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4 Feb 2008 : Column 824W—continued


Vetting

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what assessment she has made of the variations in rates charged by intermediary bodies to individuals and small organisations for processing of Criminal Records Bureau checks; what assessment she has made of the effect of such charges on individuals and small organisations; and what assessment of the effect was made before the entry into force of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006; [175717]

(2) what assessment she has made of the effect on the Criminal Records Bureau application system of the entry into force of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006; and what assessment she has made of the effects of these changes on (a) processing time and (b) financial efficiency of (i) the Criminal Records Bureau and (ii) applicants or employers using intermediary bodies. [175718]

Meg Hillier: The Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) has been an integral part of the team tasked with designing the new processes associated with the requirements of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 (SVG Act) to ensure that impacts on the disclosure service are minimised as far as possible.

There should be no adverse impact on the processing time of standard or enhanced disclosures as a result of the new processes, and the CRB is taking the opportunity afforded by the changes prompted by the SVG Act to explore how to leverage further efficiency improvements in its existing processes. The costs to CRB of operating the new elements of the processes associated with the SVG Act will be covered by the additional application fees levied under Act.

There is no legal requirement to assess the level of charge between intermediary bodies, individuals and small organisations for the processing of checks, which is a commercial matter between the intermediary body and its customers. However, a regulatory impact assessment for the Act was published in 2006 and includes details of the impact on small firms, references to how we propose to balance the rights of individual employees with those of vulnerable groups, and a range of references to the impact on other bodies such as regulators, the voluntary sector, local government bodies and the police.

Vetting: EC Action

Mr. Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when she expects the discussions between the Criminal Records Bureau and the Association of Chief Police Officers on seeking access to (a) European Union Member States' and (b) other foreign countries' criminal conviction data to reach conclusions; and if she will make a statement. [176112]

Meg Hillier: The Criminal Records Bureau contacted all member states in 2007 to establish whether there was an opportunity to enter into agreements to exchange data for employment vetting purposes where national laws allowed. To date there have been positive responses from some member states —the Republic of Ireland, France, Estonia and Poland. Australia has also indicated a willingness to share information.

A Home Office-chaired Steering Group has been established to oversee this project and representatives include the Association of Chief Police Officers and the Criminal Records Bureau.

We remain committed to improving access to overseas criminal convictions data. Even where another jurisdiction is willing to exchange such information, detailed work will still be needed with each overseas jurisdiction on a range of issues, including forming an understanding of offence descriptions which may differ from those used in UK jurisdictions and establishing
4 Feb 2008 : Column 825W
exchange arrangements where criminal records data are not held centrally in the overseas jurisdiction, or are not held electronically.

Victim Support Schemes: Metropolitan Police

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps her Department is taking to ensure improvement in levels of victim satisfaction with the service provided by the Metropolitan Police. [176795]

Mr. McNulty: A key aim of the Government’s Citizen Focused Policing agenda is to support all forces, including the Metropolitan police, in improving the service they provide to victims. These include the development of minimum service standards, such as the Quality of Service Commitment, and the creation of new statutory rights for victims under a code of practice for victims of crime.

The effective use of performance information is also crucial, with all forces conducting local surveys to assess victim satisfaction. This performance information submitted by forces to the Home Office on a quarterly basis, is used to help drive performance improvements.

Furthermore, the rollout of Neighbourhood Policing focuses on improving public confidence and satisfaction in the police service by ensuring the needs of individuals and communities are considered and routinely reflected in day to day policing activity.

Written Questions

Mark Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when she plans to answer written question numbers 162090 and 162091, tabled on 7 November 2007 by the hon. Member for Ceredigion, on economic migrants. [171226]

Mr. McNulty: I replied to the hon. Member on 11 December 2007, Official Report, columns 487-88W.

Treasury

Benzodiazepines: Misuse

Jim Dobbin: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many drug misuse deaths related to benzodiazepines have occurred in (a) Scotland, (b) Northern Ireland and (c) Wales in each year since 1999. [183071]

Angela Eagle [holding answer 31 January 2008]: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the National Statistician, who has been asked to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated 4 February 2008:


4 Feb 2008 : Column 826W
Deaths from drug-related poisoning( 1) where benzodiazepines were mentioned on the death record, Wales,( 2) 1999 to 2006( 3)
Total mentions Mentions without other drugs

1999

17

2

2000

14

4

2001

23

4

2002

13

3

2003

25

4

2004

14

3

2005

12

1

2006

18

6

(1) Cause of death was defined using the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision (ICD-9) codes 292, 303, 305.2-305,9, E850-E858, E950.0-E950.5, E980.0-E980.5 and E962.0 for the years 1999 and 2000 and Tenth Revision (ICD-10) codes F11-F16, F18-F19, X40-X44, X60-X64, X85 and YIO-YI4 from 2001 onwards. These deaths were selected where benzodiazepines were mentioned on the death record.
(2) Deaths of usual residents of Wales.
(3) Figures are for deaths registered in each calendar year.

Business

Mr. Prisk: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his Department's planned expenditure on business support, promotion of enterprise and economic development is for each year from 2007-08 to 2010-11; and which elements of this expenditure are planned to be funded through regional development agencies' single pot. [179229]

Angela Eagle [holding answer 15 January 2008]: The RDAs are funded by six Departments including, the Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Department for Innovation Universities and Skills, UK Trade and Investment, Communities and Local Government, Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Together these provide £2.3 billion in 2007-08, £2.2 billion in 2008-09, £2.2 billion in 2009-10 and £2.1 billion in 2010-11 to the RDAs' single budget. The RDAs detailed proposals for business support covering the next three years will be set out in their corporate plans which will be published in the spring.

Climate Change

Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many departmental (a) Ministers, (b) civil servants and (c) consultants, contractors or secondees working full-time or part-time for his Department attended the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali. [179196]

Angela Eagle [holding answer 16 January 2008]: None. However, two Treasury officials travelled to Indonesia for a meeting of Finance Ministries on climate change, convened by the Indonesian Minister of Finance.

Crown Estate Commissioners: Advertising

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much the Crown Estate spent on advertising in each of the last 10 years. [183398]


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Angela Eagle: The only paid advertising that the Crown Estate undertakes is in relation to recruitment. The information available is in the table:

£000

2006-07

235

2005-06

233

2004-05

194

2003-04

61

2002-03

73

2001-02

163

2000-01

87

1999-2000

77

1998-99

79


Crown Estate Commissioners: Scotland

Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much the Crown Estate received from rents paid by shellfish farmers in (a) Orkney, (b) Shetland, (c) Scotland and (d) the UK in each of the last five years. [183389]

Angela Eagle: The information requested is given in the table:

£000
2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07

Orkney

1.1

0.7

3

1

2.5

Shetland

15

20

31

35

50

Scotland

86

79

96

146

131

UK

100

105

114

171

156


Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many aquaculture projects paid rent to the Crown Estate in Orkney and Shetland in each of the last five years; and what income was generated from such rents in each year. [183395]

Angela Eagle: The information available is given in the table:

Orkney Shetland
£000 Number of projects £000 Number of projects

2003-04

51

25

598

158

2004-05

111

25

885

172

2005-06

132

28

518

187

2006-07

91

28

518

189


Mr. Carmichael: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate the Crown Estate made of the value of the seabed surrounding the Orkney and Shetland Isles in each of the last three years. [183396]

Angela Eagle: An estimate of the value of the seabed surrounding Orkney and Shetland is given in the table:

£ million

2004-05

3.7

2005-06

3.7

2006-07

3.7


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