Previous Section Index Home Page

5 Mar 2007 : Column 1627W—continued

5 Mar 2007 : Column 1628W



Mr. Hollobone: To ask the Solicitor-General what assessment he has made of how effective the Crown Prosecution Service has been in securing compensation for victims in (a) England and Wales and (b) Northamptonshire. [124505]

The Solicitor-General: Crown prosecutors are required to ensure when reviewing a case that it includes the information required to make an informed application for compensation or restitution at the court hearing. There are no figures available for the percentage of applications for compensation made by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to the court that are successful. The CPS provides any information required by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority or the Criminal Injuries Compensation Panel within 60 days of receiving the request.

Crown Prosecution Service

Philip Davies: To ask the Solicitor-General whether the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is responsible for telling victims of crime if charges are not brought against suspects; and in what proportion of cases he estimates this is done by (a) the CPS and (b) the police. [123785]

The Solicitor-General: Where a crown prosecutor takes the decision that there is insufficient evidence to bring proceedings, following receipt of a file of evidence, it is the responsibility of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to notify the victim of this as required by the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime. Where the decision is taken not to proceed during a consultation between the investigating officer and a crown prosecutor, it is the responsibility of the police to notify the victim of the decision not to proceed. In 2006, the CPS made the decision not to bring any proceedings against 208,116 suspects, of which 52,420 were communicated to the investigating officer through a written advice. No data are currently retained on the proportion of cases in which it is the CPS's responsibility to communicate the decision to the victim.

Graffiti: Prosecutions

John Hemming: To ask the Solicitor-General under what circumstances the Crown Prosecution Service would prosecute a youth who is alleged to be writing graffiti tags on property. [124404]

The Solicitor-General: The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) would apply the two stage test as set out in the Code for Crown Prosecutors. The first stage is the evidential test: there has to be sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction.

If there is, consideration has to be given to the second test, namely, whether a prosecution is required in the public interest. Relevant public interest considerations are set out in the code. A prosecution will be brought if the balance of public interest factors is in favour of a prosecution. If the youth has admitted
5 Mar 2007 : Column 1629W
the offence when interviewed, consideration will be given as to whether the case is suitable for diversion: in such cases, the option would be for the police to administer a reprimand or final warning.

House of Commons Commission

Building and Refurbishment Projects

Richard Younger-Ross: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission what the (a) initial budget price, (b) contract sum, (c) final cost and (d) contract period was of each of the House's building and refurbishment projects with a contract value greater than £20,000 completed since January 2001; what the final time to complete the project was in each case; what the contingency sum in the contract was in each case; in how many cases an extension of time was granted to complete the contract; what total extension of time was granted in each such case; which preliminary costs were paid on the extension of time granted; on what period of time contractors paid liabilities in each case; and what the sum was of these liabilities in each case. [112081]

Nick Harvey: I regret that information to this level of detail cannot be readily produced but if my hon. Friend wished to table a more specific question about a particular project I shall endeavour to give him a full reply.

Parliament: Air Pollution

Mr. Hollobone: To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission what estimate he has made of the carbon footprint of the House estate; and what targets have been set to reduce it. [124508]

Nick Harvey: The amount of carbon being released into the atmosphere as a result of gas and electricity consumption on the parliamentary estate during 2005-06 was 4.746 MtC/year. This figure was calculated from the energy invoices and a deduction was made for the 10 per cent. of electricity consumption that derived from renewable sources.

The carbon emissions resulting from transportation have not been calculated so the direct/primary carbon footprint cannot be determined. The indirect/secondary carbon footprint cannot yet be determined either.

The current energy and water saving policy for the parliamentary estate has the target,

The House of Commons Board of Management has approved the recommendation that the eco-management and audit scheme, an environmental management system, be implemented on the parliamentary estate and this work should start soon. Consultants have produced proposals for utilising renewable energy systems on the parliamentary estate and these are currently being considered.

5 Mar 2007 : Column 1630W

Church Commissioners

Church Repairs: Funding

26. Miss McIntosh: To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the Church Commissioners what recent discussions the Commissioners have had with Ministers on funding for church repairs. [124556]

Sir Stuart Bell: The Church Heritage Forum, of which the Commissioners are members, continues to press Ministers and officials at all levels of Government in an effort to secure a 50:50 partnership with the state in respect of funding church repairs and a ‘level playing field’ in terms of access to other funds.

Church Buildings: Funding

29. John Mann: To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the Church Commissioners how much (a) Lottery and (b) state funding has been spent on church buildings in the last 10 years. [124559]

Sir Stuart Bell: The English Heritage and Heritage Lottery Fund Joint Grant Scheme for Repairs to Places of Worship began in 1996 and under this scheme a total of just under £250 million has been granted for repairs to buildings still in use as places of worship. Since 2001, a further £55 million has come from the Listed Places of Worship Grants Scheme which refunds VAT spent on repairs.

Church Ownership

30. Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the Church Commissioners how many churches are in the ownership of the Church of England. [124560]

Sir Stuart Bell: The Church of England has 16,200 church buildings. About 12,200 of these are listed by the Government as being of special architectural or historic interest, including around 45 per cent. of all Grade I and 20 per cent. of all Grade 2 buildings.

Church of England: Finance

Mr. Bone: To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the Church Commissioners what assessment the Commissioners have made of the financial implications of the sexual orientation regulations for the Church of England in relation to the support of parish ministry in areas of need. [124798]

Sir Stuart Bell: No such assessment has been made.

Church of England: Pensions

Andrew Selous: To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the Church Commissioners what assessment the Commissioners have made of the effect of the financial position of the Church of England's pension fund on the activity of the Church. [124608]

5 Mar 2007 : Column 1631W

Sir Stuart Bell: The Church is carrying out a major review of its clergy pension provision in the light of the increased cost of the current scheme and the potential impact on its other mission activities. Two reports were published in 2006, the second of which identified a number of options on which we have consulted extensively.

On 27 February, proposals were put to General Synod for the retention of the existing defined benefit structure but with some modifications to scheme benefits to make them more affordable for the parishes. Synod approved the necessary changes to the scheme rules subject to our carrying out the statutory consultation with individual scheme members. Proposals will be put to the Synod for final approval at its sessions in July 2007.

Departments: Databases

Mr. Clegg: To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the Church Commissioners what databases are controlled by the Commissioners; and what percentage of the data in each database he estimates is inaccurate or out of date. [124050]

Sir Stuart Bell: The Commissioners maintain a large number of databases for internal use and listing these would involve a disproportionate amount of time and cost. However, I can tell the hon. Gentleman that their accuracy is constantly verified during data input.

Among the more significant databases controlled by the Commissioners are the clergy payroll, lists of redundant churches, and details of bishops' expenditure. In all cases there are robust processes for ensuring accuracy, data is updated and checked against external sources where possible, and we estimate a high percentage of accuracy.

Electoral Commission Committee

Boundary Commissions

28. Mr. Mackay: To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission what the time scale is for the assumption of responsibility by the Electoral Commission of the work of the parliamentary boundary commissions. [124558]

Peter Viggers: The Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 makes provision for the transfer of the responsibilities of the four parliamentary boundary commissions to the Electoral Commission. On 22 May 2006, Official Report, column 1472W, the Under-Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs the hon. Member for Lewisham, East (Bridget Prentice) stated that the Government wished to take into account the findings of the review of the Electoral Commission by the Committee on Standards in Public Life before reaching a decision on the timing of any such transfers. That Committee reported in January and has recommended that the relevant statutory provisions should be repealed. The Government have yet to respond formally to this report.

5 Mar 2007 : Column 1632W


Railways: Terrorism

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent steps his Department has taken to combat the threat of terrorism on rail services in England and Wales. [124902]

Mr. Tom Harris: It would be inappropriate to discuss the detail of any current or future counter-terrorist security measures on public transport to avoid potentially compromising their effectiveness.

In its role as the transport industries' security regulator, DfT maintains risk-driven protective security regimes based on assessments of the terrorist threat prepared by the Security Service.

Despite the practical limitations of deploying protective security measures on ‘open’ mass transit systems, a hierarchy of measures is in place to mitigate the risk of terrorist attack on the UK rail network and London Underground. These are designed to be commensurate with the risk, effective, practicable and sustainable. They are co-ordinated with the work of the British Transport Police.

The situation is kept under constant review to ensure that the measures remain up to date and we continue to look at what further practical measures can be taken to protect transport targets.



Mr. Mullin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 30 November 2006, Official Report, column 435W, on Afghanistan, whether he is now in a position to make a statement on the bombing of civilians by NATO planes in Panjwayi near Khandahar in Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement. [112282]

Des Browne: A joint ISAF-Afghan National Army report on the airstrike in Panjwayi concluded that this incident occurred principally due to slow communications between International Forces and the local authorities. As a result, ISAF has implemented a range of measures to improve the flow of critical information. ISAF takes every step possible to prevent civilian casualties. NATO is withholding publication of further details as the information would, or would be likely to prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of our armed forces.

Afghanistan: Peace Keeping Operations

Mr. MacDougall: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his Department’s assessment is of the security risk presented by the revival of the Taliban in Afghanistan. [123639]

Des Browne: We assess that the Taliban retain the capability and the intent to attack the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), Afghan security forces, aid workers and civilian targets across a broad area of southern and eastern Afghanistan. ISAF forces
5 Mar 2007 : Column 1633W
keep the threat posed by the Taliban and insurgent groups under constant review. The uplift in forces announced recently is aimed at defeating this Taliban capability and consolidating the excellent work carried out by ISAF to date.

Mr. MacDougall: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many British servicemen and women have been injured in Afghanistan since (a) special forces were deployed in 2001 and (b) the armed forces were deployed in 2002. [123640]

Derek Twigg: Casualty data for operations in Afghanistan since 1 January 2006 are available on the MOD website at We intend to provide further information on casualties in Afghanistan prior to 2006 on the MOD website later this month. Our initial priority is to publish information for seriously injured (SI) and very seriously injured (VSI) casualties, with further information to be released in due course. I will write to my hon. Friend when this exercise has been completed. It is MOD policy not to comment on special forces matters.

Armed Forces: Bereavement Counselling

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what services are offered by his Department for the bereaved families of armed forces personnel. [121890]

Derek Twigg: I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer I gave on 27 February 2007, Official Report, column 1161W, to the hon. Member for Lancaster and Wyre (Mr. Wallace).

Armed Forces: Catering

Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the daily budget allowance for meals is for (a) Royal Navy personnel (i) in port and (ii) at sea (A) on ship and (B) on submarines (1) on operations and (2) on exercise, (b) Royal Air Force personnel (x) at their home base and (y) on operations and (c) Army personnel (X) in their home posting, (Y) on exercise and (Z) on operations; and if he will make a statement. [124293]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 1 March 2007]: The daily budget allowance, known as the daily messing rate (DMR), is based on a “basket” of food items, and is calculated on a monthly basis by applying prices obtained from the MOD's food supply contractor to the appropriate ration scale. Current DMRs are shown as follows:

Royal Navy Personnel

5 Mar 2007 : Column 1634W

Royal Air Force personnel

Next Section Index Home Page