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Lord Burnham asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: We are committed to ensuring that regulations are simple, helpful and fair. We aim to deliver responsible and responsive regulation for business, particularly small firms, and the citizen. My right honourable friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster has appointed Chris Haskins to chair a new Better Regulation Task Force and the Deregulation Unit has similarly been renamed the Better Regulation Unit to reflect the fact that our priority is to get regulation right.

Disposals by Museums and Galleries

The Earl of Clancarty asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Government have no plans for legislation to prevent such action. The terms of the Museum Registration Scheme operated by the Museums and Galleries Commission strictly control any disposals. The Museums and Galleries Commission has also issued guidelines on the legal status of museum collections in the United Kingdom and on the safeguard of items within them.

Museums and Galleries: Admission Charges

Lord Freyberg asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they noted Section 14(8) of the Republic of Ireland's National Cultural Institutions Act 1997 during their internal review of entry charges to public museums and galleries, and whether they will consider the incorporation of a similar provision into future United Kingdom legislation.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: I am aware that the statutory provision referred to has the effect of providing that the fixing of charges in respect of entry to national museums or libraries is subject to the consent of the Irish Parliament. The statutory position in the United Kingdom is that responsibility for deciding whether to charge for admission at the national museums and galleries rests with the Trustees of the institutions. The Government have no plans to change this through legislation.

NAPS, Carbamate and OP Pesticides: Effects of Combination

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What would be the health effects of taking NAPS tablets at the prescribed dose over a prolonged period whilst being exposed to repeated low-level doses of carbamate and organophosphorus pesticides and nerve agents in a tropical climate.

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Gilbert): Taking Nerve Agent Pretreatment Set (NAPS) tablets could be expected to provide considerable protection against exposure to nerve agents, which is why they were issued to British Forces during the Gulf War.

The Government are not aware of any specific research into the health effects of the combination of exposures and circumstances described in the Question.

Pure Fusion and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether a fusion weapon of about 0.1 grammes of deuterium-tritium would produce a yield equal to about 10 tons of high explosives; and whether the testing of such a weapon is, in their opinion, permitted under the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

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Lord Gilbert: The principle of developing a weapon employing only pure fusion has not, as far as we are aware, been proven feasible. The UK is not conducting any research on this and we have no plans to do so. Our understanding is that, were such weapons to be developed, their testing would be prohibited by the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Were it possible to effect the complete fusion of 0.1 grammes of deuterium-tritium, then it would produce a yield equivalent of up to 8 tonnes of high explosive.

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they consider pure fusion explosions to be permitted under the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty; and

    Whether small fusion explosions ignited by laser or particle beam driven implosions are permitted under the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

Lord Gilbert: We believe pure fusion explosions would be prohibited under the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Experiments involving controlled thermonuclear fusion, such as those with lasers or particle beam accelerators, do not constitute an explosion and are not prohibited by the Treaty. These experiments are important to civil nuclear research into future energy sources, and to the responsible management of nuclear weapon stockpiles over time in the absence of nuclear testing.

Defence Secondary Care Agency HQ

Lord Vivian asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many people by rank or grade are employed in the Defence Secondary Care Agency central office in London and what are the total annual costs of the agency central office broken down into:

    (a) salaries, allowances and NI contributions;

    (b) all office costs and charges;

    (c) rent.

Lord Gilbert: The numbers of military and civilian personnel at the Defence Secondary Care Agency (DSCA) Headquarters in London from August 1997 will be as follows:

Service Personnel
Group Captain2
Surg Commander1
Lt Commander1
Sqn Ldr1
Staff Sgt1
Civilian Staff
Grade 31
Grade 52
Grade 75.5 (reducing to 5 during FY 1997-98)
SEO level6
HEO level10 (increasing up to 11 during FY 1997-98)
EO level9
AO 11 (reducing to 8 during FY 1997-98)
AA2 (increasing to 4 during FY 1997-98)
The estimated staff and office costs for FY 1997-98 are as follows:
Staff Costs£ million
Office Costs0.41
Rent and utilities are not paid, as the agency occupies part of the Civil Estate.

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Gulf War Personnel: Blood Samples

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many blood samples were taken from what number of the members of Her Majesty's Armed Forces who were vaccinated with anthrax/pertussis prior to and during Operation Granby, and where these samples are stored.

Lord Gilbert: The Government have no information concerning the totality of blood samples taken from British troops during the Gulf War, nor is it clear how many personnel were vaccinated with anthrax and pertussis. However, it is known that 216 blood samples were specifically collected by the Royal Army Medical Corps at stages during the anti-biological warfare immunisation programme, which include the use of anthrax and pertussis. They were sent to the then Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment, Porton Down and tested. What remains of these samples following that assessment is currently in storage at CBD Porton Down.

Ballistic Missile Defence Studies

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the new US expert awareness of the improbability of a ballistic missile only attack on US and allied territory or forces, coupled with the availability of stealth cruise missiles launchable from

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    a wide variety of platforms, have rendered out of date the studies of ballistic missile only defences conducted in recent years in NATO and in the UK by a British Aerospace-Lockheed Martin consortium.

Lord Gilbert: The United Kingdom's Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) Pre-Feasibility Study (PFS) carried out by a consortium led by British Aerospace, examined options, costs and timescales of potential BMD systems for both UK national needs and those of deployed forces. Its conclusions, together with those of other studies, are currently being assessed in the context of the Strategic Defence Review. The UK continues to support work within NATO on the potential threat from both ballistic and cruise missiles.

European Commissioners: Pensions and Benefits

Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked The Leader of the House:

    Further to the Answer given by Lord Simon of Highbury on 16 June (WA 102), whether he considers that Lords who are former European Commissioners and who have therefore received, or are entitled to receive, pension payments or other benefits from the European Communities should declare those interests (a) in the Register of Lords' Interests and (b) when they speak in support of the European Union in the Chamber.

The Lord Privy Seal (Lord Richard): No. There is no obligation to declare those interests in the Register of Lords' Interests. Declaration of interests when speaking in the House is a matter for the Lord concerned.

Ministerial Code

Lord Carmichael of Kelvingrove asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have issued a new edition of Questions of Procedure for Ministers to ministerial colleagues.

Lord Richard: My right honourable friend the Prime Minister has issued to colleagues a successor document to Questions of Procedure for Ministers called the Ministerial Code--a Code of Conduct and Guidance on Procedures for Ministers. I expect all Ministers to work within the letter and spirit of this code, in order to uphold the highest standards of honesty and propriety which the British people fairly expect of those in public life. Copies have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

My right honourable friend the Prime Minister has also issued to ministerial colleagues Guidance on the work of the Government Information Service--a document which brings together in one place the

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guidance on the entire range of the Government Information Service's work. Copies of this have also been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

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