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Criminal Injuries (Compensation)

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what circumstances prevent a person who has a criminal record from receiving compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority and Board; and to what extent this is affected by whether they had a criminal record at the time they became a victim of crime. [144428]

Mr. Charles Clarke: Paragraph 13(e) of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme empowers the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) to withhold or reduce an award where the applicant's character, as shown by his criminal convictions (excluding convictions spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974) or other evidence, makes it inappropriate that a full award or any award should be made. The guide to the scheme includes an illustrative table indicating how awards are likely to be reduced by a certain percentage depending on the nature or length of the sentence imposed for criminal activity and how long ago the offence or offences were committed. A copy of the guide is supplied to all applicants.

War Criminals

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the validity of reports of former Ukrainian SS troops settling in Britain; what plans he has to investigate such people for war crimes offences; and if he will make a statement. [144896]

Mrs. Roche: War crimes are among the most serious crimes of concern to the international community. The Government believe strongly that all war criminals should be brought to justice whenever possible, both those responsible for atrocities during the Second World War, and subsequently.

Following recommendations made by the Hetherington Inquiry, Parliament passed the War Crimes Act 1991. That Act gave the courts retrospective criminal jurisdiction to try certain classes of war crimes committed during the Second World War by people who are now British nationals or United Kingdom residents. The police service diligently investigated hundreds of cases after the entry into force of the Act.

Any new information relating to the commission of an offence under the War Crimes Act 1991 by any person within the United Kingdom's jurisdiction should be passed to the police so that they may consider whether to carry out an investigation. This includes allegations about

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the activities of former Ukrainian SS troops, said to reside in Britain. The Metropolitan police have received information relating to these allegations, which they are currently analysing.

When it is not possible to prosecute in this country, the United Kingdom has extensive arrangements to allow extradition to countries which are better placed to pursue a prosecution, including extradition of its own nationals. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary is also considering the scope of his powers under immigration and nationality legislation in relation to individuals suspected of involvement in war crimes or crimes against humanity.

Housing Benefit Fraud

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people have been convicted of housing benefit fraud in each of the last three years. [144137]

Mr. Rooker: I have been asked to reply.

The information is in the table.

Number of Housing/Council Tax Benefit claimants convicted

1997-98631 (700)
1998-99714 (800)
1999-2000730 (900)


1. These figures are the total number of successful convictions (single combined figure for HB/CTB) reported by local authorities via the administration and policy monitoring returns.

2. Not all local authorities return the required statistics. Approximately 69 LAs having missing data for convictions in 1999-2000, 82 LAs with missing data in 1998-99 and 65 LAs with missing data in 1997-98.

3. The figures in parenthesis are the published estimates for the total number of claimants convicted.

Ermina Andola Campillos

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the visa application of Ermina Andola Campillos will be decided. [144504]

Mr. Vaz [holding answer 8 January 2001]: I have been asked to reply.

This visa application was decided on 22 November. I will write to my hon. Friend about the background to this case.


Animal Transportation

Mr. Prosser: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what plans he has to require the ability, competence and knowledge of those handling and transporting animals on journeys lasting eight hours or more to be assessed by an independent person or body rather than by their employer; and if he will make a statement. [142949]

Mr. Morley: A proposal for independent assessment of competence of those transporting farm livestock was the

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subject of a public consultation on a limited review of the Welfare of Animals (Transport) Order 1997, carried out in August 1999. In the meantime, the European Commission started its own review of the parent EU directive and the Commission's report has now been published on their website at: en-availability-2000-l.html

We will implement changes to the Order to take account of the Commission's report and recommendations, and the outcome of our earlier consultation.

Ministerial Travel

Sir Teddy Taylor: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will list, for each year since 1995, the number of flights, including helicopter flights, taken by Ministers within his Department for UK and overseas visits; on how many occasions (a) charter flights were used and (b) first and club class tickets obtained; and who accompanied the Ministers on each trip. [143864]

Mr. Nick Brown [holding answer 21 December 2000]: Ministers are under a duty to make efficient and cost- effective travel arrangements. This Government have given a commitment to publish an annual list of visits overseas by Cabinet Ministers costing more than £500 as well as an annual figure on spend by all Ministers on overseas visits. The list for 1999-2000 was published on 28 July 2000, Official Report, column 969W.

Detailed information in the form requested is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Civil Servants

Mr. Flynn: To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how many civil servants are employed in work relating to agriculture; what proportion of these are dealing (a) wholly and (b) partly with farm subsidies; and what proportion each category represents of the total number of civil servants. [144252]

Ms Quin [holding answer 8 January 2001]: On 1 April 2000 there were 10,380 staff in my Department and its Agencies. The majority of these are employed in work relating to agriculture. In England, farm subsidies are dealt with mainly by our Regional Service Centres and the Farming and Rural Conservation Agency (FRCA). On 1 April 2000, 2,173 staff worked in the nine Regional Service Centres and 600 staff in the FRCA.


Private Bills

Mr. Miller: To ask the President of the Council what arrangements she plans to make to inform the House of the compatibility of Private Bills with the European Convention on Human Rights. [145183]

Mrs. Beckett: Section 19 of the Human Rights Act 1998 does not apply to Private Bills. However, like all legislation, any Act resulting from the passage of such a Bill can be judged in the courts, either in the UK or in

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Strasbourg, for its compatibility with the ECHR. In future when Private Bills are deposited, promoters will be asked to undertake a full assessment of the compatibility of their proposals with the ECHR and to make a statement setting out their conclusion as to whether the Bill is compatible or not. A Minister in the Government Department within whose policy responsibilities the subject matter of the Bill falls will make a formal statement saying that he believes that the promoters have undertaken a full assessment and that he does not (or, if necessary, that he does) see any need to dispute their conclusions.


Opposition Parties Policies

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office pursuant to her answer of 11 December 2000, Official Report, columns 47-48W, concerning special advisers, if the results of exercises to cost policies and pledges of opposition parties are placed in the public domain; and if she will place details of the resulting documents in the Library. [144704]

Marjorie Mowlam: As my answer of 11 December made clear, it is for individual Ministers to determine the form of presentation.

IT Projects

Mr. Alexander: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what action the Government are taking to improve their handling of major IT projects. [144628]

Mr. Ian McCartney: I refer my hon. Friend to my earlier reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Basildon (Angela Smith) on 9 January 2001, Official Report, column 484W.

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