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Mr. Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) when he will reply to the letter to him dated 18 March from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton with regard to Afghan asylum-seeker ref DEV/00/1506; [61681]

Mr. Blunkett: I wrote to my right hon. Friend on 1 July 2002.

Social Exclusion

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the level of social exclusion in the city of Newport; and how his recently announced programme will measure a change in social exclusion. [63336]

Mr. Denham [holding answer 20 June 2002]: The Newport Community Safety Partnership undertook a very thorough audit of crime and disorder in the city which informed their 'Strategy to Reduce Crime and Disorder in Newport 2002–05', which I launched publicly on 17 June 2002. Many people and groups were consulted during the audit process including councillors, MPs, interest groups and minority groups.

The new strategy provides not only a clear direction for combating crime and disorder, but also addresses social inclusion issues. The strategy sets out clear objectives, performance indicators and targets for its key aims and progress against these will be the measure of its effectiveness. The strategy aims to: encourage good citizenship among young people; reduce the number of violent crimes; reduce the level of property crime; reduce the impact of drugs and alcohol and make Newport a safer place. Change will also be evinced by the Welsh Assembly Government's own social inclusion programme, which includes the Communities First initiative.

Serious Fraud Office

Mr. Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he last met the Director of the Serious Fraud Office. [64229]

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Mr. Bob Ainsworth: My right hon. Friend, the Home Secretary, has not had any meetings with the Director of the Serious Fraud Office since he became Home Secretary. However, the Home Department maintains close relations with the Serious Fraud Office and I attended an inter-departmental meeting on his behalf on 10 June at which the Director, Rosalind Wright, was also present.

Immigration and Nationality Directorate

Mr. Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he last met (a) the Director of Public Prosecutions, (b) the President of the Law Society and (c) the Chairman of the Bar; where he has advertised the post of Director-General of IND; when he will appoint the Director-General of IND; and how many civil servants are employed in IND. [64230]

Beverley Hughes: My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary (Mr. Blunkett) last met the Director of Public Prosecutions on 10 June 2002 and the Chairman of the Bar Council on 8 March 2002. The Secretary of State has not yet met the current President of the Law Society.

The post of Director-General of the Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) was advertised in the media as follows:

It is expected that an announcement about the appointment of a new Director-General of IND will be made during July.

There are 11,253 civil servants employed by IND.

Animal Research

Mrs. Helen Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what assessment he has made of the reporting of the methods used in research on primates at Cambridge University; [64259]

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Mr. Bob Ainsworth: We have received a copy of a report of an investigation carried out by the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection into primate research at Cambridge university, and we are in the process of giving it careful consideration.

As part of that, the Chief Inspector of the Animal (Scientific Procedures) Inspectorate has been commissioned to report on the documentation, analysis and advice underpinning the original severity limits and severity bands on the relevant project licences. In addition he will advise on whether the licensing decisions were sound and defensible, and will review compliance with the relevant licence authorities.

The Animals Procedure Committee (APC) may advise the Secretary of State about any issues relating to the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. The APC has been made aware of the concerns recently raised about the research in question, but the Secretary of State does not plan at this stage to refer the matter to the Committee, pending receipt of the Chief Inspector's report.

The general factors taken into account in assessing the applications for licences to conduct the research are as set out in the Guidance on the Operation of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, and in the Chief Inspector's paper on the cost/benefit assessment published as part of the Animal Procedures Committee annual report of 1997 (both are available in the Library). In determining whether and on what terms to grant a project licence, section 5 (4) of the 1986 Act requires that the likely adverse effect on the animals concerned must be weighed against the benefit likely to accrue as a result of the programme specified in the licence.

The severity bands assigned were determined according to the principles set out in the relevant sections of the Home Office Guidance on the Operation of the 1986 Act. The assessment of the severity band for the project as a whole reflects the number of animals used on each protocol and actual suffering likely to be caused as result. It is based on the overall level of cumulative suffering to be experienced by each animal, not just the worst possible case. It takes into account the proportion of animals expected to reach the severity limit of the protocol and the duration of the exposure to that severity limit, the nature and intensity of the adverse effects, and the actions taken to relieve the suffering. Professional judgment must be applied by the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Inspectorate (ASPI) on a case-by-case basis.

Under the provisions of the 1986 Act, animals can only be used in scientific procedures when there is no alternative way to achieve the objective concerned, such as using computer models, cell cultures and other in vitro methods. This condition applies to the research conducted at Cambridge university and (ASPI) challenged, verified and advised this is the case. ASPI is composed of medical and veterinary graduates with a wide range of experience and expertise in the biomedical sciences, including research methods not involving the use of living animals.

All establishments designated under the 1986 Act are required to provide standards of care and accommodation complying with the provisions of the Home Office Code

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of Practice for the Housing and Care of Animals used in Scientific Procedures. This is required through conditions of issue attached to the Certificates of Designation and is monitored through the inspection programme. The required standards of post-operative care in this case were prescribed through the terms and conditions of the relevant certificate of designation, project licence and personal licences.

Progress and conduct of the research has been monitored by ASPI in the normal way through announced and unannounced inspections, supplementary information obtained when licence amendments were sought, and from publications resulting from the programme of work.

We will consider what further action may be appropriate when we have received the Chief Inspector's report.

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the statistics of Scientific Procedures on Living Animals in 2001 will be published. [64742]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 23 June 2002]: It is expected that these statistics will be published in the second half of July 2002.

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