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National Postal Museum

Lord Mason of Barnsley asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: This is a matter for Consignia plc, the successor company to the Post Office, who advise that they are in the process of identifying suitable premises for the National Postal Museum, with a view to the eventual opening of a new public gallery. Consignia's philatelic collection is currently available for viewing by the public at Freeling House in London by appointment only. Consignia's archives of the Post Office from the 17th to the 20th century are available for public viewing at Freeling House on weekdays without the need for an appointment. The remaining artefacts are currently stored at Freeling House.

Serious Fraud Office: Annual Report

Lord Hughes asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Attorney-General (Lord Goldsmith): I can confirm that I have today placed a copy of the Annual Report in the Library.

Director of Public Prosecutions: Annual Report

Lord Hughes asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Goldsmith: I can confirm that I have today placed a copy of the Annual Report in the Library.

Free Postage for Members of the House of Lords

Lord Beaumont of Whitley asked the Leader of the House:

The Lord Privy Seal (Lord Williams of Mostyn): The question of free postage for Lords on parliamentary business is for the House to determine after consideration by the appropriate committees. The Finance and Staff Sub-Committee considered SSRB Recommendation No 20 at its meeting on 10 July. The Sub-Committee will submit a report to the Offices

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Committee, which in turn will report to the House. That report, which is likely to include a recommendation on when a scheme for free postage should be implemented, is likely to be considered by the House before the summer Recess.

House of Lords Working Practices

Baroness Hilton of Eggardon asked the Leader of the House:

    Whether he has any plans to improve the working practices of the House.[HL511]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: I have today set up a Leader's Group to consider how the working practices of the House can be improved, and to make recommendations.

I will chair the group myself, and the other members will be Lord Brooke of Alverthorpe, Lord Craig of Radley, Lord Roper, Lord Strathclyde and Lord Waddington.

I hope that the group will be able to report by Christmas.

Criminal Records Bureau: Annual Report and Accounts

Lord Ashley of Stoke asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When the Criminal Record Bureau will publish its annual report and accounts for 2000-01.[HL497]

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Rooker): The Criminal Records Bureau annual report and accounts has been published today and copies have been placed in the Library.

Animal Procedures Committee: Annual Report

Lord Davies of Coity asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they will publish the Animal Procedures Committee annual report for 2000.[HL496]

Lord Rooker: We have today published the committee's annual report for 2000, and laid it before Parliament pursuant to Section 20(5) of the Animal (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. We are pleased that the committee has continued to make progress on its extensive programme of work.

Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act: Statistics

Lord Davies of Coity asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they will publish the figures relating to scientific procedures performed on living animals in Great Britain in 2000, licensed under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986.[HL504]

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Lord Rooker: The information requested will be published in full as a Command Paper on 26 July 2001. The Command Paper will contain a great deal of detailed statistical data. I can meanwhile report the following key facts:


    the number of procedures started in 2000 was just over 2.71 million, an increase of 58,000 (2.2 per cent) on 1999.


    66 per cent were for fundamental biological research and applied human and veterinary medicine, and 17 per cent for toxicological/safety testing (mostly for pharmaceutical evaluation purposes).


    82 per cent of the procedures involved use of rats, mice, and other rodents, and fish and birds were used in 14 per cent of the remainder.


    dogs, cats, horses and non-human primates, accorded special protection under the 1986 Act, were collectively used in less than 1 per cent of the procedures.


    the number of procedures involving the use of genetically modified animals, mostly mice, rose by 70,000 (14 per cent) to 582,000 in 2000.


    the total number of animals used for the first time in 2000 was 2.64 million, an increase of almost 74,000 (2.9 per cent) on 1999.

Asylum Support Adjudicators: Annual Report and Accounts

Lord Dubs asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When the asylum support adjudicators will publish their annual report and accounts for 2000-01.[HL500]

Lord Rooker: The asylum support adjudicators annual report and accounts for 2000-01 will be published on Wednesday 25 July. A copy has been placed in the Library.

Prison Service: Annual Report and Accounts

Lord Dubs asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they intend to publish Her Majesty's Prison Service annual report for 2000-01.[HL498]

Lord Rooker: The annual report and accounts for the Prison Service for 2000-01 has been laid before the House today. A copy will be placed in the Library.

Prisons: Target Costs

Lord Dubs asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will confirm the final 2001-02 key performance indicator targets for average cost per uncrowded prison place and average cost per prisoner.[HL499]

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Lord Rooker: The final targets for 2001-02 are to ensure that the average cost per uncrowded prison place does not exceed £36,323; and to ensure that the average cost per prisoner does not exceed £37,509.

European Refugee Fund

Lord Dubs asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Which organisations successfully bid for funding under the European Refugee Fund for voluntary repatriation measures in 2000-01.[HL503]

Lord Rooker: The International Organisation for Migration, with Refugee Action as an implementing partner, successfully bid for funding of three separate projects under this measure. All three projects are co-funded by the Home Office. They are: Voluntary Assisted Return Programme 2000: The project is open to any persons, subject to the European Refugee Fund criteria, who wish to return to their country of origin but do not have the means to do so. The programme aims, within a 12-month period, to organise a dignified and orderly return service to facilitate the return of 1,200 persons to their home destination. Information and assistance is made available, in the home country, to all returning persons. This project commenced in September 2000 and is therefore funded retrospectively. Somalia Project: This project aims to facilitate the sustainable return and reintegration of 100 Somali nationals currently living in the United Kingdom who have applied for asylum and now wish to go back to Somalia. The project will be concentrating on the regions of Somalia--predominantly Somaliland and Punt Land--where there is peace and conditions are conducive for the safe and orderly return and reintegration of Somali nationals. Voluntary Assisted Return Programme (VARP) 2001: This project, which will begin in September 2001, aims to continue the work already established by the earlier project (VARP 2000). The target is a further 1,200 voluntary returns. The same criteria will apply and it is intended that any identified improvements following evaluation of the VARP 2000 project will be incorporated into the programme.

Immigration Appeals: Human Rights Claim

Lord Dubs asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What further right of appeal on human rights grounds is available to those who had appeals pending before the Immigration Appeals Authority, or where an in-time appeal could have been made, on 2 October 2000. [HL501]

Lord Rooker: On 20 March, at col. WA153, my noble friend Lord Bassam, in reply to a question from Lord Lester of Herne Hill, clarified the position of asylum seekers who wished to make a human rights

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claim under Section 65 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. He confirmed that people appealing against immigration decisions made before 2 October 2000 cannot benefit from this appeal right which is not restrospective. But they could make a separate human rights claim and would have the opportunity to appeal except in those instances where the human rights issue had already been considered by the appellate authority or the courts, or there had been findings of fact at an earlier appeal which mean the human rights claim is bound to fail.

However, it has been decided that the exception should not apply to people who had an appeal pending or could have lodged appeals in time to the Immigration Appeals Authority on 2 October 2000. If they make a human rights claim and it is rejected, they will be able to make an allegation and we will then give them an opportunity to appeal to the Immigration Appeals Authority.


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