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Settlement Applications

Mr. Tynan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what is the average waiting time for the processing of an application by a foreign national for settlement in this country on the basis of his or her marriage to a UK citizen. [105602]

Mrs. Roche: The information requested is not available.

The time taken to process applications for settlement on the basis of marriage to a United Kingdom citizen is affected by a number of factors, including the complexity of individual cases. However, where the applicant obtained prior entry clearance for the purpose of marriage before entering the United Kingdom, applications for settlement are at present being dealt with within a week. Those applications where further inquiries may be needed

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can take considerably longer but are now being given priority. A special exercise was set in place before Christmas to target such applications.

Dr. Starkey: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department in each of the last five years, how many applications for settlement were (a) made, (b) decided on and (c) outstanding at the year end; and what was the average time taken to process an application in each year. [106047]

Mrs. Roche: The available information relates to decisions taken on applications for indefinite leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom, excluding those cases where indefinite leave to remain is refused but limited leave is granted in some capacity. Data for 1995 to the end of the first half of 1999 are given in the table, together with an estimated average time which such decisions took in 1995-98. Following reorganisation of caseworking practices at the beginning of 1999, the time taken to process applications for variation of leave, which includes applications for indefinite leave to remain, is affected by a number of factors, including the complexity of individual cases. More than half of applications for variation of leave can be processed under "fast track" procedures. Such cases are currently being determined within about a week of receipt, but applications where further inquiries are needed may take considerably longer. Streamlined procedures have, however, been introduced throughout the Integrated Casework Directorate to speed up consideration of all applications.

Year of decisionSettlement applications decidedAverage time (in days) to decide applications for indefinite leave to remain

(5) First half

(6) Provisional

Entry Refusals

Mr. Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many persons travelling by coach from Poland in the past six months have been refused entry at Dover; and what is the gender breakdown of these refusals. [104755]

Mrs. Roche: Statistics are not kept of the numbers of persons refused entry having travelled by coach, or of the gender breakdown of these refusals. A total of 1,934 Polish nationals were refused leave to enter at Dover between June and December 1999.

Mr. Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of passengers travelling from Poland by coach, via Dover, are interviewed by immigration officials; and of those what proportion are (a) male and (b) female. [104753]

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Mrs. Roche: All Polish nationals (and other non-European Union nationals travelling from Poland) seeking leave to enter the United Kingdom are interviewed by an immigration officer. Statistics on the gender of passengers are not kept.


Mr. Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will instruct the Immigration Control Department Management Unit at the Whitgift Centre, Croydon, to reply immediately to the letter about Mrs. Sardj Goswarni of Oadby, Leicestershire, dated 23 October 1999, from the hon. and learned Member for Harborough to Moira Bing. [105982]

Mrs. Roche: An official from the Immigration and Nationality Directorate wrote to the hon. and learned member on 19 January.

Czech Republic (Visa Requirement)

Mr. Gale: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his Department's letter to the hon. Member for North Thanet of 17 January (Ref. PO 20700/99), what plans he has to impose visa requirements upon visitors from the Czech Republic. [106371]

Mrs. Roche: The hon. Member is aware of the Government's concern about the numbers of asylum seekers from the Czech Republic and other parts of Central Europe. We are in close contact at ministerial and official level with the countries concerned to try to improve the position and we keep all the possible options, including a visa regime, under review.


Entrepreneurship Lessons

Mr. Paul Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment how many secondary school pupils in (a) Shrewsbury and Atcham and (b) Shropshire will receive lessons in entrepreneurship in the current school year; and if he will make a statement. [101138]

Jacqui Smith: The Department does not hold figures on the numbers of secondary school pupils receiving lessons in entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship does not currently form part of the National Curriculum, and thus it is up to individual schools to decide whether, and how, to teach it.

However the revised National Curriculum--most of which will come into force from September 2000--will encourage pupils to think creatively and critically, and will encourage innovation and enterprise. The new framework for Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) and Citizenship will cover financial literacy, consumer education and entrepreneurial skills as follows:

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    At Key Stage 4, they will be taught to use a range of financial tools and services, including budgeting and saving, in managing personal money. They will also be taught the rights and responsibilities of consumers, employers and employees.

£7 million of Standards Fund money has been made available for next academic year for implementation of the PSHE/citizenship frameworks in schools, and £5 million has been made available for the introduction of citizenship. Further funding will be available in 2001-02. In addition the Chancellor, in his 1999 Pre-Budget Report, announced a £10 million package to boost enterprise skills in schools, particularly those in disadvantaged areas.

Life Education Centres

Mr. Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will make additional support available to schools to help them fund the services of life education centres; and if he will make a statement. [104009]

Jacqui Smith: The DfEE has already provided a significant amount of support for the work of Life Education Centres (LECs). Specific support has been provided for a Regional Development Officer's post, and LECs have also benefited from some the money provided by the DfEE through the Grants of Education Support and Training (GEST) and Standards Fund programmes for drug prevention and education work. We are providing a further £7.5 million of support this year and in 2000-01, through the Standards Fund, to assist all schools to deliver effective drug education. It is for individual schools to decide on the detailed content and organisation of drug education programmes in schools; Life Education Centres is one of a number of possible programmes they may adopt.

Asset Sales

Mr. Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will list the items in the National Assets Register sold by his Department, its agencies and associated public bodies since 23 February 1999, stating in each case the amount of money realised; if he will estimate the total amount raised from such sales to date; and if he will make a statement. [104497]

Mr. Wills: The total value of money realised from the sale of assets by the Department from 23 February 1999 to January 2000, its agencies, and associated public bodies since the publication of the information in the National Assets Register is £8,407,482.

Asset management is kept under close review, and those which are surplus to requirements are disposed of as quickly as possible, subject to value for money considerations. They are normally disposed of on the open market by public auction or tender. The exception to this rule is that in DfEE, good working IT equipment is gifted to education and employment bodies and projects via third

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party organisations. The table lists items reported as sold by the Department, its agencies, and associated public bodies since the information on assets was published in the National Assets Register.

Department for Education and EmploymentType of asset soldNumber of transactions or transaction detailValue realised (£)
23 February 1999 to January 2000Vehicles29120,103
Other IT equipment
By sale1,3524,114
By recycle project(7)4780
Freehold Property(8)Letchworth Skills Centre500,000
Office Machinery93,500

(7) Other IT Equipment--Other than the items sold by public auction and the recycling project, approx. 676 IT items were "scrapped" as they had no open market value.

(8) Letchworth Skill Centre--this property was disposed of in October 1998. The cash for this sale is payable in instalments spanning several years. The value realised represents the money received by the Department from this sale since last reported. There remain two instalments to be collected totalling £850,000 (£500,000 due in April 2000 and £350,000 due April 2001).

OrganisationType of asset soldValue realised (£)
Employment Service
January 1999 -December 1999Land and buildings(9)3,870,754
Fixtures and fittings280
Office machinery1,725
1998-99IT equipment1,179
Motor vehicles19,279
1999-2000Motor vehicles3,503
Teachers Training Agency
1999-2000Office equipment1,700
Construction Industry Training Board
1999-2000Land and buildings219,850
Plant and machinery2,568
Funding Agency for Schools
1998-99IT equipment3,600
1999-2000IT equipment1,600
Fixtures and fittings35,000
Investors in People (UK)
1998-99IT equipment1,080
1999-2000IT equipment138
Equal Opportunities Commission
Remploy Ltd.
Plant and other equipment384,000
Plant and other equipment473,000
Student Loan Company
1998-99Computer equipment26,000
1999-2000Office furniture630
Further Education Funding Council
1999-2000IT equipment3,607
Office furniture340
Office equipment135
Engineering Construction Industry Training Board
IT equipment1,000
1999-2000IT equipment7,000

(9) Employment Service Property Assets listed in the National Assets Register were sold between 1 January 1999 and 31 December 1999: Elephant & Castle ESJ; West London AT Crosby ESJ.

(10) Number of transactions: 7

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