Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

9 Jul 1998 : Column WA145

Written Answers

Thursday, 9th July 1998.

Baltic States: Know How Fund Allocations

The Earl of Carlisle asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How much money from the Know How Fund will be allocated to (a) Estonia; (b) Latvia; and (c) Lithuania in 1998-99; and whether these sums represent an increase from 1997-98.[HL2472]

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.

Know How Fund: Policy

The Earl of Carlisle asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether it is their policy in central and eastern Europe to focus Know How funding on the poorest and most disadvantaged sectors of society rather than on those individuals who are capable of undergoing training in the United Kingdom.[HL2473]

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.

Waste Management Proposals

Lord Gregson asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What plans they have to consult on proposals to institute the change to a tonnage based levy for statutory joint waste disposal authorities.[HL2494]

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

9 Jul 1998 : Column WA146

reflect the service each authority draws from the JWDA and to provide encouragement for waste minimisation and other sustainable methods of waste management. The more successful authorities are in minimising waste and diverting it to other forms of sustainable waste management such as recycling and composting, the less they will deliver for disposal and the less they will pay. As we said in March, this will form one more element in our policy to encourage waste management options higher up the waste hierarchy.

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.

Mobile Phones on Trains

Lord Gisborough asked Her Majesty's Government:

    In view of the irritation caused to train passengers by users of mobile phones, whether they will recommend to the rail companies that at least one half of one carriage in every train be designated a mobile phone free compartment.[HL2579]

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.

Strategic Defence Review: Tornado Squadrons

Lord Randall of St. Budeaux asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Which front line aircraft squadrons will be disbanded as a result of the Strategic Defence Review.[HL2497]

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.

9 Jul 1998 : Column WA147

Sierra Leone Arms Investigation: Indemnities

Lord Shepherd asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When the indemnities relative to the Sierra Leone arms investigation will come into force.[HL2662]

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.

Government Departments: Assistance with Overseas Sales

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What contribution commercial firms make to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in return for the activities carried out by the FCO and the Ministry of Defence from which the firms benefit commercially; and whether this benefit is regularly costed and billed to them.[HL2477]

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.

CIA Website: UK Profile

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have looked at the United States' Central Intelligence Agency's "Home Page for Kids" on the Internet; and whether in their view, the "country profile" of the United Kingdom leaves anything to be desired in terms of accuracy.[HL2295]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Her Majesty's Government are not responsible for the accuracy of information carried on the Internet apart from, of course, their own website.

NATO Actions

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they consider that "coalitions of the willing" among NATO members may operate out of the NATO area without the authority of the United Nations Security Council.[HL2478]

9 Jul 1998 : Column WA148

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Any NATO action would need to be in accordance with international law, but it is clear that not all operations would require a Security Council Resolution.

NATO and the Baltic States

The Earl of Carlisle asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the latest date by which they envisage the three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania joining NATO as full members.[HL2512]

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.

Landmines Bill

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will arrange for additional parliamentary time to be made available so that the United Kingdom may be able to ratify the Ottawa Treaty, banning anti-personnel landmines, before the end of the current Session.[HL2437]

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.

Privy Council Dinner

Lord Patten asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the last occasion on which the Privy Council dined together; which members of the Privy Council were not invited to attend; and why they were not invited.[HL2601]

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.

Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page