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26 Jun 2008 : Column 478W—continued

Members: Correspondence

Mr. Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice when he plans to reply to the letter of 28 March 2008 from the hon. Member for Warley on freedom of information. [213599]

Bridget Prentice: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor (Jack Straw) replied to the hon. Member for Warley (Mr. Spellar) on Monday 23 June 2008.

Offenders: Rehabilitation

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what plans he has to implement the recommendations of the Breaking the Circle report of the review of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. [213952]

Mr. Hanson: I refer the hon. Member to my answer on 5 June 2008, Official Report, column 1111W. The Government undertook a review of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act in 2002 and published the document “Breaking the Circle” which set out proposals for reform of the Act. That paper made proposals for modifying disclosure periods for offences, and other changes to the operation of the Act. In 2003 the Government agreed that the proposals had merit and proposed to legislate when parliamentary time allowed. The position is now under review in the light of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006, which was based on the recommendations of the Bichard report, and which makes changes to the disclosure situation for ex-offenders in many areas of employment.

Prison Sentences

Martin Horwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many and what proportion of people serving custodial sentences are serving an indeterminate sentence of imprisonment for public protection; and how many such people have been in custody for longer than their tariff. [213613]

Mr. Hanson: On 30 April 2008 there were 67,614 prisoners in all prison establishments in England and Wales under immediate custodial sentence of which 4,250 (rounded to the nearest 50) were serving sentences of imprisonment for Public Protection, or 6 per cent. of the immediate custodial population. The total of 67,614 excludes fine defaulters, prisoners held on remand and non-criminal prisoners

The Public Protection Unit of the National Offender Management Service, the pre-release section (PRS) maintains a limited database on those offenders sentenced to imprisonment for public protection (IPP). This indicates that, as at 30 April 2008, 756 such offenders were being held in prison beyond their tariff expiry date.

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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.

Prisoners: Voting Rights

Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice with reference to the answer by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Ministry of Justice of 6 May 2008, Official Report, House of Lords, columns 59-60WA, on Prisoners: Voting Rights, if he will place in the Library a copy of the information submitted so far to the Committee of Ministers. [213583]

Bridget Prentice: Further to the answer from my noble Friend Lord Hunt on 6 May 2008, Official Report, House of Lords, columns 59-60WA, I have placed a copy of the information submitted to the Committee of Ministers about prisoners’ voting rights in the Libraries of both Houses.

Prisons: Non-Domestic Rates

Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether prisons pay charges to local authorities for the collection of rubbish generated by prisoners’ dwellings on top of business rates. [213544]

Maria Eagle: Disposal of waste is a matter for local management across the prison estate. As prisons are much more than simply ‘dwellings’ for prisoners, the waste comes from several sources. There is the equivalent of domestic waste but there is additional waste generated by industrial, commercial, horticultural and office activities. The majority of prisons now sort waste for sale, recycling or re-use. When waste cannot be disposed of in this fashion, generally prisons arrange for commercial collection and disposal. There is one known exception, when a prison pays a collection charge to the local authority.

Prospect Project

Mr. Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice in which towns the Prospect Project was located; what the cost was of each building used for the project; and which buildings are still in use. [212842]

Mr. Hanson: The Prospect and projects were based in Bristol (two hostels, one male and one female), Exeter (one male), Preston (one male) and Merseyside (one male).

Capital costs for the Prospects buildings programme were £8.539 million: Exeter £1.814 million, Bristol (male) £1.961 million, Bristol (female) £1.489 million, Preston £1.315 million and Merseyside £1.96 million.

The programme has been in the process of being decommissioned since January, and four of the five properties were returned to the National Offender Management Service at the end of May. One property in Bristol is still being used to deliver the community- based aspect of the service for Bristol male and female accommodation.

Safety Belts: Children

Mr. Oaten: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many persons have been prosecuted for offences
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relating to transporting children under the age of 12 years in vehicles without an appropriate car seat since September 2006, broken down by children of age (a) seven and under, (b) eight, (c) nine, (d) 10 and (e) 11 years; how many have been fined; and what the average fine was. [213955]

Maria Eagle: Available information held centrally by my Department on the prosecution of seat belt offences is not able to distinguish the age of persons not wearing a seat belt and does not indicate whether or not a booster cushion or child seat was available.


Mr. Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much his Department spent on (a) commissioning and (b) funding the production of television programmes (i) in each of the last three years and (ii) in 2008-09 to date; what programmes these were; and which companies made them. [213556]

Maria Eagle: The Ministry of Justice has not commissioned or funded any television programmes over the last three years.

Voting Methods

Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar of 6 May 2008, Official Report, columns 794-5W, on voting methods, what assessment his Department or its predecessor Departments made of the effect of such weekend voting on turnout in these pilot schemes. [213581]

Mr. Wills: A full assessment of the advance voting pilot in Camden in May 2002 was published by the Electoral Commission in its report ‘Modernising Elections—a strategic evaluation of the 2002 electoral pilot schemes’. Manchester city council carried out its own assessment of its pilot scheme of May 2000.

Innovation, Universities and Skills

Student Finance

15. Ann McKechin: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what assessment his Department has made of the financial effect on English students studying in Scotland of the proposals for a local income tax in Scotland. [213884]

Bill Rammell: As the Secretary of State for Scotland has made clear that a local income tax would not be local having been fixed centrally, and it will affect 55,000 students.

Science and Technology Facilities Council

John Barrett: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what recent discussions he has had with the Science and Technology Facilities Council on its budget. [213877]

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Ian Pearson: As part of the Science settlement, STFC's budget will increase by 13.6 per cent. or £185 million to a total of £1.9 billion over the CSR period. I have not had recent discussions with the STFC on its budget. It will decide how much of its funding they spend on each of their programmes. The STFC is currently considering the findings of its own programmatic review before finalising the use of its allocated budget which it will publish on 8 July.

Research and Development

John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what measures he has considered to improve the advice and support given by his Department to companies for research and development opportunities. [213880]

Ian Pearson: The DIUS White Paper “Innovation Nation” set out policy commitments including the aim to drive increased demand for innovative products through Government procurement, and to reform the Small Business Research Initiative.

The White Paper also set out policy commitments to give an innovation voucher to at least 1,000 businesses a year by 2010-11 to double the number of Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, and to provide support for business innovation through the Technology Strategy Board and Energy Technologies Institute.


Mr. Love: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what steps he is taking to ensure the quality of apprenticeships for young people and adults. [213863]

Mr. Lammy: Raising quality is integral to our ambitious plans set out in “World-Class Apprenticeships”. We are establishing the National Apprenticeship Service from April 2009 to ensure the provision of high quality apprenticeships in England. It will have responsibility for building on the current excellent completion rate of 63 per cent. which has risen from 24 per cent. in 2001/02. In the meantime, the Learning and Skills Council is progressing with its work to agree minimum levels of performance for apprenticeships; developing a new blueprint which clearly defines the core elements of an apprenticeship and specific training requirements; and working with the new Learning and Skills Improvement Service to secure continuous improvement in the provision of apprenticeships.

Apprentices: Finance

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how much funding was allocated for the development and maintenance of apprenticeships in the Chorley constituency in each year since 1997. [213645]

Mr. Lammy: Information on Learning and Skills Council (LSC) funding allocated to Lancashire LSC for apprenticeships is provided in the following table. LSC funding data are only available from 2005/06 and by LSC area or individual learning provider.

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Lancashire LSC apprenticeships funding allocation

Apprenticeships funding allocation (£ million)







Learning and Skills Council.

Apprentices: Suffolk

Mr. Spring: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many apprenticeships were (a) started and (b) completed in Suffolk in each of the last five years. [209386]

Mr. Lammy: The number of apprenticeship starts and completions in Suffolk in each of the last five years is given in the following table.

Apprenticeship starts and completions in Suffolk( 1) local authority

Starts Completions
















(1) Area is based on the home postcode of the learner.
1. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10.
2. Includes all ages and both apprenticeships and advanced apprenticeships.
The LSC Individualised Learner Record

Departmental Training

Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what training courses were (a) available to and (b) taken up by civil servants in his Department in the last 12 months. [210579]

Mr. Lammy: The Department was formed on 28 June 2007 from the DTI (now BERR) and the DfES (now DCSF). The Department accesses a range of corporate and professional skills development activities through these former Departments, in addition to internal provision in DIUS and that procured through external suppliers. Provision includes access to formal classroom training, e-learning, coaching, mentoring, and short seminars on a range of subjects. We also ran over 30 learning and development activities on 22 May as part of Learning at Work Day, in which a quarter of our people participated.

We link our learning and development provision to the Professional Skills for Government framework, the Government Skills Strategy and our business and improvement objectives enabling us to live the policies we prepare for Government.

The Department places great emphasis on developing the skills of our people, and we are preparing a skills strategy for DIUS which will continue to ensure we focus our development effectively to deliver the DIUS skills agenda.

Programmes which can be accessed support the following:

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In addition, the DIUS regularly provides short business related seminars on key topic areas such as engagement and collaboration using social media and innovation through policy delivery.

Our policy is to promote the development of our people through a wide range of innovative learning and development opportunities which are not reliant solely on formal classroom training.

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