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Written Answers to Questions

Tuesday 14 December 1993

HOME DEPARTMENT

Mrs. Naheem Ejaz

Mr. Allen : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what attempts the Home Office made to legally deprive Mrs. Naheem Ejaz of Bracknell, Berkshire, of her citizenship before moving to deport her ;

(2) what is the total cost to the taxpayer of the failed attempt to deport Mrs. Naheem Ejaz of Bracknell, Berkshire.

Mr. Charles Wardle : One of the requirements for naturalisation under section 6(2) of the British Nationality Act 1981 is that the applicant is married to a British citizen. Mrs. Ejaz's husband has never been such a British citizen. When this came to light, Mrs. Ejaz was informed that her naturalisation was a nullity. Since her certificate on naturalisation was considered not to have been granted to her lawfully in the first place, it was not thought necessary to proceed to formal deprivation of citizenship under section 40 of the 1981 Act.

It is not the practice of the immigration and nationality department routinely to record the administrative costs of individual case handling. The cost of detaining Mrs. Ejaz prior to her planned removal in September 1992 was £550. The legal costs in her case have not yet been finally determined.

Sexual Offences

Mr. Redmond : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to bring the sentences available for non-consensual buggery in line with those for rape.

Mr. Mclean : The law in this area is kept under review, but there are no current plans to amend it.

Overseas Police Training

Mr. Cox : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what foreign police personnel are at present on training programmes with police forces in the United Kingdom ; and if he will list each country, the number of personnnel involved and the courses they are taking.

Mr. Charles Wardle : I regret that this information is not available.

M11 Link Road

Mr. Gapes : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the cost of the police operation against the anti-M11 link campaigners in Wanstead on 7 December.

Mr. Charles Wardle : I understand from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis that the


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additional manpower costs of the operation were £97,532. Information on the cost of support services and other resources involved is not available.

Mr. Gapes : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers and from which divisions were involved in the operation against M11 link road protestors in Wanstead on 7 December.

Mr. Charles Wardle : I understand from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis that 371 officers from all parts of the Metropolitan police district were involved in the operation.

Shotguns

Mr. Milburn : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many shotgun certificates were on issue at 31 December in each year from 1985 in each police force area.

Mr. Charles Wardle : Statistics of shotgun certificates on issue in each police force in England and Wales have been published annually since 1986 in Home Office statistical bulletins "Firearm Certificate Statistics"- -prior to 1991, "Statistics on the operation of the Firearms Acts 1968 to 1988"--copies of which are available in the Library. Figures for 1985 are not readily available by police force area.

The bulletin issue numbers are as follows : 2/88, 33/88, 18/89, 26/90, 23/91, 19/92, 23/93.

Prisoners' Work (Pay)

Lady Olga Maitland : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what consideration he has given to establishing projects for prisoners' work to justify a competitive wage of a nature to enable them to contribute to the costs of their keep, their families and victim support ;

(2) what plans there are to review paid work undertaken by prisoners in gaol.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : Responsibility for these matters has been delegated to the Director General of the Prison Service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from Derek Lewis to Lady Olga Maitland, dated 14 December 1993 :

The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Questions about paid work undertaken by prisoners in jail.

A high priority for the Prison Service is to ensure that prisoners participate in active and demanding regimes centred on work, training and education. Improvements in the quantity, quality, productivity and realism of work form an important part of the Service's plans. Prisoners are paid for engaging productively in work and other activities. This includes participation in education and training programmes, manufacturing goods in prison workshops and duties directly contributing to the running of an establishment such as cleaning and working in prison kitchens.

To extend the range and quality of work available pilot schemes are in progress where prisoners are paid closer to market rates. The wider introduction of higher rates of pay for prisoners as suggested in the White Paper "Custody, Care and Justice, the Way Ahead for the Prison Service in England and Wales" is under consideration. It may be possible in the longer term to increase pay for productive work more generally. If so payments would be made from increased wages towards accommodation and maintenance costs in prison, compulsory compensation payments to victims


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and maintenance payments for family and dependents outside. Currently the Secretary of State has a legal obligation to meet the costs of imprisonment for all prisoners.

Elderly Prisons

Mr. Cox : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) male and (b) female prison inmates held in prisons in England and Wales were over the age of 80 years as of 1 December.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the Director General of the Prison Service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from Derek Lewis to Mr. Tom Cox, dated 14 December 1993 : Inmates over 80 years of age in prison service establishments The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Question about the number of (a) men and (b) women in Prison Service establishments who were over the age of 80 years on 1 December. The lastest available information is for 31 October 1993. On that date there were four inmates (all of whom were male) aged over 80 in Prison Service establishments in England and Wales.

Horserace Betting Levy Board

Mr. Meale : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what discussions his Department has entered into with Opposition parties over the recent appointments of persons to the Horserace Betting Levy Board ;

(2) what are the reasons for and criteria behind his decision to reappoint Mrs. Anna McCurley to membership of the Horserace Betting Levy Board ;

(3) if he will list the necessary qualifications and qualities necessary for an appointment to membership of the Horserace Betting Levy Board.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : We have had no discussion with Opposition parties about recent appointments of members to the Horserace Betting Levy Board. The Government-appointed members of the levy board are expected to have skills relevant to the work of the board, which this year included trying to reach agreement on the levy payable by bookmakers.

Mrs. McCurley has wide experience of the board's work and her commitment to its affairs is valued by the chairman and the Home Secretary.

Crime

Mr. Michael : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what analysis his Department has made of the relationship between the level of house burglaries in England and Wales and the levels of unemployment, since 1979 ; and if he will make a statement ; (2) what analysis his Department has conducted into the relationship between the level of car crime in England and Wales and the levels of unemployment since 1979.

Mr. Maclean : Work on these subjects was covered in the Home Office research study "Trends in Crime and their Interpretation" published in 1990. The study found that, once the strong effect of personal consumption growth on


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car crime and household burglary were taken into account, no separate relationship with unemployment could be identified.

Bodybelts

Mrs. Roche : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) after what period of detention in a bodybelt a prisoner is entitled to a review of the situation ;

(2) in which prisons bodybelts are allowed to be used ; (3) for what length of time prisoners are allowed to be detained in a bodybelt.

Mr. Peter Lloyd : Responsibility for these matters has been delegated to the Director General of the Prison Service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from Derek Lewis to Mrs. Barbara Roche, dated 14 December 1993 :

The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent Questions about the conditions governing the use of body belts.

Prison Standing Order 3E sets out the general condittions applying to the use of force, special accommodation and mechanical restraints, including body belts, in the management of violent prisoners. Body belts may be used in any prisons, as an exceptional measure. The use of the body belt must be monitored regularly and be removed as soon a there is no longer a risk of self injury or violence. An officer must observe the prisoner every 15 minutes. The Medical Officer must medically examine the prisoner as soon as possible after the restraint is applied and certify that there are no clinical contra-indications. The Medical Officer must personally visit the prisoner twice in every 24 hours to review the position. The Governor in charge must either personally see the prisoner before ordering the use of the body belt or immediately after and must see the prisoner at least twice in every 24 hours.

The Standing Order also provides that the Board of Visitors must be notified of any use of a body belt as soon as it is practicable and must approve in writing any continuation of its use for a period beyond 24 hours.

Mrs. Roche : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether bodybelts are used in police stations.

Mr. Charles Wardle : Bodybelts are not normally used in police stations.

Deportation

Mrs. Roche : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many children aged under 18 years have accompanied a parent being deported from the United Kingdom in the last year for which figures are available ; and what ages those children were ; (2) how many people, accompanied by how many children, were deported from this country in the last year for which figures are available ; and what proportion of each of these categories received appropriate immunisations for the country to which they were travelling.

Mr. Charles Wardle : In the 12 months to June 1993, about 2,600 people were removed under deportation powers. The other information requested is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Mrs. Roche : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 7 December, Official Report, column 171, what arrangements are made


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for immunisation to be provided for any deportee who requests it ; and what steps his Department takes to inform deportees that they and any children accompanying them are entitled to the appropriate immunisations recommended for the country to which they are travelling.

Mr. Charles Wardle : Where the deportee is detained, vaccinations would be provided, if requested, by the qualified medical staff employed at the place of detention. Otherwise, the deportee would be advised to consult his or her general practitioner.

There are no formal arrangements for the Department to advise deportees about immunisation, but any relevant advice given by the agency issuing travel tickets would be passed on.

Mrs. Roche : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) in what proportion of deportations in the last year for which figures are available (a) a private security firm, (b) more than one private security firm, (c) the police and (d) police and a private security firm were used ;

(2) what was the total cost of employing private security firms to participate in deportations from the United Kingdom in (a) 1979, (b) 1985 and (c) the last year for which figures are available ; (3) in what proportion of deportations in the last year for which figures are available were (a) handcuffs, (b) luggage tape, (c) bodybelts and (d) other forms of restraint used ; and in each case who authorised the use of such restraints.

Mr. Charles Wardle : The information requested is not readily available. I will write to the hon. Member.

Mrs. Roche : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the (a) average, (b) highest and (c) lowest cost to public funds of a deportation from the United Kingdom in the last year for which figures are available.

Mr. Charles Wardle : I will write to the hon. Member with the available information.

Mrs. Roche : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department during how many deportations in the last year for which figures are available drugs have been offered to deportees ; in what proportion of those cases the drugs were accepted ; what were the drugs involved ; if they were administered under the guidance of a qualified medical officer ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Charles Wardle : The information is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. It is, however, not normal practice for drugs to be offered or administered to deportees.

Baroness Thatcher (Security)

Mr. Hain : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 8 December, Official Report , column 275 , what was the cost of police security provided for Baroness Thatcher to sign copies of her memoirs at bookshops within the Metropolitan policing area.

Mr. Charles Wardle : It is a long-standing practice not to reveal the costs of security operations.


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Metropolitan Police

Mr. Richards : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proposals he has received from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis about reorganising the senior management structure of the Metropolitan police ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Howard : Yes. The Commissioner is, with my support, undertaking a thorough and fundamental review of the structure of the Metropolitan police. This review is also taking into account the decisions which I announced on 28 October about the recommendations of the inquiry into police responsibilities and rewards.

A principal aim of the review is to release and apply the energy of senior staff to meeting operational needs. An early outcome is a proposal, which I have approved, to reduce the number of area commands within the Metroplitan police district from eight to five and to streamline the senior management structure.

This will involve abolishing, in stages, the existing 14 deputy Assistant Commissioner posts and putting each of the five new areas under the command of an Assistant Commissioner. Only two of the existing five central Assistant Commissioner posts will remain, one to deputise for the Commissioner and carry out other functional responsibilities and a second to take overall charge of operational functions organised centrally.

I shall bring forward proposals for necessary adjustments to existing legislation about Assistant Commissioners in the forthcoming Police and Magistrates' Courts Bill.

Fire Authority (Swansea)

Sir Ivan Lawrence : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department in which proposed combined fire authority Swansea will be included.

Mr. Charles Wardle : In the light of representations, I have received in response to proposals in the White Paper, "Local Government in Wales : A Charter for the Future", of advice received from the Central Fire Brigades Advisory Council, and of advice received from Her Majesty's chief inspector of fire services, I have decided that it would be in the best interests of operational efficiency not to split the area of the existing West Glamorgan county fire brigade between different combined fire authorities. I propose, in drawing up combination schemes under the Fire Services Act 1947, to take effect when local government in Wales is reorganised, to include the proposed new unitary authorities of Swansea and of Neath and Port Talbot in the combined fire authority which will cover Mid and West Wales. The Mid and West Wales combined fire authority will include the following unitary authorities : Cardiganshire (Sir Abertefi) ; Carmarthenshire (Sir Gaerfyddin) ; Pembrokeshire (Sir Benfro) ; Mid Wales (Canolbarth Cymru) ; Swansea (Abertawe) ; and Neath and Port Talbot (Castellnedd a Phort Talbot). The North Wales combined fire authority will include all those Welsh unitary authorities to the north of that group ; and the South Wales combined fire authority will include all those to the south.


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Mr. Joseph Elliot

Sir Ivan Lawrence : To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what conclusions he has reached as a result of his examination of the circumstances surrounding the acquittal of Mr. Joseph Elliot ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Howard : It would not be proper for me to make any statement about the particular circumstances of this case. Nevertheless, my examination provided a useful insight into some of the general issues facing the criminal justice system. In particular, it has helped to confirm my belief in the wide-ranging programme of reform on which the Government have embarked. That programme is designed to ensure that people never have cause to feel so exasperated about crime and the response of the criminal justice system that they feel driven to take the law into their own hands ; that young people in particular are deterred and helped to desist from a life style of idleness and petty crime ; and that the criminal justice system as a whole works efficiently and effectively, allowing courts full and prompt access to relevant evidence. It is vital that people have confidence in the system and are encouraged to come forward to help it work better. Specifically on the law on self-defence, I am satisfied that the individual should always be able to defend himself, his family and his property, as long as he only uses force that is both reasonable and necessary. I am not currently persuaded that there is a need to change the law. However, I intend to study the Law Commission's recent report on offences against the person very carefully and will be interested in the public reaction to its recommendations.

ENVIRONMENT

Risk and Policy Analysts Ltd.

Mr. Cousins : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what was the cost of the risk benefit study carried out by Risk and Policy Analysts Ltd ; what was the subject of its analysis ; and if he will place its report in the Library.

Mr. Yeo : The risk benefit study was commissioned by my Department last year at a cost of £38,000 excluding VAT. The report of the study was published by Risk and Policy Analysts Ltd. under HMSO licence and I have arranged for copies to be placed in the Library.

The purpose of the study was to develop a methodology for the application of risk benefit analysis techniques to the control of hazardous substances, and to demonstrate the applicability of that methodology for two particular substances.

Housing Investment Programme

Ms Estelle Morris : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will publish the criteria used by regional Department of the Environment offices for determining the allocation of the discretionary part of the housing investment programme allocation.

Sir George Young : A list of factors that Ministers will bear in mind in allocating the discretionary portion of housing investment programme--HIP--resources was published in May, as a component of the guidance to local authorities on the 1993 HIP round. I have placed a copy of this document in the Library.


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Construction Industry Review

Mr. Clifton-Brown : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what action his Department is taking to publicise the review of procurement and contracting arrangements in the construction industry by Sir Michael Latham ; what plans he has to extend the review ; and when his Department expects to produce a response to the Latham review.

Mr. Baldry : I refer my hon. Friend to the reply which I gave to my hon. Friend Member for Chislehurst (Mr. Sims) on 13 December 1993, Official Report, column 454. The construction industry and its clients are already aware of the review of procurement and contracting arrangements by Sir Michael Latham and he has received many representations from them. The terms of reference are broad and there are no plans to extend the review further. My Department will consider how best to respond to Sir Michael Latham's final report after it has been presented in July 1994, and in the light of its contents and after any necessary consultation.

Nuclear Waste

Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Islington, South and Finsbury (Mr. Smith) by the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food on 30 November, Official Report, column 494, if he will set out the criteria his Department will adopt to judge the best practicable environmental option for the long-term handling of decommissioning wastes from nuclear facilities.

Mr. Yeo : Decision about the management of decommissioning wastes from nuclear facilities will be taken in accordance with criteria relevant at the time.

Temporary Accommodation

Mr. Hendry : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the latest information he has on the number of families currently in temporary accommodation.

Sir George Young : A total of 56,900 households for which local authorities had accepted responsibility to secure permanent accommodation were in temporary accommodation on 30 September 1993, the latest date for which a figure is available.

This is the fourth successive quarter in which the number of households in temporary accommodation has fallen ; the current figure is some 8,530--13 per cent.--less than a year earlier.

Empty Dwellings

Mr. Hendry : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment how many empty dwellings there are in England and Wales.

Sir George Young : Local authorities in England provide estimates of the number of vacant dwellings in their area in their annual housing investment programme--HIP1--returns. On the basis of these data, it is estimated that there were around 850,000 vacant dwellings on 1 April 1993.


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For information about Wales, I would refer my hon. Friend to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales.

Environmental Protection

Mr. Salmond : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what plans he has for a successor to the environmental protection technology scheme ; what level of finance he will make available to the body ; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Yeo : As my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade announced to the House on 7 December, there will be a new environmental technology best practice programme operated jointly by the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of the Environment. This programme will build on earlier schemes including the joint DOE/DTI environmental technology innovation scheme, previously the environmental protection technology scheme. The budget for the new programme is £16 million over five years, shared between the Departments.

Rural Development

Mr. Lidington : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when the outcome of the Rural Development Commission's consultation on the designation of the rural development areas will be announced.

Mr. Yeo : The Rural Development Commission will be announcing the new rural development areas on 15 December. Details of the new areas and copies of the maps will be placed in the Libraries of the House.

Local Government

Mr. Mans : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what action he has decided to take against Warrington borough council following the notice served on the authority on 10 June under section 13 of the Local Government Act 1988, in respect of ground maintenance work ; and what action he has decided to take against Bradford metropolitan city council following the notice served on that authority on 10 September, under section 19A of the Local Government, Planning and Land Act 1980, in respect of highway maintenance work.

Mr. Baldry : My right hon. Friend has considered carefully the responses which Warrington borough council and Bradford metropolitan city council have made to the notices served on them on 10 June and 10 September respectively, and has today given directions to both authorities. The directions, given to Warrington borough council under section 14 of the Local Government Act 1988 and to Bradford metropolitan city council under section 19B of the Local Government, Planning and Land Act 1980, require the authorities to retender the work which has been the subject of the notices and to seek my right hon. Friend's consent should they wish to reassign this work to their direct services organisations.

Coal Extraction

Mr. Trotter : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when he intends to publish revised planning guidelines on coal extraction ; and if he will make a statement.


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Mr. Baldry : We have today published revised planning guidelines for public consultation for England and Wales. Separate consultations are being carried out in Wales. The guidelines deal with both deep mine and opencast coal and with the disposal of colliery spoil. As foreshadowed in the announcement by my right hon. and learned Friend the then Secretary of State for the Environment, on 25 March 1993, the guidelines aim to strike a balance between the economic importance of this indigenous energy resource and the protection of the environment in a way that is fully compatible with the principles of sustainable development. The draft guidelines set tough environmental tests for the industry. I am confident that, with careful planning and a sensitive approach to local concerns, they can come forward with proposals that contribute to economic growth and provide an environmentally sound foundation for the future. The guidelines are based on three broad principles :

1. It is not the function of the planning system to seek to set national limits on or targets for any particular source or level of energy supply. Nevertheless, low-cost coal is an important indigenous energy resource and it would be against the national interest to prevent its extraction where that can be done in an environmentally acceptable way and consistent with wider environmental objectives, including the principles of sustainable development.

2. It is also relevant to consider whether a particular proposal would itself provide national, regional or local benefits to the community to offset the disturbance occasioned during development and restoration--eg through contributing to United Kingdom employment, the clearance of dereliction or other improvements to the quality of land, the creation of nature reserves or the provision of other benefits. 3. Mineral planning authorities should draw up development plan policies which reflect that approach and must prepare minl resources are to be safeguarded for future working. The preparation of these plans is now an urgent requirement.

Halons

Mr. Duncan Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether the United Kingdom will be requesting continued production of halons in 1995 to meet essential users.

Mr. Yeo : The Government do not believe that any production of new halons will be necessary in 1995 to meet essential uses.

We welcome the decision of the fifth meeting of the parties to the Montreal protocol not to allow any continued production of halon for essential uses in 1994. This decision reflects the success of halon banking, both nationally and internationally.

The Government commend the work of the Halon Users National Consortium-- HUNC--and would urge all halon users to join HUNC to ensure that the bank continues to be a success.


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