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Iraq: Oil for Food Programme

Lord Moynihan asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The "oil for food" programme is the largest relief operation in the UN's history, likely to be worth approximately $6.5 billion in the present six-month phase. In accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding between the UN and the Government of Iraq, the programme is implemented in Iraq in co-operation with the Iraqi Government. In these circumstances it is impossible completely to preclude Iraqi manipulation. However, we believe that close UN monitoring prevents wide-scale abuse of the programme. When we become aware of incidences of abuse or manipulation, we bring these to the attention of the UN.

Iraq: New UN Resolution

Lord Moynihan asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The objective of discussion on Iraq during Ministerial week at the UN General Assembly was to make further progress in our efforts to achieve consensus on a new comprehensive resolution. Discussion continues. We hope to bring the process to an early conclusion.

Iraq: Papal Visit

Lord Moynihan asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: We have discussed the proposed Papal visit to Iraq with officials from the Holy See. We have expressed concern that the visit will be manipulated by the Iraqi Government for propaganda purposes and represented as evidence of Papal support for Saddam Hussein's regime and its policies.

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The Earl of Iveagh asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will publish the findings of an Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) sub-committee set up to consider the police response to the criminal use of firearms; and, if so, when those findings are expected.[HL4221]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bassam of Brighton): No. The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) sub-committee on the Criminal Use of Firearms was set up in August 1998 to address all issues relating to the criminal use of firearms, concentrating on the development of intelligence and policy proposals, and to work closely with other ACPO committees or sub-groups that are active in addressing firearms-related issues. As such, it contributes to the overall development of firearms-related policy and law enforcement initiatives, and makes its views known generally within ACPO. A recent example of this was the sub-committee's contribution to the ACPO Annual Report, published in early October.

The sub-committee also contributed to the recent submission prepared for the Home Affairs Committee, by the ACPO Administration of Firearms and Explosives Licensing Sub-Committee. The publication of this submission will be a matter for the Home Affairs Committee.

The Earl of Iveagh asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will publish the findings of the National Intelligence Service's strategic threat assessment of the firearms situation in England and Wales; and, if so, when these findings are expected.[HL4222]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: As part of its annual threat assessment on serious and organised crime, the National Criminal Intelligence Service produced, in May 1999, a brief review of the risk from armed robbery. Some of the evidence for this report was gathered from the British Security Industry Association; other evidence was gleaned from other sensitive sources. In consequence, the report is marked "CONFIDENTIAL" and is not available for public readership.

The Earl of Iveagh asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether figures are available for the percentage of total firearms offences carried out by (a) legally held firearms and (b) illegally held firearms; and, if so, what they are.[HL4223]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: Complete figures are not available to show how many offences in which firearms were used involved legally or illegally held firearms.

Figures are available, however, for England and Wales, for offences of homicide involving firearms

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recorded by the police between 1992 and 1994. Out of 196 such offences, 23 involved legally held firearms, 128 illegally held, and in the remaining 45 offences the police did not know the status of the firearm.

Information for Scotland is readily available only in cases of homicide where it was known that a pistol or revolver was involved. During the period 1992 and 1996, 17 persons were killed by legally held pistol/revolvers (all relating to the Dunblane incident), six with illegally held pistol/revolvers, and two where the status of the pistol/revolver was not known.

No similar information is available for Northern Ireland.

Immigration Act Detainees

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What were the maximum, average and median number of days spent in detention by persons held under the Immigration Acts, in each of the last three years; what was the total of persons detained each year; and how many of these were asylum-seekers whose cases had not been decided.[HL4179]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: Information on persons detained under Immigration Act powers is recorded centrally as a snapshot, at a point in time but not as flows through periods of time. I regret, therefore, that the information requested is only available at disproportionate cost.

The latest available snapshot of all persons held in detention solely under Immigration Act powers in immigration detention centres or prisons in the United Kingdom is that 936 such persons were detained as at 31 August 1999. That figure excludes persons held under Immigration Act powers in police cells other than at Dover. This snapshot does not separately identify those detainees who are asylum-seekers.

Live Sheep Export

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they expect the export of live sheep and cattle to be resumed for breeding, rearing and slaughter purposes.[HL4181]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Baroness Hayman): The export of live sheep is permitted. There are currently discussions on a proposal for an EU Council Regulation on Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies which holds out the prospect of permitting live cattle exports in future. These proposals are currently being negotiated in Council working group, but we do not anticipate that these discussions will be completed this year.

Pets: Quarantine Requirement

Lord Barnett asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is their policy with regard to European legislation for the removal of quarantine requirements for pets.[HL4190]

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Baroness Hayman : There is at present no EU legislation covering the intra-Community movement of pet animals. Any decision to propose such legislation is a matter for the European Commission.

Were a proposal for harmonised legislation to be made by the Commission, Her Majesty's Government would seek to ensure that it did not increase the risk of importing rabies into the UK.

Sand Eel Total Allowable Catches

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the Total Allowable Catch for sand eels for each Member State of the European Union for each of the last 10 years; and in each of those years what was the reported catch.[HL4224]

Baroness Hayman : A Total Allowable Catch for sand eels was first agreed at the December 1997 Fisheries Council and came into effect from 1 January 1998. Member states' quota allocations and reported catches for 1998 and 1999 were as follows:

1998Quota (tonnes)1Catch (tonnes)
United Kingdom26,00023,035
All Member States235,0007,039
EC total970,000539,477

19993Quota (tonnes)1Catch (tonnes)
United Kingdom20,0007,318
All Member States235,000535
EC total970,000531,019

1 Inclusive of in-year swaps between member states.

2 Quota available to all member states except Denmark, Finland, Spain, Portugal and the United Kingdom.

3 Provisional figures as at 10 October 1999.

Drift Net and T Net Fishing Licences

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many drift net and T net fishing licences were held in the North East of England in each of the last 10 years.[HL4226]

Baroness Hayman : Information is not available in exactly the form requested. The table below gives the number of net licences issued in the north-east region of the Environment Agency.

Year:Drift net and combined drift net/T net licencesT or J net licences

* not yet published.

** provisional.

Source of published figures: Fisheries Statistics--published by the National Rivers Authority for the years up to 1994 and the Environment Agency thereafter.

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