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Daily News, Harare: Bombing

The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): We deplore the bombing of the Daily News printing presses. We urge the Government of Zimbabwe to carry out an immediate investigation into who is responsible and to make good their undertaking to bring the culprits to justice.

Senior Salaries Review Body Recommendations

Baroness Howells of St Davids asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Lord Privy Seal (Baroness Jay of Paddington): The 2001 report of the Review Body on Senior Salaries, which makes recommendations about the pay of the senior Civil Service, senior military personnel and the judiciary, together with the annual uprating of parliamentary salaries, was published on 9 February 2001. Copies are in the Vote Office and the Library of the House. I am grateful to the chairman and members of the Review Body for their work.

The main recommendations of the Review Body are:

    an increase from 1 April 2001 of 3.7 per cent in judicial salaries; and

    an increase from 1 April 2001 of 3.7 per cent in the maxima of the pay ranges within which individual salaries are set for senior military officers.

The Government have decided to accept these recommendations. Their cost will be met within existing Departmental Expenditure Limits.

12 Feb 2001 : Column WA22

Pay increases for Members of Parliament and Ministers are linked automatically to the increase in pay bands for the senior Civil Service. Their pay entitlement will therefore increase from 1 April by 3 per cent.

Anglo-French Summit, 9 February

Lord Christopher asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the outcome of the Anglo-French Summit of 9 February.[HL711]

Baroness Jay of Paddington: The 23rd UK/French Summit took place in Cahors on 9 February. The Prime Minister was accompanied by his right honourable friends the Foreign Secretary, the Home Secretary, the Defence Secretary and the Minister of State for Transport. There were productive exchanges on a range of bilateral issues, and measures were agreed to deal with the problem of illegal immigration. A Cross-Channel Commission to improve joint management of issues that affect cross-Channel relations was established. In addition it was agreed to take forward joint work in the fields of maritime safety, food safety, drugs trafficking and the environment.

EU, foreign policy and defence issues were also discussed, and declarations on our shared priorities for the Stockholm Special European Council in March, and on further bilateral work in Africa were issued. Copies of these and other agreed declarations have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Black Rod

Lord Cocks of Hartcliffe asked the Chairman of Committees:

    When was the advertisement seeking applications for the post of Black Rod published; in what newspapers; and on how many occasions.[HL606]

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish): The advertisement was published in The Times on 16 November 2000 and republished in that newspaper free of charge on 23 November and 7 December, and in The Guardian on 18 November.

Lord Cocks of Hartcliffe asked the Chairman of Committees:

    What criteria were used in selecting the newspapers in which the Black Rod advertisement was placed; and what was their total certified circulation. [HL607]

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: The advertisements were placed in newspapers selected to achieve the maximum circulation among potentially suitable candidates, taking account of the need to ensure value for money. I understand that the Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) figure for the average daily circulation in November 2000 of The Times was 712,592 copies and of The Guardian 398,332.

12 Feb 2001 : Column WA23

Lord Cocks of Hartcliffe asked the Chairman of Committees:

    Who drew up the advertisement for Black Rod and who was consulted in the process; when was the decision taken to advertise and by whom; and when this matter was considered by the House of Lords' Offices Committee. [HL608]

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: The advertisement was drawn up by the Establishment Office, after consultation with the Leaders of the main parties in the House and the Convenor of the Cross Benches. The decision to advertise the post of Black Rod was taken by the Finance and Staff Sub-Committee of the Offices Committee on 24 October 2000. The Sub-Committee also decided that the advertisement should be circulated to the Cabinet Secretary, the Head of the Diplomatic Service, the Defence Services Secretary at the Ministry of Defence and the Permanent Secretary to the Home Office, in accordance with previous practice.

House of Lords: Heating

Earl Attlee asked the Chairman of Committees:

    Whether the heating in the House of Lords is adequate for comfortable working, particularly on Mondays; and [HL626]

    Whether the heating system in the House of Lords is capable of providing comfortable working conditions in a severe winter; and [HL627]

    How many electric heaters are in operation in offices throughout the House of Lords; and whether there is any safety implication. [HL628]

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: I believe that in general the heating in the House of Lords is adequate for comfortable working. But satisfactory heating

12 Feb 2001 : Column WA24

control in this building is undoubtedly difficult because of its age, construction and layout. In the event of any local discomfort, if a telephone call is made to the helpdesk (telephone extension 4747), the Works Directorate will do everything it can to assist.

The heating is controlled by a computerised building energy management system which balances operational control with energy conservation. The system takes account of external temperature to calculate the optimum time to start the heating. In cold weather, particularly on a Sunday night, the shift technician makes a judgment whether to override the computer and start the heating earlier. The temperature settings in various parts of the Palace relate to the respective uses of the rooms. Occupants have widely differing comfort requirements, but heating technicians endeavour to meet personal preferences.

The works rolling programme includes heating modernisation and improvement projects. The main Palace boilers are to be renewed in 2002-03. Heating and air conditioning is being improved in three committee rooms each year. £300,000 is spent each year on the modernisation of basement plant rooms, and each summer recess, as part of the PDVN installation project, heating is modernised and other maintenance is carried out in a section of the building.

One further difficulty is that, in very cold weather, the doors which have to remain open for the Line of Route allow in a great deal of cold air. At these times it is only after 1 pm that the Royal Gallery, Prince's Chamber and the Chamber itself can really warm up.

If an occupant requires additional heating in a room, an electric heater can be provided, subject to the loading on the electrical distribution. Seventy electric heaters have been issued. They are regularly checked for safety under a portable appliance testing contract. There is clearly a safety implication if they are left on overnight or over weekends.

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