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35. Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what role his Department has in relation to decisions by the appropriate Secretary in the National Assembly for Wales to (a) set limits on and (b) cap the expenditure of a police authority; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Denham: Police authorities in Wales, as in England, are responsible for setting budgets and precepts. However, local government finance is a devolved issue. Reserve powers over local authority budgets under the
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Angela Eagle: We intend to introduce a new system by autumn 2002 which will replace vouchers. We are examining the best method of using the new Application Registration Card to access appropriate cash payments. Our aim is a scheme which will be more efficient and less socially divisive.
Mr. Coleman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the average time has been over the last six months for individuals granted refugee status to have their grant confirmed in writing. 
Angela Eagle: I regret that the information requested is not readily available, and could be obtained only by examination of individual case records and is, therefore, available only at disproportionate cost.
Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions he has had with children's organisations on how the proposals in the forthcoming asylum White Paper will affect asylum-seeking children and young people. 
Angela Eagle: We will introduce these changes to the voucher scheme operated by the National Asylum Support Service (NASS) on 8 April 2002. The cash element of subsistence support will be uprated from £10 to £14 and the levels of support will be increased so that the 70 per cent. parity with income support rates for adults and 100 per cent. parity for children are restored. The new rates of support are shown in the table (applicable only to asylum seekers supported by NASS).
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|Current levels of support since 3 April 2000||Levels of support from 8 April 2002|
|Lone parent aged 18 or over||36.54||37.77|
|Single person aged 25 or over||36.54||37.77|
|Single person aged at least 18 but under 25||28.95||29.89|
|Person aged at least 16 but under 18 (except a member of a qualifying couple)||31.75||32.50|
Asylum seekers in receipt of the full support package (accommodation and subsistence) receive fully furnished accommodation including cooking utensils. Council tax and utilities are paid for centrally.
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: A key focus of the government's anti-drug strategy is ensuring young people and their parents or carers are aware of the dangers of drugs and where to get help. Drugs education policies are in place in 93 per cent. of secondary and 75 per cent. of primary schools. Information about drugs is routinely sent to schools, GP surgeries and police stations. In December, we launched a campaign to raise the awareness of the risks of drugs and to encourage young people, their parents or carers to call the National Drugs Helpline on 0800 776600 for reliable and credible information about the harm drugs cause.
Mr. McGrady: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will expedite the provision of relevant material relating to the 1974 Monaghan bombings to the Committee of Inquiry; and if he will make a statement. 
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The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland met with Mr. Justice Barron, sole member of the independent inquiry into the Dublin/Monaghan and Dundalk bombings, on 17 January. The then Royal Ulster Constabulary (now the Police Service of Northern Ireland) and the Northern Ireland Forensic Science Agency have already provided replies to a number of points raised by the inquiry. The Secretary of State is not yet in a position to provide the information requested from the Government; he hopes to do so in the near future.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many officials from his Department have attended the environmental appraisal and integration into policy training course run by the Civil Service College. 
Angela Eagle [holding answer 21 January 2002]: One official is due to attend the course in February 2002. Officials have also attended Civil Service College courses on environmental and energy issues and environmental management systems. Officials have also attended seminars and workshops on a number of environmental issues such as energy management, green transport, waste and procurement. The Department has also held a green purchasing symposium for procurement staff and a number of seminars for building managers.
The Prison Service has also arranged training for staff on energy management, green procurement and environmental management systems and has plans to include an environmental booklet in their staff induction package.
Beverley Hughes: This information is not held centrally. All applications to the board from prisoners are recorded in a book which is inspected by the Governor on a regular basis. A manual count at each of the 136 establishments would be required and this would be time consuming and costly.
Mr. Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he intends to reply to the letter to him dated 10 December 2001 from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton, with regard to Mr. John Alvsine Bangura. 
Richard Younger-Ross: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if contributions to the Police Pension Scheme made before 5 April 1978 took into account provision for a pro rata pension for widows; and for what reason pensions are not paid to the widows of police officers who married or re-married after their retirement if that retirement was before 5 April 1978. 
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Mr. Denham: It is a principle in public service pension schemes that members are required to contribute towards the cost of their benefits. Prior to 5 April 1978 the police scheme attracted a widow's pension of half the husband's pension. However, in line with other public service pension schemes, it did not provide survivor benefits for wives married to those who had already retired from the police service. Officers' pension contributions at the time reflected this. The greater current contribution rate of 11 per cent. partly reflects the additional benefit of the provision of pensions for post-retirement widows.
Richard Younger-Ross: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers who retired before 5 April 1978 remarried after that date; and what estimate he has made of (a) the average pension payment and (b) the total cost to the Government of paying widows of those police officers on the same basis as the widows of police officers who retired after that date. 
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retrospective change across public service pension schemes would be in the region of £300 million to £500 million.
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