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"Greenwich Mean Time": Trade Descriptions

Lord Tanlaw asked Her Majesty's Government:

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The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Clinton-Davis): The Trade Descriptions Act 1968 makes it an offence for a person acting in the course of a trade or business to apply to goods false or misleading statements, including statements about the place or date of manufacture or processing of goods. It is for local authority trading standards departments to decide whether to prosecute under the Act in any given case. I understand that the phrase "Greenwich Mean Time" as used in general parlance has effectively become a generic term by which people refer to the time in the UK's time-zone, irrespective of the method now used to calculate time. Similarly, the prime meridian, at which the tickets referred to by the noble Lord are produced, is one of several prime meridians which exist for a variety of technical reasons, and while it is not the meridian currently recognised by the International Earth Rotation Service, it remains the one which is historically known as the Greenwich Meridian. It would, therefore, seem highly improbable that trading standards officers would consider prosecution appropriate in the circumstances described in the noble Lord's Question.

"Prime Meridian": Trade Descriptions

Lord Tanlaw asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether a householder or business (such as the Millennium Experience) will be liable for prosecution under the Trade Descriptions Act 1968 for publishing promotional material which indicates alignment with the Prime Meridian (0° longitude), when the meridian

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    line referred to is not situated along the International Earth Rotation Service (IERS) International Terrestrial Reference Frame (ITRF) which became the official Prime Meridian as from 1 January.[HL456]

Lord Clinton-Davis: The Trade Descriptions Act 1968 makes it an offence for a person, in the course of a trade or business, knowingly or recklessly to make false or misleading statements relating to services, accommodation or facilities they provide. It is for authority trading standards departments to decide whether to prosecute under the Act in any given set of circumstances. I understand that for technical reasons there are several prime meridians, including that which is historically known, and continues to be known as, the Greenwich Meridian--which was adopted at the International Meridian Conference in Washington in 1884. While this meridian is not that currently recognised by the International Earth Rotation Service, it remains the one which is generally known as the Greenwich Meridian. It would, therefore, seem highly improbable that trading standards officers would consider prosecution appropriate in the circumstances described in the noble Lord's Question.

Cigarette Smoking

Lord Braine of Wheatley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What has been the change in the last 10 years in the totals of:
    (a) women; and
    (b) men

    under the age of 33 years who are smokers of tobacco.[HL528]

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Baroness Jay of Paddington): Information on cigarette smoking among men and women aged 16 to 34 is given in the table.

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Prevalence of cigarette smoking among men and women aged 16 to 34, Great Britain, 1986 to 1996
Percentage

Age198619881990199219941996
Men
16 to 19302828292826
20 to 24413738394043
25 to 34373736343438
All aged 16 to 34373535353437
Women
16 to 19302832252732
20 to 24383739373836
25 to 34353534343034
All aged 16 to 34353435333134

Notes:

Percentages rounded to the nearest whole figure.

Source:

Office for National Statistics general household survey.


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Prion Protein

Lord Lucas asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they are aware of any research findings that demonstrate:
    (a) whether the altered version of the prion protein, PrPSc, is destroyed by the human digestive system, and
    (b) whether it is so altered by that system that it is incapable of mediating the transformation of normal prion protein into PrPSc; and, if so, whether they will place copies of the principal papers recording such research in the Library of the House.[HL397]

Baroness Jay of Paddington: We are not aware of any specific research in this area. However, the study of the Kuru epidemic in Papua New Guinea, the main source of our knowledge of human transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, may suggest that the abnormal prion protein can survive the human digestive process. Furthermore the epidemiological study of bovine spongiform encephalopathy suggests that the cause of the disease was the consumption of contaminated feeding-stuffs; if that is the case it would show that the bovine digestive system does not destroy the abnormal prion protein.

Asylum-Seekers: Provision

The Earl of Sandwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many reception centres exist for asylum-seekers in London seeking benefits under the National Assistance Act 1948, how many asylum-seekers they admit every month, and whether these centres receive any government aid.[HL515]

Baroness Jay of Paddington: No reception centres are provided under this legislation, but local authority social services departments are making placements in a range of different kinds of provision for around 7,400 childless adult asylum seekers. They receive a special grant from the Government to help with this--currently a maximum of £140 a week, but rising next year to £165 (subject to parliamentary approval).

Public Search Room, Principal Registry, Family Division

Lord Teviot asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the cost of moving the Public Search Room of the Principal Registry (Family Division) from Somerset House to High Holborn; and how long it will be able to remain there.[HL403]

The Lord Chancellor (Lord Irvine of Lairg): The cost of moving is estimated to be £300,400. The lease on the building at Holborn expires on 25 March 2012.

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Lord Teviot asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will consider moving the Public Search Room of the Principal Registry (Family Division) to the Family Record Centre at Myddleton Place, Clerkenwell, to join the Search Room of the Office of National Statistics (Births, Marriages and Deaths) and the Public Record Office.[HL404]

The Lord Chancellor: There are no plans to move the search facility to Myddleton Place for reasons of cost. However, the Probate Index and Probate Calendar are being computerised and a computer terminal will be provided for public use from 17 August 1998. The possibility of the provision of a computer link at the Public Records Office is currently under discussion.

Albert Goodman and Arthur Newton: Court Transcript

Lord Burton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will place in the Library of the House a transcript of the judgment by His Honour Judge Morrison, the judge's signed order and the court record sheet for the appeals by Albert Goodman and Arthur Newton against the decision by the Chief Constable of Derby heard on 15 January 1998 at Derby Crown Court.[HL411]

The Lord Chancellor: Arrangements have been made to place a copy of the transcript and court record sheets in the Library of the House. There is no signed order; the record sheet contains the Appeal decision.

Government Expenditure: Statistics

Lord Sefton of Garston asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How much Government expenditure took place during the last recorded annual period in the following regions and what was each amount expressed per capita:


    (a) Northern Ireland;


    (b) North West;


    (c) London and South East.[HL461]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Breakdowns of government expenditure and government expenditure per capita into countries and English regions were published in tables 7.6A, 7.6B, 7.8 and 7.9 of the Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses 1997-98, Cm 3601.

Ministerial Pension Scheme: Nominations

Lord Tebbit asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether Ministers may nominate persons other than their spouses to benefit from the ministerial pension scheme.[HL505]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The ministerial pension scheme is a part of the Parliamentary

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Contributory Pension Fund. The scheme pays survivors' pensions only to legal spouses and to dependant children. Lump sum benefits arising on death-in-service or death-in-retirement may be paid to any person or persons nominated by the member.


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