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21 Nov 2002 : Column 245W—continued

Sex Selection

Jim Dobbin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what factors underlay his recent decision to ask the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority to consult on the subject of sex selection for non-medical reasons; [81751]

Ms Blears: We asked the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) to review the practice of sex selection to take account of new techniques developed since the HFEA's last review in 1993. The consultation document was produced by the HFEA, who will assess the responses to it and report to Ministers.

Sickness Statistics

Dr. Fox : To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many working days in the NHS were (a) lost and (b) lost in each of the past 10 years due to sickness of less than three days' duration in each of the last 10 years. [80952]

Mr. Hutton: National data on sickness absence levels in the national health service has only been collected since 1999. Information on working days lost in the NHS due to sickness of less than three days duration is not held centrally, but may be available from individual NHS employers.

The national sickness absence rate in 1999 was 4.96 per cent. which is equivalent to approximately 9.97 million working days. The sickness absence rate in 2000 was 4.68 per cent., which is equivalent to approximately 9.78 million working days. Sickness absence figures for 2001 are currently being analysed by the Department.

Social Services

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the cost to public funds of making non-residential social services free of charge for (a) people aged over 65 and (b) people in receipt of disability living allowance. [80455]

Jacqui Smith: In 1999–2000, total charge income for non-residential social services in England was #303 million. Of this, #232 million was in respect of services for people aged 65 or over.

No comprehensive estimate is available for charges paid by people receiving disability living allowance.

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Warrington PCT

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the cost was of (a) the production and (b) the distribution of the leaflet entitled 'Your Guide to Local Health Services' recently distributed by Warrington PCT. [82055]

Jacqui Smith: The table shows production and distribution costs incurred by Warrington Primary Care Trust to issue the leaflet 'Your Guide to Local Health Services' to the population of Warrington. In order to keep costs to a minimum, distribution was made via free local newspapers.

Costs #Number of copiesCost per leaflet


Air and Pellet Guns

Mr. Roy: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what plans he has to launch an inquiry into the misuse of air and pellet guns; [80135]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: We have been looking at a number of options for dealing with the problem of air weapon misuse, and will bring forward proposals in due course.


Mr. Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) on how many occasions in each of the last five years cyclists have been prosecuted for exceeding the speed limit; [80397]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The available information is contained in the table. This relates to neglect of traffic directions (which will include cycling the wrong way down one-way streets), riding on footpath (which will include riding on pavements and using footpaths designated for pedestrians), failing to obey signal (which will include cycling through traffic lights at red), lighting and reflector offences (which will include failing to carry cycle lights at night) and other offences (which will include any offences of exceeding the speed limit).

Information for 2001 will be published in December.

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Persons(10)proceeded against at magistrates' courts for various offences connected with pedal cycles, England and Wales 1996 to 2000

Office DescriptionPrincipal statute19961997199819992000(11)
Neglect of traffic directionsRoad Traffic Act 1988 Secs 35 and 36181921216352
Riding on footpathHighways Act, 1835 Sec 72; (as amended by Local Government Act 1888 S.85(1), the Statute Law Revision (No. 2) Act 1888, Highways Act 1959 Sch, Criminal Justice Act 1967, 3rd Sch. and Criminal Justice Act 1982, ss 39 and 46 and Sch. 3); Metropolitan Police Act, 1839, Sec.54(7) and Byelaws.4236481,055376223
Failing to obey signalRoad Traffic Regulation Act 1984 Sec. 28(3)244319456
Lighting and reflector offencesRoad Traffic Act 1988 Sec. 81 and RVL Regs. 1989382412624459275
Certain other offencesVarious167162515


(10) Principal offence basis.

(11) Staffordshire Police Force were only able to submit sample data for persons proceeded against and convicted in the magistrates' courts for the year 2000. Although sufficient to estimate higher orders of data, these data are not robust enough at a detailed level and have been excluded from the table.

Deer Hunting Study

Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department on what grounds the Home Office Project Licence to the Joint Universities Study on Deer Hunting was refused. [80821]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: We have been unable on available information to identify a Joint Universities project licence application of the type described. A similar application was, however, made in 1998 from another source. It was made under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, and was for a project licence to conduct a study concerned with deer hunting.

It is not policy to disclose details of individual applications, but I can tell the hon. Gentleman that the application was refused because it was not considered to meet the cost/benefit criteria set out in section 5(4) of the 1986 Act. In other words, the adverse effects on the animals to be used were deemed to outweigh the likely benefit to accrue from the specified programme of work.


Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what the annual consumption of heroin was in each year since 1992; [81000]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Although there is no robust estimate of the consumption of heroin, data are collected on the number of heroin seizures made in the United Kingdom, and these are shown for each year from 1992 to 2000 in Table 1.

Table 1. Number of heroin seizures made in the UK 1992–2000.

Number of heroin seizures
1999 15,519

Table 2 shows the number of persons found guilty of dealing heroin in Great Britain between 1992 and 2000.

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Table 2. Persons found guilty of dealing in heroin in Great Britain, 1992–2000(12)

Number of persons(13)

(12) The term 'dealing' is taken to cover the following drug offences: possession with intent to supply unlawfully, unlawful supply, and unlawful import/export.

(13) As the same person may be found guilty of or cautioned for more than one offence, rows cannot be added together to produce totals.

(14) Import/Export data not available for 2000.


Home Office Drug Seizure and Offender Statistics, United Kingdom, 2000—Supplementary Tables

The Home Office Statistical Bulletin is available on the RDS website rds.pdfs2.hosb402.pdf, and copies are available in the Library.

Road Traffic Penalties

Sir Michael Spicer: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will publish the results of the consultation on road traffic penalties. [81095]

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: [holding answer 18 November 2002]: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Cathcart (Tom Harris) on 24 July 2002, Official Report, column 1450W.

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