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The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Tribunal deals with declarations of unlawful association under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967. We understand that the Act extends to the whole of India, but not beyond.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Cumberlege): Any limitations are fixed and monitored by employers, who must act within the law. It is for local authorities and agencies providing such care to comply with and apply health and safety law for their employees.
I have been asked to reply to your recent parliamentary Question asking whether the information on the reduction of Department of Social Security out-of-hours service in the correspondence columns of the Guardian of 19th April is substantially correct.
I recently outlined the Benefits Agency's plans for the future delivery of social security benefits based on the Benefits Agency vision of "right money to the right person at the right time, every time".
The agency will carry out a wide-ranging review of its activities as part of the Departmental Change Programme. Such a programme of change will cover all fundamental areas of the organisation's business and we are committed to achieve a 25 per cent. improvement in our productivity by 1998/99. In the first year it has been necessary to identify efficiencies and economies in excess of £200 million. All efficiencies and economies have been considered alongside the expenditure priorities the agency has been set.
It is against this background that the agency decided to review the need for the out-of-hours service which provides a service to customers at night and weekends. A decision on its viability is expected later this year.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Blatch): We have received 27 representations from organisations and individuals about the proposal in our October 1994 consultation paper to repeal the Pedlars Acts. Opinion on the merits of repeal is almost equally divided. We are considering the responses alongside a separate review of street trading legislation and hope to reach a conclusion soon.
Baroness Blatch: To qualify for refugee status, applicants need to show that they have a well founded fear of persecution based on one of the reasons contained in the 1951 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. Those who do not meet the requirements of the 1951 convention may nevertheless be granted exceptional leave to remain if there are compelling humanitarian reasons for doing so. Cases are considered in the light of their individual circumstances. Sexual Exploitation of Children: World Congress
Baroness Blatch: The Swedish Prime Minister wrote to my right honourable friend the Prime Minister last October, inviting the United Kingdom to attend the world congress. It has been decided that the UK delegation should be led by my honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Home Office.
The Government have also received representations about the congress from the Coalition on Child Prostitution and Tourism, which represents several charities and non-governmental organisations concerned with the protection of children, and from a number of members of the public, often through their Members of Parliament.
The Government utterly condemn all forms of sexual exploitation and abuse of children, and are committed to taking all appropriate measures to ensure that children are properly protected against such abuse. Prisoners: In-cell Television
The 1995 public expenditure settlement made additional funding available to the Prison Service to meet the expected increases in the prison population as well as for security improvements and to combat drug abuse in prisons. But it is also the Government's policy to exercise firm control over public expenditure and to secure greater efficiency in the running of public services. The savings being required of the Prison Service are broadly consistent with those expected of the public services generally.
It has been made clear to governors that, in preparing their business plans, they should maintain the balance between essential security and control measures, constructive and effective regimes for prisoners and providing support for staff.
The whole-time equivalent strength of probation staff employed in prisons on 30 June 1995 was 645. Current plans would reduce the numbers of probation staff employed in prisons by around 85 between 1 April 1996 and 31 March 1997.
The Prison Service is committed to partnership with the Probation Service to deliver the custodial and non-custodial parts of a prisoner's sentence effectively. Governors have been discussing with chief probation officers the scope for improvements in efficiency and for more effective use of all available resources. This includes other ways of discharging continuing tasks which have been undertaken by probation staff but which do not require their specialist skills.
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