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Departments: Air Conditioning

Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much was spent by his Department and its agencies on the hire of mobile air conditioning units in each of the last five years. [151975]

Derek Twigg: The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Departments: Crime

Mr. Clegg: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what criminal offences have been created by primary legislation sponsored by his Department since October 2006. [149594]

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Derek Twigg: The Ministry of Defence has sponsored one piece of primary legislation since October 2006; the Armed Forces Act 2006. That Act maintains in force, with modifications, a number of offences which are currently in the Service Discipline Acts (the Army Act 1955, the Air Force Act 1955 and the Naval Discipline Act 1957). A summary of the main offences in the Act is as follows.

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Departments: Legislation

Mr. Clegg: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what legislative provisions introduced by his Department since 1997 have not yet been brought into force. [149567]

Derek Twigg: The MOD has been responsible for the introduction of four Acts since 1997.

The Armed Forces Discipline Act 2000 and The Armed Forces Pay and Compensation Act 2004 are both in force.

The Armed Forces Act 2001, with the exception of three sections, is in force. It is intended to bring the Armed Forces Act 2006 fully into force by January 2009.

Departments: Manpower

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many staff at the Main Building, Whitehall funded by the public purse in his Department are classified as people without posts. [152256]

Derek Twigg: Fewer then five staff at Main Building are classified as people without posts. Due to the low numbers involved the information is not broken down further as this could identify the individuals and breach disclosure and confidentiality policy.

Departments: Visits Abroad

Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many overseas visits were made by (a) officials and (b) Ministers within his responsibility, and at what cost, in each year since 1997. [151651]

Derek Twigg: This information can be provided only at disproportionate cost. Since 1999, the Government have published on an annual basis, a list of all overseas visits by Cabinet Ministers costing in excess of £500, as well as the total cost of all ministerial travel overseas. Copies of the lists are available in the Library of the House. Information for 2006-07 is currently being compiled and will be published before the summer recess. All travel is undertaken in accordance with the Civil Service Management Code and the Ministerial Code.

Ex-servicemen: Pay

Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the average time period between discharge and payment of gratuity was for persons leaving each service in each year since 1997. [150125]

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Derek Twigg: Information on the average time period between discharge and payment of gratuities (i.e. discharge related grants and pensions) since 1997 is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Modern Housing Solutions: Standards

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library the results of all customer satisfaction surveys carried out for his Department by Modern Housing Solutions since 2005. [150025]

Derek Twigg: Modern Housing Solutions (MHS) has been delivering services since 1 January 2006, producing monthly progress reports for occupants. The report for June is published on its website at: and includes the results of MHS’s customer satisfaction survey for weeks ending 1 March to 24 May 2007.

It will take a little time to collate the requested information for the period 1 January 2006 to the end of February 2007. I will write to the hon. Member and place a copy of my letter in the Library of the House.

Home Department


Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what legal provisions are in place to prevent (a) the preaching of hatred and (b) incitement to commit criminal acts against the Jewish community in England and Wales; and if she will make a statement. [151003]

Mr. Coaker: Part III of the Public Order Act 1986 contains a number of offences covering acts intended or likely to stir up racial hatred. These include: use of words or behaviour or display of written material which is threatening, abusive or insulting; publishing or distributing such written material; presenting or directing a public performance of a play involving the use of threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour; distributing, showing or playing recordings of images or sounds which are threatening, abusive or insulting; providing, producing, directing or appearing in a programme service involving threatening, abusive or insulting visual images or sounds; and possessing threatening, abusive or insulting written material or recordings of visual images or sounds with a view to displaying, publishing, distributing or playing them in a programme service. Anti-Semitic hatred is covered by these offences as Jews are defined as a racial group. The maximum penalty for inciting racial hatred is seven years’ imprisonment.

In addition to the range of existing incitement offences, the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 created nine racially-aggravated offences, including assaults, criminal damage and harassment, which make available to the courts higher maximum penalties where there is evidence of racist motivation or racial hostility in connection with the offence. The Act also requires a judge or
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magistrate dealing with any offence which is racially-aggravated to state in open court that they have found it to be so aggravated, and therefore meriting an increased sentence.

The Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 introduces a requirement for courts to take account of racial or religious motivation in sentencing for other offences.

Mr. Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assistance she has (a) given and (b) plans to give to the Jewish community in England and Wales to protect it against attacks and violence; and if she will make a statement. [151004]

Mr. Coaker: I can assure the hon. gentleman that this Government take all attacks and violence seriously, and particularly those motivated by prejudice and hatred. We have in place a programme of work to tackle all hate crime, including that motivated by anti-Semitism, based on: increasing reporting; ensuring a more effective response from authorities; bringing more offences to justice; using local data to prevent hate crime from happening in the first place; and better understanding the extent and nature of all hate crimes.

If any members of the community have been the subject of an attack or violence, they should contact the police immediately. If they are worried that they may be the subject of an attack or violence, they should contact their local police Crime Prevention Officer, who can offer specific advice as to protective security measures that may be taken.

Antisocial Behaviour: East Sussex

Mr. Waterson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of the levels of perception of antisocial behaviour in (a) Eastbourne and (b) East Sussex. [151363]

Mr. Coaker: The data are not available in the form requested. Antisocial behaviour (ASB) is measured through a measure of perceptions using the British Crime Survey (BCS). The size of the sample in the British Crime Survey means that we cannot provide reliable data for geographical areas smaller than police force areas. This applies both to the local authority level of Eastbourne and the county level of East Sussex. Due to changes in the measure of antisocial behaviour, police force area data comparable to the national figures are only available for 2004-05 to 2006-07, and the national measure of perceptions of ASB only back to 2001-02.

The following table sets out the national BCS figures for the last six years and the comparable figure for Sussex police force area.

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Percentage of people perceiving high levels of ASB in their local area
National Sussex police force area Statistically significantly different (at the 95 per cent. level) from the national average




















The measure of antisocial behaviour used is based on a scale constructed from seven questions on problems due to noisy neighbours or loud parties, teenagers and young people hanging around, rubbish and litter, vandalism, people using or dealing drugs, people being drunk or rowdy and abandoned cars.

Asylum: Poole

Mr. Syms: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum seekers resident in Poole have been waiting for three months or longer for initial decisions to be made. [151592]

Mr. Byrne: Information on numbers of asylum applications and decision outcomes relating to asylum seekers in particular areas of the UK is not collated as are statistics regarding the location of asylum seekers not in receipt of support.

There were no asylum seekers recorded as receiving asylum support in Poole as at the end of March 2007.

The numbers of asylum seekers in receipt of support, broken down by Government office region and local authority, are published on a quarterly and annual basis. Copies of these publications are available from the Library of the House and from the Home Office Research, Development and Statistics website at:

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