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Devolved Assemblies: Special Advisers

Lord Harris of Haringey asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Lord Privy Seal (Baroness Jay of Paddington): An amendment has been made to the Civil Service Order in Council to allow for the appointment of a limited number of Special Advisers to Ministers in the Scottish Parliament and Assembly Secretaries in the National Assembly for Wales. The amendment takes account of the new ministerial arrangements that will apply in Scotland and Wales following devolution, and sets out the terms and conditions under which they can be employed including an upper limit on the numbers that can be appointed. A copy of the amended order has been placed in the Libraries of the House.

British-Irish Council

Lord Harris of Haringey asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Jay of Paddington: The British-Irish Council (BIC) will be established immediately on entry into force of the Good Friday Agreement reached at Belfast on 10 April 1998. Membership of the BIC will comprise representatives of the British and Irish Governments, of the devolved institutions in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and of the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey. Its secretariat will be provided by the British and Irish Governments in co-ordination with officials of each of the other members. My right honourable friend the Prime Minister has asked the Minister for the Cabinet Office to take responsibility within the British Government for matters relating to the BIC, including the necessary preparatory work.

Divisions on House of Lords Wednesday Motions

Lord Jopling asked the Leader of the House:

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Baroness Jay of Paddington: There has only been one example, over the last 20 years, when a Motion moved by a back-bencher on a Wednesday has been divided on:

    9 February 1983

    Motion by Lord Shackleton to note with regret the Government's decisions on Ordnance Survey.

In addition, the following other Motions for debates have been divided on, on Wednesdays since 1979:

    16 April 1980

    Motion by Lord Peart to deplore the Government's Domestic Policies

    9 March 1983

    Motion by Lord Wells-Pestell to deplore the Government's Social and Economic Policies

    12 December 1984

    Motion by Lord Cledwyn of Penrhos on Unemployment

    18 December 1991

    Motion by Lord Waddington to resolve on Maastricht Agreement

    1 December 1993

    Motion by Lord Richard to resolve no confidence in Government Policies

    31 March 1993

    Motion by Lord Richard to deplore Government's White Paper on Coal Industry

    5 February 1997

    Motion by Lord Jenkins of Hillhead to resolve on Party Political Funding.

Library Services

The Earl of Clancarty asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they are considering the use of the power in s.10(1)(b) of the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964 to instigate local enquiries where the Secretary of State believes that library authorities are failing to carry out their duty under s.7(1) of the Act. "to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service for all persons desiring to make use thereof".[HL1448]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport has instructed officials to seek information from six library authorities that have been considering service cuts to establish the details of, and rationale behind, their proposals. So far, the Government's actions do not amount to the formal use of Section 10 of the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964, but we shall not hesitate to use our reserve powers if we believe that statutory requirements are threatened.

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Antiquities: Illegal Traffic

Lord Renfrew of Kaimsthorn asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have completed their consideration of the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property and of the 1995 UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects announced on 3 June 1997 by Lord McIntosh of Haringey (col. 563); and why they are taking so long in deciding whether to sign.[HL1449]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: We have not yet taken a view about whether to sign the 1970 UNESCO Convention. We are currently undertaking an interdepartmental consultation about whether the UK should become a signatory to the 1995 UNIDROIT Convention. This is taking rather longer than had been expected due to the need to consider legal issues in some detail. Our aim will be to complete these consultations within the next three months.

Retail Prices Index

Lord Brabazon of Tara asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, when calculating the Retail Prices Index, account is taken of Clubcards, Airmiles or other loyalty schemes.[HL1346]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Airmiles, clubcards and other loyalty schemes are not currently taken account of in collecting prices for the Retail Prices Index (RPI). This subject is an area of research in the current work programme to investigate methodological issues relating to the RPI. Further details of this programme are given in an article in the February 1999 edition of Economic Trends, copies of which are available in the House of Lords Library.

Financial Promotions: Control

Lord Peston asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will publish details of the financial promotion regime under the Financial Services and Markets Bill.[HL1563]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Financial Services and Markets Bill provides for a prohibition on unauthorised persons making financial promotions without the approval of an authorised person. The Bill also provides for exemptions from that prohibition to be set out in secondary legislation.

The Treasury has today issued a consultation document on the financial promotion regime under the Bill. Copies have been placed in the Libraries of the House. The deadline for comments is 30 April. Following consideration of responses, the Treasury will publish for further consultation draft secondary

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legislation setting out proposed exemptions from the prohibition on unauthorised persons making financial promotions.

European Investment Bank

Lord Harris of Haringey asked Her Majesty's Government:

    (a) how many loans have been issued by the European Investment Bank and how many bonds have been issued by the European Investment Fund to support projects in the United Kingdom; (b) the value of any such loans and bonds; and (c) how this compares with other member states of the European Union.[HL1393]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The European Investment Bank signed loans for projects in the United Kingdom and other member states in 1998 as set out in the following table.

Number of loans Amount (C= million)
United Kingdom273,074

The European Investment Fund does not make loans. It provides loan guarantees and equity investments.

In 1997 (latest published figures), the EIF signed guarantees on loans as set out in the following table.

Number of guaranteesAmount (C= million)
United Kingdom264.17

In 1997, the EIF signed equity investments in venture capital funds as set out in the following table.

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Number of investmentsAmount (C= million)
United Kingdom515.98


Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Baroness Hayman on 8 March (WA 12-13), whether they will now say what assessment has been made of the risk of conflicts of interest arising from the involvement of persons connected with the pharmaceutical industry in framing recommendations made to the Government concerning human cloning; and how many statutory declarations of interest were made.[HL1490]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Hayman): The joint Human Genetics Advisory Commission (HGAC) and the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) report on cloning was agreed by all members of both bodies. We do not consider that there were any conflicts of interest arising from the involvement of any member of either body. Applications to inspect the register of interests should be made to the HGAC secretariat and the offices of the HFEA.

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