Previous Section Index Home Page

Road Fuels

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list for each (a) police authority and (b) fire authority, the amount of money spent on road fuels in the last financial year. [128380]

Mr. Charles Clarke: This information is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

3 Jul 2000 : Column: 70W

Women Prisoners

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what research his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) undertaken on the effect on children of the imposition of custodial sentences on their mothers. [128122]

Mr. Boateng: The most recently published study of imprisoned mothers was 'Imprisoned Women and Mothers' by Caddle and Crisp. It was commissioned by the Prison Service and published in 1997 (Home Office

3 Jul 2000 : Column: 71W

Research Study 162). The entire female prisoner population at the end of 1994, comprising 1,766 women, were surveyed. In-depth interviews were conducted with the 61 per cent. of that population who were either pregnant or mothers of children under 18.

In the report of a 'Review of Principles, Policies and Procedures on Mothers and Babies/Children in Prison' (Her Majesty's Prison Service July 1999) and the Prison Service's Response and Action Plan (December 1999), a number of areas of research concerning the children of women prisoners was recommended. The Prison Service is giving consideration to these recommendations. Copies of both documents were placed in the Library.

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent discussions he has had on the establishment of family visiting areas in prisons; and if he will make a statement. [128124]

Mr. Boateng: The Prison Service places enormous importance on encouraging prisoners to maintain close family ties and to making family visits to prisoners as comfortable and productive as possible. This relates not only to the specific establishment of family visiting areas but also to a range of facilities such as the provision of visitors' centres and play areas. Moreover, there is increasing emphasis on delivering initiatives to fully maximise the potential for allowing prisoners to have extended contact with families through longer visits and temporary release; and facilitating the visits of families from long distances through the provision of financial support and assistance with accommodation.

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to enable women who receive custodial sentences to make arrangements for the care of their dependent children prior to the start of their sentence. [128121]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Government have no immediate plans to make new arrangements for women or men with parental responsibilities to arrange child care prior to starting a custodial sentence. There may be opportunities while pre-sentence reports are being prepared for child care arrangements to be considered.

However, the Government do take seriously the needs of women offenders in the criminal justice system, and a working group has been established to consider a strategy on women offenders, including the range of sentences available. Also, the team undertaking the Review of the Sentencing Framework, which was announced on 16 May, will bear the needs of women offenders in mind in formulating its recommendations.

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the number of women prisoners who suffer from (a) drug and (b) alcohol addiction; and what proportion of these women are involved in detoxification programmes while in prison. [128123]

Mr. Boateng: The report of a study of Psychiatric Morbidity Amongst Prisoners in England and Wales, undertaken in 1997 for the Department of Health by the Office for National Statistics, indicated that in the year before entering prison, 36 per cent. of women on remand and 39 per cent. of sentenced women reported engaging

3 Jul 2000 : Column: 72W

in hazardous drinking. Fifty four per cent. of women on remand and 41 per cent. of sentenced women reported some degree of drug dependence.

The information sought in the second part of the question is not available in the form requested. Returns from Prison Service establishments show that in 1998-99, when almost 16,000 women were screened on reception into prison by healthcare staff, 3,091 completed drugs detoxification programmes and 413 completed alcohol detoxification programmes.

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects the working group established to develop a strategy for the treatment of women in prison to report. [128127]

Mr. Boateng: The report of the working group and the timing of any publication is under consideration.

Anti-social Behaviour Orders

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the conclusions reached by the action group on Anti-social Behaviour Orders led by the Chair of the Youth Justice Board; and if he will make a statement. [128801]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Anti-social Behaviour Order Action Group concluded that, in order to give increased impetus to the take-up of applications for Anti-social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs), there was a need to spread the good practice that already existed in certain areas of the country. To achieve this, the Action Group drew up practical guidance on considering and applying for ASBOs, and also set up a series of seminars as a means of consulting on the draft guidance and of providing an opportunity to hear about, and discuss, the experiences of those who had successfully obtained such orders.

Ten seminars were held in all, in each of the Government Regions in England and Wales, between early March and Easter this year. Following the successful conclusion of the seminars, the Action Group held their final meeting in May to complete their work on the draft guidance. I launched the booklet, "Anti-social Behaviour Orders: Guidance on drawing up Local ASBO Protocols", on 28 June. A copy has been placed in the Library.

I am grateful to my noble Friend Lord Warner and the Action Group for all their work. I hope that the new guidance, which complements the guidance on ASBOs issued in March 1999, will enable the police and local authorities to make effective use of this important tool for dealing with anti-social behaviour.


Women's Unit Consultation

Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment when the policy discussion on the No. 10 website on issues raised by the consultation conducted by the Women's Unit will be launched; how long it will run; and how the information will be treated once the consultation is over. [127249]

3 Jul 2000 : Column: 73W

Ms Jowell: The No. 10 website will host a policy discussion, on the issues arising from the Listening to Women Consultation, which will open on 3 July and will last between four and five weeks. It will cover issues such as work-life balance; support from Government for women's life choices; business start-ups; access to Information and Communications Technology; and the forthcoming Parental Leave and Maternity Review. A summary of the comments will be posted on the No. 10 website, along with a response statement from the Ministers for Women when the discussion period is over. The website address is

Medical Schools

Mr. Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how many funded places were made available for the training of doctors at medical schools in (a) England, (b) Wales, (c) Scotland and (d) the UK in each of the last five years; and what provision has been made for places in future years. [128319]

Mr. Wicks: The number of funded places made available for the training of doctors at medical schools in the past five years are:

EnglandScotlandWalesNorthern IrelandUK total

The Government announced in July 1998 that the annual intake of medical students in the UK would be increased over the period to 2005 by about 1,000 places. In England the Higher Education Funding Council for England has announced the allocation of a total of 1,126 additional places. The funding to the Council takes these new places into account. A further increase in the number of medical students is being considered in recognition of the rapid development of services to underpin modernisation of the National Health Service. In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland these matters are for the devolved Administrations.

Primary School Teachers

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment (1) what steps he has taken to increase the number of male primary school teachers; [128291]

Ms Estelle Morris: The Government recognise that men are currently under-represented in primary schools and would therefore like to see more qualifying as primary teachers. The trial introduction of £6,000 training salaries for postgraduate primary training may well encourage more applications from men for 2000-01. This

3 Jul 2000 : Column: 74W

will be evaluated. Under-represented groups, including men in the primary sector, will also be a priority target for the new £13,000 grants to schools who accept a trainee on the employment-based Graduate Teacher Programme.

The Teacher Training Agency has asked all providers of initial teacher training to set targets and draw up Action Plans for increasing the numbers of men entering undergraduate and postgraduate courses. Over 90 per cent. have now done so. In addition, more than a quarter of the taster courses funded by the Teacher Training Agency in the period June 2000-August 2001, which are designed to give prospective trainee teachers an insight into what teaching is like, are specifically focused on recruiting men.

Next Section Index Home Page