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Moldovan Exports to the EU

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Trade relations between the EU and Moldova are covered by a partnership and co-operation agreement under which Moldova's exports to the EC receive most favoured nation (MFN) treatment. In addition, as a developing country, Moldova benefits from the EC's generalised system of preferences (GSP) under which a large proportion of Moldovan exports to the EC enjoy a preferential tariff rate below that of the MFN rate. Since 2000, Moldova has also received additional reductions of customs duties under GSP as an ILO application country. Currently Moldova does not take full advantage of existing preferences offered under GSP.

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Furniture Products Registered as Medical Devices

Earl Howe asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will review the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 in so far as they currently exempt furniture products that are registered as medical devices and which can be legally marketed in the United Kingdom for domestic use even though they do not meet the standards laid down in the regulations.[HL1857]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): This is a matter for the Medical Devices Agency.

Viscoelastic Foam

Earl Howe asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether consumer safety is adequately served when mattresses containing viscoelastic foam which

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    has not been combustion-modified may be legally marketed, distributed and sold in the United Kingdom.[HL1858]

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 impose requirements in relation to new domestic furniture, including garden furniture which may be used indoors and furniture used in caravans, subject to exceptions from some of the Regulations for certain furniture. Some of the requirements apply to second-hand furniture. The regulations do not apply to goods for export or to the supply of goods made before 1 January 1950 or to supply of materials intended for re-upholstering furniture made before that date.

The Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988 ensure a high-level of consumer safety.


The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What purpose is intended to be achieved by permitting regional development agencies to bid for licences in the forthcoming 3.4GHz spectrum auction.[HL1986]

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: The award of radio licences at 3.4GHz is part of the strategy to help meet the Government's aim to maximise the extensiveness and competitiveness of UK broadband provision. We are aiming to build a broadband Britain by offering services through as many platforms as possible, such as a number of wireless spectrum bands including the 3.4GHz spectrum.

Any body corporate may make an application to take part in the forthcoming 3.4GHz spectrum auction. Applications may be refused where the grant of a licence to that applicant would be prejudicial to the interests of national security or the applicant would not be a fit and proper person to hold a licence.

No specific provisions have been made to allow regional development agencies to take part in the auction, but nor do we believe that it is necessary to exclude them from the auction.

Coal-fired Power Stations

Lord Campbell of Croy asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will publish a White Paper on the future of coal-fired power stations in the United Kingdom, including the case for using British coal and the need to protect the environment.[HL2007]

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: The Government's recent White Paper Our Energy Future recognises that coal-fired generation will have an important part to play in widening the diversity of the energy mix, provided ways can be found materially to reduce its carbon emissions. We will continue to support relevant research projects, including internationally,

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to develop options for cleaner coal technologies and for carbon capture and storage.

Indigenous coal competes freely with imported coal to supply electricity generators. We have recently announced a coal investment aid scheme worth up to £60 million over three years to support chosen commercially realistic projects which maintain access to reserves and preserve jobs in mining areas.

Hayes PPP Project

Lord Brookman asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether a preferred bidder has been appointed for the Hayes public private partnership project.[HL2165]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Bach): The Ministry of Defence has decided to appoint TNT Express Services with ProLogis Ltd as the preferred bidder for the Hayes PPP project. Subject to negotiations, TNT will be responsible for the provision of records management and archiving services to the Ministry of Defence and a number of other government organisations for a 25-year period. ProLogis will become the owners of the ministry site at Bourne Avenue, Hayes, Middlesex and will be responsible for its redevelopment. Within two years, TNT intends to relocate the records service to new facilities in the Midlands.

This project is a pan-government collaboration between the MoD, as project sponsor, and its 13 partners which are as follows:

    Court Service

    Public Record Office

    Lord Chancellor's Department

    Department for International Development

    Department of Trade and Industry

    Public Guardianship Office

    Parliamentary Commissioner

    Crown Prosecution Service

    Home Office

    Metropolitan Police Service

    Food Standards Agency

    Veterinary Medicines Directorate


When the contract takes effect, possibly in the summer of 2003, TNT will become the new employer for all transferring civil servants (perhaps more than 60). All transfers to TNT will be covered by the Transfer of Undertaking (Protection of Employment) Regulations (TUPE) 1981.

The Hayes PPP contract will initially provide secure storage for possibly 200kms of official paper records. The service will include a high degree of accountability for this material and will offer a range of delivery standards to suit each government organisation's needs via a UK-wide logistics network.

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Lord Patel: Re-appointment to Armed Forces' Pay Review Body

Lord Davies of Coity asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will confirm the re-appointment of Lord Patel to the Armed Forces' Pay Review Body.[HL2166]

Lord Bach: We are pleased to announce that we have re-appointed Lord Patel as a member of the Armed Forces' Pay Review Body for a second three-year term. This appointment has been conducted in accordance with the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments' guidance on appointments to public bodies.

Iraq: Aid

The Earl of Sandwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What additional funding will be available to meet the humanitarian consequences of a war in Iraq over and above existing aid budgets; and, if this is to come from the global contingency reserve, how much of that reserve is already committed in this financial year.[HL1930]

Baroness Crawley: The Department for International Development's contingency reserve for the current financial year, which ends on 31 March, has already been fully allocated to emergency needs in other parts of the world. It has been used to respond to the crises in southern Africa, the Horn of Africa, Palestine and elsewhere. DfID has a budget of just under £100 million for responding to rapid onset emergencies in poor countries, as well as the contingency reserve for 2003–04, which is unallocated, both of which we would draw on for any Iraq emergency to supplement funds available from the Iraq aid framework. Combined with the department's existing programme of humanitarian support for Iraq, this might mean up to around £65 million could be available for Iraq for response to immediate needs. Discussions are taking place with other government departments on how Iraq's further funding needs could be met.


Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    As regards the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA): (a) what is the total budget for the current year and the coming year; and (b) whether the current year's budget has already been spent.[HL1994]

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Baroness Crawley: The United Nations Relief and Works Agency's budget for 2003 is approximately US$300 million. It will be similar next year. There is a further budget of US$93 million for its emergency appeal for the first six months of 2003. Voluntary contributions are paid to UNRWA throughout the year. UNRWA draws down these contributions on a regular basis to meet its recurrent and emergency needs.

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How far the United Nations Relief and Works Agency's appeal for £60 million made in December 2002 has been successful; whether the United Kingdom has contributed; and, if so, how much.[HL1995]

Baroness Crawley: UNRWA has so far received confirmed pledges totalling US$28.6 million for the 2003 emergency appeal. The UK has contributed £1.8 million, and we plan to contribute more. We also contribute substantially to UNRWA's general budget.

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