Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

Security Service: MI5 Phoneline

Lord Gregson asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Williams of Mostyn: A new telephone number--the MI5 Phoneline--is today being established by the Security Service. The purpose of the Phoneline is to make it easier for people to pass on information which could help the Service do its work. The Phone will not serve as a general enquiry point about the Security Service. Enquiries should continue to be addressed, in writing, to the Security Service at The Enquiries Desk, PO Box 3255, London SW1P 1AE.

For those who wish to provide information to the Security Service, the number is 0171 930 9000.

10 Mar 1998 : Column WA32

Roisin McAliskey

Lord Hogg of Cumbernauld asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is their response to the request from the German Government for Roisin McAliskey's extradition.[HL1005]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The German Government had requested Roisin McAliskey's return to stand trial for offences relating to the bombing of Osnabruck barracks in June 1996.

My right honourable friend has decided that he will not order Roisin McAliskey's return to Germany because he considers that the medical evidence in her case would make extradition unjust or oppressive.

The Home Secretary has a general discretion to refuse extradition in any individual case, and is obliged to do so if it would, having regard to all the circumstances of the individual, be unjust or oppressive to do so. This discretion is preserved in Section 12 of the Extradition Act 1989.

My right honourable friend has explained his decision to the German Government. It does not reflect in any way on the fairness of the German legal system or on the quality of the German extradition request. The United Kingdom enjoys excellent working relationships with Germany in the field of extradition and international co-operation against terrorism.

Museums and Galleries: Grants

The Earl of Clancarty asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the central government grant, the total number of admissions, the central government grant per admission and the cost of an adult entrance charge, where applied for each of the years 1983-84 to 1997-98 for each of
    (a) the British Museum;
    (b) the National Gallery;
    (c) the Tate Gallery;
    (d) the National Portrait Gallery;
    (e) the Wallace Collection;
    (f) the National Army Museum;
    (g) The Royal Armouries;
    (h) the National Museums and Galleries on Merseyside;
    (i) the Imperial War Museum;
    (j) the Natural History Museum;
    (k) the Science Museum in London;
    (l) the Victoria and Albert Museum;
    (m) the National Maritime Museum;
    (n) the Royal Airforce Museum;
    (o) the Sir John Soane's Museum;
    (p) the National Museum and Gallery of Wales;
    (q) the Ulster Museum;
    (r) the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum;
    (s) the National Gallery of Scotland;
    (t) the National Museum of Scotland;
    (u) the Museum of London.[HL668]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: I have placed detailed information which answers this Question in the Libraries of the House. There are, however, a number of points which should be noted:

First, occasional stepped increases in government grant reflect the transfer of responsibilities to institutions such as the maintenance of their estates, superannuation, and also increases in business rates.

10 Mar 1998 : Column WA33

Second, visitor numbers for non-charging museums are sometimes not wholly accurate.

Third, many institutions that do not charge for entry to their core collections, do charge for special exhibitions; and

Finally, the grant-in-aid per visitor measure does not take into account the different nature of the institutions' collections or the fact that their core functions vary; for example, some are engaged in internationally acclaimed research.

In view of these anomalies, comparisons between institutions should be treated with caution.

Millennium Dome: Rural Exhibits

Lord Patten asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What part rural village life will play in the exhibits contained within the Millennium Dome; and [HL689]

    Whether the Millennium Dome will celebrate the countryside and the role of country people.[HL690]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Millennium Experience (both the Dome at Greenwich and the associated country-wide Challenge programme of events and activities) will reflect in its content, the overarching theme "Time to Make a Difference". The exhibits and activities in the Dome and the Challenge programme will reflect the lives and aspirations of people across the United Kingdom, and will aim to educate, inspire, involve and entertain everyone who visits and takes part, whether they come from rural or urban communities.

Millennium Domes: Accessibility

Baroness Flather asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have conducted a study into the requirements of people with disabilities in relation to access and exhibits in the Millennium domes; including accessibility to the area itself by public transport.[HL913]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The New Millennium Experience Company established an Advisory Group in June 1997 to consider accessibility issues. Members of the group are drawn from a range of voluntary sector organisations covering physical, sensory and learning disabilities, mental health issues and the needs of older people. The group has met four times and provided advice to the company on a wide range of accessibility issues including transportation, parking, ticketing arrangement, and disability awareness training. The company is committed to ensuring access to the dome for all those who wish to visit.

Scottish Law Reform Discussions

Lord Mackay of Drumadoon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they propose to invite the Scottish Law Commission to report on the areas of possible law reform discussed in the consultation paper entitled Identifying the Problems, which was issued by the

10 Mar 1998 : Column WA34

    Land Reform Policy Group of the Scottish Office in February.[HL825]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Scottish Office (Lord Sewel): I had a most productive meeting with Lord Gill and members of the Scottish Law Commission on 9 January to discuss the commission's programme for law reform and how it relates to the work of the Land Reform Policy Group. We agreed that the commission and the group should keep in close touch to discuss any particular issues which may arise as this important work develops.

Scottish Police Information Strategy (SPIS)

The Earl of Haddington asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many computer software projects are being developed under the Scottish Police Information Strategy (SPIS)); and for what purpose.[HL886]

Lord Sewel: The Scottish Police Information Strategy (SPIS) is taking an integrated approach to systems development and is thus a single programme rather than a series of software projects. The strategy has identified more than 60 areas of activity within policing in Scotland that may benefit from the provision of automated systems.

The Earl of Haddington asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the remit of the Firearms Administration Project (part of the Scottish Police Information Strategy (SPIS)); and what is the role of Northern and Strathclyde Police in that project.[HL887]

Lord Sewel: The remit of the project is to provide Scottish police forces with a Firearms Administration computer system taking into account the standards laid down under the Scottish Police Information Strategy (SPIS) and to act as a vehicle to test the approach and technologies envisaged by SPIS.

Northern Constabulary and Strathclyde Police have both provided development staff who have identified the Firearms Administration procedures carried out within all police forces. The next step is for the two forces, along with staff from the central SPIS team, to develop the system and make it available to the other forces in Scotland. Completion is anticipated by December 1998.

Scottish Water Authorities

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How much it would cost each of the Scottish water authorities to implement customer service systems and standards comparable to the industry average in England and Wales.[HL842]

10 Mar 1998 : Column WA35

Lord Sewel: A detailed comparison of the costs of the systems in Scotland and England and Wales could be undertaken only at excessive cost.

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When the Scottish water authorities will offer their customers the same minimum guaranteed service standards offered by the industry in England and Wales.[HL843]

Lord Sewel: Scottish Water and Sewerage Customers Council is responsible for agreeing with Scottish water authorities their codes of practice for service to customers.

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When the three Scottish water authorities expect to progress to self billing.[HL844]

Lord Sewel: The policy on billing of water and sewerage charges is a matter for the water authorities. None of them have set a date for sending bills to domestic customers directly from the authority itself. However some non-domestic customers are billed in this way.

Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page