Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

Asylum Seekers: Support Arrangements

Lord Harris of Haringey asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: Subject to assessment on a case-by-case basis, the weekly levels of voucher support for asylum seekers under the new arrangements are given in the table:

Amount of voucher Support in £s
Person aged 18 to 2428.95
Person aged 25 or over36.54
Lone parent36.54
Child under 1626.60
Child 16 or 1731.75

These amounts will be given in the form of vouchers, £10 of which will be redeemable for cash per person per week.

Gulf War Illnesses

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they expect to publish the first of the six-monthly reports on the systematic literature review of Gulf War illnesses.[HL1005]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): The systematic literature review is being carried out over a period of three years by a team led by Professor Glyn Lewis at the University of Wales and funded by the Ministry of Defence through the Medical Research Council (MRC). Professor Lewis has provided two progress reports to the MRC. The MRC has explored whether those reports can be made public, but it is Professor Lewis's view that this would prejudice the publication of the full study in a peer reviewed journal. The "gold standard" for dissemination of MoD funded Gulf health research is publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. It does not therefore appear at this stage that it will be possible for the MRC to make the

22 Feb 2000 : Column WA18

progress reports public as the MoD had originally expected when the work was announced. The MRC will encourage Professor Lewis to publish once a reasonable body of work has accumulated on each of the issues. In addition, a University of Wales website will be established this summer to list the details of the references that have been identified in the literature search.

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How frequently the Medical Research Council Gulf Health Research Steering Group has met since its inception.[HL1006]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The Medical Research Council Gulf War Illness Research Programme Steering Committee has met five times since its inception in early 1997.

Service Families Accommodation: Rodent Control

Lord Swinfen asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the local authority or the Defence Housing Executive (DHE) is responsible for dealing with infestations of rats where there is evidence of their presence in service quarters or their gardens managed by the DHE.[HL1007]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The Defence Housing Executive (DHE) is responsible for arranging for the treatment of infestations of rats where there is evidence of their presence in service families accommodation (SFA) or gardens. Any infestation is dealt with either by the local authority or a local specialist contractor and funded by DHE.

Army Manpower

Earl Attlee asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What has been the net annual change in the Army's manpower for each of the last three years.[HL820]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The net annual change in the trained strength and requirement of the Army over the three-year period to 1 April 1999 is shown in the table.

Trained Strength1

1 April 199699,516104,0184,0274,037103,543108,055
1 April 199797,756103,3533,5983,006101,354106,359
1 April 199797,756103,3533,5983,006101,354106,359
1 April 199897,452102,8253,4292,943100,881105,768
1 April 199897,452102,8253,4292,943100,881105,768
1 April 199996,300102,3893,3742,88299,674105,271


1 The figures exclude R Irish (HS), full-time reserve service and mobilised reservists.

2 UK trained adult personnel.

3 Gurkha trained adult males.

22 Feb 2000 : Column WA19

22 Feb 2000 : Column WA19

The net change in untrained strength over the same period is given in the table. There is not separately a comparable untrained requirement figure.

Untrained Strength

UK RegularsGurkhasTotal
1 April 19969,3101619,471
1 April 199711,05416011,214
1 April 199711,05416011,214
1 April 199812,37521112,586
1 April 199812,37521112,586
1 April 199913,42225113,673

Estate Agents: Regulation

Lord Faulkner of Worcester asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What plans they have to introduce statutory regulation of estate agents.[HL1103]

The Minister for Science, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): The Estate Agents Act 1979 regulates the conduct of estate agents in the course of estate agency work. Its purpose is to ensure that agents act in the best interests of their clients and that both buyers and sellers are treated honestly, fairly and promptly. The Act also gives the Director General of Fair Trading the power to issue warnings or ban those persons whom he considers to be unfit to carry on estate agency work and he has shown that he is ready to use these powers where he considers such action is justified.

The director general also has a duty to keep under review the working and enforcement of the Act.

22 Feb 2000 : Column WA20

Works of Art: Droit de Suite Tax

Baroness Anelay of St Johns asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What agreement they have reached with the European Union Commission over the introduction of the droit de suite tax on the resale of works of art in the United Kingdom.[HL1115]

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: No agreement has been reached with the Commission.

The proposal for a directive harmonising droit de suite is subject to co-decision. Before it can be adopted it will need to be agreed by the Council of Ministers and by the European Parliament. The proposal went to four Councils last year but on each occasion a decision was delayed to provide more time to explore ways of overcoming United Kingdom concerns.

Part-time Work Regulations: Effects on Hotel and Restaurant Sector

Baroness Anelay of St Johns asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What assessment they have made of the reduction in the number of part-time jobs in the hotel and restaurant sector as a result of the introduction of the Part-Time Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000; and what advice they have been given about the impact of such regulations upon the equivalent sector in Germany.[HL1119]

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: The economic analysis carried out in preparing the Regulatory Impact Assessment indicates that there is unlikely to be any shift away from using part-time staff in the hotel and restaurant sector as a result of the addition to labour costs arising from the Part-time Work Regulations.

The Government regularly monitor the effect of employment law changes in other member states. The changes in Germany are not directly comparable with the proposals for the UK, since they also included changes to the tax and social security position of part-timers.

22 Feb 2000 : Column WA21

Ripon Grammar School Ballot

Baroness David asked Her Majesty's Government:

    For the ballot which is currently being held to end selection at Ripon Grammar School, whether they will list: (a) the names of each of the feeder schools where parents are eligible to vote; (b) the number of eligible parents at each school; (c) the total number of eligible parents at fee paying feeder schools; and (d) the number of eligible parents at fee paying feeder schools as a percentage of the total number of eligible parents.[HL1063]

The Minister of State, Department for Education and Employment (Baroness Blackstone): The feeder schools whose parents are eligible to vote in the current ballot are listed below with the number of eligible parents at each school. The total number of eligible parents originally identified at the three independent schools is 772. This is 25 per cent of the overall number of parents originally identified as eligible. It is not possible to give more precise figures, as some parents may have children at both maintained and independent schools.

Ripon Feeder Schools: Academic Year 1999-2000

SchoolNumber of eligible parentsIndependent?
Bishop Monkton CE PrimaryHG3 3QW
Brackenfield PreparatoryHG1 2HE
Burneston CE PrimaryDL8 2HX
Burton Leonard CE PrimaryHG3 3RW
Fountains CE PrimaryHG4 3PJ
Grewelthorpe CE PrimaryHG4 3BW
Greystone County PrimaryHG4 1RW
Grosvenor House SchoolHG3 2JG
Holy Trinity CE JuniorHG4 2ES
Kirkby Malzeard CE PrimaryHG4 3RT
Moorside County JuniorHG4 1SU
Ripon Cathedral CE PrimaryHG4 1NA
Ripon Cathedral Choir SchoolHG4
Sharow CE Primary SchoolHG4 5BJ
St Wilfred's RC PrimaryHG4 2AL

* The list of parents eligible to vote is provided by the schools themselves and includes some duplication where parents have children attending different feeder schools. After entering all the names onto a single computer database the Electoral Reform (Ballot Services) Ltd remove names entered more than once. The total number of eligible parents from the "cleared" database was 2,935, which resulted in a petition threshold of 587.

Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page