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Terrorist Threats: Pre-emptive Action

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean : At the Prague Summit, NATO leaders approved a package of measures to strengthen the alliance's ability to meet the security challenges of the 21st century. They reiterated their determination to protect our populations, territory and forces from any armed attack, including terrorist attack, directed from abroad, in accordance with the Washington Treaty and the Charter of the United Nations.

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The Government support the right to take necessary and proportionate military action in self-defence, not only where an attack has occurred but also pre-emptively where an attack is imminent, such as in Afghanistan. The Government support the view that this right under international law applies as much to threats from terrorism and weapons of mass destruction as to the more conventional threats of the past.

International Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missiles

Baroness Rendell of Babergh asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the outcome of the conference to launch the International Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missiles.[HL261]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The United Kingdom subscribed to the International Code of Conduct (ICOC) against Ballistic Missiles at its launch in The Hague on 25 November. Her Majesty's Government will be represented at the launch by the Member for North Warwickshire, Mike O'Brien, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The ICOC is a politically binding agreement designed to tackle the proliferation of ballistic missiles capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction. It does so by promoting transparency and confidence building among states. It consists of principles, commitments and confidence-building measures. It will establish international norms for the first time in the area of ballistic missiles. The code will complement the existing range of international instruments against WMD.

The non-proliferation commitments in the code include a commitment not to contribute to, support or assist any ballistic missile programme in countries which might be developing or acquiring weapons of mass destruction in contravention of international obligations; also to exercise vigilance in assistance to space launch vehicle programmes, given that these can be used to conceal ballistic missile programmes. The code also calls for maximum possible restraint in the development, testing and deployment of ballistic missiles capable of delivering weapons of mass destruction.

The confidence-building and transparency measures are designed to promote confidence through information sharing, in the form of both pre-launch notifications and annual declarations about ballistic missile and space launch programmes. The aim is to boost confidence for instance that space launch vehicle programmes are not being used as cover for ballistic missile programmes.

The code represents a significant step forward for the international community in the area of arms control—in this case, the control of one of the delivery systems of choice for weapons of mass destruction.

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The UK has played a leading role in the development of the ICOC since its inception. We are calling on all states to subscribe to the code.

Conference on Organised Crime inSouth-Eastern Europe

Lord Tomlinson asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the outcome of the London Conference on Organised Crime in South-Eastern Europe held at Lancaster House on 25 November 2002.[HL0275]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: A successful ministerial Conference on Organised Crime in South-Eastern Europe, hosted by the Home Secretary and the Foreign Secretary, was held on 25 November in Lancaster House.

Fifty-seven delegations including all EU member states and the European Commission attended as well as the five countries of the EU's Stabilisation and Association Process (SAP) and other countries from south-eastern Europe and beyond.

The conference noted that the serious impact of organised crime in the region is felt far beyond its borders, including the EU. The conference agreed a wide range of actions to tackle the problem effectively. The focus was on meeting European standards, building wide public support for the necessary measures, and improving regional co-operation.

Each of the countries of the region additionally announced a number of areas of priority action in the fight against organised crime. These actions are both specific and measurable.

The UK, in full co-operation with EU, international and regional partners will now work to ensure the implementation of these actions. The incoming Greek EU Presidency set out a series of specific actions against crime to be carried out in the first half of 2003. The Greek Presidency has called a summit meeting next June to review progress.

The conference was an important step forward in the effort to defeat organised crime in south-eastern Europe.

Watchtree

Lord Inglewood asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will state their future plans for the Watchtree site in Cumbria; and particularly whether it should be permanently closed for disposal of animal carcasses or other waste.[HL0075]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Whitty): DEFRA is currently in the process of restoring the Watchtree site to a range of natural habitats and intends to manage the site to enhance its nature conservation value. The department has indicated that it does not intend to use mass burial as a carcass disposal route in any future outbreak but is

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committed to managing the existing sites, including Watchtree, for as long as is necessary in relation to any risks to the environment or public health. The department is currently reviewing the plans for each mass burial site where carcasses are buried, including their possible use for contingency purposes and will announce its proposals in due course.

Dark Chicken Meat: Nigerian Ban

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the Nigerian Government imposed an import ban in August on United Kingdom dark chicken meat; and, if so, whether this is a temporary or long-term ban.[HL217]

Lord Whitty: I have received no notice from either the Nigerian authorities or the British High Commissions in Lagos and Abuja of a ban on the import into Nigeria of dark chicken meat.

Badgers: Krebs Trial Testing

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will use the European Union approved blood test for the testing of badgers in the Krebs trial.[HL220]

Lord Whitty: There is no European Union (EU) approved blood test for ascertaining whether badgers have bovine TB. The presence of bovine TB in badgers culled in the Krebs trial is determined by post mortem examination and the bacteriological culture of tissue samples.

In July 2002 the EU officially recognised the gamma-interferon blood test for diagnosing bovine TB in cattle, but only for use as a supplement to the standard TB skin test. A pilot project to assess the effectiveness of the gamma interferon blood test and extra severe interpretation of the existing skin test in

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detecting bovine TB commenced in early November in Wales and parts of England (Staffordshire, Cheshire, Derbyshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Shropshire). The pilot will run for two years.

Trainee Teachers

Lord Stoddart of Swindon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What proportion of the 31,261 trainee teachers are men; and how this proportion breaks down between those undertaking primary education courses (14,476) and those undertaking secondary education courses (16,785).[HL116]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education and Skills (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): Provisional results of the Teacher Training Agency's survey of initial teacher training providers in England show that, in 2002–03, 13 per cent of the recruits to primary teacher training courses and 38 per cent of the recruits to secondary teacher training courses were men.

Work and Pensions Department: DEL

Lord Peston asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What changes are proposed to the Department for Work and Pensions expenditure limit and administration costs limit. [HL299]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Baroness Hollis of Heigham): Subject to Parliamentary approval of the necessary supplementary estimate, the Department for Work and Pensions departmental expenditure limit will be increased by £728,123,000 from £7,024,051,000 to £7,752,174,000 and the administration cost limit by £561,526,000 from £4,996,673,000 to £5,558,199,000. Within the DEL change, the impact on resources and capital are set out in the following tables:

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ResourcesCapital
ChangeNew DELOf which: votedNon votedChangeNew DELOf which: votedNon voted
620,7677,513,7466,227,2641,286,482107,356238,428232,1246,304

The change in the resource element of the DEL arises from:


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    (i) The transfer of the Health and Safety Executive and the Health and Safety Laboratory from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (£211,499,000 of which £199,872,000 are administration costs), as announced by the Prime Minister on 29 May.


    (ii) Take-up of end-year flexibility entitlements (£436,351,000 of which £387,587,000 are administration costs), £197,000,000 of the administration cost entitlement was announced by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury in Table 6

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    of the 2001–02 Public Expenditure Outturn White Paper (Cm 5574) as other discretionary.


    (iii) A reduction of £3,600,000 due to a transfer to the Department for Education and Skills for costs incurred by the Adult Learning Inspectorate on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions.


    (iv) A reduction of £159,000 from the transfer to the Welsh Assembly for costs associated with work carried out by Her Majesty's Inspectors for Education in Wales.


    (v) An increase in provision of £854,000 (administration costs) from the repayment arrangement with local authorities for the costs

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    incurred by departmental action teams performing work on their behalf.


    (vi) An increase of £5,000,000 as a result of a transfer from the Department for Education and Skills for costs associated with the Basic Skills Initiative.


    (vii) A transfer of £170,000 (adminstration costs) from the Cabinet Office for work performed on their behalf by the Department for Work and Pensions on a repayment basis.


    (viii) A transfer of £3,800,000 (administration costs) from the Department for Transport for costs associated with the Cullen inquiry.


    (ix) An increase in provision of £550,000 from the European Union contribution towards the cost of the European Year for Disabled People 2003.


    (x) An increase in provision of £1,842,000 as result of a transfer from the Department for Education and Skills to cover the cost of work performed by the Disability Rights Commission on Special Educational Needs.


    (xi) A reduction in provision of £55,000 (administration costs) from the transfer to the Department for Social Development (Northern Ireland) for costs associated with winter fuel payments.


    (xii) A reduction of £57,000 (administration costs) as a result of a transfer to the Ministry of Defence for Comprehensive Spending Review funding in respect of the Veterans Agency.


    (xiii) A reduction of £36,000,000 (administration costs) following virement to capital DEL for costs associated with the Early Office Infrastructure project.


    (xiv) An increase in provision of £303,342,000 (administration costs) from the Welfare Modernisation Fund and a reduction in the Welfare Modernisation Fund administration costs of £26,514,000 as a result of virement to the capital DEL.


    (xv) A transfer of £236,000 (administration costs) from the Scottish Executive.


    (xvi) For costs associated with neighbourhood statistics.


    (xvii) A transfer of £40,000 (administration costs) from the Department for Education and Skills for work undertaken by the Joint International Unit.


    (xviii) An increase of £1,201,000 (administration costs) for work on international programmes undertaken by the Joint International unit.

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    (xix) An increase of £20,500,000 (administration costs) from the Capital Modernisation Fund for costs in connection with the Electronic Service Delivery project and Modernising Appeals Delivery Programme.


    (xx) An increase of £7,856,000 (administration costs) for bonus payments to staff under the Makinson scheme.


    (xxi) An increase of £3,430,000 (administration costs) from the reclassification of the PRIME Barter Deal following revised guidance from HM Treasury.


    (xxii) A transfer of £155,000 (administration costs) from the Department for Education and Skills for costs associated with the Family Resource Survey.


    (xxiii) A transfer of £25,000 (administration costs) from the Department of Trade and Industry for costs associated with the Family Resource Survey.


    (xxiv) A transfer of £50,000 (administration costs) from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister for costs associated with the Family Resource Survey.


    (xxv) An increase in provision of £150,000 for costs in connection with European Union twinning projects.


    (xxvi) A transfer of £1,091,000 (administration costs) from the Department for Education and Skills for costs associated with Ranmoor Hall.


    (xxvii) An increase of £7,648,000 in appropriations in aid.


    (xxviii) There is an increase of £3,660,000 (administration costs) in gross expenditure but is offset by a similar increase in administration costs related appropriations in aid.


    (xxix) There are additional costs and income of £2,620,000 from the secondment of staff to outside organisations.

The change in the capital element of the DEL arises from:


    (i) The transfer of the Health and Safety Executive and the Health and Safety Laboratory from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (£10,565,000) as announced by the Prime Minister on 29 May.


    (ii) Take up of end year flexibility entitlement of £33,177,000. £16,00,000 of the capital entitlement was announced by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury in Table 6 of the 2001–02 Public Expenditure Outturn White Paper (Cm 5574) as resource other discretionary.

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    (iii) An increase of £36,000,000 following virement from resource DEL for costs associated with the Early Office Infrastructure project.


    (iv) An increase in provision of £33,114,000, £6,600,000 being drawn from the capital element of the Welfare Modernisation Fund and £26,514,000 being vired from administration costs.

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    (v) An increase of £1,000,000 as a result of transfer from the Office for National Statistics for costs associated with neighbourhood statistics.


    (vii) A transfer of £100,000 from the Department for Education and Skills for costs associated with Ranmoor Hall.

All of these changes will either be offset by transfers or charged to the reserve and will not therefore add to the planned total of public expenditure.

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