Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page


Trident Submarine Programme

Lord Wedderburn of Charlton asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Gilbert: Construction of the fourth and final Trident submarine is proceeding well at the yard of GEC Marine at Barrow in Furness. I was privileged to be present last week at two Trident missile test firings successfully carried out by HMS "Vigilant", the third vessel of the class, which will be entering service on time in the fairly near future.

Consistent with our policy of maintaining a four-boat Trident fleet, we have concluded that the planned US Fiscal Year 1998 order for seven further Trident missile bodies should go ahead. This will bring the number of Trident missiles purchased or ordered by the UK to 58.

It remains our policy to work towards verifiable global disarmament. For the present, however, we are committed to the maintenance of a minimum level of deterrence, and this missile order is consistent with that aim. Our future missile and warhead requirements remain under consideration in the Strategic Defence Review.

14 Oct 1997 : Column WA173

EC Water Directives: Cost-Benefit Analyses

Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they consider that the European Commission has issued adequate cost-benefit analyses for each of its water directives, in accordance with Article 130r of the Treaty on European Union.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Baroness Hayman): The Government attach great importance to assessments of the potential benefits and costs of action or lack of action as regards all Community environmental legislation. The Commission is committed to the principle that all proposals for legislation should be accompanied by economic analyses and the Government expect these to be of an adequate standard to allow proper consideration of the proposal by member states consistent with Article 130r. The Government have some concern that this is not always the case, for example, in respect of the proposal for a water framework directive.

Rear Seat Belts

Lord Braine of Wheatley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What plans they have to publicise the benefits to passengers of wearing seat belts in the rear seats of vehicles.

Baroness Hayman: The Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions provides leaflets on seat belt wearing to local authority Road Safety Officers and the Police. The department is currently considering plans for future publicity campaigns.

Lord Braine of Wheatley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What estimate they have of the total number of injuries and deaths prevented through the compulsory wearing of rear seat belts.

Baroness Hayman: An estimated 880 lives and 11,200 serious injuries have been saved since July 1991 through the introduction of compulsory wearing of rear seat belts.

At current wearing rates, rear seat belts are saving an estimated 140 lives and 1,800 serious casualties per year, compared to no belts worn. With full compliance, an estimated further 120 lives and 1,100 serious injuries could be saved per year.

Lord Braine of Wheatley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What plans they have to ensure that Section 14 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (compulsory wearing of seat belts) is more strictly enforced.

14 Oct 1997 : Column WA174

Baroness Hayman: Enforcement of the vehicle seat belt regulations is a matter for individual chief officers of police. Offenders are commonly issued with a fixed penalty notice, or warned, but prosecutions are also undertaken.

Prior Options Reviews: Policy

The Earl of Clancarty asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they intend to continue the previous administration's policies on the prior options review recommendations, with regard, in particular, to the appointment of senior staff in public sector research establishments who are sympathetic to prior options policies.

The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Clinton-Davis): Ministers are considering how to approach the results of the programme of prior options reviews of public sector research establishments (PSREs), which were announced by the previous government in January 1997. In doing so, they will bear in mind the need to minimise any continuing uncertainty within these establishments, and the importance of sustaining the morale and commitment to their staff. Appointments of senior PSRE staff are carried out in accordance with the rules on public appointments, based on the principle of fair and open competition.

British Geological Survey: Appointment of Director

The Earl of Clancarty asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the appointment of the new director of the British Geological Survey is to be carried out according to the implementation of prior options reviews policies.

Lord Clinton-Davis: The post of Director of the British Geological Survey (BGS) was advertised earlier this year. Following a rigorous selection process, Dr. David Falvey has been appointed to the post. He will take up the post in Janaury 1998 following the retirement of the current Director, Dr. Peter Cook.

The appointment was carried out in accordance with the rules on public appointments and based on the principle of fair and open competition.

Dr. Tony Wright

Baroness O'Cathain asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When Mr. Tony Wright MP was appointed as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Lord Chancellor.

14 Oct 1997 : Column WA175

The Lord Chancellor (Lord Irvine of Lairg): Dr. Tony Wright was appointed as my Parliamentary Private Secretary on 14 May 1997.

"Goodwin" Judgment

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer given by the Lord Chancellor on 22 July (WA 153), whether they consider that United Kingdom courts are under a duty to give effect to the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in Goodwin v. United Kingdom in interpreting Section 10 of the Contempt of Court Act 1981 notwithstanding the decision of the House of Lords in that case or the judgment of the High Court on 4 July 1997 in Camelot Group plc v. Centaur Communications Ltd.

The Lord Chancellor: The Goodwin judgment itself is still under consideration by the Committee of Ministers pursuant to Article 54 of the Convention.

Lord Chancellor's Residence: Refurbishment

Lord Cocks of Hartcliffe asked the Chairman of Committees:

    Whether the contract for the proposed refurbishment of the Lord Chancellor's residence has been let; when the work is expected to start; and what is the anticipated date of completion.

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Boston of Faversham): The first contracts for the refurbishment of the Lord Chancellor's residence have been let and work has begun. An anticipated date for the completion of the project will not be available until the remaining contracts have been let.

Lord Chancellor's Residence: Contracts for Refurbishment

Lord Dean of Beswick asked the Chairman of Committees:

    Whether the contract for the proposed refurbishment of the Lord Chancellor's residence will be put out to tender, and whether it will be a fixed price contract.

Lord Boston of Faversham: All the work to refurbish the Lord Chancellor's residence will be undertaken in accordance with the House's policies on competitive tendering. This will not be one overall contract, but several covering specialist works and the supply of furnishings.

14 Oct 1997 : Column WA176

Grant Maintained Schools Advisory Bodies: Government Grant

Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Lord McIntosh of Haringey on 30 June (WA 5), whether the Grant Maintained Schools Foundation and the Grant Maintained Schools Advisory Committee have been notified of the termination of government grant; and if so, when they were notified, when the final payment was made to each organisation, and what grant provision was made to help meet their obligations for staff redundancies.

The Minister of State, Department for Education and Employment (Baroness Blackstone): The Grant Maintained Schools Foundation is a company limited by guarantee, not a voluntary organisation or non- departmental public body. It was notified on 14 May that government grant would cease as from the end of June, and the final grant payment in respect of June was paid in June. It is for the foundation in the first instance to consider the consequences for its employees. The department has been in discussion with the foundation about the arrangements for winding up the foundation following the termination of grant.

The Grant Maintained Schools Advisory Committee has not had its grant terminated, although the grant has been reduced from its previous level. The committee was informed on 3 June that the department was prepared to make further grant available up to a maximum of £15,000 during the remainder of this financial year, as part of a wider commitment to support communication and consultation between the department and the grant maintained schools sector.


Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page