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Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: The purpose of taxation is to raise revenue. The Government prefer to target direct support by making available substantial funds for the repair of historic buildings through English Heritage and others.

19 Jul 1995 : Column WA29

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they consider that the zero rating for value added tax of alterations to listed buildings is conducive to their conservation.

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: There can be some value in zero-rating alterations to listed buildings since it may help in retaining or regenerating their useful economic life.

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why new buildings and new construction, including alterations to listed buildings, are zero rated for value added tax.

Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: As the recent White Paper on housing makes clear, the Government's policy is to encourage home ownership. Zero rating the costs of constructing new homes allows builders to sell at a lower price. Buildings for commercial and industrial use are taxed at the standard rate.

VAT zero-rating for all alteration work to existing buildings was abolished in 1984 as a revenue raising measure. However, the Government accepted the case for retaining the existing zero rating for alterations to listed buildings as a means of continuing their useful life.

Greenwich Park

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will accept the proposal in the report by Dame Jennifer Jenkins on Greenwich Park that the Royal Naval College, the National Maritime Museum, the Royal Observatory and the park itself should become a World Heritage site.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of National Heritage (Lord Inglewood): The Government's considered response to the proposals made in the Royal Parks Review Group's report on Greenwich Park will be made shortly.

Royal Naval College, Greenwich

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the Answer of the Parliamentary Secretary for National Heritage, Mr. Sproat, on 10th May, in which he said that decisions on the future of the Royal Naval College at Greenwich will "take into account the importance of ensuring that, as far as possible, these fine historic buildings are properly maintained in future" (HC Deb, col. 473), implies that they may not be properly maintained in future.

Lord Inglewood: I understand from my honourable friend the Minister of State for National Heritage that his Answer on 10 May (HC Deb, col. 473) does not carry the implication to which the noble Lord refers.

19 Jul 1995 : Column WA30

Prisoners: Statistics

Baroness Faithfull asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many male and female prisoners respectively in 1994 had (a) no previous convictions and (b) one or two previous convictions.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Blatch): Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the Director General of the Prison Service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter to Baroness Faithfull from the Director General of the Prison Service, Mr. Derek Lewis, dated 19/7/95.

Lady Blatch has asked me to reply to your recent Question asking how many male and female prisoners respectively in 1994 had (a) no previous convictions and (b) one or two previous convictions.

The most recent available information is given in the attached table.

Population under sentence(i) in Prison Service establishments, on 30 June 1993, by number of previous convictions(ii): England and Wales

Percentage(iv) of the total
Total Previous convictions not found(iii) Nil 1 or 2 3 or more
Males 31,375 5 17 16 63
Females 1,125 11 38 20 30

Notes:

(i) Excludes fine defaulters.

(ii) Based on a sample of 6,677 males. Previous convictions are for "standard list" offences, counting one conviction per court appearance. Offences of the 'standard list' include all indictable and triable either way offences and some of the more serious summary offences.

(iii) "Not found" relates to the absence of a match between the prisoner and the available records on previous convictions for standard list offences.

(iv) On account of rounding percentages for males do not add to 100.


Baroness Faithfull asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many sentenced males and females respectively were received into prison in 1994 in each of the main offence groups (a) including fine defaulters and (b) excluding fine defaulters.

Baroness Blatch: Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the Director General of the Prison Service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter to Baroness Faithfull from the Director General of the Prison Service, Mr. Derek Lewis, dated 19/7/95.

Lady Blatch has asked me to reply to your recent Question asking for an offence breakdown of sentenced prison receptions in 1994.

Provisional information for receptions of sentenced prisoners in 1994 is contained in the attached table.

19 Jul 1995 : Column WA31

Sentenced Receptions into Prison Service establishments in 1994, by sex and offence group, including and excluding fine defaulters(*)

Receptions Including fine defaulters Receptions Excluding fine defaulters
Principal offence Male Female Male Female
Violence against the person 9,515 464 8,275 392
Sexual offences 1,898 7 1,888 7
Burglary 11,736 143 10,624 125
Robbery 2,818 115 2,800 112
Theft and handling 13,368 1,302 10,098 1,059
Fraud and forgery 2,354 307 1,794 223
Drugs offences 3,460 294 3,091 283
Other offences 27,606 1,340 15,605 461
Offence not recorded 6,841 414 4,131 290
All offences 79,596 4,386 58,306 2,952

(*) Provisional figures.


Prisoners Serving Mandatory Life Sentences

Lord McIntosh of Haringey asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many prisoners serving mandatory life sentences have been informed that they cannot expect ever to be released on licence; and how may of these are women; and

    What plans they have to locate prisoners serving mandatory life sentences, who have been informed that they cannot expect ever to be released on licence, in prisons which are geographically accessible for their families and friends; and

    What plans they have to provide a prison regime for prisoners who are serving mandatory life sentences and who have been informed that they cannot expect ever to be released on licence which will reflect their particular circumstances, including their need for a mode of life which is supportable until death.

Baroness Blatch: Sixteen mandatory life sentence prisoners, including one woman, have been informed that previous Ministers set a whole life tariff in their case. These prisoners have the right to make representations. If they do so, their case will be considered afresh in the light of any representations made. Also, prisoners for whom a whole life tariff is set will have their case reviewed by a Minister after they have been in custody for 25 years. The purpose of this review will be solely to consider whether the whole life tariff should be converted to a tariff of a determinate period.

The Prison Service already provides a variety of regimes suited to the needs of different types of prisoner. These regimes are kept under review. In allocating mandatory life sentence prisoners, individual circumstances, including the need to facilitate visits from family and friends, are always taken into account subject of course to the overriding consideration of security.

19 Jul 1995 : Column WA32

Defence of Self-Preservation: Proposal

Lord Braine of Wheatley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will introduce legislation to permit a defence of self-preservation for persons accused of murder.

Baroness Blatch: The law already provides defences of self-defence, provocation and diminished responsibility to a charge of murder. We are not persuaded of the need to add to these a defence of self-preservation.

Ministerial Group on Domestic Violence

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Under the new Whitehall structure, to whom the Ministerial Group on Domestic Violence will be reporting; what is now its membership, and when is its next scheduled meeting.

Baroness Blatch: The Ministerial Group on Domestic Violence is responsible itself for setting the Government's work programme on domestic violence and is chaired by the Minister of State at the Home Office, the right honourable David Maclean. The next meeting of the ministerial group will be held at the earliest possible opportunity following the Summer Recess.

The following Ministers are members of the Ministerial Group on Domestic Violence:

Minister Department
Right Honourable David Maclean MP (Chairman) Home Office
John M. Taylor MP Lord Chancellor's Department
Sir Derek Spencer QC MP The Law Officer's Department
Robert Jones MP Department of the Environment
The Baroness Cumberlege CBE Department of Health
Cheryl Gillian MP Department for Education and Employment
Andrew Mitchell MP Department of Social Security
The Baroness Denton of Wakefield CBE Northern Ireland Office
The Lord James Douglas-Hamilton Scottish Office
Roderick Richards MP Welsh Office
David Heathcoat-Amory MP HM Treasury


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