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15 Mar 1995 : Column WA47

Written Answers

Wednesday 15th March 1995

ODA: Contracted Professional Service Costs

Lord Brougham and Vaux asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How much ODA spent on contracted external professional services in 1992–93 and 1993–94; what types of services were provided; and how much expenditure related to (a) ODA's internal administration and (b) the aid programme.

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Chalker of Wallasey): Total expenditure on contracted professional services for 1992–93 and 1993–94 was £204 million and £256 million respectively. Less than 1 per cent. of this related to consultancy advice to assist our internal management of the aid programme. The remainder was aid programme expenditure relating to the provision of professional services to assist over 80 overseas governments with the implementation of their development programmes. The services provided include conventional consultancy advice (about 25 per cent. of the total) and project and programme management services provided by external private and public sector organisations such as the British Council.

Sri Lanka Negotiations: EU Statements

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What statements have been made by the European Union concerning negotiations between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The EU has made two statements on the negotiations in Sri Lanka. Copies are being placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Buckingham Palace: Traffic Delays

Lord Stoddart of Swindon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will substantiate the statement of the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department of National Heritage that "Her Majesty the Queen was consulted about the plans to pedestrianise the area in front of Buckingham Palace" (H.L. Deb. 7th March, col. 114).

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of National Heritage (Viscount Astor): Responsibility for the subject of the question has been delegated to the Royal Parks Agency under its Chief Executive, Mr. David Welch. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.

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Letter to Lord Stoddart of Swindon from the Chief Executive of the Royal Parks Agency, Mr. David Welch, dated 15 March 1995:

I have been asked by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for National Heritage to reply to your Question about consulting Her Majesty the Queen about the pedestrianisation of the area in front of Buckingham Palace.

I can confirm that when the agency first drew up proposals for the scheme, we consulted Her Majesty. Westminster City Council consulted the Lord Chamberlain's office during the planning approval procedures. Subsequently we have kept the Lord Chamberlain's office fully informed of progress.

Trident

Lord Jenkins of Putney asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have described the Trident submarine nuclear missile force as a minimum nuclear deterrent; and if so whether they will indicate the threat being minimally deterred.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Henley): We have always said that with Trident we will continue our policy of deploying only the minimum nuclear capability necessary for deterrence purposes. Our nuclear forces make a continuing contribution to maintaining stability in Europe.

Lord Jenkins of Putney asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What targets the Trident nuclear deterrent force is protecting from which potential nuclear missile launchers.

Lord Henley: Our nuclear weapons are the ultimate guarantee of this country's security and make a continuing contribution to maintaining stability in Europe.

Nuclear Missile Deterrence

Lord Jenkins of Putney asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether there are deterrent nuclear missiles under the control of other countries; and, if so, which nuclear missiles are they deterring.

Lord Henley: The deterrent role of the nuclear forces of the US, the UK and France is set out in NATO's 1991 Strategic Concept. The role and purpose of the other nuclear weapon states' nuclear weapons are matters for the governments of those countries.

Royal Marines Reserve

Lord Swinfen asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are their plans for the future of the Royal Marines Reserve.

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Lord Henley: The size of the Royal Marines Reserve has been examined to determine whether there should be some adjustment in the light of the current strategic environment. We have concluded that there should be no major reduction in strength. We continue to look at the roles of the Royal Marines Reserve to ensure the best utilisation of their many skills.

Seatbelts in Minibuses and Coaches

Lord Gainford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they propose to introduce compulsory fitment of seatbelts to minibuses and coaches used for the transport of children as foreshadowed in their announcement of 19th July 1994.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Transport (Viscount Goschen): We are today issuing for consultation draft regulations on the subject.

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Human Rights Convention and Scots Law

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether further to the reply of Lord Fraser of Carmyllie of 2 March (WA 104), they consider, in the light of the decisions of the Court of Session in Kaur v Lord Advocate 1981 SLT 322 and Moore v Secretary of State for Scotland 1985 SLT 38, that the European Convention on Human Rights may be relied upon in Scottish courts to resolve ambiguities in domestic legislation.

The Minister of State, Scottish Office (Lord Fraser of Carmyllie): There does not appear to be any decision of the Scottish courts in which they have held that the European Convention of Human Rights can or cannot be relied upon, in appropriate cases, as an aid to construction of domestic legislation. It is a matter for the Scottish courts, and ultimately for the House of Lords, to decide whether Scots law adopts the same rules of statutory interpretation which have been acknowledged to exist in an English case by the House of Lords.



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