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Lord Whitty: The Know How Fund has allocated £500,000 each in bilateral funding to projects in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in 1998-99. In 1997-98, £580,000 was allocated to each country. These amounts are additional to the UK's share of the European Union's Phare programme, which in 1998 proposes to allocate 18.9 million, 18.6 million and 29.1 million ECU to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania respectively.
Lord Whitty: Our policy is to support the process of transition to pluralist democracy and a market economy in a way which promotes and recognises the interests of all the people in transition countries. This objective is achieved by a variety of activities, including some directly aimed at reducing poverty and social exclusion. Projects include training in the United Kingdom where appropriate.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Baroness Hayman): When announcing the change from a council tax to a tonnage based system for the apportionment of Joint Waste Disposal Authorities levies, we requested officials in the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions to work out methods for such a system and to discuss them with the local authority associations. Proposals have now been developed on how to apportion authorities' contributions on the basis of the amount of waste they deliver for disposal in a preceding period. The aim is to
A consultation document will therefore be issued today to local authority associations, the JWDAs and their constituent authorities. It remains our intention to have an efficient and effective default system in place in time for the 1999-2000 levy and we would very much welcome their responses to our proposals.
Baroness Hayman: Under the current arrangements for the railways, this is a commercial matter for the privatised train operating companies. Two operators, Chiltern Railways and Great Western Trains, have introduced mobile phone free carriages on their services. It is for other operators to consider whether there is demand from their passengers for similar provisions to be made.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Gilbert): We considered this matter very carefully and decided that the most effective way to meet the reductions in the Tornado F3 and Tornado GR forces was to disband two squadrons. In order to minimise disruption for Service personnel and optimise running cost savings, No. 29(F) Tornado F3 Squadron at RAF Coningsby and No. 17(F) Tornado GR Squadron at RAF Bruggen will be disbanded by 1 April 1999.
There will be no redundancies as a result of this decision. We wish to place on record our recognition of the distinguished role these squadrons have performed over many years. Arrangements are in place to brief all personnel affected by this decision.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): To assist Sir Thomas Legg complete his report as soon as possible the indemnities will come into force on 10 July.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The FCO and DTI, working together as Overseas Trade Services (OTS), and the MoD (in relation to defence exports), provide a wide range of services designed to help companies exploit overseas opportunities. In some circumstances--for example, for a tailored market information report--the OTS will charge companies based on the time spent by staff. The revenue generated by such charging is paid to the DTI. The MoD also charge companies in some circumstances--for example, for an overseas demonstration by an MoD sales team. The charges are also based on the time spent by staff, and the revenue is paid to the MoD.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Heads of State and Government reaffirmed at the NATO Summit in Madrid on 8-9 July 1997 that NATO remains open to new members in accordance with Article 10 of the North Atlantic Treaty. The process of NATO enlargement will be considered at the NATO Summit in Washington in April 1999. No commitments have been made in respect of particular applicant countries.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: As my noble friend will be aware, we hope to complete all stages of the Landmines Bill in another place on 10 July. It will then be debated in this House shortly afterwards. We do not yet have a date.
The Lord Privy Seal (Lord Richard): The Privy Council entertained Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh to Dinner on 8 December 1997, to celebrate their Golden Wedding Anniversary. Every member of the Privy Council was invited to attend.
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