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London Underground: Public/Private Partnership

Lord Barnett asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: The bids for the PPP contracts have been the subject of a full value for money evaluation by London Transport and its advisers. On the basis of that evaluation, the modernisation plans are expected to generate a cash saving of £2 billion over the first 15 years of the contracts, compared with the cost of doing the work entirely in the public sector, as represented by the traditionally funded public sector comparator.

Cyprus

Lord Kilclooney asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister for Trade (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): Specific figures are a matter for the Cypriot authorities.

Science Budget

Baroness David asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry has today announced the allocations of the Science Budget for the period

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2003–04 to 2005–06, following the announcement in July this year by my right honourable friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer of the outcome of the spending review. The spending review reaffirmed this Government's commitment to a healthy and vibrant science and engineering base at the heart of the life of the nation. The Science Budget, already growing at an average of about 7 per cent in real terms year on year, will now accelerate to a growth rate of 10 per cent real terms year on year.

Details of the allocations are set out in a document I am publishing today, Science Budget: 2003–04 to 2005–06. Copies have been placed in the Library of the House and are also available on the website of the Office of Science and Technology at www.ost.gov.uk/.

The allocations which I am announcing today focus on the new resources which are being made available to the research councils and other funded bodies for the pursuit of science, engineering and technology research. As a result of these allocations, the research councils will receive significant new funding to increase the volume of top-quality research. I have also allocated funding to enable the councils to take forward specific new projects in the following key areas of research: stem cells—£40 million over two years; sustainable energy economy—£28 million over two years, and rural economy and land use—£20 million over two years.

In addition to this, I have provided the councils with contributions to enable them to fund programmes in other key areas such as brain science, animal infectious diseases and gravity waves and planetary exploration.

The councils will also continue the cross-council programmes in genomics, e-science and basic technology begun following the previous spending review. The genomics programme is being expanded to include research into the important area of proteomics. The basic technology programme will also be expanded in response to the very high level of demand generated in the first year. ralph

The research councils will receive funds to allow them to implement some of the recommendations of SET for Success, the review of science, engineering and technology skills carried out by Sir Gareth Roberts. These are: an increase in the minimum research council PhD stipend to £12,000 by 2005–06; and the provision of better training in transferable skills for PhD students and postdoctoral researchers supported by research councils.

The implementation of other aspects of the Roberts review recommendations which were funded in the spending review will be announced next year.

The Science Budget settlement included funding for the top-priority large facilities projects identified on the large facilities road map, including the Diamond synchrotron. Funding for these projects will be released as each one reaches the necessary state of preparation.

I am allocating limited capital funding to those councils which operate institutes, centres and surveys of their own to enable them to address the most serious capital investments backlogs as soon as possible.

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I have also indicated that I will allocate further funds for this purpose in due course on receipt of robust business plans which indicate how the funding of institutes will be put on to a long-term sustainable footing.

A key feature of the allocations booklet which I have referred to above is the inclusion of a suite of objectives for the management of the Science Budget. These objectives support my department's public service agreement target for science, exploitation and innovation; namely; to improve the relative international performance of the UK's science and engineering base, the exploitation of science and the overall innovation performance of the UK.

I am grateful to the Director General of Research Councils for his advice on these allocations and to the members of the RCUK Strategy Group for their part in the successful outcome of the allocations process.

The Government's commitment to science is unwavering. We believe that excellent science delivers the advances we will need as a nation if we are to improve productivity, improve the quality of life and so deliver greater prosperity for all.

Morley College

The Earl of Sandwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What financial support they have provided to the Morley Gallery at Morley College in Westminster Bridge Road during each of the years 1997–2002; and what their response would be to any threat of closure by the board of governors.[HL301]

The Minister of State, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (Baroness Blackstone): Funding for Morley College, which includes Morley Gallery, is the operational responsibility of the Learning and Skills Council. John Harwood, the council's chief executive, will write to the noble Lord providing the information requested and a copy of his reply will be placed in the Library. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport welcomes the opportunity galleries such as this provide for students and others to display their works. However, decisions on funding for the gallery are for the board of governors of Morley College in the light of their educational priorities.

NHS: Delayed Discharges

Lord Jenkin of Roding asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why they did not consult the representative bodies of local authorities before announcing their proposed reforms to tackle delays in discharging older people from hospital; and[HL46]

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    Why they will not reconsider the principles of their proposed reforms announced in April to tackle delays in discharging older people from hospital in the light of the representations from the Local Government Association and others.[HL47]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The bodies representing local government and directors of social services have been key stakeholders in the development of the policy on social services reimbursing the National Health Service for delays that are their responsibility. Both they and their members had an opportunity to comment on the proposals that were issued for consultation in July. Subsequently, they have both been involved in regular stakeholder meetings and, in the case of the Local Government Association, put their views direct to Ministers.

The announcement of an additional £100 million per full year for three years for social services to tackle delayed discharges demonstrates that the Government do listen to their views and the views of others. However, we believe that a system of reimbursement is the right way to tackle the problem and will give health and social care communities the right incentives to do so.

Passive Smoking

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether non-smokers, particularly those with asthma or other respiratory conditions, face risks from passive smoking; and what plans they have to change the situation, and[HL195]

    Further to the Smoking Kills White Paper in 1998, when they plan to implement the approved code of practice, or any other measure that would effectively ban smoking in workplaces.[HL199]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: Passive smoking is dangerous, particularly to those suffering from asthma or other respiratory conditions. We encourage all employers to introduce smoke-free work places. We recognise that this is not always going to be possible and encourage in these circumstances other measures to be taken to reduce people's exposure to smoke.

This year the Department of Health is funding local tobacco control alliances across England to carry out projects in close co-operation with local employers to tackle passive smoking and to increase the number of smoke-free environments. These projects vary in nature from the production of smoke free guides to pubs and restaurants to the provision of advice and support to managers wishing to introduce policies. We hope that many will be suitable for national application.

The Secretary of State for Health will make and lay before Parliament shortly regulations to transpose into United Kingdom law the European Union Directive on the Manufacture, Presentation and Sale of Tobacco Products. These regulations will require

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tobacco products to carry larger and starker health warnings, on both the front and back of the packet. A list of warnings to be displayed on cigarette packets has been agreed at Community level and the warnings will be rotated regularly from a list of approved warnings. The dangers of passive smoking are highlighted in the new warnings which include, "Smoking seriously harms you and others around you", and, "Protect children: don't make them breathe your smoke." Article 11 of the directive requires the European Commission to produce a report on the application of this directive by no later than 31 December 2004. The Government consider that the wording of health warnings may be reviewed in the context of this report. ralph


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