Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page


New Millennium Experience Company: Financial Statements

Baroness Noakes asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: Only companies listed on the Stock Exchange are required to produce interim accounts. The New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC) is not listed on the Stock Exchange; to require it to produce audited interim accounts would take time and place a more onerous regime on them than other similar non-departmental public bodies.

23 Jul 2001 : Column WA169

Baroness Noakes asked her Majesty's Government:

    When they will publish the annual report and accounts for the New Millennium Experience Company Limited for the year ended 31 December 2000.[HL471]

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: Copies of the New Millennium Experience Company's annual report and financial statements for the period ending 31 December 2000 have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

European Union Committee of the Regions: English Candidates

Lord Tomlinson asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What steps they are taking to select English candidates for appointment to the next term of the European Union Committee of the Regions.[HL518]

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: Members of the Committee of the Regions (CoR) are appointed by the European Council on the basis of proposals made by member states. We have invited comments from the Local Government Association and from regional interests on a proposed procedure for selecting persons to be proposed to the European Council this autumn as English members of the UK delegation to the Committee of the Regions.

The proposals are designed to give regional bodies--regional chambers and the Greater London Authority--a formal link with the Committee of the Regions, while maintaining a coherent group representation for England as a whole. These proposals reflect our intention to make an order under the Greater London Authority Act 1999, to amend the European Communities (Amendment) Act 1993, so as to extend eligibility for CoR membership to members of the Greater London Authority, including the Mayor.

A copy of a paper setting out the proposed selection procedure has been placed in the Library of the House.

Ulster Scots: Recognition of Language and Culture

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What progress they are making in their representations to the Government of the Irish Republic concerning that government's implementation of the part of the Belfast agreement relating to the recognition of language and culture for the Ulster Scots movement.[HL159]

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: The Irish Government are committed under the Good Friday agreement to recognising the importance of respect, understanding and tolerance in relation to linguistic and cultural diversity.

23 Jul 2001 : Column WA170

The Government have not made any representations to the Irish Government regarding the recognition of language and culture for the Ulster Scots movement. However implementation of that part of the Good Friday agreement which relates to Ulster Scots is being taken forward by the Ulster Scots Agency of the North South language body which was set up following the brokering of the agreement.

Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission: Appointments

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When appointments, and how many, are expected to be made to the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission.[HL239]

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: Further appointments to the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission will be made as soon as possible, and by the end of the summer. The response to the advertisements was very high (over 500 applications were received) so the process has taken longer than expected. The number of appointments is still to be determined.

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they are committed to ensuring that future appointments to the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission are on a basis of fairness and equality and that they represent the entire community in Northern Ireland.[HL161]

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: The Government are firmly committed to ensuring that public appointments are made fairly and on the basis of merit. Specifically in the case of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, the Secretary of State is required by Section 68(3) of the Northern Ireland Act 1998, as far as practicable, to secure that the commissioners as a group, are representative of the whole community in Northern Ireland.

Former Prime Ministers: Allowances

Baroness Massey of Darwen asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What effect will the abolition of the office costs allowance have on the public duties allowance payable to former Prime Ministers.[HL516]

The Lord Privy Seal (Lord Williams of Mostyn): The public duties allowance can be claimed by former Prime Ministers for expenses incurred for their continuing work for the public service and charity. The allowance, which was formerly linked to the office costs allowance, will from 5 July 2001 be set at the same level as the ceiling under the new centralised arrangements for the payment by the House authorities of the support and secretarial staff of Members of Parliament with London constituencies. This is currently £70,000.

23 Jul 2001 : Column WA171

Performance and Innovation Unit: Management of Risk

Baroness Massey of Darwen asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What additional projects are planned for the Performance and Innovation Unit.[HL517]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Prime Minister has asked the Performance and Innovation Unit to undertake a further project looking at how to improve the Government's management of risk.

Effective management of a wide range of risks is essential both for the delivery of improved public services and for the achievement of the Government's wider goals.

The project will identify best practice in decision-making on risks and the best methods for promoting this within public services. The work will build on some of the steps that have already been taken to address the concerns raised by the Phillips Inquiry into BSE about the handling of risk and uncertainty across government. The project will look at communications with the public and also at approaches to risk where some of the responsibility may fall to the private and voluntary sectors or to individuals.

The Performance and Innovation Unit will complete its work early next year.

Barbara Roche MP, Minister of State in the Cabinet Office, will be the sponsor Minister.

Intelligence and Security Committee Report

Lord Lipsey asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they will respond to the Intelligence and Security Committee's interim report for 2000-01.[HL519]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The government response to the Intelligence and Security Committee's report was laid before Parliament on 20 July 2001.

Business Appointments Advisory Committee

Lord Temple-Morris asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have received the fourth report of the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments. [HL520]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The committee has submitted its fourth report to the Prime Minister. Since 1975, the committee has advised the Prime Minister of the day on the propriety of any business appointments that Crown servants take up when they leave Crown service. Following a recommendation of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, it also provides advice directly to former Ministers on their

23 Jul 2001 : Column WA172

business appointments. The Prime Minister has expressed his gratitude to the commitee for all its work on this. This report gives an account of its work in 2000-01. Copies have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Ministerial Code

Lord Tomlinson asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they plan to publish a revised Ministerial Code and Travel by Ministers. [HL579]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Prime Minister has recently published a revised Ministerial Code and Travel by Ministers. The Ministerial Code and Travel by Ministers provide guidance to Ministers on how they should conduct themselves in carrying out their official duties. The foreword to the code makes it clear that the Prime Minister will expect all Ministers to operate within the letter and spirit of the code. The revised code takes account of recommendations made by the Committee on Standards in Public Life.

Copies of both documents have been placed in the Libraries of the House.

Ministerial Overseas Visits

Lord Tomlinson asked Her Majesty's Government:

    If they will (a) list government expenditure on ministerial overseas visits for the financial years 1995-96 to 2000-01 and (b) all visits overseas undertaken by Cabinet Ministers costing in excess of £500 between 1 April 2000 and 31 March 2001, including the cost, destination and purpose of the visit.[HL580]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Expenditure on ministerial overseas visits for the periods requested is estimated as follows:

Year£ million
1995-967.3
1996-977.9
2 May 1997-31 March 19986.4
1998-994.9
1999-20004.6
2000-014.7

(1) The figure for 1995-96 does not include some expenditure falling to the Ministry of Defence and the Welsh Office because the information was not recorded centrally or is incomplete. Full costs are available from 1996-97 onwards.

A list of all visits overseas undertaken by Cabinet Ministers costing £500 or more during the period

1 April 2000 to 31 March 2001 has been placed in the Libraries of the House. The list provides details of the date, destination and purpose of all such visits and the cost of Ministers' travel and accommodation where appropriate.


23 Jul 2001 : Column WA173


Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page