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Written Answers

Tuesday, 10th June 2003.

Serious Fraud Office: Prosecutions and Convictions

Lord Phillips of Sudbury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many cases have been prosecuted by the SFO in each of the last five calendar years, and how many have resulted in convictions. [HL2784]

The Attorney-General (Lord Goldsmith): Serious Fraud Office statistics are recorded by trials completed in each reporting year (5 April to 4 April). The table below shows the results for the last five years:

Financial Year (April to April)Trials prosecuted in yearNumber of Defendants in Trials completedNumber of convictions in trials completed (by defendant)
1998–99183831
1999–200081211
2000–01245851
2001–0281310
2002–03142517
2003–04354
Total75151124

Iraqi Prisoners of War

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

    Further to the Written Answer by the Lord Bach on 6 May (WA 134), whether they will act in accordance with the obligations imposed under the Geneva Convention, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights in their treatment of Iraqi prisoners within their custody, including the transfer of Iraqi prisoners to the custody of the United States authorities. [HL2800]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Bach): In treating Iraqi prisoners within their custody, United Kingdom forces will act in accordance with all the relevant obligations under international law. This includes any transfer of Iraqi prisoners to the custody of the United States authorities. As we have indicated before the arrangements agreed with other coalition partners make clear that prisoners captured by the UK will not be removed from Iraq without our agreement.

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C17 Aircraft

Lord Vivian asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether it is their intention to purchase or lease additional C17 aircraft. [HL2863]

Lord Bach: The Ministry of Defence is examining the best means of meeting the Armed Forces' strategic airlift needs in the light of the new chapter to the Strategic Defence Review and the military campaign in Iraq. However, no decisions have yet been made regarding the procurement or leasing of additional capability.

Iraq: Oil

Lord Judd asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What discussions they have had with the United States administration on the need to avoid (a) the impression that Iraqi oil wealth is being used to fund American companies to enable them to repair damage done by the coalition; and (b) the impression that there is a long term strategy for foreign control of the industry; and what was the outcome of any such discussions. [HL2793]

The Minister for Trade (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): We have frequent contact with the US administration on a wide range of issues relating to Iraq, including oil. Both we and the US have made clear on many occasions that Iraqi oil belongs to Iraq and that it should be used for the good of the Iraqi people. The resolution which we and the US put before the UN Security Council envisages a role for an international body to ensure transparency in expenditure of Iraqi oil revenues.

Home Office Spending: Tackling Drugs and Crime

Baroness Hilton of Eggardon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What plans they have for simplifying and streamlining Home Office funding to enable crime and disorder reduction partnerships to tackle crime and drugs in their community. [HL3292]

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Falconer of Thoroton): I am pleased to announce that we are putting in place a single, flexible crime fighting fund to help local agencies better tackle crime and drug-related crime. The new Building Safer Communities fund brings together into a single funding stream funding that was previously provided through three separate crime reduction programmes: the Communities against Drugs Programme (CAD), the Safer Communities Initiative (SCI) and the Partnership Development Fund (PDF).

Funding for these three programmes in 2003–04, and hence for the new single fund, formed part of the package of funding to tackle crime and drug-related

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crime, amounting to £190.2 million in total, announced by David Blunkett, the Home Secretary, on 21 January 2003. £94 million of this funding was for use by the 376 crime and disorder reduction partnerships (CDRPs) and drug action teams (DATs) across the country to help them tackle crime and drugs in their communities. £82.3 million of this is now being made available to CDRPs under the Building Safer Communities Fund and the remainder, separately, to DATs.

In announcing the new funding for CAD, the SCI and the PDF in January, the Home Secretary indicated that he wished to consult with local groups—those at the sharp end, including CDRPs, DATs, voluntary groups and national bodies concerned with crime reduction—about whether they wished to see a merger of these programmes in order to reduce the bureaucratic burden on them, thereby allowing them to concentrate on delivery rather than paperwork. There was clear support for the idea of a merger and a single pot of funding but a strong wish to ensure that the level of drugs spend was maintained.

Practitioners have been aware for some time that plans were being drawn up for this new fund, and activities are already well under way to spend the money, with many already drawing down grant and progressing their work. My department will today be issuing administrative guidance on how the new fund will operate and formal conditions of grant.

This is a three year funding programme and CDRPs can expect to receive the same levels of funding in 2004–05 and 2005–06. My officials are devising monitoring procedures to ensure that accountability at CDRP level for their spend, including that on drugs crime, is fully preserved, and that the balance of spend between the different aims of the CAD programme is maintained.

Charity Commission: Spring Departmental Report

Baroness Hilton of Eggardon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they will publish the Charity Commission's spring departmental report for 2003. [HL3293]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Filkin): I am today announcing the publication of the Charity Commission's spring departmental report for 2003. Copies of this report are available in the Library.

Family Visitor Appeal System

Baroness Hilton of Eggardon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    When they will publish the report on the review of the family visitor appeal system. [HL3294]

Lord Filkin: In January 2001, we announced a review of the family visitor appeal system introduced

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under the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. The review was undertaken by officials from United Kingdom visas, the Lord Chancellor's Department, the Home Office, HM Treasury and the Legal Services Commission. A discussion exercise was held towards the end of 2001, and research was commissioned from the Home Office Research, Development and Statistics Directorate to inform the review.

I am pleased to announce that the final report of the review team is published today, and has been placed in the Library of the House.

Road Lighting

Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will encourage the Highways Agency and local authorities to redesign over-lit roads and road junctions and introduce full cut-off lighting to stop light going upwards.[HL3041]

The Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Macdonald of Tradeston): The Highways Agency lights roads in accordance with the British Standard for Road Lighting, BS5489. This provides for sufficient but not excessive light to enable people to use the roads safely. Local authorities also light roads to the British Standard.

The Highways Agency already installs modern low-spillage luminaires when providing new lighting schemes or renewing ones. These reduce the amount of light emitted directly upward.

The Government have published advice on good street lighting practice to reduce sky glow and light pollution generally, as has the Institution of Lighting Engineers.

Railway Safety

Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What is the current estimate of the value of preventable fatality of installing the European rail traffic management system level 2 on lines on which the train protection and warning system will already have been installed.[HL3078]

Lord Macdonald of Tradeston: The European rail traffic management system (ERTMS) year 1 progress report, published by the Strategic Rail Authority and the Rail Safety and Standards Board on 19 May 2003, does not state a value of preventing a fatality (VPF) figure. The report states that the total cost of implementing ERTMS level 2 system D is now estimated to be £3.7 billion over 40 years, and that overall ERTMS will deliver an estimated £7.5 billion worth of benefits over that period, of which an estimated £347 million comes from safety benefits. A copy of the report is available in the House Library.

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