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BSE Statistics

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Whitty: I will write to the noble Lord as soon as the figures are available.

Foot and Mouth: Inquiry

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Whitty: The Prime Minister has said that there will be an inquiry and that we will publish the results. He emphasised the importance of conducting the inquiry quickly but also said that it would be better to have an inquiry after we have eradicated the disease. The nature and timing of an inquiry is one for the Prime Minister. In any event it is likely that the Select Committee on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Public Accounts Committee and possibly others will launch their own inquiries.

Foot and Mouth Compensation: Official Secrets Act

Lord Glentoran asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Whitty: Farmers who receive compensation for animals slaughtered as a result of the foot and mouth disease outbreak are required only to sign a form (Form FM5) stating that they have received a copy of the Statement of Valuation. They would therefore not be prevented by the Official Secrets Act from giving evidence at any inquiry or otherwise disclosing details of their payments.

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The phase relating to the Official Secrets Act is included because the form used is a standard one for government contacts.

Countryside and Rights of Way Act

Lord Williams of Elvel asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they propose to commence Schedule 12 to the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.[HL622]

Lord Whitty: Schedule 12 amended the law enforcement provisions of Part I of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and came into effect on 30 January 2001.

Home Energy Efficiency Scheme

Baroness Maddock asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is required of agencies managing the Warm Front Scheme for the Government in terms of:


    (a) publication of data on works carried out under the scheme;


    (b) the form in which information is made available;


    (c) the frequency with which it is updated;


    (d) the content of published information; and


    (e) what, if anything, is exempt from publication.[HL629]

Lord Whitty: As part of their contract for managing the Home Energy Efficiency Scheme in England, both scheme managers provide free of charge to all local authorities in England details of the work carried out in their area. This includes the number of properties improved through the scheme together with details of the energy efficiency improvement achieved.

Both scheme managers will shortly publish a report setting out the performance of the scheme over the past year. From this autumn, they will also begin to publish quarterly reports on their web-sites on the performance of the scheme. These reports will include the number of homes improved and the average energy efficiency improvement achieved, as well as further details based on suggestions received from interested groups. The scheme managers have also responded to ad hoc requests for information from interested groups.

The department is generally content with the publication of most information relating to the performance of the scheme. The specific exceptions are where it relates to the details of an individual householder or property in which case prior written approval is required from the individual concerned; or the information requested can only be provided at disproportionate cost in which case an appropriate fee may be charged by the scheme managers.

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Baroness Maddock asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What information will be published to enable an independent assessment of the extent to which works carried out under the Warm Front Scheme remove individual households from fuel poverty and make a general contribution to targets contained in the draft United Kingdom Fuel Poverty Strategy.[HL630]

Lord Whitty: The Home Energy Efficiency Scheme managers shall shortly publish a report setting out performance of the scheme over the past year. This will include details of the average energy efficiency improvements achieved under the scheme. The scheme does not collect income details for each household. Therefore it is not possible to determine on an individual basis whether the person has been moved out of fuel poverty. In any case it would not be possible to publish details of individual cases without the written permission of the person concerned.

A major two year study into the relationship between fuel poverty and health is planned to start this winter. Part of this study will involve considering the effectiveness of the scheme in moving individual households out of fuel poverty. The steering group for this study includes representatives from a number of external groups with an interest in this area.

Peace: Government Support for Education

Lord Jenkins of Putney asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they would support the development in London of a museum or similar education body with the object of encouraging a culture of peace.[HL392]

The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Baroness Blackstone): The Department for Culture, Media and Sport sponsors the Imperial War Museum which, together with its major permanent exhibition about the holocaust opened in June 2000, is a powerful statement for peace and an objective historical resource about war and its impact on society. The Imperial War Museum and the Holocaust Exhibition are a major educational facility visited by children and adults from this country and from abroad and are an important resource for the national curriculum. In November 2000 a Holocaust Memorial Day education pack, which is a teaching resource for schools, was launched at the then Department for Education and Employment. The Government's policy is to increase access to existing museums rather than to create new ones.

Equality: Ministerial Responsibilities

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Morgan on 5 July, which specific aspects of equality policy are respectively the responsibility of (a) the

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    Secretary of State for Trade and Industry; (b) the Home Secretary; and (c) the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. [HL242]

The Minister of State, Cabinet Office (Baroness Morgan of Huyton): Ministerial responsibilities are set out in The List of Ministerial Responsibilities published by the Cabinet Office.

Government Departments:Diversity and Equal Opportunities

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether research has been conducted into the prevalence of discrimination in government departments on grounds of sexual orientation; and, if so, with what results?[HL311]

Baroness Morgan of Huyton: On 26 June 2001, the Cabinet Office published a report on the results of a Civil Service-wide survey of the opinions of staff on diversity and equal opportunities issues, a copy of which has been placed in the Libraries of both Houses. Overall, this showed that opinion generally did not differ significantly as a result of sexuality across the broad range of issues covered by the survey, but there were concerns among gay, lesbian and bisexual staff about specific questions of unfair treatment.

House of Lords:Waste Paper Recycling

Lord Marlesford asked the Chairman of Committees:

    What arrangements exist for the recycling of waste paper (other than "white paper") generated in that part of the parliamentary estate occupied by the House of Lords.[HL540]

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Tordoff): At present, paper generated in that part of the parliamentary estate occupied by the House of Lords is recovered and incinerated. The incineration process produces electricity which is used on the parliamentary estate.

Arrangements for recycling waste paper are currently being introduced across the parliamentary estate. The House of Lords is actively involved in energy conservation and waste management in conjunction with the Works Services Directorate and will participate in the waste paper recycling programme.

PDVN: Unplanned Interruptions

Lord Elton asked the Chairman of Committees:

    On how many occasions in the 12 months to 30 June it was impossible for users of the Parliamentary Data and Video Network to establish remote access to the system.[HL565]

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The Chairman of Committees: The Parliamentary Communications Directorate (PCD) is responsible for the Parliamentary Data and Video Network (PDVN). PCD usually only record the details of network failures during normal working hours. In the year prior to 30 June 2001, the PDVN was recorded as being generally unavailable as a result of unplanned interruptions four times during normal working hours. One unplanned interruption was noted during a weekend.

There were also five planned interruptions at weekends.

PCD does not record problems experienced by individual users in accessing the network as an overall service interruption provided that the network is still accessible to other users.

Lord Elton asked the Chairman of Committees:

    During the 12 months to 30 June what was the total number of hours during which it was impossible for users of the Parliamentary Data and Video Network to establish remote access to the system.[HL566]

The Chairman of Committees: The unplanned interruptions for the year to 30 June 2001 resulted in a

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loss of eight hours during working days and 17 hours over one weekend. PCD does not record the hours of unavailability due to planned interruptions at weekends.

PCD Helpdesk

Lord Elton asked the Chairman of Committees:

    During the 12 months to 30 June what was the average time users of the Parliamentary Data and Video Network (a) in the parliamentary estate and (b) accessing the system remotely had to wait for a response to a telephoned request for help.[HL567]

The Chairman of Committees: The average time to answer a telephone call to the PCD Helpdesk during working hours is recorded at eight seconds. However, the call handling software in use, and the way this data is currently recorded, may mean that eight seconds understates the average wait experienced by callers. PCD is therefore making changes to the call handling software to address this problem and allow more accurate recording of average waits. As all calls are treated equally, there is no difference in the average wait between calls from the parliamentary estate and calls from a remote location.



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