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18 Jun 1998 : Column WA145

Written Answers

Thursday, 18th June 1998.


Lord Dholakia asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many prosecutions have been brought under Section 154 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, which deals with intentional harassment; what was the outcome; how many of these involved cases of racial harassment; and what was the outcome of those cases.[HL2195]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): Information on the number of prosecutions by result for the offence of "Causing intentional harassment, alarm or distress" under Section 154 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 is given in the table.

The data held centrally on the Home Office Court Proceedings database do not identify whether any of the cases involved racial harassment.

Number of prosecutions under Section 154(1) of the
Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 by result, England and Wales, 1995-1996

Total Prosecutions100516
Total Convictions40295
Total sentenced40295
Type of sentence given
Average fine£118£146
Community sentence544
Immediate custody128
Average custodial sentence (months)2.02.7

(1) Came into force on 3 February 1995.


Baroness Anelay of St Johns asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Lord Williams of Mostyn on 1 April (WA 37-38), what representations they have received this year urging a ban on the sale of khat.[HL2213]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: We have received one representation so far this year urging that controls on khat should be introduced under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. We have also received one to the contrary.

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Political Parties: Registration

Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are their plans to register political parties for elections in 1999; and what fee they intend to charge for registration.[HL2220]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Registration of Political Parties Bill was introduced in another place by my right honourable friend the Home Secretary on 13 May 1998. It provides for a register of political parties to be established. Parties will be able to register in time for elections in May 1999 to the Scottish Parliament and the National Assembly for Wales, and in June 1999 to the European Parliament. We have made no final decisions on the level of fees, but it is expected that the fee for initial registration will be about £100.

Prison Enterprise Service: Internal Services

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the name of the company which won the Prison Enterprise Service contract for the provision of internal services; what was the amount of the successful tender; and, if another bidder for this contract offered the service at a lower figure, why their bid was not successful.[HL2167]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Prison Enterprise Service, now known as the Prison Enterprise and Supply Group, which is part of the Regimes Directorate of the Prison Service, has not let a contract for the provision of "internal services".

Export Promotion

Lord Ewing of Kirkford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will examine their arrangements for export promotion.[HL2359]

The Minister of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Clinton-Davis): My right honourable friends the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary and the President of the Board of Trade, with the approval of my right honourable friend the Prime Minister, have asked the Secretary to the Cabinet to lead a review with the following terms of reference:

    To examine the arrangements for providing official support and promotion for exports (other than defence goods and services) and investment abroad, having regard to the importance of continuing close interaction between business and the DTI on all aspects of business performance, and maintaining the close integration of all aspects of support by diplomatic posts for the full range of British interests overseas, and to make recommendations to the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and the President of the Board of Trade.

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Sir Richard Wilson will be assisted by a panel whose members are:

    Sir Ronald Hampel (Chairman ICI plc)

    Mr. David John (Chairman, BOC plc)

    Mr. Eric Peacock (Chief Executive, Hertfordshire Business Link)

    Mr. Martin Henry (Chairman of Lastolite Ltd.)

    Mr. John Shepherd (Deputy Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

    Mr. Tom Harris (Director-General of Export Promotion, Department of Trade and Industry)

    Mr. Harry Bush (Enterprise and Growth Unit, HM Treasury)

Sir Richard expects to report by the autumn.

RAF Feltwell

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have access to all data collected at RAF Feltwell.[HL2227]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Gilbert): All data collected by the station are made available to Her Majesty's Government.

Gulf Veterans: CIA Documents

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the United States Central Intelligence Agency is holding up to 1.5 million documents relating to operations during the Gulf War which may explain the cause of illness suffered by Gulf veterans; and, if so, whether they have asked for access to these documents in order to assist with the diagnosis and treatment of ill United Kingdom Gulf veterans.[HL1823]

Lord Gilbert: The Ministry of Defence is aware that earlier this year the US Central Intelligence Agency made available to the Office of the Special Assistant for Gulf War Illnesses at the Department of Defense a large number of documents relating to the Gulf conflict, which they are now in the process of analysing. As part of our continuous close co-operation with the US authorities, we will monitor the results of this analysis in order to ensure that our handling of British Gulf veterans' health concerns benefits from any available US information or experience.

RAF New Training Aircraft

Lord Orme asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What progress has been made on the Private Finance Initiative Project to replace the Bulldog training aircraft.[HL2360]

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Lord Hoyle: Bombardier Services has been selected as the preferred bidder for the Royal Air Force's planned Light Aircraft flying task contract. The contractor will supply Grob 115D aircraft. The aircraft will be owned and maintained by the contractor, who wil provide flying hours and support services to the University Air Squadrons and the Air Cadet Air Experience Flights at 13 locations across the UK.

The planned contract will provide the RAF with a modern aircraft that is ideally suited to the training role it is required to perform. The aircraft is quieter and significantly cheaper to run than the ageing Bulldog aircraft which it will replace.

The choice of aircraft was narrowed down to the Grob 115D and the Firefly M260. The Grob 115D better meets our particular requirements for the University Air Squadron and Air Cadet tasks and in particular its cockpit size and ergonomics offer a better teaching environment. Moreover, the Grob is quieter and operating costs are significantly less than the Firefly. Taking all factors into account, it offers better value for money on this occasion.

Subject to final negotiations, the contract is expected to result in savings in excess of £30 million over its 10-year life, compared with the cost of running-on the Bulldog. It is also cheaper than our assessment of the cost of a conventional procurement of a new aircraft fleet.

The service is to be procured in line with the Private Finance Initiative, demonstrating the Government's strong resolve to achieve value for money in defence support. Appropriate risks will rest with the contractor and the contract will contain suitable incentives to ensure that the RAF receives a high quality service.

Varroa Mite

The Earl of Haddington asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What plans or provisions they have made, or intend to make, for the introduction of a compensation scheme for beekeepers whose apiaries have been subject to attack from the varroa mite.[HL2185]

The Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Lord Donoughue): The Government take the threat to beekeeping from varroa very seriously and, this year, are spending around £1.5 million on a range of measures to tackle this problem. The emphasis is on training and education to help beekeepers become more self-reliant. We consider this to be the best use of the available resources.

Beekeeping: EU Support

The Earl of Haddington asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What financial assistance they have received or expect to receive from the European Commission to support beekeeping in (a) England, (b) Wales and (c) Scotland and (d) Northern Ireland.[HL2186]

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Lord Donoughue: The UK allocation of EU funds for year one of the scheme established under Council Regulation 1221/97 to improve the production and marketing of honey is 680,000 ecu (around £474,000). No payments will be received until after the end of the period to which the expenditure relates.

Of this amount, 514,148 ecu (£358,391) relates to work in England, 95,676 ecu (£66,692) in Wales, 64,872 ecu (£45,220) in Scotland and 5,304 ecu (£3,697) in Northern Ireland. These figures reflect contributions to the UK national honey programme.

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