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4 Apr 2005 : Column 1133W—continued

Violent Crime

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on levels of violent crime. [216757]

Ms Blears: According to figures from the British Crime Survey (BCS), which are the most reliable indicator of long-term trends in violence in England and Wales, there were an estimated 2.52 million violent incidents in the 12 months to September 2004. Levels of violent crime are now stable after significant falls since the latter part of the 1990s—36 per cent. down from a peak in 1995 and 26 per cent. down from 1997. The fear of violent crime has also fallen steadily since 1998, with the proportion of adults with a high level of concern about violent crime down from 21 per cent. in 2002–03 to 16 per cent. in 2003–04.

Half of all violent incidents reported to the BCS in 2003–04 did not result in injury to the victim. However, this does not mean that public concern about violent crime is unjustified or that the ordeal of victims is not traumatic, even if injury has not occurred.
 
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Recorded violent crime has risen since 1997, reaching 1.1 million incidents in 2003–04, but these data are affected by changes in reporting and recording practices. The Home Office Counting Rules for Recorded Crime were amended in 1998 to include a large number of offences particularly in the less serious violence categories. The introduction of the National Crime Recording Standard (NCRS) in April 2002 also resulted in an increase in recorded crime. The effect of the change on the reported level of violent crime was estimated to be an increase of 20 per cent.

In addition, more violent crimes are being recorded by the police as public tolerance of violence in the family or by acquaintances diminishes. Along with a more proactive response from the police, more crimes that would have previously been unreported are finding their way into the official figures.

Witness Statements

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many witness statements were taken by police forces in the last 12 months for which figures are available. [208274]

Ms Blears: The information requested is not collected centrally.

Women Offenders

Mr. Stinchcombe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress has been made in implementing the 2004 spending review commitment to pilot new approaches to (a) meet the needs of women offenders and (b) reduce the need for custody; and how much has been allocated from Home Office budgets to each. [217170]

Paul Goggins: The Home Secretary announced on 22 March 2005 that £9.15 million will be allocated to implement the 2004 spending review commitment to develop radical new approaches to meet the specific needs of women offenders.

This is the first time that Government funding has been allocated specifically to tackle women's offending. It will enable the development of a co-ordinated multi-agency response to women's offending and will show how this kind of approach can tackle issues such as drug dependency and mental health problems in the community and avoid the use of custody for women who do not need to be there.

Work Permits

Mr. Lilley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many work permits were issued in each year since 1990 at (a) tier 1, broken down into categories (a) to (e) and (b) at tier 2. [223383]

Mr. Browne [holding answer 23 March 2005]: The table outlines the number of work permits that were issued in each year since 2000 at (a) tier 1, broken down into categories (a) to (e) and (b) at tier 2. This two tier system was introduced in 2000 so figures are not available for previous years.
 
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Work permits approved

20002001200220032004Total
Tier 1
Intra Company Transfers (a)26,15527,43826,10027,38632,768139,847
Board Level Posts (b)9747886074733923,234
Inward Investment (c)5341262419163
Shortage Occupations (d)24,48547,71849,91641,84740,120204,086
Sponsored Researcher (e)0000100100
Total51 ,66775,98576,64969,73073,399347,430
Tier 2
Total19,10328,59141,10951,48755,618195,908
Total70,770104,576117,758121,217129,017543,338

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER

Aggregates (Northamptonshire)

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what recent research he has commissioned into the availability of glacial gravel and aggregate resources in Northamptonshire; and if he will make a statement. [223850]

Keith Hill: No recent research has been commissioned by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister into the availability of glacial gravels and aggregate resources in Northamptonshire. However, the British Geological Survey, funded through the Sustainable Land-Won and Marine Dredged Aggregate Minerals Programme, which is administered by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister within the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affair's Aggregate Levy Sustainability Fund, is currently researching aggregate resource availability in the Milton Keynes and South Midlands Sub-Region, an area that includes Northamptonshire. One of the objectives of this project is to collect new data on the sand and gravel resources, including those of a glacial origin, which occur in the study area. The project is expected to report in November 2006.

Antisocial Behaviour

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many local authority antisocial behaviour orders have been (a) applied for and (b) obtained in each local authority in each year since their introduction, broken down by recipients aged (i) under 10, (ii) 10 to 20, (iii) 20 to 30, (iv) 30 to 50 and (v) over 50years; and how many have been breached in each case. [210757]

Ms Blears: I have been asked to reply.

The available information is given in tables which have been placed in the Library. Data prior to 1 June 2000 is not broken down by type of applicant. Data by the requested age groups are not readily available. However, age group data for juveniles (10–17) and adults (18+) are given. Antisocial behaviour orders (ASBOs) are not given to children under the age of 10.

Breach data are currently available for the period 1 June 2000 up to 31 December 2002. Data for 2003 are due to be released shortly
 
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Asylum Seekers (Grants)

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list the payments and grants made by predecessor departments to each local authority in (a) England, (b) Wales, (c) Scotland and (d) Northern Ireland to reimburse the costs of supporting asylum seekers in each year from 1996–97 until the transfer of responsibility to the Home Office. [217783]

Mr. Raynsford: Immediately before 1 April 1999 the budget for support of asylum seekers was split between the then Department of Social Security (DSS) and the Department of Health (DoH). DSS were responsible for supporting applicants who made their application at a port of entry until such time as an initial decision was recorded on the claim for asylum. DoH picked up the costs of supporting those claiming asylum after entry and also all appellants (including those who made their original application on arrival). The budget for adult and family asylum seekers transferred to the Home Office on 1 April 1999. The budget for unaccompanied asylum seeking children transferred to the Home Office on 1 April 2000

For information on the costs the Government in relation to asylum seekers prior to 1999–2000, I refer the hon. Member to a response given by the then Home Secretary on 9 May 2000, Official Report, column 331W. The figures contained in the answer are global, and cover the entire of the UK. They cannot be broken down further into areas.

Gypsies and Travellers

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) how many (a) sites and (b) caravans he assesses would be reasonable to be contained within a Gypsy and Traveller development plan document drawn up by Brentwood borough council; [222206]

(2) what his assessment is of the need for Gypsy and Traveller sites in (a) each (i) district and (ii) unitary authority in the county of Essex and (b) each county in the eastern region; and if he will make a statement; [222209]

(3) how he will assess the need for Gypsy and Traveller sites in each (a) district, (b) county and (c) region; and if he will make a statement; [222211]

(4) how he will allocate the required number of Gypsy and Traveller sites between adjoining local authorities in each district, county and region. [223222]


 
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Yvette Cooper: It is for Brentwood borough council to assess the need for Gypsy and Traveller sites in its area. The Housing Act 2004 will require that local authorities, when assessing local housing need should include the accommodation needs of Gypsies and Travellers, and that they should develop a strategy on how to meet the needs identified.

Assessments of housing need are co-ordinated at the regional level and provide input to the revision of regional spatial strategies (RSS). Guidance in the draft circular Planning for Gypsy and Traveller Sites" proposes that where there is an assessment of unmet need for Gypsy and Traveller accommodation in the area the regional spatial strategy and development plan documents at local level should allocate land to meet those needs. The RSS should set out how the required number of pitches for Gypsies and Travellers might vary between constituent authorities. Development plan documents at local level should then allocate land to meet those needs.

In advance of provision in revised regional spatial strategies local authorities have a range of information available to them to inform the development of local policies and plans, including the twice-yearly caravan count, waiting lists for public sites and incidents of unauthorised encampment, and their own assessments.

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what criteria will be used in assessing a Gypsy and Traveller development plan document. [222207]

Yvette Cooper: Section 20 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 sets out that the purpose of the independent examination of a development plan document as being to determine whether:

A development plan document will be sound if it meets the procedural; conformity; and coherence, consistency and effectiveness tests set out in paragraph 4.24 of Planning Policy Statement 12—Local Development Frameworks.

Mr. Pickles: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many (a) authorised and (b) unauthorised Gypsy and Traveller sites there were in (i) each (A) district and (B)unitary authority in Essex and (ii) each county in the eastern region in the last five years for which figures are available. [222208]

Yvette Cooper: Detailed information on local authority Gypsy and Traveller sites in the east region is available in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's count of Gypsy and Traveller caravans, as is data on the number of caravans on private authorised sites, unauthorised encampments and unauthorised developments of land without planning permission. The bi-annual count is published electronically on the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's website and paper copies are also available in the Libraries of the House.
 
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Mr. Pickles: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what criteria he will use in deciding whether to exercise his powers to direct local authorities to draw up a Gypsy and Traveller development plan document; and if he will make a statement. [222210]

Yvette Cooper: Sections 21 and 27 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 set out the Secretary of State, my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister's intervention and default powers. Planning Policy Statement 12—Local Development Frameworks paragraphs 4.31–4.35 sets out the circumstances in which the Secretary of State, my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister will use these powers.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister pursuant to the answer of 7 February 2005, Official Report, column 1296W, on Traveller sites, for what reasons incorrect information was provided; which official was responsible for providing the incorrect information; when it was brought to Ministers' attention that incorrect information had been provided; and what action has been taken to prevent the re-occurrence of such errors. [219904]

Yvette Cooper: The original answer of 31 January 2005, Official Report, column 655W was inadequately researched. I was informed that the answer was inaccurate on 6 February 2005 and corrected this at the first opportunity in the pursuant answer of 7 February 2005, Official Report, column 1296W. Officials in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister are regularly reminded of the importance of providing accurate information in parliamentary answers.

Mr. Baron: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many unauthorised Traveller sites he estimates there are in each parliamentary constituency. [223138]

Yvette Cooper: The data gathered under the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's bi-annual Gypsy and Traveller caravan count records the number of Gypsy and Traveller caravans on authorised and unauthorised sites in each local authority area. The count is published electronically on the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's website and paper copies are also made available in the Libraries of the House. Data is not held centrally on the number of unauthorised sites on which Gypsy and Traveller caravans are found, neither is it possible to reorganise our data to reflect constituency boundaries.

Mr. Amess: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make a statement on unauthorised Traveller encampments. [223416]

Yvette Cooper: The Government introduced new powers to deal with unauthorised camping in the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003. The joint Office of the Deputy Prime Minister/Home Office document, Guidance on Managing Unauthorised Camping", was published in February 2004 and amended on 7 March 2005.


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