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7 Dec 1998 : Column WA65

Written Answers

Monday, 7th December 1998.

Algeria: Aid

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What sums have been provided in aid to Algeria in each year since 1 January 1992.[HL146]

Baroness Amos: British aid provided to Algeria since 1 January 1992 is as follows:

Financial YearAmount (£ sterling)
1991-92336,000
1992-93377,000
1993-94192,000
1994-95140,000
1995-96150,000
1996-9746,000
1997-98*120,000

*Provisional figure pending publication of Statistics on International Development.

The 1997-98 figure consists mostly of humanitarian assistance to refugees from Western Sahara who are currently living in Western Algeria.

TWH Management Ltd

Lord Spens asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the letter of 4 January 1989 (disclosed in the Mail on Sunday) from Mr. W. B. Willott of the Department of Trade and Industry to Mrs. Olsen of the Serious Fraud Office discussing the merits of appealing the decision reached in the Licensed Dealers Report and Recommendations in the matter of TWH Management Ltd, that certain transactions including those related to Guinness plc created "no false market", was disclosed to the defendants in the Guinness trials as required by the High Court; and if not, why not.[HL50]

The Lord Chancellor (Lord Irvine of Lairg): The Attorney General exercises statutory superintendence over the Director of the Serious Fraud Office in the discharge of her functions. That superintendence does not extend to operational decisions taken about the disclosure of individual documents by the prosecution in any given case. The noble Lord, if he wishes to pursue this matter, should seek the assistance of the Director of the Serious Fraud Office.

Cancer Treatment: Manifesto Commitment

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

    By what date their manifesto commitments on cancer treatment were or will be met in relation to breast cancer, lung cancer, cervical cancer, prostate cancer, bowel cancer and liver cancer.[HL110]

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Hayman): The Government's manifesto commitment was to "end waiting for cancer surgery, thereby helping thousands of women waiting for breast cancer treatment". The Government intend to meet their manifesto commitments, including this one, by the end of this Parliament. The ongoing implementation of the Calman/Hine recommendations provides the framework to help ensure that the best services are provided for all cancer patients.

NHS and Private Finance Initiative: Guidance to Trusts

Lord Clement-Jones asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When the Department of Health will be issuing specific guidance to hospital trusts on what elements of medical services can be provided through the Private Finance Initiative.[HL126]

Baroness Hayman: The Government have given a firm commitment that the provision of National Health Service clinical services by the private sector will not be permitted under the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) or any other form of public/private partnership. A list of non-clinical services which may be provided under the PFI or other forms of public/private partnerships will be included in the report of the review of PFI which will be published shortly and distributed to NHS trusts.

Age Concern: Grants

Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How much Government funding has been allocated to Age Concern during 1997-98; whether any of this money was earmarked for the Millennium Debate of the Age; and, if so, how much.[HL130]

Baroness Hayman: During 1997-98 Age Concern received from the Government a mix of project and core grants totalling £1,850,000.

None of the funds awarded to Age Concern were as a result of bids for assistance with the Millennium Debate.

MMR Vaccine: Research

Lord Clement-Jones asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What research is being done or has been commissioned by the Department of Health into adverse reactions from the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine.[HL55]

Baroness Hayman: The effects of measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) immunisation have been carefully examined by two groups of independent experts: the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation,

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which advises the United Kingdom health departments on matters concerning immunisation, and the Committee on Safety of Medicines. In addition, following the publicity about possible adverse reactions to MMR, a group of 37 independent experts was convened by the Medical Research Council on 23 March this year under the chairmanship of Professor Sir John Pattison. The group examined published and unpublished research into a suggested association between MMR vaccine and inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease) and autism. These independent experts concluded:


    The available virological and epidemiological evidence does not support a causal role for persistent measles virus infection in Crohn's disease.


    There is no evidence to indicate any link between MMR vaccination and bowel disease or autism.


    There is therefore no reason for a change in the current MMR vaccination policy.

MMR vaccine remains the safest way for parents to protect their children against measles, mumps and rubella.

The Medicines Control Agency (MCA) is currently considering the evidence provided by case reports of children where parents suspected adverse effects following MMR. The MCA has set up a working group of independent experts who will evaluate these reports in the context of all the relevant available evidence. The MCA has also commissioned a study to examine the possible association between MMR vaccine and autism.

Serpentine Gallery

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the Serpentine Gallery pays an economic rent to the Royal Parks Agency; and what it is.[HL12]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Responsibility for the subject of this question has been delegated to the Royal Parks Agency under its Chief Executive, Mr. David Welch. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter to Lord Kennet from the Head of Policy of the Royal Parks Agency, Ms Viviane Robertson.

In the absence of the Chief Executive of the Royal Parks Agency, Mr. David Welch, I have been asked by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport to reply to your parliamentary Question about the rent paid to the Royal Parks Agency by the Serpentine Gallery, as this is an operational matter for which the agency is responsible.

The Gallery does not pay an economic rent. The Gallery's previous licence came to an end in 1994. Following discussions between the Royal Parks Agency, the Serpentine Gallery and the then Department of National Heritage, the Gallery was granted a further 15-year licence. After completion of the Gallery's

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refurbishment in 1997 the fee for the licence was set at £10,000 per annum, adjusted annually in line with the Retail Price Index.

St. James's Park: Unattended Cycles

Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the reason for the erection of new police notices in St. James's Park warning that cycles left unattended will be removed by the police; and [HL1]

    Why cyclists are not allowed to leave their cycles unattended at locations in St. James's Park and Westminster.[HL2]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Responsibility for the subject of these questions has been delegated to the Royal Parks Agency under its Chief Executive, Mr. David Welch. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter to Lord Kennet from the Head of Policy of the Royal Parks Agency, Ms Viviane Robertson.

In the absence of the Chief Executive of the Royal Parks Agency, Mr. David Welch, I have been asked by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport to reply to your two parliamentary Questions relating to cycles in St. James's Park, as this is an operational matter for which the agency is responsible.

Unattended cycles are a potential security risk in the vicinity of ceremonial routes and the most recent notices were displayed as part of the security arrangements prior to the State Opening of Parliament. They are visually intrusive in a Grade 1 listed landscape and damage the railings and their paintwork, and it is an offence under the Royal Parks Regulations to attach cycles or any other article to park railings or other park furniture.

I am unable to comment on the position with regard to cycles left unattended in Westminster.

Human Rights Act 1998

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

    Whether, when they bring Section 19 of the Human Rights Act 1998 into force, they will at the same time bring Section 3 into force so as to ensure that the courts construe future Acts of Parliament so far as is possible in accordance with convention rights, having regard to any ministerial statements of compatibility with the European Convention on Human Rights made under Section 19.[HL70]

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): The main provisions of the Act, including Section 3, belong together and will be implemented as a whole. Section 19 is separate from the main provisions and for that reason we were able to bring it into force in advance of them on 24 November.


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