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Ghana: External Debt

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Since the start of its Economic Recovery Program in 1983, Ghana has

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neither received nor requested a rescheduling from the Paris Club. If and when it does so, its request will be treated on its merits.

The International Monetary Fund Debt Sustainability Analysis carried out in 1996 and updated in March 1998 concluded that Ghana's external debt burden is sustainable in the medium term.

Kensington Palace: Memorial Proposals

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Answer by the Lord McIntosh of Haringey on 7 July (H.L. Deb., col. 1090) suggesting that the imaginative changes were now intended for the north of Kensington Palace, rather than to the south of it, whether this is compatible with government statements that no decision has yet been taken and with the process of public consultation.[HL2824]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: It is compatible. I was describing proposals which are currently the subject of a preliminary consultation exercise. No decisions will be taken on these proposals until the results of this exercise have been fully considered by the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Committee. Should they continue to support the proposals, the process of commissioning a design would start. Any preferred design would in due course be subject to the formal consultation processes which apply to developments on Crown land as set out in Department of the Environment Circular 18 of 1984.

Millennium Dome: Commonwealth Presence

Lord Howell of Guildford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What place the Commonwealth will have within the Millennium Dome.[HL2833]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The New Millennium Experience Company recognises the significance and rich diversity of the cultures of the Commonwealth and is exploring ideas for how these might be represented in the Millennium Experience at Greenwich and its linked programme of events and activities around the country. To this end, discussions are under way between the company, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and bodies representing Commonwealth interests.

EMU: Preparations

Lord Hogg of Cumbernauld asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What assessment has been made of the state of preparations by businesses and other organisations in the UK for the implication of EMU.[HL3091]

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Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Government today publish their first six-monthly report on preparations for EMU, Getting ready for the euro: first report July 1998. Copies have been placed in the Library.

Education: Government Spending

Lord Dean of Beswick asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What has been the contribution from the Treasury for each of the last five years for maintaining education services, other than in the universities, in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland; and what this means per capita of population.[HL2553]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Figures for identifiable general government spending on education for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in the five years to 1996-97 were published in April 1998 in Public Expenditure: Statistical Analyses 1998-99 (Cm 3901).

Association of Chief Police Officers

The Earl of Haddington asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will place in the Library of the House a copy of the annual reports of the Association of Chief Police Officers, England, Wales and Northern Ireland for each year since 1986.[HL2907]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): As I indicated in an earlier reply to the noble Earl (20 July, WA 72), copies of the reports from 1992 to 1997 have already been placed in the Library. Copies of the reports for the years 1986 to 1991 can be obtained direct from the Association of Chief Police Officers.

The Earl of Haddington asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they intend to call for the accounts of the Association of Chief Police Officers, England, Wales and Northern Ireland for each year since 1986 to be re-audited; and whether they will provide any reports compiled by the National Audit Office into the financing and finances of the association.[HL2908]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The accounts of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and their audit are a matter for ACPO and its members. There is no intention to call for re-audit. We have no reports from the National Audit Office on ACPO and its finances.

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Foreign Motorists: Speeding Penalties

Lord Swinfen asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the procedure for recovering fixed penalties levied on foreign motorists caught on speed cameras; and what proportion of such fines is paid.[HL2915]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The fixed penalty system is not used for enforcement purposes in the case of foreign drivers whose vehicles are filmed by speed cameras. Where traffic offences have been detected by cameras, the option to pay a fixed penalty instead of being summonsed to appear in court cannot be offered by post to drivers until they have been traced by the police with the aid of records held at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency. As the police do not have ready and easy access to other countries' vehicle and driver records, it is not practicable to issue fixed penalty notices to foreign drivers who are detected by speed cameras. There is also no facility for endorsing foreign driving licences with penalty points. Other considerations are relevant, such as the short time many foreign drivers are here before returning abroad and the difficulty, if no resident United Kingdom address exists, of taking effective enforcement action when there is no response to the police's initial notification of an alleged offence.

Indictable Offences: Crown Court Trial Election

Lord Gregson asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will publish a consultation paper on the question whether defendants in either-way cases should continue to be able to elect Crown Court trial.[HL3128]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: In the consultation exercise on the report of the Review of Delay in the Criminal Justice System last year, the responses to its recommendation that defendants in either-way cases should no longer be able to decide to elect Crown Court trial demonstrated sufficient support to warrant further consideration. My right honourable friend the Home Secretary therefore announced that the Government would look at the proposal in longer time with a view to publishing a separate consultation paper on it.

We are publishing such a paper today. It describes the current arrangements whereby defendants can be tried summarily for indictable offences only with their consent, and discusses two possible options for change: the abolition of election, as recommended by both the Review of Delay and the Royal Commission on Criminal Justice, and reclassification of minor theft, which is often put forward as an alternative. The paper is concerned not with the merits of jury trial, but only with whether defendants should be able to choose to be tried by a jury in cases which magistrates have indicated that they would be content to hear. In forming a view

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on this question, the Government will take account of responses to the paper, which are invited by the end of September.

Boards of Visitors: Publication of Annual Reports

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will require that the annual reports of Boards of Visitors at prisons in England and Wales be published.[HL2927]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The response to the consultation paper Opening up Quangos indicated that there is widespread agreement to the Government's proposal that all advisory Non Departmental Public Bodies, as well as executive bodies, should produce and make publicly available an annual report. The Government will now consider with Boards of Visitors how these proposals might be introduced for Boards of Visitors who are currently required to submit an annual report to the Home Secretary on the state of the prison and its administration.

Passenger Arrivals in Britain 1990-97

Lord Wallace of Saltaire asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Answer by the Lord Williams of Mostyn on 6 July (H.L. Deb., cols. 951-3) on numbers of arrivals in Britain from elsewhere within the European Union and from the rest of the world, what are the comparable figures for arrivals in Britain from Western European states and from the rest of the world for 1995, 1990, 1980, 1970 and 1960.[HL2859]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The figure of 80 million given in col. 952 is a rounded figure relating to total passenger arrivals in 1997 from outside the Common Travel Area. It includes the 11 million non-European Economic Area (EEA) nationals admitted. The available data for the years requested, and 1997, are given in the table.

Passenger arrivals(3) in the United Kingdom, by nationality (millions of journeys)

YearBritish CitizensOther EEA nationals(4)OthersTotal

--not available.

(3) Excluding arrivals from the Irish Republic and elsewhere in the Common Travel Area.

(4) Nationals of other countries of the European Economic Area. The historical data relate to the EEA as constituted now.

(5) Including passengers of all nationalities in direct transit who did not pass through immigration control.

(6) Excluding Commonwealth citizens (who were not subject to immigration control until 1 July 1962).

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