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Income Tax: Tax Rates and Bands

Mr. Graham Stuart: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the number of people who will be worse off in Beverley and Holderness constituency following the abolition of the 10 pence tax rate ; and if he will make a statement. [201851]

Jane Kennedy: It is not possible to provide reliable estimates of the impact of tax reforms at constituency level.

The removal of the 10p rate is part of a package of reforms announced in Budget 2007 and should not be looked at in isolation. As a result of these reforms four-in-five households in the United Kingdom are better or no worse off than if they had not taken place.

Budget 2008 announced additional measures supporting low income households including increased child tax credit, child benefit and housing benefits that will lift up to a further 250,000 children out of poverty, and one-off payments of £100 to households with someone aged 80 or over and £50 to households with someone aged 60 or over, to be paid alongside the winter fuel payment in 2008-09.


Mr. Drew: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what assessment he has made of the effects on financial intermediaries of financial lenders withdrawing products and lending directly to end customers; [201339]

(2) what assessment (a) his Department and (b) the Financial Services Authority has made of the effects on the economy of financial lenders withdrawing products from the marketplace. [201340]

Angela Eagle: Budget 2008 presented the Government's assessment of the ongoing disruption in global financial markets, including the effect on housing finance markets, and is available at:

The 2008 Financial Risk Outlook published by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) presents the FSA's consideration of the effects on the economy of a reduced availability of credit, and is available at:

Members: Correspondence

Sir Michael Spicer: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he plans to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for West Worcestershire, dated 10 March 2008, transferred from the Department for Children, Schools and Families, on value added tax on school uniforms, PO reference: 7/15810/2008. [202394]

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Jane Kennedy: I replied to the hon. Member on 26 April.

Northern Rock

Mr. Redwood: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what forecast he has made of the size of Northern Rock's mortgage book at the end of (a) 2008 and (b) 2009. [201668]

Angela Eagle: During the period of temporary public ownership, Northern Rock will be managed on an arms' length, commercial basis. It is a matter for the company's management to release specific business updates.

On 31 March 2008, Northern Rock published a business plan that meets the Government's objectives, setting out its strategic priority to reduce the size of its balance sheet by over 50 per cent. to £49 billion by 2011.

Northern Rock: Nationalisation

Mr. Hands: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received since nationalisation on the operations of Northern Rock bank in (a) Denmark, (b) the Republic of Ireland and (c) Guernsey. [194567]

Angela Eagle: There were a number of representations about the operations in question, including Northern Rock's announcement of 18 March 2008 of their intention to close their Danish branch and maintain their branch in the Republic of Ireland and subsidiary in Guernsey.

Public Expenditure

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he has taken to provide greater flexibility for Government Departments, with reference to the use of capital expenditure and operational expenditure spending budgets. [202536]

Yvette Cooper: The Government set separate capital and resource budgets for Departments at spending reviews. Separate resource and capital budgets support the Government's fiscal rules and ensure sustained investment in priorities, including infrastructure, schools and hospitals. The Government have introduced firm three-year spending plans and Departments have flexibility to focus resources within budget limits, subject to the rules set out in Managing Public Money and the Consolidated Budgeting Guidance 2008-09 (please see the links to these documents as follows). The Government have also introduced End Year Flexibility, which enables flexibility across financial years.

Consolidated Budgeting Guidance 2008-09:

Managing Public Money:

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Tobacco: Excise Duties

Mr. Drew: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will bring forward proposals for a levy on cigarette manufacturers to pay for the removal of discarded cigarette butts. [202486]

Angela Eagle: The Chancellor keeps all taxes under review. The Government currently have no plans for such a levy.

DEFRA has recently funded four smoking litter campaigns, organised by Environmental Campaigns (ENCAMS), the organisation which runs the Keep Britain Tidy campaign. The Government will continue to encourage local authorities to use their powers in this regard to take action, where appropriate, against those discarding smoking related litter.


Offenders: Cost of Punishment

10. Dr. Palmer: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will give consideration to charging offenders for the cost of their punishment. [202053]

Mr. Hanson: The 1952 Prison Act requires all expenses incurred in the maintenance of prisons and prisoners to be met from public funds.

The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 enables the confiscation of criminally acquired assets. Courts frequently impose compensation orders against defendants under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

In this way prisoners who have funds can be made to contribute directly towards the costs of the criminal justice process, including those costs incurred in their imprisonment.

We are currently looking at how the work and behaviour of prisoners can be better linked to the regime they are under in prison through a prisoner compact. I will be publishing proposals on this shortly.

Reoffending Rates

11. Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps he is taking through the youth justice system to reduce reoffending rates. [202054]

Mr. Hanson: Between 2000 and 2005 youth re-offending has reduced by 2.5 per cent. We are building on this by developing a cross-government youth crime action plan which will set out work to reduce offending and reoffending by young people. We also continue to work with partners to improve practice and performance. This includes ensuring that the right performance frameworks and indicators are in place and putting in place a delivery plan to reduce youth reoffending.

Postal Voting

12. Mr. Robathan: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what recent assessment he has made of the integrity of the postal voting system. [202055]

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Bridget Prentice: The Government take the integrity of the electoral process very seriously. Postal voting has proved popular and has helped to boost turnout at elections. However, we must balance accessibility with security, and we have put in place a range of measures to safeguard the security of postal voting. We are not complacent on this issue and will consider what further action may be taken to ensure postal voting is secure.


13. Mr. Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what discussions he has had with ClearSprings on property in Basildon district. [202056]

Mr. Hanson: ClearSprings are not currently seeking property in Basildon but will consult if further properties are identified as being required.

RAF Coltishall

14. Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will make a statement on the development of plans for a prison in the former RAF Coltishall. [202057]

Mr. Hanson: A detailed planning application was submitted to North Norfolk district council and Broadland council on 18 April 2008.

The proposal is to provide a new 500 place Category C prison for males on the former RAF Coltishall site by converting some of the existing accommodation and providing some new buildings.

The prison will be in the public sector and run by HM Prison Service. Subject to planning permission, the first offenders are planned to be received in early 2009 and the prison will be fully operational later in the year.

“Governance of Britain”

15. Mr. Allen: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what plans he has for electronic consultation on the proposals in the Governance of Britain Green Paper. [202058]

Mr. Wills: We have set up the Governance of Britain website to provide information and updates on proposals in the Green Paper (http://governance. As well as providing regular updates on progress, the site can give people the opportunity to contribute to discussion and debate in online forums and through e-mail.

Young Offenders

16. Alun Michael: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what recent estimate he has made of the time taken to bring young offenders’ cases to court; and what targets he has set for this process. [202059]

Maria Eagle: The Government have a pledge to halve the average time from arrest to sentence for persistent young offenders from its 1996 level of 142 days. The 71-day target was first met in 2002, and the most recent monthly average for January 2008 is 62 days.

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The average time between offence and first court hearing for all youth defendants whose cases were disposed of in 2007 is estimated at 53 days.

The Criminal Justice: Simple, Speedy, Summary (CJSSS) initiative is presently being rolled-out to further improve the speed and effectiveness of youth courts.

Ms Keeble: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what recent assessment he has made of the operation of youth referral orders. [201318]

Beverley Hughes: I have been asked to reply.

July 2007 data on reconvictions show that the referral order has the lowest reconviction rate, 44 per cent., of all juvenile court imposed sentences. This is against the overall reconviction rate for juvenile community sentences of 70 per cent.

The Youth Justice Board is responsible for the monitoring of the provision and operation of youth justice services. It issued a consultation document on referral orders at the end of last year and is now in the process of drawing up an action plan to address issues raised in the responses.

Mr. Burrowes: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many people under the age of 21 years were serving sentences for public protection offences at the latest date for which figures are available. [202024]

Mr. Hanson: The following table shows the number of young offenders in prison establishments in England and Wales serving indeterminate and extended sentences for public protection as at end February 2008:

Under 18s Young adults( 1)

Extended sentence for public protection (EPP)



Indeterminate sentence for public protection (IPP)



(1) Young adults are those aged 18-20 and those 21 year olds who were aged 20 or under at conviction who have not been reclassified as part of the adult population.

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 so numbers have been rounded to the nearest 10.

Prisoners: Foreign Nationals

17. Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what progress is being made in conjunction with the Home Department in securing agreements with other countries to transfer foreign national prisoners to their countries of origin. [202061]

Mr. Hanson: There are 98 Prisoner Transfer Agreements in place. I continue to look for opportunities to develop agreements with countries for the return of their nationals. This would enable them to serve their sentences closer to their families in the country to which they will ultimately be deported.

I recently visited Nigeria to progress a prisoner transfer agreement with them.

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Prison Building

18. Sir Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what recent progress has been made on the prisons building programme. [202062]

Mr. Hanson: The Government have announced a programme to provide an additional 20,000 prison places and increase overall capacity to just over 96,000 by 2014. The programme has already provided 2,475 places, and will provide a further 1,708 places this year.

Prisons: Illegal Commodities

19. Mrs. Dorries: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps he is taking to reduce the supply of illegal drugs and mobile telephones in prisons. [202063]

21. Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps his Department is taking to tackle the availability of illegal drugs in prisons. [202065]

Mr. Hanson: Prisons deploy a comprehensive framework of drug supply reduction measures and have achieved considerable success. Drug use as measured by random mandatory drug tests has dropped by 64 per cent. since 1996-97.

On 11 March 2008 I announced that David Blakey, former inspector of constabulary, has been commissioned to conduct a review of the effectiveness of the measures to disrupt the supply of illicit drugs into prisons. His report will also look into mobile phone use in prisons and their interrelation with drug supply.

The Prison Service is developing an action plan to tackle the problem of mobile phones in prisons. We are working closely with partner agencies to develop and trial new technologies and procedures.

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