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The Home Office and its agencies have introduced new guidelines, policies and procedures with a view to meeting its target to reducing sickness absence, published in its Service Delivery Agreements for April 2001 to March 2004.
Mr. Blizzard: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will announce the budget allocations for local crime and disorder reduction partnerships under the safer communities initiative. 
Mr. Denham: We are working on plans for a safer communities initiative (SCI) as a coherent and consistent framework for delivering crime reduction funding to local crime and disorder partnerships, to help them tackle crime and disorder in their areas, to meet local and national crime reduction priorities.
Angela Eagle: My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has not yet visited the Joint Entry Clearance Unit and has no immediate plans to do so. However, I visited on 12 November and my right hon. and noble Friend Lord Rooker, Minister for Immigration and Asylum, visited on 4 July.
Mr. Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the trend in the incidence of youth disturbance involving the intake of alcohol in the last three years. 
Mr. Denham: The information requested is not routinely collected by police forces or held centrally. Youth disturbance may vary from nuisance behaviour through to more serious disorder and criminal activity.
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Tackling the problems associated with underage drinking is a key objective of the Home Office action plan on alcohol-related crime, disorder and nuisance. The most recent Youth Lifestyles Survey, published in October 2000, showed that 15 per cent. of young people aged 12 to 17 admitted to committing some form of antisocial behaviour during or after drinkingmost often getting into a heated argument. Frequent drinkers were also more likely to have behaved antisocially.
We have strengthened the law, from 1 December, to go further in tackling the sale of alcohol to underage drinkers. Section 30 of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 now places a positive duty on staff in licensed premises to check the age of young customers before selling alcohol, and section 31 provides a power for the police and local authorities to enforce the law by using under-18s to make test purchases. We expect these important new measures to assist in our determination to tackle under-age drinking as part of our wider programme to reduce youth crime and antisocial behaviour.
Mr. Martyn Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on his meeting with the French Minister for the Interior at the United Kingdom-France summit held on 29 November in relation to cross-channel illegal immigration and the effectiveness of checks conducted on persons and vehicles. 
Angela Eagle: The Home Secretary and Daniel Vaillant did not meet at the UK-French summit on 29 November. Interior Minister Vaillant was forced to cancel his participation at the last minute due to his involvement in detailed negotiations with the French Police Unions.
However, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and Monsieur Lionel Jospin the French Prime Minister had an hour long bilateral during which they discussed among other issues the Red Cross Centre at Sangatte and the Civil Penalty. Discussions also took place between my right hon. Friend the Minister for Europe and his French counterpart M. Moscovici. In addition to formal meetings at ministerial level, officials on both sides meet regularly to discuss proposals to combat illegal immigration between our two countries.
Mr. Keith Bradley: The National Audit Office is currently conducting a study of Victim Support, which is an independent organisation and the principal supplier, on behalf of the Home Office, of services for victims of crime and witnesses.
Mr. Moss: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representatives from (a) devolved Administrations, (b) local authorities and (c) London have been invited to sit on the (i) Civil Contingencies Committee and (ii) the Sub-Committee on UK Resilience. 
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Mr. Blunkett: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 5 November 2001, Official Report, columns 68W, about the terms of reference and composition of the Civil Contingencies Committee (CCC) and its Sub-committees. The hon. Member will also be aware of the letter I wrote to individual Members of this House on 9 November explaining how the Civil Contingencies Secretariat is exercising its support responsibilities.
Ann Clwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what recent discussions he has had with the Health Secretary in the National Assembly about steps to reduce the waiting time for a heart operation similar to those announced for England on 6 December. 
The Assembly is exploring with the Department for Health a range of options including some outside the Welsh NHS. At present, where it is appropriate, cardiac patients are offered the opportunity to receive their treatment in England, notably at the Hammersmith Hospital, co-ordinated by the Specialised Health Services Commission for Wales.
The target by the end of March 2002 is that no patient needing routine cardiac surgery should wait more than 12 months for treatment. By 200304 the target is that cardiac waiting time will have further reduced to six months and then down to three months by 200607.
Mr. Paul Murphy: In conjunction with the National Assembly for Wales, which manages my Department's personnel functions under the terms of a service level agreement, we are committed to achieving substantial reductions in the number of days lost through sickness.
1. Details cover the most recent four years for which data are available.
2. Figures for 199698 relate to Welsh Office, Cadw and Estyn (formerly OHMCI).
3. 1999 figures relate to Welsh Office, Cadw and Estyn up to 30 June, and to Wales Office: National Assembly for Wales, Cadw and Estyn from 1 July.
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Mr. Paul Murphy: None at present. The Wales Office is staffed entirely by secondees from other organisations and so does not undertake its own external recruitment. But I should be delighted if people employed through new deal were to offer themselves for secondment to my Department.
Mr. Paul Murphy: The departmental expenditure limit which is available for the Wales Office's own expenditure, after payment of block grant to the National Assembly for Wales, is not set to increase between 200102 and 200304.
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