§ Caroline Flint
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on proposals to extend sentencing powers of magistrates. 
§ Mr. Keith Bradley
[holding answers 30 April 2002]: In the course of consultation on the Auld report on the criminal courts, many organisations and individuals who commented on the proposed intermediate tier and abolition of the right to elect suggested that an increase in magistrates sentencing powers might serve as an alternative means of reducing the burden on the Crown court. Similar views were expressed during consultation following the Halliday report on sentencing, particularly in response to the proposed sentence of custody plus, as when imposed in full this sentence would be outside magistrates current powers.