§ Mr. Beith
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what research his Department has evaluated into the expected financial costs and savings which will occur due to implementation of the proposed mandatory sentence for repeat burglars; if he will indicate the assumptions underlying such research; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Boateng
We estimate that the implementation of section 4 of the Crime (Sentences) Act 1997 will add between 4,000 and 4,400 to the prison population over 10 years. These estimates are based on a sample of offenders convicted in four weeks in 1997 and include an allowance of 1,000 prison places for the indirect effects on convictions for similar offences, such as a second conviction for burglary. The range of figures reflects different assumptions about the deterrent effect of implementation: the higher figure assumes no reduction in the requirement for prison places as a result of deterrence.
The latest long-term projections for the prison population are lower than had previously been the case. The Prison Service can now expect to cope with the extra prison places within existing provision at least for the next three years.