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13 Jul 1999 : Column WA13

Written Answers

Tuesday, 13th July 1999.

Drug Related Crime

Baroness Crawley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What action they are taking to tackle drug related crime.[HL3645]

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn): My right honourable friend the Home Secretary will be making an announcement tomorrow and copies will be made available in the Library.

Asylum Seekers: NHS Treatment

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they are satisfied that proper arrangements exist for the care of the mentally ill asylum seekers in the light of the story The Man who Broke His Journey in the annual report of the Medical Foundation.[HL3436]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Asylum seekers and their dependants have the same entitlement to free consultation with, and treatment by, a general practitioner and free treatment at a National Health Service hospital as the general population. They are also entitled to free prescriptions, some dental treatment and eye tests. It is not proposed to alter these entitlements under the new provisions in the Immigration and Asylum Bill.

Under these new arrangements, written information will be provided at an early stage to asylum seekers about the medical care available to them on the National Health Service. We are exploring ways of supplementing that information with the aid of the British Medical Association and the Medical Foundation. I regret that I am unable to provide details of the case quoted in the annual report of the Medical Foundation for reasons of confidentiality.

Court Convictions

Lord Janner of Braunstone asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What were the number of court convictions of:

    (a) women; and

    (b) young people since 1992.[HL3450]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Data for England and Wales and Northern Ireland are given in the following table:

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Number of females and young people(1) convicted at all courts for all offences, England and Wales(2) and Northern Ireland, 1992-97

England & Wales(2)258,990251,062251,046217,983260,982217,137
Northern Ireland3,4313,5313,2193,4003,3193,531
Young people(1)
England & Wales(2)63,23155,35662,06267,86474,67579,151
Northern Ireland7427698791,009972955

(1) For England and Wales young people are defined as 10-17 year olds while for Northern Ireland they are defined as 10-16 year olds.

(2) In England and Wales there are known shortfalls in the recording of data in 1992 and 1994 to 1996.

Council of Europe Countries: Age of Criminal Responsibility

Lord Dholakia asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the age of criminal responsibility in each Council of Europe country.[HL3419]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Research in 1996 showed that the age of criminal responsibility in the then members of the Council of Europe was as listed below:

Czech Republic15
Romania 14
San Marino12
Northern Ireland8

The survey did not cover Albania, Croatia, Georgia, Macedonia, Russia or Ukraine, who have joined the Council more recently.

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Prisons: Mental Health Care

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When was the last occasion upon which there was an independent inquiry into the provision of psychiatric medical services in prisons.[HL3483]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The former independent standing Health Advisory Committee for the Prison Service conducted the last such independent review. Its report, The Provision of Mental Health Care in Prisons, was published in the autumn of 1997.

Criminal Justice Act 1991: Publications

Lord Janner of Braunstone asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Williams of Mostyn on 17 May (WA 8):

    (a) How sentencers currently obtain the information produced by the Government as required under Section 95 of the Criminal Justice Act 1991; and

    (b) How sentencers will in future obtain such information.[HL3451]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: Home Office publications, including those under Section 95 of the Criminal Justice Act 1991, are available on the Home Office website at The annual summary of financial information, which I referred to in my previous Answer, will be available on the website when it is published. Future summaries will also be available on the website.

The most recent publication under Section 95, Statistics on Race and the Criminal Justice System, took place on 8 December 1998 and was circulated to all key practitioners as well as being available on the website. The next publication, Women and the Criminal Justice System, is due the end of July.

Information on the costs of different sentences is published periodically in the Home Office's Digest of Information on the Criminal Justice System in England and Wales. The most recent volume was published in 1995. The next volume is due to be published on paper and on the Internet later this year.

Information on variation in sentencing between different courts is published annually in the supplementary tables of the Command Paper, Criminal statistics, England and Wales. A table in Supplementary Tables Volume 2 shows the sentences given during the year at each Crown Court centre. Supplementary Tables Volume 4 contains detailed tables showing the sentences given for various common offences in each petty sessional division. These figures are represented graphically in the booklet, Local Sentencing Patterns in Magistrates' Courts. This material is sent to every court in the country.

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Criminal statistics lists all publications under Section 95 of the Criminal Justice Act 1991.

Data Protection Act 1998: Implementation

Lord Cocks of Hartcliffe asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What progress they are making towards implementing the Data Protection Act 1998.[HL3626]

Lord Williams of Mostyn: The work on the essential subordinate legislation is well advanced but it will not be completed before the summer recess. We intend to lay the instruments before Parliament in the autumn. To allow business and others adequate time to prepare, we intend to bring the 1998 Act into force on 1 March 2000. Meanwhile, drafts of three further statutory instruments will be published on the Internet at on Tuesday, 13 July 1999. Copies will also be placed in the Library.

Medically Assisted Reproduction

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What research has been done in the United Kingdom and by whom, and where, into the health and happiness of people born through medically-assisted procreation and into their awareness of their origins; and[HL3520]

    What conclusions for public policy they draw from research into the health and happiness of people born through medically-assisted procreation and their awareness of their origins.[HL3521]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Hayman): The Government are aware that research has been conducted into these issues, although details of such research are not held centrally. The Report of the Review for Health Ministers of Current Arrangements for Payments and Regulation in Surrogacy (Cm 4068 TSO London October 1998), copies of which are available in the Library, refers to the growing body of research on the psychological development of children conceived by assisted reproduction. Susan Golombok, Professor of Psychology at City University, London, was a member of the review team that produced the report and is involved in research in this area.

Road Traffic (NHS Charges) Act 1999: Effects

Earl Howe asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether Forms CRU100 (Certificates of Recoverable Benefits) issued to commercial insurers by the compensation recovery unit of the Benefits Agency prior to 5 April 1999 preclude the recovery of NHS fees, where these have been incurred, under the terms of the Road Traffic (NHS Charges) Act 1999.[HL3538]

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Baroness Hayman: The Road Traffic (NHS Charges) Act 1999 came into effect on 5 April 1999. Any relevant payment of compensation made on or after that date will attract National Health Service charges irrespective of any benefit recovery which may have been in progress. Legislation does not allow for joint certificates to be issued. The two recoveries will always be notified on separate certificates.

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