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7 Apr 1998 : Column WA115

Written Answers

Tuesday, 7th April 1998.

House of Lords Committee Rooms: Annunciator Screens

Baroness Hilton of Eggardon asked the Chairman of Committees:

    Why there are House of Lords annunciator screens in Committee Rooms 1-3, 3A, 4, 4B and 7 but not in any of the others.[HL1201]

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Boston of Faversham): House of Lords annunciator screens are provided in all House of Lords committee rooms, but it is for the House of Commons to decide whether to place them in their committee rooms.

Since the introduction of the Parliamentary Data and Video Network, improvements have been made to allow for easier display of Lords divisions on annunciator screens.

Millennium Dome: British Artists' Work

Lord Hutchinson of Lullington asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord McIntosh of Haringey on 10 March (WA 33) that "The exhibits and activities in the Dome and the Challenge programme will reflect the lives and aspirations of people across the United Kingdom, and will aim to educate, inspire, involve, and entertain everyone who visits . . ." what works of art and which British artists will be represented within or without the Dome.[HL1107]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The New Millennium Experience Company is currently considering its policy and strategy on displaying works of art within the Dome. It is too early to say what works of art and which British artists might be exhibited, although it is hoped to be able to do so.

Turkey: Arms Export Licences

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What export licences have been issued for exports of arms and other military equipment to Turkey, in the current and previous two years; and what is their total value.[HL1300]

The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Simon of Highbury): My noble friend the Minister for Trade will write to the noble Lord and place a copy of the letter in the Library of the House.

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Structural Funds: Eligibility

Lord Roberts of Conwy asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What areas of the United Kingdom might qualify for: (a) Objective One; (b) new Objective Two; and (c) new Objective Three status, assuming that the European Commission's "Agenda 2000" proposals of July 1997 remain unaltered.[HL1243]

Lord Simon of Highbury: As part of the Agenda 2000 package, the Commission published their proposed draft regulations for the Structural and Cohesion Fund policies for the years 2000-2006 on 18 March 1998.

On the basis of the Commission's draft regulations and Eurostat's latest statistics, it is likely that Merseyside and South Yorkshire would be eligible for Objective 1. For Objective 2, the complexity of the proposals means that it is not possible at this early stage to make an informed statement on individual areas. All areas outside Objective 1 and 2 would be eligible for Objective 3.

There is a long negotiation ahead. The proposals will have to be agreed by the Council of Ministers and approved by the European Parliament before we are in a position to state positively which areas are eligible for Structural Funds.

Broadcasting and Cross-media Ownership

Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When the review of broadcasting and cross-media ownership, referred to by the Lord Haskel on 2 April (H.L. Deb., col. 382), will commence.[HL1448]

Lord Simon of Highbury: We expect to initiate a consultation shortly. The proposed review will be of the purposes, structures and practicalities of regulating the broadcasting and telecommunications industries in the light of their emerging convergence. The review will not encompass the merits of the media ownership regulations which were extensively debated and revised in the Broadcasting Act 1996. I regret that my noble friend Lord Haskel may therefore have inadvertently misled your Lordships' House as to the scope of the review.

Arctic Research

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are the current arrangements within the Science Councils and elsewhere in the United Kingdom for conducting Arctic research; how much taxpayer funding currently goes to Arctic research, Antarctic research, bi-Polar research, and global ocean research in general; and what bodies are carrying out that research.[HL1207]

Lord Simon of Highbury: The UK is a member of both the International Arctic Science Committee (and

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currently holds the Chair) and the Arctic Ocean Sciences Board. Within the Natural Environment Research Council, (NERC), the Polar Expert Group provides advice to Council in Arctic research. Earlier this year the NERC's Centre for Ecology and Hydrology established a UK Arctic Network (UKAN) for ecologists and hydrologists. A number of departments and agencies (including MAFF, MoD, DETR, ESRC) undertake or support polar research. The NERC expenditure for Arctic, Antarctic and Bi-Polar research in 1997-98 is estimated at:

£ million
Arctic research1.3
Antarctic research25.6
Bi-Polar research(1)1.1

(1) Includes upper atmospheric research in the Antarctic which complements that funded by PPARC in the Arctic.

In addition, the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC) provides funding for facilities based in the Arctic which are used to support PPARC's Solar-Terrestrial physics programme. In 1998-99 the planned total expenditure is £1.8 million, which includes subscription costs where relevant, support for the exploitation of those facilities, and the costs of UK programme management and technical and scientific support. The facilities are the European Incoherent Scatter Facility (EISCAT), the Collaborative UK Twin Location Auroral Sounding System (CUTLASS) radars, and SAMNET and Riometers, which are national facilities managed by British universities.

The most recent analysis of public expenditure on marine-related research and development was undertaken by the Government's Inter-Agency Committee on Marine Science and Technology in 1996. Total civil spend in 1994-95 is estimated at £193 million. This includes marine R&D undertaken or supported by MAFF, SOAFED, DOE (now DETR) NRA (now EA), NIO, DoT (now DETR), DTI, NERC, ODA (now DFID), HSE, the Meteorological Office and UK universities.

Clinical Trials: Draft Directive

Lord Walton of Detchant asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they support the proposal, contained in the draft European Union directive on clinical trials, that Phase 1 trials carried out by the pharmaceutical companies to study the absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion of a drug under development should in future be subject to a formal regulatory process; and [HL1366]

    Whether they support the proposal, contained in the draft European Union directive on clinical trials, that the definition of an "investigational medicinal product" should be changed so that a product which has a marketing authorisation being used in a clinical trial would have to be labelled with the same information as an unlicensed product being used in such a trial; and [HL1367]

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    Whether, in relation to the draft European Union directive on clinical trials, they support the proposal for the definition of an investigator or sub-investigator which does not clearly specify the requirement that a qualified physician must be responsible for all trial-related medical decisions; and [HL1368]

    Whether they support the proposal, contained in the draft European Union directive on clinical trials, that the definition of an adverse event involving abnormal laboratory findings should not require that such findings should be potentially or actually clinically significant.[HL1369]

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Baroness Jay of Paddington): The draft European Union Directive on clinical trials is currently being negotiated in the European Council and discussed by the European Parliament. If the text were to be adopted as currently drafted it would require an unwelcome change to current United Kingdom regulatory practice on Phase 1 trials (studies on healthy volunteers).

The definitions of "investigational medicinal products", "investigator" and "adverse event" are contained in guidelines adopted by the International Conference on Harmonisation (ICH). The UK has, as part of the European Union and together with the United States of America and Japan, taken a decision to adopt these various guidelines. The European Commission has accepted in discussions of the text of the directive that the relevant ICH guideline definitions should be replicated in this text.

Nurse Prescribing Scheme

Baroness Cumberlege asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Baroness Jay of Paddington on 25 March (WA 245-246), to which sites the Answer refers, since the initial eight nurse prescribing pilot schemes and the total Bolton Trust scheme have been fully evaluated, and the 11 roll-out sites are not to be evaluated but monitored locally.[HL1360]

Baroness Jay of Paddington: We are looking at data emerging from all the sites currently involved in the nurse prescribing scheme, before making an informed decision on further roll-out.

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