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Dan Rogerson, supported by Matthew Taylor, Mr. Colin Breed, Andrew George, Julia Goldsworthy, Willie Rennie, Andrew Mackinlay, Hywel Williams and Mr. Angus MacNeil, presented a Bill to establish and make provision about the Cornish Assembly; to transfer functions and powers to the Assembly; and for connected purposes.
That leave be given to bring in a Bill to establish a Commission to review the operation of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme and to make proposals for amendments to the scheme.
I rise to introduce a Bill to review the criminal injuries compensation scheme. It is a very small Bill about a very big issue: the impact of the 7/7 bombings on a number of our constituents. Its co-sponsors have constituents whose bodies were cruelly torn asunder by the bombs that were placed on 7/7. One of my own constituents, Andy Brown, whom I will discuss in a moment, wishes me to make the point that despite the incredible work of our security forces, we ought to work on the assumption that perhaps one day, the bombers will get through again and the victims of 7/7 will be joined by others of our constituents who will be equally badly mauled by the bombs of evil men who only wish us harm.
It is clear that this House does not have the power to re-create the bodies of those constituents into the form they took during the moments before the bombs went off; nor do we have the power to touch them and heal their emotions. What we can do, of course, is to put them back into the financial position they were in before these evil men set off the bombs. In other words, we can fully compensate them for the financial losses that they have incurred as a result of the 7/7 bombings.
Currently, our constituents qualify under the criminal injuries compensation scheme, which has a cap of £250,000. To many of us, that probably sounds like a huge sum of money, but when I met my constituent who was partly blown asunder by the bombers, I asked him about the financial costs of trying to repair his life. I did not immediately visit him in hospital, because I thought that the last thing he would want to see was his MP, but I have since come to value his friendship and that of his wife, Jan. I pay tribute to the way in which he has valiantly surmounted the horrors that have been inflicted on him. I asked Andy and his wife what sum they needed to put them back into the position they were in
before the bombs went off. I asked about their housing needs, and whether Andy's career would be affected, despite all the efforts that he has made to regain it. I asked about the cost to Jan, who is about to launch her own career as a teacher, and the effect on the couple's pension position. It was quickly clear that the bill was way beyond the £250,000 maximum payable under the criminal injuries compensation scheme.
The Bill therefore seeks the permission of the House to establish a review, to report to the Justice Secretary by the end of the year, of how we can reform the criminal injuries compensation scheme to remove the cap for those victims of terrorism who are subjects of this country, whether the terrorist outrage occurs here or abroad. One would hope that the review would also suggest how we might pay for that small extension, in global terms, of the scheme. I hope that the review would take the line that my right hon. Friend the Member for Croydon, North (Malcolm Wicks) suggested on community care, rather delphically-that these are risks that all of us might wish to insure against. We should do so collectively, and share the costs, because that makes them very small, but they are very important for some of our constituents.
All the hon. Members who are sponsoring the Bill have constituents who were physically affected by the bombers' actions on 7/7. An early-day motion is being tabled today so that other hon. Members from both sides of the House who wish to support the Bill can request the Justice Secretary not to wait for Royal Assent but to set the review in hand now, so that it may report before Christmas, so that after that date we can have a criminal injuries compensation scheme that fully meets the extra financial costs suffered by those people who were physically so impaired by the evil actions of the bombers on 7/7.
That Mr. Frank Field, Mr. Ian Taylor, Susan Kramer, Dr. Tony Wright, David Tredinnick, Mr. Andrew Dismore, Mr. Jeffrey M. Donaldson, Sandra Gidley, Kate Hoey, Mark Fisher, Mr. Nicholas Soames and Lynne Featherstone present the Bill.
[Relevant Documents: The Ninth Report from the Joint Committee on Human Rights of Session 2008-09, Legislative Scrutiny: Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Bill, HC 375, and the Seventeenth Report from the Committee, Government replies to the Second, Fourth, Eighth, Ninth and Twelfth Rep orts of Session 2008-09, HC 592 . ]
'for not longer than six hours'.
'(2B) Regulations made under subsection (1) or (2A) may make provision conferring functions on the Independent Police Complaints Commission in respect of the exercise of immigration and customs functions and the provision of services pursuant to arrangements relating to the discharge of those functions whether in the UK or overseas.'.
Mr. Woolas: May I report back to the House on the deliberations of the Committee? I believe that we had comprehensive scrutiny, that we have improved the Bill even further and that, on the major matters, we have achieved consensus. There are, however, some outstanding issues. I shall deal first with the group of Government and non-Government amendments that deal with part 1, which are included in the first group on the selection list. The House will want to pay tribute later in the debate to Lord Kingsland, who has sadly been taken from us. His premature death this weekend was a terrible blow to all those who loved him and to this House and the other place. In the debate on citizenship and part 2 of the Bill, we will see even more of that. The Home Office is profoundly shocked by his death. He worked with officials in the Home Office for many years and he is a great loss.
This is a large group of amendments, so let me deal immediately with Government new clause 2, which goes with Government amendments 15 and 16, and describe their purpose and effect. The Liberal Democrat spokespersons, the hon. Members for Carshalton and Wallington (Tom Brake) and for Rochdale (Paul Rowen), are in their place and they helped the Committee, as did the hon. Gentlemen who speak for the official Opposition, the hon. Members for Ashford (Damian Green) and for Reigate (Mr. Blunt). They were both on the Committee and will wish to speak about their proposals.
Mr. Frank Field (Birkenhead) (Lab): Since we last discussed the Bill on the Floor of the House of Commons, the Government have published a document that is very important-"Building Britain's Future". In the section on immigration, they pledge that we will move to a points system for citizenship so that we break the link between people coming here to work and their automatically becoming citizens. My hon. Friend the Member for Mid-Sussex (Mr. Soames) and I chair the all-party group on balanced migration and we have been pushing for that. Does the Bill bring us up to date with the latest Government development?
The Bill provides a beautiful tapestry on which the next proposals will be embroidered. There is a beautiful and symmetric logic to what we are doing, as I shall explain. I am sure that the hon. Member for Mid-Sussex (Mr. Soames) and my right hon. Friend the Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Field) will welcome the proposals. My right hon. Friend the Member for Redditch (Jacqui Smith), the then Home Secretary, made it clear on Second Reading that she thought that should the Bill be accepted by the House-it has cross-party
support-it would provide a platform from which to move forward to the next stage of reform, which would be a points-based system for citizenship building on the points-based system for temporary migrancy for economic reasons. Indeed, the document "Building Britain's Future" to which my right hon. Friend referred makes it clear that our intention is to bring forward ideas for consultation on that point, precisely to address the proposed lack of a link between temporary and permanent migrancy, but it is important that we get this Bill first. Its citizenship element, although not the border functions set out in part 1, is a platform on which those proposals can be built.
Mr. Field: I thank the Minister for that. Given his tapestry analogy, will he take a message back to the Home Office? If what he wants is not delivered, will he remind them that there are many hon. Members with long needles? We do want to aim them not at him but at other forces.
Mr. Woolas: My immediate thought is that we should not take the analogy any further. The Government are committed to that strategy, and we are working on the proposals. They do not lie within the scope of this Bill, but my right hon. Friend is right to point out that they have a strong relationship.
I turn now to new clause 2, which deals with short-term holding facilities. Government amendment 15 is consequential to it and removes clause 25 to make way for the new clause. Government amendment 16 makes the changes to the schedule that will be necessary if the House accepts the earlier amendments.
The purpose of the existing clause 25 that was inserted in the other place was to provide greater flexibility in the use of short-term holding facilities, and thus to maximise the use of these finite detention resources. In short, it was a management tool to secure greater flexibility and therefore the greater efficiency for the taxpayer that is always at the front of our concerns.
Short-term holding facilities fall into two categories-the residential facilities at Dover, Manchester, Harwich and Colnbrook near Heathrow, and the holding rooms at most ports and certain UK Border Agency offices. All are subject to a statutory maximum stay of seven days. At present, short-term holding facilities may be used to hold only individuals who have been detained for immigration purposes under UKBA's administrative powers of detention, and those who have been detained under section 2 of the UK Borders Act 2007, pending the arrival of a police officer.
By modifying the definition of short-term holding facilities, we are removing that constraint so as to allow other categories of persons to be held in those facilities. As a consequence, short-term holding facilities will be able to hold a range of individuals, subject to the prescribed periods of detention and protections relevant in each case. That could include individuals arrested in connection with immigration or customs offences, individuals detained under section 2 of the UK Borders Act 2007 as liable to arrest and pending the arrival of a police officer or, as now, individuals detained in detention under the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999.
Mr. Nicholas Soames (Mid-Sussex) (Con): I am grateful to the Minister for giving way, and I am particularly pleased by his reference to the exotic and beautiful tapestry that he is weaving for the benefit of our country. However, does he believe that the facilities that he is outlining will be man enough to cope with an annual inflow of about 237,000 people?
Mr. Woolas: Our policy is one of managed migration, and our intention is that we will be able to manage the numbers. The hon. Gentleman mentioned the figure of 237,000, and I think that that is the gross inflow-
Mr. Woolas: The net inflow, I am sorry, but that is according to Office for National Statistics definitions with which the hon. Gentleman knows that I have some issues. In the main, our short-term holding facilities are used for outflows-if I can use that word in this context. We think that our estate has been significantly improved, and that it is still improving, in both capacity and fitness for purpose.
To continue the analogy with a tapestry, which I think that one embroiders rather than weaves, although I shall not dance on the head of a pin about that- [ Interruption. ] I am sorry, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that will be the last reference to a tapestry from this Dispatch Box.
The hon. Gentleman's serious question is whether we anticipate the numbers of migrants remaining roughly as they are or as increasing, and whether the policy is based on that. In this regard, we are talking mainly about the facilities that we have to enforce removals from the country. There are some facilities, of course, for holding people at the borders, especially at the airports. We have increased capacity, but that does not imply that we are expecting the inflow to increase. Indeed, I think that the points-based system and the proposals in the Bill will reduce the inflow, and of course the hon. Gentleman was referring to a net figure.
In each case, there will be no change to the existing time limits or, where relevant, the application of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984. These technical Government amendments have been tabled at a late stage, and that is regrettable, but it has been pointed out-and we are grateful for that-that clause 25 could have had the unintended effect of making any place at which immigration detainees might be held for a period of seven days or less-including removal centres, prisons or police stations-a short-term holding facility. So leaving clause 25 in the Bill would have meant that such places were subject to the short-term holding facility rules rather than their appropriate statutory frameworks such as detention centre rules, prison rules and PACE. Indeed, removal centres could lose their status entirely and become short-term holding facilities instead.
Therefore, I ask the House to remove clause 25 by accepting amendment 15 and to replace it with new clause 2. We intend to replace clause 25 with a clause that not only achieves the objective of flexibility but does so without the adverse effects for other places of detention. The revised definition of a short-term holding facility in new clause 2 would allow such facilities to be used either solely for immigration detainees or for a mix of detainees and persons detained under other powers.
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