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Lord Blackwell asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Hayman: The Schools Health Education Unit, an independent research unit, has recently published figures for drug misuse by school children. These are based on a large number of local surveys in 1997, many of them funded by local health authorities. They are not necessarily representative of the United Kingdom as a whole:

Drug use ever by school year, 1997

TotalBoysGirls
11-12 (year 7)2%3%2%
12-135%5%4%
13-1413%14%12%
14-15 (year 10)25%26%24%
Base27,31714,07613,241

Source:

Balding J. Young people and illegal drugs in 1998. Schools Health Education Unit, Exeter, 1998.

The 1996 National Drugs Campaign Survey by the Health Education Authority suggested that 16 per cent. of 11-14 year olds and 40 per cent. of 16-19 year olds have ever used drugs.

Action on Addiction is a charity whose primary aim is to research drug misuse. It does not receive funding from the Department of Health or from other government departments.


28 Jul 1999 : Column WA199

St. George's Hospital, Tooting: A&E Waiting Times

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the fact that at 01.00 hours on Tuesday, 20 July the electronic display in the Accident and Emergency Department of St. George's Hospital, Tooting, indicated a 3-hour wait for treatment for major injuries and a 5½-hour wait for minor injuries is indicative of an acceptable standard of services; and, if not, what action they propose to ensure that it does not recur.[HL3852]

Baroness Hayman: The Accident and Emergency Department at St. George's Hospital NHS Trust was extremely busy on the night of 19/20 July, which led to waits for treatment longer than is desirable and for which it apologises.

St. George's Hospital NHS Trust recently received £830,000 from a share of over £115 million to improve and modernise accident and emergency departments. The trust will be commencing a programme of renovation for the A&E Department which will help to improve waiting times.

The trust has achieved a consistently good performance with regard to the admission of patients to hospital via Accident & Emergency. Recent figures show that, from April to June 1999, 87 per cent. of patients requiring admission were admitted within the Patient's Charter standard time of two hours.

Nos. 10 and 11 Downing Street: Entertainment Expenditure

Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the amount spent on entertaining at (a) No. 10 Downing Street and (b) No. 11 Downing Street in each of the years 1996 and 1998, and the breakdown between food, champagne, and other wines and spirits.[HL2746]

The Lord Privy Seal (Baroness Jay of Paddington): The total cost of entertainment by the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, including official hospitality at 10 and 11 Downing Street and Chequers for the 1998/99 financial year was £57,538. This compares with total expenditure on entertainment of £57,303 for the 1996/97 financial year. The figure for No. 10 was £50,735 for 1998/99 and £50,126 for 1996/97 and £6,803 and £7,177 for the Chancellor's office for the same periods. The information cannot be broken down in the form requested.

Questions for Written Answers

Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the time limit for answering Questions for Written Answer in the House of Lords; what

28 Jul 1999 : Column WA200

    sanctions, if any exist when those Questions are not answered in the time stipulated; and when they propose to answer the Question tabled on 27 May by Lord Pearson of Rannoch.[HL3883]

Baroness Jay of Paddington: The time limit for answering Questions for Written Answer in the House of Lords is 14 days from the date when the Question is tabled. If the Answer is more than seven days overdue, the question is reprinted each day in the Minutes of Proceedings until it is answered.

The Question tabled on 27 May by Lord Pearson of Rannoch has been answered today. I am sorry for the delay in providing an Answer to the noble Lord.

Peers' Expenses

Lord Dormand of Easington asked the Leader of the House:

    What action is being taken on:


    (a) the annual RPI increase in Peers' expenses; and


    (b) whether consideration will be given to an increase in peers' expenses additional to the annual RPI increase in Peers' expenses.[HL3824]

Baroness Jay of Paddington: (a) In accordance with the Resolution of the House of 20 July 1994, the maximum of the daily amount that may be reimbursed for subsistence and secretarial expenses will be uprated on 1 August 1999 by the same percentage as that in the Retail Prices Index (all items) over the previous 12 months.

(b) Under the present timetable, the level of parliamentary pay and allowances, including the level of Peers' allowances, is due to be reviewed by the Senior Salaries Review Body next year for a report early in 2001. The Government are always ready to consider carefully representations from noble Lords on these matters.

"Seahenge"

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether "Seahenge" was listed or designated; and, if not, why not.[HL3782]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: "Seahenge" was not statutorily protected. English Heritage advised my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport that protecting the site as a Scheduled Ancient Monument would not have been appropriate, as it would not provide a sustainable solution for the preservation of the timbers. If left in situ, the timbers would have been destroyed relatively quickly by natural processes. The only appropriate action to recognise the national importance of the timbers was to remove them for conservation.

28 Jul 1999 : Column WA201

Local Authority Members: Allowances

Baroness Gardner of Parkes asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they monitor the allowances now paid to local councillors; and whether there is a variation in the amounts paid by the different London Boroughs.[HL3784]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Whitty): We do not monitor the allowances paid to elected members by individual local authorities, which are required annually to publish details of their scheme of allowances and the amounts of each type of allowance paid to each member.

Baroness Gardner of Parkes asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the additional financial cost of the new higher rates of council allowances paid to elected councillors by councils operating a "cabinet system" will be met by the Government in extra Standard Spending Assessment, or whether the cost will fall on the council tax payers.[HL3783]

Lord Whitty: It is for each individual council to decide the level of its members' allowances having regard to the resources available to it.

Rail Services: Provision and Regulation

Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the responsibility for obtaining bids for the operation of trains in the Greater London area on:


    (a) the present sub-surface lines only;


    (b) the present Railtrack lines only; and


    (c) both the sub-surface lines and the Railtrack lines


    will be undertaken by the Franchising Director, London Underground or some other body; and[HL3818]

    Who will operate trains in the Greater London area on:


    (a) the present sub-surface lines only;


    (b) the present Railtrack lines only; and


    (c) both the sub-surface lines and the Railtrack lines; and[HL3819]

    Who will provide the rolling stock for trains to operate in the Greater London area on:


    (a) the present sub-surface lines only;


    (b) the present Railtrack lines only; and


    (c) both the sub-surface lines and the Railtrack lines; and[HL3820]

28 Jul 1999 : Column WA202

    Who will allocate track capacity to the passenger trains which operate in the Greater London area on:


    (a) the present sub-surface lines only;


    (b) the present Railtrack lines only; and


    (c) both the sub-surface lines and the Railtrack lines; and[HL3821]

    Whether Railtrack's activities and operation on the sub-surface London lines will be regulated by the Rail Regulator; and, if not, which organisation will undertake the regulatory functions as set out in the Railways Act 1994 on the sub-surface lines.[HL3822]

Lord Whitty: All these matters are the subject of discussions currently taking place between London Transport, Railtrack and the department. The aim of these discussions is to establish what an effective structure, in terms of providing services, allocating capacity and regulating private sector activities, would be. It is too early to say what the outcome of these discussions will be in any detail.


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