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Lord Holmpatrick asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Under Section 3 of the Firearms Act 1968 a person who manufactures, sells or transfers any ammunition by way of trade or business must be registered as a firearms dealer. Dealers are exempt from the need to have Section 5 authority in respect of expanding ammunition which they possess, purchase, acquire, sell or transfer in the ordinary course of their business. In these circumstances, transfers from manufacturer to dealer and from dealer to authorised user can take place without authority provided they are undertaken in person by the transferor or his servants.

Expanding Ammunition: Transfer Authorisation

Lord Burton asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Williams of Mostyn: A person who manufactures, sells or transfers any ammunition by way of trade or business must be registered as a firearms dealer by virtue of section 3 of the Firearms Act 1968. Under Section 5A(7) of that Act as amended dealers can possess, purchase, acquire, sell or transfer any expanding ammunition without the authority of the Secretary of State provided that they do so in the ordinary course of their business.

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In these circumstances, any of the transfers under (a), (b), and (d) above can take place without authority provided they are undertaken in person by the transferor or his servants. Transfers from carrier to user as at (d) will require the necessary authority under Section 5.

Gambling Prizes

Lord Burnham asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is (a) the maximum prize that can be won from an all-cash amusement-with-prize machine within a betting shop from a single stake; and (b) the maximum prize that has ever been paid out by the Tote to a customer from a single bet.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The maximum prize that may be won from an amusement-with-prize machine in a betting shop from a single stake (currently 25p) is £10.

I am informed by the Tote that the largest payout to a customer from a single pool bet (in this case, a stake of £5) was £242,000. This was as a result of an entry in the 1995-96 "Ten to Follow" National Hunt Competition.

The biggest ever Tote jackpot dividend was £357,000, but this was only part won. A punter won £35,000 for a 10p stake.

The largest pool was over £2 million in March 1995 but this was shared among several winners. In October 1993, £123,000 was paid to a customer from a jackpot pool bet.

Gaming: Liberalisation

Baroness Miller of Hendon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they plan to introduce steps to liberalise the gaming sector further.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: This is a matter to which we are giving careful consideration. We will make our views known in due course.

Prison Staff/Prisoner Ratio

Lord Graham of Edmonton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the ratio of prison staff to prisoners in each year from 1993 to 1997.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The information requested is listed below:

YearStaff:Prisoner ratio
19931: 1.17
19941: 1.24
19951: 1.26
19961: 1.33
1997(1)1: 1.50

(1) Figures as at 30 June 1997.


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Prison Service Staff: Early Retirement

Lord Graham of Edmonton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many prison staff members have accepted offers of early retirement or severance under the Voluntary Early Retirement and Severance Scheme.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: One thousand, one hundred and thirty-four members of staff accepted offers of early retirement or severance under the Prison Service Voluntary Early Retirement and Severance Scheme (VERSE).

Carbines of Pistol Calibres: Certification

Lord Burton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many certificates in each constabulary in Great Britain in each of the last three months are or have been awaiting grant, renewal or variation for carbines of pistol calibres; and how many such applications in each such month have been refused or subsequently withdrawn by the applicant.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The annual statistical bulletin which gives details about the issue of firearms and shotgun certificates is based upon an annual aggregate return from individual police forces. The most recent figures, for 1996, were published on 31 July 1997. The information does not, however, contain specific information about carbines of pistol calibres; there is no clear legal or technical definition of these calibres.

Prisoners: Time Out of Cells

Baroness Hilton of Eggardon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What proportion of prisoners were out of their cells for (a) more than 10 hours per day and (b) more than 12 hours per day in 1995-96 and 1996-97.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Prison Service monitors the time that is available for prisoners to spend out of their cell, based on normal prison routine, rather than the actual time that prisoners spend out of their cell.

In 1995-96, on average 70 per cent. of prisoners were held in prisons where the average time available for prisoners to spend out of their cell was more than 10 hours. In 1996-97 the equivalent figure was 63 per cent.

In 1996-97, on average 28 per cent. of prisoners were held in prisons where the average time available for prisoners to spend out of their cell was more than 12 hours. In 1996-97 the equivalent figure was 24 per cent.

Baroness Hilton of Eggardon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the average daily time spent out of cells by prisoners in 1995-96, 1996-97 and in each month since April 1997.

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Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Prison Service monitors the time that is available for prisoners to spend out of their cell, based on normal prison routines, rather than the actual time that prisoners spend out of their cell.

The average time available for prisoners to spend out of their cell for 1995-96, 1996-97 and each month since April 1997 was:


    1995-96: 11.4 hours


    1996-97: 11.2 hours


    April 1997: 11.0 hours


    May 1997: 11.1 hours


    June 1997: 11.0 hours

The data for the current financial year are subject to final validation.

Prisoners: Constructive Activity

Baroness Hilton of Eggardon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the average weekly number of hours spent in constructive activity by (a) all prisoners, (b) remand prisoners and (c) sentenced prisoners in 1995-96, 1996-97 and in each month since April 1997, nationally and in each London prison.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The Prison Service is only able to provide constructive activity data relating to all prisoners, because prisons are not required to monitor constructive activity for sentenced and remand prisoners separately.

The average weekly number of hours spent in constructive activity nationally, in 1995-96, 1996-97 and each month since April 1997, is set out in the table below:

Average weekly number of hours spent in constructive activityNational performance
1995-9625.2
1996-9723.8
April 199724.4
May 199723.0
June 199724.0

The average weekly number of hours spent in constructive activity in each London prison is set out in the table below:

Average weekly number of hours spent in constructive activity1995-961996-97April 1997May 1997June 1997
Brixton7.916.015.815.716.7
Feltham23.620.019.519.219.5
Holloway17.817.611.712.1*
Latchmere House61.672.171.969.472.8
Pentonville14.317.819.719.720.7
Wandsworth23.323.523.322.523.5
Wormwood Scrubs19.014.4***

* Data not currently available.

Data for the current financial year are subject to final validation.

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Prisoners: Health Care

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What consideration they are giving to making the National Health Service available to all people held in prison.

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Prisons, Sir David Ramsbotham, has set out his views about the organisation of prisoners' health care in the discussion paper Patient or Prisoner. This recommends transferring responsibility for health care to the National Health Service. Officials are currently exploring ways, with the National Health Service, the Department of Health and other interested parties, of improving the quality of health care in prison and how to make its delivery more effective and efficient.


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