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Northern Ireland: Transport Spending

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

3 May 2000 : Column WA179

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: Public expenditure priorities in Great Britain and Northern Ireland have been different, with spending on transport being afforded a lower relative priority in Northern Ireland. Translink believe that limited availability of funds has contributed to inadequancies in infrastructure and rolling stock. This limited availability of funding does not prejudice railway safety which Translink considers to be of paramount importance.

Film and Television Working Conditions

Baroness Anelay of St Johns asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by Lord McIntosh of Haringey on 29 February (WA 59); what discussions have been held by the Minister for Tourism with the Minister for Women and the body "Women in Film and Television" about how to take forward the recommendations in the report A Survey on Working Conditions in the Film and Television Industry; and when they will publish their plans to put the recommendations into effect.[HL1960].

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My honourable friend the Minister for Tourism, Film and Broadcasting consulted industry contacts about this issue earlier in the year. She will consider next steps when all replies have been received.

Channel Islands: Status

Lord Waddington asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Why they now assert that the Channel Islands are dependent territories of the United Kingdom rather than self-governing Crown Dependencies as stated by the Lord Williams of Mostyn on 29 June 1999 (H.L. Deb., col. 170).[HL2143]

Lord Bach: The Channel Islands (and the Isle of Man) are self-governing Crown Dependencies. My noble friend Lord Bassam of Brighton used the term "dependent or associated territories" in the reply he gave to the noble Lord on 17 April (Official Report, WA 79-80), because this is the generic term used for the non-metropolitan territories of member states of the European Union by the European Union Code of Conduct Group on Business Taxation.

Asylum Seekers: Detention Costs

Lord Dholakia asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What would be the cost to the Exchequer if all asylum seekers applying for entry into the United Kingdom were to be placed in secure accommodation.[HL2175]

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Lord Bach: The answer to your question depends on a number of variables, in particular, the number of asylum applicants and the length of time taken to complete the process to removal. Based on forecast asylum intakes and detention of between two and six months, the cost of procurement of the number of places required could be as much as £1.68 billion start-up costs and annual running costs of up to £420 million. These costs take no account of the likely impact of this scale of detention on intake or savings that would inevitably occur on asylum support costs.

Crown Dependencies: Good Government

Baroness Strange asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they are responsible for the "good government" of the Crown Dependencies; if so, how they define "good government"; and in what circumstances they would intervene to that end in the affairs of the Dependencies.[HL2134]

Lord Bach: The Crown is ultimately responsible for the good government of the Crown Dependencies. This means that, in the circumstances of a grave breakdown or failure in the administration of justice or civil order, the residual prerogative power of the Crown could be used to intervene in the internal affairs of the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. It is unhelpful to the relationship between Her Majesty's Government and the Islands to speculate about the hypothetical and highly unlikely circumstances in which such intervention might take place.

Murders by Persons Previously Convicted of Homicide

Lord Tebbit asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many people have died since 1963 in England and Wales at the hands of persons previously convicted of homicide.[HL2147]

Lord Bach: During the period 1963 to date, a total of 96 persons in England and Wales are known to have been killed by persons who had been previously convicted of homicide in England and Wales.

The figure excludes persons who have been killed by those who may have been convicted outside England and Wales (for whom there is incomplete information), and persons who have been killed by those not previously convicted of homicide by reason of their mental state.

Police Pursuit Training

Lord Campbell of Croy asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What action the Metropolitan Police have taken to refine the training of drivers of vehicles that respond to emergency calls and to introduce new driving tests with the aim of reducing accidents; and whether other police forces are taking similar action.[HL2108]

3 May 2000 : Column WA181

Lord Bach: The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis has informed me that the Metropolitan Police "Safe Driving" Policy, which aims to raise and maintain police driving standards and so to reduce collisions, includes a policy on vehicle pursuits.

Together with all other Chief Officers in England and Wales, the Commissioner has accepted in principle the recommendations in the Association of Chief Police Officers' report on Police Pursuit Driving Training, including the introduction of a standardised police pursuit training course later this year.

HM Prison Lindholme: Immigration Act Detainees

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the number of places for Immigration Act detainees that will become available at Lindholme detention centre; on what date they expect Lindholme to open; and whether the number of places made available by the Prison Service to the Immigration and Nationality Department will then be reduced accordingly.[HL2121]

Lord Bach: There will be 112 places for Immigration Act detainees at HM Prison Lindholme. It is expected that the accommodation will become available during June this year. Once the places are fully available at Lindholme, the ad hoc use of prison spaces for immigration detainees in England and Wales will end but for exceptional circumstances. It is anticipated that the provision of the accommodation at Lindholme will result in a net increase of around 50 places for immigration detainees.

Overseas Territories: Appointment of Governors

Lord Hoyle asked Her Majesty's Government:

    To which overseas territories the Home Secretary appoints the Governor; and, in each case, what is the previous occupation and present salary of the Governor.[HL2106]

Lord Bach: My right honourable friend the Home Secretary does not appoint the Governor to any overseas territories. In his capacity as Privy Counsellor with special responsibility for the Crown Dependencies, he recommends to The Queen the appointment of Lieutenant Governors in the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

Criminal Justice and Court Services Bill

Lord Windlesham asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What were the reasons for the change in title from the Crime and Public Protection Bill to the Criminal Justice and Court Services Bill currently before Parliament.[HL2192]

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Lord Bach: The change in the short title of the Criminal Justice and Court Services Bill more accurately reflects the scope and content of the Bill than the former name Crime and Public Protection Bill.

Probation Orders: Compliance

Lord Windlesham asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Following research carried out by the Criminal Policy Research Unit at South Bank University for the second audit commissioned by the Association of Chief Officers of Probation, what proportion of offenders subject to a probation order either complied with its terms or were brought back to the courts in proceedings for breach.[HL2193]

Lord Bach: The audit showed that 92.5 per cent of offenders subject to probation orders, community service orders and on licence complied with their order or licence or were returned to court for breach of proceedings.

Arable Area Payments Scheme: Field Margin Measurement

The Earl of Caithness asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the European Union Commissioner for Agriculture has written to the Minister for Agriculture accepting that the United Kingdom should, for this year, continue the existing practice for measuring field margins; and, if so, on what date and at what time the letter was received, and whether it will be published.[HL1880]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Baroness Hayman): On Friday 24 March my honourable friend (the Minister) received a letter from Agriculture Commissioner Franz Fischler agreeing that the United Kingdom should, for this year, apply the same criteria as were used in 1999 and earlier years for determining the acceptability of hedges and other field margins included in claims based on whole Ordnance Survey field areas under the Integrated Administration and Control System. A press release containing this information was released the same day. Copies of the letter have been placed in the Libraries of the House.


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