Mr. Boateng: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what plans he has to establish a comprehensive national mediation service; in what way mediators will be trained and accredited; and how much he expects such a service to cost each year.
Mr. John M. Taylor: The Lord Chancellor has no plans to establish a comprehensive national mediation service. The Lord Chancellor is currently looking at arrangements for the training and accreditation of mediators, the funding of local mediation services and a national quality assurance system.
Mr. Boateng: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what plans he has to improve the accounting system at the Legal Aid Board so that it provides a more detailed statistical breakdown of the relative costs of different types of case.
Mr. Boateng: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what (a) classes of plaintiff and (b) types of case which currently qualify for legal aid the Lord Chancellor envisages making ineligible for legal aid in the future; and how much public expenditure he expects to save with such measures.
Mr. John M. Taylor: The Lord Chancellor does not envisage removing either classes of plaintiff or types case from the scope of the legal aid scheme in the future. Under new proposals on which he will be consulting later in the year, it may be that, because of greater emphasis on assessments of local needs and priorities, some individual cases brought under the present system might not be brought. However, the proposals should mean that more people are assisted under legal aid than at present because of a more effective use of resources.
Mr. Boateng: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department when he expects to publish a report on the results of the pilot projects in the use of citizens advice bureaux, law centres and other advice agencies as a means of dispensing legally aided services currently being undertaken in conjunction with the Legal Aid Board.
Mr. Boateng: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what costing analysis he has done of the proposals for the reform of the legal aid system announced at the Social Market Foundation on 11 January; and when he expects to publish this analysis.
Mr. John M. Taylor: In his speech to the Social Market Foundation, the Lord Chancellor made it plain that he was outlining his preliminary ideas in advance of a more detailed consultation paper. No costings, therefore, have as yet been done.
Mr. Boateng: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what percentage of the total civil legal aid budget is currently deployed through citizens advice bureaux, law centres and other such advice centres.
Mr. John M. Taylor: In 1993 94, the last complete financial year, £4.8 million was paid to law centres, citizens advice bureaux and other independent advice agencies in respect of work carried out under the legal aid scheme. This represents 0.3 per cent. of the gross amount expended on legal aid in that year.
Mr. Boateng: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what plans he has to publish and to implement new rules governing the conduct of multi-party actions in the English courts.
Mr. John M. Taylor: My Department is fully aware of the problems arising in multi-party actions and we are considering whether, and in what way, they might be mitigated by amendments to court rules and procedures. Any proposals for change will be put out to public consultation in the usual way.
Mr. Boateng: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what estimate he has of the cost to the legal aid budget over the last five years of multi-party actions that (a) have come to trial and (b) have not come to trial.
Mr. John M. Taylor: We have been looking at the rules on the time limits in proceedings for non-accidental personal injuries and have reached the conclusion that it would not be advisable to revise this aspect of the law in isolation. We are now considering whether a comprehensive review of the law of limitation generally should be undertaken.
Mr. Milburn: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department how many of the individuals appointed by his Department to public positions in the last year were first identified by the Public Appointments Unit.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if the special unit set up at Scotland Yard to hunt for suspected Nazi war criminals living in Britain will be disbanded when funding ceases at the end of March; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Clelland: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will list the total number of warrants issued for the non-payment of fines which were issued for the first time by (a) the Central Gateshead magistrates court in 1993, (b) the Central Gateshead magistrates court in 1994, (c) the Central Newcastle
Column 380magistrates court in 1993 and (d) the Central Newcastle magistrates court in 1994; and what is the total number of warrants for arrest for non-payment of fines issued for the second and subsequent time by (i) the Central Gateshead magistrates court in 1993, (ii) the Central Gateshead magistrates court in 1994, (iii) the Central Newcastle magistrates court in 1993 and (iv) the Central Newcastle magistrates court in 1994;
(2) if he will list (a) the total numbers of fines issued by (i) the Central Gateshead magistrates court in 1993, (ii) the Central Newcastle magistrates court in 1993, (iii) the Central Gateshead magistrates court in 1994 and (iv) the Central Newcastle magistrates court in 1994, (b) the total amounts of fines issued for those periods and by those courts, (c) the total numbers of fines remaining unpaid in those periods and to those courts and (d) the total amount of fines remaining unpaid in those periods and to those courts.
Fines<1> data for Gateshead and Newcastle magistrates courts 1993 and 1994 Gateshead Newcastle |1993 |1994 |1993 |1994 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Number of warrants issued |5,714 |7,632 |23,143 |17,592 Number of distress warrants issued |3,420 |4,256 |13,915 |12,716 Number of fines imposed |10,616 |10,556 |21,758 |19,699 Amount of fines imposed |£1,175,145|£1,301,044|£2,122,020|£1,955,879 Number of fines unpaid<2> at end of year |14,211 |11,274 |14,949 |14,581 Amount of fines unpaid<2> at end of year |£1,055,528|£1,057,376|£1,141,760|£1,283,425 <1> `Fines' includes fines, compensation, fixed penalties and costs. <2> Unpaid fines may include those where there is `time to pay'. Source: Gateshead and Newcastle magistrates courts.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applications for British nationality are currently outstanding for (a) more than one year, (b) more than two years and (c) more than three years; what is the current average length of time taken to process applications; and what were the figures over the previous (i) 12 months, (ii) 24 months, (iii) 36 months and (iv) 48 months.
|Number -------------------------------------------------------------- more than one year (but less than two years) |7,717 more than two years (but less than three years) |1,428 more than three years |485
Comparable figures for 1990 1993 are not available. Average waiting times, in months, are shown in the following table:
|Naturalisations|Registrations |All -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- December 1994 |13 |7 |12 December 1993 |16 |12 |15 December 1992 |22 |15 |20 December 1991 |30 |18 |26 December 1990 |35 |22 |31
Mr. Hunter: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many Hong Kong citizens were granted entry into the United Kingdom (a) temporarily and (b) permanently in (i) 1992 and (ii) 1993; and how many Hong Kong citizens he estimates will be granted permanent residence rights in the United Kingdom before 1997.
Mr. Nicholas Baker: The information on British dependent territories citizens and British nationals (overseas) from Hong Kong given leave to enter the United Kingdom is given in the table. The numbers of such persons accepted for settlement--that is, allowed to stay indefinitely--were 1,590 in 1992 and 1,520 in 1993. No estimates have been made of the corresponding numbers up to 1997.
Admissions to the United Kingdom of BDTCs and BN(O)s from Hong Kong Admission category |1992 |1993 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Spouses, fiance(e)s, children, parents, grandparents<1> |380 |190 Other categories<2> |91,400 |90,400 |91,800 |90,600 <1> Seeking, or accepted for, settlement in the United Kingdom. <2> Some of whom subsequently become eligible to apply for settlement.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum seekers are currently being held in detention in police stations in (a) North Yorkshire, (b) South Yorkshire, (c) West Yorkshire and (d) Humberside broken down by (i) police station and (ii) nationality of asylum seeker; how many are being held in total in those areas, broken down by nationality; and what were the figures as at 15 January for each year since 1991.
Mr. Nicholas Baker: As at 12 January 1995, no persons who had sought asylum were being held in police cells in North Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire or Humberside. However, five persons who had sought asylum are being detained at Her Majesty's prison, Armley, West Yorkshire consisting of two Indians and one Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Chinese; another one Pakistani was being detained at HMP The Wolds in Humberside. This figure includes people awaiting the setting of directions for removal following refusal of the application, as well as those whose application was under consideration or subject to appeal.
Information on the number of persons who had sought asylum and were detained in these areas on 15 January, in 1991, 1992, 1993 and 1994 is not available.
(2) what police forces have been involved in policing the current series of protests at Shoreham;
(3) what has been the average number of police officers on duty each night during the current campaign against the export of veal calves at Shoreham;
(4) who took the decision for police officers to wear full riot gear at Shoreham; and what were the reasons stated.
Mr. Maclean: Up to 11 January, 76 people were arrested, of whom 66 have been charged. Sussex police have been aided by the following forces in policing the disturbances at Shoreham; City of London police, Essex police, Hampshire constabulary, Kent county constabulary, the Metropolitan police, Surrey constabulary and Thames Valley police. Since 4 January about 1,000 officers have been deployed on each occasion that lorries carrying calves have driven to the harbour. The decision to deploy officers with public order protective equipment was taken by the chief constable of Sussex on operational grounds.
Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people detained at the behest of the immigration service last year spent more than (a) 24 hours and (b) 48 hours in a police cell; and what was the longest continuous period spent by an individual detainee.
Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what resources he has allocated for the enforcement of regulations governing the contract employment of seamen on vessels normally plying between two or more United Kingdom ports; and if he will make a statement;
(2) if he will give details of all breaches of the regulations relating to the employment of contract seafarers plying between United Kingdom ports in the last three years.
Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to ensure that regulations relating to the contract employment of seamen on vessels plying between two or more United Kingdom ports and normally not leaving the United Kingdom waters are properly enforced; and if he will make a statement.
Administration of the regulations relating to the employment of contract seamen on board ships plying between United Kingdom ports is a matter for the Department of Employment. However, there is power in the Immigration Act 1971 to enforce the removal of those seamen under contract to join vessels in the United Kingdom who fail to comply with the conditions on which they were given leave to enter or who are reasonably suspected of intending to do so. The immigration service has dealt with 49 seamen under these powers in the past three years.
Specific resources are not allocated by the immigration service to the enforcement of the immigration laws relating to contract seamen.
Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to discuss with European parties the extension of immigration regulations relating to contract seamen on board vessels plying between two or more member states; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Nicholas Baker: None; we have no plans to alter our policy, which is not to require work permits for crews serving on ships on international voyages, including voyages to other member states of the European Union, where the crews are not living in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Maclean: At its last meeting, the ministerial group on domestic violence endorsed proposals in respect of a public awareness campaign on domestic violence, and the preparation of an inter-agency circular to encourage local
Column 383statutory and voluntary agencies to co- ordinate responses to domestic violence. It also decided that the issue of a centrally co-ordinated policy on refuge provision would be considered further at its next meeting, a date for which will be settled shortly.
Mr. Maclean: Neither I nor my ministerial colleagues have yet had an opportunity to consider this report, which is still in preparation, but nearing completion. I expect the report to be published later in the year, once it has been finalised and arrangements for its publication agreed.
Mr. Redmond: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many British citizens living overseas are registered for voting in each constituency in England; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. David Shaw: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement about the plans of his Department to make information available on Internet and the documents which he intends to be made available on Internet over the next year which will be accessible via the worldwide web server "open.gov.UK" or any specific departmental server.
Mr. Howard: We are considering using the Internet to provide access to information, including in particular published statistics. The option of making this information accessible via the worldwide server "open.gov.UK" will be assessed. Home Office press notices are already available via the Internet from a number of commercial information providers.
Mr. Howard: I appreciate that there are great benefits to be derived from the use of electronic mail and its associated technologies. Electronic mail is already used extensively within my Department and its use for communications outside my Department is under review.
Mr. Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment has been made as to the additional costs which will be incurred by his Department as a result of the changes in national telephone dialling codes next year; and how much this change will cost his Department in additional expenditure.
Mr. Howard: Many of my Department's telephone systems have been converted to cope with the national code change without cost to the Department. For others a charge has been incurred, amounting to about £200,000 across about 300 sites, including executive agencies. Changes to stationery and published material have been incorporated at negligible cost.
(2) what information is currently available for the number of stolen vehicles and the recovery rate in 1994; and when the full calendar year figures will be available;
(3) what recovery rate has been achieved in each police authority area for stolen vehicles in 1992 and 1993.
Mr. Maclean: This information is not yet available for 1994. The next statistics to be published will be for the calendar year 1994 and will be available in the spring of 1995. Figures for 1992 and 1993 are published in table 2.14 of "Criminal Statistics England and Wales". It is not possible to attribute the fall in stolen vehicle recovery rates between 1992 and 1993 to any particular factor.
Mr. Madden: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will announce his decisions on applications by local authorities for financial assistance under section 11 of the Local Government Act 1966 as soon as possible, possibly on a phased basis; when he intends to announce his decision on applications submitted by Bradford council; what representations he has received from local authorities and others for decisions to be announced as a matter of urgency; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Nicholas Baker: Well over 800 project applications have been received. The deadline for applications was deferred to 30 December to take account of my right hon. and learned Friend's announcement that the funding available was being doubled. Nevertheless, we hope that it will still be possible to make the outcome known to all applicants in accordance with our original target of the end of February. As available funds have been oversubscribed, decisions could not be taken and announced on a phased basis without prejudicing the position of other bids.
Mr. Milburn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many of the individuals appointed by his Department to public positions in the last year were first identified by the Public Appointments Unit.
Column 385speeding charges have been made annually as a result of their evidence and what percentage of all speeding charges annually have been made on the basis of evidence from speed cameras, in each police authority.
Mr. Maclean: Information on the number of speed cameras in operation is not available centrally in the form requested. However, a survey by the Department of Transport in early 1994 stated that 27 speed cameras were in use in England and Wales at the end of 1993.
Column 386Information available to me shows that 290 speeding prosecutions were brought in England and Wales in 1992 following evidence produced by automatic cameras and 6,390 in 1993. In addition, 25,767 fixed penalties notices were issued in 1993. Figures for 1994 are not yet available.
The following table shows the proportion of fixed penalty notices and prosecutions resulting from evidence from speed cameras.
Fixed penalties and prosecutions for speeding offences detected by automatic cameras England and Wales Number of offences Police force Fixed penalties Prosecutions As a percentage As a percentage of all of all Camera offenceoffences Camera offenceoffences |1992 |1993 |1992 |1993 |1992 |1993 |1992 |1993 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Avon and Somerset |- |- |- |- |- |71 |- |2 Devon and Cornwall |- |9,241 |- |66 |6 |910 |- |40 Dorset |- |1,129 |- |11 |- |- |- |- Essex |- |- |- |- |- |659 |- |8 Leicestershire |- |- |- |- |1 |95 |- |4 Metropolitan |- |3,804 |- |9 |283 |3,225 |2 |24 Northumbria |- |- |- |- |- |218 |- |9 South Yorkshire |- |46 |- |- |- |- |- |- Thames Valley |- |11,547|- |54 |- |1,196 |- |30 Gwent |- |- |- |- |- |16 |- |2 Total |- |25,767|- |7 |290 |6,390 |- |6
Mr. Maclean: None. Chief officers are responsible for deciding what equipment to obtain, and except for the Metropolitan police, where my right hon. and learned Friend is police authority, do not require his authorisation. No chief officer possesses or, so far as the Home Office is aware, is considering the introduction of such equipment for use against people. My right hon. and learned Friend would certainly expect to be consulted about any such proposal. I understand that some chief officers have obtained electric shock equipment to protect officers against ferocious dogs in pre-planned operations.
Mr. Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers have left the service in each of the past 15 years because of (a) retirement, (b) sickness and (c) other reasons.
Mr. Maclean: Detailed information is not available in the form requested. The available data on wastage for the years 1979 to 1989 are contained in the annual reports of HM chief inspector of constabulary. I shall write to the hon. Member with information for the years 1990 to 1993.
Mr. Howard: I have consulted the forces, police authorities and local authorities in the area on the future policing arrangements for the new unitary district of Caerphilly. I also asked Her Majesty's chief inspector of constabulary to report on this issue.
In the light of the replies received and of the professional views of Her Majesty's chief inspector of constabulary, I have decided that the Gwent constabulary shall be responsible for policing the whole of the new district from 1 April 1996.
An order will be made in due course, under section 21A of the Police Act 1964--as inserted by section 14 of the Police and Magistrates' Courts Act 1994--to give effect to this decision, following discussions with the police authorities and forces concerned on the details of its content.
Sir Ivan Lawrence: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the prosecution are to be required to provide the defence with advance copies of witnesses' statements in summary only proceedings.
Letter From Ann Chant to Ms Dawn Primarolo, dated 16 January 1995:
I am replying to your recent Parliamentary Question to the Secretary of State for Social Security about the costs to the Child Support Agency of employing bailiffs.
In accordance with the contract awarded in January 1994, bailiff services are provided at no administrative cost to the Agency.