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21 May 2007 : Column 1148W—continued

Prisons: Overcrowding

Mr. David Anderson: To ask the Minister of State, Ministry of Justice what the cost has been of Operation Safeguard. [138258]

Mr. Sutcliffe: NOMS has made payments totalling £1,432,722.87 in respect of the use of Operation Safeguard in 2006-07. In addition to this there are some further invoices to be submitted by police forces and some invoices that have been submitted which are being processed.

Re-offenders: Mentally Ill

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Minister of State, Ministry of Justice what percentage of prisoners re-offended within three years of their release in each of the last 15 years; and what percentage of those that re-offended had been diagnosed with mental health problems in each of those years. [138186]

Mr. Sutcliffe: Re-offending rates for three years following release from prison are not routinely calculated. Re-offending rates have historically been calculated over a two year period and the most recent figures for adults released from prison in England and Wales are shown in the following table.

Two year re-offending rates of adults released from prison, based on the first quarter of each year

Re-offending rate (Percentage)









The percentage of these who suffered from a mental illness is unknown as this information is not on the Ministry of Justice’s extract from the Police National Computer, which is used to calculate these figures.


Mr. Garnier: To ask the Minister of State, Ministry of Justice how many offenders were sentenced to indeterminate sentences of imprisonment for public protection in each year since the relevant provisions of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 were implemented; and how many such prisoners have been (a) released in line with their tariff minimum sentence and (b) kept in
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custody beyond their tariff minimum sentence, broken down into those in custody (i) six months over their tariff and (ii) in increasing increments of six months over their tariff. [137546]

Mr. Sutcliffe: Public protection sentences were first provided in the Criminal Justice Act 2003 and implemented for relevant offences committed on or after 4 April 2005. The numbers(1) of prisoners received into prisons in England and Wales under Indeterminate Sentences for Public Protection (IPP) were 700 in 2005-06 and 1,710 in 2006-07. There have been five prisoners released from IPP sentences as at 30 April 2007. Four of these were released after the tariff period had expired. In another case the prisoner was released before tariff-expiry on compassionate grounds due to ill health. Complete information on those held in custody beyond their tariff period is not available centrally.

These figures have been drawn from administrative IT systems, which, as with any large scale recording system, are subject to possible errors with data entry and processing.

Supreme Court

Mr. Heald: To ask the Minister of State, Ministry of Justice what the estimated total cost is of establishing the new Supreme Court in the Middlesex Guildhall, including costs already incurred; and what her estimate is of the eventual cost of creating seven new courtrooms elsewhere in central London to replace those currently in the Guildhall. [137631]

Ms Harman: The costs involved in the establishment of a new Supreme Court are subject to ongoing negotiations with our preferred bidders: Kier Group for the renovation of Middlesex Guildhall and Geoffrey Osborne (Building) for the new court rooms at Isleworth. As the Lord Chancellor stated in his written ministerial statement of 17 October 2006, we will be in a position to make a statement on costs once we have reached financial close with the respective bidders.

Mr. Heald: To ask the Minister of State, Ministry of Justice when she expects the Supreme Court to be functional. [137632]

Ms Harman: The Supreme Court implementation programme is on target to deliver the Supreme Court at the Middlesex Guildhall in October 2009. This date is subject to obtaining “clean” planning and listed building consent and reaching Financial Close with our preferred bidder.

Witnesses: Protection

Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Minister of State, Ministry of Justice what measures she is taking to improve the treatment of vulnerable and intimidated witnesses. [137884]

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Mr. Sutcliffe: The Government have introduced a range of measures to support and assist vulnerable and intimidated witnesses before, during and after the trial. These include:

Witnesses: Queen Elizabeth II

Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Minister of State, Ministry of Justice what constitutional constraints prevent Her Majesty the Queen appearing as a witness in a (a) criminal court case, (b) civil action and (c) coroner's court case. [138428]

Mr. Sutcliffe: The Queen cannot be compelled to give evidence before any court as it is an established constitutional principle that they are her own courts and have no jurisdiction over her.

Written Questions

Mr. Howard: To ask the Minister of State, Ministry of Justice when she will reply to question 118823, on prison places, tabled by the right hon. and learned Member for Folkestone and Hythe on 31 January 2007. [138161]

Mr. Sutcliffe: I have answered the right hon. and learned Gentleman’s question today.


EC Budget: Rebates

Mr. Cash: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he plans to introduce legislation to implement the Own Resources Decision of December 2005. [138327]

Ed Balls: Legislation to implement the Own Resources Decision in respect of changes to the EC budget agreed at the December 2005 European Council will be introduced by means of a European Communities (Finance) Bill and will be brought forward as parliamentary time allows.

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Insurance: Social Rented Housing

Danny Alexander: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he will establish a target for availability of insure with rent schemes in greater numbers of local authorities and housing associations; [137540]

(2) what discussions he has had with (a) the insurance industry, (b) local government and (c) housing associations on promoting insure with rent schemes among uninsured households; [137541]

(3) what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on increasing the availability of insure with rent schemes in local authorities and housing associations. [137542]

Ed Balls: The Government recognise the important role of insurance as a financial tool, enabling people to protect against potential losses arising from risks to assets like home contents or a car.

The Treasury has recently announced that insurance will be considered—alongside affordable credit and saving—as part of the Government's commitment to ensuring that everyone is able to plan for the future and cope with financial pressure.

The Government have asked the Financial Inclusion Taskforce to work with the Association of British Insurers and the insurance industry, to investigate how insurance can be made an integral part of financial inclusion policy. This work will consider ways of building on existing initiatives, such as insurance with rent schemes, and explore the viability of new initiatives, such as risk-reduction approaches. Local government and housing associations are important stakeholders and will also be involved in discussions.

All Ministers with an interest in financial inclusion have been invited to join a ministerial working group, which will determine detailed priorities for financial inclusion policy, including insurance, and publish a detailed action plan after the CSR.

Sanctions: Iran

Mr. Hague: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment has been made of the compliance cost to the UK financial sector of the implementation of the provisions of UN Security Council Resolutions 1737 and 1747; and if he will make a statement. [137475]

Ed Balls: The financial restrictions imposed by United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1737 and 1747 are implemented in the UK through The Iran (Financial Sanctions) Order 2007. When enacting this secondary legislation a regulatory impact assessment (RIA) was carried out that considered the costs to the financial sector.

A copy of this RIA can be found on the OPSI website.

Mr. Hague: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what funds have been frozen in the UK in respect of UN Security Council Resolutions 1737 and 1747; and if he will make a statement. [137476]

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Ed Balls: Bank Sepah and Bank Sepah International are the only Iranian entities designated by the UN under Security Council Resolutions 1737 and 1747 to have so far been identified as holding assets in the UK. These assets were frozen on 24 March 2007 under the provisions of the Iran (Financial Sanctions) Order 2007. We are currently evaluating the frozen assets held in the UK. The release of detailed information is subject to banking confidentiality and disclosure arrangements.

Work and Pensions

Average Earnings

Mr. Gauke: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the average weekly income of the lowest earning decile was in (a) 2004-05 and (b) 2005-06. [132124]

Mr. Jim Murphy: The median weekly equivalised income for the lowest decile in 2004-05 was £144 (before housing costs) and £91 (after housing costs). This is expressed in 2005-06 prices.

The information requested for 2005-06 will be shown in the revised HBAI 2005-06 release.

The Secretary of State made a written statement to Parliament on 23 April 2007, Official Report, column 20WS, on why the statistics are being revised.

Better Backs Campaign

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Better Backs campaign. [133909]

Mrs. McGuire: HSE has undertaken a detailed independent evaluation of its Better Backs media campaigns in 2005 and 2006. In both cases awareness of the campaign messages was raised among both employers and employees. In addition HSE and local authority stakeholder engagement and inspection activity highlighted the likely health problems associated with manual handling activities, in particular back problems and the remedies that could reduce them. Looked at over the longer-term, HSE has campaigned around musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), including back pain, for many years and the period 2001-02 to 2005-06 has seen a drop in estimated working days lost to MSDs from 11.8 million to 9.45 million.

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the Better Backs campaign has cost. [133910]

Mrs. McGuire: The Better Backs media campaigns, in 2005 and 2006, cost HSE £2.2 million and £2.5 million respectively. The corresponding stakeholder and workplace inspection campaigns accounted for some £3.2 million of HSE resource over the two years.

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Departments: Internet

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much the Better Backs website has cost to administer since inception. [133907]

Mrs. McGuire: The internal HSE costs for maintaining the site from May 2005 to April 2007 amount to £21.000. The initial development and set-up costs through external suppliers (already included in the campaign costs indicated in the answer to PQ 133910) amount to £100,000. The dedicated site generated over 180,000 direct visits.

Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many user visits the Better Backs website has received since inception. [133908]

Mrs. McGuire: The two ‘Better backs’ campaigns used dedicated websites working closely with key areas of HSE's main website. Visits to the specific Better Backs' sites amounted to 182,191 over the two year period, visits to other parts of the site that can be attributed directly to the campaign effect add around another 180,000.

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions for which Government websites he is
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responsible; how many visitors each received in the latest period for which figures are available; and what the cost (a) was of establishing and (b) has been of maintaining each site. [135729]

James Purnell: The following tables outline the information available about the Department of Work and Pensions website’s visitor’s figures and costs for site establishment and maintenance.

Web statistics have been shown where available without incurring disproportionate costs. Statistics are only available from 2004-05.

Production, management and maintenance of DWP websites is carried out by the Department’s own in-house E-Communications team. It is not possible to quantify internal costs for each site but contracted and quantifiable costs have been included where possible. Contracted and quantifiable costs include payments to suppliers for services such as research, user testing and site builds, and payments to interim personnel.

DWP is reviewing all its websites in line with Cabinet Office rationalisation guidance. The department is committed to website rationalisation and many of these sites will eventually close. Migration plans are currently being developed.

Table A lists those websites operated by Department for Work and Pensions where the department is responsible for the content:

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