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Rural Poverty: Alleviation

The Earl of Sandwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: Direct assistance to poor people, including the rural poor, is an important element of the Overseas Development Administration's (ODA) approach to sustainable economic and social development. This includes the provision of basic services as well as enhancing income-generating opportunities. We also support policies that promote wide participation in the benefits of economic growth.

ODA recognises the vital contribution made by NGOs in the context of direct assistance to the poor, which is why it collaborates with them both through the Joint Funding Scheme which supports NGO-sponsored projects and through its bilateral country programmes.

Port of Tyne: Transfer Scheme

Lord Brabazon of Tara asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Transport (Viscount Goschen): The transfer scheme submitted by the Port of Tyne Authority contains a number of provisions which, in our view, would constrain the operation and development of the port. My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Transport has considered the arguments offered by the authority about the provisions in question and the legal position, and is now minded to make his own transfer scheme under Section 12 of the Ports Act 1991.

Before preparing such a scheme, there is a requirement to consult the Port Authority. I have today written to the Chairman of the Port of Tyne Authority to seek the views of the board.

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Special Waste Regulations 1996: Guidance

Lord Brabazon of Tara asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Answer by the Earl Ferrers on 1st April (WA9), what guidance will be issued on the Special Waste Regulations 1996.

The Minister of State, Department of the Environment (Earl Ferrers): Detailed guidance on the Special Waste Regulations 1996 has been issued today in the form of a joint circular from the Department of the Environment, the Scottish Office Agriculture, Environment and Fisheries Department and the Welsh Office. A copy of the circular has been placed in the Library.

The guidance was issued in draft form for public consultation in 1995. The final text takes account of the many comments received. It gives an outline of the procedures which are to be followed by those who handle special waste and incorporates in a separate annex technical guidelines on the definition of special waste, technical aspects of assessing whether a particular consignment of waste is special, and the hazard criteria which apply.

Copies of the circular have been distributed to local authorities, and the Environment Agency and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, who will have a supervisory role in the system of controls.

In addition, we have produced a free 10-page leaflet on the regulations. This is designed for those who handle special waste and answers some of the main questions which are likely to arise.

Warble Fly Treatments: Research

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Answer given by Lord Lucas on 4th June (WA116) how members of the two Houses of Parliament may gain access to research carried out by commercial suppliers of treatments for warble fly.

Lord Lucas: Under Section 118 of the Medicines Act 1968 all information received by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate from commercial companies in support of marketing authorisations is held in commercial confidence. Further information should therefore be sought directly from the companies concerned.

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether at any time since the introduction of warble fly treatments they have commissioned any research into the possible effects on cattle and humans; and, if so, with what results.

Lord Lucas: Treatment of animals infested with warble fly has been compulsory since 1978, although warble fly treatments were available before this. No research into the effects of warble fly treatments on cattle and humans has been commissioned by the Government since then and there are no plans to do so.

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Before they may be marketed in the UK, all veterinary medicines, including treatments for warble fly, must be authorised in accordance with EC and UK legislation. This requires the assessment of research and other data provided by applicant companies against statutory criteria of safety, quality and efficacy to ensure that the products are safe and effective when used in accordance with the manufacturers' instructions.

Orchards: Grubbing Up Statistics

Lord Renton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many acres of orchard in England and Wales were grubbed up in 1995, how much was paid in subsidies to growers who grubbed them up, how many tonnes of fruit were estimated to have been lost thereby, and whether the Government will now modify the grubbing up policy.

Lord Lucas: Under the EC Apple Orchard Grubbing Up Grant Scheme 1994/5, 2,310 hectares were grubbed in England and a total of £10.2 million was paid to growers. It is not possible to predict the volume of fruit which might have been produced on the grubbed area. There were no applications in Wales and this scheme closed on 31st January 1995.

Family Law Bill [H. L.]: Government Amendments

Viscount Montgomery of Alamein asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will make available information outlining the effect of the amendments they have tabled to the Family Law Bill for Report stage in another place.

The Lord Chancellor (Lord Mackay of Clashfern): A copy of this information has been placed in the Library.

Former Yugoslavia:Army Reserve and TA Call Out

Lord Burnham asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What plans they have to call out further Army Reserve and Territorial Army personnel in support of the operations in the former Yugoslavia.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Earl Howe): Approval has been given to call out up to 251 members of the Army Reserve and Territorial Army to provide support to operations in the former Yugoslavia, and volunteers are being sought. The majority will replace those called-out last February, but there is also an additional need to fill 55 posts to reinforce regular units. This arises from some units having dual commitments. Those called out will report to a mobilisation centre between 8th and

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12th July, and those who are selected for service will undergo training before deployment.

Nursery Education Voucher Scheme: Assessment

Baroness Elles asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What plans there are for assessing the working and effects of Phase 1 of the nursery education voucher scheme.

The Minister of State, Department for Education and Employment (Lord Henley): The nursery education voucher scheme will be assessed in three stages. First, the operational aspects of the scheme will be evaluated, drawing on a data on the issue and redemption of vouchers provided by the vouchers agent and on surveys of parents and providers. Initial results will be placed in the Library as they become available, with an overall assessment in the autumn. The first inspection reports will also be published in the autumn, and OFSTED propose to publish an overview report of early findings around January 1997.

Second, to assess medium-term changes in the provision and use of places, a survey will be undertaken of current use of places by three and four year-olds. The results will be compared with those of similar surveys in subsequent years. Third, the department is considering tender proposals for assessing the longer term effects of pre-school education by a longitudinal cohort study.

In all of this, the department will liaise as appropriate with other bodies making assessments of the scheme.

Sex Offenders: Sentencing and Supervision

Lord Geddes asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What plans they have to consult on further measures to protect the public from sex offenders.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Blatch): My right honourable friend the Home Secretary will be publishing a consultation document on the sentencing and supervision of sex offenders at 11.00 a.m. on Monday 17th June. Copies will then be available in the Library.

Prisons: Costs and Performance Comparisons

Lord Pilkington of Oxenford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will publish the results of Coopers & Lybrand's review of comparative costs and performance of privately managed and public sector prisons.

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Baroness Blatch: My honourable friend the Minister of State has today placed in the Library copies of a review of comparative costs and performance of privately and publicly operated prisons carried out for the Prison Service by Coopers & Lybrand. The study compared Blakenhurst, Doncaster and Wolds with the most nearly comparable public sector prisons, using 1994-95 data. The findings are summarized in the tables below.

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The results show that, after adjusting costs on to a comparable basis, privately managed prisons are cheaper by 13 to 22 per cent. than public sector prisons and deliver equal or better performance on most measures. The findings are broadly consistent with previous findings based on 1993-94 data but suggest that the gap between the two sectors on cost has narrowed slightly.

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Coopers & Lybrand's review of comparative costs and performance of privately and publicly operated prisons
Summary of Findings Table 1: Percentage by which private sector is cheaper than comparable public sector prisons

Comparator GroupAverage of all groupsElmley Holme HouseBirmingham Elmley Holme HouseBedford Cardiff Exeter
Percentage PercentagePercentagePercentage
Cost per baseline place1813-1512-2714-28
Cost per in-use place2213-1512-4410-36
Cost per prisoner1313-1714-213-11

Table 2: Comparison of performance against Prison Service Key Performance Indicators

BlakenhurstComparator averageDoncasterComparator averageWoldsComparator average
Number of escapes021101
Assaults as percentage of population181034101511
Number of hours purposeful activity per week261921202123
Number of hours unlocked on weekdays14101291410
Opportunity to exceed minimum visiting entitlementYes

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