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19 May 2004 : Column 1043W—continued

Solvent Abuse

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what training is provided to police on dealing with children engaging in solvent abuse. [169064]

Ms Blears: Nationally, all probationer police officers are provided with training material on how to deal with persons, including children, engaging in solvent abuse.

Individual forces are responsible for determining any further training required by their officers.

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what voluntary sector agencies are used by police authorities for training in solvent abuse among children. [169066]

Ms Blears: We do not hold data on this specific issue centrally. However, we actively encourage police forces to seek opportunities to work in partnership with other agencies, including the voluntary sector, in developing and delivering training for the police.
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Drug Addiction

Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will estimate how many people there are in Greater London, who are addicted to drugs, broken down by borough. [173252]

Caroline Flint: The Home Office does not collect specific information on the number of people in Greater London who are addicted to drugs.

Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will estimate what proportion of crime in Greater London was connected to drug addiction in each year since 1997, broken down by borough. [173253]

Ms Blears: Recorded crime figures, which are used to measure trends in crime, include statistics on drugs offences, such as possession, and on property crimes, such as burglary, do not record whether the latter are related to an offender's drug habits. There are therefore no figures currently available for the proportion of crime in Greater London, by borough, which was connected to drug addiction.

The Home Office sponsored New English and Welsh Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring (NEW-ADAM) survey, which involves interviewing and drug testing those arrested by the police, provides an insight into the proportion of crimes that are drug related. However, this survey does not provide sub-national data and is also not nationally representative.

A comparison of the survey's findings from eight sites across the country (including custody suites in Bethnal Green and Hammersmith) visited in 1999 and 2002, indicate that there was no change in the proportion of arrestees testing positive for one or more of six illicit drugs. Nearly two-thirds (65 per cent.) of arrestees in each year tested positive for any drug.


Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his Department plans to contribute financially to the establishment of the second phase of the central point of expertise on timber. [167630]

Fiona Mactaggart: The Department has no plans to contribute financially to the development of a central point of expertise in timber (CPET). It has not been approached to do so.

Under-age Drinking

Mr. Lyons: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to tackle under-age drinking. [171433]

Ms Blears [holding answer 10 May 2004]: The Licensing Act 2003 strengthens the law on selling to under-18s, and increases the penalties for doing so. The Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy for England, published on 15 March 2004 sets out the Government's plans to build on this through greater enforcement of existing laws against selling alcohol to minors.

We announced on 29 April 2004 that this summer, the Police Standards Unit, working with the Association of Chief Police Officers, will lead a robust enforcement
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campaign in towns and cities across England and Wales to target those who encourage under-age and binge drinking.

In taking forward the Strategy recommendations, we will also look at improving the information about the dangers of alcohol misuse available to young people and encouraging the provision of more alternative activities for young people.


Local Authority Services

8. Judy Mallaber: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what rewards are being given to local authorities with a record of delivering excellent services to the community. [173986]

Phil Hope: Local authorities that score as "excellent" in their comprehensive performance assessments receive more freedoms and flexibilities than those with lower scores. These include a significant reduction in ring-fencing, a 90 per cent. reduction in inspections, the freedom to trade, complete freedom over the use of income received from fines and fewer requirements to produce service plans.

Better Government for Older People

9. Sandra Gidley: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make a statement on his Department's contribution to Better Government for Older People. [173988]

Yvette Cooper: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is playing a key role in relation to improving services for older people, ensuring that they can live full independent lives and contribute fully to society. We are closely involved in the cross-Government drive to develop better quality and more co-ordinated services for older people, an aim which is vital to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's remit of creating sustainable communities.

Travelling Showmen

10. Miss McIntosh: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what Government policy is on location of winter quarters for travelling showmen. [173989]

Yvette Cooper: The Government's advice to local planning authorities is contained in Circular 22/91, 'Travelling Showpeople'. This recognises the need for showpeople's winter quarters and describes the particular character of showpeople's sites. It puts emphasis on early discussion between local planning authorities and showpeople whenever local development plans are being prepared in order to help ensure suitable sites are available for purchase. It also advises early discussion between local planning authorities and showpeople before land is purchased for the setting up of winter quarters. Where plans do not contain a policy relating to the provision of showpeople's quarters, applications should be determined on their merits.
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New Deal for Communities

11. Dr. Desmond Turner: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the progress of the new deal for communities. [173990]

Yvette Cooper: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to the hon. Member for Brecon and Radnorshire today.

Regional Government

12. Mr. Grogan : To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what assessment he has made of the potential benefits to the Yorkshire and Humber economy of regional government. [173991]

Mr. Raynsford: Improving the economic performance of the region will be at the heart of the objectives of an elected regional assembly in Yorkshire and Humber. An elected assembly will be expected to agree with Central Government a target for improving its region's economic performance.

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list the companies to which he has awarded contracts in relation to the Your Say information campaign on elected regional assemblies; and, what the value was of each component of the contract for each. [172753]

Mr. Raynsford: For the Robson Brown contract I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on the 5 May 2004, Official Report, columns 1603–04W.

A self employed copy-writer has been appointed to write for the website and printed materials.

The following companies have been appointed for individual printing jobs.
(a) Impress
Printing of calendars835
(b) Sterling
Printing of leaflets and fact sheets59,364
(b) Taurus
Printing of letterhead, fact sheets, folders3,199
(c) CW print
Printing of fact sheets1,230

Two further companies have been appointed contracts (to date no costs have been paid).

(a) The company Reading Room has been appointed to design and build the website an improved Office of the Deputy Prime Minister about regional governance.

(b) The company Carat is the Office's media buyer and has been appointed to buy the media.

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the annual funding for 2004–05 is for (a) regional chambers, (b) the English Regions Network and (c) the Regional Co-ordination Unit; what the total funding has been for each year since their creation; and what the predicted budget is for the next financial year, broken down by (i) region and (ii) specific grant. [172754]

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Mr. Raynsford: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister makes a grant to the regional chambers and the English Regions Network to support their work. Details of the grant they have been allocated since they were designated by my right Hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister are detailed in the following table:
Table 1.

Chamber and YearStrengthening Regional Accountability GrantRegional Planning Body GrantPlanning Delivery GrantTotal
East Midlands
North East
North West
South East
South West
West Midlands
Yorkshire and the Humber
English Regions Network

Grant allocations for future years have not yet been agreed.

The Regional Co-ordination Unit was created in April 2001. Its annual funding is:

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The Unit's funding consists of the running costs for the organisation itself and budgets that it holds centrally on behalf of the Government Office network as a whole which includes staff from 10 Central Government departments. The running costs of the organisation in 2004–05 are £4,522,000.00 The centrally held budgets will be used to fund Government Office activities across the nine English Regions, but they are managed within the Unit and are not split by region.

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister pursuant to his Answer of 19 April 2004, Official Report, column 366W, on regional assemblies, what proportion of each of those costs will be spent in (a) the North East, (b) the North West and (c) Yorkshire and the Humber. [172914]

Mr. Raynsford: The £5 million budget allocation for the "Your Say" information campaign is not broken down by individual region. The information campaign operates across all three regions.

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