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Research (Dogs and Cats)

Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if non-purpose-bred dogs and cats used for research in the United Kingdom are obtained from non-designated supplying establishments situated within the United Kingdom. [11171]

Mr. Sackville: In Great Britain during 1995, the only year for which figures are available, 66 dogs but no cats used in scientific procedures were obtained from sources within the United Kingdom not designated breeding or supplying establishments.

Animal Procedures Committee

Mr. Butler: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on his appointments to the Animal Procedures Committee. [11929]

Mr. Sackville: I have appointed the following persons to be members of the Animal Procedures Committee for four years with effect from 1 January 1997:


Mr. Thurnham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the minimum number of items of information a police officer has to provide in order to initiate the prosecution of a juvenile delinquent for shoplifting; and if he will make a statement. [10761]

Mr. Maclean: Six forms are needed in the prosecution file in the case of a juvenile offender where a guilty plea is expected. These are:

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More information is required where a not guilty plea is expected. There are also other forms and documents which are completed or taken into account which are not directly associated with the prosecution process; these include property registers, custody records and fingerprint forms.

Deaf-blind People

Mr. Alfred Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what training police receive in communicating and making contact with deaf-blind people. [9471]

Mr. Maclean [holding answer 16 January 1997]: There is no national training aimed specifically at how police officers should communicate or make contact with deaf-blind people although the probationer foundation training programme seeks to establish a general awareness and understanding of the special needs of people the police are likely to encounter. There are, however, special provisions for dealing with people in police custody who appear to be blind or deaf and training in the requirements of the relevant Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 codes of practice is included in the custody officer training package which is available to all forces.

It is the responsibility of individual chief officers to ensure that their officers are suitably trained for the duties that they undertake.

Firearms (Amendment) Bill

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what estimate he has made of the number of (i) small businesses which will close and (ii) jobs which will be lost as a result of the implementation of the Firearms (Amendment) Bill;[11219]

Miss Widdecombe [holding answers 16 January 1997]: Our estimate of the costs that will need to be paid to compensate all those who surrender guns and accessories is as set out in the financial memorandum to the Firearms (Amendment) Bill.

It has not been possible to estimate the full impact of the measures that would be introduced by the Bill on businesses and employment.

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Prison Interviews

Mr. Harry Greenway: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make it his policy to ban interviews between journalists and convicted murderers on prison premises; and if he will make a statement. [10658]

Miss Widdecombe [holding answer 13 January 1997]: Visits to prisoners by journalists or authors in their professional capacity are generally not permitted. Where, exceptionally, a visit is permitted, journalists or authors are required to give a written undertaking which limits the subject and conditions of the interview. The Government have considered the recent High Court judgment in the case of Simms and O'Brien and have decided to appeal.


Parliamentary Questions

Mr. Winnick: To ask the Lord President of the Council if he will list the five hon. Members who most frequently had one of the first five oral questions to the Prime Minister on the Order Paper since the beginning of the Session. [9951]

Mr. Newton: The hon. Members listed have appeared more than once in the top five on the Order Paper for oral questions to the Prime Minister between the start of the current Session and 18 December. In that period, there were 15 Prime Minister's Question Times. The total number of times each Member has appeared is shown in brackets after their name.

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Lord President of the Council how many hon. Members have had questions lost since the contract with the Stationery Office commenced. [10728]

Mr. Newton: I have been advised that there has been one incident, on 17 December, when a single batch of eight questions from five hon. Members was lost.

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Lord President of the Council when he expects to receive an apology from the Stationery Office about hon. Members' lost questions; and when he expects hon. Members to receive apologies. [10725]

Mr. Newton: I am advised that the chairman of the Stationery Office wrote to the Speaker on 19 December, apologising for the incident. He also sent a letter of apology to four of the five hon. Members whose questions were lost. I understand that the fifth has not yet been identified.

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Mr. MacNamara: To ask the Lord President of the Council what assessment he has made of the security of hon. Member's questions at the Stationery Office. [10708]

Mr. Newton: I am advised that a review of the process for dealing with Members' questions is being undertaken by the Stationery Office in consultation with House officials. In the meantime, the photocopying of Members' questions immediately on arrival at the Parliamentary Press has been introduced as a safeguard.

Hon. Members (Swearing In)

Mr. Winnick: To ask the Lord President of the Council if arrangement are in hand for hon. Members to take the oath following the next election in accordance with the recommendations in the first report of Session 1995-96 on proceeding at the start of Parliament [HC 386] of the Procedure Committee. [11475]

Mr. Newton: As I explained to the House on 11 July 1996 Official Report, column 636, this is a matter for Madam Speaker.


Administration Costs

Mr. Milburn: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what factors underlie the increase in the provision for gross running costs of civil Departments compared with revised plans as set out in the Red Book paragraph 5.30; and if he will provide a breakdown of the increase by Department, indicating, where possible, executive agencies separately. [8277]

Mr. Waldegrave [holding answer 9 December 1996]: Compared with an estimated 1996-97 outturn of £14,919 million for running costs of civil Departments, the Government's planned expenditure on running costs of £14,736 million in 1999-2000 represents a fall of 7 per cent. in real terms over three years.

The increases in running costs provision for 1997-98 and 1998-99 are more than accounted for by increases on anti-fraud and anti-evasion measures--an additional £760 million of running costs over three years--and on prisons. Additional provision has also been given to the agriculture Departments to fund the continuing package of measures to counter BSE.

The table following compares the Government's plans published in the public expenditure statistical analyses--PESA--1996-97 with new plans for each departmental group. New plans may be subject to further revision before the Government's plans are set out in detail in the 1997 departmental reports, due to be published in March 1997, which will include information on the running costs of executive agencies.

1997-98 £ million 1998-99 £ million
Departmental groupPESA 1996-97New Plans Change PESA 1996-97New Plans Change
Foreign Office540525-15539535-4
Overseas Development5856-25856-2
Agriculture, Fisheries and Food4665245846852254
Trade and Industry435447124324408
Home Office1,8651,928631,9072,013106
Legal departments776766-10775759-16
Education and Employment1,1931,130-631,1891,107-82
National Heritage396425396324
Social Security3,4263,5391133,1053,259154
Northern Ireland794787-7792787-5
Chancellor's departments2,9292,944152,9192,99879
Cabinet Office566558-8567557-10
Plus: Changes between FSBR95 and publication of PESA105114
Equals: Difference between new and revised plans230356


See Annex B to Chapter 5 of FSBR 1997-98 for details of departmental groupings.

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17 Jan 1997 : Column: 399

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