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Wildlife and Genetically Modified Crops

Lord Hardy of Wath asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Whitty: Her Majesty's Government are advised on the risks of the release and marketing of genetically modified organisms to human health and the environment by the statutory Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment (ACRE). ACRE give case-by-case advice on specific applications for consent. The Government are also advised on wildlife and conservation matters by English Nature. English Nature have voiced their concerns about the potential effects of commercial use of genetically modified crops encouraging the intensification of agriculture through the way that they are managed. There have been significant declines in farmland wildlife, particularly birds, over the last 30 years and there is evidence that changes in farming methods are one of the factors influencing this decline.

The Government are setting up farm scale studies to investigate the effects of the management of GM herbicide tolerant crops on wildlife, compared to the management of equivalent conventional crops. A paper discussing potential effects of the commercial use of GM crops on wildlife which reflects the views of ACRE and English Nature will shortly be made available.

Home Office Cash and Running Cost Limits

Lord Hughes of Woodside asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): Subject to parliamentary approval of the necessary Supplementary Estimates, the cash limit for Class VII, Vote 1 (Home Office administration, police probation, immigration and other services, England and Wales) will be increased by £11,258,000 from £4,833,790,000 to £4,845,048,000, the cash limit for Class VII, Vote 2 (Prisons, England and Wales) will be increased by £119,310,000 from £1,703,670,000 to £1,822,980,000, and the running costs limit will be increased by £49,311,000 from £1,887,431,000 to £1,936,742,000.

The changes in the Vote 1 cash limit are the net effect of the following transfers: £91,000 from the Lord Chancellor's Department, Class VIII, Vote 1, £66,000 from the Crown Prosecution Service, Class VIII, Vote 4 and £32,000 from the Prison Service, Class VII, Vote 2

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in respect of contributions for the Integrated Business and Information Systems; £27,000 from the Prison Service, Class VII Vote 2 in respect of the provision of internet services and contributions to the Prison/Probation Pilot Mentoring Project; £25,000 to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Class II, Vote 1 in respect of contributions to the United Kingdom Special Representatives for International Drugs issues; £570,000 to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Class II, Vote 2, in respect of interdepartmental drugs prevention projects in Colombia and Pakistan; £84,000 from the Northern Ireland Office, Class XV Vote 1, in respect of the Criminal Cases Review Commission; £26,000 to the Lord Chancellor's Department, Class VIII, Vote 1 and £7,000 to Treasury Solicitors, Class VIII, Vote 6, in respect of extending the Attorney General's powers for referring unduly lenient sentences to the Court of Appeal; £1,251,000 to the Prison Service, Class VII, Vote 2 in relation to the transfer of responsibility for Boards of Visitors; £10,000 from the Department of Trade and Industry, Class V, Vote 1 for start up costs of the Telecom and Data Protection Directive; and £647,000 from Her Majesty's Treasury Consolidated Fund Standing Service for advance training costs for implementation of the European Elections Bill. The Supplementary Estimate will also provide for increases of £6,080,000 in respect of home detention curfew, £3,800,000 in respect of compensation for miscarriages of justice and £2,300,000 in respect of the National Identification Service.

The changes in the Vote 2 cash limit are the net effect of transfers to Vote 1 of £59,000 in respect of the provision of internet services, contribution for the Integrated Business and Information Systems and contributions to the Prison/Probation Pilot Mentoring project and a transfer from Vote 1 of £1,251,000 in relation to the transfer of responsibility for Boards of Visitors. The Supplementary Estimate will also provide for increases of £111,855,000 for increases in prison capacity, repairs to the prison estate and increased funding for regime activities to keep prisoners constructively occupied; £2,000,000 for work within prisons on the implementation of home detention curfew arrangements; and £13,263,000 to adjust the accounting treatment of Value Added Tax refunds on contracted-out services offset by increased receipt of £9,000,000 due to acceleration in the programme for the sale of staff housing.

The increase in the running costs limit is the net effect of payments from the Lord Chancellor's Department of £91,000 and the Crown Prosecution Service of £66,000 for the Integrated Business and Information Systems; payment of £25,000 to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for the United Kingdom Special Representative for International Drugs issues; payments of £26,000 to the Lord Chancellor's Department and £7,000 to the Treasury Solicitor in respect of extending the Attorney General's powers for referring unduly lenient sentences to the Court of Appeal: £460,000 reclassified from capital provision; increases of £10,000 for costs of the Edwards Report, £2,580,000 for home detention curfew;

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£31,781,000 for increasing prison capacity, repairs and increased funding for regime activities, £118,000 in connection with transitional arrangements for a private finance initiative for the provision of heat energy to prisons, and £13,263,000 to adjust the accounting treatment of Value Added Tax refunds on contracted-out services.

These increases will add £118,118,000 to the planned total of public expenditure.

General Pinochet: Protection Costs

Lord Lamont of Lerwick asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Lord Williams of Mostyn on 21 January (WA 117), for what particular reason they believe the cost of the police protection for General Pinochet during the journey to and from the Magistrates Court at which he appeared cannot be revealed for security reasons; and whether they will reconsider this Answer in light of the Government's claimed commitment to open government and freedom of information.[HL897]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The costs of providing protection are indicative of the scale of protection provided. Such indications could be useful to anyone contemplating or planning an attack. I see no reason in this case to depart from the general policy of not providing this information.

Mentally Disordered Offenders

Lord Hylton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Williams of Mostyn on 1 February (WA 184), how many mentally disordered convicted offenders are held in secure psychiatric hospitals (or wings); whether they can estimate the number of such persons held in Prison Service establishments whose condition is serious enough to require treatment; and what proportion of them are receiving appropriate treatment.[HL881]

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Lord Williams of Mostyn: On 31 December 1997, the latest date for which statistics have been published, 2,694 mentally disordered offenders were detained in psychiatric hospitals as restricted patients. During 1997, 701 people were given unrestricted hospital orders by the courts.

From statistics supplied by Prison Service establishments it is estimated that between 3,000 and 4,000 prisoners were receiving treatment each day in 1998 for any of the five principal disorders considered in the survey of psychiatric morbidity among prisoners in England and Wales undertaken by the Office for National Statistics. More than 26,000 prisoners completed drugs and alcohol detoxification programmes in 1998. The question of what, if any, treatment is appropriate for any individual prisoner is a clinical matter for practitioners to decide, taking into account that personality disorder may not always be amenable to treatment and that the co-operation of the prisoner is normally requested when treating that condition, and alcohol misuse and drug dependence.

Homosexual Practices by 16 and17 Year-olds: Disposals

Lord Monson asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many 16 and 17 year-olds males convicted of homosexual practices which are not illegal when committed by an older male have been (a) imprisoned, (b) fined, (c) placed on probation and (d) awarded other penalties in each of the last 10 years for which statistics are available.[HL884]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Information on the numbers of 16 and 17 year-old males sentenced for such offences in England and Wales from 1987 to 1997 (latest available) is given in Table A. The table includes figures for those cautioned.

Data for Scotland are not available to the detail required.

For Northern Ireland there was a nil return for 1993 to 1997 inclusive. Data for earlier years are not readily available.

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Table A: Number of males aged 16 and 17 cautioned and sentenced for specific homosexual offences by type of disposal, England and Wales, 1987-1997

Offence, Age & Disposal19871988198919901991199219931994199519961997
(A) Buggery offences
Aged 16 years
Cautioned(1)--(1)--------1--5132
Total sentenced11--1--------------
Absolute discharge----------------------
Conditional discharge11------------------
Fine----------------------
Probation order----------------------
Supervision order----------------------
Care order------1--******
Immediate custody----------------------
Otherwise dealt with----------------------
Aged 17 years
Cautioned (1)--(1)--23----33--11
Total sentenced1------1------1----
Absolute discharge----------------------
Conditional discharge----------------------
Fine----------------------
Probation order----------------------
Supervision order----------------------
Care order----------******
Immediate custody1------1------1----
Otherwise dealt with----------------------

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Table A: Number of males aged 16 and 17 cautioned and sentenced for specific homosexual offences by type of disposal, England and Wales, 1987-1997 continued

Offence, Age & Disposal19871988198919901991199219931994199519961997
(B) Indecency between males
Aged 16 years
Cautioned(1)--(1)--16103613123
Total sentenced--1321----1------
Absolute discharge----------------------
Conditional discharge--1321------------
Fine--------------1------
Probation order----------------------
Supervision order----------------------
Care order----------******
Immediate custody----------------------
Otherwise dealt with----------------------
Aged 17 years
Cautioned(1)--(1)--121071045151
Total sentenced710111032--22----
Absolute discharge----------------1----
Conditional discharge--224--1--11----
Fine26553----1------
Probation order222----------------
Supervision order2--------------------
Care order----------(2)*(2)*(2)*(2)*(2)*(2)*
Immediate custody1--2----1----------
Otherwise dealt with------1--------------

(1) Not available, (2) Not applicable.


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