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Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the Government's policy is on the proposal for a new global TB drug facility to help eradicate TB in developing countries. [153031]

Clare Short: The global TB drug facility will be launched on World TB day (24 March 2001), and is intended to increase the availability, affordability and quality of TB drugs. The UK Government support the aim

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of the "STOP TB" initiative, which includes the global TB drug facility, to expand and improve strategies to control TB. The initiative promotes the wider use of existing strategies to interrupt TB transmission and improve clinical care by increasing access to effective treatment, including strengthening health systems.


Mr. Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will estimate the amount spent on aid in Kosovo. [152821]

Clare Short: Up to the end of 2000, £760 million was pledged in humanitarian and development assistance. In addition to this donors contributed £70 million to the 2000 Kosovo consolidated budget.

UK commitments up to the end of 2000 totalled £116.25 million. In addition the UK share of the EC programme was £108 million over the same period. We have committed £15 million over the next three years for technical assistance and have contributed £6.9 million to the 2001 consolidated budget.

Debt Relief

Mr. Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development which countries have agreed to adopt (a) poverty relief and (b) education programmes in order to qualify for debt relief and further aid. [152823]

Clare Short: All countries that access the concessional resources of the World bank and the IMF, including those that are eligible for debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative, need to produce a national poverty reduction strategy. These strategies, developed by Governments in consultation with civil society, set out policies and programmes to tackle poverty, and provide a budgetary framework for the allocation of all development resources, including the savings arising from debt relief. Improving the quality of education, and particularly action to attain the international development target of universal primary education, will be an important component of all countries' strategies.

By the end of 2000, the following 22 countries had qualified for debt relief under the HIPC Initiative: Benin, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Gambia, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Guyana, Honduras, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Niger, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

In addition, by the end of January 2001, the following countries had had their national poverty reduction strategies accepted by the boards of the World bank and IMF as an appropriate basis for these agencies to deliver their assistance to these countries: Albania, Cambodia, Central African Republic, Chad, Georgia, Ghana, Kenya, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Moldova, and Tajikistan.

A number of donors, including the UK, have agreed to provide development assistance to a country in support of its national poverty reduction strategy.

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Active Community

Mr. Hope: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what action he has taken in response to the recommendations of the report of the working group on the active community, "Giving Time, Getting Involved". [153894]

Mr. Boateng: A table summarising what action the Government are taking to address the recommendations arising from "Giving Time, Getting Involved" has been placed in the Library.

Refugee Integration Challenge Fund

Mr. Hope: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the Home Office refugee integration challenge fund. [153895]

Mrs. Roche: The Home Office has allocated £500,000 for each of the next three years to a Challenge Fund which has been set up to complement the Refugee Integration Strategy launched on 2 November 2000. It seeks to promote innovative projects that address specific social needs among refugee communities, and funding is available from 2 April 2001.

Asylum Seekers

Miss Widdecombe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum seekers were supported by local authorities under the previous support and dispersal system in the last 12 months of the system; and if he will make a statement. [153606]

Mrs. Roche: Information is not available in the form requested.

The numbers of asylum seekers being supported by local authorities in London when the previous support arrangements began to be phased out (end of March 2000) is available from the Association of London Government (ALG). Information for the week ending 31 March 2000 shows that 20,550 1 single adult asylum seekers, 11,745 1 asylum seeker families and 3,520 1 unaccompanied asylum seeking children were being supported by local authorities in London.

Information on asylum seekers supported by local authorities outside London is not available.

Miss Widdecombe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum seekers have been housed in each local authority area under the new support and dispersal arrangements; and if he will make a statement. [153607]

Mrs. Roche: The information requested is not currently available.

Ms Oona King: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applications for asylum from claimants originating from Afghanistan have been determined in each of the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. [152881]

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Mrs. Roche: The available information on the number of asylum applications from nationals of Afghanistan that have had an initial decision is provided in the table.

MonthNumber of initial decisions 1 , 2 , 3
February 2000n/a
March 2000n/a
April 2000135
May 2000135
June 2000130
July 2000135
August 2000220
September 2000220
October 2000(8),(9)365
November 2000(9)510
December 2000(9)545
January 2001(9)1,020

(5) Figures rounded to the nearest five

(6) Information is for initial determination decisions, excluding the outcome of appeals or other subsequent decision

(7) Provisional figures

From October 2000, the source data on decision changed. The nationality breakdown is therefore not directly comparable with previous months

(8) Decisions may include some cases decided under the backlog criteria

This information is published monthly on the Department's website at

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what his Department's long-term plans are for the detention of asylum seekers in England and Wales. [152819]

Mrs. Roche: The 1998 White Paper "Fairer, Faster, Firmer--A Modern Approach to Immigration and Asylum" identified the need to increase the immigration detention estate in order to meet the challenge of increased removal targets of both immigration offenders and failed asylum applicants.

In order to meet these commitments, a new, 900-bed, dedicated immigration detention centre is under construction at Yarl's Wood in Bedfordshire with a 550-bed centre at Harmondsworth near Heathrow similarly well advanced. Both should become available by the end of this year. A further facility in Kent is currently at the planning stage.

The Government remain committed to decreasing the use of Prison Service accommodation for immigration detainees while recognising that there will always be a need to utilise such facilities in the minority of cases where a higher level of security is required.

Miss Widdecombe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many contracts have been entered into by NASS to provide housing for asylum seekers; how many bed spaces have been provided; and in which areas of the country. [152880]

Mrs. Roche: The number of contracts entered into by the National Asylum Support Service is 17 of which seven (including Northern Ireland) are with local authorities and 10 in the private sector.

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The numbers of bedspaces provided by region are:

RegionNumber of bedspaces provided
East Midlands1,631
East of England280
Greater London586
Kent and Sussex305
North East6,118
North West6,551
Northern Ireland113
South Central67
South West604
West Midlands4,026
Yorkshire and Humberside7,616

Miss Widdecombe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum seekers are held in prisons; and if he will make a statement. [152877]

Mrs. Roche: The most recent information relates to persons detained under Immigration Act 1988 powers as at 31 January 2001. At this date 920 persons were recorded as being detained in Prison Service establishments.

Currently, it is not possible to identify those persons detained in prison who have claimed asylum at some point.

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