|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many inquests have been held in the UK regarding violent or suspicious deaths abroad in each of the last five years for which figures are available. 
However, I can draw the hon. Member's attention to the figures quoted in Death Certification and Investigation in England, Wales and Northern Ireland: The Report of a Fundamental Review 2003." [Cm 5831] This independent Review commissioned its own one-off research which concluded that, in the previous 12 months, about 550 deaths abroad were the subject of an inquest when the body was returned to the UK.
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether Ministers in his
4 Apr 2005 : Column 1270W
Department have issued written instructions to override his Department's accounting officer's objections since 1997. 
The Treasury, which has a wider policy responsibility for the financial accountability mechanisms under which such directions are issued, has not been notified of any directions by Ministers in Departments to their accounting officers beyond those already disclosed to Parliament in the following written answers:
The former Chief Secretary to the Treasury (Andrew Smith) on 23 October 2000, Official Report, column 73W and 8 May 2002, Official Report, column 253W, myself on 10 June 2002, Official Report, column 1037W, the Economic Secretary (John Healey) on 13 January 2003, Official Report, column 413W and 23 June 2003, Official Report, column 618W and the former Financial Secretary (Ruth Kelly) on 30 October 2003, Official Report, columns 31920W and 24 March 2004, Official Report, column 841W.
The circumstances in which an accounting officer should seek a direction from a Minister before authorising expenditure are set out in paragraphs 1518 of the Treasury document, The Responsibilities of an Accounting Officer (as updated in March 2004). This document is published as Annex 4.1 of the Treasury guidance, Government Accounting and is accessible at www.government-accounting.gov.uk
Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the cost of travel within the UK for the Department was in each year since 1997; and how much of this was spent on (a) hire cars, (b) helicopter hire, (c) hotel accommodation and (d) subsistence. 
Fiona Mactaggart: Home Office rules provide for the reimbursement of extra expenses necessarily" incurred in carrying out official duty and in certain other specified circumstances. The overriding principle is that: where no extra expense is incurred no reimbursement is due. Overall expenditure on travel and subsistence is controlled through devolved budgets that enable managers to keep under review both the need for official travel and the economy of the travel arrangements. Managers are required to satisfy themselves that, for instance, regular travel commitments or programmes cannot be curtailed or reorganised, that meetings involving costly travel are really necessary, that the venue is appropriate, that only the necessary numbers of staff attend; and consider the desirability of requiring their staff to declare their forward visit proposals for prior approval. Where staff undertake necessary official travel, managers are required to ensure that they do so by the most efficient and economic means, taking all costs into account.
|Percentage of total spend||0.14%||0.06%||0.06%||0.09%||0.11%||0.15%||0.06%|
The marked increases in travel costs since 2001 can largely be attributed to changes in strategy within the Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) where increased staff numbers and the need to travel as a result of new policy initiatives to improve IND performance and reductions in unauthorised entry to the UK. Other contributing factors have been related to providing advice to the organisers of the 2002 Football World Cup in Japan and Euro 2004 in Portugal and the creation of new units to support the police reform agenda.
Hotel accommodation costs and subsistence payments are recorded together against a general subsistence account on the General Ledger. Examination and extraction of hotel elements from T and S claims and the expenses payment system could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
4 Apr 2005 : Column 1272W
Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many overseas trips, and at what total cost, have been made by his Department in each year since 1997; and what the costs of (a) flights, (b) internal travel, (c) hotel accommodation and (d) subsistence were of each trip. 
Fiona Mactaggart: All categories of overseas visit require prior authorisation through the normal line management chain and are required to accord with Cabinet Office guidelines and the Home Office Overseas Travel Guide. In approving an overseas visit careful regard is given to the objective of the visit in relation to the guidelines and in particular, the benefit that will accrue to the Department in relation to the cost.
|Percentage total spend||0.04||0.024||0.029||0.025||0.04||0.05||0.08|
The cost of overseas internal travel is not recorded separately and is incorporated within the travel totals given in the table. Similarly, the number of overseas journeys is not recorded separately within the claims calculation process; it would not be possible to extract these aspects of from the data provided without interrogating the paper claim records, this could be done only at disproportionate cost.
The marked increases in travel costs since 2001 can largely be attributed to changes in strategy within the Immigration and Nationality Directorate where increased staff numbers and the need to travel as a result of new policy initiatives to improve IND performance and reductions in unauthorised entry to the UK. Other contributing factors have been related to providing advice to the organisers of the 2002 Football World Cup in Japan and Euro 2004 in Portugal and the creation of new units to support the police reform agenda.
Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many arrests have been made for (a) possession and (b) supply of (i) cannabis and (ii) class A drugs in the last two years; 
Information on arrests collected centrally is based on persons arrested for notifiable" offences by main offence group only and therefore does not identify individual offences. The data are also only available by police force area and collected on a quarterly basis.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|