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Broadband

The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): The Answer given on 11 March 2003 drew on the definition of broadband given by the Broadband

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Stakeholder Group. This definition includes technologies operating at 500–600kbps, which allow internet access at approximately 10 times the speed of a standard 56kbps dial-up modem.

The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What data transfer speed, expressed in terms of kbit/second, forms the basis for the commitment, outlined in the Statement on the European Council in Barcelona by the Prime Minister on 18 March 2002, to deliver broadband technology that will allow "internet access at 10 times the present speed" across the European Union by 2005. [HL2141]

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: My right honourable friend the Prime Minister's Statement refers to the commonly available broadband products in the 500–600kbps range. These allow internet access at approximately 10 times the speed of a standard 56kbps dial-up modem.

Tourism and Leisure: Start-up Funding

Lord Fearn asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What start-up help and funding are available to small new businesses wishing to enter (a) the tourism market; and (b) the leisure industry. [HL2206]

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: The Small Business Service (SBS) provides a range of support programmes designed to help small businesses in all sectors (including start-ups) to obtain finance. These include regional venture capital funds; the Phoenix Fund; and the Early Growth funding programme.

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Those wishing to start up a business in the tourism and leisure sectors, as in other sectors, may be eligible to apply for enterprise grants, regional selective assistance, Smart awards, help from the Small Firms Loan Guarantee Scheme (SFLGS) and other forms of support. From 1 April an extension to the scope and eligibility for the SFLGS will increase the number of businesses, including within the tourism and leisure sectors, which can benefit from the scheme.

In addition, SBS provides advisory support to start-up businesses through the network of business link operators. Business link services are either free or charged at affordable rates. People wanting to access support can contact their local business link operator via telephone on 0845 600 9006 or via the website www.businesslink.org.

BSE

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Lord Whitty on 22 May 2002 (WA 104), whether they will update the information in that Answer, in the same format, showing the number of cases of BSE confirmed in Britain each week since 10 May 2002, together with a moving total of cases for each week period.[HL2155]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Whitty): The number of active and passive surveillance cases of BSE confirmed in Great Britain during each week of 2002 and in the current year to 7 March and the moving annual totals of confirmed and reported cases for each 52-week period are shown below.

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The number of active and passive surveillance cases of BSE confirmed in Great Britain during each week of 2002 and in the current year to 7 March, and the moving annual totals of confirmed and reported cases for each 52-week period

2002 2003
Passive surveillance Active surveillance ReportedPassive surveillance Active surveillance Reported
Week NoNumber confirmed each weekRunning 52 week totalNumber confirmed each weekRunning 52 week totalRunning 52 week totalWeek NoNumber confirmed each weekRunning 52 week totalNumber confirmed each weekRunning 52 week totalRunning 52 week total
1075102611,207105130593883
21973402591,2092750115608870
32274202591,2083248110618857
412742513101,2004247128595850
52733213311,201544737581835
625747293591,184654537559832
715731303851,185764444533819
8972873901,1828544037563798
917733144021,174964295554787
101073344051,16010342213563780
1116743294331,151
121974904321,153
1312756344661,146
14073704641,152
1526753134741,154
162751295011,156
172075805011,162
1816755135141,169
19774985191,162
201574915191,161
217740125311,158
221674195401,154
23073215411,135
2417735225611,140
25972945651,139
265721165811,141
27070405811,141
287694195991,125
29168505991,108
304666116101,101
31466376171,083
3222674166281,083
33964796371,059
347646106331,054
35564856321,051
36363486321,038
37863146361,034
38762856221,021
397605196351,003
40115837632983
4165775616975
42855511619956
4395492596945
4445217597938
451352218600944
4655182577929
471352012586911
482254123581904
49351931606898
50115196596888
5155129593884
5215130593881

1. Confirmation of disease may be affected by delays in diagnosis at the laboratory or by administrative matters. It does not necessarily reflect the occurrence of disease.

2. The totals for reported cases refer only to passive surveillance, ie the reporting of animals as clinical suspects. Cases identified by means of active surveillance are not reported as suspects and are therefore not included in these figures.


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Disposal of Fallen Stock

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What system will be made available to farmers and others from 1 May 2003 for the disposal of fallen stock.[HL2212]

Lord Whitty: The collection and disposal industries advise that there is sufficient capacity within the existing infrastructure to deal with the estimated additional quantities of fallen stock, by incineration and/or rendering, arising from the ban on burial which comes into effect from 1 May. However, we are aware that the new rules will cause difficulties for some farmers and we have, since April of last year, been discussing with farmers and the disposal industry setting up a national fallen stock collection and disposal service. Although progress has been made on the operation of a scheme, we have not been able to reach an agreement on funding. Nevertheless, we are continuing our dialogue with the industry and plan to write shortly to individual farmers about the new rules.

Game Licences

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they expect to complete their consideration of the implications of changing the system of game licences.[HL2156]

Lord Whitty: Considering the implications of changing the game licensing system is a substantial and

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complex task. At present the Government are therefore unable to give a firm timetable for the undertaking of such an assessment.

Tourism and Heritage

Lord Fearn asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What liaison there is between the regional development agencies and the regional tourist boards on (a) tourism and (b) heritage.[HL2203]

The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Baroness Blackstone): From 1 April 2003 the regional development agencies will play a stronger part in the strategic leadership of tourism. The regional tourist boards are their natural partners and will be funded by them at a level equivalent to current regional project funding received from the English Tourism Council for at least three years. Guidance has been issued to RDAs on how tourism should be covered in their corporate plans and regional economic strategies. This is being followed, including the development of regional sustainable tourism strategies, with which the RTBs are closely involved.

Heritage sites play an important part in attracting visitors to all regions. The regional historic environment forums established by English Heritage will consider the links between heritage and the regional tourism agenda. Each forum will expect to work closely with the RDAs and RTBs in taking this forward.

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