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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Whitty): In England, the Housing Corporation, which regulates the work of Registered Social Landlords, has a Temporary Social Housing Programme which is similar to the Scottish Homes Lead Tenancies Scheme. It is designed to bring empty properties back into use and provide temporary accommodation for people who would otherwise be housed in bed and breakfast accommodation.
The Minister of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston): We are pleased to say that the consultation document Reducing disruption from utilities' street works was published today. It has been distributed to interested parties, and we have also arranged for copies to be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
Lord Bassam of Brighton: My right honourable friend the Home Secretary has appointed Mr David Penn as Chairman of the Firearms Consultative Committee. Mr Penn is the Keeper of Exhibits and Firearms of the Imperial War Museum, a member of the British Shooting Sports Council, and has a wide range of experience of firearms matters. He is also one of the longest serving members of the Firearms Consultative Committee.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): We are monitoring the trial closely and continue to take all appropriate opportunities to raise our concerns with the Malaysian authorities.
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The subject of Gibraltar airport has been raised in discussion with the Governments of Spain and Gibraltar, but there have been no detailed exchanges aimed at a new agreement on the joint use and development of the airport. We would welcome a fresh look at the issue. Her Majesty's Government continue to see potential benefits to the people of Gibraltar and of the neighbouring regions of Spain in such an agreement.
Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The humanitarian situation in Iraq is serious. We continue to do all we can to help improve it, in stark contrast to the indifference of the Iraqi regime to the welfare of its people. Our bilateral aid programme is one of the largest. And we are working to secure agreement on a new resolution which would include a range of
Iraq is now pumping almost as much oil as it was before the Gulf War. With the recent recovery in oil prices, Iraq is expected to export approximately $6.5 billion-worth during the present six-month phase of the oil for food" programme, about $2.5 billion more than in the previous phase. The Security Council has recently decided to allow Iraq to exceed the present $5.26 billion ceiling in the interests of providing additional humanitarian relief to the people of Iraq, and improvements to its infrastructure.
The oil for food" programme, which we engineered, remains the best way of addressing the needs of the Iraqi people while sanctions remain in place--which they must do, until Iraq fufils the obligations imposed on it by the UN.
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