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EU Treaties

Mr. Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if, in respect of the amendments to be made by the Treaty of Nice, to Articles 18, 62, 63, 65 and 67 of the Treaty of the European Community, concerning movement of Union citizens within the area of the Community, and matters concerning visas, immigration, asylum, refugees, deportation and related derogations for the United Kingdom and Ireland, contained in the current Community Treaty, he will publish a description of those proposed changes, including the use of Article 251 of the Community Treaty required by the provisional agreement

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reached at Nice, together with the obligations of the associated Declaration to take further steps in these matters after 1 May 2004. [144742]

Mrs. Roche: I refer my hon. Friend to the reply given by my hon. Friend the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office on 9 January 2001, Official Report, columns 510-12W, for a description of the changes in question. The Protocol on the position of the United Kingdom and Ireland, which provides the United Kingdom with an opt-in to measures under Title IV of the Treaty, will not be amended as a result of the agreement reached at Nice.

Draize Test

Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make it his policy to ban the Draize test used to determine irritancy of products; and if he will make a statement. [145380]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: Following the Government's announcement of a ban on the testing of cosmetic products and ingredients, the Draize eye safety test is no longer used for that purpose. However, national and international regulatory bodies require that non-cosmetic products, ingredients and chemicals are tested to ensure that they are safe (for humans, other animals and the environment) during manufacture, transport and use.

The Draize test is a safety test required for regulatory risk assessments of chemicals and a range of manufactured products which may be deliberately or accidentally brought into contact with the eyes. An example of this would be preparations used in medical eye drops.

Some non-animal alternatives to the Draize eye test are available for some screening purposes. However, these can be used only for a limited range of test materials.

The Home Office has published guidance and minimum severity protocols for this procedure. Such animal testing takes place only when in vitro screening tests have been used to identify, classify and eliminate materials with obvious irritant potential. Careful consideration is given to all available information on a substance to avoid testing of substances likely to produce severe effects on test animals. In this regard the Draize eye test is not carried out on strongly acid or alkaline substances or on substances which have demonstrated severe adverse skin effects in dermal tests or on substances which have demonstrated potential corrosive effects or severe irritancy in the alternative tests currently available.

This country has taken, and continues to take, a leading role in Europe in encouraging the use of alternatives which replace animal use, reduce the number of animals used and refine the procedures to minimise pain and suffering. To this end the Home Office has funded work conducted by the European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods (ECVAM), but it has been concluded that the currently available alternatives to the Draize test have significant limitations and cannot replace live animal use at this stage.

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Intoxicating Substances

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will introduce measures to forbid the sale to juveniles of (a) glues, (b) spray paints and (c) knives. [144751]

Mr. Charles Clarke: It is an offence under the Intoxicating Substances (Supply) Act 1985 to supply a substance to someone under the age of 18 knowing or believing that the substance, or its fumes, is likely to be inhaled for the purposes of intoxication. Under the 1996 Offensive Weapons Act, it is an offence to sell a knife to a person under the age of 16 years.

There are no plans at present to restrict the sale of spray paints to juveniles; this would penalise young people who have a legitimate reason for their purchase. The police have the power to arrest anyone whom they reasonably suspect has committed or is about to commit an offence of criminal damage such as graffiti spraying.

Lord Birt

Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will list the conclusions of work undertaken by Lord Birt in his role as an adviser to his Department; and what recommendations Lord Birt has made to the Government in that capacity. [145455]

Mr. Straw: Lord Birt is looking at criminality and long-term trends. His work is being considered alongside work which is currently being undertaken by the Home Office, the Lord Chancellor's Department, the Law Officers' Department and Her Majesty's Treasury about which I informed the House on 7 November 2000, Official Report, column 203W. This work is drawing together experience of improving the performance of the Criminal Justice System in England and Wales over the last three-and-a-half years to identify the way forward for the longer term. It will take account of current reviews such as Sir Robin Auld's review of the criminal courts and a review of the present sentencing framework led by John Halliday, formerly Director of Criminal Justice Policy at the Home Office. Any firm conclusions which emerge from this work will be reported to the House.

Crime Statistics

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many reports of (a) fraud and (b) money laundering were received for each of the last five years for which figures are available by the National Criminal Intelligence Service. [145865]

Mr. Charles Clarke: The Economic Crime Unit of the National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS) is responsible for the receipt, analysis and dissemination of all reports made in the United Kingdom which may be indicative of suspicious transaction of money laundering.

The numbers of such reports received for each of the last five years are as follows:


Reports are passed by NCIS to the appropriate body to investigate; this is usually the Financial Investigation Unit of the particular police force concerned.

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NCIS do not routinely receive reports of fraud and no reliable central records are maintained of allegations of fraud.


Mr. Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the estimated level of use is of (a) cannabis, (b) heroin and (c) cocaine in each of the last five years for which figures are available. [145783]

Mr. Charles Clarke: There is no single and definitive measure of drug use. However, self-reported levels of use among a representative sample of people aged 16 to 59 and living in households in England and Wales are available from the British Crime Survey (BCS). Information on the levels of use from the BCS is given in the table. The full reports are available from the Library and on the Home Office website:

Percentages of respondents reporting use of cannabis, cocaine and heroin, 16 to 59-year-olds in England and Wales

Last year8(25)--(25)--
Last month5(25)--(25)--
Last year91(25)--
Last month5(25)--(25)--
Last year91(25)--
Last month5(25)--(25)--

(25) Less than 0.5 per cent.


British Crime Survey 1994, 1996, 1998 (Drug Misuse Declared in 1998: results from the BCS, Home Office Research Study 197)

Devolution (Scotland)

Mr. Grieve: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the outcome of his discussions with the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Executive about the extent to which the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 should apply to Scotland. [145896]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: Subject to a number of limited exceptions the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 applies throughout the United Kingdom. As to Scotland, the exceptions relate to the Electoral Commission's functions in respect of local government boundaries and local government elections, which are devolved matters. However, section 10 (Giving advice and assistance), section 13 (Education about electoral and democratic systems), and section 145 (General function of Commission with respect to monitoring compliance with controls imposed by the Act etc.) confer powers on Scottish Ministers to extend the functions of the Commission under those sections to cover local government elections in Scotland. Section 19 of the

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Act also confers a power on Scottish Ministers to transfer to the Electoral Commission the functions of the Local Government Boundary Commission for Scotland.

In addition, a number of the amendments made by Part VIII of the 2000 Act to the provisions of the Representation of the People Act 1983 do not extend to local government elections in Scotland. But the Scottish Parliament and Executive agreed to the amendments to sections 75 and 93 of the 1983 Act (by sections 131 and 144 of the 2000 Act respectively) extending to such elections.

The decisions which the Act leaves to Scottish Ministers and the Scottish Parliament are matters entirely for them.

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