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Hugh Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his Department will lodge an appeal about the adjudicator's decision over the visa application by Ms Gracie Allen (HO ref A1127781; Appeal No. THS 1272/2001); and if he will make a statement. 
Angela Eagle [holding answer 20 May 2002]: The Home Office has decided not to apply for leave to appeal to the Immigration Appeal Tribunal against the adjudicator's decision to grant Mrs. Allen entry clearance.
Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on his policy towards the initiative of Spain setting up a European network for the protection of public figures (2002/C42/08). 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The Working Party on Police Co-operation meeting held on 5 to 6 February 2002, proposed the setting up of a European network for the protection of public figures to be chaired by the member state holding the Presidency of the Council. Its remit was to standardise the package of support and protection afforded to visiting dignitaries against agreed criteria, as well as the exchange of resources and information.
Negotiations are ongoing and it is expected that a decision on the implementation of the Network's proposals will be taken in June. However, the Government feel that the United Kingdom (UK) has much to offer in the exchange of best practice ideas and procedures in the area of public figure protection. One of the key issues that the Government have sought to maintain is the principle that it is the right of the host state to determine the appropriate package of support according to the specific threat to the individual visiting that country. The network will have no power to make legislative changes to UK law.
Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will reply to the letter from the hon. Member for Totnes of 17 April about Mrs. Roberta Parr and Miss Dominyka Gajauskite regarding their visa applications and the return of their Lithuanian passports for work purposes. 
Angela Eagle [holding answer 20 May 2002]: My right hon. and noble Friend, Minister of State, Home Department (Lord Rooker), wrote to the hon. Member on 14 May 2002.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people have been serving prison sentences for drugs offences in each year since 1979; and what percentage of the prison population this represents in each reporting period. 
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Beverley Hughes [holding answer 21 May 2002]: Data on the number of people in Prison Service establishments in England and Wales broken down by type of offence on 30 June is published each year in 'Prison Statistics England and Wales' available in the Library.
The Table shows the number of drug offenders received into Prison Service establishments in England and Wales in each year between 1992 (the earliest data available) and 2000 (the latest confirmed data available), and what percentage of the total sentenced receptions they represent in each year.
|Number of drug offenders received||Percentage of total sentenced receptions|
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what percentage of animal experiments carried out in the last year for which figures are available were mandatory, pursuant to legislative requirements and where the use of non-animal alternatives would not have met those requirements. 
Angela Eagle [holding answer 22 May 2002]: Under the provisions of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, animals can only be used in licensed scientific procedures when there is no alternative way to achieve the objective concerned, such as testing products using computer models, cell cultures and other in vitro methods. Animals are only used where fully justified and where the benefits outweigh the costs to the animals involved.
The Statistics of Scientific Procedures on Living Animals Great Britain 2000, the last year for which figures are available, records that procedures for toxicological purposesthe category where legislative testing requirements usually applyaccounted for 17 per cent. of all procedures started in 2000. This proportion compares with 20 per cent. in 1999 and 25 per cent. in 1995.
The majority of these toxicology/safety procedures (some 84 per cent.)amounting to just over 14 per cent. of all procedures carried out in all categorieswere performed to conform to legislative requirements. The procedures of this type carried out for non-legislative purposes include studies for refinement or replacement of live animal use in safety testing, as well as ecological studies.
It may be additionally worth noting that pharmaceutical safety/efficacy evaluation purposes accounted for 60 per cent. of all procedures for toxicology, other safety and efficacy evaluations, and that no procedures were performed in 2000 for the purpose of evaluating the safety of either cosmetic products or ingredients.
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Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make it his policy to require the numbers of animals bred for experimentation purposes but subsequently found to be unsuitable for such purposes or surplus to requirements to be included in the annual statistics on animal use under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. 
Angela Eagle [holding answer 22 May 2002]: The published annual statistics relate solely to animals used in scientific procedures regulated under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. This meets the requirement, in section 21 of the Act, to provide related information to Parliament.
With the exception of the production of genetically modified animalswhich is itself a regulated procedurethe number of animals bred but not eventually used for scientific purposes has not been considered appropriate for inclusion in these statistics. The Government have at present no plans to change that.
The Animal Procedures Committee looked at the issue of the over-breeding of animals for use in scientific procedures as part of its 10-year review of the 1986 Act. It concluded that although some over-breeding was unavoidable, it can and should be minimised, and it recommended principles of best practice to help to achieve this.
The committee also undertook to liaise with the Laboratory Animal Science Association, which has also been considering the issue of over-breeding and how it can be minimised, to refine these principles before finalising its advice. I expect to receive the Committee's report by the summer and will carefully consider the further advice it provides.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the mandate is of the Advisory Committee on the implementation of the Community Action Programme to combat social exclusion; how many times it has met over the last 12 months; what the UK representation on it is; what the annual cost of its work is to public funds; if he will list the items currently under its consideration; if he will take steps to increase its accountability and transparency to Parliament; and if he will make a statement. 
Malcolm Wicks: I have been asked to reply.
The Programme Committee set up pursuant to Decision No. 50/2002/EC of 7 December 2001, establishing a programme of Community action to encourage co-operation between member states to combat social exclusion, is mandated to assist the Commission in implementing that Decision. It has met three times (once on an informal basis as it predated the coming into legal force of the Decision) over the last 12 months. The UK was represented by either one or two officials from the Department for Work and Pensions at these meetings. Costs to UK public funds were limited to their expenses, approximately £2,650, less reimbursements provided by the Commission. There are no items currently under consideration by the Programme Committee.
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The first annual report by the Commission required by Council Decision 1999/468/EC on the working of committees was deposited in the Libraries of both Houses on 26 February 2002 (Commission Document COM (2001) 783 Final). The UK Government have encouraged the Commission to produce and maintain an electronic database of every comitology committee, its agendas and recent actions, to be accessible through its website.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the mandate of the Committee for the implementation of the action programme to promote gender equality is; how many times it has met over the last 12 months; what the UK representation on it is; what the annual cost of its work is to public funds; if he will list the items currently under its consideration; if he will take steps to increase its accountability and transparency to Parliament; and if he will make a statement. 
Mrs. Roche: The legal basis for the fifth action programme (200105) is Article 13 of the Treaty and Council Decision 2001/51/EC of 20 December 2000. The programme is one of the components of the overall Community strategy on gender equality (which embraces a range of Community policies and action aimed at achieving gender equality), including both mainstreaming gender into general policies and targeting specific actions towards women.
The committee which implements the programme is composed of member states' representatives. The current UK nominee is the responsible official in the Cabinet Office's Women and Equality Unit. It has met three times during the last 12 months. As per Article 6 of the Council Decision establishing the programme, the committee's agenda includes:
the annual plan of work for the implementation of the programme's actions;
the financial support to be supplied by the Community;
the annual budget and the distribution of funding between the various actions of the programme;
the procedures for selecting the actions to be supported by the Community and the draft list of actions to receive such support submitted by the Commission;
the criteria for monitoring and evaluating the programme, in particular its costs-effectiveness, and the arrangements for the dissemination of results.
Travel costs for officials attending committee meetings are reimbursed by the European Commission; subsistence costs average less than £250 per year.
The principles and conditions concerning public access to the committee's documents (Article 13 of the rules of procedure for the committee) are the same as those applying to commission documents. The European Scrutiny Committee receives Explanatory Memoranda about work undertaken under this programme.
Together with member states, the commission is currently conducting a review to bring existing legislation on the conduct of committees into line with Council
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Decision 1999/468/EC, to "simplify the requirements for the exercise of implementing powers conferred on the Commission".
As an obligation to this decision, the commission undertook to publish an annual report on the working of committees. The first report was deposited in the Libraries of both Houses on 26 February 2002 (Com (2001) 783 Final).
As part of the review process, the UK Government have encouraged the commission to produce and maintain an electronic database of every comitology committee, its agendas and recent actions, to be accessible through its website.
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