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The Minister of State, Department for Education and Employment (Lord Henley): All participants on Training for Work, including ex-offenders, receive an allowance based on the benefit they were receiving immediately before they joined the programme plus a training premium of £10 a week. Allowance payments were increased in line with the increase in underlying benefits in April 1995.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Cumberlege): Since 1993, the European Community has funded a project to co-ordinate the surveillance of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease in those European countries with existing or proposed national CJD surveillance programmes--i.e. France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. This project is co-ordinated by the National CJD Surveillance Unit in Edinburgh. The data collected for 1993 and 1994 were published in the National CJD Surveillance Unit's Fourth Annual Report (August 1995), copies of which are available in the Library. The 1995 figures are not yet available. The incidence of CJD in the UK is similar to that in the other European countries taking part in the project.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Blatch): With the approval of the Prime Minister, my right honourable friend the Home Secretary has today appointed Richard Tilt as Director General of the Prison Service.
My right honourable friend also proposes to establish a Prison Service Advisory Board to advise him on the performance and plans of the Prison Service, including the key performance indicators, and on policy matters relating to the Prison Service. The advisory board will have a part-time non-executive chairman and the other members will include the director general, other senior Home Office and Prison Service officials and other non-executives.
My right honourable friend has concluded that the terms of the framework document which established the Prison Service as an executive agency of the Home Office in 1993 would benefit from some clarification. My right honourable friend proposes to ask the advisory board further to consider the need for such clarification and to make recommendations.
Baroness Blatch: In the period 21st February 1996 to 20th March 1996 practical difficulties led to the scheduled passport control on board Eurostar services from Paris being replaced on 10 occasions (about 3 per cent. of the total) by a control on arrival at Waterloo International.
Baroness Blatch: The regularity of on-board passport control by immigration officers on Eurostar services is agreed in discussions between the Immigration Service and European Passenger Services. The details of the terms and costs of the contract which sets out the basis for these discussions are matters of commercial confidentiality which it would not be proper to disclose.
Baroness Blatch: Currently there are 116 immigration officers based at Waterloo International, all of whom are engaged in carrying out passport controls on Eurostar services. This level of staff is sufficient to carry out passport control on board all services from Paris except those which we have agreed with European Passenger Services will not have on-board clearance. In addition, there are occasions when practical difficulties, such as staff sickness, lead to the cancellation of a scheduled on-board control. We do not have spare staff at Waterloo International to cater for such circumstances; it would clearly be very wasteful of resources to do so. In the absence of on-board controls, we seek to delay passengers as little as possible at our control at Waterloo International and to meet our published service standard for maximum queuing times.
Baroness Blatch: European Economic Area nationals and their family members may reside freely in the United Kingdom in employment or business, in accordance with European Community law. All foreign nationals, including EEA nationals, and Commonwealth citizens who have been granted settlement in the United Kingdom under the Immigration Rules may seek employment or to establish a business here. Information
The numbers of persons who have been granted settlement each year, in total and identifying separately those accepted on the basis of employment or an existing business, are published in Table 6.3 of the annual publication Control of Immigration: Statistics, United Kingdom, copies of which are in the Library.
The Government have made additional funding available to the Prison Service for security improvements, combating drug abuse and to cater for expected increases in the prison population. But it is also the Government's policy to exercise firm control over public expenditure and to secure greater efficiency in the running of public services. The savings in current expenditure being required of the Prison Service, which will include greater efficiency and economy in the use of its staff, are broadly consistent with those expected of the public services generally.
Information on the detail of changes that may from time to time be made in the use of facilities at individual establishments is not held centrally. The Prison Service is committed to providing positive and constructive regimes for prisoners, and governors are encouraged to make the most cost effective use of all the resources available to them.
The Minister of State, Department of Social Security (Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish): Neither the Child Support Agency nor any other business unit will be required to make savings which lower efficiency.
Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish: No. The inability of the courts to provide adequate or consistent levels of child maintenance is well documented. There is nothing in the Parliamentary Commissioner's recent report to suggest that the courts would have been able to cope with the flows of work and the disruptions--often deliberate--faced by the Child Support Agency.
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