Parole

Mr. Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what guidance is used by parole boards to decide on parole applications by prisoners serving (a) a life sentence and (b) an indeterminate sentence for public protection. [314778]

Claire Ward: The Parole Board is subject to the statutory test for release contained in section 28(6) of the Crime (Sentences) Act 1997 which prevents a direction

4 Feb 2010 : Column 502W

for release unless the board is satisfied that it is no longer necessary for the protection of the public for the prisoner to be detained. Guidance is offered to the board by the Secretary of State's Directions and, procedurally, in the Parole Board Rules 2004, as amended by the Parole Board (Amendment) Rules 2009. In addition, the board provides its members with intensive training upon their appointment and at regular intervals during their appointment; and publishes internally, guidance on risk assessment and procedural issues. This applies equally to prisoners serving a life sentence or an indeterminate sentence for public protection.

Public Holidays

Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what estimate he has made of the cost to his Department of the introduction of an additional public holiday; and if he will make a statement. [315115]

Mr. Wills: No official estimate has been made of the cost to the Department of the introduction of an additional public holiday. The financial impact is expected to be restricted to overtime payments for staff running services such as prisons that operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This cost will be quantified if and when an additional public holiday is agreed.

For most staff, salary costs are fixed and offices, courts and tribunals will not operate on public holidays. The impact of a lost working day would be managed by:

Tobacco: Sentencing

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many and what proportion of people convicted of an offence of selling tobacco to a minor have received (a) a fine, (b) a community sentence, (c) a custodial sentence and (d) an alternative punishment in each year since 1998; and what the (i) lowest, (ii) average and (iii) highest fine was for such people who were fined in each such year. [314819]

Claire Ward: The following table shows the total number of persons sentenced to a fine, community sentence, custodial sentence or an alternative punishment for each year since 1998. The data also show the average, maximum and minimum fine imposed on those sentenced for selling tobacco to a minor in each year. These data are presented on the principal offence basis. Where an offender has been sentenced for more than one offence, the principal offence is the one for which the heaviest sentence was imposed. Where the same sentence has been imposed for two or more offences, the principal offence is the one for which the statutory maximum is most severe.



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4 Feb 2010 : Column 504W

Offenders sentenced and disposals for selling tobacco to a minor and the average maximum and minimum fine, 1998 to 2008

19981999200020012002200320042005200620072008

Fine

115

90

113

74

67

82

50

56

51

49

70

Fine %

89

88

84

82

87

88

88

81

89

98

74

            

Community Sentence

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

Community Sentence %

0

0

0

0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

            

Custodial Sentence

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Custodial Sentence %

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

            

Discharge

14

12

21

16

9

11

7

13

5

1

22

Discharge %

11

12

16

18

12

12

12

19

9

2

23

            

Otherwise dealt with

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

2

Otherwise dealt with %

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

0

2

            

Total

129

102

134

90

77

93

57

69

57

50

94

            

Maximum fine (£)

2,000

1,500

2,000

2,000

2,000

1,700

1,500

2,000

1,650

2,500

2,000

Minimum fine (£)

10

10

50

50

50

50

35

30

40

60

50

Average (£)

226

237

349

301

283

322

274

328

330

324

374

Notes:

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.



Victim Support Schemes

Mr. Burrowes: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much funding his Department has allocated to the National Victims Service in (a) 2009-10 and (b) 2010-11. [315347]

Claire Ward: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor (Jack Straw) committed the Department to £2 million funding for the National Victims Service in 2009-10 and £8 million in 2010-11.

This is new money for victims which has come from efficiency savings within the Ministry of Justice.

Cabinet Office

10 Downing Street: Repairs and Maintenance

Mr. Hurd: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how much her Department has budgeted for the works in Downing Street covered by Westminster city council planning application with the reference 09/00619/LBC. [315202]

Angela E. Smith: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the right hon. Member for Horsham (Mr. Maude) on 27 January 2010, Official Report, column 964W.

Charities

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office if she will review the effectiveness of the statutory provisions which determine the circumstances in which charities are able to change their charitable objects; and if she will make a statement. [315444]

Angela E. Smith: For a charity in England or Wales to amend its charitable objects, it would usually require the Charity Commission’s consent or a legal scheme of the court or Charity Commission. The Charities Act 2006 has recently modernised charity law, including the process under which alterations can be made to charitable objects. It is important that mechanisms exist with appropriate safeguards which enable charities to amend their charitable objects either to keep pace with changes to the environment in which they operate, or to enable them to expand their charitable activities.

A statutory review of the Charities Act 2006 is due to begin in 2011, and will report to Parliament. This will include examining the changes made by the Charities Act 2006 in relation to alterations to charitable purposes.