|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Beverley Hughes [holding answer 10 December 2001]: The prison service currently operates one prison ship, Weare, which is berthed in Portland Harbour and has been operating successfully as a medium security training establishment since 1997 accommodating 400 men over the age of 25 serving the last nine months of their sentence. There are currently no plans to increase the number of prison ships. However, the prison service is always prepared to consider a wide range of options for safely accommodating the prisoner population when it is rising including the use of floating facilities, but would prefer to give primary consideration to other alternatives which provide better long term accommodation.
11 Dec 2001 : Column: 840W
Simon Hughes: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department when members of the public will have rights to access information held by public authorities as set out in the Freedom of Information Act 2000; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Stinchcombe: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, pursuant to his answer of 29 November 2001, Official Report, columns 113536W, on judges' accommodation, what (a) sporting, (b) recreational and (c) leisure facilities are provided in each of the judges' lodgings listed. 
Mr. Wills: As part of the Triennial Review of Judges Lodgings, a notional comparison was made of the value for money provided by lodgings with alternative forms of accommodation providing appropriate standards of security, privacy and comfort. The review concluded that, taking account of the security requirements and extra environmental benefits offered by lodgings, they continue to provide the best balance between meeting the needs of the judges on the one hand and obtaining fair value for money on the other.
While the review therefore recommended that there be no change to the overall principle that lodgings continue to be the main method by which accommodation is provided, the Lord Chancellor has now decided that it will be taken forward in the context of relevant recommendations of Lord Justice Auld's report which was published on 8 October.
Mr. Stinchcombe: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department, pursuant to his answer of 29 November 2001, Official Report, columns 113536W, on judges' accommodation, if he will list for each of the judges' lodgings in (a) 199798, (b) 199899, (c) 19992000 and (d) 200001, (i) the capital value and date of last valuation, (ii) the rent paid, (iii) the number of staff employed, their job titles and whether full or part-time, (iv) the cost incurred on (A) security and (B) non-security staff, (v) the amount spent on refreshments, (vi) the running and maintenance costs, not covered by (ii), (iv) or (v) above, (vii) the number of bedrooms for judges accommodation, (viii) the number of days that judges
11 Dec 2001 : Column: 841W
were in residence and (ix) the number of days that one or more of the bedrooms for judges accommodation were empty. 
Mr. Wills: The information requested is contained in the schedules I am placing in the Library, save for the following: the estate was last valued on the 30 June 2000. However data relating to the individual capital values are classified as 'Commercial in Confidence'.
An analysis of the number of staff and their job titles was carried out as part of the Judges Lodgings Review and figures for 19992000 are therefore available; to provide a similar analysis for the other years would incur a disproportionate cost. Collation of the information regarding the number of days when bedrooms were empty would also incur a disproportionate cost.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department if she will make a statement on the savings in 200001 resulting from the introduction of conditional fee arrangements. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: Conditional fee arrangements were introduced in 1995 and are now widely used in personal injury cases. Because of the availability of conditional fees, personal injury and some other areas of law were taken out of the scope of civil legal aid in April 2000 when the funding code for the community legal service fund was introduced.
We estimate that net the direct savings to legal aid in 200001 from taking most personal injury cases out of scope were £32 million. This is based on a comparison with the previous year. It is not possible to quantify separately savings in 200001 resulting from the use of conditional fee arrangements in other types of cases which were taken out of the scope.
The figure of £32 million understates savings to legal aid from the introduction of conditional fees. Expenditure on personal injury cases fell substantially in the years before 200001 following the introduction of conditional fees, but our records do not enable us to cost this accurately.
Ms Rosie Winterton: The Government are committed to reforming mental incapacity law when parliamentary time allows. If practicable, draft legislation will be published in advance of the Bill's introduction before Parliament.
Dr. Desmond Turner: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department what effect the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Bill will have on the rights of Crown leaseholders (a) to enfranchise and (b) to acquire (i) a new and (ii) an extended lease. 
11 Dec 2001 : Column: 842W
Mr. Wills: Following a statement made on 2 November 1992 by Sir George Young, the Crown authorities gave an undertaking that the Crown would, as landlord and subject to specified conditions, agree to the enfranchisement or extension of residential long leases under the same qualifications and terms which applied by virtue of the Leasehold Reform Act 1967 and the Leasehold Reform, Housing and Urban Development Act 1993 to lessees who hold from other landlords.
It was announced on 3 April 2001, Official Report, columns 17576W, that the Crown authorities had confirmed that they would apply the undertaking to the provisions of the 1967 Act and the 1993 Act as amended by the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Bill which was then before Parliament. As was announced by my noble and learned Friend Lord Falconer of Thoroton during the Third Reading of the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Bill, which is before this Parliament, on 19 November 2001, Official Report, House of Lords, column 927, the Crown authorities have now confirmed that this also applies to those Acts as amended by the current Bill. This undertaking accordingly supersedes the one given on 3 April 2001.
11 Dec 2001 : Column: 843W
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|