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Thursday, 7 March, 2002, 14:59 GMT
Drugs cash to stay in Scotland
Cash seized is currently sent to the UK Treasury
Half the money confiscated from criminals in Scotland will be used to help recovering drug addicts north of the border, it has been announced.

The Scottish Executive has struck a deal with the UK Treasury over the money seized by the courts.

Tougher laws are planned which should mean that much more money is confiscated from major figures in the drugs world.

Communities throughout Scotland will benefit through this extra investment in anti-drug measures

Jack McConnell
First Minister
Until now, all money seized from criminals has been sent to the Treasury in London.

However, ministers have revealed that 50% of the money confiscated will now remain in Scotland.

The first project to benefit from a major investment is based in Glasgow.

The cash will be used to fund a 250,000 scheme to help tackle drug addiction among the city's homeless.

The Scottish Executive plans to use the money seized to fund a variety of drug treatment schemes and support efforts to cut the amount of drug-related crime.

Major drug dealers will be targeted
First Minister Jack Mr McConnell said: "Drug dealers must learn that crime does not pay and I am determined to see their illegal gains put to better use.

"We are coming down hard on those who peddle drugs in our communities while we must help those who have succumbed to the scourge of drugs to rebuild their lives.

"Communities throughout Scotland will benefit through this extra investment in anti-drug measures."

Labour's plans to crack down on drug dealers' assets proposes the creation of a special agency which would have more stringent powers to tackle money laundering.

Human rights

Criminals would also have to prove in court that they obtained their assets legally.

The plans are expected to be approved in the House of Commons - although Labour backbencher Ian Davidson has warned that the House of Lords may attempt to water down the proposals.

Opponents say the Proceeds of Crime Bill, which was published in October, runs the risk of breaching human rights.

BBC Scotland's Elizabeth Quigley reports
"Much more money is set to be taken from Mr Bigs in the drug world"
See also:

03 Mar 02 | Scotland
Drug policy to be overhauled
26 Feb 02 | Scotland
MP in crime bill warning
18 Oct 01 | Scotland
Cracking down on profits of crime
05 Mar 01 | UK Politics
Straw targets crime chiefs
05 Feb 01 | Scotland
Drugs assets seizure victory
13 Oct 00 | Scotland
Drug profit confiscations outlawed
10 Oct 00 | Scotland
Pledge on crime assets
09 Oct 00 | Scotland
New powers to seize drug profits
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