|Previous Section||Index||Home Page|
Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will place in the Library a copy of the Football Licensing Authority report of 5 March relating to safe standing areas at football stadia. 
Mr. Caborn: The Football Licensing Authority's report of 5 March, entitled Report on the "Kombi" seating, Volksparkstadion, Hamburg, 23 and 24 February 2001 concerned the technical merits of one of a number of convertible seating systems which are in use at certain football stadia in Germany. I am arranging for copies of the report to be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment she has made of the impact on the UK tourism industry of Britain not being part of the Eurozone in January 2002. 
In his October 1997 statement to the House, the Chancellor of the Exchequer set out five economic tests which will define whether a clear and unambiguous case for UK membership of the single currency can be made. An assessment of the five economic tests will be produced within two years of the start of this Parliament. The assessment will be comprehensive and rigorous; all relevant economic issues will be dealt with as part of the assessment.
11 Dec 2001 : Column: 752W
(3) when Crown Prosecutors advised the officers investigating Superintendent Ali Dizaei; 
(4) what the reasons were for the delay by the Crown Prosecution Service in deciding whether there is sufficient evidence to bring criminal charges against Superintendent Ali Dizaei. 
Since 31 May 2000, the police have been submitting information and requests for advice to the Crown Prosecution Service. The CPS has been advising the police on an ongoing basis. This advice has covered matters of admissibility and the sufficiency of evidence upon a number of discrete criminal allegations.
The Crown Prosecution Service has not delayed and has dealt with this case expeditiously. This police investigation has encompassed a number of separate criminal allegations and has resulted in the submission of a large volume of evidence. In the light of the complexity and sensitivity of the issues raised advice has been obtained from Senior Treasury Counsel. The review of the large volume of evidence and proper consideration of all the issues involved has necessarily required adequate time to complete.
The Crown Prosecution Service works very closely with the police but makes decisions about cases through careful, independent and impartial consideration of all the evidence and application of the Code for Crown Prosecutors, which states that a prosecution will only be brought if there is sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction and a prosecution is required in the public interest. The decision to start a prosecution is taken independently of the police and in this particular case will have the benefit of advice of independent Counsel.
11 Dec 2001 : Column: 753W
them stopped; and if he will list their names, giving in each case the details of the charges that are being dropped and the known paramilitary affiliations. 
Jane Kennedy: Decisions on ending prosecutions are a matter for the independent prosecuting authorities based on a strict application of evidential and public interest tests. Separately, in relation to terrorist prisoners on the run, the Government announced in September 2000 that they were dropping extraditions against those who would have had little or no time left to serve if they returned to Northern Ireland. This has no bearing on cases where there remains an outstanding need to prosecute but relates specifically to cases where the individual concerned has escaped from custody before the completion of their sentence. The Government have dealt with these individuals in a way that is consistent with the Sentences Act 1998, which provides for the accelerated release of prisoners. For the most part this has meant allowing the individuals back into the jurisdiction in order to allow them to make an application for early release to the Sentence Review Commissioners. In a handful of cases, individuals had served the same or longer periods in custody than those already released under the Sentences Act but fell outside the strict application of that legislation, either because time in custody had been served outside Northern Ireland or because their offences had not been scheduled at the time they were committed. In these cases the Secretary of State uses his powers under the Northern Ireland Prison Act 1953 to release life sentence prisoners on licence or to recommend use of the Royal Prerogative of Mercy to remit outstanding portions of determinate sentences.
To date these arrangements have been made in 19 cases. This arrangements does not represent an amnesty. The actions taken by the Government involve decisions on whether these individuals should be allowed to return to Northern Ireland without serving further time in custody because they have met the principles of the early release scheme. The early release scheme is an integral part of the Good Friday Agreement.
Following the proposal made at the Weston Park talks, the Government have agreed to such steps as are necessary as soon as possible, and in any event by March 2002, to resolve the issue about supporters of organisations now on cease-fire against whom there are outstanding prosecutions, and in some cases extradition proceedings, for offences committed before 10 April 1998, who would, if convicted, stand to benefit from the early release scheme. We are currently considering the options for delivering this.
Mr. Allan: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what communications she has received from the European Commission concerning the draft Wireless Telegraphy (Control of Interference from Material Substances Forming Part of the Telecommunications System) Regulations 2001; and if she will make a statement. 
11 Dec 2001 : Column: 754W
Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what representations she has received on the financial and other costs of fraudulent homeworking schemes on (a) the legitimate homeworking industry and (b) victims of such schemes; 
(3) what assessment she has made of the impact of fraudulent homeworking schemes on people with low incomes. 
(4) what plans she has to introduce legislation to safeguard consumers from fraudulent homeworking schemes; 
(5) what estimates she has made of the number of fraudulent homeworking schemes in operation. 
In the Regulatory Impact Assessment published with the Outworking Bill we assessed there could be up to one million victims of all the 300 schemes that are estimated to exist at any one time. The initial outlay by the victim is typically between £10 and £60, with some schemes eliciting supplementary payments. These schemes tend to attract vulnerable and low paid people.
When the Outworking Bill was introduced we supported it as a way of further clamping down on homeworking scams although we recognised there was some scope to tackle these under existing legislation such as the Trade Descriptions Act 1968 and the Control of Misleading Advertisements Regulations 1988 (CMARS). Since then we have strengthened the powers of Trading Standards officers by introducing Stop Now Orders. These enable trading standards authorities and the Office of Fair Trading to seek an injunction against anyone who is in breach of consumer protection legislation in a number of relevant areas, in particular misleading advertising. We plan to strengthen consumer protection by extending the injunctive regime through the Enterprise Bill. The Stop Now regime will cover all consumer protection legislation, and include Trading Standards as well as the OFT as enforcement bodies. This will further strengthen the ability of Trading Standards to shut down scams including homeworking scams.
11 Dec 2001 : Column: 755W
In 1999, 869 alleged scams were reported to the National Group on Homeworking. Based on their figures the Regulatory Impact Assessment, which accompanied the Outworking Bill, worked on the assumption that 300 schemes were operating at any one time.
|Next Section||Index||Home Page|