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Departmental Costs

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what his estimate is of the cost of building refurbishment carried out by his Department in each of the last two years. [200761]

Fiona Mactaggart: The Department does not maintain central records of the cost of every building refurbishment it has carried out and provision of this information would be at disproportionate cost. However for offices in central London and Croydon the approximate expenditure on such projects, which includes elements of maintenance and alterations to house additional staff is as follows:
£ million

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Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what his estimate is of the cost of (a) ministerial cars and drivers and (b) taxis for his Department in each of the last two years. [200764]

Fiona Mactaggart: In relation to the financial year 2002–03 I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by the then Minister for the Cabinet Office, my hon. Friend the Member for Paisley, South (Mr. Alexander) on 13 November 2003, Official Report, columns 397–98W.

My hon. Friend the Minister for the Cabinet Office has asked Nick Matheson, Chief Executive of the Government Car and Despatch Agency to write to the hon. Member with details of the Ministerial vehicles provided to this Department in 2003–04.

The recorded cost of using taxi's over the last two years are given in the following table.

Travel by taxi is allowed only in the following circumstances:

Domestic Violence

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to introduce a general fund for victims of domestic violence. [199971]

Paul Goggins [holding answer 2 December 2004]: We have no plans to introduce a general fund for victims of domestic violence. We do, however, fund a range of services to benefit victims of domestic violence. This includes over £32.1 million over three years to expand and improve refuges; and £50 million each year to provide housing based support through the Supporting People Fund. We also recently funded the first domestic violence publicity campaign to promote the national freephone helpline. Delivered in partnership by Women's Aid and Refuge, this helpline is run with funding of £1 million from Office of the Deputy Prime Minister matched by £1 million from Comic Relief.

Mr. Soley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) female murder victims have been killed by their partner or husband and (b) male murder victims were killed by their partner or wife since 2000. [200926]

Paul Goggins: The latest available information on homicide is published in Home Office Statistical Bulletin number 01/04, "Crime in England and Wales 2002/2003: Supplementary Volume 1: Homicide and Gun Crime". Table 1.05 provides data on victims killed by their partner/ex-partner as given in the following table:
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England and Wales

Female victimMale victim

Figures are as at 13 November 2003 and are subject to revision as cases are dealt with by the police, by the courts or as further information becomes available.

Vera Baird: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking to ensure that an appropriate amount of money goes to local women's refuge organisations and other domestic violence support services working with children affected by domestic violence under Section 50 of the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004. [206034]

Margaret Hodge: I have been asked to reply.

Through the Safeguard Children and Supporting Families grants and other funding streams, the Department for Education and Skills provides funding for voluntary organisations, such as women's refuges.

Furthermore, as part of a package of support for families affected by domestic violence, local authorities can provide funds from the Government's Supporting People programme, to fund housing-related support. Services for children are not funded directly by Supporting People. Supporting People funding does not cover under 16s as they would not be expected to manage their own accommodation. Services for under 16s are provided in satisfaction of a statutory duty and these duties are specifically excluded from Supporting People funding. Other services for under 16s are provided by local authority Social Services departments.

The funding that local authorities have allocated for domestic violence services from their Supporting People budgets in 2004–05 is £56,964,000. There is no breakdown of specific amounts allocated to children's services as the funds would be directed towards adult family heads.

It is for local authorities to decide how best to provide support and services for all children in need in its locale, including those children affected by domestic violence. There is no current specific earmarked funding for services of this nature. Instead, Government funding is allocated to Councils with social services responsibilities on the basis of the needs of their populations. A weighted capitation formula is used to determine each body's target fair share of available resources. It is, therefore, for Councils, working in partnership with relevant local stakeholders, to determine their spending priorities on the basis of local needs.

Drink Spiking

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of drink spiking detection and prevention devices; and if he will make a statement. [199968]

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Caroline Flint [holding answer 2 December 2004]: The Home Office is aware of a number of products, both in development and on the market, that claim to provide a partial or whole solution to the problem of drink-spiking. The list of substances that can be used to spike drinks is almost endless, with any substance that may have a sedative effect being a possible candidate. While drugs like Rohypnol and GHB (Gammahydroxybutyrate) have received wide publicity, they are rarely found in samples. As a result, products which allow the user to test drinks for certain illicit substances, may provide a potentially dangerous false reassurance.

While bottle caps and drinks holders may reduce the potential for drink spiking, they too can provide a false reassurance of safety, given evidence that it is the consumption of alcohol, rather than drink spiking, which more commonly increases vulnerability to sexual crime (please refer to answer given to questions 199964/6/7 regarding FSS research on this). The Government therefore urge the public to treat such products with caution. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has in the past commissioned research to look at the viability of a potential drug detecting device, such as a swizzle stick, that could be unobtrusively used by people in pubs and clubs to detect drugs in drinks. Due to the difficulty of producing a satisfactory device, the project is not being continued.

A message of safer and more responsible drinking, alongside increased awareness and vigilance upon the part of friends and staff, will be most effective in increasing the safety of people who feel they are vulnerable to drink-spiking. The Home Office issues guidance to licensed premises on how to deal with the effects of drug use on their premises, which is in the process of being revised. The updated version will include a section on drug assisted sexual assault.

Drug Interventions Programme

Stephen Hesford: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the Drug Interventions Programme. [205235]

Caroline Flint: The Drug Interventions Programme (formerly Criminal Justice Interventions Programme) is a critical part of the Government's national strategy for tackling drugs. The programme aims to make the most of opportunities provided by the criminal justice system to get drug misusing offenders out of crime and into treatment.

The "intensive" elements of the Drug Interventions Programme are currently operational in 66 police basic command units (47 DATs) with high levels of acquisitive crime. In 2005–06 we will expand the intensive elements of the programme to a further 32 basic command units. These elements include testing for Class A drugs following charge for certain offences and in a number of areas restriction on court bail for those who have tested positive.

The programme will be enhanced by measures to be included in the Drugs Bill, introduced to Parliament on 16 December 2004.
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Early evidence shows that acquisitive crime is falling faster in Drug Interventions Programme areas than in non-programme areas.

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