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Winwick Prison

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if the new prison planned for Winwick will be designed to hold category A prisoners if necessary. [26077]

Ms Quin [holding answer 29 January 1998]: No. The proposed new prison at Winwick would be built to category B standards and there is, at present, no requirement to locate category A prisoners there.

In the event of such a requirement arising in the future, the additional security measures which would be necessary would need planning approval from the local planning authority.

Prisoners (Drug Addiction)

Mr. Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what percentage of the total number of prisoners in the United Kingdom are known to be drug addicts. [26540]

Mr. George Howarth: Between 1 April 1996 and 31 March 1997, Prison Service establishments in England and Wales reported 13,191 notifiable drug addicts under the Misuse of Drugs (Notifications of and Supply to Addicts) Regulations 1973 and 8,839 non-notifiable drug addicts. The figures are aggregates for the year and cannot meaningfully be expressed as a percentage of the daily prison population.

Colchester Young Offenders Institution

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will publish the study of the experimental regime at Colchester Young Offenders Institution carried out by Dr. Kate Painter of Cambridge University's Institute of Criminology. [26307]

Ms Quin [holding answer 29 January 1998]: It is our intention to publish the study of the experimental regime at Colchester Young Offender Institution carried out by the Institute of Criminology at the University of Cambridge when it is complete.

Winchester Prison

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the budget for Winchester Prison in the next financial year; and what estimate he has made of the maximum number of prisoners who will be held in the prison over that period. [26249]

Ms Quin [holding answer 30 January 1998]: The budget for Winchester prison has not been finalised but the governor was informed this week that the indicative baseline budget for the financial year 1998/99 is £10,323,610. This figure includes an additional £381,840 allocated to the prison to maintain staff safety, control and regime protection.

The current operational capacity of Winchester prison is 612 prisoners and, while there are no immediate plans to change this number, it will be reviewed as and when the prison population changes.

2 Feb 1998 : Column: 528

Medical Research (Animal Tissues)

Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many animals by species not subjected to a licensed procedure under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 have been culled in each year since 1980 so that their tissues can be used for medical research; and if he will make a statement. [26824]

Mr. George Howarth: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Newport, West (Mr. Flynn) on 6 November 1997, Official Report, column 282.

Lewes Prison

Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he plans to publish the Inspector's Report into Lewes Prison; and if he will make a statement. [26825]

Ms Quin: Under the protocol procedures for the handling of the Chief Inspector's inspection reports, Ministers approve publication of a report once the Director General of the Prison Service has confirmed its factual accuracy. The Prison Service is currently considering the factual accuracy of the Chief Inspector's draft report of the inspection of Lewes Prison. I will make a decision about publication in the light of the Director General's advice.

Handguns

Mrs. Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many handguns have been surrendered under the Firearms Amendment Acts; how many have been (a) destroyed and (b) disposed of by other means; and if he will list each of those means. [26565]

Mr. Michael: A total of 142,000 handguns were surrendered to police forces during the three months period which ended on 30 September.

The majority of these firearms will be destroyed under local arrangements in each police force area once the claimant has received compensation from the Home Office Firearms Compensation Section. A very small number may be retained by police forces for training purposes or passed on to museums for public display. There is no central record of firearms which have been disposed of to date in these ways.

To keep administration to a minimum, we are not collecting information on disposal during the course of the operation but once the compensation process has been completed, each police force will be asked to confirm the number of weapons destroyed or otherwise disposed of.

Family Court Welfare Service

Mr. Hinchliffe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proposals he has for the Family Court Welfare Service; and if he will make a statement. [25488]

Ms Quin: I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Maidenhead (Mrs. May) on 21 January 1998, Official Report, column 588.

2 Feb 1998 : Column: 529

European Court of Human Rights

Sir Nicholas Lyell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what right of appeal to the European Court of Human Rights at Strasbourg will be available (a) to the Government and (b) to a public body under the provisions of the terms of the Human Rights Bill in the event of an adverse judgment against them in the House of Lords. [27005]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Human Rights Bill cannot and does not affect the terms of the European Convention on Human Rights. Accordingly, it will still be the case that a person, non-governmental organisation or group of individuals claiming to be a victim of a violation of the Convention may apply to the Strasbourg institutions, and it will still be the case that the Government, and other authorities not themselves claiming to be victims of a violation of the Convention, may not.

Police Expenditure

Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Prime Minister's oral answer of 28 January 1998, Official Report, column 347, by how much he has increased the amount planned for expenditure on the police for 1997-98. [26850]

Mr. Michael: The spending power of police authorities in England and Wales increased by £247 million, or 3.7 per cent. in 1997-98 under the spending plans of the previous Government.

Our proposals for 1998-99 will allow the overall spending of police authorities in England and Wales to increase by £258 million, or 3.7 per cent. over 1997-98 to around £7.15 billion. This is a healthy increase for the police at a time of restraint on public expenditure.

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list for each police authority in England the cost of the extra employers' pension contributions those authorities will have to make as a result of the abolition of the tax credits to pension funds. [26834]

Mr. Michael: There will be no such costs in relation to the employment of police officers. The police pension scheme is not based on a pension fund, but is financed on a pay-as-you-go basis. Only civilian staff employed by police authorities in England are members of the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS). It will not be possible to indicate future employer pension costs arising from the abolition of tax credits to local authority pension funds until the completion of the 1998 LGPS valuation exercise.

Prisons (Medical Services)

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions he has had with the Prison Service to ensure the quality of on-site medical services in privately-run prisons. [26078]

Ms Quin [holding answer 29 January 1998]: I hold regular discussions with the Director General for the Prison Service about the broad range of prison issues, including healthcare.

2 Feb 1998 : Column: 530

Contractually managed prisons are required to provide medical services to prisoners to specification agreed with, and monitored by, the Prison Service. This includes the provisions of on-site care to a standard equivalent to that available from the National Health Service and appropriate to the needs of prisoners.

WALES

Local Government Finance

Mr. Gareth Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement on local government revenue spending and grant support for 1998-99. [27389]

Mr. Ron Davies: I have given very careful consideration to the representations I have received. I chaired a meeting of the Welsh Consultative Council on Local Government Finance on 15 December 1997 and met a delegation from Welsh local government last week at which settlement matters were discussed.

I have decided to confirm total standard spending (TSS) at £3,090.5 million and aggregate external finance (AEF) at £2,701.9 million for 1998-99. The increases on 1997-98 in TSS and AEF are 4.0 per cent. and 3.2 per cent. respectively. TSS includes £352.9 million to fund police authorities; £50.3 million extra for schools; an additional £4.4 million for 4 year old education; and £190.2 million for care in the community. I acknowledge that the settlement will mean some authorities will have to make tough decisions, I too have had to make hard decisions on spending priorities within the Welsh block. Under the provisional capping limits I announced in December, Welsh local authorities will be able to increase their year-on-year revenue spending, on average, by 4.8 per cent. The increase for police authorities is 3.8 per cent. In the circumstances I believe it to be a fair deal for local government in Wales.

AEF will comprise £1,799.9 million in revenue support grant; £612.0 million in distributable non-domestic rates; £258.8 million in specific grants (including police grant); and £31.2 million to help local authorities limit council tax increases. Actual council tax levels will depend on the budgetary decisions of individual local and police authorities.

I am laying the Local Government Finance Report (Wales) 1998-99 before the House today together with the Limitation of Council Tax (Relevant Notional Amounts) Report (Wales) 1998-99 and the Special Grant Report (No 2) (Wales) 1998.

I am placing final settlement details for individual local authorities and police authorities in the Library of the House. My decisions are subject to the approval of the House of Commons.


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