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Police Custody (Deaths)

Tony Cunningham: To ask the Solicitor-General what her policy is on taking the views of the family of victims into account when deciding whether to prosecute following a death in police custody. [64438]

The Solicitor-General: The Crown Prosecution Service reviews all cases, including those involving death in police custody, in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors. This provides that before considering whether it is the public interest to prosecute, there must be sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of a conviction. If the evidential test is satisfied, the Crown Prosecutor will take into account the

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consequences for the family and any views expressed by the victim's family when considering if it is in the public interest to prosecute.

The Attorney General, with the support of the Director of Public Prosecutions, is currently reviewing the prosecution process in cases arising from a death in custody and has issued a consultation paper on which he has taken steps to consult widely. The paper can be found on our website. On 23 May in this House, I invited hon. Members to respond to the paper and placed a copy in the Library of the House.

DEFENCE

Homeless Ex-servicemen

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what measures the Government have in place to care for ex-soldiers and servicemen who are homeless and suffering financial and emotional problems. [66361]

Dr. Moonie [holding answer 3 July 2002]: The Social Exclusion Unit's 1998 Report identified that between one quarter and one fifth of rough sleepers had been in the Armed Forces at some stage, predominantly some years before as National Servicemen. Since then, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) has been working in partnership with the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister's Homelessness Directorate, (previously known as the Rough Sleepers Unit) and the charitable sector to improve care and support for acute cases of homelessness, and notably those already sleeping rough on the streets or at high risk of doing so.

The MOD has put in place new preventive mechanisms at pre-discharge, point of discharge and post-discharge to help vulnerable leavers make a more successful transition to civilian life. These and other measures taken by the Government and its partners have reduced levels of rough sleeping by some two-thirds, in line with the Prime Minister's target. Furthermore, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has confirmed that an interim analysis of rough sleeping data gathered in November 2001 shows that the percentage of rough sleepers with an Armed Forced background has decreased markedly since the 1998 SEU Report.

Medical care of ex-Service personnel with substantial emotional problems is the responsibility of the National Health Service (NHS) and the full range of treatments and psychiatric services is available. Those requiring psychiatric treatment may be treated as NHS patients at the Duchess of Kent's Psychiatric Hospital, subject to the nature of their medical condition and capacity though, if they reside outside the catchment area, their local Health Authority would have to meet the cost of treatment in accordance with NHS budgetary procedures.

The MOD has recently placed a research contract with Kings College London to help advise policy decisions to improve the delivery of cross-departmental support to veterans and to identify any areas of unmet need. This research will include interviews with key stakeholder organisations, such as Combat Stress.

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The Veterans Agency already makes payments to allow qualifying war pensioners suffering from psychological injury or illness to receive remedial treatment at Combat Stress centres.

Defence Estate Disposals

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his estimate is of the value of disposals from the Defence Estate for each year from 1993–94 to 2002–03; and if he will make a statement. [66292]

Dr. Moonie [holding answer 4 July 2002]: Cash receipts

The receipts on a cash basis received for land/property disposals are provided in the following table:

Disposal programme
# million

YearActual cash received
1993–9476
1994–9575
1975–9674
1996–97180
1997–98143
1998–99158
1999–2000287
2000–01206
2001–02159

Accrual basis

The Department moved to Resource Accounting and Budgeting and therefore the DE Agency now reports, within its Annual Report and Accounts, disposals on an accrual basis. See the following table:

# million

Accrual basis
YearAccrual
2000–01225
2001–02184

Oral Questions

Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many oral questions he has transferred to other Departments in each of the last 18 months. [67049]

Dr. Moonie: The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Questions are transferred only when it is more appropriate for another Department to answer.

TREASURY

VAT

Mr. Soames: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the reason is for the delay in introducing the Extra Statutory Concession to reduce VAT on home care services supplied by private businesses; and when he expects to introduce the regulation. [66147]

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Mr. John Healey [holding answer 2 July 2002]: We will introduce the Extra Statutory Concession as soon as revised regulations governing the conduct of the private recruitment industry are laid before Parliament by the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry.

Departmental Waste

Sue Doughty: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proportion of waste produced in his Department was (a) recycled, (b) composted and (c) reused, broken down into (i) paper, (ii) plastics, (iii) aluminium cans and (iv) other in each year since 1997; what plans there are to increase these proportions; and if he will make a statement. [65698]

John Healey: The following table shows the percentage of waste recycled by HM Treasury since 1997 broken down into waste streams:

Per cent.

Waste streams1997–981998–991999–20002000–012001–02
Paper0.010.60.072534
Glass/cans0.020.020.020.020.4
Mixed other0.040.10.050.730.04
Totals0.070.070.142634

The Treasury are moving into newly refurbished accommodation (1 Horse Guards Road) later this month and are implementing an environmental management system that will be certified to ISO 14001 by the end of the year. As a result of improved waste monitoring and recycling initiatives, we expect to be able to increase the amount of waste we recover.


Overseas Development

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what volume of correspondence his Department has received since October 2001 regarding (a) the United Nations target of spending 0.7 per cent. of gross domestic income on overseas development assistance and (b) debt relief for developing countries. [64603]

Mr. John Healey: Including letters, campaign postcards and e-mails there have been approximately (a) 3,000 and (b) 38,000 related items of correspondence received by the Treasury, both supporting the Government's recent actions to increase overseas development assistance and relieve the debt of the world's poorest countries, and encouraging us to further action in the future.

Regulatory Impact Unit

Dr. Cable: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many members of his Department have been employed in its regulatory impact unit in the past five years; and if he will make a statement. [65976]

Dawn Primarolo: The Treasury, Inland Revenue and HM Customs and Excise each have separate departmental regulatory impact units in which two, five and three people respectively co-ordinate work on regulatory impact. The number of people in these units has remained broadly constant.

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The staff in each unit work closely with the officials responsible for developing policies within their department and the regulatory impact unit within the Cabinet Office. They focus on those regulations which impact on business, charities, and the voluntary sector.

WORK AND PENSIONS

Advertising

Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the total cost was of advertising and promoting benefits in 2000–01. [46467]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: The total cost of advertising social security benefits (excluding pensions) in 2000–01 was #4.4 million. Production, distribution and other costs totalled a further #3 million.

New Deal

Mr. Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many civil servants are employed on New Deal related work in (a) Leicester and (b) the UK. [63448]

Mr. Nicholas Brown: Information on the number of people employed on New Deal work nationally is not collected centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. The New Deals are a key element of our welfare to work strategy and are an integral part of the work of many people in the Department.

In the Leicestershire Jobcentre Plus District around 70 civil servants work directly on the New Deals.


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