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NHS, Scotland: Projected Allocations

Lord Selkirk of Douglas asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Sewel: Expenditure on the NHS in Scotland in 1998-99 is planned to be £249 million--£123 million in real terms--more than the planned expenditure for 1997-98. The allocation for next year will not be determined until the review of government expenditure is completed.

Thomas Hamilton: Inspector Hughes' Report

Lord Burton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will place in the Library of the House a copy of the Report by Sergeant, now Inspector, Hughes, of Central Police, into Thomas Hamilton; to list all the charges to which he recommended

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    consideration for prosecution; and whether they will state why the Report is not listed in the index or appendix to Lord Cullen's Report into the Dunblane tragedy.[HL1712]

Lord Sewel: This report was made to the Procurator Fiscal while Thomas Hamilton was alive. It was therefore not a submission to Lord Cullen's Inquiry, but the Inquiry took account of it as a production. Lord Cullen did not list productions in the report or in the appendix. Mr. Hughes' report is, however, referred to at pages 34-36 of Lord Cullen's Report.

Lord Cullen concluded that these productions should have a 100-year closure placed on them.

Dunblane Inquiry: Chief Constable's Report

Lord Burton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will place in the Library of the House a copy of the report by the Chief Constable of Central Police, Mr. William Wilson, submitted to Lord Cullen in the last days of his Inquiry; and whether they will state why the report is not listed in the index or appendix to Lord Cullen's report into the Dunblane tragedy.[HL1711]

Lord Sewel: The document concerned was a submission to the Inquiry. It is referred to at pages 16-18 of Lord Cullen's report and is listed in Appendix 4. I have arranged for a copy of the submission to be placed in the Library of the House.

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House of Lords: Paper Recycling

Baroness Thomas of Walliswood asked the Chairman of Committees:

    What percentage of waste paper from the House of Lords is recycled; and whether that percentage has changed over the past two years.[HL1745]

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Boston of Faversham): It is not possible to estimate the percentage of waste paper which is recycled as no record is kept of the volume of paper used. However, in the last year some 730 tonnes of waste paper was recycled from the parliamentary estate and the volume is increasing.

Local Authority Computer Equipment Disposals

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will encourage local authorities which are replacing personal computers to offer the redundant machines to the schools in their areas.[HL1759]

Lord Whitty: This is a matter for local authorities in the light of their own disposal policies. When deciding whether donated equipment is suitable for classroom use, local authorities and schools will need to consider a range of issues, including the capability of the equipment to run an appropriate range of educational software; the acquisition of suitable software and the necessary licences; the additional costs of training and technical support associated with equipment (which may not be of a type familiar to schools); the provision of compatible peripheral equipment such as printers; and the need for a continuing service of maintenance and support. They should also consider the opportunity cost to schools of updating, supporting and maintaining equipment which may be on the verge of obsolescence or unsuitable for use beyond the year 2000.

Home Detention Curfew

Lord Graham of Edmonton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will publish the guidance which will be given to governors concerning the assessment of the suitability of eligible prisoners for Home Detention Curfew.[HL1877]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): We have today placed in the Library a draft version of the guidance to governors which would be used in assessing prisoners' suitability for Home Detention Curfew. A final version of the guidance will be included in a Prison Service Order which the Prison Service expects to issue to governors in October. Copies of that order will be placed in the Library.

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Institute of Animal Technology:Annual Congress Venue

Lord Walton of Detchant asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they are aware that the University of Swansea has withdrawn its offer to host the 1998 meeting of the Institute of Animal Technology and that there is an increasing reluctance by universities to host annual congresses of the institute because of the activities of animal rights activists.[HL1738]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: I was aware of the change of venue for the 1998 conference of the Institute of Animal Technology. The decision about whether to host a conference is, of course, a matter for the universities concerned but, as for any large event, the local police are able and willing to advise on the measures necessary to ensure public safety.

Firearms Acts

The Earl of Haddington asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the decisions against the Treasury and Home Office in the County Court and High Court, and the decision on 1 May in the Court of Appeal regarding the administration and terms of the 1997 Firearms (Amendment) Acts and the handgun compensation schemes, what plans they have to repeal the 1997 Firearms (Amendment) Acts.[HL1815]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Government have no intention of repealing either of the 1997 Firearms Acts.

Senior Police Officers and Surrendered Firearms

Lord Burton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many Chief Officers of Police, Chief Constables, Deputy Chief Constables or Assistant Chief Constables in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, have, over the last 25 years, acquired firearms surrendered to the police or confiscated from the public or firearms certificate holders, for their personal collection whilst being in the employment of the Police Service.[HL1764]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Government are not aware of any instances where such weapons have been retained by chief officers for their personal collections.

Immigration Act Detainees: Location and Detention Period

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many Immigration Act detainees are held in each of the prisons or detention centres in use for this purpose; and, for each establishment, when the person who, at the end of April, has spent longest in custody was detained.[HL1737]

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Lord Williams of Mostyn: The available information, relating to persons held in detention solely under Immigration Act powers as at 31 March 1998 by place of detention, is given in the table.

I regret that the information requested on lengths of detention is only available at disproportionate cost through the examination of individual case records.

Persons recorded as being in detention(1) solely under Immigration Act powers as at 31 March 1998, by place of detention

LocationTotal Detainees
Immigration detention centres
Dover Harbour13
Heathrow's Queen's Building15
Manchester Airport13
Tinsley House146
Prison establishments
High Down19
Wormwood Scrubs19
Other establishments5

(1) Excluding persons detained in police cells.

Fishery Laboratories

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why fishery laboratories in the United Kingdom are being run down (for example Conwy and Burnham on Crouch); who has conducted a cost benefit analysis of these laboratories (including their capital value); what role in the decision to run them down has been played by (a) new Treasury rules and (b) levels of expenditure in other parts of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food research system; and what steps have been taken to discover a

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    European, rather than a purely British, role for these laboratories in the future.[HL1767]

The Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Lord Donoughue): The Laboratories at Conwy and Burnham on Crouch are part of the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS), an Executive Agency of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

As part of the agency's obligation to provide an efficient and effective scientific service, the activities at these sites are being reviewed in order to match facilities with future requirements. Neither laboratory is being run down. At Burnham on Crouch, the present work programme fully occupies the site, which currently employs more staff than ever before. There is no expectation that this will change in the foreseeable future.

A study is under way with CEFAS to determine whether the spare capacity that has existed for several years at the Conwy Laboratory can be replaced by new work, or whether it would be more efficient to relocate the existing functions to another CEFAS site. There are no plans to reduce the amount of work below that for which there is a demand.

Throughout CEFAS, efforts are made to secure work appropriate to the skills and expertise of the agency from European funding sources as well as within the United Kingdom. A substantial part of the work at CEFAS contributes to European science programmes through the co-ordination provided by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea.

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