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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): As announced earlier today in another place by my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary, we shall implement our manifesto commitment to ban the import, export, transfer and manufacture of all forms of anti-personnel landmines.
We will accelerate the phasing out of our stocks of anti-personnel landmines, and complete it by 2005 or when an effective international agreement to ban their use enters into force, whichever comes first. In the meantime, we have introduced a complete moratorium on their operational use while we participate constructively in the Ottawa Process and push in the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva for a wider ban.
That moratorium will only be suspended if we judge that for a specific operation the security of our Armed Forces would be jeopardised without the possibility of the use of anti-personnel landmines. In such an exceptional case we would report to Parliament the decision, and the circumstances which led to it.
The Chairman of Committees (Lord Boston of Faversham): The Administration and Works Sub-Committee have not considered this question. There is very limited accommodation available to the House of Lords, and the Clerk of the Parliaments has introduced a system of childcare vouchers to provide help for staff with children.
Lord Boston of Faversham: The value of the childcare voucher was raised from £6 to £7 on 1 April. One voucher is payable per family per day in respect of childcare for children of pre-school age (and for children of school age during school holidays) where both parents are in work.
Lord Boston of Faversham: No formal survey has been conducted inviting recipients of childcare vouchers to comment on the scheme. Recipients are, however, all known individually to the Establishment Office and are known to be grateful for the assistance provided.
Lord Boston of Faversham: Because of the different circumstances, a comparison with childcare facilities in private industry would not be useful. In setting the value of the childcare voucher, regard is had to the level of similar provision made in both the private and the public sector.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): The British Nationality (Fees) (Amendment) Regulations 1997 are being laid before Parliament today. They amend the British Nationality (Fees) Regulations 1996 so as to prescribe a fee of £250 for an application for registration as a British citizen under the British Nationality (Hong Kong) Act 1997, and apply to the 1997 Act the fee of £20 for supplying a certified copy of a certificate, etc.
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