Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

Irish Republic: British Passport Holders

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: It is impossible to estimate accurately the number of British passport holders currently resident in the Irish Republic. Given the freedom of movement in the EU, British passport holders are free to settle in Ireland at any time. The consular section at the embassy does not hold a register of the British passport holders in the country; given the freedom of movement between EU countries such a register would in any event be impractical and inaccurate.

British Embassy in Dublin: Issue of Passports

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Scotland of Asthal: The British Embassy in Dublin has issued the following numbers of British passports in each of the past five years:

    1997: 5,199

    1998: 5,649

    1999: 6,381

    2000: 7,274.

Prison Service: Suicide and Self-harm Review

Lord Elder asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What progress has been made on the review of the Prison Service's suicide and self-harm strategy.[HL617]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bassam of Brighton): The review's analysis and recommendations have been accepted by the Director General of the Prison Service and by

5 Feb 2001 : Column WA84

Ministers and will be implemented progressively from April 2001 with the aim of year on year reductions in prisoner suicide and self-harm. There will be a strong stress on a preventive strategy which invests most resources where the risks are highest. An all-round pro-active approach will be developed which encourages a supportive culture in prisons based on good staff-prisoner relationships, a constructive regime and a physically safe environment. There will be improved identification and case arrangements for high risk prisoners.

The review's recommendations will be developed and piloted in five establishments--Wandsworth, Feltham, Eastwood Park, Leeds and Winchester. They will be evaluated and rolled out to other prisons. The three-year strategy will involve a major investment of capital and staff in prisons. In the first year £8 million will be invested in implementation. Improvements will be made to reception and induction areas, for example through installing more first night centres, and by having more safe cells, crisis suites and gated cells.

New healthcare screening procedures will start in 10 pilot prisons. Wing staff will be supported in their work by in-reach mental health teams and by the establishment of dedicated drug detoxification units. There will be full-time suicide prevention co-ordinators in high risk local prisons. The numbers of trained listeners at high risk prisons will be increased substantially.

Copies of the review are being placed in the Library. The review recommended:

    a move away from awareness towards prevention;

    a risk-based strategy which invests more resources where the risks are highest and matches the level of support and intervention to the degree or risk of self-harm or suicide presented by the individual prisoner;

    improved screening and levels of specialist support;

    a better physical environment for prisoners, particularly when first received into custody;

    more training in mental health and suicide prevention for front-line staff in particular;

    better interventions for the management of repetitive self-injury;

    increased numbers of prisoner/listeners in high risk prisons; and

    better links with other agencies within the criminal justice system.

Charities: Voluntary Registration

Lord Elder asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they are satisfied with the current arrangements for the voluntary registration of charities.[HL618]

Lord Bassam of Brighton: We are grateful to all who responded to the recent consultation on this issue. There was general agreement as to the purposes of

5 Feb 2001 : Column WA85

registration as set out in the consultation document. The responses received made clear, however, that voluntary registration is a complex matter which requires further careful examination and consideration before informed decisions can be reached on longer term policy. We have asked officials to develop more detailed proposals in the light of the responses to the consultation and in discussions with interested organisations.

The current regulations, which made registration voluntary for charities connected with a number of religious bodies, expire on 1 March 2001. We have today laid a new statutory instrument to extend those regulations until 30 September 2002. That will allow time for the necessary work to be done to enable the way forward to be settled.

We will make a further announcement later this year but we want at this stage to allay concerns expressed by some of those consulted that one of the proposals in the consultation document meant that umbrella bodies would be compelled to take on responsibilities which neither they nor their members want. We can give an absolute assurance that that was not, and is not, the Government's intention.

Many respondents were also concerned that any change could make it more difficult for the public to find out about charities. The further work that we have commissioned will explore ways of making sure that that is not the case.

NMEC: Assets and Liabilities

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

    When an estimate of the New Millennium Experience Company assets and liabilities will be placed in the Library of the House.[HL219]

The Minister of State, Cabinet Office (Lord Falconer of Thoroton): I refer the noble Baroness to the letter sent to her by the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh of Haringey, dated 1 February 2001 and placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Northern Ireland: Bill of Rights Consultation

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Which members of the Committees appointed by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission to advise on a Bill of Rights are also members of the Commission for the Administration of Justice (CAJ); and when they joined the CAJ.[HL256]

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: It is for the Commission to decide with whom it consults. I have asked the Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission to write to the noble Lord. A copy of his letter will be placed in the Library.

5 Feb 2001 : Column WA86

Millennium Dome Site: Expressions of Interest

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

    Whether they have received since 1 November 2000 any formal bid or informal expression of interest from a person, persons or company other than Legacy plc for the purchase of the Millennium Dome site; and, if so from whom.[HL328]

Lord Falconer of Thoroton: A number of unsolicited expressions of interest in the Dome have been received from third parties since 1 November 2000. Since 1 November we have received 17 expressions of interest in the Millennium Dome. All such expressions are treated in confidence.

Type 45 Destroyer

Earl Attlee asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they remain committed to ensuring that subsequent batches of the Type 45 destroyer can be made subject to competitive tendering; and[HL148]

    How they will ensure that future batches of Type 45 destroyers are competitively priced; and[HL272]

    Whether single sourcing of the Type 45 destroyer will compromise the ability to have design modifications in future batches competitively priced; and[HL273]

    Whether they will ensure that nothing in the design of the Type 45 destroyer will preclude its construction at any recognised United Kingdom warship yard.[HL274]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): The contract for the demonstration and first of class manufacture (DFM) phase, which covers the completion of the design and the build of the first three Type 45 destroyers, was placed with BAE Systems Electronics (the prime contractor for the Type 45 programme) on 20 December. Our procurement strategy for the programme has not changed. Under this, the first ship (HMS Daring) would be assembled by BAE Systems Marine with a substantial contribution by Vosper Thornycroft (VT), while the second ship (HMS Dauntless) would be assembled by VT and the third ship (HMS Diamond) by BAE Systems Marine. Both Marine and VT shipbuilders remain closely involved with all aspects of the design of the Type 45.

It remains our intention that procurement of follow on batches of Type 45 destroyers will be subject to competitive tendering.

It is also intended that all UK shipyards will have the opportunity to compete for the manufacture of certain modules/components of the first three ships and to bid for 100 per cent of such manufacture of the second batch of Type 45s and for ship assembly later in the programme. Bids for work should be made to the prime contractor at the appropriate time.

5 Feb 2001 : Column WA87

Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page