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Kosovo: Operation Agricola

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Burlison: Operation Agricola is the UK's contribution of ground troops to KFOR, the allied ground force operation in Kosovo. It was chosen at random from a list of possible operation names.

Information Warfare

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Burlison: The Government have frequent access to studies and other literature produced by Rand and other think-tanks, including those covering information warfare and the effects of malicious electronic attack. I am not aware of the specific study to which the noble Lord refers. We are not undertaking any activity relating to the Association for Progressive Communications.

Service Personnel: Secondary Medical Care within the NHS

Lord Craig of Radley asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Lord Burlison: Financial arrangements between the Ministry of Defence and the NHS to enable secondary care treatment to be given to service personnel are set out in Health Services Circular 1999/112 of 21 May 1999. This circular details the financial arrangements which underpin MoD contracts with NHS Hospital Trusts with regard to Ministry of Defence hospital units (MDHUs) and which will also underpin all future hosting or treatment arrangements between the two departments. The MDHU contracts negotiated in this arrangement include the requirement to meet the Defence Secondary Care Agency key targets for waiting times and contain financial incentives to encourage NHS trusts to meet critical operational priority targets.

Royal Parks Agency

Lord Brougham and Vaux asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What financial plans they have to help the Royal Parks Agency with the reconstruction and resurfacing of Constitution Hill and Birdcage Walk, the refurbishing of the lavatory blocks at Marlborough Road and Horse Guards Approach and the repair and restoration of fountains and buildings in the royal parks.[HL3006]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Information on expenditure planned for the next four years is contained in the agency's corporate plan approved by Ministers. Copies have been placed in the Libraries of the House.

Lord Brougham and Vaux asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What funding they have provided for the royal parks in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available.[HL3007]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Figures are readily available from 1992 and are as follows in terms of actual cash:

Royal Parks Agency £ millions
1992-9320.97
1993-9422.91
1994-9523.87
1995-9624.69
1996-9723.24
1997-9821.70
1998-9920.95
1999-200026.39

"Bloody Sunday" Inquiry

Lord Mayhew of Twysden asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether without the protection of anonymity there will be a risk for military witnesses giving evidence in Londonderry to the "Bloody Sunday" Inquiry that they and their families will be attacked.[HL2751]

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Northern Ireland Office (Lord Dubs): The issue of anonymity is a matter for the tribunal and ultimately for the courts. The tribunal in its ruling of 5 May allows for military witnesses to apply for anonymity on the grounds that it is justified by their personal circumstances. This ruling was in certain respects quashed in the Divisional Court on 17 June; the tribunal has been granted leave to appeal. It would therefore not be appropriate to comment further.

Lord Mayhew of Twysden asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether any further application for anonymity for military witnesses who served the Crown many years ago, which by order of the "Bloody Sunday" Inquiry must be made publicly, will have the consequence that the very matters which are said to justify the application in the interest of justice will be known to those by whom the witnesses believe themselves to be threatened.[HL2752]

Lord Dubs: It is a matter for the inquiry how to conduct its proceedings, including the consideration of questions of anonymity. The inquiry has issued guidance for the submission of applications for anonymity on special reasons. This guidance is, among other things, designed to ensure that applicants for anonymity are not required to disclose publicly information that would be likely to defeat the purpose of the application.

Lord Mayhew of Twysden asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether there is any, and if so what, restraint preventing them from securing a direction to the "Bloody Sunday" Inquiry that military witnesses shall be protected by anonymity, whether by means of amended resolutions by both Houses of Parliament or otherwise.[HL2753]

Lord Dubs: When the inquiry was established in January last year, the Prime Minister explained to the House of Commons that it was important to make absolutely clear not only that the inquiry was impartial but that it was seen to be impartial. That remains the case, and it is not for the Government to interfere with the way the inquiry chooses to conduct its business.

Even if the Government did want to instruct the inquiry how to operate, it would be inconsistent with the Tribunal of Inquiry (Evidence) Act 1921, under which the inquiry was established, to do so. The resolution of both Houses of Parliament described the issue into which the inquiry was to inquire. But its procedures, as an independent judicial inquiry, are a matter for it. Questions of anonymity are therefore a matter for the tribunal and ultimately for the courts.

Lord Mayhew of Twysden asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they are content with the contrast between the anonymity for those giving evidence of the whereabouts of their murdered victims in Northern

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    Ireland and the lack of anonymity for those who served the Crown in Northern Ireland and who will now be witnesses before the "Bloody Sunday" Inquiry.[HL2754]

Lord Dubs: The issue of anonymity in respect of witnesses who may be called to give evidence to the tribunal of inquiry is a matter for the inquiry (subject to the courts in the event of judicial review). The Northern Ireland (Location of Victims Remains) Act 1999, which relates to an entirely different situation, does not confer anonymity on those giving information as to the whereabouts of their murdered victims. It imposes restrictions on the subsequent disclosure of information of this kind provided to the commission and provides that such information, and evidence obtained as a result, is not admissible in criminal proceedings on behalf of the prosecution.

Slaughterhouses: Meat Hygiene Service Complaints Procedure

Baroness Wharton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether slaughterhouse owners or operators have any right of redress when official veterinary surgeons make unsubstantiated accusations as to their own staff's conduct in respect of compliance with the Fresh Meat (Hygiene and Inspection) Regulations 1995; and what form that redress should take.[HL2873]

The Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Lord Donoughue): Licensed slaughterhouse owners or operators are free to refer grievances about day-to-day operational matters to the Meat Hygiene Service (MHS) regional management in accordance with the MHS complaints procedure.

Slaughterhouses: Activities of OVSs and MHIs

Baroness Wharton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether slaughterhouse owners or operators are entitled to supervise or otherwise check on the activities of their official veterinary surgeons and meat hygiene inspectors as to whether the officials are carrying out official duties on the premises, for which charges are made; and whether official veterinary surgeons can be asked to account for hours worked by filling in timesheets provided by the owners or operators.[HL2874]

Lord Donoughue: Official veterinary surgeons (OVSs) and meat hygiene inspectors (MHIs) derive their authority by virtue of their appointment by Ministers. While slaughterhouse owners or operators can observe and comment on the activities of an OVS or MHI, they cannot formally supervise or otherwise check on their activities: this being the immediate responsibility of the

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appropriate principal official veterinary surgeon (POVS).

Should a slaughterhouse owner or operator be dissatisfied with the performance of an OVS or MHI, they are at liberty to take the matter up with either the POVS or the Meat Hygiene Service (MHS) regional management team in accordance with the MHS complaints procedure.

OVSs are required to fill in timesheets provided by the MHS so that an accurate calculation of hours worked can be made and an appropriate hygiene charge assessed. This enables the MHS to fulfil its statutory obligation of recovering the costs of providing hygiene inspections.

OVSs cannot be asked to account for hours worked by filling in timesheets provided by slaughterhouse owners or operators, although owners or operators can keep their own records.


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