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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): The total estimated figure for the UK's bilateral aid programme to St. Helena in 1997-98 is £8.7 million. This includes both budgetary aid and the Royal Mail Ship subsidy.
Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: We have no plans to provide English language textbooks to schools in the Baltic States in addition to the work which is already being sponsored by the British Government in the education field. The British programme of technical assistance to the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, the Know How Fund, subsidises the Low Priced Books Scheme, which provides books to a number of countries in the region, including the Baltic States at around 30 per cent. of their UK price. The British Council also provides English language training in the Baltics.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): The Government are aware of the concern about religious discrimination and are giving the matter consideration. The Government have no immediate plans to introduce new legislation.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: The penalties for the illegal possession of firearms were last increased in 1994. The maximum penalty for the illegal possession of a prohibited weapon (including, from 1 July, large-calibre handguns) is 10 years' imprisonment; seven years for the illegal possession of a sawn-off shot gun or a firearm converted from a replica; and five years for the illegal possession of a firearm or shot gun.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Mr. O'Brien) is pleased to say that the United Kingdom Passport Agency achieved all its targets in 1996-97. The targets for processing properly completed straightforward applications were met with demand for passport services at its highest recorded level. The average turnround time for the whole year was 6.3 working days. The Passport Agency's financial target was to reduce its unit cost by 3 per cent. in real terms. The latest indications are that the agency has achieved an 8.5 per cent. real terms reduction in its unit cost. Customer satisfaction levels remain very high.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Social Security (Baroness Hollis of Heigham): Child Benefit is only payable for those over 16 who stay in certain types of education. The Government are reviewing educational finance and maintenance for those older than 16 to ensure higher staying on rates at school and college, and that resources are used to support those most in need.
Baroness Hollis of Heigham: We have no plans to exempt British citizens who have returned from Sierra Leone from the habitual residence test. However, we are committed to a wide ranging review of social security. The habitual residence test will form a part of this work.
The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Simon of Highbury): I am advised that propane phosphonic dichloride and propyl phosphonic dichloride are the same chemical. It is a chemical intermediate manufactured in the UK by two companies in research quantities. Diethyl propane phosphoryl dichloride is not known to my department. Thionyl chloride is manufactured in the UK by three companies for use as a general purpose chemical reagent. Ethyl succinyl chloride is an intermediate in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals and is manufactured by one company for research purposes. Thionyl chloride required an export licence for the period 1988-1991. However, to provide the detailed information required for that period would require extensive research and
The Lord Chancellor (Lord Irvine of Lairg): I am not in a position to provide full details of the amounts paid to individual barristers and solicitors firms in the proceedings against K and I Maxwell, L Trachtenberg, R Bunn, A Fuller and M Stoney because not all the claims have been settled. I can confirm, however, that £13.36 million had been paid as of 17 June 1997 from the legal aid fund to lawyers who acted in this case. That sum includes £1.95 million paid on account in respect of Crown Court proceedings and £0.83 million paid in respect of the magistrates' costs.
Mr. Adam V S Lewis, £194,205. The above figures represent the total amounts paid to date on account. Final costs will not be known until final bills have been submitted and the bills have been taxed. The figures include the main actions between Dr. Hashim and the Arab Monetary Fund and related proceedings.
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