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Gaming Machine Stake and Prize Limits

Lord Williams of Elvel asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Gaming Board has reviewed machine stake and prize limits and made recommendations to the Home Office.

We have accepted its recommendations. My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Mr. George Howarth, intends to make the necessary statutory instruments to come into force on 1 October.

The following maximum stake and prize limits will apply: the all-cash amusement-with-prizes (AWP) machine prize will be increased from £10 to £15; the prizes for the cash/token AWP machines will be left unchanged at £5 for the cash and £8 for the non-monetary prizes; the prizes for jackpot machines will be increased from £250 to £500 in bingo clubs and £1,000 in casinos and left unchanged at £250 in members clubs; the 30p stake for AWP machines will be left unchanged and that for jackpot machines will be increased to 50p.

The Gaming Board's main underlying thinking, which we endorse, is to keep machines to which children are allowed access at low prize levels; work with the industry to prevent children gaining access to

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all-cash machines, with the prospect of a more liberal future regime if that can be achieved; and recognise that higher prizes are appropriate in gambling clubs.

I have placed in the Library the Gaming Board's report of its review which explains in detail the consultation with interested organisations and its conclusions.

Immigration and Asylum Adjudicators: Home Office Information

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the Home Office makes available to immigration and asylum adjudicators the full information upon which appeals against decisions are based.[HL2663]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Yes. The purpose of the reasons for refusal letters in asylum cases and the explanatory statement in immigration cases is to set out the basis on which the decision to refuse the application has been made and against which an appeal may be lodged.

Wandsworth Prison

Lord Harris of Greenwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is their response to the questions put to them in the annual report of the Board of Visitors of Her Majesty's Prison Wandsworth, namely whether:

    (a) they will ensure that effective sentence planning is carried out;

    (b) they will take steps to ensure that when foreign prisoners who are to be deported finish their sentences they are removed speedily and not held in prison for a further period of many months; and

    (c) they will ensure that sufficient resources are provided to pursue an effective drugs strategy.[HL2629]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Her Majesty's Prison Wandsworth has recently agreed new profiling levels for staff which will effectively eliminate some of the difficulties experienced with sentence planning. The prison is now within 95 per cent. of its target time and is continuing to strive for improvement.

Both the Prison Service and the Immigration and Nationality Directorate are taking active steps to ensure that prisoners are not held in prison after their sentences have expired. These steps include reminding the police, courts and prisons of the need to notify them promptly of convictions; speeding up the consideration of claims for asylum; the early resolution of appeals; and establishing new working practices to speed up the process of obtaining travel documents.

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Her Majesty's Prison Wandsworth receives funding for a comprehensive drug strategy programme. Its plans for this year will increase the range of services to prisoners who want treatment. These plans include the setting up of a voluntary testing unit, a so-called "drug-free wing", in line with the Government's commitment to provide access to a voluntary testing unit for any prisoner who wishes it.

Campsfield House: Group 4 Staff

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether any criminal or disciplinary proceedings are to be taken against Group 4 staff who gave evidence at the trial of the nine asylum-seekers who were acquitted on charges of riot at Campsfield House in August 1997.[HL2605]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The investigation of any alleged criminal offence would be a matter for the police. The Crown Prosecution Service would consider any evidence submitted by it. I understand that Group 4 (Total Security) Ltd is not undertaking disciplinary proceedings against any of the staff concerned.

Pirimiphos-methyl Intake in Cattle

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What studies have been conducted into the amounts of pirimiphos-methyl likely to be ingested over their lifetime by:

    (a) dairy cows and

    (b) barley beef fed on diets which include the whole grain and bran which has been treated with that chemical over an extended period on the farm, in intervention stores and by feed manufacturers: and what effects this diet alone, or when combined with treatment of the animals with phosmet warble fly dressing, organophosphate impregnated fly tags or collars and synthetic pyrethroid insecticides, would have upon the brains, central, autonomic and peripheral nervous systems and reproductive systems of the animals; and, if there have been no such studies, whether they will commission this research using each chemical at the levels generally in use between 1980 and 1990.[HL2587]

The Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Lord Donoughue): Theoretical maximum daily intakes (TMDIs) for both beef and dairy cattle were estimated as part of the Advisory Committee on Pesticides (ACP) evaluation of pirimiphos-methyl published in 1997. TMDIs were below the no effect level established from a range of chronic and acute toxicity studies. I am not aware of any studies on the possible interaction between pirimiphose-methyl in the diet and concomitant

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treatment with any organophosphate or pyrethroid veterinary medicine in cattle. The Government currently have no plans to commission such studies. However, the ACP's Medical and Toxicology Panel will be asked to consider the wider question of how multiple exposures from the same or related compounds can be brought within the risk assessment process for pesticides.

MAFF: Service Delivery Targets

Baroness Young of Old Scone asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What progress the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food has made in meeting the service delivery targets set out in Commitment to Service.[HL2698]

Lord Donoughue: The table below sets out the performance achieved by regional service centres during 1997-98 against the targets published in the charter document Commitment to Service, second edition.

RSC performance data (%) for financial year 1997-98 (unless otherwise specified)

Arable Area Payments Scheme Oilseeds Main payments Advanced payments Final payments99 99 99
Beef Special Premium SchemeAdvance payments (1997) Balance payments (1996) CID applications issued (1997) Premium paid CIDs issued (1997) 96 100 99 99
Suckler Cow Premium SchemeBalance payments 1996 Advance payments 1997 99 99
Hill Livestock Compensatory AllowancesClaims 199799
Sheep Annual Premium SchemeClaims marketing year 199799
Environmentally Sensitive AreasApplications Claims82 96
Environmentally Sensitive Areas Conservation PlanApplications Claims87 96
Farm & Conservation Grant Scheme 1989Plan claims98
Farm & Conservation Grant Scheme 1991Plan claims86
Farm Woodland Premium SchemeApplications Claims (1997)93 80
Injurious WeedsComplaints98
Pilot Nitrate Sensitive Areas SchemeClaims (1997)77
New Nitrate Sensitive Areas SchemeApplications (1997) Claims98 99
Protection of Badgers Act 1992Licence applications99
Strychnine PermitsApplications99
Agricultural Wage inspectionsComplaints92
Wildlife & Countryside ActLicence applications98
CorrespondenceAnswered within 10 working days98
ComplaintsNumbers receiving response within 10 working days89


(i) The relatively high failure rate for ESA applications and ESA conservation plan applications is due mainly to problems associated with IACS reconciliation. In the case of F&CGS 1991 plan claims, it is due to small numbers of claims giving rise to a disproportionate number of complex problems.

(ii) The relatively high failure rate for the FWPS claims and the pilot NSA claims is due to the diversion of staff resources to higher priority work.

General Notes:

(i) The total percentage has been calculated by setting the entire number of applications or claims cleared within the target time against the total number received. Applications and claims not cleared due to reasons beyond our control (incorrect information supplied by applicant, etc.) are not included as failures to meet target.

(ii) The Farm & Conservation Grant Scheme (1991) plan applications, the Farm Diversification Grant Scheme (Capital Items) claims, the Farm Diversification Grant Scheme (Feasibility & Marketing) claims and the Agricultural Improvement Scheme Plan claims have all been omitted from the table, as the numbers involved are de-minimis.

(iii) The Five Year Set Aside Scheme closed for new applications on 30 September 1996. Performance data are therefore not included in the table. Similarly the Farm & Conservation Grant Scheme (1989) non-plan claims have also been omitted: this scheme closed on 19 February 1996.

(iv) Ten complaints were referred to the MAFF adjudicator during the year. Three of these were upheld, six were not upheld. One case is outstanding, pending the conclusion of legal action by the complainant.

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