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Millennium Experience and Previous Exhibitions: Costs

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: As stated in my Answer on 24 March (Official Report, col. WA238) the Millennium Experience, which includes the nationwide Millennium Challenge of events and activities and is being funded through the National Lottery, private sector sponsorship and visitor revenue, is not directly comparable with the Great Exhibition of 1851, nor with the 1951 Exhibition. The total expenditure on the 1951 Exhibition was £10.6 million, which is roughly equivalent to £136 million in present day terms. The expenditure on the 1851 Exhibition of £335,742 is roughly equivalent to £20 million in present day terms.

Reserve Forces: Service with Regular Army

Lord Alderdice asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Gilbert): Since the end of the Gulf War, no formed units from within the volunteer reserve forces have served in operations with the regular Army. However, composite units and individuals from the volunteer and regular reserves have served recently with the regular forces in many of the places detailed in my Answer on 6 April to my noble friend Lord Jenkins of Putney (Official Report, cols. 78-80). Support is not provided through the call-out of discrete sub-units. Information about the area of the United Kingdom from which the individuals forming those sub-units were drawn could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Aviation Safety

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Gilbert: I am not aware of any such discussions. The European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation, EUROCONTROL, has the primary responsibility for harmonisation of European air traffic management systems and procedures and, under its

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Convention, the organisation is required to act in co-operation with national military as well as civil authorities. The European Commission currently has observer status in EUROCONTROL. The NATO Committee for European Airspace Co-ordination, CEAC, contributes to aviation safety by providing a forum for co-ordinating the operational requirements of military airspace users in NATO Europe with those of the civil sector. There are regular contacts between EUROCONTROL and CEAC staffs.

Life Peers: Age at Ennoblement

Lord Renfrew of Kaimsthorn asked the Leader of the House:

    How many individuals have been granted life peerages over the past 20 years who, at the time of their ennoblement, were (i) below the age of 45; (ii) aged between 45 and 50; (iii) aged between 50 and 55; (iv) aged between 55 and 60; (v) over the age of 60.[HL1544]

The Lord Privy Seal (Lord Richard): The following table includes life peerages created between April 1978 and March 1998, distinguishing between those created under the Appellate Jurisdiction Act 1876 and the Life Peerages Act 1958.

1876 Act1958 ActTotal
Under 4501010
45 to 4903737
50 to 5405656
55 to 5928486
60 plus21271292

Asylum System: Backlog

Lord Renfrew of Kaimsthorn asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Williams of Mostyn on 7 April (WA 120-1), what conclusions Ministers have drawn from the inter-departmental study on the asylum system; and when they will decide how to deal with the numerous cases of applicants who lodged applications before the Asylum and Immigration Appeals Act 1993 came into force on 26 July 1993 and who have received no initial decision.[HL1548]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): We are currently looking very carefully at the findings of the inter-departmental study of the asylum process in the light of the Government's commitment to delivering a system that is fairer, faster and firmer than the present one. We will announce our conclusions on all the issues, including dealing with the backlog of undecided claims which we inherited, as soon as we can.

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Schengen Executive Committee Declarations

Lord Dean of Beswick asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they will make available the decisions and declarations adopted by the Schengen Executive Committee.[HL1681]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: We have placed in the Library copies of all of the decisions and declarations of the Schengen Executive Committee and of its subordinate body, the Schengen Central Group, which are part of the Schengen acquis and are in our possession, except for six documents, or parts thereof, which are classified as "Confidential" by the Schengen states. These cover the period up to and including June 1997.

Some of the documents are incomplete and there are some others which we have not yet received; these (together with the confidential documents) are indicated in the list which accompanies the documents deposited in the Library. As soon as we receive the missing documents, and also documents issued since June 1997, we shall deposit them in the Library.

A number of the documents are in French or German. We are endeavouring to obtain English translations of these which, when received, we will deposit in the Library.

Conception Rates: Under 16 Year-olds

Lord Braine of Wheatley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the source of the information published in the report of the Department of Health The Health and Social Services Programmes: The Government's Expenditure Plans 1998-99 (Cm 3912, page 22) that "England has one of the highest rates of conception among under-16 year-olds in the developed world".[HL1552]

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Baroness Jay of Paddington): An article published in Population Trends no 74: Teenage conceptions and fertility in England and Wales 1971-91 (Winter 1993) compares teenage fertility rates for western and northern European countries and the United States of America. This showed that in 1990 the teenage fertility rate for England and Wales was exceeded only by the USA. The figures remain similar in Council of Europe 1996 (Recent Demographic Developments in Europe). Copies of both publications are available in the Library.

Nicotine Replacement Therapies

Lord Braine of Wheatley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will make available on prescription products containing nicotine to assist those smokers who wish to quit smoking; and, if not, whether they will state what practical assistance they plan to give to such smokers during 1998.[HL1556]

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Baroness Jay of Paddington: The Government are currently considering ways in which to help people quit smoking, including the role of nicotine replacement therapies, as part of their strategy to reduce tobacco consumption. Our conclusions will form part of the Tobacco Control White Paper, which will be published later this year.

Hammersmith Bridge

Lord Montague of Oxford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When the bridge at Hammersmith is likely to be reopened to road transport.[HL1508]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Baroness Hayman): The London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham is responsible for this bridge, which it closed to most classes of traffic--except for buses, pedestrians, cyclists, motor cyclists and emergency vehicles--early in 1997. This was done in the interests of public safety and to minimise the risk of structural damage. The borough has started on a comprehensive programme of strengthening and repair, which it expects to be completed by the end of September 1999. While these works are in hand, it is undertaking public consultation on the future of the bridge. The findings are expected to be reported to the appropriate committee in July 1998, and the borough will then reach a view on the question of re-opening the bridge.

Seat Belts: Wearing Rates

Lord Braine of Wheatley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will publish in the Official Report a table showing the wearing rates for:

    (a) front seat belts; and

    (b) rear seat belts for the last year for which figures are available in each county in England and Wales; and whether they are satisfied with the current wearing rates.[HL1567]

    Whether they will publish in the Official Report a table showing the front seat and rear seat belt wearing rates among (a) males and (b) females for the last year for which figures are available in each county in England and Wales.[HL1568]

Baroness Hayman: Seat belt wearing rates are not collected on a county basis. The Transport Research Laboratory observes car and van seat-belt wearing rates twice yearly at 32 sites chosen to represent all types of road. Although the results may not be strictly nationally representative, they should give useful insights into national patterns of restraint use.

The survey provided the following rates for seat belt wearing, for all ages, in the front and rear, overall and by gender, for 1997.

Overall By Gender
Front RearFront Rear
April 199789%89%63%86%94%63%63%
October 199791%93%67%89%95%68%65%

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The Government are not satisfied with current rates of seat belt wearing. A publicity campaign to further promote seat belt wearing will be launched later this year. My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions supported the launch on 24 April of a pan-European Road Safety Campaign, encouraging, among other things, seat belt wearing. The campaign is being organised by European motoring organisations, co-ordinated by the AIT and FIA.

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