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5 Jan 2004 : Column 102W—continued

Identity Cards

Mr. Allan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions he has had with his EU counterparts concerning the mutual recognition of identity cards. [142154]

Beverley Hughes: There have been no recent discussions with European Union (EU) counterparts on mutual recognition of identity cards.

There are currently no EU standards for the content and format of identity cards, and it is for member states to decide whether and how to issue them. However there is mutual recognition in the sense that valid identity cards issued by EU member states are recognised as travel documents throughout the EU, and also as proof that the holder is an EU national entitled to exercise Treaty rights in any member state.

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate he has made of the costs of the identity card scheme in the first three years

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of operation; and what proportion of set-up costs will be met from (a) charging and (b) existing departmental budgets. [144274]

Beverley Hughes: In his response to the hon. Member during his statement on identity cards on 11 November 2003, Official Report, column 178WS, my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary set out our current best estimates of the set-up costs of the scheme over a three year period. These are £36 million, £60 million and £90 million, respectively. The proportion of these costs which will be funded from charges as opposed to from existing departmental budgets has not yet been decided.

Identity Fraud

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many incidents of identity theft have been reported to the police in each of the last 12 months; [143385]

Beverley Hughes: It is not a criminal offence for a person simply to use another identity. However, false identities are often used to facilitate other offences such as deception and money laundering.

The police do not generally record incidents of identity theft because prosecutions are recorded for the offences facilitated by false identities.

Information and Technology Projects

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many information and technology projects have been initiated by his Department since 1994; [144271]

Fiona Mactaggart: The Home Office and its agencies (excluding non-departmental public bodies) have initiated 36 Information Technology (IT) projects since 1994. This covers IT projects (a) where the cost or value of the project exceeds £5 million or (b) are essential for delivery of core objectives or services. This does not include projects that were originally initiated by Home Office but are not now my responsibility as a result of Machinery of Government changes.

The Home Office has terminated one project since 1994. This was the Immigration and Nationality Directorate's Casework Programme. No projects have been abandoned.

Northern Ireland Troubles

Mr. Barnes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will make it his policy to co-opt victims of the Troubles onto the Victims' Advisory Panel; [142755]

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Paul Goggins: The answers to the questions are as follows.

Any victim of a crime occurring in England and Wales can apply to be a member of the Victims Advisory Panel. The next recruitment campaign for lay members will take place in 2005. Civilian victims of the Northern Ireland Troubles who live in Great Britain can apply. None did so when we first advertised for members in 2002.

There are no centrally held statistics about claims for compensation from victims of terrorist crime before the introduction of the tariff-based scheme in April 1996. In the period between then and 11 September 2001, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority received 588 claims arising from incidents of terrorist bombings in Great Britain. There is no reliable way of giving a definitive breakdown between those related to the Troubles or to other terrorist incidents.

No specific representations have been received about including the needs of victims of the Troubles within the remit of the Commissioner for Victims and Witnesses. The Commissioner, once appointed, will have a responsibility to promote and champion the needs of victims and witnesses of all crimes, who are resident in England and Wales.

The National Strategy for Victims and Witnesses published in July 2003 set out the Government's plans for improving services to all victims. Although not specifically identified as a group separate from others who are bereaved or seriously injured as a result of crime, victims of terrorist incidents in England and Wales are included within the strategy. Work to implement the strategy has now begun, although there are no immediate plans to set up a group to study the needs of the victims of the Northern Ireland Troubles from Great Britain.

There are already a number of independent victims' organisations operating in England and Wales at both national and local level, most notably the voluntary organisation, Victim Support, which this year received a grant of £30 million from the Government. Victim Support provides practical advice and emotional support to victims of all types of crime, including terrorist crime. If people who have been affected by the Troubles wish to set up their own independent support network, they are free to do so.

Passports (Secure Delivery)

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the projected cost per passport of the

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secure delivery service announced on 28 November is; and what the total value of the contract with Special Mail Services Ltd. is. [143484]

Beverley Hughes [holding answer 11 December 2003]: The secure delivery service provided by Special Mail Services Ltd. will cost £2.75 per passport including ancillary service provided. The total value of the contract will depend on the number of passports issued by United Kingdom Passport Service (UKPS) but over a three year period, the contract is estimated to be worth up to £55 million.

Prison Spending

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the prisons budget was for each year since 1995; and what the prisons spending forecast is for each year up to 2009. [142987]

Paul Goggins: The table shows the actual costs of the Prison Service between 1995 and 2003. The figures for 1995–96 to 2000–01 are published in the annual Appropriation Accounts, and the figures for 2001–02 to 2003 are from the Cash Flow Statement in the annual accounts.

Table 1: Prisons Budget 1995 to 2003
£ millions

Financial yearCurrentCapitalTotal

The budget plans for the years 2003–04 to 2005–06 are set out in the table. These figures are published in tables 2 and 3 of Section 6 of the Home Office Annual Departmental Report 2003. Both in-year and future year budgets are subject to review and amendment.

Table 2: Budget plans for the Prison Service 2003 to 2006
£ millions

Financial yearResourcebudget plansCapitalbudget plans

There are no published budget plans for the years 2006–07 to 2008–09.

Probation Service

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the percentage change will be in (a) the National Probation Service and (b) the National Probation Directorate financial settlement for 2004–05. [141801]

Paul Goggins: A final decision about the budget for the National Probation Service, including the National Probation Directorate for 2004–05 has not yet been made.

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Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the (a) Warwickshire, (b) Dorset, (c) Suffolk, (d) Norfolk and (e) Gloucestershire probation areas will receive less money in real terms during 2004–05 after performance-linked penalties and central recharging are taken into account. [141803]

Paul Goggins: A final decision about the budget for individual areas within the National Probation Service has not yet been made. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) deflator set by the Treasury is 2.5 per cent. for 2004–05. It is not expected that any of the above mentioned probation areas will have an increase in their main resource allocation of less than the GDP deflator, after performance-linked penalties and central recharging outside the control of the local areas are taken into account.

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much has been spent on failed IT projects in the Probation Service in each year since 1994. [141804]

Paul Goggins: The National Probation Service Information Systems Strategy (NPSISS) ran from 1994 to 2001 and was the subject of a National Audit Office (NAO) report. A full breakdown of the cost of NPSISS can be found in the NAO report published on 26 April 2001, HC401 Session 2000–01. While the NAO identified significant weaknesses with the management of NPSISS, particularly in the development of the case record and management system, (CRAMS) they did not conclude that the project had 'failed'. As a result of NPSISS, 38 out of which 42 Areas were linked to a network which enabled them to communicate electronically between themselves as well as with the Directorate and other parts of the Home Office.

The National Probation Service was formed in April 2001. Prior to that date individual Probation Services undertook local IT projects. It is not possible to confirm whether the anticipated benefit of each scheme were achieved.

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