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Habitual Residence Test

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Social Security (Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish): Her Majesty's Government estimate that, following the introduction of the habitual residence test, the saving to the budget of the Department of Social Security is £30 million. Estimates of savings to other public funds are not available.

Charity Commissioners

Lord Denning asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Blatch): There are five Charity Commissioners appointed under the Charities Act 1993 by my right honourable friend the Home Secretary and his predecessors. They are the Chief Commissioner, Richard Fries, Legal Commissioners Robert Venables and Jonathon Farquharson, and part-time Commissioners, Tessa Baring and John Bonds.

The Chief Commissioner and the Legal Commissioners are full time career civil servants, Mr. Fries and Mr. Venables at Grade 3, Mr. Farquharson at Grade 4. The Chief Commissioner was appointed following an open competition. The Legal Commissioners, who are Solicitors of the Supreme Court, were appointed by promotion within the government legal service.

The part-time Commissioners were appointed after consultations with a wide range of bodies. Tessa Baring has had a wide experience of the charitable sector, including a period as chairman of the Council of Barnardo's; John Bonds is a qualified accountant who retired after a career in Shell in 1993.

The Commissioners are paid on the appropriate salary scales; in the case of the part-time Commissioners the scale is that applicable to civil servants, on the basis of working six days per month. None of the commissioners receives any additional allowances.

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Wandsworth Prison: Report of Chief Inspector of Prisons

Lord Harris of Greenwich asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When the report of the Chief Inspector of Prisons on Wandsworth prison will be published.

Baroness Blatch: The Chief Inspector of Prisons carried out his full inspection of Wandsworth prison from 10–14 October 1994. The Inspection Report has not as yet been received by the Prison Service.

The Prison Service will advise the noble Lord when a date for the publication has been set.

Videos: Classification Certificate Refusals

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many videos were refused a certificate in 1994 under the Video Recordings Act 1984, and for what reasons.

Baroness Blatch: I understand that in 1994 five videos were refused a classification certificate by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), all on grounds of excessive violence.

Extradition

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether there are grounds on which the British Government may expel a British citizen to another country with which it does not have an extradition treaty, and whether a British Government has ever done so.

Baroness Blatch: Section 15 of the Extradition Act 1989 permits special extradition arrangements to be made for the extradition of individuals to states with which the United Kingdom has no extradition arrangements. No extradition has so far taken place under this provision.

Dangerous Dogs Act 1991: Expert Advisers

Lord Houghton of Sowerby asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 has resulted in the formation of a large group of experts in its administration; and, if so, (a) whether one expert has been used in 450 cases in the last year; (b) how much money has been paid to such experts for fees related to court cases; and (c) whether they are satisfied that such experts are as freely accessible to dog owners as they are to police authorities.

Baroness Blatch: No central record is kept of individuals who are involved in cases brought under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.

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Dangerous Dogs: Police Powers

Lord Houghton of Sowerby asked Her Majesty's Government:

    For what purpose the police may continue to hold in custody a dog which has not been identified as being a Pit Bull Terrier; and

    Under what authority the police may continue to hold dogs which have been identified by a court as not being a dog known as a Pit Bull Terrier; and what steps the owners of such dogs can take to recover possession of their dogs.

Baroness Blatch: Powers for the police to seize and detain dogs are contained in Section 5 of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991; the decision to exercise these powers in any given case is a matter for the chief officer of the police force concerned.

It is open to owners seeking the return of a dog which has been seized (as with any other property seized by the police) to apply to a magistrates' court under the Police (Property) Act 1897.

Commission for Racial Equality: Quinquennial Review

Lord Brougham and Vaux asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When the next quinquennial review of the Commission for Racial Equality is due to take place.

Baroness Blatch: The quinquennial review of the Commission for Racial Equality is now beginning and it will continue into the summer.

Ministerial Committee on Women's Issues

Baroness Gould of Potternewton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether in line with the recommendation of the Women's National Commission Report Equality, Development and Peace, which has called for "more openness about the work of the Cabinet sub-committee", they will make available the decisions of the Ministerial Committee on Women's

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    Issues, within the Office of Public Service and Science.

The Lord Privy Seal (Viscount Cranborne): The discussions and decisions of Cabinet Committees and Sub-Committees must remain private in order that Ministers can express their views frankly without undermining the principle of collective responsibility. Decisions reached will normally be announced and explained by the responsible Minister.

Air Pollution Control: Enforcement Costs

Lord Marlesford asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will give details on the 1995–96 charging scheme for local authority air pollution control under Part I of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

The Minister of State, Department of the Environment (Viscount Ullswater): Charges to cover the costs of local enforcing authorities in regulating processes which are subject to Part I of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 were introduced in April 1991. With the approval of the Treasury, and following consultation with local authority associations and industry, my right honourable friends the Secretary of State for the Environment and the Secretary of State for Wales have made a revised scheme specifying the scale of fees and charges to take effect from 1 April 1995. My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Scotland is revising the identical, parallel scheme for Scotland on the same basis.

The standard application fee is increased by £25 to £990, the application fee for a former Alkali Act works is increased by £15 to £595, the substantial change fee is increased by £15 to £635, and the annual subsistence charge is increased by £20 to £605. No change has been made to the remaining fees and charges.

To help businesses with the budgetary planning, for the first time this year, the scheme will allow operators to pay their annual subsistence charge in quarterly instalments.

The scheme will be laid before both Houses and a copy placed in the Library.



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