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Road Traffic Penalties

Mr. Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to bring forward proposals arising from the road traffic penalties review. [43859]

10 Apr 2002 : Column 358W

Mr. Denham: We are currently in the process of formulating the Government's response to the consultation exercise on road traffic penalties. We hope to publish this soon.

This report has taken some time to complete due to the high number of responses we received. We have also been waiting for the outcome of the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions commissioned research project into the law on dangerous driving by the Transport Research Laboratory. The publication of this report was delayed until January 2002 and we are now considering its findings.

Sonja Ojerholm

John Thurso: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if, in the case of the appeal lodged by Sonja Ojerholm against the refusal of permanent settlement in the UK, he will state the date on which the first copy of the appeal papers was dispatched by the British Consulate General in Los Angeles and received by his Department, the date on which the second copy of the appeal papers was dispatched by the British Consulate and received by his Department and the date his Department submitted the explanatory statement to the Appellate Authority. [44231]

Angela Eagle [holding answer 18 March 2002]: The appeal papers were first dispatched by the British Consulate in Los Angeles on 7 September 2001. These papers were received by the Home Office on 6 November 2001, but were misfiled. A second copy of the appeal papers was faxed by the British Consulate on 14 January 2002. The case is now awaiting the production of an explanatory statement.

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Prison Officers

Mr. Stinchcombe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he defines prison officers as members of the emergency services. [44422]

Beverley Hughes: The prison service is defined as a discipline service, not an emergency service. Emergency service status is reserved for those services available to respond to emergency 999 calls.

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what London allowance is paid to prison officers working at London prisons. [44623]

Beverley Hughes: London allowance is paid by way of a local pay allowance to all Prison Service staff at sites in London and around the south-east. The annual rates payable from 1 January 2002 at the following sites are:


Wandsworth Prison

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what (a) plans he has and (b) funding has been allocated for the refurbishment and rebuilding of E Wing at Wandsworth prison. [44634]

Beverley Hughes: E wing at Wandsworth prison is included in the Prison Service's Safer Cell Programme and the work on site was funded and planned to start this September. Owing to population pressures at the prison, and across the penal estate, this work is to be held in abeyance temporarily to enable E wing to remain in use. There is, however, to be no reduction on the focus of Wandsworth prison as one of the five safer local pilot sites. A re-ordering of the overall programme will result in work being carried out on reception first, then on health care with the work to E Wing following later. Should the population pressures still be such that the capital work in E Wing cannot go forward, some safer custody initiatives will still be undertaken.

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the total prison budget is for Wandsworth prison in the current year; and what total allocated funding has been made available to the prison in each of the last five years. [44632]

Beverley Hughes: The present budget for Wandsworth prison for the financial year 2001–02, which is expressed in resource accounting terms, is for £24.184 million resource and £0.204 million capital spending within Departmental Expenditure Limits.

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The final budgets for the previous five years, which were allocated as cash budgets, were:

£ million

CurrentCapitalTotal
1996–9718.8500.16519.015
1997–9819.9840.33920.323
1998–9921.6270.19421.821
1999–200022.3970.29422.691
2000–0122.4340.11322.547

The capital budgets do not include major capital investment projects undertaken during this period for the refurbishment or replacement of existing facilities, which have been funded through the central building programme.

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many vacancies there are for prison officers in Wandsworth Prison; and if he will make a statement. [44631]

Beverley Hughes: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 14 March 2002, Official Report, column 1223W.

Asylum Seekers

Mr. Leigh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what arrangements have been made for local authorities to be compensated for additional costs incurred as a result of the announcement of possible sites for accommodation centres; [44573]

Angela Eagle: We expect that, nationally, accommodation centres will reduce the burden on local authorities due to the range of facilities provided on site. This includes education for children and adults, and primary healthcare facilities. We will, however, take funding considerations into account as we continue to develop our policy.

Driving Offences

Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many prosecutions there have been in each of the last five years for offences of causing (a) dangerous and (b) careless driving on motorways. [44653]

Beverley Hughes [holding answer 19 March 2002]: Information on prosecutions collected centrally does not distinguish the classification of road on which the offence took place.

Criminal Damage

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the cost has been of criminal damage to his Department's buildings in each of the last four years. [44850]

Angela Eagle: Central records of the occurrences or cost of criminal damage to the Home Office buildings are not kept and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

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Creche Facilities

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what creche facilities are provided by his Department; and at what cost. [44871]

Angela Eagle: The Department provides 146 nursery places for children under the age of five years. These places are available to Home Office staff (including the agencies) at a variety of locations. In addition to these facilities the Forensic Science Service runs a Childcare Support Scheme which provides staff with the opportunity to receive a contribution towards professional child care.

In addition around 1,250 days of school holiday provision are provided throughout the Department in the form of play schemes for children aged between five and 12 years.

These arrangements involve a subsidy to the parent of up to 50 per cent. of the contractual running costs depending on local circumstances. The cost to the Department for providing these facilities is approximately £435,000 per year, depending on take up of the places available.

Design Champion

Ms Shipley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 14 March 2002, Official Report, column 1223W, on the design champion, which two projects within the Department's remit the Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, my hon. Friend the Member for Wallasey (Angela Eagle), sponsored in her role as the Department's design champion. [45006]

Angela Eagle: Officials are currently working on an action plan to deliver the Home Office commitment to my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister's Better Public Buildings Initiative. Selection of projects to sponsor is a matter currently under consideration, and I will make these known in the very near future.

Irish Terrorist Murders

Mr. Quentin Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on progress in the police investigations into the murders of (a) Airey Neave MP and (b) Ian Gow MP. [44331]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 20 March 2002]: The investigation into any crime is, in the first instance a matter for the Chief Constable/Commissioner of the force concerned. I understand, however, that up to now there has been no firm evidence to establish responsibility for these murders. Should any new information or intelligence be received then this will be investigated immediately.


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