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16 Jan 2007 : Column WA133

Written Answers

Tuesday 16 January 2007

Agriculture: Scrapie

Lord Greaves asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): The figures for National Scrapie Plan programme expenditure (that is, not including staff, information technology and capital costs) are set out in the table below:

Year2001-22002-32003-42004-52005-62006-7 *2007-8 #

£m

4.49

6.55

7.70

20.63

29.64

16.31

15.59

* Estimate at December 2006# Current allocation for 2007-08

Armed Forces: Housing for Former Personnel

Lord Garden asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Drayson): The Ministry of Defence, in close co-operation with the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), has been pursuing a number of initiatives to assist ex-service personnel in meeting their housing needs. These measures have included an amendment to the Homelessness Code of Guidance for Local Authorities, recognising that service personnel who leave at a recognised option point are not making themselves intentionally homeless, and the inclusion of service personnel into the Government's key worker scheme. We are exploring with DCLG the possibility of recognising a local connection for personnel leaving the Armed Forces. Following the success of the Galleries Hostel Project in Richmond North Yorkshire, MoD, in conjunction with DCLG and the English Churches Housing Group, is providing a 25-bed hostel for single ex-service personnel in Aldershot. The building is expected to be completed by the summer of 2007. This will offer the benefits of housing, training and support to ex-service men and women in the south. We have also developed a number of schemes to assist personnel, while they are still serving, to buy their own homes.



16 Jan 2007 : Column WA134

Aviation: Gibraltar Flight Safety

Lord Hoyle asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: The Government have not received any witness reports that a military Chinook helicopter blocked the runway at Gibraltar Airport on 29 November causing British Airways flight BA6906 to abort its approach.

The air traffic control log for 29 November 2006 shows that one Chinook aircraft was operating from Gibraltar Airport. It also confirms that at the time the British Airways flight was conducting its approach to Gibraltar Airport, this helicopter was holding three nautical miles south of the airfield at low level over the sea, in accordance with air traffic control instructions.

The pilot of the aircraft was directed to abort the approach to the airport only because the Defence Fire Service, for reasons beyond its control, had been unable to complete the mandatory routine check of the runway in time.

Buses: Cambridge Guided Busway

Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: These matters are primarily for Cambridgeshire County Council as promoter of the scheme. I am grateful to it for providing information to help to respond to your questions.

(a) Public highway road crossings will be controlled by traffic signals. At access roads, vehicles will be required to give way to guided buses. Footpath and bridleway crossings will be uncontrolled. There will be no other signals controlling buses on the guided busway.

(b) Since guided busways are exempt from the requirements of the Railways and Other Guided Transport Systems (Safety Regulations) 2006,

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Cambridgeshire County Council, as operator, is responsible for satisfying itself that safety systems are appropriate.

(c) The Health and Safety Executive, the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency and the police are the authorities responsible for investigating accidents on the busway.

(d) In respect of fencing, the Cambridgeshire guided busway is similar to a new highway; boundary fencing will be provided and, where agreed with adjacent landowners, stockproof fencing will be provided. There will be no fence between the guideway and the bridleway which runs alongside the guideway.

(e) The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986, the Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations 1989, the Road Vehicles (Authorised Weight) Regulations 1998, the Public Service Vehicles (Conditions of Fitness, Equipment, Use and Certification) Regulations 1981, the Public Service Vehicles Accessibility Regulations 2000 and the Public Service Vehicles (Carrying Capacity) Regulations 1984 (SI 1984 No. 1406). (All as amended). These are the same regulations as apply for any bus used on the public road.

(f) None.

Cheese

Baroness Byford asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): The table below shows the average household purchases of cheese per person per day, week and year. These estimates are based on records of consumer purchases from the expenditure and food survey.

2001-022002-032003-042004-05
Average household purchases of cheese per person in grams

Daily

16

16

16

16

Weekly

112

112

113

110

Annually

5833

5807

5868

5720

Estimates of weekly purchases in 2005-06 will be published on 18 January at http://statistics.defra.gov .uk/esg/publications/efs/defauIt.asp

Corruption

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



16 Jan 2007 : Column WA136

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): The Government are committed to reforming the law of corruption. Our aim is to replace the existing provisions, which are spread across a number of statutes and the common law, with effective up-to-date bribery offences which command wide consensus and are easy to understand but sophisticated enough to differentiate between bribery and the legitimate giving and receiving of advantages.

In 2003, based on work undertaken by the Law Commission, we introduced a draft Bill for pre-legislative scrutiny. The Joint Committee which gave the Bill its pre-legislative scrutiny raised significant issues and recommended a different approach to the formulation of the offences.

We looked very carefully at the Joint Committee's recommendations. Following our response to its report in December 2003, we published a consultation paper in December 2005 setting out further options for reform. We are currently finalising the Government's response to all the comments received and will publish this shortly.

Crime: Domestic Violence

Lord Ouseley asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): The Government's national delivery plan for domestic violence sets out a strategic framework for tackling domestic violence, ranging from early intervention and prevention through to the rehabilitation of perpetrators and resettlement of victims.

At the heart of the plan is the development of specialist domestic violence courts (SDVCs). We have introduced a system which puts victims' needs at the heart of proceedings and created a catalyst for the better co-ordination of services locally. The programme is being rolled out successfully and 64 court systems will be in place by April 2007.

Pivotal to the success of SDVCs are independent domestic violence advisers (IDVAs). IDVAs work from the point of crisis with a victim and offer intensive support to help assure both their short term and long term safety. In 2006-07, the Government supported the development of IDVAs in all SDVC areas.

Multi-agency risk assessment conferences (MARACs) are a recently developed tool for tackling domestic violence. MARACs usually focus on high-risk victims of domestic violence by sharing information and developing responses which are tailored to the needs of individual victims and their children. A MARAC training package, based on an

16 Jan 2007 : Column WA137

evaluated model in Cardiff, has been developed, and the Government have commenced the roll out of training in SDVC areas.

By working to respond effectively to reported domestic violence and reduce the impact of domestic violence, we aim to reduce the economic and social costs of domestic violence.

Crime: False Accusations

Lord Campbell-Savours asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): The rules governing complainant anonymity are set out in statute—namely, the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 1992 as amended—and primary legislation would be required to amend them. As my noble and learned friend the Attorney-General indicated on 9 January, we are considering actively whether any amendment of the law is appropriate to take account of the remarks of the Court of Appeal in the Blackwell case.

Crime: Rape

Lord Campbell-Savours asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): In the coming months we will be publishing a national action plan on sexual violence and abuse, which will include a range of key actions for the police and the CPS aimed at improving the investigation and prosecution of serious sexual offences.

The available information relates to offences of rape recorded by the police in England and Wales and is given in the first table.

Figures for the number of persons charged are not centrally collected.

Figures from the court proceedings database held by the Office for Criminal Justice Reform for the prosecutions and convictions for rape offences in England and Wales are shown in the second table.

Because recorded crime figures are for offences and court proceedings data count offenders, the two sets of data are not directly comparable.

Information for Scotland is a matter for the Scotland Office.



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Number of defendants prosecuted at magistrates' courts and found guilty at all courts, for all rape offences, in England and Wales, 2003-2005(1)(2)
YearProceeded againstFound guilty

2003

2,790

673

2004

2,689

751

2005

2,826

796

(1) These data are on the principal offence basis.
(2) Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by court and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.
Offences of rape recorded by the police in England and Wales
Number of offences
YearTotal

2003-04

13,272

2004-05

14,042

2005-06

14,449


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