Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

Consumers' Association: Funding

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Jay of Paddington: The department has not provided core or project funding to the Consumers' Association in the last 10 years, although the department does fund the costs of distribution to general practitioners of the Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin, published by the Consumers' Association.

Smoking-related Disease: Treatment Costs

Lord Stoddart of Swindon asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Jay of Paddington: The actual cost is not available. The methodology used by the Health Education Authority, in estimating the cost to the National Health Service of treating smoking-related disease of £1.4 and £1.7 billion per annum, has been constructed on evidence from several previous studies on the diseases that are attributable to smoking and the relevant risks of current smokers requiring NHS treatment for smoking-related disease.

Smoking-related Disease: Comparative Treatment Costs

Lord Stoddart of Swindon asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Jay of Paddington: Data collected by the National Health Service relate to episodes of care relating to individual illnesses or diseases, and the types of treatment administered to patients. Data are not collected on the cost to the National Health Service of illness, injury or disease (especially respiratory diseases).

The cost to the NHS "from the effects of alcohol" are not identifiable. There are several data series (e.g. Hospital Episode Statistics, mortality statistics from Office for National Statistics, morbidity statistics

18 Dec 1997 : Column WA106

from general practice) but these do not readily yield information about patient costs. It is very difficult to attribute the cause of any medical condition in any individual directly to alcohol.

We have no plans to introduce a system of gathering the information under the categories requested.

Community Protection Orders: Response to Consultation

Lord Paul asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many responses to the consultation paper Community Protection Order were received during the consultation period, and what was the broad thrust of the responses.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): Ninety-two responses were received. A list of the respondents and a summary of the main points raised can be found in the Library in a document entitled Responses to the Home Office Consultation Document on Community Protection Orders.

British Board of Film Classification: President

Baroness David asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they propose to make any changes to the authority responsible for making arrangements for the classification of video works under the Video Recordings Act 1984.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: My right honourable friend the Home Secretary has today laid before both Houses details of his proposal to designate Mr. Andreas Whittam Smith under Section 4(4) of the Video Recordings Act 1984. The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) earlier today announced that Mr. Whittam Smith will be appointed as their President from 1 January 1998, and my right honourable friend proposes to designate him, in that capacity, to replace the Earl of Harewood and Lord Birkett of Ulverston. The designation itself will come into force in accordance with the procedures laid down in Section 5 of the Act. This requires that the particulars of the proposal should lie before both Houses of Parliament for 40 days before the designation can be made, provided that neither House resolves during that period that the designation should not be made.

Copies of the proposal of designation and the text of a letter my right honourable friend intends to send at the time of designation to Mr. Whittam Smith have been placed in the Library.

Mr. Whittam Smith has impressed my right honourable friend with his understanding of the issues relating to the responsibility of a designated authority and he expects Mr. Whittam Smith to provide strong leadership for the BBFC into the next millennium.

18 Dec 1997 : Column WA107

Parliamentary Constituency Reviews

Lord Peston asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the Boundary Commission intends to conduct any interim reviews of parliamentary constituencies in England.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The commission has informed my right honourable friend the Home Secretary that it intends to consider making a report on parliamentary constituencies in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Surrey, in Greater London and Surrey, and also in Greater London. The commission intends to commence forthwith an interim review of parliamentary constituencies in each of those areas.

Enemy Property in the Second World War: Policy Research Project

Lord Janner of Braunstone asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they expect to publish the Department of Trade and Industry Report, British Policy Towards Enemy Property During and After the Second World War.

The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Simon of Highbury): The Government have set in train a research project to examine papers relevant to the Trading with the Enemy legislation under which property of enemy countries was confiscated during the Second World War. The project, which has been co-ordinated by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, in close partnership with the DTI, is now nearly complete. A joint DTI/FCO report of the findings will be published in the New Year.

Trade in Financial Services: WTO Negotiations

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are the implications for the British and European Union sovereign decision-making of the Global Open-trade Pact in Banking, Insurance and other Financial Services, currently being negotiated in Geneva.

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: WTO negotiations on trade in financial services were successfully concluded last weekend. Participating countries have agreed to legally binding and permanent, non-discriminatory commitments in respect of access to their markets for banking, securities and insurance.

Under EC and member states' existing GATS Most Favoured Nation (MFN) commitments, it is no longer possible to invoke EC or national provisions to limit access by financial service suppliers from third countries on the grounds that access into those third countries is more restricted or less favourable than that into member states.

18 Dec 1997 : Column WA108

Almost all other countries which have made financial services commitments in the WTO have done so on a similar MFN basis. This will create new certainty for financial services suppliers, and provides a solid foundation for developing open and competitive markets in the future.

The GATS does not prevent countries from taking measures for prudential reasons, or to ensure the integrity and stability of the financial system.

Lord Chancellor's Residence: Refurbishment

Lord Cocks of Hartcliffe asked the Chairman of Committees:

    When the refurbishment of the Lord Chancellor's Residence was approved; by whom; and whether it formed part of the 10-year rolling programme of works.

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Boston of Faversham): The refurbishment was approved by the Administration and Works Sub-Committee on 8 July and by the Finance and Staff Sub-Committee on 16 July. The House of Lords' Offices Committee was informed on 22 July, and they notified the House in the Committee's 2nd Report, which was agreed to on 30 July.

The refurbishment was not part of the 10-year rolling programme of works prior to these decisions but consequent on them became part of that programme; certain connected works such as automatic fire detection, telephone cable renewals, asbestos removal and heating repairs had been approved previously under separate programmes.

Households: Projected Growth

Lord Northbourne asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the figure of 4¼ million new homes forecast to be required in the next five years is correct; and if so, what proportion of this increased demand is attributable to (a) family breakdown; and (b) the increasing popularity of second homes.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Baroness Hayman): The projections, which cover the 25-year period 1991 to 2016, are for 4.4 million additional households not houses, and were published in 1995 in my department's document Projections of Households in England to 2016. They are only one of the factors that regional conferences of local authorities have to take into consideration when advising the Secretary of State on housing requirements in Regional Planning Guidance (RPG). I am satisfied that the projections were the best that could be made with the available data and that they accurately reflect recent trends. The methodology to produce them has been soundly endorsed by independent inquiries,

18 Dec 1997 : Column WA109

including the Environment Select Committee of the House of Commons in their Second Report on Housing Need (12 February 1996 HOC11/i/1995/1996).

Around 33 per cent. of the increase is due to behavioural changes, namely projected changes in the rate of household formation brought about by such factors as people marrying later, and more divorces and separations. It is not easy to categorise family breakdown simply. Furthermore, not all family breakdown will lead to the formation of additional households. However, the group of households consisting of people living by themselves who are divorced and separated is projected to grow by a further 1.2 million between 1991 and 2016, with divorced and separated men representing two-thirds of this growth.

The demand for second homes does not form a part of the household projections but it is one of the factors to be considered by regional planning conferences in formulating housing provision in RPG.

Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page