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Lord Williams of Mostyn: My right honourable friends the Secretaries of State for Wales and for the Environment, Transport and the Regions are currently considering the inspector's report and recommendations following the consecutive public inquiries in 1997 into the Environment Agency's application to become the navigation authority on the River Wye and for the confirmation of byelaws made by its predecessor, the National Rivers Authority.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Home Secretary received medical reports on the health of Senator Pinochet as part of the representations made to him before he took his decision of 9 December to issue an authority to proceed. He has received no medical reports since then.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: General Sir John Learmont's report on the escapes from Parkhurst and the management of the Prison Service has had a huge impact. His findings, together with those of Sir John Woodcock's inquiry into the escape from Whitemoor in September 1994, have led to greatly improved physical security and a significant change in the way staff in prisons consider security as they go about their day to day tasks. The number of escapes, the measure by which the Prison Service is most often judged by the public, has dropped significantly since the report.
Of the 127 recommendations on prison security and the management of the service, 118 have been accepted in full, in part or with some qualifications. The position on each recommendation is set out in the document which has been placed in the Library. Those recommendations which have been accepted but have not yet been implemented in full will be taken forward within existing resources. A revised security manual has now been published which will tie up a number of outstanding matters. We have decided not to accept Sir John's proposals for a high security prison and a control prison, in the light of the significant improvements to security in the Category A estate and improvements in the management of the most seriously disruptive prisoners.
There remains one substantive recommendation on which we have asked for further work to be done--No. 63, proposing that all staff, including governors, should normally wear uniform. We hope to be able to announce a decision on this recommendation soon and a final report of the outcome of this inquiry will be provided then.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Social Security (Baroness Hollis of Heigham): The European Community co-ordinating regulations for social security, which include rules on old age benefits, already cover European Economic Area (EEA) nationals who have worked in and contributed to a number of member states' schemes. These regulations seek to ensure that a worker who has worked in and contributed to a number of member states' schemes is not treated less favourably than those remaining in one member state for their entire working life.
The UK also has bilateral social security agreements with some 30 countries, including most EEA countries. These provide for people who have contributed to, or have been insured under, both countries' schemes to receive a pension from each, dependent upon the amount of their insurance in each.
Persons not covered by these arrangements may pay voluntary contributions for any period abroad if they have been resident in GB for at least three years beforehand or have paid (or had paid on their behalf) at least three years' contributions into the GB scheme.
Baroness Hollis of Heigham: For people who are working, entitlement to the proposed State Second Pension (SSP) will be gained by means of payment of National Insurance (NI) employee contributions. Therefore, someone who is working abroad and not paying UK NI contributions will not be contributing towards the SSP. This is no different from the current situation with the State Earnings Related Pension Scheme.
The European Community co-ordinating regulations for social security, which include rules on old age benefits, seek to ensure that workers who have worked in and contributed to a number of member states' schemes are not treated less favourably than those remaining in one member state for their entire working life. The new scheme will be covered by these co-ordinating regulations.
The Lord Chancellor (Lord Irvine of Lairg): Senator Pinochet was arrested by officers of the Extradition Squad of the Metropolitan Police Service at the request of the Kingdom of Spain on the evening of 16 October 1998 pursuant to a Provisional Warrant issued earlier the same evening by Bow Street Magistrates' Court under Section 8 of the Extradition Act 1989 and Article 16 of the Convention. The Crown Prosecution Service was informed of the arrest on 19 October 1998. Since that time it has acted as the agent of the Kingdom of Spain in respect of these proceedings. The Crown Prosecution Service did not play any part in the drafting of, or application for, the warrant of 16 October 1998. When concerns emerged about the validity of that warrant, the Crown Prosecution Service was involved in the preparation of, and application for, the second Provisional Warrant, which was granted at Bow Street Magistrates' Court on 22 October 1998.
The Lord Chancellor: On 22 October a CPS lawyer, Junior Counsel and an interpreter travelled to Madrid to ascertain from the Spanish authorities whether an application for a second Provisional Warrant specifying different offences was appropriate on the available facts and in accordance with their instructions. In addition, the visit to Madrid was used to explain to the Spanish authorities the detailed requirements of English extradition law in relation to the contents of the full request for extradition and the relevant time limits. A considerable amount of Spanish material relating to the case was considered.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Gilbert): I am not aware of any contact between the Ministry of Defence and the Chilean Ambassador in advance of Senator Pinochet's current visit to the UK.
Lord Gilbert: Since 1997, British industry is likely to have discussed the possible supply of a wide range of equipment with the Chilean authorities. Major equipment prospects of which the Government are aware include surplus Royal Navy frigates, new build frigates, fighter and utility aircraft. Senator Pinochet has not been involved in discussions with members of Her Majesty's Government about defence exports during this period.
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