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20 Jan 2004 : Column 1204W—continued


Alcohol Misuse

David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what initiatives the Government plan to reduce the harm associated with alcohol misuse; and if he will make a statement. [148796]

Ms Blears: The Prime Minister's Strategy Unit published an interim analytical report on the harms associated with alcohol misuse on 19 September 2003. This report identifies the following broad areas for policy interventions: education, information and communication; supply and pricing; health and treatment services; the community safety and criminal justice. The findings of this report have been used to inform development of the Government's alcohol harm reduction strategy, which will be published shortly.

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Animal Welfare

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the stakeholder forum on the care and use of primates in experiments will be set up; what the terms of reference will be; who will be included on the forum; and when it will report. [146169]

Caroline Flint: Establishment of a stakeholder forum to consider issues relating to the use of non-human primates in scientific procedures was recommended in the report by the Animal Procedures Committee (APC) "The Use of Primates under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986".

This recommendation was accepted, and a forum has accordingly been set up. It will meet on 9 January. It has no formal terms of reference. Its principal task is to consider other recommendations in the APC's report. The aim is to hold an informed debate that will assist preparation of a ministerial response to the issues that the ARC has raised.

Attendance at the forum is by invitation only. Invitees include a broad range of organisations with practical experience of the use of primates in scientific procedures, as well as those from funding and regulatory organisations and other Government Departments.

A report of the forum's meeting and conclusions will be placed on the Home Office and ARC websites as soon as it is available.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what research he has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the feasibility of implementing the recommendations in the House of Lords report on the use of animals in scientific procedures; and if he will make a statement. [147328]

Caroline Flint: The Home Office has not commissioned, or evaluated, any formal research into the feasibility of implementing the recommendations of the House of Lords Select Committee on Animals in Scientific Procedures, published in July 2002. The Government's response to the Select Committee's report was published on 20 January 2003 (Cm 5729). Copies have been placed in the Library.

The Government welcomed the Select Committee's report and noted in particular, and endorsed, its finding that animal experiments are currently necessary to develop human and veterinary medicines and to protect humans and the environment.

We also reaffirmed our commitment to the fullest possible application of the 3Rs—the refinement of scientific procedures, the reduction in the numbers of animals used and their replacement wherever possible—and to greater openness regarding the use of animals in scientific procedures, subject to safeguards for personal and confidential information.

We were unable to accept four of the Select Committee's recommendations (numbers 15, 19, 23 and 27). These related to the inspection of establishments, the training requirement for visiting scientists and students from overseas, the requirement for lay members of local Ethical Review Processes, and the reporting of genetically modified animals which are bred but not used in the annual statistics on animal use.

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We agreed, or broadly accepted, eleven recommendations (11, 12, 14, 16, 18, 22, 24, 25, 29, 30 and 31). Action on these is in hand. In particular, we are currently exploring the recommendation that a United Kingdom centre for research into the 3Rs should be established. As part of this work the Chief Inspector of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Inspectorate has sought the views of interested parties—primarily those who fund and undertake animal research—to gather information on the scope for such a centre.

We are also looking again at the possible streamlining of the project licence application form, and at the arrangements for publication of licensing information, through a joint project team with scientific stakeholders. I have asked for progress reports on all of these issues early in 2004. In addition, the Animal Procedures Committee has been asked to review the annual statistics publication and is due to report by the end of 2004.

One other recommendation (28), regarding the repeal of section 24 of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, has been the subject of a further period of review and consultation since publication of the Government reply. I hope to announce the outcome shortly.

The remaining eight recommendations (8, 9, 10, 13, 17, 20, 21, and 26) broadly endorsed existing Home Office policy and practice.

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many and what percentage of licence applications under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 were (a) accepted without alteration, (b) returned for redrafting before resubmission and (c) rejected in the last year for which figures are available; and how many and what percentage were referred for consideration to the Animals Procedures Committee. [147407]

Caroline Flint: A feature of the regulatory regime under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 is the discussion that often takes place at an early stage between applicants (or prospective applicants) and the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Inspectorate. This means that proposals unlikely to meet the Act's stringent requirements are revised or withdrawn before formal refusal becomes necessary.

Our central database records do not show all these dealings that commonly go on between applicants and individual Inspectors at various stages in the application process, and much of the requested information is therefore not readily available.

We can say that in 2002, the last year in which figures were published, one project licence application was formally refused. Over the same period, 97 project licence applications, 17 personal licence applications and one application for a certificate of designation are recorded as not proceeded with.

For additional information, paragraph 12 of Appendix A of the Statistics of Scientific Procedures on Living Animals (Great Britain) 2002 (Command 5886, available in the Library) provides the total number of project and personal licences, and certificates of designation, granted and revoked during 2002, showing how many were in force on 31 December 2002.

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During 2002, a total of four project licence applications were referred to the Animals Procedures Committee for consideration. This represents 0.58 per cent. of the total project licences granted that year.

Antisocial Behaviour Orders

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many antisocial behaviour orders have been (a) granted and (b) refused by each magistrates bench in North Wales since their introduction. [148492]

Ms Blears: A total of 16 notifications have been received by the Home Office, of Antisocial Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) granted within North Wales, up to 30 September 2003 (latest available). Of this total, 15 have been issued within magistrates courts, details of which are given in the table, and, following implementation of the Police Reform Act (December 2002), one ASBO has been given by the Crown court at Mold (North Wales and Chester Crown court group). No notifications have been received of ASBOs refused in North Wales.

The number of notifications of ASBOs issued within North Wales, as reported to the Home Office, up to 30 September 2003, by magistrates court.

Magistrates courtTotal issued
Conwy psa3
Flintshire psa3
Gwynedd psa2
Wrexham Maelor psa7


Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many meetings he has had with hon. Members about immigration cases in the last 12 months. [145415]

Mr. Blunkett: The Minister of State with responsibility for immigration, my right hon. Friend the Member for Stretford and Urmston (Beverley Hughes) regularly meets hon. Members to discuss particular immigration cases.


Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will define the circumstances in which it would be in the interests of children of asylum seekers to separate them from their parents. [142767]

Beverley Hughes [holding answer 8 December 2003]: The Asylum and Immigration (Treatment of Claimants etc.) Bill does not change in any way the grounds on which children may be taken into care. The Government's policy remains to ensure that families whose asylum claims have failed are removed together. Where there are difficulties or delays with enforced removal, but families have been provided with opportunities to return voluntarily and at no cost to themselves, the Bill provides that families who refuse these opportunities would no longer be entitled to support at the expense of the taxpayer. If parents fail to take these opportunities to leave and put their children

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at risk, it would be for the local authority to decide how the interests of their children should be protected under existing child protection legislation.

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many unaccompanied child asylum seekers arrived at Gatwick in each of the last three years; and how many of them are registered in care; [144994]

Beverley Hughes: Data on the number of asylum seekers without documentation claiming to be minors that arrive at specific ports of entry are not recorded and collated centrally. This information could therefore be obtained from individual case files only at disproportionate cost.

Information on asylum statistics is published quarterly on the Home Office website at

Tom Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) men and (b) women were allowed to enter the United Kingdom as political or religious refugees from Somalia during 2003. [148071]

Beverley Hughes: The number of Somali men and women allowed to enter the United Kingdom as political or religious refugees during 2003 is not currently available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost by examination of individual case records.

Information on asylum applications and decisions by gender and nationality is published annually. The annual publication for 2003 will be available at the end of August 2004 on the Home Office Research Development and Statistics Directorate web site at

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