Previous Section Index Home Page


Dr. Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the additional cost to public funds was in (a) legal costs incurred by the (i) Government and (ii) applicants and (b) damages awarded to the applicants by the decision to continue to contest cases relating to homosexuals in the armed forces (i) between 16 February 1996 and 1 May 1997 and (ii) after 2 May 1997. [138466]

Mr. Spellar: Compensation and legal costs have been paid in the four cases covered by the European Court of Human Rights judgment of 27 September 1999 and the figures are shown in the table. In addition, in light of the ECHR judgment, the Secretary of State for Defence authorised that settlement negotiations commence with those individuals discharged from the armed forces as a result of their homosexuality who had submitted Employment Tribunal applications and whose account is accepted as being substantially factually true. The level of compensation paid to those applicants who settled their cases during the periods in question, together with legal costs incurred by the Minister of Defence, are also shown in the table. Legal costs incurred by Employment Tribunal applicants are not normally recoverable from the Defendant and therefore the Ministry of Defence has no record of such costs. Settlement negotiations on the remainder of the outstanding cases remain ongoing.


16 February 1996 to 1 May 19972 May 1997 to date
Compensation paid in ECHR cases0324,875
Claimants' legal costs paid in ECHR cases081,200
Compensation paid to ET applicants079,000
Legal costs incurred by the Ministry of Defence12,090156,507


Petrol Costs (Ministerial Cars)

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the cost was in each of the past three years of petrol for his Department's fleet of ministerial cars; and how many vehicles there are in that fleet. [134994]

Mr. Straw: The Home Office does not directly manage ministerial vehicles; this function is undertaken by the Government Car and Despatch Agency. I refer the hon. Member to the reply that my right hon. Friend the Minister of State, Cabinet Office, gave on 13 November 2000, Official Report, column 552W.

Press Office

Miss Widdecombe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many persons are currently employed in the Home Office Press Office and at what grades; what has been the total cost to public funds of the

16 Nov 2000 : Column: 746W

recent expansion of the Home Office Press Office following the implementation of the report by Clear Communications; and if he will make a statement. [134973]

Mr. Straw [holding answer 26 October 2000]: The total number of people employed in the press office is 27. This is comprised of five Senior Information Officers, 16 Information Officers, an Assistant Information Officer and a Chief Immigration Officer on attachment. In addition, there is an administrative support team of four people comprised of one Higher Executive Officer, one Administrative Officer and two Administrative Assistants.

As I told the House previously, on 2 March 2000, Official Report, column 383W, the estimated cost of extra staff will be up to £400,000 in a full year, to bring total costs to around £1.6 million. This expansion has proved necessary to cope with the widened responsibilities and activities of the Home Office since May 1997 (including the larger programme of constitutional and other reforms) and a significant increase in calls to the press office over the last three years.

In addition there has been a one-off cost of refurbishing the press office and the provision of additional equipment and IT support which will be in the region of £200,000.

As I told the House previously, on 24 July 2000, Official Report, column 746, £82,000 was spent on recruitment advertising and the external consultant's report which recommended that the Press Office be restructured and expanded by between eight and 10 press officers.

Seasonal Agricultural Work

Mr. Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent representations he has received from (a) Concordia and (b) other interested parties concerning the number of student permits allowed for assistance and training associated with seasonal agricultural work; what has been his response; and if he will make a statement. [137006]

Mrs. Roche: Representations in support of an increase in the quota of non-European Economic Area (EEA) students participating in the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Scheme (SAWS) have been made on behalf of various interested parties, including the National Farmers Union. Concordia (YSV) Ltd., one of the approved scheme operators, had indicated support for an increase.

The Government have listened to the concerns of the agricultural industry and have agreed to increase the annual quota of students from 10,000 to 15,200 with effect from the 2001 season.

Race-related Offences

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what sentences were imposed on people convicted in (a) 1999 and (b) 1998 of incitement to racial hatred. [137891]

Mr. Charles Clarke: Data taken from the Home Office Court Proceedings Database are given in the table.

Number of persons sentenced at all courts for offences(6) under Part III of the Public Order Act 1986, by type of offence and disposal, England and Wales, 1998 and 1999

Offence descriptionYearTotal sentencedConditional dischargeFineCompensationProbation orderCombination orderFully suspended sentenceImmediate custody
Section 18199841------1--2
Section 1919982----------2--
Section 2119981--1----------
Section 2319981------------1

(6) Data may include persons proceeded against in earlier years or for other 'principal' offences.


Based on principal offence

16 Nov 2000 : Column: 747W

16 Nov 2000 : Column: 747W

Number Plates

Mr. Laxton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will introduce measures to require that scrap vehicles have number plates destroyed on arrival at scrap yards in order to reduce crime involving the use of false number plates. [137630]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Government have no plans to introduce such measures. We are, however, looking closely at the recommendations of the Vehicle Crime Reduction Action Team that the motor salvage industry and the supply and issue of number plates should be regulated by law in order to reduce crime.

European Union

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on progress made under the scoreboard to review progress on the creation of an area for freedom, security and justice in the European Union. [138085]

Mrs. Roche: The European Council meeting in Tampere on 15 and 16 October 1999 decided that it would keep under constant review progress made towards developing the Union as an area of freedom, security and justice in line with its own conclusions ("the Tampere milestones"). It called on the Commission to come forward with an appropriate proposal for a scoreboard to that end. The Commission presented its scoreboard at the Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting on 27 March 2000, at which it was discussed by the Council. The scoreboard was designed to be regularly updated. The Commission produced a revised version of the scoreboard at the Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting on 29 May 2000. A further revised version is expected for the Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting on 30 November-1 December 2000.

There has been progress on a wide range of issues covered by the Tampere conclusions over the past year. Developments range from the establishment of the Police Chiefs Task Force to the adoption of the European Refugee Fund. The first ever joint meeting of the Justice and Home Affairs and ECOFIN Councils took place on 17 October to consider measures to combat money laundering to implement Tampere conclusions 51-58.

16 Nov 2000 : Column: 748W

My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary regularly reports to the European Scrutiny Committee on the outcome of Justice and Home Affairs Council meetings, in correspondence and in response to Parliamentary Questions. Copies of this correspondence are available in the Library.

Next Section Index Home Page