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Climate Change Levy

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has to review the effects of the climate change levy on business. [293]

Mr. Boateng: As with all taxes, the climate change levy will be kept under review as part of the normal Budget process.

Working Families Tax Credit

Mrs. Anne Campbell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the impact of Working Families Tax Credit on employment patterns in high cost areas. [466]

Dawn Primarolo: Inland Revenue has embarked on a comprehensive programme of evaluation of the impact of the Working Families Tax Credit and the Disabled Persons Tax Credit. The programme of work spans several years and comprises qualitative and quantitative research and analysis. It will be a number of years before the programme of work is completed and such an assessment can be made.


Regulatory Impact Assessment

Mr. Gibb: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what plans his Department has to ask the National Audit Office to evaluate the content and use of regulatory impact assessments, including public consultation. [744]

Mr. Leslie: I understand that the National Audit Office have already begun a study examining the regulatory impact assessment process. They expect to report later this year.

Special Advisers

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many special advisers (a) resigned and (b) remained in office following the announcement of the general election. [381]

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Mr. Leslie: Following the announcement of the general election 62 special advisers resigned and 14 remained in post.

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how much severance pay was paid to special advisers following the announcement of the general election; and how much is due to be repaid by special advisers following their reappointment. [382]

Mr. Leslie: The rules on severance payments for special advisers are the same as those that have applied under previous Administrations. Under the terms of the Model Contract for Special Advisers, any special adviser who receives severance following the announcement of an election but who is subsequently re-appointed is only entitled to retain severance pay of an amount equivalent to the pay that they would have received during the period of the gap between the two periods of employment.

Ministers are currently in the process of appointing their special advisers, so it is not possible to determine the overall cost of severance until this process is completed.


Crime Rates (Surrey)

Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement about levels of (a) violent and (b) other crime in Surrey. [147]

Mr. Denham: The table shows recorded violent crime (violence against the person, sexual offences and robbery) and other crime statistics in Surrey for the 12 months to September 2000.

Violence against the person6,594
Sexual offences590
Theft and handling22,045
Fraud and forgery4,272
Criminal damage10,189
Drug offences1,727
Other offences844

The recorded crime statistics for the 12 months to March 2000 show that Surrey had the second lowest number of crimes per 100,000 population in England and Wales. However, a boundary change involving Surrey and Metropolitan police forces took place on 1 April 2000, when Surrey took on some areas from the Metropolitan police. Figures for Surrey before and after that date are therefore not directly comparable. By excluding the boundary effect (i.e. by assuming these areas were policed by the Metropolitan police throughout the period), the increase in overall crime in Surrey in the 12 months to September 2000 compared with the 12 months to September 1999 is an estimated 3 per cent. The Government are committed to reducing all crime, including violent crime, and to tackling the causes of crime, ensuring proper punishment of those who break the law and providing the resources necessary to tackle crime.

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Although there continues to be an increase in the number of violent crimes recorded by the police, the rate of increase is slowing down and crime overall has fallen under this Government. The British Crime Survey, which is widely accepted as the most authoritative source of information on the real rates of crime, indicates that violent crime has been falling since 1995, and reduced by 4 per cent. between 1997 and 1999, the latest date for which figures are available.

National Economic Security

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he takes to ensure that responsibility placed on MI5 to protect the economic well-being of the country is not discharged in such a way as to (a) benefit big business at the expense of small business and (b) undermine the rights of pressure groups and individuals to pursue peacefully their political ends. [215]

Mr. Blunkett: The Security Service carries out its functions in accordance with the relevant legislation. Section 1(3) of the Security Service Act 1989 requires the Service to safeguard the economic well-being of the United Kingdom against threats posed by the actions or intentions of persons outside the British Islands. Section 2 (2)(b) places a duty on the Director General to ensure that the Service does not take any action to further the interests of any political party.

Anyone who is aggrieved by anything they believe the Service has done to them or their property may complain to the independent Tribunal (Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000).

European Public Prosecutor

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement about the plans for a European Public Prosecutor. [245]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by the previous Minister of State at the Home Office, my hon. Friend the Member for Hornsey and Wood Green (Mrs. Roche), to the hon. Member for West Suffolk (Mr. Spring) on 1 November 2000, Official Report, column 529W.

Prisoner Costs

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the average cost is of holding a prisoner in (a) male local prisons, (b) male remand centres, (c) open prisons, (d) closed training prisons, (e) open young offender institutions, (f) closed young offender institutions and (g) female establishments; and if he will make a statement. [243]

Beverley Hughes: During the financial year 2000-01 the average cost per prisoner place for each of the above categories are listed in the table.


CategoryCost per place (cash)
Category B21,674
Category C17,765
Female closed25,123
Female local30,412
Female open17,399
Male closed YOI23,063
Young Offender Institution (YOI) Male juvenile44,668
Male local25,733
Male open14,733
Male open YOI21,628
Male remand centre35,174

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Figures for cost per place reflect establishment costs only and do not include headquarters overheads. These figures are not comparable with the Prison Service cost per place Key Performance Indicator. The establishments that comprise these functions are categorised by their main role only. Establishments that have more than one role have been placed under the category that represents the primary or predominant function of the establishment. These data will shortly be published in the Prison Service Annual Report and Accounts.

Marsham Street

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if he will make a statement about the Government's plans for the former Department of the Environment buildings at Marsham street; [238]

Mr. Blunkett: Proposals to proceed with the relocation of the Home Office, including the Prison Service, to a new development on the site of the former Department of the Environment offices at Marsham street, where outline planning consent exists for a mixed office, residential and commercial development, were announced in July last year. Contract negotiations for developing the Marsham street site as a public-private partnership project are currently in progress with Anne's Gate Property plc, the preferred bidder.

The City of Westminster resolved in February to grant detailed planning consent subject to completion of a planning agreement. That has been successfully negotiated and the formal agreement was signed earlier this month. Provided detailed contract terms can be agreed between the Home Office and the preferred bidder, a start on demolishing the old Department of the Environment offices is planned for later this year. The new development is intended to house the majority of Home Office and Her Majesty's Prison Service staff currently based in central London.

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