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24 May 1995 : Column WA57

Written Answers

Wednesday, 24th May 1995.

Regulation-making Powers: Responsibility for Review

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whose responsibility it is to review statutes with a view to the repeal of out of date regulation-making powers.

The Lord Chancellor (Lord Mackay of Clashfern): The question whether a particular power is obsolete and should be repealed will fall to be considered first and foremost by the department responsible for the enabling legislation. In addition, the Law Commission has a duty under Section 3(1)(d) of the Law Commissions Act 1965 to prepare draft Bills, pursuant to programmes of consolidation and statute law revision approved by the Lord Chancellor, for the repeal of obsolete and unnecessary enactments.

MoD Property: Listing of Churches and Chapels

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How, within the Ministry of Defence, it is determined whether churches and chapels becoming redundant are of "sufficient architectural or historic merit" to be listed for statutory protection.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Henley): A recommendation for listing a church or chapel would normally be made by English Heritage to the Secretary of State for Heritage (or by the appropriate national heritage body for Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland) as a result of their surveys, including thematic studies which English Heritage are at present conducting on Ministry of Defence buildings such as barracks, dockyards and aviation structures. Where a site is in disposal, my department will make a proposal for listing or, alternatively, apply for a certificate of immunity where this is judged necessary to remove uncertainty about whether a building should be given statutory protection.

European Military Satellite Programmes: UK Participation

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether Britain is precluded from participating in any West European military satellite programme by any agreement or understanding it may have with the United States.

Lord Henley: No.

24 May 1995 : Column WA58

The Samaritans: Funding

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the Samaritans have been, or are being directly funded by central Government and if so, by which departments, to what extent and for what purposes.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Cumberlege): The Department of Health has committed grant aid towards the central administrative costs of the Samaritans in England as follows: £155,000 in 1994/95, £135,000 in 1995/96 and £115,000 for 1996/97. The department has also awarded the Samaritans a project grant of £50,000 per annum for three years from 1994/95 towards an Outreach Programme project to help make its services available to vulnerable people in rural areas. In addition, the Home Office provides a grant of £46,300 over two years for the central costs of the Samaritans' service in prisons in England and Wales. The Welsh Office provided £4,000 in 1993 for a rural Samaritans initiative in Wales.

Immigration Act: Conditions of Detention

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will give instructions to end the practice of transferring Immigration Act detainees from detention centres to prisons for alleged indiscipline or disruptive behaviour, and, if not, why not.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Blatch): Immigration detention centres are run on the lines of secure hostels allowing detainees free movement and association within a secure perimeter. The accommodation is unsuitable for disruptive detainees. There will continue to be a need to transfer to the more secure conditions provided by Prison Service establishments those detainees whose behaviour poses a threat to their own safety or to that of staff or other detainees, or when the good order and discipline of the centre requires this to be done.

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they intend to end the practice of holding Immigration Act detainees in police cells, and, if so, when.

Baroness Blatch: The initial detention of an immigration offender arrested within the United Kingdom will continue to require the use of police cells. However, the Immigration (Places of Detention) Direction 1994 limits detention under these powers in police cells to a maximum of five days (seven days if directions for removal within that period have been given). Every effort is made to transfer Immigration Act detainees to more suitable accommodation as soon as this can be arranged.

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Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What plans they have for improving medical care and facilities at existing Immigration Act detention centres.

Baroness Blatch: Detainees in immigration detention centres and Prison Service establishments have access on a daily basis to a doctor. There is also a nurse present daily at the Harmondsworth, Gatwick Airport and the Campsfield House detention centres. A detainee who requires further medical attention may be transferred to a prison or outside hospital. The Government are satisfied that these arrangements, which are reviewed regularly, provide satisfactory medical care and facilities at existing Immigration Act detention centres.

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Crimes Committed Overseas: UK Prosecutions

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many United Kingdom residents have been prosecuted in United Kingdom courts in recent years for the crimes of murder, genocide, slavery and torture, committed in overseas countries.

Baroness Blatch: Court proceedings data collected centrally by my department relating to murder offences do not identify where the offence took place.

There have been no prosecutions in England and Wales for genocide, slavery and torture.

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