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Written Parliamentary Answers: 31st March 2006

Learn Direct

Q: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how much Learn Direct has spent on sponsoring the Jeremy Kyle show. (John Hemming)

A:Ufi, the organisation responsible for learndirect, is currently sponsoring a package of programmes on TV. This comprises 12 weeks of 'The Jeremy Kyle Show', on ITV and also 12 weeks of Sunday night drama (three weeks of 'Wild at Heart', six weeks of 'The Royal' and three weeks of 'Heartbeat'. The sponsorship extends to having the learndirect logo and name mentioned at the beginning and end of each programme and during the commercial breaks. These programmes have been chosen because they are watched by the people who Ufi want to reach. The total cost of sponsoring these shows is £425,000 which represents excellent value for the projected number of learners that Ufi expects to respond to the advertising. (Phil Hope, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Education and Skills)

Affordable Housing (Birmingham)

Q: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the terms of reference are of his inquiry into affordable housing in Birmingham; and whether (a) officers and (b) members of Birmingham city council will be consulted during the inquiry. (John Hemming)

A:The aim of the inquiry about provision of affordable housing in Birmingham was to establish how the city council could achieve optimal affordable housing outputs from the Government subsidy provided from the Regional Housing Board Affordable Housing Programme allocations in the immediate future and over the longer term.

The Housing Corporation has reported to me that it has discussed with Birmingham city council the effect of land costs for housing associations on the 2006–08 Affordable Housing Programme as there were concerns that high land costs were delaying housing associations from planning new social housing in the city. I understand that the Housing Corporation and Birmingham city council have made significant progress with regards to land costs and improving value for money which has resulted in an increase in the new homes that can be provided through the Housing Corporation's Affordable Housing Programme for 2006–08.

There remains a concern about the council's longer term approach as it progresses its plans to dispose of surplus housing land to provide new affordable homes or other community facilities. I therefore have asked officials in Government office west midlands to continue to investigate with the city council its approach to the sale of housing land, and the implications of this for the provision of affordable housing and wider neighbourhood regeneration in the city in the long term. (Yvette Cooper, Minister of State (Housing and Planning), Office of the Deputy Prime Minister)

Crime Prevention

Q: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the oral answer of 13 February 2006, Official Report, column 1134, on crime prevention, if he will amend the guidance issued on the use of cautions. (John Hemming)

A:One of the main aims of the caution, as stated in the Cautioning of Adult Offenders Circular 30/2005 issued by the Office for Criminal Justice Reform is to reduce the likelihood of re-offending. It is not possible to set out definitive rules on the circumstances in which cautions are appropriate, because their use involves the exercise of discretion by the police who have to take into account a number of considerations in each case. These considerations include whether a caution is appropriate to the offence and the offender and whether it is likely to be effective in the circumstances.

The circular advises that both national and any locally held records must be checked before a caution is given. If the suspect has previously received a caution, then a further caution should not normally be considered. However, if there has been a sufficient lapse of time to suggest that a previous caution has had a significant deterrent effect (two years or more), then a caution can be used. If evidence of repeat cautioning, of the kind referred to in the hon. Gentleman's question, suggests this is an issue in a number of other areas, we will consider revisiting the guidance on this point. (Fiona Mactaggart, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Home Office)

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