Previous Section Index Home Page


18 Mar 2003 : Column 714W—continued

Public Services

Angela Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to introduce co-payments for the public services for which he is responsible. [102199]

Mr. Blunkett: The Home Department aims to meet its public service responsibilities in the most cost effective and efficient manner. To achieve this, consideration is given to Private Finance Initiatives (PFI), and Public Private Partnerships (PPP) to minimise financial risk and maximise benefit to the Public. The Home Department currently has a number of PFI Schemes in operation providing new Police Headquarters, Police Air Support Services, and Police Communications, and is negotiating a number of similar funding partnerships for public services in both the Police Service and the National Probation Service.

Sex Offenders

Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress has been made in trialing the vicious and sex offenders register. [100834]

Hilary Benn: The Violent and Sex Offenders Register (ViSOR) will enable the Police and Probations services to register offenders and maintain a national, up-to-date, shared store of information on offenders, their risk assessments and, critically, their movements.

The register will be piloted at two sites in November 2003. Subject to their successful completion, national implementation will start in January 2004.

In the meantime, forces have had the capability since August 2002 to search a database for information on offenders within their force area. This will help forces to track offenders, rationalise their business processes and ease the implementation of the full national solution, particularly in putting past records onto the new database.

18 Mar 2003 : Column 715W

UK Passport

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department for what reason UK passports specify identification details in French in addition to English; and whether he plans to replace French with an alternative language. [102737]

Beverley Hughes: The British Passport includes French on the personal details page to facilitate international travel and to comply with International Civil Aviational Organisation standards and European Union resolutions. All passports of European Union countries include English and French on the personal details page in addition to their own language. We have no plans to seek to change this.

Women Prisoners (Babies)

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many babies (a) under nine months and (b) under 18 months are in British prisons. [102884]

Hilary Benn: On 10 March 2003 there were 31 babies under nine months and 19 babies under 18 months in prisons in England and Wales. Information about prisons in Scotland and Northern Ireland should be sought from the Scottish Executive and the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland respectively.

Young Offender Institutions

Mrs. Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many Young Offender Institutions operate a personal officer scheme. [103159]

Hilary Benn: All Young Offender Institutions operate a personal officer scheme.

Mrs. Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what child protection procedures are in place in young offender institutions for juveniles considered to be at risk. [103166]

Hilary Benn: In line with Prison Service Order 4950, each young offender institution has a child protection policy. The policy is based upon well-established inter-agency arrangements for promoting the welfare of young people and safeguarding them from harm. Establishments are instructed to appoint a Child Protection Coordinator and establish a Child Protection Committee. Local Child Protection arrangements are approved by the Area Child Protection Committee and complement existing procedures for safeguarding young people such as the anti-bullying strategy and the pastoral care arrangements.

Youth Justice

Mrs. Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many 17 year olds have been (a) questioned, (b) arrested and (c) charged in the past 12 months. [101728]

Hilary Benn: The available information relates to 17 year olds proceeded against, and of those, the number who were brought to court following arrest, and those given reprimands or final warnings. 54,590 were proceeded against in England and Wales in 2001, of

18 Mar 2003 : Column 716W

whom 40,057 had been arrested and charged. In addition, 15,203 were given reprimands or final warnings.

Information on persons questioned is not collected centrally, and the information collected on total arrests is limited to those arrested for notifiable offences and then only by age group rather than individual age.

Statistics on persons proceeded against and cautioned in 2002 will be published in the autumn.

WORK AND PENSIONS

Administrative Costs

Mr. McLoughlin: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the administrative costs were of the (a) New Deal 50 Plus training grant, (b) job grant, (c) funeral payments grant, (d) Sure Start maternity grant, (e) community care grants and (f) access to work grants in the last financial year. [101648]

Mr. Nicholas Brown : I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 29 January 2003, Official Report, column 945W.

Child Care

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what percentage of lone parents (a) are unable to work due to child care commitments and (b) have had to give up work because of a lack of available child care in the last six months. [101048]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: The extent to which childcare commitments contribute directly to ability to work is a complex issue. Lone parents who work, as well as those who do not, report child care as a barrier to work. In a recent survey 52 per cent. of non-working lone parents reported a lack of child care in their area, compared to 45 per cent. of working lone parents; and 53 per cent. of non-working lone parents did not want to leave their child with anyone else, compared to 44 per cent. of working lone parents.

Information on the percentage of lone parents who have to give up work due to lack of available child care is not available. The most common reasons given for giving up work are health (27 per cent.), a personal decision to leave (15 per cent.) and being made redundant (12 per cent.). 6 per cent. of lone parents gave the breakdown of their child care arrangements as the reason for leaving work, but this does not mean necessarily that there was no child care available.

The New Deal for Lone Parents (NDLP) is providing specialist advice and support, including help with child care, to help lone parents make the move into work. Recent evaluation has shown that participation in NDLP more than doubles lone parents chances of moving into work. We are making work possible for lone parents by providing available affordable childcare through initiatives such as the National Childcare Strategy and our new Tax Credits are making sure that that work pays.

18 Mar 2003 : Column 717W

Correspondence

Mrs. Roe: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when the hon. Member for Broxbourne will receive a reply to her letters of 18 December 2002, 16 January, 14 February and 13 March relating to the adoption of the approved code of practice on passive smoking at work. [103688]

Mr. Nicholas Brown : I have written to the hon. Member today.

Ethnic Minority Unemployment

Mr. Brazier: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what organisations have been awarded the contract announced by the Department of Work and Pensions in July 2002 to narrow the 17 per cent. gap between the overall employment rate and that of ethnic minority people; and what timescale has been set for delivering the contracts. [98017]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: The Minority Ethnic Outreach initiative is part of our strategy to tackle the gap between the overall employment rate and the minority ethnic employment rate. Introduced in April 2002, the initiative aims to strengthen the support available to minority ethnic jobless people within five areas of the country with large minority ethnic populations. 45 organisations (through a total of 51 contracts) are contracted to deliver the service until the end of March 2004. The organisations are as follows:

Greater London providers


East Midlands providers


18 Mar 2003 : Column 718W

West Yorkshire providers


West Midlands providers



Next Section Index Home Page