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24 Jan 2001 : Column: 647W
Mr. William Ross: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many (a) officers, (b) male officers and (c) female officers are serving in the full-time RUCR; how many had (i) under one year, (ii) under two years and more than one year and (iii) between two and three years of their contracts remaining at the latest date for which information is available; how many (A) male and (B) female officers have served (1) under five years, (2) five to 10 years, (3) 10 to 15 years and (4) over 15 years in the full-time RUCR; and how many officers in each of these cohorts now qualify for (x) early retirement and (y) enhanced redundancy payments. 
|Less than 1 year||65|
|Less than 5 years||180||117||297|
|Over 15 years||1,242||--||1,242|
(22) Applies to Year 1 (ending 31 March 2001) and Year 2 (ending 31 March 2002) only.
24 Jan 2001 : Column: 648W
Dr. Reid: [holding answer 12 December 2000]: 610 principal asylum seekers were being supported by local authorities in Scotland prior to 3 April 2000, when the national asylum support service assumed responsibility for all new asylum seekers under the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. I refer the hon. Member to my reply to him of 18 April 2000, Official Report, column 473W, for details by each local authority. These figures are collected annually, in February, and I understand that there has been no substantial change since then.
In addition, under separate arrangements with London boroughs, before the 1999 Act came into effect, Glasgow placed in accommodation in the region of 140 principal asylum seekers (570 individuals). Such placements ceased in June, since when four units of accommodation have been vacated.
Glasgow City is currently the only local authority in Scotland providing services for asylum claimants under the 1999 Act. At 8 December it was accommodating 683 principal asylum seekers (1,094 individuals) under the new arrangements.
Mr. Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the projects undertaken for his Department by (a) outside consultants, (b) academic researchers and (c) university departments since 1 May 1997, giving the total expenditure incurred in each category. 
Dr. Reid: Information on individual projects undertaken by consultants, academic researchers and university departments for the former Scottish Office is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
The Scotland Office was established in its present form on 1 July 1999. We have commissioned one report, from Colin Buchanan and Partners of Edinburgh, to compare motor taxation across Europe. The cost of the work was £5,464. I have arranged for copies of the report to be placed in the Library and on the Department's website.
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to (a) buggery, (b) indecent assault and (c) gross indecency, relating to males aged under 16 years, is measured. 
The Solicitor-General: The Crown Prosecution Service reviews each case on its own facts and merits in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors. There is a presumption in favour of proceeding in all cases in which there is sufficient evidence, unless there are public interest factors which clearly outweigh those factors in favour of a prosecution. There are a number of public interest factors which may be considered, depending on the circumstances of each individual case. A prosecution would usually be in the public interest where there is any element of seduction or corruption of the young.
Other relevant public interest considerations would include the relative ages of the parties; the nature of the relationship; any duty of care or breach of trust and whether there is any element of child abuse.
Mr. Nicholls: To ask the Solicitor-General what changes in prosecution policy have been made in respect of the offences of (a) buggery, (b) indecent assault and (c) gross indecency, relating to males aged under 16 years, since 1997. 
The Solicitor-General: The Crown Prosecution Service reviews each case in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors. This sets out the two-stage test which is applied in every case. The first stage is the evidential test. Only when that test is passed do prosecutors proceed to the second stage and consider whether it is in the public interest to proceed.
Since 1997 there have been two relevant pieces of legislation. The Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 2000 came into force on the 8 January 2001. This Act reduces the age of consent for buggery and certain homosexual acts from 18 to 16 in England and Wales. It also decriminalises the conduct of the party under the age of consent where the other party is 16 years or older.
Part II of the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 came into force on 11 January 2001. Section 39 of this Act extends the age of the child against whom the offence of indecency with children can be committed from under 14 to under 16 years of age. Crown Prosecutors continue to apply both tests in accordance with the Code and with current legislation.
Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the answer from the Minister for the Cabinet Office of 11 December 2000, Official Report, columns 47-48W, (1) concerning special advisers, which exercises referred to in the answer have been co-ordinated by the Treasury since January 2000; and if he will place details of the resulting documents in the Library; 
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(3) what costings of (a) Liberal Democrat and (b) Conservative Party policies his Department has (i) undertaken and (ii) co-ordinated in the previous 12 months; and if he will place copies of such costings in the Library; 
(4) if special advisers in his Department have been involved in (a) co-ordinating, (b) costing and (c) presenting costings of policies of Opposition parties; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Andrew Smith [holding answer 11 January 2001]: The Minister for the Cabinet Office set out in her answer of 11 December 2000, Official Report, columns 47-48W, the long-standing arrangements under successive administrations applying to the costing of policies and pledges of Opposition parties. The Treasury is from time to time consulted by other Departments to ensure that these costings are accurate. It is for individual Ministers to determine the form of presentation.
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