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Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to re-examine the methods for the operation of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme and in particular the restrictions placed upon those individuals who have previously had criminal convictions on receiving compensation. [27018]

Mr. Keith Bradley: All aspects of the scheme were re-examined following a major public consultation launched in 1999, and a number of significant changes and improvements were brought into force with effect from 1 April 2001. There are no plans for further re-examination, though the general operation of the scheme is kept under continuing review.

Previous convictions do not automatically or permanently preclude payment of compensation. In assessing applications, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority and the complementary independent Appeals

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Panel take into account other relevant factors. Convictions spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 must be disregarded.

Bogus Children's Charities

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what mechanisms are in place between his Department and the Home Office to crack down on bogus children's charities. [24309]

Angela Eagle [holding answer 8 January 2002]: Responsibility for the investigation of organisations which claim falsely to be charities rests with the police. The Chief Charity Commissioner will write to the hon. Member with information on how the Charity Commission identifies and deals with possible abuse and maladministration in charities concerned with children. A copy of his letter will be placed in the Library.


Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will state against each category of appeal, and for the last full year for which records are kept, (a) the (i) target and (ii) actual time for dispatch of explanatory statements by entry clearance officers from notification by unsuccessful applicants of their notice of appeal, (b) the time such statements are held in the Home Office before being sent to the Immigration Appellate Authority and (c) for what reason figures are not published in the Home Office annual report; what proposals he has for reducing the delay; and if he will make a statement. [25349]

Angela Eagle: The target time for dispatch of explanatory statements from entry clearance posts to the Home Office is one month from receipt of the notice of

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appeal for non-settlement applications and three months for settlement applications. Information on the actual time for dispatch is not available.

Information on the time such statements are with the Home Office is not recorded centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

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These figures were not published in the last Home Office report as they do not measure performance against a Public Service Agreement or Home Office target.

The scope for reducing timescales will be kept under review as part of the substantial expansion in appeals capacity announced by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department on 29 October 2001.

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Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions when he will answer the questions from the hon. Member for Maidenhead on the grant payment deed for (a) NGCL and (b) Renewco, Refs 22067, 22068 and 22069. [27332]

Mr. Byers: I have answered the hon. Member's questions today.

London Underground

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (1) if he will place in the Library the assumptions underlying the judgment about the amount of money that would be saved by the effect of the London Underground PPP on staff as opposed to the effect of the public sector alternative on staff; and if he will make a statement; [26037]

Mr. Spellar: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him on 9 January 2002, Official Report, column 846W.

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, pursuant to his answer of 19 December 2001, Official Report, column 498W, on London Underground, what steps are being taken to increase the capacity of the Jubilee line to 27 trains per hour. [26441]

Mr. Spellar: London Underground informs me that work is currently in hand to improve capacity. Under the planned public-private partnership, London Underground's intention is that responsibility for delivering the capacity it specifies, whether through improved signalling or other means, will be that of the private sector infrastructure company.

Tom Brake: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions what the

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average number of carriages in each train on each line of the London Underground is. [27661]

Mr. Spellar: This is an operational matter for London Underground who have provided the information set out in the table which shows the number of carriages per train for each line on the Underground.

LineNumber of carriages per train
East London4
Hammersmith and City6
Metropolitan(15)8 or 4
Waterloo and City4

(14) Two different types of train stock are used on the District line. The Edgware Road to Wimbledon service comprises "C" stock. All other services on the line make use of "D" stock. Both types of stock are used in six carriage train sets.

(15) All Metropolitan line trains comprise eight carriages, with the exception of the single four carriage train providing the shuttle service between Chesham and Chalfont and Latimer.

Council Tax Benefit

Mrs. Browning: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions (1) if he intends to make compensation adjustments as a result of the abolition of council tax benefit subsidy penalty for Devon county council's settlement for 2002–03; [27309]

Dr. Whitehead: No adjustments will be made to any local authority's settlement figures for 2002–03 as a result of the abolition of the council tax benefit subsidy limitation scheme. Like other local authorities, Devon county council will no longer need to make, or include in its budget requirement, a contribution under the scheme for 2002–03 or future years. It will therefore benefit from the abolition of the scheme. The figure of £1.4 million is its contribution to benefit costs under the scheme in 2001–02. South-East Manchester Multi-Modal Study

Mrs. Calton: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will make a statement on the progress he has made with the south-east Manchester Multi-Modal Study; and when he will announce his decision and the first tranche of funding. [27417]

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Mr. Spellar: I am currently considering the report and the north-west regional assembly's recommendations and hope to make an announcement shortly.

"Planning: Delivering A Fundamental Change"

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he plans parish councils to have a role under the proposals relating to planning in his paper, "Planning: delivering a fundamental change"; and if he will make a statement. [27503]

Ms Keeble: The consultation document "Planning: delivering a fundamental change" does not propose planning functions for parish or town councils. It envisages, however, that action plans drawn up as part of the proposed local development frameworks might include neighbourhood, village or parish plans drawn up with the involvement of the local community (paras 4.13–15 and 4.24).

Starter Home Initiative

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will make a statement on the estimated number of new homes for nurses in south-east England which will be built under the Starter Home Initiative over the years 2001–02 to 2003–04. [26921]

Ms Keeble: Around 3,500 nurses and other essential health workers in London and the south-east will be helped to buy homes through the Starter Home Initiative allocations totalling £230 million which were announced on 6 September 2001. The arrangements for allocating Round 2 Starter Home Initiative funding of £20 million will be announced shortly.

We expect the majority of key workers being helped through the Starter Home Initiative will purchase existing properties. A number of schemes will provide new build properties only, a number will target existing properties and a number of large schemes will target existing properties and also try to identify opportunities for new build.

Mr. Horam: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions if he will allow access to the Starter Home Initiative for key workers to teachers in further education colleges. [26012]

Ms Keeble: The subsidy we are providing to assist people into home ownership is limited and has to be targeted in ways that best help our communities. The Starter Home Initiative funding available for teachers is being targeted on teachers working in schools because this is where the most severe recruitment and retention problems in the profession are being experienced.

Teachers in further education and other key workers will benefit from our wider housing policies to increase the supply of affordable homes, particularly in areas where demand is high. Investment in housing will rise to more than £4 billion by 2003–04 and we are consulting on radical proposals for the more effective delivery of affordable housing through the planning system which would help provide greater opportunities for key workers.

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