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Road Safety (Cyclists)

Mr. Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many pedestrians have been (a) killed and (b) injured as a result of being hit by cyclists riding on the pavement in each of the last three years for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. [131107]

Mr. Hill: I have been asked to reply.

The information requested is shown in the table:

Pedestrian casualties from accidents between pedal cycles and pedestrians on a footway or verge(1): Great Britain 1996-98

Severity of casualty199619971998

(1) Footway or verge comprises footways for use by pedestrians only, which form part of the highway but are separate from the main carriageway, including grass verges

Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority

Mr. Charles Kennedy: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the length of time is within which the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority is under an obligation to (a) respond to and (b) settle claims inquiries; and if he will make a statement. [131476]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Authority's key performance indicator for dealing with applications is to issue a first decision in 90 per cent. of cases within 12 months of receipt of the application. This target recognises that, because of their complexity, a substantial proportion of cases will unavoidably take longer to settle.

The Authority's service aims include responding within two weeks to any written inquiry about an application and to respond to any formal complaint within one month.

Police Stations

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what guidance he gives to police forces regarding (a) the provision of services from and (b) the location of, police stations; [130072]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Government are committed to ensuring the police have the resources they need to tackle crime and disorder, but the disposition of police force resources is a matter for each police authority and chief constable.

Welsh Assembly

Mr. Opik: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he plans to introduce legislation to enable the Welsh Assembly to implement the recommendations of the Neill Committee; and if he will make a statement. [131421]

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Mr. Mike O'Brien: The Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Bill, which was introduced in the House of Commons on 20 December 1999 and in the House of Lords on 16 March 2000, will implement the recommendations of the Neill Committee's fifth report on the funding of political parties. The funding of political parties is a reserved matter and the controls on political parties' income and expenditure set out in the Bill will apply throughout the United Kingdom. The Bill, however, contains a number of provisions which relate specifically to the National Assembly. In particular, the Bill enables the Electoral Commission, at the request of the Assembly, to prepare a report on the administration of a poll held under section 36 of the Government of Wales Act 1998 (clause 4(3)); empowers the Assembly to transfer the functions of the Local Government Boundary Commission for Wales to the Electoral Commission (clause 18); and amends the Government of Wales Act so as to enable the Assembly to make payments to groups of Assembly members to assist them in performing their functions as Assembly members (Paragraph 10(4) of schedule 20). The Government are giving consideration to a request from the First Minister to expedite the commencement of the last of these provisions once the Bill receives Royal Assent.


Mr. Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what plans he has to increase the supervision of off-licences and other alcohol retailers, with particular reference to marketing and shop displays which promote the sale of high percentage volume beers, lagers and ciders; [131897]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: In May 1997, a Ministerial Group, working closely with the Portman Group, was set up to examine problems surrounding the marketing of "alcopops" and other alcoholic drinks to people under 18. A statement of the Group's conclusions was published in July 1997, and placed in the Library. A range of new controls were added to the industry's Code of Practice, and these have had a significant impact on the merchandising and packaging of alcoholic drinks. The additional controls included:

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We have monitored progress on the industry's approach to protecting young people. The number of complaints made under the new Code has continued to reduce. Where complaints have been made and upheld, swift compliance with the independent panel's decisions has become the norm. We shall continue to monitor progress both in respect of all alcoholic drinks, including those of high strength.

In addition, the White Paper "Time for Reform: Proposals for the Modernisation of Our Licensing Laws" published on 10 April this year, set out proposals for a new positive duty on licensees not to sell to minors, arrangements for test purchasing and tougher sanctions against those who breach these laws.

Mr. Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what measures (a) are currently in place and (b) his Department is evaluating to prevent adults purchasing alcoholic drinks for consumption by under-18s. [131936]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: It is an offence under section 169(3) of the Licensing Act 1964 for any person to buy, or attempt to buy, intoxicating liquor for consumption in a bar in licensed premises by a person under 18. This offence does not extend to purchases made by adults in off-licences on behalf of minors. The Private Member's Bill introduced by my hon. Friend the Member for Pudsey (Mr. Truswell), the Licensing (Young Persons) Bill, which was successful at Second Reading in the House of Lords on 14 July, would create a new offence of buying alcohol in off-licences on behalf of minors. The Government have given their full support to this Bill. In the White Paper, "Time for Reform: Proposals for the Modernisation of our Licensing Laws" published on 10 April this year, we have made clear that if my hon. Friend's Bill is not successful, we shall introduce this measure in a Bill reforming licensing law generally.

Schengen Agreement

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 4 July 2000, Official Report, column 166W, on the Schengen Agreement, if it his practice to assess the requirement to modify legislation resulting from accession to agreements with other countries prior to negotiating such agreements; what timescale is envisaged in the case of the Schengen acquis; and if he will make a statement. [130834]

Mrs. Roche: The Government's approach to agreements is taken on a case-by-case basis. In the case of partial participation in the Schengen acquis, the Government's objective was to benefit as far as possible from European Union co-operation on policing and judicial matters, commensurate with our Frontiers Protocol. We therefore accepted that legislation might be necessary and would be justified if better European Union co-operation was achieved as a result. As indicated in my reply to the hon. Member on 4 July 2000, Official Report, column 166W, the need to legislate was already implicit in the United Kingdom's agreement to a number of European Union instruments providing for judicial co-operation. Work on Schengen implementation has only recently begun and the timescale will be dependent in part on the Government's legislative timetable, in addition

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to the time which will be required for the practical implementation of other items, such as the Schengen Information System.

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