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Firefighters' Conditions of Service

Lord Harrison asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bach: The terms of reference of the inquiry are:

The inquiry will be undertaken by Professor Frank Burchill, Professor of Industrial Relations at the University of Keele.

Professor Burchill will shortly be writing to interested parties seeking written evidence by 31 January 2000. My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the Home Office (Mr O'Brien) has asked Professor Burchill to let him have his report and recommendations by 31 March 2000.

Asylum Seekers: Support Payment

Lord Harrison asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What arrangements they will make for the payment of £50 per person for all asylum applicants who remain in the new support system for more than six months.[HL101]

Lord Bach: My right honourable friend the Home Secretary announced during the passage of the Immigration and Asylum Bill that, where asylum seekers remained on the main support system in Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 (which is due to come into effect on 1 April) for more than six months through no fault of their own, they would be eligible for an additional payment of £50 per person in order to obtain replacement items, such as clothes, shoes and other essentials. This payment will not be available to those who are on the statutory interim arrangements (in Schedule 9 to the Act) nor will it apply to those who are in receipt of social security benefits. The six-month period will not begin until an asylum seeker has been accepted for support under Section 95 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.

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Asylum seekers will need to apply for the additional provision setting out the length of time that they have been in the support system and indicating the items which they need to replace. This information will act both as a prompt to the payment of the additional provision, but also as a survey to enable us to review the amount to be paid and the purposes for which it is to be used. Once an application has been received, due consideration will be given, provided there is no evidence that the asylum applicant has failed to comply with the asylum support procedures or has actively sought to frustrate or delay progress on the asylum application.

Police Grant Allocations

Lord Harrison asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they intend to announce the allocations of police grant for individual police authorities in England and Wales in 2000-01.[HL100]

Lord Bach : My right honourable friend the Home Secretary today placed a copy of his proposals for the allocation of police grant for 2000-01 in the Library. My right honourable friend the Home Secretary intends to implement these proposals subject to consideration of any representations received about them, and to approval by the House.

My right honourable friend the Home Secretary is proposing to continue to allocate the greater part of police grant according to the police funding formula. My right honourable friend the Home Secretary announced on 2 November 1999 and in answer to the right honourable Member for East Devon (House of Commons, Official Report, col. 118) that he did not intend to make any changes to the funding formula in 2000-01.

My right honourable friend the Home Secretary is proposing that the Metropolitan Police Service should continue to receive additional funding in recognition of its distinct national and capital city functions. It has proved very difficult for the principal formula to take account of these special circumstances. As in previous years, therefore, a special payment or grant will be made to the Metropolitan Police Service over and above that available through the principal formula. My right honourable friend the Home Secretary has set the amount of this special payment at £182 million.

In addition, my right honourable friend the Home Secretary is proposing to make special payments of grant to the following police authorities in 2000-01 in recognition of the additional costs which will be incurred as a result of the changes to the Metropolitan Police District boundaries:

Essex£1.25 million
Hertfordshire£2.75 million
Metropolitan Police£0.50 million
Surrey£5.50 million

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Other police funding proposals within the local government finance system are being announced today by my right honourable friend the Minister of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Ms Armstrong) and by the National Assembly for Wales. These proposals and those of my right honourable friend the Home Secretary would increase Total Standard Spending on the police in England and Wales by 3 per cent, or around £212 million over 1999-2000.

My right honourable friend the Home Secretary has also announced that new money will be made available through the Crime Fighting Fund to recruit 5,000 more police officers over and above the number forces would otherwise have recruited over the next three years commencing in April 2000. £35 million will be ring-fenced for this purpose in year one with further sums being made available in years two and three. This money will be ring-fenced for front-line policing.

The settlement also takes account of the commitment of my right honourable friend the Home Secretary to improve police efficiency. My right honourable friend the Home Secretary has set a target of 2 per cent. efficiency gains year on year for the police service from 1999-2000. By achieving these targets in 2000-01, police authorities can re-invest the savings to help meet front-line policing priorities. Police grant allocations in 2001-02 will depend on police authorities meeting the 2 per cent efficiency targets which have been set. Authorities which fail to achieve the efficiency gain sought may be subject to an appropriate deduction from their resources.

My right honourable friend the Home Secretary expects police authorities in England to exercise restraint and sound financial management by setting budgets that are responsible, prudent and reasonable. My right honourable friend the Home Secretary will be monitoring the position very carefully. The National Assembly for Wales is responsible for exercising reserve powers to limit council tax increases in Wales.

The effect of the proposals of my right honourable friend the Home Secretary for each police authority for 2000-01 is set out in the table. It also shows the allocations approved by Parliament for 1999-2000.

Police Authority1999/2000 Allocation1 £m2000/2001 Allocation1 £m
English Shire forces
Avon and Somerset168.4173.7
Devon and Cornwall174.3178.9
North Yorkshire77.679.7
Thames Valley224.6231.8
West Mercia113.0117.2
English Metropolitan forces
Greater Manchester375.7386.0
South Yorkshire171.3177.2
West Midlands380.6392.7
West Yorkshire286.3297.1
London forces
Metropolitan Police1,743.91,732.2
City of London355.456.5
English Total6,852.87,046.2
Welsh forces
North Wales75.577.4
South Wales163.8167.6
Welsh Total360.8370.1


1 Rounded to the nearest £100,000. The Allocation is the sum of: Police Grant, Transitional Grant, Police SSA, Capital Finance SSA. SSA Reduction Grant and Central Support Protection Grant.

2 Figure for the Metropolitan Police does not include funding allocated to the Receiver under the Environmental, Protective and Cultural Services SSA for school crossing patrols, Magistrates' Courts and the Probation Service. It does include its Special Payment.

3 Figure for the City includes Police SSA, Grant and SSA Reduction Grant, but excludes other SSAs (eg Capital Financing) and Central Support Protection Grant. These are allocated to the Common Council of the City of London as a whole in respect of all its functions.

4 These authorities will be affected by the changes to police force boundaries around London on 1 April 2000. To provide comparison, indicative 1999/2000 totals for these authorities as on the new boundaries are Essex: £169.8m, Hertfordshire: £114.3m, Surrey: £113.6m and Metropolitan Police: £1,701.9m.

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