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Agricultural Census 2000

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Baroness Hayman): Information requested is provided in the table:

Number
Number of registered agricultural holdings in the UK as at 1 June 2000294,674
Number of June 2000 agricultural census forms despatched (England and Wales)(1)220,996
Number of June 2000 agricultural census forms returned (England and Wales)(1)172,107

The June 2000 agricultural survey was a full census, which needs to be carried out every 10 years.

It was a legal reguirement to complete and return the June 2000 agricultural census form.

Source: June agricultural and horticultural census.

Notes:

(1) MAFF despatches agricultural census forms to holdings in England, and to holdings in Wales on behalf of the National Assembly for Wales. This figure also includes those sent to minor holdings in March as part of the full census of all holdings in 2000.


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Religious Discrimination

Lord Dholakia asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they intend to introduce legislation to outlaw religious descrimination following two independent research reports published by the Home Office.[HL1052]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bassam of Brighton): The Government are committed to implementing the Article 13 EC Employment Directive outlawing discrimination in employment and training on grounds which include religion and belief by autumn 2003. The Government will consult on this in due course, taking account of the research reports.

Both reports will help to raise awareness of people's experience of religious discrimination, and of the sensitive and sometimes complex issues involved in tackling it.

Extradition

Lord Dubs asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they intend to publish the review of extradition they announced on 2 March 2000.[HL1185]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My right honourable friend the Home Secretary has today published a consultation document entitled The Law on Extradition: A Review, and copies have been placed in the Library.

My right honourable friend the Home Secretary announced the review to Parliament on 2 March last year in the course of his statement on Senator Pinochet. It is the outcome of an exercise started in 1997 to consider the legislative requirements of two European Union conventions on extradition. However, it developed into a much more extensive inquiry, following the adoption at Tampere in October 1999 of the principle of mutual recognition of judicial decisions by the member states of the European Union.

The consultation document makes far-reaching proposals in relation to all aspects of current extradition law and practice. The greatest changes are proposed in respect of the United Kingdom's procedures for dealing with extradition requests received from member states of the European Union and Schengen states. Our present procedures for dealing with extradition requests from these states contain cumbersome controls and outdated

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requirements, some of them derived from 19th century extradition legislation. Such procedures are no longer necessary, nor do they provide an efficient means to deal with the growing difficulties caused by organised and international crime.

For these extradition partners a simple backing of warrants procedure is proposed. This would replace the current multi-staged system, in which all extradition requests are examined by both the Secretary of State and the courts, with a single, streamlined hearing before a district judge (Sheriff in Scotland). The documentation required to support an extradition request would also be significantly simplified, to reduce the current burdens placed on our European partners in their efforts to bring fugitives to justice. The proposals retain a statutory right of appeal, in order to ensure that fugitives' rights are protected; but also propose that the grounds for appeal be tightened to eliminate time-consuming delays where fugitives appeal on grounds which are not relevant or are more properly for consideration by the court of trial.

The simplified requirements of a backing of warrants scheme would put the mutual recognition principle into practice in the field of extradition. Mutual recognition may be defined as the judicial decisions of one jurisdiction being recognised as valid in another, with the minimum of formality.

The review recognises that, while major reforms are required to our extradition procedures in respect of out closest neighbours, there is also a clear operational need to reform the procedures for dealing with requests from our extradition partners outside the European Union. Here, a final decision in the case by the Secretary of State would be retained, but there would be a significant reduction in the present duplication of my role and that of the courts in deciding cases, with the aim of making extradition quicker and simpler, while protecting fugitives' fundamental human rights.

The consultation period for the review proposals is three months. Copies are being made widely available to people and organisations with a professional interest in the subject. Members of the public will be able to apply for a copy from the Home Office, or obtain one from the Home Office website at www.homeoffice.gov.uk/oicd/jcu/jcu.htm.

Many of the proposals in the document will require primary legislation to implement, which would take place when the legislative timetable allows.

We welcome comments on the proposals.

Gaming and Lottery Fees

Lord Acton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What steps they intend to take to amend the fees for gaming and lotteries.[HL1170]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: We have today laid before Parliament two orders under the Gaming Act 1968 and

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one under each of the Lotteries and Amusements Act 1976, and the Gaming (Bingo) Act 1985.

The Gaming Board and the Home Office review gaming fees and the fees for society and local authority lotteries every year. The National Audit Office and the Public Accounts Committee have made recommendations about how these fees are set. They have called for the creation of a more reliable basis for determining the costs of the relevant licensing and police authorities and achieving their full recovery, and for the elimination of cross-subsidies among and between the various gaming industry and lottery sectors.

The Government have accepted these recommendations and acted upon them. The amended fees in the four orders are based upon estimates by the Gaming Board for Great Britain of the cost of each service and demand for it during the financial year 2001-02.

The four orders will bring revised fees into effect from 1 April 2001. The table sets out the current and the new levels of all the fees.

FeeOld Fee (£)New Fee (£)
S 19 Employees Certificates100145
S 27 gaming machine licences
New4,1405,623
Renewal1,6503,753
Casino licences
Grant35,67026,349
Renewal7,3257,325
Transfer7,9005,898
Consent Application6,8106,810
Consent transfer3,4053,405
Bingo licences
Grant2,9402,940
Renewal9201,357
Transfer1,0301,030
Consent Application2,0453,260
Consent transfer6802,630
National Bingo Game
New165,020150,168
Renewal158,875144,576
Lotteries
Gaming Board fee per lottery raising--
£200K or more635404
£50K, less than £200K355263
£20K, less than £50K18086
£10K, less than £20K14586
Less than £10K8282
Registration fee7103,840
Registration renewal fee75142
Lottery manager2,7355,470
Inspection Lottery Return55
Pt II Club Registration
New210235
Renew105118
Pt III Club Registration
New115115
Renew6969

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Museums and Galleries: VAT

Lord Freyberg asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Dawn Primarolo on 5 February (HC 412-413W), why no accurate estimates have been made of the potential cost to public funds of extending Section 33 of the Value Added Tax Act 1994 to cover museums and galleries; and whether they will research and publish such figures. [HL656]

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: In his Budget speech, the Chancellor announced a new scheme that will allow the main national museums and galleries to provide free admissions and still recover the VAT they incur on the things that they buy. This will remove the VAT incentive for museums to charge for admissions. The Government estimate that the new scheme will cost around £15 million per year.


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