment levels; and what that annual funding requirement would be after 5, 15, 25 and 35 years if all new entrants into the workforce were funded on the same basis.[HL4663]

Baroness Hollis of Heigham: From April 2001, the basic state pension will be £72.50 for single people and £115.90 for couples. From April 2002, the figures will be £75.50 and £120.70 respectively. The table below shows the estimated total expenditure that would be needed to provide people under 30 and currently working with a private pension equivalent to the basic state pension on retirement. The table shows that shifting from the existing pay-as-you-go state system to a funded private system in this way would cost £5 billion in 2000 rising to £14 billion in 2035.

Great Britain, £ billions in 2000-2001 terms

Annual total premia56101314

Source: Government Actuary's Department.


1. All figures have been rounded to the nearest £ billion.

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