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Written Answers

Volume 414: debated on Monday 3 November 1980

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Written Answers

Drugs: Seizure And Destruction

asked Her Majesty's Government:What records are kept of dangerous drugs seized by the police and of the subsequent destruction of any such drugs, and whether they will state what methods are used for the destruction of such drugs.

Seizures of drugs by police officers are recorded within individual forces and certain central records of drug seizures, including those by the police, are also maintained. Records of the destruction of seized drugs are maintained by chief officers. The usual method of destruction is incineration.

Maximum Sentences

asked Her Majesty's Government:What is their policy on the revision of maximum sentences.

In reviewing particular areas of the criminal law our aim is to ensure that the courts have adequate powers to deal with the full range of cases likely to come before them, and especially with serious crimes of violence. The selection of an appropriate penalty within the maximum is a matter for the discretion of the court dealing with a particular case, guided by the general principles laid down by the Court of Appeal.

Prisoners: Segregation Under Rule 43

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether the Secretary of State or a member of the board of visitors of a prison in England and Wales has ever refused to approve the segregation of a prisoner under Rule 43 for reasons of good order and discipline.

If it seems necessary to segregate a prisoner under Rule 43 in the interests of good order and discipline for longer than 24 hours, responsibility for authorising this rests upon a member of the board of visitors (or the Secretary of State). Segregation may be terminated at any time at the governor's discretion and must be terminated by him on medical advice. Information is not centrally maintained about cases in which approval has been withheld.

Legionnaires' Disease

asked Her Majesty's Government:What steps are being taken to advise industrial undertakings of recommended precautionary measures against Legionnaires' Disease.

The advice about Legionnaires' Disease which the Health Departments intend to issue to health authorities will be brought to the attention of Medical Officers for Environmental Health, who will then be able to give any necessary advice to local industrial and other undertakings.

Kew Gardens: Restaurant

asked Her Majesty's Government:Who are the lessees of the restaurant at Kew Gardens and what plans they have to improve its quality in order to increase the revenue to the public purse.

The lessees of the restaurant at Kew Gardens are Messrs. Payton Catering Limited. Considerable improvements were made to the dining room and kitchens of the restaurant in 1979 and 1980; no further major improvements are planned for the immediate future. The rent is directly related to gross takings, and therefore the standards of the restaurant, the food and the service are kept under review. I understand that both food and service have improved this year.

The Hong Kong Social Workers' General Union

asked Her Majesty's Government:On what grounds the Hong Kong Social Workers' General Union, representing disadvantaged employees in voluntary agencies (providing approximately 90 per cent. of welfare in Hong Kong), are denied recognition by the Government, although the agencies are heavily subsidised from public funds.

The union was formally registered by the Hong Kong Government on 6th February 1980 as a trade union under the Trade Unions Ordinance. As such, it enjoys all the rights and obligations under the ordinance.

Unemployment Benefit

asked Her Majesty's Government:What sum of public money was paid in unemployment benefit to persons unable to find work during the financial year 1979–80; and what sum they expect to pay during the financial year 1980–81.

Expenditure on unemployment benefit in 1979–80 was £653 million; the latest available estimate of expenditure for 1980–81 is £992 million.House adjourned at twenty-seven minutes before twelve o'clock.