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Probation Service, West Yorkshire

Volume 264: debated on Thursday 19 October 1995

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4.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to visit the West Yorkshire probation service to discuss probation services; and if he will make a statement. [36507]

My noble Friend the Minister of State visited West Yorkshire probation service on 19 May. I have no immediate plans to visit the West Yorkshire service myself.

Has the Home Secretary seen the performance report of the West Yorkshire probation service for the past year? That report reveals a 16 per cent. increase in demand from courts—a 16 per cent. increase in the work of the probation service. The reward from the Home Secretary for that this year is a 4.5 per cent. cut in its cash limits. Will he give me an assurance and a guarantee that, so that the West Yorkshire community may receive the service to which it is entitled from the probation service, there will be no cuts in the coming year, so that the services can be guaranteed?

If the hon. Gentleman takes a slightly broader look at funding for the probation service in recent years, he will find that the picture is quite different. Specifically, if he considers the period between 1990 and 1994, he will notice a substantial increase in resources. It is no use the shadow Chancellor popping up on every radio station and saying that the Labour party will be rigorous on public spending if Labour Back Benchers repeatedly pop up in the House and ask for more money to be spent in every category in the public expenditure survey.