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General Practitioner Lists

Baroness Greengross asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): Health authorities are responsible for maintaining lists of patients registered with general practitioners. They must remove a patient from the list when notification

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is received that the patient has left the United Kingdom for more than three months, moved to a new health authority area or has died. The National Duplicate Registration Initiative is addressing and reducing the incidence of duplicate registration. It would not be legal for a general practitioner surgery to keep a patient registered on their list where they left the United Kingdom in the 1970s.

Long-term Care

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What consideration they are giving to the call for everyone who requires long-term care to be afforded the same provision and standard of care wherever they live in the United Kingdom, whether provided in the community or in a residential home; and whether there is any action they will be taking in response to the Right to Care Campaign.[HL1158]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: There is regular communication between health Ministers in the Department of Health and the devolved administrations to ensure that we are all aware of the development of policy in each of the countries in the United Kingdom, recognising that devolution means that it is for each country to decide its own policies on those matters for which it is responsible. My honourable friend the Minister of State (Ms Jacqui Smith) will be replying to a letter sent on behalf of the Right to Care Campaign setting out the reasons for our decisions about long-term care in England and outlining the significant extra investment provided and planned in health and social services for people requiring long-term care.

Tourism: Assistance

Baroness Ludford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What assistance is being given to tourism in (a) London and (b) nationally, to counter the adverse effects on the industry resulting from (i) the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease and (ii) the events in the United States on Tuesday 11 September and subsequent related events.[HL1262]

The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Baroness Blackstone): In response to the effects of foot-and-mouth on the countryside the Government introduced a package of recovery assistance for rural businesses, including tourism businesses, worth over £300 million. The Government also gave the English Tourism Council an additional £3.8 million to promote tourism in the countryside, and the £74 million Business Recovery Fund, administered by the regional development agencies, included a number of programmes to encourage tourism. Other measures introduced to offer assistance to businesses affected by the foot-and-mouth outbreak include an extension of the Small Firms Loan

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Guarantee Scheme, the deferral of tax, VAT and national insurance contributions and hardship rate relief.

The British Tourist Authority has been given an additional £14.2 million to promote Britain overseas. Part of this was used at the time of the foot-and-mouth outbreak, and £5 million is now to be used to counter the drop in overseas visitors which has particularly affected London following the terrorist attacks on 11 September. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has also recently agreed to a request from the London Development Agency for £500,000 of DCMS funding which had previously been earmarked for overseas promotion to be used domestically, as this is thought more likely to be successful in attracting visitors to London in the immediate future.

Tourism: Marketing

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

    Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Blackstone on 7 November (WA 25) regarding the marketing of English tourism to the domestic market, which areas of marketing will have their resources reduced.[HL1276]

Baroness Blackstone: In the light of events this year and recent consultations my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport has had with senior industry representatives, Ministers are reviewing the options for stimulating better co-ordination of the public and private sector funds currently spent on marketing tourism in England.

The Government have no intention to reduce resources devoted to marketing but are determined to ensure that current funds are more effectively used. For instance, Ministers have recently given the GLA permission to switch up to £500,000 from the overseas marketing and promotion of London's tourism industry to domestic marketing. This increase in English marketing is in response to the extent to which people across Britain have changed their travel plans since 11 September, offering considerable scope for domestic tourism to attract those who might otherwise have taken trips abroad.

Landing Ships Contract

Lord Graham of Edmonton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What progress has been made with regard to placing a contract for an additional two alternative landing ships logistic. [HL1428]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Bach): We are pleased to announce that, further to my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Defence's announcement on 26 October last year in another place, (Offiical Report cols. 414–15), the Ministry of Defence has concluded

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negotiations with BAE Systems Marine and has today placed a contract worth an estimated value of £120 million with the BAE Systems Marine Govan shipyard on the Clyde to construct two alternative landing ships logistics. This is in addition to the first two ships in the class which are to be built by Swan Hunter at its Tyneside yard. BAE Systems Marine will build their vessels to Swan's design.

This represents an important enhancement to our amphibious capability as each ALSL has more than twice the carrying capacity of the ships that they will replace. This significantly increases our specialist amphibious lift capacity. The vessels being built by Swan Hunter are due to enter into service in 2004 and 2005. Work at Govan on the further two vessels should commence later this month with a planned in-service date of 2005.

This represents positive news for Clyde shipbuilding and should sustain 600 jobs at the Clyde shipyards and 200 other jobs in the region until the planned Type 45 destroyer construction commences.

Foot and Mouth Inquiries

Lord Willloughby de Broke asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Which committees of inquiry have been established to examine the foot-and-mouth epidemic; who are the chairman and members of each inquiry; what is the date on which each inquiry began or will begin its work; and what is the date on which each inquiry expects to report its findings. [HL1266]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Whitty): On 9 August 2001 my right honourable friend the Prime Minister announced two independent inquiries into the foot and mouth disease (FMD) outbreak namely the "Lessons learned" inquiry and the Royal Society study.

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The "Lessons Learned" inquiry, chaired by Dr Iain Anderson, does not have a panel of members. Instead a secretariat works directly with Dr Anderson. This inquiry will not formally begin until it is clear that it will not distract from the eradication of FMD and Dr Anderson has been asked to make recommendations six months after its official start.

The members of the committee for the Royal Society study are as follows: Professor Sir Brian Follett FRS (Chairman), Mr Peter Allen, Professor Patrick Bateson FRS, Mr David Black, Professor Fred Brown FRS, Mr Roger Eddy, Ms Suzi Leather, Professor Simon Levin, Professor Karl Linklater, Ms Jeanette Longfield, Professor Ian McConnell, Dr Angela Maclean, Professor Andrew McMichael FRS, Dr Jenny Mumford and Professor Robin Weiss FRS. The committee held its first meeting on 3 October 2001 and plans to report its findings by summer 2002.

Parliamentary Website

Baroness Ludford asked the Chairman of Committees:

    What assessment he has made of the Parliamentary website in terms of (a) content, (b) design, (c) accessibility, and (d) commitment to open government; and what comparison, if any, he has made with the websites of other legislatures, particularly the website of the European Parliament. [HL1234[]

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Tordoff): In response to concerns about the design of the Parliamentary website, the House of Lords and the House of Commons set up a joint project to commission a new design in 2000. The contract to prepare the new design was subsequently awarded to EPIC Group plc, who have examined parliamentary websites in Europe, the Commonwealth and the United States of America. The redesigned website is currently under construction, and is expected to be ready in spring 2002. It will deliver substantial improvements in all the areas identified by the noble Baroness.

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