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The Earl of Clancarty asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: The National Museums and Galleries on Merseyside's Ei8ht Pass was introduced in July 1997. In 1997-98 a marketing budget of £100,000 was devoted to the launch of the Ei8ht Pass and was allocated as follows:

Television advertisement39,000
Distribution of leaflet7,000
Information folder13,000
Ei8ht Pass ticket8,000
Press advertising10,000

Secure Training Centres

Lord Acton asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): As provided for in the Secure Training Centre Rules 1998, secure training centres will be inspected by persons authorised to conduct inspections under Section 80 of the Children Act 1989. The inspection team would be led by the Social Services Inspectorate, and include OFSTED inspectors to advise on education, an inspector from Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Prisons to advise on security and the programmes for addressing offending behaviour and other specialists as required.

Medway Secure Training Centre

Lord Acton asked Her Majesty's Government:

5 Oct 1998 : Column WA80

Lord Williams of Mostyn: There are currently 40 male trainees at the Medway centre. Since the centre opened on 17 April a total of three female trainees have been accommodated. All trainees have their own separate rooms with integral sanitation. Female trainees are required to have a female member of staff as their keyworker, and at night their unit would be supervised by at least one female member of staff.

Sex Offenders: Registration

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will ensure that British citizens or residents, convicted of sexual offences by courts overseas, are included in sex offenders' registers when they are deported to, or return to, this country.[HL3285]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The most effective way of preventing a person who has committed a sexual offence in one country from committing one in another once he has been released is through exchange of information between police forces. This already takes place via Interpol. Where the behaviour of those convicted abroad of comparable offences to those in Part I of the Sex Offenders Act 1997 continues to give concern once they have returned to Great Britain, they will, from 1 December 1998, be liable for sex offender orders. These orders carry with them the requirement to register for the duration of the order, which is a minimum of five years.

As regards registration specifically, we are currently undertaking a review of the effectiveness of the registration provisions of the Sex Offenders Act. The position of those convicted abroad will be one of the areas to be considered as part of the review.

Crime (Sentences) Act 1997

Lord Windlesham asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Which sections of the Crime (Sentences) Act 1997 have not yet been brought into force; and what are their future intentions regarding the unimplemented parts of the Act.[HL3293]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The implementation of Section 4 of the Act, which provides for minimum sentences of three years' imprisonment for those convicted for the third time of domestic burglary, depends on the Prison Service's capacity and available resources. The Government keep this matter under review.

Section 8 and Sections 10 to 27 of the Act will be repealed with effect from 30 September 1998 by Section 107 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 (which also makes some consequential amendments to Section 9 of the 1997 Act).

Section 9 provides for the court to direct how many of the days which a convicted defendant spends in custody on remand or in police detention are to count

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as time served for the purpose of the sentence being imposed. It requires the establishment of a new system of recording and transmitting information about periods of custody up to the point of sentencing, and two pilots to test such a system have recently been completed. The Government intend to implement Section 9 (as amended) as soon as we are sure that a reliable system can be put in place.

Sections 35, 37, 39, 40 and 43 are currently being piloted in Norfolk and Greater Manchester. The projects began on 1 January 1998 and will run for 18 months. They will then be evaluated before deciding when or how they should be extended.

Postal and Proxy Votes for the Disabled

Lord Campbell of Croy asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What action they are taking to ensure that disabled people and their carers are made aware of the availability of postal and proxy votes and of the need to be registered for these well before polling day.[HL3287]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Government and local authority publicity campaigns to advertise the arrangements for absent voting take place before each parliamentary general election. In addition, electoral registration officers publicise the availability of absent voting as part of the annual registration canvass.

The Working Party on Electoral Procedures, chaired by my honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Home Office, Mr. Howarth, is working to consolidate and improve advice to electoral administrators on disability issues; and in addition is reviewing the arrangements for access to absent voting. Home Office officials from the working party meet regularly in a forum with representatives from all the major groups representing the disabled to inform this work.

Independent Commission on the Voting System

Lord Cocks of Hartcliffe asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many focus groups were used by the independent commission on the electoral system; how often they met, and where; and how they were recruited and reimbursed.[HL3302]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: NOP carried out focus group work for the Independent Commission on the Voting System between 7 and 9 June 1998. Six groups

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(three in the Midlands and three in the South East) each comprising between seven and eight respondents were recruited using a questionnaire. Those whose occupations or political interests were likely to involve prior knowledge of proportional representation were excluded. The respondents were each paid £20 for their time by NOP.

National Lottery and the Horserace Betting Levy

Lord Mason of Barnsley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they intend to publish the third report on the impact of the National Lottery on the horserace betting levy.[HL3210]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: An update on the impact of the National Lottery on the horserace betting levy was published on 30 July and a copy has been placed in the Library. This fulfils an undertaking made during the passage of the National Lottery Bill.

The paper, which has been prepared by the Economics Unit of the Home Office, examines continuing trends in off-course betting expenditure, on which the levy closely depends.

The statistical analysis indicates that, in 1997, off-course betting expenditure was about 12.8 per cent. below the level it would have reached in the absence of the National Lottery. Horserace betting accounts for about 69 per cent. of off-course betting expenditure, and therefore the levy yield is likely to have been similarly affected. This can only be an approximate figure, and the effect of the Lottery may vary over time.

Leave to Remain in the UK: New Application Forms

Baroness Thornton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will replace the current application forms for foreign nationals wishing to apply for leave to remain in the United Kingdom.[HL3325]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The current application forms expire on 14 October 1998. Revised versions of the seven existing forms have been prescribed. These will be valid until 14 October 1999. From today until 14 October 1998, applications may be made either on the newly prescribed forms or on the existing versions. Only the newly prescribed versions may be used for applications made on or after 15 October 1998. The new forms are available from the Application Forms Unit on 0181 760 2233, and copies have been placed in the Library.

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