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The Lord President of the Council (Lord Williams of Mostyn): There are two main sources of public funds available to support the costs of work related to the parliamentary duties of Opposition Front-Bench spokesmen.
If their travel is not on party business, Front-Bench spokesmen may recover the costs of travel on parliamentary business within the United Kingdom from the Peers' Reimbursement Allowance scheme, on the same basis as Back-Bench Members. In common with other Members, Front-Bench spokesmen may not claim subsistence costs arising from such journeys under the Peers' Reimbursement Allowance scheme, since such allowances can only be claimed after attendance at a sitting of the House or a committee.
Cranborne money is the money provided by the House to fund the Opposition parties in the House of Lords. The House agreed to a substantial uprating of Cranborne money funds in 2002. It is up to each party to choose how to use the Cranborne money funds allocated to them.
Sir Alistair Graham and Professor Hazel Genn will take up appointment from 1 October 2003 in succession to Ann Abraham, who stood down from the committee on appointment as the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration and Health Service Commissioner for England, and Professor Alice Brown, who resigned from the committee on appointment as the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman.
Patricia Hodgson and Brian Woods-Scawen will take up appointment from 1 January 2004 in succession to Frances Heaton and Sir Anthony Cleaver, who will both step down from the committee at the end of this year, on completion of their second terms of office.
The Prime Minister is very grateful to Ann Abraham, Alice Brown, Frances Heaton and Sir Anthony for their work on the committee and for the significant contribution they have made to standards in public life. bjc
The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): The replacement stone being used in the current programme of restoration of internal courtyards within the Palace is an oolitic limestone from Clipsham in Rutland. It is supplied at a cost of £17 per cubic foot (excluding VAT). Quality control is carried out by a chartered surveyor from the project management consultants, who is on site whenever necessary (generally some two and a half days a week).
Lord Bach: In the United Kingdom, thimerosol is more commonly known as thiomersal. According to the information leaflets provided with the vaccines to which the noble Lord refers, the anthrax vaccine and the pertussis vaccine manufactured in the UK contained thiomersal. No mention is made of thiomersal in the leaflets that accompanied the pertussis vaccine manufactured in France or the plague vaccine manufactured in the US. The position regarding cholera vaccine is being researched and I will write to the noble Lord when work is complete and place a copy of my letter in the Library of the House. I should like to correct part of the statement I made on 15 July (HL Deb, col. 836). Pertussis vaccine was used as an adjuvant, not to protect "against pertussis".
Lord Bach: We make every effort to minimise the impact of military operations on the Iraqi civilian population. We have no means of ascertaining the number of people killed or injured during the coalition's military action.
Lord Bach: Unexploded ordnance in Iraq includes munitions from the Iran-Iraq war as well as mines laid by Iraqi forces, ordnance fired or dropped by both sides during recent hostilities and stores of ammunition and other ordnance left by Iraqi military and paramilitary forces.
Lord Bach: The Ministry of Defence is announcing the publication of a new report entitled Improving the Delivery of Cross Departmental Support and Services for Veterans, which the department commissioned from King's College London last year. The publication of this study demonstrates the commitment of the Government as a whole to the
This study is a preliminary scoping study and will inform the direction of policy and research. It therefore represents an important contribution to the veterans initiative. The report conclusions confirm that "For many (indeed most) personnel military life is 'a great leveller'; it is a positive experience (especially for disadvantaged youths who enter service early), allowing them to enjoy a more favourable life trajectory", and that "Over three-quarters of service leavers do well and gain employment after leaving".
The report finds that there is little peer-reviewed published UK literature on outcomes of veterans, and that most published research concerns US service and ex-service personnel, from which it would be inaccurate to draw extrapolations. It also shows that mental health is an important issuemost personnel do not develop problems as a result of their service, but the small percentage that do can face a range of difficulties in civilian life, including access to appropriate treatment.
The Government welcome this report and would like to thank Professor Wessely and his team for their work. The report recommends a number of actions, as well as further research on ways to help the most vulnerable groups. We can confirm that we will look in detail at these recommendations and will evaluate them against existing policies and activities.
Lord Bach: The existing night low flying system (NLFS) will remain unchanged in principle, but some adjustments are being made to its structure and management to improve the efficiency of the system and reflect an increasing requirement for helicopters to be able to train at night.
The NFLS is divided into two by a line from Swansea in the west to Colchester in the east. The southern area is allocated to rotary-wing aircraft and the northern area to fixed-wing aircraft, with small exceptions to account for locations where rotary-wing
The Government understand that military low flying training is disturbing, and can reassure the House that there is not expected to be a significant impact for those on the ground as a result of these changes. The existing basis of the NFLS will remain, and for most of the country there will be no change to the structure of the system. Where change is being introduced, the impact is generally expected to be limited to the possibility that those on the ground may witness different aircraft types than may currently be the case, and will be small in scale. We have considered the requirement for a sustainability review and recognise that some parts of the changes may lead to such a requirement, although, as stated, the overall impact is likely to be small. Where necessary we can confirm that more detailed work may be carried out. Detailed environmental impact and sustainability studies are being carried out in respect of AH 64, which is likely to be one of the major users of the revised NLFS.
Finally, night flying is essential if our aircrews are going to meet the demands that are placed upon them. These changes will assist with these demands.
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