HC Deb 18 February 1997 vol 290 c529W
Sir Ivan Lawrence

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the overall target reduction in operating costs for the Prison Service agency per baseline certified normal accommodation place over the four years 1995–96 to 1999–2000 implicit in the November 1996 announcements on funding for the Prison Service(a) excluding extra funds for implementing the Woodcock report and for mandatory drug testing and (b) including such funds. [15510]

Miss Widdecombe

[holding answer 17 February 1997]: Responsibility for this matter has been delegated to the Director General of the Prison Service, who has been asked to arrange for a reply to be given.

Letter from Richard Tilt to Sir Ivan Lawrence, dated 18 February 1997: The Home Secretary has asked me to reply to your recent question asking about target reductions in cost per place. The figures are in real terms, i.e. adjusted for inflation and are also adjusted to ensure like for like comparison over a period of years, by stripping out the funds transferred to the Prison Service previously held elsewhere (e.g. payments to local authorities under Section 53 of the Children and Young Persons Act) and also by stripping out both the cost and the places associated with design, construct, manage and finance (DCMF) contract prisons (because payments to contractors include a capital element, and they are therefore not comparable with the current cost per place of public sector prisons). On this basis, the reduction in real terms of cost per place, comparing provision for 1999–2000 and outturn for 1995–96, is 5.5% excluding new money to complete implementation of the Woodcock proposals. Including this money the comparison becomes 5.9%. The figures for the period 1996–97 to 1999–2000 are the ones which we will now be using in our future plans. Comparing provision for 1999–2000 with provision for 1996–97, the reduction is 4.9% or excluding new money for Woodcock, 5.3%.