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The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Chalker of Wallasey): The Departmental Minutes refer to projects which are being supported by the Overseas Development Administration (ODA) under the Aid and Trade Provision (ATP) soft loan financing arrangements which enable the banks to lend at concessional rates. Under new arrangements for ATP agreed in 1992, the ODA pays the aid portion of a soft loan to the bank or banks making the loan during the implementation period of the project, rather than, as previously, during the period over which the soft loan is disbursed. The former is much shorter than the latter. As a result the banks would be exposed to additional charges if the tax regime relating to the lump sum payments were to change over the disbursement period of the loan. To safeguard the banks against such a potential liability, the ODA provides an indemnity against possible tax changes. This indemnity creates a contingent liability on the aid programme, which therefore falls to be reported to Parliament.
|Country||Project||Amount of liability £|
|1 Thailand||Mini Hydros||1,346,909|
|2 Indonesia||Samarinda Power Plant||3,856,568|
|3 Indonesia||Samarinda Transmission Line||500,778|
|4 Indonesia||Piston Engine Research Laboratory||1,436,633|
|5 China||New Nanjing Airport||2,657,844|
The contingent liabilities for Projects 1 and 2 were incurred in, respectively, August 1994 and March 1995 and it is regretted that they were not brought to the attention of the House at the proper time. Those for Projects 3, 4 and 5 were incurred during the summer Recess. It was necessary to give the indemnities urgently to avoid delaying the start of the projects. The Minutes were placed in the Libraries of both Houses and copies were sent to the Public Accounts Committee and the Foreign Affairs Committee.
The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Fraser of Carmyllie): The Secretary General of the Commission wrote to all member states earlier this year requesting details of European Regional Development Fund grants to companies which were subsequently privatised. A list of such grants in the UK was sent in reply.
(c) As the noble Lord will be aware, the House agreed to a new Judicial Standing Order on 17 October the purpose of which is to give the Appeal Committee power to waive, modify or suspend fees, either wholly or in part, in any case where the Committee are of the opinion that the requirement to pay such fees might cause hardship.
|Petitions of appeal(mandatory fees)|
|Presentation (following successful petition for leave to appeal)||500|
|Presentation (not following petition for leave)||1,000||[1,370]|
|Lodging statement and appendix and setting down||3,000|||
|Petitions of appeal(occasional fees)|
|Waiver of security||100|||
|First petition for extension of time||200|||
|Second petition for extension||300|||
|Third or subsequent petition for extension||500||[1,371]|
|Other interlocutory petition, if agreed||200|||
|Any interlocutory petition, if opposed||500||[1,150]|
(c) The new scale of fees is intended to reflect the perception that previous fees were too low in relation to the average of all costs of an appeal to this House. I refer the noble Lord to the debate on the previous uprating (13th June 1994, H.L. Deb., col. 1438). In setting new levels the intention is that the fees should not, on average, represent more than 5 per cent. of the total costs to the paying party, but that they should contribute significantly to the costs of the administration of the judicial functions of the House.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Cumberlege): The Government have today laid their response to this report in the House. The Government warmly welcome the committee's report, particularly its commendation of the achievements of the National Health Service Breast Screening Programme and its support for the new strategic framework for the development of cancer services.
The Government are very concerned about the United Kingdom's high mortality rate from breast cancer, and are fully committed to reducing the number of deaths. That is why we introduced the national breast screening programmeone of the first of its kind in the worldand have included this as a target in the Health of the Nation. Through our strategic framework for cancer services we aim to ensure the delivery of high quality treatment and care.
The Earl of Courtown: The review of the Roger Casement records, requested by the Institute of Contemporary British History under the Open Government Initiative, has been completed. I am pleased to announce that my department's records will today be released at the Public Record Office.
The Earl of Courtown: My right honourable friend the Home Secretary has issued directions to the National Lottery Charities Board under the terms of Sections 26 and 39 of the National Lottery etc. Act 1993 in respect of various policy and financial matters. The policy directions are meant to ensure, inter alia, that the board achieves over time the distribution of money to a reasonably wide spread of recipients, including small organisations and those operating purely at a local level, and across a reasonably wide range of charitable (whether or not charitable in law), benevolent and philanthropic activity.