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What is the estimated cost of their proposal that nursing care should be free, as proposed in paragraph 15.20 of The NHS Plan.[HL4076]
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: As the NHS Plan sets out, disregarding a resident's property from the means test for the first three months could benefit around 30,000 people each year, who could save up to £2,000-£3,000 during the first three months of their stay in a residential or nursing home. The actual cost to the Exchequer of these proposals will depend on the number of people entering residential care and their assets and earnings at that time. Sufficient resources have been added to the Personal Social Services Standard Spending Assessment to enable local councils to meet these pressures.
The Government have estimated that the additional cost to the Exchequer of providing free nursing care, as outlined in the NHS Plan, will be £80 million in 2001-02, £175 million in 2002-03 and £165 million in 2003-04. Additional funding of this level was included in the Department of Health programme in the recent spending review settlement.
The Minister of State, Cabinet Office (Lord Falconer of Thoroton): Responsibility for this subject has been devolved to the Department of Higher and Further Education, Training and Employment in the Northern Ireland Assembly and is therefore no longer a matter for the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.
Lord Falconer of Thoroton: The New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC) has already implemented, or is in the process of implementing, time-limited promotion offers with three of the Dome's sponsors. Under the terms of these sponsor ticket promotions, NMEC forecast that over 1 million people will benefit. The company has calculated that, on the basis of ticket yield of offers made, against the ticket yield under the non-discounted pricing structure, approximately 190,000 visitors would be needed to deliver the level of revenue which theoretically would have been achieved had the sponsor promotion not been in place. Discounted ticket promotions of this kind, which are an integral and normal part of the visitor attraction industry, provide an opportunity for NMEC to enhance its own marketing and sales efforts, enabling the company to reach a great many families across the UK. The promotion also enables a number of people to visit and enjoy the Millennium Experience who might not have had an opportunity to do so otherwise.
Whether the New Millennium Experience Company was trading solvently on 4 September.[HL3884]
Lord Falconer of Thoroton: With the information made available to the board at 2 August the New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC) considered that it was trading solvently. On 3 August the Millennium Commission confirmed the offer of a further lottery grant of £43 million.
The PricewaterhouseCoopers report dated 22 August, which was commissioned by the NMEC board following confirmation of the further lottery grant, states that the company was at the time of the report technically insolvent. A copy of the PricewaterhouseCoopers report has now been placed in the Libraries of both Houses. The report states clearly that "the Company should seek to bridge the identified funding urgently". On receipt of this information, it was therefore the immediate responsibility of the board and its directors to seek to remedy the company's insolvent status.
The NMEC board, on the advice of its licensed insolvency practitioner, continued to trade whilst insolvent in accordance with the provisions of Section 214 of the 1986 Insolvency Act. This places a particular responsibility upon a board and its directors to continue to trade, even though they may be insolvent at that time, if there is a reasonable prospect that they may be able to introduce sufficient funds to correct the insolvency, and in doing so therefore eliminate any risk to creditors or other parties who would suffer in the event of a default.
On 5 September the Millennium Commission confirmed to the NMEC an additional lottery grant of £47 million. In securing this grant the board of NMEC and its directors therefore discharged their responsibilities under the provisions of Section 214 of the 1986 Insolvency Act.
Lord Falconer of Thoroton: The board of the New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC), led by Executive Chairman David James, is confident that the company will operate the Dome to 31 December within the level of lottery grant already confirmed by the Millennium Commission.
Lord Falconer of Thoroton: I understand that David James, the Executive Chairman of the New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC), was referring to the aggregate operating costs incurred by the NMEC from its inception to its projected orderly
However, the figure to which Mr James was referring includes not only the costs of operating the Dome as a visitor attraction, but also the costs included in the original May 1997 budget covering the National Programme and various other corporate expenditure items. The NMEC has calculated that, if the costs of operating the Dome as a visitor attraction for the 12 months since it opened on 1 January to its projected closing on 31 December are addressed exclusively, the present projection is that operating costs will show a saving of some £8 million above the figure included in that original budget.
What efforts were made by the Lord Falconer of Thoroton to persuade the New Millennium Experience Company to include in their contract with Zee TV conditions which would exclude unlimited liability for compensation if the Millennium Dome were closed prior to the date of the staging of the Miss World contest.[HL3985]
Lord Falconer of Thoroton: It is the New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC) which is responsible for the day to day operation of the Millennium Experience Company including those contracts relating to events staged at the Millennium Dome. NMEC has advised that it has never proposed to sign unlimited liability contracts with Zee TV. The proposal is that NMEC will contract with Zee TV for the ticketing arrangements for the Miss World event. Zee TV will contract directly with the caterers, and the NMEC will contract separately with Endernol Entertainment for the life of the Skyscape value.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Social Security (Baroness Hollis of Heigham): We have pledged to eradicate child poverty in 20 years and to halve it in 10. The second annual report Opportunity for All outlines a set of headline
The Minister for Science, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): No action is proposed. It is for contracting parties to decide for themselves whether to contract or trade electronically. It is for the court to decide the extent to which parties are bound on the basis of electronic communications. The Electronic Communications Act supports the increasing use of electronic documentation by making electronic signatures admissible as evidence in disputes about such contracts. I do not believe the Act requires clarification.
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