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Indonesia: Payment for Armaments

Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Clinton-Davis): The Government are aware of the severe strains that the financial crisis in South East Asia has imposed on the Indonesian economy. However, all payments due in respect of contracts for defence related equipment which are supported by ECGD facilities have been made on time. The expectation remains that, within the framework of support packages from the International Financial Institutions and other donors, the Indonesian Government will fulfil their obligations.

Campsfield House Detainees: Removal from UK

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): The trial interrupted arrangements for the removal of those who had no claim to remain in the United Kingdom. As the trial had been concluded, arrangements will proceed for the removal of those who have no claim to remain here. It would not be appropriate to make preferential arrangements for those who were acquitted on 17 June but who then remained in detention under Immigration Act powers when the cases of others who were present at Campsfield House on 20 August 1997, but who were not prosecuted, have since followed the normal, established procedures. However, one of the detainees

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concerned was given bail on 26 June and another has a bail hearing listed for 2 July. Another of the detainees was granted temporary admission to hospital on 26 June.

Independent Commission on the Voting System

Lord Cocks of Hartcliffe asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Williams of Mostyn on 23 June (WA 15), how many people attended each of the public meetings so far held by the Independent Commission on the Voting System.[HL2542]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: I understand from the commission that the approximate numbers attending the meetings were as follows:

    Belfast 10

    Birmingham 100-120

    Cardiff 75

    Edinburgh 75

    Leeds 100-120

    London 250-300

    Manchester 100-120

    Newcastle 35

    Plymouth 100-120

Mr. E. J. Esemuze

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why Her Majesty's Prison, Bullingdon, returned a letter from Lord Avebury addressed to an Immigration Act detainee, Mr. E. J. Esemuze, marked "Discharged" when it was a matter of common knowledge that, as one of the "Campsfield Five", he had been transferred to Her Majesty's Prison Rochester.[HL2456]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Mr. Esemuze was being held at Bullingdon prison on remand awaiting trial on charges arising from the disturbance which occurred at Campsfield House Detention Centre. He was taken to court on 17 June 1998, on which date the trial collapsed, resulting in Mr. Esemuze being effectively discharged from prison as he was acquitted of the charges on which he was being held. In fact, he was taken back into custody under Immigration Act powers and taken to Harmondsworth Detention Centre. He was then transferred from Harmondsworth to Rochester Prison on 18 June 1998, where he continues to be held as an Immigration Act detainee.

Prisoners' movements within the prison system are recorded on the Local Inmate Database System (LIDS). The LIDS system does not record disposals of prisoners from court. The LIDS system did not record the details of Mr. Esemuze's movements between prison custody and immigration detention and only recorded him as being discharged from court. Bullingdon prison received

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your letter after Mr. Esemuze had been recorded as being discharged, and therefore returned it.

It is regrettable that this process of events has resulted in a signficant delay in the delivery of your letter. However, I understand that the Prison Service has now forwarded the letter to Mr. Esemuze at Rochester Prison.

Prisoners on Cellular Punishment: Reading Matter

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will ensure that prisoners have access to a range of reading material when undergoing cellular punishment.[HL2504]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Prisoners serving a punishment of cellular confinement are allowed all normal privileges except for those which are incompatible with cellular confinement. Prisoners retain access to a range of reading material unless, exceptionally, anything is withdrawn by a concurrent punishment of forfeiture of privileges.

Prisoners: Incentives and Earned Privileges Scheme

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they consider that using the availability of reading material to prisoners as part of the incentives and earned privileges scheme results in better or more co-operative behaviour by life sentence prisoners; what are the objectives of this scheme; and what measurements of its achievements have been undertaken.[HL2468]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The incentives and earned privileges scheme allows prisoners to spend more of their own money on personal items, including books, when they move to higher privilege levels. But prisoners, including life sentence prisoners, have access to a wide range of books and other reading material from a variety of sources and local incentives and earned privileges schemes would not normally restrict this significantly.

The national framework for incentives and earned privileges aims to:

    (a) provide that privileges generally are earned by prisoners through good behaviour and performance and are removable if prisoners fail to maintain acceptable standards;

    (b) encourage responsible behaviour by prisoners;

    (c) encourage hard work and other constructive activity by prisoners;

    (d) encourage sentenced prisoners' progress through the prison system;

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    (e) create a more disciplined, better controlled and safer environment for prisoners and staff. Schemes are firmly established and generally working well. However, an overall evaluation of policy is under way.

Rough Sleepers: Social Exclusion Unit Proposals

Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will give details of the work of the Social Exclusion Unit on rough sleepers.[HL2632]

The Lord Privy Seal (Lord Richard): Yesterday the Prime Minister published the Government's conclusions on the second report of the Social Exclusion Unit on rough sleeping. The report sets out a new strategy to cut the numbers of people sleeping rough by two-thirds within three years.

A new ministerial committee, led by the Minister for Local Government and Housing, will be responsible for co-ordinating the policy across government.

The committee will lead a programme of prevention to ensure that the most vulnerable, often from institutional backgrounds, are better equipped to live on their own.

In London, where the problem is most acute, the Government will consult on setting up a new body to take over all the different programmes currently targeted on rough sleepers. Outside London, local authorities will be helped to co-ordinate activity better.

The rules of the New Deal will be changed to mean rough sleepers can qualify for the intensive help available under the scheme from the moment they sign on for benefit. This is a tremendous opportunity to break the "no home, no job" cycle. Finally, there will be a programme to challenge the business and voluntary sectors and the worlds of art and sports to make their own commitment to help rough sleepers. The Government will support a rough sleeper mentoring initiative if a suitable proposal is made.

Copies of the report are available in the Libraries of both Houses.

British Library: Adjacent Land

Baroness Jeger asked Her Majesty's Government:

    To what use they propose to put the vacant site alongside the British Library in St. Pancras; and whether they will ensure that, in view of the lack of space in the new Library, the empty site will be used for library purposes.[HL2462]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My department is considering the options for the future of the land adjacent the British Library, bearing in mind the requirement to enable the development of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link terminus at St. Pancras, which will

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also include an underground station for the Thameslink 2000 project. The Library has expressed an interest in acquiring and developing the site, and has been invited to submit a business case setting out its detailed proposals.

Arts Council Chairmanship

Lord Cocks of Hartcliffe asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What arrangements were made to invite applications for the chairmanship of the Arts Council before the recent appointment of the new chairman.[HL2390]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: Applications for the post of Chairman of the Arts Council were sought through advertisement in the national press; and through the services of a firm of executive search consultants.

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