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EUROPEAN FISHERIES COMMISSIONER

Lord Stoddart of Swindon asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Trumpington: No decision has yet been taken on which Commissioner-designate will take on the fisheries portfolio in the light of Norwegian non-accession. It is for the incoming President to allocate portfolios in consultation with the other Commissioners-designate. We expect M. Santer to make a decision shortly.

EU: QUALIFIED MAJORITY VOTING ARRANGEMENTS

Lord Stoddart of Swindon asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Trumpington: We will not renegotiate the agreement reached on qualified majority voting during the recent enlargement negotiations until the 1996 Inter-Governmental Conference. Article 2(2) of the Accession Treaty for Sweden, Finland, Austria and Norway provides for the Council to make the necessary adjustments to the Treaty to take account of the non-accession of one of the applicants.

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A draft Council decision to take account of Norwegian non-accession has been submitted to the European Select Committees of both Houses for scrutiny. This amends the qualified majority voting articles of the Treaty to remove Norway's allocation of 3 votes and amend the qualified majority threshold from 64 to 62. A separate Council decision, a draft of which has also been submitted to the Select Committees, will amend the Ioannina decision to apply to dissenting minorities of between 23 and 25 votes. The Council will make these decisions on 1 January 1995.

ENTRY CLEARANCE APPLICATION FEES

Lord Brougham and Vaux asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have any plans to increase any of the entry clearance application fees.

Baroness Trumpington: An Order in Council (The Consular Fees (Amendment) Order 1994) was made on 14 December which provides for changes in entry clearance application fees with effect from 4 January 1995.

A number of non-entry clearance consular fees were increased on 24 November. It is government policy that the cost of entry clearance services should be borne by the users as far as possible. Some entry clearance fees, however, have remained unchanged for many years. To avoid too great a rise in the fee for settlement and analogous services, the increase will be made in two further annual stages until full cost-recovery is achieved in 1997.

CHECHNYA

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will ask the Russian Government to honour the recent Grachev-Dudayev Agreement reached on 6 December and release prisoners and hostages and refrain from attacks on Chechnya; and whether they consider that mediation, arbitration or conflict-resolution would be appropriate procedures for settling the future status of Chechnya.

Baroness Trumpington: The situation in Chechnya has developed rapidly since Grachev and Dudaev met. We have been closely monitoring events, particularly since President Yeltsin ordered troops to intervene to restore law and order in this southern republic of the Russian Federation. We hope the parties will reach a negotiated settlement.

ISRAELI/PALESTINIAN DECLARATION, OSLO: IMPLEMENTATION

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will seek a collective demarche of the European Union in favour of full implementation of the Oslo Agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

Baroness Trumpington: We and our EU partners have repeatedly urged on Israel and the Palestinians full

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implementation of the Declaration of Principles, most recently during the meeting in Brussels on 28 November between the Foreign Ministers of the EU Troika and Mr. Peres and Mr. Arafat.

POLICE AUTHORITIES: MEMBERSHIP CRITERIA

Baroness Hilton of Eggardon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What criteria the Home Secretary used in making his nominations for independent members of the new police authorities.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Blatch): My right honourable friend the Home Secretary exercised his judgment as to who were the best candidates for appointment using the criteria of the qualities listed in the information for applicants for these appointments; good communication and financial skills; the ability to challenge accepted views in a constructive way; the ability to represent a wide range of people in the community and have an understanding of their policing needs and the pressure and challenges which face the police themselves; and possession of skills and experience which would broaden the expertise available to the police authority.

Baroness Hilton of Eggardon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether political affiliations or associates were amongst the criteria used in making the Home Secretary's nominations for independent members of the new police authorities.

Baroness Blatch: Information about the political affiliation of candidates was not sought on the application forms for these appointments.

Baroness Hilton of Eggardon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the Home Secretary consulted the Government Whip's office before making his nominations for independent members of the new police authorities.

Baroness Blatch: There was no consultation with the Chief Whip's office, although on this, as on other aspects of departmental business, the Home Office Whip was available to give advice as required.

SECURE TRAINING CENTRES: PLANNING PERMISSION

Lord Molloy asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What action they intend to take if planning permission for secure accommodation for child offenders is refused by a local planning authority.

Baroness Blatch: The Home Office has appointed planning consultants to advise on the handling of planning negotiations and applications for the establishment of Secure Training Centres under the provisions of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994. Where an application was refused we would study the reasons before deciding the appropriate course of action, including whether differences might be resolved

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through further discussion with the local planning authority.

CONSPIRACY TO DEFRAUD

Lord Harris of Greenwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What action they propose to take following the Law Commission's recommendation that there should be an early change in the law to make it possible to convict people obtaining loans, such as mortgages, by deception.

Baroness Blatch: The Law Commission's report on Conspiracy to Defraud, which contained that recommendation, was published on 7 December. We are currently considering its contents and will respond to the recommendations in due course.

CORPORATE CRIME

Lord Hooson asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is their estimate of the amount of loss occasioned through corporate crime and property dealing crime in England and Wales between the years 1980 and 1993 and how much of the said loss has been recovered.

Baroness Blatch: From the information collected centrally on notifiable offences, it is not possible to provide an overall figure for corporate crime. There is no information available for offences of property dealing.

BURGLARY, THEFT AND ARMED ROBBERY

Lord Hooson asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is their estimate of the value of money and property stolen or damaged through burglary, theft and armed robbery respectively between the years 1980 and 1993 in England and Wales and what was the value recovered from the offenders.

Baroness Blatch: The available information shows that between 1980 and 1993 the total value of property stolen in notifiable offences of burglary was £7,225 million of which £522 million was recovered. For theft offences, the total value of property stolen was £17,407 million, of which £7,878 million was recovered. This information is not available for offences of armed robbery.

JUVENILE OFFENDERS

Lord Hooson asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many juvenile offenders there were in England and Wales each year between 1980 and 1993; how many offences they committed in each of those years and how many of them re-offended either as juveniles or adults.

Baroness Blatch: The available information on the number of persons found guilty or cautioned for all

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offences in England and Wales is presented in the following table.

Number of 10-16 year-olds found guilty or cautioned(1) for all offences 1981-1993

England and Wales
Year Found guilty Cautioned(1) Found guilty and Cautioned(2)
1980 128,087 104,423 232,510
1981 118,260 108,237 226,497
1982 110,018 112,684 222,702
1983 100,445 115,437 215,882
1984 93,271 119,848 213,119
1985 82,631 134,567 217,198
1986 62,630 113,496 176,126
1987 53,597 114,401 167,998
1988 46,850 101,375 148,225
1989 40,373 96,627 137,000
1990 37,255 112,081 149,336
1991 32,544 105,662 138,206
1992 29,006 112,867 141,873
1993 29,260 99,870 129,130

(1) Excludes motoring offences.

Annual information on the number of offences committed and on reoffending is not readily available. An analysis of a sample of 700 court appearances for serious offences by offenders aged 10-16 in 1987 showed that there were about 1.7 offences per court appearance on average and that around 80 per cent. had a further conviction for a serious offence before the end of 1992. A separate sample of 2,150 offenders aged 10-16 cautioned in 1985 showed that around 30 per cent. were subsequently convicted of a serious offence within five years of the caution.

(2)All indictable offences plus serious summary offences.



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