Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page


Scotland: Road Safety Barriers

Lord Selkirk of Douglas asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Sewel: All motorways in Scotland are equipped with central reserve safety barrier. All trunk road dual carriageways are equipped with central reserve safety barrier except approximately 22 miles which is without barrier. This represents 4 per cent. of the total length of motorway and trunk road dual carriageway in Scotland.

17 Dec 1997 : Column WA95

NHS Medical and Dental Students: Intercalated Degree Funding

Lord Alderdice asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether special support will be given to medical students studying for an additional intercalated year in order to achieve a science degree.

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Baroness Jay of Paddington): Where medical and dental students take an intercalated degree, it will be counted as part of their overall course. As the Government announced on 23 September, the Department of Health will pay the students' contribution towards tuition fees and provide means-tested National Health Service bursaries for those students who are eligible from year five of their course onwards.

University College Hospital

The Earl of Munster asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the future of the new 640-bed development for University College Hospital which received planning permission granted by Camden Council on 9 October, in the light of the White Paper The New NHS.

Baroness Jay of Paddington: The assumptions underlying the University College London Hospital's National Health Service Trust's redevelopment have been considered by the London Review Panel. Their report and the Government's response will be published in due course. The proposed redevelopment is not directly affected by the White Paper The New NHS.

Organ Procurement

Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will place in the Library of the House a copy of Organ Procurement in the United Kingdom; the Potential for Change by Peter Ginnings.

Baroness Jay of Paddington: This report was commissioned as an aid to develop policy and to identify areas for further work. It was not intended for publication. I am writing to the noble Lord about this.

Insulation and Rateable Value

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether it accords with government policy to make better use of energy by insulation for the district valuer and valuation officers of the Inland Revenue to increase the rateable value of small business workshops purely because they have been insulated.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The rateable value of a property is, broadly, an estimate of the amount for

17 Dec 1997 : Column WA96

which it might reasonably be expected to let on the open market. This estimate is derived from evidence of lettings in the open market.

Turkey: Transfrontier Broadcasts

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether Turkey is bound by Article 4 of the Council of Europe Convention on Transfrontier Television; and if so whether they will remind the Government of Turkey of their obligation not to jam transfrontier broadcasts; and

    Whether Turkey is bound by Article 10 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms to ensure freedom of reception of transfrontier broadcasts; and what remedies are available if non-compliance can be shown.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Turkey has ratified both the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the Convention on Transfrontier Television, and thus is bound by the provisions of both conventions. Allegations of violations of the Human Rights Convention, Article 10 of which concerns the right to freedom of expression, are referred to the European Commission of Human Rights. The nature of any remedy, should the violation be upheld, is for whichever of the convention's institutions deals with the complaint.

The procedures for dealing with alleged violations of the Transfrontier Television Convention are set out in Articles 24 and 25 of the Convention. If there were firm evidence of jamming of transfrontier broadcasts of a UK broadcaster by any state party to the convention, then the Government would take appropriate action in accordance with those provisions of the convention.

Electricity Pricing

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether it is their prime consideration in policy to ensure that electricity in the United Kingdom is generated at the lowest price achievable for United Kingdom householders and consumers; and, if not, whether they will list the factors which in their view justify raising domestic electricity prices above the minimum achievable.

The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Clinton-Davis): The Government's policy is to ensure secure, diverse and sustainable supplies of energy at competitive prices.

17 Dec 1997 : Column WA97

Gas-fired Electricity Generation

Lord Fraser of Carmyllie asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have any plans to limit future increases in gas-fired electricity generation; and, if so, on what environmental grounds.

Lord Clinton-Davis: A review has been announced by the Prime Minister to probe concerns on security of supply caused by the "dash for gas" under the previous Administration. The noble Lord must await the outcome of that review.

Multilateral Agreement on Investment

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether any United Nations, inter-governmental, or non-governmental environmental or human rights organisations have been observers at the negotiations for the proposed OECD Multilateral Agreement on Investment, and, if so, which.

Lord Clinton-Davis: The WTO, IMF and Energy Charter Secretariat have observer status at the MAI negotiations. The UNCTAD Sectariat is also regularly updated on progress. Non-governmental organisations have met the MAI negotiating group, as well as individual country delegations including the UK. More meetings are planned, the next in January 1998.

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether "defence" is being excluded from the operation of the proposed OECD Multilateral Agreement on Investment; and, if not, whether it will be defined so as to exclude "dual use" (that is, for both military and civilian use) and "off-the-shelf" defence procurement, particularly in the field of electronic information.

Lord Clinton-Davis: The MAI will contain a general exception for matters relating to national security.

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are the implications for the sovereignty of independent states in economic, social, labour, environmental and other fields of the proposal OECD Multilateral Agreement on Investment.

Lord Clinton-Davis: The MAI will prevent governments discriminating on the grounds of the nationality of an investor unless an exception has been listed by that government for a particular measure. The MAI will not prevent general regulation in economic, social, labour, environmental and other fields.

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether a world trade "court" is being proposed to deal with disputes under the proposed OECD Multilateral Agreement on Investment.

Lord Clinton-Davis: Disputes between states will be arbitrated through ad hoc panels. Investors will be able

17 Dec 1997 : Column WA98

to take action through independent arbitral bodies such as ICSID (the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes). This follows the practice of bilateral investment treaties and similar agreements such as the Energy Charter Treaty.

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How "investment" is defined, and how it is distinguished from "speculation", in the proposed OECD Multilateral Agreement on Investment.

Lord Clinton-Davis: "Investment" is defined very broadly in the draft agreement, including every kind of asset owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by an investor, including an enterprise; shares stocks or other forms of equity participation in an enterprise; bonds, loans and other forms of debt; rights under contracts; claims to money and to performance; intellectual property rights; rights such as concessions, licences, authorisations and permits; and any other tangible and intangible, movable and immovable property. The term "speculation" is not mentioned.

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have conducted, or are aware of, any studies of the proposed Multilateral Agreement on Investment's implications for the global distribution of wealth; and if so, what are the results.

Lord Clinton-Davis: I am not aware of any such studies.


Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page