Previous Section Index Home Page


Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on plans to integrate (a) cultural exchanges with the Islamic world and (b) the Barcelona Process into the fight against terrorism. [22884]

Peter Hain: I have been asked to reply.

We are working closely with the British Council, which is designated as our cultural arm overseas. The council has developed a programme called "Open Minds", with proposals to build mutual understanding between young people of different cultures. These include school links and other youth exchanges, and networking between young professionals, future leaders and journalists. The project will focus initially on ten countries with large Muslim populations (Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestinian Territories, Saudi Arabia and Turkey). It will also involve Muslim communities in the UK.

At the most recent Ministerial Meeting of the Barcelona Process, on 5–6 November, Ministers reiterated their condemnation of the terrorist attacks committed in the

18 Dec 2001 : Column: 236W

United States on 11 September. They underlined the importance of the Barcelona Process as an instrument for promoting a dialogue of equals between cultures and civilisations. Ministers agreed to work on deepening the existing dialogue between cultures and civilisations, focusing on youth, education and the media.

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the willingness of terrorists to commit suicidal acts to inflict substantial loss of life was taken into account in the drafting of the Terrorism Act 2000. [19776]

Mr. Blunkett: Such acts are covered by the definition of terrorism in Part One of the Terrorism Act 2000. Following the attacks of September 11 we decided to take stock and review our laws to see where they might need further strengthening. The Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Bill contains proportionate and targeted measures which will ensure and safeguard our way of life against those who would take our freedom away. The Bill takes account of the threat from those helping to organise, fund or facilitate global terrorist acts, including the structures and systems needed by those prepared to undertake suicide attacks.

18 Dec 2001 : Column: 237W

Commissioners for the Exhibition of 1851

Mr. Dobson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) when he expects to receive the next report of the Commissioners for the Exhibition of 1851; [12251]

Mr. Blunkett [holding answer 7 November 2001]: I have been informed by the Secretary of the Royal Commission of 1851 that they are no longer obliged to report to Government and have not done so since 1961. Any enquiries should be addressed directly to the Commission.

Neighbourhood Watch Scheme

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much funding was provided by central Government to the neighbourhood watch scheme in each of the last three years for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. [8451]

Mr. Denham: The Home Office pays for the production of a range of neighbourhood watch publications, including a training manual for scheme co-ordinators. We also support neighbourhood watch training events. In addition we have this year made up to £80,000 available to ensure that the neighbourhood watch annual conference can go ahead.


Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 24 October 2001, Official Report, column 288W, on PFI transactions, what is the (a) aggregate of cost savings estimated to have been made through PFI transactions overseen by his Department, (b) aggregate capital value of the PFI projects overseen by his Department and (c) individual capital value of each PFI project overseen by his Department in the last 10 years; and if he will make a statement. [13975]

Mr. Blunkett [holding answer 13 November 2001]: The information is as follows:

(a) The aggregate of cost savings estimated to have been made through PFI transactions overseen by this Department is £641.63 million.

(b) and (c) from the best information available, the following table lists the capital value and aggregate value of PFI projects overseen by this Department in the last 10 years:

£ million

Transaction/project titleCapital value
Rainsbrook (Onley) Secure Training Centre Expansion5.6
Heat Energy Services Tranche 212
HM Prison (HMP) Ryehill37
HMP Dovegate64
Criminal Records Bureau (CRB)Not applicable
IT2000 (Sirius Programme)24.7
Public Safety Radio Communications Project (PSRCP) (Airwave)500
Rainsbrook (Onley) Secure Training Centre7.4
Hassockfield (Medomsley) Secure Training Centre9.1
HMP Forest Bank45
HMPS Heat Energy Services Tranche 18
HM Young Offender Institution (HMYOI) Ashfield26
Passport Application Support System—Front End15
Passport Application Support System—Back End15
Medway (Cookham Wood) Secure Training Centre9.1
Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) Casework Programme41
HMP Parc47
HMP Lowdham Grange25
HMP Altcourse68
Aggregate value1,018.90

18 Dec 2001 : Column: 238W

Police Patrols (Private Minibuses)

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the number of occasions on which private minibuses have been hired for police patrol purposes; and what assessment he has made of the cost compared with that of using police vehicles. [18908]

Mr. Denham: Decisions to deploy hired minibuses rather than other police vehicles for police patrol purposes are operational matters for Chief Officers.

Forensic Laboratories

Mr. Hendry: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what was the total funding by his Department for the national forensic laboratories in each of the last five years for which figures are available. [12041]

Angela Eagle: The Department does not subsidise the Home Office Forensic Science Service in England and Wales. Their income is generated through the services they provide to police forces, the Home Office, the Crown Prosecution Service and the other law enforcement agencies in England and Wales.

The Forensic Science Service receives short-term loans from the Home Office, which are repaid within the same financial year. The Forensic Science Service has received the following aggregate short-term loans:

They also have a long-term trading fund loan of £17.92 million, which was made in March 2000 and is repayable over the next 25 years at commercial rates.

18 Dec 2001 : Column: 239W

Asylum Applications

Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what percentage of initial refusals of applications for asylum on the grounds of non-compliance were upheld on appeal for each of the last six months for which data exists. [10723]

Angela Eagle: The information requested is not available. Figures regarding the outcome of all asylum appeals (regardless of the type of refusal) are published on the Department's website: rds/index.htm.

We are continually seeking to expand the information which we are able to publish but we will only do so once we are confident in the data's reliability.

Assisted Prisoner Visits Unit

Mr. Blunt: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the annual budget for the Assisted Prison Visits Unit in respect of visits to (a) British nationals and (b) foreign nationals; and under which vote the funds are provided. [22815]

Beverley Hughes: The assisted prison visits scheme for England and Wales exists to help prisoners maintain contact with their close family. To qualify for assistance the visitor must be in receipt of a low income or one of a number of benefits as set out in the rules of the scheme. Visitors who meet the qualifying criteria are eligible for assistance without regard to the nationality of the prisoner whom they wish to visit. The scheme provides financial assistance to meet the cost of visiting prisoners who are held in prisons in England and Wales but there are reciprocal arrangements in place with the prison services in Scotland, Northern Ireland, and the Channel Islands.

The opening budget for the assisted prison visits scheme for 2001–02 is £2.6 million. These funds are provided under Home Office Request for Resources 2 (RfR2): Protecting the public by holding prisoners in decent conditions and reducing re-offending after release.

Next Section Index Home Page