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Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will propose legislation to adopt into English law the Scots law rule of bringing an offender to trial within 110 days of committal to trial (a) for young offenders and (b) for all offenders; and if he will make a statement. [148943]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Government are committed to reducing the time taken to bring defendants to trial, especially those under the age of 18. To this end we have introduced a number of reforms designed to reduce delay, the latest (which was implemented nationally on 15 January) being the new procedure for sending indictable-only cases to the Crown Court. These measures are reinforced both by custody time limits which restrict the time for which defendants may be held in custody pending trial, and by statutory time limits within which the prosecution must bring cases to trial, which are currently being piloted in selected youth courts. The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 introduced tighter criteria for granting extensions to these time limits, as well as making provision for limits in cases involving juveniles to cover the period from arrest to first listing.

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Speaker's Committee

Miss Geraldine Smith: To ask the Prime Minister if he has appointed a Minister with responsibilities in relation to local government to the Speaker's Committee established under section 2 of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000. [149835]

The Prime Minister: In accordance with section 2(3) of the Act, I have appointed my right hon. Friend the Minister for Local Government and the Regions as a member of the Speaker's Committee.


Children and Family Court

Mrs. Butler: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what action she is taking locally to provide advice, training and guidance regarding the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service prior to its commencement. [149167]

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Jane Kennedy: Last year we ran a series of regional conferences for staff and one specifically targeted at administrators, including a conference for east and east midland staff held in Peterborough in June 2000. We are currently running a similar programme of regional conferences for managers, and the conference for east and east midland managers was held in Peterborough in January of this year. At national level, we are developing new induction training for officers of the service and will provide further training for staff as CAFCASS comes into being.


Planning Legislation (Tuckey Ruling)

Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what discussions he has had with National Assembly Secretaries on the ruling of Lord Justice Tuckey on legislative provision on planning matters in Wales in relation to the requirements of European legislation and of the Human Rights Act 1998. [148320]

Mr. Paul Murphy: I have regular discussions with Assembly Secretaries about a range of issues, including both planning law and the impact of the Human Rights Act 1998 in Wales.

The judgment of the Divisional Court is now the subject of an appeal. The appeal will be heard in the House of Lords on 26 February. The National Assembly is being kept abreast of developments.

Mr. Adrian McMenamin

Mr. Wigley: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales from what date Mr. Adrian McMenamin has been employed in the Wales Office; what the terms of reference of his post are; and what his civil service grade is. [148869]

Mr. Paul Murphy: Mr. McMenamin has been employed by the Wales Office since December 1999. He is employed under the terms of the model contract for special advisers, a copy of which is available in the Library of the House. Special advisers are not appointed to mainstream civil service grades.

Press Releases

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many press releases were issued by his Department in the financial years (a) 1996-97, (b) 1997-98, (c) 1998-99 and (d) 1999-2000; how many have been issued in the current financial year; and what his estimate is of the total number for the current financial year. [149241]

Mr. Paul Murphy: In 1996-97, our predecessor Department, the Welsh Office, issued 650 press notices, 774 in 1997-98, and 776 in 1998-99. The Wales Office issued 54 in 1999-2000 and has issued 88 this financial year. It is estimated that the total number for the current financial year will fall between 90 and 100 press notices.

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Departmental Expenditure

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what the total expenditure and the breakdown of expenditure was in his Department for the financial years (a) 1996-97, (b) 1997-98, (c) 1998-99 and (d) 1999-2000, and what the planned expenditure and breakdown of expenditure for 2000-01 is on (i) public opinion research, (ii) television, radio and newspaper advertising and (iii) direct mail. [149263]

Mr. Paul Murphy: My Department runs no publicity campaigns and hence has spent nothing on advertising since its creation in July 1999. Its predecessor Department, the Welsh Office, spent £1,795,000 in 1996-97, £2,661,000 in 1997-98, and £2,685,000 in 1998-99. All the individual campaigns are evaluated separately, taking into account effectiveness and value for money.



Mr. Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many (a) countries, (b) international organisations and (c) non-governmental organisations are involved in providing aid to Kosovo. [148927]

Clare Short: According to information provided by the OSCE office in Kosovo and the Kosovo Department of Reconstruction, there are 25 countries, 12 international organisations and 402 international non-governmental organisations involved in providing aid to Kosovo.

Mr. Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment she has made of the impact of the United Kingdom aid programme in Kosovo. [148928]

Clare Short: We have recently reviewed progress against the strategy for our development programme in Kosovo prepared in January 2000. We have made the transition from humanitarian assistance to targeted technical assistance for longer-term capacity building focused on areas such as social welfare, public administration reform and health. We are also working closely with the European Agency for Reconstruction and the World Bank. We are revising our strategic objectives for the next phase of support to Kosovo.

Mr. Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what plans she has to review the (a) focus and (b) co-ordination of the international aid effort in Kosovo. [148929]

Clare Short: Co-ordination of international assistance to Kosovo is the responsibility of the UN Interim Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). We have discussed priorities with the newly appointed head of UNMIK, Mr. Hans Haekkerup and his staff. The focus of the international effort should be on developing the capacity of Kosovars to take increasing levels of responsibility for public administration and service delivery.

A donor meeting will be held in Pristina on 25-26 February to review the position and agree priorities for future aid.

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Prison Service Framework Document

Mr. McWalter: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he plans to make available the Northern Ireland Prison Service Framework Document 2000-05. [149900]

Mr. Ingram: Copies of the Northern Ireland Prison Service Framework Document have now been placed in the Library.

Plastic Baton Rounds

Mr. Maginnis: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what have been the results of recent studies into the feasibility of providing an effective alternative to plastic baton rounds for use in crowd control situations in Northern Ireland; and what have been the costs of these studies in the last 10 years. [144690]

Mr. Ingram: The Independent Commission on Policing, recognising the need for an alternative to the baton round, recommended a research programme to find an acceptable, effective and less potentially lethal alternative. The research programme was launched in July 2000, phase I of which, a literature review, is almost complete. This stage of the project has incurred only limited costs, beyond those of the staff involved. Phase II of the project, which will commence later this month, will involve a more detailed cost analysis.

Life Sentences

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many (a) men and (b) women were serving a life prison sentence for murder in Northern Ireland on 1 January. [149625]

Mr. Ingram: At 1 January 2001, there were 78 men and one woman serving sentences of life imprisonment for murder in prisons in Northern Ireland. The figure of 78 men includes eight prisoners on restricted transfer to NI from the Home Office. In addition there were three males detained at the Secretary of State's pleasure (convicted of murder committed while under 18 years of age).

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