Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

Police Car Siren Trials

Lord Campbell of Croy asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Trials conducted by Leeds University have been concluded and I understand that it has provided the noble Lord with the findings. The emergency services, including some police forces, are assessing the suitability of the product.

Police Cars: Fatal Accidents

Lord Campbell of Croy asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The information is not available centrally in the precise form requested. Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary collects information on fatalities in those accidents involving police pursuits and immediate responses to emergency calls. The latest available data for forces in England and Wales relate to the financial year 1997-98 when there were 15 fatal accidents. I understand that there have been no fatal accidents in Scotland involving police cars for the period 1 March to 3 June 1999.

Emergency Police Calls: False Alarms

Lord Campbell of Croy asked Her Majesty's Government:

9 Jun 1999 : Column WA166

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Some 703,000 calls to the Metropolitan Police required immediate response during 1997-98, and some 1,978,000 in the rest of England and Wales; but information on the proportion of false alarms, which would be difficult to define with precision, is not available centrally for England and Wales. The information requested is not collected in Scotland. In Scottish forces emergency calls are prioritised on their receipt but the police do not differentiate between calls answered by vehicle or by officers on foot.

Racial Equality Commission Report

Lord Hughes of Woodside asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they plan to publish the Commission for Racial Equality's 1998 annual report.[HL2856]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: We have arranged for copies of the Commission for Racial Equality's 1998 report, which is being published today, to be placed in the Library.

The report demonstrates the commission's commitment to making racial equality a reality in Britain and shows how it is playing a positive role to promote the importance of equal opportunities.

Immigration and Nationality Directorate: Complaints Audit Committee Report

Lord Hughes of Woodside asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have received the annual report for 1998 of the Complaints Audit Committee of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate.[HL2857]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: A copy of the report has been placed in the Library. It is a useful and informative document and we are grateful to the committee for its comments and its recommendations which will all be followed up. The report also includes details of the broadening of the committee's terms of reference to encompass quality of service issues.

Renovations to Housing and VAT

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they intend to reduce VAT on renovations to dwellings, particularly in urban and city areas.[HL2728]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: No. This is not possible under EC law; but tax is only one factor in meeting housing policy objectives and it may not be the most effective. Land use planning clearly has a key role. The Government keep the use of economic instruments in helping to achieve environmental aims under continuous review.

9 Jun 1999 : Column WA167

Royal Parks Agency Advertisement

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will explain in ordinary English the meaning of the advertisement from the project manager of the Royal Parks Agency for proposals to develop a "playground dedicated to Diana, Princess of Wales, viz the design for the playground is required to create an outstanding, innovative play environment which caters not just for children's physical development but also provide opportunities for a wider range of play types (for example, symbolic, socio-dramatic, social creative, communication, exploratory, fantasy, imaginative, locomotor, mastery, object, role and dramatic play".[HL2611]

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

Letter from the Head of Policy of the Royal Parks Agency, Viviane Robertson, dated 9 June 1999.

In the absence of the Chief Executive, David Welch, I have been asked by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport to reply to your Parliamentary Question about the meaning of the advertisement for a playground dedicated to Diana, Princess of Wales.

The purpose of the advertisement placed in the European Journal, and in appropriate trade journals, was to invite expressions of interest from designers who are play experts and would be capable of designing specialised play equipment which would encourage children to be more innovative and to participate in different types of play. We were not looking for responses from providers of standard play equipment. The examples of types of play quoted are taken from "A Playworkers Taxonomy of Play Types" by Bob Hughes. Definitions of some of the examples listed are:

Locomotor play means movement in any and every direction, examples being chase, tag, hide and seek.

Socio-dramatic play means the enactment of real and potential experiences of an intense personal, social, domestic or interpersonal nature. (Example: Playing at house, going to the shops, being mothers and fathers, organising a meal or even having a row.)

Although they sound unusual in the prosaic setting of an advertisement, their meaning will have been recognised by the play experts.

Peers: Declaration of Interests

Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked the Leader of the House:

    Whether Lords who are in receipt of a pension from a former employment should declare that fact when promoting the interest of their former employers in the House of Lords.[HL2748]

9 Jun 1999 : Column WA168

The Lord Privy Seal (Baroness Jay of Paddington): Any Lord who takes part in a debate in the House should do so in the light of the resolution of the House of 7 November 1995 and the guidance set out in the Companion to the Standing Orders.

Common New Generation Frigate

Lord Hardy of Wath asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they expect the tri-national common new generation frigate to enter service; and how much later this date will be than that originally envisaged.[HL2701]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Gilbert): The common new generation frigate, CNGF, programme comprised two separate but linked collaborative UK/France/Italy projects; the principal anti-air missile system, PAAMS, and Project HORIZON which embraced the warship itself and all other weapon, command and communications systems. During the debate on defence equipment on 26 April 1999 in another place, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence announced (Official Report, cols. 50-1) that the three partners had concluded that, while collaboration on the PAAMS project would continue, it would not be cost-effective to continue to seek a single prime contractor for the HORIZON warship. We are now pursuing a national programme for the warship, which is to be known as the type 45 anti-air warfare destroyer.

The original estimated in-service date, ISD, for CNGF was December 2002. This slipped, largely owing to the need to synchronise the warship and combat systems programmes, and the tri-nationally agreed ISD was amended to June 2004. The last offer from HORIZON industry in April 1999 pointed to a UK first of class being further delayed until 2007. We are confident that a national programme can be delivered within a similar timescale.

Nuclear Weapons: Safety and Reliability

Lord Wedderburn of Charlton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What plans they have to ensure the integrity of the UK's nuclear weapon stockpile in the absence of underground weapon testing.[HL2855]

Lord Gilbert: To underwrite the safety and reliability of our nuclear weapons in the absence of underground testing, we have recently approved plans to invest in the US National Ignition Facility. This will be a joint

9 Jun 1999 : Column WA169

venture under the auspices of the 1958 UK/US Mutual Defence Agreement. It will guarantee the UK access to a high powered laser, which is a key element of our stewardship programme.

Assertive Outreach Teams

Lord Thurlow asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many health trusts have not established assertive outreach teams to help mentally ill people in the community to persist in required medication; and whether the 13 new teams authorised in the Budget have been set up.[HL2703]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Hayman): Data are not yet available for the number of assertive outreach services to be provided in 1999-2000. Preliminary figures indicate that overall the health authorities intend to double the number of assertive outreach teams by March 2000.

Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page