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Universal Postal Service

Lord Greaves asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): It is Postcomm's primary statutory duty to ensure the provision of a universal postal service at a tariff uniform throughout the UK.

Postcomm currently requires Consignia plc, in the licence, to provide a universal postal service. The licence provides that any proposals by Consignia for an increase in the price of first and second-class mail needs approval by Postcomm.

Lord Greaves asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: Yes. Under the legislation Postcomm shall exercise its functions in the manner which it considers is best calculated to ensure the provision of a universal postal service.

Lord Greaves asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: The Postal Services Act 2000 lays down the universal postal service includes the delivery each working day to the home or premises of every individual in the UK.

The legislation does provide for the possibility that some addresses will receive less than this but only in exceptional circumstances. Such exceptions must be justified and agreed with Postcomm.

Gulf War Veterans: Khamisiyah Demolitions

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Bach): The Government's initial assessment of the implications for UK personnel of the Khamisiyah demolitions was published in December 1999 in a Ministry of Defence paper entitled Review of Events concerning 32 Field Hospital and the Release of Nerve Agent Arising From US Demolition of Iraqi Munitions at the Khamisiyah Depot In March 1991. The paper is available in the Library of the House and on the Internet at The paper's main conclusion was that the possible level of nerve agent exposure would have no detectable effect on human health, either in the short or long term.

The statistics recently released by the US Veterans Benefits Administration are believed to be based on remodelling of the theoretical plume of nerve agent which may have been released by the demolitions carried out subsequently. The MoD is seeking to establish from the US authorities the full scientific basis for the remodelling. Once this has been obtained and analysed, I will write to the noble Lord and place a copy of my letter in the Library of the House.

MoD Budget

Lord Vivian asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they are confident that the security of the United Kingdom will not be endangered if there is no increase in the Ministry of Defence budget for the next financial year to counter terrorism and pay for any additional overseas commitments.[HL3273]

Lord Bach: Funds to meet the additional cost of overseas commitments are sought at Main Estimates, once a taut and realistic estimate has been calculated. In 2001–02 they were shown under Request for Resources 2, Conflict Prevention. Additional funds were provided at Spring Supplementary Estimates 2001–02 to meet in full the additional costs which the Ministry of Defence had incurred on operations overseas. A similar process will be followed for 2002–03. Separate work is in progress on counter terrorism. Once realistic Estimates for this requirement have been determined, additional funding, where necessary, will be sought.

Royal Armoured Corps Regiments and Infantry Battalions: Replacement of B Vehicles

Lord Vivian asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the planned date for replacing B vehicles in Royal Armoured Corps regiments and infantry battalions.[HL3276]

Lord Bach: There are a number of programmes that will introduce replacements for operational combat

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support vehicles (B vehicles) in Royal Armoured Corps regiments and the infantry battalions. The in-service dates for these fleets vary from 2004 to 2009, with deliveries in each continuing for a number of years thereafter.

Challenger 2 Battle Tanks

Lord Vivian asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the total number of Challenger 2 battle tanks that will be bought; and if this number is fewer than 348 tanks, where the balance of tanks will come from to retain regiments at a 58-tank war establishment.[HL3277]

Lord Bach: 386 Challenger main battle tanks have been purchased. The last one is due to be delivered next month. jenny

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Historic Ships: Heritage Lottery Funding

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

    What was the total amount awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund to the preservation and conservation of historic ships in 2000 and 2001; which ships were the subject of these awards; and which bodies are responsible for managing the funds awarded to maintain the ships.[HL3063]

The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Baroness Blackstone): The Heritage Lottery Fund awarded the following amounts to the preservation and conservation of historic ships:

    2000—£4,311,081 in 12 grants;

    2001—£4,864,400 in 5 grants.

Details of the ships and the bodies responsible are given in the following table.

Heritage Lottery Fund grants awarded to the preservation of ships in 2000

ApplicantProject TitleAwarded Description Decision Date
Chatham Historic Dockyard TrustChatham Historic Dockyard— HMS Gannet Restoration £1,212,000Restoration of HMS Gannet which symbolised the technological transition from timber to steel construction March 2000
Chatham Historic Dockyard TrustHMS Gannet Development Study£260,500Restoration of HMS Gannet, the last surviving Victorian sloop of the Royal Navy May 2000
HMS Cavalier (Chatham) ConsortiumHMS Cavalier Preservation Phase II£665,781Preservation and interpretation of World War II destroyer June 2000
ss Great Britain Projectss Great Britain—Securing the Heritage Core £350,000Conservation of the fabric of the iron steamship ss Great Britain July 2000
Frinton & Walton Heritage TrustJames Stevens No 14 Lifeboat—Restoration £75,000Restoration of the James Stevens No 14 liftboat to seagoing condition for exhibition in association with Walton Maritime museum as well as being used for demonstration trips August 2000
Royal Navy Submarine MuseumHolland 1 conversion and interpretation £671,000Conversion of existing building as a viewing gallery for submarine Holland 1, also include repairs to sub August 2000 with grant increase March 2001
Clyde Maritime Trust LtdGlenlee Restoration Phase III£180,000Completion of the restoration works on the SV Glenlee as well as provision of mooring and access arrangements October 2000
Boat Museum SocietyRestoration of 1912 Tunnel Tug "Worcester" £33,600Restoration of "Worcester"; production of display and educational material December 2000
Consuta TrustConsuta Umpire Launch Restoration £38,200Restore and preserve the steam launch Consuta and display to the public at water based events December 2000
Imperial War MuseumHMS Belfast Sleep-over Accommodation £50,000To extend physical and educational access to school children and youth groups and to enhance their experience of the historic warship by providing overnight accommodation in two of HMS Belfast's original messdecks December 2000
Shropshire Union Fly-Boat Restoration Society Ltd Saturn: Relaunching the Shropshire Union Fly-Boat £50,000The restoration of the last floating example of a wooden horse-drawn Shropshire Union Fly-Boat using traditional skills. The boat will be used in waterway events and education December 2000
Warrior Preservation Trust Ltd.HMS Warrior 1860, Portsmouth—Repairs £725,000Replacement of upper deck of the HMS Warrior 1860 December 2000
Total (12)£4,311,081

Heritage Lottery Fund grants awarded to the preservation of ships in 2001

ApplicantProject TitleAwardedDescriptionDecision Date

MV Wincham Preservation Society LtdMV Wincham Renovation£47,400Renovation of 1948 shipJanuary 2001

Dunkirk Little Ships Restoration TrustSteam Tug "Challenge", Southampton—Restoration£274,500To secure the future of the only surviving steam tug involved in the Dunkirk evacuation of 1940 and give the public access to the ship and its historyMarch 2001
Mary Rose TrustMary Rose—Hull Conservation (Phase 1)£488,000To complete Phase 1 of a three phase hull conservation programme. Phase 1 is to impregnate the inner sound core of every timber to prevent cell wall shrinkageMarch 2001

HMS Trincomalee TrustHMS Trincomalee Restoration Project, Hartlepool£4,005,000Completion of the Trincomalee restoration project which aims to restore the ship HMS Trincomalee as well as establish a visitor centreJune 2001

Grimsay Boatshed TrustTurning the Tide£49,500Restoration of Grimsay boatsDecember 2001

Total (5)£4,864,400

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