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Charity and Voluntary Sector

Miss Widdecombe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the review of charity and voluntary sector policy. [2941]

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Angela Eagle: My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has asked the Performance and Innovation Unit to undertake a broad-ranging review of the legal and regulatory framework for charities and the wider voluntary and community sector and to bring forward proposals for reform. The project is expected to finish in the winter of 2001–02.

Air Weapons

Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many offences were recorded involving the use of an air weapon in each year from 1997. [2169]

Mr. Denham: The available information has been published in "Criminal Statistics England and Wales 1999". The details are as follows:

YearNumber of recorded crimes involving an air weapon

1997 is the calendar year, with the others being financial years. There was a change in the counting rules for recorded crime on 1 April 1998, and hence figures before and after that date are not directly comparable.

Electoral Law

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations his Department has received since 1997 in favour of permitting citizens of other EU member states to vote in general elections. [1974]

Dr. Whitehead: I have been asked to reply.

Since May 1997 there have been 28 letters from Members of Parliament seeking information about extending the parliamentary franchise to EU citizens. The Government's view is that extending the franchise in this way would need to be by reciprocal agreement with all other EU member states. There are no current proposals by the European Commission for action in this area.

Royal Travel

Mr. Alan Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the cost was of royal travel by (a) the Royal Flight, (b) the Royal Train and (c) commercial airlines in the last year before the grant-in- aid to the Palace for royal travel was introduced. [2085]

Mr. Byers: I have been asked to reply.

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Precise information for the year in question— 1996–97—is not readily available. The initial budget of £19.385 million for the grant-in-aid for royal travel by rail and air was based on the estimated costs of royal travel in 1996–97. The resource budget for air travel by 32 (The Royal) Squadron was £16.57 million after adjusting for depreciation and interest charges on the capital values, airframe and engineering costs, the expected number of royal flying hours in 1997–98, overhead and administration charges, inflation and VAT. The budget for flying by other operators was £711,000. The budget for rail travel (which included both fixed and variable costs of the Royal Train) was £18.9 million. £331,000 was allocated for administration costs.

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People's Peers

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the President of the Council when the House of Lords Appointments Commission intends to launch its regional road shows to attract applications from aspiring people's peers [1976]

Mr. Robin Cook: The House of Lords Appointments Commission launched its programme of regional visits in September 2000. I understand that it has already visited Edinburgh, Cardiff, Manchester and Belfast.