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Viscount Montgomery of Alamein: My Lords, is my noble friend aware that his coining of a new word will be of considerable interest to the horticultural industry?

Viscount Goschen: My Lords, we are all having trouble with our words today. That is the word I was looking for earlier.

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Baroness David: My Lords, has any thought been given to reducing lighting more gradually? To go from very brightly lit junctions into total darkness is very disconcerting.

Viscount Goschen: My Lords, that is a good point; I do not know quite how one could achieve it apart from having progressively lower levels of lighting. The crucial point is that the areas where there are maximum safety benefits to be gained should be properly lit and that we carry out the proper analysis to decide that. I shall certainly inquire as to whether any work has been done on graduation.

Lord Clinton-Davis: My Lords, is the Minister aware that coining new words is no substitute for coining new policies? Will he be more open with the House about the nature of the research that is being undertaken and the comparison with countries elsewhere in Europe. For example, is he aware that in Belgium all motorways are lit and that there has been a corresponding important reduction in the number of motor accidents which seems to bear out what he said in relation to the statistics he employed in his first answer? Is there not more room for engaging in international discussions, not taking account of what my noble friend had to say earlier but ensuring that the most important criterion is the avoidance of loss of life and serious injury which seem too prevalent in relation to night time driving, largely because of the absence of effective lighting?

Viscount Goschen: My Lords, on the research front, I shall be delighted to send the noble Lord a copy of the pamphlet Road Lighting and the Environment, which I believe will answer many of his questions. There are two problems about having widespread motorway lighting. One is the environmental issue of polluting the night sky, which was raised by my noble friend, and the other is cost. We must concentrate our resources on where the maximum road safety benefits can be achieved.

Manchester Bombing: Aftermath

3.2 p.m.

Lord Dean of Beswick asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Following the explosion of the bomb in central Manchester, what discussions they have had with Manchester City Council, the Manchester Chamber of Commerce and other bodies about assistance to the city and business community in order to restore business confidence and repair the damage.

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie: My Lords, my honourable friend the sponsor Minister for Manchester and Salford met the leader and chief executive of Manchester City Council on Tuesday last week to consider the task of rebuilding the city centre after the bombing and what government assistance might be available. The Deputy Prime Minister will hold further meetings tomorrow with Manchester City Council,

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business leaders and small businessmen. Officials in the Government Office for the North West are in daily contact with the city council, Manchester Chamber of Commerce and other bodies to ensure that everything that can be done is being done.

Lord Dean of Beswick: My Lords, I welcome that detailed reply and wish to express appreciation for the Prime Minister's prompt action in sending the Deputy Prime Minister to Manchester tomorrow in response to the open letter last week from the editor of the Manchester Evening News, Michael Unger. Is the Minister aware that the Deputy Prime Minister will find when he gets there, although he probably already knows, that the people in Manchester who have to claim compensation will be at a disadvantage as against if the bomb had exploded in Northern Ireland? Surely it is wrong that the recompense for the people of Manchester who have suffered this outrage should be considerably less than is available in Northern Ireland. If the Government think that it may take some time to redress the balance by legislation, will the Minister suggest to the Government that they negotiate a substantial ex gratia payment with those involved in order to restore the buildings and protect the jobs which will disappear fast unless the Government act quickly?

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie: My Lords, I am grateful for what the noble Lord said about the visit of the Deputy Prime Minister. No one in the House fails to recognise the enormous task now faced in Manchester. While Manchester's excellent City Pride is already undertaking a great job, no one would have wished upon it this additional task of rebuilding the centre. But I have no doubt that the partnership in place there will provide a firm foundation for just that task.

With regard to insurance, there is something of a difference in the position between Northern Ireland and the mainland because in Northern Ireland for some time there has been no opportunity to secure commercial insurance. Since 1993 what the Government have done on the mainland is to act as a reinsurer of last resort. That has enabled those who wished to take up full terrorist insurance to be in a position to do so. At the present time I do not think that anyone knows just to what extent there are uninsured risks among those who did not take up the cover that was available to them. But if there are small businesses in that position, both Business Links and English Partnership are in business to see what they can do about securing relocation premises for them, and, as I am sure the noble Lord is aware, there is also a hardship fund established by the Lord Mayor to which they might have opportunity to resort.

Lord Peston: My Lords, I wish to associate myself as strongly as I can both sympathetically with the people of Manchester and also with the Government's response. The Government are clearly trying to get things started as quickly as they can. The object of the terrorist is to interfere with ordinary people going about the day-to-day business of their lives. The terrorist must be defeated in that regard.

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To the extent businesses and, for that matter, people who need rehousing do not have the funds available in liquid form, which might be the central question rather than whether or not they can eventually raise the funds, will the Government at least use their good offices and ask the financial institutions to behave in a sympathetic way so that Manchester can get back to the ordinary business of life as quickly as possible? That is a way of demonstrating to the terrorists that they have failed and will go on failing.

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord for what he has said and for the clear indication from the Opposition Front Bench of support for rebuilding Manchester as quickly and effectively as possible. Regrettably, the first task at present remains that of assessing the extent of the damage. I regret to say that major buildings in Manchester are in such a perilous state that it has been impossible to get into them to see whether demolition is necessary or whether there is any prospect of rebuilding them. Some of them are famous buildings which one would instinctively wish to conserve. In the past, Manchester has received large sums of money in terms of regeneration. In the future, there will be the opportunity for both government funding and European funds to support their effort. It would be premature for me at this time to indicate what sums might be available and what work should be undertaken by government as opposed to work that could properly be undertaken out of insurance moneys.

Lord Barnett: My Lords, perhaps I may say as a Mancunian that we appreciate what the Government are doing and are trying to do so far. However, is the noble and learned Lord aware that many small businesses in particular will not have terrorism insurance and could be in very serious difficulties? I appreciate that the Government do not yet know how much the cost is likely to be, but would it not help those small businesses if a specific fund were set up from which they could draw or which would allow them to go to their banks to obtain assistance and thus enable them to stay in business, which is the real problem?

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie: My Lords, I do not think that I can offer the noble Lord the promise of a special fund. However, I am conscious that, when the Deputy Prime Minister visits Manchester, some of those he will be meeting will be small businessmen. What needs to be assessed is just what is required. For example, I know that there are small stall-holders in the Corn Exchange who simply cannot get back to their stalls to recover their stock. Before one determines whether or not a funding of them is required, it is desirable to examine whether, as I suggested earlier, there is a possibility for them to be relocated as quickly as possible so that they can carry on their businesses and not suffer the hardship which we are anxious to avoid. I am not trying to avoid the issue but just at the present time, given the extent of the devastation, it is extremely difficult to identify just what exactly is required to ensure that the amount of hardship that is suffered in Manchester is kept to a bare minimum.

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Lord Strathclyde: My Lords, at a convenient moment after 3.30 p.m., my noble friend Lord Henley will, with the leave of the House, repeat a Statement that is to be made in another place on the self-government for schools White Paper.

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