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Written Answers

Volume 462: debated on Wednesday 4 July 2007

Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 4 July 2007

Wales

Prisoners’ Children

8. To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what discussion he has had with the First Minister on the provision of support for children in Wales whose mothers are in prison. (146380)

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and my predecessor have held regular discussions with Assembly Government colleagues on a range of matters affecting Wales, including prisons. I intend to follow in the same vein.

Barnett Formula

9. To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what recent discussions he has had with the First Minister in Wales on the working of the Barnett formula as it applies to public funding in Wales. (146381)

Prescriptions

10. To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what discussions he has held with the Welsh First Minister on prescriptions written in England being filled in Wales. (146382)

My predecessor had frequent discussions with Welsh Ministers on all issues, including health.

Welsh patients benefit from the Welsh Assembly Government’s policy of free prescriptions for all, and English patients pay the apt fee for England, whichever side of the border they have their prescriptions dispensed.

GP Services

11. To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what discussions he has held with Welsh Assembly Ministers on funding for the treatment of English patients registered with Welsh GPs. (146383)

My predecessor had regular meetings with the Assembly Minister for Health and Social Services, where cross border treatment of NHS patients were discussed, among other issues. I will continue to hold such meetings.

Community Policing

12. To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement on the development of community policing in North Wales. (146384)

This Government have invested huge sums in extra policing and community safety, and delivered large numbers of extra police officers. As a result of our policies, crime has fallen.

We are committed to ensuring that every community will have a Neighbourhood Policing team by April 2008.

North Wales police is on track to meet this target.

Public Expenditure

13. To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what the level of public expenditure per head of population is in Wales in 2007-08. (146385)

Figures for total identifiable public expenditure per head in Wales are published retrospectively by the Treasury as a Command Paper. Figures for 2007-08 are not yet available.

Departments: Manpower

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales pursuant to the answer of 14 June 2007, Official Report, column 1289W, on Departments: manpower, how many staff in his Department are classed as without posts. (146909)

Departments: Pay

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many non-pensionable bonuses were awarded to members of staff in his Department in the last three years; and at what total cost. (146976)

The only readily available information is for financial year 2006-07. Three members of Wales Office staff were awarded non-pensionable bonuses. The total cost was £1,000.

Departments: Performance Appraisal

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many staff in his Department did not achieve an acceptable mark in their annual report in 2006-07. (146928)

Departments: Sick Leave

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many staff in his Department have taken (a) five or more, (b) four, (c) three and (d) two periods of sick leave of less than five days in the last 12 months. (147060)

This information is not held centrally and obtaining it could be achieved only at disproportionate cost.

Public Sector: Pay

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what discussion he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the economic benefits for Wales arising out of the introduction of regional pay in the public sector. (147294)

I have regular discussions with the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

It is essential that all public sector workers receive a fair rate of pay wherever they live. Pay reflects the individual circumstances facing each workforce, for instance recruitment and retention, operational circumstances, local labour market considerations, pay modernisation and the value of the total reward package. With major Welsh towns and cities like Cardiff, Newport and Swansea now enjoying increased prosperity and a booming property market, Wales is not necessarily one single labour market.

Prime Minister

Official Residences: Mr. Prescott

To ask the Prime Minister whether the right hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull, East (Mr. Prescott) will be permitted to remain in his official residence in Admiralty House; and on what financial terms. (147435)

Following his recent illness, my right hon. Friend the Member for Kingston upon Hull, East (Mr. Prescott) is making the necessary arrangements to move out of his official residence.

Culture, Media and Sport

Departments: Consultants

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much her Department spent on (a) management consultants and (b) other external consultants and advisers in each year since 2000; and which of these consultants undertook work for the Department with a total contractual value in excess of £10 million over this period. (146341)

The Department’s spend on management and other consultants and advisers since 2000 is listed in the table. There have been no consultants who have undertaken work for the Department with a contractual value in excess of £10 million during this period.

£

Financial year

Management consultants

Other consultants and advisers

2000-01

0

194,075.11

2001-02

0

318,416.80

2002-03

107,299.50

362,181.10

2003-04

10,170.94

463,614.41

2004-05

21,067.25

622,857.02

2005-061

159,188.14

1,002,117.89

2006-072

67,955.11

783,223.86

1 Amended to reflect reclassification of some costs to departmental administration costs

2 Subject to finalisation of resource accounts

Football: Primary Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what discussions he has had with colleagues in the Department for Children, Schools and Families on increasing participation in football in primary schools; and if he will make a statement. (147393)

The Government are committed to increasing the amount of physical education and sport in schools through the National School Sport Strategy, delivered jointly by the DCMS and the DCSF. Football is one of 25 sports helping to deliver this strategy.

The 2005-06 School Sport survey found that 99 per cent. of primary schools offered football during the last year and that 79 per cent. of primary schools have a link with a football club.

Gambling: Licensing

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what representations his Department has received from (a) the gaming industry and (b) local authorities on the deadline for premises licence applications in order to secure continuation rights. (147467)

Industry representatives have raised this issue informally with the Department. Local Authorities Coordinators of Regulatory Services (LACORS) supports the existing timetable and we have received no such representation from local authorities.

Gaming Machines: Standards

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans his Department has to permit the pre-testing of gaming machines prior to the implementation of the new machine categories provided for in the Gambling Act 2005. (147466)

The power to test gaming machines for compliance with gaming machine technical standards rests with the Gambling Commission. Machines must be tested in line with the Commission’s testing strategy, to be published before 1 September 2007. The Commission has provisionally approved a number of test houses to carry out testing, and where tests of certain gaming machines will be required, those tests may be commenced prior to 1 September or completed during a reasonable time-frame set by the Commission.

Olympic Games: Greater London

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what estimate he has made of the value of land at the Olympic site which will be available for resale after hosting the Olympic games in 2012 at current prices. (146246)

[holding answer 2 July 2007]: I have been asked to reply as Minster for the Olympics.

I refer the hon. Member to my written statement to the House on 27 March 2007, and the revised memorandum of understanding which has now been agreed with the Mayor. Copies of the memorandum have been deposited in the Library of the House. This shows details of the amounts we expect to be recovered from the sale of land acquired by the London Development Agency for the purposes of delivering the Olympic and Paralympic games, and how these funds will be allocated.

Sport England: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what funding was provided to Sport England North East Region in each of the last five years; and what the projected funding allocation is for the 2008-09 financial year. (147452)

The table provides details of funding provided to Sport England North East region in each of the last five years:

£ million

Sport England North East

Exchequer

Lottery

2003-04

0.3

7.9

2004-05

0.5

11.4

2005-06

0.8

10.6

2006-07

0.8

7.6

2007-08

0.7

3.2

Totals

3.1

40.7

The projected funding for 2008-09 financial year will not be known until the outcome of the 2007 comprehensive spending review.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Departments: Advertising

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 14 June 2007, Official Report, column 1216W, on Departments: Advertising, under what terms the checklist for the travellers website www.fco.gov.uk/travel and its paper equivalent carry advertisements for commercial insurance companies. (147353)

The website www.fco.gov.uk/travel is the home page for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Know Before You Go (KBYG) Campaign. The campaign is aimed at encouraging British travellers to prepare better before going overseas. Companies and businesses can apply to become members of the campaign and as a part of that membership they have an entry and logo displayed through a link from:

www.fco.gov.uk/travel

The campaign employs a professional partnership marketing company, which develops a range of arrangements (within agreed guidelines), with partner organisations to get travel safety messages across to the public. As part of these arrangements, partner companies have been offered the opportunity to place their logos on the back of some KBYG leaflets. No financial exchange takes place, but the companies are required to provide the equivalent space in value on their own publicity materials.

One example of this is our partnership with The Halifax, whose logo appears on the “Checklist for Travellers” which, is distributed with each UK passport issued. In return for this, the FCO has secured wide exposure for travel safety messages in The Halifax’s online and printed travel-related communications tools, such as travel newsletters, advice pages, and travel insurance documents.

Iraq

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 27 February 2007, Official Report, column 305W, to the hon. Member for Reading, East (Mr. Wilson), on Iraq, what the total contractual costs of private security companies contracted to his Department and operating in Iraq were in each year between 2003 and the latest date for which figures are available. (147295)

The information requested by my hon. Friend is provided as follows:

Value (£ per annum)

Purpose

2003-04

16,800,000

Static and Mobile Security

2004-05

49,500,000

Static and Mobile Security

2005-06

47,800,000

Static and Mobile Security

2006-07

30,400,000

Static and Mobile Security

Year: 2004-07

Value: £19,900,000

Purpose: Provision of Police Mentors and Advisers to the Government

The information above covers contracts put in place by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office with private security companies for services in Iraq. The figures reflect the contract values concerned and not the actual spend. Many of these contracts cover other Government Departments. Where this is the case, proportional costs are recovered accordingly.

Saudi Arabia: BAE Systems

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations were received by her Department about the Al-Yamamah military contract in the three months prior to the announcement that the Serious Fraud Office would end its investigation into the contract. (146761)

In the three months prior to the decision by the Director of the Serious Fraud Office to halt its investigation into BAE Systems, we continued to have talks with Saudi government officials on many subjects including the Al-Yamamah programme.

Primary responsibility for supporting the export of UK defence equipment and services lies with the Ministry of Defence.

Sierra Leone: Elections

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps the Government have taken to ensure that elections in Sierra Leone are free and fair; for how long he expects international observers to remain in Sierre Leone; and whether they will remain there throughout the election process. (146931)

We are funding a £3 million programme of electoral support to help ensure free and fair elections. This consists of support for international observers and a coalition of national election monitors, the ‘National Elections Watch’, which intends to host observers in every polling station in Sierra Leone; training for political parties; addressing the gender disparity surrounding elections; and strengthening the capacity of national and local media to cover the elections. We have also committed £4 million to the UN Development Programme's “basket fund”, which finances Sierra Leone’s National Electoral Commission and contributes to the cost of the elections. In addition, our high commission in Freetown is working with the full range of political and civil society to support free and credible elections. It is essential that Sierra Leoneans should be able to participate fully in the elections and that the result should reflect their choices.

On present plans the EU will send 28 long term observers from 15 July to 16 September; 42 short term observers from 6-16 August and, should there be a second round of voting in the presidential elections, 36 short term observers from 2-13 September. We are looking forward to contributing candidates as both short and long term observers.

The National Democratic Institute (NDI), an international non-governmental organisation with expertise on electoral issues, will send 35-40 short term observers who will stay for one week, including election week, and seven short term observers who will stay for one week in mid-July. NDI has already deployed six long term observers who will stay until the end of August. NDI’s observers are being part-funded by the Department for International Development. UK Government election observers will also be deployed for the critical phases of the electoral process and for the elections themselves.

Sudan: Armed Forces

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations the UK is making to the Government of Sudan on its commitment under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement to withdraw Sudanese armed forces from Upper Nile and Unity States by 9 July 2007. (147484)

[holding answer 3 July 2007]: As chair of the Security Working Group of the Assessment and Evaluation Commission, the UK is in regular dialogue with both parties on monitoring and assisting implementation of their security obligations in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. Despite some delays, both sides remain committed to meeting their obligations.

Sudan: Oil

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the Government intend to work with their counterparts in the UN to introduce a Darfur oil trust fund. (147441)

We welcome the proposal from the Aegis Trust for an oil trust fund. This could be an option for consideration in the future to put further pressure on the Government of Sudan to meet its commitments on Darfur. As with other measures, we need to carefully consider its impact on the economy and poverty reduction in the whole of Sudan, and on the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), agreed between North and South Sudan in 2005. Oil revenues are key to delivering the CPA’s peace dividend across Sudan. The UK’s policy remains focused on smart and targeted multilateral sanctions.

Sudan: Peace Keeping Operations

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the timetable is for the full deployment of the combined African Union-United Nations peacekeeping force to Sudan. (147440)

The UN and African Union (AU) are negotiating the timetable for the deployment of the joint AU-UN hybrid force for Darfur, accepted by the Sudanese Government on 12 June. We are pressing both parties to agree on the earliest possible date.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will provide details of the proposed mandate for the African Union-United Nations deployment to Darfur. (147444)

The proposed mandate of the joint African Union (AU)—UN peacekeeping force for Darfur is contained in the report produced by the AU and UN and presented to the Government of Sudan in Addis Ababa on 12 June. Copies of the report are available in the Library of the House. The Peace and Security Council of the AU endorsed this proposed mandate on 22 June. We are preparing a UN Security Council Resolution, with other Security Council members, that will mandate the UN elements of the force.

Uganda: Politics and Government

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on incursion into the Uganda High Court by security forces to re-arrest suspects previously given bail; and if he will make a statement. (147248)

The violence used by the Government forces at the Uganda High Court on 1 March to frustrate the decision of the High Court to grant the People’s Redemption Army (PRA) suspects bail has grave implications for the independence of the judiciary, respect for the rule of law and human rights in Uganda.

We continue to raise our concerns about the detention of the PRA suspects with the Government of Uganda. Most recently our High Commissioner in Kampala raised this with President Museveni on 10 May.

We understand that court proceedings are due to resume later this month. We will continue to make further representations to the Government of Uganda calling for court proceedings to be expedited in a fair and just manner.

Transport

Aviation: Security

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent advice she has had from TRANSEC on current hand baggage restrictions, with particular reference to the number of pieces of hand baggage allowed for air travellers departing UK airports. (146278)

The current security regulations are kept under constant review. The Department has currently placed a limit of one cabin bag per passenger in order to manage the current very real threat to aviation in the UK. However, we have made clear our readiness to remove the one bag limit once industry—collectively—is confident of its ability to deliver security effectively without it.

Bus Services: Concessions

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many appeals lodged in 2006 by bus operators under the concessionary travel appeal system in England have been successful; how many appeals were lodged in 2006; how much was awarded to successful appeals lodged in 2006; how many appeals are outstanding from 2006; and if she will make a statement. (146467)

38 appeals lodged with the Secretary of State by bus operators disputing the reimbursement arrangements in travel concession authorities in England for 2006-07 were successful. Over 60 appeals were lodged in that year, although 15 of those were subsequently withdrawn and four were rejected. Two of the appeals lodged in the autumn are deferred until July following requests from both operators and the travel concession authority to allow time for local negotiation.

It would not be appropriate to comment on the individual determinations of appeals. Further information may be sought from the relevant bus operators and travel concession authorities.

Bus Services: Cumbria

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment she has made of the likely impact on the provision of rural bus services of the real terms reduction in the rural bus subsidy grant to Cumbria county council in 2007-08. (146708)

[holding answer 29 June 2007]: In 2007-08 Cumbria will receive £1.6 million in rural bus subsidy grant (RBSG). This is a 2.39 per cent. increase over the previous year, which is the same percentage increase received by all other local authorities receiving the grant. RBSG allocations for 2007-08 total £55.6 million. This is a 71 per cent. increase in cash terms since the grant was introduced in 1998.

Whether an authority’s allocation represents a reduction in real terms depends on the changes in contract prices that authority faces during the course of the year. This varies from area to area. It is for each authority to review their expenditure on bus support, taking account of local priorities and all the resources available to them which includes, in addition to RBSG, revenue support grant from central Government.

Bypasses: Kettering

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if she will make available funding to help finance the construction of an eastern bypass for Kettering. (146392)

Northamptonshire county council, as the local highway authority, is responsible for preparing any proposals for an eastern bypass of Kettering. Should the council decide to promote such a scheme, it would need to obtain the region’s agreement to prioritise the scheme for funding within the East Midlands regional funding allocation for major transport schemes.

The council would then need to submit a detailed business case for the scheme, in line with departmental guidance, for consideration by the Department.

Channel Tunnel

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport by what date she expects the Channel Tunnel to reach full capacity for (a) freight and (b) passengers. (144795)

Departments: Pay

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many bonuses were awarded to senior civil servants working at her Department and its agencies in each year between 1997 and 2006; and what the total cost of those bonuses was. (146499)

The information for the number and total amount paid to senior civil service bonus payments within the Department for Transport is only available from 2004 onwards and is as follows:

Number

Total cost (£)

2004

65

326,000

2005

105

492,000

2006

140

882,000

Under current arrangements, bonuses are used to reward excellent performance during the year and are based on a judgment on how well an individual has performed relative to their peers. The intention is the best performers receive the biggest bonus payments.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many non-pensionable bonuses were awarded to members of staff in her Department in the last three years; and at what total cost. (146978)

The number and total cost of non-pensionable bonuses awarded to member of staff in the Department for Transport in the last three years is as follows:

Number of bonuses awarded

Total value of these bonuses (£)

2004-05

5,652

1,690,379

2005-06

6,343

2,458,701

2006-07

8,876

4,361,708

Departments: Sick Leave

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what percentage of sick leave taken by staff in her Department was stress-related in each of the last three years. (145983)

The percentage of sick leave taken by staff in the Department that was stress-related in each of the last three years is:

Percentage

2004

20.6

2005

22.4

2006

17.6

Lorries: Tolls

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what progress has been made on tackling competitive distortions in the UK haulier market via a system of national road pricing. (146255)

I refer to the answer of 21 June 2007, Official Report, columns 2114-15W. No decisions have been taken on whether to introduce a national system of road pricing or what form it might take. Such decisions will be taken only on the evidence of established local schemes.

Motorcycles

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when she or other Ministers from her Department last met the chairman of the Motorcycle Action Group to discuss policy issues; and when the next such meeting is planned. (146276)

No Ministers from the Department have met with the chairman of the Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) and there have been no requests to do so. The former Minister of State, the hon. Member for South Thanet (Dr. Ladyman), had met with senior representatives of MAG in the last six months.

Motorcycles: Electronic Tagging

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether it is her policy to introduce electronic tagging of motorcycles. (146256)

The Department for Transport currently does not have plans to introduce such a system.

However a small trial of electronic vehicle identification (EVI) technology using electronic tags attached to number plates on both cars and motorcycle number plates took place in 2006.

Motorways: Repairs and Maintenance

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what co-ordination exists between different regions of the Highways Agency to ensure that motorway lane closures in one region are notified to adjoining areas served by the same motorway; and if she will make a statement. (147442)

For planned lane closures such as those required for maintenance activity and major improvements, the Agency has a Network Occupancy Management Process to ensure that roadwork activity is planned and coordinated effectively. As part of this process, the Agency records all this information on a national electronic system called the Schedule of Road Works. This national system is populated by its contractors and can be accessed by planning staff in all regions.

For unplanned lane closures such as those as a result of incidents, the Agency’s National Traffic Control Centre (NTCC) co-ordinates the strategic response and informs motorists of road closures and implements strategic diversions. The NTCC automatically alerts the corresponding Regional Control Centre (RCC) that it is about to set a specific response plan and also provides information to motorists through the Traffic England website, the Highways Agency Information Line and through travel news media.

Incidents are managed from the Agency’s seven RCCs. If the incident affects adjoining regions then the lead RCC will ensure they are notified and co-ordinate a joint response. Incidents of national significance are co-ordinated by a national crisis management team.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what advice she has given on the use of overhead gantry signs to ensure that motorists using a motorway in one Highways Agency area are warned of carriageway closures in other Highways Agency areas. (147443)

The Highways Agency (HA) have a wide variety of Variable Message Signs (VMS) and fixed message signs designed to give motorists advanced warning of any closures on the motorway network which could affect their journey. Where an incident occurs that necessitates the closure of a carriageway, the National Traffic Control Centre (NTCC) uses VMS located at key strategic points on the network, across HA areas and regions, to make motorists aware and allow them to make informed decisions about whether to change their route. It is important to note that the NTCC doesn't work on an HA regional or area basis, but sees the network as a whole.

Official Cars: Electric Vehicles

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what percentage of Government Car and Despatch Agency vehicles are hybrid electric vehicles. (147151)

At present, 41 per cent. of the Government Car and Despatch Agency’s fleet are hybrid electric vehicles.

Railways: South Wales

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what evaluation her Department has made of the (a) punctuality and (b) reliability of trains operated by First Great Western between London and South Wales. (147216)

Improving rail performance is a key objective for the Department for Transport. Joint action plans are in place between Network Rail and First Great Western to address performance issues. Additionally, First Great Western has implemented a 40-point Recovery plan. These are monitored monthly.

In the year to 31 March 2007 First Great Western achieved an average punctuality of 83.2 per cent. across the franchise as a whole.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment her Department has made of the standard of First Great Western’s train services between London and South Wales. (147217)

The Secretary of State for Transport has not undertaken an assessment of the standard of First Great Western’s train services. The industry-standard public performance measure (PPM) is used to measure performance of a train operating company (TOC) across the whole of its franchise area, not specific routes in isolation. Passenger surveys are undertaken by Passenger Focus. The results of the latest National Passenger survey were published on 5 June 2007.

Shipping: ELL Action

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions she has had with her opposite numbers in other EU states about the EU’s consultation paper “Towards a future Maritime Policy for the Union”. (146403)

The former Minister of State, the hon. Member for South Thanet (Dr. Ladyman) recently held a meeting with the Portuguese State Secretary for Defence and Maritime Affairs to discuss this EU consultation and the plans of the Portuguese presidency in addressing its outcome.

In addition, officials have worked closely with those of other EU member states on this matter and have been involved in both formal community working groups and an informal ‘friends of the presidency’ group.

Traffic Officers: Speed Limits

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many Highways Agency traffic officers have, in the course of their duties, been (a) caught speeding and (b) prosecuted for speeding in each of the last 24 months, broken down by region. (147086)

In the last 24 months one Highways Agency traffic officer has been caught and prosecuted for speeding while in the course of their duty. This was in the North West Region, where a notice of intended prosecution was issued on 8 May 2007 in relation to an alleged speeding offence on 4 April 2007.

Train Operating Companies: Fees and Charges

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent meetings her Department has had with train operating companies to discuss pricing structures for the railways; who attended; what the outcomes were; and if she will make a statement. (147870)

The Department for Transport has been discussing with the Association of Train Operating Companies about how a simple national fares structure could be introduced, with standardised ticket names, terms and conditions. Discussions are ongoing.

Defence

Afghanistan: Drugs

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps are being taken by UK forces in the Helmand province of Afghanistan to prevent the cultivation of opium. (147138)

UK military forces deployed under the international security assistance force contribute to the broader counter-narcotics effort by helping to provide the secure environment in which the rule of law can be applied, reconstruction can take place and legal rural livelihoods can be developed. They are also able to provide support to Afghan led counter-narcotics operations, within the scope of the NATO operational plan. They are not there to carry out eradication themselves.

Aircraft Carriers: France

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he intends that France will participate in the construction of the UK future aircraft carriers. (144781)

[holding answer 27 June 2007]: We have always stressed that co-operation with France through industry-to-industry links may offer potential benefits to both nations. It has been agreed with France that for co-operation to work, it must deliver cost savings and must do so without delaying UK or French programmes.

Armed Forces: Advisory Services

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he has taken to provide independent advisory panels to oversee welfare provision for trainee soldiers; at which barracks panels have been created; what guidance he has given on (a) the terms of reference for and (b) recruitment of lay persons to serve on such bodies; how the composition of panels is monitored; and what steps he has taken to involve parents of service personnel in an oversight role. (146185)

Independent advisory panels (IAP) have been established across the Army Recruiting and Training Division (ARTD)'s Phase 1 (Initial Training) and Phase 2 (Special-to-Arm Training) units since 18 January 2006.

IAPs exist in the following ARTD sites:

Phase 1 Training sites

Phase 21

Army Foundation College (Harrogate)

Armoured Centre (Bovington)

Army Training Regiment (Bassingbourn)

Royal School of Military Engineering (Chatham and Minley)

Army Training Regiment (Lichfield)

Royal School of Artillery (Larkhill)

Army Training Regiment (Pirbright)

School of Infantry (Catterick)

Army Training Regiment (Winchester)

School of Army Aviation (Middle Wallop)

1 Including phase 1 and 2 combined sites

The Defence College of Logistics and Personnel Administration, and the ARTD Staff Leadership School are planning to have IAPs in place during 2007-08.

The terms of reference for IAPs, developed in October 2005, include guidance on recruiting and are as follows:

1. Introduction

As part of the process of implementing the recommendations of the DHALI reports, the Adjutant General has directed Director General Army Recruiting and Training to establish IAPs across the Army's training establishments at either school or regiment level but not both.

2. Aim

The aim of IAPs is to provide an independent, non-statutory source of advice, challenge, encouragement and support to the training establishment in order to exchange information, provide feedback and assist in identifying possible areas for improvement.

3. Roles

IAPs have the following roles:

a. To act as a conduit for external communication for the training establishment to de-mystify the Army's individual training organisation and promote the Army's and training establishment's reputations locally.

b. To act as a source of local feedback on local issues.

c. To act as a “sounding board”. They will support and challenge the training establishment by providing advice and encouragement on particular issues (both local and national) raised by the Commandant on an as required basis.

4. Limitations.

The IAP will not override the fundamental Army principle of self-regulation vested in the commanding officer and the higher chain of command. They will have no responsibility for budgets, objective setting, policy or staff selection.

5. Composition

IAPs are non-statutory bodies and their composition will depend on the circumstances for each establishment. IAPs might include opinion formers in the local community, who between them are able to speak with knowledge, credibility and experience on a range of issues that might relate to the operation of the training establishment and the training of young people. Examples might include local teachers, youth workers, social workers, councillors, religious figures (all faiths), policemen/women, businessmen/women, health professionals or sports personalities. The chairperson will be elected by the panel, and will not be a member of the training establishment. IAP membership from the training establishment could be:

a. School Commander/Commanding Officer;

b. Independent Complaints Officer (ICO);

c. Welfare Officer;

d. COS/Adjt to provide the secretarial function.

6. Frequency

IAPs will meet termly (three times a year) or as the School Commander/Commanding Officer and Chairperson decide.

7. Output

IAPs will write an annual report to the School Commander/Commanding Officer, recording key issues raised and action taken.

The ongoing composition of a panel is a matter for the respective chairperson, once elected, in consultation with the respective training establishment and, externally the headquarters of the ARTD.

While parents of service personnel are not specifically identified as potential members of the IAP, they are not excluded, and it is implicit in the Terms of reference (paragraph 3) that an IAP would wish to seek the views of recruits and trainees.

Armed Forces: Catering

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many vacancies there are for chefs in the (a) Royal Navy, (b) Army, (c) Royal Air Force and (d) Royal Marines. (146958)

The information is provided in the following table .

Strength and requirement of chefs in the UK regular forces as at 1 April 2007

RN

RM

Armyl

RAF

Strength

2975

2150

2,465

2690

Requirement

1,000

155

2,600

600

Surplus/Deficit

2-25

2-5

2-135

290

FY 07/08 recruiting target

120

25

430

30

1.Army figures are as at 1 March 2007 and include Gurkhas 2 Denotes provisional. Due to the introduction of a new joint personnel administration system (JPA) data are provisional and subject to review.

Chemicals: Ballast Bank

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will provide funding for the clean up of chemicals and asbestos at Ballast Bank, Charlestown in Fife. (146777)

[holding answer 29 June 2007]: The land in question does not belong to the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and has not been used as an MOD site. Thus MOD has no responsibility for the current condition of this land, for any activities that may have taken place there in the past, or for funding on carrying out any remediation required.

Departments: European Union

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many officials in his Department are (a) involved in assisting European Council negotiations, (b) involved in assisting and advising the European Commission, (c) seconded to the European Commission, (d) involved in monitoring EU decisions, communications, regulations and directives, (e) involved in enforcing compliance with EU decisions, communications, regulations and directives and (f) involved in other work related to the European Council, Commission or Court of Justice. (146099)

In the Ministry of Defence there are four members of staff working exclusively on European Security and Defence Policy business in the Directorate for Policy on International Organisations, and one full time member of staff dealing with EU business in the Defence Equipment and Support International Relations Group. A number of other staff throughout the Department are involved for part of their time in a wide range of EU business.

The MOD has nine military and civilian staff in the UK Military Representation to the EU in Brussels and two seconded to the UK diplomatic representation to the EU to work on European Security and Defence Policy. In addition there are 20 MOD military and civilian staff seconded to the European Council General Secretariat, including the European Union Military Staff, and eight to the European Defence Agency.

A functional breakdown of staff roles as requested could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Departments: Pay

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many bonuses were awarded to senior civil servants working at the Department and its agencies in each year between 1997 and 2006; and what the total cost of those bonuses was. (146498)

The numbers and values of annual appraisal related bonuses paid to members of the senior civil service (SCS) and to fixed term appointees at SCS equivalent level over the past four years are listed in tables 1 and 2. We are only able to provide information from 2003-04 as pay arrangements for SCS staff were changed from 1 April 2002; bonuses for performance during 2002-03 were paid in 2003-04. Bonuses for performance in 2006-07 are in the process of agreement through the MOD SCS Pay Committee structure and will be paid in November 2007.

Bonuses are designed to reward those who are deemed to have made the greatest contribution, through specific in-year achievements, to departmental objectives or defence business more widely.

Table 1: bonuses paid to senior civil servants

Number of bonuses paid

Value of bonuses paid (£)

2006-07

181

1,178,500

2005-06

184

918,000

2004-05

136

711,737

2003-04

140

701,221

Table 2: bonuses paid to senior fixed term appointees

Number of bonuses paid

Value of bonuses paid (£)

2006-07

10

73,191

2005-06

10

65,586

2004-05

14

112,329

2003-04

13

86,531

Departments: Travel

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many travel warrants were provided from Abbey Wood to Chippenham in the last 12 months for which figures are available. (146518)

A total of 17 rail tickets were issued by the Abbey Wood travel office for the 12 month period 1 July 2006 to 28 June 2007.

Ex-servicemen: Housing

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence under what circumstances discharged service personnel can be classed as vulnerable service leavers and eligible for priority housing. (145712)

Guidance on vulnerability of former members of the armed forces and their need for priority housing is set out in Chapter 10: Priority Need, paragraphs 10.12 (iv)—10.14 and 10.21—10.23 of the Homelessness Code of Guidance for Local Authorities, issued by the Department for Communities and Local Government in July 2006.

People who seek social housing, including service personnel approaching discharge or recently discharged, should apply to their local housing authority to join the waiting list for an allocation of housing under Part 6 of the Housing Act 1996

The homelessness legislation (Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996) provides a safety net for people who become homeless in a crisis. Under the legislation local housing authorities must secure suitable accommodation for housing applicants who are homeless through no fault of their own and who fall within a priority need group. This applies to all applicants who are eligible for homelessness assistance, including discharged service personnel.

The priority need groups include, among others, applicants whose household includes a child or pregnant woman and applicants whose household includes a person who is vulnerable in some way. In 2002, the Government extended the priority need groups by Order to include, among others, applicants who are

“vulnerable as a result of... having been a member of Her Majesty’s regular naval, military or air forces”.

It is a matter of judgment by the local authority whether an applicant’s circumstances make him or her vulnerable for the purposes of the legislation. Local authorities must consider whether, when homeless, the applicant would be less able to fend for him or herself than an ordinary homeless person, so that he or she would suffer injury or detriment in circumstances where a less vulnerable person would be able to cope without harmful effects.

The potential vulnerability to homelessness of personnel due to leave the Service would be considered by the individual’s resettlement officer as part of the normal discharge process, and referral made to the Joint Service Housing Advice Office as necessary, which can assist with applications for social housing.

Ex-servicemen: Mentally Ill

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many British Gulf War I veterans suffering from mental health issues there are in the Stockport area; and what proportion are receiving treatment. (147261)

Gibraltar: Police

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the Gibraltar Services Police Staff Association will be consulted in connection with the review of the Gibraltar Services Police. (146673)

The Gibraltar Services Police Staff Association (GSPSA) has been consulted about the conduct of the Gibraltar Policing and Security Review, in accordance with established and agreed consultation procedures. The terms of reference for the review were provided to the GSPSA, and to other interested parties, on 4 June 2007. In response to a written request from the GSPSA, an extension to the consultation period on the terms of reference was granted. They subsequently responded on 19 June 2007, and conduct of the review commenced on 20 June 2007.

The GSPSA will also be consulted on emerging conclusions from the review in due course.

Gurkhas

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many people applied for service in the Gurkhas in each of the last three years; and what the average selection time was. (146957)

Approximately 10,000 young men in Nepal applied to join the British Army as Gurkhas in 2004, with 15,000 applying in 2005 and 2006 respectively. The average selection time takes about 50 days.

Iraq: Peacekeeping Operations

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects to be in a position to make a detailed report of the (a) costs and (b) other aspects of UK involvement with Operation Telic; and if he will make a statement. (147187)

The cost of operations are calculated on a net additional basis and audited figures are published each year in the MOD’s annual report and accounts. The total of the annual audited figures for the cost of operations in Iraq for the years 2002-03 to 2005-06 was £4,026 million. A total estimated cost of £1,002 million for 2006-07 was included in the Spring Supplementary Estimates published in February. Final figures will be published in the MOD’s annual report and accounts for 2006-07 in July.

I have updated the House regularly on various aspects of the UK operation in Iraq.

Official Residences: Repairs and Maintenance

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what costs were incurred for maintenance at the official residence of the General Officer Commanding Northern Ireland in each year since 1997. (136611)

The table provides maintenance costs for the General Officer Commanding Northern Ireland’s Official Service Residence from financial years 2001-02 to 2005-06. Information covering earlier years has not been retained.

£

2001-02

31,048

2002-03

22,333

2003-04

11,335

2004-05

3,512

2005-06

6,394

Princess Royal Barracks

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress his Department has made in implementing the recommendations from the Deepcut Review report produced by Sir Nicholas Blake, QC, published in March 2006; and if he will make a statement. (147064)

I refer the hon. Member to the written ministerial statements of 28 March 2007, Official Report, columns 91-95WS, and 28 June 2007, Official Report, column 35WS. The Ministry of Defence is committed to maintaining the improvements already achieved, and to continuing to address the areas where performance can be improved. Independent inspection of the training environment will continue and our internal training inspection team is working hard to ensure that policy is fully implemented, change sustained and good practice shared.

Territorial Army

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) regular and (b) Territorial Army staff work in the Inspector General’s Territorial Army department, broken down by (a) appointment and (b) location. (146756)

[holding answer 29 June 2007]: The following table shows those military staff who provide dedicated support to commander regional forces (CRF) in his capacity as Inspector General Territorial Army (IGTA). All appointments are located at HQ Land Command in Wilton, Salisbury.

Appointment

Status

Deputy Inspector General Territorial Army (DIGTA)

Territorial Army

Staff Officer 2 (SO2) to DIGTA

Territorial Army

TA Colonel

Territorial Army

Colonel Territorial Army Media and Communications

Territorial Army

SO1 TA Projects

Territorial Army

Chief of Staff Regional forces

Regular

Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff Regional Forces and Territorial Inspectorate

Regular

SO2 Territorial Army (A) Plans

Regular

SO2 Territorial Army (B) Management Information Systems Plans

Regular

SO2 Territorial Army (C) Projects

Territorial Army

SO2 Territorial Army (D) Projects

Regular

SO2 Territorial Army Media Operations

Territorial Army

Territorial Army: Recruitment

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what percentage of the strength of the various sections of the Territorial Army have seen active deployment, broken down by (a) officers and (b) other ranks. (146766)

The Territorial Army (TA) is the reserve of “first choice” and its personnel are currently providing crucial support to the Regular Forces on operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere. Since January 2003 around 13,000 volunteers from the TA have been mobilised on overseas operations. The ability of the TA to meet its operational requirement is closely monitored. However, there is no requirement to hold or maintain information centrally in the format requested and such data could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

World War II: Military Decorations

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will introduce a campaign medal for the servicemen and women involved in the Bomber Command campaign in the second world war; and if he will make a statement. (147304)

The creation of medals is the prerogative of the Sovereign. The Sovereign takes advice from the Government of the day, who, in turn, are advised by the inter-departmental, non-political Committee on the Grant of Honours, Decorations and Medals (known as the HD Committee), on which the armed forces are represented. In the case of campaign medals for service during the second world war, the issue was discussed exhaustively by those in command at the time and by the HD Committee. Those who served in Bomber Command during the second world war could qualify for one of the Stars instituted for campaign service for example the 1939-45 Star, the much prized Aircrew Europe Star or the France and Germany Star. World war two campaign medals were instituted for periods of military service in specified geographic areas and did not relate to individual battles, operations or military commands. The HD Committee has made it clear on many occasions that it will not revisit cases for service performed many years previously or where medals already exist for specified periods of service, both of which apply for service in Bomber Command.

Home Department

Antisocial Behaviour Orders

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many antisocial behaviour orders have been issued since the enactment of the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 in (a) England, (b) the Hertfordshire police force area, (c) the Borough of Dacorum and (d) Hemel Hempstead constituency. (146970)

The Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 received Royal Assent on 20 November. The number of ASBOs issued in 2004 and 2005 (latest available) are:

Area

Number of ASBOs issued1

England

7,162

Hertfordshire police force area

112

Borough of Dacorum

12

Hemel Hempstead constituency

n/a2

n/a = not available.

1 Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.

2 ASBO data are not available at levels below local government authority areas.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many antisocial behaviour orders were breached in each local authority area in each of the last three years. (147269)

ASBO breach data are currently available from 1 June 2000 to 31 December 2005 for ASBOs issued since 1 June 2000 and are available at Criminal Justice System area level only. The available information is given in the table.

The number of ASBOs proven in court to have been breached1,2 for the first time between 1 January 2003 and 31 December 2005

CJS area

ASBOs breached

Avon and Somerset

98

Bedfordshire

28

Cambridgeshire

30

Cheshire

87

Cleveland

70

Cumbria

66

Derbyshire

44

Devon and Cornwall

46

Dorset

46

Durham

53

Dyfed Powys

16

Essex

79

Gloucestershire

39

Greater London

461

Greater Manchester

654

Gwent

42

Hampshire

126

Hertfordshire

50

Humberside

94

Kent

12

Lancashire

161

Leicestershire

57

Lincolnshire

19

Merseyside

126

Norfolk

38

North Wales

71

North Yorkshire

34

Northamptonshire

7

Northumbria

127

Nottinghamshire

102

South Wales

54

South Yorkshire

119

Staffordshire

61

Suffolk

63

Surrey

47

Sussex

111

Thames Valley

70

Warwickshire

38

West Mercia

84

West Midlands

316

West Yorkshire

376

Wiltshire

24

England and Wales

4,246

1 ASBOs may be issued in one area and breached in another. Breaches are counted in this table in the area of breach.

2 ASBOs may be breached more than once and in more than one year. In this table ASBOs are counted once only at the time they were first breached. This table excludes ASBOs which were initially breached before 1 January 2003, regardless of whether they were breached again between 2003 and 2005.

Note:

Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.

Source:

OCJR Court Proceedings Database.

Antisocial Behaviour: Greater Manchester

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of the levels of perception of anti-social behaviour in (a) Greater Manchester, (b) Stockport and (c) Cheadle in each of the last three years; and if she make a statement. (147268)

The British Crime Survey shows that the proportion of the public who perceive a high level of antisocial behaviour in the Greater Manchester Police Force area, which includes Greater Manchester, Stockport and Cheadle, fell from 21 per cent. in 2003-04 to 20 per cent. in 2004-05 and to 1.9 per cent. in 2005-06.

Asylum: Qualifications

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent research she has commissioned into the skills and qualifications held by (a) asylum seekers and (b) refugees. (146967)

The Department has not commissioned research on the skills and qualifications of asylum seekers.

The Department has commissioned research on the skills and qualifications of refugees, which is reported in ‘Skills Audit of Refugees’, published in 2004 (Home Office Online Report 37/04). Link to publication:

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs04/rdsolr3704.pdf

Information on the skills and qualifications of refugees is currently being collected in a Home Office survey to evaluate the pilot phase of SUNRISE (Strategic Upgrade of National Refugee Integration Services) and also in research into the Gateway Protection Programme. This research is not yet at a stage to be reported.

Burglary: Northumbria

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many domestic burglaries there were in (a) Houghton and Washington, East and (b) Northumbria police authority area in each of the last 10 years. (147449)

Information for the Houghton and Washington, East constituency is not available centrally. The available information relates to the Sunderland Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership (CDRP) area and the Northumbria police force area and is given in the tables.

Table 1: Offences of domestic burglary recorded by the police—1996 and 1997

Sunderland CDRP

Northumbria police force area

1996

n/a

21,409

1997

n/a

17,113

n/a - not available

Table 2: Offences of domestic burglary recorded by the police—1998-99 to 2001-02

Sunderland CDRP

Northumbria police force area

1998-99

n/a

15,334

1999-2000

3,311

12,539

2000-01

3,016

11,377

2001-02

2,982

11,244

n/a = not available

Notes:

1. The coverage was extended and counting rules revised from 1998-99. Figures from that date are not directly comparable with those for 1996 and 1997.

2. The data in this table is prior to the introduction of the National Crime Recording Standard. These figures are not directly comparable with those for later years.

Table 3: Offences of domestic burglary recorded by the police—2002-03 to 2005-06

Sunderland CDRP

Northumbria police force area

2002-03

2,962

11,179

2003-04

2,369

10,223

2004-05

1,910

7,897

2005-06

1,353

6,560

Note:

The data in this table takes account of the introduction of the National Crime Recording Standard in April 2002. These figures are not directly comparable with those for earlier years.

Crime: Northumbria

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the recorded level of crime was in (a) Houghton and Washington, East constituency and (b) Northumbria police authority area in each of the last 10 years. (147450)

Information for the Houghton and Washington, East constituency is not available centrally. The available information relates to the Sunderland Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership (CDRP) area and the Northumbria police force area and is given in the following tables.

Table 1: total offences recorded by the police—1996 and 1997

Sunderland CDRP

Northumbria police force area

1996

n/a

169,656

1997

n/a

140,166

n/a = not available.

Table 2: total offences recorded by the police—1998-99 to 2001-02

Sunderland CDRP

Northumbria police force area

1998-99

n/a

151,298

1999-2000

n/a

142,279

2000-01

30,407

134,777

2001-02

33,259

139,130

n/a = not available.

Notes:

1. The coverage was extended and counting rules revised from 1998-99. Figures from that date are not directly comparable with those for 1996 and 1997.

2. The data in this table is prior to the introduction of the National Crime Recording Standard. These figures are not directly comparable with those for later years.

Table 3: total offences recorded by the police—2002-03 to 2005-06

Sunderland CDRP

Northumbria police force area

2002-03

38,196

165,496

2003-04

34,612

157,051

2004-05

30,447

142,122

2005-06

28,429

131,968

Note:

The data in this table takes account of the introduction of the National Crime Recording Standard in April 2002. These figures are not directly comparable with those for earlier years.

Crimestoppers

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what recent discussions she has had on Crimestoppers; and what steps she is taking to promote and increase awareness of the service; (146579)

(2) how many people were arrested in each of the last five years as a result of information supplied to Crimestoppers.

Information on the number of arrests as a result of information supplied to Crimestoppers is not collected centrally by the Home Office. A Home Office evaluation ‘Evaluating the impact of Crimestoppers’ Home Office Online Report 22/03 stated that for the year 2000 there were 5,423 successful outcomes (arrested, charged or cautioned) approximately 9 per cent. of all actionable calls. However, the actual number of positive results is higher, as there is widespread under-reporting of feedback. The report estimated this figure as close to 9,614.

The former Home Secretary last met the Chief Executive of Crimestoppers on 25 April. The Home Office continues to support Crimestoppers through the terms of the Strategic Partnership Agreement which runs from 1 December 2004 to 31 March 2008.

Departments: European Union

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many officials in her Department are (a) involved in assisting European Council negotiations, (b) involved in assisting and advising the European Commission, (c) seconded to the European Commission, (d) involved in monitoring EU decisions, communications, regulations and directives, (e) involved in enforcing compliance with EU decisions, communications, regulations and directives and (f) involved in other work related to the European Council, Commission or Court of Justice. (146094)

Officials throughout the Home Office are involved in a full range of EU business. Those working specifically on EU business in its International Directorate currently total 19. The Border and Immigration Agency has a European and International Policy Unit, which has a total of 21 staff working on European related matters. A breakdown of the figures as requested would incur disproportionate cost.

Departments: Pay

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many bonuses were awarded to senior civil servants working at her Department and its agencies in each year between 1997 and 2006; and what the total cost of those bonuses was. (146421)

Senior civil service bonuses reward, and provide incentives for, delivery of key results. Under current arrangements, bonuses are used to reward performance during the year, and are based on a judgment of how well an individual has performed relative to their peers. Records of bonus payments made to SCS members are only available from 2002.

2002-03

115 out of 185 SCS staff received performance bonuses. The total costs were £463,552.

2003-04

138 out of 215 SCS staff received performance bonuses. The total costs were £672,409.

2004-05

180 out of 219 SCS staff received performance bonuses. The total costs were £1,187,000.

2005-06

158 out of 232 SCS staff received performance bonuses. The total costs were £1,071,118.

Europol

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the Government’s policy is on the proposals to provide Europol with access to commercial data in the absence of a specific and credible threat; and if she will make a statement. (146867)

At present there are no formal agreements between Europol and public or private entities relating to the provision of commercial data to Europol. The Europol Information System can only be used to process data that relate to persons who are suspected of having committed or suspected of having taken part in a crime in contravention of the national law of that country, or where there are factual indicators that they will commit such an offence.

A new legal instrument to regulate Europol’s activities is currently under negotiation in the Justice and Home Affairs Council. In the context of that negotiation, the question of the provision of commercial data to Europol has yet to be discussed. However, the Government’s view is that where that would involve the processing of personal data from public or private entities, it must take place exclusively via the Europol national units. The Government also believe where it is reasonable and necessary for Europol to be able to process data there must be adequate safeguards to ensure that such data are relevant for its tasks.

Proof of Age Cards

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of the (a) availability and (b) misuse of fake proof of age cards; and if she will make a statement. (146966)

It is the responsibility of retailers to ensure that they have adequate procedures in place to prevent alcohol being sold to people aged under 18 and that their staff are appropriately trained, to enforce this. Many retailers have now adopted a ‘Think 21’ policy, where anyone appearing to be under 21 should be asked for identification prior to any sale of alcohol, which will prevent an offence being committed. Valid forms of identification include a passport or a driving licence with a photo.

The Home Office also supports the Proof of Age Standards (PASS) scheme, which establishes a common standard for issuing the various proof of age cards that are available. PASS accredited cards carry a secure hologram which helps retailers to identify genuine proof of age cards. The PASS hologram on a card is the hallmark indicating that the card issuer has passed a stringent audit carried out by Trading Standards Officers and that the card may be relied upon.

Following on from the success of the Alcohol Misuse Enforcement Campaigns, since May 2007 we have been conducting a national Tackling Under Age Sales of Alcohol Campaign, which is testing whether or not retailers ask for valid identification from potential underage purchasers of alcohol.

Illegal Immigrants: Malta

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what financial assistance has been given to Malta for tackling illegal African immigrants coming to that country. (147000)

The UK supports Maltese efforts to tackle illegal immigration both bilaterally and through the EU. Last year we sent a Chief Immigration Officer to Malta to assist a Frontex co-ordinated operation with nationality and identity interviewing techniques and a senior official to give advice on returning failed asylum seekers. Also in 2006 a Maltese official was seconded to Border and Immigration Agency for a week to learn about our detention centres. EU funding has recently been obtained for joint returns work with Malta, and the European Commission is currently considering a joint proposal from the UK, Italy and Malta for funding to establish a centre for migration intelligence analysts on Lampedusa and Malta. Malta also receives funding through EU financial instruments such as the European Refugee Fund.

Motor Vehicles: Insurance

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans she has to encourage chief constables to undertake similar exercises to Operation Foist in their areas. (147436)

Operation Foist was an initiative of the Metropolitan Police. Adoption of similar exercises elsewhere is an operational matter for individual chief officers. I understand from the Metropolitan Police that a number of forces have been in touch with queries about the operation with a view to undertaking such measures themselves.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of the effect of Operation Foist in the London area. (147437)

Operation Foist was an initiative of the Metropolitan Police that targeted uninsured drivers as a means of improving road safety and reducing criminality. The Metropolitan Police arranged for a review of the initiative’s effectiveness to be carried out and I am arranging for a copy of this to be placed in the Library.

Racially Aggravated Offences: Wiltshire

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many and what type of offences with racial motivation were recorded by Wiltshire Constabulary which (a) were taken to court and (b) resulted in convictions in each year between 1997-98 and 2005-06. (147091)

The statistics are not available in the form requested.

Recorded crime statistics relate to offences and court proceedings data relate to offenders. In addition, recorded crime data are published on a financial year basis and court proceedings data are published on a calendar year basis. For these reasons, the two data sources are therefore not directly comparable.

The available information relates to racially or religiously aggravated offences and is available from 1999-2000 only. Tables 1 and 2 give the number of offences recorded by the police in Wiltshire. Data on the number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates courts and found guilty at all courts for all racially and religiously aggravated offences in the Wiltshire police force area are provided in Table 3.

Table 1: Recorded racially or religiously aggravated offences recorded by the police in Wiltshire, 1999-2000 to 2001-02

Offence

1999-2000

2000-01

2001-02

Racially or religiously aggravated offences of:

Less serious wounding

10

16

24

Harassment

36

65

67

Common assault

16

14

10

Criminal damage to a dwelling

2

3

9

Criminal damage to a building other than a dwelling

1

9

20

Criminal damage to a vehicle

8

8

15

Other criminal damage

4

3

4

Table 2: Recorded racially or religiously aggravated offences recorded by the police in Wiltshire, 2002-03 to 2005-06

Offence

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

Racially or religiously aggravated offences of:

Less serious wounding

22

35

37

37

Harassment

140

147

138

167

Common assault

17

26

13

13

Criminal damage to a dwelling

14

11

7

9

Criminal damage to a building other than a dwelling

20

14

6

17

Criminal damage to a vehicle

12

5

13

8

Other criminal damage

7

6

6

9

Note:

1. The National Crime Recording Standard was introduced on 1 April 2002. Figures before and after that date are not directly comparable.

Table 3: Defendants proceeded against at magistrates courts and found guilty at all courts for racially and religiously aggravated offences, Wiltshire police force area, 1999 to 20051, 2

Proceeded against

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

Racially or religiously aggravated offences of:

Less serious wounding

1

1

1

1

2

5

3

Harassment

17

16

16

15

26

27

49

Common assault

1

2

3

8

14

9

10

Criminal damage to a dwelling

Criminal damage to a building other than a dwelling

Criminal damage to a vehicle

Other criminal damage

2

4

2

4

3

Found guilty

1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

Racially or religiously aggravated offences of:

Less serious wounding

1

Harassment

10

10

12

11

20

16

28

Common assault

1

5

7

4

8

Criminal damage to a dwelling

Criminal damage to a building other than a dwelling

Criminal damage to a vehicle

Other criminal damage

1

2

1

2

1

1 These data are on the principal offence basis.

2 Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the police forces and courts. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.

Road Traffic Act 1988: Powers

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidance is given by her Department to police forces on the exercise of the powers contained in section 165A of the Road Traffic Act 1988. (147401)

The addition of section 165A to the Road Traffic Act 1988 was one of a number of roads policing measures included in the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005. Information on all these measures and the powers they confer was given to chief officers of police at the time and has been supplemented subsequently by responses to individual enquiries. How the powers are exercised is an operational matter for individual chief officers and any guidance that might be issued by the Association of Chief Police Officers.

Theft: Bicycles

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people were (a) prosecuted and (b) sentenced for bicycle thefts in London in each of the last five years. (146974)

The information requested is set out in the following table.

Number of persons prosecuted at magistrates courts and sentenced at all courts for bicycle theft, in Greater London,2001-051, 2

Proceeded against

Sentenced

2001

143

90

2002

151

106

2003

127

84

2004

132

96

2005

159

121

1 These data are on the principal offence basis.

2 Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.

War Criminals

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 29 January 2007, Official Report, column 144W, on war criminals, (1) whether the police have contacted Vladimir Aleksandrovich Titov (State Counsel of Justice, 2nd Class, Chief of Administration of Surveillance for the Implementation of Laws concerning Federal Security) at the Office of the Procurator General of the Russian Federation, 2nd Tekhnicheskii Pereulok, Moscow, 103793, Russian Federation; and if he will make a statement; (146666)

(2) on war criminals, why bilateral discussions have not taken place with Leitender Oberstaatsanwalt Kurt Schrimm (Director), Zentrale Stelle der Landesjustizverwaltungen zur Aufklärung von NS-Verbrechen, Schorndorfer Str. 58, 71638 Ludwigsburg (Federal Republic of Germany).

I understand that the police are aware of these potential sources of information on Nazi war crimes but, in the absence of specific allegations against any named individual in the UK, the police do not have any immediate plans to contact them.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 29 January 2007, Official Report, column 146W, on war criminals, whether progress has been made with the request for information about the withdrawal of German pensions from residents following the German War Victims Relief Act from Herrn Dr. Eckhard Assman, Bundesministerium für Arbeit und Soziales. (146681)

I understand that the Metropolitan Police have still to receive any indication that the German authorities have withdrawn a pension from anyone resident in the UK because of involvement in war crimes during the Second World War.

Northern Ireland

Autism: Judiciary

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps he has taken to raise the level of autism awareness among the (a) Northern Ireland Prison Service, (b) Police Service of Northern Ireland, (c) Juvenile Justice Centre and (d) Public Prosecution Service staff. (146735)

As regards the Prison Service, when individual prisoners are identified as suffering from autistic spectrum disorders healthcare staff will engage with other relevant staff, including safer custody group and residential staff, to provide information about autism and offer guidance on assisting and managing the prisoner. Such prisoners will also be supported by education and psychology staff.

The PSNI has a number of initiatives to raise awareness including:

assistance with the production of the ‘Criminal Justice System Autism Guide’, which is distributed at PSNI training events;

showing a videoed scenario of a police officer coming into contact with a young person with Aspergers syndrome at officers' diversity training;

giving practical advice on the handling of such situations through role play devised in conjunction with Mencap;

liaison with the promoter of the “Autism Spectrum Disorder” identity card to develop an online awareness raising programme on what this card represents and how to proceed if this card is shown to them.

The Juvenile Justice centre runs regular awareness raising sessions in relation to young people who are on the autism spectrum. These are run in conjunction with Autism NT.

The Public Prosecution Service has limited interaction with the general public and therefore has no specific training intervention.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether he has assessed the partnership between Dyfed Powys Police, North Wales Police and Autism Cymru to develop an assessment of the needs of people with autistic spectrum disorders; and if he will introduce a similar scheme in Northern Ireland. (146741)

PSNI has not been in direct liaison with the Welsh Police authorities on the subject of autistic spectrum disorders. Ongoing efforts are, however, being made to meet the needs of those affected by this condition. Specifically, PSNI has been working with the promoter of the autistic spectrum disorder identity card, developing an on-line programme to raise awareness among officers across the organisation as to what this card represents and how to proceed when it is shown to them. The Police Service remains committed to meeting the needs of those affected by autism and related conditions, and will put in place farther measures as and when required.

Customs Officers

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many uniformed HM Revenue and Customs officers are deployed in a full-time capacity in Northern Ireland, excluding intelligence and investigation officers, working on (a) fuel smuggling, (b) tobacco goods and (c) road fuel offences. (146940)

I have been asked to reply.

There are 85 uniformed multi-functional HMRC officers deployed in Northern Ireland to meet the full range of HMRC enforcement duties including tackling fuel smuggling, tobacco smuggling and road fuel offences. They are regularly augmented by additional deployments of uniformed HMRC teams from other parts of the UK according to the assessed risk.

Departments: Pay

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many non-pensionable bonuses were awarded to members of staff in his Department in the last three years; and at what total cost. (146982)

In respect of the 2003-04 reporting year, 1,670 staff received a bonus, at a total cost of £475,080;

In respect of the 2004-05 reporting year, 1,731 staff received a bonus, at a total cost of £629,742,

In respect of the 2005-06 reporting year, 1,024 staff received a bonus, at a total cost of £686,425.

Ports

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many vessels from (a) EU states and (b) non-EU were searched by HM Revenue and Customs in Northern Ireland ports in each of the last two years. (146942)

I have been asked to reply.

The number of vessels searched by HMRC in Northern Ireland in each of the last two years is two in the year ended 31 March 2006, and one in the year ended 31 March 2007. These vessels were all from non-EU states.

Public Expenditure

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to the answer of 14 June 2007, Official Report, column 1263W, what the outcome was of his discussions with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on funding programmes for Northern Ireland. (146605)

My right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, has made available over £51 billion extra spending for Northern Ireland for the next four years to meet the economic and political priorities of an incoming Northern Ireland Executive.

Full details of the financial package were announced by the Chancellor in his statement to Parliament on 8 May 2007, Official Report, column 2WS.

Smuggling: Fuels

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many vehicles were detected smuggling fuel into Northern Ireland in each of the last three years. (146943)

I have been asked to reply.

The number of vehicles detected smuggling fuel into Northern Ireland for each of the last three years was:

As at 31 March each year

Number

2005

108

2006

67

2007

37

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what total quantity of fuel being smuggled into Northern Ireland was seized in each of the last three years. (146944)

I have been asked to reply.

The total quantity of fuel smuggled into Northern Ireland and seized for each of the last three years is as follows:

As at 31 March each year

Litres

2005

301,020

2006

297,260

2007

240,600

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what volume of fuel being smuggled from Northern Ireland to (a) the Republic of Ireland and (b) mainland Great Britain was seized in each of the last three years. (146946)

I have been asked to reply.

The information requested is as follows.

(a) Fuel smuggled from Northern Ireland into the Republic of Ireland is a matter dealt with by the Republic of Ireland authorities. HMRC have no record of seizures made in the Republic of Ireland.

(b) It is not a smuggling offence to transport fuel from Northern Ireland to mainland Great Britain, as this is an internal movement within the United Kingdom. Therefore, no such seizures have been made.

Justice

Asylum: Appeals

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many applications for statutory review of a refusal to grant asylum were submitted in each year since 1997; how many such applications were granted; and how many substantive re-hearings of asylum applications were successful. (146968)

Appeals against a decision to refuse asylum are heard by the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal (AIT) and prior to April 2005 its predecessor, the Immigration Appellate Authority (IAA). Appeals are heard by an Immigration Judge (IJ) of the AIT. Volumes of asylum appeals since 1997 were:

Calendar year

Adjudicator/Immigration Judge receipts

1997

22,387

1998

15,442

1999

7,775

2000

28,565

2001

47,906

2002

64,127

2003

70,577

2004

47,002

2005

24,891

2006

14,863

Total

343,535

Following a decision on appeal, the unsuccessful party can apply for it to be reviewed on the ground that the IJ made an error of law. The provisions on review were established under Section 101 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum (NIA) Act 2002 and amended by the Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants etc) (AITC) Act 2004.

Prior to April 2005, in an appeal to the IAA, the losing party could apply to the Immigration Appeal Tribunal (IAT) for permission to appeal against the decision on a point of law. If refused permission to appeal, the party could apply to the High Court (or the Court of Session in Scotland) for statutory review of that decision, on the ground that the Tribunal had made an error of law. If the High Court granted the application, the case was remitted to the IAT.

Since April 2005, losing parties in appeals to the AIT can apply for review of the decision via a transitional ‘filter’ provision. Applications are considered by Senior Immigration Judges (SIJs) of the AIT. If the application is granted, the SIJ will make an order requiring the AIT to reconsider its decision. If the application is refused, the party can ‘opt in’ to the High Court for statutory review, which is decided by a High Court Judge on consideration of the papers. If the High Court grants the application, an order requiring the AIT to reconsider its decision will be made.

Information is provided for the Tribunal’s permission/filter applications and for the High Court from 2003 when the statutory review provisions commenced:

Calendar year

IAT permissions applications/AIT filter application decisions (Asylum)

Granted

Asylum applications received at the High Court

Applications allowed

1997

8,128

1998

10,313

1999

9,575

2000

5,488

2001

13,538

4,197

2002

22,823

6,847

2003

32,178

11,906

410

93

2004

30,519

9,438

1,840

343

2005

24,711

5,447

3,784

499

2006

8,082

2,291

2,193

172

Total

165,355

8,227

If an application is granted, either by the AIT or the High Court, the appeal falls to be considered afresh by the AIT. Appeals reconsidered and allowed by the AIT and the IAT, pre-April 2005, were:

Calendar year

IAT Appeals/AIT reconsiderations (Asylum)

Allowed

1997

1,373

1998

1,089

1999

1,790

2000

2,637

2001

3,190

447

2002

5,563

668

2003

9,451

1,418

2004

8,783

1,040

2005

7,054

1,269

2006

4,201

1,227

Total

45,131

In appeals to the IAT (i.e. those prior to April 2005), the outcome (allowed or dismissed) relates to the party who lodged the appeal to the IAT, so may have been the respondent in the initial appeal to the IAA. Since April 2005, where an appeal is reconsidered by the AIT, the outcome relates to the appeal and not to the application for review. Thus, where an appeal is allowed on reconsideration, that represents a decision in the appellant's favour.

Departments: Pay

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what criteria were used by his Department to determine the paybands of departmental staff; and if he will make a statement. (147293)

All staff employed by Ministry of Justice from the former DCA (including HMCS and Tribunals Service staff) will be invited to opt into a new pay deal which incorporates a regional pay structure. These arrangements do not apply to staff employed by the Home Office or its agencies who transferred to the Ministry of Justice on 9 May 2007.

Regional pay is a reality in the economy as a whole—pay variations by location are not new. The system we are introducing offers greater coherence, greater transparency and enables us to target public money most effectively on those areas where there is greatest need. It will allow us to offer competitive salaries to attract and retain staff with the skills we need, where we need them.

In establishing our pay ranges we have explored pay related data for each of the regions of Great Britain (as defined by National Statistics, excluding Northern Ireland). This has included analysing data on average weekly pay and unemployment rates, salary surveys from reputable sources, pay data from other Government Departments and our own staff recruitment and retention data. We have also taken specialist advice from external consultants.

Decisions on the allocation of an office to a pay range were made using that data and following consultation with senior local managers. The involvement of local managers has ensured that local factors, which the economic data might not capture, can be properly reflected in the decisions.

Since the employment market does change over time, we have agreed an annual review mechanism. If the market changes significantly, the allocation of an office to a pay range can be adjusted accordingly.

Electronic Tagging

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many persons currently ordered by the courts to be tagged (a) as part of their bail conditions, (b) as part of an early release scheme and (c) as part of their sentence, have not yet had the tagging technology activated; and if he will make a statement; (147516)

(2) what the longest period was between a court ordering a person in the community to be tagged and that tag not having been activated as at 21 June 2007;

(3) for what reasons some persons ordered to be tagged by the courts as part of (a) their bail conditions, (b) early release schemes and (c) their sentence have not yet had the tagging technology activated; and if he make a statement.

Data relating to installation of electronic monitoring equipment are not routinely collected by the monitoring contractors in the format requested, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. From 1 January 2007 to 31 May 2007, the latest period for which figures are available, the contractors installed the monitoring equipment in 99.37 per cent. of audited cases within 24 hours of notification by a Court or Prison.

It is the intention of the Department that all persons are tagged at the earliest opportunity. Installation of equipment may not happen for a number of different reasons. The subject may be delayed in travelling to the curfew address from court or custody, or be curfewed to an address with multiple accommodation such as flats or apartments where the contractor may have initial difficulty in accessing the building.

Prompt follow-up action is required by the contractor under such circumstances. If the person is absent at the first attempt the contractor will report the failure to the relevant supervising agency or the Court if the person is not under supervision. One further attempt must be made to complete installation within 24 hours of the start of the first monitoring period. If the second installation attempt is unsuccessful the contractor must report the failure as a breach of the curfew.

Electronic Tagging: Stockport

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many offences were committed by tagged offenders in Stockport in (a) 2003, (b) 2004, (c) 2005, (d) 2006 and (e) 2007. (147258)

Data on re-offending by offenders wearing electronic tags are collated centrally only in respect of offenders released on to the home detention curfew scheme. The data are not broken down by areas in which subsequent offences are committed. To provide such information would involve a manual trawl of the data and would incur disproportionate cost.

Family Courts

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many children, and which organisations representing children, responded to the Confidence and Confidentiality consultation on family courts; (147396)

(2) (a) how many children, and (b) which organisations representing children, his Department has sent the consultation document Openness in Family Courts.

Over 200 children and young people contributed their views to the consultation on Confidence and Confidentiality. Some of them did this by registering on our online discussion forum (32) or visiting the Minister (three children from Southwark council). Some of them did this by attending one of various events held around the country (104 at a children's rights event in Leicester; 13 at an event run by the Family Justice Council/National Youth Advocacy Service (NYAS) in Birkenhead; 32 took part in a mock hearing run by the Children's Commissioner). Others submitted their views as part of a broader response from local authorities (including Oldham and Calderdale) and children's organisations (including NYAS and Voice of the Child in Care). Still others (12) produced a video about young people's views with help from CAFCASS.

Formal responses were received from the British Association for the Study and Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, By the Bridge, Voice, the National Children's Bureau and NSPCC. The full list is available at annex A of the response paper at:

http://www.dca.gov.uk/consult/courttransparencey1106/response-cp1106.pdf.

The consultation document was published on 20 June and mailed to over 800 individuals and organisations. The initial mail-out included 148 directors of children's services across England and Wales. In addition, copies were sent to a large number of voluntary organisations that represent children and ensure their voice is heard, such as Young Voice and Voice for the Child in Care. It was sent to organisations that offer children support, including Childline, the Children's Society, Action for Children and the NSPCC. It was sent to organisations that protect children's rights, such as Children's Rights Alliance for England, the Children's Legal Centre and National Children's Bureau.

Prisoners Release: Compensation

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much has been paid in compensation for board to prisoners who have been released early in each of the last five years for which figures are available. (147551)

I have presumed that the hon. Gentleman refers to ‘compensation for board’ as the subsistence payment in lieu of benefits made to prisoners being released on an end of custody licence (ECL) and that 'released early' refers to the ECL, home detention curfew (HDC) or parole.

The ECL came into use on 29 June 2007 and no figures are yet available for the amount which has been paid for subsistence. This payment is made because prisoners on an ECL are released under temporary licence from prison in accordance with the provisions of the Prisons Act 1952 and, as such, are statutorily ineligible to receive benefits payments.

Prisoners released on HDC or on parole receive benefits payments, if eligible within normal terms so there is no additional payment.

Prisoners Release: Winchester Prison

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prisoners are to be released from Winchester Prison under the Government's recent early release proposals in the next 12 months. (147517)

Prisoners: Rehabilitation Centres

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many prisoners received treatment through the detoxification unit at Cardiff Prison in each year since it was established; and if he will make a statement. (147584)

The following numbers of prisoners have received treatment through the detoxification unit at Cardiff prison since it opened on 13 September 2004.

Number

September 2004-August 2005

1,051

September 2005-August 2006

915

September 2006-2 July 2007

558

Prisons: Labour Turnover

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the rate of staff turnover in the Prison Service in prisons in Wales was in each month since 2002; and if he will make a statement. (147586)

Information on the rate of staff turnover in public sector prisons in Wales, expressed as a percentage of total staff in post, is contained in the following table:

Proportion of staff leaving public sector prison service establishments in Wales as a percentage of total staff in post. Each month—January 2002 to March 2007

Monthly turnover rate (percentage of staff leaving in month)

2002

January

0.7

February

0.8

March

1.7

April

0.6

May

0.2

June

0.4

July

0.4

August

0.8

September

1.0

October

1.3

November

0.7

December

1.1

2003

January

0.6

February

0.8

March

0.7

April

1.3

May

1.6

June

0.7

July

0.5

August

0.7

September

0.8

October

0.9

November

0.4

December

0.3

2004

January

0.1

February

1.6

March

0.8

April

0.5

May

0.8

June

0.9

July

0.7

August

0.7

September

0.8

October

0.5

November

0.5

December

0.8

2005

January

0.1

February

0.3

March

0.6

April

0.2

May

0.3

June

0.3

July

0.7

August

0.5

September

1.5

October

0.7

November

0.4

December

1.1

2006

January

0.3

February

0.7

March

0.0

April

0.8

May

0.6

June

1.0

July

1.0

August

1.1

September

0.6

October

0.9

November

0.5

December

0.6

2007

January

0.7

February

1.1

March

0.8

Note:

These figures do not include staff transferring to other parts of the Prison Service.

Prisons: Wales

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice when he expects to respond to the report by the Welsh Affairs Committee on the prisons estate in Wales. (146373)

Victim Support Schemes: Expenditure

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to his answer of 19 June 2007, Official Report, column 1733W, on victim support schemes: expenditure, what his estimate is of the annual total funding for the support of victims and witnesses since 2002 in addition to the grant to Victim Support. (147613)

Information on funding for victims and witnesses is not held centrally in this way. However funding to support victims and witnesses includes those in the following table:

There is other funding from this and other Government departments and local government which also includes elements that support victims and witnesses including:

Police

NHS

Local Authorities

Local Criminal Justice Boards

Safeguarding children partnerships

Housing

Connected Fund help to support victims of gun and knife crime, and gang violence.

£

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

Compensation paid by criminal injuries compensation scheme (old scheme and tariff scheme cases)

233.5 million

232. 1 million

227.5 million

186.2 million

183.9 million

190.1 million

Domestic violence (including regional initiatives, helpline, specialist domestic violence courts and independent domestic violence advisors)

n/a

8.54 million

8.65 million

4 million

5.5 million

6 million

Sexual violence (including sexual assault referral centres, victims fund grants, umbrella organisations, independent sexual violence advisors)

406,000

432,000

300,000

1 million

3 million

3 million

POPPY projects (victims of human trafficking for sexual exploitation)

n/a

33,000

216,000

593,000

620,000

1.2 million

Witness care units

n/a

n/a

n/a

36.1 million

Court waiting facilities

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

3.1 million

368,700

Court video links

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

2.6 million

2.75 million

Police video recording facilities

n/a

n/a

2 million

n/a

n/a

n/a

The self help organisation, support after murder and manslaughter

120,000

130,000

140,000

140,000

140,000

140,000

Victim and witness delivery fund for LCJBs

n/a

n/a

n/a

150,000

n/a

200,000

Memorial service

n/a

2,000

2,000

2,000

2,000

2,000

Donation to London bombings relief charitable fund (for victims of terrorism in the UK)

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

1 million

2.5 million

7July Assistance Centre

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

89,425

204,797

Tsunami support network

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

121,927

n/a

Charitable fund for victims of overseas terrorism

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

1 million

n/a

n/a = Figures are either not available, not quantifiable or not known.

Young Offender Institutions: Overcrowding

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what assessment he has made of levels of overcrowding at young offenders institutions; and if he will make a statement. (146799)

The assessment of the occupancy of all prisoner accommodation is undertaken by senior operational managers in line with national guidance (Prison Service Order 1900 Certified Prisoner Accommodation) which details measurable standards for the certification of cells that can be applied consistently across the estate and contributes to providing decent living conditions for all prisoners.

Treasury

Babies: Down's Syndrome

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many (a) births and (b) terminations there were of babies with Down’s Syndrome in each of the last five years; (147008)

(2) how many (a) births and (b) terminations there were of babies with (i) spina bifida, (ii) heart defects and (iii) kidney problems recognised during pregnancy in each of the last five years.

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Colin Mowl, dated 4 July 2007:

The National Statistician has been asked to reply to your recent questions asking how many (a) births and (b) terminations there were of babies with Down's Syndrome in each of the last five years (147008); and how many (a) births and (b) terminations there were of babies with (i) spina bifida, (ii) heart defects and (iii) kidney problems recognised in pregnancy in each of the last five years (147009). I am replying in her absence.

The table attached provides (a) the number of births notified to the National Congenital Anomaly System for England and Wales (NCAS) with a mention of (i) Down Syndrome, (ii) spina bifida, (iii) any cardiovascular anomaly, and (iv) selected renal anomalies, for 2001 to 2005 (the latest year available); and (b) the number of legal abortions reported to the Chief Medical Officers for England and Wales under Ground E of the Abortion Act 1967 with a mention of these anomalies, for 2001 to 2006 (the latest year available).

The number of notifications received by NCAS is likely to be less than the actual number of infants born with an anomaly. NHS Trusts provide these notifications to NCAS on a voluntary basis, either on forms sent to ONS or via local congenital anomaly registers. The recording of congenital anomalies is more complete in those areas where a register operates, because the register can obtain additional information locally. Consequently, the figures for congenital anomalies are presented separately for areas where a register operated in 2005 and for areas without a register in that year. In 2005, registers covered 45 per cent of births in England and all births in Wales.

While a few of these local congenital anomaly registers were already established in 2001, others were set up as late as 2003. Increases over time in the number of notifications for some congenital anomalies in the areas covered by a register in 2005 are likely to be due to the improved completeness of information brought about as these registers came into operation.

Congenital anomalies are reported to NCAS at or after birth, and do not include any information on whether or not the anomaly was diagnosed during pregnancy.

Abortions are carried out under Ground E of the Abortion Act only if there is substantial risk that if the child were born it would suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped. Therefore, the anomaly must by definition have been diagnosed during pregnancy.

Table 1: Number of notifications of selected congenital anomalies1, 2001-05 and abortions2, 2001-06, England and Wales3, 4

Number

Congenital anomalies

Register areas

Non-register areas

All areas

Abortions

Down syndrome

2001

253

128

381

347

2002

220

138

358

372

2003

282

122

404

401

2004

364

111

475

419

2005

350

103

453

429

2006

436

Spina bifida

2001

34

25

59

127

2002

46

29

75

98

2003

41

40

81

118

2004

53

25

78

90

2005

34

22

56

121

2006

106

Cardiovascular anomalies

2001

1,029

253

1,282

110

2002

1,031

260

1,291

103

2003

1,359

179

1,538

108

2004

1,282

159

1,441

147

2005

1,255

142

1,397

111

2006

129

Selected renal anomalies5

2001

461

232

693

48

2002

517

217

734

43

2003

645

190

835

56

2004

622

162

784

43

2005

615

161

776

45

2006

32

1 Live and still births notified to the National Congenital Anomalies System with a mention of the anomalies listed.

2 Legal abortions performed under Ground E of the Abortion Act 1967. Figures provided by Department of Health.

3 Births and abortions to women resident in England and Wales.

4 Down Syndrome is defined using the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Edition (ICD-10) code Q90, spina bifida using code Q05, and cardiovascular anomalies using codes Q20-Q28. Selected renal anomalies were defined using ICD-10 codes Q60-Q61, Q62.0 and Q63 for congenital anomalies and codes Q60-Q61 for abortions.

5 Congenital anomaly figures for selected renal anomalies are provisional.

Departmental Expenditure

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 18 June 2007, Official Report, column 1495W, on departmental expenditure, whether the £50,955 is in addition to the £133,237 referred to in the answer of 4 December 2006, Official Report, column 196W. (147115)

The figure of £50,955 including VAT in the answer of the former Financial Secretary (John Healey) on 18 June 2007 was additional to the figure of £133,237 excluding VAT in the answer of 4 December 2006.

Departments: Block Grant

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the annual block grant was for the Home Department in each year since 2002. (147614)

The budget for the Home Office is set as part of the three-year spending review cycle. The following table sets out the Home Office budget for capital and resource since 2002. Future budget allocations will reflect transfers of responsibility following the creation of the Ministry of Justice on 9 May 2007.

£ million

Resource

Capital

2002-03

11,910

929

2003-04

12,004

941

2004-05

12,232

998

2005-06

12,703

1,034

2006-07 estimated

13,218

1,261

Departments: Disclosure of Information

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many requests for internal review made to his Department under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 have taken longer than 40 working days to complete. (146386)

There is no statutory obligation on public authorities to complete internal reviews within a specified timeframe.