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Lord Wallace of Saltaire: My Lords, does the Minister accept that the connected survey conducted by the Army was correct in suggesting that almost half those surveyed considered that the Army does have a problem with bullying? Does he also accept that this is a particular problem in training establishments and that clear attention needs to be given to training establishments in the Army in this respect?

Lord Bach: My Lords, the noble Lord is right to the degree that 43 per cent of those who responded to the "Continuous Attitudes" survey said that they believed

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that harassment, bullying and discrimination were problems. The figures for those who claim to have been the victims of bullying are, thank God, lower; that is, 5.4 per cent, and 2.8 per cent of those who were surveyed.

Indeed, problems with bullying undoubtedly occur during training, as one would expect, because very young men and women are entering the Armed Forces. That would be true in other walks of life, too, because when people leave home for the first time, alas, bullying occurs, whether it be in the Army, Navy, Air Force or at school.

Earl Attlee: My Lords, I remind the House that I have an interest. How does the record of our Armed Forces compare with the Armed Forces of other western nations?

Lord Bach: My Lords, I do not know how it compares, but I would be very surprised indeed if it did not compare very favourably.

Lord Hardy of Wath: My Lords, everyone would agree with my noble friend that there is no place for bullying in our Armed Forces, excellent as they are. However, will he accept that during recent months the newspapers may have verged towards inaccuracy, and sometimes imagination, in reporting on defence matters? Is not the key issue whether service men and women are adequately informed of the arrangements which he and previous Ministers have made to ensure that accusations of bullying are properly examined?

Lord Bach: My Lords, one case is too many. There is a policy of zero tolerance. However, there are actions which service men or women should take if they consider that they are being bullied. The first avenue to any individual who has those concerns is to approach his immediate superior, or someone else within the chain of command. It is the duty—I repeat, the duty—of every officer and senior non-commissioned officer to confront and deal with inappropriate behaviour. That is emphasised time and time again during training. Therefore, any suspicion of bullying should be dealt with immediately.

Furthermore, there are now other people to whom an individual who is worried about something can turn. They are professional personnel such as the medical officer, padre and local welfare services. But I want to take the chance of praising the Women's Royal Voluntary Service which before 1988 had 19 people in the field of welfare and now has 72. It does a remarkable job in ensuring that young service men and women are catered for if they feel that they are unhappy are or being bullied.

Lord Elton: My Lords, it is all very well providing somewhere for someone who is being bullied to turn, but it is difficult indeed for someone who is being bullied to take that step. Does the Minister agree that

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what is needed is the efficient training of junior non-commissioned officers to detect what is happening and provide a friendly face, rather than an authoritarian one, to those who need it?

Lord Bach: My Lords, I agree entirely with the noble Lord and that is what happens. The training of junior officers and senior ranks involves a huge amount of being told how to behave towards youngsters in their charge. It is an important part of their responsibility. However, for those who indulge in bullying there is the prospect of being disciplined most severely indeed by being charged, if need be, with a criminal offence, or by an administrative means which can include being chucked out of the Armed Forces altogether.

Sustainable Development

3.15 p.m.

Lord Hunt of Chesterton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, following the recent World Summit at Johannesburg, they will be focusing more of their scientific research and co-ordination work towards the goals of international sustainable development; and whether this policy will be extended to all relevant government departments and organisations funded by government.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): My Lords, the issue of sustainable development already runs through the work and priorities of the UK science base. Research councils are committed to supporting the research and development to understand and address priorities such as climate change, sustainable energy, biodiversity, water and health. The science budget attracted substantial new funding in the latest spending review and details of the allocations will be made public shortly.

In addition, departments such as DfID, DEFRA, the Department of Transport and DTI undertake research in support of their policy interests relating to sustainable development.

Lord Hunt of Chesterton: My Lords, I thank the Minister for his encouraging response. Will he change the wording of the affirmation required of researchers seeking government funds? The 1993 White Paper introduced the worthy but limited objectives of improving "wealth creation" and "quality of life". Will the Minister start consultations about introducing wider objectives?

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: My Lords, improving the quality of life also includes the objectives we would

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have in terms of international development. It is a wide-ranging phrase and would be taken also to include that.

Lord Astor of Hever: My Lords, is the Minister aware that only last week the Select Committee on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs was concerned that government departments would do no more than pay lip service to the objectives of sustainable development? In the light of that, what will the Government do to ensure that sustainable development is put at the heart of policy making?

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: My Lords, we already do a great deal across a wide range of departments in initiatives in this area. We have the sustainable technologies initiative, which includes developing an understanding of socio-economic aspects of the adoption of sustainable technologies. There are also the enviro-wise programme; the waste and resources action programme; the market transformation programme; and the work of the Carbon Trust. So already a number of important programmes are in place and we have taken action in areas such as energy research for sustainable development, which will have a major impact.

There are already major programmes and we also have in this country some of the finest research in places such as the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and the Hadley Centre for Climate Change, which are recognised as being world-class centres.

Lord Avebury: My Lords, bearing in mind the emphasis placed by the UK at the Johannesburg World Summit on access to safe water, has any scientific research been conducted in the UK with a view to providing third world countries with effective and low-cost methods of testing drinking water for arsenic and other heavy metals? Will the Minister also say whether with our increased emphasis on wind energy we might be in a particularly convenient position to transfer those technologies to third world countries where high average wind speeds obtain?

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: My Lords, we carry out a lot of good research on wind energy. We can transfer technology in exactly such areas to markets of the developing world. In fact, we recently welcomed a report from the innovation and growth team on environmental industries and services. Energy and wind energy is part of that, as is the way in which we increase our share of those markets in this country by transferring that technology to the developing world.

I am not certain about the position on water. I believe that we have some good research, but I shall write to the noble Lord setting that out specifically.

Lord St John of Bletso: My Lords, as an extension to the question posed by the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, do the Government have any plans to extend their

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scientific research and co-ordination to assist African scientists and researchers on vital sustainable development goals?

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: My Lords, we already have substantial ongoing research for African countries. I believe that that will continue to be extended. We have an MRC research station in the Gambia, and DfID does a good deal of work and research in Africa. One of the most interesting examples is the research work that has been done on a disease affecting cassava; namely, cassava mosaic virus. Two hundred million people in Africa benefit who might otherwise suffer as a result of the disease. The work has been developed at a cost of 3 million over the past 10 years and the gross monetary benefit is about 80 million. So there are substantial programmes, with very substantial benefits.

Lord Campbell of Alloway: My Lords, I ask the Minister in what respects? The programmes to which he has referred are suggested to be wholly defective.


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