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Department for International Development: Departmental Report 2004

Baroness Amos: My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for International Development is today laying before Parliament copies of the Department for International Development's departmental report 2004.

Crown Prosecution Service

The Attorney-General (Lord Goldsmith): The Director of Public Prosecutions has, in accordance with Section 7A of the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 as amended by Section 53 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, extended the remit of work that may be undertaken by Crown Prosecution Service designated caseworkers.

Designated caseworkers are now permitted to undertake all work in the magistrates' court other than: trials; proofs in absence in either-way cases; committals and sendings; pre-trial reviews; Newton hearings; contested bail hearings.

The extended remit of designated caseworkers will enhance the role of the designated caseworker and enable more effective court listing. It will also support the effective delivery by the Crown Prosecution Service of pre-charge advice.

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A designated caseworker will not be permitted to undertake the extended remit until successfully completing a training programme and receiving a personal letter of appointment from the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The following documents will be lodged in the Libraries of Parliament:

The extended remit of Crown Prosecution Service designated caseworkers.

The governance scheme for Crown Prosecution Service designated caseworkers, which sets out the supervision arrangements.

The statement of ethical principles for Crown Prosecution Service designated caseworkers.

Iran: Export Licence

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): The Government have issued an open licence for the export to Iran of goods that will be listed in the United Kingdom strategic export controls annual report as "components for military aero engines". The goods will be used by the oil and gas industry to overhaul turbines that power pumps for oil and gas pipelines. The goods are military listed because they were originally designed and used for military aircraft engines. In this instance, the Government are satisfied that there is a minimal risk of diversion to a military end use and are prepared to make an exception to the UK national arms embargo. Other aspects of the application were considered against the consolidated EU and national arms export licensing criteria.

Immigration Rules

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): I have today laid before the House a statement of changes to the immigration rules. From 1 May 2004, as a result of the accession of 10 new states to the European Union, nationals of those EU accession states will not require immigration leave to enter or stay in the UK. Consequently it is necessary to remove all references to the individual EU accession states in the immigration rules with effect from the date of accession.

We have also decided to amend the European Economic Area (EEA) national settlement requirements to enable those currently in immigration categories leading to settlement to aggregate time spent here under the immigration rules with that as an EEA national in the UK when making an application to settle. This ensures that new EU nationals will not have to spend a longer time in the UK to qualify for settlement than they would if accession had not occurred. This mirrors the practice followed in previous accessions.

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Zahid Mubarek: Public Inquiry

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: Today my right honourable friend the Home Secretary (David Blunkett) announced that, in line with the House of Lords judgment on 16 October 2003, he has established a public inquiry into the murder of Zahid Mubarek at Feltham Young Offender Institution in March 2000. The honourable Mr Justice Keith will chair the inquiry; he will be assisted by three expert advisors who will provide advice and support to the inquiry on matters relating to race, prison operations and issues affecting prisoners. The inquiry will start immediately with the following terms of reference:

In the light of the House of Lords judgment in the case of Regina v Secretary of State for the Home Department ex parte Amin, to investigate and report to the Home Secretary on the death of Zahid Mubarek, and the events leading up to the attack on him, and make recommendations about the prevention of such attacks in the future, taking into account the investigations that have already taken place—in particular, those by the Prison Service and the Commission for Racial Equality.

A report of the inquiry, subject to matters of confidentiality, will be published.

Food Standards Agency: Departmental Report Spring 2004

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Warner): My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Public Health (Miss Johnson) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement today.

The Food Standards Agency's departmental report spring 2004, Cm 6205 was laid before Parliament today.

Copies will be placed in the Library.

Department of Health: Annual Report 2004

Lord Warner: The department's annual report for 2004, Cm 6204, was laid before Parliament today.

Copies have been placed in the Library.

United Kingdom Hydrographic Office: Key Targets 2004–05

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Bach): My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence (Mr Ivor Caplin) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

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Key targets have been set for the chief executive of the UK Hydrographic Office for the financial year 2004–05. The targets are designed to drive further improvements to the agency's performance and are as follows:

Key Target 1. Safety. While aiming for 100 per cent, to achieve a safety index exceeding 95 per cent. All radio navigational warnings issued to timescale.

Key Target 2. Defence. To achieve an index rating of more than 95 for the defence programme as set out in the tasking authorisation forms.

Key Target 3. Customer Satisfaction. Customer and end user satisfaction to exceed a scale rating of 87 by the end of the financial year 2004–05.

Key Target 4. Wider Markets. To earn revenue of £2.4 million from markets other than SOLAS navigational products and services.

Key Target 5. Finance. To break even taking one year with another, and to achieve a return on capital employed of 9 per cent averaged over the period 2004–05 to 2008–09.

Key Target 6. Finance. Mark-up to be reduced to 200 per cent by end 2004–05.

Air Combat Service Support Units

Lord Bach: My right honourable friend the Minister of State for Defence (Mr Adam Ingram) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The Ministry of Defence is continually examining ways of improving military capability and value for money for the taxpayer, including by keeping the size and location of our bases under review.

On 14 August 2003, I announced a review of the future basing requirement for the RAF's air combat service support units (ACSSUs), elements of the air surveillance and control system (ASACS) and some other minor units and the potential impact on the future requirement for RAF Boulmer, RAF Neatishead, RAF Sealand and RAF Stafford, should relocation of units currently based there be recommended.

The primary objective of this particular review was to meet the department's basing needs in the light of the move towards expeditionary operations. A number of options were identified on which my officials have consulted widely. A number of honourable Members have made representations. The review has now concluded.

I am now able to inform the House that I am inclined, subject to formal consultation with the trade unions, to accept the option which creates an ACSSU communications hub and a base for ASACS units at RAF Scampton and an ACSSU logistics hub at RAF Wittering. Implementation of this option as a whole would be over an extended period, beginning later this year and not complete until about 2012.

This option offers the greatest operational flexibility to our Armed Forces by collocating support units on

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main operating bases. It is also the most cost-effective solution. It would mean that communications personnel would relocate to Scampton from RAF Sealand (from 2005) and RAF Brize Norton (from 2005), together with ASACS units currently based at RAF Neatishead (from 2004–05) and RAF Boulmer (from 2009), bringing the total number of people at the station up to around 2,400 by 2012. In the case of RAF Wittering, logistics personnel would relocate from RAF Stafford (from 2005). This would increase the number of personnel at the station to around 2,130 by 2006.

The Ministry of Defence has written to the trade unions to ask for their formal response to this option by 7 June 2004.

I will make my decision when I have received trade unions' comments and will inform the House at that time.


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