Previous Section Index Home Page

Marina Brookes

John Cryer: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he intends to take a decision on the application for indefinite leave to remain of Marina Brookes (Home Office ref: B1099565). [56522]

Beverley Hughes: The application was decided on 15 May 2002 and notification sent by first class recorded delivery on the same day.

Sex Offenders

Mrs. Helen Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) who is notified of plans to allocate sex offenders allocated to areas other than those of their known offending; [42190]

3 Jul 2002 : Column 429W

Hilary Benn: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to her by my hon. Friend the Member for Stretford and Urmston (Beverley Hughes) on 19 March 2002, Official Report, column 285W. I apologise for the delay in responding.


Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many Czech citizens have been extradited over the last four years; how many of them were Roma; and for what kinds of offences. [64858]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 1 June 2002]: The information requested is as follows:

YearSurrenders to Czech Republic

On information available, only one of those fugitives (who did not contest his extradition) was of Roma origin. Those concerned stood accused variously of theft, burglary, robbery and deception.

Road Traffic Offences

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions he has had with (a) the police, (b) the Lord Chancellor and (c) the Crown Prosecution Service on raising the tariff for serious road traffic offences. [65023]

Hilary Benn [holding answer 27 June 2002]: We are currently reviewing penalties for all road traffic offences. On 19 December 2000 we published a consultation paper. The paper dealt with the court sentencing powers for a wide range of road traffic offending including serious offending. The consultation exercise ended in March 2001. We are currently in the final stages of producing the Government's response to the consultation exercise on road traffic penalties. We hope to publish this shortly.

This was an interdepartmental review involving officials from the Home Office, Lord Chancellor's Department, and the Department for Transport in which the views of the Lord Chancellor, the police and the Crown Prosecution Service were taken into account.

Bail Information

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many probation areas in England and Wales operated bail information schemes in the last year for which figures are available; in how many cases information on bail was provided to the courts, broken down by probation area; and in how many of these cases the court ordered conditional bail. [65424]

3 Jul 2002 : Column 430W

Hilary Benn: 36 areas provided bail information schemes to courts in 2001–02, although schemes in some areas will have been targeted at specific courts or court sittings and some courts within those areas will not have benefited from access to a scheme. The National Probation Directorate is currently considering how the overall scope of bail information schemes can be extended to provide courts with greater access to a scheme and to further develop the effectiveness of the bail information process. Work to identify qualitative performance measures will begin later this year.

A return showing the numbers of bail information reports prepared in 2001 is in the table. Consideration of a bail information report will be only one of a range of factors which courts take into consideration when considering whether to order conditional bail and records are not kept of the number of such orders where a bail information report has been presented.

Numbers of bail information reports prepared by the Probation Service during 2001

West Mercia338
Greater Manchester715
Thames Valley401
West Sussex140
West Midlands1,302
North Yorkshire0
South Yorkshire403
West Yorkshire1,991
North Wales0
West Glamorgan9
England and Wales9,870

3 Jul 2002 : Column 431W

Animal Experiments

Mr. Gordon Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what assessment his Department has made of the likely future level of scientific procedures on animals; [65081]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The use of animals in experiments and other scientific procedures is strictly regulated by the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 which is widely regarded as the most rigorous piece of legislation of its type in the world. It offers a high level of protection to animals while recognising the need to use animals in research. It also requires the latest ideas and technology to be taken into account when deciding whether the use of animals is justified.

The licensing system is demand led and the 1986 Act provides no mechanism by which to set absolute limits on the number of animals used. The Act requires that project proposals are assessed on a case-by-case basis and that licences are only granted where the benefits outweigh the costs and where there are no alternatives which either replace animal use entirely, reduce the number of animals needed, or refine the procedures to minimise suffering (the 3Rs). We must also be satisfied that the procedures are likely to achieve the stated objectives.

The number of animal procedures carried out reflects the state of science and industry in the United Kingdom and developments in science rather than being an indicator of the effectiveness of the 1986 Act. The Home Office will, however, continue to implement its overall strategy to minimise the numbers of animals used by the rigorous application of the 3Rs.

It is not possible to predict accurately the amount of scientific research and regulatory testing using animals which is likely to take place in future. However, there are indications that in most areas use of conventional animals will continue to decline, but that new molecular biology techniques are opening up new areas of genetic research which will lead to an increase in the use of genetically modified (GM) animals. In addition, new regulatory requirements, for example, the proposed European Union Chemicals Strategy, have the potential to increase the use of animals for human health and safety purposes.

There is no information readily available to indicate the reduction in scientific procedures using animals achieved through sharing of information. The Government believe, however, that sharing of scientific research data is self-evidently in the interests of refining ad avoiding duplication of procedures, and remains committed to promoting such sharing by any practical means. To this end, in August 2000, we announced an inter-departmental concordat on data sharing. The concordat commits United

3 Jul 2002 : Column 432W

Kingdom regulatory authorities to help resolve legal and other obstacles and encourage data sharing between clients and thereby reduce animal tests. Progress in implementing the concordat is currently under review.

A programme of work involving the use of animals would not be licensed under the 1986 Act if it were known that it would entail unnecessary duplication of earlier work. Apart from some cases where there is need for deliberate replication of earlier work, in order to validate the original findings, we have no evidence that duplication of animal use takes place.

Next Section Index Home Page