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6 May 1998 : Column WA71

Written Answers

Wednesday, 6th May 1998.

Millennium Dome: Executive Responsibility

Lord Peyton of Yeovil asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether there is any person in full-time executive charge of all aspects of the Millennium Dome.[HL1588]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC) has responsibility for developing, delivering and operating the Millennium Experience--which includes both the Dome at Greenwich and the associated nationwide Millennium Challenge of events and activities. The company has a full time chief executive, Miss Jennifer Page, who is also a member of the company's board, who has overall executive responsibility for all aspects of the Millennium Experience. The chief executive is supported by a full time executive managing director and six full-time functional directors. The managing director and the finance and corporate services director are also board members.

Millennium Dome: Local Impact

Lord Peyton of Yeovil asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they are satisfied that there is no likelihood of problems of atmosphere, pollution or sound arising in the Millennium Dome when it is opened.[HL1589]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC) has been working closely with the relevant statutory bodies, and in particular, the Health and Safety Executive and Greenwich Council, to ensure that the operation of the Millennium Experience in the Dome meets all legal requirements in these matters, minimises the potential for any adverse impact on the local community, and provides a safe and pleasant environment for visitors.

Halle Orchestra

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord McIntosh of Haringey on 12 February (WA 229), how much of the funding the Arts Council is providing for the Halle Orchestra in 1998-99 has so far been paid; when the remainder will be made available, and according to what criteria such decisions are taken.[HL1559]

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Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The Arts Council of England will core-fund the Halle Orchestra this year at £1,251,000. The Arts Council agrees with each of its clients a schedule for the payment of grant through the year. Details of these arrangements are commercially sensitive; however I understand that an initial grant payment for 1998-99 has been made to the Halle.

Asia: Financial Turbulence and Speculative Investors

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether, following the second Asia-Europe meeting, it has been decided that the international community should take measures against speculative international investors, as reported by President Kim Tse-chung of South Korea on 5 April, and if means to this end will now be sought in the Multilateral Agreement on Investment negotiations; and, if not there, where.[HL1622]

The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Clinton-Davis): Discussion of the recent financial turbulence in Asia dominated the second Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM2) in London on 3-4 April. Asian and European leaders offered their full support for the reform programmes that are being implemented in Asia. There was also a constructive discussion of how the international financial system might be strengthened, including greater openness and transparency. Measures aimed specifically at "speculative" investors are not under consideration either generally or in the MAI, where the intention of the Government is that all investors should be entitled to the benefits of the agreement.

Oxtail Sales

Lord Tebbit asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why it is illegal to sell oxtails for the making of soup but legal to sell soup made from oxtails.[HL1596]

The Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Lord Donoughue): The Beef Bones Regulations 1997 prohibit the sale of oxtails to consumers for the making of soup because of the possible risk of BSE infectivity from bone marrow reported by the Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee (SEAC) in December 1997. However, the commercial manufacture of oxtail soup may continue, provided the oxtail meat which it utilises is removed from the tail by a process which leaves the bones intact, thus preventing the release of bone marrow into the soup. The bones must then be discarded and disposed of in accordance with the regulations.

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Election Mail

Lord Beaumont of Whitley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether political parties have no means of redress in the event of the Royal Mail failing to deliver election literature as is their duty; and, if so, what steps they propose to take to remedy this situation.[HL1549]

The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Simon of Highbury): I understand from the Post Office that election mail is treated by Royal Mail in the same way as any ordinary letter in Royal Mail's pipeline, and the sender is entitled to the same rights to compensation in the event of loss or damage to items as set out in the Post Office Inland Letter Post Scheme 1989 (as amended). Political parties would be no exception to this position.

Women Prisoners

Lord Acton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    (a) how many women are currently in prison in England and Wales;

    (b) how many women they estimate will be in prison in England and Wales in 2005.[HL1603]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): The number of women in prison on Friday 24 April was 3,086.

The female prison population in 2005 is projected to average 5,200. This is according to the regression projection published in the Home Office Statistical Bulletin 2/98 Revised Projections of Long Term Trends in the Prison Population to 2005. A copy of this is in the Library.

Alternative scenarios are possible, and the bulletin illustrates how the female prison population in 2005 could lie between 3,000 and 5,500, depending on the assumptions made.


Lord Stoddart of Swindon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Under which instrument the principal officers of Europol are appointed; to whom they are personally or corporately accountable for the conduct and financial operations of that body; and what obligation is laid upon them to make confidential or public reports on discharge of their duties, and the operations of Europol.[HL1666]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Article 29 of the Europol Convention provides for the director and deputy directors of Europol to be appointed by the European Council, acting unanimously. The director will be Europol's legal representative and accountable to the management board in respect of his duties. Article 29 provides that the director will be responsible for

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performance of the tasks assigned to Europol; day to day administration; personnel management; proper preparation and implementation of the management board's decisions; preparing the draft budget, draft establishment plan and draft five-year financing plan; and "all other tasks assigned to him in the Convention or by the Management Board".

Article 28 of the Convention provides inter alia for general reports to be submitted to the European Council on Europol's activities during the previous year and on the organisation's future activities, taking into account member states' operational requirements and budgetary and staffing implications for Europol. The director and deputy directors, who are to be appointed for five years (director), four years (immediate deputy) and three years (second deputy) after entry into force of the Convention, may be dismissed by a decision of the Council, after obtaining the opinion of the management board.

Lord Stoddart of Swindon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    From which legal processes members of the organs of Europol or its members of staff are given immunity in the United Kingdom by any convention or protocol, agreed or proposed; and whether such immunities, in whole or part, extend to such persons subsequent to their membership of its organs or to staff; and for what purposes.[HL1668]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The immunity from suit and legal process granted to Europol by the European Communities (Immunities and Privileges of the European Police Office) Order 1997 No. 2973 means that members of the organs of Europol or its members of staff will be immune from the civil and criminal jurisdiction of the United Kingdom courts in respect of acts committed in the exercise of their official functions.

This immunity does not extend to civil liability in case of damage arising from road traffic accidents caused by them. The Director of Europol would be required to waive immunity in cases where the immunity would impede the course of justice and could be waived without prejudice to the interests of Europol.

Member states will be liable, in accordance with national law, for any damage caused to an individual as a result of legal or factual errors in data stored and processed in Europol. This means that individual citizens would have an avenue of redress through the courts of the member state in which the damage occurred.

The immunity granted applies only to acts committed in exercise of the official functions of Europol. If any complaint was to arise with regard to acts by Europol officers which were outside their official functions, either in fact or in time, they would be subject to the legal process in the same way as any other individual.

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