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Lord Rodgers of Quarry Bank asked Her Majesty's Government: How many civil servants and of what seniority have been appointed to full-time or part-time posts in the new unit in the Home Office set up to strengthen Ministers' ability to supervise the performance of the prison service.
Lord Harris of Greenwich asked Her Majesty's Government: How many prisoners in England and Wales were sharing a cell designed for one person with (a) one other and (b) two others, on 30 November 1994 and on the most recent date for which data are available.
|At 30 November 1994||8,480|
|At 23 December 1994||7,754|
Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government: Which firm manufactures the Tomahawk missiles they are intending to purchase; and how many former civil servants from the Ministry of Defence or retired Service officers are currently, or have recently been, employed by that firm and in what capacities.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Henley): We are examining the possibility of procuring the Tomahawk Land Attack Missile system, and expect to make a decision on whether or not to do so later this year. The missile is manufactured by both McDonnell Douglas and Hughes Missile Systems Company. Although applications have been received from a small number of former Ministry of Defence personnel to join these companies, amongst others, we maintain no record of whether any individual has joined either company.
Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government: Whether the Secretary of State for Defence has any unpaid advisers, and, if so, who they are, what are their qualifications, what benefits do they enjoy, and whether they consider that the public obtains value for money for such advisers.
Lord Henley: My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Defence receives advice from a range of sources. He currently has three individuals who provide him, on a personal basis, with informal and unpaid advice from time to time. They are: Mr. Christopher Donnelly, Mr. David Hart and Mr. Vincent Watts. As they are unpaid and receive no benefits, the question of value for public money does not arise.
Although there remains no scientific or medical evidence of a syndrome, the substantial statistical assurance which these investigations provide now make it appropriate for these preliminary findings to be subject to independent verification and publicised. Consequently, the Royal College of Physicians has been approached to carry out an independent clinical audit of our assessment programme and its results to date, and they have kindly agreed to do so. It has been our intention to make public the detailed preliminary findings of the assessment programme at an appropriate stage when sufficient Gulf veterans have been examined under the MoD medical assessment programme, and my honourable friend the Minister of State of Armed Forces has agreed with the Surgeon General that he should do this in a letter to the British Medical Journal after 100 such assessments have been made.
We again urge all current and former Armed Forces personnel with concerns about their health as a result of service in the Gulf conflict to come forward, through their normal doctors, for assessment under the programme. For those still serving, we repeat our assurance that their careers will not be jeopardised as a result.
The Minister of State, Department of the Environment (Viscount Ullswater): We have in hand a major programme for water quality improvement. Between 1989 and 2005 the water companies are spending an average of some £3 billion a year, much of it of benefit to water quality. The National Rivers Authority (NRA) has since 1989 been able to bring a co-ordinated approach to discharge consenting and the other means it has of bringing about improvement. Other dischargers and farmers are taking steps that benefit water quality, much of the action voluntary in response to codes of practice rather than regulation. The results are shown in the more than 15 per cent. net improvement in river quality that the NRA estimates took place in 199093. These efforts will be continuing and we are going further than required by legislation, as is shown by the more than £500 million that water
At the time of privatisation of the water industry in 1989, we provided a further mechanism for co-ordinating and prioritising improvement, in the form of statutory water quality objectives (SWQOs). Last May, the Government put in place the new classification system inter alia as the framework for SWQOs. We now intend to consult formally on proposals for a small set of SWQOs which will allow us to test the operation of the system on a pilot basis. The final details are being agreed with the NRA.
The proposals will specify the improvements to be achieved in each case and the timetable for achieving them. With the help of the NRA, the Secretary of State for the Environment will also identify the specific actions that will be needed, with a preliminary assessment of the likely costs and benefits. There will then be a three-month period within which any interested person or body may comment, including by offering further information on costs and benefits. The Secretary of State will then decide whether and in what form to make the SWQO. In controversial cases, he may arrange for a local inquiry before reaching our decision.
The implementation procedures, and practical operation of the statutory objectives in the initial limited pilot group of catchments will be assessed before any decision is made on whether SWQOs should be introduced on a wider basis. The Government are also considering the development of proposals for economic instruments for water pollution and abstraction. Our intention on both national water regulation, including SWQOs, and economic instruments will need to take into account the way in which water legislation is developing in the European Community.
Viscount Ullswater: The latest State of the Construction Industry report, produced jointly by the Department of the Environment and representatives of the construction industry, has just been completed. Copies have been placed in the Library.
Lord Beaumont of Whitley asked the Chairman of Committees: When the moat abutting 6 and 7 Old Palace Yard, on the Parliamentary Estate, is to be filled with water and stocked with fish, or cleaned, or both.
The Chairman of Committees (Lord Boston of Faversham): The moat in question abuts the Jewel Tower, which is in the care of English Heritage. I understand that English Heritage has plans to improve the Jewel Tower's surroundings and its presentation to visitors; but no details are yet available.
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