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Written Answers

Tuesday, 26th October 1999.

ACP Countries: Regional Economic Partnership Agreements

Lord Moynihan asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, in the context of the Lome Agreement and its anticipated successor, Regional Economic Partnership Agreements will be suitable for all African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries covered by the agreement.[HL4253]

Baroness Amos: It will be for the ACP countries themselves to determine whether Regional Economic Partnership Agreements (REPA) will be suitable for some or all of them.

However, to cover the case of the countries which find REPAs unsuitable, the European Union's (EU) Post Lome negotiating mandate includes a commitment to seek ways of maintaining levels of market access equivalent to current levels for all ACP countries after the expiry of the Lome IV Convention.

ACP Countries: Sugar Accords

Lord Moynihan asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they consider that the African, Caribbean and Pacific-European Union sugar accords, namely the Sugar Protocol and the Special Preferential Sugar Agreement, have contributed significantly to poverty alleviation, maintenance of the rule of law, respect for human rights, education and health care in the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries involved in the Sugar Protocol.[HL4214]

Baroness Amos : The benefit of the Sugar Protocol and Special Preference Sugar arrangements has been to transfer resources (through high sugar prices) to the ACP countries. This in turn has led to greater employment in the sugar sector and greater tax revenues available for investment in health, education and poverty reduction. Some ACP countries have also used the income to diversify their economies. Others have not and remain very dependent on sugar.

The Mall: Parking Spaces

Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many car parking spaces are available on the north side of the Mall in London; what are the categories of those who may obtain parking permits; and what are the charges made for parking in this area.[HL4168]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Responsibility for the subject of this question has been delegated to the

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Royal Parks Agency under its Chief Executive, Mr David Welch. I have asked him to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter to Lord Berkeley from the Head of Policy of The Royal Parks Agency, Ms Viviane Robertson, dated 26 October 1999

In the absence of the Chief Executive, Mr David Welch, I have been asked by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport to reply to your parliamentary Question about parking spaces on the north side of the Mall in London.

There are 277 parking spaces available. The agency issues car parking permits to government departments and other organisations neighbouring the Mall, and they are responsible for allocating individual spaces to staff who work unsocial hours, are disabled, or for whom a car is essential to carry out their official business. The agency does not charge for parking in this area.

The Lord Chamberlain's office has just over 60 of these parking spaces for its staff.

Tate Modern: Admissions Policy

Lord Freyberg asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will make up any shortfall of funds to ensure that the new Tate Modern (at Bankside) will open next year free of charge.[HL4175]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Government keep the funding of all the museums and galleries that they sponsor under regular review and in this context are discussing with the Tate Gallery the future funding requirements for all its establishments, including Tate Modern.

Ultimately, it is for the Board of Trustees of DCMS-sponsored museums and galleries to determine the admissions policy for their institutions.

Peers' Expenses

Lord Marlesford asked the Chairman of Committees:

    Whether he will split the total expenditure of £9,487,000 on expenses of Peers shown in the Annual Report and Accounts of the House of Lords for 1998-99, to show separately the total expenditure on (a) travelling expenses; (b) night subsistence; (c) day subsistence and incidental travel; and (d) secretarial costs, postage and certain additional expenses.[HL4314]

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Boston of Faversham): The total expenditure of £9,487,021 in 1998-99 on Peers' expenses was made up as follows:

(a) Travelling expenses£2,003,785
(b) Night subsistence£2,992,272
(c) Day subsistence and incidental travel£2,084,818
(d) Secretarial costs, postage and certain additional expenses£2,089,549

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In addition, a total of £316,597 was expended on allowances for Lords' Ministers and Office Holders (£156,210), Personal Accident and Travel Insurance (£21,540) and Financial Assistance to Opposition Parties in the House of Lords (£138,847).

Lord Marlesford asked the Chairman of Committees:

    How many Peers, of those who claimed expenses in the year 1998-99, claimed total expenses of under £1,000, £1,001-£5,000, £5,001-£10,000, £10,001-£15,000, £15,001-£20,000, £20,001-£25,000, and over £25,000 respectively.[HL4315]

The Chairman of Committees: In 1998-99 Peers claimed total expenses as follows:

Under £1,000 98
£1,001-£5,000171
£5,001-£10,000152
£10,001-£15,000107
£15,001-£20,000 78
£20,001-£25,000 93
Over £25,000 96

Military Vehicles: Convoys

Lord Brabazon of Tara asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why it is necessary for military vehicles to travel in convoy on English trunk roads.[HL4187]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): The MoD has a policy of moving military vehicles in convoys because experience has shown that this optimises the use of roads while minimising the impact of military vehicles on other road users, particularly if the vehicles are carrying classified or outsize loads requiring police and/or military escort.

Bosnia

Lord Shepherd asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have assessed the current security situation in Bosnia and any potential implications for the numbers of UK troops deployed there.[HL4413]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The UK remains fully committed to supporting NATO operations in Bosnia. In conjunction with Allies, we have just completed a careful assessment of the current security situation in Bosnia. The situation has improved sufficiently in the four years since the deployment of the Implementation Force (IFOR) for NATO to move safely to a restructured force of some

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20,000 members. The implication for UK forces is that 900 personnel will now return to the UK, without replacement, before Christmas. The UK contribution to the Stabilisation Force (SFOR) will then stand at some 3,300.

Defence Evaluation Research Agency

Lord Shepherd asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether a decision has been made on the way ahead for the Defence Evaluation Research Agency Public Private Partnership proposals.[HL4414]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Following the announcement on the 6 July that further discussions with stakeholders were continuing, we have held consultations with interested parties, including UK industry, our international partners, DERA staff and trade unions. In response to the feedback we have received, and a number of views expressed, we have decided to widen the scope of these discussions to address the issues raised in the consultation process. We will now undertake further work on these issues. This process will continue into the New Year.

We continue to work positively for a PP result which will strengthen DERA's ability to continue to provide world class scientific research and enable it to be a flexible and responsive organisation which can attract investment and develop new business, while at the same time preserving our essential defence interests and maintaining our valuable collaborative relationships.

Falkland Islands Garrison

Lord Shepherd asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will make changes in force levels in the Falkland Islands.[HL4415]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The Government remain firmly committed to the defence of the Falkland Islands and the right of the islanders to determine their own future. There are no plans to make changes to the front line strength of our forces stationed there. We have concluded however that minor adjustments can be made to some elements of the Falklands garrison without diminishing our ability to ensure the security of the islands. These adjustments will reduce the number of servicemen and servicewomen stationed there by around 100. The first of these adjustments, the withdrawal of a contingent of Royal Engineers, took place in early September. The remaining changes will be implemented over the coming months. These changes are a further demonstration of this government's efforts to ease the burden on the armed forces where at all possible.

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