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Benefit Sanctions and Criminal Activity

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Blackstone: The Government have not previously conducted research into jobseekers' involvement in criminal activity following the imposition of a benefit sanction. The evaluation of the community sentence sanctions proposed in the Child Support, Pensions and Social Security Bill will include the impact on re-offending by people subject to a sanction. The research report will be published after the evaluation of the pilots, and a copy will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

New Deal Evaluation Database

Earl Russell asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Blackstone: The New Deal Evaluation Database collects information and collates this on a range of issues. These are personal characteristics; key

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dates of activity and processes; entry to New Deal and destinations on leaving; unemployment (prior to entering New Deal and subsequent to leaving New Deal); jobs gained; geography; spells on New Deal and New Deal options.

For each issue a specific range of information is collected and key statistics are published each month in the New Deal Statistical First Release. The tables in this release show client starts to New Deal; participation on the programme; and destination of leaving, which includes job outcomes. Information is broken down by gender, disability and ethnicity. Local level information at regional, unit of delivery and parliamentary constituency level is published in the House of Commons Library.

There is evidence that those who are sanctioned subsequently comply with the responsibilities they have as New Deal participants.

Published information on New Deal option sanctions is drawn from the official source of New Deal sanctions--the Decision Making and Appeals System. This information gives the number of sanctions imposed but does not identify individuals involved nor does it break down any personal characteristics.

Genetically Modified Food: OECD Report

Lord Taverne asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have received a report on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Conference on genetically modified foods and health in Edinburgh at the end of February; and whether the report will be published.[HL2489]

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The chairman's report and rapporteur's summary of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) conference on genetically modified foods and health have been published by the OECD on its website. Copies have been placed in the Library.

Wards of Court: Social Services Applications

The Countess of Mar asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many children in England and Wales are currently wards of court as a result of applications by social services departments determination that the children are "at risk"; how many of those children are in foster care; and how many are hospitalised.[HL2568]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The information requested is not available in the form requested.

Hospital Beds and Non-specialist Nurse Training: Costs

Viscount Simon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the average cost to the National Health Service of (a) creating a new hospital bed place and (b) training a new non-specialist nurse.[HL2570]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The cost of creating a new hospital bed place in a new hospital is approximately £325,000, excluding value added tax at current prices. The cost includes the capital construction cost, equipment costs and professional fees incurred, as well as a proportion of the costs of the supporting services within the new hospital such as operating theatres, outpatient departments, accident and emergency services, catering, office accommodation, public areas, pharmacy, pathology and radiology. It does not include the running costs necessary to make the bed operational, such as staffing, linen or cleaning. A new bed in an existing hospital would be considerably cheaper.

The total average cost to the National Health Service of training a new non-specialist nurse is £33,000 over three years.

Child Prostitution

Baroness Rendell of Babergh asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What steps they are taking to ensure that children are protected from abuse through prostitution and that those who coerce children into prostitution are (a) investigated and (b) prosecuted.[HL2577]

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Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: The Government have published new guidance, Safeguarding Children Involved in Prostitution--Supplementary Guidance to Working Together To Safeguard Children. It establishes that the primary law-enforcement effort must be against those who coerce children into and abuse them through prostitution. Children involved in prostitution should be treated primarily as victims of abuse. The guidance sets out an inter-agency approach, based on local protocols, to address this type of abuse. The identification of a child involved in prostitution, or at risk of being drawn into prostitution, should always trigger the agreed local area child protection committee procedures to ensure the child's safety and welfare and to enable the police to gather evidence about abusers and coercers. The guidance forms an important part of the Government's strategy to combat the commercial sexual exploitation of children. Copies of the guidance will be placed in the Library.

Teenage Pregnancy Advisory Group

Lord Christopher asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What progress they have made on setting up an independent national advisory group on teenage pregnancy.[HL2662]

Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: We are pleased to announce that the Independent Advisory Group on Teenage Pregnancy has been established and that the first meeting of the group took place on 25 May 2000. It was chaired by Winifred Tumim, who is currently chair of the National Council of Voluntary Organisations.

The group's role will be to provide advice to government and to monitor the overall success of our strategy to cut teenage pregnancy rates and reduce the risk of long-term social exclusion for teenage parents and their children.

BSE: French Slaughter Policy

Lord Glentoran asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the French whole herd slaughter policy of BSE-affected herds has led to a serious distortion of the recorded figures for the incidence of BSE.[HL2617]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Baroness Hayman): Any slaughter scheme will affect the disease statistics as animals will be removed before they have the opportunity to develop clinical signs.

Part-time Judicial Appointments

Lord Hardy of Wath asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Chancellor on 12 April 2000 (WA 41), when a further announcement will be made on part-time judicial appointments to tribunals.[HL2665]

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The Lord Chancellor (Lord Irvine of Lairg): On 12 April 2000, I announced that the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Secretary of State for Social Security and I had agreed with the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales and the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland, new arrangements for part-time judicial appointments. Similar arrangements have now been put in place for an additional range of part-time tribunal appointments for which I am responsible and for appointments made by the Secretary of State for Environment, Transport and the Regions, the Secretary of State for Education and Employment, the Secretary of State for Health, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, the President of the Council and the Home Secretary.

I am also pleased to announce that for those tribunals which sit in Scotland, but where responsibility for appointments remains wholly or partly the responsibility of Westminster Ministers, the Lord President of the Court of Session has agreed to assume the role that the Lord Chief Justices have already agreed to for appointments in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. In practice this will mean that the Lord President will have to concur in all decisions to remove or not to renew an appointment.

Where Scottish and Welsh Ministers are now consulted on appointments to tribunals in accordance with the relevant statutory provisions or devolution concordats, they will also be consulted on removals from office, and decisions not to renew appointments.

These changes will come into effect immediately.

I am placing in the Libraries of both Houses a joint statement signed by myself and the Lord President setting out the arrangements for the following tribunals, which may sit in Scotland:


    Part-time Immigration Adjudicators


    Part-time members of the Immigration Appeal Tribunal


    Part-time members of the Income and Corporation Taxes Tribunal


    Deputy Special Commissioners for Income Tax Commissioners


    Part-time members of the unified appeals service


    Deputy Social Security and Child Support Commissioners


    Part-time President and Chairmen of the Transport Tribunal


    Deputy Traffic Commissioners

I am also placing in the Libraries of both Houses joint statements signed by the specific Minister and by the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales covering the following fixed-term appointments to tribunals:

Lord Chancellor


    Part-time President and Chairmen of the Transport Tribunal


    Part-time President and Vice President and Chairmen of the Rent Assessment Panels


    Part-time Commons Commissioners


    Arbitrators for the Motor Insurance Bureau

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    Part-time Agricultural Arbitrators


    Part-time members of the Agricultural Land Tribunals


    Part-time members of the Mental Health Review Tribunals


    Part-time President and Chairmen of the Special Educational Needs Tribunal


    Part-time Chairman and Deputy Chairmen National Health Service Tribunal


    Legal panel Registered Homes Tribunal


    Part-time Chairmen of the Betting Levy Appeal Tribunal


    Part-time Chairmen of the Misuse of Drugs Tribunal


    Secretary of State for Environment, Transport and the Regions


    Part-time members of the Transport Tribunal


    Part-time members of Rent Assessment Committees


    Deputy Traffic Commissioners


    Secretary of State for Education and Employment


    Part-time members of the Special Educational Needs Tribunal


    Secretary of State for Health


    Part-time members of the National Health Service Tribunal


    President of the Council


    Part-time members of the Registered Homes Tribunal

Home Secretary


    Part-time members of the Betting Levy Appeal Tribunal


    Part-time members of the Misuse of Drugs Tribunal

I am also placing in the Libraries of both Houses joint statements signed by the specified Minister and by the Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland covering the following fixed-term appointments to tribunals:


    Lord Chancellor


    Part-time Chairmen and members of the Appeal Tribunals


    Part-time Chairmen of the Fair Employment Tribunal


    Part-time members of the Tribunal established under Section 91 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998


    Part-time members of the Reserve Forces Appeal Tribunal


    Part-time Chairmen and members of the Mental Health Review Tribunal


    Part-time Chairmen of the Registered Homes Tribunal


    Part-time President and Chairmen of the Special Needs Tribunal

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    Secretary of State for Northern Ireland


    Part-time Chairmen and Commissioners of the Sentence Review Commission

The First and Deputy First Ministers of the New Assembly for Northern Ireland are being invited to agree that the new arrangements be brought before the Executive Committee with a view to an announcement being made to the Assembly by the relevant Northern Ireland Ministers.

Judges' Lodgings

Lord Lipsey asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many judges' lodgings are still used as such; what is the actual cost of running them; how many nights on average each one is occupied by a judge; how many staff work in them; how many are open to the public to visit; and what is their estimated capital value if they were to be sold off.[HL2565]

The Lord Chancellor: There are 32 judges' lodgings (including the use of hired lodgings), the annual cost of which was £4.98 million for financial year 1999-2000.

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The 19 permanent lodgings were, on average, used for 282 judge nights and the 13 hired lodgings for 51 judge nights during the period of the last financial year.

A total of 126 posts exist across the lodgings, of which 41 are permanent full-time staff.

No permanent lodgings are open to the public.

The Court Service has a saleable interest in 14 of the lodgings with an estimated capital valuation of £6.94 million.

A review of judges' lodgings is currently under way and is scheduled to report in July 2000. The review is charged with:


    (i) Reviewing the current location of lodgings, having regard to their degree of use, and the maximum acceptable travelling times to the Court Centres they serve;


    (ii) Comparing value for money provided by lodgings (including past and future capital, running, incidental and opportunity costs) with alternative forms of accommodation providing appropriate standards of security, privacy and comfort; and


    (iii) Making recommendations concerning the most economical means of managing and staffing lodgings.



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