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UK-US Ballistic Missile Defence

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Earl Howe: UK co-operation with the US on ballistic missile defence takes place under the auspices of a memorandum of understanding which has been in place since 1985. UK involvement includes government-to-government research contracts; information exchange arrangements; joint trials and experiments and direct contracts with UK companies and universities.

Economic Activity: Definition

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether (a) housewives, (b) farmers' wives, (c) unmarried mothers without paid employment, are categorised in official statistics as "economically inactive" and what is their definition of "economic inactivity".

The Minister of State, Department of Social Security (Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish): The official statistics based on the Labour Force Survey use the International Labour Organisation (ILO) guidelines for defining economic activity. All persons aged 16 and over who are in employment (including paid employees, the self-employed and unpaid family workers) or are ILO unemployed (not in employment, seeking work in the past four weeks and available to start in the next two weeks) are classified as economically active. People who are neither in employment nor ILO unemployed are classified as economically inactive.

Road Works: Advance Warning Signs

Lord Finsberg asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will instruct the Highways Agency that when undertaking major road works they should erect suitable advance warning signs and remove those signs on the completion of the work.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Transport (Viscount Goschen): No. This is a procedural matter of the Highways Agency, and I have asked their Chief Executive, Mr. Lawrie Haynes, to write to my noble friend.

Letter to Lord Finsberg from the Chief Executive of the Highways Agency, Mr. Lawrie Haynes, dated 21st May 1996.

As you know, the Minister for Aviation and Shipping, The Viscount Goschen has asked me to reply to your Parliamentary Question concerning the erection of suitable advance warning signs for major road works and the removal of these signs on completion.

It is already our policy to erect temporary advance warning signs for major road works, when it is likely that road users will encounter delays as a result. There are a range of signs available. These allow us to divert traffic from the current route to avoid delays and can assist drivers in planning their future journeys to take account of roadworks, as well as raising general awareness of possible hazards directly ahead

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related to road works. We do not erect advance warning of road works where any resulting diversions would affect road safety.

We already require contractors to remove advance warning signs on the completion of works.

Rail Freight Operations

Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will list for each of the private or publicly-owned rail freight operators, any commercial restrictions placed on them in respect of the carriage of containers and/or swap bodies within the United Kingdom.

Viscount Goschen: Privatised rail freight businesses are free to compete in any market. Commercial decisions regarding Freightliner and Railfreight Distribution, which have yet to be sold, are for the BR Board.

Mozambique: Oil Pollution Preparedness

Lord Rodney asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What action they are taking to assist the Government of Mozambique in relation to sensitive coastal regions as part of the Africa programme (IMO-MEPC 37) to implement the Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Cooperation Convention; and whether any such action includes direct finance and the use of the DTI Breeze project.

Viscount Goschen: Her Majesty's Government, through the Overseas Development Administration, is providing funding for a project to improve contingency planning for oil spills in Africa, which involves Mozambique. No support is being provided through the Department of Trade and Industry Breeze project.

Liberian Maritime Registry (Operation)

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the present civil war in Liberia has any effect on the Liberian flag under which the world's second largest fleet sails.

Viscount Goschen: The operation of the Liberian registry is a matter for the Liberian maritime authorities.

Post Offices

Baroness Castle of Blackburn asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many branch offices of the Post Office have been privatised since they announced that they were not going to denationalise it; and what reduction of staff has taken place since that date.

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The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Fraser of Carmyllie): I understand from the Post Office that, since November 1994, 110 Crown post offices have been converted to agency status and that, since then, some 750 staff have chosen to leave Post Office Counters Ltd on voluntary redundancy terms for a variety of reasons. It is not possible to say how many of these staff did so as a result of the conversions.

Trade Marks: Retail Services

Lord Lucas of Chilworth asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will make freely available the opinion on the registration for retail service marks submitted to the Registrar of Trade Marks; and if not, why not.

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie: The opinion commissioned by the Department of Trade and Industry contains information relating to individual trade mark applications which are pending. It would therefore be inappropriate for this opinion to be made freely available.

Lord Lucas of Chilworth asked Her Majesty's Government:

    In the light of their Written Answer of 20th December 1995, whether the Government has considered the opinion of Mr. Christopher Morcom Q.C. submitted by the British Retail Consortium in relation to the registration of retail service marks; and, if so, whether this opinion differs from the opinion commissioned by the Department of Trade and Industry.

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie: The Government has received the submission of the British Retail Consortium ("BRC") containing the opinion of Mr. Christopher Morcom QC concerning the registration of marks for retail services, and has passed the opinion to the Registrar of Trade Marks. The Registrar is considering both opinions in relation to his responsibilities under current legislation.

Scottish Fishery Management (Trout and Char)

The Earl of Dundonald asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why there is no close season for rainbow trout.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Scottish Office (The Earl of Lindsay): Since rainbow trout do not normally reproduce naturally in Scotland, there is no statutory close season.

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The Earl of Dundonald asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they consider that the lack of close season legislation for rainbow trout and char is being exploited by unscrupulous anglers, to allow them to take protected brown trout out of season.

The Earl of Lindsay: The Government have no evidence that this is a problem. However, as it is an offence to take brown trout in the close season whatever the pretext, those responsible can be prosecuted.

The Earl of Dundonald asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they consider that fishery management and the operation of district fishery boards and protection orders are made difficult, if not impossible,

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    by the lack of close season legislation for certain species.

The Earl of Lindsay: Those responsible for the management of Scotland's freshwater fisheries have not made representations to that effect.

The Earl of Dundonald asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the species of char or Arctic char are covered by any close season legislation; and

    Whether they have any plans to introduce a close season for rainbow trout and char or Arctic char.

The Earl of Lindsay: There is no statutory close season for char, also known as Arctic char. The Government have no plans to introduce a close season for that species or for rainbow trout.



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