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David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department at what speed drivers found guilty of speeding offences automatically qualify for (a) speed awareness workshops and (b) refresher driving courses; and if he will make a statement. [216807]

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Caroline Flint: Attendance at a speed awareness workshop or refresher driving course is offered to drivers by some forces as an alternative to prosecution. It is a matter for individual chief officers of police to decide in what circumstances such an offer is made, including at what speed a driver has been recorded as travelling.

Mark Tami: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many individuals received (a) points penalties and (b) convictions in respect of speeding offences in each of the last five years. [211879]

Caroline Flint: Available data, given in the tables, shows the number of fixed penalty notices issued and convictions and endorsements imposed at all courts for speeding offences within England and Wales from 1998 to 2002 (latest available).

2003 data will be available in March 2005.
Fixed penalty notices issued, for speeding offences(18), 1998–2002, England and Wales

Number issued (Thousand)

(18) Including speeding offences detected by camera.

Total findings of guilt and endorsements(19) without disqualifications imposed at all courts, for speeding offences(20), 1998 to 2002, England and Wales

Number of offences (Thousand)
Total findings of guilt153154141136125
Endorsements without disqualification136136126116106

(19) Excludes penalty points given under section 35 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 (totting up system).
(20) Including speeding offences detected by camera

Taser Guns

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment his Department has made of the health risks posed by the taser guns to be used by the police. [215876]

Caroline Flint: The independent medical statement on Taser provided by the Defence Scientific Advisory Council (DSAC) Sub Committee on the Medical Implications of Less Lethal Weapons (DOMILL) concludes that the risk of life threatening and other serious injuries is considered very low. Copies of the statements provided by DOMILL were placed in the Library of the House on 15 September 2004.

Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what controls will be placed on the use of taser guns by police; [215877]

(2) in what circumstances taser guns may be used by police. [215878]

Caroline Flint: The Home Secretary has approved the M26 Taser in England and Wales for use by Authorised Firearms Officers as a less lethal alternative in
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circumstances in which a firearms authority has been granted in accordance with criteria laid down in the ACPO Manual of Guidance on Police Use of Firearms.

Halliday Report

Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects the Halliday report on traffic offences resulting in death or serious injury to be published. [213159]

Caroline Flint [holding answer 1 February 2005]: The Home Office consultation paper Review of Road Traffic Offences involving Bad Driving" was published on 3 February.

Traffic Wardens

Tom Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many traffic wardens for which his Department has responsibility operate within the Greater London area; and how many there were in each of the last five years. [214383]

Caroline Flint: The total numbers of traffic wardens operating within the Greater London area and employed by the Metropolitan Police Authority in each of the last five years are given in the table:
Traffic warden strength


(21) Prior to boundary changes on 1 April 2000 a small number of Metropolitan police traffic wardens operated in areas which were outside Greater London but within the Metropolitan police district.

The Police Authority for the City of London has not employed any traffic wardens during the years for which details were requested.

Uninsured Drivers

Mr. Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will take steps to ensure that penalties for uninsured drivers are commensurate with the financial gain achieved by not paying insurance premiums. [216523]

Caroline Flint: The courts set fines to reflect the seriousness of the offence while taking into account the means of the offender. Therefore the fines imposed for driving while uninsured are often lower than £200, the level of the fixed penalty notice. This may be addressed in part by the Management of Offenders and Sentencing Bill. It proposes a simple statutory methodology for calculating the amount of the fine. In addition courts will have the discretion to adjust the amount of the fine up to the level of the fixed penalty that otherwise would have been imposed.

The Criminal Justice Act 2003 introduces changes to community penalties offering courts much tougher sentences than are currently available. They will be
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available as an alternative to fines where the court considers the offence serious enough to warrant a community punishment.

Visa Extensions (Students)

Mr. Rendel: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the effect of increased student visa charges on international applications to UK universities with particular reference to science and technology and engineering courses and departments within UK universities. [214569]

Mr. Browne: Following on from the Home Office consultation document 'Review of Charges for Immigration Applications', I am introducing new fees for a range of immigration applications. On 7 February I published a summary and analysis of the consultation responses, the supporting Regulatory Impact Assessments and an analysis of the likely impact of the new charges on international student numbers. These documents are available on the Home Office website at:


Affordable Housing

Martin Linton: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what steps he is taking to increase the supply of affordable housing in London over the next five years. [218526]

Keith Hill: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is investing nearly £1.5 billion through the Housing Corporation's Approved Development Programme in 2004–2006 to provide over 21,000 affordable homes in London. Our consultation 'Housing investment in the Regions' on the regional split of housing investment for 2006–08 proposed that London should receive £2.3 billion to support local authority and Registered Social Landlord housing programmes, a significant proportion of which would be for affordable housing. We expect to announce the outcome of the consultation in the near future.

In addition, English Partnerships London-Wide Initiative will provide a further 2,000 affordable homes for sale over the next five years, of which half will be available under the First Time Buyers Initiative announced by my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister on 24 January 2005, Official Report, columns 21–25.

Antisocial Owner-occupiers

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what plans he has to introduce legislation to deal with antisocial owner-occupiers. [219331]

Keith Hill: The Government have no plans to introduce legislation to deal with antisocial behaviour specifically in relation to owner-occupiers. Existing measures are designed to work as a package across housing tenure, so antisocial behaviour can be addressed no matter where it occurs.
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Tenure-neutral" measures include Acceptable Behaviour Contracts, Anti-social Behaviour Orders, injunctions under Section 222 of the Local Government Act 1972 and measures to tackle noise nuisance under the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

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