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Thousands of Cubans in prison because they "may cause a crime in the future"

John Bercow MP There are a handful of interesting answers in the latest Hansard.

Buckingham MP John Bercow reminded the useful idiots that Cuba is not Paradise, but rather a dystopian nightmare:

"John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received of the number of people convicted of the crime of social dangerousness in Cuba in each of the last five years. [265458]

Gillian Merron: We are very concerned about the use of charges of "social dangerousness" in Cuba to arrest those whom the Cuban authorities believe may cause a crime in the future.

During Cuba's review at the Human Rights Council in February 2009, the UK recommended that Cuba refrain from using such laws to restrict the rights of freedom of expression and association.

The Cuban government does not publish statistics on the number of people convicted on these grounds, but the non-governmental Cuban commission for human rights and national reconciliation, estimates that there are currently between 3,000 and 5,000 people in prison in Cuba convicted of “pre-criminal social dangerousness.”

Our embassy in Havana has requested these figures from the Cuban authorities and I will write if we receive a reply."

Shadow DEFRA Minister Anne McIntosh asked about the use of waste as an energy source:

"Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in what circumstances (a) commercial and (b) household waste is regarded as a source of energy; what proportion of such waste streams were regarded as energy sources in 2008; and what assessment he has made of the effect of classification of waste as an energy source on (i) waste collection authorities, (ii) private sector waste contractors and (iii) commercial waste producers. [265747]

Jane Kennedy: The Government do not classify waste in this way. Many types of waste, including paper, wood and plastics, are capable of being either recycled or used to generate energy. Recycling is the generally preferred option because the energy saved from avoiding the use of virgin material is greater than that contained in the waste, although there are some exceptions. Residual waste for which no practical re-use or recycling opportunities exist will therefore be a candidate for energy from waste treatment. In 2007, 5,172,000 tonnes of waste were incinerated for energy recovery purposes. These figures are not available for 2008."

Why aren't the figures available? It's nearly April!

Shadow DCMS Minister Tobias Ellwood is MP for Bournemouth East. He asked about the extent of support for seaside towns:

"Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much funding his Department has provided for the regeneration of seaside towns in each of the last three years; and what plans there are for such funding in the next funding round. [267580]

Barbara Follett: My Department’s contribution to the Government’s work in support of the regeneration of seaside towns is through the £45 million (£15 million per annum over the next three years) Sea Change Programme. This has only been in place since 1 April 2008, but £29.3 million has been made available for regeneration of seaside towns through this initiative since then as set out in the table:

Financial year Grant allocated (£)





Total allocated to date


It is too early to announce plans for public expenditure beyond 2011."

Shadow Defence Secretary Liam Fox wanted to know about the spiritual nourishment of our Armed Forces:

"Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many military chaplains there were in each of the armed services in each of the last five years. [266933]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The following table provides the number of military chaplains in each of the armed services as at 1 April for each of the last five years:

2004 2005 2006 2007 2008

Naval Service












Royal Air Force






(1) Provisional

Due to ongoing validation of data from the Joint Personnel Administration System, Army strength statistics from 1 April 2007, and Naval Service and RAF strength statistics from 1 May 2007 are provisional and subject to review."

Shadow Northern Ireland Minister Laurence Robertson was concerned about e-snooping:

"Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department under what circumstances the police may search home computers without warrants; whether she plans to extend the circumstances in which such searches may take place; what requirements there are on the police to render computers secure following such searches; and if she will make a statement. [248489]

Mr. Coaker [holding answer 19 January 2009]: If an officer is lawfully on any premises with consent or under a warrant or for the purposes of making an arrest, he can require information stored in any electronic form and accessible from the premises that could be used in evidence, to be provided in a form which he can take away or from which it can be readily produced. The issue of security is a matter for the person requested to provide the information."

Shadow Schools Minister Nick Gibb received a startling reply about science in schools:

"Mr. Gibb: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families how many and what percentage of comprehensive schools offer GCSEs in the separate sciences to all pupils, broken down by local authority. [241794]

Jim Knight: The Department does not hold information on subjects offered by schools. The number of comprehensive schools in each local authority that entered one or more pupils in separate sciences has been placed in the House Libraries."

Surely it is vital that the Government should know precisely what proportion of pupils are taking science. The implications for their personal advanceent and the wider economy are many and varied.

Tom Greeves


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