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17 Jan 2006 : Column 1268W—continued

Crime Statistics

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many persons convicted of (a) murder and (b) manslaughter in England and Wales were subsequently (i) charged with and (ii) convicted of murder or manslaughter following their release on licence in 2004. [39747]

Hazel Blears: In 2004, there were two persons in England and Wales known to have been killed by persons who had been previously convicted of homicide in England and Wales.
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Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people were (a) arrested for and (b) charged with a recordable offence in each year since 1995. [41675]

Hazel Blears: Statistics are collected on arrests for recorded crime (notifiable offences) by offence group, age, gender and ethnicity. Data available on the number of persons arrested for a notifiable offence can be found in Table AA of the HOSB Arrests for Recorded crime (notifiable offences) and the Operation of Certain Powers under PACE",

Information prior to 1999–2000 is not available.

The statistics do not record what action followed the arrest and would only include arrests for a recordable offence if the offence was both recordable (on the Police National Computer) and notifiable to the Home Office. No separate statistics are collected by the Home Office on persons charged.

Criminal Records Checks

Peter Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the (a) average and (b) longest time taken was for Criminal Records Bureau checks to be made when a doctor in training changed (i) rotation and (ii) NHS trust in the last period for which figures are available. [43170]

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Andy Burnham: Information is not available to answer the hon. Gentleman's question; such data are not collated centrally by the Criminal Records Bureau.

Departmental Correspondence

Dr. Strang: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much departmental correspondence was addressed to people who had (a) died and (b) moved house in each of the last five years. [41051]

Mr. Charles Clarke: This information is not held centrally and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Resources

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the real terms percentage increase in allocated resources for his Department (a) was for the period 1997–98 to 2004–05 and (b) is estimated to be between 2005–06 and 2007–08 (i) for each period and (ii) for each year. [31031]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The real terms increase in allocated resources 1 for each period and year are shown in the following table:

PeriodTotal (stated in 2004–05 values) £000Year on year real terms increase (percentage)Period increase in real terms
1999–20008,780,6624.932004–05 total is 64.69 higher than 1997–98 total
22005–0613,565,0234.172007–08 total is 4.21 higher than 2005–06 total

Equality Bill

Mr. Leigh: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what criteria were used to make the decision (a) to grant an exception from the religious discrimination provisions in clause 47 of the Equality Bill to landlords who let part of a house in which they live and (b) not to grant an exception from clause 46 to owners of bed and breakfast accommodation who rent out part of a house in which they live. [41922]

Paul Goggins: There is a fundamental difference between someone who rents out a room in their own home and someone who provides a bed and breakfast service to the general public.

When a person rents a room in a house the arrangement is usually of a long-term nature and involves the paying of rent on a weekly or monthly basis. The person renting the room becomes a tenant and the house becomes their home, As a tenant they are entitled to certain legal rights of occupancy and it will be classed as their residence for the purposes of, for example, the census and electoral register. Such arrangements may involve a close relationship between the landlord and tenant. For example, they may include sharing washing and cooking facilities as well as other communal areas in the house. We believe it is right that when someone offers to take someone into their home on this basis that they should be allowed to discriminate on who they accept as tenants. That is why we have provided an exemption for the letting out of rooms in small dwellings at clause 48 of the Equality Bill.

The situation with bed and breakfast accommodation is different. This involves a service that is provided to the general public on a commercial basis. People often stay in bed and breakfast accommodation for only a brief period of time and the service is often paid for on a daily
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basis. The person staying in such accommodation does not become a tenant and has no legal rights of occupancy. We do not believe that there is any justification for an owner of a bed and breakfast to discriminate on the grounds of religion or belief in the way they provide their services. Clause 46 of the Equality Bill would not make it unlawful to provide a service which reflected the religious beliefs of the owner, for example, to offer a Christian bed and breakfast service where grace was said at mealtimes or where rooms included objects associated with the Christian faith.

Humberside Police

Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the average response time to an emergency call to the police was in Humberside in each year since 1997. [39416]

Hazel Blears: Data on time taken to respond to emergency calls are not collected centrally. This is essentially an operational matter for the chief constable and this query could therefore be directed to Humberside Police.

Identity Cards

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which public sector body will levy the proposed fines outlined in the planned identity card scheme. [41240]

Andy Burnham: Fines will be levied under the proposed Identity Cards Scheme in connection with the criminal offences of possession of false identity documents, tampering with the Register, provision of false information and unauthorised disclosure of information from the Register which the Bill introduces. These will be levied by the Courts on conviction in the usual way.

The Scheme will set up a system of civil penalties, which are not fines, for failure to register when the scheme is compulsory, failure to renew ID cards when the scheme is compulsory and failure to notify changes affecting accuracy of the Register. This will be administered by the Secretary of State by means of the new executive agency which will be responsible for issuing identity cards and passports.

Immigration and Nationality Directorate (Correspondence)

Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking to improve the Immigration and Nationality Directorate's performance in replying to correspondence from (a) members of the general public and (b) hon. Members; and if he will make a statement. [34332]

Mr. McNulty: The Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) receives well over 1 million pieces of correspondence each year. The IND's policy is to acknowledge the receipt of all immigration, asylum, asylum support and citizenship applications either by sending a letter or issuing a form.
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Other casework-related correspondence is not at present routinely acknowledged.

Our published target is to reply to 95 per cent. of correspondence—including Members' letters—within 20 working days. Some of the IND's business areas already achieve this target but we are considering how to meet it more consistently across all areas without adversely affecting decision-making capability. Our strategy to achieve that, however, cannot simply focus on answering letters more quickly. We must also improve the way we communicate with Members and constituents so that they do not feel compelled to write so often. I shall shortly be writing to all Members setting out how we intend to move forward on this.

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