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10 Nov 2009 : Column 214W—continued

Solicitors: Overpayments

22. Mr. Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice when he next expects to meet the Legal Services Commission to discuss its overpayments to solicitors in 2008-09. [298586]

Bridget Prentice: My right hon. Friend, the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice (Mr. Straw) and my noble Friend, Lord Bach, Legal Aid Minister met Commissioners from the Legal Services Commission
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on 21 October and the matter concerning 'overpayments to solicitors' was part of the discussions. Ministers have and will continue to hold regular meetings with the Legal Services Commission.

Prisoner Voting Rights

23. Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what progress he has made in the second stage of his consultation on voting rights for prisoners; and if he will make a statement. [298587].

Mr. Wills: The second consultation on the voting rights of convicted prisoners closed on 29 September 2009. The Government are carefully studying the responses and will set out the next steps in due course

Housing: Released Prisoner

24. Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on the provision of housing for offenders on their release from prison. [298588]

Maria Eagle: Ministers from the Ministry of Justice and Communities and Local Government regularly discuss matters relating to socially excluded adults and offenders, including housing at the Life Chances Social Exclusion Cabinet Committee and the Reducing Re-offending Inter Ministerial Group.

Female Imprisonment

Ms Keeble: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what assessment he has made of the effect of the imprisonment of women on their children. [298568]

Maria Eagle: We recognise there is an impact: only 5 per cent. of these children remain in the family home when their mothers are imprisoned and 12 per cent. are taken into care or are adopted.

There is an intergenerational effect. 65 per cent. of boys with a convicted parent go on to offend. The children of offenders are at much greater risk of poor outcomes in life then other groups. That is why we seek to divert less serious female offenders from what are often short prison sentences as Baroness Corston suggested in her report.

British Values Roadshow

Mrs. Laing: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what estimate has been made of the cost of planned British values roadshow and consultation events. [299075]

Mr. Wills: The Government held a series of five deliberative events on Identity, Values and a possible Bill of Rights and Responsibilities during October. Two further events, both of which will cover a Bill of Rights and Responsibilities and a written constitution, will take place on 21 and 28 November. There will be a National Deliberative Event in the new year.

It is not possible to finalise the actual costs until all of the events have taken place, however, it is anticipated that this will come to less than £1 million in total.

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Human Trafficking: Proceeds of Crime

Mr. Steen: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many confiscation orders against people convicted of human trafficking offences have been made in each of the last three years; and how much money has been realised from them. [298927]

Claire Ward: The available information is shown in the following table.

Total confiscation orders made against offenders convicted of human t rafficking, since 2005

Total confiscation orders Total amount (£)










1. These figures have been drawn from administrative data systems.
2. Although care is taken when processing and analysing the returns, the detail collected is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recording system.
OMS Analytical Services, Ministry of Justice

Data for 2008 will be available once 'Sentencing Statistics 2008' is published in early 2010.

The figures shown here relate solely to cases recorded on the Ministry of Justice courts proceedings database where an offence of Human trafficking was the principal offence for which the offender was sentenced and where the confiscation order was made at the point of sentence. It is possible that a confiscation order can be made in a separate court appearance following sentence. These cases are not included in this answer and it is likely the true number of confiscation orders may be higher than is presented here.

The amount realised from these confiscation orders could only be obtained at disproportionate cost by matching individual case files with records from the court proceedings database.

Magistrates Courts: Haverfordwest

Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what recent discussions he has had on the future of Haverfordwest Magistrates' Court. [297793]

Bridget Prentice: All Pembrokeshire magistrates court business has been listed at the Law Courts, Hawthorn Rise, Haverfordwest, since 2001, at which stage extensive building work was undertaken to provide suitable accommodation at the site. The county court for Pembrokeshire also sits in separate courts within that building. The Law Courts are strategically placed to undertake all the magistrates and county court business within Pembrokeshire and it is planned to continue using the building for these purposes for the foreseeable future.

Prisoner Escapes

Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 26 October 2009, Official Report, column 90W, on prisoner escapes, what the name is of the person convicted of murder who is unlawfully at large; on what date his or her (a) offence and (b) conviction took place; what the length of his or her sentence was; on what date he or she absconded,
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and from which prison; whether he or she was on any form of work or temporary release; what his or her security classification was at the time of absconding; and whether he or she had been subject to any punishments for breach of prison discipline while in prison. [298460]

Mr. Straw: The prisoner serving a sentence of murder that remains unlawfully at large was sentenced to life imprisonment on 31 October 1989 for a single offence of murder committed on 27 August 1988. He did not have a history of violent offending before this offence. He was re-categorised as category D and allocated to Ford open prison in February 2009. Prisoners located in open conditions have been risk assessed and categorised as being of low risk to the public and as such he is not considered to be dangerous. He absconded from HM Prison Ford in August 2009. He was not on temporary release licence when he absconded. He was found guilty of a total of 39 disciplinary offences during his 20 years of imprisonment, most of which were for disobeying lawful orders or for being abusive towards staff. All of these would have been subject to disciplinary punishment.

It is obviously in general much in the public interest that the names of those escaping and absconding should be made public, but there can be operational or other reasons for not doing so in specific cases. I will write to the hon. Member with the name of the offender when the police have confirmed that there is no difficulty in placing this in the public domain.

Over 96 per cent. of prisoners who abscond are re-captured and returned to custody. On re-capture the prisoner will be returned to a closed prison and referred to the police for consideration for prosecution for having been unlawfully at large.

Prisoners: Females

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what his policy is on reducing the number of women in prison. [298576]

Maria Eagle: The Government are committed to diverting vulnerable women, who are not serious or dangerous offenders, from custody. We have provided £15.6 million of new funding over two years from 2009-11 for the provision of additional services in the community for women offenders and women at risk of offending.

Many female offenders have an acute combination of complex issues that lie behind their offending and prison does not provide an effective way to address these problems. The Government have already allocated £3.1 million from this fund and last week allocated a further £6.8 million to third sector providers, to help develop a network of provisions across the country to tackle the cause of offending behaviour for women who are not a danger to the public, both pre and post conviction.

Prisons: Freedom of Information

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether he has plans to extend to private prisons the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000. [298646]

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Mr. Wills: On 16 July, the Government published the response to its consultation on extending the Freedom of Information Act by means of a section 5 order. It noted that it was not minded to include private prisons in an initial order. However, the Government has made it clear it intends to keep the extension of the Act under review.

Vetting: Local Government

Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what guidance has been given to local authorities by the Information Commissioner on the classifying of individuals on List 98. [298446]

Mr. Wills: The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) has not issued any guidance to local authorities on this matter.

However, "The Employment Practices Code" produced by the ICO contains guidance for employers on a range of data protection issues including pre-employment checks.

Energy and Climate Change

Energy: Housing

John Hemming: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what the average level of energy consumption was for a domestic property in the last 12 months period for which figures are available. [297156]

Mr. Kidney: The 2009 edition of the Digest of UK Energy Statistics indicates that a total of 45.642 million tonnes of oil equivalent was consumed in the domestic sector during 2009. This equates to 530,816 GWh.

It is estimated that the number of households in the UK during 2008 was around 26.334 million.

This results in an average energy consumption per domestic property of 20,157 kWh.

Natural Gas

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will assess the merits of potential substitutes for natural gas supplies for (a) domestic and (b) industrial consumption in the UK. [298605]

Mr. Kidney: Potential substitutes for natural gas include (i) using an alternative fossil fuel (ii) using a low carbon source of energy and (iii) using less energy (for example, through increasing energy efficiency). The Government's recent "Low Carbon Transition Plan" set out how Government will stimulate the uptake of low-carbon sources of energy as well as adding impetus to energy efficiency.

Renewable Energy

Mr. Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent assessment he has made of the effects of the use of biomass boilers installed to meet Renewable Energy Strategy targets on (a) air quality, (b) levels of particulate emissions and (c) levels of (i) morbidity and (ii) mortality. [296732]

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Jim Fitzpatrick: I have been asked to reply.

(a) The Government have, in support of the development of the Renewable Energy Strategy (RES), carried out modelling of the effect of an increase in the use of biomass for heat and power on the emissions, ambient air concentrations and public health impacts of fine particles (PM2.5), coarser particles (PM10) and nitrogen dioxide. The key air quality results of this analysis are given in the Renewable Energy Strategy on page 121.

(b) As part of the analysis the increases in the emissions of particulates were estimated over a number of different scenarios. For PM2.5 these were between 0.75 and 9.1 ktonnes from a baseline in 2007 of 82 ktonnes. For PM10, emissions were estimated as being between 1.3 and 9.5 ktonnes from a 2007 baseline of 135 ktonnes.

(c) (i) The impacts on morbidity resulting from the uptake of biomass as a renewable energy source were not assessed.

(ii) The mortality health impacts of these scenarios were estimated to be between 340,000 and 1,750,000 measured as the number of life years lost in 2020 from the impact on air quality of increased biomass combustion.

The results presented above are for the whole of the UK and are given in their raw output form. The assumptions of each scenario are set out in the Renewable Energy Strategy.

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent discussions his Department has had with (a) energy companies, (b) non-governmental organisations, (c) local authorities and (d) others on the setting of levels for feed-in tariffs. [299211]

Mr. Kidney: DECC published proposed feed-in tariff levels in the Consultation on Renewable Electricity Financial Incentives 2009 document on 15 July 2009. The document is still available from the DECC website at:

The consultation closed on 15 October 2009 and we are currently analysing the responses that were received, which numbered in excess of 700. Many of these responses provided detailed information and views on the tariff levels, which we are considering.

Through the consultation period DECC Ministers and officials held a number of meetings with external organisations and spoke at a number of conferences with a wide range of attendees from each of the groups referenced. These conferences included a DECC hosted FITs conference on 18 September, a Scottish Renewables FITs and RO event on 23 September, and a RegenSW FITs conference on 29 September. There was discussion at each of these events on the proposed tariff levels.


Afghanistan: Armed Forces

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the average tour interval will be for each unit deployed in the next Afghanistan roulement. [297899]

Bill Rammell: Those units that are identified as likely to deploy in the next Afghanistan roulement are not scheduled to redeploy again for at least 24 months
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following their end of tour. This is entirely consistent with harmony guidelines. Details of the next Afghanistan roulement will be announced in Parliament at the appropriate time.

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