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14 Dec 2005 : Column 2035W—continued

Victim Support

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what measures his Department is taking to raise public awareness of the work of Victim Support. [35502]

Fiona Mactaggart: Since 1997 the Home Office has nearly trebled its grant in aid to Victim Support from £11.7 million to £30 million annually. Victim Support is an independent charity and it takes decisions about how best to use its resources to raise public awareness of its work.

Additionally the Department funded a project to research more effective ways to recruit volunteers. Recruitment materials developed were shown to be highly effective.

The Department responds to a lot of correspondence from the public in which it highlights the work of Victim Support. The victim and witness walkthrough on the public cjsonline website highlights the work of Victim Support and we have placed a duty on the police, from April 2006, to refer relevant victims to Victim Support unless they request not to be referred.
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Victims of Terrorism

Helen Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the review of the possible introduction of a scheme to provide compensation for UK victims of terrorism abroad will be completed. [34641]

Fiona Mactaggart: Our consultation paper 'Rebuilding Lives: supporting victims of crime', issued on 7 December, explained that the question of helping British victims of terrorism and other acts of violence abroad raised complex issues which we wanted to consider thoroughly. It went on to say that we would make an announcement in due course.

Women Prisoners

Dr. Vis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many women were received into segregation in each prison in (a) 2004 and (b) 2005 to date; [33097]

(2) how many women were held in segregation for more than one week in each prison in (a) 2004 and (b) 2005 to date. [33099]

Fiona Mactaggart: Data on women received into segregation and on the number of women held in segregation for more than one week in each prison in 2004 and 2005 is shown in the following table.
Women received into segregation in each prison in 2004 and 2005

HMP/YOI Askham Grange00
HMP/YOI Brockhill16980
HMP Bronzefield(18)105178
HMP Buckley Hall21787
HMP Bullwood1516
HMP Cookham Wood143113
HMP/YOI Drake Hall9957
HMP Downview112110
HMP/YOI East Sutton Park0171
HMP/YOI Eastwood Park370
HMP Foston Hall5849
HMP/YOI Holloway300164
HMP/YOI Low Newton5282
HMP Morton Hall2113
HMP New Hall391341
HMP Peterborough0(19)106
HMP Send00
HMP Styal11475

(17) As at 30 November 2005.
(18) Establishment opened in June 2004.
(19) Opened on 28 March 2005.

Work Permits

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 21 October 2005, Official Report, columns 45–6W, on work permits, if he will break down the number of permits issued in each year by country of origin. [35411]

Mr. McNulty: Figures for individuals working in social care are not identified separately. However work permits issued for the health care industry include social care approvals. The numbers of permits issued in each of the last five years by country of origin are presented in the following table.
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South Africa2,8804,1345,7205,8814,94923,564
China Peoples Republic of2985407121,0701,5444,164
United States of America4014374294826022,351
New Zealand3904885365043972,315
Trinidad and Tobago4704333913833362,013



Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many helicopters are currently available to British troops in Afghanistan. [37277]

John Reid: British troops operating in Afghanistan as part of the International Security Assistance Force have a number of air assets available to them, including helicopters which are provided by coalition partners. These helicopters are allocated according to tasking and operational priority. There are no UK Military helicopters currently based in Afghanistan.

Airfield Review

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the progress of his airfield review. [36693]

Mr. Ingram: The Defence airfield review is making good progress. I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 23 November 2005, Official Report, column 2055W.

Assessment Phase Work

Mr. Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether companies undertaking Assessment Phase work are (a) reimbursed for the costs of that work and (b) undertake work at their own risk. [36038]

Mr. Ingram: Companies conducting Assessment Phase work under contract agree the price in competition, by reference to market forces or where competition is not available under the policy on No Acceptable Price No Contract. When negotiating the contract terms and conditions risks are allocated between the company and the Ministry of Defence on the basis of who is best able to manage them. Companies who decide to carry out private venture work at their own risk do so as part of their normal business. The result of this work might later lead to a MOD contract in which case the company normally seeks to recover their costs through the commercial arrangements agreed at the time.
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Defence, Science and Technology Laboratory

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what changes to current staffing levels he expects will occur when the Defence, Science and Technology Laboratory is relocated. [36977]

Mr. Ingram: The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) is currently consolidating its activities onto three core sites as part of the site rationalisation programme. Although, any relocation programme is bound to affect staff it is not expected that there will be a major change in the overall number of staff employed by Dstl. The number of staff employed is determined by the scope and content of its programme for MOD and Government.

Departmental Staff (Relocation)

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what relocations involving more than 100 people are planned within his Department and its agencies in the next five years; and between which locations. [37004]

Mr. Touhig: I will write to the hon. Member and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

Drug Trafficking

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if the Government will donate helicopters no longer needed to Uruguay to assist in the fight against drug trafficking. [36744]

Mr. Ingram: There are currently no surplus helicopters available for disposal and no formal request from Uruguay has been received.

All requests for gifting of surplus Defence equipment from overseas Governments are considered on their merits.

Hearing Loss

Mr. Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on what evidence he relied when setting the (a) threshold and (b) other rules that apply to compensation for veterans who have sustained a noise-induced sensorineural hearing loss as a result of their military service; and whether he consulted with any (i) veteran or (ii) disability group. [23613]

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Mr. Touhig: The Ministry of Defence's approach to the assessment of noise-induced sensorineural hearing loss in the War Pensions Scheme reflects that of the Government as a whole and is based on contemporary scientific evidence and understanding. This has been confirmed in recent years by several reviews carried out by independent audiological experts including an Industrial Injuries Advisory Council review. The Ministry of Defence also routinely scrutinises the published peer reviewed literature to ensure that compensation policy and approaches continue to take account of contemporary evidence.

The threshold for compensation for noise-induced hearing loss was introduced into the War Pensions Scheme in 1993. The Government consulted the Central Advisory Committee on War Pensions on this change which formed part of a wider package of changes that included the removal of rank differentials from war disablement pensions and increases in the rate of disablements pensions above the rate of inflation; the most severely disabled other ranks gained most from these increases. The Central Advisory Committee is a statutory body whose role is to consider matters put before it by the Minister. It includes members from the principle ex-service organisations including those representing disabled veterans.

I met Dr. John Low, chief executive of the RNID, on 25 October to discuss his organisation's concerns, including about the threshold for compensation. The RNID submitted a paper to the Department on 5 December. I will arrange to meet Dr. Low again in the new year once the Department has considered the RNID paper.

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