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28 May 2002 : Column WA133

Written Answers

Tuesday, 28th May 2002.

Palestinian Reform

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they consider that the 1999 report of the Council on Foreign Relations Independent Task Force on Strengthening Palestinian Public Institutions provides a starting point for an internationally recognised Palestinian state; and, if so, whether they will bring the report to the attention of members of the European Union, the Commonwealth and the United Nations.[HL4384]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Amos): We welcomed the report as a valuable contribution to the work on the reform of Palestinian public institutions and worked on follow-up to it. The report will help to form the basis of future discussion on Palestinian reform. The report has already been widely disseminated among the international community.

Police Force Budgets

Lord Hardy of Wath asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the percentage increase in the budgets of each of the police forces in England for the current financial year compared with the previous year.[HL3875]

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Rooker): The information is set out in the table.

Increase in Net Budget Requirement (%)Increase in Net Budget Requirement (%)
Avon & Somerset4.75.7
City of London3.13.2
Devon & Cornwall4.86.1
Greater Manchester4.43.2
North Yorkshire6.010.9
South Yorkshire4.24.5
Thames Valley5.85.1
West Mercia6.010.8
West Midlands4.13.4
West Yorkshire4.25.4

Increases for 2002–03 are not directly comparable with those for 2001–02 owing to changes in funding for the National Crime Squad/National Criminal Intelligence Service, which ceased to be charged to police authority budgets. The figures for 2001–02 have been adjusted accordingly to allow direct comparison.

Net budgets do not take account of the adjustments made to the Metropolitan Police boundary changes (£1.25 million for Essex, £2.75 million for Hertfordshire, £0.5 million for the Metropolitan Police and £5.5 million for Surrey in 2000–01; £14k for Essex, £627k for Hertfordshire and £1,609 million for Surrey in 2001–02 and £300k for Hertfordshire and £800k for Surrey in 2002–03).

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Retail Crime

Lord Dixon-Smith asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How much financial assistance they make available each year to improve security in the retail sector and reduce retail crime; and[HL4182]

    Whether any of the financial assistance made available to the retail sector is reserved for the assistance of small retailers; and[HL4183]

    What was the total level of financial assistance given to small retailers in the last full financial year.[HL4184]

Lord Rooker: My right honourable friend the Home Secretary announced on 27 June last year the provision of £15 million over three years from the Capital Modernisation Fund to assist small retailers in deprived areas to improve the security of their businesses: £3 million was available in the 2001–02 financial year, with a further £6 million in both 2002–03 and 2003–04.

This money, which is being spent on schemes identified by regional crime reduction directors, in conjunction with crime and disorder reduction partnerships, is being used to help small retailers to improve security. This is being achieved by employing a variety of interventions, including enhancing the security of individual premises and improving the

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environment of shopping centres. Nearly 3,000 shops in 114 retail schemes in some of the most deprived areas in England and Wales benefited from first year funds. More shops will be assisted in the next two years.

My department has also supported work undertaken to establish retail crime partnerships by funding a consultant post for the past two years. The consultant has worked closely with the British Retail Consortium to produce a definitive guide how to establish and run a retail crime partnership and encourage retailers and other stakeholders in main shopping centre areas to establish partnerships to tackle retail and related crime.

Funding totalling £223,000 was also given to aid retail crime reduction initiatives under various programmes administered by regional crime reduction directors in the financial year ending 31 March 2002 and a further £86,500 is expected to be disbursed through regional crime reduction directors specifically for retail crime reduction initiatives in the current financial year.

Other funding under the Crime Reduction Programme, such as the £170 million for schemes for the installation of closed circuit television, particularly in town centres, will help to reduce shop theft as well as other types of crime. Other initiatives such as the street wardens schemes will also be of benefit to retailers in the areas where they operate.

My department also makes advice available to retailers and crime reduction practitioners on the crime reduction website, including best practice guidance in the "Toolkit" on Business and Retail Crime. Booklets which give crime reduction guidance to retailers have also recently been updated and give advice in a user-friendly postcard format leaflet entitled Don't Discount Crime.

Asylum Seekers: Benefits

Lord Stoddart of Swindon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Lord Rooker on 8 May (WA 175–76), what is the weekly cash value of the state benefits available to asylum seekers, as outlined in the Answer, to a family consisting of two adults and two children housed in furnished accommodation; and what would be the level of gross earnings necessary to achieve that value.[HL4288]

Lord Rooker: I am afraid that the information is not available in the form requested. However, a family of four (two adults and two children both under the age of 16) would receive a total subsistence payment of £126.26 per week. If they were in National Asylum Support Service (NASS) accommodation, the costs of this, together with associated utility bills and council tax, would be met centrally.

It is not possible to predict the level of gross earnings per week to achieve this level. This would be dependent on the individual circumstances of the family.

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Scientific Procedures: Use ofNon-human Primates

Baroness Ludford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Lord Rooker on 11 March (WA 47–48), whether it is their intention to raise with the European Commission the principle of the use of non-human primates in research during the revision of Directive 86/609/EEC.[HL4312]

Lord Rooker: Further to the reply I gave to the noble Baroness on Monday 11 March 2002 (WA 47–48), Home Office officials are still in the process of considering the relevant issues and no firm conclusions have been reached as to all the matters we should raise.

However, the United Kingdom Government's position on the use of Great Apes (chimpanzees, gorillas, pygmy gorillas, and orang-utans) is that we cannot foresee any justification for their use in scientific procedures. This policy was set out in the Supplementary Note to the Home Secretary's response to the Animal Procedures Committee interim report on the review of the operation of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. Copies of this document were deposited in the Libraries of both Houses on 6 November 1997.

As to other non-human primates, we support the position reflected in the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, under which they can be used only in strictly controlled circumstances when no other suitable species is available.

Working Holidaymaker Scheme

Baroness David asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they intend to issue their consultation document on the review of the Working Holidaymaker Scheme and how they plan to consult on the development of the Seasonal Agricultural Workers' Scheme.[HL4567]

Lord Rooker: We said in our recent White Paper Secure Borders, Safe Haven—Integration with Diversity in Modern Britain that we wanted to review the long-established Working Holidaymaker Scheme.

We are issuing a consultation document tomorrow and I am arranging for copies to be placed in the Library. The text will also be available from the Home Office Immigration and Nationality Directorate website at asp?pageid=2830.

As the White Paper said, the main aims of the review are to make the scheme more inclusive of the whole Commonwealth, to reduce abuse and to remove any unnecessary employment restrictions. The consultation document requests comments on a number of questions relating to entry criteria, employment restrictions and end of stay, as well as raising the possibility of extending the scheme to

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other countries. The document considers the issue of whether the United Kingdom should introduce a new scheme for citizens of those candidate countries that it is thought will join the European Union in 2004, using the Working Holidaymaker Scheme as a model.

We are inviting comments on the consultation document by Friday, 23 August 2002.

In the White Paper we also undertook to look again at the Seasonal Agricultural Workers' Scheme to see how it might better meet the needs of the agricultural sector. So today we are also making available a paper on this scheme that will be the focus of a series of consultation meetings with key stakeholders, representatives of farmers, growers, sector associations, trade unions and the scheme operators. Joan

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