Government's Crime Record
Tony McNulty (Minister of State, Home Office; Harrow East, Labour)
What I would say to those people, if I may step out and be partisan momentarily, is that whatever else they do, they should never vote for a Liberal Democrat. It will not be possible to use antisocial behaviour orders, because the Liberal Democrats are against them, as they have shown in practical terms in councils up and down the country. Seeking a dispersal order to get rid of those individuals will not happen because the Liberal Democrats are against them, so those people causing trouble in my hon. Friend's constituency are going to remain for ever in that estate.
The Government have made substantial additional investment in education for offenders—from £52 million in 2001-02 to £156 million in 2006-07. There is clear evidence that it is working. In the foreword—sadly, it is spelled F, O, R, W, A, R, D in my brief, so I will see someone and have words with them later—to its annual report of 2005-06, the chief inspector of the adult learning inspectorate said:
"Perhaps the most heartening success I can report this year has been achieved in prison learning and skills... only 16 per cent."—
still too many—
"had inadequate learning and skills provision."
A commitment to make learning and skills compulsory would come close to trebling those costs in terms of delivery alone and substantial investment would be needed to increase the availability of classrooms, workshops and IT.
Again, the hon. Member for Sheffield, Hallam made a fair point—but then lost it in all the "Focus" drivel—about people with mental health problems and about levels of functional literacy in prisons. Some problems need dealing with, but it is absolutely and profoundly wrong to suggest that nothing is being done, though it may well be the case that more should be done.