Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page


18 Jan 1999 : Column WA85

Written Answers

Monday, 18th January 1999.

Sudan: Refugees

Lord McNair asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are the latest estimates of the number of non-Sudanese refugees presently in the Sudan; whether Her Majesty's Government provides, or has provided humanitarian assistance in relation to these refugees; and what the nature of any such assistance has been.[HL483]

Baroness Amos: The most recent estimates of the number of non-Sudanese who are refugees in Sudan is as follows:

Eritreans     315,000

Ethiopians     44,000

Chadians     4,400

DRC1,000

Others (inc. Ugandans)     9,600

------

Total     374,000

Her Majesty's Government have provided humanitarian assistance to refugees in Sudan, mainly through NGOs, with projects in education, community development and health. The following table gives a breakdown:

£

NGO1995-961996-971997-98
Christian Outreach-- Community Development30,00030,00030,000
Christian Outreach-- Shagarab Health Project120,00035,0000
International Extension College--Distance Learning100,0000100,000
Ockenden Venture-- Community Development86,76090,0000
Ockenden Venture-- Primary Education062,2900
Ockenden Venture-- Community Assistance50,00092,00056,797
You and Me Medical Project34,00020,00014,000
Totals420,760329,290200,797

In addition Her Majesty's Government are a major contributor to the UNHCR, whose mandate is to protect refugees and find durable solutions to their problems. UK contributions over the past three years are as follows:

UNHCR
£ million

1995-961996-97 1997-98
18.67.8 16.1


18 Jan 1999 : Column WA86

Rights of the Child Convention: UK Report

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they will submit to the United Nations the Second Report of the United Kingdom under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child; and whether it will be made public.[HL427]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Hayman): The Government will submit their second report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child of their progress in implementing the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in March 1999. The Government intend to publish the report in April 1999 and to make it widely available.

Juvenile Secure Accommodation

Lord Acton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Jay of Paddington on 20 November 1997 (WA 93), whether the final 10 of the 170 new places under the Secure Accommodation Development Programme have been completed; and whether they now contemplate a further Secure Accommodation Development Programme.[HL435]

Baroness Hayman: The final 10 places are expected to be available for use later this month. The Government announced on 22 July 1998 at col. WA 112 how they intend to proceed on the future provision of juvenile secure accommodation, including local authority secure units. This includes the proposed extension of the role of the Youth Justice Board for England and Wales, established on 30 September 1998 under the Crime and Disorder Act, to include the commissioning and purchasing of secure accommodation for young offenders and for children and young people held on remand. This will help to ensure that children and young people in custody are held in facilities appropriate to their needs. The Government will set out further details of this proposal when these are finalised.

Gulf Veterans' Illnesses: Research Programme Supervisory Panel

Lord Acton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they plan to appoint the next Chairman of the Independent Panel which oversees the MoD Interactions research programme into Gulf veterans' illnesses?[HL564]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Gilbert): Professor Donald Davies has agreed to take on the role of chairman of the Independent Panel overseeing the MoD Interactions research programme. This programme is designed to investigate the possible adverse health effects of the combination of vaccines and tablets which were given to UK troops

18 Jan 1999 : Column WA87

during the Gulf conflict to protect them against biological and chemical warfare agents. This is an important part of the broader ongoing research programme into Gulf War veterans' illnesses.

Professor Davies is the Director of the Department of Clinical Pharmacology (Division of Medicine) at Imperial College School of Medicine and the Director of the Department of Health Toxicology Unit, located at the same site. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Royal College of Pathologists, and an honorary member of the Royal College of Physicians.

Professor Davies is presently a member of the Committee on Mutagenicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment, and the National Biological Standards Board; he also sits on the expert Panel which advises the European Medicines Evaluation Agency, and was a member of the Committee on Safety of Medicines until December 1998.

We expect that the next meeting of the Independent Panel, the first at which Professor Davies will act as Chairman, will be held shortly.

Motorway Service Areas: Free Access

Lord Sefton of Garston asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they still adhere to the principle that no charges should be made when motorists use motorway service areas either to picnic or to use toilets, as promised at the time of the disposal of service areas: and whether they will take steps to ensure that no restrictions will be placed on motorists using such parking areas.[HL434]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Whitty): It has been a requirement for many years that all motorway service areas (MSAs) should provide, free of charge, both toilets and a picnic area. They must also provide free parking for up to two hours, though operators have a long-standing right to charge for longer stays. Enforcement does not depend on government ownership of MSA freeholds and we have no plans to alter the existing requirements either in conjunction with the sale of freeholds or for any other reason.

Motor Cycle Use on Public Footpaths

The Earl of Mar and Kellie asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether a motor cyclist riding on a public footpath with the landowner's consent requires a vehicle licence and insurance.[HL420]

Lord Whitty: A vehicle excise licence is required under the Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994 whenever a mechanically propelled vehicle which is not an exempt vehicle is used on a public road. A "public

18 Jan 1999 : Column WA88

road" for this purpose is, in England and Wales, a road repairable at the public expense. In Scotland, it is a road which a roads authority has a duty to maintain.

Under the Road Traffic Act 1988 insurance is required when a motor vehicle is used on a road. A "road" for this purpose in England and Wales means a highway (including a public footpath or bridleway) or other road to which the public has access. In Scotland, a "road" means any way over which there is a public right of passage and any other way to which the public has access.

The application of the law to individual cases depends on the particular circumstances.

Chile: Home Secretary's Visit

Lord Lamont of Lerwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the present Home Secretary visited Chile during the Presidency of either Salvador Allende or Augusto Pinochet; and, if so, whether they will give details. [HL461]

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): No. The only visit ever made to Chile by the Home Secretary was in July/August 1966. He was a student at the time and the visit, which was organised by the Fund for International Student Co-operation, was intended to help foster relations between British and Chilean students. The Home Secretary helped with the building work for a youth centre near Valparaiso.

Breast and Prostate Cancer: Deaths

Lord Stoddart of Swindon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many deaths there have been from breast cancer and prostate cancer over the past five years.[HL416]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the Director of the Office for National Statistics, who has been asked to reply.

Letter to Lord Stoddart of Swindon from the Director of the Office for National Statistics, Dr. T. Holt, dated 18 January 1999.

As Director of the Office for National Statistics (ONS), I have been asked to reply to your recent parliamentary question asking how many deaths there have been from breast cancer and prostate cancer over the past five years.

18 Jan 1999 : Column WA89

The data requested are shown in the table below.

Number of deaths certified as due to breast cancer for females and prostate cancer for males, United Kingdom, 1993-97

Year of OccurrenceCancer of female breastCancer of prostate
199314,6399,533
199414,4439,640
199514,1149,858
199613,6789,696
1997*13,3999,439

Note:

* Data for 1997 are provisional.


UK Trade Balances and EU Membership

Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the reply given by the Leader of the House on 14 December (H.L. Deb., col. 1138):


    (a) what proportion of the United Kingdom's gross domestic product goes in export to the European Union and whether the trade balance is in favour of the United Kingdom or the European Union;


    (b) what proportion of the United Kingdom's gross domestic product goes in export to the rest of the

18 Jan 1999 : Column WA90

    world and whether the trade balance is in favour of the United Kingdom or the rest of the world; and


    (c) why it would be "profoundly damaging" for the United Kingdom to stay in the European Common Market but to leave the rest of the Treaty of Rome.[HL397]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Latest figures showing the geographical breakdown of the current account of the balance of payments relate to 1997 and were published by the Office for National Statistics in an article in the December 1998 edition of Economic Trends. These show that the value of exports of goods and services to the European Union (EU) accounted for 14.4 per cent. of UK gross domestic product (GDP) in 1997. The balance of trade in goods and services with EU countries was in deficit by £5.4 billion in this period. The value of exports of goods and services to the rest of the world accounted for 14.1 per cent. of UK GDP in 1997. The balance of trade in goods and services with the rest of the world was in surplus by £4.8 billion in this period.

The Government's policy is one of constructive engagement with Europe. Rather than standing on the sidelines unable to influence the course of the European debate, the Government will be engaged and constructive in setting out its ideas for Europe's future.



   Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page