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Additional Pension Recipients: Forecast

Baroness Turner of Camden asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Baroness Hollis of Heigham): The estimated number of people retiring with SERPS entitlement in the next five years is given in the table below.

Number of people who will receive Additional Pension


Detailed information is not available to estimate sources of non-SERPS income in the future. However, survey data indicates that 66 per cent of recently retired pensioners (couples or individuals) have income from occupational pensions and 73 per cent of recently retired pensioners (couples or individuals) have some income from investment income (which includes personal pensions). Many of those in receipt of income from occupational or personal pensions will also receive some SERPS income.

Warrington: Benefit Recipients

Lord Hoyle asked Her Majesty's Government:

    (a) How many pensioners in Warrington receive the £200 winter fuel payment; (b) how many pensioners over 75 in Warrington receive the free television licence; (c) how many pensioners in Warrington receive the minimum income guarantee; and (d) how many pensioners in Warrington qualify for the guaranteed minimum income guarantee and are not receiving it.[HL87].

Baroness Hollis of Heigham: Thirty-three thousand, eight hundred and sixty-three winter fuel payments were made in Warrington in 2000-01.

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The BBC is responsible for the administration of the free television licence scheme, and we understand that a geographical breakdown of the number of free licences issued is not available. However, we estimate that 11,980 people aged 75 years old or over (who may benefit from a free television licence) live in Warrington.

We also estimate that 5,000 people in Warrington benefit from the minimum income guarantee.

Estimates of people who may be eligible for but who have not claimed minimum income guarantee are not available below national level.

Lone Parents in Work

Lord Northbourne asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the target they have set themselves in the White Paper Towards Full Employment to raise to 70 per cent the proportion of lone parents in work includes non-resident fathers.[HL89]

Baroness Hollis of Heigham: Lone parents face problems on moving into work due to balancing their work life with their caring responsibilities. This is why we are providing extra help for lone parents to reduce these inequalities and offer them a range of choices to gain more independence through moving into work.

We have set ourselves the ambitious target for the next 10 years of increasing the number of lone parents in work from just over half to 70 per cent. This target does not include non-resident fathers unless they are lone parents with dependent children in their own right.

Ascension Island: Feral Cats

Lord Beaumont of Whitley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Scotland of Asthal on 15 June 2000 (WA 207), what progress has been made with the Ascension Island feral cat programme; whether they believe that the sooty tern population is now sustainable; whether further measures will have to be taken; and, if so, what.[HL31]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Amos): My honourable friend John Battle, the then Minister of State, announced on 26 March 2001 that the FCO was making available £500,000 to support a project to be implemented by the RSPB and the island's administration to restore the seabird breeding colonies on Ascension Island.

The sooty tern population can only be sustainable if the threats to the sooty tern breeding colonies can be removed. Recent surveys have shown a reduction in the number of feral cats near the breeding grounds.

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The RSPB plans to eradicate feral cats completely from the breeding grounds and eventually to eradicate rats too. The RSPB and the Administration hope to implement methods and procedures to prevent rats from returning to the island.

Northern Ireland: Immigration Act Detainees

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether Immigration Act detainees have been and are still held together with convicted offenders in Northern Ireland or Scotland; if so, whether this contravenes the United Nations Principles for the Protection of Persons under Detention (1998) and the European Prison Rules (1997); and whether they have plans for alternative arrangements which will provide easy access to legal advice for detainees.[HL2]

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Rooker): Immigration Act detainees in United Kingdom prisons are generally held with unconvicted or remand prisoners. In Northern Ireland, from the end of May this year, Immigration Act detainees are being held at Her Majesty's Prison Maghaberry in a separate unit for "vulnerable" prisoners. Where possible, Immigration Act detainees will be held separately within this separate unit.

We are satisfied that these arrangements comply both with the United Nations Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons Under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment and the European Prison Rules.

Pet Shops and Animal Rights Extremism

Lord Campbell of Croy asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they are aware of attacks made by animal rights extremists on pet shops; and whether they are willing to give advice to shopkeepers who may be targets. [HL71]

Lord Rooker: The National Public Order Intelligence Unit informs me that for many years pet shops have been targeted occasionally by animal rights activists, with acts of criminal damage being committed and pets being released into the wild. But they are not aware of any attacks in the past 18 months.

The Guidance on Personal Safety chapter in the Consultation Document on the Government's Strategy for dealing with Animal Rights Extremism, issued at the end of March, contained information on measures which could be taken by any organisation or individual targeted by animal rights extremists. A copy of the document is in the Library. A handbook of guidance for people at risk from animal rights extremism will be published shortly and advice on protection against crime is available from local police forces.

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Assaults on Police Officers

Lord Hardy of Wath asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many police officers were assaulted whilst on duty last year; and in how many of the cases custodial sentences were awarded. [HL78]

Lord Rooker: Recorded crime data do not in general record the profession of victims. Assaults on police officers may be recorded as any of a range of offences in the violence against the person category. However, the specific offence of assault on a constable is recorded separately in England and Wales, and Northern Ireland. There were 27,152 such offences in England and Wales in the year ending September 2000, and 1,464 offences in Northern Ireland in the year ending March 2001. In Scotland, assaults on a constable are not counted separately from other assaults.

In England and Wales, 1,435 were offenders sentenced to immediate custody in 1999 for assault on a constable, where this was the principal offence prosecuted. Details of sentencing are not available for Scotland and Northern Ireland.

National Hi-Tech Crime Unit

The Earl of Northesk asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many of the available posts within the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit have been filled; and whether they consider that recruitment to, and funding of, the unit are adequate. [HL121]

Lord Rooker: The National Hi-Tech Crime Unit, within the National Crime Squad, is seeking to fill up to 43 posts by the end of summer 2001. Individuals have been recruited already to fill 26 of those posts and most of those staff are now in post. Selection interviews are taking place in the first two weeks of July to fill up to another 13 posts, with recruitment of staff to fill outstanding posts beginning shortly afterwards. Contrary to recent media reports the unit is not having difficulty recruiting staff.

The Government have made £8 million available to the police this year, £9 million next year and £8 million in 2003-04 to initiate the implementation of a National Hi-Tech Crime Strategy. The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) has determined how that funding should be allocated between the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit and computer crime units in local police forces. The Government will, with ACPO, be reviewing future funding for the Hi-Tech Crime Strategy to ensure effective policing of hi-tech crime.

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