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

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Lord Williams of Mostyn: Each department is responsible for developing its own programme of training and preparation, tailored to its particular needs. It is not possible at this stage to say when this process will be complete.

Kosovar Refugees: Admission to UK

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

    How many refugees from Kosovo they are willing to admit to the United Kingdom during the NATO bombing campaign.[HL2314]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Government's priority, along with that of our European partners, remains to ensure that, as far as possible, Kosovan refugees are cared for within the region so that they can return home when it is safe for them to do so which is the refugees' overwhelming wish. We have also long made it clear that the United Kingdom stands ready to receive some thousands of refugees from the region on humanitarian grounds and on the basis of criteria agreed with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.

No upper limit has been set on the number of refugees that we will take.

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

    Whether they are willing to admit as many refugees from Kosovo during the allied bombing campaign as are admitted by the Federal Republic of Germany; and if not, why they are unwilling to do so.[HL2315]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: No upper limit has been set on the number of refugees that we will take. The Government have recently announced that we will be building up to taking around 1,000 refugees a week in the next few weeks.

Election Expenses

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

    Whether they will take urgent steps to clarify the law regarding election expenses for parliamentary candidates so as to achieve reasonable certainty.[HL2347]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The report of the Committee on Standards in Public Life on the Funding of Political Parties in the United Kingdom includes a number of observations on these matters. The Government are considering the report carefully with a view to publishing a draft Bill before the Summer Recess.

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Women's Refuges

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the total number of places in women's refuges available:

    (a) in England and Wales;

    (b) in Great Britain; what proportions these figures represent:

    (a) of the number of places available on 1 May, 1997;

    (b) of the number of places recommended by the Home Affairs Select Committee in 1975; and how many of these refuges employ a specialist children's worker.[HL2323]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The latest figures available show that in 1999 there are 357 bedspaces available in women's refuges in Wales and 330 in Scotland; in 1998, there were 7,270 places in England.

It is not known how many refuge places were available in England on 1 May 1997, but in Wales there were 340 and in Scotland 319.

The 1975 recommendation was made by the Select Committee on Violence in Marriage and related to "family spaces" in refuges rather than the number of individual bedspaces. At that time they recommended 5,580 such spaces, based on one space per 10,000 of the population. On the same calculation, using the latest (1997) population figures, this would equate to 4,930 spaces in England, 290 in Wales and 510 in Scotland.

The Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, together with the Department of Health and the Women's Unit, has commissioned a comprehensive survey of the accommodation and support services in England and Wales for households experiencing domestic violence, including the availability of specialist children's workers. Full information from this survey will be available in spring 2000.

European Parliament Candidacy: Eligibility

Lord Stoddart of Swindon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office, George Howarth MP on 27 April (HC Deb., WA 112) in which he stated that a Commonwealth citizen is eligible in the same way as a United Kingdom citizen to stand for the European Parliament "wherever he or she is resident", whether "residency" means anywhere in the world and includes permanent as well as temporary residences.[HL2308]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Yes, provided that the candidacy is for an electoral region in the United Kingdom European parliamentary elections. Unless a Commonwealth citizen also holds British citizenship,

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and thus is a citizen of the European Union, he or she is ineligible to be a candidate in European parliamentary elections in a member state of the European Union other than the United Kingdom.

Immigration Act Detainees

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How may persons are currently detained under the immigration and asylum Acts; and how many have been in custody for:

    (a) 0 to 3 months;

    (b) 3 to 6 months;

    (c) 6 to 9 months; and

    (d) longer.[HL2322]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The latest available information is that 968 persons were held in detention solely under Immigration Act powers in immigration detention centres or prisons in the United Kingdom as at 31 March 1999. That figure excludes persons held under Immigration Act powers in police cells other than at Dover.

I regret that the information requested on the length of time detained is only available at disproportionate cost.

Firearms Consultative Committee

Lord Mancroft asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they are planning to extend the role of the Firearms Consultative Committee beyond 31 January 2000; and, if not, why not.[HL2391]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: No decision has yet been taken as to whether an order should be made under Section 22 of the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1968 to further extend the existence of the Firearms Consultative Committee (FCC). Following a review of its role and composition last year, the FCC is currently engaged in a heavy programme of work to which the Government will wish to have full regard in deciding the future of the committee.

Eurostar: Passport Controls

Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether it is now their policy for two passport checks to be carried out on Eurostar passengers arriving from Brussels, one on the train and the other at Waterloo station (as occurred on the 17.56 train on 27 April); and what cost implications this change has for the Immigration Service.[HL2380]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Passengers travelling by Eurostar services to London are subjected to passport controls in common with all passengers arriving at ports of entry to the United Kingdom. Checks under the Immigration Act in respect of people arriving at Waterloo International Terminal are carried out by

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immigration officers normally either on board train, or on arrival in London. Passport checks in respect of the 17.56 departure from Brussels on 27 April were conducted by immigration officers when the train arrived at Waterloo. I understand that any checks on board that service were made by Metropolitan Police Special Branch officers, exercising their powers under the Prevention of Terrorism Act. There are no cost implications of these arrangements for the Immigration Service.

Sentencers: Financial Information

Lord Janner of Braunstone asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How they have exercised their duty under Section 95 of the Criminal Justice Act 1991 to inform sentencers of the financial implications of their decisions.[HL2348]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Government regularly produce statistics and research reports on the criminal justice system which include financial information as required under Section 95. A recent example of such publication is The Government's Expenditure Plans 1999-2000 to 2001-2002 for the Home Office and the Charity Commission.

In addition, the Home Office will shortly be publishing a flows and costs model of the criminal justice system. It will provide estimates of the long run economic costs of policy implications. Later this year, the Home Secretary will be producing a summary of the financial information currently available on the criminal justice system to further aid sentencers, and it is our intention to publish such information annually in the future.

Community Sentence Demonstration Projects

Lord Janner of Braunstone asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Following the Community Sentence Demonstration Projects in Shropshire and Teesside, what are their plans for (a) extending the programme nationally; (b) publicising the research findings; and (c) taking any other action arising from the projects and the research findings?[HL2349]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The research findings were published in Home Office Research Study 194, copies of which have been sent to all probation services, magistrates' courts, Crown Court centres and relevant professional journals. Further copies are available from the Home Office. We are currently examining the results, which will inform future policy on community sentences.

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