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Lord Whitty: Since May 1997, we have contributed some £21 million towards the work of the International Committee of the Red Cross. Our support includes funding for humanitarian relief operations, the dissemination of international humanitarian law, protection work, co-operation activities with national Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and to their headquarters budget. It also includes responses to specific appeals for a number of countries affected by conflict, including Afghanistan, Albania, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka and Rwanda.
The Department for International Development is also involved in a continuing dialogue with the International Committee of the Red Cross to progress an effective joint partnership in the areas of conflict reduction and humanitarian action. This seeks to defend human rights and promote more principled interventions in conflict situations.
Lord Whitty: We have recently agreed to a contribution of £7 million to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees General Programme Budget. We have further approved a contribution of £3 million to set up a joint UK/UNHCR Trust Fund. The purpose of this fund is to provide a source of funding to Non Governmental Organisations who work globally in refugee situations.
We have also developed a continuous dialogue with the UNHCR with a view to increasing the effectiveness of our long-term joint partnership. We aim to encourage the organisation to improve its performance in certain mutually agreed areas, which include establishing a capacity for conducting independent evaluations, and strengthening and improving the quality and reliability of assessment, response, and monitoring of projects.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): As at 24 March 1998, there were 13 persons detained in Northern Ireland under Immigration Act powers. Of these, one was detained due to doubts over his identity, one was the subject of a deportation order, two were absconders from other ports and nine were illegal entrants. All are currently held in Her Majesty's Prison Magilligan. Temporary detention facilities are available in holding rooms at both Belfast International Airport and Belfast City Office, where detainees are held for short periods pending arrangements for transfer to more secure accommodation.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: Article K7 of the Treaty on European Union (as inserted by the Treaty of Amsterdam) confers limited jurisdiction on the European Court of Justice in respect of the revised Title VI of the Treaty on European Union, which deals with police and criminal judicial co-operation.
The United Kingdom will not accept the optional preliminary reference jurisdiction established by this article. Nor will the European Communities (Amendment) Bill incorporate Article K7 into United Kingdom law. There is no question of any transfer of jurisdiction away from United Kingdom courts or of Parliament binding the hands of its successors.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: We do not have figures in that form. However, last year the British Amusement Catering Trade Association (BACTA), the trade association for the amusement machine industry, undertook a study on gaming machines in conjunction with the Henley Centre. This suggested that in Great Britain at the end of 1996 there were around 75,000 "amusements-with-prizes" machines (maximum prize £10) in public houses; 91,000 in amusement arcades; and 13,000 in betting offices and casinos. Figures were not collected for transport termini but BACTA estimate that there are some 350 "amusement-with-prizes" machines in railway stations.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: All three identical payment options are available under both the ex-gratia voluntary surrender scheme for small-calibre pistols and the statutory compensation scheme under the Firearms (Amendment) (No. 2) Act 1997, which replaced it.
Lord Williams of Mostyn: The cost of the computer system for handling firearms compensation claims is £158,117, made up of £27,101 in hardware costs and £131,016 in software and development costs. All costs include Value Added Tax. The system was procured under the standard Home Office information technology services contract with SEMA Group plc, awarded in 1994. No software has been supplied by Management and Processors of Claims Limited.
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