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Hospitals: Bed Occupancy

Earl Howe asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): For many years, increased demand during the winter months for paediatric beds and beds for very young children, including neonates, has been recognised across the National Health Service. This is commonly associated with respiratory conditions in young children, particularly bronchiolitis caused by the respiratory syncytial virus.

Immigration: Cost of Applications

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): When calculating the cost of an immigration application we do not take into consideration the length of time the applicant has lived in the United Kingdom.

Immigration: Failed Asylum Seekers

Lord Roberts of Llandudno asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): A total of 390 asylum applicants (including dependants) were removed or departed voluntarily to Iran in 2005; 475 in 2006 and 480 in 2007. Figures include persons departing voluntarily after enforcement action had been initiated against them, persons leaving under assisted voluntary return programmes run by the International Organisation for Migration and those who it is established have left the

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UK without informing the immigration authorities. Figures are rounded to the nearest five and information for 2006 and 2007 is provisional.

It is not possible to say what stage in the asylum process the returnees as a whole have reached at the time of their removal, including whether their claim has failed at that point, because those departing voluntarily can do so at any stage.

Further information on asylum removals from the UK is available from the Library of the House and the Home Office's Research, Development and Statistics website at http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration -asylum-stats.html.

Medical Devices

Baroness Finlay of Llandaff asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): None. The European Commission's consultation document on which interested parties are asked to comment, does not contain any proposals regarding the borderline between medical devices and medicines. The borderline is determined by the definitions of medical devices and medicinal products in their respective directives. This was only recently clarified in an amendment to the Medicinal Products Directive which came into force in 2005 and a more recent review of the Medical Devices Directive completed in September 2007 did not consider that any further adjustments were required. Any differences in interpretation can be raised by national regulatory authorities at a European level and reflected in guidance issued by the appropriate working groups to enable consistent application between member states.

Ministry of Justice: Website

Lord Hanningfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The design and production costs of Judge for Yourself were £38,775.00. Additional costs to transfer the format to an online version were £800. The online edition of Judge for Yourself is based on a CD-Rom produced for the 42 probation areas. Judge for Yourself is hosted by the Government information site, DirectGov, and there is no charge to the Ministry of Justice for this service.

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Judge for Yourself was made available online on 1 July. Insufficient time has elapsed to gather information on average daily visitor numbers.

NHS: Darzi Review

Lord Hanningfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham):High Quality Care for All, the final report of the NHS next stage review, sets out a vision for the 21st century National Health Service. The report is founded on an extensive year-long programme of engagement in which over 60,000 people have participated. Copies of the report are available in the Library.

The total spend at the end of June 2008 on the programme is £3.5 million.

Northern Ireland Office: Bonuses

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: The department operates two types of bonus schemes—special bonus (to reward staff for additional contribution e.g. innovation and improvement, project work etc.), and an end-of-year bonus (to reward staff for performance and delivery throughout the year). Figures for the past two financial years are set out in the tables below:

Special Bonuses
2006-07 (paid 2006-07 financial year)2007-08 (paid 2007-08 financial year)

Number of staff

891

697

Total Amount

£174,882

£188,350

End Year Bonuses (End year bonuses are paid in the following financial year)
2005-06 (paid 2006-07 financial year)2006-07 (paid 2007-08 financial year)

Number of staff

292

324

Total Amount

£502,667

£557,000

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: Individuals representing all grades (A,B,C,D) of the Northern Ireland Office, including members of the Senior Civil Service, received either a special and/or end-year performance bonus at a total cost of £745,350 in the 2007-08 financial year.



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Northern Ireland: Burglaries

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: Table 1 gives the number of burglary offences recorded in Northern Ireland for the financial years 2005-06 to 2007-08.

Table 2 documents the total number of convictions for burglary, the number sentenced to immediate custody and the average custodial sentence length (in months). Data cover the calendar years 2004 to 2006 (the latest available years) and are collated on the principal offence rule, so only the most serious offence with which an offender is charged is included.

It is not possible to compare recorded crime data in table 1 with conviction data in table 2, as an offence recorded as burglary may subsequently be prosecuted on a different basis—for example, as theft. In addition, recorded crime data are offence-based while prosecution and conviction data are offender-based. Specific attention is currently being given to the problem of burglary in Northern Ireland. In 2007-08, a total of 11,698 burglary offences were recorded by police in Northern Ireland, which represents a net 37 per cent drop in the level of burglary since 2002-03, when 18,659 offences were recorded.

The number of domestic burglaries recorded by the police fell by 34 per cent during this period, from 10,125 to 6,712. These reductions correspond closely with the timing of an NIO PSA target to reduce the recorded level of domestic burglary between 2001-02 and 2006-07 by 15 per cent. The actual reduction in the level of domestic burglary during this period was 25 per cent, which was well ahead of the prescribed target.

Table 1: Number of burglary offences recorded in Northern Ireland 2005-06 to 2007-08
YearNumber recorded

2005-06

12,836

2006-07

11,562

2007-08

11,698

Table 2: Number of convictions, number sentenced to immediate custody and the average custodial sentence length (in months) for burglary in Northern Ireland 2004-20061
200420052006

Number of convictions

620

557

532

Number sentenced to immediate custody

272

265

237

Average custodial sentence (in months)

11

11

12



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Post Offices: Card Account

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): No. The successor to the Post Office card account will be available on a national basis throughout the United Kingdom, in both urban and rural areas.

We specified around 10,000 personal teller outlets because that number, combined with the fact that we hope that the Post Office card account successor will be available at ATMs, will provide the widespread coverage needed to ensure that it will be available in rural areas as well as urban communities. There is nothing to stop the successful bidder offering a network of more than 10,000 outlets.

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord McKenzie of Luton: The decision on who to award the contract for the successor to the Post Office card account to will be made by the authorities that are going to use the product. In this case, that is the Department for Work and Pensions, Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, the Northern Ireland Social Security Agency and the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency. The decision will be made strictly in accordance with the appropriate procurement rules.

Post-legislative Scrutiny

Lord Taylor of Holbeach asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (Baroness Vadera): The Government announced, in March 2008 that they would undertake post-legislative reviews of Acts of Parliament, other than Finance Acts, between three and five years after the legislation came into force. The Government agreed with the Law Commission report Post-legislative Scrutiny (Cm 6945) that it would be premature at this stage to establish a dedicated system for post-legislative review of secondary legislation as such. However, review of each Act should

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properly include the consideration of all or much of the delegated legislation made under the Act. Any such scrutiny should reflect any work already done by other Committees of the House, including the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments and the House of Lords Merits Committee. Further information on the government response to the Law Commission report can be found at: www.official-documents.gov.uk/document/cm73/7320/7320.pdf.


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