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Written Answers

Tuesday, 14th October 1997.

Welsh Assembly

Lord Stoddart of Swindon asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): The right honourable Member for Devizes has been reported as having instructed Conservative Party members not to run a Conservative Party campaign but to work through the "Say NO to Wales" campaign.

Lord Stoddart of Swindon asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Williams of Mostyn: No public expenditure is being incurred.

Lord Stoddart of Swindon asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Williams of Mostyn: As no public money is being made available to any campaign organisation in respect of the Welsh Assembly it would not be in the interests of democratic balance to pay money to any "Say No to a Welsh Assembly" organisation should one be established.

Lord Stoddart of Swindon asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Williams of Mostyn: There are 87 public bodies in Wales at the moment, made up of 45 executive and advisory non-departmental public bodies, 36 NHS bodies and six Training and Enterprise Councils. The Government would take action by the time the Assembly is established to abolish nine of these bodies (five executive NDPBs, two special health authorities and two TECs) and an as yet undecided number of NHS trusts. The Assembly would be able to abolish most of the bodies that remain if it so wished: that would be a matter for it to decide. It is thus not possible to give an exact answer to the noble Lord's Question.

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Lord Stoddart of Swindon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How they envisage the business community will gain "easier access to key decision makers" in the Welsh Assembly, as promised in paragraph 2.20 of the White Paper, A Voice for Wales; and how this access can be insulated from the activities of professional lobbyists.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Assembly's standing orders will be published. It will therefore be clear who is responsible for taking particular decisions, including those relating to matters of interest to the business community. In addition, the 60 members of the assembly will be based in Wales, whereas Welsh Office Ministers spend most of their time in London when Parliament is sitting. It will be for the Assembly, by means of its standing orders, to decide how it should regulate contacts between its members and professional lobbyists.

Lord Stoddart of Swindon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will ensure that there will be no victimisation or discrimination against any member of a public body in Wales who does not endorse the statement of support for a Welsh Assembly included in a letter of 2 July issued by the "Yes for Wales" campaign and intended to constitute a "list of Quango Members for an Assembly".

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Government believe that members of public bodies should be appointed and serve on the basis of individual merit.

Lord Stoddart of Swindon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they consider that the four signatories of the letter from "Yes for Wales" of 2 July, addressed to other members of public bodies in Wales giving their public positions beside their signatures, are behaving in a manner compatible with the guidance from the Welsh Office of 21 July to Chief Executives on the involvement of staff and non-executive members or directors in the referendum campaign.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The letter of 21 July to Chief Executives from the Welsh Office made clear that non-executive members or directors of NHS bodies are free to engage in political activities provided that they express their views in a personal capacity. The letter of 2 July was sent out before the guidance to the NHS became available. But, as the letter makes no claim that its authors are writing on behalf of the bodies of which they are members, it would not in any event seem to be inconsistent with the guidance issued.

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"Paedophile": Definition

Lord Robertson of Oakridge asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the legal definition of the term "paedophile", and which Acts define offences committed by paedophiles.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: There is no legal definition of the term "paedophile". The Oxford English Dictionary offers the following definition: "a person with paedophilia, i.e. an abnormal especially sexual love of children". The main sexual offences against children are listed below:

(i) offences under the following provisions of the Sexual Offences Act 1956:


    (a) Section 1 (rape)


    (b) Section 5 (intercourse with a girl under 13)


    (c) Section 6 (intercourse with a girl between 13 and 16)


    (d) Section 10 (incest by a man)


    (e) Section 12 (buggery)


    (f) Section 13 (indecency between men)


    (g) Section 14 (indecent assault on a woman)


    (h) Section 15 (indecent assault on a man)


    (i) Section 16 (assault with intent to commit buggery)


    (j) Section 28 (causing or encouraging prostitution of, intercourse with, or indecent assault on, a girl under 16)

(ii) an offence under Section 1(1) of the Indecency with Children Act 1960 (indecent conduct towards young child)

(iii) an offence under Section 54 of the Criminal Law Act 1977 (inciting a girl under 16 to have incestuous sexual intercourse)

(iv) an offence under Section 1 of the Protection of Children Act 1978 (indecent photographs of children)

(v) an offence under Section 170 of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979 (penalty for fraudulent evasion of duty etc) in relation to goods prohibited to be imported under Section 42 of the Customs Consolidation Act 1876 (prohibitions and restrictions); and

(vi) an offence under Section 160 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 (possession of indecent photographs of children).

Prison Educational Provision

Baroness David asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the number of education hours provided at Holloway, Highpoint, Albany and Wandsworth prisons in 1995-96 and 1996-97; and what is the planned number in 1997-98.

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Lord Williams of Mostyn: Hours of education (defined as daytime education, vocational training courses, construction industry training courses and evening education) at these establishments were:


    Holloway


    1995-96 (actual): 90,200 hours


    1996-97 (actual): 87,500 hours


    1997-98 (planned): 130,000 hours


    Highpoint


    1995-96 (actual): 194,600 hours


    1996-97 (actual): 97,000 hours


    1997-98 (planned): 313,000 hours


    Albany


    1995-96 (actual): 100,600 hours


    1996-97 (actual): 56,400 hours


    1997-98 (planned): 57,000 hours


    Wandsworth


    1995-96 (actual): 118,500 hours


    1996-97 (actual): 57,400 hours


    1997-98 (planned): 38,176 hours

The reduction in the hours of education at Albany reflects a redirection of the prison's focus towards more industrial activities.

Baroness David asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What percentage of prisons and young offenders' institutions reduced their educational provision in 1996-97, and what percentage plan to do so in 1997-98.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The time inmates spent in education (defined as daytime education, vocational training courses, construction industry training courses and evening education) fell between 1995-96 and 1996-97 in 71 per cent. of prison establishments. Plans for educational provision made by individual establishments are not collated centrally, and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Baroness David asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the average weekly number of hours spent in education per prisoner in June and December in 1995, 1996 and 1997.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The information requested about the average weekly number of hours spent in education per prisoner is detailed below:


    June 1995: 1.8 hours per prisoner


    December 1995: 1.4 hours per prisoner


    June 1996: 1.6 hours per prisoner


    December 1996: 1.3 hours per prisoner


    1997-98 to end June (provisional figure): 1.5 hours per prisoner.

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Firearms Dealers: Expanding Ammunition

Lord Holmpatrick asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether it is necessary for a registered firearms dealer to have an authorisation under Section 5 of the Firearms Act 1968 in order to deal in soft-nosed rifle ammunition used for the humane killing of animals.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: No. Registered firearms dealers are exempt form the need to have authority where they possess, purchase, acquire, sell or transfer expanding ammunition in the ordinary course of their business. Section 5A(7) of the Firearms Act 1968 (as amended by Section 10 of the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997) refers.


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