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Act of Union Bicentenary: Post Office Decision on Stamp Issue

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

19 Apr 2000 : Column WA107

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The market research carried out is the commercial property of the Post Office. However, the Post Office has confirmed to me that the proposed subjects for stamp designs for the 2001 programme, which were put to interviewees as part of the telephone poll, included the 200th anniversary of the Union Flag, the physical icon of the creation of the UK.

Market Research: Confidentiality

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Sainsbury of Turville on 10 April (WA 10), whether they will explain the use of the wording "commercially confidential" by a public organisation and on a topic which was the subject of detailed research by telephone and focus groups which included children.[HL2073]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Disclosure of the findings of market research paid for by the Post Office could be commercially advantageous to their competitors--principally other post offices.

Local Authorities: Library Plans

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

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord McIntosh of Haringey on 6 March (WA 128), whether all 10 local authorities that were identified in the Appraisal of Annual Library Plans 1990 as having "poor" plan assessments (Hackney, Haringey, Dudley, Sefton, Bracknell Forest, Poole, Thurrock, West Berkshire, Dorset and Warwickshire) have now redrafted their plans and reported back to the Secretary of State on their action; and, if so, whether the Secretary of State is satisfied by those reports.[HL1957]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: All 10 authorities were required to report back on their action by 28 April and we are satisfied with the responses that we have received so far. Where those authorities are already considering their 2000 annual library plans, we accept that it is unnecessary for them to produce a fully redrafted version of the existing plan, provided that they have taken appropriate remedial action, and kept the department informed about that action.

Tourism Forum

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

    What issues are on the agenda for the next meeting of the Tourism Forum on 18 April.[HL1958]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Tourism Forum will consider a report on the Tourism summit held on 1 March and will discuss the issues of competitiveness, tourism technology, attractions and rural tourism.

19 Apr 2000 : Column WA108

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

    Which organisations have been invited to attend the next meeting of the Tourism Forum on 18 April.[HL1959]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Invitations to the second meeting of the reconstituted forum have been sent by the English Tourism Council (ETC) to the following organisations:


    Arts Council of England


    Association of British Travel Agents


    Association of Leading Visitor Attractions


    Association of National Parks Authorities


    Association of Professional Tourist Guides


    Association of Recognised English Language Services


    BA Holidays Ltd


    Bournemouth Tourism


    British Association of Leisure Parks, Piers and Attractions


    British Holiday and Home Parks Association


    British Hospitality Association


    British Incoming Tour Operators Association


    British Resorts Association


    British Spas Federation


    British Tourist Authority


    British Waterways


    Business Tourism Partnership


    Caterer and Hotel Keeper


    Confederation of British Industry


    Confederation of Passenger Transport UK


    Council for Travel and Tourism


    Countryside Agency


    Countrywide Holiday Association


    Cumbria Tourist Board


    Dartmoor National Park Authority


    Department for Culture, Media and Sport


    Dreamland Leisure Ltd


    English Association of Self Catering Operators


    English Heritage


    English Nature


    English Tour Operators Association


    English Tourism Council


    Farm Holiday Bureau UK Ltd


    Forte Hotels


    Forestry Commission


    Granada Group


    Heart of England Tourist Board


    Heritage Lottery Fund


    Historic Houses Association


    Holiday Care


    Hospitality Training Foundation

19 Apr 2000 : Column WA109


    Institute of Travel & Tourism


    International Council on Monuments and Sites


    International Hotels Environment Initiative


    Joint Hospitality Industry Congress


    Leisure Recreation and Tourism Ltd


    Local Government Association


    McGregor M/C Ltd


    Malmaison Hotels


    Marsden Caterers of Sheffield


    Museum and Galleries Commission


    Museums, Libraries and Archives Council


    National Caravan Council


    National Council of Hotel Associations


    National Farms Attractions Network


    National Trust


    Newcastle City Council


    New Millennium Experience Company


    Norman Richardson House Project & Teesdale Traditonal Taverns


    North West Tourist Board


    RAC Motoring Services


    RADAR


    Rank Group plc


    Reed Catering Group


    Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead


    Seaview Hotel


    Society of London Theatre


    South Bank University


    South East England Tourist Board


    South Warwickshire Tourism Ltd


    South West Tourism


    Springboard UK


    Stoney End Holidays


    Sustrans


    The Church of England


    The Marketing Department


    Tidy Britain Group


    Torquay Leisure


    The Tourism Company


    Tourism Concern


    Tourism Enterprise and Management


    Tourism for All Consortium


    Tourism Management Institute


    Tourism Society


    Travel and Tourism Group (Independent Holidays Group)


    Travel Channel


    Tussauds Group


    UK Sports Council


    University of Central Lancashire and Oxford Brookes University

19 Apr 2000 : Column WA110


    Virgin Rail Group


    West Cornwall Leader Project


    West Country Tourist Board


    Whitbread plc


    World Travel and Tourism Council


    Youth Hostel Association


    Yorkboat

The forum is intended to be as representative as possible of the tourism industry. Other organisations may be invited as their interests are identified.

Ulsterbus Fleet: Age

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    In view of their policy as outlined by the Deputy Prime Minister in November 1999, of a target average bus fleet age of 8 years to be achieved by autumn of 2001, what is the average age of the Ulsterbus fleet in Northern Ireland; and if necessary, what steps will be taken to bring that fleet into line with policy.[HL2038]

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: The policy announced by the Deputy Prime Minister applies to the bus industry in Great Britain. Translink have informed us that the average age of the Ulsterbus fleet at April 2000 was 11.3 years. The Department for Regional Development has recently approved the purchase of new buses with the £1.7 million Bus Grant allocated for 2000-01 and 2001-02, subject to 50 per cent matching funding from the Northern Ireland Transport Holding Company. Translink have advised that it is likely any bus purchase will be directed towards the Ulsterbus fleet. Consideration will be given to providing further bus purchase grants during the forthcoming Spending Review.

Belfast-Larne Railway

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the railway line from Belfast to Larne is regarded by the European Union as a Euro-route; and if so, what benefits this confers.[HL2070]

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: The Belfast to Larne railway is a section of the Cork-Dublin-Belfast-Larne-Stranraer conventional rail link which forms part of the trans-European transport network and which is one of the 14 priority projects adopted by the European Council at the Essen Council in December 1994. As such, any studies and work intended to improve the rail link would have the potential to benefit from European financial support.

Northern Ireland: Transport Strategy

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will undertake to consult local councils which might be affected by any possible changes in the next few years to the railway system in Northern Ireland.[HL2072]

19 Apr 2000 : Column WA111

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: Work has commenced on the development of a Transportation Strategy for Northern Ireland. It will address all modes of transport, including rail. A round of consultations with District Councils on the Transportation Strategy has already commenced. The Task Force that has been established to consider by the summer options for the future of railways in Northern Ireland will also be inviting views from interested bodies and members of the public. Contributions from District Councils will be welcomed.


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