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Lord Judd: My Lords, I thank my noble friend the Minister for that most helpful reply. Does he agree that, as the expansion of NATO goes forward, the importance of such meetings cannot be overemphasised if we are to build positive relationships with Russia?

In view of the various elements in sound security policy, can my noble friend the Minister say anything more to the House about what was discussed with the Russians on the matter of arms control, on the issue of nuclear, biological and chemical terrorism and on the proliferation of means of delivery of nuclear, biological and chemical capability? Can my noble friend also tell the House whether there was an opportunity to discuss the important issue of defence conversion in Russia, in view of the alarming social and economic significance of the defence industry in that country?

Lord Whitty: My Lords, many of the issues raised by my noble friend are appropriate for the agenda of the

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defence Minister level discussions in December, although a final agenda has not yet been reached. Clearly, one of the main purposes of the NATO-Russia body is to deal with the legacy of environmental, military and technical problems remaining from earlier Soviet military activity.

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: My Lords, can the Minister tell us how far Her Majesty's Government see the NATO-Russia dialogue developing? Many half promises were made during the first six months of this year. Russia is to have permanent representation in NATO, and NATO is to have permanent representation in Moscow. Do we see ourselves moving towards a situation where Russia becomes, in effect, a half member of NATO within the next 10 to 15 years?

Lord Whitty: My Lords, 10 or 15 years is a long time. At present there are no plans and no requests for Russia to join NATO. The arrangements with Russia are entirely separate from the NATO structure and entirely different from the whole process of enlargement of NATO. The noble Lord is absolutely right: the total approach to security in Europe and beyond requires not only the strengthening of NATO but also the strengthening and the institutionalisation of the arrangements with Russia. That is what the NATO/Russia agreement is about.

Baroness Rawlings: My Lords, what discussions have taken place in the joint council on Russia's relationships with the republics of the former Soviet Union given the challenge posed by the rising tide of Islam in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kirghizstan and Turkmenistan and by the Taleban movement in Afghanistan? What co-operation should there be between these countries and NATO to help resolve these tensions?

Lord Whitty: My Lords, as regards the terms mentioned by the noble Baroness, those discussions have not taken place. However, there is the intention that relations between NATO and the central Asian republics should be improved, and indeed any stability in the NATO/Russia situation would help in the relationships with the central Asian republics.

Lord Peston: My Lords, as a matter of logic, will my noble friend explain to your Lordships the following? If Russia and the other eastern nations join NATO, what would the point of NATO be?

Lord Whitty: My Lords, I think I implied that any prospect of Russia joining NATO was rather a long way off. The point of the enlargement of NATO, and of bringing in central and eastern European countries to either membership or a relationship with NATO, is to provide security and stability for the whole of the European area and to provide a combined European approach to military problems in general. As compared

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with the polarisation of Europe during the period of the Cold War, these are positive and effective moves towards greater security for all the peoples of Europe.

The Earl of Carlisle: My Lords, will the Minister assure us--

Lord Jenkins of Putney: My Lords--

The Lord Privy Seal (Lord Richard): My Lords, it is the turn of the Liberal.

The Earl of Carlisle: My Lords, will the Minister assure us that at the next December meeting of the joint council Her Majesty's Government will invite the Russian Federation to sign a negotiated border treaty with Estonia? Will Her Majesty's Government also point out that the eastern European nations have no desire to join a Russian security organisation and that any pressure on those nations, in particular the three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, will be regarded as counter productive?

Lord Whitty: My Lords, the views of the central and eastern European states, in particular the Baltic states, are well known to Russia and to the west. We respect those positions. As regards the agenda of the December meeting, I have already said that it is yet to be finalised, but some of these issues will undoubtedly be touched on.

Lord Jenkins of Putney: My Lords, will the noble Lord confirm that NATO already has no purpose other than its own survival?

Lord Whitty: My Lords, I do not accept the terms outlined by the noble Lord. Clearly the original purpose of NATO has changed. NATO's role now is to ensure the survival of us all in a more stable world. As I said earlier, the end of the Cold War period has now been replaced by a situation where NATO can bring in the countries of both eastern and western Europe and engage in a more stable relationship with Russia and other peripheral areas of the European continent.

Lorne House: Funding

3.4 p.m.

Lord Peyton of Yeovil asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the withdrawal of grants from the Inner London Probation Service and the East London and The City Health Authority and the ending of a temporary grant from the Department of Health will lead to the closure of Lorne House, the only residential establishment in the country which exists to care for young drug addicts and alcoholics; and, if so, whether they will take steps to prevent this.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): My Lords, Lorne House's main income comes from local

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authorities under the community care arrangements. The Inner London Probation Service has not withdrawn its funding, but has guaranteed Lorne House a minimum of £20,000 next financial year. Its income from probation services will be higher if additional places for offenders under probation service supervision are taken up. We hope that Lorne House will be able to continue its work, although in the end this will depend on the extent to which it can provide services which funders are satisfied are cost effective. Before I part from this reply, I personally sincerely acknowledge the long, continuing interest of the noble Lord, Lord Peyton, in this important field.

Lord Peyton of Yeovil: My Lords, I am grateful for the Minister's kindly remark. Will he not go a little further and accept that to allow a hostel of this kind, with the proven record that it has, simply to disappear for lack of support would make no sense at all? It would mean that a number of young people early in their lives would simply drift into the penal system. That would be a disaster for them and a huge and continuing cost for the state. I very much hope that the noble Lord will take an early opportunity to remind the Treasury that this so-called economy would result in a huge and continuing cost for the state.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, as so often on these occasions, the noble Lord, Lord Peyton of Yeovil, as far as I am concerned--I say nothing in parenthesis about the Treasury--is pushing at an open door in principle. Apart from the grant of £20,000, which is not negligible, the Department of Health, as I think the noble Lord will know, has given Turning Point a one-off grant of £50,000 for this financial year. That is to ensure that it continues to run Lorne House. Turning Point intends to review its operation and its structure but has not yet reported its conclusions. I dare say that your Lordships would unanimously agree that for us to make any commitment before that review is concluded would not be prudent.

Lord Molloy: My Lords, in addition to the remarkable submission made by the noble Lord, Lord Peyton, with regard to this remarkable establishment, will my noble friend consider that the whole medical profession would urge Lorne House to be created if it did not already exist? Will my noble friend not lightly disband Lorne House but ensure that it can continue to carry out the remarkable work that it is undertaking?

Lord Williams of Mostyn: My Lords, I thought I had given an indication that the Government value the work of Lorne House. It is a unique establishment. It deals with addicts of drink, solvents and other drugs from the ages of 15 to 25. Of course we value its work. As I have indicated, we have demonstrated that value by a grant of £50,000 to Turning Point which is the parent organisation of Lorne House.

Lord Desai: My Lords, I declare an interest as chairman of City Road, which is a pan-London drug

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intervention agency. Will the Minister bear in mind that the problem of covering the expense of drug addicts is not particular to Lorne House but is a London-wide phenomenon? Will the Government bear in mind that early and careful treatment of drug addicts saves much money later?

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