|Previous Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|
Lord Morris of Castle Morris: My Lords, will the noble Earl inform the House what funds have been made available by the West to do something about addressing the problems evident in the former Soviet Union's nuclear industry? Will he give us an estimate as to what percentage of that figure has actually been received?
Earl Ferrers: My Lords, the main effort to help Russia is being channelled through the European Union's technical assistance programme. The United Kingdom paid about 16 per cent. of the budget. Four hundred million ecu were committed for all Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, of which 173 million ecu were committed to Russia. The United Kingdom contributed 11.5 million ecu to the nuclear safety account and 700 million ecu were committed to Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union through the international community, of which 227 million goes to Russia.
Lord Ashley of Stoke: My Lords, is the noble Earl aware that there is nothing more exasperating than having to pay the bills caused by the negligence of somebody else? But, in some cases, one has to consider not who was responsible but who will suffer. We shall
Earl Ferrers: My Lords, I can quite understand the noble Lord, Lord Ashley of Stoke, being concerned about that. But you cannot just walk into another country and put everything right. That is the responsibility of that other country. We are seeing a legacy of vast civil and military nuclear programmes, poor safety standards and a lack of concern for the environment. The only way in which improvements can be made is through international co-operation, in which, as I have tried to explain, the United Kingdom has played a significant part.
Lord Callaghan of Cardiff: My Lords, while no one will differ from the noble Earl's view that the responsibility is that of Russia, are not the consequences felt here? Are not some of the farmers in the Welsh hills still feeling the consequences of Chernobyl? Will the noble Earl please push the Government and all governments into ensuring that that disaster does not happen and that we assume as much responsibility as we properly can in order to ensure our own safety in the future?
Earl Ferrers: My Lords, I agree entirely with the noble Lord, Lord Callaghan, that a disaster has consequences outside Russia. He is perfectly right to refer to the consequences suffered by some people after the Chernobyl disaster. However, that Western/Russian study, which was made only a short while ago, indicated that, while risks remain, the safety improvements that have already been carried out make it unlikely that there will be a repeat performance. One can never say that it will not happen, but I assure the noble Lord that we are doing our best, both internationally and through the European Union, to ensure that it does not happen again.
The Lord Privy Seal (Viscount Cranborne): My Lords, of course, as always, I am in your Lordships' hands but I am aware that there is a fourth Question and only five minutes in which to take it. It may be that your Lordships will feel that we should move on.
The Viscount of Falkland: My Lords, I thank the noble Viscount for that rather bleak reply, because I believe that we have all had a rather jolly time. By all accounts, the lottery seems to have been a great success. It has obviously been a lot jollier for a very small number of people. Will the great impetus from the opening draw be maintained? I hope that the Government will ensure that the recipients of funds from the lottery will receive them rather sooner than was
Viscount Astor: My Lords, the first week of the National Lottery has been a resounding success with around £45 million worth of tickets sold and a prize pool of £22 million from which well over 1 million people benefited. That is not a small number of people, which the noble Viscount seemed to imply.
The first contribution to good causes of £12.65 million was made to the National Lottery Distribution Fund for the five good causes on Tuesday 22nd November. The National Heritage Memorial Fund, the Sports Council, the Arts Councils of Wales and Northern Ireland, the Scottish Arts Council and the Sports Councils for Wales and Northern Ireland have already issued guidance to applicants for money. The Arts Council of England is to issue its guidance today; the Millennium Commission on 28th November; and the Scottish Sports Council on 1st December.
Lord Donoughue: My Lords, we have heard a lot about all the money rolling in. Will he tell us when the charities will benefit from the money rolling out? Will he confirm that the charities board, the distributory body, is not yet operational? Will he tell us when that body will be operating and distributing the money to British charities?
Viscount Astor: My Lords, the National Lottery Charities Board faces possibly the most difficult task of all the distributing bodies, with well over 700,000 potential applicants for funds. It seems to be sensible that it should make sure that it gets it right, even if it means some delays in delivering the grants. It will be somewhat behind the other distributing bodies.
The Earl of Gowrie: My Lords, is my noble friend aware that, although I have criticised the Government for the first ever cash cut in the history of the Arts Council--a cut which Scotland and Wales were spared--the National Lottery is, nevertheless, the best news for the arts and heritage industries in this century? From wherever one stands, the Government should be roundly congratulated.
Viscount Astor: My Lords, I welcome the support of my noble friend Lord Gowrie for the National Lottery. I am sure that he will be a distinguished chairman of the Arts Council and will have to make some difficult but, I am certain, wise decisions when it comes to dispensing the money.
Lord Molloy: My Lords, it is a fact that the National Lottery is a great success. However, is the noble Viscount aware that it would become an even greater success if there were more prizes rather than the exceedingly large ones that exist at present? The
Lord Howell: My Lords, while we very much congratulate the Government on the success of the lottery, is the noble Viscount aware that charities have a great and legitimate concern? The over-the-top promotion of the first lottery, upon which £47 million was spent, is already leading to great concern among charities that they will suffer considerably, despite the 6p in the pound that they will receive from a lottery ticket which is designed to compensate charities for that loss. Can the Government assure us that they will keep such matters under observation? Will they also ensure that the BBC honours its Charter when advertising the lottery?
Viscount Astor: My Lords, we made that commitment during the passage of the Bill through your Lordships' House and I reiterate it. With regard to the BBC, it is a matter for the governors of the corporation to decide the conduct on the promotion of the lottery.
Lord Strathclyde: My Lords, at a convenient moment after 3.30 p.m. my noble friend Lord Goschen will, with the leave of the House, repeat a Statement that is to be made in another place on Railtrack. That will be followed by my noble friend Lady Cumberlege who will, again with the leave of the House, repeat a Statement on Discrimination against Disabled People.
The Lord Chancellor (Lord Mackay of Clashfern): My Lords, I beg to introduce a Bill to make provision about interest on judgment debts and arbitral awards expressed in a currency other than sterling; to make further provision as to marriages entered into by unmarried persons under a law which permits polygamy; to make provision for choice of law rules in tort and delict; and for connected purposes.
Lord Stallard: My Lords, I beg to introduce a Bill to amend the Professions Supplementary to Medicine Act 1960 to permit the title of podiatrist to be used as an alternative to that of state registered chiropodist under the terms of that Act.
|Next Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|