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Long-term Care

Ms Drown: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what assessment he has made of the yearly costs to the NHS of meeting the nursing costs of long-term care. [25912]

Mr. Win Griffiths: None, but the costs of long term care are a matter of concern to this Government and one of our manifesto commitments was the establishment of a Royal Commission to work out a fair system for funding long term care of the elderly across the UK. The Commission was established last December and will report in 12 months.

NORTHERN IRELAND

Voluntary Grammar Schools

Mr. Donaldson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when the proposed changes to the formula funding arrangements for voluntary grammar schools in Northern Ireland were subjected to a policy appraisal and fair treatment analysis; and what were the results. [22252]

Mr. Worthington: Before reaching decisions on the changes to be introduced next year, the implications for each school of a number of models were examined, and I am satisfied that there is no unjustified re-distribution of resources. The longer-term objective of full commonality will ensure equity of treatment in funding for all schools, regardless of the area or the school sector in which they are located, and is therefore in line with policy appraisal and fair treatment principles.

Pigmeat

Mr. Robert McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if she will make a statement on the impact on pig prices of the importation of pigmeat from countries where (a) meat and bone meal is not banned as pig food and (b) sow stalls and tethers will be legal after 1 January 1999. [22904]

Mr. Paul Murphy: It is not possible to calculate the impact on pig prices of the importation of pigmeat from countries where (a) meat and bone meal is not banned as pig food and (b) sow stalls and tethers will be legal after 1 January 1999.

29 Jan 1998 : Column: 333

Bone Meal

Mr. Trimble: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if she will list the number of inspections of plants of manufacturers of animal meal to detect the use of banned bone meal, the results of these inspections and the number of prosecutions. [25019]

Mr. Paul Murphy: The inclusion of the mammalian meat and bone meal in livestock feed has been prohibited since 29 March 1996, and since that date a total of 2,430 visits have been made to feedmills for the purpose of taking samples of ruminant feed for testing for the presence of mammalian protein.

Of a total of 3,394 samples taken, five samples have given apparently positive results. On further investigation, one positive sample was in material imported from another member state, and the authorities were informed. It was established that the positive results in three samples were not due to the presence of mammalian protein, and the other positive sample proved negative on retesting.

There have therefore been no prosecutions.

Nursery Units

Mr. Trimble: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what criteria are used in approving the establishment of nursery units to new or existing primary schools. [25021]

Mr. Worthington: Recent expansion of nursery provision has occurred under the aegis of the "making Belfast work" and Londonderry regeneration initiatives and, more recently, the EU special support programme for peace and reconciliation. Nursery provision approved by the Department of Education under these initiatives must:




Under the Government's planned expansion of pre-school education provision, new nursery provision will only be approved if it is included in an education and library board's pre-school education development plan. These plans will target places initially on children from socially disadvantaged circumstances and the oldest four-year-olds--those with July and August birthdays.

HOME DEPARTMENT

Crime and Disorder Bill [Lords]

Liz Blackman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he will place in the Library a paper summarising the responses to the consultation exercise on the Drug Treatment and Testing Order provisions in the Crime and Disorder Bill [Lords]. [26730]

Mr. George Howarth: The paper summarising the responses to the consultation exercise has now been placed in the Library.

29 Jan 1998 : Column: 334

Immigration and Nationality Directorate

Mr. Allan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimates for staff reductions were included in the business case for the new computer system at the Immigration and Nationality Directorate; and what revisions have been made to take account of the delays in the programme for installation. [26074]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The estimated savings projected in the business case were based on staff reductions of 898 by 2001-2002. The business case estimated the benefit of the Programme to the Immigration and Nationality Directorate by balancing the savings against the charges which would be payable to Siemens Business Services. The majority of these charges are directly geared to the savings and do not become payable until the new computer system is operational. No revision to the business case will be made until revised dates for the installation and piloting of the solution have been agreed.

Mr. Allan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answer of 22 January 1998, Official Report, column 633, on the Immigration and Nationality Directorate, how many compulsory redundancies he expects to be required at the Directorate offices at Croydon in the years 1998-99 and 1999-2000. [26075]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: I do not expect any in the sense that they are planned. While it is not possible at this stage to rule out the need for compulsory redundancies, present indications are that compulsory redundancies are very unlikely.

Security Service

Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking to ensure that the destruction of files by MI5 will not (a) destroy material of historical importance and (b) prevent instances of error by MI5 from emerging. [26277]

Mr. Straw: I rely on the Director General of the Security Service to ensure the proper operation of the Service's record management system, including the system for reviewing files in accordance with the criteria described in my reply to the hon. Member for New Forest, East (Dr. Lewis) on 20 January 1998, Official Report, column 519-20.

Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to complete his review into providing information relating to the number of individuals on whom MI5 holds files. [26280]

Mr. Straw: I have nothing to add to my letter of 23 December 1997 in which I informed the hon. Member

29 Jan 1998 : Column: 335

that, for the present, I proposed to continue the practice of successive Governments in not disclosing such information but that I was reviewing the matter and that it might be that we should, in due course, feel able to provide some information on the subject. I shall keep the matter under review and, if there are to be any changes to the present arrangements, I shall make an announcement.

Telecommunications (Interception)

Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will amend Section 10(1) of the Interception of Communications Act 1985 to require a separate warrant for each line intercepted. [26279]

Mr. Straw: I refer the hon. Member to my reply to his question on 4 December 1997, Official Report, column 299, where I said that the question whether to amend the legislation relating to Interception of Communications beyond the measures required to comply with the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights, and if so what the amendments should comprise, was under consideration. That remains the case.

29 Jan 1998 : Column: 336

Ethnic Minorities

Mr. Gerrard: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the future of Section 11 funding to support the teaching of English. [24215]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: I refer my hon. Friend to the reply which my right hon. Friend gave my hon. Friend the Member for Leicester, South (Mr. Marshall) on 16 December 1997, Official Report, columns 86-87.

Asylum Seekers

Mr. Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many Roma people from the Czech and Slovak republics have sought asylum in the United Kingdom in each month since January 1996; and of these (a) how many have been granted asylum, (b) how many were held in detention and (c) how many have been removed from the United Kingdom. [26018]

Mr. Mike O'Brien [holding answer 28 January 1998]: Czech and Slovak Roma are not separately identifiable in the statistics. The available information on all asylum applications lodged in the United Kingdom by nationals of Slovakia and the Czech Republic, and on removals of such persons, is given in tables 1 and 2. Information on the number of Czech and Slovak asylum seekers detained, as at selected dates during 1996, 1997 and 1998, is given in table three.

29 Jan 1998 : Column: 335

Table 1: Asylum applications(4) received in the United Kingdom, excluding dependants, initial decisions (4)(5)(6) on applications, and removals(4)(7), 1996 and 1997 by month, nationals of Czech Republic(8)

ApplicationsDecisions Removals
Total decisionsGrants of asylumGrants of ELRTotal refusals(9)
1996
January **----*5
February55----5*
March10--------*
April10*----*5
May*5----55
June55----55
July--*----*5
August55----55
September55----510
October 55----55
November55----55
December55----55
Total (1996)5550----5055
1997
January55----5*
February1010----105
March510----10*
April**----**
May55----5--
June1515----1515
July3020----205
August3035----3515
September155----5*
October8520----2030
November2060----6015
December1525----2510
Total (1997)240210----210100

(4) Figures rounded to nearest five with * = 1 or 2. 1997 data are provisional.

(5) Information is of initial decisions and excludes the outcome of appeals or other subsequent decisions.

(6) Decisions do not necessarily relate to applications made in the same time period.

(7) Includes voluntary departures apart from those made by in-country applicants prior to the initiation of enforcement action.

(8) Removals data include persons recorded as nationals of the former Czechoslovakia.

(9) Includes safe third country refusals and refusals made on grounds of non-compliance.


Table 2: Asylum applications(10) received in the United Kingdom, excluding dependants, initial decisions(10) (11) (12) on applications, and removals(10) (13), 1996 and 1997 by month, nationals of Slovakia
Principal applicants

ApplicationsDecisions Removals
Total decisionsGrants of asylumGrants of ELRTotal refusals(14)
1996
January**----*--
February**----*--
March1015----15--
April515----15--
May--5----5*
June510----10--
July*5----5--
August510----10*
September5*----*--
October520----20*
November1015----155
December1010----105
Total (1996)55110----11015
1997
January**----*5
February*5----5*
March515----155
April510----1010
May1515----1510
June2525----255
July2025----255
August5045----4515
September5510----105
October8575----7510
November20120----12025
December1530----3020
Total (1997)305375----375105

(10) Figures rounded to nearest 5 with * = 1 or 2. 1997 data are provisional.

(11) Information is of initial decisions and excludes the outcome of appeals or other subsequent decisions.

(12) Decisions do not necessarily relate to applications made in the same time period.

(13) Includes voluntary departures apart from those made by in-country applicants prior to the initiation of enforcement action.

(14) Includes safe third country refusals and refusals made on grounds of non-compliance.


29 Jan 1998 : Column: 337

29 Jan 1998 : Column: 337

Table 3: Number of persons recorded as detained, who have sought asylum at some stage, as selected dates in 1996 and 1997(15), nationals of the Czech Republic and Slovakia(16)

Detained as atNumber detained
31 January 19964
29 February 1996(17)--
29 March 199610
30 April 199612
31 May 1996(18)6
27 June 19986
31 July 1996(19)6
4 September 19965
1 October 1996--
5 November 19965
11 December 19963
31 January 1997(20)--
27 March 1997--
30 April 1997--
31 May 1997--
30 June 19973
31 July 1997(17)--
29 August 1997(21)11
30 September 199714
31 October 199739
28 November 199738
5 January 1998(22)25

(15) No figures are available for August 1996, February 1997 or December 1997.

(16) Includes persons recorded as nationals of the former Czechoslovakia.

(17) Indicates 1 or 2 because in order to protect confidentiality we cannot disclose individual numbers.

(18) Ports figures obtained 7 June 1996. After entry figures obtained 31 May 1996.

(19) Ports figures obtained 2 August 1996. After entry figures obtained 30 July 1996.

(20) Ports figures obtained 3 February 1997. After entry figures obtained 31 January 1997.

(21) Ports figures obtained 29 August 1997. After entry figures obtained 3 September 1997.

(22) Ports figures obtained 6 January 1998. After entry figures obtained 5 January 1998.


29 Jan 1998 : Column: 338

Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will estimate how many asylum seekers are at addresses not known to the authorities. [25947]

Mr. Michael: Approximately 14,000 asylum applicants, excluding dependants, are currently recorded as having breached the conditions of their temporary admission, temporary release, or restriction order, or having lost contact with the Home Office.

Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will estimate the current weekly cost to the Exchequer of those in the United Kingdom whose asylum appeals are outstanding. [25950]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: Information on the costs to the Exchequer during 1997 of all asylum seekers is not yet available. I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to

29 Jan 1998 : Column: 339

the hon. Member for Eastbourne (Mr. Waterson) on 13 November 1997, Official Report, columns 652-53, which gave the available information for 1996.

I regret, however, that it is not possible to separate the cost sof specific groups of asylum seekers.

Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will estimate the number of asylum seekers whose addresses are unknown to the authorities who are claiming and receiving state benefits.[25949]

Mr. Michael: I regret that it is not possible to establish the number of these persons who may be in receipt of state benefits.

Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he proposes to take to discover the whereabouts of asylum seekers whose whereabouts in the United Kingdom are not known to the authorities. [25948]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: Measures being taken to deal with the problem of absconding include the use of dedicated enforcement teams throughout the country; working in co-operation with the police and other government agencies; the use of intelligence for the effective targeting of resources; the establishment of a full time Port Absconder Tracing Team working in the Metropolitan Police Area; and the speeding up of Home Office procedures to reduce the potential for absconding.


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