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Lord Williams of Mostyn: A new telephone number--the MI5 Phoneline--is today being established by the Security Service. The purpose of the Phoneline is to make it easier for people to pass on information which could help the Service do its work. The Phone will not serve as a general enquiry point about the Security Service. Enquiries should continue to be addressed, in writing, to the Security Service at The Enquiries Desk, PO Box 3255, London SW1P 1AE.
My right honourable friend has decided that he will not order Roisin McAliskey's return to Germany because he considers that the medical evidence in her case would make extradition unjust or oppressive.
The Home Secretary has a general discretion to refuse extradition in any individual case, and is obliged to do so if it would, having regard to all the circumstances of the individual, be unjust or oppressive to do so. This discretion is preserved in Section 12 of the Extradition Act 1989.
My right honourable friend has explained his decision to the German Government. It does not reflect in any way on the fairness of the German legal system or on the quality of the German extradition request. The United Kingdom enjoys excellent working relationships with Germany in the field of extradition and international co-operation against terrorism.
First, occasional stepped increases in government grant reflect the transfer of responsibilities to institutions such as the maintenance of their estates, superannuation, and also increases in business rates.
Finally, the grant-in-aid per visitor measure does not take into account the different nature of the institutions' collections or the fact that their core functions vary; for example, some are engaged in internationally acclaimed research.
Whether the Millennium Dome will celebrate the countryside and the role of country people.[HL690]
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Millennium Experience (both the Dome at Greenwich and the associated country-wide Challenge programme of events and activities) will reflect in its content, the overarching theme "Time to Make a Difference". The exhibits and activities in the Dome and the Challenge programme will reflect the lives and aspirations of people across the United Kingdom, and will aim to educate, inspire, involve and entertain everyone who visits and takes part, whether they come from rural or urban communities.
Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The New Millennium Experience Company established an Advisory Group in June 1997 to consider accessibility issues. Members of the group are drawn from a range of voluntary sector organisations covering physical, sensory and learning disabilities, mental health issues and the needs of older people. The group has met four times and provided advice to the company on a wide range of accessibility issues including transportation, parking, ticketing arrangement, and disability awareness training. The company is committed to ensuring access to the dome for all those who wish to visit.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Scottish Office (Lord Sewel): I had a most productive meeting with Lord Gill and members of the Scottish Law Commission on 9 January to discuss the commission's programme for law reform and how it relates to the work of the Land Reform Policy Group. We agreed that the commission and the group should keep in close touch to discuss any particular issues which may arise as this important work develops.
Lord Sewel: The Scottish Police Information Strategy (SPIS) is taking an integrated approach to systems development and is thus a single programme rather than a series of software projects. The strategy has identified more than 60 areas of activity within policing in Scotland that may benefit from the provision of automated systems.
Lord Sewel: The remit of the project is to provide Scottish police forces with a Firearms Administration computer system taking into account the standards laid down under the Scottish Police Information Strategy (SPIS) and to act as a vehicle to test the approach and technologies envisaged by SPIS.
Northern Constabulary and Strathclyde Police have both provided development staff who have identified the Firearms Administration procedures carried out within all police forces. The next step is for the two forces, along with staff from the central SPIS team, to develop the system and make it available to the other forces in Scotland. Completion is anticipated by December 1998.
Lord Sewel: The policy on billing of water and sewerage charges is a matter for the water authorities. None of them have set a date for sending bills to domestic customers directly from the authority itself. However some non-domestic customers are billed in this way.
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