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Syria: Sanctions against Iraq

Lord Jopling asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: It is the responsibility of individual states to ensure that their nationals and companies do not breach UN sanctions against Iraq. Since sanctions were imposed, we have made many approaches to other governments, including the Government of Syria, informing them of actions by their nationals or through their territories which might breach the UN sanctions regime and requesting them to follow up this information.

Estonia: Appointment of Ambassador

The Earl of Carlisle asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The present Ambassador at Tallinn is scheduled to leave in September 2000. We aim to decide the succession to such posts up to 12 months in advance to allow maximum time for preparation. We would therefore expect to take a decision in the autumn of this year.

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Yugoslavia: Non-combatant Casualties

Lord Jenkins of Putney asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the response by the Lord Gilbert on 28 April (H.L. Deb., col. 306), why they were unable to estimate the number of casualties to non-combatants resulting from the NATO air attacks on Yugoslavia; and whether they have since been able to make an estimate.[HL2287]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Gilbert): Verification of the number of non-combatant casualties is not possible, as access to sites is controlled by the Yugoslav Government. Evidence of fatalities allegedly resulting from allied action cannot, therefore, be tested either by the UK or by international organisations.

Sudanese Ex-servicemen: British Military Pensions

Lord McNair asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will provide details of Sudanese ex-servicemen in receipt of British military pensions.[HL2123]

Lord Gilbert: We are not aware of any Sudanese ex-servicemen who are in receipt of British military pensions under the provisions of the Armed Forces Pension Scheme.

Serbia: Reconstruction Costs

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What proportion of the destruction in Serbia and Kosovo has been caused by missiles and bombs launched from United States, United Kingdom, French and other platforms, and whether the need and the costs of eventual reconstruction are kept in mind by the military authorities commanding operations.[HL2224]

Lord Gilbert: NATO does not maintain a nation-by-nation breakdown of the damage caused by missile and bomb attacks. NATO commanders are taking great care to ensure that any damage inflicted on Serbia is justified as undermining Milosevic's military machine.

TV and Radio: Sex and Violence Guidelines

Lord Eames asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether present guidelines for television and radio companies are sufficient to protect the more vulnerable in society from explicit scenes of sex and violence.[HL2134]

12 May 1999 : Column WA153

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: These issues are primarily a matter for the independent broadcasting regulatory bodies: the Governors of the BBC, the Independent Television Commission, (ITC) the Radio Authority (RA) and the Welsh Authority, (S4C).

The Government believe that the current statutory programme codes and guidelines administered by the broadcasting regulators, together with their programme monitoring and complaints procedures, are effective in ensuring that the required standards are achieved.

The Government fully support initiatives by the regulators and the industry to maintain and improve standards, such as the joint BBC, ITC and BSC report Violence and the Viewer, published last year.

The Tote: Review

Lord Grantchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they intend to publish the review of the Tote.[HL2449]

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): The review of the Tote has been completed. We have considered the report of the steering group which conducted the review and have accepted the recommendations in it. We are most grateful to Peter Jones, the Chairman of the Tote, who chaired the steering group, for his skilful handling of this task. Copies of the report have been placed in the Library of the House.

The Tote's status as a Non-Departmental Public Body has served it well in the past but has become increasingly anomalous as the Tote has become a more commercial operation and developed its non-pool betting activities through acquisition of licensed betting offices. The review, therefore, concluded that the commercial freedom now required by the Tote would be best provided by transfer to the private sector. This will require legislation and, in view of the time this is likely to take, the review has made no recommendation as to the precise method of sale. That will need to be determined at the time.

Further work will now need to be undertaken on the various sale options, including the possibility of a sale to racing, in consultation with the Tote, the racing industry and others. The review also recognised the need to have regard to the interests of the taxpayer, as well as other stakeholders. This means that the Government have rejected the possibility of the Tote being transferred to racing without consideration.

Although the Tote's new status will now need to be worked out in detail, the review has marked out the future path for the Tote which will enable it to develop and operate in a fully commercial way.

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Legal Aid: Salaried System

Lord Sefton of Garston asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will consider the introduction of a salaried system of legal aid especially in personal injuries cases.[HL2240]

The Lord Chancellor (Lord Irvine of Lairg): The Access to Justice Bill will replace the current legal aid scheme with two separate schemes, both administered by the Legal Services Commission: the Community Legal Service for civil matters, and the Criminal Defence Service for criminal matters. For the latter, the Government believe that, in addition to contracting with private lawyers, the Legal Services Commission should be able to employ lawyers directly to offer services to the public. Introducing a mixed system of private and salaried lawyers will broaden choice of types of suppliers and introduce a healthy element of competition. The Government have no current plans to employ salaried lawyers to provide services under the Community Legal Service, but have taken the power to do so in order to maintain flexibility for the future. So far as personal injury cases are concerned, the Government believe that conditional fee agreements will provide a suitable source of funding for at least the great majority of cases and that, therefore, only few of them may continue to require public subsidy.

Fishing Allocations: Carry-over

Lord Acton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether unused fishing effort allocations may be carried over from one year to the next within the European Union Multi Annual Guidance Programme (MAGP IV).[HL2425]

The Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Lord Donoughue): As my honourable friend the Parliamentary Secretary announced on 24 February last year, (HC Deb., cols. 187-88), fishing effort available to the UK pelagic and beam trawl segments in 1998 was allocated between the various Producer Organisations (POs) or groups of fishermen concerned. Monitoring of uptake during 1998 showed that both segments succeeded in remaining within their main targets. Following representations from the industry, we approached the Commission to see if unused effort could be carried over into subsequent years. They have now confirmed to us that this is possible. We will accordingly be holding urgent consultation meetings with those concerned to explore how to reflect this in effort allocations for this year.

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IACS Payments

Lord Beaumont of Whitley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will provide the numbers of farm businesses receiving total Integrated Administration and Control System-related subsidies in the following bands: (a) over £5 million, (b) £5 million to £1 million, (c) £1 million to £500,000, (d) £500,000 to £200,000, (e) £200,000 to £100,000, (f) £100,000 to £75,000, (g) £75,000 to £50,000, (h) £50,000 to £40,000, (i) £40,000 to £30,000, (j) £30,000 to £20,000, (k) £20,000 to £15,000, (l) £15.000 to £10.000, (m) £10,000 to £5,000 and (n) less than £5,000; and[HL2149]

    Whether they will provide the numbers of farm businesses receiving subsidies from the Common Agricultural Policy, including Hill Livestock Compensatory Allowances, in the United Kingdom.[HL2150]

Lord Donoughue: The numbers of agricultural holdings both in total and within the above bands in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland which received payments under the schemes covered by the Integrated Administration and Control System (IACS) in 1997-98 (the Arable Area Payments, Beef Special Premium, Suckler Cow Premium and Sheep Annual Premium Schemes and Hill Livestock Compensatory Allowances) or certain other schemes in England and Wales were as follows:

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(1)England(1)Scotland(1)Northern Ireland(2)Wales
Over £5 million0000
£5 million-£1 million4000
£1 million-£500,00029000

(1) Payments are for European Agriculture Guidance and Guarantee Fund year 16 October 1997-15 October 1998. For England only payments under the following schemes are included: the agri-environment schemes, Sheep Compensation Scheme (ex Chernobyl), Objective 5b (EU Structural Funds), Farm Capital Grant Scheme, Agriculture and Horticulture Development Scheme,

BSE compensation, Offspring Cull, TB compensation, Scrapie compensation.

(2) Payments are for 1997 scheme years and include payments under agri-environment schemes.

It is not possible without incurring disproportionate costs to provide the information requested for England and Wales only in respect of IACS-related schemes or the total number of holdings in the United Kingdom which received subsidies under all CAP schemes including those covered by IACS.

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