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Lord Sainsbury of Turville: The Government consider that the Internet will only realise its economic and social potential for all of us as an accessible, low cost global network for information exchange if there is full participation by developing countries. The Government therefore strongly support work to close this international "digital divide", particularly through the "Dot.force" launched at the recent G8 Summit in Okinawa, which brings together public and private sectors in developing and developed countries. This will be to the mutual benefit of developing and developed countries.
Lord Sainsbury of Turville: We have not yet decided what procedure should be used for awarding licences for these three bands. We are currently consulting industry on the award procedure for 3.4 GHz and 10 GHz radio spectrum licences and the indications are that businesses are keen for the licences to become available as soon as possible. We will be consulting industry, early in 2001, on a range of options for awarding licences at 40 GHz.
Lord Sainsbury of Turville: One of the Government's aims for the auction was to promote competition within the wider broadband market. We offered three licences in each region to encourage new entrants who would provide competition in existing broadband operators. Ten companies qualified to take part in the auction and although not all of them obtained licences it was a major achievement to attact six new entrants to the market.
Lord Sainsbury of Turville: 28 GHz broadband fixed wireless access is only one way of delivering broadband services such as high-speed Internet access. There are comparable services available via ADSL, cable, fibre and satellite. The licences awarded through the auction will provide a competitive stimulus to existing operators which will help bring better and cheaper services to users. The auction has provided new information on industry's valuation of the spectrum. This will form a good basis for future decisions on making spectrum available for broadband access. The Government will be considering when to re-offer licences in regions where no licences were sold. This will provide a further opportunity for operators to obtain licences and to enhance existing services and coverage.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): According to the information supplied by the company to the Medicines Control Agency, the foetal calf serum used in the manufacture of this stock was collected before 1984 and used in the manufacture of a component batch of polio vaccine in 1985. In 1985 there were no BSE-related controls in place. Medeva has no records of the herd from which the material came, and it is therefore not possible to examine whether there were any subsequent BSE-related issues associated with the source of this material. However, Medeva has confirmed that the serum was obtained from herds that would have been under veterinary supervision and compliant with requirements for human food consumption.
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: We are publishing today the report of the NHS Estates Quinquennial Review and copies have been placed in the Library. The review concludes that the agency has performed well in advising Ministers and the National Health Service Executive on policy and strategy for the NHS Estate and on the performance of NHS trusts in managing their estate. It finds that executive agency status has been beneficial and recommends that NHS Estates should remain as an agency.
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: A full answer could be provided only at a disproportionate cost. However, since 1996, the Department of Health has provided over £14 million to voluntary organisations providing disability information under Section 64 of the Health Services and Public Health Act 1968. We also funded the development of a UK Disability Database by two voluntary organisations, the Royal National Institute for the Blind and the Disabled Living Foundation, at a cost of £200,000 per year in the three years between 1997-98 and 1999-2000. We have also provided disability information directly to the public at a cost of around £1.4 million between 1994 and 2000.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): Since the latest upsurge in violence we have repeatedly urged the Indonesian Government at the highest levels, including President Wahid, to remove the Lasker Jihad forces from Maluku. Representatives from European Union Embassies in Jakarta visited Maluku Province from 12-14 October. They found the situation in North Maluku to be improved, but real problems remain in Ambon. We will continue to work with the Indonesian Government and partners to help find a lasting solution.
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: There is no "new European Union armed force". European Union nations and others (including European members of NATO and EU candidate countries) are making forces available and improving their capabilities for possible EU-led crisis management operations (e.g. humanitarian relief and peace-keeping). They will act militarily only where NATO as a whole is not engaged. They will not act in collective defence, which remains for NATO. This effort will strengthen NATO. Hence the welcome for the EU's intentions, repeated in recent days, from NATO's Secretary-General and from the US Secretary of State, among others.
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